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  1. Aircraft Update Review: Boeing 757 Professional Global package v2.6.12 by FlightFactor/VMax By DrishalMAC2 Introduction The Boeing 757, a twin-engine marvel with a narrow body, represents an enduring legacy in commercial aviation. Launched in the early 1980s, this adaptable aircraft was the result of Boeing's dedication to addressing the industry's growing demands for a medium-haul mainstay. With its distinctive narrow fuselage and potent twin engines, the Boeing 757 rapidly gained a reputation for its efficiency and flexibility across a variety of routes. Engineered to span the divide between short and medium-haul flights, the Boeing 757 has become essential for airlines in search of a dependable, fuel-efficient solution for both domestic and transatlantic trips. Despite the arrival of newer models, the Boeing 757 continues to enchant aviation aficionados and professionals, representing a time when innovation met practicality in an iconic design. In this review, I revisit the FlightFactor 757, previously reviewed by Stephen way in X-Plane 10, this time within X-Plane 12. My goal is to offer a balanced examination of how this well-regarded model has adapted to the advancements and features of X-Plane 12. Join me as we explore the updated performance, features, and overall experience it delivers, assessing its fidelity to the real-world aircraft's legacy and its place in the virtual aviation world. Installation Installing the FF 757 is remarkably straightforward. Firstly, download the file from the X-Plane.org store, unzip it, and then place it in the X-Plane/Aircraft directory. When you load the aircraft for the first time, you'll be prompted to enter your licence key, which can be found in the “My Account” section of the X-Plane.org store. After you've reloaded the simulator, you can start enjoying your brand new 757! Updating the aircraft is just as easy; you have the option to download the update from the store and drag and drop the files into the aircraft folder, or alternatively, you can download and install X-Updater and use it to update the aircraft. Personally, I find X-Updater to be the preferred method as it's very quick and straightforward. Documentation The FlightFactor 757 Global package is accompanied by ten distinct PDF documents relating to the aircraft. These encompass a variety of resources such as the "752 Checklist v1.1 Double side," "752 Checklist v1.1 Full Page," the extensive "757 FCOM," "757 Remote CDU Manual," "757-300 performance," supplementary "FCOM FPDS," "FMS (All Variants)," and three versions of the manual including "Manual," "ManualFPDS," and "ManualVR." These documents are incredibly detailed and informative, with the "757 FCOM" document alone surpassing 1,000 pages in length! Indeed, you've read that correctly…a staggering 1,000 pages! About FlightFactor FlightFactor continues to offer regular updates and enhancements for their 757/767 and A320neo models. While the A350 remains supported, updates for it are issued less frequently. The 757 and 767 models are notably similar, both in terms of quality and flight experience (in real-world aviation, they share the same Type Rating). FlightFactor is also working on the eagerly awaited Boeing 777 V2, expected to be released later this year. This upcoming version is highly anticipated to establish a new benchmark for payware aircraft in X-Plane 12. Versions and Variants The X-Plane.org store offers several packages of the 757, each catering to different preferences and requirements: Boeing 757 Professional, which focuses on the 757-200 model. Boeing 757 Extended, encompassing the 757-200, 757-300, 757-SF Cargo, and 757-C32 variants. Boeing 757 Global Pack, a comprehensive collection that includes all variants alongside a modern avionics package. For the purposes of this review, we will concentrate on the Global Pack, as, in terms of quality, all variants are remarkably similar. Included with the Global Pack are a total of fifteen liveries, which includes a blank paint kit. These liveries are mostly specific to the passenger, freighter, or C32 versions of the aircraft, representing a generous selection that encompasses several of the primary 757 operators. It’s worth noting that upon loading the aircraft, a popup will emerge, offering options to configure aspects such as the aircraft’s engines and winglets. Updates Recent months have seen significant updates to the aircraft, enhancing both its performance and realism in X-Plane 12. Notable among these improvements is the refinement of spoilers and flaps drag in version 2.6.9, aimed at achieving greater accuracy and optimisation for X-Plane 12. Moreover, version 2.6.10 addressed the "slow flight controls" issue, a problem that emerged with the comprehensive X-Plane 12 overhaul introduced in update 2.6.6. FlightFactor has also been fine-tuning the engine performance and lighting, further optimising these elements for X-Plane 12. In addition, "Apple Silicon native support" was recently introduced, alongside fixes for multiple bugs, including the "default view and fuel issues in the -300 variant" and a "possible engine shutdown" bug. These updates underscore FlightFactor's commitment to the continuous improvement of this aircraft. Furthermore, with update 2.6.10, the dependency on "libGLU" was eliminated, streamlining the software's operation. This series of updates highlights the FlightFactor team's dedication and ongoing efforts to enhance and refine the aircraft. Current version at time of writing is 2.6.12, which adds/addresses the following: Added an ability to enable/disable LuaJIT from the tablet Added BUS ISOLATED eicas messages Fixed RAT door LIT texture issue Fixed cockpit windows de-ice feature (xp12) Fixed possible unexpected ILS freq/crs changing without your input Fixed CG calculation in the tablet (xp12) Fixed the RAT beacon color Fixed the stab in 200, RF and C-32 Small fixes for de-ice systems Small fixes for brake press indication Got rid of libGLU dependency in FF_Effects plugin Retuned fuel flow Exterior Modelling The exterior modelling of the 757 is nicely executed, with the aircraft being accurately depicted within X-Plane 12. While it may not boast the highest level of detail, it is certainly more than satisfactory, especially when taking into account the aircraft's size and the potential impact on performance. The landing gear and engines are exceptionally well-modelled, standing out as particularly high-quality elements. However, there are areas that could benefit from further refinement, such as the roof where the SATCOMs are situated, which appears to require a slight visual improvement. Exterior Texturing The exterior texturing of the aircraft is generally satisfactory, with most essential details captured, though some textures display a lower resolution, even when the “texture quality” setting in X-Plane is maximized. The engines, for instance, feature exceptionally sharp manufacturer logos, including those of Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. Similarly, warning labels and text maintain a high level of clarity. However, textures depicting panel