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Aircraft Review : Challenger 300 XP11 V2 Captain's Edition by Ddenn One of X-Plane's absolute favorite aircraft has been upgraded to X-Plane11 with the Bombardier Challenger 300 XP11. This excellent private jet can already fly in X-Plane11, and that is mostly with more patches than what Keith Richards has on him. So what is this upgraded version? Patches are great in keeping a current aircraft flying, but in reality they are what they are as a patch or a temporary fix of issues or bugs. In reality you need a completely revised aircraft and a more solid flying experience and in the case of X-Plane11 the required performance tuning to meet the conditions of the new simulator. In reality there are not many quality private jets in X-Plane... why is really a mystery as they are very interesting aircraft to fly and this Ddenn's Challenger 300 very popular acceptance aircraft adds in even more to the head scratching of why developers don't produce more aircraft of this genre. The aircraft has been a sort of experimental platform as well, with ideas of chrome and glossy fuselages and other bits of ideas. But that was before X-Plane11 and most of the ideas that the developer was trying to imitate are now part of the full package of X-Plane11 features. You can't disregard the fact that the Challenger 300 is stunning aircraft, these light jets have that pedigree feel about them and mostly do the Davos shuttle or ferry the 1º Percenters around the globe. In other words the only way you and I will get to fly in one is on your desktop. External It is hard to get your head around that the Challenger 300 from Ddenn has been around in X-Plane since the middle of 2011, that is nearly seven years for the taking and the aircraft still looks as stunning now as then and now with new 4096 (4K Size) textures inside and out, even more so with the latest X-Plane11 PBR - Physical Based Rendering effects and the surrounding X-Plane11 look and feel. The results are that the chrome effects are now so realistic with... true chrome, and real reflective chrome (note the older special effect plugin has been removed). The external cabin windows highlights the beauty of the effects, great chrome (again) and the excellent reflective glass. But there are some areas that do still show the aircraft's design age. The navigation lights are quite basic and the main undercarriage internals are also standard modeling... there is nothing really outstanding here that actually dates the aircraft but they are still there if you look or observe very closely. But you have to admire the work as the detailed front gear and rear tail shows, this was done seven years ago and it is still excellent work. Menus There are two sets of menus with the Challenger 300. The slide out main menu is positioned on the left side of your screen and has seven tabs and they cover: 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's Main door, Baggage door, Emergency hatch, Blinds (internal all), Internal cabin Lighting on/off, Washroom door (internal), rear baggage door (internal), and tables (internal). Instruments - A menu to access different that instruments and displays on the panel of the aircraft (image above right) that covers the EICAS display, CKLST (Checklist) and MFDCTL (Multi-Functional Display). The main changes in the menu is mostly on the options menu, originally there was only two options in saving your current position and status and adjust the volume of your sound. This has now expanded to include: Options - The save your plane position still works very well and the adjustment of the volume of sound has been expanded to include both external and internal engine volume. Now you can display or hide the pilots, Lock the camera during the PREFLT walkaround, Hide the Main Menu automatically, Let the MFDCTL menu pop-up automatically, Non-reflective Cockpit Glass and allow the Auto-Throttle to work. (note on the save your plane position. This feature can mess up your loading if you want to move the aircraft to another airport, if wanting a free positioning, make sure the box is ticked off) Internal After the walk-around and cleaning up the aircraft of its static elements it was time to open up the Challenger 300. From the original release of this Challenger this cabin was one of the very best, and it held that honour for years. It still stands up against even the best of them out there, but the quality has caught up in detail, again it stresses how good this aircraft was all those years ago and still is. Cabin lighting off and cabin is dark but the PBR effects bring out the detail. Cabin lights on and it is now a much more brighter cabin than you had in the Challenger 300 cabin than before, it is debatable if it is too bright as it washes out the seat textures? You may get used to this brighter world or you may not, personally a few notches down would be more to my taste or give us the independent spot lighting as the switches are already set out and in gold! The detail however is still overwhelming, it is a beautiful space in which to fly (note the lovely animated blinds) Washroom now has the correct glass reflections and the chrome fittings that the developer has desired from the start, courtesy of X-Plane11's effects. Some handles and fittings are not perfectly round as per the aircraft's heritage, but it is a nice space to use when the need arises. Far rear cabin is the baggage compartment and the loading door can be operated internally as well. Cockpit Open the divider between the cabin and the cockpit and you are in the "office". A note in that if the divider is set across the doorway you can't walk through as the boundary is now in place? Same with the main door when it is closed, those physical restraints were not in place before... With X-Plane11 the lighting dynamics are very good, but to be honest I expected more deeper shadows and more dynamic, dynamics, and the overall grey design doesn't help, still X-Plane11 does lift the cockpit to far more and greater realistic feel than you had before. The window shades are animated and move right around on rails for use. To many in X-Plane this cockpit is a very familiar place, a home away from home. But you do feel it is different, obviously the layout is the same, but there are several fundamental changes that do give you that more newish feel and the notable upgraded version difference. The first item is not part of the package, but an addon... It is the optional "Terrain Radar" by DrGluck It is free, and has been refined by the developer for use in the Challenger to be part of the Map/Nav Display, and is well worth the addition. The second was the most wanted function on this aircraft since it was released in a real FMC. Granted it is the native X-Plane11 FMC and not the custom FMC we had been waiting years for. But it is still a fully function FMC with SID&STARS, AIRWAYS and STEPs. Also thankfully the nasty red route line has gone as well and that has been replaced by the newer pink and grey route segment layout. You can programme the FMC via the usual pop-out or directly if you want the authentic feel of the Challenger. EGKB (Biggin Hill) to EFMN (Nice) If you spend a lot of time in the United Kingdom you get used to a lot of crappy weather... Rain effects have had a strange ride lately in X-Plane, a few years ago they were in vogue and everywhere, then the developers took them off their aircraft again. But here they work, and work really well in the Challenger, for me I love rain effects and the sounds are great as well... Talking of sounds as they are now all dynamic FMOD, yes they were good before, but this now standardizes the sound package. Engine start up was always a great event, but the engine time start up has now been extended, so now even more time to enjoy the whine of the two Honeywell HTF 7000 turbofan engines that are flat rated to 6,826 pounds of thrust each. Start-up is also greatly helped by the excellent EICAS - Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System. The displays are changed through the EICAS panel aft pedestal or via the pop-up panel. They cover: Anti-Ice, ECS, Electrical, Flight Controls, Fuel and Hydraulics, there is also a standard “Summary” display that gives you an overview of the systems. It is a great layout to check out the aircraft's systems which is vital at start-up with the required bleed channels to the engines and APU use, and I really like the summary information on the condition of the aircraft. The text is still micro small, but now quite readable than it was before. Note the excellent built-in checklist, as you can mark off the items as well. Nav Source is to select between the FMC, Nav1 and Nav2 sources, and best set before you depart... REFS gives you your takeoff Ref speeds (landing as well) and are handy to know. Time to get out of this nasty English weather and go to the sunny French Côte d'Azur. But that was easier to say than do? Then the heavens opened... ... my only guide was a yellow line and my well known layout of Biggin Hill Aerodrome. The rain effects were very, very good, but you still wished for a windscreen wiper. The hangar on TWY H loomed out of the gloom, best not to hit that? You need a white stick out here... I found EGKB RWY 03 and powered up into the greyness, it wasn't the easiest departure I have experienced, but once airborne I kept just flew dead straight and climbed hard at around 4000fpm to climb out of the "merde". You can do that with an aircraft like this, as you can power your way out of trouble for the thrust is huge to the weight of the machine even with a heavy 17770 kg gross