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  1. FS Instant Approach PRO for XPlane 10 Jeff Preston John Paul Jones www.FSInventions.com Reviewer: Wycliffe Barrett What do the developers say? Features of FS Instant Approach PRO for X-Plane 10 Set up an approach in seconds! Put yourself on approach to any runway in the world in about the time it takes to read this sentence! Different types of approaches! Fly straight in on final, or intersect final from any angle you choose, or set up on the 'Downwind Leg' of a left or right traffic pattern. Your choice! Try an approach to a random airport Travel the world in seconds as you let the program select random airports for you to approach. Fly only the ones you want and browse through hundreds in minutes. Filter by geographical region, elevation, runway length and more... Introduction Since I first got XPlane 10 I have always enjoyed the 10 mile and 3 mile approach function. Great fun but sometimes you can set a ten mile approach to an airport and be on the other side of a mountain with little or no room to gain height to get over it. That can make for some tense moments. One of my favourite approaches is into Chambery LFLB, a nice alt of 5000 to capture the ILS and threading your way between mountains to fly over the lake to the runway. Through trial and error and judicious use of the XPlane local map I have been able to create a situation where I am on a heading to capture the ILS. Whilst not an ideal method it does work although if you use a high end study level aircraft it might not work because of the need to make sure the POS INIT has been completed correctly as well as numerous other factors. Now we have FS Instant Approach Pro developed by those nice people in Caerleon, S Wales who brought us FSFlyingschool for XPlane 10 , www.FSInventions.com I met Jeff Preston some years ago when I organised South Wales First Flight Simulator Show in Cardiff, and I thought then what a thoroughly decent chap he is. FS Instant Approach is a curious application and I have to say at first glance one wonders if it’s really necessary or is it just a vanity product, but the more I used it the more I could see the value of it. I think where it comes into its own is that you can practice approaches at airports you might be flying into for the first time and you want to practice the approach beforehand, especially useful if say you’re doing a group flight online on the VATSIM or IVAO networks. Installation Installation in the xplane environment is getting easier and easier and FSInstant Approach PRO has an installer making it easier again. Don’t forget of course to run the installation as an administrator by right clicking on the installer and selecting compatibility mode and then administrator. You just point the program to where your XPlane installation is and away you go. One thing you do need to do is download an application/plug-in from Sandy Barbour for the whole thing to work but the developers have made that simple also. You just click on a button the program seeks the plug-in and installs it for you and when I say it only takes seconds to do this it really is only a matter of seconds. So now it would appear we are good to go. Just one final thing and we can set up an instant approach. The final action at this point is to allow FSIApro to create a database of runways but once again this is done very quickly and simply by clicking a button. Creating an Instant Approach First you have to set up your aircraft either on the grd or in the air. I used my Flight Factor 757 at EGFF, I chose the 757 because it is a systems complex airliner and I wanted to see if FSIAPro would work with such a complex aircraft. So I loaded up on the threshold of rwy 12 and began to program the aircraft as if I was doing a flight up to the BCN Vor with a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) and back to EGFF. I set the MCP for 3000ft alt with a speed of 180kts. Finally I inputted the ILS frequency of 110.70 and the course of 121. So my aircraft was all set up and then I made sure I saved that in my FMC. The next thing to do is load up FSIApro and begin configuring it for your instant approach. I know at this point it’s not sounding that instant but for anyone who has flown high level aircraft, you well know it is hard to just throw them up in the air where you want and expect them to fly, in the main the systems are to complex and the aircraft needs programming for flight. Once you open FSIAPro all you need to do is click on the Flightplan button and begin inputting data, as you can see the flightplan dialog is laid out in a logical manner and the order in which you input your data is ICAO Start NM out from runway Speed Intersect from Nautical miles back You’ll notice a button that says Show Approach Types Available, I haven’t mentioned this yet but you can actually setup different approaches: On final, a straight in approach Intersect Final, which would be commonly used for an ILS approach Downwind, which would be commonly used for VFR flights or ILS approaches. Unfortunately there is no ability to create an approach such as a NDB/DME procedural approach. Fly the Approach Once you have everything set up, which can be quite quick once you have gone through the process a couple of times its time to fly. Let the fun begin. This next bit is a little cumbersome and if I have one niggle it is this. I am sure this could all have been achieved with a one click process but instead we have a process that is in my view a little clunky. The process now is a simple case of returning to Xplane (alt tab or however you do it) and - Press Ctrl Shift C to open the 'Position Aircraft' Control Panel within X-Plane. - Press Ctrl Shift Q to quick load the approach file you created into the Position Aircraft plugin. - Press Ctrl Shift P to position the aircraft ready to fly the approach you just created with FS Instant Approach. Beware though because when you make that final key press your aircraft will be moved to the position you created and flying, it happens rather quickly and if you’re not ready it can take you by surprise to suddenly be in the air approaching your airfield of choice. I must admit the first time I did this is did catch me by surprise and because I hadn’t got the 757 set up correctly there where bells and lights flashing and ringing it was all rather disconcerting, also I hadn’t realised that the real world weather would also be loaded so it was rather grey and with vis quite low. These are things we might be used to when flying into an airfield from some distance and you have had time to check weather et, but when it happens instantly before your eyes it can be a little stress inducing. So a perfectly executed ILS approach into EGFF rwy 12. Conclusion I started this review by saying that I wasn’t to convinced that this is a vital piece of software to purchase but on reflection and after using it several times I have to say I have changed me view and I think for the cost and at a just under £10 why would you not buy it. The ability to set approaches into any airport in the world (xplane world) whether it be ILS, VFR or Downwind is unique in the flight sim world. I do have a couple of complaints which I mentioned earlier and that is the initiation process of actually loading the Instant approach once you have configured everything, I’m still convinced that could be done via a one click process and also the actual configuring of an approach under the flightplan button can be a little confusing. It is not an insurmountable problem and as I say after a few uses of the program it all becomes second nature. Jeff Preston and John paul Jones with the help of Ole Andreason and Joe Minellono have produced a package unique in the flight sim world, I can think of no other program that achives this either in Xplane or FSX the addition of Sandy Barbours Position Aircraft Plugin is inspired and shows how the best way of developing is to get a team around you, who can help achieve your vision. Well done all, it’s grand job well done, as we say up North. (I was born in Bolton Lancashire) and after many uses of this application I highly recommend it for the Xplane user. Wycliffe Barrett Yes! the Instant Approach is now Available from X-Plane.OrgStore : FS Instant Approach Price is US$14.00 Windows only! - not Mac compatible FSFlyingSchool Reviewer PC Intel Core i5-2500k CPU @ 3.30ghz 8GB RAM nVidia Geforce GTX 660Ti 2048GB 2x 300gb Hard Drive 1x 200gb Hard drive 1x 2tb Hard drive Minimum Requirements required System Requirements FS Instant Approach PRO recommends a PC well equipped to run the version of X-Plane 10 you have selected. If the PC can run X-Plane 10 at a good pace, without problems, FS Instant Approach PRO will run fine with it. If the PC is struggling to run X-Plane 10, then FS Instant Approach PRO will be unable to give its best performance. Because X-PLANE 10 requires a high performance system, we recommend the following minimum specification: 3 GHz multi-core CPU (multiple processors preferred) 4 GB RAM DirectX 10 capable (DirectX 11 preferred) graphics with 2 GB on-board dedicated VRAM 18th June 2014 copyright@2014: X-Plane Reviews 2014
