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Stephen

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    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review - YBCS Cairns International Airport Australia by Taimodels   
    Scenery Review - YBCS Cairns International Airport Australia by Taimodels
     
    Australia is strange place to visit, by sea or air, as you can travel thousands of kilometers past the northern coastline until you reach any major population centre. More oddly is the continent's relationship with Asia, again to the north. In some ways Asia is on Australia's doorstep, but to the Australians they could be half the world away. It is a remote land.
     
    You have to in reality fly to Brisbane on Australia's east middle coast, or to Perth on the country's lower west coast if you want to mix with the main population centres, Sydney and Melbourne are set even far lower again, with Melbourne on the southern coast, the rest is just a wide open barren landscape. Those were your only main port choices until only less than a decade ago.
     
    Things are changing. Two northern ports however are in particular very important to this change, one is Darwin's International Airport, and it is still not what you would call a big airport as in also being part of a military base. The second is Cairns International, in Far North Queensland (FNQ), and it is strategically Australia's closest airport to Asia. 
     
    Cairns Airport goes back to 1928, but it was not until the second world war the Australian Government bought the airport for use by the Royal Australian Air Force. In 1943, the main runway was hard surfaced and lengthened to handle military aircraft. It was also used by the United States Army Air Forces as a transport base, with the 33d Troop Carrier Squadron (374th Troop Carrier Group) operating from the base during 1942.
     
    During the mid-1960s, the airport was upgraded and the runway further lengthened to 2,020 m (6,630 ft) and also strengthened so jets could land.
    During the 1970s, Australia's two domestic airlines Trans Australia Airlines and Ansett then provided regular scheduled services out of CNS to most Australian capital cities and also Papua New Guinea, while in 1975 Air Niugini became the first international airline to commence flights out of Cairns, to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In 1982, redevelopment of the airport commenced. This involved further lengthening of the runway to 2,600 m (8,500 ft) (making it the longest runway in Queensland) and construction of a new terminal building.
     
    At the end of the 70's decade the second stage of redevelopment was completed. This included a new separate International Terminal, associated aprons and taxiways, costing an estimated $80 million. The main runway was again extended, to 3,196 m (10,486 ft). In 1997, the third stage of redevelopment was completed, during which a three-storey Airport Administration Centre was also constructed providing 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft) of office space.
     
    In January 2010, Auckland International Airport Limited announced that it had purchased 24.6 per cent of North Queensland Airports (NQA). Then a $55 million Domestic Terminal upgrade was completed in August 2020. Check-in facilities was expanded into a common-user facility for all airlines, and the building again enlarged. Five new jet bridges replaced the existing three old bridges.
     
    In early 2023, it was announced that the International Terminal (Terminal 1) would undergo its first major upgrade in April 2023 to a value of AUD$40-50 million. The first of which would feature the installation of four new glass air-bridges and the re-cladding of the exterior of the building.
     
    Everything in passenger numbers were building nicely over the last decade, mostly Asian tourists, coming in to view the famous Great Barrier Reef which is situated very close to Cairns, then the pandemic rolled in and the numbers flat-lined, and yet have to recover. But operations are already starting to open up with international Jetstar services to Osaka–Kansai, Tokyo–Narita in Japan.
     
    But if one airport in Australia is primed for huge expansion it is CNS Cairns, as noted it is the most northern of Australian Airports, but it's neighbour Papua New Guinea is a big market, not to mention surrounding regional services, FI-FO (Flyin - Flyout) services to the mining industry is also a huge traffic bonanza, and the famous Australian Flying Doctor also has a facility here...  Its a busy place, for somewhere so remote.
     
    For X-Plane users Australia has not been at the front of quality scenery, in fact for a simple demographic population, the releases have been dismal, there is even a poor representation in freeware, never mind quality payware, but the last few years it has got marginally better. Orbx delivered an excellent Brisbane BNE and even a city package that is well worth the investment, Perth is served by Axonos as is the Gold Coast YBCG. But there is currently no MEL - Melbourne, the biggest port in Australia, and that aspect that shows how lacking we are over here, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide are also non-existent, the last Alice Springs YBAS actually made me cry it was so badly made.
     
    So thank god for Taimodels. First they delivered an excellent YSSY - Sydney International last year, and now here we have again another Australian scenery from Taimodels, this one is YBCS - Cairns International.
     
    Obviously I wanted to do the usual BNE-CNS route (QF 5908). Departure from Brisbane was under a heavy low cloud, its been like this for a week now, with the odd patches of rain. The service today is by the Zibo Boeing 737-800, and it is a 2h 5m + flight.
     

     
    You always know when you are approaching Cairns, it is brighter up here, hotter too.
     

     
    Most approaches into Cairns will mean an easy parallel track, mostly you arrive via RWY 15, as RWY 33 is a more tighter approach and departure, actually through the Goldsborough Valley, or a left tight 015º turn after departure.
     

     
    Cairns Airport
    IATA: CNS - ICAO: YBCS - WMO: 94287

    15/33 3,156m (10,354ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL 10 ft/3 m
     
    Your approach is usually via SUNNY, to D16.0 and then track 150º until you collect the ILS (109.9 ICS)
     

     
    I always loved a Cairns Approach, as you have be really on your alerts and as to get the landing sequence right, for there is a wall of high terrain to your west, so you can't afford to mess up the approach.
     

     
    Now you will get your first clear view of YBCS, most of the airport (terminals) are to the eastern side.
     

     
    As you pass over the Barron River, there is some very well designed and placed Approach Lighting, this why you buy Payware, because you get detail.
     

     
    Finals!
     

     
    Both ends of 15/33 have turnarounds...  ground linage is very impressive, if a little confusing from the cockpit.
     

     
    No guidance boards, but a marshaller... and there is a little, but still ample clutter, but no animated ramp traffic? so it all feels slightly empty.
     

     
    Looks like Cairns, certainly feels like Cairns...   so it must be the Cairns I know so well.
    _________________ 
     

     
    The single long 15/33 magnetic runway 3,156m (10,354ft) now dominates, as the shorter sealed light aircraft runway 12/30 has been decommissioned. The Terminal layout is a square L shape with the earlier Domestic Terminal sited North/South, and the newer International Terminal sited East/West.
     

     
    The airport has two passenger terminals on the eastern side of the airport on reclaimed mangrove swamp. They are approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the Cairns Central Shopping Centre and situated on Airport Avenue off Sheridan Street (Captain Cook Highway). The terminals are in two separate buildings 200 m (660 ft) from one another. The Domestic terminal is number 2 and it has five jet bridges and 17 gates, while the International Terminal is number 1 and it currently has six jet bridges and ten gates in total.
     
    Domestic
    In all my time in X-Plane, the CNS Domestic terminal has been a long rectangle box, with five stick airbridges sticking out, that is freeware for you. But here we get the fully replicated domestic terminal from Taimodels...  yes its very good, as Taimodels are very, very good at modeling terminals.
     

     
    Impressive are the five scissor walkways to each airbridge, they are a very nice detail of the terminal's hodge-podge design. Landside is extremely well done, with great glass and signage. But the area is devoid of any life, no passengers or vehicles to make it look like a busy airport, so what is wrong with a bit of life clutter?
     
    All of YBCS uses the SAM3 animated airbridges for aircraft connection, plugin is needed of course, but it's a nice interactivity.
     

     
    Arrivals, Departure and the main Terminal internal lounge are all internally present, nicely done, but again devoid of any life, a shame as it's well done.
     

     
    International Terminal
    I'm not sure of the presented International Terminal is the older, or newer? but will say it is the current facility in being very colourful. The design is very basic, really a big shed style terminal, but again Taimodels have done a perfect job in recreating the look and feel of the facility.
     

     
    The building detail is first rate, there is also the added bonus of animated traffic through the international arrivals area, and even a bus.
     
    Internally the International Terminal is well done, bright and very FNQ in style and feel, but again not much activity or passengers.
     

     
    Notable is the glass, as it is nicely transparent, the trees outside will move if the wind is strong enough, and cars passing by helps as well. On the Airside, the departure lounges are done, but its all a bit sparse, so in areas here it feels not completed either with empty shops. So you wish for more as more intimate detail here, as it would lift the scenery to the higher grade it deserves.
     

     
    Cargo
    The freight zone south of the Domestic Terminal is small, in fact it only has one parking bay (23). But it is a generously sized one and could easily cater for a large B748 or B744 freighter. There is a little bit of cargo clutter that is nice, but again it is sparse around the buildings.
     

     
    Central Control Tower and Airport Administration Centre stand out, both are very nicely done. Important as they are so very visible in the scenery. The Australian design and feel of the buildings is very evident in the scenery, so Taimodels have done a great job in this aspect.
     

     
    There is a basic layout set out in the tower control room, but the heavy blue glass tint makes it (very) hard to see the two approaches.
     

     
    Landside is really good. There is a photo underlay, but it's not at all intrusive. Carparks are well laid out with loads of 3d vehicles, and auxiliary buildings are also numerous and photo correct. More signage would have been nice, but again that Aussie feel comes across well.
     

     
    In clutter, some service vehicles are Qantas branded, but again everything in services is not overwhelming.
     

     
    Southwest is the General Aviation and Services area. This area includes the famous Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), and they have a significant base here covering the Cape York Peninsula, which stretches north to the Torres Strait, and west to the Gulf Country.
     

     
    Again some signage or aircraft denoting the Service would have been nice. Hinterland, GSL and JetAviation are all represented...  there are a few static aircraft, but these ramps are usually very crowded and busy, were as here the opposite.
     

     
    Nautilus Aviation and GBR Helicopters are also represented, in fact there is a wide choice of landing pads over most of the scenery.
     

     
    Northwest is the (photographic) Northern Waste Treatment plant, but there are some 3d buildings surround it, making the area realistic. Several points are the missing vehicle Captain Cook Hwy bridges over the Barron River, visible from any northern arrival or departure, it's an ugly join as well. Another missing piece is the retired Bush Pilots Airways DC-3 memorial that is now gone, it was originally a visible statement on the entrance to the domestic airport... it was moved to the western side, then later broken up, the significant white Hercules is however still present but not shown here.
     

     
    Secondly there is only a small section of parameter fencing on the west side, and all the airports boundaries are very well defined, so it is noticeable sadly.
     
    Ground textures
    As this scenery is X-Plane 12 certified, you do get an odd situation considering the foliage. X-Plane 12 has seasons, that turns the foliage into colours or trees with no leaves in the winter... here in FNQ the system works badly against you. First of all in Northern Australia there are no typical four block seasons, just a Dry or Wet season, and it's a tropical clime up here as well, so the trees don't really change that much thoughout the year. 
     
    But X-Plane does what X-Plane does, and it swaps the seasons around as well, actually the wrong way, as this is the Southern Hemisphere. So what you get are brown autumn trees in the Spring/Summer? here Taimodels have used the XP12 3d foliage trees...
     

     
    ....   and it simply doesn't work, as the colours don't match in with the surrounding textures or the area
     

     
    There is a trick to get it right. Turn off the "Time of Day" and set (Customize) your month to June or July, and the colours will come green and right again, odd as those months are set deep into the Australia's winter?
     
    Another small nark is the grass. Here you get 3d grass, but the VOD is very small, and so the big bushes here tend to appear and disappear in a heavy line as you move, or when you takeoff/land. Basically you are better off by removing the 3d foliage as the ground is lighter below as well...  overall the grass it just doesn't work and it looks artificially horrible.
     

     
    The main textures are okay, certainly not totally realistic, but still in the "not bad" category as well, grain is good, as are the marks, and there is depth to the textures...oil/fuel spills and grunge on the ground are realistic, with a good sense of weathering and usage at the airport. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is also available here, and are excellent for those sudden explosive summer rainstorms, but there are no winter textures this close to the equator. Only bloat on the copybook are the iron rod straight lines set on the edge of the runways and taxiways.
     

     
    Lighting
    Overall the lighting is pretty dire....  not a strong area with Taimodels, but Cairns is their worst lighting to date. Approach lighting adheres to the X-Plane 12 standards, but everything else goes downhill from there.
     

     
    Ramps are shown in a soft yellow glow, but most of the working areas and gates are in darkness.
     

     
    Only bright spots (pun intended) are the Domestic and International arrival areas, the rest depends on the odd spot lighting and road lighting, signage lighting is also non-existent.
     

     
    Internal Domestic and International terminals relies on intermittent spot lighting? again it all looks very average. On the GA services side it is lit up like a Christmas Tree with tons of of harsh spot lighting...
     


     
    ....  but the real concern here is all the missing taxiway side and centreline lighting, as there isn't any at all, not impressed!
     

     
    Summary
    Considering the long distances to get to Australia, there is not a lot of quality X-Plane scenery available when you do finally get here. Only Sydney (Taimodels) and Brisbane (Orbx) have extensive payware scenery, Melbourne is sadly lacking even a decent freeware, so don't mention a quality payware. That is the very sad state of affairs down under.
     
    But here is their second Australian scenery from Taimodels, and it's set in the Far North Of Queensland, Cairns International. A welcome choice from the earlier cheap YBCS rectangle boxes and five stick airbridges.
     
    The CNS scenery shows the absolute strength and weaknesses of Taimodels as a developer, gladly the strong is way better than the few weak here.
     
    Starting with the excellent terminal modeling, both externally and internally, it is all very well done and has that Cairns FNQ feel and look. Airbridges are all SAM3 powered and animated, but with marshallers and not guidance boards. Good photo underlays give a solid base that covers all the areas of the airport, including an excellent landside, and the west side General Aviation and Services areas, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service building. Control tower, airport administration building and auxiliary buildings are all very well done.
     
    The average is not a lot that could not be fixed up in an update. Far more detail and signage with clutter and landside detail, including passengers and their baggage, both inside and external Terminals would be very nice, some airside animation in service vehicles would also add in some activity...  this is all fine tuning stuff, but the real detail required here is the lighting. It needs to be far better than this, but no taxiway lighting is not just a oversight, but is even detrimental to the developers reputation at this level.
     
    First thoughts are that any payware scenery, rather than no quality scenery is what is probably delivered here by Taimodels. But that is not the case, as overall this Cairns International scenery for X-Plane 12 is excellent, and far, far better than just filling in a location to fly to. It delivers an excellent representation of Cairns International, in look and feel, and the cost at around US$20 it is value packed as well.
     
    Taimodels as scenery developers are extremely good now, but need to do or finish the finer, finer detail to reach that coveted 5 star status, its close here, so very close. But overall Taimodels YBCS is quality scenery for the X-Plane 12 Simulator.
    __________________________
     

     
    The YBCS - Cairns International Airport Australia by Taimodels is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store
     
    YBCS - Cairns International Airport Australia
    Priced at US$20.00
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or  X-Plane 11  (both versions included) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 810 GB Released Nov 3rd 2023   Installation
    Installation of YBCS - Cairns International Airport Australia is done via download of 775 Mb...
     
    There two files
    TMS_Cairns_International_YBCS (1.42Gb) TMS_YBCS_Mesh (3.05Mb)  
    With a total installation size of 1.48Gb. The "YBCS_Mesh" must be in the lower order in the SCENERY_PACK_INI, and set below the main "TMS_Cairns_International_YBCS" scenery file.
     
    SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 3.0 or higher is required for this scenery
      There is one basic installation pdf (3 pages)
     

     
    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
    -Zibo Boeing 737X -
    ____________________________
     
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    14th November 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  2. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Anthony96 in Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate   
    Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate
     
    Up at dawn, time to load the freight...  we are at Leipzig/Halle Airport EDDP, for a routine flight to the UPS Facility at Philadelphia, US, KPHL.
     
    God it's a "Beast" of an aircraft is the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, but Airhaulers love the "Diva". Those ghost pilots that fly at night, unseen, unknown, but moving tons cargo around the world for your livelihoods or self-indulgence.
     

     
    You start the centre positioned No.2 Engine first to provide power and air-conditioning and other AUX systems, then pushback on time (note the BetterPushback issues have now already been fixed). Then once out of the bay, you can start the other two General Electric CF6-80C2D1F high-bypass turbofan engines, rated at 52,200–61,960 lbf each.
     

     
    I'm not going to shy away from the reality. To get the DC-11 ready for flight, there is a lot of filling in of data and setting up of the route. There are a few helpers in the menu. But overall the developers approach is to make this aircraft as realistic and authentic as possible, that is good obviously, but a bit daunting if you are not familiar with these machines and their complex Honeywell Pegasus MCDUs. The instrument panel and DU (Display Units) have very different layouts as well, their operation are also different from most other flightdecks. But these aspects are also the attraction to the aircraft, you are flying and mastering something entirely different, that is also the seduction of the MD-11.
     

     
    The focus with the release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    For a comprehensive look at the aircraft, here is the X-PlaneReviews review of the XP11 release; Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate
     
    If you are a "hauler" in these "Heavy, Heavy" aircraft, say a B744F, B748F and the MD-11F. The critical phase is just after you leave the runway. You need to climb (obviously), but with a really heavy aircraft, brimmed with Cargo and Fuel, then you need to coax the machine into the air, then have the skill to keep it up there. You pitch is critical, too low and you lose height, too high and you stall, badly and literally fall out of the sky. Between the two barrier zones to a perfect climb-out, and you usually do it very carefully and slowly... the MD-11 is totally like this.
     

     
    Once settled in at 12,000ft you, then have more flexibility on setting speed (usually for me around 295 knts) and an altitude climb-rate (1800 fpm), down to 1,000 fpm from 26,000 ft up. You would never go to full cruise altitude either, usually say 32,000 ft for the first 500 nm to burn off weight in fuel, then step up 2,000 ft at a time to your cruise altitude, here 36,000 ft, you step the speed as well, from m.76, to the cruise speed of m.82. I learnt these tricks/skills well on an underpowered Boeing 747-200 F with 46,300–54,750 lbf of thrust, compared to the 66,500 lbf thrust of the latest GEnx-2B67 on the B748F and the 52,200–61,960 lbf available here.
     
    Before we get into the update... In doing reviews you are also evaluating the current situation of the Simulator as well (X-Plane12.07r1), and how it interacts with your flying. There has been a lot of development around the weather this year in X-Plane 12 by Laminar Research, some changes were really bad very early in the year, but with lots of improvements of reading GRIB forecasts which are based on the National Weather Service (NOAA) since v12.06.
     
    But real world simulations are getting very good in X-Plane...  Here I was approaching the European Coast and the weather was getting quite nasty. Navigraph have this year added a weather component to there excellent "Charts" application, and you can see the weather topographic mappings, look outside of the MD-11 and I have the same precipitation areas around me... I needed to climb, but instead stayed at FL320 until I saw a gap (shown on the topographic) to finally climb from below the weather, to be on the top (FL360)...  I was impressed with not only the exact weather mirrored on the Application, to the weather situation around me, and to take advantage of that...  it also shows how X-Plane in this area is also getting very close to the real weather situations we crave, admittedly there is still more development needed for upper level Cirrus clouds and shading, but the improvements are there to not only see, but to feel as well.
     
     
     
    Update v1.08
    But to the business at hand, the latest v1.08 update. There is again a massive list of fixed and improved areas on the XP12 MD-11 in this update, but first three new additions.
     
    Added into the MD-11 cockpit are two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets, one positioned each side of the pilots. 
     

     
    You can adjust the angle of the EFBs to your personal preference, but you can't hide them.
     

     
    Power switch is lower left corner.
     

     
    There are eleven tabs to select from. They are an amalgamation of the MD-11 Menu, and AviTab (Plugin Required). The list is HOME, W&B, GndOps, Fails, Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes.
     
    All HOME (Options), W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps (Ground Operations) and Fails (Failures) are all direct copies of the same Menu items found in the Plugins/Rotate MD-11/Aircraft Menu.
     

     

     
    Basically they have been repositioned there in the tablets for convenience. The other seven tabs are the various AviTab tools set differently.
     
    MAN - Manuals
    This MAN option allows you to navigate folders to find Manuals or Tutorials within the Computer's file system, here set in Windows, and you can display pdfs on the screen. Its clever, handy but pretty basic as well.
     

     
    Chart - AviTab
    You can insert a navigation chart or other document in the AviTab "charts" folder (X-Plane 12/Resources/plugins/AviTab/charts) and have it appear in this tab...   It will also show pdf files, ideal for loading in SimBrief "Briefings".  Basically this option would be used if you didn't have a Navigraph or another chart account.
     

     
    Maps
    Is the standard AviTab Maps function.
     

     
    Apts - Airports
    Airports is the standard AviTab function to get airport information, and if you have a Navigraph account and access to their charts
     

     
    Rtes - Routes
    This is the "Route Wizard", A tool to compute a route for you to enter into the aircraft's FMC. First you add in your Departure Airport, then your Arrival Airport and it creates a route for you.
     

     
    Data
    You use the "Data" tab to authorise accounts, like for Navigraph and ChartFox, both charts can be viewed in the "Apts" (Airports) tab when selected.
     

     
    Notes
    This tab uses the AviTab "Notes" Function...  Honestly I can't get it to work, there are no manual notes and the Rotate Developer doesn't know either...  but the idea is to write down notes, but how do you save them? it is supposed to be for VR (Virtual Reality) users.
     

     
    Basically most users are very familiar with AviTab functions and tools, and having it built in well in here is obviously a bonus to the pilot.
     
    The last two additions to the v1.08 update, are both for those long distance pilots that move away from the Simulation. There are two options now to pause the Simulator...  the first is to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     

     
    The list is split between "Improved" Areas and general fixes. In the improved focus there has been a lot of attention on the ATS (AutoThrottle) in the Servos behavior, in the AFS (AutoFlight) there is improved altitude capture, speed on pitch guidance and better system stability and accuracy. There is also better lateral guidance for NAV/VOR/LOC modes and improved LAND sequence guidance.
     
    For engines there is better N1 trim and thrust precision and and engine drag near idle. The VNAV descent prediction has also had attention, drag prediction for non-clean configurations, and finally there are Improved navigation lights textures.
     

     
    I do really like the nice strobe effect, not one strobe but two in sequence.
     
    Rotate is always very serious about bugs, finding those nasties in there and improving the Simulation. The list here is very long...  35 fixes that covers a lot of areas, we can't cover every item here, that would drive you nuts, so we will take only the important items.
     
    There was a radio bug in the VHF2 Channel, in that it could receive but not transmit, it's been fixed. Flight Mode Annunciations (FMA) has had attention as well, in Altitude mode blinking during capture, and PROF TO (Profile) reading during climb. There was some negative values in the altimeter tapes that have been corrected, a bug in the PERF page predictions. Finally a rounding error in some lat/lon readings (mostly Oceanic coords).
     
     There was a discrepancy between active and shown flight plans... fixed. And a problem with direct bearing to AT/B restriction during descent calculation. Also speed used for flight path prediction below speed transition altitude was not working properly. speed tape logic has been refined, and a bug in Vspeeds boxes color codes has also been rectified.
     
    On hardware, there was a bug in the start lever sounds, and intermittent repose of TCA hardware handles, toe-brakes didn't work either without a joystick plugged in. The wingflex has also been refined a little better, and for XP11, the wingtip glass (floating) has also been fixed.
     
    My thoughts with the UPS flight are actually few, but worth noting. The LWR Cargo TEMP LO warning (yellow) is still (very) persistent, even though Rotate acknowledged the bug very early in the release phase. My other thoughts are with a lot of current classes of complex aircraft, as there is no SAVE feature for the aircraft. Using the default "Situation" save creates a not very realistic return to the cockpit, and a major reset to make the aircraft flyable again. So you are restricted to do a flight from block to block in one go to get a smooth Simulation. Biggest offender is the non-working ATS (AutoThrottle), that refuses to reset, and the gymnastics when you restart the Simulation... it can be reset to fly correctly, but you will need patience and skill to do so. My point is this is very long-haul flying, and sometimes for ten hours in the left seat, and sometimes you have to break up the simulation, of which you can't do here, it also hates the replay and the X8-X16 speed changes with the complexity... And I loath the ghost throttle simulation, there should be an option to hide the distracting animation.
     

     
    The rear rest cabin still has extremely low-res textures and a non-working toilet, and the cargo loading feature, while well done, is still restricted to 4 containers that disappear when loaded, you need better here if you are a serious cargo hauler.
     

     
    MD-11 is a seriously nice machine in the air, one of the best simulations in X-Plane 12. Internally it is a very nice environment, again with the long hours you have to have change from the left seat options, like a snooze in the third rear seat, or a break in the rear...
     

     
    Great to watch is the excellent fuel management system on the MD-11. It has a fully automatic aircraft balance system, like Concorde it pumps fuel forward after takeoff to keep the CG (Centre of Gravity) within limits, shown upper left on the Fuel page display. 
     

     
    In flight the pumps are always switching on or off, you don't just have a Tail Tank, but an Auxiliary tank as well. All fuel tanks are simulated here, including the separate outboard and inboard wing compartments, 18 fuel pumps, 16 valves, 5 manifolds and the 4 fuel feed valves...  The full system is modeled for as a physical model for fuel flow and thermal behavior. There are also Automatic and manual modes.
     

     
    Quantity, pressure and temperature for each of the fuel tanks are computed separately. All this data is processed in the custom Fuel System Controller, where logic for most of the sub-systems have been written to simulate most of the system’s functions, including fuel scheduling, cross-feed, CG management, ballast fuel management, anti-ice re-circulation, tip transfer, fuel dump, and abnormal operation. Manual mode, failures and electrical dependencies are also simulated. It's altogether very authentic and realistic.
     

     
    Interesting on the MD-11, is that you can only set your departure Takeoff details, but not the Arrival/Approach settings. This is done as you reach your TOD (Top of Descent) phase by pressing the TO/APPR button. Then you set your Flap position and speeds. Secondary is setting your Arrival Radio Approach Frequency, here at Philadelphia, KPHL, Rwy 27L... the Freq is 109.30 IGLC, but you have to wait until it is available from the list to insert. So you insert the ILS Freq 109.30, then you are taken to selection page to select the correct frequency, here LK6 as it has just shown up on the list, selecting the correct frequency will then insert it into the ILS/CRS box, adding in the Course º degree and the ILS name "IGLC. This is a change in selecting from the list, instead of just earlier inserting the ILS Freq late into the the flight.
     

     
    I'm now over Pennsylvania, tracking into JIIMS4 STAR, but I had to make an adjustment to the flightplan with an extra way point VC177 to make a cleaner rounded turn to finals on Rwy 27L.
     

     
    Going into the final turn it's time to drop the gear! "Chunk, Clunk,Clunk" and its down and we are ready for landing.
     

     

     
    You press the upper large centre APPR/LAND button centre FGCP to ARM the approach phase (as noted this also arms only the LOC if you selected that option)
     
    If you have activated the ILS Frequency correctly it will show lower left in the PFD with the set Flap degree, you can also now set the APPR screen in the ECP, for better approaches. Notable is the auto selection of "Single" or "Dual" landing (Land) selections (green banner top right PFD) , it will flash the selection it will use then LOC it in.
     
    I'm sitting at 175 knts, but in reality the MD-11 is certainly a gut sort of aircraft in this phase like I found in the release review, the throttle response is very slow on resetting the speed, so you have to be ahead of the aircraft, sometimes by a long way, to get the right speed in the approach phase, same with the ILS landing phase in resetting the approach speed to the descent angle.
     

     
    Yes your always nervous, it's a tricky approach to get right, with a very heavy and fast aircraft rushing towards the ground. MD-11 as we were told, had the fastest VAPP of any civilian airliner. At MGLW (Maximum Gross Landing Weight), it was usually known to be landing at around 168kts.... and you are aware of that aspect and all that weight in the back.
     
    In landing again the MD-11 is very much like the Airbus, as there are landing modes, certainly the callouts are very good, with also "LAND and FLARE on the PFD...  I was however seriously again very impressed on how I could just pitch the nose up nicely in the flare to touch the main gear down first.
     

     
    I'm on the runway, so you activate everything you can, in reversers, airbrakes and stand on the toe-brakes to stop the momentum of a landing weight of 204,331 kg, thankfully it all works...
     

     
    ...  it's a real substantial beast of an aircraft, so mastering it with skill and ambition is certainly a challenge, but also the MD-11 gives back huge rewards for all the effort...
     

     
    If we are looking at substantial Simulations then the Rotate MD-11 is certainly it, not for the absolute novice, but certainly for the brigade of users that have Long-Haul experience and want a "Heavy, heavy" aircraft to master.
     

     
    Summary
    The release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    This is the v1.08, with three new features and along with another long bug and fix update. Biggest addition is two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets for each pilot. They have four tabs that mirror the Rotate MD11 Menu in... HOME, W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps, Fails (Failures), the rest of the; Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes tabs are the same tools as in the AviTab plugin (required). Other additions are to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, and the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     
    There are thirteen improvements to systems, and 35 fixes that covers again systems and hardware intergration, it is a very extensive upgrade here in the fix department. But there are still a few areas that need attention, a warning light for the cargo hold is beyond annoying, the ghost throttle that requires a hide option is another annoyance. But most of all the MD11 needs a SAVE option as it is difficult (not impossible) to restart mid-flight, or if you have a CTD, it is simply too complex to rebuild the systems to work effectively from the standard X-Plane Situation save.
     
    I will again state if you are going to think if purchasing the aircraft,  is it just too far in it's complexity? I'm not going to waver from the fact that this is noted as a "Study" aircraft, yes you need a skills and heavy aircraft skills to fly it. But once you understand the systems and preferences, it is simply a brilliant aircraft to fly, and a very good simulation, if one of the best currently in X-Plane 12 (also available for XP11).
     
    Being a Long Hauler, I obviously really love this aircraft, and with any chance or free time it is one of my prime simulations to fly. The images in this review highlight the the brilliant look and feel the aircraft delivers in X-Plane 12, a top simulation, and a prime simulation for those serious Cargo Jockeys out there.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Rotate MD-11
    Price is US$83.95
     
    The feature list is HUGE, so if you want to read it, then open the text file.
    Feature List.txt 5.83 kB · 147 downloads
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows 8 or  Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (using Rosetta for ARM Processors) , Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.08 (November 1st 2023)   You can download this updated v3.0 Updater free here; SkunkCrafts Updater Standalone client
     
    AviTab Plugin is now required.
     
    Navigraph
    Subscription only on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 9.05 / mo or EUR 81.64 / year
     
    Designed by Rotate
    Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/
     
    Full v1.08 changelog is here;
     
    Changelog v1.08.txt
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    7th November 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.07r1 (This is a release review).
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Skunkcrafts Updater
     
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00
    - KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00 - Full review available here: Scenery Review : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim
     
    (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 Anthony96 in NEWS! - Scenery Released : KAUS-Austin Bergstrom Intl Airport XP12 by Dominicdesignteam   
    Problem with SAM3 is that it is seriously bloated for this job, yes I agree the developers have been MIA for awhile, and SAM needs attention
  4. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Medellinexpat in NEWS! - Scenery Released : KAUS-Austin Bergstrom Intl Airport XP12 by Dominicdesignteam   
    Problem with SAM3 is that it is seriously bloated for this job, yes I agree the developers have been MIA for awhile, and SAM needs attention
  5. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate   
    Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate
     
    Up at dawn, time to load the freight...  we are at Leipzig/Halle Airport EDDP, for a routine flight to the UPS Facility at Philadelphia, US, KPHL.
     
    God it's a "Beast" of an aircraft is the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, but Airhaulers love the "Diva". Those ghost pilots that fly at night, unseen, unknown, but moving tons cargo around the world for your livelihoods or self-indulgence.
     

     
    You start the centre positioned No.2 Engine first to provide power and air-conditioning and other AUX systems, then pushback on time (note the BetterPushback issues have now already been fixed). Then once out of the bay, you can start the other two General Electric CF6-80C2D1F high-bypass turbofan engines, rated at 52,200–61,960 lbf each.
     

     
    I'm not going to shy away from the reality. To get the DC-11 ready for flight, there is a lot of filling in of data and setting up of the route. There are a few helpers in the menu. But overall the developers approach is to make this aircraft as realistic and authentic as possible, that is good obviously, but a bit daunting if you are not familiar with these machines and their complex Honeywell Pegasus MCDUs. The instrument panel and DU (Display Units) have very different layouts as well, their operation are also different from most other flightdecks. But these aspects are also the attraction to the aircraft, you are flying and mastering something entirely different, that is also the seduction of the MD-11.
     

     
    The focus with the release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    For a comprehensive look at the aircraft, here is the X-PlaneReviews review of the XP11 release; Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate
     
    If you are a "hauler" in these "Heavy, Heavy" aircraft, say a B744F, B748F and the MD-11F. The critical phase is just after you leave the runway. You need to climb (obviously), but with a really heavy aircraft, brimmed with Cargo and Fuel, then you need to coax the machine into the air, then have the skill to keep it up there. You pitch is critical, too low and you lose height, too high and you stall, badly and literally fall out of the sky. Between the two barrier zones to a perfect climb-out, and you usually do it very carefully and slowly... the MD-11 is totally like this.
     

     
    Once settled in at 12,000ft you, then have more flexibility on setting speed (usually for me around 295 knts) and an altitude climb-rate (1800 fpm), down to 1,000 fpm from 26,000 ft up. You would never go to full cruise altitude either, usually say 32,000 ft for the first 500 nm to burn off weight in fuel, then step up 2,000 ft at a time to your cruise altitude, here 36,000 ft, you step the speed as well, from m.76, to the cruise speed of m.82. I learnt these tricks/skills well on an underpowered Boeing 747-200 F with 46,300–54,750 lbf of thrust, compared to the 66,500 lbf thrust of the latest GEnx-2B67 on the B748F and the 52,200–61,960 lbf available here.
     
    Before we get into the update... In doing reviews you are also evaluating the current situation of the Simulator as well (X-Plane12.07r1), and how it interacts with your flying. There has been a lot of development around the weather this year in X-Plane 12 by Laminar Research, some changes were really bad very early in the year, but with lots of improvements of reading GRIB forecasts which are based on the National Weather Service (NOAA) since v12.06.
     
    But real world simulations are getting very good in X-Plane...  Here I was approaching the European Coast and the weather was getting quite nasty. Navigraph have this year added a weather component to there excellent "Charts" application, and you can see the weather topographic mappings, look outside of the MD-11 and I have the same precipitation areas around me... I needed to climb, but instead stayed at FL320 until I saw a gap (shown on the topographic) to finally climb from below the weather, to be on the top (FL360)...  I was impressed with not only the exact weather mirrored on the Application, to the weather situation around me, and to take advantage of that...  it also shows how X-Plane in this area is also getting very close to the real weather situations we crave, admittedly there is still more development needed for upper level Cirrus clouds and shading, but the improvements are there to not only see, but to feel as well.
     
     
     
    Update v1.08
    But to the business at hand, the latest v1.08 update. There is again a massive list of fixed and improved areas on the XP12 MD-11 in this update, but first three new additions.
     
    Added into the MD-11 cockpit are two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets, one positioned each side of the pilots. 
     

     
    You can adjust the angle of the EFBs to your personal preference, but you can't hide them.
     

     
    Power switch is lower left corner.
     

     
    There are eleven tabs to select from. They are an amalgamation of the MD-11 Menu, and AviTab (Plugin Required). The list is HOME, W&B, GndOps, Fails, Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes.
     
    All HOME (Options), W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps (Ground Operations) and Fails (Failures) are all direct copies of the same Menu items found in the Plugins/Rotate MD-11/Aircraft Menu.
     

     

     
    Basically they have been repositioned there in the tablets for convenience. The other seven tabs are the various AviTab tools set differently.
     
    MAN - Manuals
    This MAN option allows you to navigate folders to find Manuals or Tutorials within the Computer's file system, here set in Windows, and you can display pdfs on the screen. Its clever, handy but pretty basic as well.
     

     
    Chart - AviTab
    You can insert a navigation chart or other document in the AviTab "charts" folder (X-Plane 12/Resources/plugins/AviTab/charts) and have it appear in this tab...   It will also show pdf files, ideal for loading in SimBrief "Briefings".  Basically this option would be used if you didn't have a Navigraph or another chart account.
     

     
    Maps
    Is the standard AviTab Maps function.
     

     
    Apts - Airports
    Airports is the standard AviTab function to get airport information, and if you have a Navigraph account and access to their charts
     

     
    Rtes - Routes
    This is the "Route Wizard", A tool to compute a route for you to enter into the aircraft's FMC. First you add in your Departure Airport, then your Arrival Airport and it creates a route for you.
     

     
    Data
    You use the "Data" tab to authorise accounts, like for Navigraph and ChartFox, both charts can be viewed in the "Apts" (Airports) tab when selected.
     

     
    Notes
    This tab uses the AviTab "Notes" Function...  Honestly I can't get it to work, there are no manual notes and the Rotate Developer doesn't know either...  but the idea is to write down notes, but how do you save them? it is supposed to be for VR (Virtual Reality) users.
     

     
    Basically most users are very familiar with AviTab functions and tools, and having it built in well in here is obviously a bonus to the pilot.
     
    The last two additions to the v1.08 update, are both for those long distance pilots that move away from the Simulation. There are two options now to pause the Simulator...  the first is to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     

     
    The list is split between "Improved" Areas and general fixes. In the improved focus there has been a lot of attention on the ATS (AutoThrottle) in the Servos behavior, in the AFS (AutoFlight) there is improved altitude capture, speed on pitch guidance and better system stability and accuracy. There is also better lateral guidance for NAV/VOR/LOC modes and improved LAND sequence guidance.
     
    For engines there is better N1 trim and thrust precision and and engine drag near idle. The VNAV descent prediction has also had attention, drag prediction for non-clean configurations, and finally there are Improved navigation lights textures.
     

     
    I do really like the nice strobe effect, not one strobe but two in sequence.
     
    Rotate is always very serious about bugs, finding those nasties in there and improving the Simulation. The list here is very long...  35 fixes that covers a lot of areas, we can't cover every item here, that would drive you nuts, so we will take only the important items.
     
    There was a radio bug in the VHF2 Channel, in that it could receive but not transmit, it's been fixed. Flight Mode Annunciations (FMA) has had attention as well, in Altitude mode blinking during capture, and PROF TO (Profile) reading during climb. There was some negative values in the altimeter tapes that have been corrected, a bug in the PERF page predictions. Finally a rounding error in some lat/lon readings (mostly Oceanic coords).
     
     There was a discrepancy between active and shown flight plans... fixed. And a problem with direct bearing to AT/B restriction during descent calculation. Also speed used for flight path prediction below speed transition altitude was not working properly. speed tape logic has been refined, and a bug in Vspeeds boxes color codes has also been rectified.
     
    On hardware, there was a bug in the start lever sounds, and intermittent repose of TCA hardware handles, toe-brakes didn't work either without a joystick plugged in. The wingflex has also been refined a little better, and for XP11, the wingtip glass (floating) has also been fixed.
     
    My thoughts with the UPS flight are actually few, but worth noting. The LWR Cargo TEMP LO warning (yellow) is still (very) persistent, even though Rotate acknowledged the bug very early in the release phase. My other thoughts are with a lot of current classes of complex aircraft, as there is no SAVE feature for the aircraft. Using the default "Situation" save creates a not very realistic return to the cockpit, and a major reset to make the aircraft flyable again. So you are restricted to do a flight from block to block in one go to get a smooth Simulation. Biggest offender is the non-working ATS (AutoThrottle), that refuses to reset, and the gymnastics when you restart the Simulation... it can be reset to fly correctly, but you will need patience and skill to do so. My point is this is very long-haul flying, and sometimes for ten hours in the left seat, and sometimes you have to break up the simulation, of which you can't do here, it also hates the replay and the X8-X16 speed changes with the complexity... And I loath the ghost throttle simulation, there should be an option to hide the distracting animation.
     

     
    The rear rest cabin still has extremely low-res textures and a non-working toilet, and the cargo loading feature, while well done, is still restricted to 4 containers that disappear when loaded, you need better here if you are a serious cargo hauler.
     

     
    MD-11 is a seriously nice machine in the air, one of the best simulations in X-Plane 12. Internally it is a very nice environment, again with the long hours you have to have change from the left seat options, like a snooze in the third rear seat, or a break in the rear...
     

     
    Great to watch is the excellent fuel management system on the MD-11. It has a fully automatic aircraft balance system, like Concorde it pumps fuel forward after takeoff to keep the CG (Centre of Gravity) within limits, shown upper left on the Fuel page display. 
     

     
    In flight the pumps are always switching on or off, you don't just have a Tail Tank, but an Auxiliary tank as well. All fuel tanks are simulated here, including the separate outboard and inboard wing compartments, 18 fuel pumps, 16 valves, 5 manifolds and the 4 fuel feed valves...  The full system is modeled for as a physical model for fuel flow and thermal behavior. There are also Automatic and manual modes.
     

     
    Quantity, pressure and temperature for each of the fuel tanks are computed separately. All this data is processed in the custom Fuel System Controller, where logic for most of the sub-systems have been written to simulate most of the system’s functions, including fuel scheduling, cross-feed, CG management, ballast fuel management, anti-ice re-circulation, tip transfer, fuel dump, and abnormal operation. Manual mode, failures and electrical dependencies are also simulated. It's altogether very authentic and realistic.
     

     
    Interesting on the MD-11, is that you can only set your departure Takeoff details, but not the Arrival/Approach settings. This is done as you reach your TOD (Top of Descent) phase by pressing the TO/APPR button. Then you set your Flap position and speeds. Secondary is setting your Arrival Radio Approach Frequency, here at Philadelphia, KPHL, Rwy 27L... the Freq is 109.30 IGLC, but you have to wait until it is available from the list to insert. So you insert the ILS Freq 109.30, then you are taken to selection page to select the correct frequency, here LK6 as it has just shown up on the list, selecting the correct frequency will then insert it into the ILS/CRS box, adding in the Course º degree and the ILS name "IGLC. This is a change in selecting from the list, instead of just earlier inserting the ILS Freq late into the the flight.
     

     
    I'm now over Pennsylvania, tracking into JIIMS4 STAR, but I had to make an adjustment to the flightplan with an extra way point VC177 to make a cleaner rounded turn to finals on Rwy 27L.
     

     
    Going into the final turn it's time to drop the gear! "Chunk, Clunk,Clunk" and its down and we are ready for landing.
     

     

     
    You press the upper large centre APPR/LAND button centre FGCP to ARM the approach phase (as noted this also arms only the LOC if you selected that option)
     
    If you have activated the ILS Frequency correctly it will show lower left in the PFD with the set Flap degree, you can also now set the APPR screen in the ECP, for better approaches. Notable is the auto selection of "Single" or "Dual" landing (Land) selections (green banner top right PFD) , it will flash the selection it will use then LOC it in.
     
    I'm sitting at 175 knts, but in reality the MD-11 is certainly a gut sort of aircraft in this phase like I found in the release review, the throttle response is very slow on resetting the speed, so you have to be ahead of the aircraft, sometimes by a long way, to get the right speed in the approach phase, same with the ILS landing phase in resetting the approach speed to the descent angle.
     

     
    Yes your always nervous, it's a tricky approach to get right, with a very heavy and fast aircraft rushing towards the ground. MD-11 as we were told, had the fastest VAPP of any civilian airliner. At MGLW (Maximum Gross Landing Weight), it was usually known to be landing at around 168kts.... and you are aware of that aspect and all that weight in the back.
     
