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  1. Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ There has been a Service Pack (1) released for the AS359 B3+. Mostly the pack contains fine tuning and performance updates with other items including the crew now adding weight and the Co-Pilot will disappear if you view from his seat. There are few changes are for the joystick with the reverse axis (you don't do this?... you should) and joystick functions and I agree it feels far better with movements under my Saitek x52pro setup. A full list of the changelog is at the end of this Mini Review: The Eurocopter AS350 B3 (Plus) Ecureuil (Squirrel) is a single-engined light-utility helicopter that was originally built by Aérospatiale but is now part of Eurocopter Group (Which will soon be again rebranded as Airbus Helicopters). This version is the High-performance version, is powered by an TURBOMECA-Arriel 2B1 engine equipped with a single channel (DECU) Digital Engine Control Unit with a mechanical backup system. The AS350 B3+ from Nemeth Design and DreamFoil Creations is an FSX (Nemeth Design) Helicopter that has been transfered into X-Plane10 (DreamFoil Creations). Some of the best and most successful aircraft that have come into X-Plane over the last few years have been crossover products that were created for FSX/P3D platform and are usually totally overhauled for the X-Plane10 platform. And here the AS350 B3+ is certainly the best blend of both platforms using FSX strengths are usually in the excellent 3d modeling and textures, and X-Plane's better flight dynamics and HDR features. It is best first however to explain how the AS350B3+ Helicopter is configured to understand what you are looking at. There are three standard aircraft: Basic- with no added equipment (default) Complete Medical Complete Police Both Medical and Police versions are the "complete" setup of each aircraft for its genre. This is setout in a "Equip.cfg" file that can be edited in a text editor. In this Equip.cfg file is a list of items which are: SearchLight, Hoist, WireCutters, Mirrors, LatTow, FLIR, Medical (equip) and a Basket on each side of the aircraft. Any of these items can be selected (0 = no, 1 = yes) to be put onto the aircraft, For the: Complete Medical version you have: Medical, Wirecutters, Mirrors. Complete Police version you have: Searchlight, Hoist, Wirecutters, Mirrors, LatTow, FLIR, Left/right Basket. The great thing about this Equip.cfg system is that you can change and set up the aircraft with just the equipment you want to use, and if creating a specific livery it also allows you to set out the equipment that is associated with that livery. A great feature is that you can carry a box under the helicopter swinging from the underside winch, just don't attach it up to to high winch... because it will pull the AS350 B3+ straight over? There is also a "smartmenu" that is accessed on the right-top of the glareshield of the instrument panel. This menu access makes the AS350B3+ highly equiped and detailed, walking around the aircraft in its different versions the quality and the detail is excellent. On the AS350B3+ the linkage 3d work is exceptional and intricate and all the movement animations are perfectly realistic, the main and tail rotor blades are also carbon copies of the original items. The Eurocopters fuselage and tail boom have also been very well crafted with excellent detail, The burnt crafted exhaust gives out a slight black smoke with HDR off and a heat blur with HDR on. It is very easy to set up the aircraft for a specific mission. Just selecting the Medical option will give you a full medical layout and you can select if you want a badly injured patient or not on the side stretcher by the (small) pop-up menu screen. (note: it cannot be adjusted outside the aircraft, you have to go into the 3d cockpit mode before selecting the patient). The AS350B3+ is a single pilot helicopter, and so the instrument panel is quite basic in its layout and functions. Instruments are mostly the basic set of altitude (with radio altitude), horizon, airspeed, compass, engine revolutions and clock. There is a VEMD (Vehicle Engine Monitoring Display) with Engine and Vehicle displays and both have selectable systems screens. The central equipment stack is the standard setup of a KX155A COMM (VHF/NAV2), a GTX 327 Transponder, GMA 340 Radio, standard Garmin GNS 430 and a ADF panel. Lower down is the central console with a very easy to navigate SCU panel with buttons for most of the main functions on the aircraft like lights, DCT/BAT, Avionics, winch (outside) a set of trim controls and a great test function If the FLIR attachment is operational then on the left side of the panel you get a Infrared screen that works in the day or night, it is highly adjustable as well in movement including zoom. Cyclic is beautifully made and adjustable for friction at its base. The Collective is functional as well with a lock - hydraulic isolation and Search-light (toggle) switch, all other cockpit items including the rudder pedals are worn and realistic. Overhead is a light, the rotor-brake and the fuel valve switches (on/off) and an optional headset.(a note is that you need to flick the grey switch on the rotor-brake to start the engine). Panel night lighting is selected by buttons on the SCU panel and you can adjust the brightness on the main panel. If FLIR is attached the the night-screen glows green in the cockpit and which is highly effective. Outside lighting consists of two underside lights (one taxi - one landing) and the usual, beacon, strobe and navigation lights... a major feature is the spot-light that is positioned just under the rear of the main cabin. You can select specific controls (In the "buttons Basic" menu) to turn the spotlight on/off (also on the collective) and set up a hat switch to rotate it around and up and down, with the HDR on it is highly effective. There are 9 liveries included. But the first three are the "Standard" versions in Basic, Complete Medical and Complete Police as noted above. The other six are: Medical 1 Medical 2 Police 1 Police 2 PP-EOY Transport 1 Sounds on the AS350 are excellent as Dreamfoil created the DreamEngine sound engine, so you expect the sounds on this Eurocopter to be good, and here it does not disappoint. You get 3D positional sound, 3D coning,here yo have layered sounds with the doppler effect and the DreamEngine can hold up 128 different sound sources. One of the best features with the AS350 from Nemeth Design and DreamFoil Creations is that you can select Arcade Mode... ... So simply put is that Arcade Mode will take out all the real aircraft reactions and replace them with more sedate versions. But I found the mode more realistic than that. In fact because it dumbs down the movements you can understand the way helicopters behave a little better. you do still have to fly the machine the same way even with the arcade mode switched off