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Stephen

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  1. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project
     

     
    At the developers conference in early February 24 in Toronto... ToLiSS put up a chart in the session to note the already released fleet from the developer, but of also which aircraft could come up for development next...
     
    Candidates included the A318, A330ceo, A330neo, A340-200/300 and of course the Airbus A380. The A350 (v2) has already been announced as a joint project with FlightFactor (same arrangement as the current FF A350) at the same conference.
     
    The choice is now between the A330ceo (Current Engine Option), and the A330neo (New Engine Option)...  image depicted here is the default Laminar A330-300, so it is a not a signal of the coming ToLiSS A330 type.
     

     
    The question "But Which One?", will keep you guessing, but on past record ToLiSS has usually kept away from competing directly with already released products, also they usually always do the NEO versions of the same aircraft (hint A320neo, A321neo). So the A330neo is probably the pick of the two versions. And into also not competing directly with the same A330-300 Laminar offering.
     
    The A330neo has two variants, the -800 based on the older ceo -200 and -300 variants, that has a range of 8,150 nmi (15,090 km; 9,380 mi) with 257 passengers. The second variant is the -900, it covers a range of 7,200 nmi (13,330 km; 8,290 mi) with 287 passengers. Both variants are powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 which has double the bypass ratio of its predecessor.
     
    ToLiss Features include...
    Accurate Systems ToLiss Fly-by-wire and autopilot module, with support for Alternate and Direct Law Unique feature: Control Surface hinge moment modelling allows the surfaces to float to the appropriate position after loss of all actuators on a surface or to not reach full deflection if running on a single actuator. fault injection interface allowing to inject custom selected failures, or randomly selected failure based on fault probabilities with over 210 failure modes available. Custom TCAS with resolution advisory function. Terrain on ND and Weather radar available (WX radar works with default X-plane weather engine) Brake temperature model based on the detailed physics of heat transfer between the individual brake components Hydraulics model with proper hydraulic flow computation as function of surface motion, flap/slat motion, gear extension etc. You will see this by the pressure dropping when flying on RAT Custom engine model for accurate thrust and fuel flow modelling including oil pressure and temperature model as well as many engine failure modes. Thrust and fuel flow modelled for each engine type. Special engine logics, such as dual cooling on the PW1127G engine, are also modelled. Detailed model of each ADIRU including alignment, small pressure sensor differences between the units, switching of sources for PFDs and Aps Quantitative bleed system modelling affecting engine fuel flow Electrical system simulation with correct bus reconfiguration and load distribution, simulated electrical transients as well as emergency generation from the blue hydraulic system. Fire detection simulation for engines and APU Custom radio navigation computations including ability to perform backup RADNAV tuning through the RMPs Custom air conditioning model supporting high altitude operations at airports like Cusco in Peru or La Paz in Bolivia without spurious warnings Flight warning system with ECAM actions supporting numerous system failure scenarios, e.g. engine failures, generator failures, hydraulic failures. Custom indicating system including DMC and SDAC simulation. Choice between Multifunctional runway lights or the classic landing light configuration Useability 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. This feature reinstates the complete aircraft state (except communications with ATC, such as AOC and CPDLC messages or ground service states.) 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. Integrated takeoff performance calculator supporting the use of flex temperature. 4 different start-up configurations from Cold and Dark to engines running and ready to go In-screen popup displays or use of x-plane windows for popups Interactive audio control panel to change ground services, fuel, loading, passengers etc. without breaking immersion Electronic flight bag on both sides with Avitab integration, weight and balance computation, take-off and landing performance calculator as well as a user customizable interactive checklist. Print function for AOC messages, CPDLC messages and selected FMGS functions  
    Release would be around October, as this is also a ToLiSS release period with the other time in being March...
     
    ToLiSS notes that the new A330 is obviously compatible with X-Plane 12, but will also support X-Plane 11 backwards compatibility, but without the X-Plane 12 effects.
     
    Start saving now, price should be around US$89.99!
    ___________________________
     
    News! by Stephen Dutton
    16th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  2. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios   
    Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios
     
    As noted in the review/tutorial of the modification of the Rotate MD-80 Series to use the IAE V2500 Series engines. That coming soon from Mango Studios would be a sound package to modify the original P&W JT8D-200 sounds to the IAE V2500 engine sounds.
     

     
    This is that sound pack, and both JT8D-200 and IAE V2500 sounds are included, plus both new bonus external and custom internal sounds are also provided in the package. The feature list is extensive as noted here...
     
    Exterior:
    Custom Sounds for Exterior Aircraft Systems
    -APU, Hydraulic Pumps, Fuel Pumps, Packs, etc
    External Environmental sounds, including light and hard rain
    Custom Engine Sounds for the Pratt & Whitney JT8D Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Custom Engine Sounds for the IAE V2500 Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Interior:
    Custom Sounds for cockpit switches, buttons, covers, knobs, and handles
    -Overhead Panel, Pedestal Panel, Autopilot Panel, and Eicas Panel all reworked
    Custom Cockpit System Sounds Including
    -Higher Quality GPWS Sounds, all the way from 2500ft to 10ft aural warnings.
    -Higher Quality McDonnell Douglas Warning Sounds
    -Higher quality and realistic Battery, packs, wipers, and avionics generator effects
    Custom, and ultra-realistic cockpit environmental effects
    -High-quality landing gear roll, cockpit rattle effect, gear retraction, gear extension, gear drag, and cockpit wind.
    New cabin effects include
        -New Air conditioning effect, Fuel pump, Hydraulic Pump, Flaps, Slats
    Custom Interior sounds for the  Pratt & Whitney JT8D 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
    Custom Interior sounds for the  IAE V2500 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
     
    Downloaded the Sound Pack looks like this...  how to install.
     

     
    First there are two options in "Engine Volume 1" and "Engine Volume 2"...  the choice is that Eng Vol 1 has "Realistic" normal volume sounds in the cockpit. Eng Vol 2 has a "loud" (or higher level) engine noise in the cockpit... it's your choice?
     
    Note; If you created a separate aircraft for the modification of the "IAE" engines, then you would need to install this Sound Pack in Both of the aircraft files.  
     
    Then just select the optional FMOD set you have selected and move it to the Rotate Aircraft root folder.
     

     
    Next to be installed is the "Plugins", select both "MangoStudio MD80" and "MD-80 Core" folders and install them in the (MD-80) Plugin folder...  It will ask you to replace 102 files in the MD-80 Core plugin folder, select to overwrite the files.
     

     
    Last install item is the "Sounds". Open the MD-80 Sounds folder, and now replace the "Alert" folder, again you will be asked to overwrite 25 alert sounds.... 
     

     
    ...   now the Mango Studios Sound installation is completed.
     
    Starting the Simulation, I loaded the IAE V2500 Engine aircraft. In the X-Plane Plugin Menu, there is now under the "MD-80 Soundpack", a settings menu "MD-80 Sound Preferences".  This is a selection and sound adjustment panel.
     
    There are Options on the left, and a "Volume Control" panel on the right...
     

     
    In the options we will look at the most important one first. This is the "Engine Select Option", or the selection of either the IAE V2500 or the JT8D-200 Engine sounds. Selecting either will allocate (save) those engine sounds to that aircraft. Here I have selected the IAE V2500 engine.
     
     
     
    Other selection options include; "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", or the sound the Speedbrakes make on landing, "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, here you can also set the point of the rotation degreeº point of when this effect comes into play (5º is default), and finally you can have "Passenger Noise" in the cabin.
     

     
    There are seven Volume 0%-100% adjust selections; Master, External, Interior, Radio, Environment, User Interface and CoPilot volume adjustments.
     
    Aural feedback
    Obviously I want to hear the sounds of the IAE V2500 engine...  It's actually really "weird", but not in a negative way. You are always used to to the lower raw compressor sounds of the P&W JT8D, however here it is the high whine of a Airbus A320, on a McDonnell Douglas MD80?
     
    It sounds like the Airbus in every way, even in the reverse thrust mode. I like it because it is what I wanted, a differential feel and environment to the standard MD-80 Series aircraft. The sound is "doppler" in the source, and there is also different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of all the different changes of direction.
     

     
    Externally the sounds are VERY loud, and my External percentage was finally set as low as 60%, (but I don't like large volume changes from the Internal to the External)...   Start up and spool down sounds are excellent (great spaced timing), however so different in the engine being a more modern installation than the 60's based Pratt & Whitney.  
     
    In the cabin, the rear is aurally loud, with the set passenger noise coming in on top, and the engines are set only in the idle mode....   move to along to the front of the cabin and the distance to engines make a difference to the lower sound levels, very good. But oddly so does the noise level of the passengers also decrease, which feels very odd? I am sure they talk as much at the front of cabin, as they do in the rear.
     

     
    The Rotate MD-88 cockpit was always a very "clickity clackity" cockpit, and one of the main reasons why I love it.... the Mango Studios cockpit sounds are certainly not as loud, or as noisy as the default sounds, even hard to hear. So you have to put the volume up (a lot) if you want to hear them as you do in the Rotate MD-80?
     
    So it is very noticeable in the far lower Speedbrake arm and the trim setting noises, and you can barely hear the usual noisy landing and taxi light switches? This is with the "User Interface" settings set at 100%? They are definitely good sounds, but they are simply not loud enough, or you also don't have enough adjustment to find your own personal level of acceptable switch noise.
     

     
    In the taxi, the IAE MD-80 sounds great, nice roll sounds and engine noise...
     

     
    ....  power up the throttles (N1) and you get this lovely high IAE whine rising from the rear, runway rumble is also very good, but those engines sound so excellent as the power gets to the takeoff throttle speeds, this is the point of difference...  I absolutely really love the aural feedback you get here as those IAEs reach full thrust power.
     

     
    Externally the takeoff noise is really good. Once off the ground you get that nosewheel gear custom wind sound, it is good, but to be noted as far too loud on a quiet cockpit to be realistic? Yes you can turn it off, but that is in creating the opposite effect, volume just needs to be turned down a little to be authentic.
     

     
    Climb-out and altitude climb sounds are very good, then cockpit settles down into a background rumble in the cruise, that I also like.
     

     
    Once at cruise altitude I run a flypass of the IAE MD-80...  It is very good, but the rear exhaust sounds when in view are very loud, and stay loud even as the aircraft retreats well and long into the distance... doesn't feel very realistic to be honest.
     

     
    At each step of the approach, first with the flap extension in that the sounds are extremely realistic, and the engine note also changes with any extra drag applied, then say the lowering of the gear, in it then adds on another heavier layer. Yes this is what should happen on the approach phase, but the point here is in how well you can differentiate between the different wind or drag sounds, as the layers are very well done for a feel of the spatial direction of that particular sound. Get it right as it does here, and it sounds all very realistic.
     

     
    The real action starts when you touch the runway, up go the spoilers, and then the reverse thrust powers up. Again the spoilers feel a little loud (like the front wheels on takeoff), but the IAE engine reverse blast is excellent, again very A320 IAE in reflection. Aurally the landing noise (touch), drag and thrust noise is excellent from the cockpit, but extremely loud if you are anywhere near the engines in the rear.
     

     
    I think the idea here is to make the engine package "dynamic" special sounds in being heightened (i.e. nosewheel on rotation and airbrakes), but in other areas the sounds are quieter, in say the cockpit switchgear and in the various sound directions. So you need a bit more of a balance for it to be perfect. So there is a case for some sounds need to be more reduced, and others more heightened to find a better balance...  otherwise the overall dynamics here are very good, even extremely good.
     
    '
     
    JT8D-200
    Now you select the JT8D-200 selection on the MD-80 Sound Preferences panel.
     

     
    Externally the JT8D-200 version sounds better? The rotation of the sound (rear to front) is far better, and feels more authentic. There isn't that blast of consistent rear engine exhaust noise like you get with the IAE, until you push up the throttles, then it sounds excellent.
     

     
    Again the rear cabin is also extremely loud, even with the interior sounds set at 40% and the throttles set at idle? but the aural reduction to the front of the cabin is excellent, but also set higher level than the IAE, same with the cockpit sound level in the front, higher volume than the IAE. This aspect is to be realistic, the noisy 60's era engine compared to the 80's higher bypass era.
     

     
    Switchgear noise is the same as the IAE, as you can't again hear them working? unless you increase the volume (a lot). I again miss this interaction with the aircraft. Power up and the JT8D goes LOUD, okay I can live with that, and you feel the louder noise in the cockpit.
     

     
    Rotate and the nosewheel drag is highlighted, again I feel it is too loud...  but the climbout and the doppler sounds are really, really good...
     

     
    ... certainly the JT8D is more balanced all round than the IAE. You however get the same high exhaust note when past the camera position, as the loud thrust is still very audible as far or as long as this last image shows, and so again rumbling too far into the distance from the viewer to be realistic.
     

     
    But don't get me wrong, in flight the JT8D sounds brilliant, in the cockpit, on the flypast and in the air from most directions. Rear cabin passengers would however ask for their fare back with the consistent high noise level? Notable here is that the high rear cabin sound level stays the same at engine idle, and the same in flight (increases though on a full throttle setting), and so why does this annoy me...  because I do a lot of replays sitting in the rear cabin, so to use I would have to turn the volume right down to be seated back here in comfort.
     
    On LEBL (Barcelona) approach, with the gear down and full flap, the wind and drag sounds are again really good, yes in context very similar to the IAE in the audio experience, but certainly not in engine tone, so it is very good expression between both of these aircraft and their different powerplants.
     

     
    Good sound, or an all round high aural experience can certainly give any simulation a more credible immersion to the user/pilot. It is Simulation's ongoing advances that seeks to create the real environment in your own world. Sound is as important as the visuals, so these sound-packages are a very important addition to your flying, and one of the best options to heighten the simulation...  as I go over the fence at LEBL's Rwy 02, I am totally in there, eyeballing the runway, but also in needing the feedback aurally from the aircraft, that is the important statement, it is what is being signaled to you or is reverberating around you can be the difference between the best experience, or just an average one.
     

     
    On touch down and into reverse mode, the aural sensation is excellent, yes you get the extra noise from the speedbrakes, but you can turn that off in the options.
     

     
    Gotta Love the Maddog!
    _____________________
    Summary
    Mango Studios released a modification for the Rotate MD-80 aircraft to add on the IAE V2500 engine to the already installed Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200. Here is a sound package to deliver custom sounds for both those engines IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 and aircraft interaction.
     
    The package is most effective when you have both engine types installed, as you get both custom sound packs for both engine types. So the IAE V2500 Engine Addon from Mango Studios is highly recommended here.
     
    This is a very good high quality sound pack, that can differentiate the unique sounds of both the IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 engines, the IAE is of course the more modern engine and is mostly associated with the Airbus A320 Series.
     
    The range of custom sounds here are excellent on both engine type installations. Great doppler effects, different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of the different changes. Both engines have excellent spool up/spool down sounds and the excellent reverse thrust activity. Flap, gear and wind noise is also very good and engine thrust realism is excellent. With options that cover custom "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, and "Passenger Noise" in the cabin. Option for "Loud" or louder engine noise in the cockpit.
     
    However there are few consistencies highlighted the same on each pack. Switchgear/Interaction sound levels are very low compared to the excellent default Rotate MD-80 sounds...  rear engine exhaust is also too (extremely) high and remains too long after the aircraft has passed your point of view. Rear cabin sounds even at throttle idle are not realistic, passenger chatter also disappears as you move forward in the cabin, optional custom sounds (nosewheel & speedbrake) are set higher to be "dynamic" when selected, are not very realistic.
     
    The attraction here with this package is the sounds for the IAE V2500, the tone and feel is completely more modern than the 60's inspired feel of the JT8D low-by pass engine, effectively an Airbus engine on a McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft. In this aspect the package is excellent and a great companion to the MOD pack for the IAE V2500, the JT8D-200 is as good, with extra features over the original Rotate sound pack.
     
    Overall I totally love the idea and the choice of the two different engine types for the MD-80. It gives you a very and more flexible choice in flying this unique McDonnell Douglas aircraft, not just in appearance, but also here with a unique aural experience for both types...  well worth the investment!
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack
    Price is US$14.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on. The Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is highly recommended.
     
    Requirements This is a Sound pack. The Rotate MD-80 is required for this sound pack. Will not work with any other MD-80
    Download Size: 52 MB
    Current version 1.0 (April 16th 2024)   Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Rotate MD-80 Soundpack Manual.rtf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Sound Addon Review by Stephen Dutton
    19th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
    - LMML- Malta International Airport by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$22.30
    - LEBL - Barcelona XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$27.99
      (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
     

  3. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios   
    Sound Addon Review : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series sound package by Mango Studios
     
    As noted in the review/tutorial of the modification of the Rotate MD-80 Series to use the IAE V2500 Series engines. That coming soon from Mango Studios would be a sound package to modify the original P&W JT8D-200 sounds to the IAE V2500 engine sounds.
     

     
    This is that sound pack, and both JT8D-200 and IAE V2500 sounds are included, plus both new bonus external and custom internal sounds are also provided in the package. The feature list is extensive as noted here...
     
    Exterior:
    Custom Sounds for Exterior Aircraft Systems
    -APU, Hydraulic Pumps, Fuel Pumps, Packs, etc
    External Environmental sounds, including light and hard rain
    Custom Engine Sounds for the Pratt & Whitney JT8D Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Custom Engine Sounds for the IAE V2500 Engines
        -Exterior start-up/shut-down sound effects
        -Exterior spool-up/spool-down sound effects
        -Exterior backblast, surround sound, and flyby sound effects
    Interior:
    Custom Sounds for cockpit switches, buttons, covers, knobs, and handles
    -Overhead Panel, Pedestal Panel, Autopilot Panel, and Eicas Panel all reworked
    Custom Cockpit System Sounds Including
    -Higher Quality GPWS Sounds, all the way from 2500ft to 10ft aural warnings.
    -Higher Quality McDonnell Douglas Warning Sounds
    -Higher quality and realistic Battery, packs, wipers, and avionics generator effects
    Custom, and ultra-realistic cockpit environmental effects
    -High-quality landing gear roll, cockpit rattle effect, gear retraction, gear extension, gear drag, and cockpit wind.
    New cabin effects include
        -New Air conditioning effect, Fuel pump, Hydraulic Pump, Flaps, Slats
    Custom Interior sounds for the  Pratt & Whitney JT8D 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
    Custom Interior sounds for the  IAE V2500 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
     
    Downloaded the Sound Pack looks like this...  how to install.
     

     
    First there are two options in "Engine Volume 1" and "Engine Volume 2"...  the choice is that Eng Vol 1 has "Realistic" normal volume sounds in the cockpit. Eng Vol 2 has a "loud" (or higher level) engine noise in the cockpit... it's your choice?
     
    Note; If you created a separate aircraft for the modification of the "IAE" engines, then you would need to install this Sound Pack in Both of the aircraft files.  
     
    Then just select the optional FMOD set you have selected and move it to the Rotate Aircraft root folder.
     

     
    Next to be installed is the "Plugins", select both "MangoStudio MD80" and "MD-80 Core" folders and install them in the (MD-80) Plugin folder...  It will ask you to replace 102 files in the MD-80 Core plugin folder, select to overwrite the files.
     

     
    Last install item is the "Sounds". Open the MD-80 Sounds folder, and now replace the "Alert" folder, again you will be asked to overwrite 25 alert sounds.... 
     

     
    ...   now the Mango Studios Sound installation is completed.
     
    Starting the Simulation, I loaded the IAE V2500 Engine aircraft. In the X-Plane Plugin Menu, there is now under the "MD-80 Soundpack", a settings menu "MD-80 Sound Preferences".  This is a selection and sound adjustment panel.
     
    There are Options on the left, and a "Volume Control" panel on the right...
     

     
    In the options we will look at the most important one first. This is the "Engine Select Option", or the selection of either the IAE V2500 or the JT8D-200 Engine sounds. Selecting either will allocate (save) those engine sounds to that aircraft. Here I have selected the IAE V2500 engine.
     
     
     
    Other selection options include; "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", or the sound the Speedbrakes make on landing, "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, here you can also set the point of the rotation degreeº point of when this effect comes into play (5º is default), and finally you can have "Passenger Noise" in the cabin.
     

     
    There are seven Volume 0%-100% adjust selections; Master, External, Interior, Radio, Environment, User Interface and CoPilot volume adjustments.
     
    Aural feedback
    Obviously I want to hear the sounds of the IAE V2500 engine...  It's actually really "weird", but not in a negative way. You are always used to to the lower raw compressor sounds of the P&W JT8D, however here it is the high whine of a Airbus A320, on a McDonnell Douglas MD80?
     
    It sounds like the Airbus in every way, even in the reverse thrust mode. I like it because it is what I wanted, a differential feel and environment to the standard MD-80 Series aircraft. The sound is "doppler" in the source, and there is also different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of all the different changes of direction.
     

     
    Externally the sounds are VERY loud, and my External percentage was finally set as low as 60%, (but I don't like large volume changes from the Internal to the External)...   Start up and spool down sounds are excellent (great spaced timing), however so different in the engine being a more modern installation than the 60's based Pratt & Whitney.  
     
    In the cabin, the rear is aurally loud, with the set passenger noise coming in on top, and the engines are set only in the idle mode....   move to along to the front of the cabin and the distance to engines make a difference to the lower sound levels, very good. But oddly so does the noise level of the passengers also decrease, which feels very odd? I am sure they talk as much at the front of cabin, as they do in the rear.
     

     
    The Rotate MD-88 cockpit was always a very "clickity clackity" cockpit, and one of the main reasons why I love it.... the Mango Studios cockpit sounds are certainly not as loud, or as noisy as the default sounds, even hard to hear. So you have to put the volume up (a lot) if you want to hear them as you do in the Rotate MD-80?
     
    So it is very noticeable in the far lower Speedbrake arm and the trim setting noises, and you can barely hear the usual noisy landing and taxi light switches? This is with the "User Interface" settings set at 100%? They are definitely good sounds, but they are simply not loud enough, or you also don't have enough adjustment to find your own personal level of acceptable switch noise.
     

     
    In the taxi, the IAE MD-80 sounds great, nice roll sounds and engine noise...
     

     
    ....  power up the throttles (N1) and you get this lovely high IAE whine rising from the rear, runway rumble is also very good, but those engines sound so excellent as the power gets to the takeoff throttle speeds, this is the point of difference...  I absolutely really love the aural feedback you get here as those IAEs reach full thrust power.
     

     
    Externally the takeoff noise is really good. Once off the ground you get that nosewheel gear custom wind sound, it is good, but to be noted as far too loud on a quiet cockpit to be realistic? Yes you can turn it off, but that is in creating the opposite effect, volume just needs to be turned down a little to be authentic.
     

     
    Climb-out and altitude climb sounds are very good, then cockpit settles down into a background rumble in the cruise, that I also like.
     

     
    Once at cruise altitude I run a flypass of the IAE MD-80...  It is very good, but the rear exhaust sounds when in view are very loud, and stay loud even as the aircraft retreats well and long into the distance... doesn't feel very realistic to be honest.
     

     
    At each step of the approach, first with the flap extension in that the sounds are extremely realistic, and the engine note also changes with any extra drag applied, then say the lowering of the gear, in it then adds on another heavier layer. Yes this is what should happen on the approach phase, but the point here is in how well you can differentiate between the different wind or drag sounds, as the layers are very well done for a feel of the spatial direction of that particular sound. Get it right as it does here, and it sounds all very realistic.
     

     
    The real action starts when you touch the runway, up go the spoilers, and then the reverse thrust powers up. Again the spoilers feel a little loud (like the front wheels on takeoff), but the IAE engine reverse blast is excellent, again very A320 IAE in reflection. Aurally the landing noise (touch), drag and thrust noise is excellent from the cockpit, but extremely loud if you are anywhere near the engines in the rear.
     

     
    I think the idea here is to make the engine package "dynamic" special sounds in being heightened (i.e. nosewheel on rotation and airbrakes), but in other areas the sounds are quieter, in say the cockpit switchgear and in the various sound directions. So you need a bit more of a balance for it to be perfect. So there is a case for some sounds need to be more reduced, and others more heightened to find a better balance...  otherwise the overall dynamics here are very good, even extremely good.
     
    '
     
    JT8D-200
    Now you select the JT8D-200 selection on the MD-80 Sound Preferences panel.
     

     
    Externally the JT8D-200 version sounds better? The rotation of the sound (rear to front) is far better, and feels more authentic. There isn't that blast of consistent rear engine exhaust noise like you get with the IAE, until you push up the throttles, then it sounds excellent.
     

     
    Again the rear cabin is also extremely loud, even with the interior sounds set at 40% and the throttles set at idle? but the aural reduction to the front of the cabin is excellent, but also set higher level than the IAE, same with the cockpit sound level in the front, higher volume than the IAE. This aspect is to be realistic, the noisy 60's era engine compared to the 80's higher bypass era.
     

     
    Switchgear noise is the same as the IAE, as you can't again hear them working? unless you increase the volume (a lot). I again miss this interaction with the aircraft. Power up and the JT8D goes LOUD, okay I can live with that, and you feel the louder noise in the cockpit.
     

     
    Rotate and the nosewheel drag is highlighted, again I feel it is too loud...  but the climbout and the doppler sounds are really, really good...
     

     
    ... certainly the JT8D is more balanced all round than the IAE. You however get the same high exhaust note when past the camera position, as the loud thrust is still very audible as far or as long as this last image shows, and so again rumbling too far into the distance from the viewer to be realistic.
     

     
    But don't get me wrong, in flight the JT8D sounds brilliant, in the cockpit, on the flypast and in the air from most directions. Rear cabin passengers would however ask for their fare back with the consistent high noise level? Notable here is that the high rear cabin sound level stays the same at engine idle, and the same in flight (increases though on a full throttle setting), and so why does this annoy me...  because I do a lot of replays sitting in the rear cabin, so to use I would have to turn the volume right down to be seated back here in comfort.
     
    On LEBL (Barcelona) approach, with the gear down and full flap, the wind and drag sounds are again really good, yes in context very similar to the IAE in the audio experience, but certainly not in engine tone, so it is very good expression between both of these aircraft and their different powerplants.
     

     
    Good sound, or an all round high aural experience can certainly give any simulation a more credible immersion to the user/pilot. It is Simulation's ongoing advances that seeks to create the real environment in your own world. Sound is as important as the visuals, so these sound-packages are a very important addition to your flying, and one of the best options to heighten the simulation...  as I go over the fence at LEBL's Rwy 02, I am totally in there, eyeballing the runway, but also in needing the feedback aurally from the aircraft, that is the important statement, it is what is being signaled to you or is reverberating around you can be the difference between the best experience, or just an average one.
     

     
    On touch down and into reverse mode, the aural sensation is excellent, yes you get the extra noise from the speedbrakes, but you can turn that off in the options.
     

     
    Gotta Love the Maddog!
    _____________________
    Summary
    Mango Studios released a modification for the Rotate MD-80 aircraft to add on the IAE V2500 engine to the already installed Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200. Here is a sound package to deliver custom sounds for both those engines IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 and aircraft interaction.
     
    The package is most effective when you have both engine types installed, as you get both custom sound packs for both engine types. So the IAE V2500 Engine Addon from Mango Studios is highly recommended here.
     
    This is a very good high quality sound pack, that can differentiate the unique sounds of both the IAE V2500 and JT8D-200 engines, the IAE is of course the more modern engine and is mostly associated with the Airbus A320 Series.
     
    The range of custom sounds here are excellent on both engine type installations. Great doppler effects, different source sounds in the rotation from front to back (180º) and so you are highly spatially aware of the different changes. Both engines have excellent spool up/spool down sounds and the excellent reverse thrust activity. Flap, gear and wind noise is also very good and engine thrust realism is excellent. With options that cover custom "Speedbrake Deploy Sounds", "Rotation Noise" the noise when the nosewheel lifts off the runway, and "Passenger Noise" in the cabin. Option for "Loud" or louder engine noise in the cockpit.
     
    However there are few consistencies highlighted the same on each pack. Switchgear/Interaction sound levels are very low compared to the excellent default Rotate MD-80 sounds...  rear engine exhaust is also too (extremely) high and remains too long after the aircraft has passed your point of view. Rear cabin sounds even at throttle idle are not realistic, passenger chatter also disappears as you move forward in the cabin, optional custom sounds (nosewheel & speedbrake) are set higher to be "dynamic" when selected, are not very realistic.
     
    The attraction here with this package is the sounds for the IAE V2500, the tone and feel is completely more modern than the 60's inspired feel of the JT8D low-by pass engine, effectively an Airbus engine on a McDonnell Douglas MD80 aircraft. In this aspect the package is excellent and a great companion to the MOD pack for the IAE V2500, the JT8D-200 is as good, with extra features over the original Rotate sound pack.
     
    Overall I totally love the idea and the choice of the two different engine types for the MD-80. It gives you a very and more flexible choice in flying this unique McDonnell Douglas aircraft, not just in appearance, but also here with a unique aural experience for both types...  well worth the investment!
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 Sound Pack
    Price is US$14.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on. The Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is highly recommended.
     
