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  1. Aircraft Review : SIAI-Marchetti SF.-260 by JRollon and SimCoders The SF.260 was designed by Italian aircraft designer Stelio Frati, with production work originally performed by Milan-based aviation manufacturer Aviamilano. It was even before the aircraft's maiden flight that the project was then purchased out in the whole by SIAI Marchetti, who had purchased the rights to the design and the manufacturing which continued to be performed by this firm until the company was themselves bought out by Aermacchi in 1997. The aircraft is two-four seat single engined trainer, that also had the capabilities as a very light-weight strike aircraft, and that made it very popular for small airforces. It is renowned aerobatic aircraft as well, and so this is a very versatile aircraft was built to the standards of a jet aircraft rather than a light-weight trainer. Around 850 aircraft have been built since 1964, and the aircraft is still in production. JRollon and SimCoders Javier Rollon is a very early X-Plane designer from Spain. His aircraft include the CRJ-200, BAE Jetstream 32 and the T34-C Mentor, but more unknown is that he is the main developer that is responsible for most of the default aircraft that comes with the X-Plane simulator, so fly the Boeing 738, or Boeing 747-400 or even the Space Shuttle and you are flying in one of JRollon's aircraft. SimCoders are a specialist plugin developer studio that started out with their excellent "Headshake" plugin, but their main focus has been on REP's or Reality Expansion Packs that give both the X-Plane default or payware (mostly Carenado) aircraft added capabilities and features not included within the original package. With this SIAI Marchetti it is the first time that SimCoder's have been included in the original development of the aircraft, so this package is not a divided or addon pack, but both areas have been developed together as a one single whole package. First impression is that the included feature list is huge for such a small aircraft, add in the SimCoder pack and it gets really big. So no expense has been spared here by either developer on this little trainer/strike aircraft. Walkaround The SF.260 uses the Simcoder REP as it's menu system, so any or most menu options or features are accessed through that system. But first let us have a walkaround of the Marchetti, and have a look at the intimate details of the aircraft, however to access some areas it is required to use the REP pack menu system... I have always been a bit contentious towards some of JRollon's designs, no doubt they are excellent. But they sometimes they come across as a bit heavy handed, note the X-Plane Boeing 747-400, or the CRJ-200. They are very good make no mistake, but usually feel a bit heavy and dark in their designs and graphics. So my first thoughts on the Marchetti, was then is this aircraft going to go down that same dark dirty route, but to be fair Javier has not done an external payware aircraft for years, as the Laminar contracts have kept him away from the main stream so to speak. So in someways this aircraft is a new look at his current design philosophy and in the way he has adjusted his style to the newer X-Plane11 era and it's dynamics. There is one thing that has been very highly noticeable from about the same time last year and that is the sheer upward thrust of quality in detail and realism... from a reviewers point of view this level and the sheer speed of this upwards movement, can also make you look like a bit of a twat. Go back to last year and the gushing of "Brilliant", "Authentic" and "Realism" can look now a bit outdated. But the announcements were made in context to the level of design and the version of X-Plane you were working with at that time. All you can say here is, this is a new higher level of dynamics for X-Plane once again... If you love detail, then this Marchetti will be an aircraft that will really get your jollies off... words of "Incredible" and "amazing" do so easily roll off your tongue. The undercarriage is the point of truth for any design, and yes there are a lot of great assemblies out there, but "this" detail is something else, and I have a few thousand real aircraft gear images to back me up. The detail and complexity is absurd, almost an art form, but overwhelming is the wear and tear detail... the liveries that come with the Marchetti are large in size at 4096x4096 and downloads are 131mb each, but they hold some incredible detailing. It is not just the wheel assemblies that are outstanding as in their craftmanship, but the wheel-well boxes are highly realistic as well. Just look at those tyres and tell me you have seen better... Wing profile and detail is again excellent, but it is in the minute that you see brilliance... note the wing-tip fuel tank drainage plug. Lighting assemblies on the wing-tips are a work of art. The static wicks are highly realistic, as they flop in the static position but are animated in flight; they are positioned on the wing, elevator trailing edges and rudder trailing edge. Panel fit, riveting and design is first rate, as it is hard (and so many developers get don't the right amount of groove to make the panels realistic and so they look wrong), but not so here... note the lovely NACA duct on the fuselage. I have a bit of an obsession with glass, as to me perfect glass means a perfect aircraft, it is all in the shape, the thickness and the reflections.... and just when you thought it couldn't get any better, like with JustFlights Hawk T.1a then along come this masterpiece, with not only a perfection of a glass canopy, but a section of tinted glass set within the glass... and look carefully and the glass is also scratched by the elements in the air, these scratches are very and highly realistic when viewed in flight, and more so the VR (Virtual Reality) mode. Part of this extraordinary detail is the engine as well.... a Lycoming O-540-E4A5, 195 kW (260 hp) 6 cyl horizontal opposed engine! You can only access the engine via the REP menu... which I found a little annoying, surely we could have a selection to access the engine like the other static items? Note the excellent air-cooling pots or cylinders, and every nut, screw, wire and pipe is here... it is simply extraordinary detail. Cockpit and Cabin It has been a journey around the Marchetti's exterior, so how is the interior and does it live up to the same quality and detailing? Some how you already knew that this not going to be the usual case... ... although the instrument panel looks excellent, it is the seats that really early on that catches your eyes. This is obscene to almost sick in realism... the folds of the leather, the inner seat panels... agggh... it is just... well. The highlight (yes there is more than that that leather) is in the seatbelt stitching, ribbing and design... ohhh! beautiful, and tell me where there is better? Internal cabin paneling is also exceptional, lovely leather (this is an Italian aircraft after all) and again those ripples and folds... note the metal foot plate with screws on the floor. Instrument Panel Getting to the business end of the Marchetti you know it is already going to be good... ... and the detail, features and quality is going to be very high, and so you are certainly not going to be disappointed either. It does feel military but not that far removed from a general aviation aircraft. Note the lovely folds in the leather on the edge of the glareshield. First point is quirk or is it a intentional point. The lower "Avionics' switch does not turn off the avionics suite? (it is actually switched off in flight?) even with the battery switch flipped off. The only way to stop the avionics draining your power is to pull out the circuit breakers? (arrowed) and yes they all are active. There is another avionic kill switch I found later (almost hidden) in the "Emerg Avionics Master". This Emergency Battery is made by 28 AA batteries, and the Emergency Battery is connected to the ESS Bus and so over-riding the standard avionics Bus . All the instruments are beautifully done with wear and tear scratches on the glass, but they are also very realistic in that the cockpit instrumentation needles will be more precise with a newly calibrated gauge rather than with an old one. So you can tap over an indicator or a bulb light to try to correct its error or fix it while in the cockpit. And I like the way the artificial horizon is lazy and floating with no power. Instruments are complex, heavily detailed and