as with it on, but it makes it easier to anticipate the machine's movements in both modes, which means what you learn flying the helicopter in Arcade mode is then very easily translated into normal vertical fight flying, Arcade mode is really like having training wheels for helicopters as it sits between starting to fly and learning of how-to-control the helicopter - but with out the full agony of crash after crash after crash. Conclusions The Eurocopter AS350 B3+ was released in April 2013, and like many new Add-On's, some can take time to understand in depth. This aircraft is so multifaceted that it can take a while before you explore all of its talents and combinations. Flying the AS350B3+ is a learning curve as well, in the normal mode it is a tricky beast to learn, but that is the nature of the beast as well. Get it right and the rewards are outstanding and you keep wanting to go back for more. Helicopters are like that, they are highly addictive because they demand skill and precision to fly correctly. And you have to process that information and practise the skills to get to a high level. The creators of the AS350 B3+ have created a very highly tuned machine to fly with skill. But have still given you a get out clause with the Arcade Mode to learn without failing. In that it is possible for anyone to fly this aircraft even if you don't have the time to get perfection. For me, I can fly to Zermatt (Switzerland) and land on a platform that in real life looks impossible to achieve. I can do it in Normal mode, but Arcade Mode can make it possible for anyone to achieve the same results. The aim is not to be lazy and stay in Arcade Mode for life, but to go beyond its training limits and progress to the normal mode. And that sums up the aircraft, It is very highly crafted with incredible textures and modeling, If you want the detail and the perfect recreation of the Squirrel AS350 with a huge feature list, then you won't find a better Helicopter... But it is still very accessable to anyone and anyone can fly it.... For value it is outstanding. Documents: There are three manuals with the aircraft. AS350_Manual (22 Pages) AS350_Procedures (12 Pages) FAQ (2 Pages) Price is US$34.95 and is available from the .Org Store : Eurocopter AS350 B3 Plus Updated store# Mini-Review by Stephen Dutton Developer Site: Dreamfoil-Creations 8th August 2013 Service Pack 1 (changelog) - Fixed memory leak on DreamEngine, used to cause crash after few reloads. - Fixed issue with livery load for null paths, was causing CTD randomly at reload or aircraft change. - Improved DreamEngine camera transitions - Added RMI on ADF - ALT mode fixed on transponder - Improved Autorotations - Fixed incorrect pitch for tail rotor animation - Fixed GPS NAV1/VLOC frequency range - Fixed issue with reverse for axis on the joystick - Copilot and Patient now automatically add weight to CREW - Fixed 1 Blade out of tracking at low rpm caused by wrong plugin calcuations - Fixed Trim that caused rotor disc to tilt right - Improved cockpit vibrations - Replaced the joystick functions, works better and without jitter - Mouse work as control again - Improved cyclic 3d model (its now twisted as real one) - Fixed HSI Flags - Fixed LIT problem on OAT gauge - Improved Radar ALT night texture - Improved Governor Performance - Copilot disappear when you¥re with view on his position - Added Yaw String Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  2. Aircraft Review : Bombardier Challenger 300 by Dden Design Route - EGKB (Biggin Hill) to LFMN (Nice/Cote d’Azur) Everyone has their idea of their ultimate status symbol. But nothing will compare with a personal jet. Even for Steve Job’s who came back to Apple in the later 1990’s and worked for a dollar a week still took the personal jet as in re-payment for putting the place back together. The bankers and car makers after the fall of the GFC realised they had to give everything up... But losing those jets really hurt. If they had to give them up then they were very quickly back in the inventory as soon as the cash started flowing again, As they are the ultimate freedom, The goal, The “I really made it” statement. So wouldn’t you like your very own personal Jet? Well X-Plane has a way of making your dreams come true, and here it is in the Bombardier Challenger 300. As personal jets go this is a real beauty. But in more ways than one. Created by Dden the design work is flawless. I have a picture which is nearly a few years old now that is significant in that it is on my computer desk top. I look at it every day, and it has two resonates with me. One, It shows how great X-Plane is and Two, It looks like a real aircraft picture and not an aircraft in an simulator. I have studied it and if any work can live up to the a perfect rendition of a design then it is very good... If not the best in X-Plane. But is the beauty just skin deep? Thankfully no. The aircraft is a highly complex and fully featured driven machine. You have a lot of menus and all accessed by the pop-out menu on your left side of the screen. In order - Fast Start - Sets the aircraft up quickly and lets you fly straight away. Exter Preflight - (Above) you start by pressing the buttons numbered 1 to 24 and it produces the different angles of checking around the aircraft, It also allows you to add or remove the storage flags, wheel chocks and engine covers. Want to start again? then you can by just pressing the “Start Again” point. Cameras - Pre-set views inside the aircraft (useful before the current built in X-Plane version), views include Pilot, Co-Pilot, Cabin 1,2 & 3, Lavatory and Bagage (Baggage). Animations - A useful set of tools that opens the aircraft main door, Baggage door, Emergency hatch, Blinds (internal), Entry blind/door (internal), Washroom door (internal), rear baggage door (internal), and tables (internal). As my VIP’s are aboard it is easy with this menu to shut the door and baggage door without groping for a handle. Instruments - A menu to access different that instruments and displays on the panel of the aircraft. Options - a menu that allows you to save your current position and status and adjust the volume of your sounds. There is a very good pop-up “Checklist” menu as well and a more modern MCDU that is built in but not operable at this point. The checklist is easy to procedure in checking the items off, Starting the engines is turning on pumps, fuel supply and the ignition. Then turning a switch to the engine you want to start. You can sit it the pilots seat and hear the whine start up in the background, but that would be missing the experience. Go to the rear of the aircraft and wait while the engine management system starts the Honeywell HTF7000 turbofan. It is in full 3d sound and glorious it is. Start engine two and add to the noise of power and tremble at the thought of all that thrust waiting to be unleashed. It sounds good, really good this aircraft. There is a very large list