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  1. Aircraft Review - AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident The helicopter category is one of the most competitive in features and innovation than any other area in the X-Plane 12 Simulator. To a point it is brutal, as developers are consistently upping the standards to higher and higher levels. Can you go even higher? even to the next level? We are all about to find out with the release of X-Trident's next project... in the AgustaWestland AW 109SP. The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It was the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced. Its production has been continued by Agusta's successor companies, presently Leonardo S.p.A. (formerly AgustaWestland, when merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016). The AW109 is a lightweight twin-engine helicopter, known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control. Since entering commercial service, several revisions and iterations have been made, frequently introducing new avionics and engine technologies. AgustaWestland have promoted the type for its multi-role capabilities and serviceability. The type has proven highly popular with VIP/corporate customers (Think Succession TV Show); according to AgustaWestland, 50% of all of the AW109 Power variant had been sold in such configurations. Other roles for the AW109 have included emergency medical services, law enforcement, homeland security missions, harbor pilot shuttle duty, search and rescue, maritime operations, and military uses. In 2008, AgustaWestland claimed the AW109 to be "One of the industry’s best-selling helicopters". X-Trident have a lot of experience and also have a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena... but it is their rotary-aircraft that they are mostly aligned to. Like noted, quality is extremely high in helicopters. So any new debutant release has their work cut out to deliver something special. A first look at the AW 109 is really a special moment to savour, as the aircraft is totally eye-catchingly brilliant in detail. We have found the quality of dedicated X-Plane 12 aircraft to be already very good, even standout by a totally different level from even of the very best of older X-Plane aircraft, of say like Rotate's MD-80 and MD-11... Good X-Plane 12 aircraft have that standout believability and crediblity of realism. Note this aircraft is the AW 109SP. The "SP" is different by being a single pilot IFR, TAWS and EVS, with new avionics in Genesys Aerospace systems and the front section of the fuselage made from carbon fiber to reduce weight. Also it has the "S" lengthened main rotor blades with a different tip design from the Power version. When you first look at a lot of Simulation detail, it usually looks very good. But go close up and REALLY up close then the detail usually falls away. But not here with the AW 109, as when you get in close, you are just blown away, by not only for the excellent detail but also for the sheer quality of the work, it is "Realism 101", right down to every small rivet and joint. Your paying for this quality of course, but it is nice to admire the realism of it all. It feels factory fresh, but still a working machine as well. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine, 418 kW (560 hp) each, are both semi-visible, another X-Trident speciality (think CH-47D Chinook)... and all vents and lockers are perfectly done, as are the massive exhaust cones at the top rear. Glass is perfection, lovely tinted, deep and have great surrounds... you won't get better detail than this. Helicopter detail is highlighted by one area, rotor movements, or the rotor system. X-Trident was one of the first to do detailed links and hub mechanics... so I expected the same here, I was not disappointed. Rotor hub assembly detail is intricate and fully detailed right down to the last cotter nut and pin. The red centre rubber cone is also highly realistically animated (the same on the tail rotor assembly), so you can spend a lot of time in moving it, and personally working it all out to your heart's content. Roll (right-left) Pitch (forward-back) Collective (down-up) Tail rotor detail, shows a developer at the very top of their skills development, it is a piece of simulated art. YAW is animated (right-left rudder). Retractable landing gear is excellent. Not only the perfect tyre and rim detail, but the internal bay is fully detailed as well, rear gear is perfectly realised to near perfection... it is about as good as you could do, and I love the scruffed tyres for ultimate realism. Doors Both front pilot and co-pilot doors open, and both rear doors slide open, but you can't hide them. You manually internally have to open the doors, first by moving the latch, then physically moving them open or backwards. There is a menu option as well. Note the fold out step... There is only one cabin option... VIP or "Succession" layout, all in white luxurious leather. Tricky is moving from the cockpit to the rear cabin, as the boundaries are very tight, there is a (very small) gap between the seats, so the best way is out one door and back in via the rear door? There is only the pilot provided and his arms are animated to the controls... there are no provided Co-Pilot or Passengers in the package. Menu The "AW109SP" menu is set in the X-Plane banner.... It has three options; Options, Windows and Operations... there is the "Toggle FPS", but this is just the X-Plane framerate data for development. Options (Configurations); In the options tab there are six available choices; Controls, Options, Sounds, Anim, Maps and Obstacles. Controls; There are a lot of options to set the AW109 controls to your best feel and reaction, in fact a full page of adjustments. Main are the "Damper" adjustments for Pitch, Roll and Yaw rates, a Non-Centreing cyclic, Servo (Autopilot) motors (off-on-test), Rudder Ovrd (override), lower are sections for "Collective", Pedals, Power Levers, Auto Mute, Auto HDG (Heading) and VNAV. Right side adjustments cover the Collective, with; FT rel (release) mode, Threshold, Pedals FT rel mode and pedals threshold. Collective Input can be via the keyboard, throttle or auto-detect, you can also reverse the settings as well. Options; X-Trident give you a lot of setting options. Synt Vision Range (0-2400 meters), Instruments (Standard or Performance), Popup (Standard, Performance or Show in VR), Scale, (0.5 - 1.5), APMS ALT knob mode (Select or Pre-Select), Collective Cue (Off, Normal or Bright) Tickbox options include; Auto load windows, Hide Frames Labels, Duplicate Popup, Hide 3d model... the "Hover" can be set to; velocity, Position or Auto. You can Enable the PFD-HDG, have a Realistic "Direct To" and a Custom VRS-Vortex Ring State (X-Plane 12 only). You can enable the "Replay mode", Show VFR labels, Hide the main rotor, Force the collective for ALT, and Use the collective with ATT. Notable is that the above is for what you would call a professional grade setup, another layer of adjustment above the normal conditions. Sounds; Top is the "Master", then you have two separate selections for both the Interior and Exterior sounds... Engines, Starter, Transmission, Main Rotor, Avionics, Cockpit and AWS - Advanced Warning System Anim (Animation). Left are the door sliders; Pilot, Co-Pilot, Rear Right & Rear Left. There is a glareshield animation which we will see soon. Bottom is a "Rotor Demo" that turns the rotors. MISC. are optional objects; Top are a pair of headsets in the cockpit, you can also touch them to hide. You can have the choice of putting the duel UHF aerials under the front fuselage, or a single one on the roof left. The sliding Step on the lower right fuselage can be seen or hidden if required. Detail of the step is excellent, only a step, but so well done. Last two options is an external Camera, and Anchor Plates on the fuselage. Crew... is the Pilot setting, Off (hidden), On (visible), or Auto (pilot visible only from the external view). Remove Before Flight... This set of options will put a load of tags, covers and plugs on the AW 109, including; Engine cover and plug (left and right), Pitot (left & right), cowlings (left & right) and set some nice wheel chocks. You can also "Ignore RBF" or hide them all. Maps; On this menu page you can insert custom area maps on the central "Mission Display" (MFD Multi-Functional Display). Obstacles; Selections of "Obstacle Groups" can be selected from this menu page. Windows: You can load and save instrument windows, and there are ten pop-out options available, SBY (Standby), EDU (1&2), PFD (Pilot/Co-Pilot), ND (Navigation Display), RTU (Radio) and Mission Display. The popup Window panels will also be seen soon. Operations: under the "Operations" there is only one option... to hide or show the rear wheel chocks. Cockpit. First view of the AW 109SP Instrument panel is a moment... Your actually shocked on how really good in realism it all is, it just "Blows your mind". The trick is in the instrument displays, they are an unusual colour in a dark, dark purple. But they give the panel a feel and look of complete absolute realism.... "oh wow". As noted you can move the glareshield towards you, if you want more shade over the instruments. OHD (Overhead Panel) is excellent, and big for a small helicopter... Lower panel is also really well done. Like noted earlier, the boundries are very tight in here, so moving around for a different angle to the instrument panel is quite difficult, hence the odd FOV angles to see the lovely white leather front seats. The VIP fitout and cockpit/cabin materials are all top notch, beautifully done and all very real. It is a seriously nice workplace. Look hard at the majestic fitted carpet... incredible, and the door frame moldings, perfection! Another "blows you mind" moment is when the instruments are powered up, it is not just blown this time, but your head explodes by the sheer detail before you, it is a kaleidoscope of colour... "wow', simply, "wow, wow". I will first note the excellent power up on all the displays, as each can be activated/shutdown separately via the units power switches (arrowed below). The procedures are beautifully activated, the centre EDU has a brief colour on startup, then it will "Test" the system, finally the IDU will display the current system information. The lower radio panels also take time to focus and turn on... it is all so very authentic, also highly realistic. All four IDU's popout in windows by pressing the centre of the IDU screen, also in the "Windows" menu as noted earlier. All the popout windows are scalable and can also be moved anywhere on the screen. Other popouts include the top Mission Display, SBY (Standby Instrument), EDU (Engine Display Unit) and RTU (Radio) Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS The highlight here is the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System). It comprises of two IDUs (Integrated Display Unit)s. Top the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and lower the MFD (Multi-Functional Display) with MAP. This set up is per normal with most Aircraft Avionic suits, but here the IDU-450 takes on a different concept. Notable is that the AW-109 has it's own dedicated set of EFIS flight systems software 8.0E, created by Genesys just for this machine, and that software version is replicated here by X-Trident. Note the 8.0E Manual can be downloaded directly from Genesys Aerosystems, the link is set below. In the last two decades, cockpit resources have followed the commercial carriers’ trend toward “Automation Centered” systems. These sophisticated systems minimize pilot involvement and automate control of the aircraft and its systems to the greatest extent possible, “pilot-centered” system. While still highly automated, this type of system, common in other military tactical applications, presents the pilot with information necessary to make decisions about the flight and take the appropriate actions. A good example is the Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS), which allows for highly automated approaches, but its predictive nature provides the pilot unprecedented awareness of upcoming maneuvers. EFIS Flight Logic goal is IFR-VFR equivalence and the basic concept of the FlightLogic EFIS is proven HUD symbology overlaying a real-time 3-D virtual reality view of the outside world. The resulting “Synthetic Vision” provides the pilot in IMC with the same simple visual clues for navigation and aircraft control as those used in VFR conditions. UPPER IDU (PFD) has the standard flying instruments, which are set out before the "Synthetic Vision" background, including the Speed and ALT tapes, Pitch and Artificial Horizon, Rate of Turn, and top a compass, also V/S Vertical Speed indicator is visible when used. The IDU has a simplistic military feel to the layout and to use. Access and selection is via the eight buttons set around the instrument. Left; FPL (FlightPlan), ACTV (Active), INFO and OBS... Right; MENU, BARO, NRST (Nearest). The MENU brings up the selections. (ZOOM, DCLTR, HRZ SYNC, DESIG and TIMER). BARO shows Barometer selections. NEAREST and OBS are also available. One tool is the "HORIZON SYNC", that locks the Artificial Horizon to the SYNTH VISION. IDU Menu selections are deep, and they need time to learn and navigate, there is a manual provided, it is also 500 pages long! LOWER IDU (MFD) The access buttons around the MFD are the same as the upper IDU, so do so the same menu actions... The MENU however has also a few different options; PAGE, FORMAT, DESIG and TIMER. Under PAGE you have eight screen options; MAP (Main), HSI (Horizontal Situation Display), NAV LOG, STRIKES, TRAFFIC, DATALINK, HOVER and WEATHER RADAR. HSI is your standard degree navigation tool, NAV LOG will show you your Flights, STRIKES (not yet implemented) will eventually show your current data, TRAFFIC will show the aircraft around you, DATALINK, the actual datalink page is not implemented here, but shows your control position (Cyclic & Rudder) and WEATHER RADAR shows the current weather. HOVER gives you a radar look of your hover position, movement and speed... we will look at this more in the flight section. The IDUs are brilliantly brought to life here, highly realistic and have excellent working menus. There are also like mentioned, a "deep dive" of branches of detail to get the most out of the Genesys system, "Study"... oh yes, certainly a study depth learning curve. EDU Centre instrument panel is the EDU (Electronic Display Unit), there are two units in EDU 1 and EDU 2. The EDUs are installed on the instrument panel and are identified as Primary EDU (EDU1), on the pilot side, and Secondary EDU (EDU2), on the co-pilot side. During normal operation both displays are operative. Important is that if one EDU goes out of operation, then the basic requirements of that EDU unit are then transferred to the other EDU unit called REVERSIONARY Mode. That aspect is really well done here. EDU 1 details N1, - TOT - TRQ - NR - N2 & Caution, Warning and Advisory messages EDU 2 details - Engine 1 oil pressure - Engine 1 oil temperature - Transmission oil pressure - Transmission oil temperature - OAT - Engine 2 oil pressure - Engine 2 oil temperature - Main hydraulic pressure 1 & 2 - Fuel Quantity - Fuel Pressure - Utility hydraulic pressure - DC current - DC voltage - AC voltage - Fuel flow - Normal utility hydraulic pressure - Emergency utility hydraulic pressure and Advisory and status messages. ON-OFF is the EDU power switch, BRT-DIM the unit's brightness. You can CLR mesages, and ENT (Enter) details, and the non label right lower scroll switch is for editing the Caution, Warning and Advisory messages (CWA), or new options to be scrolled. Caution/Warning menu is – WARNING messages (red) – CAUTION messages (yellow) – ADVISORY messages (green) – STATUS messages (cyan). M - Menu. Lower on each EDU is a menu button "M". This gives you a lower menu that covers three main options... - START. This key selects the START mode on the EDU1. – CRUISE. This key selects the CRUISE mode on the EDU1. – MAIN. This key selects the MAIN mode on the EDU2. Secondary options include – AUX. This key selects the AUX (auxiliary) mode (i.e. hydraulic, electrical and fuel information) on the EDU2. – TEST. This key initiates the BIT of the IDS system. It can be operated only when the helicopter is on the ground (WOW active). – POWER CHECK. This key initiates the Power Assurance Check recording. The "TEST" mode is particualarly well done.. RMS & APMS Centre lower panel are both the Radio Management System (RMS) panels, each side of the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS) RTU 1 is right (Pilot) and COMM 2/NAV 2, RTU 2 is left (Co-Pilot) and is COMM 1/NAV 1. The central APMS is part of the AFCS - Automatic Flight Control System, and is basically a SAS or Stability Augmentation System. It stabilises a helicopter against pitch and roll disturbances due to wind gusts and turbulence. Modern systems include yaw as well and are sometimes called “three-axis systems. But the APMS is a far more advanced SAS in being say just an Automatic system, rather than a Manual action, Airbusie to Boeing if you sort of know what I mean. We will look at the APMS in more detail when flying the aircraft. Mission Display Located top central of the Instrument panel is the large "Mission Display". It has four options, PiP - Picture-in-Picture with a compass, "North UP" is also available. There are two settings for the External "Video Camera", close (ENHC - Enhanced) and long. You can zoom the MAP all the way out and in, via the Pop-out panel, there will be the option to add in moving maps. OHP (Over Head Panel) covers ELEC, LIGHT (Internal and External), FIRE EXTINGUISHER, VENT, AVNX BAY and ECS - Environmental Control System. All Circuit Breakers (Fuses) work. Both Throttle handles control the power to each engine, in set positions, and there is a very nice Rotor Brake as well. Lower panel covers Landing Gear lever and indicator lights, Park Brake, Fuel Valves, Engine Modes, AHRS - Attitude and Heading Reference System, and AURAL WARNING options. Cyclic and Collective There is great detail and functionality on both the Cyclic and Collective controls, slightly less on the Co-Pilot's control set. Pilot's Collective has 2 engine GOV (governors), Engine Trim, Float, Main Trim, Search Light and Landing/Taxi lights, there is a Master rest on the handle. On the Cyclic is a ATT (Attitude Retention System), Wiper (right), NR, Main Trim and a AP DISC (Autopilot disconnect. Co-Pilot's Collective is slimmed down to Engine Trim, External Search Light and Main Trim, on the Cyclic is the ATT button, Wiper (left), Main Trim and AP DISC. AW109 Lighting In my version the lighting feels not finished? There are three adjustment knobs for the INST PNL (Instruments Panel), OVHD (OverHead Panel) and PED (Pedestal), mostly the highlighting. There is a Cabin light, but it doesn't work? and the two overhead spot lights are dead as well. There is a DAY and NIGHT lighting mode and the Passenger Warning Lights work in the rear. External Lighting has very nice Landing/Taxi lights in the stub wings, Navigation Lights (Stub and Tail), Two Beacons (top and bottom fuselage). Under nose left is also a retractable "Search" light. __________ Flying the AW109 The first question is... is the AW109 easy to fly? This is still a helicopter with helicopter controls and feel, so you still fly it like a helicopter. But the trick here is that like an Airbus, it also has control laws and protections. These so called "helpers" do however smooth out your inputs and give you more control in the hover, modes you could call them. But it does make it a far more easier machine to master and control, so it is a very nice helicopter via it's controls, a sort of Limousine for the air, also noted as "Ferrari of the skies" because of it's speed. Now a note. You don't get an external power unit with the X-Trident AW109? So when you want to fly from a "Cold" set up, you have to move quickly once the battery switch is thrown, as your then on a "Battery Drain" timer, so you will need some engine/generator power as soon as possible. If you do go dead... the AgustaWestland is "dead, dead". And only a complete restart will get you back to life (a fault fix doesn't recharge the battery). Flightplans In most cases I don't usually do flightplans in Helicopters, as most flights are usually only short distances, or a circuit back to the same airport. But the AW109 is a more of point-to-point aircraft, and the flightplan system is extremely good here, so we will take a look at it... Select FPL (Flightplan) and it will show two options... SELECT and CREATE-EDIT. SELECT is a selection of .fms flightplans from your X-Plane/Output/FMS plans folder. The navigation of the flightplan selections is very easy via the right knob, press the centre to activate! CREATE-EDIT allows you to create a flightplan from scratch, or edit a flightplan. In CREDIT-EDIT mode you now have a menu option, CREATE FLIGHT PLAN, ACTIVATE FLIGHT PLAN, EDIT FLIGHT PLAN, (Reverse Flight Plan), (Delete Flight Plan), CREATE USER WPT (Lat-Lon) also (Rad-Dst), EDIT USER WAYPOINT, DELETE USER WAYPOINT and (Raim Prediction). Selecting "CREATE FLIGHT PLAN" will bring up the Flightplan editor.... with two options "EXIT" or, and back when editing ICAO codes. Press ADD to construct a Flightplan. You are given options in NRST APT, NEAREST VOR, NRST NDB, NRST FIX and NRST USER (AIRWAYS is also available). Then your Airport ICAO code can be directly keyboard entered via the lower box, return works as well. If you press NRST APT (Airport), the IDU will bring up a scroll box of nearby ICAO airports to choose from, again navigation is by the right knob and press the centre to activate. ADD again and this time a FIX (Waypoint - OKTOV), then build up the flight plan with the required VOR - NDB - FIX - USR - AIRWAYS... then another APT at the end. The system is very simple and extremely easy to use. When done you can SAVE the