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  1. Plugin Review : SkyScout - Web based EFIS - PFD/MFD/EICAS by XPlane Aviator Through X-Plane's Network menu tab, you can set up multi-visual setups for monitors, it can also be used with or on a local network (or WiFi) in using your IP address with other external devices, or basically you can use any other computer, tablet (iPad/Android), phone or any device that can run a compatible web browser... and mostly preferred on Chrome... for it's Chromium Engine Framework, but it will also work on Firefox and other browsers. Chrome however is still the main recommended choice. This same system was also used to great effect by the WebFMC Pro application, of which I am a huge fan. This application is a quick no-wires (WiFi) connection way to get the an aircraft's main PFD (Primary Flight Display) or EFIS/MFD/EICAS on to an external display, this application is mostly focused for home built cockpits, but with this system it is a home-built cockpit you could pack away after a days flying. The idea is to complete a set up quickly and efficiently if you have enough displays, or even with just one. Obviously it is a great training tool, but home cockpits also require a lot of home dedicated space, and a lot of us don't simply have that luxury. In full page mode with SkyScout running there is a lot of PFD detailed information, but even with a small resized window it is still quite fully functional and highly useable. But first before we go through the options and details of SkyScout we will do the installation. Installing SkyScout After downloading and unpacking, you place the SkyScout folder in your X-Plane root folder (that is NOT in your usual plugins folder). Important: That you have to have the Microsoft .NET Core 3.1 Runtime installed to use this application, and the details and a link is provided in the Installation Manual. Note SkyScout also provide a dedicated browser (connects automatically with the application) as part of the package, but at this point it is Windows only... Click on the application (make sure your Firewall does not hinder the application), and first up comes the start up screen in a DEMO mode. This is a fully-functional demo version of SkyScout that runs for free with flight time limitation only. The free demo version of SkyScout will work for 10 minutes each flight and will terminate both SkyScout and X-Plane sessions after this time period. (note it WILL terminate your flight, not the application). If purchased you can authorise your "Pro Version" purchase and register the application. You can start X-Plane from within the application (I recommend starting X-Plane as usual, then starting the application), and then you get a Main Menu screen. We can't get to far in front of us here? as this startup is via the built in SkyScout browser. To set SkyScout up on an external browser... The hard part is setting up and sending the data to the device and its browser. The required browser address is http://localhost:9889 or where as "localhost" is your computer address (the one running X-Plane). This is found on the Network menu on the middle left of your screen under This Machine's IP Addresses (arrowed). There are several other options to connect up SkyScout say via a network that are covered extensively in the manual. Computer firewalls can also be an issue, but If set up correctly then the SkyScout should instantly appear in the browser window. There is a lot of fault finding and help in the manual, I just started my WebFMC Pro app on my browser and added in the new connection address (9889) and it connected up instantly. From this point, then just add in on any local WiFi your SkyScout browser address to any browser, and the application should work fine. One important note; is that the SkyScout uses a lot, if not most of your X-Plane commands and remotely. This is very good in a training operators situation, but just be aware that while you are adjusting and changing items on the application or with the remote screen, then X-Plane will mirror those changes. Main Menu The main menu has four main window selections; PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (Multi-Functional Display), XPD (X-Plane function display) and MAP (moving Map). Select the PFD button and you get a large Artificial Horizon or HSI (horizontal situation indicator) with a lot of information. These are "Widgets" that can be accessed via clicking anywhere on your screen, and access to each Widget is via it's Tab label. By default the Widgets are; from left to right and up to bottom: Autopilot (top left), Flight information (top center), Elevation chart (top right), Engine instruments (bottom left), Basic aircraft controls (bottom right) and a Map set behind... ... pressing the tabs allows you to clean up the display to show just the Artificial Horizon, and the screen can also be adjusted more to take out the MAP background