of items to check and solve before releasing the brakes and the Challenger has a great solving system that as you correct each item it disappears from the list in the engine (EICAS) display in the MFD (The EICAS display pops-out). once the list is completely clear the aircraft is ready for flight. Pop off the brakes and set the flaps to 20º (lots of fuel and expensive luggage) and your into the taxi. I throughly recommend a throttle system for this aircraft... Totally a requirement. Nudge the throttle and your moving and taxi is easy enough to complete your checklists and clean ups ready before flight without having to constantly having to adjust the speed, just a nudge of the brakes is usually enough. Clearance and push up the power, there is no drift from the centre line and rotation is to 15º nose up. And up you go! It climbs with all that power, 2500fpm minute is easy and you still have to watch the throttle in case it goes right up into the red zone. Maximum speed: 891 km/h, m.83 (554 mph; 481 kn), Range: 5,741 km (3,567 mi; 3,100 nmi) at 0.78 Mach, Service ceiling: 13,716 m (45,000 ft), Rate of climb: 25.4 m/s (5,000 ft/min) at 17,622 kg (38,850 lb) max gross weight It is fast this aircraft and the range may sound impressive, London to Dubai in one fuel load. But it does not work out that way. I found the range more in the 2500 - 2700 nmi range zone, and a refuel stopover (Rome) in going LON-DXB was always required. Flying Europe to Asia required two stop-overs and so did the West Coast of the USA. The super-mid-sized jet project was launched at the Paris Air Show by Bombardier July 13, 1999, at which time it was called the Bombardier Continental. It was a “clean sheet” design and to be assembled in Bombardier’s Learjet plant at Wichita Mid-Continent airport, Kansas. The jet was renamed in September 2002 to the Challenger 300 after much debate about which category (Learjet, Challenger, or Global) the new aircraft would fit into, The C300 entered commercial service in January 2004. To date 400 have been built and will cost your around US$20 million, Second-hand you can pickup a very nice one for around 12million. (Yes I checked in case I won the lotto!) On May 20, 2013 Bombardier announced the Challenger 350, an improved version of the 300, and promised to begin deliveries in May 2014 at a price of $25.9 million. The Challenger 350 first flew on March 2, 2013. Once cleared of the London Area I was going to pick up my "Stansted - Nice" route just over the channel. Climb continued at 2500ft fpm to 28,000ft and you got to that height and speed in no time. The layout on the panel is quite different from most cockpit layouts. There is no overhead panel so the item usually on there are on the centre pedestal (lights, Air, Fuel and bleed) There are four Main Display Panels (MFD) that are two for the Pilot and two for the Co-Pilot and are switchable. The right one is the standard artificial-horizon and speed, V/S and height tapes with the MAP/Rose set out below. Your selection of A/P, G/S, 1/2bank and other important situation aware items are in a line above the Art-Horizon The left is the engine displays (checklist) EICAS at the top and a selection of displays from the menu at the bottom. Displays are : Anti-Ice, ECS, Electrical, Flight Controls, Fuel and Hydraulics, there is also a standard “Summary” display that gives you an overview of the systems. I usually put the rose on the lower part of this second panel because it shows the VOR1 and VOR2 information, that is missing on the left panel (MFD), Oddly I think it is on the panel but I can never find the setting, I did once but then I lost it again and usually spend 60% of any flight trying to get it back Again? The glare-shield instruments are complex beasts, easy to mix up and you need to do a quick look over the manual every time you use them. Even just setting the Radio freq is a task that can take a few moments. 1/2 Bank limits your banking angle and is well worth using. Take-off and landing refs. are displayed and so is the FMS1, VOR1/VOR2 settings on the right MFD, the MAP displays the waypoints but at a size that is to small and they are a guide really more than for actual reading. The layout is though and as mentioned slightly complex and it will take a little time to be really comfortable with every switch and knob. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The main cabin is luxurious beyond belief, with highly polished wood grain and white leather chairs. All the tables fold out (on the animations menu) and you have access to the rear vanity unit (one wonderful sliding down door) and another animated door that accesses the baggage compartment and clothes rack. Open and close the window blinds that show both sides in or out of the aircraft and the view from the windows are as good as anything anywhere. I will spend as much time back here as in the drivers seat and a replay to watch a landing is always a great idea sitting in luxury. Opening the front door blind will also drop the stairs. There are eight HD (Hi-Definition) liveries with one white paint, The C-GJCV is my favorite and the default is the OE-HPZ with its crazy red lineage of which I don’t really like as it looks like in places that the livery is on incorrectly. There is a full series of liveries on the .org for the C300 : Challenger 300 Liveries and Walterbenny has done a large series of Canadian Army and Airforce liveries that are worthy of your attention. Walterbenny Night-lighting is very good with HDR on. Wing-lighting (Ice!) landing lights (two), tail-lighting, cabin on/off and adjustable panel lighting. The glow from the MFD screens are wonderfully reflected under the glare-shield. Only odd moment is with HDR off? The aircraft become lucent and looks odd in the dark sky? In Flight and Landing There is no auto/throttle on the C300, so you are the soul auto/setter of the power. A throttle system is really invaluable here because the aircraft needs minute adjustments to keep the speed under control, a nice safe point can be found but any changes to height or weather will move your attention to finding that sweet spot all over again. Powering up to your height and the handling in flight is very good but the workload builds when you get closer to landing. The C300 is not an easy aircraft to land and it requires a little practice to get really right. You will find that when it is time to descend you need a lot of space between you and your intended runway. Throttle back and start your descent and the speed will be hard to contain, you have two options a long and slow descent or normal with the use of the effective air-brakes or a combination of both, just note that as you get lower to balance the power and not drop off all the speed. You arm the air-brakes for landing by a switch in either “Auto” or “Manual” mode. Dropping the flaps will mean a very good balance of speed and power (those throttle levers if you have them). The aircraft has a tendency to be a little unstable at low speeds and a low speed is what you require for a slow landing. 