  2. World2xplane is a stunning new development for creating an even more "plausible world" for Xplane 10. This new application uses OpenstreetMap data but in a new an unique way which will provide greater complexity of buildings than before, not only that it will be able to generate sloped roof's and also correct height buildings. It has only been in dev for a few months but already it is showing some very promising results. It is still only in alpha phase which means it can be unstable and may not produce results as you desire but it is a WIP and so can only get better. A number of high profile developers from the xplane world have become interested in this project and are offering help to the developer so I feel that this application will soon gather a pace and become a must have for developers and users a like. being a thin application it doesn't need a huge high end machine to run although iw ill say I can't find any min specifications indicated anywhere on the site. Developer Notes World2XPlane is an application under development which can be used to generate scenery for X-Plane (www.x-plane.com) using data from (OpenStreetMap). World2XPlane will add forests, regional houses and landmarks using a list of highly configurable rules. The model library used for regional buildings is opensource and available here world-models. The application currently supports the following features: Placement of forests, parks, orchards and other OSM data using X-Plane forest files. Wrapping of facades around OSM buildings, including complex buildings (i.e. OSM multipolygons). Placement of X-Plane 3D models into OSM building footprints. This can be used to create very realistic looking towns and villages Regional rules, e.g. Placement of regional houses or forests based on country/county codes. These regions are configurable. Advanced rules for parsing OSM data. Rules can be chained together to produce convincing scenery. e.g. All buildings inside a landuse=residential zone can use only house models, and industrial other rules. Random placement of objects using collision detection. e.g. Trees placed inside residential zones or cattle inside fields. Line rules for surrounding items with 3D objects. e.g. Surrounding fields with trees or hedges. .. and more features to come. As you can see the developer has a fairly comprehensive list of features and with help from friends I think that feature list will grow. There are a number of comparison shots on the web site so rather than reproduce pictures here I will simply place the link to the site and suggest that you have a jolly good look around. http://world2xplane.com/ Wycliffe Staff Reviewer
  3. Hi I have flown this aircraft almost exclusively since first getting it. I have some superb aircraft but when I go flying I am drawn to the 757. Why? It's simple really, it is quite simply one of the best aircraft available in xplane. Now of course we have this new update which is to be frank the largest update I have seen on any model be it xplane or the other sim. I think Stephens comments and response to the question why release an aircraft that is not complete is spot on. The released version of the 757 received a platinum award from PC PIlot, I know the editor Derek and most of his team and they don't give out Platinum awards easily. I have quite a fair amount of time on this type and being a Boeing simmer for many years I didn't find the conversion at all difficult especially having flown the leveld 767 and the QW 757, but there is really no comparison. The leveld 767 for many years was the benchmark standard for others to meet but now many have surpassed that and with the new updated FlighFactor 757 for xplane we are really pushing the outside of the envelope in terms of aircraft development. That said I still think there is some way to go and in the next few months we will see some incredible work. So onto the plane, as Stephen said everything just seems smoother, tighter and more reliable although one can still have maintenance issues due to the failure routines. Which honestly is brilliant. I have been having HYD pressure issues on the right engine for some reason, most probably just HYD fluid needing replenishing. It was my birthday last week and my daughters bought me a Saitek Yoke and throttle quadrant so as well as trying to get used to the 757 I have also been getting used to the new flight controlling method. Last night I flew to EGCC from EGFF and I was able to fly the SID all the way upto 6000 ft and to BCN using the yoke and throttles. The 757 handles like a charm and once set up on approach is rock solid. There have been so many bug fixes and corrections it's hard to mention them all in relation to the flight model as it all just feels even better. I have found the lighting system a bit of a nuisance and I am still waiting to see the three altimeter QNH setting at to sync, I still had to manually adjust all three of them last night. I'm actually deaf in one ear witha. 90% loss, so sound sets etc have never really been high on my list. If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck it is generally a duck, but I have found the subtle changes in the engine sounds between the RR and PW quite remarkable and I think I might even put the xplane sounds via my speakers rather than all sound including ATC coming through my head set. There is so much more I could say but I think, Stephen has covered everything very well, I just wanted to add my two pence worth. This is not an aircraft for the new user to jump in easily, it takes a lot of study but the satisfaction of completing a certain task is reward enough for the time spent on learning. I am finding out new things each day the complexity of systems and depth are stunning. I almost forgot the iPad FMC, this is just sheer genius it was on the initial release but now with the exec light working it's sheer brilliance. If you haven't got this aircraft then why not, also when you buy it get ready for some reading. Wycliffe
  4. Hello my fellow simmers, Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat and this means a number of things to me, one I'm wrapping presents two my bank card is getting hammered and three I can look forward to at least one days piece and quiet, but more than any of that it means I have very little time to fly, control or write reviews. I do have time to let you know about a brand new flight planning tool that has been released just in time for Christmas. EFASS . This freeware package is stupendous I have been using it for the past week and it is superb. There are a few bugs but nothing that would stop a galloping horse and updates have been happening at the rate of almost one a day. Unfortunately for some this is a Windows based only package, as yet I have seen no idication that it will be recompiled for Mac's or Linux based machines. EFASS is so chock full of features I would need a lot more time than I have right now to do it full justice, but put simply it is a Moving map Flight planning tool Fuel and payload tool Weather station Database of all your flights A chart repository It's vatsim or IVAO compatible It works with all known sims including xplane Amongst the many features you can export your flightplan to your aircraft FMC and as well as that it will even create a passenger list with name, gender and age, all made up of course, but still adds that level of immersion that helps you to suspend your disbelief. The list goes on and on it's probably easier to look at the website http://froom.de/efass/ which you have to register at to get the free download. A friend of mine downloaded it and immediately said to me this is as good as if not better than some of the packages that you pay a lot of money for, I agreed. The amount of coding that has gone into this package just be a lot, ok a lot of it might just be parsing algorithms, but I couldn't write one let a lone the number that must be at work here. So before I dash again to the store to buy another turkey let me say to you all, support the developer and go and get your free copy now. Wycliffe
  5. X-Plane 10 HD Mesh scenery v.2.0 by Alpilotx Last week I mentioned that I was downloading this incredible freeware package and that it was taking a little bit of time to just download Wales, in fact it was an overnight download taking 5 hours. since then I have bought a membership to one of the sites hosting and the downloads take only minutes now which is a lot better I can assure you. As I now have had a chance to spend a little more time with the mesh I thought i might write a little more than just the announcement that I made last week. Here is the product information from the Alpilotx website:- X-Plane 10 HD Scenery Mesh v2 is an update to the older v1 HD Mesh (and a replacement of the default Global Scenery) and brings a lot of improvements in many areas: It is a much higher resolution base mesh (more, smaller triangles) compared to the default Global Scenery which ships with X-Plane 10 (one could say: approximately 2-3-times more dense) The higher resolution mesh allows for a much more detailed representation of the elevation profile of the landscape The higher resolution mesh allows a much more detailed/exact representation of the underlying landclass data (because of the smaller triangles, which can follow landclass changes in the raw data more closely) It is based on a completely new Openstreetmap (OSM) data (approximately end of September 2013), which brings (compared to default Global Scenery) a lot of improvements in: water features (lakes, rivers, coastline) – many previously missing water features are now finally there roads railroads power lines urban park areas It includes