weight (aircraft is 10730 kg). Then at 9800ft I cleared the weather... and started to breath on my own again. It was time to get back on to schedule and start the flightplan. But with the difficult departure I had to go to the flightplan, I could do a DIR INTO or DIRECT-TO course back to SFD VOR as now I had a FMC to use, but why not feel the aircraft instead. I have always found the Challenger a bit of a niggly aircraft, and even with a slight pitch or bank movements it sort of reacted rather than moved to the new angle or the change of pitch. You got used to it and sort of flew around it's odd foible characteristics. But now in this version you now have X-Plane11 flight dynamics which are very different from the past X-Plane flight models. Some aircraft haven't changed over well to XP11 dynamics, but the Challenger 300 has... ... the XP11 changes to the aircraft has benefited the feel and the flying considerably. The turn to the south was a "wow" moment as the aircraft gracefully moved under your commands, it held the tight radius really well and you felt the aircraft respond to your inputs far, far better than you remembered in the past, before I loved the aircraft but now with this excellent flight model it is also very nice aircraft to fly manually. Time to fly to the sun... The cockpit is VR (Virtual Reality) ready with both the manipulators and teleport spots changed for the interaction and the scroll is also available for adjustment of knobs, the logic of 3-pos switches like for lighting now works as well. But the knobs don't now make that ratchet sound when you turn them. (on VR expect more changes in time, it is still very new in X-Plane and currently most areas are still basic) The main SASL plugin has been upgraded to v2.5.1 for better and smoother operations and features, supposedly to come. But you do feel the difference with the this latest update in your interactions and the quick responses. The weird thing is that things that you thought were standard, were actually not... take glass reflection for example, not there before but it is now. This is feature that did get muddled as gloss and reflections were a part of the developers ideas to replicate them with out the current X-Plane11 tools. Certainly X-Plane11 does the job far better, but what was actually wasn't until now. Lighting The lighting in the Challenger 300 was always very good, but depending on the period you take it from. In the early days it was simply brilliant, but the laws of life and constant rolling forward progress can diminish that halo a little. But you use the new X-Plane11 effects to give some ummph back into the aircraft and that shows here. In the cockpit the feel is excellent, and the newer FMC adds in to the more complete feel than the average version before. Panel lighting adjustment is via two side panels by both the pilot and co-pilot including separate adjustments for all the display panels and the pedestal... .... The important knob is only on the co-pilots side pane in the "Dome". This adjusts the single overhead light that covers the cockpit, but it is very flexible in adjusting the lighting from a very dark (landing) to a night working environment. I was very easily to find a sweet lighting spot to be in a dark environment, but have an outline of all the knobs and buttons I required and a lovely reflection glow from the instrument panel and . So the cockpit lighting is extremely good, but I was not as happy with the cabin lighting... Cabin lighting is purely on/off... dark or brilliantly bright? There are great spot lights around the cabin, but with no function which is a real shame. Worse if you have the cabin lighting on the cockpit is as brightly lit? And the aircraft is quite bright externally unless you pull the all the shades down? So unless your passengers are sitting in the dark, you can't use the excellent cockpit lighting or vice-versa, even the spots working in the cabin would help to fix that issue. The seatbelt and EXIT signs all work (on/off) and there is an entrance lights set in stairs. External lighting is excellent. There is wing (ice) lights and tail logo light, navigation, strobe and beacon lighting. Front gear has a taxi and landing light, and two landing lights in fairings inner wings. Arrival at the Côte d'Azur is swift in a private fast .80 mach jet. I always found that stability was hard going as you reduced the speeds and tried to balance the lower speed, flap extension (to match the speed) and power adjustment. It is still tricky, but the XP11 dynamics do give you more control, mostly in the throttle area. LFMN - Nice RWY 04L is now in sight and my approach is under good speed control. I have found that the NIce 04L - 04R ILS to be a bit tricky, sometimes they align correctly and sometimes they don't and mostly on 04R. So you have to