focused on the left seat flying pilot. Standard Six instruments are in the classic layout with Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator positioned top, and the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial with built-in Course Deviation Bar (CDI) centre and the Vertical Speed Indicator complete the lower set. Lower row has a fancy chronometer, a ADF/VOR pointer and a CDI or Course Deviation Indicator (VOR 2, and switchable to VOR1) Right side pilot has backup instruments with RPM dial, Manifold Pressure and Attitude Indicator line of sight with a secondary Attitude Indicator right lower. Suction dial, Fuel Flow and Temperature gauge. Centre panel has landing gear lever and Flap switch Up to 50º in continuous movement and not stepped. Then there is two rows of engine gauges that cover Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Cyl Temperature, LoadMeter (top) L(eft) tip tank Fuel, L(eft) wing tank Fuel, R(ight) wing tank Fuel, R(ight) tip tank Fuel (lower) - (64 gallons). The full set of active circuit breakers and lighting switchgear is on the bottom row. Under the glareshield there are four dials, they cover L to R: Fuel Pressure, Engine EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), Flap position and Acceleration G movement. Outwardly the Avionics stack looks like the standard fit-out you usually have, but this layout has far more built in active features. Top of the stack is the standard issue Garmin 347 audio panel with the X-Plane Garmin GN430 GPS system below (COM1/VOR1). The Bendix/King KX165 NavCom is quite a comprehensive unit with: Active/Standby frequencies mode, Channels mode, CDI mode, Bearing mode, Radial mode and Timer mode. The next Bendix/King KR87 ADF Receiver is also very comprehensive with ANT/BFO/ADF modes and FLT/ET mode with SET/RST button. The Marchetti uses a Bendix/King KFC225 Autopilot with highly realistic Startup animations, ROLL and PITCH mode, HDG/NAV/VS/ALT modes and Yaw Damper... finally bottom is the Garmin GTX330 Transponder with built-in Altitude Monitor mode, Count down mode, Count up mode, Flight Time mode and OAT/DALT mode, altogether they are quite impressive to use. None pop-out and that includes the default GNS 430? but the KFC225 is very easily accessible from the pilot's position. You can use the XSaitekPanels plugin and also install the RealityXP's GTN750 GPS as it can also can be used if you have that (expensive) option. Centre pedestal is tiny but excellent with; standard Throttle, Propeller and Mixture levers which are lovely and beautifully designed, the Fuel tank switch is set below... note the nicely crafted joysticks (can be hidden) and trim wheel. The SF-260 has twin-throttles with another on the far left... Italian trainee's are expected to learn to fly via the left hand on the left throttle and the right hand on the stick... Another lever lower down is a feature, with if you use Simcoder's "Headshake" plugin with the aircraft you can adjust the vibrations of either a loose or tight seatbelt, by just adjusting this lever! Rudder pedals are beautifully crafted, and the guides as they are animated are also very realistic (arrowed). Lighting The panel lighting is sensational as well, there is only one adjustment via both knobs at each end of the instrument panel... the phosphorous lighting dims slowly at night, and looks highly realistic. There is also a small yellow light above the pedestal for maximum detail and the lighting glows beautifully at night. External lighting is very good as well. Strobe and beacon lights are bit strong but fine, navigation lights and there is a single nose landing light.... that single light however is quite strong. REP or Reality Expansion Pack The built in REP package is pretty well the standard version that SimCoder's produce for other aircraft. But because it is already interwoven into the aircraft it does feel far more solid than the other REP packs. I personally am not totally a user of REP packages as they can be a bit over excited on the various systems (early engine starts were almost impossible), but they have improved quite a lot lately, so we shall see how the fully installed REP is either a bonus or a negative to this aircraft. The REP can be accessed by two menu options... one is in the X-Plane plugin's menu and the other is a pop-out on the left side of your screen... The left side screen menu tabs can be partially or fully hidden. The top plugin menu has more options with the screen version only using the centre six tabs. The first two include; "Settings" and "Wear out to". Settings include: Enable the plane damages, Show failure messages, Show tips, Show side menu on mouse hover only, Save and restore the plane status between sessions, Enable hypoxia effect, Roll axis drives ground steering, Use US Customary (pounds and inches), Pilot/Copilot altimeter use InHg and Enable engine monitor. Most of the above can be switched off, like the failure messages, tips and engine monitor. The mouse hover option is best ticked off as well... but the Save and Restore option is excellent in leaving X-Plane and coming back to the aircraft, which is then set exactly the same way as you left it, including warm fluids, CHT and Oil Temperature, switches position, the fuel on-board, the loaded weights, the engine fluids quantity and quality and the feature is excellent. To reset to cold, just uncheck the box. Wear out to; The aircraft comes with some significant failures built in and you can regulate them by setting the "Wear out" condition, there are four settings with: Brand New or the engine is brand new and all the onboard systems were just as tested. Privately Owned (new): this is an almost new aircraft that has been privately owned with care. The engine as well as the other systems will have some hours logged but no issues are in place. Privately Owned (old): this is an aircraft that has been owned privately for years. The engine as well as the other systems will have much hours logged but no issues are in place as the private owner kept the plane with good care. Flying Club: Buggered! The centre six selections on the plugins menu are the same six on the left side tab menu, they include: Kneeboard Mass & Balance Walkaround Tow Maintenance Report Automatic Engine Start All menu options have pop-up panels and you can move them around the screen, but you can't scale them, which is a bit hard as some are quite large and can cover vital instruments... so the panels can get in the way in flight, not so much on the ground. For VR users there is a custom system to access the menus and text inputs in the VR mode, so there are both systems available in the 2d and 3d environments. Kneeboard: This panel contains the aircraft normal and emergency checklists together with the performance reference tables (there are also key assigns to operate the kneeboard without using the menus). Mass & Balance: This panel is used to precisely load the plane, a Center of Gravity envelope is provided. There are settings for Pilot/Passenger/Baggage weights, Fuel Weight, Landing C.G protection and an aircraft summary is also provided. Walkaround: The walkaround feature is a combination of several areas, in settings for the aircraft in fluids and fuel, opening features and static elements. A lot of users are already very familiar with this REP system and it is excellent, but if you want say just the chocks positioned it is a long way around the walkaround to do so? The pop-up panel has two areas of walkaround choices, one is the main "Pre-Flight Check" and the other is the "Lights Check" Lights Check: This checks all the lights around the aircraft, and includes the instrument panel lighting. Note the excellent tip tank fuel cap detail! Pre-Flight Check: Does two actions in testing areas around the aircraft for flight and adding or removing static elements. It also shows fluid levels of the various systems. Static elements include: Wheel chocks, Canopy cover (nice), Wing and tail tie-downs, engine inlet covers and pitot cover. Tyre condition and wear is shown, in case they need replacing. Contentious for me is that this option is the only way to get access to that amazing Lycoming O-540-E4A5? It would be nice for the engine access to be part of the static elements? You can check the oil and its condition level. Fuel quantity and contamination levels are also shown, nice fuel cap... The active flying surfaces test feature is still here and it is very good.... ... with the surfaces covered which are the ailerons, flaps, elevator and rudder. All in