edges, bolts, and signs of wear such as dirt and scratches are of markedly lower quality, detracting from the overall immersive experience. This inconsistency extends to the fuselage, where although text on the doors is crisp and clear, other elements like panel edges and bolts suffer from low resolution. While parts of the landing gear textures are well executed, others fall short of this standard. In conclusion, the exterior visuals are acceptable, especially considering that the majority of the time is spent in the cockpit, engaged in flight. In saying that, there is considerable room for improvement to enhance the visual fidelity and immersion of the model. Interior Modelling The cockpit's interior modelling is impressively executed, with every knob, switch, and lever accurately rendered to reflect the real Boeing 757 flight deck's high level of detail. The overhead panel, with its switches and buttons, looks particularly well modelled, as does the Flight Management Computer (FMC). The yoke, tiller, and throttle levers are also nicely modelled, though, when compared to actual photographs of the flight deck, the yoke appears somewhat smaller than its real-world counterpart. In the passenger variants, the seat modelling is nicely done, presenting a nice level of detail. However, the rest of the cabin does not maintain this standard; the galley is notably featureless, and the modelling of the overhead lights and seat buttons is lacking. Interestingly, the rear galley exhibits slightly more detail than the forward galley, which seems slightly strange. The C32 variant boasts a unique interior cabin that mirrors a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), with the general modelling quality on par with the passenger variants. A feature which stands out is the command room, which is exquisitely detailed and offers a high degree of authenticity. As for the freighter variant, it features a simplified forward galley, but access to the cargo hold from the interior is not modelled. The cargo hold can only be viewed using the “free look” camera mode. Although the cargo hold's modelling is basic, it adequately represents such a space. Given the primary focus on the cockpit (which has evidently received the bulk of attention and effort) the lack of intricate detail in the cargo hold does not significantly detract from the overall experience. Interior Texturing Within the cockpit, the texturing, in my view, falls somewhat short, as the textures appear "flat" and lack the nuanced details of wear and tear one might expect. While the textures on switches and knobs are consistent and accurate, they do not convey a sense of the aircraft having been frequently used. Essentially, the cockpit looks almost brand new, apart from some slight weathering, which, for an aircraft that is getting on in years, seems like a missed opportunity in which to introduce some signs of wear, such as peeling paint. However, the colour accuracy, when compared to real-world images of the Boeing 757 flight deck, is pretty much spot on. On the positive side, the sharpness and legibility of text within the cockpit are outstanding features. The jump-seat texture is also notably sharp and detailed. Furthermore, the lighting on the overhead panel buttons is well executed, contributing to a more immersive experience. The inclusion of dirt and scratches on the displays adds a layer of realism, with the extent of wear adjustable via three settings in the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), a feature we'll explore in greater detail later. The cabin textures in the passenger variant mirror some of the cockpit's limitations. The carpet's deep blue hue adds a touch of appeal, yet the side panels, overhead bins, and walls suffer from somewhat flat textures, occasionally appearing less detailed. The seat textures fare slightly better, offering more clarity, though this diminishes upon closer inspection. Given its price point, one might expect more refined interior textures, but considering the model's age and the pace of X-Plane’s development, some leniency may be warranted. Night Lighting The night lighting, both inside the cockpit and externally, is very nicely done. The colours and brightness levels are spot on, creating a highly immersive nocturnal flying experience. It's worth noting that I have a particular fondness for operating this aircraft at night, primarily due to the exceptional quality of the night lighting. Among the noteworthy features are the dynamic reflections on the windscreen, which vary according to the cockpit lighting's intensity. Similarly, the cabin lighting, which is entirely adjustable from the cockpit, enhances the overall ambiance. The cabin, in my opinion, appears significantly more appealing under the night lighting, contributing to the allure of nocturnal flights. Furthermore, the cabin lighting is visible from the exterior views, with its appearance altering in response to the cabin lights' brightness settings. The lighting system has received considerable refinement in recent updates, a fact that is clearly reflected in the outstanding quality of the night lighting. Flight Model The flight models across the 757 fleet are impressively realised, with variations that reflect the differences in engine types and the distinct characteristics between the 757-200 and the longer 757-300. The flight model captures a satisfyingly heavy feel, appropriate for an aircraft of its size, yet remains keenly responsive to pilot inputs. Despite the absence of a fly-by-wire (FBW) system for the primary flight controls: though FBW is employed for certain control surfaces like the spoilers, the connection between pilot and aircraft feels direct and intuitive, enhancing the flying experience. FlightFactor has excelled in simulating the ground physics of the 757, making taxiing a straightforward and responsive task, whether using the rudder or tiller for navigation. The 757's reputation for being overpowered is accurately depicted in the FlightFactor 757. Advancing the thrust levers, particularly with the Rolls Royce RB211 engines, results in remarkable acceleration, capturing the aircraft's real-world performance perfectly. A fully laden 757 demonstrates a realistically extended take-off roll, adhering to expectations. Recent updates have significantly refined the flight model, addressing previous issues related to bugs and sluggish response times. Efforts to update the simulation of flap and speedbrake drag have resulted in enhanced accuracy, bringing the virtual experience ever closer to the realities of flying the actual aircraft. Sounds The default sound package of the aircraft is generally acceptable. The simulation of switches and rotary knobs in the cockpit is notably well done, delivering satisfyingly crisp auditory feedback. However, this level of detail and depth doesn’t extend to all sound aspects, such as the air conditioning and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) noises, which fall short in terms of depth and variation. A notable absence of bass contributes to these sounds feeling somewhat flat and lacking in interest. The engine sounds differentiate adequately between the Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce engines, although, like the air conditioning and APU, the interior engine sounds could benefit from a richer bass presence. Conversely, the exterior engine sounds are more robust, offering a substantial depth and a significant amount of bass, though they are quite loud in their default setting. Thankfully, sound levels can be adjusted within the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), allowing for a more tailored auditory experience. The flyby sounds are also decent, aligning with the standard of default X-Plane aircraft sounds. Ambient noises, such as those of a bustling airport, can be heard in exterior views when the aircraft is in a cold and dark state. Personally, I find this addition slightly strange, detracting rather than enhancing the realism. Furthermore, the persistent interjections from the flight attendant regarding issues like cabin temperature, while aiming for realism, may not be universally appreciated. The option to disable this feature would be a beneficial addition for those who find it more intrusive than immersive. Moreover, the aircraft features an extensive selection of Passenger Announcement (PA) options, yet these PA sounds lack authenticity, bearing a resemblance to synthetic text-to-speech outputs rather than genuine in-flight announcements. Performance On my setup, the performance impact of operating the 757 is noticeably more pronounced than with any of the Toliss aircraft, which are renowned for their exceptional optimization. Specifically, I experience a reduction in frames per second (fps) by approximately 20% to 30% on average compared to the Toliss fleet and the default A330. Additionally, the 757 appears to demand more VRAM than the Toliss models and the default A330. An analysis using the plugin admin reveals that the 757's SASL plugin is a significant factor, accounting for nearly 20% of the performance load as depicted in the "performance pie chart." This indicates a clear need for an overhaul of the SASL's performance to enhance overall efficiency. Despite these performance challenges, I haven't experienced any stuttering issues, even when flying into more demanding airports like EGLL (London Heathrow) or KLAX (Los Angeles International). This suggests that while there is a tangible impact on performance, it may not critically affect users capable of running the default A330 at a reasonable fps. Nonetheless, improving the performance of the 757 remains an area in need of attention to ensure it aligns more closely with the high standards of efficiency seen in other aircraft within X-Plane. Systems The systems on the 757, while not as intricate as those found on Airbus aircraft, still present a level of complexity and accuracy expected from a Boeing model. The engine pages, Primary Flight Display (PFD), and Navigation Display (ND) are well-executed, displaying all the requisite information one would anticipate from such an aircraft. However, I would hesitate to categorize the systems as "Study Level," primarily due to the basic nature of the failure simulation. Some failures, for instance, either fail to activate or have no discernible impact on the aircraft's operation. A case in point is an attempted simulation of an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) engine failure, where the APU merely switched off without triggering an auditory warning like the Master Caution. The sole indication of the failure was an "APU Fail" message on the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) display. Additionally, the Electrical Bus (BUS) system, although generally accurate, suffers from a frustrating bug. Occasionally, when the APU or Ground Power Unit (GPU) is disconnected, the BUS Ties unexpectedly switch to the "Isolate" position rather than remaining in "Auto." This deviation from expected behaviour has, on several occasions, led to the aircraft shutting down during pushback, despite the APU and its generator being operational and connected to the BUS. On a positive note, the terrain and weather radar systems perform commendably, offering accuracy and reliability that significantly aid navigation in challenging weather conditions or when flying in proximity to hazardous terrain. EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) The EFB featured in this aircraft boasts a comprehensive array of options and functionalities, accessible either through the X-Plane “Plugins” menu or by interacting with the tablet within the cockpit. Engaging the tablet brings up the EFB as a 2D window. The "General" page presents some basic settings, including a master volume slider, providing a straightforward interface for adjusting essential parameters. The “Operations – Ground” page facilitates interaction with various ground services and the management of the aircraft’s weight and balance. Although it lacks a dedicated Weight and Balance chart, the "Optimise CG" button proves invaluable for adjusting the centre of gravity according to different load configurations. Loading the aircraft requires precise coordination of ground services and the opening of specific doors, a process that, while occasionally cumbersome, enhances realism. On the “Operations – Aircraft” page, users can manage door controls, adjust certain settings, and select engines. It's important to note that engine swaps are not possible once the aircraft is operational. The "Options" page, along with its subpages, offers an extensive selection of adjustable settings, ranging from auditory cues to visual effects. This section also provides the opportunity to install the "Modern Avionics" pack, assuming ownership. Further details on this upgrade will be discussed later in the review. The “Failures page” allows for the simulation of various system failures, designed with user-friendliness in mind, reminiscent of an installation wizard. This feature enables pilots to prepare for and respond to potential issues in a controlled environment. Insert failures page Lastly, the "In-Flight" page includes functionalities for activating Passenger Announcements (PAs), accessing navigational charts, and utilising a checklist feature that simulates the presence of a first officer, enhancing the realism and immersion of the flight experience. Modern Avionics Upgrade The "Modern Avionics Upgrade" package integrates well, offering a nuanced enhancement for simmers seeking a bit of diversity. It brings new operational dynamics and functionalities, but also a learning curve and the need for adaptation. The package is particularly appealing for those looking to engage with contemporary flight scenarios or enhance their proficiency with advanced systems, acting as a bridge to more modern aviation technologies. However, its value truly lies in the simmer's readiness to explore the aircraft's systems more deeply and to increase the authenticity of their flights. The upgrade is a valuable tool for those willing to invest the effort to fully appreciate its benefits. Conclusion In summing up, FlightFactor’s model stands as a commendable and accurate portrayal of the Boeing 757 and its principal variants. The