Flightplan to the the .fms folder. You can (edit) via INSERT or DELETE. Select the FIX or Navigation ICAO via the scroll knob, then select, or DELETE the FIX, INSERT is very much the same, by selecting the fix you want to add next, then fill in the ICAO. Flightplan competed it shows in the MAP and on the NAV LOG page. Other MAP options include; CENTER, N (North UP), PAN ON, SYMB DCLUTR and FNCT DCLTR (hint here, the TERRAIN selection is hidden in the FNCT menu). MAP RANGE (zoom) is also available, and DIRECT-TO is also great for changing the flightplan in flight. Just add in the FIX ICAO code lower right, or select from the NRST scroll list The flightplan mode is a very solid piece of work from X-Trident, and it is very well replicated from the original Genesys system. LFML (Marseille Provence) to LFMN (Nice Côte d'Azur Airport) Fuel selected on the lower console, and the Throttles are both set to Idle.... the engine starters (1&2) are on the top of the throttles, then you watch the EDUs come alive as the aircraft goes into a start mode. It is all Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), so the start procedure for each PW-206C is fully automatic... In come the start up procedure sounds, the start whine then the rotor clatter, but clatter is not the right word, an air-conditioned high whirr is closer in sounds to this modern machine. Both throttles go forward to "Flight" and the "NR" goes to maximum, wait a few moments to gain the extra thrust, then your ready to go... Feel is everything with helicopters, hands and feet. With the AW109 the feel is slightly different? The software helps in the controls, helping you manoeuvre the machine, mostly by giving you more of a wider parameter to work with. The effect is opposite... as the machine will take smaller inputs, as explained by the yaw in the tail-rotor... so usually in most cases you have to use a LOT of right rudder to control the tail rotor thrust, but here you don't as the thrust is more centralised, so you don't have to push so hard, as the system compensates for you. So getting up into a hover, and keeping the AW109 straight is very easy. I can even store the gear in the hover, just by holding the machine static with absolutely no effort. Slightly nose down and bit of collective and your moving forwards, more nose and more collective, and your now gaining speed. So manual flying with the AW190SP is excellent, a pussy cat really. As you can easily get the altitude and adjust forward speed that you want. Here now I am doing 131 forward knots and 1600ft. There is a reason for this? I need a steady forward speed and height to activate the APMS or Autopilot. To activate you select the AP1 & AP2 buttons, Then press the ALT pyramid to hold the altitude, then HDG for the heading selection. All your APMS selections are shown in the lower box on the upper IDU. The APMS does require a bit of study, it is a complicated system to a point, to navigate, but once you have worked it out, it is brilliant to use. Some adjustments work on the fly, like speed (IAS) and V/S, but a few are select, then press the button on/off, in this case the HDG, select the new heading then click the HDG buton off then back on, and only then will the AW109 go to the new heading. Now the Autopilot is flying the aircraft, and so I head back to the start point of my flightplan... I spent time doing the flightplan, because it is an excellent requirement for one of the best features of the Genesys system... I get past the first APT waypoint then line up the flightplan, then I press NAV to engage the AP to the flightplan. Once you activate the flightplan, you get a tunnel of wireframes on the upper IDU, that you will fly though, and they are your route guide right through the flightplan... first you align with the wireframe tunnel, then it becomes the central part of the PFD. It is exceptionally well done, beyond brilliant, so very authentic. The machine is quite automatic, the APMS system will adjust for you in Speed (collective) and Altitude. Select a new altitude and then set the V/S for the speed of the climb (or descent), press ALTA to hold that altitude and the aircraft does the rest. Both IDU's are also independent of each other, so you can have different range (zoom) levels on either display At each waypoint you will get a symbol in the PFD IDU, a circle that gets larger as you approach the FIX... as go though the circle you will then go to your new heading, again it is all fabulously well done. Selecting the NAV LOG will give you your full Flightplan with detailed Waypoints, Path, Distance, ETE, ETA and your Fuel useage. Other waypoints use other symbols, here an NDB waypoint shows the point of the position of the NDB on the forward IDU map. The AW108SP has a maximum speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn), a cruise speed around 285 km/h (177 mph, 154 kn) and a never exceed speed of 311 km/h (193 mph, 168 kn). The ferry range is 932 km (579 mi, 503 nmi) and the the Rate of climb is 9.8 m/s (1,930 ft/min). Spectacular is the cockpit in flight, the rear cabin is not bad either for the Logan Family, as we cruise by the French Riviera heading towards Nice. Now at the final turn to Nice (LFMN), the final turn has a different fix symbol in a diamond on a point. I am now down to an 80 kts approach speed at 200 ft... time to activate another brilliant feature, "HOVER" mode. The button is however slightly hidden on the very right middle on the APMS panel. Once activated the HOVER display is automatically shown in the lower IDU. Activating and the AW109 with then slowly come to a stop at the designated height. On the display the Flight path marker is removed at low speed, <30 knots groundspeed, and is replaced with hover vector symbology. The hover vector indicates direction and groundspeed of drift at low groundspeeds (when lower than 30 IAS) consisting of Large Aircraft Symbol Reference Marks, an inner concentric ring indicating ten knots groundspeed, an outer concentric ring indicating 20 knotsgroundspeed, and a vertical and horizontal dashed line passing through the center extending to the outer ring. You manoeuvre in the HOVER by using your HAT (Joystick) set to Trim, Up, Down, Left, Right and a purple circle is your target point (arrowed) that moves at your commands, then the AW109 will follow in that direction... The pad's H will also show in the display to get the perfect alignment of the landing pad... You then use the RHT knob on the APMS panel to descend (or gain height) with the Vertical Reference system VRS-3000, which is also available to make an absolute perfect landing! It is totally brilliant, simply easy to use and a dream for those that struggle to land Helicopters... the old way to manually fly to a hover then land, still works, but this is way more fun and engaging. By the way I landed with my feet off the rudder pedals! I can't even get close the detail and symbology available here with this Genesys System in a review and provided here by X-Trident, as noted the manual is 500 pages long, highly detailed, but well worth studying... I will note it is certainly another major level in helicopter flight immersion, I was totally captivated by what you have here at your disposal... unbelievably brilliant by X-Trident. Liveries There are four liveries (with more expected). Default is the Brazilian Havan PP-UUU, plus MountainFlyers, Silver OM-TVR and a clever Thunderbird 1. Summary The AgustaWestland AW109, originally the Agusta A109, is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter designed and initially produced by the Italian rotorcraft manufacturer Agusta. It is known for its speed, elegant appearance and ease of control. X-Trident have a lot of experience and also a great "Track Record" in the X-Plane Simulator, certainly with quality helicopters, with the formidable Bell AB 412 and the CH-47D Chinook being the class of the field. X-Trident have also dabbled with the Tornado and Harrier AV-8B in the fixed wing military arena. X-Plane 12 is delivering exceptional quality aircraft for the X-Plane Simulator, and the AgustaWestland AW109SP is certainly well within that "Excellent" category. Quality and detail is off the chart, as we approach perfection in realism, as there is nothing to fault here, just to admire. The rotor head/tail rotor is fully animated and detailed, right down to the last nut and screw, perfect glass is highlighted by the top rated undercarrriage with it's realistic hubs and tyres. The P&W Canada PW206C Turboshaft engine is only partly viewable, but well done. The focus is on the avionics, or the installation of the Genesys Aerosystems IDU-450 EFIS. This is a deeply conceived system with built in “Synthetic Vision”, there are two sets of IDUs for both PFD and MFD for both pilots. EDUs (Electronic Display Units) are also highly developed as is the Backup Instrument, and Radio RDU. Another highlight is the Automatic Pilot Management System (APMS) Or Autopilot with built in Auto hover. The APMS is a highlight of the machine, but in also adding in the flightplan capability and symbology, it is a major step forward in Helicopter flight immersion. Both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11 separate versions are part of the package. Sounds are not a highlighted feature here, but they are FMOD 2 and quality based from a real AW109, I really liked them and the 3d dynamic sound was very good internally and externally. Features are however not overly represented for a helicopter, with the focus on the Pro market for menu settings and features. Only one cabin version, and even missing a Co-Pilot and Passengers, the usual wire cutters, mirrors, doors off, belly hook and even an external Ground Power Unit are all missing. The AugustaWestland AW109SP represents another level of immersion in the competitive X-Plane arena of vertical flight, big words can be said here, Amazing, Incredible, Category Dominating, Totally Immersive.... The AW109SP is all of these things and more, another step forward, another height achieved, overall it is a damn nice helicopter to use and fly, and a totally worthwhile investment. __________________ Yes! - the AgustaWestland AW109SP by X-Trident is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : AgustaWestland AW109SP Price is US$45.00 Requirements Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 2 Separate files are provided at no additional cost Mac, Windows, Linux 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 593 MB Current version: 1.0 (May 11th 2024) Designed by X-Trident Support forum for the AgustaWestland AW109SP Download The AW109SP is a 432Mb download with an installation size of 934Mb, in your X-Plane Aircraft folder, this is an X-Plane 12 aircraft only. All updates are via the built-in Skunkcrafts Updater Documentation There is excellent full coverage documentation and installation details for the AW109SP, including; 10_AW109SP for X-Plane - quick guide v1.0.pdf 20_AW109SP for X-Plane - AP and FMS tutorial v1.0.pdf 30_AW109SP for X-Plane - CHECK LIST v1.0.pdf The Full "8_0E-IDU-450-Rotorcraft-Rev-A" Genesys System manual is available for download here; https://genesys-aerosystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/8_0E-IDU-450-Rotorcraft-Rev-A.pdf _____________________ 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 Version 12.05r1 Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 Scenery or Aircraft - LFML- Airport Marseille XP by At (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.99 - LFMN - Nice Cote d'Azur v2 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$18.50 Review by Stephen Dutton 12th May 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! - Aircraft Updated : CH47D Chinook by X-Trident to X-Plane 12 One of the great things about being active in a review site, is that a lot of times you are the bearer of very good news... so yes I'm very happy to announce that the X-Trident CH47D Chinook is now available for X-Plane 12, better news still the release is an update, not a paid upgrade, so the conversion to X-Plane 12 is free! There are no new features, but then again the X-Plane 11 version had a truck load of features, so it was, or could have been hard to add in anything new anyway, but the conversion does cover all the X-Plane 12 facets in performance and windshield effects (rain, ice, de-ice). The CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. The Chinook possesses several means of loading various cargoes, including multiple doors across the fuselage, a wide loading ramp located at the rear of the fuselage and a total of three external ventral cargo hooks to carry underslung loads. The internal detail is incredible... all the doors open of course, and in flight! Sensational before, in X-Plane 12 the X-Trident Chinook is simply outstanding, the quality here is overwhelming.... Features include: Highly detailed 3D model with immersive light systems FMOD sounds with user profiles Animated doors and hatch Accurate engine and systems management Accurate AFCS (with support for both self-centering and non-centering joysticks) Accurate 4 axis autopilot with VOR, TACAN, ADF and GPS navigation External loads (with load/save and flight to options) and cargo drop Compatible with Reality XP Animated ground crew Self hiding pilot and copilot Animated custom fuel truck (with drive and self drive modes) Custom control panels Optional chaff dispenser Paint kit Particle effects (heat, disk tip vortices) For a full comprehensive overview of the features and systems of the CH-47D, here is the X-Plane Reviews X-Plane 11 release review: Aircraft Review : Boeing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident Video is also X-Plane 11, but still very exciting to watch... The X-Plane 12 version of the X-Trident CH-47D Chinook is now available for update or purchase at the X-Plane.OrgStore. Designed by X-Trident Support forum for the CH-47D Chinook ___________________________________ Yes! the Boeing CH47-D Chinook X-Plane 12 by X-Trident is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing CH47-D Chinook-X-Trident Price is US$38.95 Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Mac, Windows, Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 593 MB Current version: 2.0 (April 2nd 2023) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 3rd April 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 Rights Reserved
  3. NEWS! - Bell 412 now fully X-Plane 12 compatible by X-Trident When X-Plane 12 went to beta (Sept 2022), X-Trident put out a patch to allow you to fly the Bell 512 in the new Simulator version. It was just a patch mind you, not an X-Plane 12 compatible aircraft. Here is v5.0. And with this version release you now get full compatibility with X-Plane 12 (now final, but that is actually debatable?). In others words, one of the very best helicopters for the X-Plane Simulator is now X-Plane 12 updated and compliant. The Bell 412 is a utility helicopter of the Huey family manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a development of the Bell 212, with the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor. The v5.0 update covers the full compatibility with X-Plane 12, with the added rain (Librain) and wipers effects. A new feature is the added weight sliders for every transportable item (pilots, crew, cargo). Feature list is excellent; Full compatibility with X-Plane 12 (and X-Plane 11) Rain and wipers effects (XP12) Weight sliders for every transportable item (pilots, crew, cargo) Highly detailed 3d model and 3d cockpit. Most switches operable Detailed rotor kinematic modeling Detailed lights Close to real fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems; start-up sequence follows the real checklist almost line by line Custom failures Working custom auxiliary tank and water drop system Working dolly pad for precision landing Custom warning panel Custom governor Custom artificial stability Custom 4 channels autopilot with over 10 modes Flight model approved and tweaked by real pilots Hyper detailed rotor with all its levers moving ud and down, Custom GPU Custom Remove Before Flight with dangling flags (with FOD) ADF with bank error Working doors with changing sound volume effect Many liveries plus a paint kit; smart configuration of optional objects attached to each livery Plugin for Windows, Mac and Linux - detailed custom menu Includes a licensed version of Dreamfoil's Geforce plugin Working NIGHTSUN Spotlight Working FLIR Camera Custom Winch and SAR operations X-PlaneReviews update v3.0 review is here; Aircraft Update : Agusta Bell AB412 v3.0 by X-Trident The X-Trident Bell 412 v 5.0 update is now available at the X-Plane.OrgStore. Just go to your account and get the free update... __________________________ Yes! Bell 412 XP12 v5.0 by X-Trident is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Bell 412 XP12 Price Is US$35.99 Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 Mac, Windows, Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 5.0 (February 10th 2022) ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 11th February 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 Rights Reserved
  4. News! - X-Trident update the CH47-D Chinook to v1.1 Most developers do a followup update after an aircraft release to do a tidy up of bugs, fixes and small changes. This is the one for the amazing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident to version v1.1. Full review is here: Aircraft Review : Boeing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident The v1.1 update is set out in three separate sections consisting of; Corrections and new features, x-plane commands (mapped to plugin functions) and new “CH47” custom commands. New is; added sound effects for switches and buttons (new volume slider in the sound control panel), new button "DEFAULT" in the sound control panel, new manipulator on the left side magic paper sheet to open the custom control panel, added checklist, new manipulators for rudder pedals and new manipulators to release the parking brakes. The rest are corrections and fixes... the full v1.1 changelog is here: Version 1.1 (June 9th 2021) Corrections and new features: VR support for the custom control panel fixed shininess tags for liveries added sound effects for switches and buttons (new volume slider in the sound control panel) new tag "no_antiglare" for liveries new button "DEFAULT" in the sound control panel. Hit to make the current profile the default one to be loaded whith the aircraft APU switch now works in VR EAPS fan switches now moving correctly most manipulators' pointers now consistent with their corresponding action new manipulator on the left side magic paper sheet to open the custom control panel park brake lever is now dual action (set & release) - not realistic but possibly a lot more usable cyclic operated with VR controller does not self center when used with non centering joy option checkbox option in the fuel control panel to save the amount of fuel per tank, on exit new slider in the fuel control panel to set the desired fuel quantity updated user's guide (documents folder) added checklist (documents folder) engine start switches should now work (again) also in VR and should be easier to manipulate new manipulators for rudder pedals new manipulators to release the parking brakes - these are a just a tiny bit difficult to locate - they correspond to the top of the rudder pedals and it is possible to click them also when they are partially hidden by the front panel x-plane commands (mapped to plugin functions): apu start, apu on, apu off, apu generator on, apu generator off: all apu functions autopilot heading select: heading hold autopilot altitude select or hold: alt hold autopilot terrain-mode following: radio alt hold throttle up 1, throttle up 2, throttle down 1, throttle down 2: move engine condition lever, per engine clear master caution: clear master caution aim spotlight left, aim spotlight right, aim spotlight up, aim spotlight down: aim both pilot (visible) and copilot (IR) search lights “CH47” custom commands: att hold level: attitude hold leveling rpm 1 increase, rpm 2 increase, rpm 1 decrease, rpm 2 decrease: rpm trim, per engine start engine 1, start engine 2: engine start, per engine apu start-run-stop: smart control of the APU with one single command apu gen: toggle apu generator gen1, gen2: toggle generator, per engine battery: toggle battery fuel pump aft aux1, fuel pump main aft1, fuel pump main fwd1, fuel pump fwd aux1, fuel pump aft aux2, fuel pump main aft2, fuel pump main fwd2, fuel pump fwd aux2: fuel pumps hyd1, hyd2: hydraulic transfer 1, hydraulic transfer 2 ramp up, ramp down: ramp up, ramp down load select next, load select previous: get slung load ready to connect load connect current: attach the currently selected load (reminder: use x-plane's jettison payload command to drop) afcs inc, afcs dec: AFCS knob fuel quantity inc, fuel quantity dec: fuel quantity knob xmsn temp inc, xmsn temp dec: transmission temperature knob xmsn press inc, xmsn press dec: transmission pressure knob nav display inc, nav display dec: GPS/DOP display knob nav mode inc, nav mode dec: GPS/DOP mode knob door open,door close: start/stop commands to operate the starboard door To update to the CH47-D v1.1 version, then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the new version, which is available now. ___________________________________ Yes! the Boeing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing CH47-D Chinook-X-Trident Price is US$38.95 Features Include: Highly detailed 3D model with immersive light systems FMOD sounds with user profiles Accurate engine and systems management Accurate AFCS (with support for both self-centering and non-centering joysticks) Accurate 4 axis autopilot with VOR, TACAN, ADF and GPS navigation External loads (with load/save and flight to options) and cargo drop Compatible with Reality XP Animated ground crew Animated custom fuel truck (with drive and self drive modes) Custom control panels Requirements X-Plane 11 