all the walkaround system is excellent, and there is a key command available to manoeuvre quickly through the walkaround menu. Tow: The tow feature allows you to pull the aircraft from the front nose position, you use your joystick to move left-right and backwards-forwards and at different speeds. Maintenance Report: There is a comprehensive clipboard that is a Maintenance Report... It is important to understand that the Marchetti is when used very vulnerable and has a significant built in "Custom Damage & Maintenance System". And ANY system can be damaged if used the wrong way. The Maintenance Report is one way to keep the pain away if used regularly, and it shows you the current condition of the aircraft. Note it can only be used if the engine and power is switched off, and then for the maintenance to be done on the aircraft. Engine Autostart: The REP provides you with a way to automatically start the engines. So get down on your knees and say "Thank God" for this option... It can be a pain to start, certainly from cold. Final two menu options are: "Toggle Static Elements" which is all on or all off, with no individual choices (it can be a key input as well).... and "About" which is what the current REP pack is being used. Flying the Marchetti! Outwardly this a computer program, but inwardly this Marchetti behaves like a real aircraft. The O-540-E4A5 engine breathes, has the correct (or poor) fuel flow and there is a combustion model to which all power outputs, the Cylinders Head Temperatures or the Oil Pressure which are all regulated. so the power output can be depending on climate and certain conditions, like for instance altitude... yes it is all very complex, but also highly realistic. Noted features include... Oil type, quality and quantity affects the engine behavior and the spark plugs may foul because of carbon deposits, Leaning the mixture at the wrong time or in the wrong way may cause damages to the engine, there are carburettor dynamics and ice accretion. Engine preheater and winterization kit: the engine may be preheated on winter using the provided electric engine heater. If the engine is not heated correctly, it then won’t start or may be damaged after start. There is an animated pilot... at first I thought it was a young Austin Meyer? not to sure close up... he is fully animated with lovely movements reflecting his pilot's position, and in a nice effect is that he moves his head and upperbody forward in some movements and his hands move perfectly with the joystick. Simcoder's "Headshake" plugin is recommended and so do I recommend it here also. You can use the XPRealistic Pro plugin as well if you wish, but a few extra features are used with the Headshake version and it is free. Startup can give you the shakes literally, but with great cold engine sounds and intermittent running until the engine warms up (with a bit of throttle for a fair while and then idle). Close the canopy and the external sounds dull, press on the lovely headphones between the seats and the sounds dull even more to reflect wearing the headphones... A bit of thrust, brakes off and your away, you don't need a lot of throttle to get the SF-260 moving, but I have the twin throttles on my Saitek X56 Rhino set for one lever as the throttle and the right lever as the mixture, and using both you can find a nice taxiing balance. A bit of flap 14º (the secondary runway is really short at LIML-Linate 17/35 6011ft, (972m)) and with full rich mixture and power up... the headshake can make the aircraft feel more twitchy than it really is and propeller yaw (to the left) is extreme, but around 90 knts I pull back on the joystick... Flaps to zero as soon as... and up goes the gear. The Marchetti is complex on the ground, but a very simple aircraft to fly in the air... ... it is an aerobatic aircraft, but it flies beautifully and is quite an easy aircraft to manoeuvre around it's solid axis... Simcoders note that "Low stick movements are sufficient to cause a high roll speed. If pilot over corrects it may easily end up in Pilot Induced Oscillations (PIO) around the logitudinal axis." Performance is not really exceptional...Rate of Climb is 9.1 m/s (1,791 ft/min), Cruise speed is 330 km/h (178 knots, 205 mph)... with 236 knts Max. The range is 2,050 km (1,107 NM, 1,274 mi) and a Service Ceiling of 5,790 m (19,000 ft). But I found it hard to get into the 180 knt range, and so I backed off in case I blew something up... you feel that way in this aircraft. But this is a very nice place to be in, visibility is excellent, the SF-260 must be absolutely brilliant in VR. The SF.260D engine is normally aspirated. That is, the maximum air pressure that affects the engine is the outside atmospheric pressure. It is also affected by visible moisture, the Carb Heat knob must then be operated to avoid carburettor icing at low engine RPMs or icing conditions. Icing and effects are not on the aircraft yet, but with the new icing and carburettor effects being in the X-Plane11.30 version, I would expect them on the aircraft in the near future. Sounds are custom, are fully customised and are not actually FMOD... and they come with custom engine sounds that ensure high performance and the best aural quality with dynamic immersive sounds in both the internal and external views. They are very good and highly original, but I found the cruise sounds a bit droney and almost a "ooooonnnn" sound that you soon got really tired of. KFC225 Autopilot is super nice to use even it it does not pop-out, at least it isn't buried somewhere hard to access... From the point you drop the gear (note the above read warning light that the gear is up?) you get the buffeting, highly realistic... ... but the Marchetti is a tricky aircraft to fly at low speeds, but I don't know if the Headshake is overswinging the effect, but the aircraft is very swinging in the horizontal (not much wind either). so you can over compensate. Approach speeds are 80 and 90 kt in the landing-configuration and stall speeds are right at the 61-kt limit, but you get a buffeting right at the approach of the stall speed (around 67 knts), but it makes it tricky to land and it feels quite fast as you arrive as well. Any throttle reduction is with care, as you can very easily lose height and lift... so the aircraft needs a fair bit of practice and even skill in flying the SF.-260 at this approach phase of the flying. And I have had three or so landings and still need to totally get to grips with the low speed handling, but again we don't spend this much cash and expect the aircraft to be basically very easy to fly.... we expect total realism, and that is what you have here. X-Plane does have a bad habit of grabbing you at the final phase and pulling you down on to the runway, and even with these several landings I haven't been able to dial that out, which I have done with other aircraft... but I will keep trying to find that last minute fine balance. Overall the SF.-260 has an amazing feel, and it is highly realistic in flight... There is a rain effect, that puts water droplets on the glass... but overall it feels more like flashing Christmas tree lights than raindrops? and they don't wash away in flight as you gather speed very well either... other developers have done a better set of water drop actions in this area. A final note is that if you use X-Plane's replay mode, the aircraft has a habit of jumping badly when you come out of the replay, it always hop's or jumps a small distance? Liveries There are eleven liveries with the JRollon Yellow set as the default... All are huge 4096x4096 4K textures of extremely high quality. Note the very nice SimCoder's Promo livery. Summary When I first saw that US$40+ price I went 'oooh", that is high for a small single-engined aircraft. But as this review went on, and on and looking at the size of this review and then work your way through the very extensive feature list, then this Marchetti is now looking like an absolute bargain. There is no doubt that Javier Rollon is a master developer. Certainly this aircraft will put his skills at the very top of the tree, list... whatever as one of the very best in X-Plane, and thankfully his older dark heavy period seems to have been buried. But this is simply sublime work... even you could class it as one of the best in this category in X-Plane currently. The detailing and the quality of the modelling here in the SF.