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  1. Aircraft Review : Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama by Philip Ubben and Khamsin Studio Earlier in the year X-PlaneReviews reviewed the Aérospatiale SA 341B and SA 342J, or the "Gazelle" helicopter by JRXDesign, and that was an exceptional helicopter for the X-Plane Simulator... here we have the exclaimed predecessor in a variation of the Aérospatiale Alouette III . The SA 315B Lama was originally designed to meet a Nepalese Army Air Service and Indian Air Force requirements for a rotorcraft capable of undertaking operations at hot and high conditions. Both countries possessed extreme mountain ranges in the form of the Himalayas in which even relatively powerful medium-sized helicopters could not be effectively operated within, thus there was an expressed desire for an aerial vehicle capable of operating in this challenging environment. To achieve the desired performance, Aerospatiale elected to combine elements of two existing popular helicopters in their inventory, the Aérospatiale Alouette II and the Aérospatiale Alouette III to produce a new rotorcraft specialised for high altitude performance. Specifically, the new helicopter, named Lama, was equipped with the Alouette III's Turbomeca Artouste turboshaft powerplant and its dynamic systems, and was furnished with a reinforced version of the Alouette II's airframe, a hybrid aircraft is you so like for a specific mission. It was to be designed primarily for use in particularly high and hot environments. The result was a helicopter with impressive performance values for that time. This helicopter weighs only 1021 kg when empty, but with a maximum take-off weight of 1950 kg it is still able to hover freely in the air at an altitude of 4600. It is therefore not surprising that this helicopter was able to hold the absolute altitude world record from 1972 to 2002 with a flight altitude of 12442 meters. SA designation is in the earlier Sud-Aviation manufacturers name. The systems and dynamics are by Philip Ubben, but the modeling is by a very familiar X-Plane developer of Khamsin Studios, so in reality you get the best of both worlds... Khamsin's last release was the coveted DHC-1 Chipmunk v2 First view of the SA 315B Lama is of a very basic airframe, The exposed welded web frame is with all the components just added on internally or externally to make up the the aircraft, It feels like an aircraft extremely pared back without any external panels to cover the internals and everything is on view to dissect at your leisure. And very, very good is the modeling here by Khamsin. The ARTOUSTE III from Turbomeca is a single-shaft turbine with reduction gear. Normal operating speed is 33,500 rpm, which is reduced by the gearbox to 5,864 rpm. The turbine is designed for a maximum power of 870 hp, but in the SA315B it is operated only at reduced power of 590 hp usable for short periods at peaks and at 550 hp permitted continuous power. And extremely well reproduced here from Khamsin, highly detailed with every engine component highly visible, and great finer details that other developers would leave out, as an example in the internal exhaust trumpet, really well finished off... note the excellent mesh air inlet covers. Both the tail driveshaft and control cables are highly visible (and feel very venerable, exposed as they are). The huge suspended 575 litres capacity fuel tank (Jet A-1 kerosene is used) is also highly visible, with the electrical and avionic bay positioned directly behind. The reduction gearbox looks very venerable as well... but the engine front detailing is excellent. So on detail you just can't fault the work here. Rotor head is also exceptional.... and love those head strengthener bars. All the assembly components are all highly reproduced, links, bars and the rubber covers are perfect.... Control Movements I am quite particular to the aspects of the head and blade movement. These are the action created when you move the controls in the machine... if the required movements are present, then the full development of the helicopter has been through. In this case every movement is visual. The forward, reverse and left, right angles are all and well represented in the middle control plate and head/arm assemblies... Secondary movement is the twist of the blades (cut) as you use the collective, again all the movement is perfect, but Khamsin goes further in also reproducing.... ... the control rods all the way from the cockpit and up the the rotor tower itself... Very, Very impressive. The same detail and animations are also on the tailrotor assembly. All the links and gearbox are beautifully recreated, and right down to the three blade (not the usual two) tailrotor blades... and again the yaw movement is perfect... really exceptional in detail. Cabin The bubble cabin holds a Pilot+Four Passengers... very, basic as it is just another frame with glass and panels attached, but really well done in context.... it just oozes quality and detail, with lovely if perfect reflective glass, which is always a nice thing on a helicopter in a visual sense. Both doors open via internal active zones on the handles (internally only), and they both fold far front forward... the door supports are really well done, and so very, very basic... in a bar and support pin/hinge, sadly and unusual on a helicopter the doors can't be hidden or removed? Internally there are two clam bucket seats for the Pilot and front passenger, and three sling leather seats on a metal frame rear, and all in a lovely "French Blue" style. Seatbelts and their webbing on the front seats is again excellent, but there is non fitted on the rear seating... .... looking forward this is a single control machine with only a cyclic and rudder pedal set right, no controls for the left passenger or pilot. Everything in here and on the machine screams only one word "weight", "weight", "weight"... get as much weight off the aircraft as much as possible! The instrument panel is again easy and basic, but very well detailed as is the simple switch and lighting control overhead panel... .... look rear and upwards and the exposure of the rotor tower and gearbox/engine is situated so close to you, and is a little scary, so much machinery with so many forces in motion, so close, so near! aggh. Main flying instruments are set four across and two rows down... top row (left to right); Altitude Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S), ball Artificial Horizon and Indicated Air Speed Indicator... second row is the Course Deviation Indicator (CDI-VOR-Instrument), Radar Altitude, Course Gyroscope and then an interesting if confusing Collins-Pitch-Indicator. Philip Ubben's one of the developers has created a video to explain (thankfully) how it all works, plus more videos relating to the aircraft, and they are all worth watching, certainly for the Pitch-Indicator. Hung on the left side of the instrument panel is a Slungload scale. Note the excellent Fire Extinguisher bottle hanging right, and Rotor STOP pull handle. Lower panel are warning lights for; Battery Temperature, Fuel Filter, Engine Chip, Pitot Heat, Gyro instruments... the big red centre warning light is for the "Throttle Warning", Generator, Fuel Pressure and Gearbox Pressure and Temperature... centre is a Rate of Turn bubble. There is a secondary row of warning lights below; Automatic Startup, Micro Pump, Stop/Start, Engine Oil Warning and a Fuel gauge and warning lights test. Lower pedestal are five dials that cover; Battery voltage, Stopwatch, Fuel Gauge (Litres), Turbine: Tube, Oil temperature and Oil Pressure and finally a Turbine and rotor RPM gauge. Avionics include a Bendix/King KY76B Transponder, and a Bendix/King KX 170B COMM (VOR 1) Radio. Above you is an Overhead Panel (OHP) that has mostly (non-working) Fuses/Contact Breakers. Top are two lighting knobs that cover the Instrument Panel and Panel Spotlight. The switchgear covers; Slungload scale (light), Pitot Heat, Position Lights, Instrument Lighting (switch), Generator Switch, Landing Light, Radar Altitude Switch and Cockpit Ventilation Switch. On the floor between the front seats there are two leavers that cover the Fuel Shut-Off valve and Throttle or here the Clutch, the nicely shaped Collective is also well placed and beautifully created. AviTab/Tablet/Menu Click the active zone on the right bar text, and up pops a Tablet and Menu... the tablet can be hidden again by selecting the "eye" icon on the lower left of the tablet... Lower Tablet there are three buttons, AviTab (Plugin required), and dimmer and brightness icons (AviTab only). AviTab is the usual set up, and the Tablet is well placed for use and thankfully good for reading detail and using the map feature (some are simply too small in placement,text and size to use comfortably), But this eyeline set up is perfect. The Menu covers Settings, Equipment and Aircraft Custom Settings... plus there is a very good weight and fuel layout. Top right are the "Settings" Menus... Visual Settings : There are three options in the Visual Settings Menu that cover; Canopy (Glass) and Instrument Reflections, and a "Downwash" or Dust Vortex Simulation. Equipment : Equipment choice include a Mirror out front and Snow Skids.... Another option lower left on the tablet is the "Baskets" that carry on each side backpacks and ropes depending on the weight selected. The Lama looks positively bare without any options attached. Custom Settings : "Automatic Pitch Limit-Bug" This uses the small white auxiliary slider in the Collins pitch indicator which can be automated to show the currently valid pitch limit. "Over-Pitch Fail" Is a switch on a not quite realistic overload effect when the pitch limit is exceeded. "Turn Blade To The Front", final setting is to rotate the blade forwards to the front when parked (the rotor blade must be turned straight forward to prevent the turbine exhaust gases from damaging another rotor blade on start up). Notably missing are blade "Tie-Downs" and to "remove doors" options, very odd in chopper options? To the left of the Tablet is the Weight & Fuel settings... You can set the weight of the front Pilot+Passenger, back seat Passengers, small cargo (bags) in the Cabin and the fore-mentioned Basket Cargo weights. Then you can set the Fuel (Kg) and it's weight in that large tank behind you. These weight settings can be seen with a CG (Centre of Gravity) Scale (middle) and the Total (Gross) weight lower right... if the aircraft is too heavy then the Total Weight Colour will change to a darker colour. As a weight and fueling system it is very, very good and very easy to use... Adding weight does not however add in any Passengers or their bags? You do get a very nice and head animated pilot... but nothing else, so the cabin does feel a bit empty, I think that adding in extra passengers would have been a nice idea, and give a fill out to the machine inside. There is a (very) basic lifting hook underbelly, but there was no details on how to use it, or if it could be used to carry loads? ___________________ Flying the