line rivers from OSM (not just polygons as before) tagged waterway=river which improves the landscape in most regions quite a bit Uses improved urban zoning (thanks to improved algorithms in the scenery generator) Many smaller and larger landclass data improvements completely replaced the landclass data for Canada (big improvements) improved forest density representation in Europe (changed the sparse / dense classification) some new classes added (in many regions), like: moraines, riverbeds, mining/dump sites added differentiation between ice (perennial) and snow (more temporal) to have an even more detailed representation of mountains. There is a nice description of this by Albert (the texture master) on x-plane.org: follow this link added differentiation between irrigated / non-irrigated crops (in some regions – like the USA etc.) Completely replaced the elevation data with viewfinderpanoramas.org (if yew have a few cents, donate to that guy!). This doesn’t changes much in areas which were already great, but fixes some which were really hosed. Latest airport data (2013.10) boundaries used, to have up to date airport areas. Alpilotx. Andras Fabian, has been working with xplane for a number of years now and has been responsible for the default terrain mesh, in a recent interview he gives some insight as to what motivated him to do scenery work ad if I recall it was the fact that Xplane8 could portray real forests that sparked his interest. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/content.php?13946-Interview-With-Andras-Fabian/view/1 I'm happy that he did start tinkering (his word) with the program because that has led us to the happy state we find ourselves in now, a terrain mesh which nearly covers the whole world for free. Created using the most up to date and reliable geodata available, and Andras is very good at locating the best data there is. I believe that total download is close to 55gb of data which is a huge amount and unless you have a very fast broadband connection with unlimited bandwidth it is going to take a while to download. Already some individuals have downloaded the whole package and placed them on torrent sites. I prefer not to use torrent sites as I really don't trust them to offer clean downloads. If you trust the torrent site then of course use that method. installation is very easy and instructions are included with each package you download so you cant go wrong, what I particularly like is that you simply install the packages to your custom scenery folder, you don't have to delete or over write the default scenery because of the way that xplane manages custom scenery it always becomes the first scenery installed. If you decide you don't like the terrain mesh simply delete it restart xplane and the default terrain mesh will be there. After installation you don't have to do anything else, it's just load up and fly. Andras does say on his site that you might have to adjust settings because the terrain mesh can have an effect on FPS but to be honest I saw no hit at all. These images do not do justice to the scenery at all, the problem with taking screenshots is that everything looks flat and xplane is not flat and this fantastic terrain mesg is not flat either, I took only a quick flight around LOWI during which my wife walked into the study/mancave/flightdeck and you know what even she said "WOW that looks good, how much did you pay for that" when I said it was free she gave me a kiss and walked out. Now that is well worth the download time alone lol. Whats more she came back with a wee dram of my finest single malt. I know it's coming up to christmas but i have to think she is after something. Whichever way you look your monitor is full of WOW moments especially when you fly over somewhere mountainous, I did do a flight over Snowdon in North Wales, and once again this took my breath away especially as I have the UK photoscenery. So my friends I suggest you get downloading, but as I said in my intro piece just download one or two areas just to get yourself going. I haven't downloaded any of the America's but I have got all of Europe, I mostly fly in Europe so there is little point in getting the mesh for across the pond, although the lure of the Rockies might be to much and I will download it after all. Wycliffe Developer Site : X-Plane 10 - Alpilotxnet ©X-Plane-Reviews 2013
  6. Hi everybody I'm going to tell you a tale, a cautionary tale. This story starts approx 3 weeks ago and it would seem it only applies to those who have a windows based os machine and a nVidia GFX card. So about three weeks ago being the good and stout fellow that I am I decide to update my nvidia gfx drivers, it's not something I normally do as I try to live by my own adage which is, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". But I was seduced by the dark side and thought what the heck what harm could it do. So I dutifully entered the dark zone known as the nvidia Gforce experience, its all green and black and looks very harmless as it asks you what card you have. I clicked on the button and wonderous things began to happen without me having to do anything or enter anything or submit credit card details or anything. I was liking the experience, it appeared that not only was it downloading drivers but even some new software to look at within the experience. Well I thought this is all rather nice and painless and as fast as you like the experience finished and all was done. It was late at night so off I went to bed safe in the knowledge that all was right with my PC and the nvidia gfx card had new drivers that promised me some type of Nirvana/Shangri la in the world of gfx. I fired up xplane the next day and things didnt seem right, my fps had gone down a bit, and then whilst flying it went down even further. What the devil is happening. So Like any decent tech guru what did I do, iI went to look at my settings in Xplane. Nothing seemed changed. Back into xplane and the fps had gone down even further again. I must have changed something In the settings I'll look again. And so I did for most of the evening I fiddled and messed and still couldn't seem to get my fps back to normal. I did a flight with a buddy of mine online, It was awful he kept getting away from me and we was supposed to be flying at roughly the same speed and mach number at one point he was a good couple of hundred miles a head of me. This is silly whats going on. Two weeks later I had an epiphany! A eureka moment if you will. I went into my control panel and found the nvidia performance application, not the gforce experience just the normal configuration tool. Everything relating to my xplane config was knocked out and reset to default. AHA, I had found the problem, it was all wrong it was as if xplane and the experience where fighting each other. With a few clicks here and there I had my xplane back to its normal 50/70 fps and the world was right again. So the moral of the tale is . If it ain't broke don't fix it and if you do a download make sure you go into the nvidia control panel and set everything to as it should be. All the best Blue Skies. Wycliffe
  7. Excellent review, well done. regarding the annoying little fps counter there is a way of getting rid of it. I did have to write into the jardesign support forum to find out. It would have been much better to have an off on switch as I find FPS counters the bane of most simmers lives as they try desperately to increase FPS into the high hundreds or some such ridiculous number. Anyway this is how you do it. delete only font12.fnt file at \Custom Avionics\fps_ind\ folder Make a backup copy or as I did just rename the file to font12.backup Wycliffe
  8. Good Morning/Evening Pilots this is the big one, it's taken a year for this to be developed and when I say this is the big one it truly is. This will change the way you look at Xplane beyond your imagination. Alpilotx has finished his work on the extremely high detailed scenery mesh. It's a massive amount of data and any one with any semblance of sanity would only download one tile at a time. I downloaded the UK last night and it was reporting 5 hrs to download. So I went to bed and installed it this morning. You must follow the install instructions very closely or you will be in trouble. I'm on the runway at EGFF and the hills to the North do look very different, cant wait to have a dash through the S Wales valleys. Enjoy guys and have a look at the screen shots he has put up. http://www.alpilotx.net/downloads/x-plane-10-hd-scenery-mesh-v2/ for the download * Europe Screenshots : https://picasaweb.google.com/101666907909842492197/XPlane10HDMeshSceneryV2EuropeFINAL?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNKp646D4Ynscw&feat=directlink Wycliffe
  9. Just in case our many forum members missed this in the past 24 hrs, the world of Xplane is very busy, xsquawkbox64bit v2 has been released. This has fixed the bug that was causing some crashes if you had the Gizmo plugin on your machine. You can get it from here http://www.xsquawkbox.net/xsb/ Have a good day/evening Wycliffe PS I had a private email from someone this morning saying that I was blaming GIZMO as being the cause of the bug. I have written numerous apologies about this, but at first everyone thought the bug was caused by GIZMO, including Wade. The bug was in the xplane sdk and headers, it was the use of GIZMO that identified the bug. So that clears that up.