140kts is your aim under full flap with 115-120knts under the glideslope or landing. The point of getting the approach right is crucial as the aircraft can get very flat in response if you don’t. But get the speed right (and as low as you can without any stall) and you can kiss the runway. Activate those huge (very effective) thrust-reversers and the aircraft will soon be down to a 10knt roll. Taxi in and clean the aircraft up, (Twin taxi lights on the nose gear) and park-up, Let down the doors and unload the expensive luggage... The VIP”s are loaded into a couple of Black Mercedes and you are soon left alone with the Challenger 300. Notes taken and the aircraft is shut right down and all the tags and covers are set to protect your expensive investment. Conclusions The debate here is not with the aircraft. As a piece of workmanship the Challenger is as close to perfection as you can get, The detailing and the skins of this aircraft are simply sublime. Nothing comes close and remember it has been released for a few years now as I have had for two years. It is 64bit upgraded and so also flies fine in the latest X-Plane10 versions (Current 10.22). I would love Dden to finish off that hidden MCDU as it would be icing on the cake and as these MCDU’s are now quite commonplace than when the aircraft was released. No the debate is that is the Challenger the best aircraft in X-Plane at this price, The Carenado aircraft have closed the game since the Challenger has been released in quality and are priced around the same sub-US$30 market. I personally think the Challenger 300 is still the best value in X-Plane you can get at this price and still holding its own a few years after it was released. If fact it feels like it was released only yesterday and has certainly not aged one bit. That is of course due to the skill and design of Dden in this sublime machine. For us the dream of owning your own personal jet and operating it can certainly be rewarded with the Challenger 300. Nearly two years on after I purchased it I still give it a touch in admiration after every flight and declare... “I really made it!” _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition is available now from the X-Plane.org Store : Bombardier Challenger 300 Captain Edition Price is US$29.95 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux 512Mb VRAM X-Plane 9 or X-Plane 10 fully updated- 32 and 64 bit compatible updated store# Documents : Two Manuals with one being a “Quickflight” Guide Download: 254.60mb Developer Site : None (support is here Bombardier Challenger 300) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review By Stephen Dutton 21st September 2013 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX - Aerosoft - LFMN Nice Cote d Azur X Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  3. John Spahn from Maxx-XP has announced the SkyMaxx Pro of which is a new cloud engine for X-Plane10. The SkyMaxx pro is not an add-on that just over-rides the default X-Plane10 weather, but it is integrated into the actual weather component that you use everyday now including METAR settings. Also you will be able to use the system's own custom settings. The system allows for clouds to move and rise with the noted wind speed and temperatures and the dreaded grey blackout is also banished. Crepuscular Rays will also shine out behind from behind clouds and move with your point of view. All clouds are full 3d in effect - and is noted to be frame-rate friendly and the performance is configurable! Maxx-XP has released a promo-video of the system in its beta form... As the new SkyMaxx-Pro is interconnected within the main X-Plane programming it requires changes that will be part of the beta 10.30 cycle release and so the actual release of the SkyMaxx Pro will be sometime within the beta 10.30 program period. More Information can be found at the new SkyMAXX site : skymaxx-extreme Development thread is here : SkyMAXX Pro Stephen Dutton 14th August 2013
  4. Review : STMA - Sherpa K650T Turbine Bush Plane Shade Tree Micro Aviation specialise in these bush utility type of aircraft and their latest release is the Sherpa K650T. The Sherpa 1415B from Sherpa Aircraft first appeared in 1994 at the EAA Oshkosh event and with the high reaction to the versatile design and orders for the aircraft built by Byron Root and Glen Gordon, It was soon put into production. It was noted at the time as "A Super Cub on steriods". And the nickname remains in effect to this date. At the 2008 EAA Oshkosh flyin Sherpa Aircraft then released another more powerful version and this time it was a Turbo aircraft in the turboprop K650T. This is a eight-seat variant is powered by a Garrett 331-5 840shp turbine engine turning a 110 inch 3 bladed propeller. This is certainly powerful aircraft that is relative to its frame construction and size. And is currently undergoing the arduous phases of certification. Shade Tree Micro Aviation's Crew is made up of painters, designers, real pilots, and technical experts. including Jim McNeill (known as Papa Mac), Kerry Cross, Bob Feaver, Mark Roberts, Todd Denning and Benjamin Whitehead and the team has been around in X-Plane for quite a while, so there is a lot of expertise going into their aircraft. Shade Tree usually provide a lot of variants to their aircraft and here with the Sherpa we have three... Wheeled (Tundra Tyres) 
Floats Ski The aim is not only to create a versatile aircraft, but to give you also various scenarios so that you can use the aircraft to its full advantages. The Aircraft comes with a set of Xadventures or Missions that you can follow to test your skills and you have in one test 15min or 2hours to complete the mission. The river mission is a test of skill and speed, But I would recommend getting a few hours on the aircraft before setting yourself up against the clock... But fun it all is. The Xadventures are loaded into your various X-Plane folders including all the relevant scenery from a separate installer (Mac & Windows with Linux coming), and also make sure you use the I.A. aircraft settings as well. Aircraft Profile The Sherpa is pipe-frame cage design that has panels attached to the frame. And Shade Tree has done a great job in reproducing the panel on frame design. It shows the cage and all the struts that connect to the wings and to the undercarriage to great effect. The Sherpa has an interesting flap system (0º - 40º) that runs on guides and that is well represented here. You can open doors and use other effects by using a menu situated on the left lower side of your screen. Noted as "STMA "Commands", you can open and close the Pilot's and Co-Pilots Doors (or windows) but you can't open them from inside the 3d cockpit but only via the menu, Set your cargo load between 0 kg - 600 kg, Ground operations : Check Chocks and Flags, Lock controls, Tie down and Remote and tug the aircraft (with movement controls). I found of these only the control lock worked?... even using the cold start I could not get the other ground effects to work. Other menu options included : having the Auto-Pilot installed (or not), GPS Installed (or not), display Pilots Yoke, display Co-Pilots yoke, and 3d mouse view (cockpit). Which can also select a HUD type display (below) Flying The Sherpa Taking off is going to test your skills. First of all this is a tail-dragger, and at the other end of the machine you have an engine that is immensely powerful. So your work is really cut out keeping the aircraft aligned and going straight down the runway, a lot of left rudder is required to counteract all that torque but it still can crab you sideways getting up into the air. Drop the flaps 20º and you don't really have a takeoff roll but a quick bounce into the air once the tail is off the ground. Those big balloon sized (Tundra) tyres don't help either as they bounce around at any moment you get any lift. Here normal wheels would have been a nice option to get a smoother takeoff. The large Tundra's also keep rotating for a long, long period after they should quieten down as well, which is slightly visually annoying. The bonus of all this lift is that when taking off from water or ice you are quickly off the sticky stuff, so in those conditions it really excels. Ditto is with the flap arrangement. Set the flaps to 40º and you are almost trailing at only 45knts - 55 knts and so the STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) capability is excellent on the Sherpa and it allows you if you are going into a headwind to land the aircraft like a seagull lands on a railing at the beach, you just really float and drop it down where you want it. But it does have a very nasty personality that you need to be aware of. 45 knts is fine but drop a little too far and it stalls by simply going straight nose down with the engine pulling you very quickly ground-wards, so all you suddenly feel is the engine weight pulling you straight into the ground.... nasty it is. Going up is a different matter as the power is immense, climbing is no trouble if you are lightly loaded. The aircraft is jiggy and you have to learn fly it smoothly, but it is still very touchy on the controls, my feeling is that this is a utility machine and here the basics are all you have to work with. Climbing is an art and not a precision exercise, holding the right degree angle is working the stick to find the right point, any slightly hard movements create sharp changes in the Vertical Speed dial up or down. Settling in at an altitude by using the auto-pilot will mean using the stick to steady the aircraft till it settles down at the selected altitude and that is if you don't want to find yourself climbing and falling around for about 2 min or so. otherwise the aircraft is very fast and very noisy, Sounds are good, but the noise volume does not change with you opening either the doors or the windows, and as the doors open very wide it would have made a great wind rushing noise feature. Aircraft Panel The panel is basic, but very usable. The standard six instruments are all well represented, but it is the large colour screen that dominates the panel which is the JPI EDM 930T system. It has four different screen modes. (using the ^ buttons) The first is the "Digital" screen with all your required information on (engine) Torque, Oil, Fuel, Fuel Flow, Amps (electrical) and other details, The fuel management is also noted by, Endurance, Remaining (fuel), Required and your Fuel Reserve. The second screen is an "FMS" (Flight Management System) touch input screen of where you can create routes. It is extremely well done and you can also save or load routes from your X-Plane FMS folder. Third Screen is the standard "MAP" with zoom, and the final one is for "Procedures" (or a checklist). Equipment stack is a GARMIN GMA340 Radio, GARMIN GNS430, Bendix King KX165A, Bendix King Transponder and a Bendix King 62A DME unit that gives you your speed and distance to the Navigational Aid. The Auto-Pilot is basic (and you can choose via the menu if want to use it or not), you have altitude hold, heading select, wing leveler, and course following. There is no altitude change or target altitude settings which means you have to do that manually via the stick but otherwise it is useful in helping out with the workload. The Throttle lever is big and chunky, and vibrates realistically, and the aircraft has a reverse thrust but you have go and set that to use via the keyboard or your joystick. The idle lever is off or on in power. Panel lighting is that you will find many of the instruments are lit, but a few are not. A good idea was to dim the large screen that would have been bright and overwhelming in the dark of the cabin. The outside lighting is standard but works very well in HDR mode, the wing end strobes create a great flashing effect in HDR mode or not. The main landing lights are on a separate switch to drop them down and another to switch them on. But I found nothing dropped down but the shining lights? Variants Shade Tree Micro Aviation always provide more than one version of their aircraft. The standard is the "Tundra" wheeled version that we have just explored. The two other versions are the : Float... Float detail is excellent, this version is great fun to power in and out of the water because you have all that power to propel you to a good takeoff speed and easily overcome the usual drag. As a float plane the Sherpa is very well constructed, there are wheels built into the bottom of the floats and there is also rudders that flip up out of the water. To control both of these items the Float version has two levers on the panel to do the business. The rudders have to be up to takeoff. Steering the Float version is a little difficult as you need the power or thrust to turn in any direction, and then it is a going to be in a very wide arc, strangely on land it does the same thing with the wheels? Turn off the power and you lose control even if your rudders can or could or should steer you in a certain direction? Ski... The "Ski" version is a lot of fun and a great taste of skill to land (carefully) on the side of a mountain. You have to be aware of the Tail-Ski as there is a Lock Lever situated under the panel, "Unlock" and you are in big trouble, It is not connected to the usual "Nosewheel Steer Toggle" either. You can adjust the different loads into each variant... They come set up in this configuration. Tundra is an empty space Floats has 6 Passenger Seats (Pax) Ski has Cargo "Payload" To change the load to another variant you have to go to Plane Maker and the Misc Objects panel, and find the "Pax Seating.obj'. Or the "Payload.obj" on the variant you want to change and if you press the square next to the file it will take you to the folder to select the other version or delete it all together. The Tundra is different in the fact there is no file to add or change because it is an empty space. You are required to create a new object file and insert the object (.obj) of your choice, It is easy to do and you only have to remember to add "016.00" in the very left column. One last thing you need to do is move the file upwards (one step) in that it is "Inside" the aircraft. Conclusions You are always going to get great value with any aircraft from Shade Tree Micro Aviation and the Sherpa K650T is no exception. 