SA 315B Lama The starting process of the Lama is quite procedural... The basics are however simple, check the controls and turn on the fuel (cock), then release the rotor blades from the rotor brake... Battery & Generator on, set Strobe and Navigation lights, then do an instrument panel "Gauge Test"... It is VERY important the Throttle/Clutch is in the rear OFF, position... if not the engine won't start, which is the opposite of most Helicopter governor starting positions... You use the Timer centre pedestal for a lot of parts of the starting procedure... Turn on the Booster pump switch then run the timer for 20 sec... ... then you open up the Red Switch cover and select the switch to the upper start position, and the engine should now start it's start-up procedure... again another timer sequence. You get a green STARTUP light, but then also a yellow "MICRO PUMP" light that should go out again within 15 seconds, the RPM should now be rising.... but watch the ball Artificial Horizon and companion Course Gyroscope instruments (red arrows) as they configure themselves... it is brilliant. The Turbine Artouste engine is now running... when the RPM reaches around 16,000 and 19,000 rpm, as this is at the idle position and you now wait for the engine and systems to warm up and settle. Startup sounds are really very good, and are noted as High Quality Physics driven FMOD sounds... I have heard better, so they fall somewhere in the middle. The turbine is now running, but the blades are not turning? To engage the rotor, you bring the "Throttle/Clutch" Sloooowly forward, and the blades should now start to turn, You increase the throttle as noted slowly for around 34-45 seconds until the two dials meet up around 21,000 rpm... this is still the idle position and you will find the throttle position is still only half-way, but the rotor system is now engaged. Look back and up and the rotor tower feels very, very close and now violently active, it will either totally scare you or thrill you in equal measure. There are headsets hanging from the OHP above you, selecting the headset will calm the noise now rattling around you. These procedures and more are all very well explained in the Manual, and there is also a good video as well provided by Philip Ubben. __________ Time to fly... to bring up the power you move the Throttle/Clutch lever until you reach the green zone around 34,000 - 35,000 rpm The collective needed a fair distance to start to cut into the air and give you some upward movement, immediately apparent was the amount of right rudder was required to hold the yaw, you needed a boot full to keep the SA 315B straight, then it still drifted tail right... .... that said, the Lama was quite nice in the hover, so more comfortable, I turned left and climbed out of LOWS (Salzburg). You certainly expected a very light control aircraft, but with a lot of power, and that is exactly what you get here... Overall it is quite easy and quite brilliant to fly... ... but I was being swooshed around the cabin, my vision was not straight but moving all over with the movement of the aircraft, so I was over compensating the aircraft movements to try to stop the inconsistent visual movements... very discomforting? First I thought it was the payware plugin XPRealistic, as it has all these sort of visual gizmos, but the movement areas are usually switched off, certainly the "Head Anticipation" option... but XPR with turned off, the Head Anticipation movement was still happening in quite a seasick way? With the SA 315B Lama you get the GeForce effect plugin... this is situated in the X-Plane Banner Menu/Plugins Menu... ... and I was set at FULL Lateral Intensity (100%) and FULL Vertical Intensity (100%)... no wonder I was feeling sick. I adjusted the sliders down, basically 50%, but was still not happy, so turned the plugin off completely... this is of course a personal option, I don't like over head movements (shakes and vibrations I love), but I hate my visual movement moving independently, certainly when I am trying to adjust a knob or something... and in this case it made my flying jerky, as I was going one way and the chopper was going the other, so I over compensated, and that just made the aircraft or my physical flying jiggly. There are no helpers or tools like an autopilot (or usually SAS (Stability Augmentation System)) or "Force Trim" at your disposal, it is all about the physical manual flying in here... after some slight trimming I was breezing along quite nicely at 150 knts over Salzberg... ... the view out is amazing, as you feel you are just enclosed in glass, which of course to are, do the tight turn and there is no heavy blade slap... that sound is notably missing here, but the machine is excellent in direction changes and absolute feel. ... the moving tower of rotational power behind me still looked just as threatening.... now even more so! Specifications - Maximum speed is 192 km/h (119 mph, 103 kn) with a Range of 515 km (320 mi, 280 nmi, the Service ceiling: 5,400 m (17,715 ft) and the Rate of climb: 5.5 m/s (1,080 ft/min). In the machine the official numbers feel a bit low, it feels faster, more of a climber than what is specified with that light weight. Lighting is quite basic but good... Adjustable instrument panel and overhead panel lighting... ... the instruments have a nice soft tone to them. Externally there is just one underbody landing light, Navigation lights and two beacons, upper cabin and under cabin rear, again just the basic necessities. Time to head back to LOWS... Several things? One your movements on the cyclic have to be smooth, in that you can't jiggle the stick to fly it, as the aircraft will respond quick savagely or kink around... and it was a feeling I didn't like? It said there was no give in the controls, it felt too direct? I commented on the Gazelle in being; smoothly... with as little input of the controls as possible, you don't move the cyclic as nudge it slightly, with the same minute movements to the collective to control the height, so constant practise here is a religion on this aircraft, you feel the inputs, touch this way, then that, but absolutely nothing sharp or with any long movements of any of the controls But that nudging here as I just noted and recreated in the Lama, it instead just gave you those sharper movements, over a period of time it can get tiring in if you are wanting just a nice and clean flight... I might have to spend time adjusting the control feedback and see if it can be dialed out more? and obviously more flying time to adjust to the aircraft's particular behaviour. Secondly that to lose altitude, you physically have to lower the nose... ... If you just lower the collective to go down, then you lose speed not height, as you know, lower the nose to go down and you go faster, so if you are at altitude you have to take a long slow descent at around 500 fpm-600 fpm and be good at getting it all right of when to be at the right speed and height coming into the airfield or landing zone, experience and you can or should be able do this automatically. There is an excellent "White" zone on the air-speed indicator, that denotes the speed when transitioning from fast forward flight into the lift/downward thrust zone or known as Effectively Translational Lift (ETL), and incoming to the hover. The white band starts around 50 knts Once below the last 25 knt mark you are more power drifting than flying, so I touch the stick in each direction until I find the hover position, watching the yaw closely on the tail... Certainly the time on the Gazelle really helps in the feel, but I think the SA 315B is a lot easier and controllable in this aspect. Once happy I let the tail (yaw) go a little to swing the Lama around and feel that hover turn movement... then I picked my spot to land and did a slight drift forward until over it, then reduced the collective slowly... but needed just a slight touch back to stop a drift forward before touching the ground... all in all, on a new airframe, I was pretty pleased with that. Settled I reduced the throttle back to the 20,000 rpm idle position, and the power reduced nicely down... ... then to shutdown the turbine, the throttle is pulled right far back then to the full rear position and the start switch can then be also switched to OFF. From below 175 rpm rotor speed, the rotor brake can be used if necessary. One rotor blade should then point forward to avoid a rotor blade lingering over the still hot turbine, or use the Tablet tool to do so. ______________ Liveries There are sixteen high quality liveries, including a full white aircraft... Switzerland gets the most number of registrations. HB-ZHZ is shown in two colour schemes with 2008 and 2013 dated (2013 has the black skis). HEER is a fictional Alouette scheme, C-GAWW is default. ______________ Summary A relative and part of the Aerospatiale Alouette famiily, the SA 315B Lama is the hybrid of the Aérospatiale Alouette II and the Aérospatiale Alouette III to produce a new rotorcraft specialised for high altitude performance with the combination of the Alouette III's Turbomeca Artouste turboshaft powerplant and its dynamic systems. It is an aircraft were everything is pared back to the absolute minimum to achieved that high altitude performance. The systems and dynamics are by Philip Ubben and the modeling and textures are by a well known X-Plane developer Khamsin Studio. And the old X-Plane developer quality shows here... the modeling and detail is simply outstanding, quality oozes out of every pore of the aircraft. Fully animated rotor head and control rods are first class, and the exposed innerds and Artouste engine detail are again first class, overall the modeling is perfect. Internal detailing is also first rate with a single animated (head) pilot. Sixteen high quality liveries add in the choice of keeping everyone happy. A tablet provides an option menu, AviTab and a really good Weight & Fuel layout.. again faultless. The aircraft is what you would call "Bare bones", so the feature list is good, but not lengthy... but you can't remove the doors and internally passengers would be a really nice addition, which is common on most helicopter packages. Systems are simply first rate as well... start up sequence and flying controls are all expertly done, But I don't like the GeForce motion (a personal choice) and the although the Lama flies very, very similar to the Gazelle, it feels a bit too rigid with no give in the controls, creating sudden movements in straight line flight, but is also nice and quite easy to fly and control in the hover, were as the Gazelle was quite difficult. Overall the SA 315B Lama is exceptional... very immersive and brilliantly conceived and constructed. Even for virgin helicopter pilots it would be a nice choice to start on, but turn off the GeForce so you don't lose the feel of the aircraft... Totally Recommended 🏅 _______________________________ Yes! the Aérospatiale SA 315B Lama by Philip Ubben and Khamsin Studio is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SA 315B Lama Price is US$29.99 SA 315B comprehensive features list High detail 3D-model and textures by khamsin studio PBR textures Completely animated rotor head and blade flex Including Geforce plugin by Dreamfoil Helicopters High quality physics driven FMOD sound Very accurate flight model (including Autorotation) up to MTOW of 1950 kg tested and approved by real SA 315B pilots Three documents (flight manual, cockpit layout and FAQ) in three different languages (EN, FR and DE) individual user setup friendly: Uses only default joystick axes (throttle, collective, pitch, roll and yaw) All custom commands access able via default X-Plane menu Complete recreation of real power management including: Real startup and shutdown procedures Real centrifugal clutch management Real turbine RPM-limiter Real safety microswitches Real usability of Collins-Pitch-Indicator Hide able 3D-tablet including: Custom weight-and-balance menu Attach or detach external parts Toggle able glass reflections Toggle able custom downwash effect Avitab integration Toggle able power management helper bug Let the groundcrew turn one blade up front for you Three different strobe light effects for different liveries Livery depending IAS gauge in km/h or KTS Working slungload scale VR compatible Windows, Mac and Linux compatible Very FPS friendly (comparable to default analog gauges C172) Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 752 MB Current and Review version: 1.0 (August 21st 2021) _______________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Downloads required is 717Mb and aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder. Installed size is 786MB The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft. Documents supplied are excellent and in several languages (English, German and French): FAQ, Cockpit details and Systems coverage are all included. FAQ_FR.pdf FAQ_EN.pdf FAQ_DE.pdf Cockpit_EN_DE_FR.pdf Manual_FR.pdf Manual_DE.pdf Manual_EN.pdf These Four videos are well worth studying Startup: https://youtu.be/LpFlYF56g8Y Shutdown: https://youtu.be/mQEnR1nVsh8 Safety features: https://youtu.be/CGKky3D1YFM use of pitch indicator: https://youtu.be/V5kNavI3kRk _______________________________  Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton  25th August 2021 Copyright©2021 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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 -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.52 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free Scenery or Aircraft - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50
  2. Aircraft Review : North American P-51D Mustang by Khamsin Studio In the world of military aviation you can ask anyone to name the most famous aircraft they know and the answer would the Supermarine Spitfire, that is if you are European. But ask the same question to any American and the answer would always be the P51 Mustang, or the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang. A little known fact is that It was actually first flown operationally and was a war time requirement by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber in the Mustang Mk I with the same engine as the Supermarine Spitfire in the Rolls-Royce Merlin. But it was the P-51B/C model that transformed the Mustang's performance and its claim to fame in being able to fly at altitudes above 15,000 ft, thus matching or bettering that of the current Luftwaffe's fighters in performance. The definitive version however was the P-51D, which was powered by the Packard V-1650-7 a variant license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage two-speed supercharged engine. The aircraft represented here by Khamsin Studio is this definitive version in the P-51D. There is no doubt in the historical story of the Mustangs superiority over the fields of Europe in the late parts of World War II and that it was a very significant asset to cover not only the long range bomber missions but also in the Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theaters, and also served with distinction against the Japanese in the Pacific War. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down in combat. The P-51 was still even a major asset still at the start of the Korean War, the Mustang was the main fighter of the United Nations until superiour jet fighter aircraft such as the F-86 finally took over this role; even then the Mustang became a specialized fighter-bomber. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the Mustang remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. Even today many Mustangs still fly very actively in civilian use, especially in air-racing, and increasingly, preserved and flown as an historic warbird aircraft at airshows. Khamsin Studio P-51D Mustang So X-Plane was always going to welcome this very significant WW2 warbird into it's hangars. But the point was to have not just any decent P-51D aircraft to fly but one that could live up to the huge historical and sheer performance this the most ironic of iconic aircraft. Luckily for us it was picked up by the one X-Plane designer that specialises in such great American warbirds as the B25 Mitchell and the heavy Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.... Khamsin Studio's. So let us get down to the serious detailing nitty gritty... Well you are not going to be disappointed by the detail here that is for sure. Textures are really high quality with exceptional panel work. There are a few notes though in spaces that are noticeable though. One is the wide gap between the tailplane and the rudder and another small gap is just behind the exhaust outlets that allows you to see right through to the pilots feet? But close up and it is really exquisite work. You can note every single rivet and screw with all the text panel notices to be aware of. Note the drop down animated Oil Radiator airflow vent that is controlled from the cockpit. There is an excellent metallic sheen to the panels that is very realistic in the right lighting angles, and it brings out the sheer beautiful lines of the aircraft to a great effect. The iconic underbelly vent is excellent, but I think a slightly darker internal mesh would have been more realistic in some views. But there is no doubting the excellent masterful 3d modeling here as this is smooth and beautifully sculptured work. Cockpit detail is also above exceptional. That real WW2 era design comes through with every switch, lever and panel. First view is that the aircraft looks complicated, it is to a point until you locate and note everything, but there is no doubting the sheer complexity of the 3d and texture work on offer here, as you are in the realms and the touch of the hands of a master craftsman. If authenticity is your game then you will be very hard pressed to find faults in this cockpit space. Not every switch works though, but overall most of the aircraft's basic systems are well featured. Highlights are those lovely wooden floor boards, great leather seat back/belts and note the excellent riveting on the wing out of the canopy view. Panel and Instruments The instrument panel is dominated by the Gun-Sight apparatus and the whole instrument realistically vibrates in flight or on the ground. There are a lot of dials to focus on and it can take a few moments to understand where everything is placed. The yellow boundary line separates the Standard Six instruments in: Airspeed Indicator Directional Gyro Flight Indicator Altimeter Bank-and-Turn Indicator Rate-of·Climb Indicator From the rest of the panel. But you have to focus quite hard to distinguish the standard six detail when flying hard. That is not to say the instruments are poor in their design, but quite the opposite in excellent detail, but it is fine detail at that. So you take the point of creating a reference item to lead you to the instrument you require and make a metal note of its position and after a time you can then zoom in on that required dial. It time you will also decipher the rest of the panel in their layout positions. Under the gun-sight are four dials (left to right) covering: Remote-reading Compass Indicator Clock Suction Gauge Manifold Pressure Gauge Five dials are set out to the right of the Standard Six (yellow line) in: Coolant Temperature Gauge Tachometer Carburetor Air Temperature Indicator G-meter Oil Temperature and Fuel and Oil Pressure Gauge Lower right knee panel has two dials in: Blinker Oxygen Pressure Gauge And there is a Magnetic Compass sited high right. Lower Left knee panel has: Supercharger Control Switch Fuel Booster Pump Switch Oil Dilution Switch Starter Switch Engine Primer Front and center behind the stick is a control panel that includes your: Ignition Switch Gun and Camera Safety Switch Weapons selector Cockpit Light Switch Fuel Shut-off Control Fuel Selector Control Hydraulic Pressure Gauge The stick gets in the way of the view of the panel and the rest of the switches are tricky to see and use, you do work around it, but in a eyes up and eyes down, trying to fly the aircraft and flickering around the dials and switches you don't want to get caught by a bearing down hunter killer aircraft from the 2 o'clock afternoon sun position. On your left is the Rudder Trim Tab, Aileron Trim Tab and Elevator Trim Tab Controls. Other controls include Landing Gear, Throttle, Propeller, Mixture and Coolant Radiator Air Control Switch (opens the lower fuselage air vent) and the Oil Radiator Air Control Switch. The lever form the Carburetor Air Control is used to adjust the RAM air amount and in most cases is left open unless you are in icing or desert conditions. I like the Signal Pistol in case of being shot down. All the huge trim dials and levers are very well recreated and are nice to use, as with everything here it all become second nature after a few flights, but a study of the manual is an necessity to find your way around all this WW2 era style layout. On the right panel is your electrical... Recognition Light Switches, Right-hand Fluorescent Light Switch, Ammeter, Generator-disconnect Switch, Battery-disconnect Switch, Gun Heater Switch, Pitot Heater Switch, Position Light Switches and Recognition Light Keying Switch and forward panel is the Oxygen Regulator. There is a primitive SCR-522-A Radio Control Box that we will get to later with the rotating canopy handle that pulls back the excellent clear canopy that you can the reflections on or off via the menus. Gun-Sight Gun-Sight power switch is to your upper left (magenta) and you can adjust the sight via two knobs of the accurate six diamond aiming pattern. Menus The P-51D's menus are comprehensive and they are positioned in tabs on the left low position of your screen. There is five tabs altogether and they consist of MAN - Manual CHK - Checklist COM - Communications (Radio) W&F - Weights and Fuel INF - Information The actual included .pdf manual is really only a instrument, switch and lever locator guide, nothing more than a few images and item numbers (but worth browsing). But the two tabbed manuals in Manual (MAN) and Checklists (CHK) has a more in depth description of what the aircraft is and how it works, the right side tab list way of selecting selections is easy and clever as well. Go through both of these manuals and you are a long way in front of understanding how the Mustang works and how it flies, very good. The COM (Communications) tab brings up the pop-up SCR-522-A Radio panel and overall it is easy to use in inserting your two COM 1&2, or two VOR 1&2 Frequencies and bottom row (X) Identity transponder. If you are not sure then it is all covered in the manual section of Communications Equipment or tab N. INF The INF - Information tab has Khamsin's details and aircraft version. Selections include hiding the canopy reflections and adjusting the Field of View. W&F - Weights and Fuel The Weights and Fuel pop-up is used to set up the aircraft in fuel and armaments. Top of the panel selections allow you to reload the six (three each wing) Browning M2.50 Calibre guns, you can unload the cannons if you wish to as well. Left lower panel is the fuel or tankage loads in the aircraft. You have two wing tanks (2 x 92 Gal) and a body (85 Gal) fuselage tank. Underwing armaments and extra distance drop tanks can be specified in six selections. Wing Racks only (left) - 2 x 75 Gal Drop tanks (right) 2 x 50 lb Bombs (left) - 2 x 75 Gal Drop tanks and six rockets (right) 2 x 50 lb Bombs and six rockets (left) - Ten rockets (right) Your total aircraft weight (lbs) is shown on the right. This arrangement make loading the aircraft very accessible, but you can also use the X-Plane aircraft/weight & balance & fuel/Ordnance menu to reload/unload any armament as well. On the ground The Mustang is beautifully rendered on the ground, as detailing is again simply exquisite. You have to admire the undercarriage design and fuselage dropdown tailwheel, and the power and the glory of that huge 11.2 ft (3.4 m) Hamilton Standard propeller. A Dallas-built version of the P-51D, designated the P-51K, was equipped with an 11 ft (3.4 m) diameter Aeroproducts propeller in place of the Hamilton Standard but the hollow-bladed Aeroproducts propeller was unreliable, due to manufacturing problems, with dangerous vibrations at full throttle and was eventually replaced by the original Hamilton Standard that we have here. Flaps droop if there is no hydraulic pressure which is noted great detail. Externally the cockpit looks excellent with a highly well rendered pilot in full flying gear. Flying the P-51D Mustang You have a supercharged 1,590 hp (1,185 kW) at your disposal with a 438 mph (705 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m) top speed, you can climb at 3,510 ft/min (17.8 m/s) which is all very impressive. But you can't do that all at once as it is really only available in the way you set up the aircraft for which role you want to undertake. Light fuel and a lightly loaded armament selection will give you the performance you need. But load the aircraft up and the performance suffers, or either go for those long missions with a lot of fuel and only a few rockets as your defence and again you have to find the balance of range to performance. The aircraft is trimmed and balanced to the ninth degree as well so you have to readjust the trim of the machine to loss of armament and fuel weight. But if you get up high and are very light then the power is available to you, so no doubt the best part of any mission with the P-51D Mustang would be running high and hard for home. I found selecting the different armanents awkward, but I think it was more the X-Plane to joystick interface selection than the aircraft's rotary selector. Noted in the manual is... Fire guns - weapons/guns or Release bombs - weapons/fire_air_to_ground settings but It worked on the rockets but not the wing cannons. Effective killing machine it is though! Landing however is a real test of skill. To put it eloquently "You can't see shit!". The high panel and vibrating but visually blocking gun-sight make life very hard in not only simply finding the runway but then landing on it. Dropping the gear will also move your center of gravity quickly forward so you have be aware and ready for that, but then big issue is that at a certain point your forward view of the runway is totally masked by the aircraft. You come over the threshold and realise you are not where you really want to be... You adjust, in my case slightly right but until the edges of the runway come into view you are trying to get some sort of visual clues over the high canopy sides in where you are actually positioned. Practise will of course give you perfect approaches, but it is damn difficult those first few runs. Getting your wheels down on the hard stuff was the easy part... The P-51D is a taildragger, and a nasty one at that. The aircraft needs a lot of skill to settle correctly and then you have to find the perfect speed to turn the aircraft on to the taxiway with a very reluctant tailwheel. Too slow and it sticks straight ahead, too fast and you are winding around in circles... There is a slow speed sweetspot that you have to find to get any sort of communication with your rear end, I found it, but taxiing is a hard business that can quickly catch you out when the aircraft feels like it. Lighting In the P51D cockpit there are two forms of lighting control. One is the panel lighting of the instruments and the set of secondary light sources are the two red side mounted cockpit lighting pods, and between them they are highly effective. So you find the right panel lighting adjustment with both sources in action, either in a lit panel to check various items or close to darkness in attacking or for night landings. External lighting is nothing special, just navigation lights and one left undercarriage landing light. But I am not happy with the way the HDR lighting is working in X-Plane lately. It is either perfect or not. in this case the lighting can be slightly oversized or showing through the various areas like wings or the fuselage of the aircraft. Liveries There are four liveries at present with the aircraft... Steel default, Blondie, Geraldine and Big Beautiful Doll. All are exceptional high quality and well designed... but only four? I would with an aircraft of this calibre and its very varied career that it would support at least ten or more variations of operations and a few air-race liveries, so a slight disappointment there, their is however a paintkit available. The great thing about the P-51D Mustang is how many are still flying regularly and on show throughout many airshows and displays. The Reno air-races are full of these time machines but now more restricted because of the few accidents in the last few years. Either way the P-51 Mustang is not going to be flying into the aviation sunset anytime soon. Summary Any one who has already purchased an Khamsin Studio aircraft (or scenery) will know what value and quality they usually get with their aircraft. Quality in outright 3d design and and extremely high quality textures are always a big factor, and the Mustang here certainly does not change that in this high expectation. You would also know that the aircraft are very functional but not overly covered in every switch working or moveable. That is the case here also in that all the dials do work with the aircraft's systems but a many (more few than not) of the switches are for show more than function. In this case however you do get more than what you would usually get from Khamsin Studios and so overall it is quite an expansive workable package. X-Plane has always desired a great iconic aircraft like the P-51D Mustang, the issue comes in that if the results are not worthy of the history in design and execution of the project. Thankfully in this case the developer is a well known and highly skilled designer that has done a great service to this of all American aviation icons... The result here is a fantastic Mustang for all of us to fly and value in its quality and pure breathtaking beauty. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The North American P-51D Mustang by Khamsin Studio is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : P-51D Mustang Priced at US$27.95 Requirements: Windows , MAC OS 10.7 (or higher) or Linux - 64bit Operating System required X-Plane 10.45+ (any edition) - running in 64 bit mode 1GbVRAM Minimum -(2Gb+ Recommended) Version 1.0 (last updated April 23rd 2016 ) Features: Superb Modeling and texturing Design by Khamsin Studio, known for its superior textures Accurate 3D visual model Normal and specular maps (for reflections) Ultra-High Resolution textures: 4K HD textures Fully detailed and animated 3D cockpit with 3D gauges Polygon optimized model, manipulators technology Night lights effects Professionally tuned Flight Model With a 12-cylinder 27L engine, the P51 is a very hard aircraft to model accurately in X-Plane. This aircraft was modeled with the help of X-Aerodynamics Flight model X-Aerodynamics (C. Garner) Tuned to fly and behave as close to specs as possible Perfect for dog fights with your friends Dynamic Pop-up Menus MAN - Manual CHK - Checklist COM - Communications (Radio) W&F - Weights and Fuel INF - Information _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the P51D Mustang is 183.80meg and the unzipped file deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder at 285.30mb. Documentation: North American P-51D Mustang MANUAL (more documentation is noted in the Menu onscreen manuals) ____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 20th April 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 Scenery or Aircraft KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: I have added a few extra objects for my own use to this scenery, mainly an office, truck and oil barrels, funny enough the office was in the original version of this scenery that had been removed in the 2014 update)
  3. Aircraft Release : Khamsin - North American B25J Mitchell Khamsin has released the twin-engined North American B25J Mitchell medium bomber. The aircraft was used by many Allied air forces and in every theater of World War II. It continued with many other air forces after the war ended, and saw operational service across four decades. Features include: Highly detailed and animated Crisp and easy to use panel and cockpit functions WWII pilot copilot and gunners Checklist on panel Operational bomb bays Advanced Fuel Management (the B-25 has 7 tanks) Ultra-High Definition textures Superb texturing all across the aircraft Fully modeled and textured interior 3 Ultra HD Liveries This is a superb historical aircraft with Khamsin's highly regarded quality and features. The North American B25J Mitchell is available now at the Shop.OrgStore : North American B25J Mitchell Price is US$24.95 Technical Requirements: Windows , MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.20 (or higher) - 32 and 64 bit compatible) 4GB RAM/512Mb VRAM (1Gb Recommended)- 250MB available hard disk space Version 1.0 (last updated October 19th 2013) A full review will follow soon of the B25 Mitchell on X-Plane Reviews. Stephen Dutton 21st October 2013
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