    In landing again the MD-11 is very much like the Airbus, as there are landing modes, certainly the callouts are very good, with also "LAND and FLARE on the PFD...  I was however seriously again very impressed on how I could just pitch the nose up nicely in the flare to touch the main gear down first.
     

     
    I'm on the runway, so you activate everything you can, in reversers, airbrakes and stand on the toe-brakes to stop the momentum of a landing weight of 204,331 kg, thankfully it all works...
     

     
    ...  it's a real substantial beast of an aircraft, so mastering it with skill and ambition is certainly a challenge, but also the MD-11 gives back huge rewards for all the effort...
     

     
    If we are looking at substantial Simulations then the Rotate MD-11 is certainly it, not for the absolute novice, but certainly for the brigade of users that have Long-Haul experience and want a "Heavy, heavy" aircraft to master.
     

     
    Summary
    The release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    This is the v1.08, with three new features and along with another long bug and fix update. Biggest addition is two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets for each pilot. They have four tabs that mirror the Rotate MD11 Menu in... HOME, W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps, Fails (Failures), the rest of the; Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes tabs are the same tools as in the AviTab plugin (required). Other additions are to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, and the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     
    There are thirteen improvements to systems, and 35 fixes that covers again systems and hardware intergration, it is a very extensive upgrade here in the fix department. But there are still a few areas that need attention, a warning light for the cargo hold is beyond annoying, the ghost throttle that requires a hide option is another annoyance. But most of all the MD11 needs a SAVE option as it is difficult (not impossible) to restart mid-flight, or if you have a CTD, it is simply too complex to rebuild the systems to work effectively from the standard X-Plane Situation save.
     
    I will again state if you are going to think if purchasing the aircraft,  is it just too far in it's complexity? I'm not going to waver from the fact that this is noted as a "Study" aircraft, yes you need a skills and heavy aircraft skills to fly it. But once you understand the systems and preferences, it is simply a brilliant aircraft to fly, and a very good simulation, if one of the best currently in X-Plane 12 (also available for XP11).
     
    Being a Long Hauler, I obviously really love this aircraft, and with any chance or free time it is one of my prime simulations to fly. The images in this review highlight the the brilliant look and feel the aircraft delivers in X-Plane 12, a top simulation, and a prime simulation for those serious Cargo Jockeys out there.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Rotate MD-11
    Price is US$83.95
     
    The feature list is HUGE, so if you want to read it, then open the text file.
    Feature List.txt 5.83 kB · 147 downloads
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows 8 or  Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (using Rosetta for ARM Processors) , Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.08 (November 1st 2023)   You can download this updated v3.0 Updater free here; SkunkCrafts Updater Standalone client
     
    AviTab Plugin is now required.
     
    Navigraph
    Subscription only on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 9.05 / mo or EUR 81.64 / year
     
    Designed by Rotate
    Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/
     
    Full v1.08 changelog is here;
     
    Changelog v1.08.txt
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    7th November 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.07r1 (This is a release review).
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Skunkcrafts Updater
     
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00
    - KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00 - Full review available here: Scenery Review : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim
     
    (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 Blueb in Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate   
    Aircraft Update Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate
     
    Up at dawn, time to load the freight...  we are at Leipzig/Halle Airport EDDP, for a routine flight to the UPS Facility at Philadelphia, US, KPHL.
     
    God it's a "Beast" of an aircraft is the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, but Airhaulers love the "Diva". Those ghost pilots that fly at night, unseen, unknown, but moving tons cargo around the world for your livelihoods or self-indulgence.
     

     
    You start the centre positioned No.2 Engine first to provide power and air-conditioning and other AUX systems, then pushback on time (note the BetterPushback issues have now already been fixed). Then once out of the bay, you can start the other two General Electric CF6-80C2D1F high-bypass turbofan engines, rated at 52,200–61,960 lbf each.
     

     
    I'm not going to shy away from the reality. To get the DC-11 ready for flight, there is a lot of filling in of data and setting up of the route. There are a few helpers in the menu. But overall the developers approach is to make this aircraft as realistic and authentic as possible, that is good obviously, but a bit daunting if you are not familiar with these machines and their complex Honeywell Pegasus MCDUs. The instrument panel and DU (Display Units) have very different layouts as well, their operation are also different from most other flightdecks. But these aspects are also the attraction to the aircraft, you are flying and mastering something entirely different, that is also the seduction of the MD-11.
     

     
    The focus with the release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    For a comprehensive look at the aircraft, here is the X-PlaneReviews review of the XP11 release; Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-11 by Rotate
     
    If you are a "hauler" in these "Heavy, Heavy" aircraft, say a B744F, B748F and the MD-11F. The critical phase is just after you leave the runway. You need to climb (obviously), but with a really heavy aircraft, brimmed with Cargo and Fuel, then you need to coax the machine into the air, then have the skill to keep it up there. You pitch is critical, too low and you lose height, too high and you stall, badly and literally fall out of the sky. Between the two barrier zones to a perfect climb-out, and you usually do it very carefully and slowly... the MD-11 is totally like this.
     

     
    Once settled in at 12,000ft you, then have more flexibility on setting speed (usually for me around 295 knts) and an altitude climb-rate (1800 fpm), down to 1,000 fpm from 26,000 ft up. You would never go to full cruise altitude either, usually say 32,000 ft for the first 500 nm to burn off weight in fuel, then step up 2,000 ft at a time to your cruise altitude, here 36,000 ft, you step the speed as well, from m.76, to the cruise speed of m.82. I learnt these tricks/skills well on an underpowered Boeing 747-200 F with 46,300–54,750 lbf of thrust, compared to the 66,500 lbf thrust of the latest GEnx-2B67 on the B748F and the 52,200–61,960 lbf available here.
     
    Before we get into the update... In doing reviews you are also evaluating the current situation of the Simulator as well (X-Plane12.07r1), and how it interacts with your flying. There has been a lot of development around the weather this year in X-Plane 12 by Laminar Research, some changes were really bad very early in the year, but with lots of improvements of reading GRIB forecasts which are based on the National Weather Service (NOAA) since v12.06.
     
    But real world simulations are getting very good in X-Plane...  Here I was approaching the European Coast and the weather was getting quite nasty. Navigraph have this year added a weather component to there excellent "Charts" application, and you can see the weather topographic mappings, look outside of the MD-11 and I have the same precipitation areas around me... I needed to climb, but instead stayed at FL320 until I saw a gap (shown on the topographic) to finally climb from below the weather, to be on the top (FL360)...  I was impressed with not only the exact weather mirrored on the Application, to the weather situation around me, and to take advantage of that...  it also shows how X-Plane in this area is also getting very close to the real weather situations we crave, admittedly there is still more development needed for upper level Cirrus clouds and shading, but the improvements are there to not only see, but to feel as well.
     
     
     
    Update v1.08
    But to the business at hand, the latest v1.08 update. There is again a massive list of fixed and improved areas on the XP12 MD-11 in this update, but first three new additions.
     
    Added into the MD-11 cockpit are two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets, one positioned each side of the pilots. 
     

     
    You can adjust the angle of the EFBs to your personal preference, but you can't hide them.
     

     
    Power switch is lower left corner.
     

     
    There are eleven tabs to select from. They are an amalgamation of the MD-11 Menu, and AviTab (Plugin Required). The list is HOME, W&B, GndOps, Fails, Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes.
     
    All HOME (Options), W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps (Ground Operations) and Fails (Failures) are all direct copies of the same Menu items found in the Plugins/Rotate MD-11/Aircraft Menu.
     

     

     
    Basically they have been repositioned there in the tablets for convenience. The other seven tabs are the various AviTab tools set differently.
     
    MAN - Manuals
    This MAN option allows you to navigate folders to find Manuals or Tutorials within the Computer's file system, here set in Windows, and you can display pdfs on the screen. Its clever, handy but pretty basic as well.
     

     
    Chart - AviTab
    You can insert a navigation chart or other document in the AviTab "charts" folder (X-Plane 12/Resources/plugins/AviTab/charts) and have it appear in this tab...   It will also show pdf files, ideal for loading in SimBrief "Briefings".  Basically this option would be used if you didn't have a Navigraph or another chart account.
     

     
    Maps
    Is the standard AviTab Maps function.
     

     
    Apts - Airports
    Airports is the standard AviTab function to get airport information, and if you have a Navigraph account and access to their charts
     

     
    Rtes - Routes
    This is the "Route Wizard", A tool to compute a route for you to enter into the aircraft's FMC. First you add in your Departure Airport, then your Arrival Airport and it creates a route for you.
     

     
    Data
    You use the "Data" tab to authorise accounts, like for Navigraph and ChartFox, both charts can be viewed in the "Apts" (Airports) tab when selected.
     

     
    Notes
    This tab uses the AviTab "Notes" Function...  Honestly I can't get it to work, there are no manual notes and the Rotate Developer doesn't know either...  but the idea is to write down notes, but how do you save them? it is supposed to be for VR (Virtual Reality) users.
     

     
    Basically most users are very familiar with AviTab functions and tools, and having it built in well in here is obviously a bonus to the pilot.
     
    The last two additions to the v1.08 update, are both for those long distance pilots that move away from the Simulation. There are two options now to pause the Simulator...  the first is to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     

     
    The list is split between "Improved" Areas and general fixes. In the improved focus there has been a lot of attention on the ATS (AutoThrottle) in the Servos behavior, in the AFS (AutoFlight) there is improved altitude capture, speed on pitch guidance and better system stability and accuracy. There is also better lateral guidance for NAV/VOR/LOC modes and improved LAND sequence guidance.
     
    For engines there is better N1 trim and thrust precision and and engine drag near idle. The VNAV descent prediction has also had attention, drag prediction for non-clean configurations, and finally there are Improved navigation lights textures.
     

     
    I do really like the nice strobe effect, not one strobe but two in sequence.
     
    Rotate is always very serious about bugs, finding those nasties in there and improving the Simulation. The list here is very long...  35 fixes that covers a lot of areas, we can't cover every item here, that would drive you nuts, so we will take only the important items.
     
    There was a radio bug in the VHF2 Channel, in that it could receive but not transmit, it's been fixed. Flight Mode Annunciations (FMA) has had attention as well, in Altitude mode blinking during capture, and PROF TO (Profile) reading during climb. There was some negative values in the altimeter tapes that have been corrected, a bug in the PERF page predictions. Finally a rounding error in some lat/lon readings (mostly Oceanic coords).
     
     There was a discrepancy between active and shown flight plans... fixed. And a problem with direct bearing to AT/B restriction during descent calculation. Also speed used for flight path prediction below speed transition altitude was not working properly. speed tape logic has been refined, and a bug in Vspeeds boxes color codes has also been rectified.
     
    On hardware, there was a bug in the start lever sounds, and intermittent repose of TCA hardware handles, toe-brakes didn't work either without a joystick plugged in. The wingflex has also been refined a little better, and for XP11, the wingtip glass (floating) has also been fixed.
     
    My thoughts with the UPS flight are actually few, but worth noting. The LWR Cargo TEMP LO warning (yellow) is still (very) persistent, even though Rotate acknowledged the bug very early in the release phase. My other thoughts are with a lot of current classes of complex aircraft, as there is no SAVE feature for the aircraft. Using the default "Situation" save creates a not very realistic return to the cockpit, and a major reset to make the aircraft flyable again. So you are restricted to do a flight from block to block in one go to get a smooth Simulation. Biggest offender is the non-working ATS (AutoThrottle), that refuses to reset, and the gymnastics when you restart the Simulation... it can be reset to fly correctly, but you will need patience and skill to do so. My point is this is very long-haul flying, and sometimes for ten hours in the left seat, and sometimes you have to break up the simulation, of which you can't do here, it also hates the replay and the X8-X16 speed changes with the complexity... And I loath the ghost throttle simulation, there should be an option to hide the distracting animation.
     

     
    The rear rest cabin still has extremely low-res textures and a non-working toilet, and the cargo loading feature, while well done, is still restricted to 4 containers that disappear when loaded, you need better here if you are a serious cargo hauler.
     

     
    MD-11 is a seriously nice machine in the air, one of the best simulations in X-Plane 12. Internally it is a very nice environment, again with the long hours you have to have change from the left seat options, like a snooze in the third rear seat, or a break in the rear...
     

     
    Great to watch is the excellent fuel management system on the MD-11. It has a fully automatic aircraft balance system, like Concorde it pumps fuel forward after takeoff to keep the CG (Centre of Gravity) within limits, shown upper left on the Fuel page display. 
     

     
    In flight the pumps are always switching on or off, you don't just have a Tail Tank, but an Auxiliary tank as well. All fuel tanks are simulated here, including the separate outboard and inboard wing compartments, 18 fuel pumps, 16 valves, 5 manifolds and the 4 fuel feed valves...  The full system is modeled for as a physical model for fuel flow and thermal behavior. There are also Automatic and manual modes.
     

     
    Quantity, pressure and temperature for each of the fuel tanks are computed separately. All this data is processed in the custom Fuel System Controller, where logic for most of the sub-systems have been written to simulate most of the system’s functions, including fuel scheduling, cross-feed, CG management, ballast fuel management, anti-ice re-circulation, tip transfer, fuel dump, and abnormal operation. Manual mode, failures and electrical dependencies are also simulated. It's altogether very authentic and realistic.
     

     
    Interesting on the MD-11, is that you can only set your departure Takeoff details, but not the Arrival/Approach settings. This is done as you reach your TOD (Top of Descent) phase by pressing the TO/APPR button. Then you set your Flap position and speeds. Secondary is setting your Arrival Radio Approach Frequency, here at Philadelphia, KPHL, Rwy 27L... the Freq is 109.30 IGLC, but you have to wait until it is available from the list to insert. So you insert the ILS Freq 109.30, then you are taken to selection page to select the correct frequency, here LK6 as it has just shown up on the list, selecting the correct frequency will then insert it into the ILS/CRS box, adding in the Course º degree and the ILS name "IGLC. This is a change in selecting from the list, instead of just earlier inserting the ILS Freq late into the the flight.
     

     
    I'm now over Pennsylvania, tracking into JIIMS4 STAR, but I had to make an adjustment to the flightplan with an extra way point VC177 to make a cleaner rounded turn to finals on Rwy 27L.
     

     
    Going into the final turn it's time to drop the gear! "Chunk, Clunk,Clunk" and its down and we are ready for landing.
     

     

     
    You press the upper large centre APPR/LAND button centre FGCP to ARM the approach phase (as noted this also arms only the LOC if you selected that option)
     
    If you have activated the ILS Frequency correctly it will show lower left in the PFD with the set Flap degree, you can also now set the APPR screen in the ECP, for better approaches. Notable is the auto selection of "Single" or "Dual" landing (Land) selections (green banner top right PFD) , it will flash the selection it will use then LOC it in.
     
    I'm sitting at 175 knts, but in reality the MD-11 is certainly a gut sort of aircraft in this phase like I found in the release review, the throttle response is very slow on resetting the speed, so you have to be ahead of the aircraft, sometimes by a long way, to get the right speed in the approach phase, same with the ILS landing phase in resetting the approach speed to the descent angle.
     

     
    Yes your always nervous, it's a tricky approach to get right, with a very heavy and fast aircraft rushing towards the ground. MD-11 as we were told, had the fastest VAPP of any civilian airliner. At MGLW (Maximum Gross Landing Weight), it was usually known to be landing at around 168kts.... and you are aware of that aspect and all that weight in the back.
     
    In landing again the MD-11 is very much like the Airbus, as there are landing modes, certainly the callouts are very good, with also "LAND and FLARE on the PFD...  I was however seriously again very impressed on how I could just pitch the nose up nicely in the flare to touch the main gear down first.
     

     
    I'm on the runway, so you activate everything you can, in reversers, airbrakes and stand on the toe-brakes to stop the momentum of a landing weight of 204,331 kg, thankfully it all works...
     

     
    ...  it's a real substantial beast of an aircraft, so mastering it with skill and ambition is certainly a challenge, but also the MD-11 gives back huge rewards for all the effort...
     

     
    If we are looking at substantial Simulations then the Rotate MD-11 is certainly it, not for the absolute novice, but certainly for the brigade of users that have Long-Haul experience and want a "Heavy, heavy" aircraft to master.
     

     
    Summary
    The release of X-Plane 12 in it's beta phase...  a Version 1.05 beta (September 26th 2022) allowed the Rotate MD-11 aircraft to function in the new Simulator version. Then two updates followed with v1.05 (October) and v1.06 (December) and both were focused on X-Plane 12. The final DC-11 (official) release for X-Plane 12 was the v1.07 update in March 2023.
     
    This is the v1.08, with three new features and along with another long bug and fix update. Biggest addition is two EFB (Electronic Flight Bags) or tablets for each pilot. They have four tabs that mirror the Rotate MD11 Menu in... HOME, W&B (Weight & Balance), GndOps, Fails (Failures), the rest of the; Man, Chart, Maps, Apts, Rtes, Data and Notes tabs are the same tools as in the AviTab plugin (required). Other additions are to pause the Simulation on a "Master" warning alert, and the second is again to pause the Simulation before T/D or Top of Descent.
     
    There are thirteen improvements to systems, and 35 fixes that covers again systems and hardware intergration, it is a very extensive upgrade here in the fix department. But there are still a few areas that need attention, a warning light for the cargo hold is beyond annoying, the ghost throttle that requires a hide option is another annoyance. But most of all the MD11 needs a SAVE option as it is difficult (not impossible) to restart mid-flight, or if you have a CTD, it is simply too complex to rebuild the systems to work effectively from the standard X-Plane Situation save.
     
    I will again state if you are going to think if purchasing the aircraft,  is it just too far in it's complexity? I'm not going to waver from the fact that this is noted as a "Study" aircraft, yes you need a skills and heavy aircraft skills to fly it. But once you understand the systems and preferences, it is simply a brilliant aircraft to fly, and a very good simulation, if one of the best currently in X-Plane 12 (also available for XP11).
     
    Being a Long Hauler, I obviously really love this aircraft, and with any chance or free time it is one of my prime simulations to fly. The images in this review highlight the the brilliant look and feel the aircraft delivers in X-Plane 12, a top simulation, and a prime simulation for those serious Cargo Jockeys out there.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 v1.08 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Rotate MD-11
    Price is US$83.95
     
    The feature list is HUGE, so if you want to read it, then open the text file.
    Feature List.txt 5.83 kB · 147 downloads
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows 8 or  Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (using Rosetta for ARM Processors) , Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Current version: 1.08 (November 1st 2023)   You can download this updated v3.0 Updater free here; SkunkCrafts Updater Standalone client
     
    AviTab Plugin is now required.
     
    Navigraph
    Subscription only on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 9.05 / mo or EUR 81.64 / year
     
    Designed by Rotate
    Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/
     
    Full v1.08 changelog is here;
     
    Changelog v1.08.txt
    _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    7th November 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.07r1 (This is a release review).
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Skunkcrafts Updater
     
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - EDDP - Leipzig/Halle International Airport by JustSim/Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$20.00
    - KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.00 - Full review available here: Scenery Review : KPHL - Philadelphia International Airport by StarSim
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  7. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Behind the Screen : October 2023   
    Behind the Screen : October 2023
     
    Developers have been in my thoughts lately. Those creative souls that disappear for a year or two, then reappear with something amazing, something you can immerse yourself in, also to look at the incredible detail and wonder how it was all created and designed.
     
    I have also come to a conclusion. Developers are the soul of a simulator, the life blood as well. Not the simulator developers, although obviously they are important, but the aircraft and scenery developers that produce a constant stream of products that keeps you flying.
     
    What would happen if they didn't produce their work, add to the vitality of the Simulation, the answer is that very quickly the Simulator would wither and die, most would point out there is still enough in there to keep on flying, the free stuff, so why worry about that. But I do and sometimes at night.
     
    The reason for the worry beads is that if you look over the last decade of development of the X-Plane Simulator, and it was always the developer pioneering aspect that drove the Simulation forwards. Every great step forward and innovation came from their agile minds. Set yourself in 2013 and in X-Plane 10, and then look at your X-Plane 12 universe now. The differences are very expansive, it is really is a totally different environment, the feel and the detail.
     
    I have rode that explosive development trail, wondered at the marvels the developers have created and shared, a good example will be the original Boeing 777 from FlightFactor, totally overwhelming for it's time, but below average today...   soon the new v2 B777 will be released, and you won't even begin to compare the two. But the new version will be more expensive, maybe even over that barrier of US$100. Yes a few aircraft are already priced above that $100 barrier, but soon will it become the normal?
     
    There are several problems facing developers, a weakening market and inflation. But before we go there, there was another big debate around Upgrades. First let us note that Upgrades are for payment, and Updates are for free.
     
    When X-Plane 11 was released, the word "Upgrade" was barely visible. Then developers gradually crept in these financial changes. Obviously there was an uproar. X-Plane users expected with a purchase the updates were to be there for life. Another source of income for Developers, was extensions, in buying a basic package, but then to get a different variant or extra features you had to pay to get access. FlightFactor took both to the extreme, certainly with the extensions, with so many packages and options, they even outnumbered the size of the review.
     
    Both options are now the normal. As the X-Plane 12 revolution came around, you found that most developers did do a "Upgrade" transition with this version change, so you got a fair discount on the newly updated aircraft or scenery. The few just updated X-Plane 12 products however were mostly just basic X-Plane 12 changes with no new features or even aircraft revisions. Again most complained that it wasn't fair to pay for something they had already purchased with the Upgrades, but that isn't fair to the developers which either way you looked at it.
     
    The X-Plane 12 metamorphosis is in reality a bigger change for the X-Plane Simulator than any in the past. Yes we have new features and better dynamics and now amazing weather options. But the change is bigger than that of what it looks on the surface.
     
    As long as I have been in X-Plane of over a decade, the Simulator went in a certain direction, but basically the old (in my case the huge collection) of aircraft and scenery would be passed over from one X-Plane version to the next. But X-Plane 12 is different, as that phase really came to an end. Yes a lot of the collections of scenery do still work in X-Plane 12, but for the first time, it was also showing their very dated age. Also the default WED Gateway scenery is improving year on year, but it would never ever replace a well modeled 3d custom scenery.
     
    Also this time was that X-Plane aircraft were also affected, only really the best of the best have been transitioned to X-Plane 12, so again a lot of decade old aircraft are now retired. A few survived by MODS, in users fixed broken areas of X-Plane 12 functionality, they work, but not as complete as they were in X-Plane 10/11. Sadly a lot of these early developer projects are now also gone or retired, but most really couldn't keep up with the exorbitant changes to the modeling quality and features required to compete in today's market. Was it best to completely remodel and design a new aircraft or to walk away, a lot bit down and recreated a better product, like X-Crafts with their sensation E-Jet Family Series, but a lot of developers just don't have the talent or the time to go to such extremes. Thankfully there are new Developer entrants, creating new aircraft, but their learning curve to high quality products is very long, and a still really a Work in Progress, but that is okay, as at least they are in there, creating a future for X-Plane and a reputation for themselves.
     
    This is the trick. Once a developer created aircraft and scenery (even plugins) as a sole output. You could learn PlaneMaker or WED (WorldEditor) and create a product. The only things you needed was the basic skills and a bit of talent. But today that era is very much gone. Only teams or a group of developers can create product, most specialise on a particular area of the design, say Modeling or Systems, but the basic number you require now is usually around three developers on a project. The sole developers time was expanding out as well, an aircraft that could a decade ago could take two years, became three then four as the work required escalated, again a team can split off portions and reduce the development time back to a reasonable 18 months to two years. But if you have invested in a team. Then the product has to be more expensive to cover the returns to distribute a fair share to each team member for their input.
     
    Prices to be honest in X-Plane have been very gradual, most X-Plane 11 $25 aircraft are now $35 to $40, the middle sector between $50 to $65 has been steady for years, then the upper sector of between $65 to $80 has also been very steady if rock solid. But the amount of detail and features delivered has gone through the roof, in fact tripled in the last five years, and the system depth is extraordinary, but expected in the higher cost categories.
     
    Significantly today the X-Plane 12 Simulator price has gone up US$20 to $79.99 from $59.99, after a long decade at the old price, so we have now arrived at an impasse.
     
    Can we still expect more for the same, and the ongoing accumulation of even more features and quality for the same cost? If you want these features and depth of systems, then you will have to pay more for them. But what of that price barrier, can products be priced higher and not lose sales...   the problem is that developers with their time and resources are getting closed in from both sides. The freewheeling past is being confronted by the mid-twenties inflation reality, and something will have to give.
     
    One point maybe that we will have less to choose from, but at a far higher quality, because we always expect the better, better with each release. Aerosoft tried with their ATR a hybrid cheap aircraft, with restricted systems. That idea didn't fly well (Pun Intended), personally I hated it, it felt under developed, and we are still waiting for a decent ATR Turboprop Series years later (yes there is finally one in development), but as you can see, you can't cost cut on features and systems either.
     
    The worry is that current great developers would walk away. Expectation can be a terrible thing, "I want more for the same or less", will not work now going forward. Being a Developer is also being a businessman, at the top of list is profit, or to at least get a remuneration for the years of work put in, or to a least keep the team together to create more products, developers are the unsung hero's of the Simulator world, but they also have their own realistic real world limitations.
     
    In X-Plane 12 going forward we have to change our attitude. If we want expansive clever products then we will have pay more for them, plus if a developer asks cap in hand for an Upgrade cost, then you should be willing to pay for the extra work and service provided of what that upgrade cost will deliver. It goes the other way as well, the developer has to deliver a high quality product and deliver updates over the required time of the new version of the Simulator, then don't bunk out and say sayonara when ever it pleases them, but let the product be ongoing in development by another developer.
     
    The X-Plane Simulator has over the years created it's own doctrine, what was expected, will always seem to be. But I think that the change to X-Plane 12 will be a more significant change as the earlier attitudes and the use of the Simulator, will have to accommodate the more realistic changes this time for the future, to allow the Simulator to not only thrive, but even to survive. Expectation is a horrible word, and that attitude needs to change...  so let us see T-Shirts with the slogan "Support your local X-Plane 12 Developer", and wear it with pride, but also to put your money to where it counts, for X-Plane's future, or they may just walk away.
     
    See you all next month.
     
    Stephen Dutton
    1st November 2023
    Copyright©2023 X-Plane Reviews
     

  8. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Update Review : Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts   
    Aircraft Update Review : Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts
     
    Earlier this year was one of the year's most significant new aircraft releases for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. The E-Jet Family series of aircraft was released on the 10th May 2023 by X-Crafts, and obviously X-PlaneReviews did the full release review on the aircraft: Aircraft Review : E-Jets Family by X-Crafts.
     
    Release reviews are always an early in-depth look of the aircraft. Detailing the Features, Systems, Instruments and focusing on the Modeling, look and feel of the release. In this case it was a long review, because there are five different variants of the E-Jet family, four in E 170 - E 175 - E 190 - E 195 as they all were part of the release package, the fifth is the still to be released E 190 Lineage Business Jet.
     
    So it is always interesting to come back to the aircraft a few months after the initial review, to not only see the updates (fixes) on the package, but also have another perspective on the aircraft after a period of flying the machine and absorbing it's features. These update reviews are not a totally in-depth review like a few months ago, but to pick out the highlights and changes since that original release.
     
    The new E-Jet Family from Embraer in Brazil, was not the first Embraers from X-Crafts, first was the E 175 LR: Aircraft Review : Embraer E 195 LR by X-Crafts, which came into X-Plane 10 in August 2014, with then later the smaller E 175 on December 5, 2015.
     
    The difference with the 2023 release in that it was a completely different remodeling and systems redesign for X-Plane 12, and nothing on the earlier E-Jet aircraft was passed over to the new, the E-Jets also came with a significant price increase. But I found with the extremely high quality and huge feature list, it did also certainly realign the product to this new price point level, in some ways it is a remarkable achievement for X-Crafts on what they delivered.
     
    Since the release there has been three updates, v1.01 (19th May), v1.02 (26th June) and this latest update to v1.03 (October 3rd). The first v1.01 update was a reaction to release, to fix immediate bugs and issues. v1.02 was a more in-depth revision focusing on System Improvements, PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (MultiFunctional Display) fixes and sounds. Which brings us to the latest v1.03. This update is what you could call a mature update. All updates can be done via the excellent new Skunkcrafts Updater...  and first impressions back in the E-Jet cockpit support that feeling.
     
    Those first impressions are simply "Wow", it really is superbly created. The detail and quality really does jump out at you. Remember this is really the first X-Plane 12 aircraft (in this category), created and designed specifically for the X-Plane 12 version and it's new lighting effects.
     
    And the E-Jet certainly has that extremely look and realistic feel...
     

     
    In the release review I flew the E-195, this aircraft is the E-190, slightly shorter (36.25 m (118 ft 11 in), less passengers, but comes with a longer range in 2,450 nmi (4,537 km; 2,820 mi) and by flying an extra 150 nm. It is still a huge cabin...   galleys are small, but extremely well done.
     

     
    The cockpit is stunning as well, the detail is even overwhelming, even though I know it in complete detail from May.
     

     
    And you can slip yourself into the pilot's seat and adjust it forward.
     

     
    The E-Family uses the Honeywell Primus "Epic", Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) glass cockpit...
     

     
    I really don't have a lot of negative comments with X-Crafts E-Jet Family, but there are two, or really one that can absorb the second one.
     
    The custom "Authentic" FMS is very good, yes authentic. But it is very long-winded to programme, not just the actual route, but there is a lot of performance and data to feed in. But there are helpers...   On the EFB there are three pages covering Weight & Balance, Takeoff Perf and Landing Perf.
     
    You can import the Flight data from SimBrief (Simbrief ID Required), and it fills out your loadsheet, you can then use this data to "Load (the) Plane"...  but it won't insert your route? The quickest way is to use the X-Plane 12 FMS flightplan (you can use the SimBrief Downloader App to insert the file in the X-Plane FMS plans folder). Then load in the route as a CO ROUTE
     

     
    You still have to insert your Departure and Arrival procedures, to complete the route detail.
     

     
    Again on the EFB, you can create the "TakeOff" and "Landing" performance data. You then have to fill in the Wind, (Airport) Temperature and Baro QNH.
     

     
    When computed, you can send the data directly to the FMS, via the upper right link. It is hard to find, but to set these Takeoff and Landing speeds you then have to go to the ACARS MAIN MENU, under NAV-INDEX/DATALINK.
     

     
    But it does not set other crucial data...   one of the big annoying diversions is caused by setting the TO-CG (TakeOff - Centre of Gravity). The TO-CG is shown on TAKEOFF INIT page 2, but it won't accept the TO-CG %, as you would usually program in the Trim on the TAKEOFF page.
     

     
    The TO-CG is actually set on the PERFORMANCE INIT-KG page 2, then  it fills in the TAKEOFF INIT (page 2) setting...  it also then sets the "PITCH TRIM" and "TO PITCH", both slots you usually do manually, here it is automatic.
     

     
    Another diversion is to set the Takeoff flap setting. Here it is set to FLAPS 2, to change the Flap setting you go to the TO INIT lower left LK6
     

     
    Select Page 2 and the Flap selection is the first row RK1...  OR  Then select your Flap Setting 1, 2, or 4 and the "ACT" is the active flap setting, when done press RETURN. The Flap setting change is now done on the TAKEOFF main page. 
     

     
    More data also has to be filled out on TAKEOFF INIT, this time page 1. WIND is required RK3... 
     

     
    Another one...  back to the PERFORMANCE INIT-KG Page 2, to fill in ISA DEV, ZFW, CRZ ALT (Altitude) and CRZ WINDS.
     

     
    Get it all right and your FMS active FLT PLAN lights up with SPEED and ALTITUDE data.
     

     
    Don't get me wrong, it is a brilliantly deep FMS system, really well done. Once you get skilled at the way you programme in the data, you will be well pleased with the result... but what if you make a mistake, or your flight is tomorrow?
     
    That is the crunch...  you can't save all your set up hard work, shut down the Simulator, and it's all gone. So it becomes a use it or lose it situation, and it's a lot of (programming) work to lose, and it's time consuming to reprogramme everything back in ready again.
     
    Developer note- "Use the ICAO code instead of the identifier to search for airports. This should fix some airports not being found on the EFB, If this still happens to you, then quit X-Plane, then navigate to …\X-Plane\Output\caches\xcrafts, and delete the airports.db folder. It will be recreated automatically next time you start X-Plane. And this should resolve the issue".
     
    Throttles
    Those lovely throttles have been troublesome since the original release of the XP12 E-Jet Family. Certainly if you have some add-on hardware throttles, like I do with the Saitek X56 Rhino. At first they didn't work at all with the Add-on set up, in v1.02 they did work, but both levers were locked together?
     
    In v1.03 the throttles now work independently of each other and realistically... nice!
     

     
    But there is something working even better here now, and clever as well. Reverse on these sort of "BETA" gate style throttle quadrants was always very tricky to get right with Add-on throttle systems Just try FlyJSims DASH Q4XP to see how hard it is to get it working realistically.
     
    But X-Crafts have come up with a novel solution here. Select your Reverser Mode as usual (Toggle thrust reversers), and the throttles drop back into the MIN REV gate, push up the throttle power and the throttles do the reverse action in going rearwards to MAX REV....
     

     
    So simple it makes you cry, but so easy to use. Do the reverse procedure to get back to IDLE position (pull back throttles then re-toggle the reversers)...   brilliant, you can play and marvel with them for hours. X-Crafts has also changed the Throttle Retarding detection method to prevent previous hardware issues, also the LNAV and VNAV will not disconnect if you disengage AP anymore.
     

     
    One of the biggest protestations with the release version was the aircraft would lift off the runway before the v2 (149 knts) + Rotate position was acquired.
     

     
    X-Crafts have done a lot of work on this issue, and it shows, at the rotation point it is now perfect, and at the correct vSpeed. Visually it's better as well with improved wingflex. So as the wings take the weight, they will bend now higher (or more realistically) on takeoff, but they don't flex in the replay mode, a Laminar bug it seems.
     
    I initially climb to 12,000ft, or 15,000ft if the airport is at a high altitude. Once there you switch off the seatbelt signs and clean up the lighting, and increase the speed (285 knts).
     

     
    Lately I have been comparing FLCH (Flight Change) modes in various reviews, to see how they stack up. I have in the past always been a procedures person and did all the Flight Level and Speed changes (Knts/Mach) myself. But decided to see how the E-Jet performed. And the results are impressive. Like noted I was at 12,000ft with an altitude change to FL320 (32,000ft), so I pressed the FLCH and watched it perform... 
     
    The (vertical) climb was originally set at 3,200 fpm, but quickly settled down to around 2,200 per minute, then over the climb it changed the pitch feet per minute from the 2,200 - 1800 - 1600 - 1200 - and going past FL300 it was down to 800, until reaching the correct altitude. Like I said, that was sensational in the sort of climb rates I would do manually. in v1.03 there has been some adjustments on the Mach number changeover point, now 31,000 ft. The VNAV has had a lot of attention as well...  first the VNAV not engaging if AP not selected before 1200ft AGL, thats now also been fixed...
     

     
    ...  TOC is now visible if it occurs within the SID. TOC is displayed currently based on average climb performance, but you may even reach FL before or after TOC, and that is normal. Route waypoint altitudes didn't before conform to climb or descent altitude profiles when before TOC or after TOD, thats been fixed as well. Finally the Vertical deviation bug does not stay in the middle during level offs during the descents, now it does...  all small stuff in being corrected, but it adds up to a very realistic Simulation.
     
    The results are impressive, in reality you can press the FLCH button (after selecting the new altitude), and climb professionally straight up to the new flight level in perfection, no dramas, with a Mach switch over on the ride up, in fact the E-Jet is fully automated, a one button press does the lot.
     
    I will note though that the FL change to my cruise altitude of FL340 (2,000ft) was a bit abrupt, 2,000 fpm was a bit excessive, but it quickly readjusted to 900 fpm, me I usually change levels around 500 fpm to 600 fpm in this category of aircraft over small altitude steps, don't want to scare the passengers.
     
    Glass transparency was debated, and the conclusion by X-Crafts was that the transparency was true to life and depends highly on the lighting conditions in the sim, that is a point... I don't think any developer can adjust cockpit lighting at the moment, it's still to transient.
     

     
    The one distraction I don't like is Throttle hunting. I have a nasty tailwind of 67 knots, so the Yokes are flickering and the Throttles are adjusting to the wind changes... but it's actually good here, not that abrupt movement, but a seemless casual adjustment as required, so the actions of the systems look and feel very realistic in flight.
     

     
    Is this E-Jet a great reflection on the state of X-Plane 12 currently, yes it is, very impressive.
     

     
    Rear Navigation lights are now white, from the earlier red, look nice as well...  all Navigation lights have been increased in intensity of around 20%, and so have the strobe lights.
     

     
    Cockpit lighting is excellent, but the Autopilot glareshield controls are still very hard to read in the daylight, fine at night...  but confusing in the day.
     
    FLCH descent felt a little excessive at 3,500 fpm? I would usually descend around 2,000 - 2500 fpm, only 3,000 fpm in an emergency, you press FLCH and the nose just goes DOWN...  I'll do it manually.
     

     
    Our arrival at Athens, love it when the gear unfolds.
     

     
    On the E190/E195 variants, the engine pylon was going through the flap when the flaps were extended, now that is fixed, another change is that the Flap extension times were reduced after evaluating some real-world videos. Flap 1 now takes 15 sec to extend instead of the earlier 20 seconds... so quicker.
     

     
    Manual approach flying is exceptional, you have to be impressed on how really good Flight Simulation is today, X-Plane dynamics give you an exceptional "hands on" feel for the aircraft in "Finals".
     

     
    Sound changes in v1.03 are all mostly focused on the landing contact...  with added cabin mains (gear) ground contact, cabin nosegear ground contact, a new cockpit mains ground contact and cockpit nose ground contact sounds. The "autobrake" warning is also now aural. One other aural adjustment was the rather noisy electric hydraulic pump by about 6dB, so the sound pitch is now down slightly.
     

     
    Obviously I couldn't wait to try out the better engine reverser actions, and they look and feel excellent, inside throttle actions and external.
     

     
    The E-Jet is fantastic and impressive as well.
     

    _________________
     
    Summary
    Released to great fanfare in May 2023, is the totally upgraded E-Jet Family Series from X-Crafts. The aircraft set new standards for regional aircraft design and detail, and was the first completely new X-Plane 12 focused release, plus it went up into the upper elite category price wise.
     
    Since the release there has been three updates, v1.01 (19th May), v1.02 (26th June) and this latest update to v1.03 (October 3rd). The first v1.01 update was a reaction to release, to fix immediate bugs and issues. v1.02 was a more in-depth revision focusing on System Improvements, here we focused on the largest update yet with v1.03. A full changelog is below.
     
    The update list is long, but highlights in v1.03 include fixes for the earlier troublesome Throttle quadrant for Add-on hardware. This time the fixes are done, and with the added extra of a well designed Thrust reverser action, for the same add-on throttle systems.
     
    Aircraft dynamics relating to early runway lifting has also been attended to, in fact TOC and TOD points have also had attention with a focus on the Knts/Mach transition, lots of attention for all VNAV, LNAV, PFD, MFD elements and the EFB Tablet are also well detailed, and goes a long way to giving the aircraft a maturity it deserves.
     
    A few physical changes are done as well, Navigation rear lights are now white, and all Nav lights are 20% brighter, modeling Engine Pylon into flaps is fixed, as is the flap speeds. Sounds are focused on Cockpit and Cabin runway contact speeds, and all have been revised.
     
    This is a very complex aircraft, programming the Primus "Epic" FMS, can take time, but gets far easier with familiarity and use, but X-Crafts have done a lot to make it a realistic, if also a provided a lot of "helper" options, but the important global save is still missing, and badly needed here. The non-connection to the Tiller is still there, and the lighting is still unusual in excellent night lighting, is in contradiction to the various daylight lighting being blanked out? an X-Plane 12 issue? The Guidance Panel is still impossible to see the daylight.
     
    Every thing here with the E Jet Family from X-crafts comes down to price. The packages are set in the high quality category, a single aircraft version is priced only US$5 lower than the category leader the FlyJSim Q4XP, the full five aircraft package (the lineage coming later) is US$134.95, yes that is expensive. For the past purchaser of the X-Plane 11 v2 version, the new purchase still gets a 15% discount, if you upgrade later to the full package, then there is a 50% discount, the best deal is 15% off the full package if you are a previous owner, still a big investment, and one that runs the full life of the X-Plane 12 version.
     
    The astounding quality of the aircraft here hits you in the face, this is "Top Notch" category that easily matches the class leader in FlyJSim's Q4XP Dash 8 aircraft, but there is also that "New Gen" feel of the quality and detail that gives this series the signal that it was created and designed for the future, or X-Plane 12, and it is not a conversion aircraft of the past. In truth this is the first (in this high-level category) of a pure X-Plane 12 release, and you see and feel it, and the E-Jets still feels very new and fresh after six months of release.
     
    The E-Jet Family from X-Crafts is a standard bearer in quality and systems for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. These revisions and consistent updates are moving the aircraft very quickly to a mature standard. It's a brilliant in-depth Simulation, that shows off X-Plane 12 to it's ultimate best.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Embraer E-Jets by X-Crafts
    Price per single aircraft is US$74.95
     
    Embraer E170 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E175 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E190 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E190 by X-Crafts
     
    Purchasers of the E-Jet v2 (X-Plane 11) can get this new XP12 version with a 15% discount
     
    Embraer E-Jets Family by X-Crafts
    Price for the FULL E-Jet Package is US$134.95
    Includes every E-Type | E170 | E175 | E190 | E195 Plus + Linaeage 1000 Private jet (When Released)
    Purchasers of the E-Jet v2 (X-Plane 11) can get this new XP12 version package with a 15% discount
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 The first few initial updates will still be X-Plane 11 compatible, however, 6 months after the release, the X-Plane 11 version will be final and development will continue only on the X-Plane 12 version. Windows, MAC or Linux -  4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.03 (October 3rd 2023) Download via Skunkcraft Updater   Download (Package) installed is; 5.56GB. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder.  
    Designed by X-Crafts
    Support forum for XCrafts   
    Documentation
    There is excellent full coverage documentation and built in checklists, including;
    E-Jets Family by X-Crafts - User Manual  
    Changelog v1.01, v1.02 and v1.03
    Version Notes v1.0.3.txt
    _____________________
     
    Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    28th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.07r1
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 :
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIMC - Milano Malpensa XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95
    - LGAV - FlyTampa - Athens (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.00
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  9. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Blueb in Aircraft Update Review : Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts   
    Aircraft Update Review : Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts
     
    Earlier this year was one of the year's most significant new aircraft releases for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. The E-Jet Family series of aircraft was released on the 10th May 2023 by X-Crafts, and obviously X-PlaneReviews did the full release review on the aircraft: Aircraft Review : E-Jets Family by X-Crafts.
     
    Release reviews are always an early in-depth look of the aircraft. Detailing the Features, Systems, Instruments and focusing on the Modeling, look and feel of the release. In this case it was a long review, because there are five different variants of the E-Jet family, four in E 170 - E 175 - E 190 - E 195 as they all were part of the release package, the fifth is the still to be released E 190 Lineage Business Jet.
     