  10. Hello Some of you know me and probably more of you don't, my full name is Wycliffe Alan Barrett Jnr but I mostly drop the Alan and Jnr and as some of you know I am a reviewer here at Xplanereviews. I have been around flight simulation in some form or another for the past 20 years and my first experiences of flight simulation where mostly confined to space based games and then military sims. I moved to commercial flight with FS5 but didn't really enjoy commercial flight simulation until FS2002 upwards. I stopped using FSX last year 2012 and finally removed it from harddrive in MAY2013 having made my full conversion to Xplane, I have never looked back since. It occurred to me that with any luck some readers of this site might actually be new to flight simulation and perhaps a short essay on flight simulation and where we are, at the present time and what is happening might be of some help. Flight simulation as a hobby can be a quite a lonely pastime, we sit in our studies, mancaves, sheds, spare bedrooms, garages with our computers humming away sometimes in the darkness trying to suspend our disbelief in attempts to capture the magic of flight whether it be in a Glider, Cessna 172 or a leviathan of the air in a Boeing 747. What ever we fly on whatever types of systems be it a single monitor PC or a full scale replica 737 NG cockpit for a brief short time we are the masters of all that we survey and are in total oblivion to the rest of the world until of course we land, the wife/girlfriend/partner/mother calls us for dinner or in my case my cat jumps up on my desk and walks across my keyboard as I am on final approach and dispels the moment. I do quite a lot of work here in the UK promoting flight simulation and Xplane whether it be in forums or at Flight Sim shows like last months RAF Cosford, PC Pilot, Flight 1 sponsored show and I can honestly say that the buzz around Xplane is growing steadily and in many respects in a better and more interesting way than ever there was with FSX. Why do I say that you ask, well when FSX first came out it was designed for machines that didn't exist and in the tens years since machines have progressed to a appoint where they have surpassed the best that FSX can do and are ready for something else. That something else is XPlane. Frooglesim over on You Tube has released a high level detailed review of Xplane and he comments why he thinks that Xplane is the simulation of choice right now. The first and most compelling statement from Frooglesim is that Xplane is designed for the high end machines available now, right now and for the foreseeable future. His second most compelling point was in his assertion and I agree is that FSX is dead, it is not being developed further and will not ever be. That doesn't mean that Xplane is the be all and end all, but it is the only 64bit flight simulation platform in the market place at the moment and that does bring some benefits with it. I do find myself explaining what 64bit means an awful lot but it's worth repeating here. Having a 64bit application such as Xplane means quite simply that it can access all the ram on your PC whereas a 32 bit application is restricted to 3gig of ram no matter how much you have. What does this mean in reality and with Xplane, well, it doesn't mean that you will see frame rates increasing hugely beyond what your main CPU or GFX GPU can deliver but it does mean that you can increase your settings to a far greater extent without losing those frame rates. I comfortably see FPS in the 50/70 range no matter what aircraft I am using. Xplane also ustilises all of the cores of a multicore machine which means it is spreading the load across all of the cores rather than on a 32 bit application it using only one core to drive everything. Aircraft as we have seen from some of the recent reviews on this site are getting better and better with each new release, developers are pushing themselves to the limits in terms of what they can put in their products, as to whether Xplane itself is being pushed to the limit is debatable and many of us are awaiting the much heralded 10:30 update of Xplane. As recently reported on this fora Xsquawkbox64bit pilot client has been released which means we can now fly our 64bit Xplane on VATSIM online with other pilots and real ATC. This has been something that many VATSIMmers have waited several months for and at first it seemed no one was interested in progressing this important aspect of flight simulation even to the point of it having a detrimental effect on sales, but all that is a distant memory and as of a few weeks ago is no longer an issue. All of my flights are conducted online in the 64bit environment which is to be frank really quite wonderful. Finally I would just like to make a comment about the demographic of flight simulation, I am one of the founder members of The Bristol Flight Simulations Group and last week when we met for our monthly meeting I had a good look around the room. I was quite shocked because what I saw was a group of predominantly white middle class older men from a particular income bracket, mostly retired. Myself and one other member are what you might call visible ethnic minorities and there were trwo young people in the room, one 15yr old and a 13yr old. Of course not a woman to be seen. The recent PCPilot Flight1 sponsored show at RAF Cosford was one of the best shows I have ever attended in terms of numbers, it was very busy indeed, but once again predominantly visited by men although the age range was a lot better than the monthly attendance at Bristol. Flight simulation, as gaming is predominantly male, and this it would seem is a simple fact of gaming law, of course there are some women but pitifully few, somehow we have to change the demographic of flight simulation if we want it to grow as an entertainment platform, although thankfully I think this is a problem for the industry rather than just myself although I do try my best. There is only one factor that I can see in the way here and that is cost, those young people who do fly seem in the most part have o rely on the good graces of parents to either provide the hardware or to let their children use the family hardware, not always the best practice. I know of one young aircraft developer who had all his work deleted by his mother because she doesn't like him playing Xplane. If she only realised he could become and aero engineer or even an aircraft designer of the future. I do think all of us involved in flight simulation in whatever way have a responsibility to this community even in a small way, mine is to create relatively reasonable sceneries free, and to offer help and advice where I can, I also promote flight simulation at every opportunity I get, perhaps we could all do the same. So what does all this rambling mean, well IMHO Xplane is the only flight simulator of choice, that it is a system that can provide you with the most realistic flight model to date and in a 64bit environment. That any commercial developer of aircraft has to really step up their game if they are going to join the party, and that the demographic of flight simulation does need to change to keep what was a niche pastime moving forward I hope this short essay has been helpful in some way, I'm always about somewhere on the net so your sure to see my name pop up. Blue Skies Wycliffe
  11. Hi The system fidelity of this aircraft is such that you cannot just jump in push the throttles to the bulkhead and fly. You do need to program the aircraft correctly, which means in the most part making sure you have the FMC correctly configured. The early problems I was having on day one with the FMC have gone now that I understand the conventions. I first thought that I was encountering a bug but knowing flightfactors propensity to model accurately, based on real world data and functions, it was clearly not a bug. Let me explain. I will use the flight of EGFF to EGCC to explain. This is a simple route BCN N864 MONTY, lets assume the winds are from the west so it will be BCN1A DEP from rwy 30 and a MIRSI1A STAR to rwy 23 at EGCC. When one first puts the DEp and Dest airport into the FMC EGFF EGCC with rwy it will put in the first part of your route EGFF 30, trying to build the route from there on causes problems . so looking at the FMC route page it will look something like this EGFF 30 BCN N864 MONTY MIRSI1A This loks all wrong but you will be able to activate it and on departure your aircraft will just do left hand orbits over EGFF. Not satisfying at all. So the solution is quite simple and that is when you have entered your DEP and DEST and you go to enter your route make sure you CLR that top line EGFF 30. Your route should look like BCN N864 MONTY Then enter the SID And STAR and everything will link up correctly, you will have a discontinuity and the end of your flightplan which is correct and would happen in the real world which you need to clr. Simple. As I say the B757 form Flight Factor is a brilliant aircraft and as yet I have not fallen out of the skies with it. All my flights are conducted online in VATSIM at 64 bit with Xsquawkbox64bit and I have no issues whatsoever. To be honest it doesn't get much better than this, and if you haven't bought it yet all I can say is why not. Wycliffe p.s if you want to enhance your learning and fill out the experience then get Mike Rays Excellent Boeing 700 Series of Books from www.utem.com The 737 book of his was the book that finally made me understand FMC's and how they work, he has a unique writing style plus his books are humorous and filled with some outstanding illustrations.
