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  1. Scenery Review : KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Studios The latest Nimbus Studios scenery, was released in the Las Vegas FS Expo 2024 by it's creator Santiago Butnaru. This new scenery was the major American Airline hub of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), North Carolina, USA. The airport is situated approximately 6 miles west of downtown Charlotte. X-Plane users are well familiar with Nimbus Studios scenery, they can be usually large complex sceneries which are Nimbus's forte, including KORD Chicago O'Hare, KMCO Orlando International and most recently the excellent (and massive) KJFK - John F. Kennedy International XP12 in New York. Established in 1935 as Charlotte Municipal Airport, the airport was later renamed as Douglas Municipal Airport for Ben Elbert Douglas Sr., who was mayor of Charlotte when the airport was first built. In 1982 the airport was renamed again, this time to its current Charlotte Douglas International Airport moniker. After airline deregulation, passenger numbers at Chartlotte nearly doubled between 1978 and 1980, and a new 10,000-foot (3,000 m) parallel runway and control tower was opened in 1979. The airport's master plan called for a new terminal across the runway from the existing site, with ground broken in 1979. At the time, the airport only had two concourses: one used exclusively by Eastern, and one used by all the other carriers, including United, Delta, Piedmont, and several commuter airlines. There was a major expansion in 1990, as a new 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) international and commuter concourse (Concourse D) opened, and in 1991 further expansion of the central terminal building continued, reflective of USAir's dominating presence at the airport. Following the 2005 acquisition of US Airways by America West Airlines in a reverse takeover (a private company buys a IPO), Charlotte then became the primary domestic hub for the airline. The majority of US Airways' international routes however remained at the airline's second-largest hub, Philadelphia. Again there was another merger, this time the dominant US Airways and American Airlines in 2013, Charlotte then became the second-largest hub for the merged airline, after American's Dallas/Fort Worth. If you look at the Charlotte overview (above), some custom areas are darker than the X-Plane default surrounding landscape. It is however a bit of a illusion. The effect is caused by the X-Plane 12 3d tree angle, as looking at the scene at only an height of around 800 feet, then the trees would fill in with the correct colour match. No it shouldn't be like this, as it is only an X-Plane effect, it all looks quite normal lower. So the surrounding areas and the field are very nicely intergrated... it all looks very real. Charlotte Douglas International Airport IATA: CLT - ICAO: KCLT - FAA LID: CLT 18L/36R - 8,677ft (2,645m) Asphalt/concrete 18C/36C - 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 18R/36L - 9,000ft (2,743m) Concrete 05/23 - 7,502ft (2,287m) Asphalt/concrete Elevation AMSL 748 ft / 228 m KCLT has three parallel and one small cross runway in 05/23, presumably for GA and Cargo traffic. The taxiing distance to 18R/26L is a very long one, so extra fuel is required if assigned this runway, either for arrival and certainly for departure. The main terminal area is set central north between 18C/36C and 18L/36R. Charlotte Douglas has a single main terminal building, that is divided into five concourses: A, B, C, D, and E in an anti-clockwise direction. Concourse A Primarily serves domestic flights, Terminal A is divided into two parts: • Concourse A North: Newer section with additional gates (phase 1). • Concourse A: Older section. It is quite easy to differentiate between the older and newer concourses, as the newer A North zone is in blue that opened in 2018, comes also with larger windows, were as the "Older" finger section is more the standard American concrete and line of windows design. Gates are numbered A1-A13, and it serves various domestic airlines that are not part of American Airlines. The additional A gates, numbered A21-A29 hosts a variety of airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines. You are immediately very impressed by the detail, it is very well done on the ramps with a huge amount of custom clutter, including ladders, bins, chocks, cones, vehicles and all the other required service equipment... items are branded, but in a more generic way, than being individually airline focused. There is some animated ground service vehicles, but it is far from being comprehensive, with just the odd vehicle shuttling around. Concrete is very hard to define, but the aged texture feel and look of the concourses here are excellent. Glass is perfect as well... Nimbus struggled with glass earlier, most notably with their Miami scenery, but have refined the idea now to perfection... you can see the detailed internal areas through the glass from the external perspective. Yes you can explore the internal detail, but it's not the focus of the idea, as the figures are very basic close up, and most look non-human. All the gates here at CLT are X-Plane default "Ground Handling", not SAM enabled. Before this aspect was to be seen as a negative. But with the Laminar refinement for X-Plane 12 and the demise of the SAM plugin (yes there is OpenSam), this original idea is now a more attractive gate tool option. Concourse A North, is really well done in detail and design... it has a dark brown brick base, with three story windows, and a blue curved roof as designed by Perkins+Will, an international architecture and design firm. A North has a bigger internal size, so it works better in detail, it is really realistic, and even internally walkable (sit-able?) Concourse B This B concourse primarily serves domestic flights for American Airlines. There is also an American Airlines Admirals Club is located within Concourse B, providing a comfortable space for eligible passengers, restaurants include Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Bojangles’ and Panera Bread. Originally opened in the early 1980s (1982). It has since undergone various renovations and updates to enhance the passenger experience... There is a small ramp tower centre concourse, and there are the numbered gates from B1 through B16 which are available here. Internally the layout is the same as Concourse A, but connected directly to the main terminal, this atrium section is well done. Terminal The main terminal building connects all the five concourses together via a large central atrium, but originally it was only Concourses B and C that were part of the initial development, as the terminal was opened at the same time as both concourses in 1982, but more expansions were done to the terminal in the 90's to handle International flights. The design is highlighted by those huge massive glass windows, with that curve at the top for maximum internal natural lighting, the concept was done by Odell Associates, a prominent architectural firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The modeling by Nimbus is simply exceptional here, a step forward in terminal airport design and quality, these atrium curved structures and glass must have taken ages to get right, and shows off the skills of the developer. There is a massive carpark attached directly north of the terminal and an enclosing roof structure joins the two areas together in forming the arrivals zone. There are a load of static vehicles here, as there is also a lot of static cars for detail in or on the top of the carpark and the surrounding landside areas. Internally the terminal section is detailed, but not as overly so as the concourses. Concourse C Concourse C is almost a twin of Concourse B and as it was opened at the same time. The idea is for American Airlines connecting flights to be an easy domestic connection between the two areas. There is the same Starbucks in here, but also the different other restaurant options of Smashburger, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina and PZA (Pizza and Italian cuisine). Gates available are C2 through C19. There are two square fences on the roof, but otherwise it is the same design.... notable is the complex but extremely well done junction between the Atrium and Concourse D, is very highly realistic visually. Same concrete facade and glass blends in well. Internally it is also the same layout. Concourse D Concourse D at Charlotte Douglas International Airport serves as the primary concourse for international flights, but it also handles some domestic flights. Concourse D has gates D1 through D13, and it is connected to the main terminal and other concourses via walkways and the airport’s shuttle service. Concourse D was completed and opened in the early 1990s. Since then the concourse has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the increasing number of international flights and to enhance passenger amenities. American Airlines has an Admirals Club, and The Club CLT (accessible with various lounge membership programs or day passes) is also available. American Airlines (International flights), Lufthansa and British Airways are the main users of the area. As Odell Associates again did the design, there is more better intergration with the Odell central terminal, same high curved windows and pyramid connection atriums... The eastern end is a full glass wall that creates a big open air space internally, the concourse is topped off by a complex roof structure and a nice blue roof. Fast food (Hungry Jacks) and other restaurants are also well represented. Concourse E Concourse E has 46 gates numbered E1 to E50, making it the biggest of all concourses, it is designed to efficiently handle only regional flight operations, with a layout that allows for quick turnarounds and easy access for passengers. American Eagle is the main user here. Concourse E features a mix of airbridges and ground-level boarding (walk on/off). The concourse has a 32 gates equipped with airbridges, but the majority of the gates are designed for passengers to walk directly from the terminal to their aircraft parked on the tarmac. The various gate sections are connected via round glass buildings, the central one is called "The Rotunda.” It is located in the middle of Concourse E and serves as a distinctive architectural feature of the airport. Again the concourse is an Odell Associates design and was built and opened in 2002. At the end of the arms, is the main square ground-level walkon/walkoff boarding area The complex Concourse D is extremely well done, there is a huge amount of detail to feast your eyes on, or with certainly getting your money's worth. Internally it is all well done, but really set out for only the external views. Landside is dominated by three well modeled carparks, and set dead centre is the old Control tower, the new one is set to the south and visible top. Infrastructure north is excellent, first with the multitude of large carparking spaces, most filled with static 3d vehicles, then to the northwest is the the Duke Energy Little Rock Ops Center powerplant, centre is FedEx Freight and the Charlotte (long term) Park "n" Go and Old Dominion Freight facilities. Any southern approaches into CLT are well catered for visually. NC Air National Guard CLT is main base for the NC (North Carolina) Air National Guard which is located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where the 145th Airlift Wing is stationed. This unit operates C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and provides airlift capabilities in support of military and humanitarian missions. The ANG Station is well represented here by Nimbus, it is set east on taxiway D. Shown are the ANG maintenance hangars and five well modeled C-17 lifters. General Aviation Next south of the ANG Station, is a very large General Aviation area. Wilson Air dominate here with two GA/BizJet facilities. Certainly worth a refuel drop in... there are also two excellent H pads set here for helicopter services. Top and tail are two more charter business aviation areas, mostly large BizJet hangars, both areas in detail are very well covered in the scenery. Sullenberger Aviation Museum Set between the thresholds of Runways 18L and 23 northeast boundary is the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, previously known as the "Carolinas Aviation Museum". The museum showcases the history of aviation, including significant events like the “Miracle on the Hudson.” In 2022, the museum was renamed to honor Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who performed the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009. The actual Airbus A320, registered as N106US is housed here. A bit of trivia... When US Airways swallowed America West, it then also used the America West's "CACTUS" callsign and ICAO code "AWE", as used by Flight 1549. Centre south between runways 18C/36C and 18L/36R is a joint area that covers the Cargo area, LSG Sky Chefs catering, American Airlines Maintenance and the main FAA Control Tower. The LSG Sky Chefs catering facility is well done (even if the catering trucks say "GateGourmet"?), next door is the United States Postal Service ramp and facility. Southwest Air Cargo is set here as well. To the west is the old USAir maintenance facility and it's massive hangar, now used for American Airlines maintenance. The ground detail and clutter is excellent, and there is a lot of fill detail that covers a wide area give value to the scenery. There is also a static AA A320 set in the hangar. East centre is the large Cargo area, that is split into North Cargo and South Cargo complexes. Charlotte’s central location on the East Coast of the United States makes it an ideal hub for domestic and international cargo operations. Based here presented are FedEx, Amazon Prime, UPS and DHL Aviation. The ramp includes approximately 8-10 dedicated cargo stands. CLT Control Tower As we have seen there are two towers visible at CLT, but the new FAA facility set in the south area was opened in 2007. The current control tower stands at approximately 370 feet tall, in making it one of the taller control towers in the United States. It covers Ground Control, Local Tower Control and Approach and Departure Control... unfortunately the X-Plane tower view (T) is set on the wrong tower? Nimbus modeling of the tower is good, but not detailed here as exceptional, certainly with the average roof aerials. Set in the ground image (arrowed above right), is the US Airways Flight 5481 Memorial. Shortly after takeoff from CLT in January 2003, the aircraft (a Bombardier Dash 8 Q300) experienced a loss of control and crashed, resulting in the deaths of all 21 people on board. The memorial is to highlight the importance of continual aviation safety, and the accident has led to changes in regulations and procedures to enhance flight safety. On the W 1 taxiway by the 36L threshold, the taxiway bridge is flat in the landscape, so it doesn't look very realistic, the well done rail sidings also highlight the issue. For all the excellence of this scenery, we leave a slightly low-note. Centre field is the field radar installation... it is a bit low-res for a scenery of this high quality, and worse the average red radar is not animated, but the radar and tower still highly visible when moving around Charlotte Douglas. Ground Textures Like at the Nimbus JFK, the ground textures here at CLT are excellent. Notable are the well done worn runway signage, not crisp and new, but tired and worn after years of service. Dirt and grunge on the touchdown points is also highly realistic as is the actual runway texture(s). Inner ramp areas are all mostly concrete as per most American Airports. Again the wear is excellent, and done is that the darker worn areas are set around the older terminals and service vehicle road courses, but around the new Terminal A North the wear is far less, a small but important aspect. PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion are excellent here, you pretty well expect that now with any X-Plane 12 active scenery... but it is nice to see it in action. 3d Grass and spring flowers are also well done, the effect isn't over all of the field, but still does a great job in breaking up the flat surfaces. Foliage is also 3d XP12 excellent, but there are a few of the old style + cross trees mixed in there as well, but overall it is expertly done. Lighting The lighting at Charlotte Douglas is excellent... the scenery is not overly lit, but still really well detailed with a lot of different tones to make it realistic. The clear glass effect can work against you at night, making the terminals look unrealistic. It's not too bad here at Charlotte, and even what you could say is passable by the skill of Nimbus, where it works it stands out well, but the main terminal though looks a little bit too over bright and clear. All ramp and gate areas are nicely lit, and you can work nicely down there, so yes CLT is a highly workable night/darkness airport Like at JFK the maintenance hangar at CLT looks excellent at night, as does the well lit Cargo aprons. KCLT navigation signage is very clear and comprehensive, but the signs are just that in being clean, with no tired weather wear or ground reflections. Summary Charlotte Douglas International is a big airport by traffic and size, and has been a major airline hub for generations. First for Eastern, America West, then USAir and now American Airlines. It's a very popular airport as well with high ratings with the passengers. Besides the American Airlines domination, a few well connected international airlines use CLT as well, including Lufthansa, British Airways and American Airlines International. X-Plane users are well familiar with Nimbus Studios scenery, they can be usually large complex sceneries which are Nimbus's forte, including KORD Chicago O'Hare, KMCO Orlando International and most recently the excellent (and massive) KJFK - John F. Kennedy International XP12 in New York. That KJFK New York was a an major tour de force scenery for X-Plane 12, and well deserved, then this massive sprawling Charlotte Douglas is the same excellent work continued, even if in areas it is a little better again. It is certainly one of Nimbus Studios best sceneries yet, with top notch quality ground and building textures, glass and excellent modeling that captures the architectural detail and form that is distinctly CTL. All five terminal/concourses are extensive and all are set with high quality in detail, as is the excellent ground clutter and itemised aspects. Infrastructure in airport surrounds are again extensive and includes the Sullenberger Aviation Museum, NC Air National Guard and the Duke Energy Little Rock Ops. Surrounding 3d Grass and Fauna is also expertly done. It uses the older (but upgraded) "Ground Handling" tool for the animated gates, and there are some animated vehicles, but they are not overly represented here. There are a couple of oversights. The centre field Radar Tower is not in keeping of the high quality of the scenery, not animated either? the odd wrong Tower view setting? South W1 taxiway bridge is flat, not 3d? and all internal detailing like JFK is for external viewing only, but it is still very comprehensive, and it has some very weird people modeling. This CLT scenery is X-Plane 12 only. Nimbus Studios sceneries were always top notch quality and have excellent detail, but Charlotte Douglas shows a scenery developer at the very top of their game, and quality sceneries like CLT are highly usable and versatile in their use. So the KCLT scenery presented here hits every highlight with aplomb, and you can see that X-Plane 12 can deliver product as with the best of them.... Highly recommended. __________________ Yes!... KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Design is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD Price is US$26.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.5 GB Current version: 1.0 (June 21st 2024) Installation Installation of KCLT Charlotte Douglas XP12 is done via download of 2.52 Gb... There is only one file to insert into your X-Plane Custom Scenery Folder Nimbus Simulation - KCLT - V1.0 XP12 With a total installation size of 2.93Gb. There are no documents, but installation is very straight forward ___________________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.1.0 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - Aircraft None - ____________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 15th July 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  2. NEWS! - Scenery Released : KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Studios Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an international airport serving Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, located roughly 6 miles (9.7 km) west of the city's central business district. Charlotte Douglas is the primary airport for commercial and military use in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Operated by the city of Charlotte's aviation department, the airport covers 5,558 acres (2,249 ha) of land. Charlotte was mostly known as a major US Airways hub, until they were absorbed into American Airlines in 2013, Charlotte CLT then became the second-largest hub after Dallas/Fort Worth for the now merged American airline, Nimbus Studios don't need any introduction to X-Plane users for quality scenery, and aircraft as well. But large complex sceneries are Nimbus's forte, including KORD Chicago O'Hare, KMCO Orlando International and most recently the excellent (and massive) KJFK - John F. Kennedy International XP12 in New York. An added feature here is the The Carolinas Aviation Museum, established in 1992, and it has a collection of over 50 aircraft, including a DC-3 that is painted in Piedmont Airlines livery. In January 2011, the museum acquired N106US, the US Airways Airbus A320 ditched by captain Chesley Sullenberger as US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. This aircraft, which was delivered on June 10, 2011, and is about 35 years younger than any other commercial airliner on display in a museum. This is the newest airport by Nimbus, and all in Ultra-High resolution! SCENERY FEATURES High-Definition Airport Terminals with 3D interiors and people The new control tower that was finished in early 2022 Lights almost everywhere so very few LIT textures (saves VRAM) 4K textures with PBR materials Night lighting Ground textures with PBR materials High quality vehicles with PBR material 3D Native XP12 trees Parking lots full of cars Ground markings all over the airport Native X-Plane ground traffic. Native XP12 jetway system with custom highly detailed jetways. Detailed tarmac textures from up close or far out. High quality vehicles and miscellaneous objects. Water and snow effects. Taxi routes for AI Traffic Please note that the Nimbus CLT is for X-Plane 12 only, and no X-Plane 11 version is available. Designed by Nimbus Studios Images are courtesy of Nimbus Designs __________________ Yes!... KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD by Nimbus Design is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KCLT- Charlotte Douglas International Airport UHD Price is US$26.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 2.5 GB Current version: 1.0 (June 21st 2024) ___________________________ NEWS! by Stephen Dutton 24th June 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  3. Scenery Review : KJFK - John F Kennedy International Airport XP12 by Nimbus Studios Idlewild Airport was named after the Idlewild Beach Golf Course that it displaced in New York's east. KIDL was built to relieve LaGuardia Field, which had already become overcrowded, and the new eastern seaboard based airport was opened in 1948. Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the airport was then renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport as a tribute to the 35th President of the United States. Since then it has always been known as "Kennedy" and it is biggest gateway into America on the east coast. Idlewild opened with six runways and a seventh under construction as runways 1L and 7L were held in reserve and never came into use as runways. Runway 31R (originally 8,000 ft or 2,438 m) is still in use; runway 31L (originally 9,500 ft or 2,896 m) opened soon after the rest of the airport and is still in use; runway 1R closed in 1957 and runway 7R closed around 1966. Runway 4 (originally 8,000 ft, now runway 4L) opened June 1949 and runway 4R was added ten years later. A smaller runway 14/32 was built after runway 7R closed and was used until 1990. When the airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 1963, a month and two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. proposed the renaming. The IDL and KIDL codes have since been reassigned to Indianola Municipal Airport in Mississippi, and the now-renamed Kennedy Airport was given the codes JFK and KJFK, the fallen president's initials. Airlines began scheduling jets to Idlewild in 1958–59; LaGuardia did not get jets until 1964, and swiftly JFK became New York's busiest airport. It had more airline takeoffs and landings than LaGuardia and Newark combined from 1962 to 1967 and was the second-busiest airport in the country, peaking at 403,981 airline operations in 1967. Concorde, operated by Air France and British Airways, also made scheduled trans-Atlantic supersonic flights to JFK from November 22, 1977, until its retirement by British Airways on October 24, 2003. Air France had already earlier retired the aircraft in May 2003. In these early heady times Pan American Airlines and Eastern Airlines dominated JFK, since lately it is now an American Airlines and JetBlue hub. The last new scenery from Nimbus Studios was the excellent KIAD - Washington Dulles International Airport, of which is one of my favorites. But in using Dulles, I have to comment that although the scenery is excellent, it also has a very big framerate footprint. It soaks up framerate like no tomorrow, and in moments of heavy weather, it can reduce it's capacity as far down to the dreaded teen framerate barrier numbers. Why I don't know? because the actual scenery is set a long way from the heavy Washington DC custom and autogen objects. My fear here is that Kennedy is in even a worse place with all the heavy autogen surrounding the airport and with the New York Skyline in the distance. Interesting is an earlier New York scenery by Nimbus Studios, as he was known back then in 2014 as Santiago Butnaru. This is an X-Plane 10 version of Newark KEWR, and yes it's still available if you want to add it to this KJFK scenery. But don't expect the same quality after a decade. Our KEWR review is here if you want the decade old X-Plane 10 shock (lacking) of detail. I also recommend with the Nimbus Studio's KJFK, is the Drzewiecki Design New York City XP, for a credible New York skyline, which is shown here in this review. John F. Kennedy International Airport IATA: JFK - ICAO: KJFK - FAA LID: JFK 4L/22R - 12,079ft (3,460m) Concrete 04R/22L - 8,400ft (2,560m) Asphalt 13L/31R - 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 13R/31L- 14,511ft (4,423m) Concrete Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m First impressions of Nimbus's JFK are extremely positive, it looks very good set in the Queens borough of eastern New York, there is a lot of nice autogen around the scenery and it fits into the built-up area very nicely, credible it is. A very early feature I liked was in the way the water and underlying graphics created a very realistic shoreline, this is X-Plane 12 magic, but really well done here, especially on the runway 4L approach with the mangrove setting. JFK has five active terminals running anti-clockwise, containing 130 gates in total. The terminals are numbered 1–8 but skipping terminals 2 (demolished in 2023), 3 (demolished in 2013) and 6 (demolished in 2011). Terminal 1 Terminal 1 opened in 1998, 50 years after the opening of JFK, at the direction of the Terminal One Group, a consortium of four key operating carriers: Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa. This partnership was founded after the four airlines reached an agreement that the then-existing international carrier facilities were inadequate for their needs. The original Eastern Air Lines terminal was located on the site of present-day Terminal 1. Terminal 1 is served by SkyTeam carriers Air France, China Eastern Airlines, ITA Airways, Korean Air, and Saudia; Star Alliance carriers Air China, Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Egyptair, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish Airlines; and Oneworld carrier Royal Air Maroc. Other airlines serving Terminal 1 include Air Senegal, Air Serbia, Azores Airlines, Cayman Airways, Flair Airlines, Neos, Philippine Airlines, VivaAerobús, and Volaris. Terminal 1 was designed by William Nicholas Bodouva + Associates. T1 and T4 are the two terminals at JFK Airport with only the capability of handling the Airbus A380 aircraft, which Korean Air flies on the route from Seoul–Incheon and Lufthansa from Munich. Air France operated Concorde here until 2003 (BA used T7). Terminal 1 has 11 gates. Butnaru always did very nice terminals and concourses, and that aspect is really well done here and right through the scenery. But they do sit (on landside) on very (very) Lo-Res graphic ortho images, so there a bit of an building island feel around the 3d structures, it's not too bad, but still noticeable. Terminal cladding is first rate (KATL-Atlanta was excellent) and it looks the part here as well. Glass is also excellent... not a Nimbus specialty, as some of his earlier glass was very see-through and lukewarm. But here in a dark tint, it is very good with nice reflections. Another highlight are the AirTrain JFK stations (with AirTrain animations) at each Terminal on the loop tracks. It is modeled internally (again very lo-res), and with no windows? so it doesn't feel or look very realistic, it is mostly for the external views than you wandering around the concourses... but the people (lo-res) are well done, even if a few are in wanting to step out into the oblivion "Stop, look, it's not that bad.... don't do it!" Terminal 2 Oddly there is still the old and now demolished Terminal 2 facility in the Nimbus scenery? Sadly it looks great, because it is a heritage building from JFK's past, and the detail here is very good and authentic... a shame, and it will probably be removed in an update. Terminal 2 opened in November 1962 as the home of Northeast Airlines, Braniff International Airways, and Northwest Orient, and was last occupied by Delta Air Lines that have now moved to T4. Notable is that in October 2018, Cuomo released details of a $13 billion plan to rebuild passenger facilities and approaches to JFK Airport. Two all-new international terminals would be built. One of the terminals, a $7 billion, 2.8-million-square-foot (260-thousand-square-metre), 23-gate structure replacing Terminals 1, 2 and the vacant space of Terminal 3. It will also connect to Terminal 4, A new T6 will also replace the existing T7 and extend through T5, with seamless integration between T7 and T5. The streamlined layout will optimize the airside layout to allow for more efficient operations. Nimbus Simulations are still using throughout their sceneries, the now very old (Marginal) "Autogate" system and not the usual standard and more modern SAM system. The Marginal system however has had a lot of attention from Laminar and is now to a point also been amalgamated into the default of the X-Plane system... It does (occasionally) work here, but now directly in X-Plane 12 through the "Ground Handing" feature (Shift+G), then press the "Toggle Jetway attachment" button. Triva... Terminal 3, also known by the trademarked name "Worldport", which was an roofed saucer airport terminal built by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in 1960. It operated from May 24, 1960 to May 24, 2013, and was demolished in 2013–2014. Terminal 4 Terminal 4 currently contains 48 gates in two concourses and functions as the hub for Delta Air Lines at JFK. Concourse A (gates A2–A12, A14–A17, A19, and A21) serves primarily Asian and some European airlines along with Delta Connection flights, while Concourse B primarily serves both domestic & international flights of Delta and its SkyTeam partners. Opened in early 2001 and designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the 1.5-million-square-foot (140,000 m2) facility was built for $1.4 billion and replaced JFK's old International Arrivals Building (IAB), which opened in 1957 and was designed by the same architectural firm. The new construction incorporated a mezzanine-level AirTrain station, an expansive check-in hall, and a four-block-long retail area The Heathrow T5 style terminal facade is very evident here, and looks excellent in design and detail from Nimbus. Internal structures can be seen externally, but it is very basic inside. But it does the job well, for what it has to do. Left concourse B gates, right are the A gates Concourse A is a long snake of three separate concourses, in large (wide-body), medium (single aisle) and at the end the small (regional) Sections are of lovely aluminum cladding that look great in the sunlight, the dark glass is excellent as well. Detail and the visual aspect is extremely realistic from Nimbus. The lower (crowded) regional Walk-on/off with lo-rise gates are fantastic, shame the airbridges don't work connecting like with SAM? Airlines servicing Terminal 4 include SkyTeam carriers Aeromexico, Air Europa, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic; Star Alliance carriers Air India, Avianca, Copa Airlines, and Singapore Airlines; and non-alliance carriers Caribbean Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue (late night international arrivals only), LATAM Brasil, LATAM Chile, LATAM Peru, Uzbekistan Airways, and WestJet. Like Terminal 1, the facility is Airbus A380-compatible with service currently provided by Emirates to Dubai; both non-stop and one-stop via Milan. These are mostly in the B Gates, which feels like a more modern addition than the A section. It's an 18-story air traffic control tower, iconic now, very Gerry Anderson, and it replaced the older square Heathrow style IAB tower in 1957. Detail of this centrally placed tower is excellent, really very authentic to the real tower set between the A and B concourses. You have gotta love this wing design and the lovely concrete facade. Internally it can be seen from the ramps for the excellent internal realism of the high floors. Terminal 5 Terminal 5 opened in 2008 for JetBlue, now the manager and primary tenant of the building, as the base of its large JFK operating base. The terminal is also used by Cape Air. On November 12, 2014, JetBlue opened the International Arrivals Concourse (T5i) at the terminal. The new facility replaced the old TWA Flight Center which was opened in 1962 and closed in 2001 after its primary tenant, Trans World Airlines went out of business. The active Terminal 5 building has 29 gates: 1 through 12 and 14 through 30, with gates 25 through 30 handling international flights that are not pre-cleared (gates 28–30 opened in November 2014). The T5 terminal was redesigned by Gensler and constructed by Turner Construction, and was sited behind the preserved Eero Saarinen-designed terminal originally known as the TWA Flight Center, which is now connected to the new structure and is considered part of Terminal 5. The TWA Flight Center reopened as the TWA Hotel in May 2019 (the lower building below). TWA Flight Center, designed for Trans World Airlines by Eero Saarinen and Associates, was erected between 1959 and 1962; it operated as an air terminal until 2001. It has a prominent wing-shaped thin shell roof supported by four Y-shaped piers. There is an open three-level space with tall windows that originally offered views of departing and arriving jets. The Terminal 5 complex is well done, with excellent cladding and nice glass, again the highlight is the AirTrain corridors and walkways, but the TWA Flight Center is a bit lo-res, even clunky to the real life smooth images. Internally it only as good for looking inside and again not for exploring, a shame as it would have been a nice exercise to do so. Modeled and sitting outside in the forecourt is an old TWA Lockheed Constellation. Terminal 7 Terminal 7 was designed by GMW Architects and built for BOAC and Air Canada in 1970. Formerly, the terminal was operated by British Airways, and was also the only airport terminal operated on US soil by a foreign carrier. British Airways operated Concorde here until 2003. Terminal 7 is now operated by a consortium of foreign carriers serving the building. Airlines operating out of Terminal 7 include Oneworld carrier Alaska Airlines, Star Alliance carriers Air Canada Express, All Nippon Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, and Scandinavian Airlines; SkyTeam carrier Aerolíneas Argentinas; and non-alliance carriers Aer Lingus, Condor, Icelandair, Kuwait Airways, Norse Atlantic Airways, and Sun Country Airlines. Well done here is the ageing facility, it looks worn and tired and is due to be demolished soon. As scenery by Nimbus it is excellent, but again the surroundings and detailing is quite low, not much fill and those lo-res textures are more a distraction than effective, but airside is well served with service vehicles and clutter. Terminal 8 Terminal 8 is a major Oneworld hub with American operating its east coast hub from here. In 1999, American Airlines began an eight-year program to build the largest passenger terminal at JFK, designed by DMJM Aviation to replace both the old Terminal 8 and Terminal 9. The new terminal was built in four phases, which involved the construction of a new midfield concourse and the demolition of old Terminals 8 and 9. It was built in stages between 2005 and its official opening was in August 2007. Other Oneworld airlines that operate out of Terminal 8 include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian. Non-alliance carrier China Southern Airlines also uses the terminal. A more modern facility... because it is. Terminal 8 is not olde world JFK, but the same sort of of modern terminal and island concourse like most major hub airports today. Again the modeling is first rate with excellent aluminum cladding and support frames. There is the same nice AirTrain connection, and lots of bustle and clutter on the airside, but very little on the landside. It is worth looking inside T8, as the internal detail is there, it's again (very) Lo-Res, but a lot of objects fill out the windows (externally), windows are still missing and even parts of the roof are open here also. Infrastucture In the central landside area is a Power Plant! The Kennedy International Airport Power Plant is a gas-fired cogeneration facility. Two LM6000 combustion turbines are routed to two heat recovery steam generators, which provide steam to one steam turbine and JFK’s thermal plant. The complex is very well replicated here, with the two generators that are very well modeled, visually the plant was required. It is a bit of a delusion. Because the carparks are empty on top and surrounds, so it looks like there isn't much fill, carpark clutter. But overall the 3d vehicle clutter here is totally excellent... all the areas are well covered, more so in the outer ring areas. The JFK AirTrain loop is also excellent, and as noted fully animated with the system stopping at every station, the quality of the railcars are also well done. The animation is also very smooth on the tracks, with not any quick flicks or sudden movements. Animated vehicle traffic is good as well, not branded, and to be honest not a lot of vehicles moving around either, but enough to make the ring-roads buzzy and animated. Cargo Overall Cargo is a bit messy at JFK, as there are four to five different areas for cargo, then a lot of smaller ramps and terminals. Areas are not designated either, so it's tricky to find the one you want... if you a hauler, you would need to study the charts before you get to JFK in where to go. The biggest cargo area is in the north that front's 13L/31R... taxiway C. Operators here include FedEx, DHL and a large United States Postal Service facility... the ARK animal receiving building is here as well... ... notable is the now empty area in front of FedEx, here originally were the three huge dilapidated hangers that fronted 13L/31R, now gone, and another piece of JFK history removed. Threshold Rwy 13L is another large cargo area... UPS and LAN Cargo are the main customers here. Korean Air, Delta Air Cargo and British Airways Cargo also have facilities, and all are represented... Maintenance has a few large Engineering facilities.... The one that stands out is the massive central JetBlue Engineering hangar, well done inside and outside with open doors. American Airlines also have a huge maintenance hanger as well, and both are excellent in the Nimbus scenery. Far Northwest is another large Cargo and Maintenance area... It is a very busy area, with the Port Authority Police Department at the head. The Worldwide Flight Services facility dominates, but the old United Airline Hangars (now F & E Maintenance) are present in the scenery as well. Notable mid-way is the General Aviation area, it's big with a load of Helicopter pads, but the GA Terminal is annoyingly very basic with poor Lo-Res textures, a shame as it is a very highly usable area for large GA aircraft and Private Jets.. Finally there is a load of remote Car Rental agencies set out on the outer perimeter.... So it is a vast and wide set set scenery that goes a long way out to the Old Howard Beach suburb from the central terminal area.... and all of it is very well covered by Nimbus Studios. Ground Textures Looking closely at the ground textures they are very good, if even excellent. Being a classic airport, JFK has the usual patch and other cleaner new areas all over the field hard surfaces, it's well done here, better on close inspection, with heavily worn in rubber marks and even the slight marbles of the worn rolled rubber off line. Lineage is worn and tired as well, were it needs to be. I'll give the concrete ramps a tick, mostly for the rust stains and tire wear, but they are not deep in grunge like you would expect after decades of service. Between junction NA and NB are the taxiway bridges over the Van Wyck Expressway. The bridges are well done here in there 3d description, but the poor ortho (again here extremely lo-res) joins are a visual perturbation with poor alignment. No live traffic flows also makes the lower view not very realistic or active. The PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion is excellent here, one of the big advantages of X-Plane 12. Your runways shine in the daylight, and all the texture surfaces come out, ice and snow effects are again first rate, and if you want a snowed in New York Airport, it won't be bettered here Excellent also is the spring style grass... so many developers lately have been doing really shitty grass, but it's perfect here. And when it works on taxiing or landing, and great grass can create an all-around better realism. Airfield furniture, is very good like the realistic blast fences, but a lot of the field out-buildings are really laughable Lo-Res, this is 2024, not 2004. Cararsie Approach The official chart is noted as "PARKWAY VISUAL", but most aviators and bluffs call it the "Cararsie Approach". The Canarsie Visual was created in the 1970s. There are three airports very close to each other in the NY area (KJFK, John F Kennedy; KLGA, La Guardia; KEWR, Newark Liberty) A straight line in approach to 13L using the ILS wouldn’t make sense as it will intersect into the LGA airspace, making insufficient separation a problem. So any ILS approach into runway 13L it would not be possible... the solution was a tight turn close to the 13L/13R Thresholds. Basically the approach starts at Rockaway Point, where you proceed to CRI or Cararsie VOR. There is a small island to the east straight ahead at Canarsie Pier. A heading of 041 should be flown from this point until Jamaica Bay. If you are landing runway 13R you should start your descent between the pier and Twin Stacks (near Jamaica Bay), but maintain altitude if you are heading for 13L. For 13R you now do the turn and head into the approach... 13L, when you start your descent, and then turn slightly in the direction of the Crossbay Parkway and Shore Parkway intersection, however stay slightly south of where the roads meet, until the Aqueduct Race Track (you can take the first part of the Shore Parkway east of the intersection as a landmark.) After that, alignment with the 13L runway, keep descending and land. The sight of huge heavies turning tight into 13L is folklore, and there are hundreds of videos to show you the approach, even Concorde used this approach, although the very tight 10,000ft length of 13L/31R of usable runway made it a exacting landing, but it is obviously worth your talent to do the "Cararsie Approach". The Cararsie Approach is easy(ish) in the daylight, but what about at night? the Port Authority created three sets of RAIL (Runway Alignment Indicator Lights) that guide you into the 13L Runway. These RAIL section lights have been very well reproduced here in the Nimbus JFK scenery, the last set however are positioned on a building in front of 13L, but to note, they are slightly to the right of the 13L Centreline and also angled away. Lighting All approach lighting is to the full ICAO brightness standards as required in X-Plane 12, so yes it is very, very good. Every developer has their own take and feel with X-Plane night lighting, very few get it perfect. Nimbus's approach is for wide spots on the ramps (very good), but has clear bright see-through windows with the Terminals and Concourses. Realistic, not really no, as you would rarely see this sort of opacity on tinted windows, but it is an interesting approach But the ramps are nice to arrive into, so from an airside perspective the Nimbus JFK works. The control tower floors are lit up, it looks great, but again the tower's operating floor should be in darkness for obvious reasons. Carpark lighting is horrible, and you can see directly into the TWA hotel rooms at night... a view that looks really weird, and not very realistic either. The JetBlue Maintenance hangar is lovely at night, as is the landside road signage... navigation signage is also very good and realistic. Framerate At the head of the Nimbus JFK review I noted framerate, so what is the verdict? Overall the scenery is very good to excellent considering the framerate footprint here. But those numbers come with compromises. For one there has been a considerable effort by Nimbus Designs to keep the framerate hit numbers down, but with the use of "Very" Low-Res ortho ground textures, and very, very Low-Res objects in the field. Its noticeable sadly, but these areas are not where it counts in using the airport scenery. Secondly you can't be too greedy with your graphic settings, mainly and obviously the "Texture Quality" slider, the Anti-Aliasing needs to be lower as well, again to the detriment of those Lo-Res textures. But in the main the quality is quite high, so usable. To fit in a New York skyline, heavy autogen and this very wide area spaced out airport with millions of objects in the scenery, and to run it all with space to spare is a good result, Mostly in the past I have arrived in New York and my framerate is stuttering, usually badly, with the Nimbus JFK, it is however highly usable, so that is the main objective here, good considering the compromises. But would I also compromise a little more framerate for better and more realistic ortho textures, that is yes, a definite yes. _____________ Summary Idlewild Airport was named after the Idlewild Beach Golf Course that it displaced in New York's east. Then following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the airport was then renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport as a tribute to the 35th President of the United States and "Kennedy" is biggest gateway into America on the east coast. The last new scenery from Nimbus Studios was the excellent KIAD - Washington Dulles International Airport, of which is one of my favorites. Other major sceneries produced over a decade include, Chicago KORD, Orlando KMCO, Atlanta KATL and Miami KMIA, so Nimbus Studios are a very experienced and quality developer... this is their latest release for X-Plane 12 only, in JFK -John Kennedy International Being a old world legacy airport, the 6th busiest in the United States, then JFK is massive in scale, as so is this scenery from Nimbus Studios, as it covers a large area, with a lot of details and objects. All the the current Terminals are covered here, but a disclaimer is required. JFK New York is currently undergoing a huge transition phase. Old Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 7 are being demolished, to be replaced by a new Terminal 1 and 6, but the older Terminals 1, 2 and 7 are still portrayed in this Nimbus scenery, as is Terminal's 4, 5 and 8 in their current configuration. Terminal and the massive infrastructure base here is extremely well modeled with nice cladding and glass, internal areas are basically modeled for external views only. But there is a compromise in Lo-Res textures for ground areas and a lot of the infrastructure, which is fair enough to cover the scale and the lighter framerate hit on your computer. Overall the scenery is excellent to the scale, so it is a worthy compromise. Other details include two Maintenance facilities for JetBlue and American Airlines, the Eero Saarinen-designed terminal originally known as the TWA Flight Center (but poor quality), TWA hotel and all the Cargo facilities and the iconic Control Tower is excellent. AirTrain animations and vehicle animations are also very good, and the JFK scenery uses the older style Marginal (updated) Jetway system. Field and apron textures are excellent as is the 3d grass. X-Plane 12 effects of Ice, snow and wet surfaces are also perfect, night-lighting is average, with these not very realistic see-through windows, but overall the apron and field lighting is very good. Final feature is the installation of the famous "Cararsie Approach" RAIL lighting, to practise your landing skills. Nimbus's JFK is huge sprawling scenery, but a very effective one, not only in the visual sense, but in the usability aspect as well, and that is the very important point here. As it works visually, and efficiently as well, that aspect alone makes this Nimbus JFK airport the best currently for the X-Plane 12 simulator... Welcome to New York! __________________________ The KJFK - New York - John F. Kennedy International Airport XP12 by Nimbus Studios is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store KJFK - New York - John F. Kennedy International Airport XP12 Priced at US$29.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 (not for XP11) Windows, Mac or Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.3 GB Current version: 1.0 (January 14th 2024) Installation Installation of KJFK New York XP12 is done via download of 1.33 Gb... There is only one file to insert into your X-Plane Custom Scenery Folder Nimbus Simulation - KJFK - V1.0 XP12 With a total installation size of 2.42Gb. There is one basic installation "READ ME" pdf (4 pages) Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - New York City XP by Drzewiecki Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$36.00 - Aircraft None - ____________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 21st January 2024 Copyright©2024: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
  4. NEWS! - Aircraft Update : Nimbus Studios updates BN-2B Islander to X-Plane 12 Boom, boom.. get one choice then suddenly two! Welcome to X-Plane. As we are aware the Thranda BN-2B Islander for X-Plane 12 has just been released, so here is X-Plane's original BN-2B Islander from Nimbus Studios in it's own X-Plane 12 guise, there has been a few nice updates, and it's on sale as well... A British-designed and manufactured light utility and commuter transport, The Britten Norman Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in the 1960s, over 750 are still in service with commercial operators around the world. Version 2.0 XP12 (May 31st 2023) XP12 version now available Updated interior and exterior textures. Bug fixes. Improved flight model Rain effect on glass Improved night lightning Addition of model details (sunhield, antennas, intake filters and more) Improved exterior lights The v2.0 XP12 BN Islander from Nimbus Studios is now available to update, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStrore account and download the XP12 version is available, note the Nimbus Studios "Westray" scenery is also a free part of the package, and can also be downloaded from your account. Features: Compatible with X-Plane 12 (and XP11) Highly detailed 3D model 4K textures Full PBR Textures for quality refection 3D Custom Sound System Animated switches Rattling and vibrations Accurate handling and flight characteristics Accurate performance based on performance charts Realistic night lightning with custom lights and textures VR ready (includes yoke manipulator) Ice buildup visual effect Nice Comprehensive Menus Windows for managing maintenance, weight and balance, doors and accessories, controls position and performance charts. Maintenance module: If you want a more realistic experience you can choose if you want the aircraft to require maintenance with time and usage, depending on how you fly and engine exceedance the mechanical components will degrade and performance will be affected. Weight and balance: A graphic interface gives you the chance to modify the cargo, passengers, fuel and CG Doors and accessories: Open and close doors, add or remove wheel chocks, engine and pitot covers or controls lock. Performance: This window will also allow you to see some performance charts. Controls position indicator: A small window on the right bottom corner will show the position of your controls. Designed by Nimbus Studio Support forum for the Islander by Nimbus Images are courtesy of Nimbus Studios _________________ Yes! the Britten Norman Islander BN-2 XP12 by Nimbus Studios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BN-2 Islander XP12 Price is US$34.95 On sale: $34.95 US$27.96 You Save:$6.99(20%) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.2 GB Current version : XP12: 2.0 (May 31st 2023) XP11: 1.1 ________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st June 2023 Copyright©2023: 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) All Right Reserved.
  5. Update Review : BN-2 Islander v1.1 by Nimbus Studio's I covered the release of the BN-2 Islander by Nimbus Studio's a few months back in June 2020 here; Aircraft Review : Britten Norman Islander BN-2 by Nimbus Studios Overall I loved the aircraft, but it felt still a little under-developed, there was two quick reaction updates in v1.05, then v1.07 that helped, but here is the larger v1.1 update, that also comes with a promised scenery package as an extra... Westray. The BN-2 is famous for flying the Islander service Loganair's Westray to Papa Westray flight, in the Orkney Islands, which is the shortest scheduled flight in the world at 1.7 mi (2.7 km); the scheduled flight time including taxiing is just two minutes. Both the Westray Airports are now part of this BN-2 package, and very good they are... So lets us see that aspect of this v1.1 update first. It is a very handy skill in that Nimbus is above all first a scenery developer, who later moved into aircraft design. So in an addition to the aircraft you now have the option to download Westray or Westray - EGEW and Papa Westray - EGEP, which is basically two island sceneries that are separated by a short strait of the northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean in the Orkney Islands. Westray is old Norse for 'West Island' (Navigraph) Note Kirkwell on the "Mainland" Island of Orkney and the main gateway into the Orkney Islands area. Westray - EGEW Westray airport or airstrip is located at Aikerness... and Pierowall is the main village. There are actually three runways, but only one is as graded hardcore 09/27 (527m/1,729ft), the two others are grass in 01/19 (291m/955ft) and 13/31 (421m/1,381ft), elevation is only 30ft and all are represented here. There is not much in infrastucture at EGEW, except for a single reception building and a cargo shed, but it is well done. Note there is a H pad at Westray, but not ICAO. I particularly like the Scottish Island feel of the stone walls and fencing, the area feels also very windswept, because it is. Lighting is almost zero, but good in context. The area is full of farms and farming detail... and plenty of cows. All the houses are again very authentic and come with that stoic stone architecture.... but significantly missing is the Noup Head Lighthouse? It is visible not only from the airstrip, but certainly on the runway approaches? The runway is just fresh stoney asphalt with no markings, and really well done is the surface detail and roughness which is highly realistic, there is some lovely 3d grass as well, and the boundary fencing detail is again exceptional. End of runway markers are again really good as in all the rock seawalls... overall it is a highly realistic airfield. There are no charts available for either EGEW or EGEP, but this set of notices are excellent and well worth downloading; EGEWEGEPCharts201904 The shortest scheduled flight in the world It may be only a short flight, but the flying is technically very hard to do. Tip number 1#, go and observe each runway before attempting this flight, as finding the runway over on Papa Westray is quite hard, almost impossible flying in blindly. It took me three runs before I perfected it. Oddly again there is no "Loganair" livery supplied, which is the Scottish Airline that currently flies the route with two BN-2s, so I used the BA "Express" version, which has done this same route. The cost is £36 return or £45 for a “sightseer fare.” Two things to remember... important. Check your trim is central and that your flaps are one setting down in the TO position... ... I love the dust that flows up from the wheels... at the threshold of RWY 09 there is a turn circle, and you need to use every bit of the turn to turn as tight as you can, this is to get as much runway distance as you can usefully get. Hold the brakes to power up the engines, as again you have no margin to do a slow build up of speed, you need to almost leap off the brakes and go down that stretch of asphalt as rapid as you can go... ... those end of runway markers come at you sooo fast, so once you reach the end of the white zone at 80 knts, you lift the nose... and pray! Get it right and you should clear the markers, but it can be close... you climb, but not far, only to 400ft - 500ft at the most, and once level you are already getting ready to land, flaps full "Down" and reducing your speed... .... Papa Westray - EGEP is directly across the strait from EGEW, but the runway is orientated 04/22, which is a cross angle to EGEW's 09/27. So you fly west and then turn around back into Rwy 22. If you try and be a smarty pants, and just fly over island to island and expect to land on 22 directly, then you won't see it or even find it... the really hard part is getting the turn perfectly right into the final approach, you have to have enough speed and power to get around the tight turn, or the Islander will simply drop off a cliff in speed at the bank angle and go straight into a bad stall, that is if you don't regulate enough power on the turn... ... once through the turn then again settle you speed to around 70 knts, you are now looking for some farm houses, DON"T LOOK FOR THE AIRFIELD, because it is simply impossible to see. You aim is to fly directly between the farm houses at around 200ft to 150ft and little more drift towards the right farmhouse... and then if you get it all right you will finally see the runway 22 markers straight ahead. Your new target is to now go low and slow, and just miss that fence at the end of the runway and not rip it all out of the ground... ... once over the fence and and it is a "let" or "get" down the BN-2 on to the hard stuff as quickly as possible. Even when down that end of runway fence is again coming at you at a high speed, and you only have your brakes to rub off the speed. As a note the BN-2's in use in a video have the three-bladed reverse thrust propellers, and you can hear the reverse thrust in operation, but we don't have that feature on the Nimbus version of the Islander? There is another turnaround circle at the threshold of RWY 04, again the field layout is almost as identical as Westray. The apron area is also almost identical with the same single reception building and a cargo shed, but here at EGEP they are set wider apart. You think it is easy, but my first try shows how difficult it actually is... I originally ended up in the field with a cow not greatly impressed with my antics! Papa Westray - EGEP As mentioned the layout of Papa Westray is not that much different than EGEW, same cross runways of a single asphalt 04/22 (527m/1729ft) and noted as the same "Graded hardcore", 07/25 (partly) Graded hardcore and 18/36 Grass. The same building elements are used for both EGEW and EGEP, but the detailing has been changed to reflect the different locations. One thing to note is that the daylight up here in the Orkney's in December (winter) is very short to basically six and a half hours or 8.45am to 3.20pm, and set very low in the sky, so the area does not get particularly bright, certainly a seasons pack would have been nice. Runway textures are different however than Westray, more stoney or pebble than the black asphalt at EGEW, but it looks good and is a great and authentic looking surface, the surface edges are really good as well. Again the Westray landscape is covered with the same stoic stone architecture as on Westray, again very good. BN-2 Islander v1.1 There was a few areas that felt very under developed on the release version of the Nimbus BN-2 Islander, as noted overall I liked it, but felt it was not finished up to a certain quality, this update is six months on, and a lot on the list has been addressed, but a lot has not either? The aircraft came with a unique feature, a vibrating tail. Personally I loved the feature, but a lot of users hated it? So in the update you can now adjust the vibration to your liking, via a - or + of 100%. That should keep them happy. The aircraft now has the Avitab (Aviators Tablet) plugin intergration... the iPad is set to the left, and can be flattened away via it's support arm... But you can turn it off, but the clickspot is hard to find lower right, The iPad button only resets to the menu, not the on/off power, you can however also make the AviTab fully disappear by pressing the top of the support arm. But a very nice to have. Doors now make full sounds when opening and closing... and the door alarm will now go off if the doors are open when you start the engines. The passenger "warning" lights have been fixed (they now light up) and now both the window blinds work (Co-Pilot's earlier did not), and so has the nasty under the instrument panel hole that has now been thankfully covered over. Not so is the horrible front gear hole around the front strut, or the under engine vents that look average and both are highly visible in flight? The short flight from EGEW to EGEP was not long enough to check other parts of the undate, so a flight to Sumburgh EGPB (90 nm) was a better test... so I fully fueled (143 GAL) and boarded a few passengers and added a bit of freight (350 lb) and headed for the Shetland Islands. If you remember with the original release review I had a long list of gripes, and yes the BN-2 was certainly under-developed. First I found a lot of the switchgear didn't work to the X-Plane commands, and the important ones like the braking and flaps, which are badly positioned to use (in a simulator, not in real flying). Thankfully all these items have now been corrected and the parking brake logic has also been done, so they work! but the landing lights still have to be switched on/off manually. Another gripe was the landing lights were too dim, they are better but still quite small, but better. Propeller animation were also quite average and "disky", they still are with no real depth, but I am more acceptable to them this time around... my thoughts are that to change the two-blade to the three bladed, reverse thrust version would give the props more depth? Flaps to TO (Takeoff) and as noted I'm full in both tanks, my thoughts are on the short EGEP 04/22 runway at 527m or 1729ft long, would I be too heavy to get off with a full total aircraft weight of 5340 Lbs? One way to find out... Yep... and with a bit (not a lot more) to spare, particle effects have been added and like I noted earlier I love the dirt coming off the wheels, but the engine exhaust still does not have any of the needed effects? First thought's are that yes the aircraft certainly performs far better, as it has been retuned for better performance with experimental model (switched on) and it shows in the handling, the aircraft is far more sturdy and highly flyable. The BN-2 is an impossibly slow climber at 850ft per minute, but that is what the aircraft is. Sounds have also been greatly improved. I liked the lower speed (idle/taxi thrumm) before, but was not so much impressed in the cruise, that area has certainly improved, but can still be over time a little droney, but there is far more depth to the sounds if you change the throttle (power) position, added also are the new internal sounds, sounds with only one engine running, fuel pumps and the avionics sounds have been toned down. There has been a lot of refining done also on the main instrument panel... The autopilot lighting was too dim, but looks good now, and I really like the flashing "TRIM UP" and "TRIM DN" effect, the VSI night texture also was too dark and the Pitch trim indicator was not visible at night. I did have a big gripe about the flaps.... the up flap setting still shows a 2º in the down position? Islanders are known to fly in this configuration, but still I'm not completely happy?, the BN-2 still flies pitch up, and the overall speed does show with the drag in that odd aerodynamic angle... You can trim this out manually, but not under the Century 2000 2-Axis Autopilot, hence the still slightly odd nose up flying perspective... and your cruise speed is still limited to under 120 knts, say around 115 knts, it should be around 130 knts? The issue pops up again on approach... Into the circuit to land at Sumburgh RWY 33, it became impossible to reduce the speed under the 80 Knt threshold (white band) to lower the flaps to DOWN, so as you pulled the power back the nose just went up and up in pitch, but not the loss of the speed... ... the only way to balance the aircraft was to disconnect the autopilot, and trim the aircraft manually, get the speed down and set up the landing configuration of 70 knts and full flap. (I will admit the BN-2 is nice to fly and control in this configuration). My point is that, if you wanted to use the ILS, on the autopilot, then you wouldn't be able to balance or trim out the aircraft, yes in most cases you would do a manual landing anyway, but sometimes you may need the ILS guide if the weather is bad, and mostly that is the case up here and around these northern Scottish Islands. If you remember in the release review I struggled with a good landing configuration, and couldn't get the BN-2 under 80 knts without it stalling, but I am not feeling that effect today, thankfully the BN-2 feels more planted and controllable, I still think the approach speed is still a little too high for a STOL aircraft, but it is far better than before. Even the strong swirling winds that can accumulate around this western approach into Sumburgh, fail to ruin the approach phase, I am easily under a nice controllable aircraft, a vast change from the earlier release approach... ... I settle around 60 knts, and it is perfect landing. I am overall pretty happy with that landing, so there has been a significant improvement (not absolutely perfect) and a major refinement in the handling. And I still really love those wheel particle effects. Not only the physics been improved, but the whole aircraft is certainly far altogether better, again is this update in being what the release version should have really been in the first place? _________________ Summary Nimbus Studios released their version of the STOL Twin-Engined BN-2 Islander in June 2020. The summary of that release review I felt the aircraft still needed more development and refinement. Since that release there has been three updates, with the accumulation of this the third in v1.1. Update v1.1 also comes with the highlighted feature of including a scenery, or two in Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland, the two airports are famous for the being known as the "shortest scheduled flight in the world", at 1.7 mi (2.7 km); the scheduled flight time including taxiing is just two minutes. Both Westray and Papa Westray sceneries are excellent, great detail and both have a great feel for these Orkney Islands, technically they are very challenging as well, and so a very good addition to the Islander package. The aircraft refinements are notably very long (see changelog below, and all three of the updates are listed) as is the performance (but not yet perfect), and the addition of the Avitab (Aviators Tablet) plugin . Notable are the changes in v1.1 was to mostly small items, like sounds (better and now the door sounds work), instruments (lighting and manipulators), X-Plane commands (Brakes/Flaps), manual adjustment of the vibrating tail, under instrument panel fill and passenger notices. Still outstanding is the annoying see through hole in the nose (front strut) and nasty inner under engine air-intakes, average propellers (in movement), pitch nose high performance under the autopilot, that affects cruise speed and approach speeds and oddly no Loganair livery for the included sceneries (note you download the sceneries separately from the aircraft). The BN-2 Islander by Nimbus Studio has come a seriously long way in refinement since it's introduction in the middle of 2020, in many, many areas it is refined (or fixed), but oddly some glaring obvious items (above) have not had the same attention. But overall this a far better and major step forward for the BN-2 Islander, and yes I am loving the aircraft in it's current condition, "very, very close but no cigar" yet. _______________________________ Yes! the Britten Norman Islander BN-2 v1.1 by Nimbus Studios is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BN-2 Islander Price is US$34.95 Features: Highly detailed 3D model 4K textures Full PBR Textures for quality refection 3D Custom Sound System Animated switches Rattling and vibrations Accurate handling and flight characteristics Accurate performance based on performance charts Realistic night lightning with custom lights and textures VR ready (includes yoke manipulator) Ice buildup visual effect 8 liveries and more to come Nice Comprehensive Menus Windows for managing maintenance, weight and balance, doors and accessories, controls position and performance charts. Maintenance module: If you want a more realistic experience you can choose if you want the aircraft to require maintenance with time and usage, depending on how you fly and engine exceedance the mechanical components will degrade and performance will be affected. Weight and balance: A graphic interface gives you the chance to modify the cargo, passengers, fuel and CG Doors and accessories: Open and close doors, add or remove wheel chocks, engine and pitot covers or controls lock. Performance: This window will also allow you to see some performance charts. Controls position indicator: A small window on the right bottom corner will show the position of your controls. Bonus: airports of westray and papa westray Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB (Plane + Liveries) Current and Review version : 1.1 (November 27th 2020) Installation and documents: Download is 1gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 1.10gb Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file. Avitab (Aviators Tablet) plugin, is now required for this aircraft. Documents supplied are: Manual.pdf Changelog v1.1 changelog.txt _____________________________________  Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton  4th December 2020 Copyright©2020 : 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 11.51b3 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Avitab - Free Scenery or Aircraft - Westary and Papa Westary are now supplied with the aircraft package.
  6. Aircraft Review : Britten Norman Islander BN-2 by Nimbus Studios As a young boy around 10 years old with a fascination with aviation in the mid-sixties, there quite often in Flight International and the newcomer Aircraft Illustrated the glowing reports of a British built (ready to take on the world!) nine passenger utility aircraft called the Britten Norman Islander or BN-2, it was a twin-prop STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) aircraft that had built in simplicity to take the rugged day to day operations of remote fields or servicing coastal islands. My particular interest is that the early aircraft were constructed by Fairey Marine, obscure to most, but the most beautiful and fastest cruisers ever built were the Fairleys on the Isle of Wright in Southern England... and so the BN-2 became etched into my childhood of the most desirable of boats and aircraft. It was actually a shock that I found out that coming into X-Plane that my beloved BN-2 was not readily available and except for a few cardboard freeware versions, and the aircraft has not had a lot of presence in the simulator, as even ten years later was there not any BN-2 available to fly, then suddenly in typical X-Plane fashion you get two of them together, one is by TorqueSim and the second one is by Nimbus Studios. Nimbus was originally a scenery developer, but lately has also produced the odd aircraft and even an exceptional helicopter in the UH-1 "Huey". So I was very much in wanting to experiencing the BN-2 of my childhood for the first time. The Britten Norman was never developed to be an attractive aircraft, it is a practical machine to serve a particular role, but I always like the low-slung cabin hung on to a very simple high-wing cantilever monoplane wing, with the two Lycoming O-540-E4C5 6-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engines of 260 hp (190 kW) each slung below. Overall the BN-2 is a boxy shape of practicality. Overall the Nimbus design is very good, even excellent... but there are a couple of quirks. The mapping is excellent in showing the aircraft's construction, with all the panels and rivets being perfect. Fuselage shape and modeling is very good... .... but the wing construction detail is really, really good, and you have those lovely tapered wingtips, note the well done navigation light and flap test handle. Lycoming engine housings are also very nicely done with visible air-cooled cylinders and nice inlets out front and exhaust heat panels behind. Note the yellow spinner, unusual but nice on this livery. Nice Hartzell twin-blade propellers are however not adjustable for pitch or feather and sit rather flat. Main twin gear assemblies have that aerodynamic shroud and all are excellent in detail and realism, the Goodyear rubber is excellent. Single front strut nosewheel is also well done with nice linkages and chrome/cast strut, but the internal area is not boxed in? so you can see through to the sky externally, internally in flight and this is a highly noticeable oversee... ditto the lower engine air-intakes that have a bad internal join? Glass is very nice as are all the windows and surroundings (again note the excellent rivet work). If you look there are a few nice dents and crease marks of wear and tear in the fuselage and on the wing leading edge to give that aircraft frame a nice touch of authenticity. Elevator and tail are very simple aerodynamic profiles, but they are well done here... ... wingtip landing lights are debatable in that Nimbus has tried to recreate a perspex aging, it does work, but doesn't either if you know what I mean. Internal The Islander has an unusual seating layout. It consists of four bench seats for eight passengers or nine is you count the right front seat. Access to the two front bench (and pilot) seats are via a door on the right fuselage and another door rear and the middle two rows are via a door right fuselage. Note the headlining that bends over/under? the main wingbox. Each seat has a nice set of headphones (hint the close and loud engines) and the seating is very well done, if a little cramped. Seat detail has very nice detail with creases, stitching and realistic seatback pockets... ... pilot's and front passenger seats are the same style but individual. Not very happy though with the huge gaping holes under the instrument panel? again there are missing cover elements, but seeing through to the sky in a huge gap internally is a no, no. Cockpit The instrument panel is quite basic in design and layout. Instrument panel background is blue, I found most BN-2 panels were black... but the blue shade here adds in a little colour. Rudder pedals on the floor are nicely reproduced, but were not originally animated to the yaw, but fixed in the v1.05 update. Roof front panel has magneto switches, starter, fuel pumps/fuel shutoff knobs and fuel gauges (35 Gal each tank). Ammeter and a very large rudder trim knob. Yokes are Britten Norman branded (the left yoke usually has a clock in the centre?), but they can both be hidden (but only both together). All electrical switch gear is lower panel, and circuit breakers are right lower panel (static, non-operable). Pilot's headset is usable in that if you click the headset it will disappear and lower the sound volume. Standard Six main instruments are mostly in position with the Artificial Horizon top centre with the Airspeed (Knots) left and Altimeter right. The Turn Indicator is set out far left with the ADF/VOR magnetic pointer next. Centre is Horizontal Situation Indicator and right is the Vertical Speed Indicator, below centre is the OMNI Bearing Selector (OBS). There is a backup Artificial Horizon far left lower and Gyro Suction (Vacuum) indicator bottom. Pilot left centre is top a set of eight warning annunciator panel lights (testable) and with Bright or Dim settings. Below is a clock. There is also a very basic Century 2000 2-Axis Autopilot panel. There are twin group sets of gauges to cover both engines left/right... with from top to bottom RPM, Manifold Pressure, Fuel Pressure (PSI), Oil Temp/Pressure, CHT (Cylinder Head Temperature) and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and bottom Carburettor Temperatures. Avionics are quite simple with top a KMA 24 radio panel, then a large (XP default) GNS 530 which of course pops out. Bendex/King KR 67 ADF tuner, then bottom a Bendix/King KR 71 transponder. Far right are two Bendix/King KX 165 tuners that cover (top) COMM 1/NAV 1 (lower) COMM 2/NAV 2. Centre pedestal is nicely done, with Twin-throttles, Twin-RPM levers and Twin Mixture levers... the RPM levers are actually the PROP levers for feathering? Not to be confused with the PROPHEAT levers front console. TAILTRIM (pitch) wheel is on the right which makes it hard to use. Flap lever is a flip motion switch with three positions in UP - T.O. - DOWN. and like the Parking Brake lever left both don't work via XP commands? and only by manual action only (really annoying). Internal Lighting Instrument lighting is excellent as is all of the internal lighting. There is a main instrument lighting knob lower panel and all the instruments are bright and clear, but the avionics are on a separate bus, so they have their own switch (arrowed). There is lit footwell lighting that is on all the time, but it looks very nice. There are two swivel lights set into the roof, they are animated but of limited movement... The swivel lights do a great job of lighting up the roof instruments and the even the main instrument panel but are not very good for say map reading... this is not too big an issue as the over the door lighting is excellent and does that map reading job better. All cabin lighting is exceptional with eight switchable side lighting panels... ... only blight on the copybook is that the "Passenger Notices" doesn't work? it could be the "EXIT" sign? Overall the BN-2 has one of the most inviting cabins for a fair while. Menus There is a set of menu tabs left lower screen, they are quite small, but cannot be made transparent. The five tabs cover; Maintenance, Controls Position, Performance/Speeds, Weight and Balance and finally Doors and Accessories. Maintenance The maintenance menu covers all items that can wear or be consumed on the BN-2, this includes; Alternator, Filters, Oil, Engine condition, Tire Condition and Brake Pads... all out of 100% perfect. You can choose if required to turn off the "Always like new" tickbox (arrowed) off if you want these active conditions working or not or that the items condition then deteriorate, to fix then just press the item box to go back to 100%. The point of the menu is the way the item when degraded interferes with your aircraft's condition more that just showing a wear or use item. It gives the aircraft over time a more tired or worn realism. Controls Position This is a visual control guide that is shown lower right screen, it covers the Yoke and Throttle positions. Performance/Speeds Two menu items that cover the Performance and Speed charts for your information. Charts can be resized for use. Weight and Balance There is an excellent "Weight and Balance" menu. Options include Fuel, Cargo and Passenger weights and all changes are shown on a CoG (Centre of Gravity) graph and also a CG location slider. Total Weight (Gross Weight) and Total Fuel loads are also noted, with also the choice of Lbs or Kgs. Notable are the weights of the passengers and you can click on each passenger to make their weight count but they then also to appear in the aircraft, you can also show the pilot and passengers visible from the internal or external views. Pilot and Passenger modeling is not too bad, but they are all unanimated. Doors and Accessories Final menu option is the "Doors and Accessories" menu. You can open all the staggered doors and small rear cargo hatch. Static elements are good, because you can set them as you want to... Chocks, Engine Inlet covers, Pitot Cover and rear Tail Lock. There is an external power source via a switch on the main instrument panel, but no external power cart (source), which I think is a an omission. Overall the menus and static elements are top rate and very well done but mostly very versatile in how you use them. Flying the BN-2 Islander I flew the BN-2 Islander from EGPB - Sumburgh Airport (Shetland Islands) to EKVG - Vágar Airport (Faroe Islands) to give the aircraft a feel through, now it is time to fly back... Two things became very apparent on the flight out... First was a lot of the switchgear and levers don't work with the X-Plane Keyboard and Joystick commands... Not a big problem in most cases, but here there are placed in very hard positions for simulator actions. Take all the lighting switchgear lower panel, impossible to use so low down while flying manually, ditto the parking brake, flap handle and other important switches and controls. Second aspect was far more worrying... the flaps set at UP are still 2º in the down position? This was felt in various ways all through the outbound flight. First in the case of drag which related to the higher cruise speed of the aircraft through the air, because the wing is simply not clean... second was that the Islander has a pronounced nose down attitude when flying at it's cruise speed, again caused via the flap drag/position... the whole affair is a real scratch your head moment in that how could a developer even get such a situation that wrong... I hoped the situation would have been cleared up in the update (v1.05) but it was not (the nose now sits pitch higher?), the switchgear I can live with, but the flap setting I can't, so that will affect the review in any performance case? Lower engine sounds are excellent, start up and lower idle thrumming is highly enjoyable, but the visual aspect of the rotating props look a bit old fashioned and even cheap... mainly because the props are actually flat and not cutting into the air. Landing lighting is a bit weak as well, you would not want to rely on the illumination on landing in poor or dark weather. With the Twin Lycoming O-540-E4C5 engines idling away, you notice a lovely shake, mostly via the windscreen and the vibrating shades... I actually thought it was the effects of the XPRealistic Pro plugin which was reviewed just before this BN-2 review, but it wasn't and actually you need to turn the XPR effects off as they over shake the effects. More so is the shaking effect on the rear fuselage and tailplane, as more throttle thrust applied will create more tailplane and rudder movement... it is huge effect, brilliant and very clever, I love it. A last quick check and it is time to leave the awesome scenery of Vágar and the surrounding Faroe Islands... Taxiing can be done at a fast pace, because you have the space here to do so, but those lower note throbbing sounds of the engines are excellent. Power up and Whoa!... there is a huge difference in performance between my fully loaded aircraft coming out, to this three passenger lighter aircraft going back as the BN-2 just powers off the line, were as it was very sluggish back at Sumburgh Airport, so you have to prepare yourself for that. The BN-2 is not a high performing sports aircraft and it shows that... 860 ft/min (4.37 m/s) at sea level is the maximum climb to a service ceiling of 11,300 ft (3,400 m) is not going to win any Red Bull air-race awards. I am tracking out of Vágar's Rwy 30 north just to see the sights! The visual northern Vágar (Island) coastline show is staggering... is this only a simulation? The Century 2000 2-Axis Autopilot is as noted earlier is quite basic, it will hold your heading and altitude, but that is about it. To climb or descend it just adjusts your trim UP or DN (Down), simple yes very. You can't climb more than 600 fpm max, if not you lose speed, this is at a light weight, but heavy you will climb at under or lower than 500 fpm and crawl your way up slowly to even a low 4,000ft altitude. So a weight loading is critical on how you want to use the BN-2. At speed you get a sort of eeeehhhh sound from the engines more than a brrrrh sound, it is okay but considering the engine distance factor (close) you actually expected a different sound at cruise, you feel the drag, and the speed is constrained to under 120 knts. Cruise speed is around 139 kn (160 mph; 257 km/h) at 7,000 ft (2,134 m) (75% power), I am 6,000ft at 90% power and running at that 120 knts? Max speed is 148 kn (170 mph, 274 km/h)... Range is 755 nmi (869 mi, 1,398 km) at 130 kn (150 mph; 241 km/h) at 12,000 ft (3,658 m), but a ferry range is a doable 1,216 nmi (1,399 mi, 2,252 km) at 130 kn (150 mph; 241 km/h). Cruising along I really like it up here, the shaking is very authentic and realistic, with the vibrations of the aircraft's frame and the shaking movement of the shades... .... is the tail vibration movement just a gimmick, no it is not, I really love it. Of course the BN-2 is famous for flying the Islander services Loganair's Westray to Papa Westray flight, which is the shortest scheduled flight in the world at 1.7 mi (2.7 km); the scheduled flight time including taxiing is just two minutes. Both the Westray Airports are promised as part of this BN-2 package, when released I will add in those scenery additions when they become available. Out of the murk comes the Shetland Isles, the approach into EGPB's Rwy 09 is quite difficult as to the runway's position, also high winds flow around the headland and pushes you around, today however I can live with a 5 knt crosswind. The trick to getting into Rwy 09 is to get well prepared before you start the approach, get the speed and height down ready instead of "too late, last minute" but in the BN-2 I found in that quite hard to do, the first flap position is under the white band, but even set at 80 knts at first flap I was actually losing height? I dare not go over the flap limit, but I was grabbing at the sky, pitch high trying to keep the altitude, but also in not stalling the Islander? it was all very uncomfortable. More flap to FULL-DOWN, but still I needed a lot of power to keep me airborne and STILL sitting on just under 80 knts to keep the aircraft in the air? My gut says I should be around 60 knts - 65 knts, but I am not? This is a STOL aircraft right? and all I feel is a sinking feeling at a high power setting. I get the speed down to 60 knts via a nose up pitch, but at this phase of the landing I should be down into the 50 knts zone.. official notes are 50 knts (58 mph; 93 km/h) flaps up and 40 knts (46 mph; 74 km/h)... flaps down says that at full flap setting at 60 knts feels and is too fast, and I am still losing height? With contact with the runway the BN-2 screws or twists.... the park brake is on? my fault? not sure, but the park brake placement and no Joystick connection it was impossible to see or react to the wrong setting while focusing on a fast sinking aircraft. In any aircraft you need confidence that the changes you make and feel are reflected in the aircraft, if that does not happen then you can't fly the machine well. I flew the BN-2 very well, that is why I am actually sitting on Sumburgh's 09 runway, but my skill factor overrode the capabilities of the Islander... in other words I had to overfly and not fly the aircraft realistically... that is not to say the BN-2 is really bad as it isn't and very far from that context, but it still needs some more development to get the performance closer to the aircraft. But that flap setting of 2º out certainly does not help in overall context either. A final performance note is that I landed in Vágar Airport in version v1.0 and the aircraft felt pretty good under flap, this second landing in Sumburgh is under v1.05 and there is note in the update the "Maximum flaps speed too low"? So what went wrong? Liveries There are eight liveries with the BN-2 and all are excellent... They range from Winair (default), Air America, Belgium Coast Guard, British Airways Express, Highland Park, OLT, A brilliant RAW version in bare metal and the Scottish Ambulance Service in the vivid yellow scheme flown here in the review. Summary The Britten Norman Islander BN-2 is a UK produced aircraft from the mid-60's and still in production today. A brilliant nine seater + pilot aircraft it is renowned for it's superb STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) characteristics. It is a basic utility aircraft and a welcome new addition to the X-Plane simulator. Nimbus Studios started out in designing scenery but has recently moved into aircraft, and this BN-2 is their third aircraft after a Aero Commander 500S and the sensational Bell UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" last year. X-Plane users have waited a long time for a decent BN-2 and yes this Islander from Nimbus is well worth the wait. Modeling is excellent and so is the high-resolution detailing, internally it is all very good as well with some of the best cabin lighting for a while. Sounds are very good as well, but a bit plain at cruise. Excellent effects gives very realistic vibrations and the tailplane and rudder assembly shakes very realistically as well, All menus provided are excellent with very good Weight and Balance settings, Doors and Static elements, highly detailed wear and tear maintenance menu and in all areas the detail are all very, very good. But the BN-2 still overall feels a little under developed. Since starting the review with release version v1.0, there has already been a significant update with v1.05 and this update cleared up a lot of areas that needed attention in the release version like the non-animated rudder pedals... but there are still issues? Bad (sky) gaps in the front wheel well and under the instrument panel are highly noticeable? Propellers are bland in motion with flat spinners and don't have pitch or feather animations. Most switchgear and levers are not X-Plane command mapped so your joystick or keyboard inputs don't work? Landng lights are just pathetic and the flap is set at 2º at full UP position resulting in odd performance with speed and aircraft performance, landing speeds under flap just don't feel right either. So a childhood dream to fly the iconic British aircraft of the sixties, overall the results are I love the aircraft as it is very good in most areas and even excellent in many areas, but still needs more refining to be a totally fully quality aircraft, but with the past record of Nimbus that will come quickly. However it does come back to the situation of releasing too early than ready. Maybe the TorqueSim release caused an off balance in waiting. Overall the Nimbus BN-2 is very good, in a few updates it will be perfect.... recommended. _______________________________ Yes! the Britten Norman Islander BN-2 by Nimbus Studios is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : BN-2 Islander Price is US$34.95 Features: Highly detailed 3D model 4K textures Full PBR Textures for quality refection 3D Custom Sound System Animated switches Rattling and vibrations Accurate handling and flight characteristics Accurate performance based on performance charts Realistic night lightning with custom lights and textures VR ready (includes yoke manipulator) Ice buildup visual effect 8 liveries and more to come Nice Comprehensive Menus Windows for managing maintenance, weight and balance, doors and accessories, controls position and performance charts. Maintenance module: - If you want a more realistic experience you can choose if you want the aircraft to require maintenance with time and usage, depending on how you fly and engine exceedance the mechanical components will degrade and performance will be affected. Weight and balance: - A graphic interface gives you the chance to modify the cargo, passengers, fuel and CG Doors and accessories: - Open and close doors, add or remove wheel chocks, engine and pitot covers or controls lock. Performance: - This window will also allow you to see some performance charts. Controls position indicator: - A small window on the right bottom corner will show the position of your controls. Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimim - 8GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1 GB Current and Review Version : 1.05 (June 16th 2020) Installation and documents: Download is 1gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 1.10gb Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file. Documents supplied are: Manual.pdf _____________________________________  Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton  18th June 2020 Copyright©2020 : 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 11.41 and X-Plane 11.50b10 (fine in the beta, but the Librain effects don't work?) Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: None Scenery or Aircraft - Faroe Islands XP by Maps2XPlane (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$45.99
  7. Scenery Review : KMCO - Orlando International by Nimbus Studios I have covered almost every area of Florida in my beloved Carenado F33A Bonanza. From the top of Daytona Beach to the end of the earth location of Key West. Based at KLAL (Lakeland Linder) I have somehow have found an virtual home in this on screen presence and start there mostly for every (GA or Regional) aircraft review to note down the details of the aircraft's effect on the X-Plane simulator, same with any beta or X-Plane upgrade... KLAL is my bench mark on where we actually currently are in the simulator. So Orlando is usually my first stop going east. It is easy to find Orlando from KLAL flying VFR as you only just need to follow the long and bright at night HWY 4 and there it is. You can use the Orlando VOR (ORL - 112.20) if you wish, but I know the area too well now to want to set it. So on my treks back and too across the heart of Florida you can't miss KMCO, or Orlando International Airport as it is a massive airport required to process all the millions of minions of arriving tourists that pilgrimage to the area's renowned theme parks. But in X-Plane KMCO has not been a particularly high on any developers list for attention, so most of my flying around Orlando and then KMCO was mostly Ted's Scenery version, which is mostly a very basic stick and round object piece of scenery. Then NAPS Advanced Sim Scenery did a great version and finally this Nimbus Studio version of KMCO and the area around it came to life. So let us look here at Nimbus Studio's (Butnaru) version and as a full payware version. First Impressions So I was eager to take a look and at my new nearest neighbour of a colossal international airport. Up at dawn I ran the F33A for five minutes to warm the engine and it's fluids up and then went KMCO airport hunting. It is not hard to notice KMCO, even at this early distance it stands out on the right side. As I have the ORL VOR set for my heading and the HWY4 is down to my left side, this route however it won't take you directly to KMCO as the VOR is positioned north of the airport in Orlando itself. So at some point I would have to deviate a little to the right to cover the airport for a closer look. Finally it was time to leave HWY4 behind and there is KMCO... You don't have give away your highway navigation either as if you follow the Arthur Anderson Beachline Expressway it then will then also take you right pass the northern boundary of the mega Orlando International airport. In the dawn light the Nimbus scenery looks very impressive, lighting is excellent and there is a lot of scenery to take in. So, so far so good as I certainly like what I see down there. So once over the airport I fall into a circuit to take me back to land on RWY 36R. KMCO has four major runways in 18R/36L - 18L/36R -17R/36L - 17L/36R. Two in 18R/36L - 18L/36R are to the west of the central area and are parallel to each other and both 7R/36L - 17L/36R are to the east and slightly offset and 17L/36R is the smallest of the four. At the top of the circuit you will find the huge East Lake Tohopekaliga, which is a very good guide if you skim the southern and then the western side it will line you up directly back towards RWY36R. KMCO's approach lighting is very good, some have RAIL guidance. Finals is in straight, Florida is very flat countryside as is the airport, flat and straight. Water treatment plant to the left on finals and the main airport's terminals are to the right of the aircraft... Even in this light you notice the boundary of the scenery as it is a darker (brown) but the boundary is covered by a road which helps, but it is noticeable. The very distinctive control tower is silhouetted perfectly by the rising morning sun There is no General Aviation parking in the central area, GA is on the western boundary and to my left. It is a tricky taxi from 36R to the GA and maintenance area because you have to pass over RWY36L on the way... easy no. Because there is no straight taxiway link directly from 36R to the west ramp area. Get it wrong or don't consult your airport layout chart and you will find yourself taxiing up or down 36L/18R trying to find an exit. Link taxiway J north and E south are direct, but the one you will usually use is taxiway Y of which you need to dogleg left to catch taxiway A2 to reach the west ramp, miss it and you are in nowhere's ville. So a point about KMCO is that there are a lot