    So it is always interesting to come back to the aircraft a few months after the initial review, to not only see the updates (fixes) on the package, but also have another perspective on the aircraft after a period of flying the machine and absorbing it's features. These update reviews are not a totally in-depth review like a few months ago, but to pick out the highlights and changes since that original release.
     
    The new E-Jet Family from Embraer in Brazil, was not the first Embraers from X-Crafts, first was the E 175 LR: Aircraft Review : Embraer E 195 LR by X-Crafts, which came into X-Plane 10 in August 2014, with then later the smaller E 175 on December 5, 2015.
     
    The difference with the 2023 release in that it was a completely different remodeling and systems redesign for X-Plane 12, and nothing on the earlier E-Jet aircraft was passed over to the new, the E-Jets also came with a significant price increase. But I found with the extremely high quality and huge feature list, it did also certainly realign the product to this new price point level, in some ways it is a remarkable achievement for X-Crafts on what they delivered.
     
    Since the release there has been three updates, v1.01 (19th May), v1.02 (26th June) and this latest update to v1.03 (October 3rd). The first v1.01 update was a reaction to release, to fix immediate bugs and issues. v1.02 was a more in-depth revision focusing on System Improvements, PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (MultiFunctional Display) fixes and sounds. Which brings us to the latest v1.03. This update is what you could call a mature update. All updates can be done via the excellent new Skunkcrafts Updater...  and first impressions back in the E-Jet cockpit support that feeling.
     
    Those first impressions are simply "Wow", it really is superbly created. The detail and quality really does jump out at you. Remember this is really the first X-Plane 12 aircraft (in this category), created and designed specifically for the X-Plane 12 version and it's new lighting effects.
     
    And the E-Jet certainly has that extremely look and realistic feel...
     

     
    In the release review I flew the E-195, this aircraft is the E-190, slightly shorter (36.25 m (118 ft 11 in), less passengers, but comes with a longer range in 2,450 nmi (4,537 km; 2,820 mi) and by flying an extra 150 nm. It is still a huge cabin...   galleys are small, but extremely well done.
     

     
    The cockpit is stunning as well, the detail is even overwhelming, even though I know it in complete detail from May.
     

     
    And you can slip yourself into the pilot's seat and adjust it forward.
     

     
    The E-Family uses the Honeywell Primus "Epic", Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) glass cockpit...
     

     
    I really don't have a lot of negative comments with X-Crafts E-Jet Family, but there are two, or really one that can absorb the second one.
     
    The custom "Authentic" FMS is very good, yes authentic. But it is very long-winded to programme, not just the actual route, but there is a lot of performance and data to feed in. But there are helpers...   On the EFB there are three pages covering Weight & Balance, Takeoff Perf and Landing Perf.
     
    You can import the Flight data from SimBrief (Simbrief ID Required), and it fills out your loadsheet, you can then use this data to "Load (the) Plane"...  but it won't insert your route? The quickest way is to use the X-Plane 12 FMS flightplan (you can use the SimBrief Downloader App to insert the file in the X-Plane FMS plans folder). Then load in the route as a CO ROUTE
     

     
    You still have to insert your Departure and Arrival procedures, to complete the route detail.
     

     
    Again on the EFB, you can create the "TakeOff" and "Landing" performance data. You then have to fill in the Wind, (Airport) Temperature and Baro QNH.
     

     
    When computed, you can send the data directly to the FMS, via the upper right link. It is hard to find, but to set these Takeoff and Landing speeds you then have to go to the ACARS MAIN MENU, under NAV-INDEX/DATALINK.
     

     
    But it does not set other crucial data...   one of the big annoying diversions is caused by setting the TO-CG (TakeOff - Centre of Gravity). The TO-CG is shown on TAKEOFF INIT page 2, but it won't accept the TO-CG %, as you would usually program in the Trim on the TAKEOFF page.
     

     
    The TO-CG is actually set on the PERFORMANCE INIT-KG page 2, then  it fills in the TAKEOFF INIT (page 2) setting...  it also then sets the "PITCH TRIM" and "TO PITCH", both slots you usually do manually, here it is automatic.
     

     
    Another diversion is to set the Takeoff flap setting. Here it is set to FLAPS 2, to change the Flap setting you go to the TO INIT lower left LK6
     

     
    Select Page 2 and the Flap selection is the first row RK1...  OR  Then select your Flap Setting 1, 2, or 4 and the "ACT" is the active flap setting, when done press RETURN. The Flap setting change is now done on the TAKEOFF main page. 
     

     
    More data also has to be filled out on TAKEOFF INIT, this time page 1. WIND is required RK3... 
     

     
    Another one...  back to the PERFORMANCE INIT-KG Page 2, to fill in ISA DEV, ZFW, CRZ ALT (Altitude) and CRZ WINDS.
     

     
    Get it all right and your FMS active FLT PLAN lights up with SPEED and ALTITUDE data.
     

     
    Don't get me wrong, it is a brilliantly deep FMS system, really well done. Once you get skilled at the way you programme in the data, you will be well pleased with the result... but what if you make a mistake, or your flight is tomorrow?
     
    That is the crunch...  you can't save all your set up hard work, shut down the Simulator, and it's all gone. So it becomes a use it or lose it situation, and it's a lot of (programming) work to lose, and it's time consuming to reprogramme everything back in ready again.
     
    Developer note- "Use the ICAO code instead of the identifier to search for airports. This should fix some airports not being found on the EFB, If this still happens to you, then quit X-Plane, then navigate to …\X-Plane\Output\caches\xcrafts, and delete the airports.db folder. It will be recreated automatically next time you start X-Plane. And this should resolve the issue".
     
    Throttles
    Those lovely throttles have been troublesome since the original release of the XP12 E-Jet Family. Certainly if you have some add-on hardware throttles, like I do with the Saitek X56 Rhino. At first they didn't work at all with the Add-on set up, in v1.02 they did work, but both levers were locked together?
     
    In v1.03 the throttles now work independently of each other and realistically... nice!
     

     
    But there is something working even better here now, and clever as well. Reverse on these sort of "BETA" gate style throttle quadrants was always very tricky to get right with Add-on throttle systems Just try FlyJSims DASH Q4XP to see how hard it is to get it working realistically.
     
    But X-Crafts have come up with a novel solution here. Select your Reverser Mode as usual (Toggle thrust reversers), and the throttles drop back into the MIN REV gate, push up the throttle power and the throttles do the reverse action in going rearwards to MAX REV....
     

     
    So simple it makes you cry, but so easy to use. Do the reverse procedure to get back to IDLE position (pull back throttles then re-toggle the reversers)...   brilliant, you can play and marvel with them for hours. X-Crafts has also changed the Throttle Retarding detection method to prevent previous hardware issues, also the LNAV and VNAV will not disconnect if you disengage AP anymore.
     

     
    One of the biggest protestations with the release version was the aircraft would lift off the runway before the v2 (149 knts) + Rotate position was acquired.
     

     
    X-Crafts have done a lot of work on this issue, and it shows, at the rotation point it is now perfect, and at the correct vSpeed. Visually it's better as well with improved wingflex. So as the wings take the weight, they will bend now higher (or more realistically) on takeoff, but they don't flex in the replay mode, a Laminar bug it seems.
     
    I initially climb to 12,000ft, or 15,000ft if the airport is at a high altitude. Once there you switch off the seatbelt signs and clean up the lighting, and increase the speed (285 knts).
     

     
    Lately I have been comparing FLCH (Flight Change) modes in various reviews, to see how they stack up. I have in the past always been a procedures person and did all the Flight Level and Speed changes (Knts/Mach) myself. But decided to see how the E-Jet performed. And the results are impressive. Like noted I was at 12,000ft with an altitude change to FL320 (32,000ft), so I pressed the FLCH and watched it perform... 
     
    The (vertical) climb was originally set at 3,200 fpm, but quickly settled down to around 2,200 per minute, then over the climb it changed the pitch feet per minute from the 2,200 - 1800 - 1600 - 1200 - and going past FL300 it was down to 800, until reaching the correct altitude. Like I said, that was sensational in the sort of climb rates I would do manually. in v1.03 there has been some adjustments on the Mach number changeover point, now 31,000 ft. The VNAV has had a lot of attention as well...  first the VNAV not engaging if AP not selected before 1200ft AGL, thats now also been fixed...
     

     
    ...  TOC is now visible if it occurs within the SID. TOC is displayed currently based on average climb performance, but you may even reach FL before or after TOC, and that is normal. Route waypoint altitudes didn't before conform to climb or descent altitude profiles when before TOC or after TOD, thats been fixed as well. Finally the Vertical deviation bug does not stay in the middle during level offs during the descents, now it does...  all small stuff in being corrected, but it adds up to a very realistic Simulation.
     
    The results are impressive, in reality you can press the FLCH button (after selecting the new altitude), and climb professionally straight up to the new flight level in perfection, no dramas, with a Mach switch over on the ride up, in fact the E-Jet is fully automated, a one button press does the lot.
     
    I will note though that the FL change to my cruise altitude of FL340 (2,000ft) was a bit abrupt, 2,000 fpm was a bit excessive, but it quickly readjusted to 900 fpm, me I usually change levels around 500 fpm to 600 fpm in this category of aircraft over small altitude steps, don't want to scare the passengers.
     
    Glass transparency was debated, and the conclusion by X-Crafts was that the transparency was true to life and depends highly on the lighting conditions in the sim, that is a point... I don't think any developer can adjust cockpit lighting at the moment, it's still to transient.
     

     
    The one distraction I don't like is Throttle hunting. I have a nasty tailwind of 67 knots, so the Yokes are flickering and the Throttles are adjusting to the wind changes... but it's actually good here, not that abrupt movement, but a seemless casual adjustment as required, so the actions of the systems look and feel very realistic in flight.
     

     
    Is this E-Jet a great reflection on the state of X-Plane 12 currently, yes it is, very impressive.
     

     
    Rear Navigation lights are now white, from the earlier red, look nice as well...  all Navigation lights have been increased in intensity of around 20%, and so have the strobe lights.
     

     
    Cockpit lighting is excellent, but the Autopilot glareshield controls are still very hard to read in the daylight, fine at night...  but confusing in the day.
     
    FLCH descent felt a little excessive at 3,500 fpm? I would usually descend around 2,000 - 2500 fpm, only 3,000 fpm in an emergency, you press FLCH and the nose just goes DOWN...  I'll do it manually.
     

     
    Our arrival at Athens, love it when the gear unfolds.
     

     
    On the E190/E195 variants, the engine pylon was going through the flap when the flaps were extended, now that is fixed, another change is that the Flap extension times were reduced after evaluating some real-world videos. Flap 1 now takes 15 sec to extend instead of the earlier 20 seconds... so quicker.
     

     
    Manual approach flying is exceptional, you have to be impressed on how really good Flight Simulation is today, X-Plane dynamics give you an exceptional "hands on" feel for the aircraft in "Finals".
     

     
    Sound changes in v1.03 are all mostly focused on the landing contact...  with added cabin mains (gear) ground contact, cabin nosegear ground contact, a new cockpit mains ground contact and cockpit nose ground contact sounds. The "autobrake" warning is also now aural. One other aural adjustment was the rather noisy electric hydraulic pump by about 6dB, so the sound pitch is now down slightly.
     

     
    Obviously I couldn't wait to try out the better engine reverser actions, and they look and feel excellent, inside throttle actions and external.
     

     
    The E-Jet is fantastic and impressive as well.
     

    _________________
     
    Summary
    Released to great fanfare in May 2023, is the totally upgraded E-Jet Family Series from X-Crafts. The aircraft set new standards for regional aircraft design and detail, and was the first completely new X-Plane 12 focused release, plus it went up into the upper elite category price wise.
     
    Since the release there has been three updates, v1.01 (19th May), v1.02 (26th June) and this latest update to v1.03 (October 3rd). The first v1.01 update was a reaction to release, to fix immediate bugs and issues. v1.02 was a more in-depth revision focusing on System Improvements, here we focused on the largest update yet with v1.03. A full changelog is below.
     
    The update list is long, but highlights in v1.03 include fixes for the earlier troublesome Throttle quadrant for Add-on hardware. This time the fixes are done, and with the added extra of a well designed Thrust reverser action, for the same add-on throttle systems.
     
    Aircraft dynamics relating to early runway lifting has also been attended to, in fact TOC and TOD points have also had attention with a focus on the Knts/Mach transition, lots of attention for all VNAV, LNAV, PFD, MFD elements and the EFB Tablet are also well detailed, and goes a long way to giving the aircraft a maturity it deserves.
     
    A few physical changes are done as well, Navigation rear lights are now white, and all Nav lights are 20% brighter, modeling Engine Pylon into flaps is fixed, as is the flap speeds. Sounds are focused on Cockpit and Cabin runway contact speeds, and all have been revised.
     
    This is a very complex aircraft, programming the Primus "Epic" FMS, can take time, but gets far easier with familiarity and use, but X-Crafts have done a lot to make it a realistic, if also a provided a lot of "helper" options, but the important global save is still missing, and badly needed here. The non-connection to the Tiller is still there, and the lighting is still unusual in excellent night lighting, is in contradiction to the various daylight lighting being blanked out? an X-Plane 12 issue? The Guidance Panel is still impossible to see the daylight.
     
    Every thing here with the E Jet Family from X-crafts comes down to price. The packages are set in the high quality category, a single aircraft version is priced only US$5 lower than the category leader the FlyJSim Q4XP, the full five aircraft package (the lineage coming later) is US$134.95, yes that is expensive. For the past purchaser of the X-Plane 11 v2 version, the new purchase still gets a 15% discount, if you upgrade later to the full package, then there is a 50% discount, the best deal is 15% off the full package if you are a previous owner, still a big investment, and one that runs the full life of the X-Plane 12 version.
     
    The astounding quality of the aircraft here hits you in the face, this is "Top Notch" category that easily matches the class leader in FlyJSim's Q4XP Dash 8 aircraft, but there is also that "New Gen" feel of the quality and detail that gives this series the signal that it was created and designed for the future, or X-Plane 12, and it is not a conversion aircraft of the past. In truth this is the first (in this high-level category) of a pure X-Plane 12 release, and you see and feel it, and the E-Jets still feels very new and fresh after six months of release.
     
    The E-Jet Family from X-Crafts is a standard bearer in quality and systems for the X-Plane 12 Simulator. These revisions and consistent updates are moving the aircraft very quickly to a mature standard. It's a brilliant in-depth Simulation, that shows off X-Plane 12 to it's ultimate best.
    _____________________
     

     
    Yes! the Embraer E-Jets Family v1.03 by X-Crafts is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    Embraer E-Jets by X-Crafts
    Price per single aircraft is US$74.95
     
    Embraer E170 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E175 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E190 by X-Crafts
     
    Embraer E190 by X-Crafts
     
    Purchasers of the E-Jet v2 (X-Plane 11) can get this new XP12 version with a 15% discount
     
    Embraer E-Jets Family by X-Crafts
    Price for the FULL E-Jet Package is US$134.95
    Includes every E-Type | E170 | E175 | E190 | E195 Plus + Linaeage 1000 Private jet (When Released)
    Purchasers of the E-Jet v2 (X-Plane 11) can get this new XP12 version package with a 15% discount
     
    Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 The first few initial updates will still be X-Plane 11 compatible, however, 6 months after the release, the X-Plane 11 version will be final and development will continue only on the X-Plane 12 version. Windows, MAC or Linux -  4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.03 (October 3rd 2023) Download via Skunkcraft Updater   Download (Package) installed is; 5.56GB. The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder.  
    Designed by X-Crafts
    Support forum for XCrafts   
    Documentation
    There is excellent full coverage documentation and built in checklists, including;
    E-Jets Family by X-Crafts - User Manual  
    Changelog v1.01, v1.02 and v1.03
    Version Notes v1.0.3.txt
    _____________________
     
    Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    28th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.07r1
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 :
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - LIMC - Milano Malpensa XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.95
    - LGAV - FlyTampa - Athens (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.00
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  10. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in NEWS! - Scenery Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : CYLW-Kelowna International Airport XP12 /11 by Canada4XPlane   
    NEWS! - Scenery Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : CYLW-Kelowna International Airport XP12 /11 by Canada4XPlane
     

     
    CYLW Kelowna International was first released for the X-Plane 11 Simulator in late May 2020 by Canada4Xplane. It was a collaborative deal with FSSim Studios, as the original version of CYLW was created for Prepar3D. But don't get the wrong idea here, because the earlier Kelowna was highly developed from the ground up for X-Plane in using assets from FSimStudios, and to totally rebuild the airport, so it was not a simple conversion between the two platforms.
     
    This version v2 release is another complete redesign for X-Plane 12 of CYLW-Kelowna, to include Ultra-High Resolution (4K) Textures, Ambient Occlusion, Volumetric grass and the use of X-Plane 12 effects for weather and lighting.
     
    Kelowna International Airport (CYLW) is a Canadian airport located approximately 10 minutes or 6.2 nautical miles (11.5 km; 7.1 mi) northeast of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, on Highway 97. The single-runway airport operates scheduled air service to Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Seattle, as well as less frequent seasonal service to Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Phoenix. Currently, the airport handles up to 38 commercial departures a day, or approximately 266 departures per week. Three major airlines serve the airport; Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and WestJet.  In 2018, YLW overtook Victoria International Airport to become Canada's 10th busiest airport by passenger traffic with 2,080,372, representing a 9.9% increase over 2017. 
     
    Full Features include
    Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions included Highly detailed representation of Kelowna International Airport CYLW   Detailed Representation of the Kelowna General Hospital Heliport CKH9 330 sqKm of 0.42 cm/pix seasonal Orthoimagery, covering the entire city of Kelowna  Custom Made objects for the city of Kelowna, including the William R. Bennet Bridge, shopping malls, hotels and more Ultra-High Resolution (4K) Textures.  Dynamic Lighting Custom Autogate Jetways Volumetric grass Ambient Occlusion X-Plane 12 Dynamic lighting World Traffic 3 Compatibility  

     

     

     

     
    Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 versions are included in the CYLW package
     
    Quality Canadian Addons for XPlane 11/12, the Canada4XPlane site is here: Canada4XPlane
    __________________________  
     
    The PCYLW-Kelowna International Airport XP12 /11 by Canada4XPlane is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore...
     
    CYLW-Kelowna International Airport XP12 /11
    Price is US$19.99
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11  (both versions included)
    Windows, Mac or Linux 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 2 GB Current Version: 2.0 XP12 (October 25th 2023) ___________________________
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    27th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  11. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from tbaac in Updated Aircraft Review : Eurocopter EC130 B4 v1.2 X-Plane 12 by HSF   
    Updated Aircraft Review : Eurocopter EC130 B4 v1.2 X-Plane 12 by HSF
     
    The Bell 206 JetRanger changed helicopter operations forever. Before this light rotor craft came on to the scene, then Helicopters were used mainly for Military, Oil or Government operations. But the Bell 206 was reliable and cheap enough to operate in commercial areas. Hence the load of television stations that became the "eyes in the sky", also Fire Police and Customs used the aircraft for their own particular services, but more so was the commercial aspect of personal transport, or the use of helicopters in the field of consumer usage. Not only for heliport to airport transfers, but the flourishing tourism market of which where the real action was... or sightseeing from the air.
     
    Today we take this air tourism market for granted in "Sightseeing Flights", but a few decades ago they were then very compelling and opened up a world to the masses and not only for the rich few. It's big business, go to the Grand Canyon, Nevada and see the huge flightlines of machines, or at any scenic attraction, and there is also a very good chance you will be able to also go for a sightseeing flight.
     
    The Bell 206 dominated this tourism market for decades, it was the perfect machine for the job, so how do you replace it. The French developed the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil, or Aérospatiale initiated a development programme to produce a replacement for the aging Aérospatiale Alouette II and in so created another iconic helicopter. But for tourism operators the AS350 was slightly too small, so (then Eurocopter, now Airbus Helicopters) had to develop something else for the market. The designed EC130 was achieved in close cooperation with the said tour operators, one such operator, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters was also in being the launch operator; The EC130 has been described as having a spacious cabin for accommodating up to seven tourists and also providing excellent external visibility.
     
    It also created a strange machine in being very wide with it's three forward seats and four rear seat configuration, the pilot flies from the left seat, even a dual operation it puts the second pilot in the middle seat. Another change on the EC130 for safety was the use of the guarded Fenestron anti-torque device in place of a conventional tail rotor, the Fenestron also has unevenly spaced blades to reduce noise generation by 50% compared to a tail rotor; this enabled an FAA Appendix H fly-over noise signature of 84.3 EPNdB, 8.5 dB and below stage two limits. So the EC130 is a quiet machine for operations over densely packed environments.
     


     
    Update v1.2 and v1.2
    This is the second updated review of the EC130. Original release date was the 26th August 2023, a comprehensive update v1.1 was released almost a month later (17th Sept 23), now a third update v1.2 (23rd Oct 23) includes the addition of a Medivac version. Again it made sense to combine all the three versions together, and highlight the changes with the newer updates included. A full changelog is included below.
     
    HeliSimu France are a newly formed (2019) community dedicated to French designed helicopters. The EC130 is their first collaborative venture for the X-Plane 12 Simulator, there will be no X-Plane 11 version of the aircraft. And there is a lot of collaboration going on here, mostly by HSF with a design by highly renowned NemethDesigns. First views of the HSF EC130 are extremely good for a first time developed aircraft. Particularly for a helicopter as the quality and detail in this sphere is, always been extremely high...
     
    The EC130 is a single-engine helicopter. It uses a three-bladed Starflex main rotor which is matched to an enclosed tail fan anti-torque device, known as a Fenestron, the latter feature replacing the traditional tail rotor found on the older AS350. The EC130 uses the Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine; the performance of this powerplant 710 kW (950 hp) has led to the type having been described as possessing "better power margins and range than competing models, particularly in hot and high conditions". The B4 is the Initial launch model of the type. First flight 24 June 1999, and 700 aircraft have been built to date.
     
    First of all there are two versions of the aircraft from HSF, one is the standard "Analog" avionics, the second is "G500" for FAR Part 23 Class 1/Class 2 aircraft, dual-screen electronic flight display classification. You select either system from the X-Plane Flight Configuration menu.
     

     
    On the G500 EC-130 aircraft there is also the extra option to install a RealSimGear G500 for a more higher detailed and menu driven avionics version of the unique system.
     
    Detail
    As noted the modeling and design here is by highly renowned NemethDesigns. It shows as the quality is very good, again we will note that helicopters are a level above in quality and detail than the usual aircraft fare in the simulator.
     
    The complex construction of the EC-130 is really well done here, all the panels are all perfect and so are the locking latches, steel/chrome highlights are well done as well. Underside of the fuselage is also highly detailed, highly realistic. Noted as PBR 2K textures, they are very good.
     

     
    The burnt exhaust is very realistic, as is it's complex shape, but the air-vent circular pipes could be more rounded. The Fenestron in flight looks great as is the nicely surrounding sculptured enclosure.
     

     
    The construction detail of the rotor hub is excellent, all rods, tower and joints are perfectly modeled with a cap on top.
     

     
    - Version 1.2 -
    In the v1.0 release the rotor hub was not animated, But now in v1.2 there are fully articulated rotor hub movements, including Collective, Pitch and Roll, by having these elements present in the detail is a pointer to the depth of the design...  The actions here are excellent, as the hub is now fully animated.
     
    Collective

    Pitch

    Roll

     
    ...   on the Fenestron the blades they also simulate the Yaw aspect by movement with the rudder controls.
     

     
    Glass is exceptional, dark thick and beautifully curved and intergrated into the fuselage, notable are the central window panels, that give the aircraft it's width, and excellent skylights set in above, it is a very scenic built forward cabin for sightseeing.
     

     
    So the modeling and detail is excellent, very high quality and very well executed by NemethDesigns. As we go into the cabin, we will look at the menu options as well, because they are related.
     
    Menu
    The Menu is situated upper left panel by clicking a hotspot on the Caution Warning Panel (CWP)...  you can move the menu panel in a semi-circle around you via the arrows, left or right. Obviously this menu system has been created for VR or Virtual Reality users in mind, its easy to use and accessible as well.
     
     
     
    All the four doors can be opened, the left rear is a slider, the right rear an opening dummy door.
     

     
    The seven seats are tall, very thin and built on a metal frame, three front and four rear. The seat construction frames are excellent, and the cabin interior is most all shades of grey with black. nice carpets and the interior is a darkish grey.
     

     
    There are also the various material design options (and colours) from seat covers to changeable seat patterns, via the differently selected livery.
     

     
    Also via the menu you have the option to remove both the forward (two) seats and the full rear four seats.
     

     
    Clever is the use of the X-Plane Weight & Balance menu to add in the pilot and passengers...
     

     
    ....  slide the Pilot weight slider above 50 kgs and he will appear. Slide the "Front" passenger (PAX) to 75 kgs and a passenger will appear, another 75 kgs and a second passenger appears. The same system is used in the rear with the four passengers left to right.
     

     
    - Version 1.1 -
    There are changes to the Weight and Balances menu with the addition of new features in v1.1...  added are four new sliders to cover the weights in "Cargo" and "Basket" loads.
     

     
    There are excellent cargo baskets on each side of the EC130, Adjusting the weight slider (v1.1) and you can now have baggage (cargo) in the baskets, nicely done....   and you can also open the baskets with a hotspot.
     

     
    Another v1.1 change is the addition of opening side cargo (baggage) compartments... like with the Baskets, if you adjust the W&B menu slider you will get internal compartment bags (luggage)
     

     
    Other external options include; Left side Mirror and underside Sling Hook.
     

     
    You can select the Sling Load weight and Object on the X-Plane W&B menu, but there are no objects to load, or provided? Set the weight, turn on the "Sling" selection in the SCU or system control unit...   and the weight is shown on the far left "Sling load Indicator". Externally because there is no object you get a white and red box to lift, In time I would expect real objects to lift. The EC-130's aircraft keel is of high-strength, with chemically milled beams rather than the usual stamped metal, so it's lift capacity is higher. Notable in v1.2, AlpineHoist sling load weight indicator if the plugin is installed (Available with the next version of AlpineHoist)
     

     
    More external options include lower and upper wire cutters...
     

     
    Working "Floats" and rear skid "Bear Paws".
     

     
    Final external option are the "Handling Wheels" again on the rear part of the skid.
     

     
    You can manoeuvre the helicopter by the wheel control panel when you select the Handling wheels selection...  just press the arrow on the direction you want to move, but it is very, very basic...  even primitive in action?  
     
    - Version 1.2 -
    Added into v1.2 update is a full medivac fitout. This includes seating, a stretcher and Medical Equipment bay.
     

     
    The quality and detail of the Medical interior is excellent, really well thought out and executed. The Medical option is selected via the menu or the Medivac Livery. You can also add in the medical flight crew via the same X-Plane/Weights & Balances menu. The crew are all dressed in the correct uniforms of Pilot (black), Doctor and two air Paramedics.
     

     
    It's very versatile as well. Need just the doctor (flying out), then put in a Front Passenger weight below 150 kgs and there is no patient, above 150 kgs, and there he is (flying back). The rear two Paramedics use the same weight system to have one or two medics present...  clever.
     

     
    A Ohio State "MedFlight" livery is also provided, but I expect others to follow.
     

     
    Also added to v1.2 is a very nice GPU (Ground Power Unit) a branded HOBART. It also can be found on the 3d Menu.
     

     
    Instrument Panel - G500
    The Instrument binnacle is huge, but still small in this wide cockpit... set to the far left it is very well done here in look and detail. Black on black, it is quite dark internally.
     

     
    There are the two layout configurations as noted... Analog and G500, we will look first at the G500.
     

     
    And it has built-in a "Synthetic Vision" feature that is excellent, the best Synthetic I have seen yet. The G500 avionics package is designed specifically for FAR Part 23 Class 1/Class 2 aircraft (singles and twins less than 6,000 lbs.), G500 system is an affordable, dual-screen electronic flight display that works with your avionics stack to provide a fully certified “glass cockpit” retrofit option.
     
    Dual 6.5" LCDs are mounted side-by-side in the bezel, put both the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multifunction Display (MFD) capabilities directly in your field of view to help streamline instrument scanning. There is real-time True Airspeed calculations and selectable Winds Aloft data as well as aircraft ground speed, GPS active waypoint, distance-to-waypoint, desired/actual track, and more.
     
    PFD consolidates all primary situational information regarding your aircraft’s position are in tapes, speed, attitude, vertical rate, altitude and flight progress. plus Nav 1, Nav 2 and GPS data.
    This version from HSF is very, very good, but you can also install a payware version as noted from RealSimGear G500. There is a provided folder and instructions in the package to install the RealSim G500 version correctly.
     
    The left display MFD provides detailed moving-map graphics of your aircraft’s current position in relation to ground features, chart data, navaids and more. TCAS and Weather overlay (X-Plane) are both supported. On the HSF version I couldn't see the flightplan tools, and too a point the MFD is a little basic here, but more detail may follow.
     
    How to use the G500, I will cover in the flying section of this review, it is a one knob operation, clever.
     
    v1.1 Added is a Toggle custom command for the starter and hydraulic switch, mostly for home cockpit builders, but also for a button press start on your keyboard.
     
    VEMD - Vehicle and Engine Management Display
    Aérospatiale helicopters use the excellent VEND (Vehicle and Engine Management Display) system. It is a two display (Upper & Lower) arrangement with screen options available via right side buttons, on power up you will get a test loop of the system.
     

     
    Upper screen shows two displays, "Starting" and in "Flight".
     

     
    Shown on the upper "Starting" display is; Fuel gauge, Fuel quantity, Bleed valve flag, Starting T4 indication, Torque indication NG and delta NG indication, VEND caution messages and OAT (Outside Temperature). On the "Flight" display is; Fuel gauge, Fuel quantity, Bleed valve flag, In flight T4 indication, Torque indication, NG and delta NG indications and OAT.
     
    On the lower "Flight" display is more flight performance data; Engine oil temperature, Engine oil pressure, Voltage ( Battery and Generator), Generator amperage, Fuel Flow and Endurance in hours.
     

     
    When you shut down the Ec-130, the lower VEND display will create a "Flight Report", incuding; Total flight number(s), Last flight duration, Last flight N1 and N2 cycles, Total N1 and N2 cycles and a Over-limit indication if detected during the flight.
     

     
    What is missing from this HSF system is the "Test" routines for the VEND system and displays, and you miss that visual (and colourful) test loop (There is a static test, but not the animated loop testing), and most of the buttons on the two displays are false, except for ON/OFF, Reset and Brightness?
     
    Analog Panel
    Besides the G500 Avionics you also have a standard analog instument package, this layout is excellent with instruments; Caution Warning Panel (CWP), NR indicator (rotor/ N2 speed) 3 way Emergency switch, Standby Horizon, Gyro slaving control, indicated air speed (kts), Pilot Horizon, Altimeter (ft), large Radio Altimeter (ft), HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator), Variometer (ft/min), Clock/Chronometer, HSI source switch, lower Cockpit Lightings Knobs and NAV 1 GPS.
     

     
    Switiching Avionics (G500 - Analog) changes the display (slightly). The Airspeed and Altimeter become lower panel backup instruments, and the Lighting Panel is moved to the right hand side. A custom instrument is the NR (Top Left) Indicator, which shows the rotor speed and the N2 engine speed, Low NR will send alarm sounds in the headset if NR is under 360 rpm, and high NR alarm sounds in the headset if the NR is above 410 rpm. There is also an "Electric Emergency Switch" (Emer SW), that switches off all DC power, except vital power consumers.
     

     
    There are two other instrument menu options with the Artificial Horizons (main and backup), as they can be the switched between a Floating Globe, or Electronic Horizon instrument. I prefer the nicer Floating Globe option.
     

     
    The other (menu) option is to install the SAS (Stability Augmentation System), which is basically a Helicopter Autopilot System. It is situated below the GNS 430 GPS unit.
     

     
    Lower console is really well done, with a Garmin GMA 340 radio top, Bendix/King NAV 2 radio centre and Garmin GTX 327 Transponder unit bottom.
     

     
    The lower console has the "SCU" or System Control Unit, with a multitude of operations, including; Battery on (bat epu and dct/bat work together), Generator on, Horn (low NR and high NR alarms in the headset), Cockpit light, Avionics on, Generator reset, Anti-Collision light, Nav lights, Fuel pump, System lights, Instruments lights, Pitot heat, Sand filter, Sling load indicator, Taxi & Landing lights, Floats arm on, Crank engine, Warning lights test, Fire test and Servo test. Pressing the W/L switch will test the Caution Warning Panel (CWP), VEND and SCU, like I mentioned earlier it is only a lights test here, not a VEND system test?
     

     
    You have (more) options for changing the Avionics in replacing the GNS 430, and the Analog Radio/NAV 2/Transponder with a Reality XP GNS 430W and Reality XP GTN 750 Touch on the main panel and upper console, if you own those external options, and then the switching can be done in the menu.
     

     
    There is the option to use the AviTab, positioned on the far right of the instrument panel, the plugin is of course required.
     

     
    The option for a "Single" or "Dual" controls (Cyclic and Collective) is also available via the Menu.
     

     
    You can "Lock" the Cyclic by pressing the base plate...  the Collective has a huge amount of active functions available, including; Landing light, Inflate floats, Hydraulic switch, Taxi light, Wiper, VEND scroll function, Landing light pitch, Twist (Throttle) grip in idle or flight positions and Collective Lock. The Huge massive two section Wiper is an option, and the switch is hard to find, but it is situated far left on the collective handle.
     

     
    Above you are four very nice Bose headsets... click for sounds and instrument warnings! The "Rotor Brake" lever (apply below 170 rpm rotor speed) and the Fuel shut off lever and Fuel shut off lever guard are all situated forward roof.
     

     
    Added in v1.1...  is that the aircraft registration is now noted on the top of the instrument panel, it changes with the applied livery registration.
     

    ______________
     
    Flying the EC130 B4
    Helicopters are all about feel, mostly in the controls. Get it right and it a glorious place to be, get it wrong, and your struggling with the machine. The type of machine helps as well. Big heavy helicopters are more gentile, easier to fly, but light helicopters can be tricky and nasty. The AS350 can be like that, it will take smooth control and minimum inputs to get it right...  so where does the EC130 stand, well in the middle, with more a benign nature, than a hairy jiggling machine. Yes a novice could fly this EC130 B4, it is nice enough and benign enough to warrant that. But it does have its odd characteristics.
     
    Changed in v1.1 is the Rotor animation...  to a smoother rotor blur or a more realistic rotor movement, very nice it is. There is also the allowance now of Rotor blur on both blades sides, it also allows you to customise each side differently, but there are no notes on how to do this? Another note is that the Fmod external sound has been increased, and so has the doors (open) sound in external view.
     

     
    Taking off and the Yaw (rudder) feel is odd, there is thrust, then give the rudder more right foot and the thrust becomes less, then kicks in higher in a boost that sends you in the opposite direction (twirling). But I eventually controlled the yaw oddities, even got a low hover in place above the pad without drifting...  then a forward motion (in the direction I wanted to go)...  so the EC130 not (thankfully) one of those sweary impossible machines to fly.
     

     
    Find your groove and the machine is very good, nice to fly once you have settled the angle of forward flight to the altitude.
     

     
    An option you have is to switch on the "Vibrations", so you don't need an external "Effects" plugin to get realistic movements...  and I really like them, nice movements, without not being too severe or silly, if you don't like them, you can "Kill" the effect in the Menu.
     
    The famous Matterhorn looms in the scenic windshield as I try to gain as much height as I can... 
     

     
    The rate of Rate of climb is 9 m/s (1,800 ft/min), a Cruise speed of 237 km/h (147 mph, 128 kn), with a Never exceed speed of 287 km/h (178 mph, 155 kn) over a Range of 606 km (377 mi, 327 nmi), or 4 Hours endurance. Service ceiling is a remarkable 7,010 m (23,000 ft) with a Hover ceiling IGE of 3,429 m (11,250 ft). So the EC130 is a very capable machine.
     
    Manual hands on flying is easy, not at all tiring as some Helicopters are, they require a lot of concentration, physical tension to keep the movement and motion going forward... but not here, its a nice aircraft to fly, hands on the controls, as I hate aircraft you have to fight all the time, but that is not what you get here. v1.1 brings even more Improved flight "Stability", a more hands on feel from the machine, and yes it is improved.
     
    Notable is that HSF recommend 6 Flight Models per Frame, on the X-Plane/General Menu page, and I will confirm that action for a smoother flight and less weight on your framerate.
     
    Sounds, quite brilliant with FMOD 2...  All the startup whines and the blades cutting the air, with the howl of the turbine Arriel 2D in the background, the blade slap is good as well if you dip or turn too fast, in cruise it is excellent, but I can't hear any doppler sounds.
     

     
    My aim is to get over that ridge and into clear air...
     

     
    ...  now that is done we will look at the G500. The operations here are in conjunction with the SAS (Stability Augmentation System)
     
    It is a nice simple system, select your operation from; HDG (Heading) CRS (Course), ALT (Altitude), V/S (Vertical Speed) and BARO from the left selections, then adjust the knob for that selection, a single handed operation...  clever, very easy to use!
     

     
    Only two notes, one be careful you react to the right selection if connected to the SAS, otherwise the helicopter will go bananas, its easy to do, as I did did it not once but twice. Second is how to use the V/S selection? No tutorial manual (or video) makes it hard to use? BARO can be set in both hPa and inches Hg.
     

     
    The SAS is very good, clean entry and exits to the system, and it is very easy to use. But you need brighter operation lights, you can't see which selection is selected in the daylight? The SAS selections are not noted in the G500 either.
     

     
    v1.1...  the SAS selection operation lights have been brightened in the update, it is far better to to your selections now. Also the tail beacon strobe light is brighter.
     

     
    Two final v1.1 notes include an Analog Barometer setting bug fix and a Autopilot disconnecting bug fix. Notes for v1.2 include a HeliSAS heading mode behaviour Fix, RealSimGear G500 slip indicator Fix and a RealSimGear G500 autopilot NAV mode Fix.
     
    Lighting
    Lighting is good, but not brilliant....   The instruments can be faded by a 3 way dim switch...
     

     
    ...   two knobs adjust the backup instruments, and the VEND/G500 surround highlight buttons.
     

     
    There are two rear DOME lights, but they are not very effective? Certainly no use for MAP reading, or for even lighting the rear compartment.
     

     
    v1.1...  as noted above the internal lighting was average. But in the update it has had attention. The Instrument lighting has now more adjustment, meaning far brighter, and much more nicer it is, the G500 panel lightning has also had a bug fix.
     

     
    The overhead DOME lights have had adjustment as well, again far brighter... but I still think a couple of overhead spot (map reading) lights would be nice or more useful.
     
    External lighting is basic...  A large Landing light, then a Taxi light is set behind it. Navigation lights are small, but the nice Anti-Collision beacon on the top of the tail is good.
     

     
    v1.1...  external lighting has had adjustment as well, all lights are brighter (it needed more brightness), and the landing light has more pitch as well (and now works in the replay).
     

     
    All in all the Eurocopter EC130 B4 by HSF is an excellent first release, yes there are a few areas to still or could be developed deeper, but the basics are all really good here, modeling, flight dynamics and it comes with a huge feature list...  It's nice to fly, unusually for both the Pro's and the Novices, basic Helicopter flight is always a challenge, but this aircraft will at least meet you halfway.... 
     

    _______________
     
    Liveries
    There are 29 liveries! a lot, with most current EC130 operators provided. Liveries are all of a high quality and are brilliantly presented. We can't show you them all, but here is a small selection. The aircraft including the individual liveries all use "XPersistence".
    Which is a plugin for X-Plane 12 which adds persistence by saving some datarefs at the end of a flight and restores them at the beginning of the next one. The datarefs are all saved individually per livery and with the options selected.
     

     
    V1.1...  Two new liveries have been added in the update; C-GPHF Phoenix Heli-Flight and F-GXPG Private Owner...  Also there is a new paintkit, with or without dirtiness.
     

    _______________
    Summary
    The Eurocopter EC130 was created basically for one major role, Sightseeing and Tourism, hence its ultra-wide cabin and seven seat arrangement. The spacious cabin also makes the machine a great Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) aircraft as well. It was a role created initially by the venerable Bell 206 JetRanger. But the EC130 was developed to be a larger and faster Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil. Built around the Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine and a Fenestron anti-torque device in place of a conventional tail rotor, the EC130 B4 first flew 24 June 1999, and to date 500 aircraft have been built.
     
    HeliSimu France are a newly formed (2019) community dedicated to French designed helicopters. The EC-130 is their first collaborative venture for the X-Plane 12 Simulator, there will be no X-Plane 11 version of the aircraft. Design and modeling is by highly renowned NemethDesigns, the quality and detail is therefore very good.
     
    Helicopters in X-Plane are certainly some of the best simulations in the simulator, complex and usually come with a load of options and features, that aspect is well delivered here. The menu is simple (popout 3d) but loaded with detail.
     
    All the usual features are here, Opening doors, doors removal, cargo baskets (2), underside Sling Hook, Mirrors, Wire cutters, single or twin controls and a great Weight & Balance Menu is used to add in a Pilot and six Passengers.
    Also are there two versions with either the glass version G500 or Analog avionic choices, and options for the addon RealSim G500 and Reality XP GNS 430W, Reality XP GTN 750 Touch intergration. Vibration Effects and AviTab are also included. The VEND (Vehicle and Engine Management Display) system is also very good, but not as deep in systems as seen in others.
     
    The Fenestron system is unusual to fly and use (Yaw thrust), but overall the aircraft is very good for Novices and Pro's alike, with a good SAS (Stability Augmentation System) to help out on longer flights. Sounds are universally very good as well, with all the required aural alarms.
     
    Obviously the Eurocopter is a collaboration of French Helicopter enthusiasts, certainly the people were focused for good detail, as this is an extremely good first release. Nothing is perfect, certainly a few areas in the VEND, G500 and the internal lighting could have more depth, Object provided for hoisting and physical cargo...   and a tutorial manual would also be a good addition as well considering the complex aircraft systems.
     
    Notable is the v1.1 update (17th September 23). It brought New opening side Cargo doors, with 3d baggage and for the side baskets, better rotor blur and animation, and various internal and external lighting improvements, and now this new update v1.2, that adds in a Medivac interior and Medical crew, also added was the Ground Power Unit and Rotor hub animations.
     
    But overall the EC500 B4 is excellent, another brilliant machine to use and to fly regularly. The X-Plane Simulator always did lead the simulation market with excellent Helicopter designs with a lot of features, this one from the French Developers is another one to savour and certainly to invest in, great value price as well....
     
    Highly Recommended!
    ________________________________________
     

     
    The Eurocopter EC130 B4 by HSF is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here: 
     
    Eurocopter EC130 B4 Price is US$27.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Size: 1.11 GB Current version: 1.2 (October 23rd 2023)   Designed by Ceds from HSF (Heli Simu France) Support forum for the EC 140 B4 _____________   Installation and documents:  download for the EC130 B4 is 1.16Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
    Full Installation is 1.33GB
     
    Full version v1.2 changelog
    EC 130 v1.2 changelog.txt
     
    AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
     
    Documents supplied is:
    1 HSF EC130 B4 Introduction.pdf 2 HSF EC130 B4 Configurations.pdf 3 HSF EC130 B4 Normal Procedures.pdf 4 HSF EC130 B4 Normal Procedures Printable white version.pdf 5 XPersistence Plugin.pdf 6 HSF EC130 B4 Acknowledgements.pdf 7 HSF EC130 B4 End User License Agreement.pdf 8 HSF EC130 B4 G500 RSG installation.pdf Eight documents cover setup, configurations and general options on the aircraft available, details for XPersistence Plugin is also provided, as is the installation details for the RealSim G500. No Tutorial, which is a small annoyance as the systems are complex to a novice.
     
    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 12.06b4 (This is a beta review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - Alps UHD XP12 by Frank Dainese and  Fabio Bellini.- (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$49.95
    _____________
     
    Updated Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    24th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
    EC 130 v1.1 changelog.rtf
  12. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Blueb in Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design   
    Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design
     
    In aviation folklore, there are machines that have created an impact by their design alone, but a few have gone even higher into a sort of immortal status, Say Spitfire or DC-3, Concorde and even the Boeing 707. One other aircraft can also join this upper echelons of achievement, and that is the de Havilland Canada Type 2... also known as the "Beaver". Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947.
     
    The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada in 1946, and is known as a bush plane, in fact one of the most highly regarded bush aircraft ever created. There was 1,657 Beavers built between 1947–1967 and half are actually still flying and working hard. In fact you can currently buy a zero-time frame and just rebuild your current aircraft and keep the machine flying as long as you can service the radial engine and afford the new airframes...
     
    History
    de Havilland Canada hired Punch Dickins, a famous bush pilot, as Director of Sales who began an extensive program of collecting requests from other pilots and to understand what they needed in a new type of aircraft. Almost without variation, the pilots asked for tremendous extra power and STOL performance, in a design that could be easily fitted with wheels, skis or floats. When de Havilland engineers noted that this would result in poor cruise performance, one pilot replied "You only have to be faster than a dog sled". Other suggestions that seemingly sound mundane but important in the bush plane world; full-sized doors were installed on both sides of the aircraft so it could be easily loaded no matter which side of a dock it tied up on. The large doors (known as Alaska doors) were also made wide enough to allow for a 45 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled directly up and into the aircraft.
     
    On September 17, 1946, de Havilland officially put together a design team consisting of Fred Buller, Dick Hiscocks, Jim Houston and W. Jakimiuk, led by Phil Garratt. The new aircraft was designed to be all-metal in using "steel from the engine to the firewall, heavy aluminum truss frames with panels and doors throughout the front seat area, lighter trusses toward the rear and all monocoque construction aft". At the time de Havilland Canada was still a British-owned company and there were plans to fit the evolving design with a British engine. This limited power, so the wing area was greatly increased in order to maintain STOL performance. When Pratt & Whitney Canada offered to supply war-surplus 450 hp (340 kW) Wasp Jr engines at a low price, the aircraft ended up with extra power as well as the original long wing. The result was unbeatable STOL performance for an aircraft of its size.
     
    it was decided that the new bush plane was much like the hard-working beaver and so as many aircraft at the time were named after animals, the aircraft was designated after this industrious animal. The first flight of the DHC-2 Beaver was in Downsview, Ontario by Second World War flying ace Russell Bannock on August 16, 1947. The first production aircraft was delivered to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, a design partner, in April 1948.
     
    The Beaver was designed for flight in rugged and remote areas of the world. Its short takeoff and landing capability made it ideal for areas normally only accessible only by canoe or foot. Because it often flies to remote locations, often in cold climates, its oil reservoir filler is located in the cockpit and the oil can be filled in flight. A series of upgrades to the basic design were incorporated. One major customer introduced the use of flat steps replacing the earlier tubes, a feature that is now almost universal. In 1987, the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board named the DHC-2 one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century.
     
    The current ownership of the certificates and tooling gives Viking Air of Victoria, Canada the exclusive right to manufacture new Beavers. Viking now sells a remanufactured and rebuilt DHC-2T Turbo Beaver upgraded with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 680 hp (507 kW) turboprop engine. With a maximum gross takeoff weight increased to 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) it can carry 2,450 lb (1,110 kg) of freight. However, Viking Turbo Beavers are only rebuilt from existing air frames, and are not new-builds, unlike Viking's own DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter, which is manufactured from a completely new airframe. (wikipeida)
     
    Performance - Maximum speed: 158 mph (255 km/h) - Cruise speed: 143 mph (230 km/h) - Range: 455 miles (732 km) - Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,486 m) - Rate of climb: 1,020 ft/min (5.2 m/s)
     
    Thranda Design
    This is the second Beaver for X-Plane by Thranda Design, their first release was the X-Plane 11 version released in November 2020, and this is the totally revised aircraft for X-Plane 12. Current users of the earlier Thranda XP11 Beaver can also get 30% off this new XP12 version of the DHC-2 Beaver. The older XP11 version is still also currently available, if you want to fly the aircraft in X-Plane 11
     
    This version is the Beaver that incorporates the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs engine forward by almost 10 inches. This modification then moves the center of gravity of the plane forward, and in then allowing additional loads to be carried in the back without exceeding the aft CG limit.
     
    First impressions are quite impressive. This is now also X-Plane 12, so you also get that huge photographic realism from the aircraft as well with the X-Plane 12 lighting and effects.
     

     
    In features and detail, there is is not that much difference outward between the two XP12 and XP11 versions, on the surface they are quite the same aircraft package. It is in the hidden areas, like textures (more soon), lighting, aircraft dynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft flight models is in were they differ. One significant difference is that the extra Floats and Amphibious floats variant is already included in this XP12 package, were as with the original version release they came a short few months awhile after, you also get a canoe as well!
     
    Thranda quality is extreme in detail and fittings. As noted the new XP12 Beaver comes with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the DHC-2 will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in only the one texture sheet, rather than the load of old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets.
     
    As a classic Beaver, you won't get any better in modeling and design than this one, there was the original X-Plane Beaver from SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 version a few years back, that aircraft is a pure DHC-2, but without any updates, certainly no upgrade to X-Plane 12, the SMS DHC-2 is now quite dated and in the past. 
     
    The detailing is exceptional, the mapping of the precision of the rivets are simply excellent, and I love the gap in the cowling, actually done twice with the Holmes extended engine mount if you look closely. The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, is rated at 450 BHP at sea level. This is an air-cooled, carburetted, 9-Cylinder radial engine, incorporating dual magnetos and an engine-driven single-stage supercharger. And the engine detail really jumps out at you with the coloured inner components, that aspect should not work on such an old aircraft, but it simply looks brilliant here...
     

     
    Undercarriage is basic, but again very well done in total authentic detail, the DHC-2 is a taildragger, so there is only a small loose swivel wheel at the rear.
     
    Notable in the detail are the excellent double metal plate reinforce plates, they are all over the fuselage and they all make the aircraft very authentic.
     

     
    They are beautifully done, and shows the high craftmanship of the aircraft. Rear Rudder, Elevator control surfaces reinforce work is also top notch.
     

     
    Wing shape and camber is perfect, again you have a highly realistic wing, realistically modeled and designed with all the correct rivets.
     

     
    Oddly the aileron goes only about 3º up, but 8º down, note the full barn door flap deflection of 58º, mostly used for slow water landings.
     
    There is the debate if X-Plane 12 surfaces are too "shiny, shiny". The X-Plane 11 surfaces were certainly in the opposite of being very flat, but it also bought out the intimate detail, here, or for all current Thranda Aircraft, is that every surface is shiny, reflective....  I'm not sure if I am a total fan of this look. In one aspect aircraft certainly looks realistic in X-Plane 12, but in other ways they just don't, as the shininess can hide a lot of the wear detail that presented well on the older XP11 version of Thranda's Beaver.
     
    Glass is superb, thick where it counts (windscreen), with a mottled/scratch wear in the glass. All glass is a heavy green tint, and "Bubble" windows is an option on the passenger doors. Reflections can also be turned off.
     

     
    There are four forward doors, Two for the pilots, and two behind for the front row passengers (note the right side door has no external handle, and can only be opened outside via a hotspot). Rear are two separate large upward opening "Alaska" doors. Space inside was created to be wide enough to allow for a 44 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled up into the aircraft.
     

     
    There are four passenger seats, and one large rear bench seat in the rear, all seats are beautifully done in blue canvas, with metal legs and rear plate supports. All of the five Passenger seats backs can be folded forward.
     

     
    You can take one or all five seats out, to create a huge cargo space. This space can then be filled with cargo, including cases, crates and (small oil drums), cargo is also put in the small baggage area behind the restriction net (bench seat if installed). You can of course also mix the passengers with cargo...
     

     
    Cockpit
    You sit up there very high at the front of the machine...   Both the pilot seats are amazing, with their metal clamshell bucket rear design, and hardwearing blue patterned levi Jean look cushions.
     

     
    Both pilots windows can be opened, or positioned in any place, up or down... you can play with the small window air-vent as well.
     

     
    The Thranda Beaver cockpit is not like the antique cream version like on the SoulMade Solutions DHC-2, that is very much beloved by me as to it's reference to an early Beaver. But this version is very much a more relative version to most of the working Beavers out there and it is extremely well done. The SMS version had a single left side Yoke, but here you get the TwinBar Y double version that disappears if you press the base. The logo we all admire...  all in it's chrome and black plate glory "De Havilland" and in the right lighting conditions it just glows and shines like it has just been lovingly and newly polished. The cosmetic detail here is excellent, and you simply can't believe the intimate authentic detail all around you here.
     

     
    There are two choices of the famous throttle quadrant, the older original classic version with the Throttle Lever left, with in order Propeller lever and Mixture right...  or the more modern squared off version with the Throttle now centre, Prop left and Mixture right.
     

     
    Centre top are the magnificently large DHC-2 iconic Manifold Pressure and RPM gauges, and the mid-screen mounted whiskey compass.
     
    The pilot gets all the flying instruments in the form of the six standard flight instruments in the Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Turn/Slip Indicator, Heading Indicator and the Vertical Speed, left is the main fuel tank selector It has positions of OFF, FRONT, CENTRE, REAR.
     

     
    Top panel is the (very) hard too find "Avionics" switch, and the metal plate flaps indicator is a work of art.
     

     
    There is a sensational JOS. POLLACK CORP Ignition switch, ELT and the logo plated MaxDim panel lighting knobs lower left panel, the metal plate storage box opens as well, to revel the three faces of the Thranda Design team.
     

     
    Right side panel has the avionics and electrical panel...   There is an altitude selector top, then an S-Tec Fifty-Five x Autopilot, KX 155 NAV/COMM Radio (NAV 1/COM 1), Garmin GMA 340 Comm radio, and a Garmin GTX 325 Transponder lower...  it is to be noted that these items are the default set of avionics, but as we shall see, you can use more different units if you want to. To the far right is an OBS Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) - VOR NAV 2.
     

     
    Lower right panel is a fully active (Fuse) Circuit Breaker panel, with the relevant electrical switches set below for power and lighting (Avionics power switch is as noted is high up on the left side panel facia). Next to the Fuses is the AMP's gauge, and Suction Gauge, and below is a lovely PS radio volume panel.
     
    Like with the XP11 Thranda Beaver there are still the two basic panel selections, the iconic version we know so well, but also a flat metal grey facia version, with the fancy LED lights under the glareshield.
     

     
    Centre panel is a default X-Plane GNS 530, but it can be replaced with a Reality XP GTN 750 if you own the extra feature. Mid-Panel are the engine gauges, with the Oil temperature shown on the top of the gauge, oil pressure on the left, and fuel pressure on the right. Next right is the sublime gauges to indicate the quantity of fuel remaining in the three primary internal fuel tanks. From left to right these gauges indicate the Front tank, Rear tank, and Middle tank, and below is a CYL. (Cylinder) Temperature gauge, with a Hobbs hour meter.
     

     
    Three lower levers cover (LtoR) the carburetor heat control lever, the famous Fuel Wobble Pump Lever and the Fuel and Oil Emergency Shutoff Lever. To the right is the internal Oil filler (yellow cap). Detail again comes to the fore with the Manufacture's and Aircraft registration plates. The authenticity is simply mind-blowing and it keeps on coming with the ratcheting carb heat lever, the manually pumped flap system (with direction valve), and the primer system that are all faithfully modeled for maximum immersion.
     
    The fuel system is complicated, with three internal tanks Front (35 GAL/132 Lts), Centre (35 GAL/132 lts) and Rear (25 GAL/95 lts), two wing tanks (21.6 GAL/85 Lts each) and an optional Belly Fuel Tank (43.1 GAL/163 Lts)...  for a total of 181 GAL/685 Lts of fuel.
     

     
    The main internal tanks are controlled via the red switch upper left panel, the wing tip tanks via a red switch upper door left, and the belly tank via a handle under the instrument panel (Vacuum air pressure is required). On the roof are the manual Rudder and Elevator trim wheels and indicators. Lighting is two side spot lights and ceiling LED lights, note the roof mounted temperature gauge, both (green) blinds twist and turn into place.
     
    There are loads of pumps and levers on the Beaver, one is the pump handle for the flaps, down right of the pilot's seat and another is the engine primer pump on the left of the pilot's seat, the actions of both are really well done and authentic.
     

     
    You are probably now thinking "This Beaver is exactly the same as the X-Plane 11 version?". It is, nothing at all is different in here except for the Thranda team image in the storage box. But there is a difference though...  in the look and feel. Oddly it feels different in here with the X-Plane 12 lighting, far more grey and dark metal. The centre quadrant(s) are now all black, not the steel metal grey of before, so the aircraft feels more modern now than aged, it has also lost something from the organic feel of a Traditional Beaver in the process.
     
    Cabin Lighting
    You still get the post style instrument lighting, but the brightness (even when adjusted to full), is nothing as bright as the X-Plane 11 panel lighting? And the Avionics are too bright for the main instruments, thankfully you can tone them down a little.
     

     
    The grey metal panel facia, has those lovely LED lights, but the instrument lighting can barely be seen?
     

     
    A switch on the lighting panel (arrowed) will turn on all four forward cabin overhead lights...
     

     
    ...    oddly there is STILL no lighting in the cabin? But you can turn the roof LEDs right backwards to give some illumination, but a few rear lights in the cabin would be nice. Overall the lighting although the same, is actually worse?
     

     
    External lighting is also worse than in X-Plane 11. Basic lights and the landing lights have no flare or floor shine? Beacon on the roof and tail light. Navigation and a very bright strobe on the wings.
     

     
    Floats and Amphibious floats 
    In the X-Plane 12 package, the earlier extra Floats and Amphibious floats version are now included. Both variants can be found in the X-Plane "Configuration Menu", The Seaplane version is shown twice, under "General Aviation" and "Seaplane".
     

     

     
    Both the land (Amphibious) and standard Float design is excellent, all the usual Thranda Design quality detail, both the forward wheels, and rear rudder system, the four float supports are well intergrated into the Beaver fuselage, detail is first rate as well.
     

     
    Both Amphibious and Standard Floats are really well shaped and perform nicely on the water, and with the right amount of drag in the air.
     

     
    The wheeled floats do create more drag than the cleaner "Float", and it is noticeable (slightly) from the cockpit.
     

     
    Menu
    Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.
     

     
    As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the standard Thranda default menu.
     

     
    Menu - General
    The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive.
     
    General menu selections cover; Engine Mode (Simplified/Realistic), Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off (sets aircraft to full running mode), External Belly Tank, Chocks and Brakes on/off, Steering (Simplified/Realistic).
     

     
    Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit doors and the right side luggage door. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights. And finally "Radial Engine Animation". Static Items include Wheel chocks, wing pitot cover and that rugged heavy duty engine cover over the nose. The Engine cover can only be seen/hidden via the forward selection on the General-Menu page (arrowed).
     

     
    Engine Mode - Toggles the engine realism between "Realistic" and "Simplified". When this is set to "Realistic", the engine will require the correct amount of priming for it to start, depending on the engine's temperature. When the Engine Mode is set to "Simplified", it makes starting easier.
     
    Electric Tug can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your Throttle (Forwards/Backwards) and Rudder Yaw (Left/Right), brakes can be used as well.
     

     
    Startup Running on/off this switch will re-load the plane either cold and dark or with the engine running.
     
    EXT Belly Tank is really well done (note the filler pipe), too much weight? then remove it, but I like the extra range it adds.
     

     
    Steering Toggles between "Realistic" and "Simplified". In Simplified mode the tail wheel steers directly with the rudder, through a range of +- 30 degrees. In Realistic mode it functions as in the real aircraft, becoming free-castoring past +- 25 degrees of deflection.
     
    There is an exciting separate animated pop-up window that shows details of the Beaver's engine in operation.
    At the top of this pop-up is a graph that indicates whether the engine is properly primed for starting. A small indicator line moves horizontally along the bottom of the graph to indicate the current conditions. This graph is only active if the Engine Mode is set to Realistic.
     

     
    There are no pop-up checklists for the Beaver, usually set on the General page, but there is a basic set of checklists in the provided POH Documents.
     
    Menu - Liveries
    Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 10 liveries and one blank (DynamicLiveryResource) overall Eleven designs, and all the liveries are of extremely high quality and have creative flare with the package. I will note that seven liveries only loaded after I ran the Skunkscrafts Updater to v1.0.1.
     

     
    The X-Plane 11 Beaver is supplied with fourteen liveries, but there is now only eleven on the XP12 aircraft? with the DynamicLiveryResources being the currently selected "Dynamic" livery.
     


     
    Dynamic Liveries
    Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own!  With their earlier release of their Kodiak then Thranda also introduced a clever feature to design your own livery.This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top. I created this orange, black and grey for this review... 
     

     
    You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want, and then adjust the RGB colours for that area, it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes...
     

     
    You can also change the aircraft's registration number, or have original de Havilland logo on the tail.
     
    There are also four effects you can apply. The said "Dirt" and "Scratches", and also "Metal" and "Rough(ness)" this gives the aircraft a dirty rough appearance. So applying these Dirt and scratches on the airplane will make the surfaces rougher, this is giving you the full PBR control in creating stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look, and these aspects will also slightly affect the Beaver's drag, and therefore it's cruise speeds. With full dirt and scratches you can expect a loss of 2 to 3 mph of cruise speed. Cleaning the plane by setting both values back to 0 will give you a smoother and slightly faster plane.
     

     
    ...  when done you can then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. It was all quite easy to do.  Then the aircraft goes through a sort of transmogrifying process that takes around a minute and a half....
     

     
    ...   you can "SAVE" the livery, in that then the custom livery becomes the "DynamicLiveryResources" livery in the "Painted Liveries" selection. Altogether there are 29 optional Dynamic Liveries to change or use. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic"....  and of course personal taste is optional!
     
    In the Float/Amphibian menu, you can also colour in the float design to your own preferences, or to match the floats in with the same aircraft fuselage design, all the same livery options (29) are available here also.
     

     
    Menu - Weight/Bal
    The Beaver also has a great Weight and Balance menu.
     

     
    Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle...  Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue.
     

     
    There is the weight selection of all the seats. The X option on each seat will toggle the seat off/on, or go from a Passenger to Cargo layout.
     

     
    Fuel (including the EXT Tank) can be added in and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all are selected via a scrollwheel...  and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on two graphs, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add back in the set weights.
     
    Working out that right CofG balance here is critical, setting just inside the parameters is just not really good enough, as you need for the aircraft to be balanced in it's fuel and load weights, or you will have difficulty in flying the aircraft. So put too much (cargo) weight aft and you are tail heavy and unbalanced in the TakeOff, and in Flight.
     
    Menu - Camera
     

     
    There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot for the external viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the internal viewpoints. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider.
     

     
    Menu - Audio/Slew
    Sound can be adjusted via the Audio menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel...  As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play.
     

     
    Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina.
     

     
    Menu - PANEL
    The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials.
     

     
    Scroll the "PANEL BACKGROUND" number to see all the four background preset layouts.
     

     
    Scroll the "Panel Preset" number to see all the five preset layouts. The layouts can include both GNS 430/530 and the Aspen EFD. Even the The Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch can also be installed if you have that external option, as the 3d bezels are provided.
     


     
    Aspen EFD is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated...  all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience.
     

     
    Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 54 individual instruments and avionic units...  There some great options including the Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on...
     

     
    For those that find instruments are not to their liking, in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust and move that particular instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have added in a Reality XP GTN 650 Touch instrument on the right lower panel...  You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument.
     

     
    When you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /6). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience...  and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying.
     
    Panel features include; S-Tec Fifty Five autopilot and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units. Both GNS units also require their own installation area. Note that the "Gear Advisory" Panel for the Amphibious/Float version can also be added to the custom panel.
     

     
    The DGS system is certainly very clever and versatile, but a small annoyance is that to get your custom livery or panel, you have to reset everything, every time you fly? Yes the custom SAVES are all there ready for you, but not when you start/load the aircraft.
     
    Menu - MISC
    The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover External; Skis, Wheels; Tires and Mud Flaps.  Internal; Windows options and Throttle Quadrant options. Notably missing here is the usual "DynaFeel" Feature.
     

     
    High quality designed "Skis" are available for the Beaver...  
     

     
    Tyres can be changed from "Regular" size, to the larger "Tundra" style. The larger tundra tyres however won't work with the skis...
     

     
    On the rear you can have "Mud Flaps", and here they work with either the regular or tundra tyre options.
     
    Rear Door windows can be "Flat" or "Bubble"...
     

     
    Throttle Quadrant options include; OLD (classic) or NEW...
     

     
    On most Thranda Design aircraft they have a "Pilot" option in that the pilots can be changed around from Male to Female. There is no Female pilot with the Beaver, but only the Male "Beaver Dan"...   he is also fully animated in the arms, legs and head movements.
     

     
    The Float/Amphibian MISC Menu is different. You still have the earlier Throttle Quadrant (Old/New)/Window options (Flat/Bubble).
     

     
    Yes, you get a canoe!
     

     
    Amphibian or Float option...
     

     
    There is a Ventral Fin, that is an option under the tail...
     

     
    You can Retract or Extend the rudders from the MISC Panel
     

     
    There are another two options to raise and lower the rudders, One is a handle and cord in the cockpit, left floor...  another (the most simple) is to use the Keyboard command "Toggle Water Rudder".
     

    ________________________
     
    Flying the DHC-2 Beaver
    There are two options to starting the DHC-2, the (very) easy way via the Simplified "Engine Mode" option in the Menu/General panel...  and the long winded "Realistic" way. With the full engine start up procedure as is explained in the manual.
     
    Did you always want to look actually inside your engine?   Well now you can and the idea is to see how the engine is primed to start...  here Dan Klaue's genius strikes again!   There is the option via a menu selection "Radial Engine Animation" that brings up an animated Wasp Radial engine, you can also "PreHeat" and "Prime" your Wasp ready for start, but you have to be careful not to "OverPrime" the Cylinders.
     

     
    You can also prime the engine via the hand pump, deep left of the pilot's seat, switch the large ignition switch on (Fuel on as well of course)...  setting the Mixture to almost full RICH lever and a slight 5th throttle... then flick the left switch under the red cover to start the Wasp....  get the procedure right and the Beaver's prop will rotate then fire into action...  and also the Radial Engine Animation" will erupt into activity.
     

     
    On the Animation the pistons are exploding, and the animation is amazing beyond belief, adjust the throttle for a some serious movement, but the animation will also react to the adjustment of not only the throttle inputs, but with the fuel mixture from "Rich" to 'Lean" adjustments as well. Just move the mixture lever (not fully back) and see changes and the weakness in the sparks.
     
    These movements and the running of the DHC-2 also compliment the amazing sound range as well, there is a consistent adjustment of the excellent engine sounds to the condition of the running of the engine, that is the "Ugh, Ugh" of low lean to the high power "roar" of the full throttle. Also no two starts will sound alike, as there is coughing, sputtering, and the clanking of valves that all contribute the full aural experience, it's clever and highly realistic as well.
     
     
     
    The sounds actually also give you clues as to what's happening under the hood as is for the shear band of extensive sound patterns available here that show no gaps or the same patterns that just gets you all tinkly down your back...  it is highly, highly aurally realistic...  well like a full throated real 450 hp Wasp Jr engine sounds like.
     
    As noted you can have a freewheeling rear or locked to the rudder yaw, You really need a set of rudder pedals for the Thranda Beaver with built in toe brakes to use the freewheeling option, that aspect takes a little skill to get right. Taildraggers are a feel thing, and thankfully the Beaver is one of the better taildraggers. Of course experiment with the load and trim until you get that feeling the DHC-2 is rightly balanced.
     

     
    Thankfully the DHC-2 Beaver is one of the easiest taildraggers to taxi, keeping the right speed though is important, otherwise it's just easy to track straight. Thank God, because you can't see anything (sh**) with the nose high profile of the aircraft, so a slight hunch up out of the seat left is needed to follow the runway.
     

     
    I have also become quite adept at twisting the Beaver 180º to takeoff, right speed, then a touch more throttle, and then the full yaw tight turn, then quickly off the throttle again...
     

     
    You sit high, and the view out is quite good for a taildragger, but a slight glance to the left will align you up with the runway...  flaps are set to "Takeoff" which feels extreme here, in a very high degree setting. But the Beaver has a very wide flight dynamic in that the flaps can be set to extreme positions, but still be well within the aircraft's STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) performance envelope.
     
     
     
    Speed builds gradually then suddenly the tail unstick's, and you need a kick of full of right rudder to maintain the straight ahead line...
     ...   another tool is to lightly touch the right toe-brake slightly to maintain the correct aligned course, between the two movements you can keep the Beaver straight. Takeoff is usually around 90 knts, but you don't need to pull back the stick as the Beaver just glides into the air on lift alone (the heavy set flaps), and to climb, it then only requires a little pitch to meet the 600 fpm climb-out you need.
     

     
    You can climb-out to the extreme of  1,000 fpm, but the 600 fpm angle is perfect, the one thing that should be highly noted is the aircraft's weight and feel, it is excellent. Now a slight adjustment to 800 fpm, which is perfect with still no loss of speed, also the Flaps are now at the "Climb" marker, as I need to climb up to 6,000 ft...  high? not really as the Beaver can do a ceiling of 18,000 ft (5,486 m)...  impressive.
     

     
    Unlike other aircraft you can consistently use the flaps and even in level flight, most aircraft need the flaps in and clean as soon as possible, but not the Beaver, as if you have a slightly uneven balance (front to rear) in the aircraft you can use the flaps to even out the balance without touching the trim, it is a tool every Beaver pilot's use.
     
    Stewart River is a 533-kilometre tributary of Yukon River. And heading up river towards Hecate Strait. But I am also not going all the way to the Strait either, just far enough to climb up high to turn west, but with the high mountains surrounding me, it means a climb of at least 6,000 ft, maybe more.
     

     
    Obviously you don't go very fast...   158 mph (255 km/h) or 140 knts is max and your cruise speed is only 143 mph (230 km/h) or 125 knts, but you don't really care about that factor, as this DHC aircraft is an absolute dream to fly.
     
    You can see why tourists love this lower Alaskan part of the world, the views are amazing, even X-Plane 12 amazing...
     

     
    I'm now at 6,000 ft, but it's still not enough, so another 2,000 ft to go up to 8,000 ft.
     

     
    Now higher I finally see a gap in the mountains and head west...
     

     
    Trimming the DHC-2 out is easy, the trims are set up up on the roof (But I use keyboard commands), and the Beaver trims out the pitch beautifully, now just small stick and rudder inputs keeps DHC straight, but better still yet is if you trim out the rudder as well, and now you can take both hands and feet off the controls and the Beaver will still fly like a dream straight and level.... this is one amazing simulation of a real aircraft.
     

     
    Fuel management is critical...  Six tanks altogether, but basically you switch between three, Front - Middle - Rear, via the big knob, far left panel. The three tanks are shown on the lower console. The Wing tanks are selected via another large knob on the left side above the door.
     

     
    Select Left or Right Tanks or BOTH, and all selections feed to the Front main tank, usually you would leave it on BOTH, for an even balance... 
     
    The EXT (external) Tank also feeds into another tank, the Middle one. There is a lever under the pilot's instrument panel to turn on the EXT tank flow, this then moves the ancillary fuel into the Middle tank, obviously it is good idea to select the middle tank to use all the extra fuel in there...
     

     
    The EXT tank lever is moved vertical (down) to access the fuel, when done then shut it off by moving the lever left. it will fill up the Middle tank quite quickly.
     
    I know why I love the Beaver, as you just purr along doing the job. The Beaver is like a light truck of the aircraft world, it shifts people and cargo with a ruggedness into a wilderness. Your sitting up there high, in charge, master of your own little universe, just shuttling along... heaven is a Beaver in flight, you can easily see why any pilot loves the DHC-2 so much.
     

     
    Ketchikan is rear to my left, Clarence Strait is to my immediate left...
     

     
    ...  soon the Stikine Strait comes into view on my right, a glance down and I'm horrified on how much fuel, including the extra top up amount has been used from the middle tank, I switch again to the rear tank, supping more fuel from that one instead, the whole trip distance is only 177 nm, but I'm also using a lot of fuel with that powerful Wasp.
     

     
    Time to turn into the Strait...  I have already lost 4,000 ft as I enter, but it was a slow descent.
     

     
    At first the Beaver dropped altitude, then crawled to a stop? the only way to continue the descent was to pull half back on the throttle, then you were moving downwards again. As we already know, the Beaver is known as a "flap-happy" aircraft and you can see and feel that aspect of why here...   That is the "Landing" setting, but you can go even slower if you go deeper with more flap and into the red zone to the full 58º degrees... Usually you would never use 58º, that aspect just gives you too much drag, but it is useful for the water landings, as it gives you a far lower speed and more lift at those almost static water approaches.
     

     
    Wrangell pops up now on my right. I'm down to 800 ft, and ready for the approach into PAWG Rwy 10 (6000 ft). Approach speed is around 70 knts, here your altitude is controlled only via your throttle, more power to go up and less power to go down, but even the mixture adjustments can even have an effect, so be aware if you are leaning out the engine more while reducing power.
     

     
    One note I will say is that the touchdown speed is still around 70 knts, dropping to 60 knts on the runway, and that feels a tad fast at full flap? but the speed does still give you full aerodynamic control on the landing and you can finely follow the centreline as good as when you took off...
     

     
    The landing bit is quite easy, the tricky bit is lowering the tail and keeping tracking directly straight, master that and you master the DHC-2. Part of the trick is to use the toe-brakes, but lightly and the rudder (stabs) and find that straight line... I'm not saying it is easy because it isn't, but it comes to you with practise.
     

     
    But let us be thankful, this is an amazing experience of an aircraft, and now the Beaver is available to fly in X-Plane 12.
     
    Summary
    Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947. The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada. This version has the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs Wasp Jr engine forward by almost 10 inches for a better rear load balance (Centre of Gravity).
     
    Any aircraft coming from Thranda Design is usually full of amazing features and outstanding quality design, and certainly you are not disappointed here. In the design aspect the aircraft is extremely the best yet from Thranda, the quality is overwhelming to the point of ridiculous...  the DHC has full hi-res PBR realistic effects, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision, not to mention the high quality materials internally and externally. Detailing and the modeling is absolutely first rate, this is an outstanding Beaver.
     
    Not only is the instrument Panel one of the best yet in X-Plane, it is also fully customised via the "Dynamic Generation Series" in not only giving you your own control over the way the instruments are laid out, but to swap and change other instruments as well including; Aspen EFD 1000, S-Tec 55x autopilot, RealityXP GTN 750 (these are optional addons) and a Collins 614-12 ADF. Eleven liveries are provided, but also again you can create and design your own liveries with the DGS system. Options include, Skis, mud flaps, Old and New quadrants and bubble windows, and the Amphibious/Float version is now part of the X-Plane 12 package.
     
    Sounds are outstanding, with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth transitions and amazing atmospheric effects, 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to propeller, start up and engine mixture variance is also highly realistic.
     
    Menus are also extensive, with sound adjustments, weight and balance manager with visual chart, lighting, doors, views, reflections and an amazing radial engine visualisation in a pop-up window, which showcases the inner workings of the engine.
     
    Yes a lot in this review is very much like the X-Plane 11 original version, as most in the design features and menus are the same, but a lot of the hidden areas, including the flight dynamics and performance related to X-Plane 12 have all been revised. Also the textures all now 8K, up from two 4K textures for better fidelity, the Skunkcrafts Updater is also now used for direct updates. All earlier purchasers of the Thranda X-Plane 11 DHC-2 can upgrade for 30% off with the new XP12 model. This aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, but the XP11 version is available.
     
    But a few things have been affected in the transition with the Beaver. Debatable is the "Shiny, shiny feel" of XP12, although overall the aircraft looks extremely better than XP11. Lighting has lost a lot of it's shine (pun intended) Instruments are hard to read and external lighting is virtually not visible, but to note a lot of X-Plane 12 aircraft are like this, we feel that lighting needs a lot more adjustment from Laminar Research. Thranda Aircraft also extremely dark, hard to see inside and use, but that also may improve over the X-Plane 12 changes.
     
    This is the iconic de Havilland Canada Beaver as in depth simulation, with as much quality and it comes with the sheer force of ideas available here, and in reality isn't that is what simulation is really all about, brilliant aircraft with exceptional quality and flying dynamics and a huge feature list. So really want the very best then here it is....  
     
    Highly, Hugely Recommended.
    _______________________________
     
    Yes! the DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : 
     
    DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12
    Price is US$34.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum. Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version  1.0.1 (October 16th 2023) The plane comes with the Skunkcraft auto-updater   Owners of the Thranda DHC-2 XP11 can get this new XP12 model for 30% off. Please find the coupon code in your original DHC-2 XP11 Invoice. ________________
     
    Installation and documents: Download is 1.66Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.
    Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file.
     
    Full installation is 3.27GB
     
    Documents supplied are:
    Changelog.txt Thranda Beaver Documentation XP12 v1.0.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf  
    Checklists and loads of Performance graphs are provided in the extensive manual.
     
    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 : Skunkcrafts Updater
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - CZST - Stewart - XPORG (formally Beti-x) (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.00
    - PAWG - Wrangell Airport, Alaska by NorthernSky Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$16.95
     
    ___________________________
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    20th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     

  13. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design   
    Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design
     
    In aviation folklore, there are machines that have created an impact by their design alone, but a few have gone even higher into a sort of immortal status, Say Spitfire or DC-3, Concorde and even the Boeing 707. One other aircraft can also join this upper echelons of achievement, and that is the de Havilland Canada Type 2... also known as the "Beaver". Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947.
     
    The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada in 1946, and is known as a bush plane, in fact one of the most highly regarded bush aircraft ever created. There was 1,657 Beavers built between 1947–1967 and half are actually still flying and working hard. In fact you can currently buy a zero-time frame and just rebuild your current aircraft and keep the machine flying as long as you can service the radial engine and afford the new airframes...
     
    History
    de Havilland Canada hired Punch Dickins, a famous bush pilot, as Director of Sales who began an extensive program of collecting requests from other pilots and to understand what they needed in a new type of aircraft. Almost without variation, the pilots asked for tremendous extra power and STOL performance, in a design that could be easily fitted with wheels, skis or floats. When de Havilland engineers noted that this would result in poor cruise performance, one pilot replied "You only have to be faster than a dog sled". Other suggestions that seemingly sound mundane but important in the bush plane world; full-sized doors were installed on both sides of the aircraft so it could be easily loaded no matter which side of a dock it tied up on. The large doors (known as Alaska doors) were also made wide enough to allow for a 45 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled directly up and into the aircraft.
     
    On September 17, 1946, de Havilland officially put together a design team consisting of Fred Buller, Dick Hiscocks, Jim Houston and W. Jakimiuk, led by Phil Garratt. The new aircraft was designed to be all-metal in using "steel from the engine to the firewall, heavy aluminum truss frames with panels and doors throughout the front seat area, lighter trusses toward the rear and all monocoque construction aft". At the time de Havilland Canada was still a British-owned company and there were plans to fit the evolving design with a British engine. This limited power, so the wing area was greatly increased in order to maintain STOL performance. When Pratt & Whitney Canada offered to supply war-surplus 450 hp (340 kW) Wasp Jr engines at a low price, the aircraft ended up with extra power as well as the original long wing. The result was unbeatable STOL performance for an aircraft of its size.
     
    it was decided that the new bush plane was much like the hard-working beaver and so as many aircraft at the time were named after animals, the aircraft was designated after this industrious animal. The first flight of the DHC-2 Beaver was in Downsview, Ontario by Second World War flying ace Russell Bannock on August 16, 1947. The first production aircraft was delivered to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, a design partner, in April 1948.
     
    The Beaver was designed for flight in rugged and remote areas of the world. Its short takeoff and landing capability made it ideal for areas normally only accessible only by canoe or foot. Because it often flies to remote locations, often in cold climates, its oil reservoir filler is located in the cockpit and the oil can be filled in flight. A series of upgrades to the basic design were incorporated. One major customer introduced the use of flat steps replacing the earlier tubes, a feature that is now almost universal. In 1987, the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board named the DHC-2 one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century.
     
    The current ownership of the certificates and tooling gives Viking Air of Victoria, Canada the exclusive right to manufacture new Beavers. Viking now sells a remanufactured and rebuilt DHC-2T Turbo Beaver upgraded with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 680 hp (507 kW) turboprop engine. With a maximum gross takeoff weight increased to 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) it can carry 2,450 lb (1,110 kg) of freight. However, Viking Turbo Beavers are only rebuilt from existing air frames, and are not new-builds, unlike Viking's own DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter, which is manufactured from a completely new airframe. (wikipeida)
     
    Performance - Maximum speed: 158 mph (255 km/h) - Cruise speed: 143 mph (230 km/h) - Range: 455 miles (732 km) - Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,486 m) - Rate of climb: 1,020 ft/min (5.2 m/s)
     
    Thranda Design
    This is the second Beaver for X-Plane by Thranda Design, their first release was the X-Plane 11 version released in November 2020, and this is the totally revised aircraft for X-Plane 12. Current users of the earlier Thranda XP11 Beaver can also get 30% off this new XP12 version of the DHC-2 Beaver. The older XP11 version is still also currently available, if you want to fly the aircraft in X-Plane 11
     
    This version is the Beaver that incorporates the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs engine forward by almost 10 inches. This modification then moves the center of gravity of the plane forward, and in then allowing additional loads to be carried in the back without exceeding the aft CG limit.
     
    First impressions are quite impressive. This is now also X-Plane 12, so you also get that huge photographic realism from the aircraft as well with the X-Plane 12 lighting and effects.
     

     
    In features and detail, there is is not that much difference outward between the two XP12 and XP11 versions, on the surface they are quite the same aircraft package. It is in the hidden areas, like textures (more soon), lighting, aircraft dynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft flight models is in were they differ. One significant difference is that the extra Floats and Amphibious floats variant is already included in this XP12 package, were as with the original version release they came a short few months awhile after, you also get a canoe as well!
     
    Thranda quality is extreme in detail and fittings. As noted the new XP12 Beaver comes with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the DHC-2 will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in only the one texture sheet, rather than the load of old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets.
     
    As a classic Beaver, you won't get any better in modeling and design than this one, there was the original X-Plane Beaver from SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 version a few years back, that aircraft is a pure DHC-2, but without any updates, certainly no upgrade to X-Plane 12, the SMS DHC-2 is now quite dated and in the past. 
     
    The detailing is exceptional, the mapping of the precision of the rivets are simply excellent, and I love the gap in the cowling, actually done twice with the Holmes extended engine mount if you look closely. The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, is rated at 450 BHP at sea level. This is an air-cooled, carburetted, 9-Cylinder radial engine, incorporating dual magnetos and an engine-driven single-stage supercharger. And the engine detail really jumps out at you with the coloured inner components, that aspect should not work on such an old aircraft, but it simply looks brilliant here...
     

     
    Undercarriage is basic, but again very well done in total authentic detail, the DHC-2 is a taildragger, so there is only a small loose swivel wheel at the rear.
     
    Notable in the detail are the excellent double metal plate reinforce plates, they are all over the fuselage and they all make the aircraft very authentic.
     

     
    They are beautifully done, and shows the high craftmanship of the aircraft. Rear Rudder, Elevator control surfaces reinforce work is also top notch.
     

     
    Wing shape and camber is perfect, again you have a highly realistic wing, realistically modeled and designed with all the correct rivets.
     

     
    Oddly the aileron goes only about 3º up, but 8º down, note the full barn door flap deflection of 58º, mostly used for slow water landings.
     
    There is the debate if X-Plane 12 surfaces are too "shiny, shiny". The X-Plane 11 surfaces were certainly in the opposite of being very flat, but it also bought out the intimate detail, here, or for all current Thranda Aircraft, is that every surface is shiny, reflective....  I'm not sure if I am a total fan of this look. In one aspect aircraft certainly looks realistic in X-Plane 12, but in other ways they just don't, as the shininess can hide a lot of the wear detail that presented well on the older XP11 version of Thranda's Beaver.
     
    Glass is superb, thick where it counts (windscreen), with a mottled/scratch wear in the glass. All glass is a heavy green tint, and "Bubble" windows is an option on the passenger doors. Reflections can also be turned off.
     

     
    There are four forward doors, Two for the pilots, and two behind for the front row passengers (note the right side door has no external handle, and can only be opened outside via a hotspot). Rear are two separate large upward opening "Alaska" doors. Space inside was created to be wide enough to allow for a 44 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled up into the aircraft.
     

     
    There are four passenger seats, and one large rear bench seat in the rear, all seats are beautifully done in blue canvas, with metal legs and rear plate supports. All of the five Passenger seats backs can be folded forward.
     

     
    You can take one or all five seats out, to create a huge cargo space. This space can then be filled with cargo, including cases, crates and (small oil drums), cargo is also put in the small baggage area behind the restriction net (bench seat if installed). You can of course also mix the passengers with cargo...
     

     
    Cockpit
    You sit up there very high at the front of the machine...   Both the pilot seats are amazing, with their metal clamshell bucket rear design, and hardwearing blue patterned levi Jean look cushions.
     

     
    Both pilots windows can be opened, or positioned in any place, up or down... you can play with the small window air-vent as well.
     

     
    The Thranda Beaver cockpit is not like the antique cream version like on the SoulMade Solutions DHC-2, that is very much beloved by me as to it's reference to an early Beaver. But this version is very much a more relative version to most of the working Beavers out there and it is extremely well done. The SMS version had a single left side Yoke, but here you get the TwinBar Y double version that disappears if you press the base. The logo we all admire...  all in it's chrome and black plate glory "De Havilland" and in the right lighting conditions it just glows and shines like it has just been lovingly and newly polished. The cosmetic detail here is excellent, and you simply can't believe the intimate authentic detail all around you here.
     

     
    There are two choices of the famous throttle quadrant, the older original classic version with the Throttle Lever left, with in order Propeller lever and Mixture right...  or the more modern squared off version with the Throttle now centre, Prop left and Mixture right.
     