3 configurable variants (Tundra, Floats and Skis) An Xadventure Pack and also their STMA Hangars package that you can use in your scenery with opening hangar doors. There is a Sherpa Checklist and Operators Manual as documentation. Niggles are few but need to be noted, STMA aircraft are always very clean, for a Bush aircraft I doubt they would stay in this condition for very long. The instrument panel is the same "blank" grey with no marks or weathering, but the dials and knobs are well done. There is only one Livery, the default Sherpa livery... STMA note that when the aircraft goes into service they will reproduce more to accommodate the owners, but i feel a few more and at least one for each variant would help the cause more here. The doors open and animate but you can't do it in 3d mode inside the cabin, no hands on experience there... all round the sounds are very good, but some more noisy wind-rush from an open door or window would help up the low flying wind in your hair fun. Frame-rate is not an issue as the aircraft is very light on graphics. usually it was around the 40fr mark and rarely went below 30fr. The Sherpa is tricky to fly. as all tail-draggers are... But the aircraft is very versatile in that you can use the power and its slow speed capabilities at each end of the spectrum, and STMA aircraft are all about value, fun and skill and the high standard of the Sherpa aircraft does not in that context disappoint here at all.... Review By Stephen Dutton Price US$24.95 For X-Plane 10.22 (X-Plane 9.7 version is available on request) The STMA - Sherpa K650T Turbine Bush Plane is now available now from the X-Plane .Orgstore Developer Site: Shade Tree Micro Aviation Published 15th August 2013 Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle
  5. Flight Factor's upcoming Boeing 757 Series has had some more new special effects unveiled : Rain and active Window Shades. Rain isn't a new effect for X-Plane as it was introduced on Javier Rollon's CRJ-200, but it is in the application here that makes this effect outstanding. Roman Berezin has already experimented with this effect in his Boeing 777 Series. The rain is highly effective, And I can vouch for that, My approach to BIKF - in Keflavik, Iceland was from clear skies to poor light, low cloud and heavy rain, My work load was increased and the simulation was highly effective peering through the wet glass looking for the runway and safety. The newer rain effects now give you dropping water streaking down the window and the clearing of the water on windows as the speed builds, It is all very realistic... The Window Shade effect is clever as well. Turn the aircraft into the sun and the passengers close their shades on the light coming at the windows... Roman calls them "Active Blinds"... The Flightfactor Boeing 757 Series is coming to X-Plane soon, but the release date has not yet been set. Developer Site: Facebook / Flight Factor 9th August 2013
  6. simBrief is now allowing X-Plane users to plan and download flight planning details. SimBrief is a virtual flight dispatch center that capable of generating in-depth flight plan packages containing weather forecasts, current NOTAMs, accurate fuel planning based on real world winds aloft and ETOPS data. simBrief has a partnership with Navigraph that allows you the option of upgrading to the latest AIRAC cycle. If you don’t have a Navigraph account you can still freely use the default SimBrief.com database of which is noted as slightly dated. VATSIM users are also catered for with detailed routes and VATAWARE/VATroute interaction. Once registered on simBrief it is a free system to use and I was very impressed with the planning system. It is easy to get the routes via Flightaware, VatAware,VATroute,SimRoutes and routefinder. Then just fill in your flight details in Airline, Flight-no, Aircraft, Orig-Dest, Date and departure (Zulu-time). (more options are available) and the simBrief will then create a packaged fightplan that you can download, print. prefile for VATSIM or make a .pdf. Support is excellent as well with plenty of forums to answer your questions... Overall I was very impressed. An excellent video shows how to use the simBrief system but you may have to run through it a few times to get all the inputs correct on the site. For more information : simBrief Virtual Dispatch 7th September 2013
  7. Plugin - Update : World Traffic 1.1.4 Classic Jet Simulations have updated their World Traffic Add-On to version 1.1.4 Greg Hofer has completed some bug fixes and done some changes on World Traffic. But the real point of this version is the release of the "Random Traffic Generator". Now you can set up a flurry of fights between the different airports on your list. Set the main or host airport. And that will then bring up the main menu screen. Here on the main menu screen, you can set out the many different variables to create good automated traffic flows. Settings include: Minimum safe altitudes Airport Classification (%) to Military or Commercial Aircraft Type (%) Connecting airports (routes) A list of Operating Airlines, Air Forces and Aviation Companies and your selection. And the percentages (%) of flights departing and arriving over 6 hour periods during a full 24hour rotation. Once set your World Traffic plugin will then create random flights with three way points between the chosen airports with the selected airlines or aircraft. Another highlight is the "Flight Plan List" has been increased from 400 plans to 1500 Flightplans, that is the now the full limit of the application (An X-Plane limitation). The full update details: Fix problem with starting aircraft using same ground route starting location when taxiing to different departure runways. This resulted in departing planes appearing in the same parking spot. Fix list size of displayed flight plans... it was only showing 400 flights. The limit is now 1500 flights which seemed to be about the maximum size retrievable from the X-Plane getDirectoryContents function. Helicopter flights have been fixed as they weren't displaying in the last test version Make check dist longer for departing planes to decrease number of overshoots - increased from 1.5 to 2.5 miles With one known issue noted as: - The Random Traffic Generator may crash for some users when using the 64 bit version on the PC. The 32 bit version is apparently ok. The code crashing is in the stl:vector function so it may take a while to sort that one out. You can download the new World Traffic version here: World Traffic 1.1.3 I recommend reading the World Traffic .pdf And the support Forum is : World Traffic Aircraft - X-Plane To use World Traffic you have to buy a user key. $24.95 World Traffic(License Key sent by email by CJS) This is available from the X-Plane .Org Store : World Traffic All updates and support are free. 5th Aug 2013