    Requirements This is a Sound pack. The Rotate MD-80 is required for this sound pack. Will not work with any other MD-80
    Download Size: 52 MB
    Current version 1.0 (April 16th 2024)   Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Rotate MD-80 Soundpack Manual.rtf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Sound Addon Review by Stephen Dutton
    19th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
    - LMML- Malta International Airport by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$22.30
    - LEBL - Barcelona XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$27.99
      (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
     

  4. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Announcement : Toliss notes the Airbus A330 as next project
     

     
    At the developers conference in early February 24 in Toronto... ToLiSS put up a chart in the session to note the already released fleet from the developer, but of also which aircraft could come up for development next...
     
    Candidates included the A318, A330ceo, A330neo, A340-200/300 and of course the Airbus A380. The A350 (v2) has already been announced as a joint project with FlightFactor (same arrangement as the current FF A350) at the same conference.
     
    The choice is now between the A330ceo (Current Engine Option), and the A330neo (New Engine Option)...  image depicted here is the default Laminar A330-300, so it is a not a signal of the coming ToLiSS A330 type.
     

     
    The question "But Which One?", will keep you guessing, but on past record ToLiSS has usually kept away from competing directly with already released products, also they usually always do the NEO versions of the same aircraft (hint A320neo, A321neo). So the A330neo is probably the pick of the two versions. And into also not competing directly with the same A330-300 Laminar offering.
     
    The A330neo has two variants, the -800 based on the older ceo -200 and -300 variants, that has a range of 8,150 nmi (15,090 km; 9,380 mi) with 257 passengers. The second variant is the -900, it covers a range of 7,200 nmi (13,330 km; 8,290 mi) with 287 passengers. Both variants are powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 which has double the bypass ratio of its predecessor.
     
    ToLiss Features include...
    Accurate Systems ToLiss Fly-by-wire and autopilot module, with support for Alternate and Direct Law Unique feature: Control Surface hinge moment modelling allows the surfaces to float to the appropriate position after loss of all actuators on a surface or to not reach full deflection if running on a single actuator. fault injection interface allowing to inject custom selected failures, or randomly selected failure based on fault probabilities with over 210 failure modes available. Custom TCAS with resolution advisory function. Terrain on ND and Weather radar available (WX radar works with default X-plane weather engine) Brake temperature model based on the detailed physics of heat transfer between the individual brake components Hydraulics model with proper hydraulic flow computation as function of surface motion, flap/slat motion, gear extension etc. You will see this by the pressure dropping when flying on RAT Custom engine model for accurate thrust and fuel flow modelling including oil pressure and temperature model as well as many engine failure modes. Thrust and fuel flow modelled for each engine type. Special engine logics, such as dual cooling on the PW1127G engine, are also modelled. Detailed model of each ADIRU including alignment, small pressure sensor differences between the units, switching of sources for PFDs and Aps Quantitative bleed system modelling affecting engine fuel flow Electrical system simulation with correct bus reconfiguration and load distribution, simulated electrical transients as well as emergency generation from the blue hydraulic system. Fire detection simulation for engines and APU Custom radio navigation computations including ability to perform backup RADNAV tuning through the RMPs Custom air conditioning model supporting high altitude operations at airports like Cusco in Peru or La Paz in Bolivia without spurious warnings Flight warning system with ECAM actions supporting numerous system failure scenarios, e.g. engine failures, generator failures, hydraulic failures. Custom indicating system including DMC and SDAC simulation. Choice between Multifunctional runway lights or the classic landing light configuration Useability 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. This feature reinstates the complete aircraft state (except communications with ATC, such as AOC and CPDLC messages or ground service states.) 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. Integrated takeoff performance calculator supporting the use of flex temperature. 4 different start-up configurations from Cold and Dark to engines running and ready to go In-screen popup displays or use of x-plane windows for popups Interactive audio control panel to change ground services, fuel, loading, passengers etc. without breaking immersion Electronic flight bag on both sides with Avitab integration, weight and balance computation, take-off and landing performance calculator as well as a user customizable interactive checklist. Print function for AOC messages, CPDLC messages and selected FMGS functions  
    Release would be around October, as this is also a ToLiSS release period with the other time in being March...
     
    ToLiSS notes that the new A330 is obviously compatible with X-Plane 12, but will also support X-Plane 11 backwards compatibility, but without the X-Plane 12 effects.
     
    Start saving now, price should be around US$89.99!
    ___________________________
     
    News! by Stephen Dutton
    16th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  5. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from skytitude in Scenery Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    Scenery Upgrade Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude
     
    One American State that is highly supported with X-Plane scenery than most, and that is Florida. From the lowest point of Key West, to the state boundary in the north, there are some really great quality destinations for you to chose from. My flying time in X-Plane has found me chris-crossing this one state more than any other. Some developers like FS Designs specialise in the Florida State, another in Skytitude has a few quality destinations in there as well.
     
    This is Skytitude's upgrade for their original KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport X-Plane 11 scenery, released only in November 2021, so it is not as would say an old scenery in quality, it is still available if required for US$19.95. Before that release the only scenery available for KTHL Tallahassee was an odd version from Rim&Co. A messy piece of work, that was discontinued as it had illegal, meaning stolen objects from other developers work, so best forgotten for more than one reason.
     
    So here is the X-Plane 12 upgraded version of KTLH Tallahassee International Airport, which is not actually an international port, as it doesn't have any international services to other countries. However KTLH is noted as a full-service "Service Port" for U.S. Customs. The title allows international cargo and general aviation flights to directly come to Tallahassee, which is the leading cargo handler in the Panhandle area of Florida. Tallahassee handles around 9.5 million pounds of cargo a year,
     
    Most services here are what you would call feeder (Hub & Spoke) regional routes, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Dallas and Washington DC. But Tallahassee is also the Florida State Capital, it is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region. Tallahassee is also a college town with student population exceeding 70,000, home to the Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College, a large state college that serves mainly as a feeder school to Florida State and Florida A&M. The KTLH city-owned airport is situated five miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee, in Leon County,
     

     
    The airport covers 2,485 acres (1,006 ha) at an elevation of 81 feet (25 m). It has two runways: 09/27 is 8,000 by 150 feet (2,438 by 46 m) and 18/36 is 7,000 by 150 ft. (2,134 by 46 m). Helicopter operations are generally confined to the Runway 18/36 area, or direct approaches to the Million Air FBO ramp area.
     

     
    Tallahassee International Airport
    IATA: TLH - ICAO: KTLH - FAA LID: TL

    09/27 - 8,000ft (2,438m) Asphalt
    18/36 - 7,000ft (2,134m) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL81 ft / 25 m
     
    A new passenger terminal was built just north of the new 09/27 runway on November 2, 1987, and the new terminal prompted officials to rename the airport from Tallahassee Municipal Airport to Tallahassee Regional Airport. On December 3, 1989, the city opened the $33 million terminal, and on February 20, 2000, the terminal was soon renamed the Ivan Munroe Terminal in honor of Tallahassee aviation pioneer Ivan Munroe.
     
    It is a simple layout. A terminal building with a pier that is connecting to a concourse, or a split single concourse into A and B, from the side it is in a H design.
     

     
    The Munroe terminal is really well replicated here by Skytitude, very realistic with very good building detail and adornments. The terracotta roof is in contrast to the brown main building and pier exposed concrete.
     

     
    Scenery clutter is very good, but not overwhelming... there are no animated service vehicles here, and it is noticeable in creating a static sort of environment. Note the excellent aerial installation on the forward part of the connecting pier, and the very nicely done ramp lights.
     

     
    There are eight detailed, white Airbridges A1-A6/B1-B6, like the real ones they come with no branding...  they are powered here by the built in X-Plane 12 "Ground handling" menu. A lot of developers are moving away from the SAM system (and it's problems) and back to this updated older version, in lots of ways it is currently a better solution than the fiddly SAM experience. There also five static walkon/walkoff gates for smaller regional aircraft in A7, A4, A2 - B2, B4, B7.
     

     
    The landside terminal is very nicely done, even in a walkaround way, with nice well done 3d vehicle carparks and really reat fauna. But there there is no internal terminal detail. There are also no people, or traffic, again in creating a more static feel at TLH than an active one. On the roof are solar panels, in fact there is a loads of solar panels here as we shall see later.
     

     
    Trees are all X-Plane 12 3D quality, seasonal as well, but you won't get a lot if any snow in Florida. But the fauna quality is high here.
     

     
    Million Air FBO
    Next largest facility at TLH is the Million Air Fixed Base Operator. Besides for private operators, Million Air also provides contracted fuel services to U.S. Military and Department of Defense aircraft. TLH is regularly visited by U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Lockheed Martin C-130 family aircraft, as well as Dornier C-146 and T-6 Texan II aircraft on training missions and practice approaches from nearby AFB.
     

     
    The ramp area is massive, and surrounded by maintenance hangers and aviation services FL Aviation and Flightline group. Main large FBO executive building is really well done in brick, next to it is the field's FireStation. Missing is the "Million Air" sign that sits outside the entrance, a small but noticeable overlook, but any signage is also missing here at TLH. But overall the detail and fill of this FBO area is very well done with a heliport with 6 landing pads located at South Apron.
     

     
    Aero Center Tallahassee
    North is another large ramp for Aero Center Tallahassee and the Epic Flight Academy. The buildings are basic here, as the entrance to the Aero Centre is quite ornamental, missing also is the roof detail of the air-conditioning systems. The brickwork however is well done.
     

     
    Far north are rows of aircraft storage, and this is a great parking ramp if flying into KTLH while exploring the region to refuel, as there are a few refuel stations set around these aprons for your convenience.
     
    Cargo
    The freight facility is FedEx. It has two major gates (1 & 2), and three regional ramps for the FedEx feeder network. But as noted it is used as a U.S. customs international feeder "Service Port" area coming into the US.
     

     
    Control Tower
    The KTLH field tower is set on the Southside. The facility and its surroundings is excellent, with great roof aerial detail.
     

     
    Infrastructure
    Is this where all digital pilots go when they leave the X-Plane mortal coil? Yes it is a cemetery, set to the east of the airport called Southside Cemetery, a big one at that, and well done.
     

     
    Also west is the City Of Tallahassee Utilities Water Treatment plant, really well done with real (X-Plane) water in the large pools and even in the treatment ponds...  note in the background are the six animated wind turbines.
     

     
    Before leaving the west it is interesting to note the excellent merging of the Custom TLH airport to the default autogen, here the commercial Infrastructure blends in well with the airport boundary, making it a realistic viewpoint if arriving on Rwy 27.
     

     
    Obviously the Tallahassee City owners are very big into efficiency and saving the planet. Surrounding the south approach and the left side of Rwy 18/36, are hundreds of solar panel farms. And all well done here, but I wonder if these massive sun farms could blind a pilot on an approach? The noted "largest airport-based solar station in the world" here is however excellent for the visual detail on approaches 36 and 09.
     

     
    Ground Textures
    The ground textures are fine, but have no depth of detail, only a sheen, could be even noted as flat to the eye. They look okay with nice grunge, but they are not what you would call "high quality".
     

     
    As this is an X-Plane 12 scenery, you get the excellent weather effects. And again X-Plane 12 does it's miracle showing...  water/rain and reflections are all very good, certainly in the right lighting conditions... so the PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion works well.

     
    Highlight here is the 3d grass, it is excellent and not prone to LOD visuals. The main infield areas are all covered, but there are a few blank areas with no grass...  the grass realism makes a big difference to the quality of the scenery.
     

     
    TLH Lighting
    In the overview of KTLH the lighting is good, with the expected (XP12) ICAO lighting standards adhered to...
     

     
    The ramp areas and external terminal/concourses are nicely lit, with intelligently placed drop lights. Carparks all look great as well...  but the terminal/concourse has no window lighting, making the buildings dark, even blacked out at night?
     

     
    Other building lighting in Aviation services hangars are also well done with the well done drop lighting, but the main ramp lights for the Cargo ramp area and FBO ramps are weird, they glow, but don't give out any reflective light to the ground or their surrounding area?
     

     
    I'm going to throw the problem to Laminar Research and not to the developer here, as this new light (flare) bloom effects are coming in the next X-Plane update v12.1.0. We will look at this lighting again when that update is released, so ignore it for now.
    ____________
    Summary
    Florida is a very well serviced American State for X-Plane pilots to explore with consistent quality destinations. Here with Tallahassee International, it is a very Northern State airport, with great regional connections to Atlanta, Dallas and the Florida State. International in the name is for U.S. Customs "Service Port" only.
     
    The KTLH Scenery from Skytitude is overall excellent, with great field landscaping and and excellent reproduced terminal and the Million Air FBO centre. Aero Center Tallahassee is also very good but missing the finer details. Grass and X-Plane 12 weather effects are also excellent. Fauna and overall layout is also first rate. The minor details are just that in minor, but they still count. Terminal Window lighting is missing, ground textures are a bit plain but have nice grunge, and not a lot of signage except for a FedEx sign, and non-lit at light? No ground or traffic animations also give a very static feel to the scenery.
     
    Yes I really like this excellent Tallahassee scenery from Skytitude, it has a very nice quality about the package, better as well with the X-Plane 12 effects, and has excellent performance or a very light impact on your computer. This KTLH is an upgrade to X-Plane 12 from the still available X-Plane 11 version, but it is a heavily revised and more modernised scenery than the one released in late 2021. There is also an upgrade offer of 25% off for previous users of the XP11 scenery.
     
    How much do I like it? well certainly expect to see KTLH Tallahassee appear in many future reviews from X-PlaneReviews, if any scenery passes that substantial test then it must cover a lot of credentials, most of all in a realistic visual quality...  for that aspect alone, it is great investment!
    ________________________
     

     
    Yes!  KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12
    Price is US$19.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux Download Size: 703 MB Current version : 1.0   Owners of KTLH XP11 can purchase this new XP12 version for 25% off, please find the coupon code in the original KTLH Invoice.   Installation and documents:
    TLH is download of 520Mb download. There are two folders as part of the installation;
    skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b The second "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b" has to physically moved (cut&paste) lower in the scenery_packs. INI, below the main "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp" folder. All details are noted in the provided; "INSTALLATION GUIDE.
     
    648Mb is installed into your Custom Scenery folder.
     
    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -Rotate MD-80 Pro XP12 - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95
    ____________________________
     
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    11th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  6. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from flightwusel in Behind the Screen : March 2024   
    Behind the Screen : March 2024
     
    On the 4th of February 2024, there was a Developer's conference in Montreal for X-Plane Simulator platform. Here the best and most prominent developers joined together to work out not only the future of the X-Plane Simulator, but also to share their friendship in meeting their fellow workers in arms.
     
    Laminar Research was at the same conference as well. That should have been a huge advantage in working with the very people that do the core workings of the X-Plane Simulator, the setting was ripe for setting a future roadmap and an agenda for X-Plane from both sides of the Simulator...  but the conference didn't end to that satisfaction.
     
    At the height of the conference, Laminar Research announced that they were going to create a product store within the X-Plane Simulator, a reflection of the same arrangement that is part of the MSFS 2020 (Microsoft Simulator) platform.
     
    This sudden announcement did not unite the developers to the Laminar cause, in fact it divided the conference, and in itself created a rolling discontent among the the attendees, certainly when the news hit the forums, all sorts of comments came out.
     
    Initially most users were very supportive of the internal store idea, yes another store, and one built directly into the Simulator, this aspect is a major plus....  but X-Plane is not at all structured like Microsoft's Simulator, it is not a large single central entity, but a Universe with many different revolving planets, and set at it's centre are two massive Jupiter sized planets called Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org.
     
    Initially Laminar Research never dealt with the user side of the Simulator, it was (still is) the founder and on going developer of the Simulator. The X-Plane.Org grew out of the need for users to interact, create and support the X-Plane Simulator. In the early day's it was a sort of clubby meeting place to share and communicate all things X-Plane. I'm not saying that MSFS also has this same network of user sites and forums set around it and in giving support and communication to the platform, in fact every platform has it's own network. But the central core of development and selling product at MSFS is embedded directly into the system, it is even hosted and run as an online game.
     
    But X-Plane's in it's arrangement was more focused and generalised than the others. Someone noted that the X-Plane.Org is not the centre of the X-Plane universe, as other sites contribute to the platform, and yes I agree with that aspect in file sharing and product sales, like the Fly Away Simulation sites, but most are only sales sites (Orbx, Just Flight & SimMarket). But the X-Plane.Org is different in that it supports the Developers directly or even indirectly in the support of creating the products to use in the Simulator.
     
    Early days of X-Plane were mostly based around the PlaneMaker tool provided with the Simulator, mostly aircraft were then generic, but clever in a customised way. So the clubby .Org supported these products as they were mostly freeware based. But even in these early years, the X-Plane.Org struggled for support.
     
    Sites and platforms cost money to host and maintain. Free is all very nice, but it doesn't buy you servers and software to run it all, and very quickly the site required money to support the ever expanding user base. Donations was an early trial, but failed as they were not very consistent and worse in not really giving enough financial support to the .Org site. The solution came with Nicolas Taureau, and he set up a store to sell the now more quality based "Payware" products, but the funds also supported the .Org in succession and allowed it to thrive and grow into the big utility it is today. Most of this important support is not aggrandised or visually translated, as is Taureau's personality, understated is more to the point, but important is the support of the .Org system to the X-Plane platform, of which X-PlaneReviews is also a benefactor.
     
    So now you have the X-Plane Universe, with Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org running in parallel or in orbits around each other, Laminar in not wanting the commercial side of the Simulator, bar of selling a few cups and T-Shirts. And the X-Plane.Org system supporting the developer and user base. So what happens if you move the financial base of developers and sales of the X-Plane Simulator directly to the new store? in reality, you are blowing the X-Plane universe apart, and I really don't think that a lot of users realised that the amount of the support funding of the X-Plane.Org, developer support and loads of other auxiliary items that was generated by the X-Plane.OrgStore...   and neither did Austin Meyer's, head honcho of Laminar Research. All he saw was a store in MSFS and the money he could generate if he installed inside X-Plane the same system as Microsoft, a good idea financially, but structurally unsound for his own creation.
     
    We have to understand, and oddly the original mission of X-Plane was for it to be a platform of experimentation of all things aviation. That is the core of PlaneMaker as well, although that aspect was left behind more than a decade ago. In wanting far better functionality and higher quality Simulation, it had move on pass the basic origins of PlaneMaker to plugin based custom products. This now is really the contention of the issue and where the money goes to. Obviously Laminar Research want to expand beyond being just the gatekeeper of X-Plane.
     
    So there are currently a lot of issues created by the announcement of 4th February 2024. Certainly it has the promise to unstable a very balanced current system, and the ramifications are enormous if Laminar Research get this idea wrong, and creates questions...  but what of a store with very few products to sell?  Would they in the future also financially support the user base...  they made a very big message over the decades of not getting or even involved at all in this aspect, but they would be either the demise of it, or even damaging it beyond repair... if that scenerio was possible, could it also damage the X-Plane model as a simulator entirely? Kill the very goose that lays the golden eggs... I'm doomsaying again, but this time not without reason. 
     
    So we are at a threshold, not a runway one were X-Plane gets to land safely beyond the fence and onto the hard solid runway. Since the 4th of February announcement, there has been no forth coming new announcements or details from Laminar Research, except for a few flashy images on the X-Plane website and social media. Obviously the next announcement will be the launch of the store, and it's insertion into the X-Plane Simulator. It will be very good, as Laminar are very good at these sort of things. But there is far more required than opening a store, but of the quality of the stock inside of it.
    Loyalty to Nicolas Taureau is also extremely strong, and why not. He has supported and cultivated the core product of the Simulator for more than over a decade, and make no mistake here in not doing it selfishly for just for the product to sell, but to give talented developers the resources and support they needed to acquire the skills we take for granted, and with the excellent products we all use.
     
    How this current store scenario plays out will be important to the future of the Simulator, hopefully we will have an answer by Q3 as announced for the opening of the LR Store in the 3rd quarter of the year...   one thing is very sure, the X-Plane Simulator we used only last year, will be a very different to the one we will be using at the end of 2024.
     
    There was no edition of BtheS in February 2024, as I went of a well earned holiday, break..  or a cruise around the South Pacific. Obviously the 4th February announcement traveled with me, but I did get a well deserved change of scenery and a big sea refresh. But my demur was already more brighter before the departure, in fact since late 2023, when X-Plane through version 12.0.9, and behaved itself. A second South Pacific X-Plane related revisit to Tahiti in the same region was simply sheer coincidence, but translated the same to the X-Plane Simulator in how it mirrors the real world.
     
    Now we are looking forward to X-Plane 12 v12.1.0...   the v12.1.0 update is expected to be a landmark release outside of a formal version change. Most of the focus is on graphics, including the nasty Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) Improvements, Water improvements, RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptive Sharpening), Bloom effects and better particle effects. Systems include a better G1000 functionality, Stormscope, Traffic Map and Airport METAR flags... a new STEC ST-360 Autopilot is also included, new tools include better screenshot effects, which suits us really well... it is quite a list. With everything, then this post Easter holiday will be one of the most interesting yet, and the version v12.1.0 was highlighted with great reception at the FS Weekend in the Netherlands. Expect a beta release within weeks.
     
    Importantly those on-going v12.1.0 is more better system refinements, in shifting the heavy workload from your Graphics card over to the Processor. We expected this aspect for the release of X-Plane 12, but it will come now about mid-term in the X-Plane 12 version run. The changes will not magically fix your framerate, as heavier graphics will equalise out the benefits of less load on the Graphic Card, but it will overall make the X-Plane Simulator more efficient. I was a little annoyed about this aspect as I invested heavily in the processor side in my last system upgrade with the earlier announcement, then finding that Laminar was leaning even more heavily than ever onto the Graphic card side, so more expense was required to beef up that hardware side, now they are going back to the original focus, it is annoying and expensive as well to cater for these changing whims.
     
    Another change over the month was the upgrading of scenery for X-Plane 12. Finally the slow dribble has started to be a better flow from scenery developers, Aerosoft particularly was very active in releasing replacements and improvements to scenery that have been a long time dormant, and obviously we need more to come, a lot more. Although noted as an ever constant developing Simulator, X-Plane 12 will hopefully reach a mature point with the release of v12.1.0. Then that aspect bringing in even more resources for users to experience.
     
    So Q2 has a lot of potential to be one of the best period of 2024 for some big quality releases, even if it dribbles into the Northern Summer. But developers need a better more mature Simulator to bring quality releases to the Users, that aspect was something quite lacking over the last few years...  it is time for X-Plane 12 to turn the corner...  and that is said on April Fools day!
     
    See you all next month.
     
    Stephen Dutton
    1st April 2024
    Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  7. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    Scenery Upgrade Review : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude
     
    One American State that is highly supported with X-Plane scenery than most, and that is Florida. From the lowest point of Key West, to the state boundary in the north, there are some really great quality destinations for you to chose from. My flying time in X-Plane has found me chris-crossing this one state more than any other. Some developers like FS Designs specialise in the Florida State, another in Skytitude has a few quality destinations in there as well.
     
    This is Skytitude's upgrade for their original KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport X-Plane 11 scenery, released only in November 2021, so it is not as would say an old scenery in quality, it is still available if required for US$19.95. Before that release the only scenery available for KTHL Tallahassee was an odd version from Rim&Co. A messy piece of work, that was discontinued as it had illegal, meaning stolen objects from other developers work, so best forgotten for more than one reason.
     
    So here is the X-Plane 12 upgraded version of KTLH Tallahassee International Airport, which is not actually an international port, as it doesn't have any international services to other countries. However KTLH is noted as a full-service "Service Port" for U.S. Customs. The title allows international cargo and general aviation flights to directly come to Tallahassee, which is the leading cargo handler in the Panhandle area of Florida. Tallahassee handles around 9.5 million pounds of cargo a year,
     
    Most services here are what you would call feeder (Hub & Spoke) regional routes, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Dallas and Washington DC. But Tallahassee is also the Florida State Capital, it is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region. Tallahassee is also a college town with student population exceeding 70,000, home to the Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College, a large state college that serves mainly as a feeder school to Florida State and Florida A&M. The KTLH city-owned airport is situated five miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee, in Leon County,
     

     
    The airport covers 2,485 acres (1,006 ha) at an elevation of 81 feet (25 m). It has two runways: 09/27 is 8,000 by 150 feet (2,438 by 46 m) and 18/36 is 7,000 by 150 ft. (2,134 by 46 m). Helicopter operations are generally confined to the Runway 18/36 area, or direct approaches to the Million Air FBO ramp area.
     

     
    Tallahassee International Airport
    IATA: TLH - ICAO: KTLH - FAA LID: TL

    09/27 - 8,000ft (2,438m) Asphalt
    18/36 - 7,000ft (2,134m) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL81 ft / 25 m
     
    A new passenger terminal was built just north of the new 09/27 runway on November 2, 1987, and the new terminal prompted officials to rename the airport from Tallahassee Municipal Airport to Tallahassee Regional Airport. On December 3, 1989, the city opened the $33 million terminal, and on February 20, 2000, the terminal was soon renamed the Ivan Munroe Terminal in honor of Tallahassee aviation pioneer Ivan Munroe.
     
    It is a simple layout. A terminal building with a pier that is connecting to a concourse, or a split single concourse into A and B, from the side it is in a H design.
     

     
    The Munroe terminal is really well replicated here by Skytitude, very realistic with very good building detail and adornments. The terracotta roof is in contrast to the brown main building and pier exposed concrete.
     

     
    Scenery clutter is very good, but not overwhelming... there are no animated service vehicles here, and it is noticeable in creating a static sort of environment. Note the excellent aerial installation on the forward part of the connecting pier, and the very nicely done ramp lights.
     

     
    There are eight detailed, white Airbridges A1-A6/B1-B6, like the real ones they come with no branding...  they are powered here by the built in X-Plane 12 "Ground handling" menu. A lot of developers are moving away from the SAM system (and it's problems) and back to this updated older version, in lots of ways it is currently a better solution than the fiddly SAM experience. There also five static walkon/walkoff gates for smaller regional aircraft in A7, A4, A2 - B2, B4, B7.
     

     
    The landside terminal is very nicely done, even in a walkaround way, with nice well done 3d vehicle carparks and really reat fauna. But there there is no internal terminal detail. There are also no people, or traffic, again in creating a more static feel at TLH than an active one. On the roof are solar panels, in fact there is a loads of solar panels here as we shall see later.
     

     
    Trees are all X-Plane 12 3D quality, seasonal as well, but you won't get a lot if any snow in Florida. But the fauna quality is high here.
     

     
    Million Air FBO
    Next largest facility at TLH is the Million Air Fixed Base Operator. Besides for private operators, Million Air also provides contracted fuel services to U.S. Military and Department of Defense aircraft. TLH is regularly visited by U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Lockheed Martin C-130 family aircraft, as well as Dornier C-146 and T-6 Texan II aircraft on training missions and practice approaches from nearby AFB.
     

     
    The ramp area is massive, and surrounded by maintenance hangers and aviation services FL Aviation and Flightline group. Main large FBO executive building is really well done in brick, next to it is the field's FireStation. Missing is the "Million Air" sign that sits outside the entrance, a small but noticeable overlook, but any signage is also missing here at TLH. But overall the detail and fill of this FBO area is very well done with a heliport with 6 landing pads located at South Apron.
     

     
    Aero Center Tallahassee
    North is another large ramp for Aero Center Tallahassee and the Epic Flight Academy. The buildings are basic here, as the entrance to the Aero Centre is quite ornamental, missing also is the roof detail of the air-conditioning systems. The brickwork however is well done.
     

     
    Far north are rows of aircraft storage, and this is a great parking ramp if flying into KTLH while exploring the region to refuel, as there are a few refuel stations set around these aprons for your convenience.
     
    Cargo
    The freight facility is FedEx. It has two major gates (1 & 2), and three regional ramps for the FedEx feeder network. But as noted it is used as a U.S. customs international feeder "Service Port" area coming into the US.
     

     
    Control Tower
    The KTLH field tower is set on the Southside. The facility and its surroundings is excellent, with great roof aerial detail.
     

     
    Infrastructure
    Is this where all digital pilots go when they leave the X-Plane mortal coil? Yes it is a cemetery, set to the east of the airport called Southside Cemetery, a big one at that, and well done.
     

     
    Also west is the City Of Tallahassee Utilities Water Treatment plant, really well done with real (X-Plane) water in the large pools and even in the treatment ponds...  note in the background are the six animated wind turbines.
     

     
    Before leaving the west it is interesting to note the excellent merging of the Custom TLH airport to the default autogen, here the commercial Infrastructure blends in well with the airport boundary, making it a realistic viewpoint if arriving on Rwy 27.
     

     
    Obviously the Tallahassee City owners are very big into efficiency and saving the planet. Surrounding the south approach and the left side of Rwy 18/36, are hundreds of solar panel farms. And all well done here, but I wonder if these massive sun farms could blind a pilot on an approach? The noted "largest airport-based solar station in the world" here is however excellent for the visual detail on approaches 36 and 09.
     

     
    Ground Textures
    The ground textures are fine, but have no depth of detail, only a sheen, could be even noted as flat to the eye. They look okay with nice grunge, but they are not what you would call "high quality".
     