ability to operate flights ranging from commercial passenger services to cargo hauls and even transporting senior political officials adds a unique and engaging dimension to each flight, ensuring a fresh and challenging experience. Despite the need for enhancements in visual and auditory fidelity, the systems and flight model are robust, offering a high-quality simulation of the Boeing 757, that will satisfy aviation enthusiasts and serious simmers alike. FlightFactor's commitment to continuous improvement is evident in their regular updates, giving users confidence that existing bugs will be addressed in due course, following the precedent set by previous fixes. While a visual overhaul is on the wishlist, the existing framework provides a solid representation of this nimble passenger jet. Performance optimisation is another area for potential enhancement; however, the current state remains functional and does not detract significantly from the overall experience. The price point may seem steep, especially considering the aircraft's age within X-Plane’s marketplace, but it's important to remember that the “Global Pack” offers substantial value. This package includes four distinct aircraft variants along with the “Modern Avionics package,” making it a comprehensive choice for those looking to extensively explore the capabilities and variations of the Boeing 757. ________________________ Boeing 757 version 2 Professional Global Package by FlightFactor is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Boeing 757 version 2 Professional Global Package Priced at $119.00 Features Supports both X-Plane 12 (fully updated) and X-Plane 11 The FPDS variant contains High resolution (768 x 1024 pixels) XGA multi-color LCD flat panel display with integrated standard six – FULL glass cockpit All digital electronics with improved accuracy, dependability and responsiveness DCP with Speed Reference Settings Minimum Selection (Radio or Baro) Units Selection Integrated Barometric Altimeter Setting Flight Path Vector Meters Altimeter The Boeing 757 Professional Extended includes 3 variants of the 757: 757-200 Passenger 757-200SF Cargo 757-300 Each plane is available with two different engine configurations (P&W and RR). Officially licensed by the Boeing © Corporation Accurate dimensions based on drawings supplied by Boeing © Support for X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 12 Suitable for beginners- Tutorial modes and auto procedures Great for advanced users - Complex systems are simulated Includes both Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney engine types VR Compatible Flight model Accurate flight model, as close as it gets to real performance. Tested by real pilots. Dynamic and customizable center of gravity that depends on actual cargo, passenger placement and burning fuel in flight. Fully Functional Professional FMS and EFIS System Custom designed Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems. Terminal procedures from updatable database. Two independent analogue instrument sets for captain and first officer. Two independently simulated EFIS (EADI/EHSI configuration) for captain and first officer. Dual-FMS with two independently working CDUs. Working instrument comparators. Triple IRS and triple symbol generator systems with realistic instrument source switching. Dual air-data computers with custom failure modes and source switching. Independent 2 nav and an ils receivers. Realistic inertial and radio position updating, you can see the individual inaccuracies of those systems. Triple-channel autopilot with realistic dependencies. Fail operational and fail passive autoland with mode degradations based on system failures. Load company routes generated by Professional Flight Planner X (or other compatible programs) directly into the FMC. FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the Retina iPad. Custom cockpit interaction system Adjustable modes for cockpit interaction, you chose what to use for clicks Different cockpit interaction modes, with mouse wheel and right button support In-cockpit tooltips from the manual - you click on the button and see portions of the manual on display In-cockpit life datarefs for cockpit building Options A very flexible architecture: You chose the set up Different options for many avionics instruments including two types of FMC. Options to composite your own EICAS, EADI and EHSI displays. Most of the options that the real 757 fleet has are included. Many additional options for sounds, cockpit interaction, effects etc. Interactive Checklists, Procedures, and auto-helper (Exclusive feature) Full electronic interactive checklists and procedures with automatic action detection. Automatic mode helper that performs all the actions for you. You just CHECK the items. A tutorial which shows the user what to do and when. An option to have a visual aid on what and when to do in procedures. Custom Systems and Failure model Detailed and deep simulation of almost every system in the real aircraft. Custom air and pressure system. Electrical system with all AC and DC busses modelled - see which system depends on which bus. Hydraulic system that uses a little fluid when treated correctly and a lot of fluid if used incorrectly. Multistage custom failure system - over 200 more failures than X-Plane. (Exclusive feature) Ability to fix failure by following proper procedure. Persistent failure and maintenance system - Aircraft wear and misuse will carry over to your next flight. Warning system and radars (Exclusive feature) Fully functional GPWS with all the modes the real plane has. Fully functional terrain radar, with custom database (just like the real plane), a look-ahead warning system and many other features. Weather radar that works like the real thing. Including tilt and gain functions, ground clutter, turbulence detection and windshear prediction. 3D Modeling Accurate dimensions based on exterior drawings provided by Boeing. Very detailed exterior modelling with high resolution textures. Very high resolution 3D cockpit with every switch functional. Spatial rain simulation with high detail. Very detailed passenger cabin graphics including galleys. Additional graphic features: real working oxygen masks both in cockpit and cabin, dynamic window blinds that react to sunlight etc. New and improved wingflex. Special effects (Exclusive features) Multilayer dynamic reflections on all glass objects. Glow effects on screens Reflective metal and plastic objects in the cockpit. Glossy exterior that reflects the outside. XP weather enhancements like custom windshear. Custom Sounds (Exclusive features) Two sound packs by BSS for both engines. Several hundred custom sounds. In-cockpit custom sounds. Switches with individual sounds. Many individual system sound inside and outside. Airport environment sounds. Cabin sounds. 