-260 is off the scale, jaw-dropping it's sheer complexity and with ultra-fine detail... this is realism 101. You won't find better, and there is some excellent aircraft out there now in X-Plane. Overwhelming is the sheer interior detailing, the excellent exterior work including the magnificent undercarriage... and... and... that fully complete working Lycoming O-540-E4A5 engine, it is all "gone to heaven stuff" Features and the depth of immersion of the systems, switchgear and even the avionics are all ultra deep and very accessible... and we haven't even got to the intergrated SimCoder REP's or Reality Expansion Pack yet. Yes this package is worth US$20 alone, but here it is fully immersed into the Marchetti, with all the walkaround and static element features the package provides and it is extensive in depth and again in the way it is interwoven with wear and tear, and the general use of the aircraft... this is a machine you have to look after, even babysit to keep it in a fully functional form, just like... well the real aircraft. After all the "oohs and aahs" then is there any negatives? Well no access to that lovely engine as a static element, I feel is just crazy, you want to look at it and even see it with the machine running?, more access to the individual static elements and I think the rain effects need another rethink... It is a tricky aircraft to fly as well, very easy in flight, but taking off and in the low speed zones you really need your best flying skills, I'm not crazy about the in flight cruise sounds either, but it is highly probable they are totally authentic. So the Marchetti SF.-260 master class from the master, and come also with the excellent SimCoder REP package as part of the deal, Look back through this review and you can't say you are not getting overwhelming value for your money and it is also VR ready... and so is this Marchetti maybe even the best aircraft in depth and detail that has been released this year in 2018 as well?.. Highly Recommended! _____________________________________________________________________________________ The SIAI-Marchetti SF.-260 by JRollon and SimCoders is a new release for X-Plane11 and is available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 Price is US$44.95 Features:  Code driven flight dynamics - Super fun to fly, requires your attention all the time - Realistic takeoff, landing, cruise, and overall performance - Realistic aerobatics - Realistic stall behavior (watch your ailerons!) - Impressive spin behavior - Realistic roll speed at both high and low speeds Outstanding 3D model and liveries - Very light on FPS - High performance 4K texture - 10 Liveries included - Blank textures with PSD available to create your own livery - Tire blowout is shown - Propeller blades bend on belly landing - 3D modeled engine components - Custom rain and ice effects Realistic onboard systems and procedures - Pre/Post flight walk-around - Custom hand towing mode: use your joystick to push/pull/steer the aircraft on ground - Realistic Mass and Balance - Complete electrical system with working Circuit Breakers - Custom landing gear warning system - Custom stall warning system - Custom vacuum system - Custom flaps system with realistic white-arc behavior - Custom fuel system - Custom cabin ventilation and windshield defrost system - Working Emergency Avionics switch with Emergency Battery - Working emergency landing gear extraction procedure - Canopy can stay slightly open during flight Custom Damage & Maintenance System - Any system can be damaged if used the wrong way - Persistent aircraft state: each livery has its own state that is saved between flights. Damage is cumulative. - Maintenance Report available to check the status of the aircraft and do the maintenance and repairs 100% Custom Piston Engine - The Lycoming O-540-E4A5 is modeled down to the smallest bolt and breathes air like a real engine - Custom fuel pump and fuel filter - Realistic Oil System affected by Oil Viscosity. Choose the best oil grade for your kind of operation. - Spark plugs fouling. Change the spark plugs type in the maintenance report. - Working engine preheater - A custom algorithm simulates the fuel/air mixture and its combustion - Custom carburetor system with custom icing behavior - High fidelity power curve - Custom system failures - Realistic startup behavior and procedures - Automatic startup option for quick start High fidelity cockpit - All switches work like the real ones - The cockpit is illuminated by 3D lights - The instruments wear out and may give incorrect reading. Tap over them to temporarily try to reduce their error. Fix them in the maintenance report. - The cockpit light and indicators bulbs may start blinking and fail. Tap over them to temporarily try to light them up again. Replace them in the maintenance report. - Realistic phosphorous lights that dim at night as time passes by - Working Circuit Breakers that you can use to shed the battery load in case of generator failure - Support for RealityXP GNS - Bendix/King KX165 NavCom - Realistic startup animations - Active/Standby frequencies mode - Active only mode - Program mode - Channels mode - CDI mode - Bearing mode - Radial mode - Timer mode - Bendix/King KR87 ADF Receiver - Realistic startup animations - ANT/BFO/ADF modes - FLT/ET mode with SET/RST button - Bendix/King KFC225 Autopilot - Realistic Startup Animations - ROLL and PITCH mode - HDG/NAV/VS/ALT modes - Yaw Damper - Garmin GTX330 Transponder - Realistic Startup Animations - Altitude Monitor mode - Count down mode - Count up mode - Flight Time mode - OAT/DALT mode - PA mode HeadShake Integration - Use a custom lever in the cockpit to strengthen the belts and reduce the G-Force effects during aerobatic flight Custom three dimensional sounds - Custom sound engine that ensure high performance and quality - Dynamic immersive sounds in both internal and external views - Sounds are muffled by closing the canopy and wearing the headsets - The canopy can stay slightly open during flight to let some fresh air in: you will feel the wind blowing on your face - Enjoy the engine sound suffering the torque effects during aerobatic flight VR Compatible Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended (release and review version v1.01) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation: Download for the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 is 264.45mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder Download of the separate SF-260 Liveries file which is 1.07gb is also required... ... and the combined installation is 1.35gb. Key authorisation is required for the Simcoder REP package and a restart is required. Skunkcraft's Updater is also installed Documents: User documents are extensive with both a User Manual and Checklist -References REP-SF260-checklists-references.pdf REP-user-manual.pdf It is highly recommended to read the user manual before flying the aircraft. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton  16th November 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 11.25 (tested also in X-Plane b11.30b4) Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : Headshake Plugin - Free : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - LIML - Milan Linate Airport 1.0.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free 
  2. News! - Revealed - SIAI-Marchetti SF-260D by JRollon As a sort of backhand... SimCoders have revealed JRollon's next aircraft, which is the light prop trainer SIAI-Marchetti SF-260D (now Leonardo SF-260). This is the first release from JRollon for some time, but you have still accessed his work as he is the lead developer for Laminar's default aircraft that came with X-Plane11. Only to date is there one image available (above) but the aircraft is noted to come with a long list of features. SimCoder's have also noted they have created a REP or Reality Expansion Pack package to go with the aircraft and a first for a military aircraft and not a GA. Noted SimCoder REP features are: Fully Working Radio Stack The radio stack is 100% custom and features the following radios: KX165A Com/Nav Radio KR87 ADF Receiver KFC225 Autopilot GTX-330 Transponder The radios are so realistic you can use the real world manuals. You’ll find all their features in place. Custom Sounds Engine I personally don’t like FMOD very much. It can provide great sound effects but it’s complicated to use from the dev point of view and not that efficient performance-wise. For these reasons, we developed our custom sound engine that was shipped with REP 3.0 and then improved with the following releases. Personally, I find it much more powerful than FMOD itself. With the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260D, we further improved REP’s sounds engine to bring a very realistic sound set, including the canopy muffling and wind effects. Custom Lycoming O-540-E4A5 Engine REP provides a 100% custom engine model that fully replaces X-Plane’s default. We modelled the engine down to the smallest bolt. It meets the real performance data with incredible precision. This is the first time REP features a carburettor engine. It even has a custom carburettor icing algorithm. The SF-260 is a great aerobatic airplane, but you better not fly it inverted for more than 8 or 10 seconds… Custom Electric System All the Circuit Breakers are in place and they work as expected. The system loads are there and you can shed them using the CB in case of electrical failure. Moreover, a true Emergency Battery/Emergency Avionics system is in place to make the thing even more realistic. A lot of detail There are a lot of small things that we didn’t ignore. For example, when you select full flaps, the wing flaps angle will vary between 45° and 50°, depending on the aircraft speed. That is, the air pressure acts on the wing flaps and forces them up to 45° when in flight. While on ground, the air pressure is zero and the flaps can freely go down to 50°. The gear lights and warning horn work like the real thing. They are 100% custom, as usual. And did you know that you can fly with the canopy slightly open when your speed is below 120 knots IAS? Personally I would have expected Javier to have updated his excellent (but now very tired) CRJ - 200... but any aircraft released by JRollon is to be celebrated... Text courtesy of Simcoders ______________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 19th September 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) 
  3. Aircraft Addons : CRJ-200 JRollon - Sound Packs by Blue Sky Star Simulations One of the biggest impacts on X-Plane in recent memory has been the coming of Blue Sky Star Simulations and their excellent immersive aircraft sound packages. X-PlaneReviews covered their first releases for the JARDesign A320/A330 series early at the start of this 2016 calendar year. And I was overwhelmed on the complete and expansive way these sound package totally change your flight simulation experience. There is a before and after flying experience with the packages installed and you never ever usually use the older original aircraft again after using the expansion packages. At the end of the A320/A330 review we noted the next project for the Blue Sky Star Simulations (BSS) sonic makeover was Javier Rollon's venerable CRJ-200... and here it is now available in this latest BSS sound package release. Originally released in January 2012, the JRollon CRJ-200 was a landmark release for the X-Plane simulator. Four years on and it is still not showing its age except for a few bugs around the cockpit. The release was significant for X-Plane because it started a revolution in design that is although mostly commonplace now, was unheard of back in 2012. Yes X-Plane had already a few 3d virtual cockpits, but not to this high quality and functionality, and yes Phillip Münzel's incredible FMC is still very good and again a forerunner of all the FMC's we now fly with everyday. The CRJ-200 was the most complete aircraft as well with a full cabin and lighting effects, but it was the sheer immersion of the flying experience that made this aircraft one of the very best in the X-Plane simulator for years until the FlightFactor Boeings came along. And yes the sounds were very good as well, even exceptional for the period... but like everything else in life, in simulation things are done better and differently and that is the basis of this sound package for the aircraft. We will start the review by noting the installation of the sound package files. The package consists of two sets of sound files. One set is the original "Sounds" files that is part of the X-Plane basic sound sets. The second set of files are the 3d "Plugin" files. There are no text installation notes with the package which is a bit of a mystery?, but a video (mp4) on how to install the files. In reality it is very simple to do and I would recommend as I did to make a duplicate of the full aircraft file as too keep that original aircraft as a backup for any future needs. "sounds" replace the "sounds" in the aircraft's root folder, easy... and the three "sound3d" files go into the CRJ-200 "plugins" folder, and that is it... simple. Ground sounds The CRJ-200 comes with it's own built in GPU (Ground Power Unit) and at first loading you can hear the better sounds from the unit if it is attached. Go one better and start the internal APU (auxiliary power unit) and you not only get the rush of air on startup but the full startup sonic procedure, when fully running you can move around the rear of the aircraft and hear the various 3d feel of the auxiliary power unit from very noisy to just noisy. With the three installed 3d plugin files they are available from the X-Plane drop down "Plugins" menu. Each plugin has a menu that has volume adjustments for the area the plugin is responsible for "Sound 1" is for Cockpit sounds, "Sound 2" is for Engine sounds and "Sound 3" is for APTCAB (Cabin sounds), APU, FLCTRL (Flight Controls), LDGEAR (Landing Gear) and WIND. BSS recommend to switch off on the master X-Plane "sounds" menu for both contact and weather sounds to get the full sound effects. As noted above I adjusted the APU output down to 10% which I felt was more realistic, I know APU's are noisy, but this was too noisy. Cockpit Even by today's standards the cockpit of JRollon's CRJ is still one of the very best virtual cockpits you can have, Javier Rollon can be a bit heavy with his texture work, but it is very good here and almost perfect. The aircraft's age shows with just one working FMC display, and the blank right display now looks odd or broken. But the working one does pop-out for use, which was setting the standard in 2012. Every single switch, button and action in the CRJ cockpit was recorded for authenticity. And you know the difference when you use each item as required. That also includes unfortunately the alarms which are quite frequent in their actions. You can activate certain items to play like GPWS test - Copilot RMI left, Systems Test - Copilot RMI right, Oxygen test - ADF 2 flip stby and People boarding - ADF 1 flip stby. Airport sounds can be activated by - toggling the emer exit light switch (volume can be controlled by APTCAB plugin sound slider - sound3d-3) and finally the people on the airplane - toggle by seatbelts signs in "on" position" with Auto or off functions which turns their speaking off. But I had a problem with the pedestal radio in that it didn't work correctly and I had to use the FMC "Radio" functions for frequency inputs. I don't know if it is a BSS issue or an original JRollon issue, but remember the CRJ-200 has not had an update for awhile, I am hoping after the Laminar Research v10.50 update the developer will give the aircraft an up to current date revise. Sounds in action There is a huge range of sounds being available when working around the cockpit. Like electrical system with self tests on init, relays on bus change, EICAS warnings/cautions, avionic power up, avionic air inside/outside, avionic air sound depending on if door is open/closed. The Hydraulic system is fully programmed and all hydraulic pumps work and have specific locations of sound as they would in real aircraft. ACMP system fully modeled, AC motor pumps come on when flaps are other than 0 position with either of IDG connected. ACMP modulating sound when flight controls move to the full position and ACMP auto shutdown sounds. Systems and fire test aurals are very good and realistic. Starting and closing down the engines are the real tests of a great sounds in an aircraft. Using the ECS (Environment/Aircon) panel display you can see that APU "bleed" routes are correct for starting. I recommend using all these excellent EICAS pages for making sure the aircraft is correctly set up for flight. The CRJ-200 is quite complicated to use and fly, and these EICAS pages to a point simplify the system processes. The complete bleed system in sounds is completely modeled here and yes it works. You know how good it is by not only the whole start up process is highly replicated here, but the 3d sounds are magnificent in catching the various degrees of tones of the engines. move your position around and you can hear the different aspect of the start up plus which engine is being started. 3d sound movement around each engine is phenomenal, brilliant stuff and remember these sounds are authentic real General Electric CF34-3A1 turbofans. Move around the cabin and the sounds are exceptional and again in 3d dimensions. Another set of great cabin sounds are the Environmental Packs, that if you switch on or off the hissing sounds are perfectly clear. I really like the point of non-movement like when the aircraft comes to a stop and you a great change in environmental sound to a more whine forced air sound. If it is raining you get the pitter/patter of drops of water on the glass and the wipers when turned on clack over the windscreen and sometimes scrape and screech on the glass... ew! All rushing air and rain sounds are excellent when flying, and highly realistic. Flying You have to find the right sound balance, either with the menu sliders and the main overall volume. You want to hear all those discrete movements and sounds but when the power goes up so does the volume to loud. You get great thumps and bangs with the aircraft movement, but in a very realistic way and not over done, and as you move the thottle you get all the relative movement noises including hitting the detents and gates. Throttle up and those CF34-3A1 turbofans come to life and they roar and blast you down the runway. The bangs and crashes make you grit your teeth as you gain speed are then replaced by the wind roar as you leave terra firma. Your thoughts are "well you get most of these sounds anyway with most aircraft today" and in context that you are correct, but the differences here are the quality of the sounds, and the realism that is returned as you use the aircraft. Everything with these sounds are heightened, they are far more fuller, deeper and the sheer HD (High-Definition) feedback is overwhelming... in other words it is Bl**dy brilliant. The CRJ-200 is not the easiest aircraft to fly in X-Plane. It needs an awareness of its flying profiles to get the very best out of it, and slow speeds require a lot of care to get them absolutely correct to keep any stalls at bay. At speed you need again to understand the right manual throttle speeds to stop the aircraft pitching and hunting under and over your set altitude, but time and practice will gain your confidence in your ability to get it all right, you work hard in there as it is a very physical aircraft to fly and manage, certainly over a short sector or route. But again that is why you want to be tested and put through the wringer in meeting the needs of the aircraft, get it all right and you will be punching the air with enthusiastic "yeahs" and smile for days after. Cruise sounds are the hardest of all to get right. The problem is you have a constant loop file and get the loop rhythm wrong and you get a drone effect that can be seriously tiresome and in worse cases give you a headache. Even the very best developers get this wrong and it affects even the most expensive and best of X-Plane aircraft. Not that case here as with the BSS A320 sound package the internal sounds are a revelation not only in the cockpit but in the cabin as well. Total realism is the key, and lo and behold you can enjoy the flight even more as you power along in the sky. Blue Sky Star have noted that turbulence sounds are also coming soon as well to the package which will be interesting... Changes in engine sound are also above the usual quality, but the raison d'être is the undercarriage. First you get the door and mechanical movements as the undercarriage unfolds out of the fuselage, the the wind effects and "thump", "Thump", "thump" as the gear locks into place. The aural symphony is not over, with the wind and even clanking sounds as the wind moves through the gear doors and wheel legs creating great realistic sounds. This higher level of quality of aural feedback make the flying more responsive and automatic, in the fact you can hear what is going on in the unfolding (and folding) and lock processes than needing a glance at the panel to see visually that the operations have been completed... in other word the process is natural and realistic, and you are using another source for information on flying the aircraft, your hearing. Flap and airbrake movement is also heightened. Flap extension and retraction is excellent in the cabin and externally it is very good as well. So for the punters in the back it is great to watch and hear any landings on replay. Slowing down at speed and using the airbrakes and you hear in a 3d direction the buffeting wind sound coming off the wing extensions. I thought there was something wrong the first time I used it, as the sound was so realistic, but cleaning up the wing again and I realised how good that aural feedback was. Ground contact noise is excellent (note to turnoff the X-Plane default version) and as I have Simcoder's "Head Shake" installed (free) you get the full aural and physical effects of the landing. Reverse thrust is also above par, as you rattle and pound your way to a taxi speed. As landings go you certainly get the full drama of the event. Concrete and bad ramp edges come back as you taxi around to your stand, as with the start up process the engine wind down is long and very realistic, you should even hear the engine crackle with the heat, but we have not got that far yet, but I would expect it in the near future... Summary First thoughts are always going to be that sound is sound. Most X-Plane sound is very good these days, so why pay more to get more sounds. It goes far deeper than that really. These Blue Sky Star sound packages create a very different and far immersive simulation than it is really believable. The sheer depth of the sounds, the quality and the 3d surround effect is totally immersive and actually makes your flying far more realistic and you communicate and respond with the aircraft better and more naturally. Once used, then going back to the standard sound packages is impossible, you feel empty and notice the blandness of the original aircraft very quickly. There is a great video below that explains all the sounds that I can't show you, so it is well worth a few minutes of your time to watch it through and relate to my comments. It is hard to believe that JRollon's CRJ-200 is over four years old, the aircraft does not simply feel that old and out of date and it is in fact the opposite in how great an aircraft this is. I don't doubt a small nip and tuck is needed to bring it up to current X-Plane standards and features, but may it never fade into X-Plane history and I very doubt it will. So combining the JRollon CRJ-200 and this excellent Blue Sky Star sound package not only brings the aircraft alive in a manner that goes beyond belief, it certainly is a great simulation of what you get today in immersive flying. If you already have the CRJ-200 then you need the Blue Sky Star sound package as well, that is simply a no brainer. If you don't have the JRollon CRJ-200 then allow to buy the Blue Sky Star sound package with the aircraft, either way you are getting something very special. _______________________ Yes! the Blue Sky Star Simulation Sound Expansion Package for the JRollon CRJ-200 by Real Pilots is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BSS CRJ-200 Sound Expansion Pack BSS CRJ-200 Sound Expansion Pack Price is US$20.00 (JRollon Planes CRJ200 JRollon US$49.95 is Required to use this sound pack) Note the CRJ-200 by JRollon is at this time on sale for only... US$30.00 a saving of $19.00! So be quick for this great deal! Installation: The process of installing and what you get in the BSS Sound package is noted within the review above. Blue Sky Star Developer Site : Blue Sky Star Company _______________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 14th May 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 8 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini - Simcoder's Head Shake Scenery or Aircraft LSZR - St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$22.01 EDDF - Enhanced EDDF Frankfurt am Main Airport V 1.4 by jusku (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  4. Aircraft Review : Bae Jetstream 32 by Javier Rollón Morán Route - EFHF (Helsinki, Malmi) to EFTP (Tampere - Pirkkala) If you don’t know Javier Rollón by name, you have still most definitely flown one of his aircraft if you have X-Plane. Javier is one of the designers that created many of the default aircraft that comes with the set of disks that you load with the scenery into your hard drive when you purchase the X-Plane simulator. The Boeing 747-400 or the Space Shuttle, even the huge B52 bomber, these aircraft and more are all Javier’s aircraft and this gifted designer has a few designs that also carry his signature that you can buy. His latest creation is the Bae (British Aerospace) Jetstream 32, which is a high-performance twin-turboprop airliner capable of transporting up to 19 passengers. History The aircraft started its life as the Handley Page HP.137 Jetstream. The original design dates from 1965 as a 12-seat (six rows with a centre aisle) aircraft, and considerable attention was paid to streamlining in order to improve the performance and fuel savings that created the distinctive feature of a long nose profile. The fuselage had a circular cross-section to ease pressurisation which allowed much higher altitude flights and consequent higher speed and comfort than the other competing unpressurised designs. But one major drawback of the design was that fuselage was so small in cross-section that the cabin floor had to be “lowered” to allow stand-up passenger entry and egress through the rear door. So this meant that the main wing spar had to run across the cabin and causing a tripping hazard. The first production model Jetstream 1 flew on 6 December 1968, and over the next year and only 36 aircraft would be delivered. However by this point Handley Page had given up on the original engine, and the Jetstream 2 was launched with the larger 965 hp (720 kW) Astazou XVI. The late delivery and engine problems had driven development costs now to over £13 million, far more than the original £3 million projections. So only three Jetstream 2s would be completed before Handley Page went bankrupt, and the production line was eventually shut down in 1970. Scottish Aviation had taken over production of the original Jetstream design from Handley Page and when it was nationalised along with other British companies into British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) in 1978, BAe decided the design was worth further development, and started work on a “Mark 3”. This aircraft became the Jetstream 31, which first flew on 28 March 1980. The “32” or Super 31 had the upgraded Garrett 760kW (1020shp) TPE331-12UAR twin engines. The aircraft was produced from 1980 to 1993 and 386 were built. Maximum speed: 263 kn (303 mph, 488 km/h), Cruise speed: 230 kn (264 mph, 426 km/h), Stall speed: 86 kn (99 mph, 159 km/h), Range: 680 nmi (783 mi, 1,260 km) and Service ceiling is: 25,000 ft (7,620 m). Jetstream 32 With its large round cross-section fuselage and long slim nose it can make the aircraft look quite... Shortish?... or even Stumpy? Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, but the aircraft is not ugly by a long shot as it looks today more like a personal jet design than a turbo-prop, The design certainly was advanced and suited jet power more than propellers as it morphed into the more successful Hawker-125 Series. What the Jetstream 32 is though, is a classic late 1960’s design, and Javier has done an excellent piece of craftmanship to create this aircraft. He does however like his aircraft dirty... filthy, oily and very heavily used. And the Jetstream is no exception. You want to put oil pans under the engines to catch the oil drips and always be careful not to put your clean white shirt too close to the fuselage. Detailing is exquisite, all the panels (and small access panels) wings, high set cross tail, rear elevators and relevent riveting is very well recreated and with clever detailed work in the ailerons and flap mechanisms with external drop hinges, vortex generators, engine cowlings and exhausts and the large McCauley propellers are very well designed. Wing lighting in Strobe, Nav is highly detailed and HDR refined. and the airframe is festooned in trailing edge static discharges, aerials and twin wire antennas. The undercarriage is a perfect recreation with the hydraulic struts and piping that is detailed down to the threaded connectors, all linkages and gear door panels are also very well structured, animation of the compression of all the undercarriage gear is excellent. Javier’s work is very big on using the “draw per pixel lighting” special effect feature (render panel), this highlights the texture (NML) work in making areas pronounnced and is very good for highlighting details like rivets and the edges of panels. Javier makes these items very heavily shaded and so they feel more exaggerated than they really are, no doubt they are there to make the aircraft very detailed, but I prefer the feature off than on, it has a frame-rate penalty as well, and with dppl checkbox off - the rubber tyres will shine and lose their detailing. Going up the very highly detailed built-in air-stairs with metal (animated) handrail and wire support the cabin is furnished with wood at the vanity area, the panel door opens to reveal the open sited toilet! The door to the right is the luggage bay but it is not animated. Into the cabin and the single chairs are arranged either side of the center isle with the wing-spar support which is hazard marked across the floor. The cabin lighting for me is over bright and switched off the cabin is far duller but more realistic. Cockpit The “office” cockpit is supremely detailed and complex. Totally realistic with all the dials and 60’s style displays. You know that your going to have your work cut out for yourself here. In simulation the detail and systems are what we crave for and when you are faced with the real prospect that “This is now getting into the serious” realm of complexity and it is not going to be a quick “start and fly” style of simulation as these sort of aircraft will require time and learning to get really proficient on them. The menu system is located in the center of the yoke. these selections give you chocks (must be activated first) and an external connected Guinault GPU (Ground Power Unit). You can “send” your Co-Pilot to the toilet! Open the main air-stair (There is another switch on the wall by the air-stair and turn on the cabin lights. Three new extra menu items are the Joystick Assign, Radio Hardware and Auto Number Hardware. The side window opens by pulling the lever... but will not open on the Co-Pilots side? The panel is simply so authentic. In the shadows the yellow florescent of the dials and markings show up, in daylight the panel goes slate grey with white highlights. all textures are 2048 pixels so they are sharp at any resolution. The reflections are the simply the best yet, and any glass is reflective and incredibly real. There is no FMS (Flight Management System), so maps and VOR navigation are your old friend. The Pilot’s and Co-Pilot’s main standard six and well proportioned with sets of twin engine gauges on the pilots side, The equipment stack is very basic. A Garmin GNS 430 and an Collins WRX-270 weather radar (it sweeps perfectly) and standard (old) stacked default radio frequency selectors. The centre pedestal is dominated by pressure dials (Hydraulic and Pressurisation) and the main flap selectors (10º. 20º. 35º), The main twin throttles and RPM levers. The Autopilot is centrally situated on the glareshield with big push buttons to access: HDG, NAV, APR, DC, VORAPR, ALT, ALTSEL,VS, IAS and SBY. the aircraft comes supplied with CWS which is an autopilot over-ride system, the autopilot is still engaged but the CWS allows you to manually set the pitch or other function and then it keeps the setting you have selected. Most of the switches are those large rocker style that they loved around the early 70’s, they can have two or three positions depending on their assignment. You have two options when starting the Jetstream 32. Manual or Automatic. Both the procedures are listed in the manual, but I recommend to print them out for repetitive use. The GPU has to be attached (If not start Eng 1 first). Here we will do the “Auto” version. In the DC control the GPU voltage is shown with the “Volt Bat Bus” set to GND. The Battery Master INT is also set to GND. You then switch on (open) the low pressure fuel tanks (cocks) and the hydraulic pumps. If the fuel pressure is below 15% then you can turn on the fuel boost pumps for added pressure. The RPM lever has to set to the Taxi detent and to start each engine you then press the “Select” and then the prime “Start” buttons for either the left or right engine and the engines will then start their start up procedure. With the engines now providing electrical power it is now time to switch them over on the “Volts Batt Bus” and set the “Batt Mas” to INT and if correct the voltage for the engines will display on the dials and you can disconnect the GPU. (And hide the chocks). Simple “yes”... it is once you are used to the procedure, but there are hidden areas that can ruin your day if the pressures are not right or the procedure is not carried out correctly. In all cases you are then faced with an expensive engine change! Flying The Jetstream 32 Taxiing is first rate with RPM lever set correctly to “taxi”. You can easily find that sweet spot of power to find the right speed, turns are quite wide, so on tight taxiways you have to mindful of the turning circle. Pushing all the power up (throttle levers) is the wrong thing to do... The aircraft jumps like a ferret going out of a hellhole with you hanging on with the power. It is best to give it a small smooth slow amount of power while switching the aircraft off the “nosewheel” (Control_wheel_steer) select and even then still gradually adding the power in as the speed rises. It is one of the few aircraft that does not need the full power setting to takeoff, I only used 80%-90% and still had some reserve even with the flaps set at 10º On rotation you get a left wing up as the propellers are not counter-rotating, and even if you are ready for the sudden manuvour it will still catch you out. On the climb you are restricted to under 2000fpm or your speed starts to drop away. As noted when the Autopilot is selected you can set the pitch with the CWS or select the VS (Vertical Speed) rotating knob. It does require quite a few turns to get to a 2000fpm pitch and you have a selecting ALTSEL (Altitude Hold) to hold the right altitude. In the air the aircraft is nice to fly with great maneuverability as long as you don’t go too low in the speed. It is as smoky as you can get, black blasts of fumes and burnt oil. One issue that popped up was that Javier has used a set of inputs that is removed from the X-Plane default inputs via the Joystick (or Yoke/Rudder) and their assigned axis of the joystick. I use the Saitek X52 Pro (black) joystick and on several flights it started to flash lights and you lose access to the inputs, in some cases the aircraft behaved erratically and flapped all its control surfaces... and that is not a good feeling. So getting a good clean X-Plane start-up is essential and Javier recommends that when you have finished flying the Jetstream 32, is to load in another aircraft to reset the default inputs to their correct settings before quitting the simulator. Once I started to do this then the issue went away. Liveries Top Row: The Orange, Silver and black is the default, with a Metal and Aeropelican (Aeropelican does not exist anymore as they have been taken over by Brindabella Airlines). Middle Row: British Airways , Blue Islands, Coast Air and Experimental. Bottom Row: Macair, Trans World Express and US Airways Express. The outside textures are 4048 pixels, and that will give you great if not perfect detail. The liveries are all good, but there are no military designs. Two liveries on the .org are worth mentioning. Direktflyg is excellent and so is the American Eagle. A brilliant feature is in wet weather, Javier is an expert on window raindrops and here is the best yet, The wipers will clean away the drops, but as an added simulation, the windows will mist up if the temperature is to cold or the moisture is very high. To clear the screens (slowly) you have to switch on the window heaters. And this is a totally and very realistic flying environment with everything working in bad weather, this is realism and simulation at its best as the wipers (separately) are slashing at the rainstorm and you are looking for your runway through low cloud and fogged up windows. There is a drop down blind on the pilots side but again there is a none working blind on the Co-Pilots window? Descending down you set the pitch but watch the speed. Go too low a speed below 130knts and the speed horn goes off. so when you are ready to drop the flaps you have pick the right time to do so. The flaps come in with a lift so you have to compensate for that and then if you are on the autopilot if you slow to 100knts and set 35º flap, you then kill the autopilot? If like me when I was in a final turn to Tampere-Pirkkala Runway 24 it can really send your heart-rate sky-high. Landing is not easy without practice. The aircraft’s stall speeds are 100knts clean and 73knts under flap. So you stay at around 100knts under 20º flap. Coming out of the ILS corridor and with your usual slightly nose up and flare with pulling back the power on the throttles will simply stall the aircraft, or thump it very hard (then skid badly) on the runway. Even when doing a manual landing the same stalling issue is there when you want to flare quietly down onto the tarmac. The trick is to keep the 100knts and the power on even as you do a slight flare and power yourself down to the tarmac. Once the wheels are in contact with the tarmac - then and only then is the power released down and you can reverse-pitch the propellers to give the aircraft a high and efficient reverse thrust to slow you down. It works best under the ILS as you feel you are going to fast when flying manually. Practice again is the only way to get these landings down to perfection, but they do provide a wide smile when you do. On landing you reset the RPM back to “Taxi” and trundle in at the correct speed. Sounds on the aircraft are first rate, from the start up whine to the power on engine blast at takeoff, to the final engine wind down they are very authentic, The propeller spinning is well done as well and shows the right animation at slow taxi speeds that adjust and blur with the slightest throttle adjustments, In these areas Javier is a master and it shows on the aircraft. Conclusions How do you really define this aircraft? It is highly complex to start up and use. In this area the depth of the systems are first rate and the cockpit and instrument detailing is simply the very best on any aircraft now available. My only reservation is how to use the aircraft. In the real world they had the same problem, It is to small (9 seats) to be a money earner for even a small regional airline and most Jetstreams anyway ended up being used by the military for Twin-Engine training and VIP (officer) transport, It just can’t compete with a small personal jet and would I have really preferred Javier to have picked the Jetstream 41 as his choice than the 32, personally yes I believe so because it is a better commuter aircraft that it has more uses if you like that kind of networking simulation. You work very hard using and flying the Jetstream 32 as it is not an easy aircraft to understand and it will take your skills to another level in trying to capture its essence and depth. It tested me beyond many and other aircraft, but I came out of the other side a better pilot and better skilled than I was before, but I had to work for that skill... Do I like it? Yes a lot, and a lot more than I realise... But I do understand it will be still a fair period until I am really proficient on this airframe as it tests you at each moment and others. I bought the aircraft a period ago and at first I just wasn’t sure as it kept stalling and the landings were usually just another “Accident Investigation”. However now I can see where I went wrong and why. My feeling is that in the very long term it will still be a “Go-To” aircraft to test myself and learn more (and more) with every flight and that is where certainly its true value lies... And it will still be one of the very best aircraft in features and outright detail available in X-Plane to use. ______________________ The Bae Jetstream 32 is Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop Price is US$34.95 : Bae Jetstream 32 Free Copy of the JS32 Manual is Available here. Developer Site: JRollon Review By Stephen Dutton 10th October 2013 Technical Requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher). Sorry, Linux not supported at this time X-Plane 10.10+. 32 or 64 bit 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM - 250MB available hard disk space X-Plane 9 version is not included in the download package but is available on demand. Just place the order and send us an email to get it. Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) - ExtremeSceneryMAXX Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - EFHF (Helsinki, Malmi) - TruScenery (X-Plane.OrgShop) - EFTP (Tampere - Pirkkala) - TruScenery (X-Plane.OrgShop)
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