     
    Centre top are the magnificently large DHC-2 iconic Manifold Pressure and RPM gauges, and the mid-screen mounted whiskey compass.
     
    The pilot gets all the flying instruments in the form of the six standard flight instruments in the Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Turn/Slip Indicator, Heading Indicator and the Vertical Speed, left is the main fuel tank selector It has positions of OFF, FRONT, CENTRE, REAR.
     

     
    Top panel is the (very) hard too find "Avionics" switch, and the metal plate flaps indicator is a work of art.
     

     
    There is a sensational JOS. POLLACK CORP Ignition switch, ELT and the logo plated MaxDim panel lighting knobs lower left panel, the metal plate storage box opens as well, to revel the three faces of the Thranda Design team.
     

     
    Right side panel has the avionics and electrical panel...   There is an altitude selector top, then an S-Tec Fifty-Five x Autopilot, KX 155 NAV/COMM Radio (NAV 1/COM 1), Garmin GMA 340 Comm radio, and a Garmin GTX 325 Transponder lower...  it is to be noted that these items are the default set of avionics, but as we shall see, you can use more different units if you want to. To the far right is an OBS Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) - VOR NAV 2.
     

     
    Lower right panel is a fully active (Fuse) Circuit Breaker panel, with the relevant electrical switches set below for power and lighting (Avionics power switch is as noted is high up on the left side panel facia). Next to the Fuses is the AMP's gauge, and Suction Gauge, and below is a lovely PS radio volume panel.
     
    Like with the XP11 Thranda Beaver there are still the two basic panel selections, the iconic version we know so well, but also a flat metal grey facia version, with the fancy LED lights under the glareshield.
     

     
    Centre panel is a default X-Plane GNS 530, but it can be replaced with a Reality XP GTN 750 if you own the extra feature. Mid-Panel are the engine gauges, with the Oil temperature shown on the top of the gauge, oil pressure on the left, and fuel pressure on the right. Next right is the sublime gauges to indicate the quantity of fuel remaining in the three primary internal fuel tanks. From left to right these gauges indicate the Front tank, Rear tank, and Middle tank, and below is a CYL. (Cylinder) Temperature gauge, with a Hobbs hour meter.
     

     
    Three lower levers cover (LtoR) the carburetor heat control lever, the famous Fuel Wobble Pump Lever and the Fuel and Oil Emergency Shutoff Lever. To the right is the internal Oil filler (yellow cap). Detail again comes to the fore with the Manufacture's and Aircraft registration plates. The authenticity is simply mind-blowing and it keeps on coming with the ratcheting carb heat lever, the manually pumped flap system (with direction valve), and the primer system that are all faithfully modeled for maximum immersion.
     
    The fuel system is complicated, with three internal tanks Front (35 GAL/132 Lts), Centre (35 GAL/132 lts) and Rear (25 GAL/95 lts), two wing tanks (21.6 GAL/85 Lts each) and an optional Belly Fuel Tank (43.1 GAL/163 Lts)...  for a total of 181 GAL/685 Lts of fuel.
     

     
    The main internal tanks are controlled via the red switch upper left panel, the wing tip tanks via a red switch upper door left, and the belly tank via a handle under the instrument panel (Vacuum air pressure is required). On the roof are the manual Rudder and Elevator trim wheels and indicators. Lighting is two side spot lights and ceiling LED lights, note the roof mounted temperature gauge, both (green) blinds twist and turn into place.
     
    There are loads of pumps and levers on the Beaver, one is the pump handle for the flaps, down right of the pilot's seat and another is the engine primer pump on the left of the pilot's seat, the actions of both are really well done and authentic.
     

     
    You are probably now thinking "This Beaver is exactly the same as the X-Plane 11 version?". It is, nothing at all is different in here except for the Thranda team image in the storage box. But there is a difference though...  in the look and feel. Oddly it feels different in here with the X-Plane 12 lighting, far more grey and dark metal. The centre quadrant(s) are now all black, not the steel metal grey of before, so the aircraft feels more modern now than aged, it has also lost something from the organic feel of a Traditional Beaver in the process.
     
    Cabin Lighting
    You still get the post style instrument lighting, but the brightness (even when adjusted to full), is nothing as bright as the X-Plane 11 panel lighting? And the Avionics are too bright for the main instruments, thankfully you can tone them down a little.
     

     
    The grey metal panel facia, has those lovely LED lights, but the instrument lighting can barely be seen?
     

     
    A switch on the lighting panel (arrowed) will turn on all four forward cabin overhead lights...
     

     
    ...    oddly there is STILL no lighting in the cabin? But you can turn the roof LEDs right backwards to give some illumination, but a few rear lights in the cabin would be nice. Overall the lighting although the same, is actually worse?
     

     
    External lighting is also worse than in X-Plane 11. Basic lights and the landing lights have no flare or floor shine? Beacon on the roof and tail light. Navigation and a very bright strobe on the wings.
     

     
    Floats and Amphibious floats 
    In the X-Plane 12 package, the earlier extra Floats and Amphibious floats version are now included. Both variants can be found in the X-Plane "Configuration Menu", The Seaplane version is shown twice, under "General Aviation" and "Seaplane".
     

     

     
    Both the land (Amphibious) and standard Float design is excellent, all the usual Thranda Design quality detail, both the forward wheels, and rear rudder system, the four float supports are well intergrated into the Beaver fuselage, detail is first rate as well.
     

     
    Both Amphibious and Standard Floats are really well shaped and perform nicely on the water, and with the right amount of drag in the air.
     

     
    The wheeled floats do create more drag than the cleaner "Float", and it is noticeable (slightly) from the cockpit.
     

     
    Menu
    Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.
     

     
    As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the standard Thranda default menu.
     

     
    Menu - General
    The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive.
     
    General menu selections cover; Engine Mode (Simplified/Realistic), Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off (sets aircraft to full running mode), External Belly Tank, Chocks and Brakes on/off, Steering (Simplified/Realistic).
     

     
    Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit doors and the right side luggage door. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights. And finally "Radial Engine Animation". Static Items include Wheel chocks, wing pitot cover and that rugged heavy duty engine cover over the nose. The Engine cover can only be seen/hidden via the forward selection on the General-Menu page (arrowed).
     

     
    Engine Mode - Toggles the engine realism between "Realistic" and "Simplified". When this is set to "Realistic", the engine will require the correct amount of priming for it to start, depending on the engine's temperature. When the Engine Mode is set to "Simplified", it makes starting easier.
     
    Electric Tug can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your Throttle (Forwards/Backwards) and Rudder Yaw (Left/Right), brakes can be used as well.
     

     
    Startup Running on/off this switch will re-load the plane either cold and dark or with the engine running.
     
    EXT Belly Tank is really well done (note the filler pipe), too much weight? then remove it, but I like the extra range it adds.
     

     
    Steering Toggles between "Realistic" and "Simplified". In Simplified mode the tail wheel steers directly with the rudder, through a range of +- 30 degrees. In Realistic mode it functions as in the real aircraft, becoming free-castoring past +- 25 degrees of deflection.
     
    There is an exciting separate animated pop-up window that shows details of the Beaver's engine in operation.
    At the top of this pop-up is a graph that indicates whether the engine is properly primed for starting. A small indicator line moves horizontally along the bottom of the graph to indicate the current conditions. This graph is only active if the Engine Mode is set to Realistic.
     

     
    There are no pop-up checklists for the Beaver, usually set on the General page, but there is a basic set of checklists in the provided POH Documents.
     
    Menu - Liveries
    Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 10 liveries and one blank (DynamicLiveryResource) overall Eleven designs, and all the liveries are of extremely high quality and have creative flare with the package. I will note that seven liveries only loaded after I ran the Skunkscrafts Updater to v1.0.1.
     

     
    The X-Plane 11 Beaver is supplied with fourteen liveries, but there is now only eleven on the XP12 aircraft? with the DynamicLiveryResources being the currently selected "Dynamic" livery.
     


     
    Dynamic Liveries
    Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own!  With their earlier release of their Kodiak then Thranda also introduced a clever feature to design your own livery.This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top. I created this orange, black and grey for this review... 
     

     
    You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want, and then adjust the RGB colours for that area, it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes...
     

     
    You can also change the aircraft's registration number, or have original de Havilland logo on the tail.
     
    There are also four effects you can apply. The said "Dirt" and "Scratches", and also "Metal" and "Rough(ness)" this gives the aircraft a dirty rough appearance. So applying these Dirt and scratches on the airplane will make the surfaces rougher, this is giving you the full PBR control in creating stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look, and these aspects will also slightly affect the Beaver's drag, and therefore it's cruise speeds. With full dirt and scratches you can expect a loss of 2 to 3 mph of cruise speed. Cleaning the plane by setting both values back to 0 will give you a smoother and slightly faster plane.
     

     
    ...  when done you can then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. It was all quite easy to do.  Then the aircraft goes through a sort of transmogrifying process that takes around a minute and a half....
     

     
    ...   you can "SAVE" the livery, in that then the custom livery becomes the "DynamicLiveryResources" livery in the "Painted Liveries" selection. Altogether there are 29 optional Dynamic Liveries to change or use. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic"....  and of course personal taste is optional!
     
    In the Float/Amphibian menu, you can also colour in the float design to your own preferences, or to match the floats in with the same aircraft fuselage design, all the same livery options (29) are available here also.
     

     
    Menu - Weight/Bal
    The Beaver also has a great Weight and Balance menu.
     

     
    Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle...  Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue.
     

     
    There is the weight selection of all the seats. The X option on each seat will toggle the seat off/on, or go from a Passenger to Cargo layout.
     

     
    Fuel (including the EXT Tank) can be added in and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all are selected via a scrollwheel...  and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on two graphs, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add back in the set weights.
     
    Working out that right CofG balance here is critical, setting just inside the parameters is just not really good enough, as you need for the aircraft to be balanced in it's fuel and load weights, or you will have difficulty in flying the aircraft. So put too much (cargo) weight aft and you are tail heavy and unbalanced in the TakeOff, and in Flight.
     
    Menu - Camera
     

     
    There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot for the external viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the internal viewpoints. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider.
     

     
    Menu - Audio/Slew
    Sound can be adjusted via the Audio menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel...  As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play.
     

     
    Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina.
     

     
    Menu - PANEL
    The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials.
     

     
    Scroll the "PANEL BACKGROUND" number to see all the four background preset layouts.
     

     
    Scroll the "Panel Preset" number to see all the five preset layouts. The layouts can include both GNS 430/530 and the Aspen EFD. Even the The Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch can also be installed if you have that external option, as the 3d bezels are provided.
     


     
    Aspen EFD is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated...  all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience.
     

     
    Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 54 individual instruments and avionic units...  There some great options including the Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on...
     

     
    For those that find instruments are not to their liking, in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust and move that particular instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have added in a Reality XP GTN 650 Touch instrument on the right lower panel...  You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument.
     

     
    When you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /6). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience...  and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying.
     
    Panel features include; S-Tec Fifty Five autopilot and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units. Both GNS units also require their own installation area. Note that the "Gear Advisory" Panel for the Amphibious/Float version can also be added to the custom panel.
     

     
    The DGS system is certainly very clever and versatile, but a small annoyance is that to get your custom livery or panel, you have to reset everything, every time you fly? Yes the custom SAVES are all there ready for you, but not when you start/load the aircraft.
     
    Menu - MISC
    The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover External; Skis, Wheels; Tires and Mud Flaps.  Internal; Windows options and Throttle Quadrant options. Notably missing here is the usual "DynaFeel" Feature.
     

     
    High quality designed "Skis" are available for the Beaver...  
     

     
    Tyres can be changed from "Regular" size, to the larger "Tundra" style. The larger tundra tyres however won't work with the skis...
     

     
    On the rear you can have "Mud Flaps", and here they work with either the regular or tundra tyre options.
     
    Rear Door windows can be "Flat" or "Bubble"...
     

     
    Throttle Quadrant options include; OLD (classic) or NEW...
     

     
    On most Thranda Design aircraft they have a "Pilot" option in that the pilots can be changed around from Male to Female. There is no Female pilot with the Beaver, but only the Male "Beaver Dan"...   he is also fully animated in the arms, legs and head movements.
     

     
    The Float/Amphibian MISC Menu is different. You still have the earlier Throttle Quadrant (Old/New)/Window options (Flat/Bubble).
     

     
    Yes, you get a canoe!
     

     
    Amphibian or Float option...
     

     
    There is a Ventral Fin, that is an option under the tail...
     

     
    You can Retract or Extend the rudders from the MISC Panel
     

     
    There are another two options to raise and lower the rudders, One is a handle and cord in the cockpit, left floor...  another (the most simple) is to use the Keyboard command "Toggle Water Rudder".
     

    ________________________
     
    Flying the DHC-2 Beaver
    There are two options to starting the DHC-2, the (very) easy way via the Simplified "Engine Mode" option in the Menu/General panel...  and the long winded "Realistic" way. With the full engine start up procedure as is explained in the manual.
     
    Did you always want to look actually inside your engine?   Well now you can and the idea is to see how the engine is primed to start...  here Dan Klaue's genius strikes again!   There is the option via a menu selection "Radial Engine Animation" that brings up an animated Wasp Radial engine, you can also "PreHeat" and "Prime" your Wasp ready for start, but you have to be careful not to "OverPrime" the Cylinders.
     

     
    You can also prime the engine via the hand pump, deep left of the pilot's seat, switch the large ignition switch on (Fuel on as well of course)...  setting the Mixture to almost full RICH lever and a slight 5th throttle... then flick the left switch under the red cover to start the Wasp....  get the procedure right and the Beaver's prop will rotate then fire into action...  and also the Radial Engine Animation" will erupt into activity.
     

     
    On the Animation the pistons are exploding, and the animation is amazing beyond belief, adjust the throttle for a some serious movement, but the animation will also react to the adjustment of not only the throttle inputs, but with the fuel mixture from "Rich" to 'Lean" adjustments as well. Just move the mixture lever (not fully back) and see changes and the weakness in the sparks.
     
    These movements and the running of the DHC-2 also compliment the amazing sound range as well, there is a consistent adjustment of the excellent engine sounds to the condition of the running of the engine, that is the "Ugh, Ugh" of low lean to the high power "roar" of the full throttle. Also no two starts will sound alike, as there is coughing, sputtering, and the clanking of valves that all contribute the full aural experience, it's clever and highly realistic as well.
     
     
     
    The sounds actually also give you clues as to what's happening under the hood as is for the shear band of extensive sound patterns available here that show no gaps or the same patterns that just gets you all tinkly down your back...  it is highly, highly aurally realistic...  well like a full throated real 450 hp Wasp Jr engine sounds like.
     
    As noted you can have a freewheeling rear or locked to the rudder yaw, You really need a set of rudder pedals for the Thranda Beaver with built in toe brakes to use the freewheeling option, that aspect takes a little skill to get right. Taildraggers are a feel thing, and thankfully the Beaver is one of the better taildraggers. Of course experiment with the load and trim until you get that feeling the DHC-2 is rightly balanced.
     

     
    Thankfully the DHC-2 Beaver is one of the easiest taildraggers to taxi, keeping the right speed though is important, otherwise it's just easy to track straight. Thank God, because you can't see anything (sh**) with the nose high profile of the aircraft, so a slight hunch up out of the seat left is needed to follow the runway.
     

     
    I have also become quite adept at twisting the Beaver 180º to takeoff, right speed, then a touch more throttle, and then the full yaw tight turn, then quickly off the throttle again...
     

     
    You sit high, and the view out is quite good for a taildragger, but a slight glance to the left will align you up with the runway...  flaps are set to "Takeoff" which feels extreme here, in a very high degree setting. But the Beaver has a very wide flight dynamic in that the flaps can be set to extreme positions, but still be well within the aircraft's STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) performance envelope.
     
     
     
    Speed builds gradually then suddenly the tail unstick's, and you need a kick of full of right rudder to maintain the straight ahead line...
     ...   another tool is to lightly touch the right toe-brake slightly to maintain the correct aligned course, between the two movements you can keep the Beaver straight. Takeoff is usually around 90 knts, but you don't need to pull back the stick as the Beaver just glides into the air on lift alone (the heavy set flaps), and to climb, it then only requires a little pitch to meet the 600 fpm climb-out you need.
     

     
    You can climb-out to the extreme of  1,000 fpm, but the 600 fpm angle is perfect, the one thing that should be highly noted is the aircraft's weight and feel, it is excellent. Now a slight adjustment to 800 fpm, which is perfect with still no loss of speed, also the Flaps are now at the "Climb" marker, as I need to climb up to 6,000 ft...  high? not really as the Beaver can do a ceiling of 18,000 ft (5,486 m)...  impressive.
     

     
    Unlike other aircraft you can consistently use the flaps and even in level flight, most aircraft need the flaps in and clean as soon as possible, but not the Beaver, as if you have a slightly uneven balance (front to rear) in the aircraft you can use the flaps to even out the balance without touching the trim, it is a tool every Beaver pilot's use.
     
    Stewart River is a 533-kilometre tributary of Yukon River. And heading up river towards Hecate Strait. But I am also not going all the way to the Strait either, just far enough to climb up high to turn west, but with the high mountains surrounding me, it means a climb of at least 6,000 ft, maybe more.
     

     
    Obviously you don't go very fast...   158 mph (255 km/h) or 140 knts is max and your cruise speed is only 143 mph (230 km/h) or 125 knts, but you don't really care about that factor, as this DHC aircraft is an absolute dream to fly.
     
    You can see why tourists love this lower Alaskan part of the world, the views are amazing, even X-Plane 12 amazing...
     

     
    I'm now at 6,000 ft, but it's still not enough, so another 2,000 ft to go up to 8,000 ft.
     

     
    Now higher I finally see a gap in the mountains and head west...
     

     
    Trimming the DHC-2 out is easy, the trims are set up up on the roof (But I use keyboard commands), and the Beaver trims out the pitch beautifully, now just small stick and rudder inputs keeps DHC straight, but better still yet is if you trim out the rudder as well, and now you can take both hands and feet off the controls and the Beaver will still fly like a dream straight and level.... this is one amazing simulation of a real aircraft.
     

     
    Fuel management is critical...  Six tanks altogether, but basically you switch between three, Front - Middle - Rear, via the big knob, far left panel. The three tanks are shown on the lower console. The Wing tanks are selected via another large knob on the left side above the door.
     

     
    Select Left or Right Tanks or BOTH, and all selections feed to the Front main tank, usually you would leave it on BOTH, for an even balance... 
     
    The EXT (external) Tank also feeds into another tank, the Middle one. There is a lever under the pilot's instrument panel to turn on the EXT tank flow, this then moves the ancillary fuel into the Middle tank, obviously it is good idea to select the middle tank to use all the extra fuel in there...
     

     
    The EXT tank lever is moved vertical (down) to access the fuel, when done then shut it off by moving the lever left. it will fill up the Middle tank quite quickly.
     
    I know why I love the Beaver, as you just purr along doing the job. The Beaver is like a light truck of the aircraft world, it shifts people and cargo with a ruggedness into a wilderness. Your sitting up there high, in charge, master of your own little universe, just shuttling along... heaven is a Beaver in flight, you can easily see why any pilot loves the DHC-2 so much.
     

     
    Ketchikan is rear to my left, Clarence Strait is to my immediate left...
     

     
    ...  soon the Stikine Strait comes into view on my right, a glance down and I'm horrified on how much fuel, including the extra top up amount has been used from the middle tank, I switch again to the rear tank, supping more fuel from that one instead, the whole trip distance is only 177 nm, but I'm also using a lot of fuel with that powerful Wasp.
     

     
    Time to turn into the Strait...  I have already lost 4,000 ft as I enter, but it was a slow descent.
     

     
    At first the Beaver dropped altitude, then crawled to a stop? the only way to continue the descent was to pull half back on the throttle, then you were moving downwards again. As we already know, the Beaver is known as a "flap-happy" aircraft and you can see and feel that aspect of why here...   That is the "Landing" setting, but you can go even slower if you go deeper with more flap and into the red zone to the full 58º degrees... Usually you would never use 58º, that aspect just gives you too much drag, but it is useful for the water landings, as it gives you a far lower speed and more lift at those almost static water approaches.
     

     
    Wrangell pops up now on my right. I'm down to 800 ft, and ready for the approach into PAWG Rwy 10 (6000 ft). Approach speed is around 70 knts, here your altitude is controlled only via your throttle, more power to go up and less power to go down, but even the mixture adjustments can even have an effect, so be aware if you are leaning out the engine more while reducing power.
     

     
    One note I will say is that the touchdown speed is still around 70 knts, dropping to 60 knts on the runway, and that feels a tad fast at full flap? but the speed does still give you full aerodynamic control on the landing and you can finely follow the centreline as good as when you took off...
     

     
    The landing bit is quite easy, the tricky bit is lowering the tail and keeping tracking directly straight, master that and you master the DHC-2. Part of the trick is to use the toe-brakes, but lightly and the rudder (stabs) and find that straight line... I'm not saying it is easy because it isn't, but it comes to you with practise.
     

     
    But let us be thankful, this is an amazing experience of an aircraft, and now the Beaver is available to fly in X-Plane 12.
     
    Summary
    Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947. The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada. This version has the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs Wasp Jr engine forward by almost 10 inches for a better rear load balance (Centre of Gravity).
     
    Any aircraft coming from Thranda Design is usually full of amazing features and outstanding quality design, and certainly you are not disappointed here. In the design aspect the aircraft is extremely the best yet from Thranda, the quality is overwhelming to the point of ridiculous...  the DHC has full hi-res PBR realistic effects, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision, not to mention the high quality materials internally and externally. Detailing and the modeling is absolutely first rate, this is an outstanding Beaver.
     
    Not only is the instrument Panel one of the best yet in X-Plane, it is also fully customised via the "Dynamic Generation Series" in not only giving you your own control over the way the instruments are laid out, but to swap and change other instruments as well including; Aspen EFD 1000, S-Tec 55x autopilot, RealityXP GTN 750 (these are optional addons) and a Collins 614-12 ADF. Eleven liveries are provided, but also again you can create and design your own liveries with the DGS system. Options include, Skis, mud flaps, Old and New quadrants and bubble windows, and the Amphibious/Float version is now part of the X-Plane 12 package.
     
    Sounds are outstanding, with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth transitions and amazing atmospheric effects, 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to propeller, start up and engine mixture variance is also highly realistic.
     
    Menus are also extensive, with sound adjustments, weight and balance manager with visual chart, lighting, doors, views, reflections and an amazing radial engine visualisation in a pop-up window, which showcases the inner workings of the engine.
     
    Yes a lot in this review is very much like the X-Plane 11 original version, as most in the design features and menus are the same, but a lot of the hidden areas, including the flight dynamics and performance related to X-Plane 12 have all been revised. Also the textures all now 8K, up from two 4K textures for better fidelity, the Skunkcrafts Updater is also now used for direct updates. All earlier purchasers of the Thranda X-Plane 11 DHC-2 can upgrade for 30% off with the new XP12 model. This aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, but the XP11 version is available.
     
    But a few things have been affected in the transition with the Beaver. Debatable is the "Shiny, shiny feel" of XP12, although overall the aircraft looks extremely better than XP11. Lighting has lost a lot of it's shine (pun intended) Instruments are hard to read and external lighting is virtually not visible, but to note a lot of X-Plane 12 aircraft are like this, we feel that lighting needs a lot more adjustment from Laminar Research. Thranda Aircraft also extremely dark, hard to see inside and use, but that also may improve over the X-Plane 12 changes.
     
    This is the iconic de Havilland Canada Beaver as in depth simulation, with as much quality and it comes with the sheer force of ideas available here, and in reality isn't that is what simulation is really all about, brilliant aircraft with exceptional quality and flying dynamics and a huge feature list. So really want the very best then here it is....  
     
    Highly, Hugely Recommended.
    _______________________________
     
    Yes! the DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : 
     
    DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12
    Price is US$34.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB VRAM Minimum. Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version  1.0.1 (October 16th 2023) The plane comes with the Skunkcraft auto-updater   Owners of the Thranda DHC-2 XP11 can get this new XP12 model for 30% off. Please find the coupon code in your original DHC-2 XP11 Invoice. ________________
     
    Installation and documents: Download is 1.66Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.
    Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file.
     
    Full installation is 3.27GB
     
    Documents supplied are:
    Changelog.txt Thranda Beaver Documentation XP12 v1.0.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf  
    Checklists and loads of Performance graphs are provided in the extensive manual.
     
    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 : Skunkcrafts Updater
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - CZST - Stewart - XPORG (formally Beti-x) (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.00
    - PAWG - Wrangell Airport, Alaska by NorthernSky Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$16.95
     
    ___________________________
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    20th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     

  14. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Lance Boyd in Aircraft Update Review : Gulfstream 550 by v2.05 by AKD Studio   
    Aircraft Update Review : Gulfstream 550 by v2.05 by AKD Studio
     
    It's been less than a year since the release of the AKD Studio's GulfStream 550, and it feels like it has already been around a fair while. Most of that reason has been with the rapid and regular updates for the aircraft, 11 updates to date, so almost one a month, and throw in a v2 model version update as well. So this G550 is classified as a X-Plane 12 aircraft, and yes even an X-Plane 11 version is also supplied, but without the XP12 features and effects.
     
    With the huge amount of improvements over the last twelve months, the aircraft has come a long way, certainly systems wise, but also feature wise, but their are weaknesses in the modeling are still very visually present and not yet attended to, which we will get to.
     
    The latest update is v2.05 (Sept 29th), but we will also look at a few of the changes and note a few of the features of the earlier version v2 updates as well, outwardly it is now an impressive aircraft.
     

     
    We will start with a look at the latest changes in v2.05
     
    First is another change to the 3D vehicle, the third since release? Originally we had a Telsla Model 3, but it was not to scale, and the vehicle was far too large in comparison to the G550, odd it was...  in v1.10 you got another Tesla 3, to scale this time, but it was still odd, because you can't deliver 16 passengers and a flight crew to a jet in a five seater car?
     
    This time around in v2.05 we finally arrived at a better transport solution, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter bus. The new Sprinter is extremely well modeled, visually excellent, and the door opens when it arrives at the aircraft.
     

     
    The bus is activated via the "Boarding" hotspot on the "Fuel" page. Note the feature to input Simbrief Data from your generated Flight Brief, this will also note the amount of passengers to be boarded (up to 16). On using SimBrief you have to add in your SimBrief ID via the "Settings" page. There are also three speeds to load the aircraft with the (Fuel) and Passengers, Instant - Short - Real.
     

     
    On the centre console 60hz audio panel, a MASTER SWitch has been added to the panel (arrowed). All the switch covers have also been redone to make them easier to see (slightly cloudy) and to use.
     

     
    Last new v2.05 feature are the nice lights on the stairs.
     

     
    With the v2.0 update, the G550 came with a new custom MCDU (Multipurpose Control and Display Unit). You still have the choice of both the original Laminar Research FMS system or the newer custom version, and it is based on the Honeywell (MCDU-R) Multi-Function Control and Display Unit. The Laminar FMS is on the left, and the Honeywell is on the right.
     

     
    The major difference is the amount of depth between the two systems, and the use here is a bit different from the usual set up in procedures, so a bit of a guide (tutorial) is required.
     

     
    One annoyance is that the two MCDU panels don't pop-out? they are awkward to use with the MAP display for and inputting the data, as the key input buttons are not totally aligned with the input data lines. (so you have to count each time)
     
    First input is to set the aircraft's "POSITION INIT" or GPS reference. You click on KR2 (Key Right 2) to insert your current aircraft Coordinates, mine is LFML or Marseille Airport, the position is then shown on the MAP (MFD).
     

     
    MAP has to be set on the "A/C CENTRE" or PLAN in most MAP settings, this is done through the Gulfstream specific glareshield "Display Controller".
     

     
    That will insert your departure airport, so you will next need to insert your ARRIVAL airport (RK3) LEMH (Menorca Airport) on the opposite side RK3.
     

     
    My flightplan today is...  LFML/31L N0502F280 VATI6N VATIR UN852 VERSO UL16 SARGO SARG5F LEMH/19
     
    Then you select your DEPARTURE, with your Runway, Standard Instrument Departure Route (SID) and Via if required, this departure sequence is shown in a full list, if correct then press ACTIVATE and it is then inserted as the start of your Flightplan (FPL).
     

     
    If you have a 5 letter or 3 Waypoint as the next insert, then just input directly into the "VIA-TO"...  but if it is an AIRWAY then the input is unusual from the normal procedure. The AIRWAY is inputted in the "VIA TO" as UN852.VERSO or in the AIRWAY number (UN852) . then the EXIT Waypoint (VERSO).
     

     
    And then the AIRWAY is inserted in the flightplan. Then you can continue to build your flightplan until you reach the STAR input...  at this point the system goes a bit off script, as there is no ARRIVAL selection?
     
    You are diverted to the "PERFORMANCE INIT" or five pages of performance data to be filled in... including "Type" Aircraft, Climb - Cruise-Descent, STEP/Fuel, Altitude, Weight...  once the PERF pages are filled in you can then CONFIRM INIT to activate all the performance data...
     

     
    Then the ARRIVAL option is now available...  and you can now fill in your Runway (Approach) and STAR/TRANS options. Press ACTIVATE to insert the Arrival data.
     
      
     
    Another oddity, is that you have to insert in your arrival airport (LEMH) at the end of the flightplan, this then activates the PERF data and fills in the rest of the flightplan data, with all the correct Flight Levels (Altitude)
     
     
     
    It is a tricky system to learn and navigate, yes there are also a few (annoying) bugs in there, and it takes a little practise to be confident in using this style of custom MCDU, it is also slightly complex and unforgiving, compared to the usual Boeing or Airbus systems...
     
    Another quirk is if you want to see the whole or parts of your flightplan. There is no STEP option, but you can check your flightplan by going to the "Display Controller" (IN A/C CENTRE mode) and selecting NEXT (the PREV doesn't yet work), and that allows you then to move through the flightplan in a PLAN mode, you can also adjust the range as well to scale the flightplan to your liking.
     

     
    Other MCDU PERF modes include TAKEOFF, CLIMB, CRUISE, DESCENT and LANDING data, or input. (only Takeoff/Landing is shown)
     

     
    DIR (Direct), HOLD and PATTERN are all available, as is PROG (Progress), which we will see in flight.
     
    Looking at the v2.05 bug list, you can see the attention given to the MCDU, it's better obviously, but as noted it is also still a little buggy in use, mostly in selecting DEPARTURE when inputting "VIA TO"?
     
    Other bug fixes cover a lot of the lighting in the cockpit, bad SASL crashes, weight calculations, and cross-referencing between the EFB and MCDU, plus a few minor changes in the detail around the cockpit.
     
    v2.05 Bugs fixes: -Fixed SpeedBrake manipulator(XP11/XP12) -Fixed Cockpit lights in Cockpit(XP12) -Fixed MCDU sometimes not updating route(XP11/XP12) -Fixed MCDU not adding all VOR's from FMS file(XP11/XP12) -Fixed DU1 FULL HSI 360 indicator with IRS OFF(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: the values I enter do not match what the FMS says(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: “Pull Up” sounds warning bell remains even in cold and dark(XP11/XP12) -Fixed "Marching ants" on knobs 3D model(XP11/XP12) -Fixed gross weight calculations in MCDU(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: "When I have to change the arrival It does not delete all of the old fixes"(XP11/XP12) -Fixed SASL crash Fail to get parameter #2 (value)(XP11/XP12) -Fixed SASL crash "bad argument #1 to 'match' (string expected, got nil)"(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: STAR/APP insert function(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Minor MCDU bugs(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Minor bugs(XP12/XP11)   So why do you want a Gulfstream 550?  PERFORMANCE.     When you have set up your MCDU, you can then import the data into the EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) or Tablet. Under the PERF CALculator, you can insert the "Takeoff Data" and the "Landing Data", you can also do it the other way around...  set up the Takeoff parameters, or Landing parameters, and then send the data directly to the FMS.     Private Jets are unique to Simulators, unique to fly as well...  it's the power available to you under the throttles as it is simply phenomenal.     Power up those two Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 engines that come with a 15,400 lbf (68.4 kN) takeoff rating...  and you just GO, FAST.     It's like trying to reign in a very fast racehorse, as you are mostly just along for the ride. On rotate you have to control the nose, as you have available an enormous climb rate of 3,650 feet per minute, and you can go almost straight up...     So setting the trim correctly for Takeoff is essential, but also is the re-adjustment once you are in the air, the nose just wants to go up...  and up.   Handling wise the G550 is a big aircraft, it feels like a small regional jet, of which it is in many ways. But behind the controls it is very nice to fly, and the operation in here is all very Gulfstream with the well done authentic layout.     I really do like the custon MCDU, tricky to programme, but easy to use once in the air...  TIP...   the Auto/Throttle ARM is on the throttle arms, and the autothrottle won't work if you don't arm it first.     The Cockpit lighting has about 12 adjustment knobs, and on the release the lighting was a bit hit or miss. AKD has done a lot of work on the lighting in the three updates, and now it is very good, a few areas are obviously still in need some adjustment (Co-Pilot side), but otherwise it is now becoming very good. The under panel lighting is very nice at night, and can be dialed down for takeoff and landing.     This generation of Gulfstream jets gives you a lot of space inside as they are 43.11 feet long by 7 feet wide by 6 feet tall giving it a total cabin volume of 1669 cubic feet, they are the crème de la crème of cabins in size and fitouts.  They can carry a crew of four, 2 pilots, 0–2 attendants plus 14–19 passengers plus a payload 6,200 lb (2,812 kg). This cabin is HUGE, and the layout here is two sets of club seating (eight chairs) and two large rear sofas.     Well done is the in-flight screen, showing the aircraft's position, altitude, speed and time.     Well you can stay up high for a very long time with 6,750 nmi (7,770 mi, 12,500 km) range, with a High Speed Cruise: M0.85 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m) or the standard Long Range Cruise: M0.80 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m), the total Service ceiling is 51,000 ft (16,000 m), God that is almost as high as Concorde...   impressive isn't it.   Notable are still the visual modeling imperfections. The rear engine exhaust outlets are very basic, worse in being very noticeable on the expensive jet from the rear, I really don't like the cabin windows either, poorly done, with very poor tint modeling, you sit close to them when viewing from the cabin, and they are a maddening distraction. Lastly the no glass in the nosegear lights, modeled, but not finished...  all should have been attended to by this on one year date. Does the G550 need a door between the cockpit and elite passengers in the back?  I think so, certainly for this price.   Going up, then descending, I used (tested) the Level Change or FLCH, Flight Level Change mode. It's quite violent, climbing at an easy 3,500 fpm, the G550 climbs upwards like no tomorrow, to the stated 28,000 ft, you are there within minutes...  going down was worse at a minus 4100 fpm as you simply dropped out of the sky, and then recovered at around the set 6000 ft. It does work brilliantly well, but like a theme-park ride.     I'm at Menorca in no time, under an hour's flying time, high express ride down the Mediterranean... the aircraft following the SARG5F STAR to Runway 19.     I like the low-speed capabilities of the G550, with the barn door flaps right down, your approach speeds are around 140 knts. Such a low speed approach gives you time to set up the aircraft correctly...     Hands and feet on, and you can position the aircraft exactly were you want to, the size is perfect, this is no GA to be blown around in, or not with the lumbering feel of a big heavy jet, is this the perfect size and weight?     It's very gusty on approach, but the manual flying of this aircraft is easy, getting close to the runway and you let the efficient wings do a great upward ground effect, they support you, and also give you time to get the best flare position for landing...     ...  I have done a fair few flights now with the Gulfstream G550 to be now very comfortable with the aircraft, but to note have still not done a trans-continental or an ocean crossing, and in so using the full capabilities of what this aircraft can do. But it does always leave a smile on my face, and in wanting more.     Finally there is a really excellent and long livery list, and some extras you can download for the AKD Design Gulfstream G550, you can find them here....   GLF550 by AKD - IMPORTANT LINKS AND INFORMATION - AKD Studio - G550   ___________ Summary Since being released a year ago in October 2023. The Gulfstream G550 by AKD Studios has had some significant updates in the meantime, including a complete v2.0 release.   The v2.0 release included a custom Honeywell (MCDU-R) Multi-Function Control and Display Unit as part of the update, but also in the latest update v2.05, there were other new additions, including another new Car 3D Model? but this time a lovely Mercedes Sprinter bus, as they finally got it right. Also added is new Audio Panel and added new switches covers, also Lights have been added to the stairs of main cabin door, more significant is the long list of attention to bugs and fixes including lighting in the cockpit, bad SASL crashes, weight calculations, and cross-referencing between the EFB and MCDU, plus a few minor changes in the detail around the cockpit.   In lots of ways the G550 aircraft has had an substantial amount of changes and features added in the past year, my only beef is some very visual modeling areas have not had attention in the same time period, rear exhaust outlets are very basic, poor cabin windows and visible non-glass on the front wheel strut are very glaring in their inattention.   One of the best super long-distance trans-continental or ocean crossing private jets available for the X-Plane 12 Simulator (An X-Plane 11 version is also included) is this Gulfstream 550. Brilliant to fly and very authentic to the Gulfstream brand, and it comes with a very long feature list, it is available now to live out your perfect one-percenter ultra wealthy elite rich dreams, plus you also get to fly a very nice aircraft. _______________________________  
     
    The Gulfstream 550 v2.05 by AKD Studio is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore
     
    GLF550 - Ultimate Business Jet by AKD Studio
    Price is US$41.95
     
    This aircraft is now both X-Plane12 and X-Plane 11 supported
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.1 GB
    Current version : 1.10 (February 7th 2023)   Download for the Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is 1.03GB
     
    And the final install in X-Plane Aircraft folder with the above loaded liveries is; 2.53gb. Authorisation is required.
    The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder.
     
    Simbrief proflie is;
    https://www.simbrief.com/system/dispatch.php?sharefleet=256234_1658264083720
     
    The ADK Gulfstream G550 v2.05 update can be downloaded via the X-plane.OrgStore, or via the Skunkcrafts updater
     
    Documents
    AKD GLF550 Introduction.pdf FMS_Manual.pdf GLF550 Normal Checklist.pdf GLF550_air_conditioning_system.pdf GLF550_auxiliary_power_unit_(apu)_system.pdf GLF550_electrical_system.pdf GLF550_fire_protection_system.pdf GLF550_flight_control_system.pdf GLF550_fuel_system.pdf GLF550_hydraulic_system.pdf GLF550_ice_and_rain_protection_system.pdf GLF550_landing_gear_and_brakes_system.pdf GLF550_oxygen_system.pdf GLF550_pneumatic_system.pdf GLF550_powerplant_system.pdf GLF550_pressurization_system.pdf  
    Changelog
    Included here are all the v2.0 changlogs... v2.0 - v2.02 - v2.03 and v2.05
    Changelog v2.0 - v2.02 - v2.03 and v2.05.txt
     
    Designed by AKD Studios
    Support forum for the Gulfstream G550 _____________________
      Aircraft Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    11th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.01r3 (This is a beta review).
    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
    - LFML - Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99
    - LEMH - Airport Menorca XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$23.99
     
    (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
     

  15. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Update Review : Gulfstream 550 by v2.05 by AKD Studio   
    Aircraft Update Review : Gulfstream 550 by v2.05 by AKD Studio
     
    It's been less than a year since the release of the AKD Studio's GulfStream 550, and it feels like it has already been around a fair while. Most of that reason has been with the rapid and regular updates for the aircraft, 11 updates to date, so almost one a month, and throw in a v2 model version update as well. So this G550 is classified as a X-Plane 12 aircraft, and yes even an X-Plane 11 version is also supplied, but without the XP12 features and effects.
     
    With the huge amount of improvements over the last twelve months, the aircraft has come a long way, certainly systems wise, but also feature wise, but their are weaknesses in the modeling are still very visually present and not yet attended to, which we will get to.
     
    The latest update is v2.05 (Sept 29th), but we will also look at a few of the changes and note a few of the features of the earlier version v2 updates as well, outwardly it is now an impressive aircraft.
     

     
    We will start with a look at the latest changes in v2.05
     
    First is another change to the 3D vehicle, the third since release? Originally we had a Telsla Model 3, but it was not to scale, and the vehicle was far too large in comparison to the G550, odd it was...  in v1.10 you got another Tesla 3, to scale this time, but it was still odd, because you can't deliver 16 passengers and a flight crew to a jet in a five seater car?
     
    This time around in v2.05 we finally arrived at a better transport solution, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter bus. The new Sprinter is extremely well modeled, visually excellent, and the door opens when it arrives at the aircraft.
     

     
    The bus is activated via the "Boarding" hotspot on the "Fuel" page. Note the feature to input Simbrief Data from your generated Flight Brief, this will also note the amount of passengers to be boarded (up to 16). On using SimBrief you have to add in your SimBrief ID via the "Settings" page. There are also three speeds to load the aircraft with the (Fuel) and Passengers, Instant - Short - Real.
     

     
    On the centre console 60hz audio panel, a MASTER SWitch has been added to the panel (arrowed). All the switch covers have also been redone to make them easier to see (slightly cloudy) and to use.
     

     
    Last new v2.05 feature are the nice lights on the stairs.
     

     
    With the v2.0 update, the G550 came with a new custom MCDU (Multipurpose Control and Display Unit). You still have the choice of both the original Laminar Research FMS system or the newer custom version, and it is based on the Honeywell (MCDU-R) Multi-Function Control and Display Unit. The Laminar FMS is on the left, and the Honeywell is on the right.
     

     
    The major difference is the amount of depth between the two systems, and the use here is a bit different from the usual set up in procedures, so a bit of a guide (tutorial) is required.
     

     
    One annoyance is that the two MCDU panels don't pop-out? they are awkward to use with the MAP display for and inputting the data, as the key input buttons are not totally aligned with the input data lines. (so you have to count each time)
     
    First input is to set the aircraft's "POSITION INIT" or GPS reference. You click on KR2 (Key Right 2) to insert your current aircraft Coordinates, mine is LFML or Marseille Airport, the position is then shown on the MAP (MFD).
     

     
    MAP has to be set on the "A/C CENTRE" or PLAN in most MAP settings, this is done through the Gulfstream specific glareshield "Display Controller".
     

     
    That will insert your departure airport, so you will next need to insert your ARRIVAL airport (RK3) LEMH (Menorca Airport) on the opposite side RK3.
     

     
    My flightplan today is...  LFML/31L N0502F280 VATI6N VATIR UN852 VERSO UL16 SARGO SARG5F LEMH/19
     
    Then you select your DEPARTURE, with your Runway, Standard Instrument Departure Route (SID) and Via if required, this departure sequence is shown in a full list, if correct then press ACTIVATE and it is then inserted as the start of your Flightplan (FPL).
     

     
    If you have a 5 letter or 3 Waypoint as the next insert, then just input directly into the "VIA-TO"...  but if it is an AIRWAY then the input is unusual from the normal procedure. The AIRWAY is inputted in the "VIA TO" as UN852.VERSO or in the AIRWAY number (UN852) . then the EXIT Waypoint (VERSO).
     