3D stereo sound system for engines. In flight cabin announcements. Interactive communication with the cabin crew (reporting misconfigurations and passenger comfort problems). On Screen menus (Exclusive features) An iPad-like menu popping-up from the cockpit. Custom pages for loading/unloading fuel, cargo and passengers, customizing the CG, calling for pushback and performing maintenance. Ability to customize the plane with winglets, special effects level, wingflex level and set other options to be saved or default. Ground equipment and door pages. Failure monitoring menu. Extra objects and equipment Working push-back truck - Fully controllable with your joystick. Passenger bus and stairs or optional gate configuration (passengers can be loaded from gate instead of bus). Fuel truck, de-Icing truck, GPU, ground-start units both visible and fully functional with airplane systems. Other ground equipment. Liveries 7 default liveries included in the package: Air France, American, Boeing House, Jet2.com, Lufthansa, Thomson, VA X-Airways About 50 additional liveries are available separately. SmartCopilot Compatible Download the SmartCopilot files here Requirements X-Plane 12, X-Plane 11.50+ Windows 10+, Mac OS 10.15+ (Intel or Apple Silicon) or Linux 14.04 LTS or compatible, 64 bit mode Disk Space: 4 GB X-Plane 12: Minimum: CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with 4 or more cores, or AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7 or 9, or equivalent RAM: 16 GB Video Card: a Vulkan 1.3-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 6 GB VRAM Recommended: CPU: Intel Core intel i5-12600K or Ryzen 5 3500 or better RAM: 32 GB Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 8-12 GB VRAM (GeForce RTX 2070 or better, or similar from AMD) X-Plane 11: Minimum: CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9 CPU with at least 4 cores, or AMD equivalent RAM: 16 GB Video Card: a DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 4 GB VRAM Recommended: CPU: Intel Core i5 8600k or Ryzen 5 3500 or better RAM: 32 GB Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD with at least 8 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or similar from AMD) Review System Specifications Windows 10, Intel i5-12400F, 32GB RAM, RTX 3070Ti ________________________ Aircraft Update Review by DrishalMAC2 31st March 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions).
  2. Aircraft Update : Boeing 777 Worldliner Pro/Extended v1.8 by FlightFactor/VMax FlightFactor/VMax have updated their excellent Boeing 777 Series Pro and Extended versions to v1.8. This update is basically revolves around the cockpit and not many changes to the flight or external sections of the aircraft. This aircraft is quite mature now (as I have noted in other updates) but the odd tweak now and again does not hurt the design. There was a lot of discussion around the cockpit textures since the release of the aircraft, most notable was that they were average or poor. Personally I couldn't see the argument to the point of how notably the textures of being that bad, not perfect I admit as were the gaping holes in the windshield. Even a 3rd party redid the whole lot of textures to which again I couldn't see the really big significant difference? and it was worse on your framerate. But everyone was happy, and what we need in X-Plane is happiness. So FlightFactor/VMax has redone the cockpit textures and cleaned up a lot of the knobs and switchgear and the right hand side MFD can now be used. At first it doesn't look much different (because it is so familiar) but after a short period of flying the aircraft you do notice how much more sharper and cleaner everything is, notice the active lighting on the buttons and you can see how much more realistic they are, and some areas are based on the textures used by the 3rd party (pumper) that was significant in the redefining of the cockpit textures. The side (autopilot) eyebrow/glareshield form is much more better as well, and finally you can't finally see the outside scenery through the main instrument panel (top under the glareshield) so your eyes are picking off the changes all over the place and overall it looks far better. There has been far more changes here than meets the eyes, but most will be overlooked as we are very used to most of it. The older night textures looked like this... They have gone from a yellowish glow to a greenish glow, but the newer upper images version does look more restrained and more natural. Spot light lighting is also improved as you can see behind the pilot's chairs, these lights are well up and behind and buried in the rear of the cockpit. Side airport map panel looks better as well for quality and readability. There is now also new mouse wheel support (Microsoft C++ redistributable 2013 is required for this to work) for Windows users. Another change is that now you click the actual speedbrake lever and not the area by the side of the lever. For me this is welcome because you actually had to move you point of view to arm the speedbrakes, a small thing but nice... I also found you can now see the Co (company) route to load it into the FMC system. That will save you having to go to the aircraft file and delving through the plugins folders to remember what route "Co" name you saved it under, a nice time saver. There is no doubt the Boeing 777 philosophy in this being a great aircraft for simulation in X-Plane. FlightFactor/VMax have been very good in the updates and keeping the aircraft as one of the best for deep simulation and incredible systems that give you a real understanding and feel of what the Boeing 777 is as an aircraft. I will just re-note the packages in the Boeing 777 Series. Boeing 777-200 LR - (Boeing Worldliner Professional) Boeing 777-200 ER - (Extended Pack - With PW4090 engines) Boeing 777-300 ER - (Extended Pack) Boeing 777-200 F - (Extended Pack) 777- 200LR 777-200ER The -200ER is significant because the Pratt&Whitney PW4090 engines are noticeably smaller than those giant GE90-115B turbofans on the -200LR. PW4090 GE90-115B 777-300ER The B777-300ER is a 33ft stretch over the standard Boeing 777. Now one of the most common B777 version with 721 ordered and only 250 aircraft left to be delivered, you will see plenty of these at your major local hub. 777-200F (Cargo) The excellent 777-200F comes with a huge side loading cargo door, great for all the haulers... The v1.8 update covers all versions including the Professional and Extended packages. Summary No doubt any update is a good update and again this is a good one, the greenish texture colour is debatable but far better than the ghastly yellow hues. Some areas that should have been addressed, like the over animated wingflex and still none opening front doors? and still you have no-accessible second officer separate FMC (input) unlike what you have on the FF B757 and that is surprising considering how long the aircraft has been released. But this is a great aircraft, extensive systems machine designed to work like the thing with an accurate flight model. It is certainly a classic in X-Plane and one of the top ten in the simulator. Yes get the Boeing 777, in fact get all of the versions in the extended package you will be wanting nothing. Full changelog: 1.8.0 change log (all X-Plane 10.30+ 64bit) - added mouse wheel option - added new panel 3d and textures (based partially on pumper's add-on) - added right side mirror control and MFD screen manegment - changed the way the speedbrakes are armed - click on the lever Note: starting from v1.8.0 FMS version and model version might differ. This is done for the convenience of the customer which does NOT need to update this libraries and redisributables. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The 1.8 update is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Price is US$59.95 - Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional Price is US$84.95 - Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional - Extended Pack - Designed by FlightFactor (Philipp and Ramzzess) and produced by VMAX The 1.8 update is free to all users that have purchased the Boeing 777 (Pro and Ext) Series. Just go to to your X-Plane.Org Store account and log-in to download. Features: Fully Functional FMS - Plan your routes like a real pilot Custom designed Flight Management Computer, integrated with other plane systems Custom programmed LNAV logic for terminal procedures Custom designed Navigation Display Tterminal procedure database with RNAV approaches and transitions VNAV managed climbs and descends Takeoff and approach speed calculation Custom autopilot modes for autoland Optimum cruise performance and step climb calculation True-to-life radio navigation with procedural-, route-, and navigation support auto-tuning Custom programmed FMC navigation using GPS-, radio- or inertial navigation with individual position errors and management of actual and required navigation performance Magnetic, true and polar grid course reference Alternate airports, diversion and arrival management Ground proximity warning system using real sounds FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet, optimized for the new iPad Excellent 3D modeling: Amazing virtual cockpit with crisp details - Dynamic reflections Custom 3D sounds and Announcements Add-ons: Push-back truck, Fuel Truck, Passenger bus and Emergency slides ... On-Screen Menus: Configuration and loading menu, Quick Zoom new in v1.80: Superb night lighting in cockpit. see cockpit pictures at night _____________________________________________________________________________________ Developer Site: facebook Dev Thread : X-Plane.org _____________________________________________________________________________________ Technical Requirements: Windows XP , Vista, 7 / 8/ 10 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.7 (or higher), Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible (older versions are not supported) X-Plane 10.30+. 32 or 64 bit (64bit recommended) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (1GB VRAM Recommended)- 1Gb available hard disk space Current version : 1.80 (last updated June 23rd 2015) Update Review By Stephen Dutton 27th June 2014 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews
  3. News! - In Development : FPDS for B767/757 by FlightFactor First it was a request, then a rumor and now a reality. This is for the FPDS option or "Flat Panel Display System" which is based on the IS&S - Innovative Solutions & Support’s display units, this layout is very similar to the ProLine 21 system but with four displays covering both pilots PFD and MAP/NAV. This modern FPDS layout covers the more recent deliveries of the B767/B757 in usually the freighter variant that is (B767) still in production till 2022... Release, no date given but FlightFactor do tend to release around August, but the FPDS avionics above looks very completed... price? no idea of in a new variant or as an addon. It will however give you a very more modern and avionic detailed B676/B757 twin... Images are courtesy of FlightFactor Announcement via FlightFactor's Twitter page ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 18th June 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews
  4. Plugin Review : Blue Sky Simulations Sounds for the FlightFactor-VMax Boeing 777 If there is one aircraft I know intimately well it is FlightFactor's/VMax Boeing 777. Mostly it has been in the Freighter version and the many, many nautical miles have passed by our aircraft's nose. I like to create real world operations and one I have ran for years is the logistic aspect of moving the Formula 1 Circus around the world. The Formula 1 season is split into five sections, Early Flyaway races (Asia), Early European Races, Canada, (mid season break) Late European Races and Late Flyaway races (Asia/Americas/Middle East). The aircraft logistics are not required for the central European races because the race equipment is moved via the various teams own cargo road transporters, and "Flyaway" races are of course the seven or so armada of aircraft required to move the whole circus. As most race weekends start on a Friday the equipment (and race cars) need to be on the ground usually on the Tuesday, with most departures from the UK (Heathrow - or East Midlands Airport) or Munich for Swiss and Italian teams. So all departures usually leave on the Saturday to fly over the weekend to arrive (or pop out the other end) on the Monday or latest Tuesday, late logistic deliveries usually show up on the Wednesday. The first race is actually the hardest as it it is the longest route to Melbourne Australia (LHR-SIN-MEL) and you can be in the air for the whole weekend traversing yourself halfway round the world.. so as I said I have spent a fair few hours looking out of the B777F's windows and listening to the comforting hum of those huge GE90's toiling away outside and pushing me onwards to my destination. With the anticipation of the start of the long haul with the engine startup whine and the total relief of final engine shutdown on arrival. For it's age the sound set of FlightFactors Boeing 777 Series is quite good, except for the usual diviners and complainers out there, that note it is nothing or anything like the real B777 aircraft. But as we have found with most aircraft that have been given the full Blue Sky Star Simulation sound pack treatment, in that it can transform the aircraft to a whole and complete new level. So try to fly JARDesign's or FlightFactors Airbus A320 Ultimate without the sound pack treatment installed and you are cast back into the dark ages once you have sampled the sheer range of the sound and the complexity it brings to the simulation. So I was certainly excited and very wanting the fact the Boeing 777 has now the BSS sound pack available for it's own use. Sound Pack Installation I will be honest in that I have found Blue Sky Star Simulation sound package installations a bit of a challenge. In reality they shouldn't be as they are as easy as dropping or replacing the current sounds in the aircraft's root folder, but the FF A320 Ultimate install took a fair while to get working as did this install with the Boeing 777. The problem stems from the fact that most BSS installs tend to be different between the different aircraft, that is not BSS's fault as most developers have their own different system of how their aircraft utilises the X-Plane or custom sounds. BSS have simplified the install process, but sometimes the manual can be a bit ambiguous, do you install the full folder or install the items in the folder, in