Mac, Windows, Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 480 MB Current version: 1.1 (9th June 2021) ________________________________________ News! Update by Stephen Dutton 11th June 2021 Copyright©2021: 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. Aircraft Review : Boeing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident There are many significantly important helicopters throughout aviation's history, From the early Sikorsky R-4, Fairy FB-1 Gyrodyne, Sikorsky S-55, Bell 45/H-13, to the 50's in the Bell UH-1 Iroquois and in later decades the S-61 Seaking, CH-53 Sea Stallion (S-65), UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-53E Super Stallion ... but in twin-rotor form there has been fewer significant designs... The Piasecki H-21 (Vertol) and the Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is another, but think of any heavy Twin Rotor helicopter and really only one aircraft comes to mind... The Boeing CH-47 Chinook. The CH-47 totally defines twin rotor machines, in even that the first model flew as nearly 60 years ago on 21 September 1961, it is still today the primary go-to aircraft for heavy-lift operations and is still in service with most major armed forces and most significant commercial operators around the world today. The Chinook is simply an unbeatable, irreplaceable machine in this heavy helicopter category. The Chinook version and variant list is as long as your arm, highly modified, but also still very relatable to that very first Vertol V-107 model it was originally developed from. Officially the Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter developed by the American rotorcraft company Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol (later renamed Boeing Helicopter and now named Boeing Rotorcraft Systems). The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Its name, Chinook, is from the Native American Chinook people of Washington state, United States. The Chinook was originally designed by Vertol, which had begun work in 1957 on a new tandem-rotor helicopter, designated as the Vertol Model 107 or V-107. Around the same time, the United States Department of the Army announced its intention to replace the piston engine-powered Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave with a new, gas turbine-powered helicopter. During June 1958, the U.S. Army ordered a small number of V-107s from Vertol under the YHC-1A designation; following testing, it came to be considered by some Army officials to be too heavy for the assault missions and too light for transport purposes. While the YHC-1A would be improved and adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as the CH-46 Sea Knight, the Army sought a heavier transport helicopter, and ordered an enlarged derivative of the V-107 with the Vertol designation Model 114. Initially designated as the YCH-1B, on 21 September 1961, the preproduction rotorcraft performed its maiden flight. In 1962, the HC-1B was redesignated CH-47A under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system. The Chinook possesses several means of loading it's various cargoes, including multiple doors across the fuselage, a wide loading ramp located at the rear of the fuselage and a total of three external ventral cargo hooks to carry underslung loads. One of the most substantial variants to be produced was the CH-47D which is this model version here, which first entered service in 1982; improvements from the CH-47C standard included upgraded engines, composite rotor blades, a redesigned cockpit to reduce workload, improved and redundant electrical systems and avionics, and the adoption of an advanced flight control system. The CH-47F with the newer avionics, that include the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit, and BAE Systems' Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS) was rejected on the grounds that the CH-47D was a more significant "Old School" model, but the aircraft here does still have the required significant systems built in to aid flying the machine. This is not X-Trident's first helicopter for the X-Plane Simulator. That was the magnificent Bell AB412, so you will already expect a lot from their new Chinook creation. The bar with the AB412 was set early very high, not only in the quality of the machine, but in the features and excellent flying performance, and the aircraft is certainly a staple go-to helicopter for reviews, and in some ways one of the best helicopters in X-Plane, but the absolute pro's will always debate that factor. The AB412 is actually an old design now as it was released back in 2014, the AB412 is however not a dated design, in fact with the consistent updates over the years it feels perfectly modern and totally realistic in this later date. To note that besides the AB412, X-Trident have also released a Panavia Tornado GR4 and a very nice McDonnell Douglas Harrier AV-8B. After a very long development time as the aircraft was announced as far back as 2018, you were expecting a lot from X-Trident's new mega bird, thankfully we are not at all disappointed... This X-Trident "Chinook" is however not the first one available in X-Plane, as another Boeing CH47-D Chinook was created for X-Plane v9.70 by Brett s, X-Plane's resident helicopter Guru, with Brett s involved that CH47-D flew very well, but it is now also 12 years old. To note that Brett s has also had a huge impact on creating this current X-Trident version, in both feedback and detailed instructions on the 47D aircraft and of course the heavy testing. At X-PlaneReviews we can be say... a little rough on a lot of developers in the quality stakes. No doubt a lot of the developers work hard and deliver amazing aircraft, but from our perspective they are always up against the sort of ultra development work as shown here. This level of quality and design, it then goes and lifts the level up to another higher perspective, and once seen you can't simply un-see this level of quality and craftmanship, so the boundary goes ever higher, what was brilliant even three or four years ago, now today looks average. The early pundits are already high here, exceptional, brilliant... "take your breath away" are all accolades that refer to the detail and design presented here from X-Trident... The textures and normals (NML) work here is simply breathtaking, there is an overwhelmingly solid and perfect detail in the panels and the rivet work, finer detail like fuselage mesh vents are also perfection, highly, highly realistic, your eyes are everywhere in want to absorbing in the myriad of details. The aircraft uses the Lycoming T55, now Honeywell T55-GA-714A later version 4,867 shp (3,631 kW) engines, the earlier T55-L-714 had only 4,110 shp (3,066 kW), so the uprated "A" version had a significant power increase over the original installation, and an increased sling capacity of 26,000 lb. The T55 engines have both been exceptionally reproduced here, not only the authentic outer exhaust and inner cone, but the jaw-dropping inlet mesh (screen) that reeks of realism. Hidden behind the (upper) mesh is the extraordinary detail of both the T55 engines and the gearboxes. Note the also expertly detailed infrared countermeasure flare containers. The aircraft uses a Solar T62-T-2B Titan APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) 95 hp (71 kW) at 56,700 turbine rpm, and you can see the well detailed mesh (again) inlet and circular APU outlet. The glass work here is also exceptional, beautifully curved with lovely depth, and looks simply highly realistic in most environments, reflections are also perfect. The trick is not the glass itself, but the way it is intergrated into the modeling that makes it so perfect, and so it all is here. You love the glass, but the exceptional detail behind it also takes your breath away in the extreme detailing of the rudder pedal hydraulics and associated piping and assemblies. The overhead panels are however clear and not shaded green. There are four circular windows (five if you count the hatch) on each side of the fuselage, and you can have the choice of a single or dual bubble windows at the rear of the two windows. Glass quality is again exceptional, including the visible poly layer at the right sun angles. In reality the fixed landing gear on the Chinook is quite simple. Twin front pairs and a single rear pair is all you need... on the front not much is shown, but note the nice disks and labels from the braking system. The single rear wheel gear assembly is far more visible (if you get right under the machine), and the gear assemblies with the associated piping work is a work of art by itself and the gear assemblies are animated. Fixation is always on the rotor assemblies on any helicopter, it is the core component of the machine. The X-Trident AB512 was exceptional in this case, not only highly detailed, but also fully animated... we expected the same. You get half of the deal here anyway... The head assembly detail is of course again exceptional, beautifully done. You can spend hours dissecting the rotor head all into all the components, levers and rods, incredible modeling. But the head is static, and not animated... the point to make is that a rotor head of this complexity and size would need the extra power to move it, in other words hydraulic pressure or strength power. So in reality the components would not move unless the heads are active, the fast moving components would be hard to see anyway... so why bother? The rear rotor head is just as complicated, but with the nicely different colour bands on the arms and nuts for difference. Overall you have exceptional detail and modeling that really brings out the authentic feel of the "Chinook". You really can't ask for more can you. Before we move to the interior, then we will stay external and look at the extensive menu system. Menus The menu system is positioned within the main X-Plane Menu header line. There are two lists of menu options; Load, Options, Toggle FPS and Show FMS... Load: Allows you add an "Ground Object" this is for the sling load option. Toggle FPS: brings up the usual default X-Plane framerate counter, under a key toggle. Show FMS: pops-up the X-Plane default GNS530 panel. Options: The Options panel has a nine tab selection (Configurations); Controls, Lights, Ext Lights, Setup, Doors, Misc, Loads, Fuel and Sound. Controls: The controls panel is a tool to control certain aspects of the aircraft. AFCS (Advanced Flight Control System) and more on this complex system later, HDG (heading), ALT (Altitude) and RAD. (Radar) ALT holds, Enable HDG, IAS, and show HSI VOR, HSI TCN and HSI GPS. Lights: This is a go-to internal lighting panel with an extensive 19 sliders that covers instruments, console, overhead, flood lights, and detailed instruments (it saves you tons of time when searching for a certain light or lighting knob). Ext Lights: The Ext (External) Lighting panel is the same as the internal above, but covers the outside of the aircraft. Formation Lights, Position Blinker, Anticoll (Anti-Collision), Search Lights (Pilot/CoPilot), NIghtvision, and underside "Hook" lighting. Comes with 10 sliders and two selection boxes. Setup: The Setup panel is very similar to the X-Plane "Control Sensitivity" panel (Menu/Joystick/Control Sensitivity). But you could note it as an override panel of those settings. The ACFS setting is important, but getting the right response (feel) settings to suit you is also important. There is a "Safe" that can be set for the Collective. Doors: The "doors" panel gives you complete control over the doors on the aircraft, this is not just a push option choice, but a slider option of where you want the doors position to be set. You can open/close the main front entry doors, rear ramp, both Pilot and CoPilot side windows and remove the hatch on the left side... more options include a lower floor hatch and the right side Fuel Hatch. Using the sliders gives you full door control on both the upper and lower sections, so the rear ramp can be fully down or level (in flight) or to use in the famous "pinnacle landing" of balancing the ramp on the (usually high ground) while the nose is in flight. ... only the low and medium two positions are noted in the cockpit, but in reality you can set any of the door (window) positions where you pretty well want it. The main right side entrance is again a two section opening... the top slides internally into the roof, and the lower drops down outwards with a set of built in stairs. It is just finding the configuration that suits you best. Misc (Miscellaneous): This option panel allows you to set the various options to enhance the simulation of the aircraft... and a great set of clever ideas are available here as well. The first Misc setting is for the Oxygen supply to be on or off, if flying above 15000ft. Then there are two options for the Static Elements. The first covers the blade hold-downs, tons of "Remove Before Flight" tags, vent covers, engine inlet and exhaust outlet covers.... and the "Extra" option then also provides covers over the rotor heads and adds on more "Remove Before Flight" tags. There is the optional rear web seating. It comes in three settings; Removed, Folded and Normal. The web seating detail and quality is outstanding. Next is the Variant options. These include, some very nice bright red skis, Two hooks (main and rear) (and don't forget the third under the floor), a hoist and the double bubble window option we have seen earlier. Crew; the right side of the Misc panel covers the various crew. There are two fully military fatigued Pilots (The British Crew are in blue), in a main Pilot and a CoPilot. They are not animated, but very well done. You have three choices in Off (hide), On (show) and Auto to show when required. Next crew options are the Landing (Assistants) and Load (Assistants). You have crew standing or kneeling by the side or ramp doors, or literally hanging themselves out of the open doors and head down through the floor hatch! You can have both options at the same time to double the fun. We are not finished yet either! There are two "Flight Assistants" that are animated to "Sit" in the aircraft... or walk to the rear of the aircraft and jump aboard the Chinook, more fun is that you can "Stand By" or stop, freeze... whatever, the flight crew anytime you want to, and yes it is very cool and a lot of fun to use. Again the British crews are in blue and all called "Boyer" Notable is the idea of a full rear crew company sitting in the aircraft, that would be nice? The final option on the "Misc" panel is the option to guarantee compatibility with “Reality XP” products. (but no notes on which ones). Loads: The "Loads' Panel allows you to select and manage the objects for slinging under the aircraft... Currently there are six choices with Blivets (fuel tanks), Helicopter, Humvee, M777 (Tank), Rubik (Cube) and Logs. You can "Auto Connect... where OFF is inactive, loads must be manually then connected through the “CONNECT” button, otherwise loads are automatically connected by ground crew when you fly close enough; the required precision is defined by selecting the EASY / DEFAULT / HARD selection options... there is a "Drop" load option as well. You can also set the Cable Length, and save the "Situation" to quickly reload. Sling Loads are of course great fun... and you can select as noted an external object to add to the sling load. I dropped (or dumped) this Humvee into the sea.... because I could! There is also a cargo option in carrying six boxes in the rear deck... to use you are required to swap over the CH47.acf file provided in the "Configurations" folder. To make the boxes appear, you have to go to the main menu and the "Weapons" selection, and press the "Reset to Default Armament" and then the cargo boxes will be noted and appear in the aircraft, you can of course drop them out of the rear door. Fuel: The "Fuel" panel can reload the aircraft with fuel, but note you can't adjust the amount of fuel going in, only which tank to fill to the brim? To refuel you also have a 8-wheeler military fuel truck that is again animated. On "Show" The Truck appears about 100meters away. In "Manual Drive" You can drive the Truck through the Joystick pitch axis (fwd/aft) and rudder pedals (left/right). In "Self Drive" the Fuel truck is animated to drive around the Chinook to the correct refueling position. Use "Snap to position" and the Truck is instantly taken to the right refueling position. Once the fuel truck is in position, you can move the FUEL slider from OFF to CONNECT. Then Truck fuel hose gets connected and the Operator is ready to pump fuel to the helicopter. Set the slider to REFUEL to start transferring fuel from the Truck to the Helicopter. Note the excellent refueling operator. Sound: The sound panel has all the main sound sliders that can be controlled individually or via the "Master" sound slider. Two sliders are available for each sound, the left one is for the inside (Internal) noise, the right one for the outside (External) noise. VOR / MB: Allows setting the volume for VOR and MB (Marker Beacon) sounds. VOR ground stations emit a morse code representing three letters which identify the ground station; VOR slider sets the volume for the Morse code. Sound can also be completely excluded through the AUX switch on COMM panel. MB (Marker Beacon) emits a beep at different frequencies when overflying a ground emitter; MB sound cannot be completely excluded, its volume can be set through the MB slider. "Profiles" are pre-saved preferences, they can be loaded or overwritten once you have found your favorite sound blending (or setting). Select a profile to Load it or overwrite it with the Save option. Internal We have had already glimpsed the internal cabin or the rear deck of the Chinnok. As noted the external detail of this X-Trident Chinook is simply extraordinary, but have they skimped on the internal areas... not one bit. The modeling of the exposed rear is simply overwhelming in the sheer detailing of the aircraft's framework structures, then the associated electrical, hydraulic piping and control panels, everything is labeled or tagged for ultimate detail.... total perfection. Side wall and roof authentic diamond soundproofing and insulation material is again really well done, and very well intergrated into the cabin areas... It is however quite dark in here, and hard to get any light into the rear deck area, but certainly spend the time to absorb in all the detail, you won't regret it. Cockpit Access to the cockpit is via a tunnel, tight and small, you have to push through into another tight space that is the office. Again you get another huge wave of extreme detailing overload... this is just incredible! Credit were credit is due, the sheer complexity and authentic detail is amazing, you wanted the best, then here it is in all it's glory. It is as noted very tight in here, the movement of the limited space hits the boundaries quite quickly, so there is not a lot of areas you can explore very easily. But the seat detail and fabrics are first rate. The Rudder Pedals and Collective are again beautifully modeled in a pure military detail sort of design. Pedestal and Overhead Panel (OHP) are also highly detailed... Instrument panel The first thing you take in of the Instrument panel are the extreme wings of the glareshield, they work... if too well in covering the instruments from glare. To help we will turn the power supply on, there is as noted a built in APU to provide the ground power (there is no GPU). The flying instruments are dominated by two main central instruments, top the Attitude Indicator, which is a gyro stabilized sphere-shaped indicator, and lower the Horizonal Situation Indicator (HSI). Both can be adjusted, with the Attitude Indicator that can adjust the roll and pitch indications; corrections on pitch and roll are also taken into account by the AFCS. Lower the Heading and Course knobs can also be adjusted, and built in are N1 and N2 Bearings, Range/Course numbers, Course Deviation and Glide Slope Indicator... we are looking at detail, detail here folks. Left is the Anemometer (Speed) and Radio Altimeter (noted both in analog and digital form, the brightness can also be adjusted), bottom is a digital Clock and Chronometer... right top is Altimeter and below is Vertical Speed Indicator (V/S)... bottom is the Turn and Slip Indicator. The Radar brightness knob is far right. Below the HSI is the Navigation Mode Selector panel. Three dials are left of the main flying instruments and consist of top; Centre of Gravity Monitor (for loads), Engine Torque Indicators (Duel) and bottom Rotors RPM (Nr). The Co-Pilot's instruments are almost identical to the right side, except for the missing Centre of Gravity Monitor. There are master cautions (top) on each side, and panel notes... These panel notes can be changed and saved via a file in the Mission File folder (Plugins) and saved as a TXT file. Note the (what looks like a Radar display) but is actually a Missile Alert Display! Centre panel is dominated by two sets of instruments, one the are the Engine Gauges and two the very large CAUTION/ ADVISORY Panel. Engine gauges are in duel rows to cover both engines. Top row are the Gas Producer Tachometers, Then the Power Turbine Inlet Temperatures. Then the last two rows are the Engine Oil Temperatures top, and Oil Pressures lower. Right of the main engine gauges are two rows of gauges that cover areas of transmission pressures and temperatures. Notable is the third row for transmission Pressure top and Temperature lower, but both have selectors to check the various areas. Fourth row has top two Fwd and Aft Cyclic Trim positions, Fuel Flow (Dual), and bottom Fuel quantity (lbs)...lower is a tank selector switch to select each tank; Aft (left)-Main (left)-Forward (left)-TOTAL-Forward (right)-Main (right)-Aft (right). At the very to centre are the two engine fire handles and test selector (note that a lot of selections in here are unguarded, and need their guards put into the "safe" position before flying). The