     
    And then the AIRWAY is inserted in the flightplan. Then you can continue to build your flightplan until you reach the STAR input...  at this point the system goes a bit off script, as there is no ARRIVAL selection?
     
    You are diverted to the "PERFORMANCE INIT" or five pages of performance data to be filled in... including "Type" Aircraft, Climb - Cruise-Descent, STEP/Fuel, Altitude, Weight...  once the PERF pages are filled in you can then CONFIRM INIT to activate all the performance data...
     

     
    Then the ARRIVAL option is now available...  and you can now fill in your Runway (Approach) and STAR/TRANS options. Press ACTIVATE to insert the Arrival data.
     
      
     
    Another oddity, is that you have to insert in your arrival airport (LEMH) at the end of the flightplan, this then activates the PERF data and fills in the rest of the flightplan data, with all the correct Flight Levels (Altitude)
     
     
     
    It is a tricky system to learn and navigate, yes there are also a few (annoying) bugs in there, and it takes a little practise to be confident in using this style of custom MCDU, it is also slightly complex and unforgiving, compared to the usual Boeing or Airbus systems...
     
    Another quirk is if you want to see the whole or parts of your flightplan. There is no STEP option, but you can check your flightplan by going to the "Display Controller" (IN A/C CENTRE mode) and selecting NEXT (the PREV doesn't yet work), and that allows you then to move through the flightplan in a PLAN mode, you can also adjust the range as well to scale the flightplan to your liking.
     

     
    Other MCDU PERF modes include TAKEOFF, CLIMB, CRUISE, DESCENT and LANDING data, or input. (only Takeoff/Landing is shown)
     

     
    DIR (Direct), HOLD and PATTERN are all available, as is PROG (Progress), which we will see in flight.
     
    Looking at the v2.05 bug list, you can see the attention given to the MCDU, it's better obviously, but as noted it is also still a little buggy in use, mostly in selecting DEPARTURE when inputting "VIA TO"?
     
    Other bug fixes cover a lot of the lighting in the cockpit, bad SASL crashes, weight calculations, and cross-referencing between the EFB and MCDU, plus a few minor changes in the detail around the cockpit.
     
    v2.05 Bugs fixes: -Fixed SpeedBrake manipulator(XP11/XP12) -Fixed Cockpit lights in Cockpit(XP12) -Fixed MCDU sometimes not updating route(XP11/XP12) -Fixed MCDU not adding all VOR's from FMS file(XP11/XP12) -Fixed DU1 FULL HSI 360 indicator with IRS OFF(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: the values I enter do not match what the FMS says(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: “Pull Up” sounds warning bell remains even in cold and dark(XP11/XP12) -Fixed "Marching ants" on knobs 3D model(XP11/XP12) -Fixed gross weight calculations in MCDU(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: "When I have to change the arrival It does not delete all of the old fixes"(XP11/XP12) -Fixed SASL crash Fail to get parameter #2 (value)(XP11/XP12) -Fixed SASL crash "bad argument #1 to 'match' (string expected, got nil)"(XP11/XP12) -Fixed: STAR/APP insert function(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Minor MCDU bugs(XP12/XP11) -Fixed Minor bugs(XP12/XP11)   So why do you want a Gulfstream 550?  PERFORMANCE.     When you have set up your MCDU, you can then import the data into the EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) or Tablet. Under the PERF CALculator, you can insert the "Takeoff Data" and the "Landing Data", you can also do it the other way around...  set up the Takeoff parameters, or Landing parameters, and then send the data directly to the FMS.     Private Jets are unique to Simulators, unique to fly as well...  it's the power available to you under the throttles as it is simply phenomenal.     Power up those two Rolls-Royce BR710 C4-11 engines that come with a 15,400 lbf (68.4 kN) takeoff rating...  and you just GO, FAST.     It's like trying to reign in a very fast racehorse, as you are mostly just along for the ride. On rotate you have to control the nose, as you have available an enormous climb rate of 3,650 feet per minute, and you can go almost straight up...     So setting the trim correctly for Takeoff is essential, but also is the re-adjustment once you are in the air, the nose just wants to go up...  and up.   Handling wise the G550 is a big aircraft, it feels like a small regional jet, of which it is in many ways. But behind the controls it is very nice to fly, and the operation in here is all very Gulfstream with the well done authentic layout.     I really do like the custon MCDU, tricky to programme, but easy to use once in the air...  TIP...   the Auto/Throttle ARM is on the throttle arms, and the autothrottle won't work if you don't arm it first.     The Cockpit lighting has about 12 adjustment knobs, and on the release the lighting was a bit hit or miss. AKD has done a lot of work on the lighting in the three updates, and now it is very good, a few areas are obviously still in need some adjustment (Co-Pilot side), but otherwise it is now becoming very good. The under panel lighting is very nice at night, and can be dialed down for takeoff and landing.     This generation of Gulfstream jets gives you a lot of space inside as they are 43.11 feet long by 7 feet wide by 6 feet tall giving it a total cabin volume of 1669 cubic feet, they are the crème de la crème of cabins in size and fitouts.  They can carry a crew of four, 2 pilots, 0–2 attendants plus 14–19 passengers plus a payload 6,200 lb (2,812 kg). This cabin is HUGE, and the layout here is two sets of club seating (eight chairs) and two large rear sofas.     Well done is the in-flight screen, showing the aircraft's position, altitude, speed and time.     Well you can stay up high for a very long time with 6,750 nmi (7,770 mi, 12,500 km) range, with a High Speed Cruise: M0.85 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m) or the standard Long Range Cruise: M0.80 at 41,000 ft (12,497 m), the total Service ceiling is 51,000 ft (16,000 m), God that is almost as high as Concorde...   impressive isn't it.   Notable are still the visual modeling imperfections. The rear engine exhaust outlets are very basic, worse in being very noticeable on the expensive jet from the rear, I really don't like the cabin windows either, poorly done, with very poor tint modeling, you sit close to them when viewing from the cabin, and they are a maddening distraction. Lastly the no glass in the nosegear lights, modeled, but not finished...  all should have been attended to by this on one year date. Does the G550 need a door between the cockpit and elite passengers in the back?  I think so, certainly for this price.   Going up, then descending, I used (tested) the Level Change or FLCH, Flight Level Change mode. It's quite violent, climbing at an easy 3,500 fpm, the G550 climbs upwards like no tomorrow, to the stated 28,000 ft, you are there within minutes...  going down was worse at a minus 4100 fpm as you simply dropped out of the sky, and then recovered at around the set 6000 ft. It does work brilliantly well, but like a theme-park ride.     I'm at Menorca in no time, under an hour's flying time, high express ride down the Mediterranean... the aircraft following the SARG5F STAR to Runway 19.     I like the low-speed capabilities of the G550, with the barn door flaps right down, your approach speeds are around 140 knts. Such a low speed approach gives you time to set up the aircraft correctly...     Hands and feet on, and you can position the aircraft exactly were you want to, the size is perfect, this is no GA to be blown around in, or not with the lumbering feel of a big heavy jet, is this the perfect size and weight?     It's very gusty on approach, but the manual flying of this aircraft is easy, getting close to the runway and you let the efficient wings do a great upward ground effect, they support you, and also give you time to get the best flare position for landing...     ...  I have done a fair few flights now with the Gulfstream G550 to be now very comfortable with the aircraft, but to note have still not done a trans-continental or an ocean crossing, and in so using the full capabilities of what this aircraft can do. But it does always leave a smile on my face, and in wanting more.     Finally there is a really excellent and long livery list, and some extras you can download for the AKD Design Gulfstream G550, you can find them here....   GLF550 by AKD - IMPORTANT LINKS AND INFORMATION - AKD Studio - G550   ___________ Summary Since being released a year ago in October 2023. The Gulfstream G550 by AKD Studios has had some significant updates in the meantime, including a complete v2.0 release.   The v2.0 release included a custom Honeywell (MCDU-R) Multi-Function Control and Display Unit as part of the update, but also in the latest update v2.05, there were other new additions, including another new Car 3D Model? but this time a lovely Mercedes Sprinter bus, as they finally got it right. Also added is new Audio Panel and added new switches covers, also Lights have been added to the stairs of main cabin door, more significant is the long list of attention to bugs and fixes including lighting in the cockpit, bad SASL crashes, weight calculations, and cross-referencing between the EFB and MCDU, plus a few minor changes in the detail around the cockpit.   In lots of ways the G550 aircraft has had an substantial amount of changes and features added in the past year, my only beef is some very visual modeling areas have not had attention in the same time period, rear exhaust outlets are very basic, poor cabin windows and visible non-glass on the front wheel strut are very glaring in their inattention.   One of the best super long-distance trans-continental or ocean crossing private jets available for the X-Plane 12 Simulator (An X-Plane 11 version is also included) is this Gulfstream 550. Brilliant to fly and very authentic to the Gulfstream brand, and it comes with a very long feature list, it is available now to live out your perfect one-percenter ultra wealthy elite rich dreams, plus you also get to fly a very nice aircraft. _______________________________  
     
    The Gulfstream 550 v2.05 by AKD Studio is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore
     
    GLF550 - Ultimate Business Jet by AKD Studio
    Price is US$41.95
     
    This aircraft is now both X-Plane12 and X-Plane 11 supported
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.1 GB
    Current version : 1.10 (February 7th 2023)   Download for the Gulfstream 550 by AKD Studio is 1.03GB
     
    And the final install in X-Plane Aircraft folder with the above loaded liveries is; 2.53gb. Authorisation is required.
    The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder.
     
    Simbrief proflie is;
    https://www.simbrief.com/system/dispatch.php?sharefleet=256234_1658264083720
     
    The ADK Gulfstream G550 v2.05 update can be downloaded via the X-plane.OrgStore, or via the Skunkcrafts updater
     
    Documents
    AKD GLF550 Introduction.pdf FMS_Manual.pdf GLF550 Normal Checklist.pdf GLF550_air_conditioning_system.pdf GLF550_auxiliary_power_unit_(apu)_system.pdf GLF550_electrical_system.pdf GLF550_fire_protection_system.pdf GLF550_flight_control_system.pdf GLF550_fuel_system.pdf GLF550_hydraulic_system.pdf GLF550_ice_and_rain_protection_system.pdf GLF550_landing_gear_and_brakes_system.pdf GLF550_oxygen_system.pdf GLF550_pneumatic_system.pdf GLF550_powerplant_system.pdf GLF550_pressurization_system.pdf  
    Changelog
    Included here are all the v2.0 changlogs... v2.0 - v2.02 - v2.03 and v2.05
    Changelog v2.0 - v2.02 - v2.03 and v2.05.txt
     
    Designed by AKD Studios
    Support forum for the Gulfstream G550 _____________________
      Aircraft Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    11th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.01r3 (This is a beta review).
    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
    - LFML - Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99
    - LEMH - Airport Menorca XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$23.99
     
    (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
     

  16. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Aircraft Review : Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs   
    Aircraft Review : Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs
     
    The project was born in 2007, and as the experimental stage progressed with more continuous and sophisticated solutions, the main and innovative component constructions were further developed into the first ultralight helicopter designed and manufactured totally in Hungary by Hungaro Copter Limited of Verpelét, an affiliate of the Hungarian SteelRiders company.
     
    The result was the HC-01, basically a single pilot airframe with a four-cylinder, four stroke 135 hp (101 kW) Subaru EJ22 engine. The HC-01 is very much like the VS-300, the first ever practical flying rig helicopter built by Ogor Sikorski in 1939.
     
    The experimental HC-01 by the lead engineer Zoltán Juhász has now been developed into the more commercial HC-02, a twin-seater machine with now being powered by a Rotax 915 IS four-stroke air cooled engine, with 141 hp (105 kW) for take-off, 135 hp (101 kW) in continuous flight. The aircraft is supplied as a kit for amateur construction, but still incorporates all the clever innovations of the first HC-01 design. These innovations include an Electrical Rescue System, Automatic anti-tip device, a Center of gravity offset, compensation with movable fuel tank system and Self-developed, high-efficiency and quiet-running rotors (Silent Type). The HS-02 also comes with an enclosed cabin...  this aircraft reminds me in design of the Schweizer S300CBi, more so the Dynali H3, in being another ultralight helicopter design, spaceframe based with a long circular tail-boom.
     
    This being a vSkyLabs aircraft, Then the vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is usually not completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. So this aircraft is noted as an "Early Access" project.
     

     
    The HC-02 design is modern and clean. vSkyLabs have done a remarkable job in translating the Hungarocopter to the X-Plane 12 Simulator (to note the HC-02 is only available in X-plane 12). The composite feel is very evident, but in a finished well made production model sheen. The development here is based on 1st hand, actual materials, with real-world HC-02 pilots input. Note the door latches, with hotspot clicks to open the doors. Glass is excellent (nicely tinted), deep and well reflective.
     

     
    Under the smooth exterior however is a 25CrMo4 welded steel tubing spaceframe, supporting the Rotax 915 IS which is sticking out of the back, and the forward HC-02 cabin. Note the well modeled skids and supports attached to the spaceframe.
     

     
    The design is very clean, but this is not a working aircraft, but a demonstration machine directly out of the factory sort of way. Detailing is excellent, anyone that has supported in vSkyLabs philosophy knows what they will get, with all this great detailing, but no frills, and that same philosophy is again very evident here.
     
    The HC-02 is a single main rotor and tail rotor configuration, and the tall rotor tower and hub is very well modeled, as all the fittings and bolts are very well represented. It all feels modern and fresh in design, in a forward moving approach to an old idea. The collective twist movement is animated, but not the pitch or sideways cyclic movements.
     

     
    Note the innovative blade design at 7.0 m (23.0 ft), all carbon-composite for strength, reliability and low noise.
     

     
    The boom-tail stabilizer wings are quite pronounced for a ultralight machine, and they adapt (move) in flight for better stability.
     

     
    Rear rotor assembly is detail is excellent, with the full construction visible and authentic. The Yaw blade movement is well animated as well. 
     

     
    The vSkyLabs aircraft all use only "Hotspots" and comes with no menus as their feature control. Both doors can be opened by their latches, but press the upper part of the outer windscreen (both sides) and you can also hide the Swan styled doors off the aircraft.
     

     
    Internally there are two lay seats, set in a bright red with black inserts, and the (nice) seatbelts are HC (HungaroCopter) branded. This is a full dual control machine, with both dual cyclics and collectives. So either pilot can fly the machine. Central is a large instrument panel/console.
     

     
    The cyclic is simple with no features except for a PTT (Push To Talk) button, the collective has a working rotating throttle and end button governor. The fuel tank valve is on the floor between the seats. Rudder pedals are just basic aluminium.
     

     
    The main instrument panel is dominated by a state-of-the-art EFIS NESIS III, a navigation, flight and engine system for ultralight aircraft and helicopters. Noted here it is only showing the "Engine Screen", as there is also a "Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen pages also available on the NESIS lll, but not reproduced here. Top of the instrument panel are a row of Warning/Caution lights.
     

     
    Flying instruments include, far left a Heading/Compass, Altitude/Speed/Baro (top), EMSIS Engine/Rotor Tachometer (bottom). Engine readouts (NESIS) consist of; Fuel Level/Pressure/Flow, Engine/Rotor Percentage %, Amp/Volt, Oil Temperature/Pressure, Gearbox Temperature/Pressure and Cylinder EGT - Exhaust Gas Temperature (per cylinder). If you press on the Amp/Volt gauge, it will change to an Artificial Horizon...
     

     
    Lower right is an instrument/light test button that works, lower console is a Upper/Lower (rotor) bearings Temperature readout, and ERS System Status Display (The ERS is a UAVOS’ Drone Parachute System, but currently non-operable, but maybe added in later as a future feature)
     

     
    Lower is a Radio/Communications panel...   Centre Console has a switch panel for External lights (Land/Nav), Fans and Power/Standby/Clutch switches. Bottom is a clever Transponder, turn the outer manipulator for the first two digits, then the inner manipulator for the last two digits... easy. far, far bottom is the FAN switches.
     

     
    On the roof are two panels... left is the circuit breaker/fuse panel (non-working), right the MASTER start switch, Strobe (tail) light and A/B Busses, Start relay cover switch is up here as well.
     
    Top Instrument panel is a AviTab (plugin required) tablet, you press the area on the top of the glareshield to make it appear. It's quite large, good for reading, but helicopters are all about visual references, so it can be a bit of a distraction being so big if in restricted areas.
     

     
    External lighting is all very basic. A single white strobe light tail, and side Red/Green Navigation lights, there are two LED landing lights in the nose.
     

     
    Finally there is a really well dressed young pilot, with trendy torn jeans flying the HC-02. He has great arm and leg movements to the control changes, but no head movements, but he does look great.
     

    _________________
     
    Flying the Hungarocopter HC-02
    First recommended with the HC-02 is to adjust the "Flight models per frame rate", usually to three or four models per frame. This will help out with fluctuations of the flight dynamics model, usually resulting in 'jumps' of the aircraft. The settings can be found on the X-Plane/Menu/General page. It generally makes the HC-02 easier to fly.
     
    As the HC-02 is not a gas-turbine sort of machine, but basically just a normal Four-stroke piston engine. It is as easy to start as a car engine...   Power on, fuel pumps on...  adjust the throttle to mid-turn, then turn the overhead switch to START.
     

     
    The whine comes from below, then the rotors take, wait until you are at 100%. And your ready to fly! You will hold the 100% unless you go back into a "Low Idle", then it drops down into 70% yellow zone. Basically the output is automatically governed at the high output, usually 105%, no matter what mixture setting you have, or be set within the green zone. Full throttle is of course required to takeoff.
     
    This is an "UltraLight", so it is very ULTRALIGHT. This means with the full power setting the aircraft will jiggle, feel nervous, so control inputs are minuscule small. You will have a nervous tail as well, so a lot of left foot is needed to correct the yaw thrust.
     
    The drive system incorporates a clutch system that allows the engine to start without load, as well as a freewheel that allows autorotation (free rotation of the main rotor) regardless of the operation of the engine or transmission system.
     

     
    First slightly airborne, I went first drifting right sideways, but the tail under control. With a slight counter on the cyclic, and I was nicely hovering in one spot, and I could easily hold it there. It is not recommended to put the nose down and increase the collective and to do a usual move away from the low hover position. Basically here you will need a bit more height to do that.
     

     
    I increased the collective and held the hover, but a bit too much as I climbed straight up high to 300 ft. Now I can do the standard 5º nose down to move forward.
     

     
    Finding the correct pitch to move forward is important, too little and you will simply climb (and climb), too much and you lose nose down altitude very quickly, the line between them is extremely fine. You need to find it, and quickly, in finding a balance of a forward cyclic and collective position, then you will gather speed in a forward motion without gaining (or losing) height. 
     

     
    You can see why you can't do this forward manoeuvre close to ground until you are more skilled with the HC-02, as you will mostly crash, or simply lose control. As you have to feed in your skills as you get more confident in the way the machine behaves, with plenty of space (mostly to the ground) to find the centre of the machine. This aspect is also explained in the well conceived POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook)
     
    "A pushover (forward cyclic maneuver) performed from level flight or following a pull-up causes a low-G (near weightless) condition which can result in catastrophic loss of lateral control. To eliminate a low-G condition, immediately apply gentle aft cyclic. Should a right roll commence during a low-G condition, apply gentle aft cyclic to reload rotor before applying lateral cyclic to stop the roll."
     
    Once you get there it is then a simple fingertip touch to go forward, or sideways. With both doors installed, a solo pilot weight of 70 kg
    or greater will ensure the CG is within limits, or that the aircraft (in being so light) can be balanced.
     

     
    In the air there is a lot of movement around the aircraft. The spinning Rotax is highly visible, as are lovely twin-red cooling fans under fuselage, underside detail is simply excellent.
     

     
    There are no helpers obviously, no SAS (Stability Augmentation System)...  just the right trim and balance to fly the aircraft.
     
    But then the HC-02 is sweet to fly...
     
    Up to 3000 feet density altitude speed (vne) is 100 KIAS, doors off you are restricted to only 70 KIAS. I found that the average speed was around 60-70 KIAS, that is if you can get to that speed, as it take ages to build up momentum depending on the right nose pitch.
     
    View reminds me a little of an underwater sub, the forward windows look like portholes, but the sides are not, and the view to your side is excellent.
     

     
    You fly sort of head down. As you want to have the top of the instrument panel with the Altitude/Speed/Baro instrument and the Artificial Horizon visible, and in this position it does restrict your forward view, but you will fly mostly by these two instruments.
     
    Lighting and sound are standard, even basic. Internally there is only the instrument lighting, externally the Landing lights, nav and tail strobe lights. An annoyance is that the strobe flashes in the cabin, on the window frame.
     

     
    Sounds are very good, but nothing special in spatial awareness, it sounds and flies like a Rotax, and you can feel and hear the four-stroke working hard, the blades are very refined, and there is no blade-slap, no matter how hard you try to make it appear.
     

     
    What works against you in taking off, works for you in landing. Lift the nose and the speed drops off very quickly, but to go lower, you need to push the nose down low. Get the two actions right with collective (power) control and you can drop and slow down at the same time.
     

     
    Effective Translational Lift (ETL) is almost non-existent, you feel the transition, but the dropping of the speed goes smoothly into the lower forward speed, yes the collective is very fine here and it needs a little skill, but otherwise it is very easy in the approach and hover phases.
     

     
    You can't get too complacent, this is still a very, very lite spidery machine. Getting closer to the ground and you have to be so smoooth, with fine touches on the controls, and the rudder yaw. But as you are now more in tune with the aircraft's dynamics, you can feel it better and control the HC-02 with more experience, no doubt the pro's will throw this one around the sky, but for the rest of us it is still a bit of a learning curve.
     

     
    I'm down and back at base...  and to do the full circuit was an achievement, but fun as well in the Hungarocopter!
     

     
    Anything I want to add. Yes I would like more EFIS NESIS III pages in "Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen, I think it would add in a lot more to the aircraft instrumentation, and even maybe a spotlight on the skids. There are no extras or even liveries with the vSkyLabs HC-02.
     
    Summary
    Created and built by Zoltán Juhász in Hungary, the commercial HC-02 Hungarocopter, is a twin-seater Ultra light machine powered by a Rotax 915 IS Four-stroke piston, air cooled engine. Evolutionary from the earlier experimental HC-01, it incorporates many of the earlier machines innovative features. And all relevant technical and other information of the Hungarocopter HC-02 from the actual company was used in designing the HC-02.
     
    Most users are well aware of the vSkyLabs philosophy, in that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is usually not completed to 100%. There are also no menus, or external features on the aircraft, and any changes are usually via hopspots.
     
    Design and modeling is always one of vSkyLab's most strongest attributes, plus add in an almost perfect set of flying dynamics, makes any aircraft highly realistic to the real aircraft from this highly experienced developer. Systems are excellent with a lot of realistic detail of the state-of-the-art EFIS NESIS III, a navigation, flight and engine system for ultralight aircraft and helicopters. Sadly it does not have the Classic" (flight instruments) and "Navigation" (MAP) screen options. But all the systems and aircraft specifications are very well covered in the supplied POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook), that also comes with checklists.
     
    These very lightweight machines can be very tricky to fly. But the HC-02 has a lot of interesting attributes that will keep both the Professional and novice pilot's happy. As once mastered it is a fun machine to learn and use without too many of the usual distractions. It is totally VR - Virtual Reality certified as well, always a good thing with Helicopters.
     
    The aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, so no X-Plane 11 will be available. But this is another great and interesting helicopter that has a lot of interesting innovations to fly...  It's a lot of fun as well, as well as in being an ongoing project.
     
    Designed by VSKYLABS
    Support forum for the  HC-02
    ___________________________
     

     
    Yes! - the Hungarocopter HC-02 by vSkyLabs is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Hungarocopter HC-02
    Price is US$29.95
    On sale: $29.95 US$14.97...   You Save:$15.00(50%)
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 (not for X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.0 (October 6th 2023) _____________   Installation and documents:  download for the HC-02 is 209Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder.
    Full Installation is 372MB
     
    AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
     
    Documents supplied are:
    How to INSTALL your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf How to UPDATE your VSKYLABS aircraft.pdf VSKYLABS HC-02 POH.pdf VSL HC-02 Essentials.pdf  
    Four documents cover setup, configurations and the general options on the aircraft available, excellent supplied POH (Pilot's Operating Handbook), that also comes with checklists.
     
    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
    - Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft - (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99
    ___________________________
     
    News by Stephen Dutton
    10th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  17. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from Busair in X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0   
    X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0
     
    Laminar Research have issued a Roadmap on the immediate future of the X-Plane Simulator. And a very interesting Roadmap it is.
     
    First is the price increase of X-Plane. The price of the Simulator will change from US$59.99 to US$79.99 with the introduction of a new numbering system starting with version v12.1.0... yes there is an extra digit in there, but in reality it is also a start of a new era in X-Plane version numbering, with more incremental releases for quicker (smaller) and more frequent changes to the simulator.
     
    I have over the last few years asserted that X-Plane is simply too cheap, and it needed more resources to counter the growing size and complexity of the simulator. Now it looks like Laminar Research has come to the same conclusion. As the requirements of running a modern simulator have grown exponentially, increasing every year... three guys with laptops can't cover the requirements of modern systems and the software required to create a modern Simulator like it did a decade ago, and the development and run-out of X-Plane 12 has showed that the pressure was on and the old style system was now detrimental to the workings of the business. Unfortunately Microsoft's re-emergence back into Simulation with Flight Simulator, left Laminar sitting on it's laurels, the game changed, so you have to adapt and change with it, it is a welcome forward looking change.
     
    v12.08
    But first there is the last version release of the old current version... v12.08. X-Plane 12.0.8 is already in beta testing, and is expected to be released in the next week or two.
     
    Flight Model
    Top of the list is focusing on improving the flight model, and improvements to the way that X-Plane simulates engine performance. Jets, turboprops and reciprocating engines will now follow real-world test data more closely, and used data from Pratt & Whitney will bring the numbers closer to reality.
     
    Landing Gear Physics
    Yeah! Finally...  I have found over the last few years that landing aircraft in X-Plane is like landing and taking off on ice, it is not at all realistic, to a point it is even putting me off enjoying the simulator to it's fullest extent, plus it's not at all realistic for reviews. In v12.08 there will be changes to the ground Inertia.
     
    Wheel Inertia – which means smoother landings, winning! The wheels on the aircraft’s main gear will now reach the speed of the aircraft sooner after touchdown, resulting in less forward pitch/slam on the nose gear during rollout. Weld Modeling – this code controls each wheel’s transition between rolling and not-rolling. That sounds trivial but when you consider that it effects every transition from an aircraft being parked vs. not parked and low-speed taxi, it’s important to get it right! ABS Revisions – tweaks to the logic that the anti-lock breaking system in X-Plane uses to slow down the aircraft after landing without too much skrrt skrrtt skrrrtt.  
    Hallelujah for all that, and finally.
     
    New Fuel Temperature Model
    Did you know that jet airplanes actually use their fuel to cool their oil? That’s why they don’t have any visible oil coolers like your ol’ Cessna 172! The oil heats the fuel and the fuel dissipates its heat through the skin of the wing! So, in effect, jet airplanes use their wings as their radiators. This is now fully simulated in X-Plane 12. Check out the details in the fuel temperature in data output screen to see the effects in your favorite jet aircraft.
     
    This has been debated in the forums? Fuel Oil Heat Exchangers (FOHE), are usually used where the oil is cooled while the fuel is heated? More details on this aspect is probably needed.
     
    Projector Warping/Blending
    The use of multiple projectors to display the world around you is the gold standard of display in flight simulation. There’s a catch though – when you point multiple projectors at a curved screen, the image from each projector looks wonky and distorted. We solve this by rearranging the pixels that X-Plane sends to the projector itself – yielding a visually correct image. Behind the scenes, this is powered by all sorts of trigonometry and calculations but the end user simply needs to align a grid pattern to their display and they’re good to go! This feature will be available with our X-Plane Professional licenses.
     
    Networking and Ex-Visual Sync
    …have both received a bunch of bug fixes to improve the experience when using X-Plane in setups that include multiple computers driving multiple monitors.
     
    But also a good update and welcome news for those trying to blend together three or more displays in home-build systems, of which there has been a lot of noise or complaining since the introduction of X-Plane 12.
     
    Graphics quality-of-life Bug Fixes
    12.0.8 is firmly focused on the physics side of X-Plane, but the graphics team has also included two quick fixes to address pressing concerns:
    - The most common is the “totally out of VRAM” crashes have been resolved
    - Users should no longer experience a long pause when popping out windows
     
    v12.1.0
    A new version numbering system will probably bring in a reset of X-Plane 12...  and the focus is all on graphics. My guess the release will be around the late November and early December, to have the Simulator better packaged for Christmas 23
     
    Real Weather Improvement
    No more square “Minecraft” cloud formations when Real Weather is enabled. A definite yes to that. Weather has improved enormously since the release of v12.06/7, but a lot of weird cloud formations are still visible, certainly at high altitudes.
     
    Water opacity and Cloud Shadows on Water
    I love the X-Plane water effects, but to be honest it's not at all totally realistic in it all being so very clear, great for tropical reflections, but not for the North Sea. So here will be a fix for that, plus real cloud shadows on the water to make the water even more visually appealing.
     
    Better Bloom Lighting Effects
    One area that needed more attention is "Bloom" lighting effects. Bloom is based on a real-world phenomenon that is causing bright lights to bleed over into darker areas when seen through a lens, causing fringes (or feathers) of light extending from the borders of bright areas in an image. Yes very nice and it make lighting more realistic.
     
    RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptative Sharpening)
    Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) will help increase visual quality by enabling sharpening with optional upscaling to restore detail lost after TAA is applied, the result is softer, less aliased ground shadows.
     
    MSAA Improvements
    There has been a lot of noise around Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA). In fact it is the one most complained about area of X-Plane 12. The dreaded "Jaggies", and yes they are really bad, worse are when combined with reflective water effects, and needs serious attention. Work arounds just don't work, many have turned MSAA off completely to try to get a better rendering. It works, but only from certain angles, then you get very bad large jaggies all over the objects. So fixes include..
     
    - MSAA resolution so that is photometrically correct
    - MSAA of alpha-cut textures
    - Improved CPU Performance
     
    And a new “modern collector” – the code that the sim uses to find all the scenery necessary to draw. We know that many users are now only CPU-bound in X-Plane and this is step one to improve their experience in the sim.
     
    Looking further down the road (no pun intended) 2024
     
    G1000 Avonics
    In a few areas here X-Plane has been a bit lax and is need of some updates. One area is the default G1000 Avionics system, which is feeling it's age lately. All avionics in X-Plane will always be quite generic, that is a given considering the wide variety of aircraft they have to cover. But there are many areas that could be improved, and they are.
    - New G1000 pages
    - G1000 Synthetic Vision
     
    Are what is required to bring the universal G1000 up to date, as it needs more depth and features.
     
    Airliner-style weather radar
    With better weather and forecasts in X-Plane 12, then you also need better (or more realistic) weather displays in the cockpit, this is coming, and not before time.
     
    Plugin-created glass avionics
    To allow more 3rd party avionics into the Simulator, so a plug and fly system would make your instrument panel more realistic and better avionics accessible.
     
    Graphics
    Graphics are still going to get a lot of attention ongoing down the road
    - Depth of Field effects (for pretty pictures)
    - CACAO (Combined Adaptive Compute Ambient Occlusion) fixes (small SSAO update)
    - New Particle Effects, like sparks from engines/fuselages touching the ground at speed
    - (better) Ground spray from wheels/engines
    - Helicopter Brown-Outs/White-Outs (if helicopter flying wasn't hard enough), but this is a returning feature, not used for a few years.
    - Virtualized VRAM – using the virtual memory capabilities of modern graphics cards, we can pack VRAM more tightly, waste less VRAM and not have to move things around like a number puzzle. This should result in sharper textures and less likelihood of out-of-VRAM crashes.
     
    Lighting Model
    Lighting has slowly being getting better, but it still has a long way to go. I made my thoughts quite clear on the problems of the lighting in X-Plane 12 in my Sept 2023 Behind the Screen Edition. Lighting changes or adjustments coming next year will include...
    - Light Level Tuning
    - Sky Exposure Recalibration
    - Clouds Affect Haze and Sky
    - Local Rain and Fog Affects Visibility
    - Foggy Lights
    - Fix Dark Cockpits
     
    Networking
    Networking is one of the huge growth areas of X-Plane, so you will see far more attention and features in this specialised area as the Simulator proceeds though the X-Plane 12 version. Focus on intergration and online gaming will see you immersed in a more 3d world.
    - Multiplayer Bug Fixes
    - Improved synchronization between external visuals monitors – ground trucks, etc.
     
    Missing?
    VR... a lot of users want VR or Virtual Reality to have more attention from Laminar Research. My guess is there will be attention on VR during this Roadmap.
     
    The last published Roadmap from Laminar came out in May 2023. It covered versions 12.05, 12.06, and 12.07, and that development road has now been completed. This new Roadmap with the new version numbering change will take you to about Easter 2024, if successful it will deliver significant and finally the required fine-tuning aspect the X-Plane 12 version the Simulator requires. For once it covers a lot of areas I have fussed over and covers complaints in the forums, if Laminar delivers, then it will be a very good advancement of the Simulator. But it is also a big list to cover, far bigger than the earlier May 2023 Roadmap. Laminar did do it...  but only just.
     
    X-Plane 12 Minimum Requirements
    CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9. (Those with other CPUs should try the demo before purchasing.) Memory: 8 GB RAM Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM If your system is borderline, we encourage you to try the demo first. The full version of the simulator will perform exactly the same as the demo—neither better nor worse. X-Plane 12 Recommended Requirements
    CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better, or Apple Silicon Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD) Supported Video Cards:
        NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce 900 or newer, driver version 510 or newer     AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer Supported Operating Systems:
        OS X: OS X 10.15 or newer (e.g. Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey)     Windows: Windows 10 or 11, 64-bit     Linux: Varies         If you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. We have developers using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer successfully, however we don’t provide support for specific distributions.         We require the proprietary driver from NVIDIA to run X-Plane. We require the Mesa drivers, version 22.0 or newer, for AMD to run X-Plane.  
    Roadmap announcement is here: Coming in X-Plane 12.0.8 and beyond – Roadmap Update
     
    Download the free demo of X-Plane 12 and experience all of these improvements for yourself.
    _____________________
     
    X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for currently US$59.95 and the download file size is 82 GB
     
    X-Plane 12
    Price is US$59.95, soon to be US$79.99
    _____________________
     
    X-Plane 12 Roadmap overview by Stephen Dutton
    4th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  18. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0   
    X-Plane 12 Roadmap v12.1.0
     
    Laminar Research have issued a Roadmap on the immediate future of the X-Plane Simulator. And a very interesting Roadmap it is.
     
    First is the price increase of X-Plane. The price of the Simulator will change from US$59.99 to US$79.99 with the introduction of a new numbering system starting with version v12.1.0... yes there is an extra digit in there, but in reality it is also a start of a new era in X-Plane version numbering, with more incremental releases for quicker (smaller) and more frequent changes to the simulator.
     
    I have over the last few years asserted that X-Plane is simply too cheap, and it needed more resources to counter the growing size and complexity of the simulator. Now it looks like Laminar Research has come to the same conclusion. As the requirements of running a modern simulator have grown exponentially, increasing every year... three guys with laptops can't cover the requirements of modern systems and the software required to create a modern Simulator like it did a decade ago, and the development and run-out of X-Plane 12 has showed that the pressure was on and the old style system was now detrimental to the workings of the business. Unfortunately Microsoft's re-emergence back into Simulation with Flight Simulator, left Laminar sitting on it's laurels, the game changed, so you have to adapt and change with it, it is a welcome forward looking change.
     
    v12.08
    But first there is the last version release of the old current version... v12.08. X-Plane 12.0.8 is already in beta testing, and is expected to be released in the next week or two.
     
    Flight Model
    Top of the list is focusing on improving the flight model, and improvements to the way that X-Plane simulates engine performance. Jets, turboprops and reciprocating engines will now follow real-world test data more closely, and used data from Pratt & Whitney will bring the numbers closer to reality.
     
    Landing Gear Physics
    Yeah! Finally...  I have found over the last few years that landing aircraft in X-Plane is like landing and taking off on ice, it is not at all realistic, to a point it is even putting me off enjoying the simulator to it's fullest extent, plus it's not at all realistic for reviews. In v12.08 there will be changes to the ground Inertia.
     
    Wheel Inertia – which means smoother landings, winning! The wheels on the aircraft’s main gear will now reach the speed of the aircraft sooner after touchdown, resulting in less forward pitch/slam on the nose gear during rollout. Weld Modeling – this code controls each wheel’s transition between rolling and not-rolling. That sounds trivial but when you consider that it effects every transition from an aircraft being parked vs. not parked and low-speed taxi, it’s important to get it right! ABS Revisions – tweaks to the logic that the anti-lock breaking system in X-Plane uses to slow down the aircraft after landing without too much skrrt skrrtt skrrrtt.  
    Hallelujah for all that, and finally.
     
    New Fuel Temperature Model
    Did you know that jet airplanes actually use their fuel to cool their oil? That’s why they don’t have any visible oil coolers like your ol’ Cessna 172! The oil heats the fuel and the fuel dissipates its heat through the skin of the wing! So, in effect, jet airplanes use their wings as their radiators. This is now fully simulated in X-Plane 12. Check out the details in the fuel temperature in data output screen to see the effects in your favorite jet aircraft.
     
    This has been debated in the forums? Fuel Oil Heat Exchangers (FOHE), are usually used where the oil is cooled while the fuel is heated? More details on this aspect is probably needed.
     
    Projector Warping/Blending
    The use of multiple projectors to display the world around you is the gold standard of display in flight simulation. There’s a catch though – when you point multiple projectors at a curved screen, the image from each projector looks wonky and distorted. We solve this by rearranging the pixels that X-Plane sends to the projector itself – yielding a visually correct image. Behind the scenes, this is powered by all sorts of trigonometry and calculations but the end user simply needs to align a grid pattern to their display and they’re good to go! This feature will be available with our X-Plane Professional licenses.
     
    Networking and Ex-Visual Sync
    …have both received a bunch of bug fixes to improve the experience when using X-Plane in setups that include multiple computers driving multiple monitors.
     
    But also a good update and welcome news for those trying to blend together three or more displays in home-build systems, of which there has been a lot of noise or complaining since the introduction of X-Plane 12.
     
    Graphics quality-of-life Bug Fixes
    12.0.8 is firmly focused on the physics side of X-Plane, but the graphics team has also included two quick fixes to address pressing concerns:
    - The most common is the “totally out of VRAM” crashes have been resolved
    - Users should no longer experience a long pause when popping out windows
     
    v12.1.0
    A new version numbering system will probably bring in a reset of X-Plane 12...  and the focus is all on graphics. My guess the release will be around the late November and early December, to have the Simulator better packaged for Christmas 23
     
    Real Weather Improvement
    No more square “Minecraft” cloud formations when Real Weather is enabled. A definite yes to that. Weather has improved enormously since the release of v12.06/7, but a lot of weird cloud formations are still visible, certainly at high altitudes.
     
    Water opacity and Cloud Shadows on Water
    I love the X-Plane water effects, but to be honest it's not at all totally realistic in it all being so very clear, great for tropical reflections, but not for the North Sea. So here will be a fix for that, plus real cloud shadows on the water to make the water even more visually appealing.
     
    Better Bloom Lighting Effects
    One area that needed more attention is "Bloom" lighting effects. Bloom is based on a real-world phenomenon that is causing bright lights to bleed over into darker areas when seen through a lens, causing fringes (or feathers) of light extending from the borders of bright areas in an image. Yes very nice and it make lighting more realistic.
     
    RCAS (Robust Contrast Adaptative Sharpening)
    Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) will help increase visual quality by enabling sharpening with optional upscaling to restore detail lost after TAA is applied, the result is softer, less aliased ground shadows.
     
    MSAA Improvements
    There has been a lot of noise around Multisample Anti-Aliasing (MSAA). In fact it is the one most complained about area of X-Plane 12. The dreaded "Jaggies", and yes they are really bad, worse are when combined with reflective water effects, and needs serious attention. Work arounds just don't work, many have turned MSAA off completely to try to get a better rendering. It works, but only from certain angles, then you get very bad large jaggies all over the objects. So fixes include..
     
    - MSAA resolution so that is photometrically correct
    - MSAA of alpha-cut textures
    - Improved CPU Performance
     
    And a new “modern collector” – the code that the sim uses to find all the scenery necessary to draw. We know that many users are now only CPU-bound in X-Plane and this is step one to improve their experience in the sim.
     
    Looking further down the road (no pun intended) 2024
     
    G1000 Avonics
    In a few areas here X-Plane has been a bit lax and is need of some updates. One area is the default G1000 Avionics system, which is feeling it's age lately. All avionics in X-Plane will always be quite generic, that is a given considering the wide variety of aircraft they have to cover. But there are many areas that could be improved, and they are.
    - New G1000 pages
    - G1000 Synthetic Vision
     
    Are what is required to bring the universal G1000 up to date, as it needs more depth and features.
     
    Airliner-style weather radar
    With better weather and forecasts in X-Plane 12, then you also need better (or more realistic) weather displays in the cockpit, this is coming, and not before time.
     
    Plugin-created glass avionics
    To allow more 3rd party avionics into the Simulator, so a plug and fly system would make your instrument panel more realistic and better avionics accessible.
     
    Graphics
    Graphics are still going to get a lot of attention ongoing down the road
    - Depth of Field effects (for pretty pictures)
    - CACAO (Combined Adaptive Compute Ambient Occlusion) fixes (small SSAO update)
    - New Particle Effects, like sparks from engines/fuselages touching the ground at speed
    - (better) Ground spray from wheels/engines
    - Helicopter Brown-Outs/White-Outs (if helicopter flying wasn't hard enough), but this is a returning feature, not used for a few years.
    - Virtualized VRAM – using the virtual memory capabilities of modern graphics cards, we can pack VRAM more tightly, waste less VRAM and not have to move things around like a number puzzle. This should result in sharper textures and less likelihood of out-of-VRAM crashes.
     
    Lighting Model
    Lighting has slowly being getting better, but it still has a long way to go. I made my thoughts quite clear on the problems of the lighting in X-Plane 12 in my Sept 2023 Behind the Screen Edition. Lighting changes or adjustments coming next year will include...
    - Light Level Tuning
    - Sky Exposure Recalibration
    - Clouds Affect Haze and Sky
    - Local Rain and Fog Affects Visibility
    - Foggy Lights
    - Fix Dark Cockpits
     
    Networking
    Networking is one of the huge growth areas of X-Plane, so you will see far more attention and features in this specialised area as the Simulator proceeds though the X-Plane 12 version. Focus on intergration and online gaming will see you immersed in a more 3d world.
    - Multiplayer Bug Fixes
    - Improved synchronization between external visuals monitors – ground trucks, etc.
     
    Missing?
    VR... a lot of users want VR or Virtual Reality to have more attention from Laminar Research. My guess is there will be attention on VR during this Roadmap.
     
    The last published Roadmap from Laminar came out in May 2023. It covered versions 12.05, 12.06, and 12.07, and that development road has now been completed. This new Roadmap with the new version numbering change will take you to about Easter 2024, if successful it will deliver significant and finally the required fine-tuning aspect the X-Plane 12 version the Simulator requires. For once it covers a lot of areas I have fussed over and covers complaints in the forums, if Laminar delivers, then it will be a very good advancement of the Simulator. But it is also a big list to cover, far bigger than the earlier May 2023 Roadmap. Laminar did do it...  but only just.
     
    X-Plane 12 Minimum Requirements
    CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9. (Those with other CPUs should try the demo before purchasing.) Memory: 8 GB RAM Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 2 GB VRAM If your system is borderline, we encourage you to try the demo first. The full version of the simulator will perform exactly the same as the demo—neither better nor worse. X-Plane 12 Recommended Requirements
    CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better, or Apple Silicon Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD) Supported Video Cards:
        NVIDIA: NVIDIA GeForce 900 or newer, driver version 510 or newer     AMD: AMD Radeon RX 500 or newer, driver version Adrenaline 22.2.1or newer Supported Operating Systems:
        OS X: OS X 10.15 or newer (e.g. Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey)     Windows: Windows 10 or 11, 64-bit     Linux: Varies         If you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. We have developers using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and newer successfully, however we don’t provide support for specific distributions.         We require the proprietary driver from NVIDIA to run X-Plane. We require the Mesa drivers, version 22.0 or newer, for AMD to run X-Plane.  
    Roadmap announcement is here: Coming in X-Plane 12.0.8 and beyond – Roadmap Update
     
    Download the free demo of X-Plane 12 and experience all of these improvements for yourself.
    _____________________
     
    X-Plane 12 is purchased directly from Laminar Research for currently US$59.95 and the download file size is 82 GB
     
    X-Plane 12
    Price is US$59.95, soon to be US$79.99
    _____________________
     
    X-Plane 12 Roadmap overview by Stephen Dutton
    4th October 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  19. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Behind the Screen : September 2023   
    Behind the Screen : September 2023
     
    The one thing I'm not is in being a negative person. I always see the light, even beyond the darkness. But I understand and accept that for the first half of 2023, my outlook has been continually dismal towards X-Plane and Laminar Research.
     
    I expected a lot of 2023, I had cleared my system totally out and ready for the 2023 year, but the first two weeks of January, it set a precedent for the year. A major hardware restriction, as my extremely good and loyal graphic card was suddenly now not being powerful enough to run X-Plane 12, in causing "Vulkan device loss" errors, and it was an expensive upgrade to fix. I'm not going to go on about this, but in reality the impact highlighted Laminar's non-communication of what X-Plane 12's requirements really were. Yes they put out as they usually do the minimum requirements for the new version's specifications. But looking back from this point of the now current relative stable running conditions, in reality the specs were way out.
     
    Lets not get too excited on that X-Plane 12 could or should of stayed the same performance wise. Every simulator update has classically required upgrades to your hardware to run the more feature loaded new version, certainly were weather or effects are concerned or to the more processor power that is always required, it is a given.
     
    I knew in early 2022 that X-Plane 12 would need or require a more powerful computer, or better hardware performance and invested as such into the system, with a new Asus motherboard and expensive (for then) new Intel 2th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K chips. These choices were in context with information that Laminar at the time were noting that a lot of the processing currently being done on the graphic card would be moved or shifted over to the processors to take the pressure loading off the graphic cards, and to put more power into the more modern and efficient multi-threaded processing chips, in other words, to even out the overall processing to be more balanced than just weighted heavily on graphic cards, plus the faster processing on the chips meant more systems were accessible to X-Plane 12. In X-Plane 11's later years you almost needed a separate computer with a mega graphic card and a factory sized cooling system installed just to run the simulator in full settings mode. The idea that X-Plane 12 could be a more efficient simulator by taking and using the newer Vulkan/Metal API capabilities, and then using them to their full potential was very encouraging, if even a help on the wallet costs. 
     
    In July last year just weeks away from release, the Laminar conversation mood then suddenly changed (or flipped back), as powerful Graphic cards were noted as being still needed for the heavy processing with the new simulator version. More oddly with the beta "Early Access", I had absolutely no issues or restrictions of computer power in running the early beta versions of X-Plane 12 on my old card, as everything ran like an effortless bird in flight.
     
    But with the X-Plane 12 formal release in mid-December on 17th December 2022, which I missed with the Christmas/New Year break, when I had returned in early January the updated X-Plane 12 release it just didn't feel right, the computer was sluggish, weather was horrible, winds were off the scale. My theory (mine alone) was in trying to get more framerate to satisfy the complainers, Laminar had pushed the boundaries too far. I went from framerates (with my old graphic card) of 35 fr, suddenly they were down to a lineball 20 fr, with no menu graphic changes, the computer started slurring, then the inevitable "Vulkan device loss" errors started popping up, in that I had never had them even once before the X-Plane 12 official release. Did I burn my graphic card out? a good question, but X-Plane 11 at the time still ran perfectly and well under the limits and exactly like it had before the X-Plane 12 release on the same card and settings.
     
    To run a review site, I had no choice but to upgrade my graphic card to meet the higher requirements of X-plane 12, in other words I had to do a complete system upgrade to cater for the new Simulator version, my point is I was always middle field before on system requirements, but suddenly I was at minimum requirements with no headroom. The hardware changes were worth certainly worth the effort, but my unexpected bank balance was also seriously feeling the pain.
     
    Another element in the weather was also then causing pain. High winds proved you couldn't fly normally at altitude. Aircraft compensated via flickering aerodynamic surfaces, so in flights you were bounced around for two or so hours at a time, and it all looked very unrealistic. Worse was that you couldn't dial it out, and reviewing aircraft like in this state was absolutely useless.
    Switching to a manual weather mode caused the high irregular winds to still stick around at ground level, so you were faced sometimes with offset 35 knot winds on side when in trying to land. If you could lock in a calm day, you took it, then used it for many a review until it failed again, but that was unrealistic as well...  then you lost the weather altogether when the "GRIB_get_field failed", in other words the NOAA or "NOAA Operational Model Archive and Distribution System", shutdown, mostly on public holidays where simulations loads were at their highest usage. Lately in the Development blog, Ben Supnic has finally noted that NOAA is a unreliable source and a secondary backup source is being created to cover the breaks in the service, which should have been noted and implemented well before X-Plane 12 was released.
     
    But overall my biggest struggle in X-Plane 12 has been the lighting, or the complete lack of it? X-Plane 12 is dark, very dark to work with. We are and I have noted often here the issues with "Dark Cockpits", and the later fix of lighting up the view lower instrument panel to compensate. But it goes far deeper than that.
     
    My problem are the images coming out of X-Plane 12 to create reviews. All X-Plane images from time immortal are darker coming out of the simulator via the screenshot function, usually an 10% brightness is required to adjust them back to normal. But X-Plane 12 is requiring 30% and + more brightness to make them look even credible, that sort of brightness obviously blows out the other light, say the windscreen light when looking at a dark cockpit. It doesn't look natural, and a lot of the adjusted images get a washed out black and white look, even normal flying creates a whited out windscreen, to which I have been using the Sunglasses feature lately to tone it down a little.
     
    Worse darkness was created by the light in not shining between the clouds, in other words everything was dull, except for using an absolute clear sky, which is again unrealistic, and the aircraft and even scenery were all very dull in view, and you couldn't get any life into the modeling or show off the detail.
    Thranda Aircraft react the worse to this effect. Their excellent industrial process creates an effect that reacts to the look of the object in the simulator, “Diffuse Light”, “Diffusion”, “Subsurface Scattering” are all aspects of Physically-based rendering or PBR, but here it totally works against you. Creating black holes of nothing with no detail, and you can't dial it out either. I know I have tried.
     
    Most users would note to change the settings (in my case) Nvida graphic settings...  but that is not the way it works. Yes you can adjust the graphic settings to create the perfect image on your monitor, but those graphic settings don't actually affect the simulator, it still takes the same (darker) images no matter what it looks like on your monitor, and the internal simulator lighting is only affected by your weather, season and time settings, except for a totally clear sky.
     
    In the old days in X-Plane you could actually adjust the simulator brightness via the graphic sliders (gamma), but that option was taken away years ago, adjusting the Ambient Occlusion Quality to zero will reduce shadows, but will still not give you light into the simulator, so basically you hands are tied because the images screenshot is taken at the basic level of the simulator. There are visual tricks you can use to create light on an object (or aircraft model), a lot work, but doing all these adjustments per image for doing a review is time-consuming and not very work-flow friendly, so I have seriously struggled for the first six months of the year with all these complications... in other words, I wasn't a "Happy Bunny".
     
    Which brings us to the v12.06 release. First of all, don't think I don't like the X-Plane 12 lighting engine, because it is really good, excellent in fact. Images coming out of X-Plane 12 have a realism we only dreamed of only a few years ago, it looks and it is sensationally gorgeous. The lighting engine creates a reality of real presence in the aircraft and it's place in the world, this is a simulator, but the changes to your artificial environment here is quite spectacular, in other words, when it works it really does "blow you away", and big time. It makes X-Plane 12 a real serious contender as a great realistic simulator.
     
    It dragged on, but the (very) late v12.06/7 release has fixed a lot of the woes. Mostly the fix to the top level (Cirrus) clouds were a godsend, because they finally let the light flow (filter?) down to the lower levels, plus the light also flows on now between the clouds and thankfully lighting up the aircraft (model) below...  it's not perfect yet, as you can still be greyed out even with a clear sky, but overall the lighting model does finally work. With the better reflective light, it now gives you more options in the cockpit to get the images you want, again it is not perfect, but the lighting is far, far better than we had six months ago, even two months ago.
     
    My initial reaction that the gains of X-Plane v12.06/7 would not last long (which shows my faith in Laminar), but to be told, six weeks after it is still shining nicely, and the test flights taken in between have been excellent, now I'm finally a "Happy Bunny", even a smooth simulation from "block to block" is now actually available in the Simulator, and with no damaging inbetween CTD's (Crash to Desktops).
     
    But it's been a very long road to get here, almost twelve months after the initial release of X-Plane 12beta and eight months after even the official release of X-Plane 12. So is that aspect still too long to get to a reliable running simulation. Yes you expect changes and "bumps in the road" with any beta process, and yes as noted any Simulator is a consistent work in progress, I get that, lived that aspect for a decade or so. But nine months after an official release to get a relatively stable flying platform is just simply too long, not fixed, and only now are Laminar Research looking at the refining stage and fixing things that should have been done months ago.
     
    It's great to have a stable simulator running up to Christmas, the promise now completed. ADD-ons in Aircraft and Scenery can now be completed and released in time for the holiday season, all can be enjoyed without another massive change coming along, although the Dev Blog notes...  "flight-model and systems, plus external-visual networking and some ATC features"...   flight-model changes? again? what to do if your a developer, sit it out or release and react, dumb...  these areas, like the lighting, weather and everything else, should have been stable from the version release point, or nine months ago? Good news is that Ben Supnic is making pirate jokes again, always a good sign, as he has been missing lately for long periods of time, so has his humour, and that aspect shows everything was not all "Hunky Dory" behind the scenes either.
     
    I'm not saying perfection, but you do require a stable base to build up on, the X-Plane simulator in X-Plane 12 form deserves that at least, everyone from users, to developers, and to everyone that supports the Simulator deserves that as well...  
     
    See you all next month
     
    Stephen Dutton
    2nd October 2023
    Copyright©2023 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  20. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Review - Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft   
    Scenery Review - Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft
     
    I've always had a strange relationship with Aerosoft Scenery. For one, on first glance they are in many ways quite basic sceneries, as you don't usually get a lot of frills with them...  the really odd thing is on how much they have been used consistently over the years, even many from over a decade ago are still not to be beaten in quality and as a representation of the area. Notably a few are now showing the strain of only a few updates from Aerosoft, and so are struggling to be current in X-Plane 12. But don't take away the value here of an investment that has delivered for over a long period of time. That aspect is important, as you are getting a lot of value for your money.
     
    So here is one of the very few releases lately from Aerosoft in Marseille XP for X-Plane 12, an airport that is positioned in Southern France. As usual with a lot of Aerosoft releases. It is that in reality Aerosoft is only the host for the developers that create the scenery. In this case it is the Swiss developers of FSS or FlightSim Studios, in collaboration with ShortFinal Design.
     
    Marseille Provence Airport is an international airport located 27 km (17 miles) northwest of Marseille, on the territory of Marignane, both communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône département in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. The airport's hinterland goes from Gap to Arles and from Toulon to Avignon.
     
    Scenery Installation
    Installation is via the "Aerosoft One" application. You get a serial number when you purchase the scenery, and then you register the product in the app, which then adds it to your collection to download and install the scenery directly into X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 12. Note here the position of the Serial/Product Key Number box (lower left), X-Plane version (11/12, top left) and the product to install.
     

     
    The scenery is installed, not in your usual Custom Scenery Folder, but in a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut, Install size is 2.72Gb.
     

     
    Marseille Provence Airport
    Aéroport Marseille-Provence
    Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) Y-14
    IATA: MRS - ICAO: LFML

    13L/31R - 3,500m (11,483ft) Asphalt
    13R/31L 2,370m (7,776ft) Asphalt
    Elevation AMSL70 ft / 21 m
     
    The airport's position is not set on a harbour, but on a lake, Étang de Berre. This was because in the early days of the 1920s and 1930s, Marseille-Marignane was one of France's main points of operation for flying boats. It even briefly served as a terminal for Pan American World Airways Clipper flying boats. Other flying boat operators were Aéropostale and Air Union, the latter moving over from Antibes in 1931.
     

     
    I really love French and Italian airports because they build their terminals like monuments, you know you are either in France or Italy, just by the architecture sitting outside the aircraft's windows, and so it is at Marseille-Provence.
     

     
    The original administration control tower complex has been added to with a new control taller tower built in front of the old. Sensational is the work here. I love the older elements of a legacy airport, blended in with the new, and you certainly get that here. The Terminal itself is an extension of the administration complex. The hosted added section behind the control tower is a visual focal point, its very well done and very realistic.
     
    The interesting part, and certainly well conceived here by FSS, is the old terminal has had extensions built not only in the front, but also behind the old earlier terminal, and in so sandwiching the original building in the middle.
     

     
    The main Terminal 1 is split between "Hall 1A" and Hall 1B"...
     

     
    The design and detail of the main infrastructure is simply excellent, HUGE detail and all very well executed, glass is highly realistic as well.
     

     
    Great as well are the Turrets design of the gates/airbridge, intricate front terminal modeling is also sensational...  you can spend a lot of time exploring around these airside areas and feel like you are really there.
     

     
    There has to be a trade-off, and so there is. Clutter airside is excellent, every bay is full of service vehicles, and there is a lot of animated vehicles running around as well.
     

     
    Landside and carparks are also full of vehicles, but there are areas like in front of the terminals, and with the storied carparks that are empty of vehicles and landside clutter (i.e. bustop objects, signage, even the buses themselves).
     

     
    SAM3 is used as the interaction between the aircraft and the animated airbridges, and the design of the animated airbridges is again excellent and authentic, with lovely SIXT car rental (french) branding. SAM vehicles/SAM follow is also available in the scenery.
     

     
    With the expansion of LCC or Low Cost budget carriers, then Marseille-Provence opened in September 2006 a dedicated LCC terminal in MP2, or Terminal 2. Positioned northwest of the Tower/Terminal 1 complex, it is a simple walk-on/walk-off terminal with 8 stands. Nicely done and excellent for regional services.
     

     
    Landside is dominated with long and short term carparks, which are nicely filled in and come with branded rental car areas, but there are still small open areas of just the underlying ortho-photo images, overall it works fine. A small note are the trees, they are the new X-Plane 12 3d trees, that move around in the wind, and in so adding quality to the scenery.
     

     
    Cargo here is small with two heavy stands 60N -61N/62N and the rest small regional stands, dominated by DHL, Conair and UPS also have receiving warehouses. Along the lake and FedEx and TNT are also represented by their own facilites.
     

     
    Airbus Helicopters SAS (formerly Eurocopter Group) is the helicopter manufacturing division of Airbus, and they have to the southeast a massive Manufacturing and training complex at Marseille–Marignane (they still use the old name). It is the largest in the industry in terms of revenues and turbine helicopter deliveries.
     

     
    The complex is huge in size, even bigger in size than the commercial airport. All the building and plants are very well produced, but there isn't a lot of smaller clutter detail, even a few nice static helicopters of the huge but impressive flightline would be nice.
     
    There has been an airport on this site since 1922 (they celebrated the 100 year anniversary last year). There are the few older elements to be found. But like the huge double hangars in the southwest, most of the older facilities have been upgraded, and are still used for helicopter training or testing.
     

     
    Other infrastructure is well done to fill-in the far landside areas, but a lot is a slight delusion in using ortho-photo images to create a realistic scene og hotels and airport infrastructure, it works very effectively, but go low and the non-3d buildings show...  overall it is not an issue.
     

     
    Ground Textures
    First a note.... On my earliest flight into LFML Marseille, I flew the ToLiSS Airbus A319. As you know you can create a route in Simbrief, then load it directly in the Airbus's MCDU. Problem was the loaded route was missing the LFML runway data, and you couldn't insert it either via the MCDU radio? My AIRAC data for both aircraft and airports are both up to the current date. The A319's system worked at other airports (routes) but not to Marseille. So it's an odd business. I was able however to land using the Runway 13L (110.30 ML) ILS by inputting the frequency directly into the main radio's on the console and I landed fine, in other aircraft it also worked fine on the same approaches? X-Plane is just plain weird sometimes.
     
    The ground textures at LFML are bit bland, not bad, but not brilliant either with a slight flat sheen, tarmac (asphalt) edges are however very good, but there is no grass, which is odd for Aerosoft as it is their speciality
     

     
    So all the areas in ramps and aprons come across as a bit flat and dull, very little, if any grunge or noticeable oil and rubber dirt isn't present either. Signage feels too large in scale, but it is correct to Google Earth, maybe it is because again it is too clean and not at all worn in or degraded.
     

     
    The rocky seawall around the 13L threshold is very good, if you don't get in to close. Made up of photo images it looks the part, but odd when inspecting very intimately, overall the idea works. The X-Plane 12 water effect and the lake side feel is excellent here.
     

     
    PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is excellent here, and actually transforms the bland textures in something of depth and realism, it brings out the surfaces far better than the dry feel and look, snow is possible here, but this is the south of France, and the cold and dry strong Mistral winds would usually keep the snow away.
     

     
    Lighting
    Aerosoft is not known for its excellent lighting in X-Plane, as mostly it is usually a Flight Simulator look and feel, it is the same here at Marseille. Approach lighting has to conform to ICAO standards, which it does here, as does the taxiway lights.
     

     
    You have to be at full darkness before the lighting really kicks in, then the ramps are very workable. But Landside is very poor, the 1B Hall carparks are in full darkness with no lighting at all with the lights placed, in leading to the question if the area is not actually finished...
     

     
    Terminals use an old idea of images behind the windows, it does look dated, but also effective, problem also it's not consistent, so there are many dark areas.
     

     
    Cross field hangars are very FlightSim, meaning boring, and the Airbus Helicopter complex is building lighting only, and no fills. Other buildings have some lighting including down lights, but overall I would rate the lighting about a poor four, as it is just passable and all quite dull.
     

     
    Navigation signage is good, bright but with no reflections...  except if it is raining and the reflections then look brilliant.
     

    _______________
     
    Summary
    Even though most Aerosoft scenery is branded under the house name, in fact the product is usually created by a wide and varied developer studio, sometimes several in cooperation together. This release is Airport Marseille XP, for LFLM Marseille-Provence in the south of France by FSS or FlightSim Studios, is in collaboration with ShortFinal Design.
     
    Generally all Aerosoft product has a familiar look and feel, modeling is usually highly detailed, but the smaller tighter detail is usually ignored, a lot of FlightSim elements in X-Plane are also used.
     
    In short that sums up this Marseille Airport scenery from Aerosoft. The main Tower(s) complex and twin terminals are brilliantly conceived and designed, and it has great airside clutter and animated traffic, also added here is the massive Airbus Helicopters SAS (formerly Eurocopter Group) the helicopter manufacturing division of the Airbus complex. Like said airside has loads, even tons of detail, but landside is not as complex or as finely detailed, granted it is still visually a filling viewpoint, with excellent carkparks, rental areas and buildings, but it also relies heavily on the underlay ortho-photo images to fill out the areas, creating blank areas Landside. SAM3 is well done and airbridges are SIXT branded with SAM vehicles/SAM follow also active. The scenery is well inserted into the X-Plane mesh environment and has a very good realistic element and feel.
     
    Ground textures and lighting however are here all very average, but oddly the ground textures come really alive with the PBR and burnt-in ambient occlusion effects of X-Plane 12, the lighting however is old-fashioned and dull, even with most being classically aged FlightSim windows.
     
    If you have invested a lot in Aerosoft sceneries, then you will know they deliver mostly were it counts. As a great representation of Marseille-Provence Airport is very good here, even excellent, as the scenery feels and looks very authentic, it will be a scenery that will be around and used for a longtime into the future (MRS has already seen and done a lot of services on my own network since it's release, which is a very good omen). So importantly the airport will fill in your collection very nicely if you like and use quality custom scenery, so that evaluates the excellent value here, and the LFML airport comes also with all the X-Plane 12 features and effects...  sounds like a real winner to me.
    __________________________
     

     
    Yes! Airport Marseille XP by Aerosoft is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    Airport Marseille XP
    Price Is US$24.99
     
    Requirements:
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.6 Gb (Using Aerosoft One) Current Version: 12 (June 23rd 2023)   Installation
    Installation of Menorca/Marseille 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 Marseille scenery is downloaded into a dedicated folder "Aerosoft One Library" on your system, under a file (gameDirectory) via a shortcut, Install size is 2.72Gb.
     
    Documents
    There are no documents
     
    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
    -No additions_
    ____________________________
     
    Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton
    28th September 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

  21. Like
    Stephen got a reaction from FWIW in Aircraft Update : vSkylabs C-47 Skytrain v6.0b2 and DC-3 Airliner v2.0b2   
    Aircraft Update : vSkylabs C-47 Skytrain v6.0b2 and DC-3 Airliner v2.0b2
     
    Midway though 2017. Established developer vSkylabs released a classic aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator in the form of the Douglas Commercial 3, or DC-3 as it affectionately became known. The earlier release was of the C-47 variant, or the military "Skytrain" version that won World War ll. Well the aircraft had a big part in winning the logistics side of the war. But in reality the main success of the C-47 was post-war with the huge surplus of these ex-military aircraft becoming an aviation legacy that will never be repeated.
     
    The earlier vskylabs C-47/DC-3 aircraft was an analog design,  but that all changed around Christmas 2022, when the aircraft was then divided into three separate variants...  The original C-47 Skytrain, a new DC-3 Airliner and the forthcoming Tri-Turbo-Three, In context;
     
    VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': C-47B Skytrain: Highly defined C-47B simulation of the 30's-50's era; authentic WWII era cockpit, powered by PW1830-90C two speed supercharged engines, Astrodome, cargo loading, operational weights of the C-47's and more. Includes two variants - C-47B and XC-47C (float plane).
     
    VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': DC-3 Airliner: (this model) Highly defined DC-3 simulation, a modernized C-47A restoration, with modernized cockpit; 3-display G1000 cockpit, powered by PW1830-92 engines, passengers cabin configuration and loading system. 
     
    VSKYLABS 'Test-Pilot': Tri-Turbo-Three: (Available soon) Highly defined DC-3 turbo-conversion based and inspired by the Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three conversion. 
     
    The "DC-3 Airliner" split included a move to a glass Laminar Research default G1000 three display panel installation, which in my opinion is going away from the original philosophy of a pre-war designed aircraft. It is very good in this guise, but what if you still wanted the original "DAK". Well that is the original C-47B Skytrain variant, as the C-47B is a simulation of the 30's-50's era with an authentic WWII era cockpit, powered by PW1830-90C two speed supercharged engines, and the aircraft (unlike the DC-3 Airliner) is available for both X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12.
     
    Both variants have now received updates a week apart, v6.0b2 for the C-47, and v2.0b2 for the DC-3 Airliner. There is a good 95% compatibility of the changes between the two aircraft, the other 5% is noted in separate changes to the Airliner variant in this update review.
     
    The vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements.
     
    But first let us have a quick look at the two aircraft.
     
    C-47 Skytrain
     

     
    Over the years, the vSkylabs C-47 has evolved quite considerably since it's debut back in 2017, in fact not much of the internal design has survived. Some aspects I miss, like the very worn window surrounds, but overall the original design and great modeling has survived very much intact, that Dakota aspect is also still very strong. Bonuses currently is the much higher quality of the design with the changes and PBS effects, certainly now with X-Plane 12, were as the aircraft has a far more realistic feel to the eye. There are no menus with vSkylabs aircraft, so everything is accessed via "Hotspots", but they are cleverly done.
     
    The cockpit is the antique look of the post-war era, but if you have checked out the earlier C-47, it is a huge and significant difference in detail and change. The X-Plane 12 infused lighting is also a huge bonus on the overall feel and look of the iconic cockpit.
     

     
    The Sperry Type A-3A autopilot is thankfully still installed here, but added in is also a few mod-cons, like the S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilot, and the two Garmin GNS530 GPS units (they drop down mid-window)...  another thankful retention from the original aircraft, which is the huge middle windscreen "bouncy wouncy" authentic whisky compass.
     
     
     
    Although a significant improvement over the original release, the cabin is still pretty basic in design, it could do (or is due) with another overhaul to make it more authentic like what was done to the "Airliner" variant, or a cargo aspect would be nice.
     

     
    DC-3 Airliner
     

     
    Put side by side and there are some quite considerable differences between the two aircraft variants. Externally it is the same "Dak", but in the cockpit it feels and looks very different with the Laminar G1000 Avionics in place, the panels eyebrows are different as well. It's also a greeny-blue in here, more than the older darker green diamond blanket look of the post-war aircraft.
     

     
    It is a taste thing, some will like the modern approach, a lot would probably like the earlier darker feel...  the Laminar G1000 displays pop-out as well, but only one of each panel, for the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the centre single MFD (Multi-Functional Display).
     
    In other changes the two GNS 530 GPS units are gone and so is the large whiskey compass, to be replaced by a smaller (non-floating) version on the top of the instrument panel, another item is the massive window de-mist piping, once on the C-47 (as an option) but removed to the DC-3 variant, personally I didn't like it? as it significantly blocked a lot of the view out of the front windows.
     

     
    Cabin has the different diamond padding and colour, and very realistic 3d passengers, very good they are as well. But the seats are actually the same as in the C-47. There is full review of the DC-3 Airliner release here; Aircraft Release : DC-3 Airliner by vSkyLabs
     

     
    Updates v6.0b2 C-47, and v2.0b2 DC-3 Airliner
    Common changes to both aircraft in these companion updates is with the New "Mixture and Carburetor" systems, here now replicating the C-47/DC-3 mixtures operation with better authenticity.
     
    Mixture levers are now set in 'steps' with; (Idle-)Cutoff, Auto-Lean, Auto-Rich and Emergency positions. So the text is still there, but now not just for show...  they actually work with the mixture lever setting.
     

     
    Auto-lean and auto-rich are fully automatic modes, with separate control for each engine. To take advantage of the mixture lever settings, you have to set them to different axis modes...  the Left-Engine mixture lever is set to the "Wing Sweep" axis, and the Right-Engine axis is set to the "Thrust Vector" axis...  I set those settings here with the Saitek X-56 Throttle, I don't have extra levers on the add-on throttle, but only knobs, but it worked fine.
     

     
    You do have another option, that is to lock both mixture levers together. Press the area side-plate, and the right mixture lever knob turns yellow to signify that the levers are now locked, to unlock just press the side-plate again. In this locked guise, the left lever controls both. So the "Thrust Vector" action will now move both levers together.
     

     
    The lock set up however does also allow you to use both Saitek throttle levers, with the left "Throttle" setting, and the right "Mixture" setting, but you can't adjust both of the Throttles separately (you can't anyway) or the Mixture levers separately...  of course any lever can be set manually, or to be used hands on. Personally I like my Throttles separate... the reason I found was the Dakota has a habit of drifting to the right over a longer distance, so a slight reduction of power on the right engine (or more power to the left engine) would keep you more on the heading.
     
    The new fuel system in these updates now allows you full control of all four tanks, feeding into each engine in separately...
     

     
    This is done by the cocks/valves each side of the pedestal, with each noting the L Main, R Main, L AUX, R AUX and OFF.
     

     
    Shown here in the OFF and MAINs running, with L-R cocks opposite, all four tanks all are accessible, here with accessing the only the L-Tank, and R-AUX.
     

     
    Reading any tank capacity is via a switch lower right Instrument Panel, which is totally authentic. Fixes in the update relate to the Fuel level indicator, which is now equipped with a shifting-plate, showing the designated tank in each mode, and the Fuel level indicator needle 3-d and animation has been changed to provide better a reading, and to be more accurate.
     

     
    But currently when feeding each engine from the Aux tanks (from the same side or opposite sides), the Aux tank with the higher remaining fuel quantity will feed both engines, until both Aux tanks are equal. Then, both tanks will feed both engines. This is an (X-Plane) limitation and changes are coming (from Laminar Research) to rectify this restriction. Fuel capacity is - Main tank (front) each - 202 U.S. galls. Auxiliary tank (rear) each 200 U.S. galls. Total each side: 402 U.S. galls, with total 804 U.S. galls fuel capacity.
     
    Carburetor air-intake heat controls now also work...  Two levers top right pedestal controls the carburetor heating, for the left and right engines. The third (lock) lever is a dummy. Oddly it works back to front, forward is COLD, rearwards is HOT, or the rear selection brings the heated air from around the cylinder heads into the induction system to clear the ice, or for running in very cold temperatures.
     

     
    Carb heat is shown far right centre Instrument Panel C-47, and lower dead centre Panel DC-3 Airliner.  
     

     
    What we are talking about here are authentic or realism in these operations. Yes a lot of aircraft have the same options, but these systems are created to be very authentic to the operation of the DC-3.
     
    The huge pitch trim wheel has been totally redone, or re-modeled to be more authentic to the real one. I personally would like more dirt, wear and tear on the wheel, it is supposed to be over 80 years old, but it looks like it came out the spares store yesterday.
     

     
    The cockpit PBR (Physically based rendering) and tone has been updated in both aircraft, bringing it up to X-Plane 12 specifications. We are now in X-Plane 12.06 and that comes with the better lighting adjustments, it shows in here as the detail now just jumps out at you...  a far cry from the past vSkylabs cockpit environments. (note we are now actually in XP12.07r1, but it was in X-Plane 12.06 that the lighting adjustments were made).
     

     
    It's a quirky machine to fly is the DC-3/C-47...  It is always a good idea to do a quick look through the (very explainable manual) in what is what, and how all the quirks work.
    Like the gear...  as it is a two-operation, operation. You have to unlock (or lock) the gear up or down. This is done by the lever on the floor, before you can raise or lower the undercarriage.
     

     
    You also have to check (via the large Hydraulic Pressure gauges) if the pressure is working for gear operation. If all fails there is a manual gear pump to do the action, it is set behind the cockpit.
     
    There is also the two engine-driven pumps to operate the vacuum system. They provide air suction for the operation of the artificial horizon, directional gyros and turn indicator. Check suction indicator on automatic pilot instrument panel for vacuum indication of 3375" ti 4.25". Again very authentic to the post-war aircraft.
     

     
    It's a tricky aircraft to fly as well. You use a lot of rudder movement on takeoff to keep control, mostly far worse are the exaggerated movements required once the tail lifts. In the air it is a lot to handle as well, but you will soon get the feel of this very big taildragger design.
     
    Once you settle the "Dak", then it comes into it's own... but flights are usually long, because they are low and slow by modern, even regional propeller aircraft standards.
     
    You get a Maximum speed of 200 kn (230 mph, 370 km/h) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m), a cruise speed around 180 kn (207 mph, 333 km/h). But the range is excellent at 1,370 nmi (1,580 mi, 2,540 km) (maximum fuel, 3500 lb payload), but you get there very slowly, the Service ceiling is 23,200 ft (7,100 m), or regional propeller driven aircraft altitude...  climbing is with a Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s), but usually around 1,000 ft/min.
     
    The odd thing is I have had some really brilliant epic Journeys in this aircraft (maybe because they took so long), but thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe this is why I'm a little bit defensive on in there being too many changes away from the original concept of the DC-3.
     

     
    The Sperry Type A-3A autopilot is something I love. So adding in the S-Tec is going against my grain. Saying that it works very well, the Sperry is also very tricky to use...  If connected to the S-Tec then the heading is adjusted by the RUD (Rudder) knob and the upper compass drum, but tricky is the alignment of the heading as the lower compass drum is adjustable...
     

     
    ...   so the lower compass drum needs to be aligned with the main whisky compass. You do this by pressing the centre of the lower adjustment knob, known as "Cageing" or Cage, and that will align the two compasses together. If the lower drum is out of alignment, it gets seriously confusing on where your heading actually is, or set.
     

     
    If you want fly on the Sperry alone you still can. And the heading is adjusted manually by moving the AIL (Aileron) knob to bank the aircraft to the new heading and then adjusting it back again to keep the heading. In both adjustments the heading can still be very vague, but as noted...  adjusting the throttles or power outputs on the engines can keep you on the heading a bit tighter.
     

     
    Odds in the updates includes a better (or brighter) tail beacon, the landing/taxi lights also now have that X-Plane 12 flare look as well...
     

     
    ...  DC-3 Airliner only changes include Fuel pumps sounds tuneups, which now have reduced intensity (sounds overall are excellent). Also the DG sync, and a manual sync is now possible with the use of the sync-knob.
     
    Back at Keflavík BIKF, and I'm on approach. I'm not going to say the DC3 is an easy aircraft fly, because it isn't, even demanding. It takes skill to get it all right, and is a big challenge to your perspective. But that is also the attraction, the wanting to fly the aircraft again and again...
     

     
    ....   my advice is to get in there, stay in there and learn it thoroughly. The systems, the odd handing traits, and yes...  even do a lot of practise. But when the aircraft comes to you, you'll be glad you did all the time and effort...  it is an authentic all round experience.
     
    Summary
    vSkyLabs have updated their C-47 and DC-3 Airliner to versions v6.0b2 for the C-47, and v2.0b2 for the DC-3 Airliner. This is after the earlier three way split of the original 2017 release of the C47/DC3 into three different variants; C-47 Skytrain, DC-3 Airliner and the coming Tri-Turbo-Three.
     
    The update covers about a good 95% compatibility of the changes between the two aircraft, the other 5% is noted in a separate change to the Airliner variant in this update review, these include different FMOD pump sounds and DG - Sync.
     
    The main changes are with new mixtures, carburetor system algorithm and mixture control is now also fully differential. Fully automatic. Mixture levers have now working detents (steps) for 'cutoff', 'auto-lean', 'auto-rich', emergency, and all auto-modes are fully automatic. New fuel system now allows to feed each engine from any of the four tanks, and the Carburetor heat system and levers are now also operable. Both aircraft have a lot of attention on the PBR (Physically based rendering) and tone of the internal areas to make them ultra realistic.
     
    It's sweet set of updates to an iconic aircraft. There is as noted a very authentic feel to these pre-war designed aircraft, with a few modern twists in the systems. My preference is still the analog C-47, it recreates the era, and has that Type A-3A autopilot as an added attraction. In X-plane 12, with it's more advances lighting, effects and features....   the original release C-47/DC-3 feels very far away now and the aircraft with it's current updates reflect that aspect.
     
    Go low and slow for a long flight, and you will love the "Dak" in all it's post war glory...  it's an excellent simulation of the most iconic aircraft in the world. Currently both the vSkylab's C-47/DC3 Airliners are 50% off in a sale...
    ___________________________
     

     
    The C-47 Skytrain v6.0b2/DC-3 Airliner v2.0b2 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

    VSKYLABS C-47 Skytrain
    Your Price: US$34.95
    Currently on sale for $17.45 or 50% OFF.
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version:  6.02 (September 14th 2023)   VSKYLABS DC-3 Airliner
    Your Price: US$34.95
    Currently on sale for $17.45 or 50% OFF.
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 Only (not compatible with X-Plane 11) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version:  2.0b2 (September 19th 2023) ___________________________
     
    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 12.07b1 (This is a beta review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - BIKF - Airport Keflavik by Aerosoft- (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.20
    _____________
     
    Update Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    23rd September 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
     

     
  22. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Updated Aircraft Review : Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Design   
    Updated Aircraft Review : Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Design
     
    I'm three thousand feet above County Clare, Ireland. Dribbling along nicely at 130 knts. Life is easy, free... carefree.
     

     
    I'm in the "Skyhawk", the Cessna 172M, the most popular aircraft ever built with 44,000 units constructed, and is still going strong. The C172 is popular because it is just that right perfect fit for it's main role...  pilot training. The C152 is good for training as well, but is also a little too small, the C172 came out of the C170, but that aircraft was a taildragger, were as the C172 has the Tri-cycle undercarriage, it also has a slightly more powerful engine 160 hp (120 kW) (C152 has a 110 hp (82 kW) engine, so it was the follow-on larger and faster aircraft... and it hit that perfect spot all round, a sort of Volkswagon Beetle for the air. The C172 was first flown in 1955.
     

     
    Part of the reason it is very good as a training aircraft, is the visual outlook from the aircraft. Being a high-fixed wing, the view internally to the external is very, very good. It wasn't always like this as the earlier 172's, as it had a had a "fastback" rear cabin with no rear window and also featured a "square" fin (tail) design. 1963 172D model introduced the lower rear fuselage with a wraparound "Omni-Vision" rear window and a one-piece windshield. On the 172K the rear windows were slightly enlarged again by 16 square inches (103 cm2). Although a Cessna 172, in later life it became known only as the "Skyhawk" and the 172 moniker was dropped from the name.
     
    -Update v1.1-
    Less than a month on from the original release of the Cessna 172M, here is a significant update to the aircraft in a Float and Amphibian variant. The changes to v1.1 are now all noted in this revised and updated review.
     
    This Cessna 172M is another Cessna from Thranda Design, after the Cessna Caravan and the later Cessna U206G Stationair, you could easily confuse this C172M with the U206G, but although they share the same bodyline they are completely different aircraft for different roles.
     
    Modeling is of course superlative. Thranda quality in extreme detail and fittings. As noted the Skyhawk comes with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the C172M will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in the one texture sheet, rather than the load of old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets.
     
    It shows of course, but lately I have found Thranda aircraft to be incessantly dark. Externally and internally with the current development process, with an emphasis of the blackness shadow areas, however hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision is very, very appreciable, you can spend hours going over the finer details of the aircraft.
     

     
    The dihedral of the wing is 1° 44′ and the total wing area is 174 square feet (16.17 square meters). The horizontal stabilizer span is 11 feet, 4 inches (3.429 meters). So it's a nice clean wing as seen here. The M model is important as it was the first drooped wing leading edge for improved low-speed handling. This was marketed as the "camber-lift" wing. The 172K model, introduced those sported fiberglass, downward-shaped, conical wing tips , as seen here.
     

     
    The 172L, sold during 1971 and 1972, Cessna replaced the main landing gear legs (which were originally flat spring steel) with tapered, tubular steel gear legs. The new gear had a width that was increased by 12 in (30 cm). The new tubular gear was lighter, but required aerodynamic fairings to maintain the same speed and climb performance as experienced with the flat steel design. These legs have been well reproduced here by Thranda.
     
    Rear legs are fixed, but the nose wheel comes with an oleo strut and scissor-or torque links, it has a 15º degree adjustable turn. Tyres are so detailed that you can read the name "Goodyear Flight Specials", and there is great wear and tear on the hubs and rims. Overall excellent.
     

     
    Glass is very good, as usual with Thranda...  here it comes with a nice green tint, always lovely reflections and depth to the thickness, there are also the nice motley glass marks and scratches, some even distracting, like the lines lower left windscreen.
     

     
    Thranda comes up with some really interesting cabin interiors. In the Skyhawk it is the most unusual yet? The U206G had a nice cream and blue fitout, the Islander BN-2 had odd white seats. Here you get a light grey cabin with green highlights on the seats, lower instrument panel and side panels, seats are green with darker green inserts and even the adjustable blinds are green...  it's all a bit Shrek?
     

     
    The side panels though are totally exquisite with the highlighted squares, and the cabin roof is dirty and worn with detail, beautifully done.
     

     
    Everywhere you look you see the aged wear, door posts, window surrounds, wing end plates....  all so well done.
     

     
    Instrument panel has a plastic cover plate (70's) design. But the DGS system is still an option here in a dynamic panel, the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.
     

     
    Avionics with the fixed panel include Garmin 340 Radio, Bendix/King KX 165 radios, Garmin GTX Transponder, S-Tec FiftyFive X Autopilot and Bendix/King KR87 ADF unit. A EDM 800 Engine Data Management system is also installed, and most pop out, as do almost 50 instruments!
     

     
    You can hide one or both of the Yokes, they also come in two styles "Classic" and "Modern". But the trim (pickles) on the modern yoke (shown) don't work with the yoke options.
     

     
    Lower instrument panel is the trim wheel and fuel selector (19 GAL per wing tank). The 172 is a very basic aircraft, but you have everything you need here. All oddments like ashtrays, in-wing air-vents work, as do both the side windows open.... and the glovebox/cubby opens to revel the Thranda development team.
     

     
    Lighting
    Like a lot on the C172, the lighting is quite basic. You have the option of having "Light Posts" on the instrument panel, ON or OFF. And they make a big difference on. The one lighting knob has two adjustments, the panel lighting and the overhead red (dome) light.
     

     
    The red overhead light is quite powerful, and baths the cabin nicely, to the rear is a single large cabin light, its bright, but not very effective in the rear?
     

     
    Externally I really like the light spray around the twin Taxi/Landing lights, Navigation light/strobes and a single tail beacon is all just basic lighting.
     

     
    Flying the Skyhawk
    The Skyhawk is noted as "The Cessna 172 is arguably the most elegant compromise in the history of aviation.” A nice quote and not far from the truth, as the aircraft is perfect in the "right size, feels right" category.
     
    Once trimmed, the Skyhawk is a very neutral and balanced aircraft on the central axis, again to make it easy for pilot training, interesting is to do tight turns, very heavy degree turns and you will need very little back pressure on the yoke to keep the same altitude...
     

     
    ....  the aircraft will literally "Turn on a dime", stand on it's wing, as you twirl the aircraft around the sky... certainly any aircraft will do this sort of semi-aerobatic manoeuvres, but it is the ease and cleanliness of the actions that make the aircraft so easy to control, and this is a General Aviation machine here, a heavy one by aerobatic standards.
     

     
    It's great fun, you can understand the love for the machine from not only newly born pilots, but from the professional aspect as well.
     

     
    Unlike the C152, the instruments and controls are not totally in the basic, basic category in here. You have your VOR Pointers (again great for point to point training) and for doing circuits with ILS central alignments.
     

     
    Performance of the C172M is good; Cruise speed is 122 kn (140 mph, 226 km/h), with a never exceed speed of 163 kn (188 mph, 302 km/h) (IAS)
    . The range is 696 nmi (801 mi, 1,289 km) with 45 minute reserve, 55% power, at 12,000 feet (3,700 m) and the service ceiling is 13,500 ft (4,100 m).
     
    Time to return to Kerry (EIKY).
     
    The Flaps indicator is quite buried (Fixed Panel) right lower, hard to see, settings here are 0º-10º-20º-30º-40º, a lot of adjustment, also they are continuous in operation, but really great for slow speed approaches with plenty of lift and support.
     

     
    But the flap support is great for novice trainee pilots, it gives them time to adjust the aircraft ready for the approach, minimises mistakes. I found this out by dropping the flaps to 40º at the start of the EIKY Rwy 26 ILS approach (108.70 (IKR), then slowly approaching at 70 knts until the point of descent... 
     

     
    ....  adjusting the speed down to 63 knts, and you will get a nice 300 fpm descent into the runway, smooooth and clean, if a little slow, but again great for practising your approach skills, as the C172M allows you to do this. (note; Rate of climb is 715 ft/min (3.63 m/s) or usually about a 500 fpm).
    I feel too complacent, as i'm now too high, so an adjustment to 500 fpm is required, but the descent speed stays low enough around 70 knts to pull off the manoeuvre...
     

     
    ...  in reality you wouldn't get away with this steep approach, but I feel totally in control of the Skyhawk.
     

     
    200 ft above terra firma, I pull back the yoke, up goes the nose and I smooth out the descent pitch, the C172M responds perfectly, speed runs off, descent rate slightly climbs, and I'm soon in the perfect touchdown flare.
     

     
    60 knts on touch...  stall is a low 47 kn (54 mph, 87 km/h) (power off, flaps down), and I'm rolling down the centre line, too easy!
     

     
    Again you can see why the Skyhawk is perfect for learner pilots, it's so sure (if a little too safe, that it can distract you into complacency), but the feedback from the controls and airframe are excellent, highly recommended for practising skills or circuits, of which is the aircraft's Modus operandi. It's nice to fly an aircraft so perfect.
     
    At taxi speed and idle throttle the familiar  "knock, knock" from the Lycoming O-320-E2D is well heard from the cabin, all sounds are perfect here with high-fidelity, multi-track FMOD2 sounds, there is aural simulation of multiple layers of engine and prop sounds, depending on camera angle, distance, atmospheric conditions, doppler as well... well everything you need for a great aural experience, Thranda are good at details like this, and it's important to the overall joy of the aircraft.
     

     
    And it all works to the last splutter of the prop at shutdown (as also the excellent start sounds) are perfect...  "perfect", that word comes a lot around the Skyhawk here!
     

     
    There is no doubt on how much I like this Skyhawk, but debatable on still which is the really very best one? I totally loved the Careando Skyhawk with a G1000 avionics suite, flew that 172 everywhere, there are glass instrument options here as well as we shall see, so time will tell if the Thranda Skyhawk can take the title away from the older version?
     
    Added in to v1.1. are the optional Float and Amphibian Float Versions.
     

     
    Float design and detail is exceptional, and anyone who has had an earlier Thranda Amphibian (C208B) will know about the high quality here. Float shape and modeling is about perfect, as are the the front strut and main wheel assemblies.
     

     
    Rear rudders are controlled by a push/pull lever left centre console to raise or lower the twin fins...   the undercarriage is controlled by the "Gear Advisory" panel right Instrument panel...  there is the secondary pump lever between the seats for a manual upping or lowering of the wheels.
     
     
     
    Option of a "Float" version is also available...  the detail is again absolutely "top notch".
     

     
    v1.1...   Two other changes to the v1.1 update are the fixed Alt Static Air knob's Dataref, and now also enabled is WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) in the GPS units.
     
    Menu
    Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.
     

     
    As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the standard Thranda default menu.
     

     
    Menu - General
    The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive.
     
    General menu selections cover; Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off (sets aircraft to full running mode), Chocks and Brakes on/off.
     

     
    Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit doors and the right side luggage door. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights.
     

     
    The "Electric Tug" that can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your joystick (left,right-forward,backwards). Static Items include Wheel chocks, Engine Inlet covers, wing pitot cover.
     
    One item not shown in the general menu panel is the front nose cowling removal. It's hard to do, but if you click the surround (arrowed) in the engine bay on the pop out menu, it will lift the nose cowling to reveal a fully modeled Lycoming O-320-E2D Engine, very nice it is as well.
     

     
    There is built in "Checklist" (lower right menu, arrowed), and very good it is. But also again changed back to a simple black on red graphic, with green cross-off lines. The Checklist can the moved and scaled anywhere on the screen, but the list can't be reset back again to just the red restart list? and so there are 14 separate pages of the list to uncheck?
     

     
    Menu - Liveries
    Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 8 liveries or two blank (DynamicLiveryResources/Thranda) and six designs, and all the liveries are of extremely high quality and creative flare with the package.
     

     

     
    Two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the current selected "Dynamic Liveries".
     
    Dynamic Liveries
    Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own livery! 
     

     
    With their earlier releases of their Kodiak and with the Islander, PC-6, PZL-104 and Caravan. Then Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery. This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top.
     

     
    You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the three RGB colours for that certain area, and the selected colour (here red) is shown in the square. You can also separately change the aircraft registration number, here I wanted an Irish Rego in EI-677. The Cessna logo can be added as well.
     

     
    When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes with some weird screen changes, but the results are excellent and now the C172 is in your own livery design...   If the custom livery does not load? then go to a PAINTED LIVERY, then load one close to the design you created, then go back and reload your custom dynamic livery...  and it should now load correctly.
     
    A feature is the (Quick) selection of Dirt (Ext) Externally, Scratches and Dirt (Int) Internally. Via three percentage selections you can adjust the amount of Dirt, Scratches and Dirt Int on the aircraft (0%-255%) and apply it instantly.So you can have either a pristine or a very grubby aircraft with just a twirl of the numbers. Also changes can be made to Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries.
     

     
    There are already 30 preselected selections in their various designs, all are very good, and like noted you can add in your own version to the list. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic"....  of course personal taste is optional!
     

     
    v1.1... in the Float/Amphibian menu, you can also colour in the float design to your own preferences, or to match in with the aircraft fuselage design
     

     
    Menu - Weight/Bal
    The Skyhawk also has a great Weight and Balance menu.
     

     
    Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle...  Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue.
     

     
    There is the weight selection of all the seats. Missing is the usual Thranda seat removable X option, as here you can only select the seat weight.
     

     
    Fuel can be added and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all are selected via a scrollwheel...  and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on a graph, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add in the set weights.
     

     
    Oddly there are no bags or luggage shown in the rear (behind the rear seat) luggage area like with most Thranda's with the C172M? But the usual two animated Pilot and front seat passenger are still in there when you adjust the seat weights above 36 kgs/80 Lbs. They both will also disappear if the electrical power is switched off and the chocks added.
     

     
    But obviously there is a compromise? If you want a full passenger and baggage load, then you can't have full fuel tanks, as the excess weight takes you over the weight and the CofG limits as shown on the graph. For four passengers (with maybe a bag thrown in) then can you have your full tanks and the longer range and not go into the red.
     
    Menu - Camera
     

     
    There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the view. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider.
     

     
    Menu - Audio/Slew
    Sound can be adjusted via the Audio menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel...  As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play.
     

     
    Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina. Currently there are no plans for an Amphibian version of the C172M, but you never know.
     
    Menu - PANEL
    The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials.
     

     
    First feature here is a new one to Thanda's Dynamic Panel...  the selection of a "Molded Plastic Cover" panel, and to add in or takeaway the panels "Light Posts". (hint... nice on). The non-plastic cover look is a flat dark grey facia, actually very nice and the same as the U206G.
     
    Scroll the "Panel Preset" number to see all the three preset layouts. Preset 0 is the grey standard panel with the GNS 530, Preset 1 is the Molded Plastic Cover (top)...  Preset 2 is the standard grey panel with the Bendix/King KX 165A radios...  Preset 3 is the Aspen EFD 1000.
     


     
    Aspen EFD is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated...  all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience.
     
    Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 53 individual instruments and avionic units...  There some great options including the Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on...
     

     
    For those that find instruments are not to their liking in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust that instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have added in two instruments...  A DME ranger and a PS Engineering Incorporated PM 1200 two place panel mount intercom. You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument.
     

     
    When you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /4). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience...  and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying.
     
    Panel features include; S-Tec Fifty Five autopilot and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units.
     
    Both the GNS 430/530 GPS units can be selected. But you have to save them, then do a restart to lock them in. The Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch can also be installed if you have that external option as the 3d bezel is provided.
     

     
    The DGS system is clever and very versatile, but a small annoyance is that to get your custom livery or panel, you have to reset everything, every time you fly? Yes the custom SAVES are there ready, but not when you start/load the aircraft?
     
    Menu - MISC
    The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover External; Skis and Fairings. Internal; Yokes, Windows and Pilot options. Wheels; Tires and Mud Flaps. lower right is the DynaFeel.
     

     
    High quality designed "Skis" are available, and so are neat wheel "fairings"
     

     
    Tyres can be changes from "Regular" size, to the larger "Tundra" style. The larger tundra tyres work with the skis, but not with the fairing option.
     

     
    On the rear you can have "Mud Flaps", again they work with either regular or tundra tyre options.
     

     
    Yoke options include; "Classic" or the more upright "Modern"...  I prefer the later upright yoke to the flatter earlier version.
     

     
    Door windows can be "Flat" or "Bubble"
     

     
    You can also swap around the pilots, in Male/Female, or Female/Male in the drivers seat.  A nice touch is the change of clothing style with the change of seat position.
     

     
    "DynaFeel" on the right lower is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is  based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases.
     
    v1.1...  The Float/Amphibian MISC Menu is different. You still have the earlier Window options (Flat/Bubble), Pilot options and the DynaFeel.
     

     
    New options include a Cockpit V brace, and a Ventral Fin under the tail...
     

     
    ...    You can Retract or Extend the rudders from the menu, also select either the "Float" or "Amphibian" variant. The "Slew Mode" only works on water, but it is excellent to move around or or to align the aircraft with a jetty.
     

     
    Links to both the excellent Support forum for the C172M by Thranda, and to download with the newly updated Skunkcrafts v3.0 Updater are also provided.
    __________________
     
    Summary
    The "Skyhawk"  Cessna 172M is the most popular aircraft ever built with 44,000 units constructed, and the airframe is still going strong. The reason is that simply the Skyhawk is the best ever or the most perfectly positioned aircraft for training and instructional purposes, mainly also for it’s reliable flight characteristics.
     
    Thranda Design are one of the best developers in X-Plane, their history and quality is legendary. So that quality build and detailing is always going to be significant from the start, and so it here... exceptional. In every area and detail, modeling, fine details, glass and the interior materials.
     
    Feature list is very high (clever) with adaptable weight and balance graph cabin seating and baggage options; Skis, Tundra Tyres, Mud Flaps, Wheel Fairings, Checklists, two Yoke options and Flat or Bubble windows.
     
    Menus are also excellent with menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous), that covers all the options and including sound, weights and balances also including graphs, walk-around and camera options and general static elements including chocks, pitot covers, removable engine cover (with detailed Lycoming O-320-E2D Engine) and tie-downs.
     
    Thranda always comes with a high range of clever and unique features to give the user a lot of personal options. Known as "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, this is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. Here you can change the actual livery to your own designs, but build the instrument panel to your own liking as well, including options of the Aspen EFD 1000 glass instrument and a special 3d bezel for the insert of a RealityXp GTN 750 unit if you own that add on.
     
    A new feature here is a standard "Molded Plastic Cover" panel, it sets the instruments in a solid form (so DGS can't be used), but it is more uniform in design... personally I like it a lot.
     
    X-Plane 12 dynamics are simply sensational here and a level above in feel and handling with those important C172 characteristics well founded, but also notable is the excellent sound package, in being very rattly lower and loopy in higher revolutions. Note that the Thranda C172 is X-Plane 12 only, there will be no X-Plane 11 version.
     
    Now updated to v1.1... the update includes both Float and Amphibian variants, fixed Alt Static Air knob's Dataref, and enabled WAAS in GPS units. Update is at no extra cost, and included in the package.
     
    Negatives? more slight inconveniences. Incessantly dark, inside and with the heavy shadows, makes the C172 hard work in the dark cockpit, not excessively bright in the simulator as well with heavy shadows. No saving of current liveries and custom options, means that every time you want to fly, it can take awhile to reset everything back to your previous (custom) choices. loading custom liveries can be tricky as well.
     
    Having the classic Cessna 172 in your virtual hanger is always a bonus, and a brilliant aircraft from Thranda Design is always a triple bonus. Hugely engineered to a high quality and all round exception detail, they are some of the best General Aviation aircraft in the X-Plane 12 Simulator...  so basically here you have the best of all worlds. Deep down though is the exceptional performance and dynamics of the aircraft that are on display here, so take advantage of those skills and use the Cessna 172M to it's most profound devices....  Highly Recommended.
    _______________________________
     

     
    Yes! the Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1,1 by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 
     
    Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series
    Price is US$39.95
    (Currently on a pre-sale of US$29.95)... you can save:$10.00(25%))
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)
    Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3 GB Current version 1.1 (September 15th  2023) Special features: Extremely high res textures (1700 pixels per meter). 8K textures. Includes Land, Float and Amphibian Float Versions FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Fully VR Compatible Interchangeable yoke styles: old fashioned and modern Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP 650 and GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Optional plastic molded cover for instruments Comes with 4 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface. Optional 3D light posts per instrument. Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically move along with the instruments, as you configure the panel. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well. Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, the C206, the 337, the Islander, and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear.   Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls.  Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays.  Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also includes 9 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Ability to swap pilot/co-pilot figures Uses SkunkCrafts Updater (Now also available as a standalone app).  Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater.  Excellent hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Fully modelled Lycoming O-320-E2D engine. Windshield ice and rain effects Individual functional circuit breakers. Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, window reflections, instrument reflections, etc. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu. Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics.  Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. Option to equip instruments with light posts Option to fit entire instrument panel with molded plastic cover with holes for the instruments Option to swap pilot and co-pilot Option to select different yoke styles DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you wish for the controls to react as a function of speed. Flight dynamics and systems: Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance with the help of multiple real-world active 172 pilots.  This not only gives this aircraft the proper "feel", but also accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces.   Advanced FMOD-based sound system: High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Different sounds for front of plane than for back of plane Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Far away sounds include aerodynamic interaction effects between front and rear prop.  At a distance, you hear overtones caused by turbulent air feeding into the rear prop. Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood.   Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds Doors and windows opening, let outside sounds in _____________________________
     
    Installation and documents:  download for the Thranda_C172M. is 3Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Download can also be by the Skunkcrafts Updater (file supplied)
     
    Full Installation is 5.74Gb
     
    Documents supplied are:
    C172M Performance Charts.pdf Thranda C172M Manual.pdf Thranda Graphics Settings XP11.pdf Thranda Joystick Settings.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf There are a huge amount of Documentation provided here, not only for the Thranda C172M including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and default avionics.
     
    All updates are via the new Skunkcrafts 3.0 Updater
     
    Support forum for the C172M by Thranda
    _____________________
      Updated Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    19th September 2023
    Copyright©2023: 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 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99
    Scenery or Aircraft
    -EILY - Kerry Ireland by Boundless
    -EINN - Shannon Airport by Boundless
     
    (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. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Update Review : Cessna 172SP NG Digital v1.5.1 by AirfoilLabs   
    Update Review : Cessna 172SP NG Digital v1.5.1 by AirfoilLabs
     
    It was very early in the X-Plane 12 beta or 1.4.0b that I reviewed the Cessna 172SP NG from AirfoilLabs. It was also a moment, in that the future was suddenly laid out in front of the Simulator, this was X-Plane 12, and you saw and felt here all the new benefits it was going to deliver.
     
    The bonus of that moment was because, even this early in the evolution of the new X-Plane 12 version. AirfoilLabs had done a pretty good and highly detailed conversion to X-Plane 12. Although the release was noted as a "beta" (1.4.0-Beta (October 10th 2022)), it did cover all the unique aspects of what X-Plane 12 was going to deliver. It was exciting, but also a bit of a relief in that the changes were going to work... It was a review I liked a lot, as it gave us some really great images of cloud formations, before unseen in earlier X-Plane versions.
     
    There was another very small tuneup in December 22 (v1.4.1b) for the 172SP, that covered a more detailed Aircraft Performance Tuning for the latest changes in XP12 flight model, an enhanced Camera Initialization Bug fixed and the dark Glass bug that was fixed for the latest XP12 version, really it was all another tight tune to the release of X-Plane 12.
     
    This brings us to this update, well two actually. With both v1.5.0 and v1.5.1 which are combined here. Considering both updates, there is not a lot of changes here, but what is important to note is that the aircraft is now officially an X-Plane 12 version, not in a beta.
     
    Changes to Version 1.5.0 (August 10th 2023) were small with the G1000 LPV Approaches fixed, those Yoke Erratic Movements were also attended to, and finally the (over) harsh landing sounds have been fixed. The latest update Version 1.5.1 (September 8th 2023) is just as small, call it tinkering if you want to....   Here the Main Landing Gear Leg are not so flexible anymore (slightly harder landings), better Empty Aircraft Initial Attitude, less Tire Skid Sound Effect (connected to the above), and finally the G1000 is Implementing default XP12 Features, in other words the G1000 mirrors the updated X-Plane 12 version.
     
    This review is really a reacquaintance of the aircraft. It was then so very early in the beta phase with X-Plane 12 with the earlier release. So what is the aircraft like a year on, I wanted to find out?
     
    Product Manager
    AirfoilLabs use there own external updater system or "Product Manager" to install and update their products. It is very good, but initially also confusing? You can download both an X-Plane 11, and also an X-Plane 12 version of the updater, and both can be installed. All to the good, but it then gets easily confusing on which updater is for what X-Plane version? as both updaters are identical, in not just installing the updater, but in using them... 
    Initially I couldn't find or use the X-Plane 12 version? It's not labeled 11 or 12, even when running the application, it also kept producing and updating only the X-Plane 11 version, and not the X-Plane 12 version? In the end I had to remove entirely the XP11 version and reload the XP12 version to get it to work...  even then the application is not anywhere in being noted as the XP12 version of the application, there was a hour lost for this review, in just working it all out?
     
    Once updated the "Product Manager" works like this...  On starting up, it will show you what AirfoilLabs products are listed in your portfolio. This includes the XJet plugin and version. Important as AirfoilLabs have their own plugin system of all their aircraft (not the usual SASL system) and it has to match the version of the aircraft. Any changes required or new versions are noted in the application.
     
    You select a product, then are required to type (cut/paste) in the Serial key to authorise the aircraft. I like this factor, as it means there is no required restart in the simulator (so no slow total redo process to get back to where you already are?). The the installer will look at your current aircraft version and storage capacity, and show you the download file size. Happy it will then install either the full aircraft (product) or update the aircraft to the current version...  all the version and changelog changes are shown when the process is completed.
     

     
    The system and use is very good, once you are using the correct X-Plane version.
     
    Cessna 172SP NG Digital
    First look and again the Cessna 172SP really delivers. You currently get a lot of choice in the Cessna 172's in X-Plane 12, and there is a lot of tough competition in the mix. First is the newly released Thranda 172M Skyhawk DGS Series, very good it is. Then there are the two Laminar Research Skyhawks, one analog and the other a Garmin G1000...  another but not updated to X-Plane 12 is the Carenado C172 G1000, one aircraft I really liked. A lot of choice, and all good choices as well...  so why the AirfoilLabs aircraft?
     
    It is a very good question, and one I can answer. There is something quite original about the AirfoilLab's 172, it looks and feels different, but 172 different. For the important aspect of Circuits and Training, if I had the choice of all of the above, then the AirfoilLabs version would still be my selection, the word here is "authentic".
     

     
    As you know if you follow my aircraft or scenery reviews, is that word "Authentic". For me, the whole aspect of Flight Simulators is to get the most realistic experience possible from the combination of the Flight Simulator, Scenery and more importantly the aircraft. If all three combine perfectly then you should get the feeling of real flight, and a real presence of a place. 
     

     
    The model here looks totally authentic, very, very real to me in the simulator....  and X-Plane 12 dynamics really bring it alive!
     
    The Cessna 172M, is the most popular aircraft ever built with 44,000 units constructed, and production is still going strong. The C172 is popular because it is just that right perfect fit for it's main role...  pilot training.
     
    The important thing here is just that you have to have complete mastery of the aircraft, if you do, then you feel confident in the machine (that is a very good simulation as well). A stable platform in the aircraft is the total aim. Here you can do that, banks and rolls are perfection, holding the bank whilst not losing (or gaining altitude) is the sign of great aerodynamics, and I could twirl around the sky all day to perfection in the AeroFoilLabs 172. Note the excellent AOA (Angle of Attack) meter in your eyesight.
     

     
    Instrument panel is nicely laid out, clean and efficient, and both the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and MFD (Multi-Functional Display), and both can popout and are highly scalable to size.
     

     
    Set the middle lower panel are the three backup analog instruments for; Airspeed, Artificial Horizon and Altitude. Cabin is very nice... not old, old, but still nicely worn, and yes that word again....  Authentic!
     

     
    Lovely dated and branded "SP Skyhawk", both Yokes can be individually hidden and rudder pedal design is well done deep in the footwell...
     

     
    A side note is the excellent POH or "Pilots Operating Handbook". Situated lower left door pocket, it has a POH introduction, then LIMITS, NORMAL, EMERGENCY and PERFORMANCE data and checklist. Scalable again it is very easy to use.
     


     
    Almost a year on, and I'm flying the same route as that early beta version Brisbane YBBN to Gold Coast YBCG, settings include "real Weather", and yep looking out of my window, the sky looks exactly the same as the X-Plane Simulator download.
     

     
    Unfortunately its a total pristine clear day (early September days in Australia are like that, until the sheer heat kicks in), they can come with no heavy cloud around...   but it makes for nice flying.
     
    It also shows off X-Plane 12 as well. But I wanted to come up here and see more heavy weather, but you can't doubt the quality of the aircraft and the simulator producing a perfect rendition of the day. I'm very impressed
     

     
    Menus
    There are a lot of options and menus available on the AirfoilLabs 172SP. The menu options list is sensational, the best in the business, with eight different categories, and 35 different selections...
     

     
    View options include internal and external walkaround. There is a "General" settings panel, and all the main Menu selections are also available on the optional AviTab tablet.
     

     
    Lycoming IO-360-L2A (200hp - 149kW) engine and it's mounting frame and accessories are all here to admire, interactive as well...
     

     
    ....  you can check the oil, or see the wear on an engine or system component, you can fail it, or repair the element. All ties downs, inlet, pitot covers, chocks and portable power supply are all available here.
     

     
    Standard or Tundra (large) tyres are also available, as all doors open (cabin and small baggage access). Other options includes several types of wheel covers, or streamline fairings, neat are the small opening flaps in the Wheel Fairings to check the tyre pressures.
     

     
    The Skyhawk is very comprehensive, so anything detrimental? really only one... the Replay doesn't work? press Alt-R and you get an immediate X-Plane CTD or Crash to Desktop, Save a situation and it is a lucky shot as well, I recovered two saves, but also had an instant crash a few times. A better save feature would be a nice addition as the XJet plugin requires custom settings.
     
    Finished after a long day's flying...  then just wrap up and cover the aircraft for safety, you gotta love it all!
     

     
    As noted earlier, this is just a reacquaintance of the airfoillab Skyhawk and to highlight it's benefits, honestly not much has changed on the aircraft, but you have to acknowledge on how much has changed around the 172SP Skyhawk. X-Plane 12 has evolved hugely over the last twelve months. Even back then you felt the conversion to X-Plane 12 was excellent, and nothing here really changes that aspect, but still the AirfoilLab Skyhawk seems to be better than ever.
     
    The main point here is the 172SP itself, like with the Thrandra 172, it is the platform for the pilot that is the most important thing, the line to be at the top of the list. Yes the options list and features all here are outstanding, but the basics have to be perfect if the Cessna is to be usable in the simulator, the 172SP is above all and everything else still a training aircraft, the dynamics and control feel are the most important aspects of this aircraft.
     

     
    This flight down the coast was excellent, everything combined to create a perfect simulation, sounds are great as well, with 320 sounds + detailed, layered engine samples with audible failures simulation.... so there it is this totally "authentic" atmosphere around it, In then I think that is why the AirfoilLabs C172Sp Skyhawk is the highest standard currently in X-Plane if you want a very good Cessna 172SP.
     
    Highly Recommended.
    ________________________________  
     
    The C172SP NG DIGITAL v1.5.1 by AirfoilLabs is NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore
     
    172SP NG DIGITAL
    Price is US$49.95
     
    This aircraft is X-Plane12 supported
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 - both versions included
    Windows, Mac Intel, Mac Silicon, or Linux  4 GB  VRAM Minimum -  8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.5.1  (September 8th 2023)   Download for the AirfolLabs 172SP NG DIGITAL is done via an installer "AFL+Product+Manager+Windows+installer"
     
    To use the XJet System you have to download the "Product Manager" program and installed on your computer: Product Manager / Xjet 2..0.0)
    The installer can be downloaded in all Windows (.exe), Mac OS (.app) and Linux (.Jar) forms for your type of operating System.
     
    And the final install in X-Plane folder is 2.95gb. Authorisation is now done via the Product Manager. Updates are also done via the same Product Manager.
     
    Version 1.5.0-1.5.1 Changelog:
     
    AirfoilLab 172SP v1.5.1.txt
     
    Designed by AirfoilLabs
    Support forum for the C172 NG Digital _____________________
      Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton
    15th September 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
     
    Review System Specifications: 
    Computer System: Windows  - S1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP
    Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.00B7 (This is a beta review).
    Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - YBBN - Brisbane International by Orbx
    - YBCG - Gold Coast International by Axonos  
    (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 virtualgaa in Behind the Screen : August 2023   
    Behind the Screen : August 2023
     
    As you are aware, there was no "Behind the Screen" edition for July 2023. Two reasons, one it was the X-PlaneReviews 10th Anniversary, or 10 years of posting reviews on this site, and we are pretty proud of making that significant milestone. It is hard to do that in this really fast electronic environment, change is massive, coming at you all the time, then throw in a pandemic, and everything goes really screwball. More on that in a minute.
     
    Second reason for a no show, and for me being non-posting for nearly two weeks was...  I had to move house, and quickly. It's not fun to move house (or unit here in Australia), so the system was packed down, then rebuilt again 5 km away. Nothing got lost (well maybe a bit of my sanity), but an odd thing happens on that life changing journey. You sort of clean away the old, and let in the new.
     
    If you want to dwell on circumstance, that moving home on the very day the site was started exactly a decade later, should be considered significant. Overall it makes you take stock. Interesting was the fact that the Ten Year Anniversary post was done on a laptop, in an almost cleared out empty room, and not like this post, at my usual position at the same desk, with my usual iMac and massive 32" monitor, with a completely different view out of my open doors (four floors up and now looking over a lake). The Laptop post was also the only post in a decade that was different from the usual. You can dwell on it, surmise the situation, but overall it denotes change.
     
    The other change is significant as well, for Simulation. If you wanted again to be very critical of circumstance, then the last few years in Simulation were just as big as a total upheaval for our surrounding Simulation environment as well. Basically we hate change, but also want to move forward, the next big thing or that new, new...  which is a total paradox, not wanting anything to ruin what you already have, but also wanting it to change, obviously to the better.
     
    But the last four years has been a complete upheaval. Massive changes, and not just to Simulation, but also to the complete world around us as well. My best friend said, "It's not the pandemic I fear, but what comes after it", and she was absolutely right. We sat through the pandemic, but the shear colossal changes ongoing currently are far more consequential, certainly we will never be the same, some good, but also a lot bad, in time we will note this point in history as an upheaval of the world, there would be before the event, and now after it. And everyone in some way got affected by it, and really nobody got away unscathed.
     
    X-Plane also turned on a dime. No doubt the reintroduction of MSFS or Microsoft Flight Simulator has changed the landscape (no pun intended). But the timing for X-Plane didn't help either. At the end of one version run (X-Plane 11), and a very late development cycle for X-Plane 12, it fell into a hole, but the external real world Influences didn't help the situation either.
    Money is not as free-flowing as it was four years ago, wallets are now tight, so pick and choosing product becomes even a more important situation...  value and quality is now more than ever the important questions for a long lived investment, so X-PlaneReviews reporting is also now more important on making sure the money goes to the said value and quality.
     
    Users will say "Most stuff I get is free, anyway". To a point they are right, but not totally, as doing "Free" always comes with compromises. Unfortunately I don't personally like compromises. I like it right, realistic and it adds value to my Simulation experience. If I have ever had to go "Free", it always comes with those compromised conditions, say a non-completed (meaning non-working) aircraft or scenery that is sort of like the real one, but also in not being photo looking like the real environment I'm supposed to takeoff and land from. That aspect totally ruins (for me) the whole idea of what I am ultimately trying to achieve, meaning real world flying in a Simulator, or as close to a real world environment that I can get...  nothing annoys me more than having an aircraft in not to doing what it should do, mostly in the basics of flight and the controls, or crappy airports made of blocked facades.
    There was released an Airbus A220-100 recently, a model really with no cockpit? "Why?" really what is the point of releasing (yes a very pretty external model) but with no cockpit? That is just stupid or dumb.
     
    I at least want an aircraft I can fly or can use out of the box, yes there maybe bugs, even downright obvious ones, but the basics are there, working and useable. A small note on this conversation is in the fact of older aircraft, or classics. As we move forward to another X-Plane version, in most cases a lot of beloved simulation gets left behind. Hopefully developers will update their aircraft and scenery. But in a lot of cases we loose important pieces of our X-Plane world...  a few come to mind, Carenado obviously, Aerosoft sceneries (still crying over the lost Aerosoft Bergen). In fact 12 months on and Aerosoft haven't updated one scenery to X-Plane 12, that's poor business, and hell it's probably why Mathijs Kok left Aerosoft for PMDG.
     
    It's now nearly twelve months since the X-Plane 12 (beta) release, and nine months into 2023 after the X-Plane Release in December 2022. And although this massive version change has happened, X-Plane 12 is now only starting to move again (or say Takeoff, yes pun intended), I want to show the full impact of that year, and that post will be coming on the year's anniversary of the X-Plane 12 release on 6th September 2023, called "State of the Union", it sums up the full year's development.
     
    So change is coming, accept it, the new, new, but there are still things I don't want to lose from the past, they were important then, as they are now...  so not everything should be thrown away with change, and a lot of people should take stock of that aspect, when it's gone it is gone...  like forever. Then in time they realise that in doing those immediate selfish actions, they also lose a bit of themselves.
     
    See you all next month
     
    Stephen Dutton
    3rd September 2023
    Copyright©2023 X-Plane Reviews
     

     
  25. Thanks
    Stephen got a reaction from Kiwiflyer in Scenery Update : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v2.0 by X-Codr Designs   
    Scenery Update : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v2.0 by X-Codr Designs
     
    We all look at the extremely created MSFS (Microsoft Flight Simulator) scenery, and dream of the same detail for X-Plane. The fact is a bit of a misnomer, in that highly produced video's can hide the reality of the weaknesses of the product. A lot is very, very good, but it is also not the full story.
     
    In X-Plane that superlative quality and quality is available if you want it, surprisingly it is not the most expensive scenery on sale either. Only issue is, there isn't enough of it. But the point here is that the same level and quality can be done or achieved in the X-Plane Simulator, and yes it can match MSFS when it wants to.
     
    Two names come to mind. ShortFinal Designs and their magnificent San Francisco and Munich, both are currently updated to X-Plane 12. The Second is X-Codr and his first mega scenery in Denver... or KDEN, Denver International in Colorado, USA.
     
    Big here in Denver it is on another level again. DEN is by land area the largest airport United States, and second largest in the world. At over 16,000 feet long, runway 16R/34L is also the longest public runway in the United States, and seventh longest in the world. Big here has another dimension added to it, not to mention the extra taxi fuel required to get to the takeoff points, in fact on some routes, you can spend more time taxiing on the ground at KDEN, that being actually in the air.
     
    X-PlaneReviews covered the release of the KDEN mega scenery for X-Plane 11 here...
    Scenery Update : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v1.5 by X-Codr Designs
     
    On September 5th 2022 there was a version update for the DEN scenery, "Added link for the X-Plane 12 version", and that was about it. The update allowed you to use the scenery in X-Plane 12, but it was not actually a X-Plane 12 scenery, if that sort of makes sense. There were no X-Plane 12 features or details, it worked...  and that was about it.
     
    X-Plane 12 KDEN v2.0
    First of all is the install. Basically you have to totally rip the guts out of the earlier version and replace it with the new. And not just the actual scenery either, but all the plugins as well. There are three downloads...  Main Scenery file (7.54 GB), KDEN Mesh (3.82 Gb) and the X-Codr Library (2.97 Gb), and all have to be downloaded to replace the original files, and they are all big download sizes to a total 14.33 Gb. Then there is another change to Living Scenery Technology (LST) as well, so that the correct plugin in v1.10 has to be installed for it all to work. The SAM3 Plugin is also required, but again the correct one in version v3.1.10. It is all slightly complicated, miss or not install a step and it won't all work correctly, get it right and lo and behold you get quite a sight...
     

     
    Your covering a very large area, and have a huge if massive object count as well. Does that affect your framerate...  unfortunately the answer is yes, a lot. But there are options. The best is to reduce your "Rendering Resolution" from OFF (Full Resolution) to Ultra, oddly reducing the Texture Quality won't have any impact on the framerate, RR will, and gave me a far more working movement in the scenery. So there is a payoff in using the scenery.
     
    Notable are the hard areas between the custom (photo/ortho) base and the X-Plane default, it is a lot like that in the real world, but not as pronounced. The problem is not the custom textures provided by X-Codr, but the far older X-Plane default textures, overall it still works fine, but again this highlights the age of the ground textures in X-Plane. That said, all custom mesh is new and updated to current standards, no grass though, but it is a gigantic area to cover, and maybe a framerate killer to far.
     
    Denver International Airport
    IATA: DEN - ICAO: KDEN - FAA LID: DEN

    07/25 - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete
    08/26 - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete
    16L/34R - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete
    16R/34L - 16,000ft  (4,877m)  Concrete
    17L/35R -12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete
    17R/35L - 12,000ft (3,658m)  Concrete
    Elevation : 5,431 ft / 1,655 m
     
    Not obvious at first, but all the Terminals and three separate huge concourses have all been remodeled, re-textured as well. And close up the buildings are all quite different (wear) in look and feel. "Grittier" is the word I would use, and not so "shiny, shiny"
     

     
    Remember that X-Codr's original KDEN was quite early in his career, brilliant actually for the time. But there has been a lot of developer progress in the intermediate years, certainly with his surface materials in the later work (stone and concrete here is all very realistic). That aspect certainly shows here, as you don't stand still in making the product more realistic with the better tools and skills you have.
     

     
    It's impressive to spend time on just looking at buildings and the detail, it is all quite impressive.
     

     
    The main arrival Elrey B. Jeppesen Terminal and it's unique sail roof is hard to get right. It can come across as modeled, but here the flowing fabric feel is now very evident, extremely well done.
     

     
    The first release of X-Codr's Denver was late November 2018, five years ago. Since then and partly displayed in the earlier scenery releases, was the terminal developments going on at DEN. There are two. First is the new inner section on the Concourse B (East) Gate B62-B71...  all new and it looks like it, but the detail here is extremely realistic.
     

     
    Second is the extensive extension to the Southwest Concourse C (again on the eastern side) Gates C48-C71.
     

     
    Clever is the relationship between the original and new structures. Both have weather wear, but the new Concourse feels and looks more modern, so hard to get right, but very authentic...  There is a lot of see through glass in the new Concourse as well, exceptional is the word again.
     
    Both the United and Frontier Hangars have been re-textured, again with that exceptional concrete feel, and come with more ground detail.
     

     
    All new at Denver is the Southwest Engineering facility, and now also depicted here in the KDEN scenery. It is situated in the far north section of the airport.
     

     
    The General Aviation area has also been remodeled and textured, with an excellent "Signature" facility centre (Terminal).
     

     
    Cargo is not a really big feature at Denver, the facility is big, but not huge by comparison. Again the area has had a lot of attention, remodeled and has far better "grittier" textures that are excellent up close.
     

     
    With the change to Living Scenery Technology (LST), and away from the very dated GroundTraffic plugin. This technology allows more flexibility and the introduction of new features. The Original KDEN had realistic interiors, but now you not only get a full internal interior, but an extreme fitout as well...  certainly as good or even better than of the many MSFS scenery standards.
     
     
     
    I will repeat that point... every part of the INTERIOR! The arrival Terminal, all three Concourses, even the connecting bridges are all modeled internally here, the TOTAL area is totally explorable and accessible, the detail is totally overwhelming....  Mindblowing!
     

     
    The new Southwest C Concourse is simply well worth a few minutes of your time to explore, as is the new B Concourse, so masterful is the work, this is DEN in miniature, all of it...  even the McDonalds.
     

     
    The above alone is enough to blow your mind...  but we haven't finished yet? there is also the animations, walking people, flexing people, people reading their phones....  moving escalators, yes real operating moving escalators between floors...  "you gotta be kidding me!"
     

     
    It's just all so damn awesome...   even then the new Signature (General Aviation) reception is also expertly modeled internally.
     

     
    Control Tower Internals are also modeled... lovely glass! also is the lower control room modeled as well. A tip is that you can listen in at LiveATC.net which provides live air traffic control (ATC) broadcasts from air traffic control towers, and KDEN is on the list.
     

     
    But even the experience of all this external and internal detail, can be ruined by getting something else wrong, that is not the case here of course, but it is worth pointing out... and that is the mentioned glass. Getting glass wrong here would have made the interiors not work at all, it is getting the feel right, too clear and it looks artificial, too dense and you can't see the internal detail. But that aspect is covered well here, as all the glass is excellent, even perfect in it's "see-through" factor, but not hiding the interiors. Aircraft are visible as well from the internal perspective.
     

     
    SAM3 interaction works here as well, and on every gate. (Plugin required)
     

     
    Reasons are multiple. But here is the (real) Denver International update to X-Plane 12 with all the X-Plane features like wet surfaces and more importantly for this part of the world, snow and ice. Grunge was always brilliant here, but add in rain and pooled water, and it brings the excellent dirty elements to the surface...  the realism is overwhelming.
     

     
    Colorado or Denver is famous for it's spectacular snow in's. X-Plane 12's winter seasons can now oblige in that factor as well.
     

     
    This KDEN Denver scenery by X-Codr Designs, does show the heights that can be obtained in quality and extreme features for the X-Plane Simulator...  almost to being the standard bearer of what can be achieved with in the X-Plane 12 platform currently. Yes it can out perform MSFS, even then some more with exceptional talent and a minute attention to detail.
    ______________
    Summary
    This is the X-Plane 12 update from X-Codr Designs of KDEN Denver International to version v2.0, in Colorado, USA. Originally released in late November 2018, now five years ago. This is a comprehensive update to X-Plane 12.
     
    Not just a quick transition to X-Plane 12. But a full modeling and texture overhaul, including new extension terminals on Concourses B and C, new Southwest Maintenance Facility, redone GA Signature Terminal, and total ground texture update. Added also are excellent animated active people, with moving escalators, and a full interactive coverage of all interior areas. Detail of such externally and internally is simply off the planet. Probably the best airport scenery example currently in the X-Plane Simulator
     
    Download is however quite large (total 14.33 Gb), and a change or update to the Living Scenery Technology (LST) plugin, and SAM3 has to be the current version, it is complex and requires time to get right, but the wait is worth the effort. Framerate can be hard as expected, so minimum a 8Gb+ Graphic capability is recommended, Adjustments to your graphic settings may also be required, but considering the extreme requirements here the scenery is however very usable in the Simulator. This is also a free update to anyone that has the current (X-Plane 11) to the X-Plane 12 version, another brilliant deal, with no upgrade cost.
     
    Really the X-Codr KDEN scenery should be labeled "Extreme", but for all the right reasons. In every area the scenery would score a perfect 10, a deserved award...    certainly the current contender for the best airport scenery of 2023, and it's only September!
     
    Denver International HD will blow your mind! Certainly it can top anything Microsoft can throw at quality scenery, and all this for under US$30 bucks....  "Blows your mind man!"
    ______________
     

     
    Yes! KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v2.0 by X-Codr Designs is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :
     
    KDEN - Denver International Airport HD
    Price is US$29.95
     
    Requirements
    X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
    Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 7.5 GB Current version: 2.0  Sep 6th 2023  
    Features
    ✓ High Quality Rendition of KDEN - Denver International Airport       o Detailed, realistic terminals, accurate as of mid-2023.       o Realistic terminal interiors with numerous POIs (such as hanging display aircraft).       o Lively terminal interiors with animated escalators, and thousands of animated sitting, and walking people, whose density varies with time. All of which are visible from the aircraft.       o Windows on buildings with interiors loose opacity at night, mimicking the optics of real glass, for gorgeous night views.       o Realistic, high resolution, hand-crafted textures complete with PBR normal maps and realistic, accurate wear.       o Accurate, highly detailed buildings through the airport, including the new Southwest hangar. ✓ Realistic, natural ground textures       o Tile-free pavement textures with textures detailed down to the pebble       o Realistic normal maps give pavement depth       o Accurate, detailed markings, with realistic reflections       o Hand aligned concrete lines where possible, for natural transitions to newer, brighter pavement areas       o Realistic, hand painted grunge, with unmatched up close detail, that is cohesive with the rest of the scenery. ✓ Lively scenery through use of our Living Scenery Technology plugin for animations, and Stairport Sceneries SAM for jetway systems       o Thousands of walking animated people, with minimal performance impact       o Cars traverse the airport roads realistically, vs spawning in the middle of a road.       o Accurate, realistic speeds for people and cars throughout the airport.       o Animated electronic display boards on Concourse B display local time and temperature.       o AC fan blade speeds vary with the local temperature.       o Realistic, ultra detailed jetways through use of SAM       o All major parking spaces have excellent SAM marshallers to guide you in ✓ Maximum performance       o Every model is meticulously optimized for the best possible performance.       o Localized LODs reduce rendering load by over 80% on average, relative to traditional LODs       o Texture reuse other technical techniques improve VRAM efficiency.       o Shadows are disabled on objects that don’t benefit, for big performance gains. ✓ Full X-Plane 12 support       o Realistic weather effects       o Optimized native aircraft services.       o Use of the excellent native 3d vegetation  
    The v2.0 update is free to all current X-Codr KDEN purchasers, just go to your X-PlaneStore account... 
     
    Note the Living Scenery Tech and SAM3 plugins are required for this scenery.
    __________________
     
    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 12.06r3 (This is a release candidate review).
    Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00, Living Scenery Tech and SAM3
    Scenery or Aircraft
    - Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research (free with X-Plane Simulator)
     
    Update Review by Stephen Dutton
    12th September 2023
    Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews
      

     
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