then the various folders of sounds, and the certain plugin folders that require the plugin elements, but then also show in the X-Plane plugin folder.. so do they go in there? BSS say just just drag and replace, but show no completed install images (there is text below) but again it becomes ambiguous to the install. I did install it right, but it still didn't work? (which made the whole thing even more confusing), but the FF B777 version needs to be v1.9.14 and although I only did a full FF B777 update only a month ago and I was using version v1.8.12 and the BSS plugin would not work with that version... so you need to redownload the B777 and update it to v1.9.14 to make these sounds work. Downloaded BSS package includes both Boeing 777 Worldliner (B777-200LR) Pro version and Boeing 777 Pro-Extended (-200ER/-300LR/Freighter) versions... .... there are also notes included for the Flight Attendants Announcements Manual, Installation and main Manual. Install of the Worldliner -200LR version is straight forward as it is only a one variant conversion. Inside are two folders: Plugins and Sounds... Plugins folder has two items "sound3d-1" and ".xlua" and both are merged into the FF B777 plugins folder. The sounds folder is then merged with the same name "sounds" folder in the B777 root folder, but be careful as if you just move the custom sounds folder into the root sounds folder it may just sit there? Just make sure all the different sounds are merged correctly (it should ask to merge files?) into the various folders. The Pro-Extended version has three sound packs for all the three other variants (-200ER/-300ER/Freighter), but this where it gets tricky... as you can only have one sound package for each variant? So you have to pick the one you want to use and then use the same two plugins and sounds folders to install the required package like you do above. Here I have picked the "Freighter" variant. So what to do if you want to fly say another variant. Well this is where it gets messy, because X-Plane does not allow allow different variants of the same aircraft within the one aircraft folder? So BSS advise to merge each variant that you want to use, but that is a bit messy and worse if the sounds start to get mixed together up in the "sounds" folder? My solution (above right) was to create three different full merged and completed folders I could just switch around, still messy but at least the files are correct, if you want the -200LR version then just use the Worldliner Pro sounds. In reality X-Plane has had issues of no variants within the same aircraft folder... think GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) or the different numerous aircraft folders of the same aircraft clogging up your menu selection panel, maybe a solution may come in time from Laminar Research. You know if the installation is correct if the plugins menu shows you the "Sound3D" menu. The "Volume" selection opens a panel to adjust the various sounds... the "Life" selection is set at 0%. This selection is the noise in the rear, say cabin crew or cargo loading... You have to turn it on or off as you please, and there is a set of positions to make it work... Seatbelt sign has to be set to auto, and the front left door has to be open... this is a confusing one, because the front left door on the FF 777F does not open? or I have never got it to open? So it doesn't work, You can change the chatter by switching the seatbelt switch to "On" about midway in the boarding process, pushing the external beacon button will commence the "welcome announcement". In the cockpit If you are expecting huge noises when you push or move switches then you will be disappointed, yes they are all there, certainly if you turn the volume up to (extremely) high, but that is not what the sound pack is about... each switch, knob and lever is totally correct as per the real aircraft, so if the click noise is low in here, then it is on the real aircraft. As you move over the panels and switchgear you do find that movement satisfying click as you do... more importantly is the background hum, it brings the aircraft alive in the feel you get when you board a real aircraft... There are 850 sound samples that you are accessing here, from the smallest movement to the larger "Alerts" and yes the alerts are loud and in the "jump in your seat" kind of realism. All system feeds are audible. Switch the environment buttons and you feel the bleed disappear, the same when you set the engine bleed for start, fuel pumps hum (quietly), but don't be fooled as it is pretty quiet up here, the B777 is not an old clanker like the Boeing 727. External walkarounds are now also far more dynamic. With the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) running it can be heard from the front of the aircraft, but gets louder and more dynamic as you go to the rear, yes the sound is 3d aware as you move around the aircraft... sadly those huge GE90 engines fans don't windmill (yet), but I feel if they did you would hear them grinding (scraping?) when moving. Engines! Of course the engine start is always going to be an event... and the sound package does not let you down here. From the moment you turn the start switch (No.2 first) to the subtle start whine, you know it is the business, watch the n2 display climb till it is at 25% and then you click up the fuel flow and the engine start process accelerates. You feel (hear) the different start stages and the 4-stage LP, 9-stage HP compressor with the 2-stage HP and 6-stage LP turbine noises that are highlighted up to the full GE90 whine and then you have the full 110,760 lbf (492.7 kN) of thrust that each engine provides available. Oh yes! it is great, brilliant... The thrust roar from behind and the sucking air whine from the front, I must say they must have had a ball recording these engine sounds so close up to the donor Boeing 777! Move your position to any degree and even adjust to high above the aircraft to hear the changing engine dynamics, nothing is repeated, all angles are covered and custom. I will note the external (realistic) high-pitch whine which is quite high, and it could give you a headache if you have headphones on for long periods or give the speakers a bit of a workout. Main park brake off and with a little throttle to get the B777 moving and the engine pitch changes really well to any minute throttle movements, very impressive. You still get the annoying original FlightFactor concrete thunks, and bangs as you taxi? and they now seem even more absurd than before. Now comes the real test... pushing forward the throttles brings the engine speed up to the takeoff settings. There is a nice pause then the power builds and the aural feedback is again very impressive. It is quite different than the standard B777 sounds, but you realise very quickly how good these custom BSS sounds really are, and your attention is divided in absorbing in the noise of that thrust power and watching the aircraft gain speed down the runway... ... externally it is a roar, but the right sounding roar that you are very familiar with if you have seen (and heard) a Boeing 777 takeoff in front of you, I am very impressed in the subtle changes in pitch and bass as you gain speed and finally gain lift, your mind is here, but you are hearing there and it is so critically important that the sounds reflect the actions you under take in flying the aircraft... poor sound just doesn't do that, yes it sounds good, but you want active sound that changes with speed, movement and actions, these custom sounds do deliver well in that aspect... but that experience is what you pay for as well. I will be honest in an aircraft like the Boeing 777 you are isolated up here front cockpit and well away from most of the noise, but with rotation you have reached the critical moment of full thrust, wind and air flow action on the wings and the engine noises as well. Gear retraction noises are well present, but you soon realise the wind noises are not over done either... too many developers love high wind noise sounds for some bizarre reason? Yes the wind is present but realistic, but more so is the environmental feel in the cockpit... You now see and feel... and hear the power.... The cockpit is certainly far more dynamic than before, like noted I am very familiar with this cockpit and it's feel, and this is far, far better than it was without the sound pack, it an overall sensory thing and not just a few addition sounds. You could spend time and pick out each element that make up the whole, but it isn't that, that is actually effective... it is the realism. Part of that realism is the sound pack also adjusts to the real world physics... as you go faster (and higher) sound is more diluted in volume and N1, N2 sounds and with some smart logic the volume changes depending on the speed of Mach. It does work, and again it highlights the realism. If you walk along the freight deck the sound dynamics do change to your position, not as much as I have heard on other aircraft (like BSS's A320s), but the sound dynamics are certainly in play... strangely it does feel and sound as cavernous as it looks. You can adjust the individual volumes of course via the menu with a master internal and external volume, secondary settings are for APU, Bass (engine), Environment (In Flight), Environment (on Ground), External (Engines only), Life (cabin crew and passengers), Switiching (Switchgear) Systems (Noises) and Weather. Blue Sky Star Simulation's recommend not to change any volumes (except Life) and I agree, there is nothing that feels wrong or set to high or low. I found FlightFactor's Boeing 767 sounds a year or so back the game changer in aural dynamics, but this is actually better, as no matter the noises you can access in the cockpit, and that is important, it is that overall environmental feel, that energy you feel in aircraft and the power and push of those huge turbines that is the most rewarding aspect of getting aircraft to feel realistic in a simulator. And finally I feel that sound in X-Plane has now caught up with the rest of the simulator in dynamics, the really hard part is that when you now fly anything else without this sort of aural soundtrack it all then feels a bit flat and empty, although I do admit the FMOD sounds thankfully do help in this case, otherwise it would have been unbearable. TOD (Top of Descent) and in a real aircraft you feel the tone change in the engines, as the power is reduced to go down... you hear and feel that tone change here very well, very, very real. You are nearly whisper quiet on approach, there is just the hum in the background until you unlock the gear and then the noise and wind consumes the cockpit. I usually use XPRealistic Pro for this action, but except for the missing vibrations, the BSS pack does a brilliant job if not better at this dirty air phase. Finals and touchdown brings back in the mechanical aspect, yes you feel the gear and touch via your ears as much as the yoke... then the bit you all wait for... ... full thrust reverse is excellent, as the thrust pushes out of the side of the engine cowlings, but you also hear the full power of those GE90's doing the work. Alerts and here with the "autopilot disconnect" are from the real B777, so they are authentic, but there are no altitude callouts... APU is started on the taxi in... ... back comes the "thunk, thunk" with taxiing, but you sorta get used to it. Engine wind-down is actually very quick, but sounds authentic, and very good as well.... move around to the tail and in the quieter moments the APU sounds come back in to fill the void. Summary I am not going to make excuses for the FlightFactor/VMax Boeing 777 Pro. It is an old aircraft by X-Plane standards, and even if the aircraft has had an X-Plane11 update, it is in reality still an X-Plane10 aircraft... but still a very good one. A version 2 of the aircraft is overdue, but promised for 2019. This review brings together two new elements to the aircraft, in X-Plane11.30 with the new particle effects and engine adjustments and the new custom sound package from Blue Sky Star Simulations, so can you make an old dog do new tricks?... well yes you certainly can as both do a simply magnificent job in making the B777 come alive. The sound package is extremely comprehensive, 850 different elements make up the package and it has taken a full year to construct, but the results have been well worth all that considerable effort. The sound package does transform the aircraft and brings it totally alive and really it is a must have if you already own the big Boeing twin, or even thinking of buying the B777 You totally feel the difference in every phase of flying the Boeing 777, and like I noted at the head of this review, in that I have spent more long haul time in this aircraft, than any other, and so I would know that difference. And yes the big effects in engine start (and shutdown), reverse thrust, alerts, system switching gear and wind noise are all exemplary, it is for me the sheer cossetting of the environment as you power along at a high mach through the heavens... pure simulation, and sound simulation at it's best... highly recommended! There is a BSS video that goes through all the systems and sounds that are available in this sound package here YouTube... ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Blue Sky Star Simulation Sound Package is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BSS Flight Factor Boeing 777GE Sound Pack Price is US$19.99 ... Yes! you do need the: Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional - US$59.95 Boeing 777-200LR or the extended version; Boeing 777 Worldliner Pro- Extended Pack - US$89.95 Boeing 777-200 LR Boeing 777-200 F (Cargo) Boeing 777-300 ER Boeing 777-200 ER as one or both versions of the above aircraft is Required for the use of this BSS sound package Download The BSS sound pack is a HUGE 2gb download, so make sure you have enough storage space... Install instructions are at the head of this review. ______________________________________________________________________ Blue Sky Star Developer Site : Blue Sky Star Simulations Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton 13th November 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)
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