opacity and leaving you with a just a clean blank (Normal) Artificial Horizon if required. Primary Instruments have also built in data. Main instruments and indicators include: horizon line, pitch scale, roll scale and pointer, slip/skid, turn and compass, attitude, air speed, altimeter, vertical speed, autopilot information and indicated values, flight director, reference speeds, HSI source, GPS information, reference speeds, barometer, temperatures, pressure and time indicators. Selecting an indicator (box), you can change it's values via a pop-up keyboard (here I have selected the Altitude), note that inputs work fine and directly on a touch screen for speed, and press "Accept" to input the data. The Heading can and Course can also be input this way via the keyboard, and so can the HSI Source and Baro (below). There is a secondary PDF Menu set into the top of the screen that is selected via the "Menu" label. Menu options are (Left to Right); Full screen browser, Show/Expand all widget tabs, Hide/Collapse all widget tabs, X-Plane toggle pause, Normal EFIS mode and background, Transparent map for EFIS background, Display settings, Map source selector, NEXT menu page and the X Closes the PFD and goes back to the Main Menu. Note the nice display of your current flying aircraft. Selecting the "Normal" HSI mode gives you a normal HSI, and pressing the world icon selects the MAP background. In the secondary Menu, the menu has nine icon selections (left to Right); Panels, Views, Radios, Fuel, Route, WebFMC, SIM (X-Plane) and Music! Note - the icon selections noted here are the same as listed on the Main Menu under the MFD and XPD buttons. These adjustable panels are all very good and gives you the option to set up a configuration of the X-Plane simulator that you like on a remote screen, Notable is that under the SIM option is a Framerate widget, and very good it is, for in showing you your highest, lowest and your current frame rate. The connection of WebFMC Pro is again welcome but the facia is a bit oversized. You will find a lot of the options here can be, and even confusingly can be found again under other menu options, like on the Main Menu. Under the Settings Menu you have some good choices with: map transparency, time and field of view. The transparency range is excellent, and you can find that balance of detail that you want, full slider to the right is no map and a clean HSI interface. There are ten MAP selections, and a great set of selections they are as well... I have shown six of the best here including: Default, Tropo, Black & White, Toner, DarkMatter and GeoPortal France. Main Menu Sub options Besides the main selections of PFD, MFD, XPD and MAP there are eight sub-options on the Main Menu, these include: Start Flight, Aircraft, Positions, Airports, View Manager, Route Manager, Configuration and Engine Editor. Before going into the actual Menu selections there is a selection or "Favorite" option that has to be done first because it relates to the uses of the above selection options on the Main Menu. First is to select a "Favorite" Aircraft and Position. Aircraft; There is an "Aircraft Selection panel that mirrors your X-Plane one, out of this list you can select a "Favorite" via the tickbox (arrowed) left. Position; There is the option to "Favorite" a certain position (Situation). Place your aircraft in the position you would like to select. Then there is a * (star) "Favorite" selection in the side menu (arrowed), Where here you add the favorite position a text box that pops up to record your details in: Position, Country, City, Airport, Runway, Description and you can add in an image URL as well.... then SAVE or CANCEL the favorite. Start Flight The selection "Start Flight" is a variation on the X-Plane "Flight Configuration" screen. If you have set up your Aircraft and Position "Favorites" then they show up here for selection, when selected then just press the Start New Flight" button to activate. Options to change the aircraft or position are also available. You can also adjust the "Time of Day" here also. Aircraft This is a variation on the X-Plane "Flight Configuration, Aircraft" screen in selecting and loading in Aircraft into the X-Plane Simulator. Selection of the "Favorites" are shown above and the "Load" button of that selected aircraft is opposite (arrowed). Positions This is a variation on the X-Plane "Flight Configuration" in showing you your selected position "Favorites", and loading them into the X-Plane Simulator for your selection, press "Load" to go to that favorite position. Airports This is a variation on the X-Plane "Flight Configuration, Location" in finding an Airport. There are various search options to locate an airport including using the ICAO code. Once selected there is information available about that airport, plus the option to "Go To The Airport" and other route creation options. View Manager This screen allows the user to create plane-specific views. There are three master views: Pilot, Cockpit and Copilot, and the user can set three of them differently for each plane allowing to bypass the standard X-Plane field of view in monitor settings. SkyScout will then load them automatically every time a plane is loaded and with the selected set Pilot view at the beginning of a flight. Route Manager This screen allows the user to select a route and load it (into the Route Editor) from the X-Plane fms file folder. And you can also load and delete the route file (warning it deletes the route from your X-Plane FMS folder!) Configuration This selection provides different configuration options in SkyScout, including; Custom Buttons, Backup (SkyScout’s Data subfolder backup option), License, Elevation (Elevation database user’s installation assistant) and FlyWithLua. Engine Manger You can use this tool to create indicators for the engine panel of the loaded aircraft, six available slots as show in the screenshot above, two per row, three rows total. ____________________ Using the SkyScout If your eyes have not glazed over yet with the zillion menu options, then there are still a zillion more, but first we have to set up a flight. First you have to start the SkyScout application from within the SkyScout folder and it gives you options to open it in your installed browsers, if using remotely in another browser then you don't know if SkyScout is "Actually" running until it pops up an alert box? You can start X-Plane from the inside the application by pressing the "Start X-Plane" button (arrowed below left). If you are already running X-Plane then start up the remote browser and add in and go to the set IP address... if all correct then SkyScout should appear and go directly to the Main Menu page. SkyScout has a very good built in "Route" editor... to access the editor then go to the MFD page. Of which I did find it quite confusing if the editor is not set out currently in the MDF but set instead for other widgets?... but It is selected via the "Edit Route" button on the "Route Menu" page. Three selection tabs cover "Active Route", "Flight Plans" and "Route Menu". The "Active Route" tab is the route or flightplan building or current waypoint list. There are three panels... an Editor, Airport finder (left) and MAP (right, and the panels can be switched around to your preferred choice), Start by pressing on the Airport Icon by your Departure aircraft and select the airport... ... then select MENU and it appears in the Airport Panel. But sometime I found the Airport Icon selection didn't work at times (airport popup did not appear or only flickered.. and most times it just disappeared!)... so there is another way to use the Airport selector. Press "Find Airport" in the "Route Menu" page and you can search and select your required airport. You can then insert the airport via the "Add to FFP" (Flightplan) button lower. The departure Airport is then listed as the first (1) waypoint... .... there is a layer selection on the top right to show airport icons, runways, ILS markers, runway markers, waypoints or if you want to then just press on any location on the map (User Points/Co-Ords). To add in waypoints then go back to "Edit Route" button on the "Route Menu" page. And this brings up the "Route Editor" input box top left of your screen.... .... select your waypoint (or Co-Ords) and it comes up instantly in the Route Editor, press ADD to add in the waypoint (note is that confusingly next to ADD is INSERT? and it is very easy to mix them up). It is with this editor extremely easy to build up a flightplan route quickly, just select the waypoint and ADD... If you want to change or delete a waypoint then just select that waypoint selection and DELETE... .... what you can't do is select and switch around the waypoint rows (one program does actually lets you do this), but the ease and speed of the editing here easily outways that option. The speed you can construct a route is breathtakingly quick and easy, but I do find the route list far too big, yes there is a slider to go up or down the extended route list, but the text size is just far, far too oversized, and you just don't need it that big, and you could easily add in far more waypoints until you needed the slider. What I really do like is the runway heading and alignment line that is set out in the route and on the map showing the runway numbers. With the route completed then press the "Route Menu" tab and now you can "SAVE FPL AS..." or to save the flightplan to your FMS flightplan folder... ... You can GET or SEND the FPL to the aircraft (but I found this option didn't work?), so I loaded the Flightplan in directly from the FMS GNS folder list. You can of course CLEAR ROUTE and start again or reload in the saved route via the centre "Flightplans" tab and "Activate". __________________ Layouts There is no doubt the SkyScout is a versatile tool, so there are a lot of various ways you can set it up to use it. The main applications are for training, with a remote operator as the main focus... as most things connected to a flight can then be remotely controlled via the application and is really it's main overall goal and for home cockpit builders want an instant screen access to the simulator. But the various setups you can create with the application are really quite flexible, so we will show a few ideas here... I am using both a my iMac (desktop) and a Windows Surface laptop, the latter is interesting because it has an active touch screen, an iPad would work in this context as well, but my iPad3 didn't work as with the older operating system would not load the latest Chrome browser? so be aware or test that factor if you use older or extinct displays. A basic setup would give you an Artificial Horizon (HSI) on the lower screen, and the choice of the aircraft in forward view or with the aircraft visible. Add in some aircraft widgets for; AP (Autopilot, Radio, Engine, Controls), and you have more on screen in flight options. Or you could use the setup as just in a Flightplan mode, with your flightplan front and center, with the larger Map screen handy with the route details... .... or just use the secondary layout as a "Moving" map, as we always need a visible "moving" Map and this one is very good. Another option is to interact with the panels, say here I have the Radio and lighting switchgear panels visible, and I can physically adjust the sliders via the active touch Surface screen. But you do feel you want more switchgear set more together, and that in by putting two or three panels or all four on to the one screen would be more a more efficient and a productive case. This also leads to using the screen to have both the AP and Map together in one screen (there are of course a lot of different screen variations) for you to choose from. SkyScout with X-Plane This short flight follows the Flightplan from YBCG (Coolangatta-Gold Coast) to YBNA (Ballina). You very quickly adapt to the SkyScout in my case in a rear projection of the PC-6. I set the screen to just the HSI PFD to get a feel of the main instruments... and took off and flew up to my set Altitude (6000ft) going North 320º while using the Surface Laptop screen as my HSI reference. Once set at altitude I selected both the "AutoPilot" and "Controls" Widgets for information and control buttons... Then I could press directly on to the touch screen to switch on the AP (plus the FD/YD), and the set command is noted in the centre of the display (arrowed), ALT was pressed to hold the Altitude. Note the full screen width Artificial Horizon, which is highly effective if learning. I selected 060º heading via the keyboard and the aircraft responded, but when I selected 190º Heading the PC-6 went the long way around and did a complete circle to come back to the correct southern heading, instead of taking the shorter heading direction change? Two things other things now also came to the fore.... I can't adjust the Map on the PFD?... A lot of times the overlapping Widgets don't allow you to access the Map screen, and even if you can clear the widget out of the way the range tool of the Map it still does not work when pressing it (I tried directly by finger and mouse), annoying... in fact in various areas on pages the Widgets overlap and disable other actions, and usually the actions you want to access. Second thing was that I couldn't "Direct" to a waypoint in the flightplan, As I had had flown north and then circled back (several times) towards the flightplan, I then needed to reconnect at another waypoint (CQ32Z), but there are no tools in the SkyScout to do this, so it had to be done via the aircraft's GNS - Direct option. Cruising at altitude is great, as you can access information and do adjustments (on the fly so to speak), bring up the flightplan and follow the route... the flightplan however does not adjust to the changes in the GNS? Nor is there any highlighting of a particular waypoint, neither in the flightplan or on the Map screen, or you can do as I did in selecting the waypoint directly for reference, but an automatic selection or highlight of the current waypoint would be nice. You can fly the aircraft completely from the remote screen and with your joystick, VS (Vertical Speed) can be done directly by touch and keyboard, as can the selection of Flaps, which are shown in degreesº in the "Controls" Widget. Other items include your Trim (I really liked the press to reset, the trim) and Spoilers and Reverse Thrust... .... For a final last thought is that this application is very good for projecting on to a large screen, if the smart television has a built in browser and WiFi connection, most now do, so again as a training application it is very good. Summary Sky Scout is an X-Plane application that a web based EFIS (PFD/MFD/EICAS) system specially designed to provide an external experience outside the simulator. The application allows you to easily emulate a pack away glass-cockpit-style at home just using additional monitor, laptop computer, iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or phone: all you need is one or more devices with a compatible web browser, preferably Google Chrome. Four primary selections PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (Multi-Functional Display), XPD (X-Plane function display) and MAP (moving Map) give an indepth remote control of the X-Plane simulator, including a very good Route-Flightplan editor, acccess to aircraft systems (touch command if you have a touch screen or tablet), on screen widgets that cover Autopilot, Engine Parameters, Controls, Elevation Charts and also a highly selectable and changable (moving) MAP. A very extensive HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) with keyboard input is also highlighted. There are a lot of elements that make up this application, and on a first introduction and navigation of the layouts can be complex and confusing, but familiarity and use does sort out the confusion but some elements still do over lap others. Set up is also external from the simulator, but if you are familiar with the WebFMC application then it is the same system, but it does allow for a large and varied intergration of screens and remote interaction with the simulator. Overall the Sky Scout is excellent, but it does currently have a few bugs, and layouts are still in a need of a bit of refining, the concept is really good and works very, very well... but crashes are known and tools can be tricky to use. The built in route editor is really good but still buggy and needs more refining... and seriously requires smaller text, and an active route that mirrors the X-Plane GNS is not available and neither is "direct to" editing remotely... Widgets of aircraft panels and instruments are good, but bare and could be assembled together for better interaction, also the Map is buggy in white blanks, disappearing airport icons and other idiosyncrasies. Note that a modern browser is required to use this application, so older extinct tablets and computers may not work. This is an application that is extremely useful, and even indispensible, but currently also complex. But that does also mean there is huge amount of layouts, options and features that any review can't cover them all. So in that aspect it is a hugely featured application. For temporary home cockpit builders, and training, then Sky Scout is indispensable, for the rest of X-Plane users then the net is very wide on how you can configure the application to suit your own needs, so yes it is a great application with a multitude of uses. Recommended _____________________________________ Yes! SkyScout - Web based EFIS - PFD/MFD/EICAS by XPlane Aviator is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : SkyScout - Web based EFIS - PFD/MFD/EICAS Price is US$39.95 Access requires any modern web browser running on your PC or mobile device over local WiFi network. Features: PFD features Autopilot control Route information Flight information Elevation chart Radio panel Engine gauges Fuel informaion Electrical information Inset and bacground moving map Flight controls MFD features Full size map or dual panel Autopilot control Switches panel Radio panel Fuel control Engine and electrical panel Elevation chart Route manager Route editor Airport list and information Interactive weather and views control Inflight background music Requirements: X-Plane 11+ (Fully supported) Server Required: Microsoft .NET Core 3.1 RUNTIME preinstalled Standard X-Plane 11 requirements apply CPU: Intel Core i7 (recommended) CPU with 2 or more cores, or AMD equivalent 64-bit Windows, Mac or Linux version fully compatible with Microsoft .NET Core 3.1 Runtime (Check your OS version compatibility) 16Gb+ RAM recommended Free disk space: 600Mb minimum. 1GB recomended Web Client Additional dedicated monitor or and external computer, android tablet or iPad SkyScout can be executed on any up-to-date web browser with JavaScript and WebSockets support Latest versions of Google Chrome or Firefox on PC or Android and Safari on iOS is recommended Support for WebSockets RFC 6455 standard There is a demo version available for evaluation purposes only: click here to know more about the demo version ______________________________________________________________________ Application Review by Stephen Dutton 27th October 2020 Copyright©2020 : 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) 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 1Gbgb SSD : Apple 27" iMac running Chome : Microsoft Surface 3 running Chrome Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.50r3 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series by Thranda (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$34.95 
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