     
    As this is an X-Plane 12 scenery, you get the excellent weather effects. And again X-Plane 12 does it's miracle showing...  water/rain and reflections are all very good, certainly in the right lighting conditions... so the PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion works well.

     
    Highlight here is the 3d grass, it is excellent and not prone to LOD visuals. The main infield areas are all covered, but there are a few blank areas with no grass...  the grass realism makes a big difference to the quality of the scenery.
     

     
    TLH Lighting
    In the overview of KTLH the lighting is good, with the expected (XP12) ICAO lighting standards adhered to...
     

     
    The ramp areas and external terminal/concourses are nicely lit, with intelligently placed drop lights. Carparks all look great as well...  but the terminal/concourse has no window lighting, making the buildings dark, even blacked out at night?
     

     
    Other building lighting in Aviation services hangars are also well done with the well done drop lighting, but the main ramp lights for the Cargo ramp area and FBO ramps are weird, they glow, but don't give out any reflective light to the ground or their surrounding area?
     

     
    I'm going to throw the problem to Laminar Research and not to the developer here, as this new light (flare) bloom effects are coming in the next X-Plane update v12.1.0. We will look at this lighting again when that update is released, so ignore it for now.
    ____________
    Summary
    Florida is a very well serviced American State for X-Plane pilots to explore with consistent quality destinations. Here with Tallahassee International, it is a very Northern State airport, with great regional connections to Atlanta, Dallas and the Florida State. International in the name is for U.S. Customs "Service Port" only.
     
    The KTLH Scenery from Skytitude is overall excellent, with great field landscaping and and excellent reproduced terminal and the Million Air FBO centre. Aero Center Tallahassee is also very good but missing the finer details. Grass and X-Plane 12 weather effects are also excellent. Fauna and overall layout is also first rate. The minor details are just that in minor, but they still count. Terminal Window lighting is missing, ground textures are a bit plain but have nice grunge, and not a lot of signage except for a FedEx sign, and non-lit at light? No ground or traffic animations also give a very static feel to the scenery.
     
    Yes I really like this excellent Tallahassee scenery from Skytitude, it has a very nice quality about the package, better as well with the X-Plane 12 effects, and has excellent performance or a very light impact on your computer. This KTLH is an upgrade to X-Plane 12 from the still available X-Plane 11 version, but it is a heavily revised and more modernised scenery than the one released in late 2021. There is also an upgrade offer of 25% off for previous users of the XP11 scenery.
     
    How much do I like it? well certainly expect to see KTLH Tallahassee appear in many future reviews from X-PlaneReviews, if any scenery passes that substantial test then it must cover a lot of credentials, most of all in a realistic visual quality...  for that aspect alone, it is great investment!
    ________________________
     

     
    Yes!  KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12
    Price is US$19.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux Download Size: 703 MB Current version : 1.0   Owners of KTLH XP11 can purchase this new XP12 version for 25% off, please find the coupon code in the original KTLH Invoice.   Installation and documents:
    TLH is download of 520Mb download. There are two folders as part of the installation;
    skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b The second "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp-b" has to physically moved (cut&paste) lower in the scenery_packs. INI, below the main "skytitude-ktlh-tallahassee-xp" folder. All details are noted in the provided; "INSTALLATION GUIDE.
     
    648Mb is installed into your Custom Scenery folder.
     
    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -Rotate MD-80 Pro XP12 - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$59.95
    ____________________________
     
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    11th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  8. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine   
    Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine
     
    The McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series MD-80 was the second generation of the DC-9 family, originally designated as the DC-9-80 (DC-9 Series 80) and later stylized as the DC-9 Super 80 (short Super 80). It was a stretched fuselage, enlarged wing, and was powered by higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines. The MD80 Series made its first flight on October 18, 1979, and was certified on August 25, 1980.
     
    In response to the environmental concerns that began in the 1970s, Pratt & Whitney began developing a new version of the JT8D engine, designated the JT8D-200 series. Designed to be quieter, cleaner, more efficient, yet more powerful than the earlier -15, -17, -11 and-9 series on the DC-9. The -200 Series power-plant was re-engineered with a significantly higher bypass ratio (1.74 to 1) covering the 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range and became the standard engine in powering the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This is the engine on the Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD88. It's a long thin (still low) higher-bypass engine with clam-shell reversers.
     

     
    Mango Studios have done a modification (MOD) to change this JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine.
     

     
    The look and feel of the V2500 modification is really well done, with high quality 4K Textures and new PBR (Physical Based Render) effects, the quality and installation is simply excellent. Internal exhaust detail is totally authentic, with the correctly fitted outer fins for the correct airflow around the engine pod.
    The V2500 does not have the clam-shell thrust reversers, but the same arrangement like on the A320, were as the full cowling door opens for the thrust reversal. This aspect is very nicely done here as well, nice operation, with great internal detail of the air vent grid and internal mechanism.
     

     
    This IAE engine was installed on the next stretch of the MD80 Series, third generation of the DC-9 family in the MD90. The engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    The V2500 Series is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine built by International Aero Engines (IAE) which also powers the Airbus A320 family. This engine also has an option to add 3,000 lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck. The V2525-D5 is fitted with different mounting hardware and accessory gearboxes to facilitate the rear MD-90 T-Tail installation, than say the under wing pylon of the A320.
     
    First look at the larger style of the IAE engine and as the MD90 Series had later the enhanced MD-90s glass cockpit, you could say it is the Boeing 717 aircraft, but it's not, as the 717 (MD95) had Rolls-Royce BR700 family engines installed, not IAE Engines.
     
    Important to note that with this modification, there are no IAE Engine sounds, strangely odd as Mango Studios are well known for their Sound Packages, and the quite different IAE engine note would have been a nice feature, but it has been noted by the developer IAE sounds are coming real soon. The performance of the Rotate MD88 is not changed either, so any power (V2525-D5 111.20 kN (25,000 lbf)) and fuel-efficiency benefits of the IAE are not available with this installation.
     
    Installation Tutorial
    It is a slightly tricky installation, to switch the original JT9D-200 to the IAE V2525-D5. In the downloaded "IAE V2500 Engine Model" pack there are four three folder items; liveries, objects and a paintkit (psd)...  there is also a manual supplied.
     

     
    First you have to "duplicate" the original Rotate-MD-80 aircraft, and add into the title "IAE"
     

     
    From the package objects folder you transfer the 12 files to the MD-88 IAE "objects" folder, and replace (overwrite) the noted 4 files with the new files.
     

     
    Now for the tricky bit...  You have to go and open up the X-Plane-planemaker application (in your X-Plane root folder), and open up the MD-80-IAE aircraft (acf) file. Under the banner menu "Standard" is the "Objects" selection.
     

     
    You have to scroll to the bottom of the objects tool, and then using the "ADD" button, insert THREE new layers...
     

     
    Far right on each layer is a slot to insert the file, with the selection button to the left of the slot... then insert the three new objects (V2500_I.obj, V2500_r.obj, N1_fast.object) in the MD-80 IAE "Objects" folder...  into the correct slot, then "Save" (File) the changes.
     

     
    If correctly done, then the new IAE powerplant should be seen on the main planemaker page...  and the MD-80 IAE aircraft is now ready in the X-Plane Configuration menu.
     

     
    Although there is a folder called "liveries", they are actually only the MOD files FOR the liveries, not the completed new livery. So you will still need the original "livery" to add in the MOD livery files...   Each livery folder includes four files; md80_cola_der.png, md80_cola_izq.png, V2500_l.png, V2500_r.png and all four are transferred to the said livery "Objects" folder...
     

     
    Again you will be asked to overwrite two of the object files. You have to do this same process for ALL the liveries provided.
     

     
    Note the livery "Delta retro" is in fact Delta Old, or the default livery?
     

     
    Five livery conversions are provided; Allegiant, Delta (Old), JAL, Lion and Scandinavian. All look excellent, and note how the larger engine can highlight the decals.
     

     
    If you want to update another favorite livery, there is a paintkit (photoshop) provided, the paint kit covers the L & R engines, so you also have to still add in two files "md80_cola_der.png" and "md80_cola_izq.png" to each new set of the new livery conversion into the same objects folder.
     
    In the air the IAE V2500 conversion looks amazing!
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews - Rotate MD80 X-Plane 12 update review is here... 
    Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate
     
    Summary
    This is a modification to change the Rotate MD80 (MD88) from the original install JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine as found on the Airbus A320 Series. The IAE engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    Mango Studios have provided a modification kit to change the over the engines by duplicating a Rotate MD80 aircraft and installing the V2500 engine via X-Plane planemaker application, it's not too hard to do, and the tutorial is above. Also provided are MOD files to change five liveries to match the new engine installation and paintkit to do your own changes on other liveries.
     
    This modification really gives you a more modern looking MD Series aircraft, sounds for the IAE are coming soon as well to highlight the package from Mango Studios, that will also be noted here when available.
     
    Simply... a big yes, I love the Rotate MD80 in X-Plane 12, this conversion gives you another engine version to widen the aircraft's appeal and only for less than US$6, so a big yes, yes and it comes more flying options with the Rotate MD80 Series...  winner, winner.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on
    Price is US$5.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on.
     
    Requirements The Rotate MD-80 is required for this add-on.
    Download Size: 415 MB Current version: Initial Release (May 9th 2024) Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Manual.pdf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Modification Review by Stephen Dutton
    9th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
      (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
     

     
  9. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from skytitude in Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine   
    Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine
     
    The McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series MD-80 was the second generation of the DC-9 family, originally designated as the DC-9-80 (DC-9 Series 80) and later stylized as the DC-9 Super 80 (short Super 80). It was a stretched fuselage, enlarged wing, and was powered by higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines. The MD80 Series made its first flight on October 18, 1979, and was certified on August 25, 1980.
     
    In response to the environmental concerns that began in the 1970s, Pratt & Whitney began developing a new version of the JT8D engine, designated the JT8D-200 series. Designed to be quieter, cleaner, more efficient, yet more powerful than the earlier -15, -17, -11 and-9 series on the DC-9. The -200 Series power-plant was re-engineered with a significantly higher bypass ratio (1.74 to 1) covering the 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range and became the standard engine in powering the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This is the engine on the Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD88. It's a long thin (still low) higher-bypass engine with clam-shell reversers.
     

     
    Mango Studios have done a modification (MOD) to change this JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine.
     

     
    The look and feel of the V2500 modification is really well done, with high quality 4K Textures and new PBR (Physical Based Render) effects, the quality and installation is simply excellent. Internal exhaust detail is totally authentic, with the correctly fitted outer fins for the correct airflow around the engine pod.
    The V2500 does not have the clam-shell thrust reversers, but the same arrangement like on the A320, were as the full cowling door opens for the thrust reversal. This aspect is very nicely done here as well, nice operation, with great internal detail of the air vent grid and internal mechanism.
     

     
    This IAE engine was installed on the next stretch of the MD80 Series, third generation of the DC-9 family in the MD90. The engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    The V2500 Series is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine built by International Aero Engines (IAE) which also powers the Airbus A320 family. This engine also has an option to add 3,000 lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck. The V2525-D5 is fitted with different mounting hardware and accessory gearboxes to facilitate the rear MD-90 T-Tail installation, than say the under wing pylon of the A320.
     
    First look at the larger style of the IAE engine and as the MD90 Series had later the enhanced MD-90s glass cockpit, you could say it is the Boeing 717 aircraft, but it's not, as the 717 (MD95) had Rolls-Royce BR700 family engines installed, not IAE Engines.
     
    Important to note that with this modification, there are no IAE Engine sounds, strangely odd as Mango Studios are well known for their Sound Packages, and the quite different IAE engine note would have been a nice feature, but it has been noted by the developer IAE sounds are coming real soon. The performance of the Rotate MD88 is not changed either, so any power (V2525-D5 111.20 kN (25,000 lbf)) and fuel-efficiency benefits of the IAE are not available with this installation.
     
    Installation Tutorial
    It is a slightly tricky installation, to switch the original JT9D-200 to the IAE V2525-D5. In the downloaded "IAE V2500 Engine Model" pack there are four three folder items; liveries, objects and a paintkit (psd)...  there is also a manual supplied.
     

     
    First you have to "duplicate" the original Rotate-MD-80 aircraft, and add into the title "IAE"
     

     
    From the package objects folder you transfer the 12 files to the MD-88 IAE "objects" folder, and replace (overwrite) the noted 4 files with the new files.
     

     
    Now for the tricky bit...  You have to go and open up the X-Plane-planemaker application (in your X-Plane root folder), and open up the MD-80-IAE aircraft (acf) file. Under the banner menu "Standard" is the "Objects" selection.
     

     
    You have to scroll to the bottom of the objects tool, and then using the "ADD" button, insert THREE new layers...
     

     
    Far right on each layer is a slot to insert the file, with the selection button to the left of the slot... then insert the three new objects (V2500_I.obj, V2500_r.obj, N1_fast.object) in the MD-80 IAE "Objects" folder...  into the correct slot, then "Save" (File) the changes.
     

     
    If correctly done, then the new IAE powerplant should be seen on the main planemaker page...  and the MD-80 IAE aircraft is now ready in the X-Plane Configuration menu.
     

     
    Although there is a folder called "liveries", they are actually only the MOD files FOR the liveries, not the completed new livery. So you will still need the original "livery" to add in the MOD livery files...   Each livery folder includes four files; md80_cola_der.png, md80_cola_izq.png, V2500_l.png, V2500_r.png and all four are transferred to the said livery "Objects" folder...
     

     
    Again you will be asked to overwrite two of the object files. You have to do this same process for ALL the liveries provided.
     

     
    Note the livery "Delta retro" is in fact Delta Old, or the default livery?
     

     
    Five livery conversions are provided; Allegiant, Delta (Old), JAL, Lion and Scandinavian. All look excellent, and note how the larger engine can highlight the decals.
     

     
    If you want to update another favorite livery, there is a paintkit (photoshop) provided, the paint kit covers the L & R engines, so you also have to still add in two files "md80_cola_der.png" and "md80_cola_izq.png" to each new set of the new livery conversion into the same objects folder.
     
    In the air the IAE V2500 conversion looks amazing!
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews - Rotate MD80 X-Plane 12 update review is here... 
    Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate
     
    Summary
    This is a modification to change the Rotate MD80 (MD88) from the original install JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine as found on the Airbus A320 Series. The IAE engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    Mango Studios have provided a modification kit to change the over the engines by duplicating a Rotate MD80 aircraft and installing the V2500 engine via X-Plane planemaker application, it's not too hard to do, and the tutorial is above. Also provided are MOD files to change five liveries to match the new engine installation and paintkit to do your own changes on other liveries.
     
    This modification really gives you a more modern looking MD Series aircraft, sounds for the IAE are coming soon as well to highlight the package from Mango Studios, that will also be noted here when available.
     
    Simply... a big yes, I love the Rotate MD80 in X-Plane 12, this conversion gives you another engine version to widen the aircraft's appeal and only for less than US$6, so a big yes, yes and it comes more flying options with the Rotate MD80 Series...  winner, winner.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on
    Price is US$5.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on.
     
    Requirements The Rotate MD-80 is required for this add-on.
    Download Size: 415 MB Current version: Initial Release (May 9th 2024) Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Manual.pdf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Modification Review by Stephen Dutton
    9th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
      (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
     

     
  10. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from DrishalMAC2 in Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine   
    Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine
     
    The McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series MD-80 was the second generation of the DC-9 family, originally designated as the DC-9-80 (DC-9 Series 80) and later stylized as the DC-9 Super 80 (short Super 80). It was a stretched fuselage, enlarged wing, and was powered by higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines. The MD80 Series made its first flight on October 18, 1979, and was certified on August 25, 1980.
     
    In response to the environmental concerns that began in the 1970s, Pratt & Whitney began developing a new version of the JT8D engine, designated the JT8D-200 series. Designed to be quieter, cleaner, more efficient, yet more powerful than the earlier -15, -17, -11 and-9 series on the DC-9. The -200 Series power-plant was re-engineered with a significantly higher bypass ratio (1.74 to 1) covering the 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range and became the standard engine in powering the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This is the engine on the Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD88. It's a long thin (still low) higher-bypass engine with clam-shell reversers.
     

     
    Mango Studios have done a modification (MOD) to change this JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine.
     

     
    The look and feel of the V2500 modification is really well done, with high quality 4K Textures and new PBR (Physical Based Render) effects, the quality and installation is simply excellent. Internal exhaust detail is totally authentic, with the correctly fitted outer fins for the correct airflow around the engine pod.
    The V2500 does not have the clam-shell thrust reversers, but the same arrangement like on the A320, were as the full cowling door opens for the thrust reversal. This aspect is very nicely done here as well, nice operation, with great internal detail of the air vent grid and internal mechanism.
     

     
    This IAE engine was installed on the next stretch of the MD80 Series, third generation of the DC-9 family in the MD90. The engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    The V2500 Series is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine built by International Aero Engines (IAE) which also powers the Airbus A320 family. This engine also has an option to add 3,000 lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck. The V2525-D5 is fitted with different mounting hardware and accessory gearboxes to facilitate the rear MD-90 T-Tail installation, than say the under wing pylon of the A320.
     
    First look at the larger style of the IAE engine and as the MD90 Series had later the enhanced MD-90s glass cockpit, you could say it is the Boeing 717 aircraft, but it's not, as the 717 (MD95) had Rolls-Royce BR700 family engines installed, not IAE Engines.
     
    Important to note that with this modification, there are no IAE Engine sounds, strangely odd as Mango Studios are well known for their Sound Packages, and the quite different IAE engine note would have been a nice feature, but it has been noted by the developer IAE sounds are coming real soon. The performance of the Rotate MD88 is not changed either, so any power (V2525-D5 111.20 kN (25,000 lbf)) and fuel-efficiency benefits of the IAE are not available with this installation.
     
    Installation Tutorial
    It is a slightly tricky installation, to switch the original JT9D-200 to the IAE V2525-D5. In the downloaded "IAE V2500 Engine Model" pack there are four three folder items; liveries, objects and a paintkit (psd)...  there is also a manual supplied.
     

     
    First you have to "duplicate" the original Rotate-MD-80 aircraft, and add into the title "IAE"
     

     
    From the package objects folder you transfer the 12 files to the MD-88 IAE "objects" folder, and replace (overwrite) the noted 4 files with the new files.
     

     
    Now for the tricky bit...  You have to go and open up the X-Plane-planemaker application (in your X-Plane root folder), and open up the MD-80-IAE aircraft (acf) file. Under the banner menu "Standard" is the "Objects" selection.
     

     
    You have to scroll to the bottom of the objects tool, and then using the "ADD" button, insert THREE new layers...
     

     
    Far right on each layer is a slot to insert the file, with the selection button to the left of the slot... then insert the three new objects (V2500_I.obj, V2500_r.obj, N1_fast.object) in the MD-80 IAE "Objects" folder...  into the correct slot, then "Save" (File) the changes.
     

     
    If correctly done, then the new IAE powerplant should be seen on the main planemaker page...  and the MD-80 IAE aircraft is now ready in the X-Plane Configuration menu.
     

     
    Although there is a folder called "liveries", they are actually only the MOD files FOR the liveries, not the completed new livery. So you will still need the original "livery" to add in the MOD livery files...   Each livery folder includes four files; md80_cola_der.png, md80_cola_izq.png, V2500_l.png, V2500_r.png and all four are transferred to the said livery "Objects" folder...
     

     
    Again you will be asked to overwrite two of the object files. You have to do this same process for ALL the liveries provided.
     

     
    Note the livery "Delta retro" is in fact Delta Old, or the default livery?
     

     
    Five livery conversions are provided; Allegiant, Delta (Old), JAL, Lion and Scandinavian. All look excellent, and note how the larger engine can highlight the decals.
     

     
    If you want to update another favorite livery, there is a paintkit (photoshop) provided, the paint kit covers the L & R engines, so you also have to still add in two files "md80_cola_der.png" and "md80_cola_izq.png" to each new set of the new livery conversion into the same objects folder.
     
    In the air the IAE V2500 conversion looks amazing!
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews - Rotate MD80 X-Plane 12 update review is here... 
    Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate
     
    Summary
    This is a modification to change the Rotate MD80 (MD88) from the original install JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine as found on the Airbus A320 Series. The IAE engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    Mango Studios have provided a modification kit to change the over the engines by duplicating a Rotate MD80 aircraft and installing the V2500 engine via X-Plane planemaker application, it's not too hard to do, and the tutorial is above. Also provided are MOD files to change five liveries to match the new engine installation and paintkit to do your own changes on other liveries.
     
    This modification really gives you a more modern looking MD Series aircraft, sounds for the IAE are coming soon as well to highlight the package from Mango Studios, that will also be noted here when available.
     
    Simply... a big yes, I love the Rotate MD80 in X-Plane 12, this conversion gives you another engine version to widen the aircraft's appeal and only for less than US$6, so a big yes, yes and it comes more flying options with the Rotate MD80 Series...  winner, winner.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on
    Price is US$5.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on.
     
    Requirements The Rotate MD-80 is required for this add-on.
    Download Size: 415 MB Current version: Initial Release (May 9th 2024) Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Manual.pdf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Modification Review by Stephen Dutton
    9th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
      (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
     

     
  11. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine   
    Aircraft Modification : Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series IAE V2500 Engine
     
    The McDonnell Douglas MD80 Series MD-80 was the second generation of the DC-9 family, originally designated as the DC-9-80 (DC-9 Series 80) and later stylized as the DC-9 Super 80 (short Super 80). It was a stretched fuselage, enlarged wing, and was powered by higher bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D-200 engines. The MD80 Series made its first flight on October 18, 1979, and was certified on August 25, 1980.
     
    In response to the environmental concerns that began in the 1970s, Pratt & Whitney began developing a new version of the JT8D engine, designated the JT8D-200 series. Designed to be quieter, cleaner, more efficient, yet more powerful than the earlier -15, -17, -11 and-9 series on the DC-9. The -200 Series power-plant was re-engineered with a significantly higher bypass ratio (1.74 to 1) covering the 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range and became the standard engine in powering the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This is the engine on the Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD88. It's a long thin (still low) higher-bypass engine with clam-shell reversers.
     

     
    Mango Studios have done a modification (MOD) to change this JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine.
     

     
    The look and feel of the V2500 modification is really well done, with high quality 4K Textures and new PBR (Physical Based Render) effects, the quality and installation is simply excellent. Internal exhaust detail is totally authentic, with the correctly fitted outer fins for the correct airflow around the engine pod.
    The V2500 does not have the clam-shell thrust reversers, but the same arrangement like on the A320, were as the full cowling door opens for the thrust reversal. This aspect is very nicely done here as well, nice operation, with great internal detail of the air vent grid and internal mechanism.
     

     
    This IAE engine was installed on the next stretch of the MD80 Series, third generation of the DC-9 family in the MD90. The engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    The V2500 Series is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine built by International Aero Engines (IAE) which also powers the Airbus A320 family. This engine also has an option to add 3,000 lbf for use in Hot & High conditions if needed by activating a switch in the flight deck. The V2525-D5 is fitted with different mounting hardware and accessory gearboxes to facilitate the rear MD-90 T-Tail installation, than say the under wing pylon of the A320.
     
    First look at the larger style of the IAE engine and as the MD90 Series had later the enhanced MD-90s glass cockpit, you could say it is the Boeing 717 aircraft, but it's not, as the 717 (MD95) had Rolls-Royce BR700 family engines installed, not IAE Engines.
     
    Important to note that with this modification, there are no IAE Engine sounds, strangely odd as Mango Studios are well known for their Sound Packages, and the quite different IAE engine note would have been a nice feature, but it has been noted by the developer IAE sounds are coming real soon. The performance of the Rotate MD88 is not changed either, so any power (V2525-D5 111.20 kN (25,000 lbf)) and fuel-efficiency benefits of the IAE are not available with this installation.
     
    Installation Tutorial
    It is a slightly tricky installation, to switch the original JT9D-200 to the IAE V2525-D5. In the downloaded "IAE V2500 Engine Model" pack there are four three folder items; liveries, objects and a paintkit (psd)...  there is also a manual supplied.
     

     
    First you have to "duplicate" the original Rotate-MD-80 aircraft, and add into the title "IAE"
     

     
    From the package objects folder you transfer the 12 files to the MD-88 IAE "objects" folder, and replace (overwrite) the noted 4 files with the new files.
     

     
    Now for the tricky bit...  You have to go and open up the X-Plane-planemaker application (in your X-Plane root folder), and open up the MD-80-IAE aircraft (acf) file. Under the banner menu "Standard" is the "Objects" selection.
     

     
    You have to scroll to the bottom of the objects tool, and then using the "ADD" button, insert THREE new layers...
     

     
    Far right on each layer is a slot to insert the file, with the selection button to the left of the slot... then insert the three new objects (V2500_I.obj, V2500_r.obj, N1_fast.object) in the MD-80 IAE "Objects" folder...  into the correct slot, then "Save" (File) the changes.
     

     
    If correctly done, then the new IAE powerplant should be seen on the main planemaker page...  and the MD-80 IAE aircraft is now ready in the X-Plane Configuration menu.
     

     
    Although there is a folder called "liveries", they are actually only the MOD files FOR the liveries, not the completed new livery. So you will still need the original "livery" to add in the MOD livery files...   Each livery folder includes four files; md80_cola_der.png, md80_cola_izq.png, V2500_l.png, V2500_r.png and all four are transferred to the said livery "Objects" folder...
     

     
    Again you will be asked to overwrite two of the object files. You have to do this same process for ALL the liveries provided.
     

     
    Note the livery "Delta retro" is in fact Delta Old, or the default livery?
     

     
    Five livery conversions are provided; Allegiant, Delta (Old), JAL, Lion and Scandinavian. All look excellent, and note how the larger engine can highlight the decals.
     

     
    If you want to update another favorite livery, there is a paintkit (photoshop) provided, the paint kit covers the L & R engines, so you also have to still add in two files "md80_cola_der.png" and "md80_cola_izq.png" to each new set of the new livery conversion into the same objects folder.
     
    In the air the IAE V2500 conversion looks amazing!
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews - Rotate MD80 X-Plane 12 update review is here... 
    Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate
     
    Summary
    This is a modification to change the Rotate MD80 (MD88) from the original install JT8D-200 engine to the later bulkier IAE V2500 Series engine as found on the Airbus A320 Series. The IAE engines were notably mostly installed on the MD-90-30 Series with the IAE V2525-D5 engine, with the option of upgrading to the IAE V2528 engine.
     
    Mango Studios have provided a modification kit to change the over the engines by duplicating a Rotate MD80 aircraft and installing the V2500 engine via X-Plane planemaker application, it's not too hard to do, and the tutorial is above. Also provided are MOD files to change five liveries to match the new engine installation and paintkit to do your own changes on other liveries.
     
    This modification really gives you a more modern looking MD Series aircraft, sounds for the IAE are coming soon as well to highlight the package from Mango Studios, that will also be noted here when available.
     
    Simply... a big yes, I love the Rotate MD80 in X-Plane 12, this conversion gives you another engine version to widen the aircraft's appeal and only for less than US$6, so a big yes, yes and it comes more flying options with the Rotate MD80 Series...  winner, winner.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Mango Studios MD-80 IAE V2500 Engine Add-on
    Price is US$5.99
     
    The Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 is required for this add-on.
     
    Requirements The Rotate MD-80 is required for this add-on.
    Download Size: 415 MB Current version: Initial Release (May 9th 2024) Documentation
    Manual provided by Mango Studios is a bit basic, hence the Tutorial here in this review
    Manual.pdf _____________________
     
    Aircraft Modification Review by Stephen Dutton
    9th May 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.09rc5
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99
      (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
     

     
  12. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs   
    Aircraft Review - Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA by vSkyLabs
     
    One of the most interesting things of the changing of the eras, is the transition point, or a certain revolutionary design that in itself creates the new era. These time periods are interesting, exciting as well...  as you are seeing the forward advances of a particular genre. In Aviation's case, these forward advances in design and increasing engine power was in the early to late 1920's, this period was breathtaking in the changes of aircraft. From the frame and fabric (tri) biplanes of the First World War, to the first steps of commercial aviation that changed the world.
     
    Center of this explosion of sweeping change, is Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke AG, a maker of boilers and radiators. "Junkers" as they are known created the first all metal designed aircraft in the Junkers J1, nicknamed the Blechesel (Tin Donkey or Sheet Metal Donkey), that was the monumental transition point from the frame/fabric to a Monocoque construction. The J1 was only an experimental aircraft, but it did create a subsequent series of monocoque metal based airframes, and created success for Junkers.
     
    With this success, Junkers wanted to expand into other aircraft categories. Most current Junker aircraft were medium to large by the day's standards, but what of a Junior or smaller "Sports" aircraft or "Sportsplane".
    The Junkers A50 Junior was the first sportsplane designed by Hermann Pohlmann. It had the same modern all-metal construction, in being covered with corrugated duralumin sheet as the larger Junkers passenger planes. But the A50 was small, only a crew of two, sitting in tandem in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). powered by a Two-bladed propeller, and had a conventional fixed split axle mainwheel landing gear, with a rear skid.
     
    The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by further four prototypes, in order to test different engines,
    but eventually they settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold. The high prices probably inhibited sales...  but the design had created a new category in aviation. However the Junkers A50 Junior was able to set a number of FAI world records around the world and became famous, amongst other things, because Marga von Etzdorf was the first woman to fly her Junkers A50 Junior from Berlin to Tokyo in several stages in 1931.
     
    The aircraft however has not been resigned to the original's past. In 2022, (The new) Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have been sold in Europe, and plans have been made for the American WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.
     
    The modern interpretation of the Junker A50 is the version here for the X-Plane 12 Simulator by vSkyLabs. This aircraft is part of the ‘Test-Pilot’ Series, an open ended on going project with regular updates and changes as part of the process. The vSkyLabs Junkers A50 Junior is based on the modern German version, there will also be no X-Plane 11 version.
     

     
    Like a flying cigar, the A50 is long and very sleek. Although this version is the modern interpretation of the 1929 classic, the lines and construction are exactly the same. It is very easy to behold this futuristic design in those early days, it looks and feels very Pre-war WW2 Junkers as well.
     
    The reproduction of the corrugated duralumin sheeting or an early type of age-hardenable aluminium–copper alloy is excellently well done here. The term is a combination of Dürener and Aluminium. It was also used extensively on Zeppelin Airships of the same period.
     

     
    The aircraft is all basically duralumin, except for the shiny Aluminium engine cowl and wheel struts. The propeller is actually a modern composite MT-Propeller, than the old wooden version, for weight and strength. On the real A50, you can remove the wings, or fold them backwards, but not on the vSkyLabs version.
     

     
    The exhaust is modern as well, and the oil cooler gives the modern engine type away. The gear design from the 1920's however has been retained, with a bicycle spoke style design, pencil thin tyres and with disc brakes. It is a basic arrangement, but works and it is very nicely replicated here in it's simplistic but metallic splendour.
     

     
    The twin cockpits are wildly spaced apart along the narrow fuselage, not at all combined together forward like of the Tiger Moth and such aircraft.
     

     
    The brown leather cockpit surround is lovely, but missing is the cover for the front cockpit when empty? expect in an update...  There are two pilots (slightly animated) and lifelike (meaning realistic). They are selected via the X-Plane "Weight, Balance & Fuel" via the sliders. In the rear is the pilot, in the front is the passenger...  and to note the severe Centre of Gravity position with only the rear pilot in the aircraft, so you have to find ways to balance the aircraft in better to compensate for the odd weight distribution.
     

     
    Both pilot and passenger are not hands or legs animated as noted, but if you press Command "G" (Toggle landing gear) then the front passenger will slip sideways for the rear pilot to see ahead, a nice feature. And an override of the fixed landing gear on the A50.
     

     
    Cockpit
    In the (rear) cockpit it is all metal inside. Incredible is the design of almost 100 years between the two generations of A50s. But in here the metal design and construction it is almost the same, it is like living in the past, now in the future.
     

     
    It is very well done in recreating this construction aspect of the aircraft. Simple stick and rudder pedals are well done, as is the housing for the cables. There is a "Remove Before Flight" safety pin (Emergency Parachute) that is stored in the right side satchel. On the left side are two levers, rear is the Elevator Trim, front the Throttle...  left rear floor is the fuel tank selector.
     

     
    The real (modern) A50 Junior has installed a Garmin G3X Touch 10” with a Garmin G3X Touch 7” or GI 275 with Winter altimeter/Winter airspeed indicators as instruments. Here in the vSkyLabs version we have the customised Laminar Research Garmin G1000 fitted.
     

     
    And nicely intergrated it is...  Power switches and start button are on the left, (active) Circuit Breakers (Fuses) with ELT and USB Charge panels on the right. Up top are the two bus (ECU) lights, and on the very top is a AOA (Angle of Attack) avionics upgrade, based on the 'Alpha Systems AOA' Eagle AOA kit. (we will look at this in flight)
     
    The G1000 is the standard default Avionics system...  Speed and Altitude/Vertical Speed tapes, Artificial Horizon, Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) with NAV 1/GPS BRG (Backgrounds), Speeds, Baro, Altitude, Wind, HDG (Heading) and CRS (Course) are all shown.
     

     
    There are however two configurations (custom) of the PFD (Primary Flight Display). One (above) has three readouts, in being overlaid with top left Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT), below is the Manifold Pressure and for right lower is the Engine RPM. Turnoff the "AVIO" switch far left and the screen changes to the standard G1000 engine readout panel.
     

     
    Here now shown is the RPM (top), FF (Fuel Flow), Oil Pressure, Oil Temp, EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), VAC (Vacuum), Fuel Quantity, Electrical (Bus/Volts) and Battery (Amps).
     
    Pressing the P/MFD (red Button) with change the screen to the Multi-Function/MAP Display.
     

     
    Standard adjustable G1000 popouts are available in both engine display modes, but the three custom instruments don't show on that setting.
     

     
    Obviously a very simple instrumentation set up, but really well done here in this basic Sports style aircraft.
    _________________
     
    Flying the (Modern) Junkers A50 Junior
    Turning on the power, even selecting the twin ECU Buses doesn't bring the A50 alive. So there is also the need to push in all the CBs (Circuit Breakers/Fuses), then while doing so you see the different systems on the different CB selections relating to the various avionics.
     
    Fuel selector is on the floor, and their is no "All" tank selection, just Left-Right (tanks) or OFF, so you have to select one of the L-R tanks for fuel flow...  Fuel capacity is 95L (25 US gal; 21 imp gal), Range is an amazing 600 km (370 mi, 320 nmi). When ready just press the Starter Button to easily fire up the engine.
     

     
    Unlike the original A50, this is a modern powerplant, a 100 hp Rotax 912i that comes with more power as well than the older original installation of the  Armstrong Siddeley Genet which is a five-cylinder, air-cooled, radial engine for aircraft use, that was then built in the UK, and first run in 1926. 
    The Genet developed 80 hp at 2,200 rpm in its final form and was in this era a very popular light aircraft powerplant. The later Rotax 912 is a horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated, four-stroke aircraft engine with a reduction gearbox. It features liquid-cooled cylinder heads and air-cooled cylinders. Originally equipped with carburetors, the later versions are now fuel injected. It sounds brilliant, although these Rotax engine sounds are now very common in the X-Plane Simulator.
     
    There is no "Novice" setting for the tailwheel, it is either locked or free castoring under the X-Plane "Toggle tailwheel lock" setting... so taxiing is a tricky business, either power up with the tailwheel locked and use the toe-brakes heavily to drag the tail into the direction you want to go. Or use a combination of going straight, then "Toggling" the tailwheel on/off by the key Command and using a lighter touch on the toe-brake to turn, or if the aircraft is actually castoring in the right direction...   then locking the tailwheel again to go straight when turned to the right direction of travel...  messy and hard work, especially if you are not very competent with this taildragger style?
     

     
    You can't see much either when taxiing, as your just not positioned close up front behind the passenger, but sited way down in the rear, but central position in the aircraft.
     

     
    Overall the A50 Junior is just a simply Stick and Rudder aircraft, with a few modern tweaks. So you fly the machine in a very basic way.
     

     
    Tons of right rudder is needed to keep you straight and you will have to find that sweet position to counter the engine asymmetric thrust, your tail lifts just after 30 knts (33 knts) then the rudder aerodynamics now need the control, still giving right rudder, but your moving the pedals around now a bit finer. Takeoff is around 45 knts and officially noted as 250 m (820 ft), no flaps here.
     

     
    You don't really have a Vertical Speed, just a gradual climb out of around 400 fpm.
     

     
    You feel like Louis Blériot, the first person to cross the English Channel in 1909...   exposed in a simple aircraft, the wind rushing past your face (a small in your face fan helps with the effect)...  but it's great fun, aviation in it's very basic form in this very striking looking aircraft.
     

     
    Unlike the 1929 version, here you have on your A50 a few modern conveniences, like a full G1000 avionics package. So this gives you an Autopilot, and even Flightplans at your disposal (handy if you want to actually cross the English Channel).
     

     
    Only one slight annoyance is that to switch between the PFD and MAP/Flightplan popup displays, you first have to close the current screen, then move over to the other selection, and then reopen the other pop-up, it is slightly annoying when setting up a flight plan and having to keep going back and forth to each of the different popup displays.
     
    As noted you can move the head sideways with the front passenger, but the head still moves as well with the angle (bank) of the A50, which is very realistic, and both pilot and passenger heads move together in partnership.
     

     
    There are no liveries with the package. Although there is a choice of colours of the fuselage from the Modern Junkers A50 brochure, including; White Aluminium, Glacier White, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Papaya Metallic, Saffron Yellow Metallic and Frozen Blue...  I think they would be a nice addition to the package here.
     

     
    Lighting is of course extremely basic... no landing lights, just wing navigation and strobe lights. Light comes from the G1000 displays, but there are two side lights that have no lighting source. The AOA base is pretty as well.
     

     
    The A50 Junior is actually very nicely balanced if you get the Elevator Trim right, like most of the era, these light aircraft are fun and fine to twirl around the sky in, with no loss of height in steep banks or with heavy manoeuvres...  lovely actually.
     

     
    But these Light-Sports are very susceptible in winds, and the forces will shake you and buffet you around, as seen in this video.
     

     
    I need to have a look at my landing field, EGHR - Goodwood in the south of England. So I do an orientation pass over the field, and note the grass strips are very hard to see?
     

     
    But the G1000 does give you a few tools to help...  the Course Pointer in the HSI is great for aligning you going downwind in the landing pattern (then for runway course alignment). The G1000 HSI also has ILS alignment, but not here with the grass landing strips, but good to know if you want a landing alignment tool.
     

     
    Going downwind I drop down to 300ft and 73 knts, ready for the approach...  then a 180º turn back to the field, again using the course angle to set the Runway 32 approach. Now down 200 ft and dropping the speed to get the best descent angle...  a lot of feel (feedback) through the throttle is very good.
     

     
    There are no flaps here to reduce the speed zone, but it feels like a bi-plane in lift, pulling back on the stick, the A50 easily rubs off the speed to make the approach quite perfect, the Junkers Junior handles so well.
     

     
    Coming into finals on the 32 Approach, I'm not familiar with the airfield, so I'm a little off angle, but I'm fine with that...  Now the AOA "Eagle" feature comes alive, and I'm tracking too low at the rear...  gradually I adjust the pitch nose down to move the AOA upwards.
     

     
    It is very good, it sets the A50 up to the almost perfect angle for landing, throttle power is now my other tool to control the final descent. consistently adjusting the speed and AOA angle until they both perfectly match...
     

     
    ...   On the perfect AOA blue circle, and your set, and then you glide down onto the grass, and then touch!
     

     
    Then let the rear settle.
     

     
    Considering the almost One Hundred years between the first A50, and this new modern counterpart. The flight aspect in the stick and rudder, metal long tube fuselage and lovely wings. It is just the instruments that are different, but the actual A50 flight experience is remarkably the same.
    _____________
    Summary
    The Junkers A50 already is a legend. As it was the first Sportsplane, and designed by Hermann Pohlmann in the Junkers works. The first flight of the A50 took place on 13 February 1929. It was followed by a further four prototypes, in order to test different engines, but settled on a 80-hp, 5-cylinder radial engine.
     
    The A50 was an all metal construction sports plane, conventional in layout, with low cantilever wings and stressed corrugated duralumin covered, the same material as used in the Zeppelin Airships.... Two-spar wings could fold rearwards or be detached. Crew of two, sit in tandem, in separate open cockpits (if it flew without a passenger, one cockpit could be closed with a cover). The A50 used a Two-blade propeller and conventional fixed split axle main-wheel landing gear, with a rear skid. Junkers expected to produce 5,000 aircraft, but stopped after manufacturing only 69, of which only 50 were sold.
     
    The aircraft however has not been resigned to the past. In 2022, Junkers Aircraft Works began production of a modernized version of the A50 called the "Junior S" for LSA approval. This new A50 features modern avionics, a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine driving a composite MT-Propeller, and a ballistic parachute. As of May 2023, 27 of these new A50s have sold in Europe, and plans have been made for WACO Aircraft Corporation to produce aircraft for American customers. Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category is a small 2 seat aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 600kg.
     
    This A50 aircraft is from renowned vSkyLabs, and it is based on the modern German version, it comes with a dual display G1000 Avionics system, 'Alpha Systems' Eagle AOA (Angle of Attack) and semi-animated pilots. Beautifully designed and well recreated of the original look and feel of this unique material, it is also tailored for perfect VR (Virtual Reality) realism. Flight dynamics and (Rotex) engine sounds are also first rate.
     
    Basically the A50 is a simple stick and rudder aircraft, from originally a dynamic era of change in aviation. So the aircraft to use and fly is simply excellent for novices, but beware the taildragger steering is tricky and difficult to use on the ground with no artificial helpers.
     
    So recreate and fly in this 1920's innovative era aircraft, with a modern twist, I really loved it...  once in the air, and to have the features of using modern tools (Autopilot, Flightplans, HSI, ILS alignment) should feel odd in this environment, but I still loved it. Even if I will always desire the authentic 1920's experience. The vSkyLabs A50 Junior is great value as well, as is the excellent on-going support from vSkyLabs...  so in my eyes the Junkers A50 Junior is an all round winner.
    _____________
     

     
    Yes! Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior S-LSA XP12
    Price is US$29.00, on sale for US$20.30, You Save:$8.70(30%)
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac and Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (March 29th 2024)  
    Project Main Features:
    VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot' Project: designed for use with X-Plane cutting edge flight model environment, featuring superb flight dynamics with authentic performance and flight handling characteristics. Superb Flight dynamics: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior simulation is a highly engineered, robust tail-glider S-LSA simulation model which makes use of X-Plane 12 sophisticated flight dynamics and physics simulation, extracting it to its limits. Simulated systems: The VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior features X-Plane 12 latest native features, systems and physics. This assures a 'high airworthiness' in X-Plane, throughout its update process. Some systems may be restricted to X-Plane default systems algorithms. General cockpit configuration: Equipped with a full-scale and fully-featured X-Plane 12 G1000, in a single-screen / dual-display configuration, to allow maximum usability. Equipped with Alpha Systems AOA 'Eagle' indicator replica. Passenger leaning-aside feature for better takeoff and landing forward visibility (by demand via interaction/assignment). Built for VR: development was tailored specifically for VR, and optimized for 2D usage. Perfect fit for beginner and expert pilots: The aircraft is designed to be flown from the back-seat cockpit. This configuration requires higher piloting skills, and it *will* make you a better pilot!. The front-seat cockpit is fully functional as well, with the limitations which are derived from the real-world Junkers A50 Junior front-seat operations). Wonderful FMOD sound package that includes authentic Rotax 912iS engine recordings and an interactive set of dynamic sound layers that will "wrap" your open-cockpit flying experience, setting a whole new level of immersion! Autoupdater based on the SkunkCrafts autoupdater (XP12 only) - all updates are being pushed smoothly without the need to re-download the entire base package (base package will be updated every once in a while to minimize the gap).   Note: In order to use and enjoy VR environment in X-Plane, user hardware and system specs should meet the required specifications for OS, CPU, GPU, MB and RAM which are specified both in the given VR hardware websites and at X-Plane.com.   Aircraft download is 290.1 Mb, and unpacked then installed in your X-Plane  Aircraft folder 408.5 Mb   Documents How to INSTALL your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf How to UPDATE your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf  
    VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior ESSENTIALS.pdf VSKYLABS Junkers A50 Junior POH.pdf  

    Designed by VSKYLABS Support forum for the Junkers A50 Junior _____________________
    Review System Specifications: 
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00
    - EGHR - Goodwood Chichester 1.0.0 by  jbnemo (X-Plane.Org) - Free
    ___________________________
     
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    5th April 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Behind the Screen : March 2024   
    Behind the Screen : March 2024
     
    On the 4th of February 2024, there was a Developer's conference in Montreal for X-Plane Simulator platform. Here the best and most prominent developers joined together to work out not only the future of the X-Plane Simulator, but also to share their friendship in meeting their fellow workers in arms.
     
    Laminar Research was at the same conference as well. That should have been a huge advantage in working with the very people that do the core workings of the X-Plane Simulator, the setting was ripe for setting a future roadmap and an agenda for X-Plane from both sides of the Simulator...  but the conference didn't end to that satisfaction.
     
    At the height of the conference, Laminar Research announced that they were going to create a product store within the X-Plane Simulator, a reflection of the same arrangement that is part of the MSFS 2020 (Microsoft Simulator) platform.
     
    This sudden announcement did not unite the developers to the Laminar cause, in fact it divided the conference, and in itself created a rolling discontent among the the attendees, certainly when the news hit the forums, all sorts of comments came out.
     
    Initially most users were very supportive of the internal store idea, yes another store, and one built directly into the Simulator, this aspect is a major plus....  but X-Plane is not at all structured like Microsoft's Simulator, it is not a large single central entity, but a Universe with many different revolving planets, and set at it's centre are two massive Jupiter sized planets called Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org.
     
    Initially Laminar Research never dealt with the user side of the Simulator, it was (still is) the founder and on going developer of the Simulator. The X-Plane.Org grew out of the need for users to interact, create and support the X-Plane Simulator. In the early day's it was a sort of clubby meeting place to share and communicate all things X-Plane. I'm not saying that MSFS also has this same network of user sites and forums set around it and in giving support and communication to the platform, in fact every platform has it's own network. But the central core of development and selling product at MSFS is embedded directly into the system, it is even hosted and run as an online game.
     
    But X-Plane's in it's arrangement was more focused and generalised than the others. Someone noted that the X-Plane.Org is not the centre of the X-Plane universe, as other sites contribute to the platform, and yes I agree with that aspect in file sharing and product sales, like the Fly Away Simulation sites, but most are only sales sites (Orbx, Just Flight & SimMarket). But the X-Plane.Org is different in that it supports the Developers directly or even indirectly in the support of creating the products to use in the Simulator.
     
    Early days of X-Plane were mostly based around the PlaneMaker tool provided with the Simulator, mostly aircraft were then generic, but clever in a customised way. So the clubby .Org supported these products as they were mostly freeware based. But even in these early years, the X-Plane.Org struggled for support.
     
    Sites and platforms cost money to host and maintain. Free is all very nice, but it doesn't buy you servers and software to run it all, and very quickly the site required money to support the ever expanding user base. Donations was an early trial, but failed as they were not very consistent and worse in not really giving enough financial support to the .Org site. The solution came with Nicolas Taureau, and he set up a store to sell the now more quality based "Payware" products, but the funds also supported the .Org in succession and allowed it to thrive and grow into the big utility it is today. Most of this important support is not aggrandised or visually translated, as is Taureau's personality, understated is more to the point, but important is the support of the .Org system to the X-Plane platform, of which X-PlaneReviews is also a benefactor.
     
    So now you have the X-Plane Universe, with Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org running in parallel or in orbits around each other, Laminar in not wanting the commercial side of the Simulator, bar of selling a few cups and T-Shirts. And the X-Plane.Org system supporting the developer and user base. So what happens if you move the financial base of developers and sales of the X-Plane Simulator directly to the new store? in reality, you are blowing the X-Plane universe apart, and I really don't think that a lot of users realised that the amount of the support funding of the X-Plane.Org, developer support and loads of other auxiliary items that was generated by the X-Plane.OrgStore...   and neither did Austin Meyer's, head honcho of Laminar Research. All he saw was a store in MSFS and the money he could generate if he installed inside X-Plane the same system as Microsoft, a good idea financially, but structurally unsound for his own creation.
     
    We have to understand, and oddly the original mission of X-Plane was for it to be a platform of experimentation of all things aviation. That is the core of PlaneMaker as well, although that aspect was left behind more than a decade ago. In wanting far better functionality and higher quality Simulation, it had move on pass the basic origins of PlaneMaker to plugin based custom products. This now is really the contention of the issue and where the money goes to. Obviously Laminar Research want to expand beyond being just the gatekeeper of X-Plane.
     
    So there are currently a lot of issues created by the announcement of 4th February 2024. Certainly it has the promise to unstable a very balanced current system, and the ramifications are enormous if Laminar Research get this idea wrong, and creates questions...  but what of a store with very few products to sell?  Would they in the future also financially support the user base...  they made a very big message over the decades of not getting or even involved at all in this aspect, but they would be either the demise of it, or even damaging it beyond repair... if that scenerio was possible, could it also damage the X-Plane model as a simulator entirely? Kill the very goose that lays the golden eggs... I'm doomsaying again, but this time not without reason. 
     
    So we are at a threshold, not a runway one were X-Plane gets to land safely beyond the fence and onto the hard solid runway. Since the 4th of February announcement, there has been no forth coming new announcements or details from Laminar Research, except for a few flashy images on the X-Plane website and social media. Obviously the next announcement will be the launch of the store, and it's insertion into the X-Plane Simulator. It will be very good, as Laminar are very good at these sort of things. But there is far more required than opening a store, but of the quality of the stock inside of it.
    Loyalty to Nicolas Taureau is also extremely strong, and why not. He has supported and cultivated the core product of the Simulator for more than over a decade, and make no mistake here in not doing it selfishly for just for the product to sell, but to give talented developers the resources and support they needed to acquire the skills we take for granted, and with the excellent products we all use.
     
    How this current store scenario plays out will be important to the future of the Simulator, hopefully we will have an answer by Q3 as announced for the opening of the LR Store in the 3rd quarter of the year...   one thing is very sure, the X-Plane Simulator we used only last year, will be a very different to the one we will be using at the end of 2024.
     
    There was no edition of BtheS in February 2024, as I went of a well earned holiday, break..  or a cruise around the South Pacific. Obviously the 4th February announcement traveled with me, but I did get a well deserved change of scenery and a big sea refresh. But my demur was already more brighter before the departure, in fact since late 2023, when X-Plane through version 12.0.9, and behaved itself. A second South Pacific X-Plane related revisit to Tahiti in the same region was simply sheer coincidence, but translated the same to the X-Plane Simulator in how it mirrors the real world.
     
    Now we are looking forward to X-Plane 12 v12.1.0...   the v12.1.0 update is expected to be a landmark release outside of a formal version change. Most of the focus is on graphics, including the nasty Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) Improvements, Water improvements, RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptive Sharpening), Bloom effects and better particle effects. Systems include a better G1000 functionality, Stormscope, Traffic Map and Airport METAR flags... a new STEC ST-360 Autopilot is also included, new tools include better screenshot effects, which suits us really well... it is quite a list. With everything, then this post Easter holiday will be one of the most interesting yet, and the version v12.1.0 was highlighted with great reception at the FS Weekend in the Netherlands. Expect a beta release within weeks.
     
    Importantly those on-going v12.1.0 is more better system refinements, in shifting the heavy workload from your Graphics card over to the Processor. We expected this aspect for the release of X-Plane 12, but it will come now about mid-term in the X-Plane 12 version run. The changes will not magically fix your framerate, as heavier graphics will equalise out the benefits of less load on the Graphic Card, but it will overall make the X-Plane Simulator more efficient. I was a little annoyed about this aspect as I invested heavily in the processor side in my last system upgrade with the earlier announcement, then finding that Laminar was leaning even more heavily than ever onto the Graphic card side, so more expense was required to beef up that hardware side, now they are going back to the original focus, it is annoying and expensive as well to cater for these changing whims.
     
    Another change over the month was the upgrading of scenery for X-Plane 12. Finally the slow dribble has started to be a better flow from scenery developers, Aerosoft particularly was very active in releasing replacements and improvements to scenery that have been a long time dormant, and obviously we need more to come, a lot more. Although noted as an ever constant developing Simulator, X-Plane 12 will hopefully reach a mature point with the release of v12.1.0. Then that aspect bringing in even more resources for users to experience.
     
    So Q2 has a lot of potential to be one of the best period of 2024 for some big quality releases, even if it dribbles into the Northern Summer. But developers need a better more mature Simulator to bring quality releases to the Users, that aspect was something quite lacking over the last few years...  it is time for X-Plane 12 to turn the corner...  and that is said on April Fools day!
     
    See you all next month.
     
    Stephen Dutton
    1st April 2024
    Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  14. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from skytitude in Behind the Screen : March 2024   
    Behind the Screen : March 2024
     
    On the 4th of February 2024, there was a Developer's conference in Montreal for X-Plane Simulator platform. Here the best and most prominent developers joined together to work out not only the future of the X-Plane Simulator, but also to share their friendship in meeting their fellow workers in arms.
     
    Laminar Research was at the same conference as well. That should have been a huge advantage in working with the very people that do the core workings of the X-Plane Simulator, the setting was ripe for setting a future roadmap and an agenda for X-Plane from both sides of the Simulator...  but the conference didn't end to that satisfaction.
     
    At the height of the conference, Laminar Research announced that they were going to create a product store within the X-Plane Simulator, a reflection of the same arrangement that is part of the MSFS 2020 (Microsoft Simulator) platform.
     
    This sudden announcement did not unite the developers to the Laminar cause, in fact it divided the conference, and in itself created a rolling discontent among the the attendees, certainly when the news hit the forums, all sorts of comments came out.
     
    Initially most users were very supportive of the internal store idea, yes another store, and one built directly into the Simulator, this aspect is a major plus....  but X-Plane is not at all structured like Microsoft's Simulator, it is not a large single central entity, but a Universe with many different revolving planets, and set at it's centre are two massive Jupiter sized planets called Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org.
     
    Initially Laminar Research never dealt with the user side of the Simulator, it was (still is) the founder and on going developer of the Simulator. The X-Plane.Org grew out of the need for users to interact, create and support the X-Plane Simulator. In the early day's it was a sort of clubby meeting place to share and communicate all things X-Plane. I'm not saying that MSFS also has this same network of user sites and forums set around it and in giving support and communication to the platform, in fact every platform has it's own network. But the central core of development and selling product at MSFS is embedded directly into the system, it is even hosted and run as an online game.
     
    But X-Plane's in it's arrangement was more focused and generalised than the others. Someone noted that the X-Plane.Org is not the centre of the X-Plane universe, as other sites contribute to the platform, and yes I agree with that aspect in file sharing and product sales, like the Fly Away Simulation sites, but most are only sales sites (Orbx, Just Flight & SimMarket). But the X-Plane.Org is different in that it supports the Developers directly or even indirectly in the support of creating the products to use in the Simulator.
     
    Early days of X-Plane were mostly based around the PlaneMaker tool provided with the Simulator, mostly aircraft were then generic, but clever in a customised way. So the clubby .Org supported these products as they were mostly freeware based. But even in these early years, the X-Plane.Org struggled for support.
     
    Sites and platforms cost money to host and maintain. Free is all very nice, but it doesn't buy you servers and software to run it all, and very quickly the site required money to support the ever expanding user base. Donations was an early trial, but failed as they were not very consistent and worse in not really giving enough financial support to the .Org site. The solution came with Nicolas Taureau, and he set up a store to sell the now more quality based "Payware" products, but the funds also supported the .Org in succession and allowed it to thrive and grow into the big utility it is today. Most of this important support is not aggrandised or visually translated, as is Taureau's personality, understated is more to the point, but important is the support of the .Org system to the X-Plane platform, of which X-PlaneReviews is also a benefactor.
     
    So now you have the X-Plane Universe, with Laminar Research and the X-Plane.Org running in parallel or in orbits around each other, Laminar in not wanting the commercial side of the Simulator, bar of selling a few cups and T-Shirts. And the X-Plane.Org system supporting the developer and user base. So what happens if you move the financial base of developers and sales of the X-Plane Simulator directly to the new store? in reality, you are blowing the X-Plane universe apart, and I really don't think that a lot of users realised that the amount of the support funding of the X-Plane.Org, developer support and loads of other auxiliary items that was generated by the X-Plane.OrgStore...   and neither did Austin Meyer's, head honcho of Laminar Research. All he saw was a store in MSFS and the money he could generate if he installed inside X-Plane the same system as Microsoft, a good idea financially, but structurally unsound for his own creation.
     
    We have to understand, and oddly the original mission of X-Plane was for it to be a platform of experimentation of all things aviation. That is the core of PlaneMaker as well, although that aspect was left behind more than a decade ago. In wanting far better functionality and higher quality Simulation, it had move on pass the basic origins of PlaneMaker to plugin based custom products. This now is really the contention of the issue and where the money goes to. Obviously Laminar Research want to expand beyond being just the gatekeeper of X-Plane.
     
    So there are currently a lot of issues created by the announcement of 4th February 2024. Certainly it has the promise to unstable a very balanced current system, and the ramifications are enormous if Laminar Research get this idea wrong, and creates questions...  but what of a store with very few products to sell?  Would they in the future also financially support the user base...  they made a very big message over the decades of not getting or even involved at all in this aspect, but they would be either the demise of it, or even damaging it beyond repair... if that scenerio was possible, could it also damage the X-Plane model as a simulator entirely? Kill the very goose that lays the golden eggs... I'm doomsaying again, but this time not without reason. 
     
    So we are at a threshold, not a runway one were X-Plane gets to land safely beyond the fence and onto the hard solid runway. Since the 4th of February announcement, there has been no forth coming new announcements or details from Laminar Research, except for a few flashy images on the X-Plane website and social media. Obviously the next announcement will be the launch of the store, and it's insertion into the X-Plane Simulator. It will be very good, as Laminar are very good at these sort of things. But there is far more required than opening a store, but of the quality of the stock inside of it.
    Loyalty to Nicolas Taureau is also extremely strong, and why not. He has supported and cultivated the core product of the Simulator for more than over a decade, and make no mistake here in not doing it selfishly for just for the product to sell, but to give talented developers the resources and support they needed to acquire the skills we take for granted, and with the excellent products we all use.
     
    How this current store scenario plays out will be important to the future of the Simulator, hopefully we will have an answer by Q3 as announced for the opening of the LR Store in the 3rd quarter of the year...   one thing is very sure, the X-Plane Simulator we used only last year, will be a very different to the one we will be using at the end of 2024.
     
    There was no edition of BtheS in February 2024, as I went of a well earned holiday, break..  or a cruise around the South Pacific. Obviously the 4th February announcement traveled with me, but I did get a well deserved change of scenery and a big sea refresh. But my demur was already more brighter before the departure, in fact since late 2023, when X-Plane through version 12.0.9, and behaved itself. A second South Pacific X-Plane related revisit to Tahiti in the same region was simply sheer coincidence, but translated the same to the X-Plane Simulator in how it mirrors the real world.
     
    Now we are looking forward to X-Plane 12 v12.1.0...   the v12.1.0 update is expected to be a landmark release outside of a formal version change. Most of the focus is on graphics, including the nasty Anti-Aliasing (MSAA) Improvements, Water improvements, RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptive Sharpening), Bloom effects and better particle effects. Systems include a better G1000 functionality, Stormscope, Traffic Map and Airport METAR flags... a new STEC ST-360 Autopilot is also included, new tools include better screenshot effects, which suits us really well... it is quite a list. With everything, then this post Easter holiday will be one of the most interesting yet, and the version v12.1.0 was highlighted with great reception at the FS Weekend in the Netherlands. Expect a beta release within weeks.
     
    Importantly those on-going v12.1.0 is more better system refinements, in shifting the heavy workload from your Graphics card over to the Processor. We expected this aspect for the release of X-Plane 12, but it will come now about mid-term in the X-Plane 12 version run. The changes will not magically fix your framerate, as heavier graphics will equalise out the benefits of less load on the Graphic Card, but it will overall make the X-Plane Simulator more efficient. I was a little annoyed about this aspect as I invested heavily in the processor side in my last system upgrade with the earlier announcement, then finding that Laminar was leaning even more heavily than ever onto the Graphic card side, so more expense was required to beef up that hardware side, now they are going back to the original focus, it is annoying and expensive as well to cater for these changing whims.
     
    Another change over the month was the upgrading of scenery for X-Plane 12. Finally the slow dribble has started to be a better flow from scenery developers, Aerosoft particularly was very active in releasing replacements and improvements to scenery that have been a long time dormant, and obviously we need more to come, a lot more. Although noted as an ever constant developing Simulator, X-Plane 12 will hopefully reach a mature point with the release of v12.1.0. Then that aspect bringing in even more resources for users to experience.
     
    So Q2 has a lot of potential to be one of the best period of 2024 for some big quality releases, even if it dribbles into the Northern Summer. But developers need a better more mature Simulator to bring quality releases to the Users, that aspect was something quite lacking over the last few years...  it is time for X-Plane 12 to turn the corner...  and that is said on April Fools day!
     
    See you all next month.
     
    Stephen Dutton
    1st April 2024
    Copyright©2024 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  15. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from eldo in Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben   
    Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben
     
    The extent of the full impression of the effects of the North American T-6G Texan are hidden behind the diversity of the models and the different variations of the original aircraft. Not only for the American Air Force and Naval services "SNJ". But the British Commonwealth versions under the "Harvard" moniker, and localised variations of the Australian CAC Wirraway and Canada's Noorduyn, and it was even developed later into the North American P-64, altogether there has been 15,495 aircraft built, and it had an operational life of 60 Years (1935 to 1995). No small feat for a trainer aircraft.
     
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
     
    Khamsin Studios is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But lately he has mostly been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the legendary T-6G Texan.
     

     
    The T-6 Texan is a two-seater, dual-controlled, single-engine trainer. Solo flight is permitted only from the front cockpit because of restricted visibility from the rear seat and inadequate controls in the rear cockpit. On training flights, the student uses the front cockpit while the instructor occupies the rear, except for instrument training when the student occupies the rear seat. The aircraft incorporates a steerable tail wheel, but not a free castoring rear wheel.
     
    Khamsin is a long time developer for the X-Plane Simulator, so design quality is actually expected, and he does deliver it in spades. Notable is that when X-Plane 12 is the only priority (there will be no X-Plane 11 version). You can use these advanced uprated effects and the lighting to deliver a better all round visual impact. All pure X-Plane 12 aircraft have this quality sheen, but still the talent of the developer is required to make it work in creating this extreme realism that X-Plane 12 can deliver. Here is it excellent, you feel the construction of the aircraft, and the rivets and paneling that goes into the creating the best overall effect. Notable is the excellent reproduction of the R-1340 Wasp, and the huge maul of the front of the aircraft to accommodate it
     

     
    Central hub and propeller (Two bladed, constant-speed Hamilton Standard) are intricately modeled here, as are all the air-cooled nine circular cylinders of the Wasp engine.
     

     
    In payware aircraft you expect this sort of high quality detail, almost is regarded as a benchmark to the current state of the Simulator. But still you marvel on how really good it all is, how far the developer has come in being able to deliver a quality of this high standard for you to enjoy and use.
     

     
    It is all brilliantly conceived and delivered in detail and authenticity here, you can spend ages just admiring it all. Note the excellent hydraulic lines in the gear bay, lovely deep cross-treaded tyres add to the realism, as does the simple strut arrangement of the main gear.
     

     
    Glass in the canopy frame is excellent, better is if you look for the mottled effect in certain lighting conditions, shows again the highlighted realism of the glass.
     

     
    Looking inside and the detail is certainly the pre-war period, but it is still quite comprehensive for a basic trainer aircraft. Notable is the fact that the T-6 Texan was created to replicate heavier service aircraft, to get the same feel and handling as the front line machines, not for just a trainee rookie pilot in taking their first steps in flight. The T-6 is far more up the grade than that, even in other roles as a combat aircraft itself, if only in a lightweight role.
     

     
    As noted the student goes up in the front, the instructor in the rear. But the differences between the two positions are not that much different, bar the aircraft's systems and radios. You feel and see more of the aircraft's frame in the rear, but otherwise they are not that much dissimilar.
     

     
    You sit on your parachute in the metal tub, stick and rudder pedals are all very heavy duty, but it's a very realistic cockpit to be in....
     

     
    First view looks complicated, but the instruments and controls are all really very standard in their placement and use, so you will soon adjust to the layout. Fuel cock, Landing gear, Trims and Throttle/Mixture/RPM are on the left, right side are the Electrical switches, lighting and fuses (non-active, all DC circuits).
     

     
    Forward the instrument panel is a mixture of instruments, but you can sort of mentally place them, in flying instruments centre left, and engine readouts centre right, with a compass headup front. With the exception of the hydraulic pressure gauge, which is installed only in the front cockpit. A suction gauge is also provided in each cockpit. The gyro horizon, directional gyro, and turn-and-bank indicator are all operated by the engine-driven vacuum system. The airspeed indicator is operated by the pitot and static systems, and the altimeter, and rate-of-climb indicator are operated by the static system.
     
    Top level includes (LtoR); Nav 1 Pointer, Airspeed (MPH), Adjustable Compass, Artificial Horizon/ Bank Rate, Manifold Pressure. Second row; Back up Compass, Heading, Altitude, Rate of Turn, V/S Vertical Speed, Engine RPM, Carb Temp. Third Row; Ignition Switch, Suction, Pointer, Accelerometer G, Clock, Oil Temperature and Pressure, Fuel Quantity , Cylinder Head Temperature  and (Outside) Air Temperature ... 
     

     
    ....   far right is the Ampere, and far left lower is the Hydraulic Pressure Gauge. Primer knob is centre right with external lights lower, right lower is the COMM1 and NAV1 radio, with a Transponder set below.
     

     
    Rear seat instrument layout is almost identical, except for radios and transponder.
     

     
    Menu
    Immediately right of the forward pilot is a "Data Case"...  inside is the Tablet/Menu, that when activated (hotspot) is positioned upper left of the pilot. It has five tabs; AviTab, Ground operations, Other options, Sounds and About.
     

     
    Five buttons on the right side of the bezel covers; Power, (not working), AVI (Not Working), XPL (close tablet), Brightness (brighter, darker and again not working).
     

     
    AviTab we will look at in a minute....  Ground operations is the default screen...  here you can change the T-6G aircraft options, including a Prop "Spinner".
     

     
    "Early or Late" Canopy
     

     
    VHF and ADF aerials
     

     
    SNJ hook...  activation knob is right side pilot seat
     

     
    Gear doors and Wheel covers
     

     
    Bottom left is the adjustable Left or Right Wing "Fuel" Weight in Kgs or Lbs
     
    Other options
     

     
    Here there are six options.... first one is to "Show (rear) Copilot". Both pilot heads are animated, and are very realistic, and in flight the actions are different to ground...  but both pilots are the same character.
     

     
    Second and third options are the Canopy and Instrument reflections (on/off). Fourth option is an "Autostart" to start the aircraft automatically, this also adds in the "Speech" Option, that will talk you through the engine startup procedure...  last Option is to have the "Fuel Switcher" ON or in auto mode.
     
    Sounds & About
    Both pages are first the standard X-Plane "Sound" levels, and the the "About" information of the different areas of work by each developer in Khamsin and Ubben...   the aircraft version number is shown here as well.
     

     
    The AviTab Tablet as we have shown is also available (plugin required), it is the standard AviTab layout and tools, but you can rotate a chart from Portrait to Landscape...  quality is not very good at chart distance.
     

     
    Liveries
    Eleven Liveries provided by Khamsin, and all are quite exceptional for authenticity. TA-127 is the default, but included are Big Red, G-TSIX, Lagarto, Popeye, Marines, RCAF, Spanish Lady and the famous Harvard (RAF) "Wacky Rabbit". Plus there is a "Bare Metal" aircraft.
     

     
    Flying the T-6G

     
    Starting up a Warbird is never easy, the sequence here is still a procedure to be religiously followed, but tricky if not done correctly. Officially you first select a fuel tank containing some fuel with the fuel tank selector. Then use the hand fuel pump to build up some fuel pressure (the pressure gauge should read more than 1 psi for the primer to work). Push the mixture lever to fully forward. Use the primer to pump at least 1 stroke. (Because over-priming isn't simulated in this first release you could pump some more strokes before hitting the starter and the engine might not need any further priming after startup. Now continue to use the primer it always seems to die until the rpm does stabilises around 700rpm. (You can either wait until the rpm does drop significantly before each new primer stroke or just pump a few fast strokes until the rpm won't drop anymore.).
     
    Tricky is the use of the primer...  First you have to "Unlock" it? this is done via a hotspot arrow, hidden in the top section of the pump handle, then you can unlock and pump or prime the engine. Don't forget to relock the pump when the engine is running. Highly notable is that the engine start switch is a pedal set between the rudder pedals!
     

     
    If you don't want the palaver of awakening a grumpy old engine into life, then you have the "Autostart" Option on the menu, which is very good with it's vocal patter over the start operation...  Highly realistic are cylinder (firing!) startup sounds as you feel the inconsistent firing, then the cycle of igniting the fuel, which is then produced as an effect out of the exhaust... it is really all well done and realistic.
     

     
    The prop settles down to a very authentic clatter in idle... sounds are very, very authentic as noted... A small note in using the "Auto" startup feature, is that make sure your throttle is set upwards, beyond the idle point, if not when the "auto" sequence finishes, then the engine will just "conk" out and stop again, not too much, to give it too much power, but enough to fuel the engine until it warms up.
     
    The mixture range (lean-rich) is extremely small, have the mixture set too high and the T-6G will taxi very fast, too low and it just shuts the engine down...  but there is fine mixture window between the two settings, were you can get a controllable taxi speed... it is worth finding.
     
     
     
    So the taxi is nice if can find your comfort zone, but tricky in that the turn circle is one of the widest I have found in a long time, you can help it along of course with a few pumps of the left or right toe-brake, but in reality it is a wide turning circle. You can of course push the stick forward to unlock the tail-wheel, pull the stick back again to lock it. It sorta works, but I found that tapping the toe-brakes in the direction you want to turn was a better way of pulling off the tighter turn circle.
     

     
    Adjust the mixture for more power, and your ready to go...
     

     
    The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 is the larger (louder) engine here, and it sounds glorious with the power on, tricky though is the extremely light tail, once it lifts the aircraft will shimmy badly, and it needs a lot of skill to control, it feels too light to me... so is it the X-Plane dynamics or just developer tuning... of course tail-draggers a tricky to fly (takeoff), but the T-6G seems too unrealistic at this point? 
     

     
    Once clear and you enjoy the highly realistic gear stowage, first one strut moves, then it stops to allow the other strut to retract, then finishes the operation....  very good.
     

     
    Once airborne, you feel the weight of the Texan, but also the restricted power to climb? Rate of climb is noted at 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you never get even close to that climb rate?
     

     
    Push the Wasp or put it on a high throttle for more power and the engine gives in spectacularly!
     

     
    So you have to keep the RPM well out of the red zone, around 20 (lower green band) to stop it exploding, so this highly restricts your climb rate.
     
    Performance is a Maximum speed: 208 mph (335 km/h, 181 kn) at 5000 ft (1,500 m), a Cruise speed of 145 mph (233 km/h, 126 kn) and a Range: 730 mi (1,170 km, 630 nmi). The Service ceiling is24,200 ft (7,400 m).
     
    Important is getting your Trims right. The Rudder Trim is the most important, then sorting it out to the right level with the Elevator Trim. Get both right and the T-6G will find the correct balance to fly manually. Important to get correct as there are no artificial helper's here, with no Autopilot installed, the Texan is a pure manual flying machine...  would I like an autopilot? that aspect is debatable, but I like authenticity over modern features.
     

     
    Once sorted the T-6G is excellent in the air, a bit heavy (ponderous?) but extremely nice to fly and to manoeuvre with great sounds coming at you from the nose...
     

     
    The view from the Instructors station is excellent, but missing is the forward (animated) student pilot, having the choice to have the forward pilot visible (like with the Aermacchi M-346) would be a nice feature here.
     

     
    Lighting
    Cockpit internal lighting quite is basic, there are two fluorescent lights in the instrument panel and lights on each side panel. The T-6G does have a load more lighting features, including a full panel for "Recognition Lights" but none are operable or not done yet.
     

     
    That said, it looks very good internally and externally in the cockpit.
     

     
    External lighting is basic as well...  there are two inset wing landing lights, navigation lights and that is about it, there is "Strobe" switch, but it doesn't work...  so again in areas it feels there is still work to be done on the lighting overall. What is here however is very good
     

     
    Time to land...  so I reduce the speed.
     

     
    Flaps are noted in 0 - 10 - 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 steps, but the reality is they are only three degree phases, 0 - 22 (ish) - 50 (full)...  125 MPH is the limit, but a full Flap will give you a level flying speed of around 100 MPH.
     

     
    I found the Texan very stable in the approach phase, quite easy to focus on the runway and keep a straight line in that same focus.
     

     
    Down goes the gear and the speed is reduced to 90 knts, notable is the drag effect on the gear when deployed, so you have to throttle up a little to account for that extra drag...
     

     
    I loved this approach phase, I was very, very deep into the aircraft and flying it as smoothly as I could.
     

     
    As I reached the threshold, I lifted (flared) the nose to rub off the speed, I didn't want to do a three-pointer, but still wanted the tail as low as it could be possible.
     

     
    A touch, then another... and I am down. Again the yaw was tricky until the speed had reduced and the tail was happily down, it takes a little practise to get it right with the rudder and toe-brakes, but its a foible to learn with these sort of low rear aircraft.
     

     
    Your thought go out to those naval boys, landing this aircraft on a shifting carrier deck, you can practise that of course in X-Plane, but I guarantee it was be a very tough challenge to get it right...  Overall this was an excellent machine.
    _____________
    Summary
    Khamsin Studio's is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But he has mostly lately been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the T-6G Texan.
     
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
     
    This is another exquisite design from Khamsin Studio, X-Plane 12 delivers very high quality aircraft, and this T-6G Texan is no exception, it is beautifully created and detailed, with a perfect soundscape and sound panel. Features are basic, with "Early" or "Late" canopies, Prop Spinner, VHF and ADF aerials, Gear doors and Wheel covers and SNJ tailhook (naval), excellent animated pilots are also included but only the rear can be hidden, front pilot would be nice visible if flying from the rear Instructor position. Popup menu also includes automated start procedure with vocal instructions, and the built in AviTab, but there is no autopilot or any helpers here.
     
    Everything is very, very authentic to this extensive service (60 Years) trainer aircraft and a few went into service (combat) as well, so you get that very genuine article feel and use of this very unique aircraft.
     
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, but totally authentic as well. Khamsin and Ubben have a very high record and a high regard in what they deliver in aircraft for the X-Plane 12 simulator, this T-6G Texan is no exception. But again you feel and use the step forward in quality and effects that dedicated X-Plane 12 designed aircraft deliver, it is quite extraordinary in what is now achieved in Simulation...  This T-6G Texan is another banner aircraft to show off those highlights...    Highly Recommended. 
    ________________
     

     
    The North American T-6G Texan XP12 by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
     
    North American T-6G Texan XP12
    Price is US$32.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)
    Windows , MAC or Linux 
    8GB + VRAM Recommended Download Size: 460 MB Current version: 1.1 (March 25th 2024)   Aircraft download is 456Mb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 636Mb. No authorization on startup is required.   Documents manual_t6g_khamsin_XP12 quick_start_t6g_khamsin The provided manual (31 Pages) is excellent in being a notated original T-6 authentic manual, Quick Start (2 Pages) is mostly flying tips...
     
      Designed by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben
    Support forum for the T-6G Texan XP12 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - KTCM - McChord AFB  - Seattle - Boeing Country 10.5 by Tom Curtis (Sorry not now available) ________________  
    Military Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    26th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

  16. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from skytitude in NEWS! - Scenery Upgraded : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude   
    NEWS! - Scenery Upgraded : KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude
     

     
    Tucked north in the east of the Gulf of Mexico in the American state of Florida is Tallahassee. The capital of the state, and it is the largest city in the Florida Big Bend and Florida Panhandle region. Tallahassee is also a college town with student population exceeding 70,000, home to Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College, a large state college that serves mainly as a feeder school to Florida State and Florida A&M.
     
    Tallahassee International Airport is a city-owned airport five miles southwest of downtown Tallahassee, in Leon County, Florida, United States. It serves the state capital of Florida, and its surrounding areas; it is one of the major airports in north Florida, the others being Pensacola, Northwest Florida Beaches, and Jacksonville. Despite its name, it does not service any international destinations.
     
    Rim&Co did a weird X-Plane 11 version of KTLH Tallahassee, but they got into trouble for stealing other peoples objects. Another version of KTLH was from Skytitude for X-Plane 11, and this is the re-released X-Plane 12 version. Owners of KTLH XP11 can also purchase this new XP12 version for 25% off, and Skytitude importantly note that this NEW scenery for X-Plane 12 was completely renovated and does not contain anything from older version.
      Features: ❯ Complete and Accurate representation of Tallahassee Airport ❯ Custom Materials and Surfaces with Physical-Based Rendering Effect (PBR) ❯ Spectacular Buildings and Objects with Realistic Night Lighting ❯ Tons of High Density Hand-Placed Forests and Plants ❯ Wet Surfaces Using New X-Plane 12 Weather Technology ❯ Custom 3D Grass Using New X-Plane 12 Vegetation Technology ❯ Moveable Jetways Using New X-Plane 12 Technology ❯ AI Traffic Routes for Airliners are implemented ❯ Accurately Built Large Surrounding Area with Thousands of Hand-Placed Objects ❯ All Surrounding Area Lakes have Realistic Water Masks ❯ Huge Solar Power Farms are Implemented in Outstanding Quality Without Performance Impact ❯ Water Treatment Facility on Runway 27 Final Approach Area ❯ Well Optimized, Awesome Performance even on Low-End or High-Loaded Machines ❯ Highest Precision of Surface Markings, Lights, Signs and other Ground Elements ❯ Markings and Signs are strictly complains FAA rules 150/5340-1M and 150/5340-18G as real one's  

     
    Images are courtesy of Skytitude
    ________________________
     

     
    Yes!  KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12 by Skytitude is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    KTLH - Tallahassee International Airport XP12
    Price is US$19.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux Download Size: 703 MB Current version : 1.0   Owners of KTLH XP11 can purchase this new XP12 version for 25% off, please find the coupon code in the original KTLH Invoice. ___________________________  
    News by Stephen Dutton
    30th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  17. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben   
    Military Aircraft Review : North American T-6G Texan by Khamsin Studios & Philip Ubben
     
    The extent of the full impression of the effects of the North American T-6G Texan are hidden behind the diversity of the models and the different variations of the original aircraft. Not only for the American Air Force and Naval services "SNJ". But the British Commonwealth versions under the "Harvard" moniker, and localised variations of the Australian CAC Wirraway and Canada's Noorduyn, and it was even developed later into the North American P-64, altogether there has been 15,495 aircraft built, and it had an operational life of 60 Years (1935 to 1995). No small feat for a trainer aircraft.
     
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
     
    Khamsin Studios is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But lately he has mostly been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the legendary T-6G Texan.
     

     
    The T-6 Texan is a two-seater, dual-controlled, single-engine trainer. Solo flight is permitted only from the front cockpit because of restricted visibility from the rear seat and inadequate controls in the rear cockpit. On training flights, the student uses the front cockpit while the instructor occupies the rear, except for instrument training when the student occupies the rear seat. The aircraft incorporates a steerable tail wheel, but not a free castoring rear wheel.
     
    Khamsin is a long time developer for the X-Plane Simulator, so design quality is actually expected, and he does deliver it in spades. Notable is that when X-Plane 12 is the only priority (there will be no X-Plane 11 version). You can use these advanced uprated effects and the lighting to deliver a better all round visual impact. All pure X-Plane 12 aircraft have this quality sheen, but still the talent of the developer is required to make it work in creating this extreme realism that X-Plane 12 can deliver. Here is it excellent, you feel the construction of the aircraft, and the rivets and paneling that goes into the creating the best overall effect. Notable is the excellent reproduction of the R-1340 Wasp, and the huge maul of the front of the aircraft to accommodate it
     

     
    Central hub and propeller (Two bladed, constant-speed Hamilton Standard) are intricately modeled here, as are all the air-cooled nine circular cylinders of the Wasp engine.
     

     
    In payware aircraft you expect this sort of high quality detail, almost is regarded as a benchmark to the current state of the Simulator. But still you marvel on how really good it all is, how far the developer has come in being able to deliver a quality of this high standard for you to enjoy and use.
     

     
    It is all brilliantly conceived and delivered in detail and authenticity here, you can spend ages just admiring it all. Note the excellent hydraulic lines in the gear bay, lovely deep cross-treaded tyres add to the realism, as does the simple strut arrangement of the main gear.
     

     
    Glass in the canopy frame is excellent, better is if you look for the mottled effect in certain lighting conditions, shows again the highlighted realism of the glass.
     

     
    Looking inside and the detail is certainly the pre-war period, but it is still quite comprehensive for a basic trainer aircraft. Notable is the fact that the T-6 Texan was created to replicate heavier service aircraft, to get the same feel and handling as the front line machines, not for just a trainee rookie pilot in taking their first steps in flight. The T-6 is far more up the grade than that, even in other roles as a combat aircraft itself, if only in a lightweight role.
     

     
    As noted the student goes up in the front, the instructor in the rear. But the differences between the two positions are not that much different, bar the aircraft's systems and radios. You feel and see more of the aircraft's frame in the rear, but otherwise they are not that much dissimilar.
     

     
    You sit on your parachute in the metal tub, stick and rudder pedals are all very heavy duty, but it's a very realistic cockpit to be in....
     

     
    First view looks complicated, but the instruments and controls are all really very standard in their placement and use, so you will soon adjust to the layout. Fuel cock, Landing gear, Trims and Throttle/Mixture/RPM are on the left, right side are the Electrical switches, lighting and fuses (non-active, all DC circuits).
     

     
    Forward the instrument panel is a mixture of instruments, but you can sort of mentally place them, in flying instruments centre left, and engine readouts centre right, with a compass headup front. With the exception of the hydraulic pressure gauge, which is installed only in the front cockpit. A suction gauge is also provided in each cockpit. The gyro horizon, directional gyro, and turn-and-bank indicator are all operated by the engine-driven vacuum system. The airspeed indicator is operated by the pitot and static systems, and the altimeter, and rate-of-climb indicator are operated by the static system.
     
    Top level includes (LtoR); Nav 1 Pointer, Airspeed (MPH), Adjustable Compass, Artificial Horizon/ Bank Rate, Manifold Pressure. Second row; Back up Compass, Heading, Altitude, Rate of Turn, V/S Vertical Speed, Engine RPM, Carb Temp. Third Row; Ignition Switch, Suction, Pointer, Accelerometer G, Clock, Oil Temperature and Pressure, Fuel Quantity , Cylinder Head Temperature  and (Outside) Air Temperature ... 
     

     
    ....   far right is the Ampere, and far left lower is the Hydraulic Pressure Gauge. Primer knob is centre right with external lights lower, right lower is the COMM1 and NAV1 radio, with a Transponder set below.
     

     
    Rear seat instrument layout is almost identical, except for radios and transponder.
     

     
    Menu
    Immediately right of the forward pilot is a "Data Case"...  inside is the Tablet/Menu, that when activated (hotspot) is positioned upper left of the pilot. It has five tabs; AviTab, Ground operations, Other options, Sounds and About.
     

     
    Five buttons on the right side of the bezel covers; Power, (not working), AVI (Not Working), XPL (close tablet), Brightness (brighter, darker and again not working).
     

     
    AviTab we will look at in a minute....  Ground operations is the default screen...  here you can change the T-6G aircraft options, including a Prop "Spinner".
     

     
    "Early or Late" Canopy
     

     
    VHF and ADF aerials
     

     
    SNJ hook...  activation knob is right side pilot seat
     

     
    Gear doors and Wheel covers
     

     
    Bottom left is the adjustable Left or Right Wing "Fuel" Weight in Kgs or Lbs
     
    Other options
     

     
    Here there are six options.... first one is to "Show (rear) Copilot". Both pilot heads are animated, and are very realistic, and in flight the actions are different to ground...  but both pilots are the same character.
     

     
    Second and third options are the Canopy and Instrument reflections (on/off). Fourth option is an "Autostart" to start the aircraft automatically, this also adds in the "Speech" Option, that will talk you through the engine startup procedure...  last Option is to have the "Fuel Switcher" ON or in auto mode.
     
    Sounds & About
    Both pages are first the standard X-Plane "Sound" levels, and the the "About" information of the different areas of work by each developer in Khamsin and Ubben...   the aircraft version number is shown here as well.
     

     
    The AviTab Tablet as we have shown is also available (plugin required), it is the standard AviTab layout and tools, but you can rotate a chart from Portrait to Landscape...  quality is not very good at chart distance.
     

     
    Liveries
    Eleven Liveries provided by Khamsin, and all are quite exceptional for authenticity. TA-127 is the default, but included are Big Red, G-TSIX, Lagarto, Popeye, Marines, RCAF, Spanish Lady and the famous Harvard (RAF) "Wacky Rabbit". Plus there is a "Bare Metal" aircraft.
     

     
    Flying the T-6G

     
    Starting up a Warbird is never easy, the sequence here is still a procedure to be religiously followed, but tricky if not done correctly. Officially you first select a fuel tank containing some fuel with the fuel tank selector. Then use the hand fuel pump to build up some fuel pressure (the pressure gauge should read more than 1 psi for the primer to work). Push the mixture lever to fully forward. Use the primer to pump at least 1 stroke. (Because over-priming isn't simulated in this first release you could pump some more strokes before hitting the starter and the engine might not need any further priming after startup. Now continue to use the primer it always seems to die until the rpm does stabilises around 700rpm. (You can either wait until the rpm does drop significantly before each new primer stroke or just pump a few fast strokes until the rpm won't drop anymore.).
     
    Tricky is the use of the primer...  First you have to "Unlock" it? this is done via a hotspot arrow, hidden in the top section of the pump handle, then you can unlock and pump or prime the engine. Don't forget to relock the pump when the engine is running. Highly notable is that the engine start switch is a pedal set between the rudder pedals!
     