  12. Aerosoft : Lugano Airport Reviewer - Wycliffe Barrett Product description: The airport Lugano is a small international Swiss airport in the canton Tecino. Its location is between the three towns of Agno, Muzzano and Bioggio. The fascinating part of this airport is surely the breathtaking approach, probably one of the most beautiful approaches in the world. Landing on 01 takes you across the picturesque Lake of Lugano where you get the most out of the reflection and shadowing techniques in X-Plane 10 Global. The most frequent aircraft in Lugano is the Saab 2000 operated by Darwin Airlines offering Code-Share flights with Alitalia to destinations like Rome, Cagliari and Olbia. The most important route though is the flight to Zurich for Swiss International Airlines. 2010 saw the airport handling more than 170.000 passengers taking off from the 1.350 m long runway. I love flying at 38,000ft in a chunk of heavy metal, there can be no greater satisfaction as when you land your aircraft after completing an IFR flight from one airport to another, having programmed your FMC with SIDS route and STAR. Sometimes though I yearn to fly close to the ground and look at the scenery, but the world is a big place so how do I choose where I want to fly. VFR means visual flight rules which also means if you do it old style looking out of the window. I tend to gravitate towards mountains and valleys, perhaps because I live in South Wales only a few short miles from the South Wales valleys. So where better to go than Switzerland, Xplane's terrain mesh is astounding just in the default vanilla installation but when you add a better mesh and some good scenery well it comes alive and it is no better represented than with the Aerosoft Lugano Airport in Switzerland. So lets Load up and take a VFR flight around the valleys and lakes of the area departing from the beautifully located airport by the lake. Lugano Airport is a regional airport located 4 km west of the Swiss city of Lugano, in the municipalities of Agno, Bioggio and Muzzano. It lies closer to the village of Agno than to Lugano itself, and is sometimes known as Lugano-Agno. All Approaches into Lugano are from the south to rwy 019 and has one of the steepest glideslopes I have ever come across at 6.65 deg which is due to the terrain and the ILS approach chart advise you start your descent at 6000ft. On final approach you will be flying over the lake for approx 3 miles so make sure you have your life jacket on just in case. Installation Aerosoft have begun to use installers for many of their Xplane products and whilst I prefer the extract to Custom scenery folder method from a zip file using Aerosoft's installer presents no hardship whatsoever and Lugano Installs itself by just locating your Xplane custom scenery folder. When you purchase the software you can opt for instant download or have the CD shipped to you. There is even an option to purchase the download and have a disk back up for an extra $4.95. whichever you choose the file is approx 245mb zipped. When installed it creates two folders one for the airport 282mb on disk and the other is the Lugano Scenery 31mb on disk, which is not a huge amount of space being used. As with all Aerosoft airports you get a PDF manual in English and German and a set of high quality PDF charts as well. One great aspect of the manual is a screen shot of the settings screen in Xplane with some recommended settings I can see this being of great help to some Xplane users. The one thing I didn't like is that the main picture of the manual shows the main building and tower of Lugano with snow on the ground and on the hills behind and as we well know winter textures are not depicted in Xplane well not yet anyway. You can get an add on that gives you winter wonderland but I haven't tried it so I have no idea to how effective it is. Airport and Surroundings One of the main aspects of payware scenery for me is how well the orthophoto's blend in with the surrounding default scenery, some developers can get this wrong and the orthophoto work can look out of place and in some cases as if the image has just been dropped on top without any consideration as to how it looks. Get it right and it can make all the difference between poor and excellent. This orthophoto work at Lugano blends in almost seamlessly and I found it difficult to spot where the orthophoto ended and the default ground texture started, I think the addition of the Lugano treeline by the canal that runs the length of the airfield really helps in masking the join. The market garden opposite the terminals and on the other side of the canal are really well done with some pretty spectacular buildings including greenhouses and long sheds. There are a number of businesses all along this side of the airfield and I suspect they are doing good business in these very pleasant surroundings. The elevated road which is beyond the market gardens and other businesses is a little overdone Looking towards the ends of the runways it's hard to tell whether the broken and cracked concrete is orthophoto work or drawn by the developer, what ever it looks very good as do the ground markings. I especially like the stand numbering which is all cracked and chipped as you would expect There are over 20,000 grass polygons and I have to say this is some of the best grass I have ever seen in any scenery, as you can see from the images it does look quite something. Coming back to the terminal side of the airport all the buildings have been really well built (modelled) I particularly like the World Trade Centre with the sign around the top of the central part of the building very well done indeed and when we move into darkness the lighting looks spectacular. The main terminal area and control tower are brilliant, as a 3rd party dev myself I have always tried to get the airport clutter just right sadly here its just a little to bare but what it lacks in clutter it more than makes up for in the myriad of little details. I really like all the blue steel work just below and up the tower. The guard rail on the outside of the ATC room at the top of the tower is fantastic work and looks just right. The buildings in the main terminal area look as if they have been built over a number of years with additions being made to the airport at various times, I must admit to being a little confused as to why the tennis courts are inside the airport boundary, must be terrible playing tennis there when a an ATR is coming into land, we all know how noisy they can be. The one thing that is lacking from the airport, and can make it look a little sterile is the lack of any people, I have had a good walk around and considering the number of cars that are parked all over the place, I would have thought I would see at least one person wandering about. well I can tell you there is not a one. It reminds me of a post apocalyptic film where everybody has gone. Even the playground at the front of the airport is empty and believe me where there are swings and slides there will be children and parents watching them. I even had a look through the restaurant windows and couldn't see anybody. That ok it means more cake for me, lol VFR Flight So lets do a quick flight around the area and see what it looks like from the air. The charts soon tell you there is only one way in and one way out so lining up on rwy 19, I open the throttle and start off down the runway looking forward to a nice quick flight around the lake. Almost as soon as you take off and leave the end of the runway everything changes and your flying over default scenery, whilst the surrounding hills look great and the water of the lake looks pretty there is something missing. I fly down the lake for a few miles and then turn right to fly around a hill that juts into the lake creating a small harbour where the village of Ponte Tresa is dissected by the Italian Swiss Border, here the default scenery tries it's best but to be honest it doesn't look that convincing, turning right I head north back towards the airport flying over Caslano heading to wards the middle of the lake in preperation for lining up on the centre line. The approach to runway 01 is lovely and as you reach the mouth of the canal you can see a football field and the Via Lugano, a few more yards and your over the threshold all very nice. Night lighting throughout the airport is excellent and of course the Global lighting system and HDR setting is used to full effect. The lighting of the interior of the terminal restaurant is good but I have seen better in some freeware that is available. Conclusion Lugano is a beautiful area of the world and this airport is very good. The work on the main terminal and ATC tower looks fabulous I especially like the World Trade Centre and the market gardens on the opposite side to the main terminal. I do have some reservations and that is for your money your not getting a lot and by comparison the freeware version of Lugano has far more to offer with details like people around the airport, sail boats on the lake, and even the smaller villages I mentioned on my flight being depicted to some degree. I also have to say that fps was slightly better in the more detailed freeware than the payware version of Lugano. the orthophoto of Lugano in the Aerosoft version is better and the market gardens green houses and other buildings opposite the main terminal are excellent. I think I would be hard pressed to say which one you should get. Perhaps an update to the Aerosoft version could be forthcoming with some extra attention paid to those areas I mentioned, if this was the case it would be a simple recomendation, the cost makes it a viable option at only 19:99 euros. So I might say make a decision on that basis at that price it is actually good value for money. Aerosoft : Airport Lugano is Available in the X-Plane.Orgshop now : Airport Lugano Price is US$21.34 System requirements: X-Plane 10 Global Windows XP/Vista/7, MAC, Linux Processor (CPU): 2,6 GHz Core 2 Duo RAM: min. 2048 MB RAM Video card: 3D Video Card min. 512 MB Optionally: DirectX: 9.0c or better Download-Size: 100 MB Installations-Size: 330 MB Wycliffe Barrett 15th November 2013 ©Copyright2013 : Wycliffe Barrett reviewer system spec: intel i5 2500k cpu @3.300GHZ Asus MOBO Nvidia Geforce GTX650Ti 2gig Vram 8 gig RAM Win 7 Xp10:25b3
  13. So I have heard just lately what was thought as GIZMO issue is incorrect it's actually something to do with the XSB and xplane sdk, its being fixed and a new release will be along ina few days. The bug only effects a small number of users but enough to warrant a fix being found. Wycliffe Wycliffe
  14. Hello Apparently there appear to be some problems with Gizmo, this seems to effect aircraft purchased from xaviation, some people have reported a crash when using the CRJ when purchased via xaviation. If you have said issues write to Gizmo as it is their issue not Xsquawkbox although the devs at Xsquawkbox are aware. Also win 8 users might have some problems aswell. Wycliffe
  15. Good morning/evening Finally we have it, a 64bit pilot client, many thanks to all who worked on this, developers, contributors and beta testers. You can get it from http://www.xsquawkbox.net/xsb/ The world suddenly looks a lot brighter this morning. When you run xsquawkbox64 a date expiration nag comes on, ignore this as it will be replaced with a further release. Ok let's go and fill the skies. Wycliffe
  16. Stephen Dutton has done a fantastic review of this superb aircraft and only work has prevented me from doing a review on this beautiful aircraft. Flightfactor have in my opinion raised the bar so high now in Xplane that the next step up is going to be so hard that it really is gong to take some doing. Roman and Phillip have excelled themselves and all the lessons learned on the Triple 7 have been put to good use here and have allowed them to make incredible strides forward. We all know this is the one that a lot of people have been waiting for this one and I tell you now this is it. It is very hard to pick fault and I think I might have to do a lot of flying to see what if anything needs adjusting. I have one comment and that is the passenger bus, You can't see the wheels lol. I have been a simmer for about 20 years and I never thought I would see this level of complexity in a desktop simulator but here we are. Simmers across the world keep talking about PMDG and Xplane, well Mr Randazzo you will need to pull your socks up, there is a new kid on the block and they have again knocked you out of the park. Well Done Phillip and Roman for putting to gether an outstanding world class team for the full development of this aircraft we all look forward to the next one, but first take a day or two off and have a beer. Wycliffe
  17. Aircraft Review : Khamsin North American B-25J Mitchell Reviewer Wycliffe Barrett PC spec Intel i5 2500mhz cpu 8Gb DDR33 ram GForce GTX 650 Ti 2048mb VRAM X-Plane 10:25b1 UK Photo Scenery RCSimulations Various addons Hello my fellow simmers, well the future is looking very bright at the moment for xplaners, and the present looks even better with this new release. Let me warn you now there is a danger that I will run out of superlatives very quickly whilst making this review. First and foremost, and let’s get this out of the way straight off …. go and buy this plane now! Ok that’s the review over with. Time for coffee. Joking aside this aircraft is absolutely astounding and the developer has poured his heart and soul into every aspect of this B25 Mitchell. I only hope that I can convey to you through the use of the English language exactly what I think of this model. I’m not old enough to have seen one of these flying in the real world and my whole experience of the B25 Mitchell is seeing static displays and watching countless old grainy black and white films as a child on BBC on a Sunday afternoon with my Dad sleeping and my Mum washing the dishes in the kitchen from Sunday lunch. As a child I always wondered how those ugly ungainly planes managed to get in the air, all the angles looked wrong and that strange tail section just didn’t look right, but that is the beauty of flight. It’s a wonder that 16 of them took off from USS Hornet (aircraft carrier) in the Doolittle raids. Once in the air the B25 comes into it’s own and does exactly what it’s supposed to do, it’s not the prettiest plane in the world but it does have some magic about it and that might be something to do with the part it played in history or some other untangible element. To date there are approx 100 surviving B25 Mitchells many are static displays with about 45 still airworthy. Installation As always this is so simple it defies logic, simply download your purchased from the www.x-plane.org store and then unzip the zip file to your aircraft folder. As I have commented before I have created a folder structure within my aircraft folder which makes sense to me. So I Installed the B25 to my military folder. Opening X-Plane and going to the aircraft selection panel I see the B25 Michell and when I click on it , it displays a picture in the lower panel of the aircraft. Superb. There are the usual folders located within the B25 folder including the weapons folder and interestingly and for the first time I see a LUA file for the avionics. The Manual is also located here and I have to say whilst only 20 pages long it has everything you need to know regarding the aircraft . On the quick start page there is a blog address for support which I thought was a useful addition. There are no recommended settings other than a FOV setting, which is also another good idea as most users will have different settings from each other and settings personal to them and their machines. there isn't even a recommended system specification as Khamsin are quite sure that a modest machine can run the aircraft. Personally i still think simmers should be looking at i5 cpu machines with 8/16 gig of ram and a 2gig gfx card for best results. Walkaround I loaded up at RAF St Athan just a few miles from the capitol city of Wales, Cardiff. St Athan was an active airfield during WWII and was also a Spitfire engineering base during those years, So it seemed like a good place to start with this aircraft. Sitting on the tarmac once again I was struck by how ungainly it looks but walking around doing a check showed the beauty of the aircraft. Checking the Goodyear nose wheel tire I almost managed to break the arials protruding from the belly of the aircraft luckily i saw them just in time and was able to go around the front look at the plexiglass nose gunners positions and check the guns where clean. The detailing is just brilliant with every rivet showing just perfectly. You feel as if you could run your fingers over them and feel the bump. Moving around to the starboard Wright R-2600-13 Cyclone 14 radial engine the vents are open and the growl is just sweet. The sound of a radial engine is something to behold and the sound pack for this model is very good indeed. Martha Jean is lounging under the cockpit window and I know I didn't hand paint her on there so it must have been one of my crew. Coming to the rear of the engines as I continue the walkaround you can see the slight undulations in the skin of the aircraft and I just marvel at the skill of Khamsin. Moving back towards the tail section and looking at the gun emplacement the number of rivets just defies counting , every thing just looks so good. The main under carriage with the Goodyears looks sturdy and heavy and appears to have mass, also they are attached to the wing inside the landing gear bay, not just hanging in middair trying to fool us. The flaps are operating as they should and when full deployed look like the proverbial barn doors, the scale of the aircraft is perfect and when you look in the manual and see some of the technical drawings you can see that Khamsin have spent a considerable amount of time on this model, making sure that it is just right. One thing I have noticed in this walkaround is that I must at sometime or another get the bird cleaned, the oil streaks and dirt from the aviation fuel is making rather a mess of the aft fuselage area and the wings. The plexiglass forward gun position has been drawn with love and care and once again the riveting is a work of art, the reflection of the plxiglass is simply stunning although I must admit I think the thousand yard stare of the gunner is a little weird and I found him to look a little freaky. The pilot and co-pilot look great wearing period clothing and their Ray Bans. They even have life preservers on. I have to be honest here and say I find it very difficult to find anything wrong with the external modelling of this aircraft. I will even go so far as to say this aircraft alone could help Xplane cross over from niche market simulator to mass market appeal. It is without doubt eyewateringly good to look at. The CRJ200 drew a line in the sand for others to match, then Ramzzess T7 crossed the rubicon, This aircraft firmly establishes the standard for all to match in the future, I know we have the FlightFactor 757 due out very soon and that will push the limits further again, what this tells us without a doubt and that is X-Plane 10 is the only flight simulator to have on your computer. Cockpit Moving into the cockpit and cabin area your eyes are in for a treat. This cockpit is one of the best I have seen on any sim, once again the superior quality of development can be seen almost immediately with all dials gauges clocks and indicators being crisp sharp, the ultra high definition treatment that the outside has, has been applied to the interior. The VC is so perfect that at certain angles you feel as if you could wipe your finger around the inside of any gauge or dial to remove the dust. If there is a fault with the cockpit it would be it looks just a little to new, a few more scratches and scuff marks would look really good, that said though it still looks fantastic. The main panel is full 3d and you can look at it from any angle and see the superb work that has gone into it. All the dials move smoothly with no lag or stutter. The main instrument panel has over 45 switches and dials. with only a very few being inoperative. The night lighting is a little dark but very effective and sets the mood just right as you fly into the night. There are two elements of the cockpit and design which when I saw them just simply gave me a WOW moment 1) shadows, as the sun goes across the sky. 2) reflections on the cockpit glass. I'll say no more and hopefully the images will convey what I mean by this. The pilot and copilot windows open with an animation that is so smooth you can't help but wonder did Khamsin use virtual 3in1 oil on the runners. Marvellous. Open the windows and looking left or right you see the engines and props. just what you need if you need to check an engine fire, no need for an external view. Khamsin has another surprise up their sleeves with the quick view option which is already setup for us, and by using the numpad on the keyboard you can fly about the aircraft to 10 different positions including each of the gun positions and various views about the cockpit. It feels as if Khamsin have looked at what is being done right now with some other aircraft and added their magic dust to how they want to implement the same feature. One complaint, so this will make two so far what with the spooky looking nose gunner, and that is all the switches and knobs etc have the same sound effect, it's not a deal breaker but I feel I have to mention it, also it doesn't matter where you click whether it be on a switch or a part of the front panel bulkhead you will hear the sound effect. So continuing in the cockpit every thing is where it should be, Pilot Light switch panel, Co-Pilot Radio Panel, Central Column and Pedestal all wonderfully recreated. The auto pilot is rather rudimentary and accurate for the time of the aircraft and works adequately enough as one would expect for the technology of the day. Interestingly enough when I turned it on it did activate my Go Flight MCP PRO as well, very cool. This aircraft also has seven fuel tanks all managed from the fuel tank panel to the right of the co-pilot below the window. There is another innovation in the cockpit and that is the popup checklist which you access from a little badge to the left of the mains instrument panel that says CHECKLIST, click on that and a clipboard pops up with all the common checklists. Pre Flight Starting engines Before take off Run Up Climb Before Landing. Approach After Landing Stopping engines. These checklists will help you through every phase of flight, a very nice addition. Flight Living in Cardiff South Wales where better to start my first flight but at RAF St Athan, the engine start up routine is pretty straight forward and the checklist guides you through the procedure admirably. It's not the easiest aircraft to keep in a straight line on the runway and I found myself working the pedals furiously but with one stage of flap at about 70 knots I lifted off the runway still pumping the pedals like mad. One has to remember this is not a jet aircraft and so no 15deg nose up climbs you gently coax the aircraft into the air and then build up speed. She has a tendency to pull to the left but with all the torque of those engines this is no surprise and some trimming up alleviates that issue almost immediately. The first flight I did I could barely hear the engines and it wasn't until I turned the engine sounds up to about 75% in the volume setting could I hear the growl of those lovely radials. Once airborne and settled at about 60% rpm she settles down and is a joy to fly. So I headed due North for Castle Coch and a flight through the South Wales valleys. Low and slow was the order of the day and to be honest nothing much exciting happened. Coming over the top of the BRECON VOR I decided to let loose my guns and what a delight to see the puffs of smoke and see the tracers streaking ahead of the plane. The gun control and bomb bay door opening switches are to the left of the pilot below the window. There are buttons on the yoke for both guns and bombs but I set up some buttons on my Saitek x52 controller for guns and bombs through the settings panel in Xplane. The bombs deploy which is great fun and of course you have the weapon view that allows you to follow your bombs. Now I have never flown a real B25 Mitchell so I can't tell you whether the flight model is correct or not, but what I can say is that if this replicates the real world flight model then Khamsin have done an excellent job and as I came into land at St Athan I could feel the crosswind pushing against the tails and making me slip sideways. I missed the approach to St Athan so decided to land at EGFF runway 12, it was hard going and after being pushed well left of the runway I managed to get back on track but it was a crosswind landing the likes of which I wouldn't like to make again. Brilliant. My feet where going crazy on the pedals and I had opposite aileron applied and still somehow managed to get the plane down, rolling out was still tricky but I managed it and pulled up safe and sound. Exhilarating is all I can say. Conclusion I'll be honest being a reviewer can be fraught with difficulties, the hardest thing is producing a piece that is balanced, you want to give a fair review so that the purchaser you and the developer feel that the reviewer has acted impartially but provide an informative piece. This aircraft is I believe the one product that will push X-Plane 10 from the niche flight simulator market to mass market appeal. The ultra high definition texturing and 3d modelling is amongst the best I have seen. Khamsin has set down a marker with this aircraft for others to follow. It shows us what can be done with the X-Plane environment and I suspect that there will be plenty of developers looking at this model just to see what Khamsin has done. I have only found one complaint which I feel sure will be dealt with via an update and that was the switch effect being the same on all switches. So what's my recommendation, it's a simple one. Go Buy it now. Finally regarding FPS on my machine I was achieving 30fps in most areas and as I flew down into Cardiff City Centre to have a look at the Millenium Stadium it was mice and smooth, as we know the real trick with Xplane is to manage the settings I have been told mine are quite high, I have altered them to a lower settings but I always go back to the previous ones, by altering the visibility range down to about 5 miles the FPS will jump upto about 40fps. This is the one aircraft you need in your hangar without a doubt. You will have hours of fun and I bet you will spend an hour just looking around it and taking screen shots the first time you load it up. I'll say it again this is possibly the finest X-Plane aircraft on the market at the present time. So there you have it, have you bought it yet. Wycliffe Barrett 25th October 2013 The B-25 Mitchell is available at the x-plane.org Store : North American B-25 Mitchell Designer's website: KhamsinStudio Price is US$24.95 Technical Requirements: Windows , MAC OS 10.5 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.20 (or higher) - 32 and 64 bit compatible) 4GB RAM/512Mb VRAM (1Gb Recommended)- 250MB available hard disk space Version 1.0 (last updated October 19th 2013)
  18. Just sitting here thinking about getting ready for work and I see this announcement. Brilliant, this could well be the game changer that we are waiting for. Just now it feels like each week a new product comes to market that just shows what a great investment we all made by buying xplane. Simply stunning, well done. Wycliffe
  19. Aircraft Review Avro RJ100 and RJ 70 XP9.61r and X10.22 Developer Andreas Much The RJ aircraft are available from The ORG store and the Avroliner Project website http://x-plane.andreasbenjamin.com/, I love this aircraft for several reasons the main one being that it was the most successful British commercial airliner made and of course a small fleet of them was used as the Royal Flight for Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth ll. Although only 387 where made to production and production finished in 2001 many of the aircraft can still be seen around the world and as a regional jet with short airstrip capabilities has remained extremely popular. Go to London City airport on any given day and you will see a large number flying in and out. Installation Installation of the aircraft is as always with Xplane simplicity itself and whilst there is no auto installer it is a simple case of dropping the folder into the appropriate aircraft folder within your xplane directory. I have gotten into the habit of creating folders in my aircraft folder for specific aircraft so I have a Military folder a GA folder and one for Commercial Airliners. You can create as many folders as you wish and place your aircraft as you prefer. Once installed you will find approx 18 liveries for the RJ100 and 26 for the RJ70 RJ100 Liveries Air Lingus Aer Lingus 1995 Air Dolomiti Air New Zealand Ansetta BA CityFlyer Animals and Trees Chelsea Rose Colum Dove Delftblue Daydream Wings of the City Blue 1 Buzz Crossair Swiss International Swiss International Shopping Paradise Titan airways TNT default RJ70 Liveries Air France Air Lamia Air BC AirUK American American Airlines Braniff Blue Green Orange Red British Airways British World Delta Connection Eastern China Airlines MDLR National Jet Northwest Jet Airlink Qantas RAF Skyway Airlines Titan Titan Blue US Air Web Aware This number of liveries should keep any pilot happy for a long time without having to look for anymore. All of the liveries are of the same standard and I really like the way that the liveries look a bit dirty and grubby. A good example of this is the British Airways livery, Just take a look at the doorway and look at the dirty streaks, very well done and the dirt from the exhaust of the APU, simply brilliant. The real problem with all the paint jobs is that they don't stand up well, to close scrutiny and the lines become a little blurry. So I think its best to view the aircraft externally from about 50 ft away at this distance its hard to pick fault. Continuing with a walk around of the aircraft once again the same thing holds true as for the liveries, basically don't get to close or the model begins to look a little poor in places. I always like to look at landing gear, not that I am an expert but I like to see how they look and do they convey mass. The landing gear on the RJ's look great until once again you get to close and they just los their credibility a bit for me. As you can see in the screen shot of a close up of the gear there is something lacking, as if they have just dropped down from the bay unattached to anything. They look good and the sun reflection on the main gear is very impressive but everything from there upwards just doesn't look right. The tyres look great and so do the wheels with the nuts on but once again to close and they lose sharpness. Walking around the aircraft one notices the engines and how close to each other they are but they are what seem feet above the ground unlike a a 737 where there is only 13 inches clearance. The main airfoil spar is well modelled and the curves of the mouldings to the main body are quite impressive. Moving to the back of the plane quite high up by the tail section you come across the APU outlet which seems to be a very dirty area no matter which livery you have. it would seem no airline cleans that area to well. When the APU is running the exhaust blur can be seen coming from there which is an effect that is very well done. You have to be careful around this part of the plane because if someone on the flight deck was to operate the airbreaks as you walk by you would be in hospital for sure. The airbrakes on the RJ are huge or so they seem. The back end of the aircraft opens up to 90deg to the body and when they are deployed in flight your speed drops as if you have hit a brick wall in the sky. This animation is very good and having seen many an RJ land at City Airport London I can testify to the effectiveness of these what look like barn doors opening. Cockpit The cockpit is where we spend nearly all our time when in sims and so this can be the most important aspect of any aircraft payware or freeware. The cockpit in the RJ across all models is exactly the same and there is a 2d panel and a VC. The 2d panel is far better than the VC (3d panel). The 2d panel is almost photo realistic and as you can see it looks nice and sharp all the way across, I really like the mix of analogue and glass displays and when you look at the glareshield looking at all the scratches in the paintwork really gives it a feel of age and usage, there is even a piece of paper stuck on a clip with some hand written notes on it. Whilst it looks sharp and in focus because of the lack of aging on it in other places it looks as if it has been put together from different bits and loses that believeability aspect. Where this aircraft is really let down is in the VC. We may well have been spoilt by other developers but we are now aware what xplane 10 is capable of if you are willing to spend time on your build. Which seemingly has not been donw with the VC. Although I am assured that an update is imminent. I found that when one zooms in on certain displays they lose focus and become quite blurry where as other such as the speed indicator remain n sharp focus through the range of zoom, what is even more stark is that at a normal zoom range you can see the differences between some of the displays, some being bright sharp and in focus whilst others are blurry. The best example of this is the Primary flight display next to the airspeed indicator as you can see below. Moving down towards the default FMC's this begins to look worse and the blurriness is such that it becomes hard to read. Now when we move to the overhead we are once again back in sharpness world, its all a little confusing and detracts from some of the better aspects of the aircraft. Finally regarding the cockpit no matter where you click be it on a switch a bulb bulkhead or even the cockpit windows you hear the same switch click sound. Flight Model I have never flown a real RJ I'm not sure I have ever been in one but the flight model feels about right and sure enough you can take a steep approach angle down to your runway so making it ideal for that famous London city 5.5deg approach. That said it just feels a little twitchy when in the air and you can quickly get out of shape if your inputs are a little on the heavy handed side. The flap animations are really well done and the airbrake as mentioned earlier is superb. I really want to like this aircraft as it is one of my personal favourites and I think this has a lot going for it but it is in desperate need of an update which I believe Andreas is doing and was due to be released at the end of the summer. I know that Andrea almost works on his own and what he has achieved here is quite remarkable apart from the few items that I have highlighted. The whole Avroliner package is $39:95 and for this you get all three variations of the RJ The RJ70, RJ85 and the RJ100 that is good value for money and a really good addition to any hangar as long as you keep in mind some of my comments, but as I said I believe a free update to owners is imminent which I hope will get rid of some of those concerns.. Wycliffe Barrett
  20. OSMAirportsX. by girivs It's happening people, it's really begining to happen, what I hear you all shouting. Xplane is finally reaching the tipping point, we only need a few more things and it will be easy for everyone to get into and enjoy. OSMAirportsX is one of those vital pieces that will help turn Xplane into a mass market, mass appeal product. Let me explain, as we all know when it comes to airports Xplane doesn't have many default airports I think it ships with 21. A competition took place recently where users where asked to submit three airports of their choosing and design to join the growing airport database. This has not been realised just yet but we can submit to it. The idea being eventually user designed airports will be pushed out to all Xplane users by a update patch in the same way we now get Xplane upgrades. Well two days ago a clever chap who uses the name of girivs released a small package to the community that is going to change airport scenery building like nothing else. OSMAirportsX takes advantage of the excellent Openstreetmap site and builds airports on the fly. I created three airports this evening in about 15mins. This package is simply brilliant and I can see hundreds if not thousands of airports showing up on the org for download in no time at all. Airports will be able to be built by anyone as the application simply produces terminals, cargo depot's by using the default facades from within Xplane itself. I have only made three airports but if I was to carry on like this, in a week it would be 21. It might take a little longer than a week to fill them out the way I would like but 21 airports in a week that I wouldn't normally have in Xplane built to a standard that will give me a decent facsimile has to make me happy. The airports built are nothing like the payware ones created by Aerosoft or even like any of the excellent freeware ones done by 3rd party dev's like myself, Chrisk or frede. What it does do is create a base to work from, one can open up the airport in WED and start adding the more complex elements of an airports. It writes runways, taxiways, centre lines and centre lights, taxiway lights distance markers and much more. This package is simplicity to use but I feel there is some very clever coding going on in the background hard at work. Thank goodness I use a windows based PC because the implementation of the software on a mac looks a little harder but even so I guess mac users will get to grips with it easy enough. If your even the slightest bit interested in building scenery, then this is the package to get. With the imminent release of a new update to WED with some really exciting airport development features the future is looking incredibly bright. You can download the application from www.x-plane.org Openstreetmap from http://www.openstreetmap.org Just PMDG to jump on the wagon and Xplane will really take off, pardon the pun. Wycliffe Barrett
  21. Stephen has said it all really and there is little else to say, apart from the fact that this one aircraft alone in my humble opinion has done more to place xplane over the tipping point of critical mass than all before it. The number of simmers that I know who have converted to xplane just because of this aircraft is staggering. One can only imagine what the 757 will do. I fly the T7 about three times a week and I learn something new every day. The failure system is simply marvellous in its execution as failures seemingly appear with such randomness you can never know what to expect. The FMC is a tour de force and sets the standard for all future pay ware developed aircraft for xplane. Many simmers don't like flying at night because of landing but with this aircraft set up right you can do your ILS or procedural approach with ease, switch off the auto pilot at say 4 miles out and just follow the glide path down to a perfect landing. There is nothing more satisfying than rolling out after a flight whether it be 1 hour or several, knowing that you mastered all the flight systems to arrive safely at your destination. Your main problem is going to be deciding which airports to fly to as this aircraft truly opens up the world. Wycliffe
  22. Every once in a while an add-on comes along that makes you say WOW, this has only happened a couple of times with me, the Track IR was one and the UK photo scenery for xPlane another. There have been others but I am not going to write about them. I am going to write about the Go Flight GF-MCP Pro. I first saw one of these some years back at a VATSIM live event here in the UK. One of the pilots at the event was flying his LevelD 767 (yes in the other sim) and he had a GoFlight MCP connected. I watched him flying for about half a day before plucking up the courage to ask if I could have a go on his sim. Well he let me and all I could say was WOW. It was amazing to turn the knobs and press buttons and flick switches and it work in the sim. From that moment on I was hooked and so very much wanted one that I decided to get one. It took me several years before I did buy one but in May of this year at the FSC Weston Flight Sim show, I bought one off my good friend Bob Sidwick of RC Simulations. I had to be persuaded that it would work with xPlane before parting with my hard earned cash, but Bob assured me that it would. I got back from FSC with a box with the MCP rushing to my Man Cave (study/sim pit) to install it. Surprisingly there is very little in the box the unit itself a bag of screws and two end plates you also get an Allen key and once you have fitted the endplates it becomes a self standing unit . Many home cockpit builders have used this unit as it looks and works so well. There was also a USB cable but very little else. The unit is 16.25X2.7 inches and is made of high quality gauge steel and finished in battleship grey. Installation is very easy but what is not explained with the documentation is that for the unit to work with xPlane one needs to get a plugin. It's a simple case of plugging the usb cable into the back of the unit and then into a spare usb socket on your PC and the unit will light up and its installed. Although the next bit is a little tricky and this is when you need to find the plugin that will make the MCP work with xPlane and your particular aircraft.If you go to Chris Strossers site http://caffeinatedaviator.com/ you will be able to download his excellent plug in XGoflight. Chris has been working with Goflight for just over a year now and has written the code that makes it work with XPlane. It supports a large number of aircraft such as EADT – x737 ddenn – Challenger 300 Peter Hager – Airbus A380 FlyJSim – Boeing 727 FlyJSim – Q400 JARDesign – A320neo JRollon – CRJ-200 VMAX – Boeing 777 Worldliner X-Plane 10 – Boeing 747 It will even work with a number of GA aircraft, which is rather good fun to fly a GA with the MCP although not very realistic. As with all plugins you simply download it to your hard drive and install it to your plugin folder in the xplane directory. Since I got my plugin there have been several updates by Chris regarding stability etc. You will need to download some Microsoft redistributable files but these are identified on the download page for you so its no hardship. This is the eadt x737 and as you can see working perfectly. The VMAXX Boeing triple 7, possibly the best large airliner for Xplane from Flight Factor. Boeing Dreamliner 787 Operation I tend to fly the EADT x737 and the Ramzzess Boeing 777 Worldliner the most and I use the MCP all the time. When you load up your aircraft you will find in your plugin drop down menu an xgoflight item clicking on this gives you two options reload config and reload devices. Which is all rather obvious. I tend to always click on reload config just to make sure the correct config file is loaded with the aircraft. For each aircraft you have to have a config file for the MCP to work correctly this is a painless process that Chris Strosser has made even easier as he has created a number of example config files which are on his site to download. In terms of operation you use the physical MCP much as you would the virtual one in your aircraft with all knobs and buttons working as in the sim. As you can see from the images it is based very much on a 737 MCP so when using it in a Boeing it all seems so natural. It is rather expensive and I suppose one has to consider whether you wish to pay this amount of money for such an item. My view is it is a lot cheaper than a golf club membership so it works out at good value for money. You can buy them direct from GoFlight but there are a number of flight sim specialists that stock it, I bought mine from RC Simulations here in the UK who will ship to anywhere in the world. http://www.rcsimulations.co.uk This as I said at the beginning is one of those products that make you go WOW, all of my flights are done using this and it adds to the immersion by a factor of 10. I think it's money well spent and I will get years of use out of it. If I had one niggle that would be that the switches are a little loud when you use them, but it's no hardship. A friend of mine came around the other day and he just sat at my desk with a look of awe on his face. he then took my 737 for a quick flight to Manchester. he landed and immediately bought one from Goflight. I highly recommend this product and if you are wondering what you should have for Christmas, well I would say you might just have found it. Wycliffe Barrett
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