of complex taxiways and many will take you a fair way away from the central area and so a ground chart is invaluable around here. Once finally on the west ramp, I found it a huge space... and a very empty one as well. There are a lot of buildings on the western boundary but nothing else, no ramp markings, no aircraft parking markings, no static aircraft (okay a few by the maintenance hangars) and no ramp equipment or anything. Overall the first impression was very good at arriving at KMCO, but the empty west ramp was a real downer in you felt quite lonely out there. KMCO Overview Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO, ICAO: KMCO, FAA LID: MCO) 17L/35R 9,001ft (2,743m) Concrete 17R/35L 10,000ft (3,048m) Concrete 18L/36R 12,005ft (3,659m) Asphalt/Concrete 18R/36L 12,004ft (3,659m) Concrete H1 44ft (13m) Concrete (Heli) Elevation AMSL 96 ft / 29 m Airport layout KMCO's terminal arrangement is quite different from most. It has central large receiving terminal with each side is flanked by two very large carparks called A (north) and B (south). From this central location shuttle trains take out to the four large satellite terminals for arrival or departure. These are called Airside Terminal 1 (Gates 1 -29), Airside Terminal 2 (Gates 100 - 129) which are connected to Terminal A (north), Then Airside Terminal 4 (Gates 60 - 99) and Airside Terminal 3 (Gates 30 - 59) which are connected to Terminal B (south) The Control Tower complex is positioned just south of Carpark B The whole central area is immensely complex, there is a lot of work in here and it looks very authentic in design and layout. Carparks A and B are huge with great intricate design, 3d cars and great foliage cover the area as well. The trees however look fine at a distance, but are very basic if even old fashioned closeup, but are good for framerate. Central receiving terminal is very impressive, I like the worn roof and textures. But dense is the word I would use in this zone, lots of everything in buildings, foliage, 3d cars and great building detailing. The four train tracks are animated and all trains go into each terminal and out towards each airside terminal on both ends. The trains are a faithfully reproduction of the real cars, that are currently undergoing replacement. Airside 1 and 2 Major domestic carriers based in Terminal A to Airside 1 and 2 include Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America Major international carriers include Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Avianca, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Norwegian Long Haul and WestJet. These two satellite terminals were part of the original airport and were opened in 1981. Airside 3 and 4 Major domestic carriers based in Terminal B include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Spirit and United Airlines. Major international carriers include Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, British Airways, Emirates, Icelandair, LATAM Brasil, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook Airlines and Virgin Atlantic which primarily operate out of Airside 4, the airport's main international arrivals concourse. Airside 4 is the biggest satellite terminal and is recognisable by its ramp tower. Terminal detailing is very good, not overly worn or textured, but well done. There is a lot of standard equipment on the ramps and there is the featured Nimbus animated ramp walkers that add a lot of life to the scene. Animated vehicles trundle around the scenery as well, so the ramps are nice to be and buzzy. All the satellite terminals also have built in marshall guided docking and animated jetways (Marginal plugin required). Another Nimbus feature is see-through glass and internal passengers and departure lounges, sign textures are a bit blurry though but overall it is well done. A nice departure terminal is Airside 1, which is mostly run by Southwest Airlines. There is a more Floridian in appeal and feel here as from the others and there is some nice stand parking by the palm trees. Control Tower The Control Tower and base block admin centre is the highlight of the scenery. As control towers go, this is is a very nice one to admire from afar or close up. good detailing and nice textures adorn the structure. Tower view is good if you look to the north... But look to the south and a part of the tower's radar gets into the view, which notes the tower view position is in the wrong place. There is nothing better on departure or arrival than an aircraft taxiway over a busy road. Here at KMCO there are actually two on taxiway J in the north and on taxiways E and F in the south. The north taxiway does have an issue when viewed from below, as the supports don't connect with the taxiway. For this effect to work of course you will need to have the checkbox ticked for the X-Plane item "runways follow terrain contours" (General Menu) to allow for the elevation changes. Northern Boundary Outside of the central terminal area there is also a lot of scenery to add into the full KMCO package. There are mostly in two areas in the northern boundary along the Arthur Anderson Beachline Expressway and down the airport's western boundary... first the northern boundary. Northeast covers one of the huge car hire yards and the very prominent JetBlue maintenance hangar and offices. The JetBlue base is very well done, and in a way a very beautiful looking building, the added two JetBlue A320's certainly adds to the scene. An issue with the whole scenery though is highlighted here. Most of the main textures are not sharp, but a little poor in resolution. My "Graphic" settings are full up in "Texture Quality" and "Antialiasing" but still most textures are not sharp... sharp. You can forgive me for a little nostalgia here. Early in the X-Plane10 release I flew from KLAL to Orlando in the BK-117 helicopter and after a full afternoon's flying I put it down in this spot to have a rest. I spent a few hours, yes hours watching the X-Plane traffic file by until it went dark and I marveled at the greatness of it all. It is still clever stuff and the traffic is still as busy now as it was then... X-Plane however has also moved on as my landing point in the BK-117 is now a rental carpark. Further west along the northern boundary is the Gate Gourmet complex and various MCO authority buildings. More west is more of the same, but this time for Sky Chef. There has been a lot of attention given to this northern boundary area and it looks very complete. There are a lot of carparking and car rental areas and all have been filled with realistic 3d vehicles. Good water effects create the spaces in the areas that give it a very realistic view, the water reflects the lighting colours at night very effectively as well, That feature and more makes this area really well complete. West Ramp The West Ramp is the commercial area of the airport and includes maintenance hangars (United), Cessna support centre, Cargo and Mail facilities. But this wide space is empty and lonely. United maintenance hangars There are two maintenance hangars on the west ramp for United Airlines and separated to the north and central areas, they are known as United Maintenance North and United Maintenance South. Both hangars are the same and are well done, but the textures are a little blurry. Centre ramp is the main cargo facility... but it looks closed or closed down. There is a fuel depot set out behind. A known fact is that Orlando Intl is a U.S. Customs Service Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) for International shipping. Another fact is that Orlando was a also designated Space Shuttle emergency landing site. The west-side runways, Runway 18L/36R and Runway 18R/36L, were designed for B-52 Stratofortress bombers and due to their proximity to NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, were an obvious choice for an emergency landing should an emergency "return to launch site (RTLS) attempt to land at KSC have fallen short. The runway was also an emergency divert site for NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Transport Aircraft when relocating orbiters from either west coast modification work or divert recoveries at Edwards AFB, California or the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.... so there you go. Cessna have a support base here for their Citation Jet, and this facility is slightly off the airport in the north section on Arthur Anderson Expy. Far south on KMCO is dominated by brand cargo facilities, United State Postal Service have a big depot here and so does FedEx. The United State Postal Service depot is well done (above), but the FedEx receiving warehouse (below) is missing.... too bored to finish it? Orlando Intl was initially an airforce base called McCoy AFB which was closed in the 1970's. But a few remnants remain in the form of which the military still uses such as the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from the Florida Army National Guard in the former McCoy AFB Officers Club complex, an Army Reserve intelligence unit in the former SAC Alert Facility. Far, far south is the water treatment plant we saw on arrival... KMCO Lighting In the area of lighting at KMCO then Nimbus has done an excellent job in covering such a very large area and in using good lighting diversity. Runway approach, taxi and lit signage is excellent, it had to be to land a Shuttle! The whole central area is extremely well lit, and KMCO stands out for miles around. There is a great choice of lighting ideas, using colour to highlight certain aspects of the buidings and a great use of downlighting to highlight certain areas brings the buildings to life. The downlighting is evident all through the scenery, and is used to great effect to fill out even the outer areas of the scenery. The four satellite terminals are just as well covered, all look excellent and the ramps are fully usable once the sun goes down. Again Airside 1 is the best choice. Lighting ideas are very imaginative and that is constantly hard too as the area covered here at KMCO is immense. Building lighting close up is very good, but the same layouts are mostly used on every satellite terminal building. A highlight is again the JetBlue base, the building looks gorgeous at night and you get a brilliant view on the 17R approach at night. West Ramp north is dark, but mid-ramp is fine, again like noted the use downlighting is excellent on the myriad of mulit-use buildings here. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Summary Overall this is excellent scenery and very complex in areas like the central area and surrounding hire car and carparking areas, there is a lot, a lot of objects in incorporated in here and you can see the work that has gone into this scenery. So it is even more dumbfounding in that on the West Ramp it is so empty of static aircraft and ramp debris and the FedEx building is actually missing. So much and so close to perfection, but this area's empty absence is very noticeable in the air and certainly on the ground if you are wanting to use the area for GA or Cargo operations. That is not to say there is no static aircraft as there is, but not where it is most needed on that huge ramp... The under ortho-photographic images are far darker than the surrounding default X-Plane imagery, so the boundary is highly visible, but roads have thankfully been used at the point of the crossover. This does still however make the scenery stand out on arrival. Many of the textures are slightly blurry and so that makes them very highly processed for higher framerate more than their visual appeal, fine at a distance but average close up which daunts the total realism of the scenery. Night operations are to be welcomed at KMCO, as this one great airport to arrive in at night. There is great lighting at work here and the departure and arrival looks brilliant from any angle with runways close to the satellite terminals of which 17R/35L is the top pick. The scenery has great features in animations in walking people, inter-terminal trains and vehicle traffic, great glass and internal terminal detail, full guided aircraft parking and correct ATC routes ready for operations. Orlando demands a good scenery, and here it is... you may have to hit the Overlay Editor to make it absolutely perfect, but overall this KMCO from Nimbus Studios is very, very good! _____________________________________________________________________________________ The KMCO - Orlando International by Nimbus Studios is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KMCO- Orlando International Airport Your Price: US$24.95 There is both an X-Plane10 and X-Plane11 version included in the package. Features Compatible with X-Plane 11 and X-Plane 10 Two separate files included High-Resolution Airport by Nimbus Studio Dynamic terminal glass and water reflection on X-Plane 11 HDR lighting Taxiway bridges Fully customized HD ground textures 3D trees (like you haven't seen before) Static planes Optimized for better frame rates Animated Airport Custom animated jetways (AutoGate plugin by Marginal) Ground traffic with animated vehicles and people (GroundTraffic plugin by Marginal) Animated trains ATC taxi routes Requirements : X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10 Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating System Required 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 3Gb+ VRAM Recommended Framerate is excellent for the density of the scenery, but still subject to computer system standards Installation and documents: Download for the KMCO - Orlando International is 537.24mb and the unzipped file is 821mb deposited in "Custom Scenery" Folder You will need to have the checkbox ticked for the X-Plane item "runways follow terrain contours" (General Menu). This NEEDS to be ON. Marginal's Autogate plugin is required for this scenery: AutoGate plugin 1.72 Documents: No Installation notes No charts are provided but these are good : KMCO.pdf _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd April 2017 Copyright©2017: 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 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - Bonanza F33A HD Series by Carenado (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95 - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles)
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