be ready to change quickly from the flightplan if you are not aligning correctly, but today everything is aligned as it should be. Nice always did make for a very dramatic arrival, as the comprehensive X-Plane11's autogen works really well here. For a fast jet the aircraft is very good at slow approach speeds, here it is 145knts at 20º flap and down to 120knts on full/30º flap. Your throttle use has to be good, almost perfect to keep it within the right approach speed range as the aircraft is sensitive, more so when the gear is extended, the drag is considerable. Note the excellent "TerrainRadar", as the it works very well here at LFMN. With the flaps extended the detailing is still very good and authentic... finals and your flying now just by the throttle adjustment. The tricky, tricky part is getting the right flare in this aircraft, but it is better here with more throttle feel, as it is very easy to crash the aircraft hard down onto the runway... ... get it right and you a happy pilot, those huge cans can give you a lot of reverse-thrust... .... and the passengers get their first view of the South of France in Nice Airport. And finally a taxi to Stand 22. Finally on the stand and engine shutdown... there is no external power cart which is a bit strange after all this time, but you do get external power to the aircraft. Liveries All the liveries provided have been upgraded to 4K 4096mb quality, but a of the few originals (and some favorites) have not been transferred. With the package you get one blank and eight liveries... There is a huge range of 53 liveries available on the X-Plane.Org, including these... But not all of them work as some if they have a metal exposure you get a bad mottled effect? There is a painkit, but not yet updated to the 4K textures. Summary I am really preaching to the converted here, as the Bombardier Challenger 300 by Dden is an X-Plane classic aircraft, everyone pretty well owns it and has flown it. The original aircraft is nearly seven years old and in areas that age does show, but it is not a significant point as this is an aircraft that has moved on very well with the times and is in many ways it is as good now than ever and even far better than a lot of the aircraft released today. The aircraft and its excellent comprehensive menus and features are still top notch, and I wholeheartedly recommend the "TerrainRadar" plugin to add in some more detail that much more now than ever. This is the X-Plane11 interpretation of the aircraft, and that means all the features that X-Plane11 brings to your simulator are now accessible on the Challenger as well. And it is a lot of changes and it does significantly change the design in feel and dynamics... you could say this is the mature and grown up aircraft and finally it comes with that much wanted built in FMC even if it is the native X-Plane11 version. Physical Based Rendering and this aircraft were always going to be the dream team, but although extremely good, it is not as dynamic as I thought it would have been compared to other aircraft, I feel there is a little more fine tuning is needed here as also with the cabin lighting, which is too bright, although others may disagree with that assessment, but besides that point the cabin lighting needs attention to divide it from the excellent cockpit lighting anyway, as they just don't work together. If you already own the earlier versions of the Challenger 300 from Dden (of which most of you do) then you can upgrade to this XP11 version for the new model for less than $10. Please look for the promo code under your CL300 invoice at the X-Plane.OrgStore. Overall the X-Plane11 features shine very strongly here and there has been a lot of very nice fixes and tuning to make the Challenger 300 still one of the very best private jets available in X-Plane... if still THE best and long still may the Challenger 300 reign. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Bombardier Challenger 300 XP11 by Ddenn is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Bombardier Challenger 300 v2 Captain Edition XP11 Price is US$34.95 Note: Owners of the original Challenger 300 can buy the new model for less than $10. Please look for the promo code under your CL300 invoice at the X-Plane.OrgStore Features Superb Modeling in and out Awesome 3D model - Fully decorated and animated luxury cabin Many high-resolution liveries Considered by many to be the best looking aircraft in X-Plane VR support (more to come as X-Plane progresses) Fully Functional Virtual cockpit Crisp and easy to read high-resolution panels Click to toggle between 3D and easy view Suitable for beginners and experts -You decide you level of realism- Systems modeled after the real Challenger 300: AIR CONDITIONING/PRESSURIZATION AURAL / VISUAL ALERTS FLIGHT INSTRUMENTS FUEL SYSTEM LIGHTING ELECTRICAL FLIGHT CONTROLS HYDRAULICS ICE&RAIN PROTECTION POWERPLANT/FADEC As accurate as it can be Accurate Flight Model Tested and approved by real Challenger pilots: Requirements X-Plane 11 (X-Plane 10 not supported) Mac, Windows or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM recommended Free updates for the duration of X-Plane 11 Installation Download of the Bombardier Challenger 300 XP11 is only a 105mb and it is installed in your Aircraft Folder as a 251mb folder. Optional "Terrain Radar" by DrGluck is free and is installed within your X-Plane/Resources/Plugins Folder Documents Two documents are provided but are located in the aircraft's folder and not in a separate "Document" Folder, that can be hard to find. Challenger 300 Quick Flight Tutorial.pdf CL300Manual_xp11.pdf _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 9th February 2018 Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.11 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - EGKB - Biggin Hill (XP10) 1.3 by Chars (X-Plane.Org) - Free - LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur XP11by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.50 Notes: Initial v2 release for X-Plane 11 tuned flight model, engines, fuel consumption, autopilot VR basic support : manipulators and teleport spots 4096 textures for the cockpit and the cabin reflection materials to the cockpit and the cabin rain effect cabin TV slideshow mouse wheel control for all knobs commands for popup panels internal engine sound volume control com1 and com2 radios audio can be heared at the same time APU BLEED ALT LIMIT cas message airspeed instrument ias/mach tape, minimum 45 knots indication support for Terrain Radar plugin - https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/37864-terrain-radar-vertical-situation-display/ option to hide/show cockpit glass external click spot for opening main door from outside new check marks in the options menu changed logic of 3-pos switches SASL plugin updated to v2.5.1 updated manual
News! - Plugin Development : Alpha Materials plugin Most aspects with simulator flying is mostly always focused on the flying areas and scenery. But another exciting dimension to simulation is the way third parties can create enhancements and ideas to push the realism to higher and higher goals. Plugins are mostly the way to do this, and here DDen has created a new plugin to create better shiny and chrome effects on aircraft or any X-Plane object. If you have DDen's lovely Challenger 300 private jet then in the last 10.36 update you would know and use an early version of this effect plugin. The NG plugin idea worked of course but it was in a very early in the development cycle, so there was a few areas or angles that wasn't working (strangely in conflicts with extended scenery?) but the development has continued and the plugin can now be used on other X-Plane aircraft like the default Boeing 744. If any aircraft needs any help in looking better it is the default B748, and it does look good, doesn't it. The plugin will be available to add into any aircraft in time, at this point you can test two aircraft for five minutes with the B744 and Cirrus. 747_material_ng.zip cirrus_material_ng.zip The first alpha setting controls the amount of reflections from 0% (no reflections) to 100% (chrome like reflections). Diffuse channel also controls the reflection colour (gold - bottom right). Second texture alpha setting controls roughness and the amount of reflection polishing. Do not use 0% alpha, it will cause artefacts, use 1% instead. 100% make it look almost plain grey, useful for lighting effects. Diffuse channel is usual normal map texture. X-Plane 11 will have a similar shiny chrome system with what Laminar Research calls "Physically Based Rendering" or "PBR", this will allow reflective light to be just that in being reflective, but have also different properties with different conditions. Most X-Plane aircraft do to a point look quite dull, or flat in the simulator. But with the active use of PBR then they come very much more alive and look far more realistic. Both systems are coming to create the same goal in better reflections in the X-Plane world. Both are very exciting but the DDen plugin is going to more adjustable for developers than the global version from Laminar Research, which means both will have their different roles to play in the same area. The DDen Alpha plugin is not just restricted to aircraft but any object that requires a shiny coat or finish. You can follow the development here: Materials NG plugin - reflections for X-Plane 10.50+ Or download a development version here: Materials NG plugin alpha demo for x-plane 10.50+ 0.8A_d ____________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 16th August 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews