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Aircraft Update : E-175/E-195 v2.4 by X-Crafts It is an interesting journey in when reviewing developers progress and certainly with the twin versions of E-Jets from SSG and X-Crafts. Looking at this new X-Crafts v2.4 after the recent update to SSG's twins E-170/E-195 Evolutions in June, they have both (or all) have come a very significant way since their 2014 debut. In reality both are now nothing like their original predecessors, if certainly in the modeling, systems and quality, but the prices have changed also to match their higher quality status, as was the original X-Crafts E-195 was only US$20 dollars, and which was an absolute steal at the time. But remember there was no FMC or nowhere the quality or the features of the aircraft you have in flying the same aircraft today. But the journey also shows on how to do this simulation do,da game right, start with a basic idea with quality modeling and just keep on improving the aircraft, add in the best of the current features and keep the aircraft bang up to date (in this constantly if ever changing X-Plane environment) with updates. The users (or purchasers) will feel safe in knowing that their investment is going up and have the security that their E-Jet is current with the latest changes all done and dusted. It is a simple coda really, but you would be surprised how many developers are quite average at this, that also adds in to the fact that once you do fall behind in the changes it gets harder and harder to catch up again and the investors are going to be picky as well because your past track record is going to say "not very reliable", in other words you can't count on them... but then there is that word "Investment" because that is what a sale is. Most upgrades fall into three areas, a fix for (usually major) for new simulator changes or for new features. A lot are however in the third batch of a few new features and a general tidy up of bugs and small issues, this E-175/E-195 v2.4 update falls firmly in to this latter category. E-175/E-195 v2.4 update Externally the original X-Crafts modeling has not changed over the years, because it really didn't need to. It was brilliant from the very start and was why the aircraft in a modeling sense was well ahead of its time. Certainly the textures and details have been updated to the reflect the changes to the better X-Plane11 dynamics, but overall it is still the same... but E-Jet still looks as brilliant as ever. The notes here are related to the E-195, but the E-175 is almost identical. The major change with this update is the addition feature of a "Load Planner" or as other developers call them a "Weights & Balance" panels. As every developer does their own interpretation of the same idea and now here is the X-Crafts version. The menu is a pop-out of now four tabs on the left lower part of you screen. They cover: Menu, Pushback, WGT & BAL and Checklist. Menu: The main menu tab opens all the doors (both pass and cargo), connects a GPU (Ground Power Unit) and requests pushback. Ground Equipment static items include chocks (front nosegear), cones and tag covers Pushback: The tab won't work unless you have "requested" the pushback truck on the menu page. Then it it will be active. It is however a quality pushback setup with a nice tractor supplied and it is a set distance and pivot system that was good. Now everyone (like I do) use the BetterPushBack plugin, so this pushback system is a little bit of a non-starter now, but X-Crafts have tuned both their E-Jets for perfect use of the BetterPushBack plugin version as well. WGT & BAL: The third tab is the new feature of a "Weights & Balance" panel. The new Load Planner is a very good one, easy to use and the loading is very quick. The panel can be not only be moved around the screen, but also scaled to fit... excellent. There are some very clever ideas going on in here... scroll the passenger loading bar and the cargo adjusts to the corresponding passengers baggage weights as well! The loading is also from the front to the rear to balance the aircraft, and so the Centre of Gravity MAC number also adjusts as well... ... You have to set the fuel load via the top slider before adjusting the "cargo adjust" or the general cargo slider to balance out the C/G, simple! All your weights are then shown including Max Weight, ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight), Payload Weight, MAC% setting and the crew and passengers loaded on board. So the set up and the loading is super quick and efficient... impressive. Checklist: Final lower tab is a pop-up checklist in a binder, again really well set out and easy to use. Again you can move the binder around the screen and also scale it to fit to your panel views, just simply brilliant. TEKTON FMS The major difference between the SSG E-Jets and the X-Crafts aircraft are the FMS (Flight Management System) Systems. The SSG uses Javier Cortes FJCC model were as the X-Crafts uses Steve Wilson's Tekton model. The differences are built around the fact that the SSG uses custom plugins to run the systems, were as the Tekton version runs on top of the X-Plane native FMS system. The Tekton uses a different idea to set up the Departure (SID) - Route - Arrival (STAR) into three different settings and then combines them together when you activate the route. So you start by loading in your departure airport, RWY and SID details. Then you input your route and AIRWAYS are supported. Then your arrival Airport, RWY and STAR details... it is highly recommended to do any edits of any of the three segments BEFORE you activate them, as they can be really hard to change any details after loading... here I am removing CORAL waypoint to stop a backtrack to the next connecting waypoint. Then you INIT the plan and finally EXEC to combine and load the flightplan into the FMS on the PROGRESS page. The combined complete flightplan is then shown on the FLIGHTPLAN page. There has been a huge amount of improvements to the system over the years, and once you find your way around it and understand how it works it is very good, but like I said it is hard to edit, once the three segements are set up in there. The system can be inputted by both your mouse or pad, or by direct keyboard input for speed. You can import and save routes, but I always prefer to do the full route directly from APT start to APT finish with this particular system. Changes to the Tekton FMS in v2.4 include: Added airspeed values to all legs, along with pre-calculation of climb and descent values Revised use of PERF 2 so that airspeed and cruise altitude parameters can be entered more easily prior to entering procedures and the planned route Revised warning messages to be yellow in color, signifying caution, instead of a critical warning in red Fuel calculations fixed for flight plans that do not include route waypoints Added current AIRAC information to the STATUS panel Enhanced font textures used for highlighting row data when scrolling Various bugs fixed including the somewhat infamous airways loading crash Note in the fact the AIRAC Data is now updated to the current cycle 1808, and is supplied by Aerosoft. Other notes I found the panel and the the displays far, far more easier to read in this version... ... earlier displays based on the X-Plane native (PlaneMaker) layouts were of a quite poor resolution, mostly unreadable, but more so looked out of place in a quality instrument panel layout. But these are very good, not perfect as some numbering in the MFD are still quite small in the text size, and it is quite hard to read the minute sizes on critical points like on my approach to Rocky YBRK. but overall a major improvement. Another oddity is that the MFD and MAP/NAV displays for the First Officer are set the wrong way around on startup, and you have to switch them back every time before departure via the switches right panel? The cockpit itself is very good, nice detailing and better reflections (this version seems to be better overall in these texture details, but they are not noted in the notes detail) the Side menu graphics are noted for better resolution and the audio panel has been revised so that COM, NAV and ADF radios can be turned on and off with an LED in the button to indicate current status, but besides the fixing of the various minor graphics glitches it is the same as the previous version. FMOD Sound The sounds were updated to FMOD in v2.2 and they were a mixed bag, some good, but a few not so much. Here in v2.4 they have been updated to more FMOD selections, but still mostly as announcements including: Boarding: Triggered by turning ON the fasten seatbelt sign when on the ground. Gate Departure: Triggered by CLOSING the main cabin door. Safety Briefing: Triggered by moving BACKWARDS faster than 3 knots during pushback Accent: Triggered by CLIMBING past 11,000 feet. Descent: Triggered by DESCENDING past 10,000 feet Landing: Triggered by LOWERING the landing gear Arrival: Triggered by CLOSING the reverse-thrust Overall the sounds were certainly far better than I remember earlier, but the cockpit levels are quite low (The SSG is also very similar) but even in flight the volume is lower that I would like compared to the external sounds, and although good they are quite loud. So the problem is you can't actually hear the new announcements as the volume is set too low? (so you should be able to hear the announcements if not the engines). Maybe we need some sort of sound adjustment panel? Liveries are unchanged, but are still updated to XP11 standard... There are fifteen liveries including: White/blank, Lufthansa Regional (default), Air Canada, Air Dolomiti, American Airways, Augsburg Airway, Austrian, Austrian (Star Alliance), Azul, Flybe and Virgin Australia. And the four great variations on the JetBlue livery in - Stripes, Mosaic, Blueberries and Barcode. Summary Another few new features and a few touch-ups and some bug fixing pretty well sums up this v2.4 update for the E-Jet twins from X-Crafts. The new Weights & Balance menu panel is of course being the major highlight here and it is one of the best in ease of use and speed in getting the load done and sorting the out and getting the aircraft ready to fly. So full marks on that feature. The FMS has had its usual adjustments and bug fixing, but overall it works pretty well now, sounds in new announcements are new, but the (very) low cockpit volume makes them hard to hear, but they are very good. This v2.4 update keeps the E-Jets up to date and flying along quite nicely, but overall these E-Jets just feels a bit more complete, more finished and the flying displays certainly look and feel better than they did before... note this aircraft is now X-Plane11 only. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Embraer E175/E195 v2.4 by X-Crafts is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Embraer E-175 v2.4 Price is US$39.95 Embraer E-195 v2.4 Price is US$39.95 Twin Embraer E-175 and E-195 v2.4 Set is also available for US$59.95 Embraer E-175 and E-195 Package X-Crafts E-175 v2.2 review is here: Aircraft Review : Embraer E-175 v2.2 by X-Crafts FEATURES: NEW: Load Manager NEW: Fully integrated 3D sound system! Accurate dimensions based on drawings and documentation provided by Embraer © Windows, Mac and Linux compatible Custom TEKTON FMS© by Steve Wilson Custom pushback plugin with animated tug On-screen checklist plugin Plugin menu for door control, ground objects or GPU Tested by a real Embraer E175 pilot Suitable for beginners - Just load and fly within seconds! Great for advanced users -Enjoy the complexity of the Custom FMS! Requirements: X-Plane 11 (not compatible with xp10) Windows, MAC or Linux - 64 bit Operating System required 8Gb RAM - 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 3Gb+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 2.4 (last updated July 31st 2018) X-Crafts Support Forum : Support forum for the E-195 ______________________________________________________________________ Update log - Version 2.4 (July 31st 2018) New Load Planner adds the ability to simulate a random passenger load and baggage/cargo calculation along with CG management. Very useful to have realistic data available to add in the FMS PERF 1 page Fixed various minor graphics glitches Audio panel revised so that COM, NAV and ADF radios can be turned on and off with an LED in the button to indicate current status Side menu graphics improved, checklists now in higher resolution and resizable. Revised side tabs' visibility trigger so that the activity selections are now presented only when the mouse cursor has moved to within 50px of the left side of the monitor Updated both the aircraft and FMS manuals to conform to the current state of the add-on Tekton FMS Improvements: Added airspeed values to all legs, along with pre-calculation of climb and descent values Revised use of PERF 2 so that airspeed and cruise altitude parameters can be entered more easily prior to entering procedures and the planned route Revised warning messages to be yellow in color, signifying caution, instead of a critical warning in red Fuel calculations fixed for flight plans that do not include route waypoints Added current AIRAC information to the STATUS panel Enhanced font textures used for highlighting row data when scrolling Various bugs fixed including the somewhat infamous airways loading crash Revised and improved the accuracy of the FMOD sound experience, including new announcement clips during certain portions of flight: Boarding: Triggered by turning ON the fasten seatbelt sign when on the ground. Gate Departure: Triggered by CLOSING the main cabin door. Safety Briefing: Triggered by moving BACKWARDS faster than 3 knots during pushback Accent: Triggered by CLIMBING past 11,000 feet. Descent: Triggered by DESCENDING past 10,000 feet Landing: Triggered by LOWERING the landing gear Arrival: Triggered by CLOSING the reverse-thrust (Requires the NO SMOKING sign to be ON) ______________________________________________________________________ Release notes by Stephen Dutton 2nd August 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)