  8. This is X-Plane Reviews! Since 2002 the X-Plane.Org and later the X-Plane.OrgStore has been the central part of the X-Plane simulator universe. And only this July 2013 the X-Plane.Org past the record number of users registered on the site of 250.000 users, a quarter of a million X-Plane users!... or Pilots. With such growth, and with the central focus of X-Plane being on these sites in information and sales, It was only worthy to have a site dedicated to reviewing and supplying you with the latest news of the ever expanding X-Plane universe. And so here is X-Plane Reviews, created by the same people that is the X-Plane.org, we will give you all the latest news and reviews with an insight into what is happening and what is worthy of your interest. No doubt the last year has seen many exciting releases and changes outside and within the simulator, these announcements and releases will become even more prominent as the simulator moves ever forward and from this moment you will have another home to bookmark to access the right information of these great product releases and in-depth XPlane analysis. Items that will be covered by X-Plane Review will range from: News Add-on... Announcements - Development - Releases - Reviews and Updates Developer... Interviews Scenery... Free and Payware - Development - Reviews - Updates Laminar Research... Developments - Betas - Updates Comments and Columns from myself and many other commentators and X-Plane users. In fact anything that is connected to the X-Plane Simulator. Many will know myself from my news and reviews over on the X-Sim Reviews site (as Flightime56) and here you can join me with your own views and comments on the way you use and expand your simulator world. If you have anything newsworthy then contact me at : [email protected] If you are new to the X-Plane Simulator then you are in for a treat. Many new users to simulation are surprised on how deep the platform is, like a game it has many, many levels of involvement... but don't call simulation a game. The aim is of course to replicate and fly just like you do in the real aviation world and X-Plane recreates a whole virtual world for you to do so. The world you fly in is in real time and with real distances that covers the whole area of the earth. So first off, X-Plane can be very time consuming if you want to go long distances. But that does not mean you can not just hop in an aircraft and do a quick flight around your own backyard. Besides the huge variety of aircraft available from both purchase (payware) stores (like the .OrgStore), there are also hundreds of machines available for free(ware) downloads at many other sites to add to your hangar. But X-Plane does not stop there, you can download sceneries, plugins, new aircraft liveries and a huge variety of items that can fill out your own unique collection that makes up your own virtual aviation world. (a sort of minecraft for aviation), and it is addictive!... In fact X-Plane should have a sticker on the box that says (This product is extremely addictive!).... And X-Plane wants for you to be involved. You can create your own aircraft, sceneries and other items to add to the collection folders of other users, They will use your work in their virtual world and enjoy your contribution to the X-Plane experience. So, thanks for joining us here at X-Plane Reviews to expand your X-Plane experience. Stephen Dutton
  9. Roman Berezin is one part with Phillipp Munzel that make up Flightfactor, the Designer house that has developed for X-Plane the Boeing 777 Worldliner series and the soon to be released Boeing 757 series. Roman joins us today to give X-Plane Reviews some insights into Flightfactor and his life in X-Plane. Hi Roman... XPR: First off I will note that congratulations are in order as you have just become a doctorate (Dr) of Mathematics. What is your story behind that and how that affects your future and ambitions? Yes, a long and tedious period is over. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being in the university but 10 years are quite enough. For a few years I was teaching but decided I don’t want to continue with a post doc or teaching. So, I am now a Doctor of Mathematics, specializing in probability, I published two papers but will not be making that my career. XPR: It would have needed a lot of focus to do the doctorate and decide to build the Boeing projects in the B777, B757 and all at the same time? Yes, the last year was quite hectic with finishing the PhD and doing the 777 but it the end it all worked out. XPR: Was the B777 considered the number one project from the start or was it put to the front of the pack for other reasons than the big gap in the marketplace for the aircraft? Actually Nicolas has been bugging me to do the 777 for a long time, ever since the SSJ v5. But I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, finally when I decided to do it I met Philipp, we just clicked and that made the perfect team for the 777 and many future projects, we hope. XPR: The B777 has without doubt been one of the big releases for X-Plane in the last twelve months, how do you see the release now almost twelve months on and how it has evolved? Well, trying to be as modest as I can, I think we did a very good job on the model and now its almost perfect. There are a couple more things which I would like to add to the model, but I think it is generally very good now in terms of modeling, the flight model and the systems. Of course, the model will continue to evolve – we will try to keep it at the very best edge of Xp add-on technology. XPR: I found the just released version of the Boeing 777 and what I would now call the aircraft now "mature", certainly the aircraft will still be developed but has it reached that mature stage from your point of view? Yes, as I said, I think that the plane is mature now and can certainly rival the best of them, not only for XP too. XPR: Although most developers have solid business plans, yours was a very interesting one in asking payment for liveries and other versions in the Cargo and -300 variants, I actually like the foundation of the idea as it gave payment to other people who contributed to the project and allows them and the team to share in the business... Do you see this sort business model being adopted more in the future? I think that out model is very good for several reasons. As for the different version of the models, its quite common in other sims and even in XP to have a small and an extended version. For the 757 we will actually have 6 planes available, 757-200/300/F and all with both RR and PW engine types. Of course we won’t ask the customer to pay for each but we will probably in the end have 2 or even 3 variants for the plane. As for the liveries its very simple really. For another models the producers are able to make 5-10 liveries. Here we wanted to give the customer the ability to get up to 100 liveries. Of course, for this we had to get 3rd party help. The price for the liveries is really symbolic of 1$ per livery. For the 757 we already have more than 100 liveries ready which will be sold for 1$ as with the 777. Also, the 757 livery packs are made for both 200 and 300 models. Our goal now is to bring the models as close to reality as possible. For that we get helped by several real life pilots, engineers and have a license from Boeing. XPR: The B757 is due soon as the next release, You then put off the release so you can work more on the different engine variants and so how is that going? Well, the original release date was in June, but we have decided to postpone because we could get the engines to work exactly like in reality. The 57s engines are EPR controlled, which, as far as I know, has never been truly realized in XP before. So we set ourselves to really simulate the internal workings of the engine and thus the delay. XPR: You have added a few special effects to this aircraft, haven't you? Yes, some effects which have already been tested on the 777 and the SSJ have now been significantly improved. Real reflections which employ several techniques at the same time, a sophisticated 3D sounds system is there as well as different lighting effects using the improved v10 lighting. Also, the rain simulation has been improved. The newest addition of course is the particle system. As you may already know, the 757 will have more than 250 custom failures, and now many of them are accompanied by special effects, like wheel well fires, APU overheat with smoke, brake overheat, and others. We also use the new particle system for moister effects in the engine nacelles and wing trails. XPR: How much more complex can we go in aircraft systems, and is it a moving point in the fact that is it worth spending a lot of programming time to simulate a minor function for the return? or is it best to enhance the programming we have now? Well, this is really a question of what we want to have in the end. I guess if the general goal is to have a training sim of the level which can be used by real pilots, then we have to keep on and improve the systems to the point of real simulators. On the other hand, many users prefer a simpler sim, here we can improve on the quality of 3D, graphics and effects. So there is quite a long way to go in either way. XPR: The main central feature in all of Flightfactor's aircraft is Philipp's FMS systems, It is a work of art, how did you both get together and produce this. Generally Philipp’s FMS system combined with the ever improving visual effects make up the unique quality of our products. As for me and Philipp, we “met” when I was working on the 777 and decided to cooperate on that project. As it turned out, we are very good together in terms of timing and common mind. Thus, we have quite a lot of plans for XP and hope that Flightfactors becomes the major player in XP add-on market. XPR: Can Philipp ski as good as you? Actually both me and Philipp ski quite well. The fact that I fell down on the last day of our skiing trip is accidental. The best skier of all is of course Nicolas, who fell down and hurt himself quite badly on the first day of the trip. XPR: Is putting the right team together as important as other goals in projects like these? Apparently so. Now when we have more than one project at the same time, finding the right people is important. Our core team is me and Philipp, but we have almost 10 people helping us on and off, with the flight model dynamics, liveries, graphics etc. XPR: Ultimately though the heavy workload to deliver a great product still falls down to you? In the end, it’s the team effort that gets the job done. Flightfactor doesn’t have CEOs or CTOs, we are all working together for a common goal, I merely act as a coordinator to help bring the projects together. XPR: What was the attraction to X-Plane as a simulator? Actually, as most, I started as a user flying on line in IVAO Ukrainian division and started getting interested in making models in 2009 after watching the first Dan Klaue’s tutorials. I think I never used any other sim, maybe MSFS in 1995. XPR: How do you feel of the current situation of the X-Plane10 simulator?... and for its future? I think that the sim is progressing nicely, finally v10 has become fully usable and its benefits over XP9 are pronounced. Of course I have some wishes for the path XP should take, but I will not mention this, as the designers will probably not listen to me anyway. XPR: How important do you think is the X-Plane community in part of developing your products and feedback? Oh very much. I always prefer to ask the community what they want before starting a new project as well as monitoring feedback to see what we have done wrong and what should be improved. This is the big benefit of a small community, the ability to actually talk to users. As you know, my skype is available online and people are welcome to share their thoughts directly. XPR: How do you feel in comparison of X-Plane Add-Ons are now in relative to say PMDG and other large development houses in the FSX/P3D market and is that a market to plan for in the future? (would you market in the FSX platform) I don’t want to compare ourselves to anyone, let users do that. I don’t think we will develop for FSX, but the thought of doing things for airlines is appealing. XPR: 64Bit was a big change to the X-Plane platform, and it affected Add-On developers like yourself more than in any other area, how did it overall affect your plans and releases? We did spend many hours cursing XP while the move to 64bit was made, but generally the schedule of XP releases was available and people like Ben Supnik were very helpful, so our planes didn’t change much. XPR: From a developers point of view is there anything that you would like from X-Plane that you feel would be either a step forward or greatly enhance your products? Oh yes, and Laminar is aware of my wishes J XPR: You use the .OrgStore to distribute and promote your products, why do you use the .orgstore and what are the benefits to developers in doing so? We did and indeed still use some other stores for product distribution, but generally I like the communal feel of the X-Plane .org and it is the biggest place for XP out there. Of course Nicolas is much fun skiing with. Next year we try skydiving, see what he does there. (laughs) XPR: Thank You Roman, and good luck with the latest release. Developer Website: Flightfactor/Facebook Interview 26th July 2013
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