     
    If you don't want the palaver of awakening a grumpy old engine into life, then you have the "Autostart" Option on the menu, which is very good with it's vocal patter over the start operation...  Highly realistic are cylinder (firing!) startup sounds as you feel the inconsistent firing, then the cycle of igniting the fuel, which is then produced as an effect out of the exhaust... it is really all well done and realistic.
     

     
    The prop settles down to a very authentic clatter in idle... sounds are very, very authentic as noted... A small note in using the "Auto" startup feature, is that make sure your throttle is set upwards, beyond the idle point, if not when the "auto" sequence finishes, then the engine will just "conk" out and stop again, not too much, to give it too much power, but enough to fuel the engine until it warms up.
     
    The mixture range (lean-rich) is extremely small, have the mixture set too high and the T-6G will taxi very fast, too low and it just shuts the engine down...  but there is fine mixture window between the two settings, were you can get a controllable taxi speed... it is worth finding.
     
     
     
    So the taxi is nice if can find your comfort zone, but tricky in that the turn circle is one of the widest I have found in a long time, you can help it along of course with a few pumps of the left or right toe-brake, but in reality it is a wide turning circle. You can of course push the stick forward to unlock the tail-wheel, pull the stick back again to lock it. It sorta works, but I found that tapping the toe-brakes in the direction you want to turn was a better way of pulling off the tighter turn circle.
     

     
    Adjust the mixture for more power, and your ready to go...
     

     
    The Pratt & Whitney R-1340 is the larger (louder) engine here, and it sounds glorious with the power on, tricky though is the extremely light tail, once it lifts the aircraft will shimmy badly, and it needs a lot of skill to control, it feels too light to me... so is it the X-Plane dynamics or just developer tuning... of course tail-draggers a tricky to fly (takeoff), but the T-6G seems too unrealistic at this point? 
     

     
    Once clear and you enjoy the highly realistic gear stowage, first one strut moves, then it stops to allow the other strut to retract, then finishes the operation....  very good.
     

     
    Once airborne, you feel the weight of the Texan, but also the restricted power to climb? Rate of climb is noted at 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you never get even close to that climb rate?
     

     
    Push the Wasp or put it on a high throttle for more power and the engine gives in spectacularly!
     

     
    So you have to keep the RPM well out of the red zone, around 20 (lower green band) to stop it exploding, so this highly restricts your climb rate.
     
    Performance is a Maximum speed: 208 mph (335 km/h, 181 kn) at 5000 ft (1,500 m), a Cruise speed of 145 mph (233 km/h, 126 kn) and a Range: 730 mi (1,170 km, 630 nmi). The Service ceiling is24,200 ft (7,400 m).
     
    Important is getting your Trims right. The Rudder Trim is the most important, then sorting it out to the right level with the Elevator Trim. Get both right and the T-6G will find the correct balance to fly manually. Important to get correct as there are no artificial helper's here, with no Autopilot installed, the Texan is a pure manual flying machine...  would I like an autopilot? that aspect is debatable, but I like authenticity over modern features.
     

     
    Once sorted the T-6G is excellent in the air, a bit heavy (ponderous?) but extremely nice to fly and to manoeuvre with great sounds coming at you from the nose...
     

     
    The view from the Instructors station is excellent, but missing is the forward (animated) student pilot, having the choice to have the forward pilot visible (like with the Aermacchi M-346) would be a nice feature here.
     

     
    Lighting
    Cockpit internal lighting quite is basic, there are two fluorescent lights in the instrument panel and lights on each side panel. The T-6G does have a load more lighting features, including a full panel for "Recognition Lights" but none are operable or not done yet.
     

     
    That said, it looks very good internally and externally in the cockpit.
     

     
    External lighting is basic as well...  there are two inset wing landing lights, navigation lights and that is about it, there is "Strobe" switch, but it doesn't work...  so again in areas it feels there is still work to be done on the lighting overall. What is here however is very good
     

     
    Time to land...  so I reduce the speed.
     

     
    Flaps are noted in 0 - 10 - 20 - 30 - 40 - 50 steps, but the reality is they are only three degree phases, 0 - 22 (ish) - 50 (full)...  125 MPH is the limit, but a full Flap will give you a level flying speed of around 100 MPH.
     

     
    I found the Texan very stable in the approach phase, quite easy to focus on the runway and keep a straight line in that same focus.
     

     
    Down goes the gear and the speed is reduced to 90 knts, notable is the drag effect on the gear when deployed, so you have to throttle up a little to account for that extra drag...
     

     
    I loved this approach phase, I was very, very deep into the aircraft and flying it as smoothly as I could.
     

     
    As I reached the threshold, I lifted (flared) the nose to rub off the speed, I didn't want to do a three-pointer, but still wanted the tail as low as it could be possible.
     

     
    A touch, then another... and I am down. Again the yaw was tricky until the speed had reduced and the tail was happily down, it takes a little practise to get it right with the rudder and toe-brakes, but its a foible to learn with these sort of low rear aircraft.
     

     
    Your thought go out to those naval boys, landing this aircraft on a shifting carrier deck, you can practise that of course in X-Plane, but I guarantee it was be a very tough challenge to get it right...  Overall this was an excellent machine.
    _____________
    Summary
    Khamsin Studio's is already known for classic WW2 aircraft, like his last release of the Mustang P-51, But he has mostly lately been working alongside of Philip Ubben, and in the releases of Helicopters like the SA 315B Lama, and now again here in unison with this X-Plane 12 release of the T-6G Texan.
     
    Modified as the NA-26, it was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat Trainer " aircraft competition in March 1937. The T-6 was based on the NA-18, but with a foot longer wingspan, it was the first of the NA-16 series with retractable gear. It was similar to the BT-9, but with a larger engine, the 550 hp (410 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp, and could accommodate two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns.
     
    This is another exquisite design from Khamsin Studio, X-Plane 12 delivers very high quality aircraft, and this T-6G Texan is no exception, it is beautifully created and detailed, with a perfect soundscape and sound panel. Features are basic, with "Early" or "Late" canopies, Prop Spinner, VHF and ADF aerials, Gear doors and Wheel covers and SNJ tailhook (naval), excellent animated pilots are also included but only the rear can be hidden, front pilot would be nice visible if flying from the rear Instructor position. Popup menu also includes automated start procedure with vocal instructions, and the built in AviTab, but there is no autopilot or any helpers here.
     
    Everything is very, very authentic to this extensive service (60 Years) trainer aircraft and a few went into service (combat) as well, so you get that very genuine article feel and use of this very unique aircraft.
     
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, but totally authentic as well. Khamsin and Ubben have a very high record and a high regard in what they deliver in aircraft for the X-Plane 12 simulator, this T-6G Texan is no exception. But again you feel and use the step forward in quality and effects that dedicated X-Plane 12 designed aircraft deliver, it is quite extraordinary in what is now achieved in Simulation...  This T-6G Texan is another banner aircraft to show off those highlights...    Highly Recommended. 
    ________________
     

     
    The North American T-6G Texan XP12 by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
     
    North American T-6G Texan XP12
    Price is US$32.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)
    Windows , MAC or Linux 
    8GB + VRAM Recommended Download Size: 460 MB Current version: 1.1 (March 25th 2024)   Aircraft download is 456Mb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 636Mb. No authorization on startup is required.   Documents manual_t6g_khamsin_XP12 quick_start_t6g_khamsin The provided manual (31 Pages) is excellent in being a notated original T-6 authentic manual, Quick Start (2 Pages) is mostly flying tips...
     
      Designed by Khamsin Studio and Philip Ubben
    Support forum for the T-6G Texan XP12 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - KTCM - McChord AFB  - Seattle - Boeing Country 10.5 by Tom Curtis (Sorry not now available) ________________  
    Military Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    26th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

  18. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Cami De Bellis in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Thanks, it was a second voyage of discovery!
  19. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Thanks, it was a second voyage of discovery!
  20. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Cami De Bellis in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft
     
    Say Tahiti, or Bora Bora and the thoughts are always... "Exotic". French South Pacific plus it's amazing scenery makes this a destination in one of the absolute top hits of any one's bucket list. It has always been on my "most" desired destination. Actually I have been to Tahiti, but a long time ago, way back in the 1970's, but also just passing through en-route to Australia. Yes I have always wanted to go back...
     
    So what of Tahiti in X-Plane. Actually it was well serviced by the XPFR developers, but as usual you wanted a more overall detailed and extremely high quality package to bring out the best of the Simulator and the astonishing South Pacific area.
     
    This "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner. In so any installations are now through the Aerosoft One application, just add in the authorisation number, and the tool will do the install for you.
     
    As noted the Maps2X-Plane Tahiti series is in two different area packages, the first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. This package was quickly updated to X-Plane 12 (v1.1) almost immediately.
     
    The second release is the new one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
     
    Although the Leeward scenery was excellent as we shall see, it was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
     

     
    You could say French Polynesia is in the middle of nowhere, because it is, set deep into the central South Pacific Ocean. This makes connections hard and extremely expensive, as the area is a fair flight from any landmass. But there are direct flights from the U.S. West coast, Rarotonga and New Zealand, lately Hawaii was also added.
     

     
    I did an example flight from AKL (Auckland) to PPT (Papeete), it is a route distance of 2,242 nm, translated to 4h34m flightime, and right on the edge of the A321's endurance in fuel. Tricky as there are no alternative options out here. In this eastward direction, then maybe the Cook Islands (625 nm before Tahiti) as an option, but once past that point, then there are no other places to land.
     

     
    As we are going into NTAA - Faa'a International Airport, we will cover the "Windward" package first..
     

     
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. These islands were also previously named the Georgian Islands in honour of King George III of the United Kingdom. The capital of the administrative district is Papeete on the island of Tahiti.
    Tahiti, Moorea, and Mehetia are volcanic islands. Tetiaroa and Mai'ao are outer coral Atolls...  all these noted areas are available in the Maps2X-Plane Windward package.
     

     
    Faa'a International Airport
    Faa'a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Faaa, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.
     
    The focus and highlight of both sceneries is the Faa'a International Airport, and one very long runway 3420m (11,220ft).
     
    Faa'a International Airport
    Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a
    IATA: PPT - ICAO: NTAA

     
    04/22 3,420m (11,220ft) Bituminous
    Elevation AMSL 2m/5 ft
     

     
    First views of Faa'a International are simply excellent, the vista has Moorea Island in the background. How far X-Plane has come with X-Plane 12...  as finally we have realistic tropical reef water, and it is excellent here in surrounding the airport perimeters.
     

     

     
    In visiting South Pacific Islands, you sort of have to time travel back a few decades. Everything is not bright, shiny or new down here. At PPT, it feels like a past time, with an airport that has only basic facilities, no airbridges here, but certainly a nice South Pacific welcome.
     
    The Polynesian look and feel is very evident in the terminal building. Expertly reproduced here by Maps2X-Plane...
     

     
    Airport detail is quite exceptional, everything is covered both airside and landside with "Huge" detail...   "dense" I call it...  but there is a lot to admire and take in here. There is a fair bit of animated traffic airside (nicely done), but there is not much traffic movement on the ramps. A few regional connections and the odd International service is about it. But the majority of international aircraft moving in or out are significantly big long haul jets...  the old Pan Am 707's in the 60's, then DC-10's and MD11's dominated in the UTA years, Boeing 747's and even A380's can get into here. Now it is the odd A340, B787, A350, but also now the long thin route single-aisle aircraft ETOPS, which are a common sight.
     

     
    Airport infrastructure is again excellent, with maintenance hangars and three (available) Heli pads, there is plenty of static aircraft and vehicles, but the detail in gates, ramp equipment and general clutter items is excellent. West side, is the Fire Station/Control Tower and administration buildings, an inter island area (Moorea & Tetiꞌaroa) is set over here as well. More helipads are also available.
     

     
    There is no 3d grass? but the field detail is excellent, with great drainage (including even drainage pipes) and fencing. Surfaces are also first rate, with wear/tear and filled cracks. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is also available here, great for those summer tropical rainstorms.
     

     
    I have just been on a South Pacific cruise (talk about a coincidence)... The South Pacific has a certain look, lush vegetation and foliage, the bright vibrant colours and open sided tired buildings. It is the "feel" of the islands, and this scenery totally translates that "feel" into X-Plane. I could easily have been back in Nouméa (New Caledonia), Port Vila (Vanuatu) or Suva (Fiji )with this scenery. This Tahiti scenery is shockingly very good in translating that Pacific look and feel into the Simulator...  Again the "dense" feel and infrastructure of the Faa'a locale is excellent, it fills right up to the airport boundary and even into it, creating a perfect diorama of the area...  note the vista of Mount 'Orohena in the background.
     

     
    The capital Papeete is too the north of the airport. Again the density of the capital is really well replicated, extremely realistic and includes the extensive Papeete Port area for approach realism.
     

     
    This arrival area's aspects are all shockingly good, more real world detail than a simulator... you have to be impressed.
     
    There are two heliports (pads) on Tahiti... 
     
    Taaone
    The heliport NTAA of Hôpital du Taaone, located about 8 kilometers east of Faa'a International. Again no expense was spared by Maps2X-Plane to create the authentic hospital for the Tahiti scenery.
     

     
    Taravao
    The heliport NTHV of Hôpital de Taravao, is located about 40 kilometers southeast of NTAA
     

     
    Let us not forget that Map2X-Plane's main speciality is terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures, for the landscape and the sea. Highly evident in their amazing Faroe Islands package. It is the same here for Tahiti and these same quality custom textures. In that they cover all the areas in both Windward and Leeward packages, plus create those excellent tropical water effects. They are dazzling to absorb.
     

     
    Moorea Airport
    Moorea Airport (NTTM, 1230 meters), also know as Moorea Temae Airport, is a regional airport on the island of Moorea, located 15 kilometers west of Tahiti. It is served by Air Tahiti, and can accommodate aircraft up to the ATR 72 in size. Moorea is a volcanic, mountainous island with the highest point Mount Tohivea at 1207 meters, and for its enclosed reef that surrounds the entire island.
     

     
    Moorea Airport is also known as Temae Airport (IATA: MOZ, ICAO: NTTM) or Moorea Temae Airport for its location near the village of Temae in northeastern Moorea. The airport is located 7.5 km northeast of Afareitu, the island's main village. It is set almost directly across from Papeete.
     

     
    The Moorean Polynesian style terminal has had a lot of attention, brilliantly done here by Maps2X-Plane, it is a genuine walkaround the area and be part of the scenery experience... almost photographic in detail.
     

     
    Airport infrastructure is first rate, with a small field tower, cargo and admin area, and housing for airport staff.
     

     
    Close by Temae is replicated, as are all the locales on the island with custom autogen, very realistic it is...   highlight is the excellent water and realistic reefs.
     

     
    Moorea's coastline is excellent, with great vistas to explore, either by helicopter or seaplane... The Island's Hilton Luxury Overwater bungalows are also well replicated.
     

     
    Afareaitu
    There is one helipad NTHF on Moorea...  it is sited at the Hôpital de Afareaitu, located about 8 kilometers south of NTTM.
     

     
    Tetiꞌaroa
    Tetiaroa Airport (NTTE, 770 meters) is a regional airfield on Onetahi, one of 12 islets of the Tetiaroa atoll, located 53 kilometers directly north of Tahiti. The islets are under a 99-year lease contracted by the famous actor Marlon Brando, and is home to "The Brando Resort". It is served by private flights by Air Tetiaroa, departing at a private terminal at Faa‘a International Airport.
     

     
    The islets (or motus), in clockwise order starting from the southwest corner, include: Onetahi (with regulated airstrip and site of The Brando Resort), Honuea, Tiaruanu, Motu Tauvini (Tauini), Motu Ahurea (Auroa), Hiraanae, Horoatera (Oroatera), Motu 'Ā'ie, Tahuna Iti, Tahuna Rahi, Reiono, Motu One (emerging sandbank) and Rimatu'u (with an ornithology reserve).
     
    Tetiaroa is extraordinary well done in realism, you could be really here, seeing Brando's dream...
     

     
    Marlon Brando "discovered" Tetiꞌaroa while scouting filming locations for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, which was shot on Tahiti and neighboring Moorea. After filming was completed, Brando hired a local fisherman to ferry him to Tetiꞌaroa. It was "more gorgeous than anything I had anticipated," he marveled.
     
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    The Leeward Islands literally "Islands Under-the-Wind" are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, in the South Pacific Ocean. They lie south of the Line Islands (part of Kiribati), east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands (also part of French Polynesia). Their area is 404 km2 and their population is over 36,000.
    The westernmost Leeward Islands comprise a three atoll group: Manuae (also known as Scilly Atoll); Motu One atoll (also known as Bellinghausen), the most northerly of the Leeward Islands; and Maupihaa atoll (also known as Mopelia) to the southeast.
     

     
    Bora Bora
    Bora Bora is part of the central island group of the Leeward Islands in the South Pacific. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (125 nautical miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising up to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu; the highest point is at 727 m (2,385 ft). Bora Bora is part of the Commune of Bora-Bora, which also includes the atoll of Tūpai. The main languages spoken in Bora Bora are Tahitian and French. However, due to the high tourist population, many natives of Bora Bora have learned to speak English.
     
    "Mystic" is the word used with Bora Bora, or even "Bali Ha'i" which is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The name refers to a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable...  a lot has been said that Bali Ha'i is not Bora Bora, but actually based on the real island of Ambae (formerly Aoba Island). Ambae is located in Vanuatu...  but the images and the feel of Bali Ha'i is totally the Tahitian island. 
     

     
    The peaks Pahia and Otemanu are excellent with the custom textures, as is the detail of the island's infrastructure, small ports and all the island's locales are very well done.
     

     
    But this is a review, not a travelogue...  jumping from the latest Windward to the earlier Leeward packages, there is a difference? Also a time difference of 2½ years, and more significantly a different X-Plane era, Eleven not Twelve. Although the Leeward scenery was updated to XP12 (my guess the water)...  a lot of the XP11 elements remain, like the + trees, no active textures or burnt-in ambient occlusion effects, and not the more modern 3d style XP12 foliage. It makes a slight, but significant difference to the look and feel of this earlier scenery. It feels more plainer, even slightly flat compared to the "lush" vibrant Windward... don't get me wrong Leeward is very good, but looks not as condensed or luscious with realism as the X-Plane 12 effects created in the eastern part of Tahiti.
     
    Bora Bora Airport
    Bora Bora Airport (NTTB, 1505 meters), also known as Motu Mute Airport, is an airport serving Bora Bora (Leeward Islands, Society Islands, French Polynesia) and handles about 300.000 passengers annually. The airport is located on the islet of Motu Mute and is served by Air Tahiti with ATR 42 and ATR 72 propjets
      Bora Bora Airport
    Aéroport de Bora Bora
    IATA: BOB - ICAO: NTTB

    11/29 1,505m (4,938ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m
     

     
    Rustic and Polynesian, the excellent terminal building is not only for the air, but also a sea pier for servicing the hotels set out around the lagoon. The quaint Control Tower has housing and service buildings around it.
     

     
    Like at Moorea, there are a significant number of luxury Overwater bungalows at Bora Bora, and they are all set out around the lagoon areas, very evident, and the hotels existing here in Bora Bora are all replicated in detail.
     

     
    There are five Helipads set around the lagoon, mostly at the hotel sites. The one at "Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone" is the base for the operations around the area.
     
    Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone
    The hub of Tahiti Nui Helicopters on Bora Bora is located about 8 kilometers south of NTTB, XHNTTZ
     

     
    Four Seasons Helipad
    A helipad next to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, about 6 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTF
     
     

     
    Saint Regis Helipad
    A helipad next to The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, about 8 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTS
     

     
    Le Meridien Helipad
    A helipad is set next to Le Meridien Bora Bora, about 8 kilometers south- east of NTTB, XHNTTM
     

     
    InterContinental Helipad
    A helipad next to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, about 9 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTI
     

     
    Raiatea Airport
    Raiatea Airport, also known as Uturoa Airport, is an airport on Raiatea and handles about 245.000 passengers annually. Raiatea is the second largest island of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, and has an elevation of 1017 meters. In the north of Raiatea lies Tahaa, and the islands are enclosed by a single coral reef.
     

     
    Raiatea Airport
    IATA: RFP - ICAO: NTTR

    07/25 1,200m (3,937ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL6 ft / 2 m
     
    Set on the north coast of Raiatea, is Raiatea (Uturoa) Airport NTTR, the runway is actually on reclaimed land on the coral sea.
     

     
    Like all these Tahiti sceneries the airport quality is excellent. With very detailed South Pacific rustic buildings and feel... highly authentic.
     

     
    There is only one Helipad on Raiatea...
     
    Le Taha‘a Helipad
    A helipad next to the Le Taha‘a Island Resort, about 17 kilometers north-west of NTTR, XHNTTT
     

     
    Huahine
    Huahine measures 16 km (10 mi) in length, with a maximum width of 13 km (8 mi). It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several islets, or motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The total land area is 75 km2. The two islands are separated by a few hundred metres of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. A small bridge was built to connect Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. The Island's highest point is Turi, at 669 m elevation.
     

     
    Huahine – Fare Airport
    Huahine – Fare Airport is the airport serving the island of Huahine in French Polynesia. The airport is located in the northern part of the commune of Fare, on the Island of Huahine Fare,
     
    Huahine – Fare Airport
    IATA: HUH, ICAO: NTTH

    07/25 1,500m (4,921ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL7 ft / 2 m
     

     
    Unusually here it is a tiled roof not thatched on the Fare Airport terminal building, but still in a Polynesian style. Again the airport is extremely well done with separate tower and service buildings, it is easy to find from the air as well with it's position.
     

     
    Maupiti
    Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic island in the archipelago, 315 kilometres (196 miles) northwest of Tahiti and 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Bora Bora. It has a population of 1,286 people. The largest town is Vaiea. The island is a "near atoll", consisting of a central volcanic peak surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef with four motu: Auira, Pa'ao, Tuanai, Tiapaa and Pitiahe.  The lagoon has an area of 27 square kilometres (10 square miles) and the central island has an area of 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) and a maximum elevation of 372 metres (1,220 feet).
     

     
    Maupiti Airport
    Maupiti Airport is serving the island of Maupiti and the airport handles about 23.000 passengers annually. It is positioned on the Northeastern coast of the island. Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago. The 3136 ft runway 08/26, sticks right out into the surrounding waters, the locale is really well designed (and detailed) to discover.
     
    Maupiti Airport
    IATA: MAU - ICAO: NTTP

    08/26 956m (3136ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL15 ft / 5 m
     

     
    Maupiti Airport is another great gateway to paradise.
     
    Last and interesting in the Leeward Islands is...
     
    Tupai
    Tupai is also called Motu Iti, is a low-lying atoll in Society Islands, French Polynesia. It lies 19 km to the north of Bora Bora and belongs to the western Leeward Islands. This small atoll is only 11 km2 in size. Its broad coral reef encloses a shallow sandy lagoon. There are almost continuous long wooded motus on Tupai's reef. Tupai has no permanent residents apart from some workers in its coconut plantations. Tupai is a low-lying atoll and consists of two larger and a few smaller islands surrounding the lagoon.
     
    Tupai Airport is a private airfield on Tupai, inaugu- rated in 2001, and its use is restricted. It is noted as NTTU ICAO designator, there are no charts for the airfield.
     

     
    Of course all atolls and small coral islands throughout both packages are also all represented and customised with realistic water and landmass textures. There is also a a lot of vehicle traffic, and animated water traffic that gives off a buzz to the sceneries....  it is a very comprehensive set of sceneries, the best you could imagine for this "Exotic" part of the South Pacific.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting in these sort of packages is not the focus of the scenery... here it is of course basic island lighting. There is another element in looking at the night images to consider. X-Plane (12) and it's current state has not very refined lighting. It is all very over-exposed and quite large at their sources with large flares. So it isn't really very realistic? Here are my arrival images into Faa's NTAA Rwy 04. The lighting looks like cascading lava down the mountainsides? The airport PPT was actually quite hard to make out?
     

     
    The Faa's NTAA International lighting is perfectly fine, maybe a a better tone of light would have been more realistic... but overall it was good, but the external lighting sorta overwhelms it. The arrival globe lighting at the terminal's entrances are however a masterstroke.
     

     
    Papeete lighting is autogen(erated) but looks okay, the port area is very good.
     

     
    Moorea's lighting gives a more generalisation of the lighting across all the Windward Islands...  typical island lighting, with no highlights.
     

     
    In the Leeward Package the lighting is the older XP11 system, and it actually looks far better, as the heavy XP12 flare is more contained. Bora Bora Airport is bright and very nicely lit and the whites, whiter. Highlights are the eerie blue glow of the Overwater hotel bungalows, snaking themselves out into the Lagoons...
     

     
    My advice is to revisit the packages if Laminar Research refines the lighting of X-Plane 12, you may be pleasantly surprised, as the current night-lighting is way overdue for attention in the Simulator.
     
    Summary
    "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner.
     
    The first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. The second release is the newer one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
     
    The Leeward scenery was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
     
    Tahiti & Windward Islands XP Package, includes the Tahiti Gateway of Faa‘a International Airport NTAA, and Papeete the capital of Tahiti, other islands and airports include Moorea Airport NTTM and Tetiaroa Airport NTTE (Brando Island), and three Heliports; Taaone NTHP, Taravao NTHV and Afareaitu NTHF.
     
    Bora Bora & Leeward Islands XP Package, includes Bora Bora Airport NTTB, Raiatea Airport NTTR, Huahine – Fare Airport NTTH, Maupiti Airport NTTP and Tupai Airport NTTU, a private airfield on Tupai. Heliports are five on Bora Bora; Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone (XHNTTZ), Four Seasons Helipad (XHNTTF), Saint Regis Helipad (XHNTTS), Le Meridien Helipad (XHNTTM), InterContinental Helipad (XHNTTI), and on Raiatea is a Helipad at Le Taha‘a Resort (XHNTTT).
     
    Maps2X-Plane are masters at creating extensive custom terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures for the landscape and the sea. And all the extensive land and tropical sea elements are all covered here. All land autogen is (South Pacific) custom, and significant areas and island locale's are covered like Papeete and port areas.  Airport vehicle and sea (water) traffic is also extensive. All airports including the Tahiti gateway Faa'a Airport are all extensively modeled and created, and the unique "South Sea Island" feel in the X-Plane 12 Simulator is very evident.
     
    Notable is that the older Bora Bora Leeward, does have still a lot of the older X-Plane 11 elements (older + trees and water) that doesn't have that later X-Plane 12 density and quality, Leeward is very, very good, but Windward is still better in feel and look. Lighting is actually the opposite, X-Plane 12 non-refined lighting is worse than the older but more stable X-Plane 11 lighting on the Bora Bora package. Notable is that both XP12 and XP11 versions are all included in the packages.
     
    In your face is the price, $36.99 for the older Bora Bora, and $38.99 for newer Tahiti... together $75.98 for scenery! Obviously an investment, but you get a lot of scenery including tons of detail and extensive features for your hard earned dollars. It's a brilliant set of flexible packages to use as well...  now with International Long Haul available, regional island services, helicopter inter-island and hotel services, and even just cruising around exploring the islands in your floatplane, every aspect is covered, and it all comes with a huge quality impact and the immense detail of custom terrain and noted photo-quality base mesh, as a travelogue it is all an explorers delight.
     
    Overall, it is the excellent "South Pacific" feel that is the immense drawcard to the Tahitian scenery, can a simulator recreate the realism of the real world, well almost and these sets of Tahitian Sceneries show off the immense talents of X-Plane 12, its all so close, you can now almost touch it with these packages....   Highly Recommended.
    ______________________
     

     
    Yes! the Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands, Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands by Aerosoft is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    Price is US$38.99
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (January 26th 2024)  
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    Price is US$36.99
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (December 12th 2022) ___________________________
     
    Installation
    Installation of Tahiti/Bora Bora XP  is done through Aerosoft one installer:
    Aerosoft One Universal After you have installed Aerosoft One, click on  
     
    ENTER PRODUCT KEY (under the Library Tab)
    ...   enter the Serial Number provided in this order. This will give you the option to download the airport. Note the different X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 installations.
     
    The Tahiti/Bora Bora scenery is downloaded into a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut. Full Install size (both packages) is 15.34Gb.
     
    Documents
    Standard Aerosoft Manuals Tahiti (9 pages), Bora Bora (22 pages) are in both English and German.
     

     
    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -ToLiss A321 XP12 - (X-Plane.orgStore) US$89.99
    - Cessna 172-1000 - X-Plane Default fleet - Free (with X-Plane 12)
    -ATR72-500 v1.2 - Riviere 1.2.0 - - (X-Plane.org) - Free
     
    Tahiti Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    18th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

     
  21. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft   
    Scenery Review : Society Islands - Leeward and Windward by Aerosoft
     
    Say Tahiti, or Bora Bora and the thoughts are always... "Exotic". French South Pacific plus it's amazing scenery makes this a destination in one of the absolute top hits of any one's bucket list. It has always been on my "most" desired destination. Actually I have been to Tahiti, but a long time ago, way back in the 1970's, but also just passing through en-route to Australia. Yes I have always wanted to go back...
     
    So what of Tahiti in X-Plane. Actually it was well serviced by the XPFR developers, but as usual you wanted a more overall detailed and extremely high quality package to bring out the best of the Simulator and the astonishing South Pacific area.
     
    This "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner. In so any installations are now through the Aerosoft One application, just add in the authorisation number, and the tool will do the install for you.
     
    As noted the Maps2X-Plane Tahiti series is in two different area packages, the first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. This package was quickly updated to X-Plane 12 (v1.1) almost immediately.
     
    The second release is the new one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
     
    Although the Leeward scenery was excellent as we shall see, it was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
     

     
    You could say French Polynesia is in the middle of nowhere, because it is, set deep into the central South Pacific Ocean. This makes connections hard and extremely expensive, as the area is a fair flight from any landmass. But there are direct flights from the U.S. West coast, Rarotonga and New Zealand, lately Hawaii was also added.
     

     
    I did an example flight from AKL (Auckland) to PPT (Papeete), it is a route distance of 2,242 nm, translated to 4h34m flightime, and right on the edge of the A321's endurance in fuel. Tricky as there are no alternative options out here. In this eastward direction, then maybe the Cook Islands (625 nm before Tahiti) as an option, but once past that point, then there are no other places to land.
     

     
    As we are going into NTAA - Faa'a International Airport, we will cover the "Windward" package first..
     

     
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    The Windward Islands are the eastern group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the southern Pacific Ocean. These islands were also previously named the Georgian Islands in honour of King George III of the United Kingdom. The capital of the administrative district is Papeete on the island of Tahiti.
    Tahiti, Moorea, and Mehetia are volcanic islands. Tetiaroa and Mai'ao are outer coral Atolls...  all these noted areas are available in the Maps2X-Plane Windward package.
     

     
    Faa'a International Airport
    Faa'a International Airport, also known as Tahiti International Airport is the international airport of French Polynesia, located in the commune of Faaa, on the island of Tahiti. It is situated 5 km (3.1 mi) southwest of Papeete, the capital city of the overseas collectivity. It opened in 1960. Regional air carrier Air Tahiti and international air carrier Air Tahiti Nui are both based at the airport.
     
    The focus and highlight of both sceneries is the Faa'a International Airport, and one very long runway 3420m (11,220ft).
     
    Faa'a International Airport
    Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a
    IATA: PPT - ICAO: NTAA

     
    04/22 3,420m (11,220ft) Bituminous
    Elevation AMSL 2m/5 ft
     

     
    First views of Faa'a International are simply excellent, the vista has Moorea Island in the background. How far X-Plane has come with X-Plane 12...  as finally we have realistic tropical reef water, and it is excellent here in surrounding the airport perimeters.
     

     

     
    In visiting South Pacific Islands, you sort of have to time travel back a few decades. Everything is not bright, shiny or new down here. At PPT, it feels like a past time, with an airport that has only basic facilities, no airbridges here, but certainly a nice South Pacific welcome.
     
    The Polynesian look and feel is very evident in the terminal building. Expertly reproduced here by Maps2X-Plane...
     

     
    Airport detail is quite exceptional, everything is covered both airside and landside with "Huge" detail...   "dense" I call it...  but there is a lot to admire and take in here. There is a fair bit of animated traffic airside (nicely done), but there is not much traffic movement on the ramps. A few regional connections and the odd International service is about it. But the majority of international aircraft moving in or out are significantly big long haul jets...  the old Pan Am 707's in the 60's, then DC-10's and MD11's dominated in the UTA years, Boeing 747's and even A380's can get into here. Now it is the odd A340, B787, A350, but also now the long thin route single-aisle aircraft ETOPS, which are a common sight.
     

     
    Airport infrastructure is again excellent, with maintenance hangars and three (available) Heli pads, there is plenty of static aircraft and vehicles, but the detail in gates, ramp equipment and general clutter items is excellent. West side, is the Fire Station/Control Tower and administration buildings, an inter island area (Moorea & Tetiꞌaroa) is set over here as well. More helipads are also available.
     

     
    There is no 3d grass? but the field detail is excellent, with great drainage (including even drainage pipes) and fencing. Surfaces are also first rate, with wear/tear and filled cracks. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is also available here, great for those summer tropical rainstorms.
     

     
    I have just been on a South Pacific cruise (talk about a coincidence)... The South Pacific has a certain look, lush vegetation and foliage, the bright vibrant colours and open sided tired buildings. It is the "feel" of the islands, and this scenery totally translates that "feel" into X-Plane. I could easily have been back in Nouméa (New Caledonia), Port Vila (Vanuatu) or Suva (Fiji )with this scenery. This Tahiti scenery is shockingly very good in translating that Pacific look and feel into the Simulator...  Again the "dense" feel and infrastructure of the Faa'a locale is excellent, it fills right up to the airport boundary and even into it, creating a perfect diorama of the area...  note the vista of Mount 'Orohena in the background.
     

     
    The capital Papeete is too the north of the airport. Again the density of the capital is really well replicated, extremely realistic and includes the extensive Papeete Port area for approach realism.
     

     
    This arrival area's aspects are all shockingly good, more real world detail than a simulator... you have to be impressed.
     
    There are two heliports (pads) on Tahiti... 
     
    Taaone
    The heliport NTAA of Hôpital du Taaone, located about 8 kilometers east of Faa'a International. Again no expense was spared by Maps2X-Plane to create the authentic hospital for the Tahiti scenery.
     

     
    Taravao
    The heliport NTHV of Hôpital de Taravao, is located about 40 kilometers southeast of NTAA
     

     
    Let us not forget that Map2X-Plane's main speciality is terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures, for the landscape and the sea. Highly evident in their amazing Faroe Islands package. It is the same here for Tahiti and these same quality custom textures. In that they cover all the areas in both Windward and Leeward packages, plus create those excellent tropical water effects. They are dazzling to absorb.
     

     
    Moorea Airport
    Moorea Airport (NTTM, 1230 meters), also know as Moorea Temae Airport, is a regional airport on the island of Moorea, located 15 kilometers west of Tahiti. It is served by Air Tahiti, and can accommodate aircraft up to the ATR 72 in size. Moorea is a volcanic, mountainous island with the highest point Mount Tohivea at 1207 meters, and for its enclosed reef that surrounds the entire island.
     

     
    Moorea Airport is also known as Temae Airport (IATA: MOZ, ICAO: NTTM) or Moorea Temae Airport for its location near the village of Temae in northeastern Moorea. The airport is located 7.5 km northeast of Afareitu, the island's main village. It is set almost directly across from Papeete.
     

     
    The Moorean Polynesian style terminal has had a lot of attention, brilliantly done here by Maps2X-Plane, it is a genuine walkaround the area and be part of the scenery experience... almost photographic in detail.
     

     
    Airport infrastructure is first rate, with a small field tower, cargo and admin area, and housing for airport staff.
     

     
    Close by Temae is replicated, as are all the locales on the island with custom autogen, very realistic it is...   highlight is the excellent water and realistic reefs.
     

     
    Moorea's coastline is excellent, with great vistas to explore, either by helicopter or seaplane... The Island's Hilton Luxury Overwater bungalows are also well replicated.
     

     
    Afareaitu
    There is one helipad NTHF on Moorea...  it is sited at the Hôpital de Afareaitu, located about 8 kilometers south of NTTM.
     

     
    Tetiꞌaroa
    Tetiaroa Airport (NTTE, 770 meters) is a regional airfield on Onetahi, one of 12 islets of the Tetiaroa atoll, located 53 kilometers directly north of Tahiti. The islets are under a 99-year lease contracted by the famous actor Marlon Brando, and is home to "The Brando Resort". It is served by private flights by Air Tetiaroa, departing at a private terminal at Faa‘a International Airport.
     

     
    The islets (or motus), in clockwise order starting from the southwest corner, include: Onetahi (with regulated airstrip and site of The Brando Resort), Honuea, Tiaruanu, Motu Tauvini (Tauini), Motu Ahurea (Auroa), Hiraanae, Horoatera (Oroatera), Motu 'Ā'ie, Tahuna Iti, Tahuna Rahi, Reiono, Motu One (emerging sandbank) and Rimatu'u (with an ornithology reserve).
     
    Tetiaroa is extraordinary well done in realism, you could be really here, seeing Brando's dream...
     

     
    Marlon Brando "discovered" Tetiꞌaroa while scouting filming locations for the film Mutiny on the Bounty, which was shot on Tahiti and neighboring Moorea. After filming was completed, Brando hired a local fisherman to ferry him to Tetiꞌaroa. It was "more gorgeous than anything I had anticipated," he marveled.
     
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    The Leeward Islands literally "Islands Under-the-Wind" are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, in the South Pacific Ocean. They lie south of the Line Islands (part of Kiribati), east of the Cooks and north of the Austral Islands (also part of French Polynesia). Their area is 404 km2 and their population is over 36,000.
    The westernmost Leeward Islands comprise a three atoll group: Manuae (also known as Scilly Atoll); Motu One atoll (also known as Bellinghausen), the most northerly of the Leeward Islands; and Maupihaa atoll (also known as Mopelia) to the southeast.
     

     
    Bora Bora
    Bora Bora is part of the central island group of the Leeward Islands in the South Pacific. The main island, located about 230 kilometres (125 nautical miles) northwest of Papeete, is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. In the center of the island are the remnants of an extinct volcano, rising up to two peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu; the highest point is at 727 m (2,385 ft). Bora Bora is part of the Commune of Bora-Bora, which also includes the atoll of Tūpai. The main languages spoken in Bora Bora are Tahitian and French. However, due to the high tourist population, many natives of Bora Bora have learned to speak English.
     
    "Mystic" is the word used with Bora Bora, or even "Bali Ha'i" which is a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. The name refers to a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable...  a lot has been said that Bali Ha'i is not Bora Bora, but actually based on the real island of Ambae (formerly Aoba Island). Ambae is located in Vanuatu...  but the images and the feel of Bali Ha'i is totally the Tahitian island. 
     

     
    The peaks Pahia and Otemanu are excellent with the custom textures, as is the detail of the island's infrastructure, small ports and all the island's locales are very well done.
     

     
    But this is a review, not a travelogue...  jumping from the latest Windward to the earlier Leeward packages, there is a difference? Also a time difference of 2½ years, and more significantly a different X-Plane era, Eleven not Twelve. Although the Leeward scenery was updated to XP12 (my guess the water)...  a lot of the XP11 elements remain, like the + trees, no active textures or burnt-in ambient occlusion effects, and not the more modern 3d style XP12 foliage. It makes a slight, but significant difference to the look and feel of this earlier scenery. It feels more plainer, even slightly flat compared to the "lush" vibrant Windward... don't get me wrong Leeward is very good, but looks not as condensed or luscious with realism as the X-Plane 12 effects created in the eastern part of Tahiti.
     
    Bora Bora Airport
    Bora Bora Airport (NTTB, 1505 meters), also known as Motu Mute Airport, is an airport serving Bora Bora (Leeward Islands, Society Islands, French Polynesia) and handles about 300.000 passengers annually. The airport is located on the islet of Motu Mute and is served by Air Tahiti with ATR 42 and ATR 72 propjets
      Bora Bora Airport
    Aéroport de Bora Bora
    IATA: BOB - ICAO: NTTB

    11/29 1,505m (4,938ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL11 ft / 3 m
     

     
    Rustic and Polynesian, the excellent terminal building is not only for the air, but also a sea pier for servicing the hotels set out around the lagoon. The quaint Control Tower has housing and service buildings around it.
     

     
    Like at Moorea, there are a significant number of luxury Overwater bungalows at Bora Bora, and they are all set out around the lagoon areas, very evident, and the hotels existing here in Bora Bora are all replicated in detail.
     

     
    There are five Helipads set around the lagoon, mostly at the hotel sites. The one at "Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone" is the base for the operations around the area.
     
    Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone
    The hub of Tahiti Nui Helicopters on Bora Bora is located about 8 kilometers south of NTTB, XHNTTZ
     

     
    Four Seasons Helipad
    A helipad next to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, about 6 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTF
     
     

     
    Saint Regis Helipad
    A helipad next to The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, about 8 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTS
     

     
    Le Meridien Helipad
    A helipad is set next to Le Meridien Bora Bora, about 8 kilometers south- east of NTTB, XHNTTM
     

     
    InterContinental Helipad
    A helipad next to the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, about 9 kilometers south-east of NTTB, XHNTTI
     

     
    Raiatea Airport
    Raiatea Airport, also known as Uturoa Airport, is an airport on Raiatea and handles about 245.000 passengers annually. Raiatea is the second largest island of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, and has an elevation of 1017 meters. In the north of Raiatea lies Tahaa, and the islands are enclosed by a single coral reef.
     

     
    Raiatea Airport
    IATA: RFP - ICAO: NTTR

    07/25 1,200m (3,937ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL6 ft / 2 m
     
    Set on the north coast of Raiatea, is Raiatea (Uturoa) Airport NTTR, the runway is actually on reclaimed land on the coral sea.
     

     
    Like all these Tahiti sceneries the airport quality is excellent. With very detailed South Pacific rustic buildings and feel... highly authentic.
     

     
    There is only one Helipad on Raiatea...
     
    Le Taha‘a Helipad
    A helipad next to the Le Taha‘a Island Resort, about 17 kilometers north-west of NTTR, XHNTTT
     

     
    Huahine
    Huahine measures 16 km (10 mi) in length, with a maximum width of 13 km (8 mi). It is made up of two main islands surrounded by a fringing coral reef with several islets, or motu. Huahine Nui (Big Huahine) lies to the north and Huahine Iti (Little Huahine) to the south. The total land area is 75 km2. The two islands are separated by a few hundred metres of water and joined by a sandspit at low tide. A small bridge was built to connect Huahine Nui and Huahine Iti. The Island's highest point is Turi, at 669 m elevation.
     

     
    Huahine – Fare Airport
    Huahine – Fare Airport is the airport serving the island of Huahine in French Polynesia. The airport is located in the northern part of the commune of Fare, on the Island of Huahine Fare,
     
    Huahine – Fare Airport
    IATA: HUH, ICAO: NTTH

    07/25 1,500m (4,921ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL7 ft / 2 m
     

     
    Unusually here it is a tiled roof not thatched on the Fare Airport terminal building, but still in a Polynesian style. Again the airport is extremely well done with separate tower and service buildings, it is easy to find from the air as well with it's position.
     

     
    Maupiti
    Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic island in the archipelago, 315 kilometres (196 miles) northwest of Tahiti and 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Bora Bora. It has a population of 1,286 people. The largest town is Vaiea. The island is a "near atoll", consisting of a central volcanic peak surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef with four motu: Auira, Pa'ao, Tuanai, Tiapaa and Pitiahe.  The lagoon has an area of 27 square kilometres (10 square miles) and the central island has an area of 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) and a maximum elevation of 372 metres (1,220 feet).
     

     
    Maupiti Airport
    Maupiti Airport is serving the island of Maupiti and the airport handles about 23.000 passengers annually. It is positioned on the Northeastern coast of the island. Maupiti is the westernmost volcanic high island in the archipelago. The 3136 ft runway 08/26, sticks right out into the surrounding waters, the locale is really well designed (and detailed) to discover.
     
    Maupiti Airport
    IATA: MAU - ICAO: NTTP

    08/26 956m (3136ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL15 ft / 5 m
     

     
    Maupiti Airport is another great gateway to paradise.
     
    Last and interesting in the Leeward Islands is...
     
    Tupai
    Tupai is also called Motu Iti, is a low-lying atoll in Society Islands, French Polynesia. It lies 19 km to the north of Bora Bora and belongs to the western Leeward Islands. This small atoll is only 11 km2 in size. Its broad coral reef encloses a shallow sandy lagoon. There are almost continuous long wooded motus on Tupai's reef. Tupai has no permanent residents apart from some workers in its coconut plantations. Tupai is a low-lying atoll and consists of two larger and a few smaller islands surrounding the lagoon.
     
    Tupai Airport is a private airfield on Tupai, inaugu- rated in 2001, and its use is restricted. It is noted as NTTU ICAO designator, there are no charts for the airfield.
     

     
    Of course all atolls and small coral islands throughout both packages are also all represented and customised with realistic water and landmass textures. There is also a a lot of vehicle traffic, and animated water traffic that gives off a buzz to the sceneries....  it is a very comprehensive set of sceneries, the best you could imagine for this "Exotic" part of the South Pacific.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting in these sort of packages is not the focus of the scenery... here it is of course basic island lighting. There is another element in looking at the night images to consider. X-Plane (12) and it's current state has not very refined lighting. It is all very over-exposed and quite large at their sources with large flares. So it isn't really very realistic? Here are my arrival images into Faa's NTAA Rwy 04. The lighting looks like cascading lava down the mountainsides? The airport PPT was actually quite hard to make out?
     

     
    The Faa's NTAA International lighting is perfectly fine, maybe a a better tone of light would have been more realistic... but overall it was good, but the external lighting sorta overwhelms it. The arrival globe lighting at the terminal's entrances are however a masterstroke.
     

     
    Papeete lighting is autogen(erated) but looks okay, the port area is very good.
     

     
    Moorea's lighting gives a more generalisation of the lighting across all the Windward Islands...  typical island lighting, with no highlights.
     

     
    In the Leeward Package the lighting is the older XP11 system, and it actually looks far better, as the heavy XP12 flare is more contained. Bora Bora Airport is bright and very nicely lit and the whites, whiter. Highlights are the eerie blue glow of the Overwater hotel bungalows, snaking themselves out into the Lagoons...
     

     
    My advice is to revisit the packages if Laminar Research refines the lighting of X-Plane 12, you may be pleasantly surprised, as the current night-lighting is way overdue for attention in the Simulator.
     
    Summary
    "Society Islands" is a set of two packages by the renowned Maps2X-Plane, the same developer house that created both the excellent Faroe Islands, Svalbard and Seychelles XP, all the sceneries reviewed here are Maps2X-Plane releases, but released under the Aerosoft banner.
     
    The first was "Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands", released now back in September 2021 for X-Plane 11, of which you could call the "Western" area. The second release is the newer one "Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands", and again what you would call the "Eastern" area, both packages together then covers the whole Society Island territory.
     
    The Leeward scenery was slightly compromised in that it was only a regional scenery, with only local inter-island flying. This latest Windward package is significant because it adds in the main gateway or Faa'a International Airport, situated on the main island of Tahiti. This added aspect then connects all the Tahitian areas together, not only the international routes, but also the local domestic routes from the main gateway. The now combined area is also quite significantly wide to explore and to service.
     
    Tahiti & Windward Islands XP Package, includes the Tahiti Gateway of Faa‘a International Airport NTAA, and Papeete the capital of Tahiti, other islands and airports include Moorea Airport NTTM and Tetiaroa Airport NTTE (Brando Island), and three Heliports; Taaone NTHP, Taravao NTHV and Afareaitu NTHF.
     
    Bora Bora & Leeward Islands XP Package, includes Bora Bora Airport NTTB, Raiatea Airport NTTR, Huahine – Fare Airport NTTH, Maupiti Airport NTTP and Tupai Airport NTTU, a private airfield on Tupai. Heliports are five on Bora Bora; Tahiti Nui Helicopters Pago dropzone (XHNTTZ), Four Seasons Helipad (XHNTTF), Saint Regis Helipad (XHNTTS), Le Meridien Helipad (XHNTTM), InterContinental Helipad (XHNTTI), and on Raiatea is a Helipad at Le Taha‘a Resort (XHNTTT).
     
    Maps2X-Plane are masters at creating extensive custom terrain mesh with photo-realistic textures for the landscape and the sea. And all the extensive land and tropical sea elements are all covered here. All land autogen is (South Pacific) custom, and significant areas and island locale's are covered like Papeete and port areas.  Airport vehicle and sea (water) traffic is also extensive. All airports including the Tahiti gateway Faa'a Airport are all extensively modeled and created, and the unique "South Sea Island" feel in the X-Plane 12 Simulator is very evident.
     
    Notable is that the older Bora Bora Leeward, does have still a lot of the older X-Plane 11 elements (older + trees and water) that doesn't have that later X-Plane 12 density and quality, Leeward is very, very good, but Windward is still better in feel and look. Lighting is actually the opposite, X-Plane 12 non-refined lighting is worse than the older but more stable X-Plane 11 lighting on the Bora Bora package. Notable is that both XP12 and XP11 versions are all included in the packages.
     
    In your face is the price, $36.99 for the older Bora Bora, and $38.99 for newer Tahiti... together $75.98 for scenery! Obviously an investment, but you get a lot of scenery including tons of detail and extensive features for your hard earned dollars. It's a brilliant set of flexible packages to use as well...  now with International Long Haul available, regional island services, helicopter inter-island and hotel services, and even just cruising around exploring the islands in your floatplane, every aspect is covered, and it all comes with a huge quality impact and the immense detail of custom terrain and noted photo-quality base mesh, as a travelogue it is all an explorers delight.
     
    Overall, it is the excellent "South Pacific" feel that is the immense drawcard to the Tahitian scenery, can a simulator recreate the realism of the real world, well almost and these sets of Tahitian Sceneries show off the immense talents of X-Plane 12, its all so close, you can now almost touch it with these packages....   Highly Recommended.
    ______________________
     

     
    Yes! the Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands, Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands by Aerosoft is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Society Islands XP - Tahiti & Windward Islands
    Price is US$38.99
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (January 26th 2024)  
    Society Islands XP - Bora Bora & Leeward Islands
    Price is US$36.99
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 GB VRAM Video Card - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 5.7 GB  - Installation is done through Aerosoft One Current version: 1.1 (December 12th 2022) ___________________________
     
    Installation
    Installation of Tahiti/Bora Bora XP  is done through Aerosoft one installer:
    Aerosoft One Universal After you have installed Aerosoft One, click on  
     
    ENTER PRODUCT KEY (under the Library Tab)
    ...   enter the Serial Number provided in this order. This will give you the option to download the airport. Note the different X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 installations.
     
    The Tahiti/Bora Bora scenery is downloaded into a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut. Full Install size (both packages) is 15.34Gb.
     
    Documents
    Standard Aerosoft Manuals Tahiti (9 pages), Bora Bora (22 pages) are in both English and German.
     

     
    Review System Specifications
    Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -ToLiss A321 XP12 - (X-Plane.orgStore) US$89.99
    - Cessna 172-1000 - X-Plane Default fleet - Free (with X-Plane 12)
    -ATR72-500 v1.2 - Riviere 1.2.0 - - (X-Plane.org) - Free
     
    Tahiti Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    18th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  22. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23   
    Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23
     
    Very early classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser.
     
    Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15.
     

     
    The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
     
    Update v1.1...  This review has been updated to version v1.1, this includes a set of changes that came out only a few weeks after this original release review was published, the changes are noted here v1.1
     
    Installation
    The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside.
     

     
    All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... 
     

     
    Detail and modeling
    For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away.
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production...  But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding...  and an highly impressive debut for the Studio!
     
    And all with an aircraft so rare...  the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. 
     
    But this is outstanding work...  all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all.
     

     
    If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage.
     

     
    This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward.
     
    The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank!
     

     
    The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub.
     

     
     There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door...  all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds.
     

     
    Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird.
     

     
    The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground?
     

     
    It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors...  this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them.
     
    Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel.
     

     
    The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser.
     

     
    Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle.
     

     
    -v1.1- in the update Hangar 23 added in a visual marker on to both of the trim winder panels, it's only a small round brass tack, but it does show you your current trim position.
     

     
    Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass
     

     
    Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank).
     
    Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure...  top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right.
     
    It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation.
     
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Added in the update were two instrument items both related to the "Carburettor Heat". A knob lower dash, and a gauge middle panel centre right.
     


    Menu
    There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style"
     

     
    Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard.
     
    The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel
     

     
    We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action.
     

     
    The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option.
     

     
    There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done.
     

     
    Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable).
     

     
    This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu...  as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them.
     
    Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them.
     
    Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central.
     
    An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels.
     

     
    The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below.
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Introduced a set of "Floats" for the aircraft. There was actually a Float version of the Aircruiser, notably two aircraft were converted...  noted here as a "Floatplane". The "Float" version can be selected on the "Flight Configuration" menu.
     

     
    "Huge" and chunky floats they are, there is no Amphibian variant (land wheels)
     

     
    The waterborne Aircruiser sits nicely on the water, also moves around on the fluids really well considering the size and weight of the machine. You need those extra huge extra tail fins to keep the aircraft straight.
     

     
    There are several ways to control the water rudder up/down movement. One (the easiest) is to set a keyboard command to "Toggle water rudder", or use the pull (up) or (down) slider on the floor, left behind the flap lever. Water rudder steerage is via your rudder pedals.
     

     
    Float detail is like the rest of the aircraft, exceptionally well done, lovely cleats and perfect cables
    ____________
     
    Flying the Aircruiser 66-75
    You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground.
     

     
    You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker...  then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... 
     

     
    Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it.
     
    I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well.
     

     
    For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more.
     
    Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line...
     

     
    The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well...  so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out...  it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft.
     

     
    Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof...
     

       
    You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age...  it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp
     

     
    Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design.
     

     
    Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder.
     
    This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation).
     
    When activated (via the menu, or Compass)  the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate.
     


    If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well...  but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles....
     

     
    You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long...  the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading.
     

     
    You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it...  so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation.
     
    -v1.1- In the update a lot of attention was given to pitch stability and improved rudder response, also this adjustment also works better with the "Sparrow" Autopilot, in both manual and automatic orientations the aircraft felt far more stable, more directional, than with the past banking action...  certainly a big improvement in this area.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night...
     

     
    The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use.
     

     
    Externally there are only again two light switches...  Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft...
     

     
    Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR...  *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark...
     
    Sounds...  are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM.
     
    -v1.1- There was a lot of attention to sounds in the v1.1 update...  there was improved cockpit sound origins and changed FMOD engine sounds (which both will be updated incrementally going forward as improvements happen). The developer was at least very responsive to comments, this area certainly needed more better aural sounds.
     
    Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view...
     

     
    ....   if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing.
     
    Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension...  but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one.
     

     
    Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline.
     

     
    ...  but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try....  but I have to abort and climb out!
     

     
    I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit.
     
    I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft.  
     

     
    Lower and slower this time....  and it feels right.
     

     
    Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... 
     

     
    I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip...  not bad I say.
     
    Liveries
    There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark?
     

    _____________
    Summary
    Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's.
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11.
     
    The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish.
     
    It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu.
     
    The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I usually despise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive.
     
    Added was a significant update a few weeks after the initial release. This was v1.1, and it included aircraft "Floats", brass markers for the trims, carburettor heat knob and gauge, better sounds and better flight dynamics with improved pitch stability and rudder response. Also added for convenience was the Skunkcrafts Updater.
     
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago....  Highly Recommended. 
    ________________
     

     
    The Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
     
    Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11   (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac   (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1 (Feb 15th 2024)
    Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version)   Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required   Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips...  even Limitations and Operations.
      Designed by Hangar 23
    Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________  
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    12th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

     
  23. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23   
    Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23
     
    Very early classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser.
     
    Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15.
     

     
    The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
     
    Update v1.1...  This review has been updated to version v1.1, this includes a set of changes that came out only a few weeks after this original release review was published, the changes are noted here v1.1
     
    Installation
    The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside.
     

     
    All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... 
     

     
    Detail and modeling
    For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away.
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production...  But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding...  and an highly impressive debut for the Studio!
     
    And all with an aircraft so rare...  the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. 
     
    But this is outstanding work...  all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all.
     

     
    If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage.
     

     
    This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward.
     
    The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank!
     

     
    The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub.
     

     
     There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door...  all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds.
     

     
    Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird.
     

     
    The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground?
     

     
    It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors...  this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them.
     
    Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel.
     

     
    The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser.
     

     
    Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle.
     

     
    -v1.1- in the update Hangar 23 added in a visual marker on to both of the trim winder panels, it's only a small round brass tack, but it does show you your current trim position.
     

     
    Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass
     

     
    Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank).
     
    Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure...  top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right.
     
    It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation.
     
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Added in the update were two instrument items both related to the "Carburettor Heat". A knob lower dash, and a gauge middle panel centre right.
     


    Menu
    There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style"
     

     
    Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard.
     
    The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel
     

     
    We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action.
     

     
    The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option.
     

     
    There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done.
     

     
    Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable).
     

     
    This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu...  as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them.
     
    Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them.
     
    Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central.
     
    An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels.
     

     
    The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below.
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Introduced a set of "Floats" for the aircraft. There was actually a Float version of the Aircruiser, notably two aircraft were converted...  noted here as a "Floatplane". The "Float" version can be selected on the "Flight Configuration" menu.
     

     
    "Huge" and chunky floats they are, there is no Amphibian variant (land wheels)
     

     
    The waterborne Aircruiser sits nicely on the water, also moves around on the fluids really well considering the size and weight of the machine. You need those extra huge extra tail fins to keep the aircraft straight.
     

     
    There are several ways to control the water rudder up/down movement. One (the easiest) is to set a keyboard command to "Toggle water rudder", or use the pull (up) or (down) slider on the floor, left behind the flap lever. Water rudder steerage is via your rudder pedals.
     

     
    Float detail is like the rest of the aircraft, exceptionally well done, lovely cleats and perfect cables
    ____________
     
    Flying the Aircruiser 66-75
    You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground.
     

     
    You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker...  then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... 
     

     
    Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it.
     
    I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well.
     

     
    For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more.
     
    Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line...
     

     
    The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well...  so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out...  it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft.
     

     
    Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof...
     

       
    You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age...  it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp
     

     
    Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design.
     

     
    Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder.
     
    This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation).
     
    When activated (via the menu, or Compass)  the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate.
     


    If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well...  but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles....
     

     
    You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long...  the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading.
     

     
    You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it...  so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation.
     
    -v1.1- In the update a lot of attention was given to pitch stability and improved rudder response, also this adjustment also works better with the "Sparrow" Autopilot, in both manual and automatic orientations the aircraft felt far more stable, more directional, than with the past banking action...  certainly a big improvement in this area.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night...
     

     
    The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use.
     

     
    Externally there are only again two light switches...  Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft...
     

     
    Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR...  *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark...
     
    Sounds...  are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM.
     
    -v1.1- There was a lot of attention to sounds in the v1.1 update...  there was improved cockpit sound origins and changed FMOD engine sounds (which both will be updated incrementally going forward as improvements happen). The developer was at least very responsive to comments, this area certainly needed more better aural sounds.
     
    Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view...
     

     
    ....   if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing.
     
    Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension...  but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one.
     

     
    Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline.
     

     
    ...  but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try....  but I have to abort and climb out!
     

     
    I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit.
     
    I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft.  
     

     
    Lower and slower this time....  and it feels right.
     

     
    Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... 
     

     
    I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip...  not bad I say.
     
    Liveries
    There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark?
     

    _____________
    Summary
    Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's.
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11.
     
    The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish.
     
    It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu.
     
    The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I usually despise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive.
     
    Added was a significant update a few weeks after the initial release. This was v1.1, and it included aircraft "Floats", brass markers for the trims, carburettor heat knob and gauge, better sounds and better flight dynamics with improved pitch stability and rudder response. Also added for convenience was the Skunkcrafts Updater.
     
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago....  Highly Recommended. 
    ________________
     

     
    The Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
     
    Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11   (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac   (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1 (Feb 15th 2024)
    Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version)   Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required   Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips...  even Limitations and Operations.
      Designed by Hangar 23
    Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________  
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    12th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

     
  24. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Blueb in Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23   
    Classic Aircraft Review Updated : Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23
     
    Very early classic aircraft are very interesting, more so when they are so rare. This aircraft is about as rare as you could could imagine, only 23 of them were built between 1930 and 1938. But they have a significant place in Aviation history, only to be replaced by the United States federal regulations that prohibited single-engine transports on United States airlines, virtually eliminating future markets for the Aircruiser.
     
    Bellanca Aircruiser and Airbus were high-wing, single-engine aircraft built by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, Delaware. The aircraft was built as a "workhorse" intended for use as a passenger or cargo aircraft. It was available with wheels, floats or skis. The aircraft was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt or a Whitney Hornet engine. The Airbus and Aircruiser served as both commercial and military transports. The first Bellanca Airbus was built in 1930 as the P-100. An efficient design, it was capable of carrying 12 to 14 passengers depending on the cabin interior configuration, with later versions carrying up to 15.
     

     
    The Aircruiser's distinctive shape, gave it the moniker of "The Flying Ws" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's . Is it a Bi-Plane, sort of, as the lower W is still a part aerodynamic surface. When you look at the design closely, it is extremely clever in holding up and bracing the main wing, as for also being a support for the landing wheels.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is a "Tail-Dragger", most were back in this 1930's period, but the early evolution of the multi-seat passenger aircraft is highly perceivable, back in the day, it was, still is a very innovative design. For an aircraft, it looks heavy, but sturdy is probably the best description
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. Still the Aircruiser is an interesting one in the choice of aircraft to debut their talents in doing their own Studio. Technical information of the Aircruiser is rare, but there are two surviving in existence, "CF-BTW," a 1938 model in the Ericson Collection in Madras, Oregon, incredibly the aircraft is still airworthy. The second is "CF-AWR" named the "Eldorado Radium Silver Express", built in 1935, and is under restoration at the Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
     
    Update v1.1...  This review has been updated to version v1.1, this includes a set of changes that came out only a few weeks after this original release review was published, the changes are noted here v1.1
     
    Installation
    The download for the Aircruiser is 1.18GB, with an installation of 1.38Gb. But the installation file/folder system is a slightly complicated. Hangar 23 has selected to put the main Aircruiser file within a folder of a folder? So the first folder is "Aircraft" followed by a folder named "Hangar 23" , with the actual "Aircruiser" aircraft folder inside, or buried in layers of folders? Honestly the first "Aircraft" folder is not required, so just install the "Hangar 23" Folder directly into your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder with the Aircruiser folder inside.
     

     
    All the installation notes are in the excellent manual, but the doubled up "Aircraft" folder creates confusion... 
     

     
    Detail and modeling
    For an aircraft of this size, an installation size of 1.38Gb can only mean one thing, quality in detail. Remember this is a first time effort from Hangar 23, but the detail and quality is outstanding. Both an X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the package, but it is the XP12 version on show here with it's more exponential PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects and lighting. And it really blows you away.
     

     
    X-PlaneReviews are usually quite lenient when the studio name is new, in overlooking sometimes even the obvious mistakes or poor areas of first time production...  But already with the quality of work behind Ulrich, you go straight into the "Masters" level, but this is still a first release from Hangar 23 is just outstanding...  and an highly impressive debut for the Studio!
     
    And all with an aircraft so rare...  the beauty of Simulation is that iconic and classical aircraft can be recreated, their forgotten time, brought back and to live again, or in this case fly again. At the core of this Aircruiser Simulation is just that very aspect, bringing the past alive again for you to absorb and interact with. 
     
    But this is outstanding work...  all the wing braces and support wires are sensationally done, every bolt, castle nut and Cotter Split Pins, are modeled here in detail, leading edge panels are worn and authentic, the struts in detail are excellent, you have to admire it all.
     

     
    If you are a detail junkie, who loves to spend time investigating the quality of the work, then you will love this aircraft, as it's a museum piece brought alive. The massive top wing looks canvas, and you can see the frame that the material covers, it's a lovely formed wing as well. Actually two separate wings, attached to the fuselage.
     

     
    This was the golden age of innovation for aircraft, the transition from wood, canvas to metal, so you get sometimes the mixture of the two eras in the one development as the changes moved on forward.
     
    The detail is just gobsmacking. The panels are perfect and so are the bolts that hold them in place, windows and it's thick glass are worn and glazed to perfection... The Cyclone SGR-1820 it is rated at 760 hp, as is the giant three-bladed geared propeller, and all gloriously there to admire. The engines internal intricate detail of metal and brass pipework is very impressive.
     

     
    The Aircruiser is flat sided, there are no curves in the doors and the windows are more nautical portholes than aircraft, but it's all beautifully done, and it is all built like a tank!
     

     
    The two main landing wheels hubs, tyres are massive, but simplistic as well, detail is right down to large CirClip to hold the rim onto the hub.
     

     
     There are four doors that can be opened, two small high cockpit access doors, one left passenger door, and a very big odd A shaped cargo door...  all four doors are so authentic to the design, with the Cargo door in two sections that folds.
     

     
    Honestly, it is like a flying shed inside, totally weird.
     

     
    The interior is impressively done, metal and wood dominate, SO much weight in the construction, how did this thing get off the ground?
     

     
    It's all metal piping and blocks of wood, many trees were felled in the creation of the interior, a far, far cry from the ultra clean, state-of-the-art LED lighting Airbus interiors...  this is doing it rough. The passenger seats are a pipeframe, with a strung canvas seat, you wouldn't want to go to far on them.
     
    Pilot seats are a metal bucket, the pilot gets the luxury of a cushion, the CoPilot the hard metal base. The cushion is required not for comfort, but to be elevated to see over the extremely high instrument panel.
     

     
    The yoke is a big hefty iron thing, beautifully skillfully designed and modeled, you can hide it via a hotspot centre yoke. The side quadrant is again excellent, with the Throttle (T), Propeller (P) and Mixture (M) levers, notable that in 90 years the controls are still as relevant then as now. Lower rudder pedals are also big hefty iron contraptions, you need to be Popeye with his strong arms and legs to match, to fly the Aircruiser.
     

     
    Notable are the two trim winders, one left for pitch/elevator adjustment, and another on the forward roof for the rudder trim. Point to make is that there is no visual trim setting, so you don't know if they are both centred or not, but a guide is two full winder rotations each way. Note the old fashioned brake lever and flap selector handle.
     

     
    -v1.1- in the update Hangar 23 added in a visual marker on to both of the trim winder panels, it's only a small round brass tack, but it does show you your current trim position.
     

     
    Main instrument panel is amazing, this is simply a panel with inset instruments that is highly authentic. Note the boxed Whiskey Compass
     

     
    Again the layout is quite familiar... with a Standard Six layout. Top left is the Airspeed Indicator (MPH/KNTS), Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), very basic Rate of Turn Indicator, below offset is a Directional Vacuum Gyro (Heading), Altmeter and Horizontal Reference (bank).
     
    Far left is a RPM dial, Manifold Pressure, and top right a CYL TEMP. Right panel has Volts, OAT (Outside AirPressure), Oil Temp/Pressure and Fuel Pressure...  top Ignition Switch, Fuel Gauges (twin), PPH (Pounds Per Hour) fuel flow and a ELGIN clock. Lower left are a row of switches that cover Battery, Generator, Nav (lights), Landing (light), Starter, Coil Booster, Fuel Pump, Panel Lights and Cabin Light. Far, far left is the fuel tank cock; Both, Left & Right.
     
    It's all so impressively well done, the flaked tired black metal facia is very authentic to an aged old aircraft of this generation.
     
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Added in the update were two instrument items both related to the "Carburettor Heat". A knob lower dash, and a gauge middle panel centre right.
     


    Menu
    There is a banner menu "Hangar23Aircruiser" that has two menu options; "Options" and "GPS Style"
     

     
    Options: There are six options, Autopilot Toggle, Strain Gauge Toggle, Real Autorudder Toggle, Steerable Tailwheel, Show Pilot and Use Clipboard.
     
    The Aircruiser comes with a very basic 2-Axis "Sparrow" Autopilot, basically a set "Holds" Pitch and Roll Rate. Second option is to add on a "Strain Gauge" or Trim indicator. Both are positioned lower centre panel
     

     
    We will go more into the "AutoRudder" in flight, but if you want to disconnect or activate the the AutoRudder you can do so via the menu option, you can also use the hotspot on the (front) Whiskey Compass to do the same action.
     

     
    The Tailwheel is steerable by the rudder pedals, but if you want a free castoring wheel, you can disconnect it via the "Steerable Tailwheel" option.
     

     
    There is the option to show or hide the pilot. He is fully animated in rudder and pitch (forwards & backwards) and seems to have his hands full in controlling the aircraft, he is very good here and well done.
     

     
    Next in the "options" menu is the "Use Clipboard". In the right side pocket there is a VR (Virtual Reality) clipboard (also clickable).
     

     
    This really the "Fuel & Weights" menu...  as you can adjust the fuel and Pilots, Passenger, Cargo weights by scrolling them in. They can be set in Lbs or Kgs and the "Load", "Empty" (weight) and Full Gross weight can be seen. You can "Save" your settings, and then "Load" them.
     
    Another note is that between flights the Aircruiser will save and reload the same settings to the next flight, until you adjust them.
     
    Last two separate items on the "Options" menu are "Reset AP Tuning" (Autopilot on/off) and "Reset AutoRudder Tuning", resets the rudder position to central.
     
    An option not shown in the menus, is that if the power is switched off, then the chocks are positioned on the front wheels.
     

     
    The second setting of the menu tab is the "GPS Style", here you can select between the Laminar GNS 530 GPS, or one of the two RXP (Realistic) GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units if you have that external additional option. I don't have the Realistic option so that install is not visible here. The GPS units are position on the roof forward, with also a default custom style COMM radio above, and a Transponder panel below.
     

     
    - Update v1.1 - Introduced a set of "Floats" for the aircraft. There was actually a Float version of the Aircruiser, notably two aircraft were converted...  noted here as a "Floatplane". The "Float" version can be selected on the "Flight Configuration" menu.
     

     
    "Huge" and chunky floats they are, there is no Amphibian variant (land wheels)
     

     
    The waterborne Aircruiser sits nicely on the water, also moves around on the fluids really well considering the size and weight of the machine. You need those extra huge extra tail fins to keep the aircraft straight.
     

     
    There are several ways to control the water rudder up/down movement. One (the easiest) is to set a keyboard command to "Toggle water rudder", or use the pull (up) or (down) slider on the floor, left behind the flap lever. Water rudder steerage is via your rudder pedals.
     

     
    Float detail is like the rest of the aircraft, exceptionally well done, lovely cleats and perfect cables
    ____________
     
    Flying the Aircruiser 66-75
    You can't at all see out of the Aircruiser, the long nose is way up there, blocking any view, as the tail is way back down there behind you. The only option is to lean very far left to try to see the ground.
     

     
    You would think the Aircruiser being so old-fashioned would be a pain to start, but it's quite benign and easy as long as you do the right procedure. Fuel on "Both", Fuel Pump on, then the most important switch, the "Boost Coil" switch to on. Mixture just to above the (Auto) lean red marker...  then up the "Starter" switch, the prop will turn, then gradually fire into a running engine... 
     

     
    Both the start up and shutdown of the Cyclone SGR-1820 is exceptional, no fast artificial start or shut down here, but it all comes with stutters and engine positions that are very noticeable, as is the churn of the starter motor against the pressures "clock", "clocking" of the starting engine, its a great and a very realistic re-enactment of the starting, and then the stutter of the engine shutting down, I loved it.
     
    I have a horrible history of trying to control tail-draggers, spinning loose tail-wheels have given me loads of grief. But not here though... as mentioned you can disconnect the tail-wheel to be free, if you love that uncontrollable chaos. But for the rest of us the tail-wheel acts through the rudder pedals, but also through the usual "Tiller" yaw. This makes the Aircruiser very easy to manoeuvre around on the ground or on taxiways. Braking and the toe-brakes work normally as well.
     

     
    For once you not fighting the aircraft on the ground to go into the direction you want, but the view internally is hard work to keep it all on the narrow taxiway. So you have a habit of visually taxiing externally until you understand the aircraft more.
     
    Very important is to adjust the rudder trim 50%, or a full winder turn to the right. The SGR-1820 is a very powerful force on takeoff, the asymmetric thrust is huge, it pulls you so hard to the left, that even full rudder is required off the line...
     

     
    The Aircruiser for all it's massive weight is sprightly off the line, your working the pedals to find the right balance to keep the aircraft straight, it does thankfully nicely change direction tail-wise to your inputs, very quickly the tail is up at 40 MPH, and there is tons of lift from those wings, at 60 MPH+ and your now flying. The point from "off the line" to "Airborne" is very short, so no flaps are required, time to adjust your direction is short as well...  so once off the ground I was already veering right away from the runway, I didn't try to correct it, but just went with the flow and climbing turn, then leveled it all out straighter when higher. With practise with your rudder inputs you could keep it in more of a straight line out...  it's a total feel thing, a feel for the aircraft.
     

     
    Pitch trimming is nice, but I recommend a keyboard input than the badly positioned side wall-winder, same for the rudder trim on the roof...
     

       
    You have so much power, the Aircruiser is super fast for an aircraft of this size and age...  it's a very physical aircraft to fly, you use the rudder all the time, then finally finding the right amount of input to keep the aircraft in a straight line, a tough idea, with the amount of asymmetric thrust coming at you all the time. The 66-75, as featured here, could produce up to 730 hp from sea level through 5800 ft, where then the power built higher to ~760 hp
     

     
    Maximum speed is 144 kn (165 mph, 266 km/h), (but it feels far faster), Range is an amazing 608 nmi (700 mi, 1,130 km), and the Service ceiling is 22,000 ft (6,700 m), but the average cruising altitude is around 10,000ft, still fast and high for a 90 year old design.
     

     
    Hangar 23 has provided a tool, called the "AutoRudder function", a sort of A.I. tool to take the strain out of flying the Aircruiser. On the ground the rudder control functions as usual. So it was important to properly trim the aircraft prior to takeoff and landing. In flight, the autorudder system then takes control of the rudder, and will attempt to keep a slip angle as dictated by the yaw axis of the joystick. This allows the pilot to slip the aircraft even while the autorudder is active, such that even crosswind operations become possible with the system active. In other words it flies like the X-Plane tool when you have no yaw axis joystick, the wings are connected to the rudder.
     
    This gauge will merely prompts the pilot on the direction of trim needed to take load off the “servos”. Unlike the autopilot, the autorudder does not disconnect under a high strain, nor is it dependent upon the aircraft’s electrical system to operate (Cable operation).
     
    When activated (via the menu, or Compass)  the autorudder has a visible gauge, located on the yaw trim handle base plate.
     


    If you are going to deactivate the autorudder during normal flight, first adjust the rudder trim according to the strain gauge, otherwise a very sudden and very unpleasant disconnection will occur. It works very well...  but switched off the AirCruiser has a habit of yawing left, almost going around in circles....
     

     
    You can try to trim it out? but it's hard to find a neutral flight, I did find a position input that worked, slight right rudder and slight stick right as well, but it's tiring for any distance, short or long...  the AutoPilot is not much better, tricky to use is to centre the heading.
     

     
    You adjust via the "Roll" or "Up/Dn" switches, as per the three lights, red (left), white (centre) and green (right). But there is a delay in the operation that can make you over trim, I never quite mastered it...  so again even on the Autopilot, I went into a slight bank in left handed circles and couldn't the aircraft fly in a straight line unless under manual control. It's the sort of tool that all of a sudden you will understand it and get it right, with time and persistence. This system is like the Sperry Type A-3A. You will need to trim the aircraft perfectly, so the heading is as close to where you want to go and level, flying as straight as you can, then turn on the AP, trying to trim later while the Autopilot is active is a far harder situation.
     
    -v1.1- In the update a lot of attention was given to pitch stability and improved rudder response, also this adjustment also works better with the "Sparrow" Autopilot, in both manual and automatic orientations the aircraft felt far more stable, more directional, than with the past banking action...  certainly a big improvement in this area.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting internally and externally is basic, which is to be expected. There is one switch for the instrument lights, and another switch for the cabin lights, two spider-web looking ones forward and two roof lights rear, it all looks quite nice at night...
     

     
    The GPS install looks bright and also odd in this old cabin, but it's very well done and easy to use.
     

     
    Externally there are only again two light switches...  Navigation, red, green and white tail, the other light is a left wing mounted Landing light, that look and is quite effective. There are no strobes or beacon lights on the aircraft...
     

     
    Flight notes by Hangar 23 notes "DAY - NIGHT* - VFR...  *Poor visibility and the antiquated aircraft lighting scheme will present additional challenges during night flights". In other words it is not really an aircraft to be flown in the dark...
     
    Sounds...  are a bit of a mixed bag. Overall they are excellent, the startup is an aural experience, and so is shutdown, external engine noises are very good right through the range of power outputs, that's the good. The poor is the buzzy interior sounds, that have a sameness of a consistent droning buzz with no fluctuations, even over a short distance I was distracted or even bored with the noise, The Aircruiser maybe really like that in the air, but I didn't really connect with them. The lower power outputs (on the throttle) are however better. Notable is the Aircruiser engine’s 16:11 gear ratio, for the propeller spins slower than the engine, but all readouts and aural sounds are based on the engine and adjustments should be made according to engine state rather than calculated propeller RPM.
     
    -v1.1- There was a lot of attention to sounds in the v1.1 update...  there was improved cockpit sound origins and changed FMOD engine sounds (which both will be updated incrementally going forward as improvements happen). The developer was at least very responsive to comments, this area certainly needed more better aural sounds.
     
    Time to head back to Shoreham (EGKA). A tricky place to lineup, for the mass of trees around the field. All the runways are hidden from view...
     

     
    ....   if the system is active on final approach, the autorudder will check if the rudder trim has been appropriately set for the upcoming power reduction. If the trim is not suitably centered, the system will intervene and reset the rudder trim to near center. This may be noted by the clicking of the trim’s chain drive, as well as a mild rolling tendency during finals. Myself I turned the automation off to feel the aircraft on the approach phase, plus a single wind of the rudder trim, to reset it as it was on the takeoff phase. The handling felt normal, as did the approach. If however the autorudder is active, then it will disconnect on landing.
     
    Nose up to rub off the speed, as there is no "white flap use zone", I guessed in setting the flaps to below 100 MPH, actually below 90 MPH, and you get a slight lift on each extension...  but the transition now down to 80MPH with now a slight descent into Shoreham it all felt perfect. The flap lever or floor handle is extremely well done. It's both a brake handle and Flap handle in one.
     

     
    Over the coastline, and there is still no visual on the runways. Then finally the field is in view.... so I drop, in also trying to miss the treeline.
     

     
    ...  but I realise I am too high, and becoming too fast in trying to get down to the grass strip. It's still a very good try....  but I have to abort and climb out!
     

     
    I will note the throttle inputs. If the Aircruiser is trimmed (correctly, or well). The Throttle control is very, very good, as you can control the height via the power. Full power to climb out was excellent (after that slight delay), but I found the Aircruiser to be quite normal in the approach/landing phase as any other heavy single-engined General Aviation aircraft. However you have to be aware of the weight around you with using the throttle power, and that tendency to yaw right with the huge power increase, but you soon adapt to the characteristics and the personality of the aircraft... fun? yes immensely, also a challenge to get the skills right in this cockpit.
     
    I didn't want to lose sight of the field layout, now I had found it. So it was a tight turn around back to the other opposite threshold. But be aware that too tight a bank and the Aircruiser will slip badly and lose height towards the lowered wing, there a sweet spot to find in the bank and before the slip starts to emerge, all this is required to get the best rotation of the aircraft.  
     

     
    Lower and slower this time....  and it feels right.
     

     
    Then slowly descend, descend "keep it steady" and I touch around 65 MPH, I am not to worried about the speed, as the Aircruiser on grass will dramatically drag itself slower. Toe brakes are still the best tool to stop the aircraft rotating hard right, then left on you, as this happens once the tail goes down, it's tricky, but with practise it works in keeping you straight... 
     

     
    I'm down, and arrested before the end of the grass strip...  not bad I say.
     
    Liveries
    There are six liveries, one Blank (default), and two liveries that are blank white, but one has a metal nose cover, and another has the same metal nose cover & metal tanks. All are nostalgic except the off soft purple Landmark?
     

    _____________
    Summary
    Extremely rare aircraft are always interesting, this Bellanca Aircruiser or Airbus, is one of the rarest as only 23 aircraft were built between 1930 -1938, it is also the famed "The Flying W" and this hardy design was still flying in Canada well into the 1970's.
     
    Hangar 23 is a not really a new entrant to the X-Plane Developers affiliation, but a ex-TorqueSim developer. And this unusual rare aircraft is their first project for the newly-named studio and the X-Plane Simulator. The Aircruiser is available as two separate packages for both X-Plane 12 (as shown here) and X-Plane 11.
     
    The quality here with the Hangar 23 Bellanca aircraft is very much on show, as it is highly developed and polished. Modeling is absolutely first rate and the detail is highlighted by this experienced and mature developer. As the aircraft is so rare, the detail in the reproduction is simply outstanding, to the point of recreating an era from a long time ago, and with a couple of modern tools thrown in as well, but not to the distraction of the authenticity of the original aircraft. Obviously this is a project of a labour of love, but still delivered with quality and polish.
     
    It is old fashioned in design, but the Aircruiser comes with so modern helpers like a "Sparrow" 2-Axis Autopilot, a custom AutoRudder feature, and GNS 530 GPS, and the option for Realistic RXP GNS 530 or GNS 750 GPS units. Tail-Wheel control can be via X-Plane style commands or free-castoring, that makes this aircraft easy for first time Tail-Dragger aircraft learning. Other options include Strain Gauges, Steerable Tailwheel, a fully animated Pilot and Clipboard with a Weights & Balance menu.
     
    The Aircruisers unorthodox design does make it a challenge to fly, but I have had far worse and more difficult machines to cope with in the past. The helpers of course help, but once you master that huge powerful force forward, the "Shed" like design is oddly very nice and involving to fly. I usually despise Tail-Draggers, but loved the Aircruiser quite a lot, no, a really lot more. The quality performance and well thought out physics, do bring the totally unique experience alive.
     
    Added was a significant update a few weeks after the initial release. This was v1.1, and it included aircraft "Floats", brass markers for the trims, carburettor heat knob and gauge, better sounds and better flight dynamics with improved pitch stability and rudder response. Also added for convenience was the Skunkcrafts Updater.
     
    It is certainly a huge credit to the skills of the developer of what they have delivered here, certainly it is a very unique Simulation, but totally authentic as well, Secondly the release also shows off X-Plane 12's excellent dynamics and quality lighting. The Aircruiser 66-75 is very rare, but you can absorb yourself in this 1930's Golden Era of Aviation, and this aircraft is highly relatable to the same machine created over 90 Years ago....  Highly Recommended. 
    ________________
     

     
    The Aircruiser 66-75 v1.1 by Hangar 23 is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:
     
    Aircruiser 66-75 Price is US$29.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11   (2 separate packages) Windows or Mac   (Linux not supported) 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.1 (Feb 15th 2024)
    Download Size: 1.2 GB (each version)   Aircraft download is 1.18Gb, and unpacked, then installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 1.38Gb. Authorization on startup is required   Documents X-Plane Aircruiser Handbook.pdf The provided manual is excellent, a lot of detail, installation, setup and flying tips...  even Limitations and Operations.
      Designed by Hangar 23
    Support forum for the Aircruiser 66-75 ________________  Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EGKA - Shoreham - Brighton City Airport by NKdesign (X-Plane.orgStore) US$15.00 ________________  
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    12th March 2024
    Copyright©2024: 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
     

     
  25. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : FPS Embraer E-195 v1.2.3   
    NEWS! - Aircraft Updated : FPS Embraer E-195 v1.2.3
     

     
    Renamed (from Supercritical Simulations Group) Flight Procedures Simulation, have released an update to their excellent Embraer E-Jet 195. This is version 1.2.3 (not one hard to forget). This is a comprehensive update that covers a lot of adjustments and bug changes that followed on with the aircraft on it's release in July 2023...  the changelog is quite long!
     
    v1.2.3 Changelog - Improved  Sasl code for best performance in FPS - Improved Cockpit, External, PBR and material gloss textures - Improved Speedbrake system that now works with the default X-Plane and/or custom FPS  speedbrake command - Improved Pushback that now removes the chocks when engaged - Improved Flight dynamics and airfoil data (new lift model) - Improved Taxing behavior and land nose gear concerns  - Improved Engine model  with  new Ram compression - Improved Navigation vertical patch drawing - Improved Navigation Display that only show runways above 3400 feet now - Improved FMA RNAV(non precision approach) RNP APP indicators fixed to meet exact the real ones. - Improved Engine TO-1,TO-2, and TO-3 with ALT/TEMP  new calculation for FLEX power - Improved FMC landing speed calculation  that now uses the landing weight prediction and can be called from tablet while in the ground - Improved Flight Director  TAKEOFF that now respects the altitude waypoint speed/turn transition - Improved FMOD sounds like engines, internal cockpit, cabin and external, winds and air cond - Fixed Cabin Differential pressure and  ADV message with a differential value - Fixed Altitude alert sound not working when hit 1000ft to the altitude dailled - Fixed Ice Condition synoptic indicator  that was always visible - Added Chocks object to the external model - Added Thermal textures and cockpit windsheld temp.   The full X-PlaneReviews release review of the FPS E-195 is here: Aircraft Review : Embraer E-195 by Flight Procedures Simulation  
     


     

     
     

     
    Owners of the previous E-Jets by SSG (only the SSG version) can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off. Please find the discount code in your original E-Jets Invoice.
     
    So overall if you want a thoroughly decent E-Jet, without the extreme price, then you can't go past this significantly upgraded E-Jet 195 from Flight Procedures Simulations. You could say it is proven and tested, certainly for the older users of the SSG version, who will quickly settle in and be comfortable in their newer updated surroundings. It is great if a clever update to already a good aircraft, and older purchasers of the previous E-Jets by SSG can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off, and that is a great value deal to upgrade the aircraft to X-Plane 12, and all it's modern features. So the E-195 is highly recommended for that great value price, without sacrificing the quality. ___________________________
     
     
     
    Yes! - the Embraer E-195 by Flight Procedures Simulation v1.2.3 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    FPS Embraer E-195
    Price is On Sale...   US$55.00
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows or  Mac (not compatible with Linux)
    8GB + VRAM Minimum Download Size: 718 MB
    Current version : 1.2.3 (March 1st 2024))   Owners of the previous E-Jets by SSG (only the SSG version) can get this FPS E-195 for 20% off. Please find the discount code in your original E-Jets Invoice.   Designed by Flight Procedures Simulation (ex SSG)
    Support forum for the FPS 195
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    8th March 2024
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

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