huge CAUTION/ ADVISORY Panel is well detailed in the manual, and can be tested (right) switch or be put into either "Bright" or "Dim" modes. Pedestal and Canted Console Top Pedestal (canted) is dominated by the large GPS/DOPPLER system... ... the system can be switched to the various selections including; GS/TK, Wind Data, Dist/BRG, WP (Waypoint) and Datum Route, and is used in selecting/setting a navigation waypoint and to display navigation or additional information on its display. Not every one of the selections work, but a lot do. Top of the canted panel is the HUD, left VOR/ILS (NAV1) and lower left is the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) panel... Right top is the "Autopilot Modes"; you have three selections in HEADING, BARO Alt or RAD Alt. In the altitude modes you can actually choose between the lower but more exact Radar Altitude or the standard Barometer Altitude at cruise. Note the important red/white "Stick Position Indicator" and Its function is to check the pitch is in the proper position before take-off and to monitor the current pitch request during all flight phases. Two selections below cover the CYCLIC TRIM CONTROL and the AFCS system, and below is a ADF Radio. Top of the Centre Pedestal is the ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) panel and right the Counter Measures (Chaff/Flares) selection and dispense panel. To the far left is the HF Radio panel. Lower right is the Pilot Comm panel. Notable here is the Collective (far right). It comes with five selections. The Thrust Control (Throttle) grip, Twin Engine RPM Trims (Incr/Decr), Search Light control (centre), Search Light On/Off top and the HUD Control. The lower section of the Pedestal has top right the Co-Pilot's COMM panel and next right is the TACAN (Tactical Air Navigation System) panel. Below are the VHF1 and VHF2 panels, and lower right is another COMM Panel. Sitting lower left is the STEERING CONTROL panel, mostly it is locked but it turns the rear wheels to steer the aircraft, In X-Plane the Steering can be controlled by rotating the Steering Knob or by assigning the "Nosewheel Steer" function to a joystick axis. Overhead Panel The Overhead Panel allows to control most of the aircraft's systems, such as Fuel, Electrical and Hydraulic system, Engine Condition and FADEC, Internal and External lights, Troop Warning Hoist and Hooks. Top left is the "EAPS" or Engine Air Particle Separator panel, centre the Instrument Lights, and right the "Flood" lighting panels. The central spline is dominated by the Fuel System panel, including X-Feed between tanks. To the left is the Co-Pilot's instrument lighting, and to the right is the Pilot's instrument lighting. Below is the Anti-Ice (including pitot heating) panel. Lower or Front of the OHP is the Compass high left, and the "Hoist" control panel right... In between are the two main Throttle levers, with STOP-GND-FTL (Flight) settings. The levers can be hard to use? X-Trident makes sure you don't move them accidentally, so if you just grab and move the levers it is difficult to do so? The trick is to move a lever to one position... stop, then move the lever again, until you get to the position you want... you soon get the idea and it works, but to note a lot of the switch guards and manipulators on the panels can be tricky to use, until you are used to moving them. Left lower is the HTG (Heating) panel, with the Windshield Wiper control next (only the OFF-MED-FAST settings work). Bottom is the ELEC (Electrical) panel covering the Battery (Power), GEN 1 and 2 and the APU controls. The right side OHP side covers top to bottom... Hoist Control Panel, Cargo Hook (Front-Mid-Rear) Control Panel and the main Hydraulic Panel... center lower panel is the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control) Panel with engine start switches. I am quite sure by now your eyes are crossed and totally bemused by the myriad of systems presented here. Certainly there is a huge amount of detail and systems to learn and control, the system depth is deep, in deep trench deep, deep... the manual however is very good (thankfully) and highly detailed, but still a bit of research can not go amiss either. Certainly you won't cover all these systems in a week or even two weeks, but a fair amount of study is certainly required to get the best out of the aircraft, and in particular the flying control aspects of AFCS, Heading Modes, GPS and the control of hoists and sling loads. ________________ Flying the CH47D Chinnok There are several things to understand before flying the Chinook. First is that the Twin-Rotor configuration is very different from the standard tail-pusher (Yaw) layout. The Twin-Rotor has Counter-Rotating Propellers, also referred to as CRP, that effectively counters out any yaw effect... secondly is the Advanced Flight Control System (AFCS). The AFCS composes of systems 1 and 2 which can be engaged or disengaged through the SYSTEM SEL knob; normally the selector is placed on BOTH and both systems are engaged and work in parallel to guarantee redundancy, but they can be singularly or both disengaged by selecting 1, 2 or OFF. But AFCS doesn't activate or control behavior below 50 Kts. Longitudinal Cyclic Trim (LCT) control, the LCT function is to reduce the fuselage nose down attitude as speed is increased by tilting forward both rotors according to current speed, in a range from 60 to 150 Kts. LCT working mode can be set to either AUTO or MANUAL through the specific switch... this effectively changes the rotors angle to nose (pitch) up, for a more effective forward flight. On the Menu/Controls page there is a DEMO Mode on how this system works. The Chinook is a big machine, to the normal helicopter pilot it is gigantic. So you have to throw away a lot of the earlier learnt skills of on how to fly the Chinook. In other words, most of the skills you already have and have fine tuned are not going to work here? The bonus is of course the counter-rotating blade system in that from the start you are not fighting the yaw effect at all, so there is no initial rudder feel to find the pressure point of the tail thrust. Pull the collective up (but slowly) and up you go... and nice and straight with a neutral cyclic. The cyclic will go a long way up as well as the bite is only on the last third of the angle, so you feel the weight of 24,578 lb (11,148 kg) empty to the Max takeoff weight of 50,000 lb (22,680 kg), so mostly you are going to in the 35,000 lb to 40,000 lb range. Obviously hovering is actually very easy as the aircraft is so neutral, as your not fighting those odd forces of thrust. Push the cyclic forward and away you go as the nose drops and the speed increases. There is not much collective movement needed, but just a little up lever to counter the downward nose pitch. In reality the CH47D is a breeze to fly, it does the handling aspect very well, and is far, far easier than most nervy helicopters, the thrill of powering this huge machine through the air brings up the hairs on the back of your neck... it is easy and quite brilliant to fly. Past 50 knts you feel the Longitudinal Cyclic Trim LCT system kick in and nose goes higher, the Chinook now flies more level, no matter how much speed you add in. The CH47D is surprisingly easy to trim, the aircraft will nicely react to any trim changes and speed up or down depending on the pitch chosen, AFCS Trim Switch is also used to make the small changes in roll and pitch attitude when the AFCS is operating. You don't however move the collective much, again even if you want more speed, as the Chinook reacts slowly. X-Trident in testing spent a lot of time (months actually) focused on the flight behaviors of both the Cyclic trim and the AFCS system to get them both absolutely perfect, and it certainly shows in the authenticity of the flying. The autopilot is a 4 Axis system with VOR, TACAN, ADF and GPS navigation. The CH47F had a very much more advanced DAFCS system, but this one is still very good... To activate just press the "Heading" selection on top right of the canted panel, if at the right altitude then also press the "Baro ALT" to hold the altitude... there are no sudden jerks or reactions with any of the mode activations, the Chinook just passively flies on perfectly... .... you can as noted select four heading modes on the lower HSI Mode Select Panel, set right below the HSI instrument. All selections will point the aircraft in the direction of the radio signal, switch them all off with only the "CMD" selection "SEL" showing and the Chinook will turn to the set heading on the HSI, all the required VOR, TACAN, ADF and GPS markers are also shown on the HSI. The X-Trident Chinook is simply an amazing aircraft to fly... it is the X-Plane Simulator at it's very, very best! The CH47D's performance is a Maximum speed of 170 kn (200 mph, 310 km/h) with a Cruise speed: 160 kn (180 mph, 300 km/h). The Range is 400 nmi (460 mi, 740 km), with a Combat circular range of 200 nmi (230 mi, 370 km). Long distance (empty weight) Ferry range is 1,216 nmi (1,399 mi, 2,252 km). The Service ceiling is 20,000 ft (6,100 m) with a Rate of climb of 1,522 ft/min (7.73 m/s). Internal Lighting By the provided "Lighting" menu panel, you expected the light to be good and it is... but only if you love green, and lots if it. A lot of the lighting in here is focused on NVG or Night Vision Goggles compatibility, which explains a lot of the green aura. Both the Pilot's and Co-Pilot's instruments and Central Instrument panel are all brightness adjustable, as is the Pedestal and OHP. Extra lighting is provided by the under glareshield flood lighting (above, and brilliant) and again adjustable. All Radio Alt, HF Radio, NAV Panel display, Warning lights and both clocks, all have their separate adjustable lighting. There are two overhead (Flood) lights that work in both NVG and White lighting modes... ... and a two rear high wall mounted Flood lights, again NGV Compatible. The connecting tunnel is also lit. Cargo hold is beautifully illuminated (yes again adjustable)... but there are also two TWS or Troop Warning Lights set left by the rear ramp. A three positions switch can be set to OFF, GREEN or RED, allowing the pilots to notify passengers, load engineer or paratroops about a particular situation or to start and stop parachute dropping.... a nice touch! External lighting There are excellent ‘Slime Lights’ or formation markers on the top of the aircraft. Under the nose there is both a Landing light that is manoeuvrable via a switch on the pilot’s thrust lever, and a IR light which cannot be perceived by human eyes, it is visible only when NVG mode is active... but basically you can't see or use it? Personally I would had rather the two landing lights, that are on most Chinooks. There are Anti-Collision lights top and bottom of the fuselage, and position (navigation) lights both sides and a white rear, the position lights can be static (Bright or Dim) or "Position Blinker' meaning that they flash or strobe. There is a "Night Vision selection, that just turns on the X-Plane default (green) night vision. If you thought that flying the CH47D Chinook was far, far to easy... then it has a nasty sting in it's tail... In transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effectively Translational Lift (ETL) to an approach or hover speed, there can be a hidden danger of loss of lift. The issue is that to go down or slow the aircraft, you usually lower the collective. Fine, but here in the CH47D the aircraft is very, very heavy, so you need a lot of that collective power to keep it airborne? You can't actually do both at the same time? Get it wrong however and the Chinook will literally fall straight out of the sky... it is more tricky than it looks. As a side point, don't disconnect or turn off the AFCS in flight at speed either, that has the same "falling out of the sky" effect as well, or in this case (below) a swim. As usual there is a trick... nose down to let the aircraft descend without building up speed, then the opposite in slightly nose high, so the speed runs off, but you don't lose altitude, with the right collective and cyclic control it is quite possible to do this... tricky yes, but it can be done.. .... you certainly can't come into the landing zone high, as you would never get the aircraft down fast enough, so the best approach height is 500ft, 300ft if closer at around 50 knts, and yes highly note the AFCS that cuts out under the 50 knts, and when it does you feel it go, and you get a more loser aircraft in the controls... watch any turns (certainly tight ones) as the Chinook will quickly lose height, so keep the collective pressure higher if you want to manoeuvre tight around to a new heading. Nice and easy... as I approach RAF Valley, I have obstructions in the form of the rows of apron lighting, so I have to crab slightly sideways... ... the radar height instrument is essential in keeping my height at a perfect 500ft above the ground as I manoeuvre and surprisingly it is easy to do, I am now in the almost hover position and guiding the aircraft through between the posts... yes the Chinook is easier than a pusher chopper, but also very heavy as a counteraction. Now in the hover, I drop the speed to a walking pace... ... then drop to about 20ft and drift left over the pad. I am not going to say this is very easy, as it still takes a bit of skill to get it totally right, but (a lot of) practise and time would certainly help. There is no float or ballooning at this hover position, of which on a lot of lighter machines can easily ruin a good landing, however don't get yourself in to a swing boat situation, you would never recover from it, so a very steady hand and care is needed with minute movements. There is no doubt on the amount of time spent by X-Trident and the test group in getting the feel and control of the CH47D perfectly right, it is so perfect! I'm good, and a slow descent to the ground with a slight bump, and I am well pleased with that approach and landing. Sounds and Particle Effects The sounds for the Chinook come from a huge variety of sources. Some really good, but some are average. They are packaged into the FMOD system... overall I love the sounds on this Chinook, but there is the missing bite of the detail you can get with other packages. I did find that adding in the RK Apps XPRealistic v2 bought out a more depth of feel (the vibrations also really helped), but the blade slap was far, far more realistic as well... yes you should not have to add in extra effects to get the feel and realism effects, but don't get me wrong, as the X-Trident is still extremely good. The particle effects we very much take for granted today, but here they are very good. Engine exhaust is very realistic, as is the hard cone and spray of the APU exhaust... A note that they APU sounds are VERY loud, and whiny. Thank god you can turn them both down (Internal and External), as they will frighten your cat (or dog) with their high pitched screams, and I got loads of "for godsakes turn that annoying noise off", consistently in my home! Engine fires or the inevitable roll over and crash, produces great fire effects... quite dramatic! It will be interesting for myself, in how I progress on this Chinook aircraft... X-Trident's exceptional AB512 was also quite demanding of my then lack of helicopter flying skills, but now I can easily fly it anywhere... my gut says the Chinook will certainly soon come to me, as I learn it's particular (heavier) behaviours and feel, as I am currently used to the more featherweight machines. The AB512 was before the largest quality machine in X-Plane, and now it has been relegated to the medium size, this CH47D is certainly another larger category again to learn. Liveries There are currently only six liveries; United States Army-The Black Pearl (Default), United States Army clean, UK RAF ZA713, UK RAF ZA718-Bravo November (BN), Egyptian Air Force and Helimax N949CH (Red)... But I expect a lot more coming from painters soon. Livery quality is superb, real depth and sheer fuselage detail, a paintkit is also available. Added! This is a great addition to the Chinook livery collection; British Airways (Helicopters). Not totally the official version with the missing row of windows and not the long nose version... but it looks amazing! Thanks to Christophe. Can be found here. _________________________ Summary Three or so years in the making, then here is X-Trident's next helicopter after the excellent (and well updated) Bell AB512. This release is the famed Chinook, as a nod to the native American Chinook people of Washington state. Beloved and totally irreplaceable by most Armed Forces and Commercial operators around the world, as over 1300 have been built since the 60's with most still in service. This is the CH47D version, not the more automated (Glass cockpit) CH47F, but the CH47D is known as the ultimate "Classic" version of the Chinook. Design and modeling by X-Trident, lifts the genre to another higher lever in simulation, the detail here is totally outstanding and even awe-inspiring, both externally and internally, the cockpit detail and functionality is simply sensational. The X-Trident CH47D lifts bar to any developer out there to match... it is that good, and only available on the X-Plane platform of simulation. You are not losing out on any of the features and details either... the feature list is huge, from great animations (walking Flight assistants, manual and auto Fuel Truck), lots of crew in sitting, load assist, landing assist and piloting crew, in two different uniforms. Three sling hooks carry six provided objects, or you can add in your own load, internal boxes can also be carried or pushed out the rear door... the list goes on. But the biggest aspect and feature of the X-Trident Chinook is the excellent performance and handling detail. The beta testing was long and highly rigorous to perfect the systems as a pure Chinook should be, and certainly those aspects are felt and seriously delivered here with options to set and save your own parameters of how you want to fly the aircraft to your own needs. Systems include the realism of flight behaviors of both the Cyclic trim and the AFCS system with built in Longitudinal Cyclic Trim, and the NVG or Night Vision Goggles compatibility combined with excellent VR (Virtual Reality) immersion is another major aspect. Lighting internally (mostly NVG Green) and externally is also excellent, but the lighting panels need a save option, as every start requires a total reset of the settings, nose landing light and IFR light needs two landing lights than the useless IFR light. Some levers and switchgear can be hard to adjust until you understand the operation ideas, and there is also a lot to learn and study to fly the aircraft as a total pro. The Twin-Rotor configuration certainly makes the aircraft more accessible to non-rotary pilots, the push yaw effect is minimised here, and the heavy weight of the aircraft does actually make it easier to fly, as does the AFCS system, and easy excellent autopilot. But returning to earth and landing will still need new found skills to master the arrival procedures... Pundits are extremely high here for this creation by X-Trident, humble in their delivery, this is an excellent simulation to be savoured, X-Trident's exceptional AB412 set a standard, their CH47-D Chinook, moves the standard now even higher, it takes exceptional skill and talent to deliver a simulation like this and for such a small team, it is a very good job very well done.... there is also one last bonus in the whole experience. How much would you expect to pay for such an aircraft so well detailed and quality designed with such a huge feature list... US$50+ or even US$60... well it is lower than that, under US$50? US$45... no under US$40? That is simply crazy! This is three years work? Well the price is set at only US$38.95... yes Thirty Eight Dollars and Ninety Five cents! That price is simply insane... Totally Absolutely Recommended (Even if you don't actually fly it, then just look at the aircraft for value) ___________________________________ Yes! the Boeing CH47-D Chinook by X-Trident is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing CH47-D Chinook-X-Trident Price is US$38.95 Features Include: Highly detailed 3D model with immersive light systems FMOD sounds with user profiles Accurate engine and systems management Accurate AFCS (with support for both self-centering and non-centering joysticks) Accurate 4 axis autopilot with VOR, TACAN, ADF and GPS navigation External loads (with load/save and flight to options) and cargo drop Compatible with Reality XP Animated ground crew Animated custom fuel truck (with drive and self drive modes) Custom control panels Requirements X-Plane 11 Mac, Windows, Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 480 MB Current and Review version: 1.0 (May 17th 2021) Installation and documents: Download is 480Mb. Installation size is 945Mb. The RK Apps XPRealistic v2 Realism effects plugin is highly recommended here. There is no AviTab support There is a "Configurations" folder to provide both; With Cargo Load Without Cargo Load The provided .acf file has to be manually changed (replace) to the "Configuration" you require. To make the boxes appear, you then have to go to the main menu and the "Weapons" selection, and press the "Reset to Default Armament" and then the cargo boxes will be noted and appear in the aircraft. Documents Extensive 57 page Manual is provided that includes all system and feature details, Warnings and Engine Torque Charts Chinook Users Manual_1.0 A good video of the X-Trident CH47-D has also been posted! ________________________________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 20th May 2021 Copyright©2021: 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  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 11.53 Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 Scenery or Aircraft - EGOV - RAF Valley for X-Plane 11 1.0.0 by RCMarple (X-Plane.Org) - Free!
  6. Aircraft Update : Agusta Bell AB412 v3.0 by X-Trident Helicopters, if there was a genre that has been neglected in X-Plane11 lately it has to be our vertical capable machinery. There has been a few or two such new Helio's but not any with any considerable depth or size, there is a new one coming (finally) a CH47F Chinook from X-Trident, but X-Trident are also keeping the Heli front moving with an update to their very first helicopter release with the Agusta Bell AB412. This aircraft has had a very nice series of upgrades of which this update brings the machine up to v3.0 status. The actual update is not particularly a large one, but it is a very good one from many perspectives. The last update for the AB412 was Dec 9th 2017 with an Update for X-Plane 11.10+, but this was just a minor adjustment for the helicopter to fly in X-Plane11, and nothing really deep... One of the first things you notice in v3.0 is that the AB412 has now a more nose up attitude... ... in the neutral position, a lot of Helio pilots noted this and asked for it, and with good reason as the AB412 has suddenly become much more stable in the liftoff and landing phases of the flight, mainly because the aircraft's balance is now correct. But I think the changes have gone through the whole airframe as a whole, as I found the Bell far more easier to fly in all the phases of the flight... ... as just sitting in the hover was some sort of revelation on how much easier it was, and your controllability is now far better. Another change was that the skids in their various forms (and there are a few with Standard, SAR and Float) will now all correctly sit on the ground and not sink themselves into the tarmac. We can now throw in the v11.33 particle effects, downward thrust produces great clouds of spray, and the AB412's twin PT6T-3DF Twin-Pac turboshaft engines, that produce 1,250 shp (932 kW), 900 shp (671 kW) for each power section is now more plainly noticeable with the particle effects. The GeForce plugin is now back in after being lost for a version.... and yes it makes a big difference. Cyclic and collective are now also available in VR (Virtual Reality), I have flown the AB412 in VR and it was very enjoyable, however I would love to go back now and feel this far better and updated version. The Co-Pilot's VOR/OBS dial wasn't working, but that issue has now been addressed, and it is now far better for flying in the left seat. There is however one area I am still not happy with on the AB412... the SAS (Stability Augmentation System) or autopilot. No issues in using the SAS in holding the altitude, changing the altitude with the V/S, holding the IAS speed or the HDG (Heading), as it all works perfectly... But turn the SAS off and regain manual control and it won't let you? everything is turned off auto wise, but there is no way the aircraft will descend, it will just go on holding the set altitude, even if the collective is right down in the low position... so you are stuck up there at a set altitude, with the only way to reduce height is to reduce the thrust (very dangerous)... So I never or rarely use the SAS, because I simply don't want to get stuck (up there) in this mode? The reversed slip indicator is now also fixed as there are some new commands... these commands cover a lot of ground for remote (movement) FLIR and external spotlight use, hoist and cargo can be controlled from your joystick or keyboard as well with now also SAR/LOAD support for 3rd party plugins... all are for great interactivity. Flying helicopters can always be put into the "too hard" basket, and yes even I would a acknowledge they are a learned skill, but the rewards are extremely high if you can master them, a throttle system replicating a collective is a major advantage in controllability as is a joystick or rudder pedals to control the yaw, but if you have them and with some practise and you will be bitten for life in flying in this very different vertical world. With these v3.0 improvements, then the AB412 is a great place to start. Summary The X-Trident Agusta Bell AB412 has been around now for a few years (2014) and was an X-Plane10 stalwart... the original full detailed review is here : Aircraft Review : Agusta Bell AB412 by X-Trident. But that doesn't mean to say that the AB412 is anything but old or out of date, in fact the total opposite is true. Constant updates like with this v3.0 update for XP11 has kept the aircraft extremely current and contemporary, the Bell feels even better now in X-Plane11 than it ever did. A good investment then as now, absolutely. This is a small update here with v3.0 in details, but it has had a huge difference on the machine, certainly in the handling, as the B412 feels very fresh and more controllable than ever before. Added particle effects and XP11 PBR effects bring out even more realism to the aircraft. And few issues and bugs have been cleaned up and the GeForce plugin has been returned. Helicopters are scarce in X-Plane11, but really updated good ones are even now even more rare, so savour one of the best currently available, it is highly featured and versatile as well adding into the experience, if new to helicopters then this AB412 is a great entry point, yes they do require practice and skill, but the awards are also as astounding... Highly recommended. ___________________________________________________ Yes! the Agusta Bell AB412 v3.0 from X-Trident is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Agusta Bell 412 Price is US$35.95 Features: Highly detailed 3d model and 3d cockpit. Most switches operable Detailed rotor kinematic modeling Detailed lights Close to real fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems; start-up sequence follows the real checklist almost line by line Custom failures Working custom auxiliary tank and water drop system Working dolly pad for precision landing Custom warning panel Custom governor Custom artificial stability Custom 4 channels autopilot with over 10 modes Flight model approved and tweaked by real pilots Hyper detailed rotor with all its levers moving ud and down, Custom GPU Custom Remove Before Flight with dangling flags (with FOD) ADF with bank error Working doors with changing sound volume effect Many liveries plus a paint kit; smart configuration of optional objects attached to each livery Plugin for Windows, Mac and Linux - detailed custom menu Includes a licensed version of Dreamfoil's Geforce plugin Working NIGHTSUN Spotlight Working FLIR Camera Custom Winch and SAR operations Requirements: X-Plane 11.30+ Mac, Windows, Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 3.0 (May 3rd 2019) Support Thread : Bell 412 by X-Trident v3.0 update log txt AB412 v3.0 log.txt ___________________________________________________ Aircraft Update Review by Stephen Dutton 8th May 2019 Copyright©2019 : 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)
  7. Aircraft Review : McDonnell Douglas Harrier AV-8B by X-Trident The AV-8A/B version of the Harrier is in essence a version Mk ll of the famous and highly versatile British Hawker Siddeley "Jump Jet". The Jump Jet story starts with the Hawker P.1127 and the Hawker Siddeley Kestrel FGA.1. Both are the experimental and development aircraft that led to the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) jet fighter-bomber. The P.1127 development began in 1957, in taking advantage of the Bristol Engine Company's choice to invest in the creation of the Rolls Royce Pegasus vectored-thrust engine. Tethered testing began in July 1960 and by the end of the year the aircraft had achieved both vertical take-off and horizontal flight. It was not an easy program with the first three aircraft crashed during testing, and one aircraft was lost at the 1963 Paris Air Show. From the start most Air Forces didn't want the slow sub-sonic Jump Jet. Their eyes and money was always on the fast jets or supersonic target delivery. The Hawker Siddeley team created the P.1154 for the supersonic requirement as the design used a single Bristol Siddeley BS100 engine with four swivelling nozzles, but the NATO requirement was cancelled shortly after in 1965, along with that other great British hope the BAC-TSR-2. RAF however began considering a simple upgrade of the existing subsonic Kestrel and issued Requirement ASR 384 for a V/STOL ground attack jet. Hawker Siddeley received an order for six pre-production aircraft in 1965, designated P.1127 (RAF), of which the first made its maiden flight on 31 August 1966. An order for 60 production aircraft, designated as Harrier GR.1 was received in early 1967. The aircraft was named after the Harrier, a small bird of prey. The Harrier GR.1 made its first flight on 28 December 1967. It officially entered service with the RAF on 18 April 1969. Almost immediately into service the RAF Harrier made the headlines! The aircraft won the The Daily Mail Trans-Atlantic Air Race which was a race between London, UK and New York City, USA to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first trans-atlantic crossing by John Alcock and Arthur Brown. The race was held between 4 and 11 May 1969. The 50th anniversary of the race is right now. The race was actually a race of individuals between the Post Office Tower in London to the Empire State Building in New York. Each of the individuals or "Runners" had to use some form of air transport. With a number of different categories a total of 21 prizes could be won. A number of point-to-point world records for aircraft were broken. The shortest overall time between London and New York was by Squadron Leader Tom Lecky-Thompson flying a Royal Air Force Hawker Siddeley Harrier in 6 hours 11 minutes . The Harrier used a coal yard next to St Pancras station in London and landed on the quayside of the Bristol Basin in New York. the GR1 aircraft was refuelled 11 times in flight to achieve the record. A great video of the event and the restoration of the aircraft XV471is here: Forces Network. A variant for the UK Royal Navy (RN) was the Sea Harrier, but the aircraft was not capable of taking off with a full armament and fuel load from the ship's deck vertically, the solution was the Ski-Ramp that allowed the Harrier to achieve almost forward flight and with a big payload as well. The flexibility of the Harrier led to a long-term heavy deployment in West Germany as a conventional deterrent and potential strike weapon against Soviet aggression; flown from camouflaged rough bases the aircraft's ability to just appear and disappear but still deliver a capable strike was very effective. Every aircraft is known for a certain theatre of war, for the Harrier it was the Falklands War in 1982. The South Atlantic distance of the conflict rendered the supersonic prime force to be almost grounded, until an airfield on the Islands could be secured, in fact the Harrier's exceptional low speed capablites were far more effective even against the Mirage lll than the usual theatre tactics with shoot over the horizon armaments, Both Sea Harriers FRS.1 and GR3's were both active in the war. Further exercises trained pilots to use the vectoring-in-forward-flight (VIFF) capability to out-manoeuvre their opponents and showed that the Harriers could act as effective air-to-air fighters at close range and against far faster aircraft. The AV-8A was really a duplicate of the RAF version GR1/3, but the U.S. Marine Corps wanted a bigger and faster version of the aircraft. As the British government refused any more financial commitment, then McDonnell Douglas with an order of 12 originally then a full order of 324 aircraft decided to do the upgrade program themselves. The new AV-8B Harrier ll had new wings, revised intakes, redesigned exhaust nozzles, and other aerodynamic changes with a supercritical wing, hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) control principle, and increased engineered lateral stability make the aircraft fundamentally easier to fly. Hawker Siddeley or BAe Systems worked with McDonnell Douglas on the development of the Mk ll upgraded aircraft. The modified forward fuselage and cockpit found on all subsequent aircraft were not incorporated on these earlier prototypes which were designated YAV-8B, the first converted AV-8B aircraft flew on 9 November 1978, the British Government then reversed their original commitment to build the RAF version of the AV-8B with the GR5 which was the RAF's first second-generation Harrier. The GR5 differed from the USMC AV-8B in avionics fit, weapons and countermeasures, and forty one GR5s were built and saw action in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Harrier was also flown by the Spanish Navy, Thai Navy, Royal Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps. X-Trident Harrier AV-8B This aircraft for X-Plane11 was originally released late December 2018, but was noted as "still in development". X-PlaneReviews obviously looked at the aircraft and development, and decided that it was all very nice but overall the aircraft still required some significant development to be noted as a release version. X-Trident noted that the development would be finished early in 2019. But the reality was (and we knew this) was that the 11.30 beta from X-Plane was going to take far longer than expected. Only by early March 2019 was the full complete release version was issued as v1.1 and is as reviewed here. X-Trident are no stranger to military jets as their last project was the excellent aircraft Panavia Tornado GR4 of which X-PlaneReviews really liked. So much was expected here. Note on the Pavavia Tornado GR4 in that X-Trident have also updated the aircraft to the current same 11.30 specifications (v3.0). The Tornado was released over two and a half years ago, so the Harrier has had a long development process, X-Plane itself as a simulator has also had a few reincarnations since then as well. So you are really expecting a lot, and on a first view you are not certainly disappointed. I have lived with Harriers my whole life, from my childhood to their retirement in March 2011, the AV-8B is still however in US Marine service, but will soon be replaced by the F35. There are a few Harriers in Museums, I saw a few at Duxford UK, where it was quite hard to see into the aircraft (GR.3 XZ133) as it is suspended? but the Pegasus engine is very accessible. There is another GR.3 XZ997 at RAF Museum, Hendon. The Tribute XZ133 livery of the Duxford aircraft is used in this review. There is also a rare P.1127 XP980 (fitted with a Harrier GR.1 wing) which is on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, England. Detail on the Tornado was exceptional, but it feels now slightly dated in a sort of X-Plane10 way, externally it still delivers, but the cockpit in areas shows it's age. Not so with the Harrier... as this aircraft is simply the top gun of the current game, and the opposition is also very strong like with the Just Flight Hawk T.1. The thing is with the JF Hawk is that it lifted the notch up not only a few bars but a lot of bars in the fighter category, so this Harrier design is a worthy comparision.... ... but the Harrier here does easily match the Hawk in most and even every area. Undercarriage detail is excellent and all is highly animated, this factor is more important here as the aircraft is a vertical takeoff/landing machine, so the gear extension and retraction not in only in stowage, but the physical vertical movements has to be correct. Intimate detail is of course exceptional with lovely hydraulic cabling/piping and even the gear notices that are all perfect. More highlights includes the weapon tracks, which are highly detail, and not just a texture image... under fuselage airbrake and so are the numerous of opening air vents that are required for the vertical flight. For me the significant area was the flight "puffer" small reaction nozzles that are the most important and the most ingenious aspect of the Harrier. It is actually quite easy to support any aircraft on a downward thrust of gases, and even here with the clever engine mounted vector nozzles... the real trick was in actually controlling the aircraft in the air. The Harrier has a unique system of engine bleed that directs air to the various reaction nozzles... .... two with one under the nose and one under the appendage at the rear controls "Pitch". There are two outlets on the wingtip (that is why the support wheels are inboard) with one outlet on the the top and another below the wing edge... ... these two outlets control "Roll" and the final two outlets are again on the rear appendage but this time on the sides... .... and these outlets control "Yaw". The development not of the thrust factor, but in controlling the nozzle aspect was the really big headache of the time (besides the early underpowered Pegesus engines), but once sorted the system created a landmark in aviation controllable flight. This is all powered by the later Rolls-Royce Pegasus F402-RR-408 (Mk 107) vectored-thrust turbofan at 23,500 lbf (105 kN). I always loved the "Snout" look of the Harrier, certainly not the look of fast jet, but the Harrier a more workman like aircraft... ... open the canopy and you can look inside. Missing are the usual external stairs that give access to the cockpit, the Harrier has a built in set of legups and steps with a drop down foot hook and two drop out foot handles that fall out of the side of the forward fuselage (arrowed) ... they are all animated with the sliding of the canopy. Canopy detailing is of course excellent, with great glass depth feel and reflections... ... note the explosive trace for in flight ejection. Cockpit looks extremely authentic, looking also at the Tornado it is also a few levels higher in detail and quality... certainly more work has gone into this design, and it is the most impressive work from X-Trident yet. Cockpit Detail Sitting in the Harrier is a claustrophobic experience, that is mostly created by the extended UFC (Upfront Control Panel) upper-panel that contains the scratch pad display and keyboard, function selecting buttons and Radio Repeater controls. Either side of the UFC are two MFD's (Multi-Function Display) that we will get to in a moment. Centre is the front panel that is the analog backup (BU) instruments of Speed indicator, Artifical Horizon, AOA (Angle of Attack), Vertical Speed and sticking out the Altimeter. The lower BU instruments can't be seen as the joystick hides them, the stick is non-hideable as well. Top right are the engine readouts. Left top is the ODU (Option Display Unit), that works with the UFC. HUD (HeadUp Display) is top glareshield. Also lower behind the joystick is the Auxiliary Controls panel that is not usually required in flight. Left lower panel is the ACP (Armament Control Panel) which allows you to select the ordnance quantity to be released or permits you to perform an external stores "Selective Jettison". The Flap control is here as well on the side-front console, but the flaps are also part of the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) to transition to the hover mode, so you don't actually need to use the flaps in the Harrier manually as mostly as it is an automatic setting called "Aileron Droop". the Landing Gear Lever and anti-skid is located here as well. Right Lower panel is the Fuel Quantity Indicator with the Fuel transfer, in-flight Refuel and Fuel Dump which are controlled through the left rear side console Fuel Panel. Brake Pressure (excellent) and Accumilator are on the right side-front console. Canopy latch is above. Fuel Quantity Indicator has three displays that indicate the quantity of available fuel, other fuel selection choices include FEED, TOT (Total), INT (Internal), WING, INBD (Inboard) and OUTBD (Outboard). Full left side console is top to bottom with Trim the main aspect. Below is the SAAHS ((Stability Augmentation and Attitude Hold System) which is basically a sort of autopilot, (which we will show in action later). The throttle and nozzle vector lever (see below), Fuel (Pump and Dump), EXT (External) Lighting panel and rear the Oxygen panel, far rear is the Fuel "Shut Off" lever... Full left side console is top to bottom is first the ELEC (Electrical Panel) including the APU start. VHF Radio is pure military. There are two radios which can independently be used in Manual mode, Pre-Set mode or Guard Mode. Radios are usually called COMM1 and COMM2 and are managed through the radio panel and UFC. Set below the Radio is the ACNIP (Auxiliary communication, navigation, identification panel). The ACNIP panel allows to monitor and control some navigation and communication functions. Included is the IFF status, Emergency Code, IFF ZERO, IDENT Squawk Ident and FL and CH display respectively the amount of Flares and Chaffs still available. Rear right console is the INTR (Internal) Lighting, ECS (Cockpit Environmental Control System) on the rear wall (right of the ejector seat) is a nice isolation box, it doesn't actually work, but it is very nice detail. There are Warning, Caution and Advisory lights that illuminate to warn about a failure or a dangerous situation. Main panel is right lower and "WARNING" / "CAUTION" lights around the UFC panel. All are highly effective and come with the aural alerts that will make you simply jump out of your flying suit. Throttle is totally authentic with two gate locks, one is for the engine CUT-OFF lock and the other is for IDLE lock. The Harrier has another control lever for Vectoring the Nozzles, the settings are 0º for full forward flight to 83º for full downward thrust, 100º can give you a slight rearward thrust. You can use a locking pin to set the full 83º or any other degree positions to protect you from changing the angle to the wrong degree position, and it works extremely well in an eyes forward situation. One area I had issues with on the pre-release of the X-Trident Harrier was using my Saitek X-56 throttle twin throttle as both the main throttle (left lever) and the Vectoring lever (right lever), as there was no actual X-Plane setting you could use for the vectoring? That is changed in the v1.1 release version with the use of the X-Plane command "Thrust Vector" and it now works perfectly. You can of course still use the key commands "Vector or Sweep Aft" and "Vector or Sweep forward" to move the vector lever forwards or backwards. MFD (Multi-Function Display) There are two MFD's (Multi-Function Display). and both can be set for a certain display function. There is a pop-out window, but only one, so you can't have both MFD's popped out at the same time... which is odd and no help for self made cockpit users. Pressing MENU on either screen will bring up the main menu. The commands are set across the top for the main types of screens and aircraft commands are on the bottom. Top row commands are MAP, NAV, TMR, FLIR and WORLD, lower commands are COMMANDS, EMER and MISSION. My main flight/mission setup is the NAV on the right and the MAP on the left. TMR (left-right image)) is the "Terrain Mapping Radar" which generates a synthetic image of the ground in front of the Aircraft; Radar antenna is tilted 0.15° down to display also obstacles slightly below the flight level. NAV selections include: APT, VOR, TCN, VORTAC and TGT (Target) of which you can set by putting in an "Ground Objects" of which you can set three targets. FLIR - FLIR camera returns a synthetic image generated by Infrared Camera, and the HUD symbology can be superimposed by selecting the HUD option. With the NAV on the right MFD then the FLIR with HUD option on, it is a very effective heads down flying situation. Using both MAPS and WORLD you get two perspectives of your position in local and global positions. You can insert your own mapping images in an "MAP_FOLDER" but you are also required to set out the map format (syntax) so it is animated in the MFD, image sizes are 4098x2632 px. COMMANDS are used to set the SAAHS (AFC) on/off, so you can turn the SAAHS on to create a controlled flight (autopilot) or use the ALT to hold an altitude... ... again an easier heads up solution to switching on/off the autopilot, and I used it all the time as the switches left lower console are hard to see, never mind use when the throttle/vector lever is forward. MISSION has two settings in "WEAPONS" and "TARGETS" Selecting WEAPONS gives you the current armament/fuel load on the aircraft, you can then select the weapon of your choice or SAFE the weapons. TARGETS allows you to select the target you require, and the ones that you have set up with the static objects. RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) returns a synthtic depiction of other Radars pointing at the Aircraft. The color of the Spike shows the kind of Radar emitter, indicating whether it is recognized as Friendly, Hostile or Neutral There is a setup feature than can give you the platform configuration that you require. There are twelve CONFIGURATIONS that you can use, but you need to set up the platform before you use the aircraft, because you have to change the actual AV8B.acf file for the configuration you require... 12 choices include: 2 x AIM120 GUN 2 x JDAM - 2 x MK83 - 2 x AIM9, 2 x JDAM - 2 x TANK - 2 x AIM9 2 x TANK - 2 x AIM120 GUN 4 x GBU12 - 2 x TANK LITENING - 2 x AIM9 4 x JDAM - 2 x TANK LITENING - 2 x AIM9 4 x JDAM - 4 x GBU LITENING - 2 x AIM9 4 x TANK - 2 x AIM120 GUN 6 x MK83 2 x TANK - 2 x AIM9 6 x MK83 - 4 x JDAM - 2 x AIM9 12 x MK83 - 2 x AIM9 GUN CLEAN AV-8B Menu The AV-8B menu is located in the "Plugins Menu" on the X-Plane banner menu. The menu is in four selections: Show MFD (pop-up), Remove Before Flight (Static Elements), Load (Flight Plan, Ground Objects and Targets) and the Configurations panel. Remove Before Flight (Static Elements) has engine inlet covers (excellent!), wheel chocks, pitot covers, refueling probe cover, pilot hide, tags and weapon "safe" tags... all are excellent, but you can only use them all or nothing? I always like the option of using just wheel chocks and safe tags without the full monty of everything, so the static elements are a bit limited in their use. The "Configurations" Panel has six selections with: SmartView, Options, Flight, Lights, Mixer (Sound) and Maps. Configurations/SmartView: Smart View is an X-Trident option which controls the POV (Point of View) on all axis to recreate the movements of the pilot’s head and gaze when maneuvering. When Smart View is active, cockpit view is no longer controllable by mouse or buttons. Configurations/Options: VRHUD - Focuses HUD to infinite, option can be left on also without VR. Custom Replay - Toggle the recording of some custom variables for replay Particles Effects - Particles Effects may considerably reduce the Frame Rate, so you can turn them off if you wish Custom Carrier - A custom “NAVE CAVOUR” carrier is supplied with the package (we will look at the carrier later). Nonlinear throttle - Activates a “nonlinear” throttle response, as in real AV-8, in order to have an accurate control of RPM and Thrust above 85% RPM. AAR mode - Allows to select to levels of assisted "Air To Air Refuel"... there are three selections: Normal - Easy - AUTO Configurations/Flight: H20 - Shows available water for Engine Water Injection System Flight options include a few selections that are also selectable in other areas. Remove Before Flight - is the same as the other Menu selection Canopy - opens and closes the canopy and drops the leg-up and drop out foot handles Vector Limiter - Adjusts the vector locking pin to a degree Park Brake - ON/OFF Quick Set Carrier- Sets the AV-8B onto the nearest Carrier Quickset VTOL - Sets the AV-8B ready for VTOL flight including the correct fuel load (weight), external armaments and sets nozzles for vertical takeoff Fuel - Set fuel quantity with also available external tanks Active COM - A list of Stored Frequencies and relative channels is displayed 833 Khz radios - Online flights, as the real world, require a 005 KHz frequency spacing instead of 025 KHz Configurations/Lights: Sets the lighting settings in internal selections: Console, Inst.Panel, Flood, Warn (Warning), HUD (Brightness) HUD (Contrast). External Selctions: Formation, Pos.(Position), Antic (Anticollision), Ldg. (landing), Taxi, Ext (Navigation). Configurations/Mixer Sets the sound volume for : ECS (Nozzles), AoA (Warning), Stall (Warning), Warn & Caut (Alarms), Betty (Warning Voice), Switches (Clicking) and RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) Configurations/Maps Shows and allows selection of Maps available for display in the MFD. ___________________________ Flying the Harrier In most circumstances taking off in an aircraft from an airport is to taxi to a runway and takeoff... but the Harrier is no normal aircraft, as It gives you choices with V/STOL capability. But also restrictions as you can't takeoff vertically unless the aircraft is quite light, a few sidewinders and a low fuel requirement is the the only go... the VTOL selection in the Flight/Menu will do that for you. When you taxi you can go to any point on the runway and not the usual start, or really anywhere you have a wide flat hard space, and yes you could even use a heli pad, but your skill level would have to be quite high. The vector setting is noted at 83º, but it is more sensitive than that, as the line between going forwards, backwards or into the straight up hover is very fine... you don't have to look down at the nozzle lever as there is a nozzle angle guide on the left of the top of the instrument panel (it is noted in the HUD as well), mostly you use only two settings in 83º and 50º for runway takeoffs. ... one way to gauge the thrust direction correctly is by the blast dust. The X-Plane11.30 particle effects are excellent here as you can see the direction of the thrust by the dust, it is easy to see the rearward or forward thrust directions, and there is also a sweet spot in the middle. Bring in (up) the throttle and the AV-8B will start to lift, and in your throttle movements you have to be fine, slow and precise. But yes you are now sitting in the hover... .... so the Harrier is like flying a helicopter, well yes... and no. You have sort of the same feel and adding more throttle is like more collective on a chopper... ... the trick in flying the Harrier is in the finer aspects, with the small vector nozzles. One they can be slow to react, so you have to ahead of their adjustment, but they will (in time) adjust to your stick movements, slight rolls can correct sideways movement, but the pitch is not as effective, and the yaw is also slow to react.... another aspect is the heavy upwash when you go down closer to the ground again, this can re-lift the Harrier upwards, so your natural reaction is to lower the throttle, but as in most cases if you over do that then the aircraft will simply fall out of the air as most learners do. The trick is to find that upwash barrier point and fly through it without the uplift and still be in the hover control... that aspect needs practise, but it is there... Move slightly rear the vector nozzles and you move quickly forward, the AV-8B is quite different from a normal aircraft as the thrust is angled and you still don't have a lot of aerodynamic control, but as the speed builds then adjust the nozzles to full rear thrust... again with the thrust angle the aircraft will always climb like a banshee so you need to control the height via the throttle as much as the forward speed, the transition is not hard, but you need total control from the hover flight to normal aerodynamic flight... ... returning to the field and the transition from aerodynamic flight back to hover flight is not as hard as you think it is, and slowing down is quite easy with those huge barn door flaps doing all the work for you. The hard point is later when you feel the transfer of the heavy aircraft weight back onto the downward air thrust, helicopters have of course the same sort of weight transfer, but it is far more evident here, even excessively so. You can use the rearward thrust to slow you down... but the thrust differences between forward, hover (more heavy) to the rearward movement (less weight thrust) can upset your approach and make you lose height, so you use it sparingly, find that up-lift barrier and control the forward and descent movement and you can rest the aircraft easily. The nozzles can also be slow moving to a new position angle so the effects are not instantaneous, again you have to anticipate the thrust change and move the nozzles before you want to do a certain manoeuvre and be almost in front the aircraft. The easiest approach is a slight forward movement touch down... the aircraft's comfort zone is nose up about 7º and it is when you drop that pitch angle lower to land vertically that it all gets a bit loose and messy... ... so if you keep that nose up angle and come in slightly moving forward the landing is usually very relatively easy and smoother, you just slightly bump the ground and move forward a few feet until you touch the brakes, but it is far more less stressful and a noticeably smoother landing.... you will notice on the videos that most runway landings are done in this way. Taking off full loaded then you will need both the aerodynamic lift and downward thrust. You still put the nozzles about 50º and you are surprised on how much thrust (power) you have available, you do feel the push forward, but with the slightly downward thrust as well, takeoff is around 180knts depending on the weight, but it requires skill as the Harrier is balanced centrally with only out-riggers for balance. Don't move the nozzles into the 0º rearward position straight away and let the aircraft climb well clear before then slowly adjusting the angle of the thrust back to the rearward position. Marina Militare Italiana “NAVE CAVOUR” Aircraft Carrier The takeoff from the custom provided aircraft carrier is much the same as a full loaded takeoff, but with a difference! The provided carrier is to be first in replacing the X-Plane "Nimitz" carrier and the files have to be switched over for it to work. You can use the Nimitz of course, but it doesn't have a built-in ski-ramp of which the "NAVE CAVOUR" does... Use the "Carrier" button in the "Menu/Flight" to position you on the carrier. You find the first position will actually throw you burning over the side of the ship!, but do it again and you will this time stay on the deck.... the position is in an odd place just behind the ship's island, so you have to carefully move the aircraft almost directly to the left to get to the ship's runway, you can't loop around the deck either or go backwards, so it is a tight manoeuvre , but you can now sort of sit on the 500 marker. Again use the 50º nozzle angle and hold the aircraft on the brakes. Your first thought would be to hammer the throttle full blast to get you airborne, but in fact that is the wrong thing to do? as you will hit the ramp too fast and you sort of compress the front gear into the deck and you will then bang your way upwards and go unwieldy into the air or usually over the front of the ship. 60º throttle, but let the thrust build before letting go of the brakes, if you get the speed right the Harrier will find the slope and you will be launched into the air, even a low 85 knts is enough to get you airborne, and once clear then bring in more throttle to maintain your climb rate, again don't move the nozzles aft until you have enough aerodynamic lift and speed... ... climb out cleanly and start the mission. Landing back on the CAVOUR is slightly easier because the ship is moving forward, so it helps that high pitch angle approach. Most approaches are to the left of the deck at around 100ft then roll slow over the carrier deck and then reduce slowly your height, easy... well not at first, again if you want quick landing then come in slow over the stern and with a forward moving to stop landing on the deck is a still far easier approach. Once at speed you will need to switch the "Flaps" to "Cruise" (don't forget to switch them back to auto) to bring them up to the full 5º flight setting, you will feel the extra drag and lift, unless you do this. The HUD (Head-Up Display) is excellent, with a lot of detail that combines both Navigation and Weaponing data, Barometric Altitude or measured Radar Altimeter Altitude are both indicated as is the important Heading, Speed, Artificial Horizon, Horizon Reference, Weapons Status, Nozzle Flap position, Pitch Flight Director and Flight/Engine data. You can adjust the brightness from green to white. The AFC (Automatic Flight Control) is very easy to use. Level the aircraft on the heading and altitude you require, then in the MFD select MENU/COMMAND and then select both AFC and ALT... Want to change heading then just hold the stick on the direction you want to go.... when at the new heading just centre the stick... ... the Harrier will then realign to the heading exactly, mostly going in the opposite direction slightly and then centering the aircraft, to change altitude you just switch off the ALT and pitch up or down and reset at the new altitude. UFC (Upfront Control Panel) The in your face UFC (Upfront Control Panel) is easy to use once you have worked out what all the different actions are.... TMR (Timer), TOO (Target of Opportunity) are top left.... IFF (Identification Friend or Foe), TCN (Tacan), AWL (All weather Landing System), WPN (Weapons), ALT(Altimeters) and EMCON(EmissionControl). I/P, WOF (and no it isn't "What the F*ok") and BCN don't work at this point. And all the selected choices are shown in the top left ODU (Option Display Unit). The UFC scratch pad top is used to input the data and ENT to enter the data. Weapons Laminar Research have upgraded the "Weapon" feature in X-Plane over the last few years, but the 11.30 version gave with the particle effects the real "Wow" factor. Main "MASTER ARM" is to your left... a layout of your armaments is shown on the MFD - MENU/MISSION/WEAPONS and also on the HUD lower right.... if you select the WPN on the ODU you can select which WPN selection you want to use in Air to Air, Air to Ground or use the Gun. There is a SAFE(ty) on both the ODU or the MFD to unlock the weapon. The lower MFD display buttons L or R selects the type of armament you want to use When you have all your selecting done, then when ready just "Fire!" (X-Plane key or joystick command required). It is pretty spectacular... You can of course dump any armaments or long range fuel tanks in flight. All these areas of systems use and all the complex symbology is all explained in the excellent in depth "Flight Manual", it will take some time to know everything, its complex, but that complexity comes with the realism, and to a point that is why we fly these aircraft... for the absolute if complicated realism. In performance the AV-8B has a maximum speed of Mach 0.9 (585 knots, 673 mph, 1,083 km/h) an on-station range of 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi, 2,200 km), combat radius of 300 nmi (350 mi, 556 km) and a ferry range of 1,800 nmi (2,100 mi, 3,300 km). The rate of Rate of climb is an enormous 14,700 ft/min (75 m/s) and the stall speed is zero (0)... Service ceiling is 50,000 ft (15,170 m); Lighting There is really only two sets of illumination, with one the main panel and side consoles lighting, and all are adjustable. The second is the Overhead/Flood light that actually illuminates from the canopy sides, all are excellent. Externally there are FORM (Formation) lights and they are knob adjustable, POS (Position), ANTI COLL (Collision), AUX (Auxiliary - Taxi Light) and single landing light on the front strut. Various lighting modes allow full or dim position lights... there is also a NVG setting that turns off all the external lights and are then replaced by LED infra-red lights. (see in X-Plane's "Night-Vision" feature). Liveries The bulk of the liveries are leaned towards the AV-8B operators, both with the US Marine Corps, Italian and Spanish airforces... the RAF does get a few versions put in there, but they are the more the odd ones than the earlier GR.3 or GR.5 liveries, the RN livery is not the main "Falklands" version either... note the different nose configurations with certain liveries. There are twelve hi-quality liveries as part of the package and a paint kit is available. This is the "Harrier AV-8B GR3 XZ133 1982 Tribute 1.0" by Domhenry and was active in the Falklands, first from the HMS Hermes and then from Port Stanley. The aircraft is currently (hanging) at RAF Duxford... image noted above. Summary The AV-8B is the second generation (discounting the prototypes) of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier "Jump Jet", upgraded by McDonnell Douglas with a bigger engine, bigger wing and more armament attachment points and raised canopy, as it was eventually also used in the RAF as the GR.5. An outstanding versatile V/STOL aircraft, the Harriers capablities gave the aircraft a wide range of theatre roles and was the dominant force in the "Falklands War" in 1982. It was known as a "difficult" aircraft to fly, for the obvious reasons and the US Marine Corps have wreaked nearly 110 aircraft that have been damaged beyond repair since the type entered USMC service in 1985. This not the first Harrier for X-Plane, but certainly the first in depth quality design from X-Trident, and was a follow on project from their earlier also excellent Pavavia Tornado GR4. System depth including weapon systems with both CCIP and CCRP bombing modes, MFDs with click-to-lock A/A targets, UFC and CDU, highly detailed HUD with master modes and navigation with GPS (with moving maps, in scale with NAVAIDS) and TACAN (A/G and A/A). Fully detailed and authentic VTOL rotating nozzle and vectored-thrust control systems are really well designed and comes with performance and vertical flight controlability, sounds are also exceptional, and all through the full range of vectored thrust. Added details includes 12 different armament configurations, custom Italiana “NAVE CAVOUR” Aircraft Carrier, in-flight refueling and placeable target ground objects. Negatives, not much, if anything... one click static elements restricts a lot versatile options on the ground and some external lighting could be more refined, the non-hideable stick hides instruments and a animated pilot would also be nice. Mostly in this area you need to note that the Harrier is not the easiest aircraft to fly, and the systems are quite complex to learn and use (there is an excellent manual) so the Harrier is not for the unskilled or first time timers. Even if you are highly skilled the aircraft is still a challenge because this is an V/STOL unorthodox flying machine and not even your every day fighter aircraft, but authentic to the Jump Jet it is. Overall X-Trident have done an exceptional job in recreating a classic revolutionary aircraft design, and highly challenging one at that. The quality in this fighter clas is now getting very high as is all of X-Plane aircraft of this detail and systems, but this AV-8B certainly delivers in all aspects of what you would want in flying the Harrier Jump Jet... Highly Recommended, but be aware as this is not your usual flying machine. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The McDonnell Douglas Harrier AV-8B by X-Trident is a new release for X-Plane11 and NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore Harrier AV-8B Price is US$38.95 This aircraft is a noted aircraft for X-Plane11 only and version v1.1 is required Features: Weapons AIM9 (Infrared guidance) AIM120 (Radar guidance) JDAM (GPS guidance) GRAVITY SNAKEEYE GUN (with computated aim) Weapon systems CCIP bombing mode CCRP bombing mode Weapon control panel Selective jettison Navigation GPS (with moving maps, in scale with NAVAIDS) TACAN (A/G and A/A) VOR/ILS Radar Air to air, with radar lock on targets Terrain mapping radar RWR Systems MFDs (plus one "floating" MFD - it is possible to click-to-lock A/A targets) UFC and CDU Detailed HUD with master modes (VR friendly/collimated) Radios Autopilot and selective SAS Miscellaneous Ground target objects that can be damaged by bombs Animated ejection sequence Smartview (automatically adjusts the point of view based on flight path and speed) FMOD Sounds (3D), aural warnings, custom mixer Detailed control panel Support for Tiled and Overlayed maps Particle systems effects (with opt out possibility) Paint kit Requirements: X-Plane 11.30+ (not compatible with XP10) Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 665 Mb Current and reviwe version: 1.1 (March 6th 2019) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation: Download for the Harrier AV-8B is 740.40mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder at 1.58gb Installation of the Militare Italiana “NAVE CAVOUR” Aircraft Carrier is required for use, you replace the X-Plane default carrier Nimitz. Weapon configurations are required before starting the X-Plane simulator and any custom targets have to be placed for use. Documents: Highly detailed manual covers installation and all instrument notes, systems details, panel and Quick Start sheets AV-8 Flight Manual_1.2.pdf CHECK_LIST.pdf Quick Start details include: x-trident AV8-B AP and Flight Plan 1.0.pdf x-trident AV8-B COM Radios 1.0.pdf x-trident AV8-B NAV Radio and ILS 1.0.pdf x-trident AV8-B Quick Start guide 1.0.pdf ____________________________________________________________________________________  Review by Stephen Dutton  29th March 2019 Copyright©2019: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)  Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft- EGOV - RAF Valley for X-Plane 11 1.0.0 by RCMarple (X-Plane.Org) - Free! 
  8. News! - Pre-Release : Harrier AV8B by X-Trident X-Trident have given us an early Christmas present with a Pre-Release (Early Adopter) version of their Harrier AV8B. The aircraft is available now for the price of USD$38.95, see below for the X-Plane.OrgStore link when available. Note... this purchase of the Harrier aircraft is in reality a BETA version and not a completed release aircraft, so items, systems and certain areas are still under development... the full release development completion is expected around mid-January 2019... so don't buy the aircraft if you want a full release aircraft and any early purchase will come with these conditions. The aircraft is compatible only with X-Plane 11.30. Please refer to the X-Plane.Org support forum for questions and to report issues Main features: Weapons AIM9 (Infrared guidance) AIM120 (Radar guidance) JDAM (GPS guidance) GRAVITY SNAKEEYE GUN (with computated aim) Weapon systems CCIP bombing mode CCRP bombing mode Weapon control panel Selective jettison Navigation GPS (with moving maps, in scale with NAVAIDS) TACAN (A/G and A/A) VOR/ILS Radar Air to air, with radar lock on targets Terrain mapping radar RWR Systems MFDs (plus one "floating" MFD - it is possible to click-to-lock A/A targets) UFC and CDU Detailed HUD with master modes (VR friendly/collimated) Radios Autopilot and selective SAS Miscellaneous Ground target objects that can be damaged by bombs Animated ejection sequence Smartview (automatically adjusts the point of view based on flight path and speed) FMOD Sounds (3D), aural warnings, custom mixer Detailed control panel Support for Tiled and Overlayed maps Particle systems effects (with opt out possibilty) Paint kit Liveries included are: harrier 55 (vma-231) GR9 ZD379 1Sqn Wintercamo 2004 GR9 ZG477 1Sqn Harrier Marina Italiana VMA-513 Nightmares lightning GR9 ZD993 Royal Navy Black VMA-214 Blacksheep Harrier 164557 (VMA-542) DarkGrey Harrier 165389 (VMA-231) DarkGrey Harrier 165567 (VMA-513) Nightmares DarkGrey Wolves (by DarkAngel1010) Requirements: X-Plane 11.30 (use XP11.30 RC at this time). Not compatible with any prior X-Plane 11 version. Windows, Mac or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 665 Mb Current version: 1.0 (Dec 20th 2018) ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Harrier AV8B by X-Trident will soon be available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Harrier AV-8B Price is US$38.95 ______________________________________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 21st December 2018 Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews  (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)
  9. Aircraft Review : Agusta Bell AB412 by X-Trident No helicopter is more renowned and as well known as the "Huey", It was and still is through licenses with Agusta (Italy) and Westland (UK) one of the most versatile helicopters ever built. But before you go and play really loud "Ride of the Valkyries" and scream "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" while half dressed with a cowboy hat on, this "Huey" is not that two bladed iconic aircraft the UH-1. The 412 is the later built advanced four blade main rotor twin-engine utility helicopter version that flew in the late 70's (August 1979). And this initial model was certified in January 1981. The version here is the Agusta (Now Agusta/Westland) AB412 and to note that the Westland version is the "Griffin" (HAR2). Over the last three decades just under 900 aircraft have been built. The 412 is in widespread use for a number of utility roles, including EMS, SAR (Search and Rescue), Police and Fire services and oil rig support, its twin engine configuration being an asset, particularly in the latter role in flying offshore. It is also well serviced in military service. Power is by 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3BE Twin-Pac turboshafts, 900 shp (671 kW) each. Performance - Maximum speed: 140 knots (161 mph, 259 km/h) - Cruise speed: 122 knots (140 mph, 226 km/h) - Range: 402 nmi (463 mi, 745 km) - Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,096 m) - Rate of climb: 1,350 ft/min (6.86 m/s) - Power/mass: 0.2663 hp/lb (437 W/kg) The "Huey's" advantage was its box like fuselage with a tail and rotor section added on at the rear, this gave this utility aircraft a huge amount of flat space inside the cabin and created a very versatile and utility machine. But the very square fuselage shape also gave the aircraft another advantage with those two very large front windows in the cockpit that gave the pilot and copilot a great view forward and scan area. Today the "Huey" is so well known and so familiar it has taken on an almost mystical significance in aviation. For X-Plane users we have waited a long time for a really good version on this aircraft, one to savour and to satisfy a wanting to fly an aircraft of this caliber. So even before the aircraft was released it had a very large expectation pressed upon it and so the designers had a lot of or all of that expectation to live up to. Above that, helicopters in X-Plane already have a big reputation for quality and features. So does the AB412 live it up to that high expectation? Yes and more... The AB412 is not as highly featured as the AS350 B3+ and the recently released Bell 407 from Dreamfoil Creations, but in every department it delivers in spades. More so in the gut feeling department, you don't just like this aircraft, you love it and get seriously addicted to it... The AB412 is a relationship breaker so you have been warned. Close up the detailing is exceptional. Make sure you have the "draw per pixel lighting" ticked on your Rendering Options menu to see the perfect riveting and paneling detail of the outer skin. And you certianly won't be disappointed in any area. Glass including those distinctive green panels over the pilot and copilots heads are close to perfect, and fly into the sunlight and the front and side windows are realistically perfectly mottled and worn. Detailing is very good and down to even the wiring held on by tie-clips on the front struts and the twin-exhaust outlets set up high. Design Helicopters are however about real detailing in the smaller points of the aircraft, and the highlights here are the elements of the rotor designs. How helicopters fly is mostly by small movements at points you can't really see. So to have that perfect animation of the workings of a rotor design in going to show you more than just a load of pretty good 3d design element work. In this area the AB412 is exceptional. The biggest movement is with the collective, that gives the blades the bite (twist) they need into the air to lift the aircraft. Then there is is the pitch (up - down) and roll (left - right) movement of the (cyclic) finer push rods, that changes the angles of the blades to the rotor head. The whole design work and animation of the actions here is simply excellent and right down to the rotor notice on the main shaft assembly. The tail rotor assembly has the same intricate part work and movement. You don't just get the blades actual yaw movement, but also the linkages in there actions on how the blades actually do move. It is brilliant stuff to activate (via rudder pedals or joystick yaw movement). It is all very impressive. Menu The aircraft's Menu is in the X-Plane banner "plugin" menu. I like these plugin menu's because they don't tab up the screen and are very easy to use. The Menu is not very extensive but highly useable. First on the list is a slowing down of the rotor action (Rotor Demo Mode) so you can see how it works, Panel View 1 is for the overhead panel view, Joystick Safe Mode Some Macs have joystick issues and this is a safety (I haven't experienced anything?), GPU Toggle a GPU for external power to the aircraft, Remove Before Flight You get a full set of tags and tie-downs with the aircraft. A sub-menu also covers crew and extras which you can toggle them on or off, included is a Pilot, Co-Pilot, Three crew, Guns and Patient. In the guns option, when the door is closed the gun is set in the stored position. Open the door and you have an optional gunner and the gun is positioned ready for action. It is best used on the military version of the AB412 as you have other extras all over the aircraft like flares (on the rear tail), wire cutters and infrared camera or thermal imaging cameras. Overall I really loved the crew menu, It is great just to have what you need when you need it, The Pilot will always be shown with the power running, but the rest are switchable. This gave me the option to fly with two crew to the base then pick up the extra crew and then fly to the pickup zone (aircraft carrier or Rig) and then add on the patient. Then fly back to base and drop off the the crew and patient and then fly back to the home airport to stand down. So it is all very efficient and easy to do. The front doors open via the door handles inside in the cockpit 3d view, The rear are clever and are two-piece doors, Open the larger one and when it is finished moving you will get another manipulator to open the second smaller portion, same in reverse. The left and right larger doors can also be opened by pressing Shift/F1 or F2. The cabin is well fitted out with a bar/canvas type seating bench and that familiar diamond soundproofing matting that is a classic look on the "Huey". The internal detailing is excellent here. Cockpit We are so familiar with the classic huey cockpit that it is second nature to us. But here it is so real, we can now actually not only look at it in real detail, but also interact with it. The design is so perfect. A small note in that a few switches are still not usable, not a big deal in what is missing. But they will be activated as the aircraft proceeds with more updates in the future. Nothing really important though is missing. The cockpit is dominated by those two very large collectors, the pilot's collective is larger than the copilot's. Stop/Start switches are on there with landing and large external light switches. On my version the Search light didn't work. Hoist and RPM switches are not working either. The main feature however are the two large throttle grips for each engine that you can turn to add on power or reduce the torque (power), full twist is idle. Seriously great to use, but wait for the rotor percent % to get to the full 100% power before moving the collective. The instruments are beautifully recreated. Overall the panel looks very crowded with instruments but they soon become familiar. The Standard Six don't really stand out as there are only five in the altimeter, artificial horizon, Heading, Vertical Speed and Speed (knots) There is a ABS (radar) altimeter and a spare backup artificial horizon and clock (far right). Engine (rotor) power % to 100% and Torque for each engine are also in the central viewing zone. Slightly centre and stacked are the twin engine gauges with from the top... GAS Prod (Gas producer rotation speed) - ITT (turbine temperature) - Engine Oil (Temp and Pressure) - Fuel Pressure - Gearbox Oil (Temp and Pressure). Arranged next in the centre are from the top are - hydraulic Sys 1 and 2 (Temp and Pressure) - Fuel quantity (two tanks left & Right) - Electrics in Volts and AC-DC. Below is a battary of system alerts and warning lights. The copilots side is much simpler with the Standard Six instruments and a large weather radar (X-Plane version). All instruments are very easy to read and use, but you do need to be familiar with them all to get the best out of the aircraft. There is also a set of custom commands that you can set for keyboard or Joystick inputs for and they are listed in the manual. The box like Overhead Panel (OHP) is mainly Electrical switches (master and Gen), lighting switches and knobs and wipers, which are three speed. To the rear are the multi-rows of fuses. Airvents surroundi the box structure with a rotor brake on the right (on/off) with no animation? There are twin compasses (one for each pilot) on the top of the main windows crossbar. On the pedestal are the basic radios in Comm 1&2 - VOR 1&2 - ADF and IDENT (transponder). Fuel panel switches (main) with boost pumps and engine governors. Hoist power switches and the Autopilot, I will cover the Autopilot more in depth in flight. Lighting The Panel lighting is very good (bright), but not with a lot of depth, you can set the brightness via the turn knobs on the OHP, but it does not change the perception much, but just brighter or darker. Using the HDR does not give you much difference but only the more shading on the rear cabin lights and that is about it, So the HDR is not really a feature here and so you can save your frame-rate and leave it switched off. There are spot lights around the cockpit but I couldn't get them to work on the version I used. Flying the Huey! With all the electrics on and the fuel load set and ready to go. It was time to start the turbines, you switch on the NON-BUS to start each engine via the switch on the collective (fuel on) and start up whine begins, Once one engine is at idle then start the same sequence with engine no. 2. On this early version and no checklist I found the NON-BUS was in one position to start one engine and and other position to start the other. Once both engines are at a nice idle speed and warmed up, you can then twist up the double throttle grips and wait while the engines scream up to 100% power. The dials are simply excellent in the way they read out the settings. Slight slow pull of the collector and gradually you grip the air. Then you are off the ground and in control with the cyclic and rudder pedals of which don't need much movement or yaw against the tail (a little only is needed). The aircraft is really nice to handle even in this low hover position. More collective and a slide slightly to the right and your moving with a little left rudder to send you left and away from the pad. The aircraft is powerful and you feel the lift and the translational lift to forward flight and more speed is easy and progressive. If you are not smiling by now then you should be. The aircraft is simply amazing in the feeling department as you chop your way faster through the sky. The sounds are excellent with that great turbine whine filling your ears, adjust the pitch and there is this great "chop, chop, chop" sound that is so familiar. It gives you goosebumps and the AB412 just makes you smile so hard now your mouth hurts. In the air the aircraft looks simply brilliant as you slide it nicely into turns and find your new heading... Autopilot The first issue with the autopilot is seeing it? As huge head of the collective blocks it out from view from the pilots position. So you either have to move sideways or set a view point to access it. The AP is in three parts... The main activation switches on the pedestal and the individual item switches that are set on the panel. A third panel is the adjuster point with a display and knob. SAS is "off" and ATT is "on" in the first mode in that will take control of the aircraft but just hold the current heading, speed and height. On the panel you can lock in your height (500ft) by pressing the "ALT" button to "CAP"(capture). Change the altitude via the knob (700ft) and the ALT goes into "ARM" mode. then press VS (Vertical Speed) to pitch the aircraft to the new altitude, you can adjust the pitch (VS) again via the knob. (sometimes you may have reduce the collective or gain the collective to help the VS speed), your vertical speed will then show on the VS instrument. IAS on will allow you change speeds via the knob, you have to be very careful when you come out of the AP and certainly with the speed setting, It is best to regulate the speed by first turning it off here on the panel button than just turning the whole lot off via the ATT/SAS button on the pedestal. Get it wrong and the aircraft will quickly dive or climb to a position you will not recover from. So it is best to turn them off one by one on this set of buttons on the panel and really go in reverse to then turn off the ATT switch. The HDG (heading) is adjusted via the knob on the heading instrument when activated. and when your VOR (1&2) or NDB frequencies are set you can activate them via the radio switch panel below the heading instrument (the nav-aid direction pointers are on the outer ring of the heading indicator) You very quickly fall into the ease of the AP system and flying the aircraft, set a new turn and the aircraft will nicely turn to the new heading and resumes its powerful push forward, medium distances are a breeze as the aircraft covers the ground very quickly, you can easily see why the AB412 is so popular in the EMS/SAR roles. Night lighting externally is very good. There are small strobes on the aircraft and they flash well (bright) even in the daylight and look very realistic. Two (one top and one under the tail) red beacons and a landing light and EXTernal light. View inside and the aircraft looks great traveling in the low light conditions. Liveries There are 12 liveries and two plain white ones and still you would want more! There are so many different liveries out there, and all are very good. The mix is excellent but a few more military versions would be nice and there is (at this point) just one American one in the LA Fire Department. There are two white versions in the plain (default) and Custom with all the extras added. And there are various differences between them like ice landing pads and pontoons and various lighting settings. Mission My mission objective today is to fly out to a rig and collect a patient and then return back to Glasgow Prestwick (EGPK), situated off the West Coast of Scotland. The AB412 is very good when you come off the power and has the drag to reduce the speed to the point you want to go through the transition to the hover phase. Many helicopters struggle here and the speed can be hard to wash off, but the AB412 can be perfectly controlled right though these phases. Once on the deck the power was wound down to idle and as I was going to be here for a short while I powered the aircraft down completely. Once our patient was secured and the crew loaded it was time to power up again and head back. A slight hover to check the slight wind and then a turn away from the rig required light touches to the collective and turn of the cyclic and rudder pedals. Once back on the correct course back towards Prestwick, I reset the AP to 125knts and 500ft. The crew were very happy with the space in the rear but the patient quite obviously was not doing as well with all the moaning and groaning going on. The approach to Prestwick (EGPK) was slow at 60knts and I then reduced my height to 50ft above the runway as an approach. The helicopter pads are situated around the rear so you have fly past and then loop around parked aircraft to find the landing places. Again the trasition to the hover was immaculate, Helicopters by nature are hard to fly, but if they are well calibrated then your learning curve and feeling of the machine is going to be far easier, As I eased down towards the ground you have to watch the AB412 does not tend to slightly swing as if you get into a swinging match with the hover you will lose, so it is as easy as she goes. Half an hour later and the AB412 is shutdown and ready for the next flight in a few hours. Summary Aircraft are like relationships... Some people come with expectations and usually live up to them. Some you just don't like at all, not because there is anything wrong with them but you just don't match up well together "It is a just a personal thing", a few you are not sure of, but after a few weeks of getting to know them you then really like them... Then there are the ones you just simply totally go overboard over, totally obsessed with them and want to be around them every living minute.... That is the Agusta Bell 412! Does hedonistic behavior make you biased? Not if you are aware of their faults then I don't think so. The AB412 does have a few very minor issues like a few switches not working (or going the wrong way) and AP can behave a little oddly with my joysticks, In most cases it is perfectly fine and this is all just fine tuning anyway which will but sorted by the updates. The AB412 is not nestled to the brim with features, menus and extras and like, but what it does deliver in features are really well executed. My wish list? Well I would have liked rain and mist effects on the windows, Helicopters are the best when flying in poor wet conditions. It is noted with the developer so that might come in the future. On the rest AB412 delivers in every department and X-Trident have done a great aircraft with excellent detailing, and it is mostly noted in the gut-wrenching, loving every minute of flying this a really great aircraft and one as famous as the "Huey". It is brilliant, It delivers... And certainly one of my favorite aircraft in X-Plane... Certainly the number one at this moment. ___________________________________________________ Yes! the Agusta Bell AB412 from X-Trident is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Agusta Bell 412 (note: current release is not the release 1.0 version but a final beta 0.9, all users will be updated automatically when available) Price is US$35.95 Installation : Download is 276.mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane Helicopter folder at 326.30mb Support Thread : Bell 412 by X-Trident ___________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews 30th July 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux - X-Plane 10.25 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. Joystick required 512Mb VRAM - 1GB VRAM Recommended Current version: 0.9 Updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.3 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose Soundlink WiFi Speaker Scenery - EGPK Glasgow Prestwick International Airport by GOLF 1 - free .org (EGPK Glasgow Prestwick International Airport 1.1) - Oilrigs - Khamsin (turn on Oilrigs and Aircraft Carrier in X-Plane Render settings)
  10. News! - Aircraft Release : Panavia Tornado GR4 v1.0 by X-Trident X-Trident have released their Tornado GR4 Fighter. Come again... released? Yes a final release because when the aircraft debuted back in October 2016 it was only then a pre-release beta, but a beta you could then buy. Now it has had a formal release as the completed aircraft. And what a sensational aircraft this Tornado is. The Panavia Tornado Project for X-Trident is actually their second aircraft after the excellent AMX Fighter and this aircraft is a step up from that acclaimed aircraft in detail and features. X-PlaneReviews covered the original beta release in a full comprehensive review here : Aircraft Review : Panavia Tornado GR4 by X-Trident And mostly the update work since then has been fine tuning and finishing off the minute details. But a note that the aircraft is still only for X-Plane10 as the the Tornado is not yet configured for X-Plane11, but some details that that X-Plane 11's reflection mapping will be on the X-Plane11 release version has been shown. The full list of features has now been noted and they include: Pilot and navigator 3d cockpits Realistic performances Detailed startup sequence Moving map Terrain following radar Radar warning Long and short range guided bombs Custom HUD with CCIP for gravity bombs; air and ground targets tracking Weapon control panel with multi-configuration capability Realistic / animated in flight refueling with the provided buddy tanker Animated ejection sequence Custom throttle control Custom internal and external lights Advanced features Terrain avoidance radar Terrain mapping radar Ground targets (can be damaged and destroyed by bombing) Detailed manual Weather sensitive wing vortices Custom sound plugin Tacan navigation (air to ground and air to air) The addition of the detailed manual (85 pages) is thankfully required as the aircraft uses the more advanced X-Plane (10.50/XP11) weapon features, they are quite complicated to set and use, so the manual needs to be read before setting up the aircraft. HUD (Head Up Display) has had a lot of attention and is far more detailed with better graphics on the v1.0 aircraft, systems are more workable as well. Full engine startup is now possible with an excellent checklist to follow and use (well worth printing out for use). Not every switch still works, but more detail in systems have been added, so it is a very good semi-functional cockpit now. Rear seat Navigator/bombardier's station is more workable, but still pretty basic. All the great ground features are still here... ... You get engine and inlet covers, remove before flight tags on the aircraft and on the armaments and even a cockpit canopy support, note the excellent rear and realistic engine covers. A cockpit ladder is also provided, that gives you a lot of authenticity on the ground and now there is an excellent military grade Ground Power Unit (GPU) Aircraft refuel system is excellent with beautifully animated probe and provided (A.I.) buddy tanker. (images courtesy X-Plane.Org) Liveries More liveries have been added to the package, from six to nine, including now a standard RAF. They consist of as per the original set : AM 6th Stormo Camo (Italian) as the default, 50th Stormo (Italian), P-01 D9591 (German), MarineFlieger 43-87 (German), ZA412 617 Squadron (Dambusters) RAF (British) and RSAF (Saudi). And new liveries including: Luftwaffe 44 -37 Camo (German), Za491 20 Squadron Tabuk Nikki and the new RAF ZA714 617 Squadron. The Tornado GR4 can be a tricky aircraft to fly and so needs a bit of study and practise to get the very best out of this aircraft, but that is not to say you won't have a lot of fun doing it, as it an exciting aircraft to learn and fly. Expect the X-Plane11 version as soon as the new X-Plane application goes final.... ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Panavia Tornado GR4 v1.0 by X-Trident is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Panavia Tornado Price is US$38.95 Requirements X-Plane 10 fully updated (any edition) - 64bit mode (not fully compatible with XP11 beta at this time) Windows, Mac , Linux in 64bit mode 1GB VRAM Minimum. 2GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1.0 (last January 16th 2017) ______________________________________________________________________ X-Trident - Support forum for the Panavia Tornado ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 20th January 2017 Copyright©20167 X-Plane Reviews Thanks To: Scenery or Aircraft - EGOV - RAF Valley 2017 for X-Plane v10 by rcmarple (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  11. Aircraft Review : Panavia Tornado GR4 by X-Trident After the cancellation of the United Kingdom's BAC TSR-2 project in 1965 the country was put in limbo in finding a multi-role aircraft to replace the many different types of aircraft already in service in many different roles, but to also cover their advancing tactical strike/reconnaissance capability but with the added capability to fill another role as a light bomber to replace the current V Bombers. The trend in the mid-sixties was towards variable-geometry wing designs to gain the manoeuvrability and efficient cruise of straight wings to be combined with the high mach speeds of swept wing designs, and the leading design of the period was the American F-111K. So an order for the F-111 was granted, but swing wing design was a seriously complex and a hard engineering design to overcome and the F-111 fell behind in with it's multiple problems. To cover the F-111's waiting period the American provided F4 Phantoms as they did in Australia as to also the RAF, but eventually as the F-111 was still years from service and the British government decided that their own swing-wing aircraft to suit their own and European needs was now the better quicker route to follow than more costly waiting and so the F-111 order was cancelled. So Australia soldered on as the only F111 foreign purchaser and it was almost a decade before they mastered all the problems and in the long run the F-111 was not overall a very effective or efficient military machine, the many that survived here in Australia cost millions per year to keep in the air. For the German's and Italian's they were in the same frame of mind in their requirements to replace their ageing Lockheed F-104 Starfighters. So a memorandum of agreement was drafted between Britain, West Germany, and Italy (and Holland, but they later dropped out) in May 1969 to create a multi-role aircraft called the MRCA (Multi Role Combat Aircraft) under the German banner of Panavia Aircraft GmbH. The first of more than a dozen Tornado prototypes took flight on 14 August 1974 at Manching, Germany, but both the first two prototypes crashed as did a third, but mostly the crashes were through pilot error and not major design flaws but for a few minor modifications to cover airflow disturbances The contract for the Batch 1 aircraft was signed on 29 July 1976. The first aircraft were delivered to the RAF and German Air Force on 5 and 6 June 1979 respectively. The first Italian Tornado was delivered on 25 September 1981 and at the finish of production in 1998 there was 992 of this excellent aircraft built. There has been no doubt about the overwhelming success of the Panavia Tornado as it has seen service and has had major success in most conflicts since it's inception into service, and is still even now and decades later still giving sterling service until the new but again the very late into service F-35 which is in the shades of the F-111 debacle all over again. X-Trident Panavia Tornado The Panavia Tornado Project for X-Trident is actually their second aircraft after the excellent AMX Fighter. But the complex Tornado project was put aside to complete their other project of the Bell 412 helicopter that has gone on in X-Plane to great acclaim and has brilliant features. Now the Panavia Tornado is back... big time! Beta 9.0 It is important to make clear at the start of this review is that X-Trident have a slightly different approach than other developers when releasing their aircraft. What you buy and what this review is based on is a Beta version or beta 9.0. This aircraft is not the final completed aircraft, if you want that then you will have to wait for the 1.0 release version, and all the comments in this review are in that context. It is not really that much different from most other releases really, because every primary release is never ever complete anyway, they always need some tidying up and bugs weeded out. But you will find something's here don't work and a few patches of odd design, in other words you are in buying this aircraft just another Apple tester for the aircraft, because that is what Apple also do with all their release now. Panavia Tornado GR4 Their is no doubt the GR4 Tornado is a very dramatic aircraft in all it's different postures and roles. It is a twin-seater that has three primary Tornado Variants: the Tornado IDS (Interdictor (operates far behind enemy lines)/strike) fighter-bomber, the suppression of enemy air defences in the Tornado ECR (electronic combat/reconnaissance) roles and the Tornado ADV (Air Defence Variant) Interceptor. First view and feel of the Tornado is dynamic. X-Trident have done a really great modelling design on this iconic euro fighter, there are some gaps in the paneling in that you can see some daylight and they are mostly right up the engine intakes, but otherwise it is all very well done with great detail and perfect realism touches that convey the aircraft correctly. Excellent detail is highlighted and very evident around the the two engine exhausts as with the layers of the outlets the outer and the inner sections, the variable inner nozzle is amazing in perfect operation as you increase the power to full afterburner.... .... you not only get the nozzle animation but the correct thrust colour changes as well, and it looks really thrust full on powerful... The aircraft's main feature is of course those swing wings... They can be set any degree rake but you will use mostly three positions from the angles of 68º Wide, 40º mid and 25º full sweep back. Wing animation is smooth with the weapon attachment mounts also moving correctly to compensate for the new angles. On the ground you can see the aircraft with it's ground elements in place. You get engine and inlet covers, remove before flight tags on the aircraft and on the armaments and even a cockpit canopy support, note the excellent rear and realistic engine covers. A cockpit ladder is also provided, that gives you a lot of authenticity on the ground, but there are no wheel chocks or a Ground Power Unit (the aircraft has a built in APU) Close up the undercarriage detailing is excellent with the twin front and single side wheels, suspension animation is also excellent as is the complex folding and unfolding of the gear out of the fuselage which we will see later. Cockpit Externally the cockpit has a huge amount of detail, very realistic. Highlights are the amazing canopy design and the stacked instruments for the rear navigator/pilot. If internally it looks complex it is because it is, certainly the areas can be broken down into their different areas of systems, but many are in military speak and not plain English, so a bit of study is required to understand what does what. The current manual is still quite basic, but a full one is the works... it is required. The cockpit design is extremely good, very authentic, but most minor switchgear doesn't work at this point, more system integration is promised. The main front panel is dominated by the large central map display with the flight instruments to the left and the engine instruments to the right. Two scopes top are for (left) TFR (Terrain-Following Radar) and (right) RWR (Radar Warning Receiver). The small twist handle top left is for arming the weapons, but it starts up in the Armed and not Safe setting!... so you have to manually set it correctly. Gear and aircraft situation is noted left main panel and on the right is a panel of annunciators and brake pressure, canopy latch is above. Right arm side panel covers TACAN radio, Navigation radio, In flight refuelling, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) and external, panel and cockpit lighting. Left arm panel has (top) APU start, and engine start, then throttle, limiter, flaps and wing sweep. (bottom) Autopilot, PFCS (primary flight control system), SPILS (ejector seats) and Comm radio. The wing sweep control lever is easy to use with every degree set out for use, and the twin (engine) throttle levers have two actions... back and forward for thrust, and also they click to the left to auto set the reverse thrusters and if the "Stop latches" are set to up you can then shut down the engines. You have to work out which small arrow does which job on the throttle as there is a few of them and it is easy to pick the wrong one. The front and centre HUD is excellent, with two selections and weapon arm details. I keep it off while taking off or landing for better runway visibility but that is my choice. Behind the stick (which can be hidden) is the MSI mode panel, then the weapons control panel and lower is a set of switches arranged for a "Rapid Takeoff". Note the "G" meter on the right, it records your highest "G" until you reset it. Centre joystick is excellent, but check out the bank movement as the grip moves only from the centre axis to the left or right... Rear seat position is currently still mostly under development, but there is a working Chaff and Flare panel (right lower panel) and a better weapons panel than for the pilot (left lower panel). But you have to love the minute joystick. Menus The Tornado uses a Plugin Menu system that drops down from the X-Plane menu bar (plugins) and the X-Plane Aircraft/Weight & Balance & Fuel menu on the "Ordnance" tab is to also be considered as a secondary menu page. The drop down menu covers... Smart views (on/off)... note: if you use the standard X-Plane key save view system, you need to keep this item switched off as it badly interferes with that the way of changing your cockpit views. Jump to Navigator seat; Puts you in the rear seat! Load map; You can create and load in your own moving map with a rendering (or scan) of the map saved in a“.tga” format without compression. there are no finer details as yet on how to create this and it is noted a full tutorial is coming. Controls; a full set of the same commands that are set out around the aircraft's cockpit, but here they are all in one place for ease of use. AAR; The AAR or Air to Air Refueling is a feature with the X-Trident Tornado, we will cover it later, but there is a menu panel to control both aircraft. Weapons; Using the cockpit weapons panel is a bit hard and a few functions are missing. So this menu panel makes it easier to set up and use. Joystick debug; A guess this is used for development as it shows the joystick axis coordinates. TACAN; This is a full list of TACAN frequencies close to the aircraft. Special; shows selections for the side aircraft ladder and static elements as noted above. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Flying the GR4 Tornado! You would think that the 68º wide sweep of the wings would be the best for lift on takeoff, but that isn't the case. Full out the wings create too much drag, so you don't create the required speed to takeoff by the end of even RAF Valley's (EGOV) long RWY14 2,290 metres (7,513 ft). So the sweep setting required is the mid 40º, and with the full throttle setting and afterburners glowing, you move... really move. So fast in fact that in only a short time you are way above 250knts and heading for 300kts... on the ground! Slight pull of the stick back and your free of the ground and powering away, you feel the aircraft and it is really nice to control... gear up. It is well worth saving a replay and then going back and watching the gear stow away. The rear gear sorts of twists and folds forwards inwards like a big killer bird does, Tornado... Bird of Prey sorta sounds great. Front and rear positions are visually great, but a highlight is the excellent reflections on the canopy, they create that sort of fishbowl feel of the bubble canopy, and from the rear the effect is more realistic than in the front... Weapons you have both A-A (Air to Air) and A-G (Air to Ground) weapons including Sidewinder, Mk83 (low-drag general-purpose bombs), Storm Shadow (SCALP - air-launched long range, conventionally armed, deep strike weapon), Mauser BK27 Cannon, plus counter-measure BOZ 101 (Electronic Counter Measure Pod (ECMP)) and TSPJ - Tornado Self Protection Jammer and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) system. I not sure if the Tornado is set up to use the new X-Plane 10.50 weapon system functions, but if not I would expect the system to be included in the future. You can use the centre armament panel, to fire the weapons, but using the menu panel is far easier. You here can "arm" the weapons, SET or LOAD them, Select from either the Cannon A-A or A-G and set your target in: Alpha, Bravo or Charlie. Make sure you have set the safety knob to "Live" and lift the "Late Arm" red cover to set them ready... Then just fire away, I use a trigger button on my joystick. I would like a key- pop-up on the menu items as you hide the menu panel away and then want it back, so a quick key press would save a lot of time. The "Storm Shadow" deep strike weapon is very impressive. A sort of small cruise missile, you arm, then fire it and it drops and ignites below the aircraft then goes away to hunt it's target or victim. Me.. I just got out of there... Bombs and Cannon are also highly effective, and all the weapons can be managed through the X-Plane Aircraft/Weight & Balance & Fuel menu on the "Ordnance" tab AAR or Air to Air Refueling One of the big features with the Tornado is the AAR or Air to Air Refueling. You can download a "Buddy" Tornado set up for AAR that is not noted at this point? And that aircraft is loaded into your X-Plane A.I. (Aircraft & Situations - Other Aircraft). At this point in time in creating this review I have not actually hooked up (yes I hold my head in shame, but if not you would be not reading this review for a month's time). The built in refueling boom on the Tornado is extended by the In-Flight refueling panel on the top right arm panel. The animation is excellent as it extends and you are ready for your "Buddy" to catch up. Best way to see where the "buddy" is, is on the "local map". but it does take (a lot of time to get into position or catch you up). The AAP panel allows you to set (more than one) tankers from the A.I. list, then you can activate it or switch it off for normal A.I. use. You then can set the - Altitude, Heading and speed of the tanker and then "Sync" it to your Tornado. There are three different "Difficulty" challenges in "Easy", "Medium" and "Hard" The panel is however confusing? and there is to date no instructions except for the basics of the panel's layout? Is the AP your Tornado or the Buddy? and is the sync to do what, just sync the same alt, head and speed? to your Tornado or the buddy? I think a good feature would that the "buddy" when activated comes up and past and then holds the correct station for you to hook up, and even does a hook up for you, certainly a manual mode is required, but it gets really (really) hard to do, as when you get into the slipstream of the "buddy" your Tornado shakes quite violently, that makes it hard to do those fine adjustments required to hook up. The AAR control panel needs to be more accessible than just via the drop down menu, because you need to switch it on and off a lot... The idea of controlling the "buddy" aircraft is a great one, and to a point it works. But what doesn't work is the finer control you need. I needed the tanker to go up about 50ft, but the control panel just jumps to a higher altitude, and the buddy disappeared. Speed adjustment works to a point, but not in the small numbers but jumps of 15-30knts, so the buddy is too fast or too slow. So "sync" should be sync! and the two aircraft should be locked together at the correct point to come together if you are in the correct position.... its all just too hard. Time to do a Scott Tracy and pull those wings back like Thunderbird One and head back to RAF Valley... The speed and power of this thing in is very heady at mach 1.6! hammer time! The Tornado is tricky on landing. I haven't yet mastered the approach, but if you drop the speed, you get a very quick stall. So the approach speed margin is very small between the lowest speed at around 200knts-180knts (which is still too fast) or finding yourself falling into that nasty ground swallowing stall... so you tend to make your approaches too fast and then slightly stall the last part of your way to lower the aircraft to the runway. I thought low speeds would be better, as you have not only the swing-wing at its most extended of 68º and with those really great main rear and leading flaps. You arm the thrust-reversers before landing by pushing the throttles left, but X-Trident have now added a keyboard key (for the joystick) in an update at my request (They are also really hard to use manually). This allows you more control of when you need the reverse thrust as on auto setting the excellent two position spoilers come up first and then finally the clams come together, you needed more control too wind off the speed as soon as you are settled on the runway, the reversers are effective and you need that instant stopping power. Put the throttle right up and thankfully the reverse-thrust is powerful and you finally start to run off that excess speed and the aircraft will quickly slow to a taxi speed. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Lighting There is a lot of adjustable lighting in the cockpit with the instruments and with the both side panels which all have separate knobs. The overhead cockpit lighting gives a (very) slight dark red glow, I feel it should be more redder. Toned down the panel is very black and white, but works very well. Rear position needed the mapping screens working correctly, but it will look really good once more attention of this area is completed. HUD is excellent for use at night. Navigation lights are sets of two. One set on the wing tips and another on the engine inlets, the secondary nav lights can be dimmed or made to flash for identification (refueling). External cockpit illumination is great visually. There is a single taxi light on the front gear strut, and two landing lights are built into the the undercarriage door panels, but you can only have either the taxi or the landing lights on, but not all on together. Liveries There are six liveries and all are very well done. They consist of: AM 6th Stormo Camo (Italian) as default, 50th Stormo (Italian), P-01 D9591 (German), MarineFlieger 43-87 (German), ZA412 617 Squadron (Dambusters) RAF (British) and RSAF (Saudi). I found no basic RAF Squadron for this review and many others are already asking why only one RAF?, More to come I hope. _____________________________________________________________________________________ This release from X-Trident is noted as a beta, and to a large point it is. There is still a lot of development of the aircraft still to do, it is certainly not finished and in parts it feels that way. The basics however are great and the aircraft is more than usable, and no doubt the final release aircraft will be excellent going on X-Trident's past reputation. but the small niggles are certainly there and if you are fine with that then you will love the aircraft. As an aircraft the Tornado GR4 is well... awesome! I really hate using that word, but here it fits. It is a great machine to look at and fly, and there is a really great set of features in this package, and overall the aircraft is expertly created with simply great detailing. If you really like great fighters then certainly invest in the Tornado, you won't be disappointed and I predict that in time it will be an X-Plane classic of it's category. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Panavia Tornado by X-Trident is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Panavia Tornado Price is US$38.95 If you have already purchased X-Trident's excellent AMX then X-Trident are preparing a coupon code that will give you a 4$ discount on the full price of the Tornado. Features Include: Pilot and navigator 3d cockpits Realistic performances Detailed startup sequence Moving map Terrain following radar Radar warning Long and short range guided bombs Custom HUD with CCIP for gravity bombs; air and ground targets tracking Weapon control panel with multi-configuration capability Realistic / animated in flight refueling with the provided buddy tanker Animated ejection sequence Custom throttle control ______________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download is 355.60 mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane Fighter folder at 648.90mb. The "Buddy" Tornado needs to be downloaded, and loaded as an A.I. aircraft into the X-Plane Aircraft & Situations - Other Aircraft Menu The "Buddy" must also be set as the Air Force and Navy Refuel options on the same Aircraft & Situations Menu. Documentation : Tornado for X-Plane 10 - quick start v04 (not completed) and Startup and take off checklist. Requirements : X-Plane 10.50+ (any edition) - running in 64bit mode Windows, MAC or Linux - 64 bit Operating System required 4Gb RAM - 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 2Gb VRAM Recommended Current version: 2.0 (last updated September 22 2016) ______________________________________________________________________ X-Trident - Support forum for the Panavia Tornado ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 5th October 2016 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews 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 10 Global v10.50 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Headshake by SimCoders (free) Scenery or Aircraft - EGOV - RAF Valley for X-Plane v10 by rcmarple (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  12. News! - Bell AB412 updated to v1.6 by X-Trident X-Trident have updated the excellent Bell AB412 to v1.6. This is a minute update of: Release notes: -Added sling loads management -Added a bunch of custom commands -Fixed some bugs X-PlaneReviews covered the main update features here: Aircraft Update : Bell AB412 1.5 by X-Trident Yes! the Agusta Bell AB412 from X-Trident is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Agusta Bell 412 - Price is US$35.95 Current version is v1.6 and if you have already purchased the X-trident Bell AB412 then go to your X-Plane.Org Store account and upgrade now! Requirements X-Plane 10.30+ (any edition) - Mac, Windows, Linux - 1Gb+ dedicated VRAM Video Card Current version: 1.6 (Last updated 5th October 2015) Update by Stephen Dutton 5th October 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews
  13. Aircraft Update : Bell AB412 1.5 by X-Trident X-Trident have done another small update to the Bell AB416. In reality this update is just another bit of fine-tuning with the only new items being for the SAR scenarios (ground operator, life boat, optional ambulance, random positioning, improved animation). Now you get a paramedic by the patient in the hard ground position, and the co-ordination system allows you to place them where you want them. An Ambulance can also be standing by, but the ambulance texture quality was not great at my settings. Out on the water and the ground position turns the patient into a floating lifeboat with a strobe light that can be seen from a far distance. This is now certainly the best SAR rescue set in X-Plane, great ideas and great animation... The AB412 is not too bad either!. For more complete information on how the SAR system works then read X-PlaneReviews AB 412 v1.4 update review. Yes! the Agusta Bell AB412 from X-Trident is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Agusta Bell 412 - Price is US$35.95 Current version is v1.5 and if you have already purchased the X-trident Bell AB412 then go to your X-Plane.Org Store account and upgrade now! Features: Pre-release versions tested by actual customers since August 2014 Highly detailed 3d model and 3d cockpit. Most switches operable Detailed rotor kinematic modeling Detailed lights Close to real fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems; start-up sequence follows the real checklist almost line by line Custom failures Working custom auxiliary tank and water drop system Working dolly pad for precision landing Custom warning panel Custom governor Custom artificial stability Custom 4 channels autopilot with over 10 modes Flight model approved and tweaked by real pilots Hyper detailed rotor with all its levers moving ud and down, Custom GPU Custom Remove Before Flight with dangling flags (with FOD) ADF with bank error Working doors with changing sound volume effect Many liveries plus a paint kit; smart configuration of optional objects attached to each livery Plugin for Windows, Mac and Linux (32 and 64 bit) – detailed custom menu Tested with FS Economy, Smart Copilot and Saitek panels Includes a licensed version of Dreamfoil's Geforce plugin Garmin 530 GPS V1.3 New Features: Working NIGHTSUN Spotlight Working FLIR Camera V1.4 New Features: Custom Winch and SAR operations V1.5 New Features: Improved shadows (now high-res as they should be) Improved click regions for the Garmin 530 Improved SAR scenarios (ground operator, life boat, optional ambulance, random positioning, improved animation) Added custom commands for FLIR and spot light _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements X-Plane 10.30+ (any edition) - Mac, Windows, Linux - 1Gb+ dedicated VRAM Video Card Current version: 1.5 (Last updated September 14th 2015) Update by Stephen Dutton 17th September 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews
  14. Aircraft Update : Bell AB412 1.4 by X-Trident X-Trident have added another great feature to their excellent Bell AB412. This update only contains one change but its a beauty!. Version 1.3 released in June added a lot of SAR tools in a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Camera) Nightlight system and movable searchlight... full v1.3 details are here : Aircraft Update : Bell AB 412 v1.3 by X-Trident Added now in v1.4 is an excellent hoist system with all the trimmings. Added is a new menu option in "SAR Control panel" under the X-Plane Menus in plugins. First note is that the winch system is not on every aircraft livery and even then only on certain SAR versions. You can tell what the active winch is like by noticing the yellow hook hanging from the winch. If you want to add the winch to a livery or version that is not active then you can, like I did here to the Australian "Customs" version. Go to the livery that you want to use and you will see the "config.dat" file, open it with a word editor and change "winch" to "agusta_winch" save, and there you have it... The detailing of the winch is very good, everything is modeled including the attached power cabling. To operate the winch is via the SAR Control panel, first row operates the winch up and down or stop. Second and third rows operate the doors left and right, which is great because you don't have to now keep pulling down the menus or crawl back over seats just to open and close the doors internally or externally. Next two rows on the menu are for the "Operator" or winchman and your "Patient". In Operator "on" will show the Operator on the hoist and "off" will remove him. Same really with the Patient in "off" not there, "In Transit" on the lifting cage, "On Board" in the aircraft and finally "On ground" Here on the right side of the menu popup you can set the coordinates of where the patient is lying on the ground, it is quite clever in that you can place him either by inputting the direct coordinates or pressing the "Get" button which notes the current position of the aircraft. So if I "Get" and then set the "On Ground" he (or She) will appear at that set of coordinates, or in other words directly below the aircraft... In operation it all works very and is very realistic... The only really tricky part is flying and hovering with one hand and controlling the menu buttons with the other. Inside "view" gives you this great shot of the pair arriving at the door. Once the patient is on board and the winchman is safely stored, it is then a direct ride to the hospital or nearest airport. So the SAR winch is a great addition to the aircraft, and so add in some really bad weather and a few large dangerous mountains and then go for it... Yes! the Agusta Bell AB412 from X-Trident is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Agusta Bell 412 - Price is US$35.95 Current version is v1.4 and if you have already purchased the X-trident Bell AB412 then go to your X-Plane.Org Store account and upgrade now! Features: Pre-release versions tested by actual customers since August 2014 Highly detailed 3d model and 3d cockpit. Most switches operable Detailed rotor kinematic modeling Detailed lights Close to real fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems; start-up sequence follows the real checklist almost line by line Custom failures Working custom auxiliary tank and water drop system Working dolly pad for precision landing Custom warning panel Custom governor Custom artificial stability Custom 4 channels autopilot with over 10 modes Flight model approved and tweaked by real pilots Hyper detailed rotor with all its levers moving ud and down, Custom GPU Custom Remove Before Flight with dangling flags (with FOD) ADF with bank error Working doors with changing sound volume effect Many liveries plus a paint kit; smart configuration of optional objects attached to each livery Plugin for Windows, Mac and Linux (32 and 64 bit) – detailed custom menu Tested with FS Economy, Smart Copilot and Saitek panels Includes a licensed version of Dreamfoil's Geforce plugin Garmin 530 GPS V1.3 New Features: Working NIGHTSUN Spotlight Working FLIR Camera V1.4 New Features: Custom Winch and SAR operations _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements X-Plane 10.30+ (any edition) - Mac, Windows, Linux - 1Gb+ dedicated VRAM Video Card Current version: 1.4 (Last updated August 7th 2015) Update by Stephen Dutton 10th August 2015 Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews