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Found 8 results

  1. Aircraft Review : King Air 350 by AirfoilLabs AirfoilLabs released their first project in the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk back in the 3rd Quarter of 2015. As a project it was certainly highly ambitious and in areas also created new levels of aircraft detail and interaction. The Skyhawk also had a strange feel that was not the usual X-Plane type of feedback that you usually had, but the 172SP's role was never in doubt, as it was aimed directly at trainers and pilot's that have certified on the aircraft or even if you currently owned one. Their feedback was that overwhelmingly the Czech studio AirfoilLab's C172SP was a great if not a perfect reproduction of the real aircraft... not bad for a first release. The X-PlaneReviews review is here: Aircraft Review - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs But I will admit the feel and high immersion was something you liked or not, so the C172SP split users into two camps, say 80% for to the 20% against. Myself personally I had a foot in each and again the percentage was about the same in say 80% /20% of how much I really liked it. For one it is deathly slow aircraft if you like VOR to VOR flying, you judge distance in months not hours in getting anywhere and I am not a big fan of too much realism of where it starts to get in the way of the simulation.... but that does not take away the fact of the scale of the achievement that AirfoilLabs in what they had created. So when the announcement came that AirfoilLabs next project would be the King Air 350, then that was a real "whoa" moment, as for ambition goes you have to give AirfoilLabs a lot of pertinacity, as this is another huge step and with another huge project cliff face to climb... it would have been all quite so easy just to have done another single-engined light GA of say the Cessna 152, but no it is the huge twin King Air 350. Super King Air 350 There are so many King Air variants you need a wall chart to work them all out of the active 7,300 aircraft produced. But the highly successful B200 Series created all that and operators wanted even more and more out of the iconic airframe. First came the 300 series in were as the B200's airframe was "cleaned up" and used even more powerful engines (PT6A-60A, rated at 1050 shp) installed in redesigned cowlings (known as "pitot cowlings" due to the reshaped engine air intakes) with MTOW increased to 14,000 lb (6,300 kg). Not finished there they then wanted even more bigger King Air and so the fuselage of the 300 was stretched again by nearly three feet with two extra cabin windows on each side and winglets added to the wingtips to create the Model B300. The aircraft was introduced in 1990 and initially marketed as the Super King Air 350... at a later date the "Super" title was dropped and later aircraft were fitted with Pro Line 21 avionics. AirfoilLab's King Air 350 Even from the first release images of AirfoilLabs new machine, it was very obvious this was a very highly detail and well crafted aircraft. In the release version as well you were certainly not disappointed either, this is nice modeling at it's best. But let us not forget that this is one of the most competitive categories there is and you are situated directly against the high-dynamics of the Carenados and the JustFlights. In that company the visual effect is slight flatter, its good, even very good and make no mistake, but the level here now required is to the extreme more than just very good... it is also a personal viewpoint as well as many would even nudge more towards the AirfoilLab than the extreme Thranda dynamics, but I am more the other way around. Detail of course is excellent and extremely well done.... not only the exposed areas like the undercarriage, but the semi-hidden areas as well like the highly detailed wheel wells. Expected... well yes actually because this is where your money goes, high detailed costs... and there is to be no shrinking of the budget, but you certainly get your money's worth here... we expect the overall fuselage and flying surfaces to be correct as they all are very impressive, but again it is in the detail that we look for value and quality.... .... lighting assemblies are excellent and highly detailed... love those huge trumpet exhausts, and they are very well crafted here. The spinner and chrome detail is very good as well, note the nice attachment screws. Rear engine locker detail is also very good, lovely chrome and detailed lock... wing construction (rivets) and paneling to the correct scale is also very good. Trim adjusters are excellent, great detail. The external avionics are well done as well, a simple thing to brand them, but this sort of detail also gives the aircraft the air of authenticity.... beacon has the internal bulb filament... impressive. There are a few elements that are not textured though, like a few aerials, drain pipes and some blade radio fins, they are only pure 3d modeling, do so AirfoilLabs think we wouldn't notice? Glass is very good, but not the best I have seen lately... the close up surround detail is slightly ragged and in some lighting viewpoints you lose the reflectivity, but you really like the rare green tint and wear and tear window scratches. Oddly enough there is no option to turn off the window or instrument reflections, and you don't need to inside as the tint is not visible. All glass has a rain feature that is very good... I don't think it is the new Librain effect, as the waterdroplets and effect are quite different, but they are very good and realistic. Time to have a look inside the B350... Internal Cabin There is only one entrance door on the King Air's, to the rear on the left side, opening it up and the animation with the rope stair is very good, it is very hard to animate rope or flexible materials and it is well done here. As you enter there is a single crew seat opposite, and a large luggage area with safety straps to the right.... note the lovely aluminum door frame, that is nice detail. In the cabin then leather and rich grain wood abound, this is certainly an executive layout with double sets of club chairs, this is very nice arrangement, but a lot of KA350's are used for medical evacs, so an option of a medvac cabin would have been really good. Each club area has foldout animated tables, beautifully done and overall the cabin fitout is excellent and very luxurious... but I am going to be a bit picky here, as there are areas are speedy modeling... circles are time consuming to create in 3d, to eliminate the straight line on a circle effect then more straight smaller lines you do, the better the circumference... the larger the lines saves time and work. There are areas here that show such straighter more than circle design, window frames and lighting are the most obvious, there are well done areas, but there are also a lot of noticeable design points throughout the aircraft. To note is that now in X-Plane we are moving in the era of ultra quality, certainly in this category, so anything now that was then brilliant and exemplary of even a few years ago, can now be judged by a very different scale.... don't get me wrong here this cabin is extremely good, but detail is detail and that is what you pay for. Cabin lighting is very good even excellent, but not as spot seat adjustable as say the Carenado... main cabin overhead spot lighting is set in three positions in Bright - Dim - Off, but I couldn't see much difference between "Bright" and "Dim", yes it is slightly dimmer, but not as noticeable enough to be different or certainly usable. So the "Off" is a stark dark contrast... "Exit" lights (two) are manually switched (very nice) and a switch on the rear wall by the door will light up the rear entrance and cargo area, again very nicely done. Externally the cabin looks very cosy and inviting but the glass looks missing? Cockpit Cold Time to look behind those lovely doors... the cockpit doors can't be opened from the cabin, which is weird? and can only to be opened from the cockpit side, which begs the question "how do get in there if the doors are locked from the other side?"... there are several areas like this (including the armrests) that can't be activated from certain angles... Yes it is a King Air cockpit with that familiar layout, as they say "fly one, then fly them all"... but the detail set out here is deep, extremely deep. Yes AirfoilLabs have done an extremely great job in here, and in finding the right balance between the practical and the wear and tear... ... we have seen a lot of King Air cockpits in X-Plane and some very good ones, but this is without doubt the best of them all in minute detail and interaction. As they say, "you have to give credit, where the credit is due". Powered Cockpit Turning on the power brings the King Air to life, there is a GPU (Ground Power Unit) as to not ruin your battery power if you are on the ground setting up for a significant time. Note the separate avionics switch... even with this switch on the full panel is still not full active as a lot of the avionics have separate ON/OFF switches. On a cold startup you get a none aligned EADI (arrowed) and I never found out how to align it? You can remove the chunky yokes, but the "AirfoilLabs" replacement logos look out of place by being too bright and are quite a distraction? A modified custom (darker) version of the logo would have been more expertly done... Outwardly the instrument panel looks very complex, but actually it isn't, as all the systems are broken down into their system areas and if you know what area you are looking at it is all easy even basic to use, but a rough drawn chart can help if you are new to King Airs. The pilot's side is dominated by the Collins EFIS 84 (Electronic Flight Instrument System) avionics with on top the EADI (Electronic Attitude Director Indicator) and lower the EHSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator) the Co-Pilot only has the lower EHSI and a standard Artificial Horizon top. The EFIS is surrounded by the main flight instruments with left the Airspeed Indicator, ADF/VOR direction pointers below. Right is Attitude Indicator positioned top, Vertical Speed Indicator is middle and the backup Artificial Horizon bottom.... far left is a Rate Of Turn indicator top and a Gyro Slave set out below. There are the standard twin sets of gauges set down the left centre panel that covers the engine outputs with top to bottom: ITT (*Cx100) - (Interstage Turbine Temperature), Torque (FTLB x 100), Prop - RPM, Turbine % RPM, Fuel Flow and Oil temps/Pressure... nice digital readouts are included in the Torque and RPM dials. Lower left panel covers Electrical, Anti-Ice, Prop AutoFeather, External lighting (in two sections either side of the landing gear lever) and Ice Protection. Co-Pilot's side is again quite basic in the layout... the already mentioned lower EHSI and a standard Artificial Horizon are central, then Airspeed Indicator, ADF/VOR direction pointers to the left with a Radar Altitude dial bottom. Right is the Attitude Indicator positioned top and below the Vertical Speed Indicator with a Rate Of Turn indicator far right, another Gyro Slave is below. On the lower right panel are four dials covering Gyro Suction, Pneumatic Pressure, Cabin Air temp (ºF) Hobbs (Hour) meter is middle and Oxygen pressure far right... switchgear and knobs cover Environmental systems. The central panel is really well done and very authentic, it is also a little complex. King Air COMMS panel is top with separate volume knobs.... Collins Altitude Selector is below. Old style Collins CTL22 serial tune control units cover COM/NAV radio frequencies, COMM 1 & 2, NAV 1& 2, Transponder and ADF. The tuners are highly impressive from the standard block default ones you usually use in X-Plane. All CTL22s have separate volume knobs and built in four position frequency memory and all can be tested. The Collins WXR-850 Weather Radar is also not the usual dummy unit... It comes with full RADAR, NAV and TEST, GAIN, TILT and RANGE functions, heading can be UP or North. The display can also be used as a backup EADI or EHSI by selecting the lower selection buttons (green). Impressed... you should be. Center console has the Collins APS 65 Autopilot and EHSI functions and a separate EHSI panel for the Co-Pilot. The FMS is a custom version of the X-Plane11 default FMS, and as usual the panel pops-out. The cabin pressure/altitude adjustment knob is here as well, with the pressure dump switch just above. Side panels cover all the circuit breakers, the B350 has a custom electrical DC and AC behavior in detail, with electrically operated relays and load distribution per component... it is very extensive and realistic. The upper fuel panel is standard King Air and fully switchable with tank crossfeed... a nice touch is the switches don't just switch up or down, but lift to the new position which is very realistic. Overhead Panel (OHP) is again standard King Air, but well done in detail. Simulated buses include Battery Bus, Center Bus, Dual Fed Bus, Left Gen Bus, Right Gen Bus, Triple Fed Bus, Left AC Bus, Right AC Bus, Avionics buses 1, 2 and 3. All interior lighting is focused here as well. Two annunciator panels covers Master and Caution Warnings top and the large multi status panel lower... all annunciators can be tested... .... again it is highly impressive and detailed. Centre pedestal is a pure King Air arrangement, with twin levers for Throttle, Propeller (Feathering) and Condition. Aileron and Rudder trims with a large wheel pitch trim wheel on the left. The Flap[ lever is here as well with three dials covering Flap position UP -º20 - º60 - º80 - DOWN selections, Cabin Climb and Cabin Altitude dials. So in detail and the depth of the systems there is no doubt this is an impressive aircraft, all functions and switch gear work as per a real King Air, so that then nominates the aircraft as a "Study" grade aircraft... the only aspect that is not real world is the FMS, but as X-Plane and advanced avionics progresses (notes of Pro-Line are already simmering around the sim) then in time even the basic FMS will certainly be replaced. Cockpit Lighting With an array of lighting knobs on the OHP then the cockpit lighting options should be very good, and they are. Full panel lighting to just instrument lighting is excellent. Twiddling the knobs will find you with your perfect setup, of also dim left side or right side main instrumentation or selected areas like the engine dials or avionics. The EFIS displays brightness can be adjusted via the console panel, and separately for either pilot. There are two overhead spots that are animated, but not spot animated in that they throw a spot light aka Carenado. In reality it is just two broad overhead lights and one for each side... it still works in creating mood lighting, but you miss the dynamics and drama of the Carenado feature. _____________________________________ XJet The AirfoilLabs KA350 is different as well from other X-Plane aircraft. This is the first use of the "XJet Plugin" which is LUA based code. Most heavy system aircraft use plugins to replicate and achieve realistic systems and animations. The standard is the SASL plugin and also the Gizmo system, which in it's earlier incarnations was quite a nasty piece of simulator crashing pain. But most if not all developers are devoted to the SASL system because the SASL developer will be flexible enough to create custom code for certain functions at the whims of the aircraft developer. So here is a new LUA based version and AirfoilLabs notes it's features that includes Aircraft Systems Logic Tools to simulate realistically very complex electrical systems and a built in Interactive Checklist System that is able to control the aircraft automatically with camera focusing and audio specs. It is also available on all X-Plane based platforms of Windows, Mac and Linux. But the new plugin has it's teething problems. On the aircraft systems side it looks pretty faultless, (unless you use the replay) so that is not the issue here. It is in the external factors that it shows it's issues. Number one is the authentication of the aircraft, and quite frankly it is a mess of untested pain... It is supposed to install not only the XJet plugin but the aircraft itself and a load of software packages like java to make the whole thing run. This "Product Manager" is supposed to be run externally before starting X-Plane, but note it only at the first load or insert, then then loads in only the XJet plugin. When install is complete you then start over again and install the aircraft, with the authorisation (key) of the product... done, not! Running X-Plane and opening the aircraft gives you a warning to authorise the aircraft (but "what" I have already done that?), try and do that and the authorisation will not work as usual. To authorise the KA350, you need to then go back to any other aircraft in your "Flight Configuration" and load it, then pull down the "Plugin Menu" and then with the same "Plugin Manager" panel and then again redo the authorisation key... and now it will finally work... well yes? Several times when doing a startup in reloading the AirfoilLabs KA350, you will find you need to go back to the last step of reauthorisation via another aircraft to run the KA350 for that simulation... annoying. You do a sort of a cheer when it all finally works, but no doubt it will be all fixed up and working correctly in time and the point is why with such an important aspect and the very first introduction to the aircraft then why wasn't the installer tested? and tested again... It all caused so much confusion. Another aspect of the XJet plugin is that it is sluggish... you see it in the aircraft's movement and certainly in any internal view movement, as X-Jet is not as refined yet as it needs to be, framerate is not the issue and it seems it is with the other plugins like xEnviro and WorldTraffic3 that this movement is even more highlighted. The aircraft also has a "Save" last flight feature, that saves all the current systems as they were on the last flight, however in some instances I found when loading the AR KA350 it would load the aircraft in another place, and in my place that was in the drink or a lake somewhere else??? it is all very odd. _____________________________________ Menu System The AirfoilLabs KA350 has an extensive menu system that is activated via movement to the left of your screen. There are five rows of menu options... Aircraft situation 2D Panels Static Elements Weight & Balance Settings Aircraft Situation : There are four options on the state of the aircraft : Cold & Dark, Before Start, Before Taxi and Before Takeoff.... I did find that in a few aspects there was still a few switches to throw (i.e. battery switch on the before start state?) to get to the said situation, so it is always a good idea to run through the checklist. 2D Panels : There are six options of pop-up 2D panels : Pilot AP/YD, Co-Pilot AP/YD, Pedestal, Environmental (lower console), EADI and EHSI All pop-outs are extremely scaleable (from full screen to absolute nothing!), window pop-out and moveable around the screen, all pop-out panels are highly useable. Note: if you scale too small you may not resize the panel back to normal, as there is no default reset button either? Static Elements : There are seven static elements available : GPU (External Ground Power Unit), Fuel Tanker, RBF (Engine inlet covers, tags, flags and cones), Chocks, Tie-Downs, (Open/Close) Door and Maintenance Stands. All the static elements are excellent. Highly detailed GPU and an outstanding fuel tanker, Chocks only is a big "Thank You" and you have to really love those four Maintenance Stands... 5 stars! There are more active areas for ground activities... You can switch on the clickable green areas to show these active zones around the aircraft. These zones can be used with the menu, or directly (say position the chocks or open the door)... but more so for more access to the aircraft. Both side engine panels can be opened to reveal the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A reverse flow, free turbine engine... ..... and the oil stick can also be accessed. Fuel can be loaded remotely for both the outer and inner tanks, and even the earthing cable is to be attached! Rear engine cowl lockers open via latches, and there is ground puller that can be used directly to move the aircraft. Weight & Balance : The weight and balance sheet is also excellent, it comes in two options with lbs/Gal and kg/l.... There is the full extensive list of weights available and the adjustments are numerous with four separate fuel tanks, Crew, Passenger and Baggage and Presets for Fuel and aircraft load weight... full weight graph shows Centre of Gravity and inches aft of datum. Only notes are that the scale left is noted in "POUNDS" on the Kg selection? and the panel is not scaleable. Overall the W&B sheet is excellent. Settings : The settings panel is quite well laid out in two areas : General and Sound. Top has the "Remember Aircraft State" of which I like, as the aircraft is still set up the way you left it last flight... but note it did have that bug where it constantly dropped me in a lake? Several settings will show an "Arcade 2D Panel" along the top of your screen, this is selectable for both internal or external views. And the Green click regions noted above that can be set three ways : Hide, Hide When Still and Show Always. Both pilots and passengers can be shown separately, and visible When Outside, Always or Never. The humaniods are debatable in their quality? They seem to have been created quickly for the feature than with much care for realism, they are passable and not animated and I don't use them except the pilots in the external view. Alpha when Airbourne, restricts the throttle from going into the reverse beta mode while in flight, which can be helpful with add-on throttles. You can select the "Environmental sounds "(external sounds) ON or OFF, Turn ON/OFF Pilot/Co-Pilot call outs in V references and Adjust the checklist volume. Views/Walkaround : There are two selectable view tools that are selected via the "Camera" bottom left of your screen. One is for the Panel views and the other is a Walkaround feature that can be used in conjunction with all the active zones around the aircraft. Handbook There is an aircraft handbook available as a pop-up in the cockpit (this is a handbook, not a manual), the handbook can be selected either by pressing the book in the left pouch by the pilot, or by pressing the logo bottom right of the screen. There are four tab selections in: General, Limits, Normal, Performance and one Options page. GENERAL There are two pages covering the sizes and dimensions of the aircraft LIMITS There are four pages of noted limits for the aircraft's limitations, and there is a lot of detail in there. NORMAL is the built in checklist and very good it is to... (note the voice is loud unless you adjust the speakers volume) When you run the required checklist the (Co-Pilot) will run through the list with you. The item is pointed out and the action is noted on the bottom of the screen, If you complete the action the checklist will then move on to the next item, If you want to pass through the list item you can just press that item and move it forward yourself.... brilliant. It is excellent for learning all the items and switches around the KA350 panels, and with a few run throughs you are an instant expert. PERFORMANCE allows you to find the best performance figures for that flight in Takeoff and Landing. In certain zones you can input current details to get the correct current performance figure, but they can be slightly buggy with the inputs. Options There is also an "Options" panel that is selected top right of the panel (arrowed). Options include "Camera Focus" were the camera moves to the next item on the list. The "Checklist Flow", here you can select three options in: Manual (clicking on the item will move you to the next list item), Semi-Automatic (By doing the action on the checklist it moves to the next list item) and Automatic (This will automatically do the checklist for you). You can set the actual speed the checklist is completed action by action. CHECKLIST HINTS (lower screen) can be shown ON/OFF, and under the SPEECH options you have the voice say "Checklist Items" and Checklist Hints". On the top of the options page is a slider to adjust the transparency of the Handbook. Scale adjustment is huge, you can go from small (excellent for doing the checklists) to very (fill the screen) large. _____________________________________ Flying the King Air 350 Starting a King Air is actually quite easy.... Once your checklist is done and the aircraft is ready (fuel, weights and systems sorted) it is then down to the start procedure. Set the Trim to neutral (0) and switch on the ignition switches... ... set the condition levers to "Low Idle" (for fuel flow) and switch up the engine start switch of the engine you want to start. They take their time to go through the extensive start sequence, but finally the prop will turn and the engine will whine into use, it sounds really good from the cockpit. Sounds are very good and doppler dynamic externally and internally... the engine startup sequence is also excellent, so is the change in power feedback. Using the "TakeOff" performance page in the handbook and filling in the required areas will give you your takeoff ref speeds and if you press the "Set Markers" that will then set the speed bugs on the Speed dial. Half throttle to get the aircraft moving, then about 100% torque to start the speed build... as the required takeoff v2 is only 120knts you are rotating and climbing very, quickly. Co-Pilot vocal readouts are excellent, but it also depends on if you want everything noted that you are doing, overall the readouts are very good. Climb speed is 2000 fpm, but you have a lot of choice as the maximum is 2750 fpm, but 2000 fpm is still very good with the available power. Once you have a nice positive climb then gear and flaps up... but with the gear retracted and the landing/taxi lights are still active as they hang below the nose? A small detail but a highly noticeable one. The KA350 is very nice in your capable hands, heading adjustments and banks are lovely, but it is a good idea to level off and set the trim early. The trim is very good in this aircraft, and can be adjusted via the buttons on the yoke... personally I use the keyboard to save off any distractions from looking down than forward while in the crucial climb, so to note that the AirfoildLabs aircraft uses the "Pitch Trim Up/Down - Mechanical, not servo" setting rather than the usual standard "Pitch Trim Up/Down" and so you have to set that key input on your keyboard to use it. The aircraft will trim up very nicely, but you do also get a slight right bank? I tried adjusting the Aileron Trim, but that didn't work as well as I wanted it to... ... adjusting the throttle input torque was the best way to eliminate the bank.... of which I kinda like because you have a more realistic feel to the engine output power, but to note the aircraft was fighting though an almost headon 44 knt crosswind. This is not the first time in X-Plane we have used the Collins EFIS 84, but not to this system depth as in the functionality here you are wanting nothing, but that also comes with the aspect of a required manual to also understand the full functionality of the system, and how to get the best out of it... and it would take a review alone to cover all the intricate details and I wouldn't recommend this high-depth functionality to a newcomer to these sort of systems. All VOR 1 - VOR 2 - FMS selections can be set individually on both the EADI and lower the EHSI which are controlled via the pop-out panel (or rear console if you are a diehard). Upper CRS ACT is used to set the EADI but the selections are shown in the top section of the EHSI... the CRS PRE is the same for the EHSI and setting, there is also a BRG (Background) function as well for ADF 1 - VOR 1 - VOR 2 and FMS.... Course CTL (Control) can also be switched. Nav Data includes ET (Time used), Wind direction, TTG and GSP (Ground Speed)... a nice aspect is that when you come up to a change of heading the current waypoint will flash alerting you, again this is not something we have not seen in the past but it is in the professional way it is done here that you really like. Both the current waypoint and heading pointer will both flash at 4 nm out from the heading change. To a point you have to be aware to manage all the Nav-Aid and FMS pointers, if not the EHSI can get seriously complicated if you have them all selected, simple selections of current requirements sometimes beats using all the features, just because you can. All three heading selections are available with HSI (rose), ARC and MAP. VOR 2 selections can hold three channels (arrowed below) and several selections of available data... Display details (Test) on the EFIS panel shows the huge amount of selections available, with all the major functions having ARM availablity... 1/20 is half bank (arrowed). The extensive menu options though can get in the way of using the EFIS panel, it pops-up and activates unwanted things while you are using the panel, same with the right lower handbook tab (arrowed right) as that tab gets constantly in the way of the range selection on the central MFD panel.... and YES both do get seriously annoying while trying to make quick flight adjustments. The King Air 350 has a ceiling of 35,000 ft / 10,668 m and a Max Speed of 320 kts, a Normal Cruise is 310 kts and an Economy Cruise is around 234 kts, but I found if you pushed the 350 past 340 knts - 350 knts it would start porpoising (pitching up and down) quite badly so the 235 knt range was the best for a clean flight, but still note that heavy crosswind. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A turbines crank out 1,050 shp / 783 kW, so climbing to high altitudes is not a problem and the best aspect for a cleaner faster flight if the distance is over 800 nm. So with full tanks you can certainly cover a large distance with 1,806 nm / 3,345 km range and an extended range at 2,670 nm / 4,945 km. Externally the particle effects are not good around the engines, and they also abruptly stop (in a line) by the entrance door level.... ... parts of the visual triangles are highly noticeable and distract constantly from the look of the aircraft in flight. Overall the sounds are very good, but there are some quirks... external sounds can get very deep droney and repetitive and if you sit in the cabin in the left seat you can't hear any sounds, but they are there with the right side cabin seats? (oddly some Carenados do this as well) so maybe that is a FMOD quirk. Externally the lighting is very good, but again has quirks... end of wing assembly lighting and (Ice) wing lighting is actually very good, as is the lower beacon and the tail lighting, the floating landing and taxi lights are of course awful as is the over bright cabin that is still over bright even when set on the "Dim" setting as also the window glass is not filtering out the lighting differences so the windows at night look like they have no glass. Arrival in Portland KPDX means getting ready to land... using the Performance "Landing" tab in the Handbook you fill it in of the airport's details and press "Set Markers" to again set the landing speed bugs... again it was buggy in filling in data zones. Once aligned with RWY 10R you switch over the VOR 1 for the ILS alignment (note the setting change is done in the upper segment of the EHSI for use in the EADI) There has been some controversy on the AirfolLab forums that the KA350 is hard to land, or specifically it bounces... hard. Obviously in most cases a bouncy landing means you are going too fast... but there is more going on here, yes I feel the KA350 is approaching the runway too fast, but the numbers on the dials disagree with that at the stall speed is 94 knt dirty, so really the 100 knt marker is your final stall line. I personally have done three perfect landings, The blue line 125 knts is the best minimum approach speed, but a little higher at 135 knts gives you more control. Control the speed and you control the height, as you may go a little long, but you will stay in control for a nice touch down landing... the bigger problem is when you use the ILS glideslope, as the speed control at the same 135 knts then the KA350 does something weird... as you drop out of the glide slope the KA350 decides to drop and you can easily lose control (I have several times) my guess is the Autopilot in taking control and not switching off, but once the AP is off you get your control back, but only after a marginal shove of the throttles for height and more power, its nasty... so it is best to avoid it by taking control and adjusting the power (switching off the AP) before the ILS slope runs out... ... it is certainly not easy to do as it can take some skill to get right, but my overall feeling is that it is a bit of both going on here, yes you can land the KA350, but I still think a little bit of refinement is still required by AirfoilLabs, if the KA350 was a real aircraft you would call it "Nasty" with this approach aspect. A final note is that the AirfoilLabs KA350 absolutely loaths the X-Plane Replay mode.... obviously the X-Jet plugin is not configured correctly for the replay, so it will fly the aircraft, but not to expect any correct readouts from all the spinning instrument dials and wonky displays, worse is coming out of out of the replay mode as the KA350 acts really weird with completely odd things not working or not adjustable, as only a full X-Plane restart will bring the aircraft back to normal, and even then to remember to have the feature setting "Remember Aircraft State" switched off unless you want the same defective aircraft that you left running in the last flight of the KA350. _____________________________________ Liveries There are 18 liveries, all are created from real world KA350 liveries and cover all aspects of the types of KA350s flying including the Air Ambulance variants. N70EU is default and there is a blank. Four liveries are the Wheels Up Cancer support, for Breast Cancer, Heart and Ovarian Cancer. _____________________________________ Summary First of all don't let us forget the size of this project, the sheer ambition on show here with is excellent King Air 350. But the point of the huge undertaking and the introduction of a completely new Plugin system X-Jet is that it is all extremely highly complex and with an plugin system still in it's development stage. Most developers use SASL, and the main reason they use SASL is that it has had a huge amount of development over the years and is highly stable... and there is no doubt that there is a huge amount of versatility and highly dynamic elements that this new X-Jet tool will bring to our aircraft. But trying to bring both a extremely complex aircraft and a new plugin tool into use together, then was that all a step a bit too far. I have no absolute doubt that the X-Jet plugin and systems will be refined and soon will be also very stable, but the reality is that currently the KA350 is a bit to a lot buggy and not completely stable, some at times even infuriatingly so, it is a bit like a Forrest Gump chocolate "You just really don't know each time you use the KA350, of what sort of aircraft you are gonna get". In reality the aircraft needed far more development and testing before releasing it onto the unsuspecting user, a few months and some good feedback would have completed the project to a higher and far more professional level that you would expect at this level, Of say would Aerobask deliver an aircraft like this, I doubt it... and from the off in the installation set up and activation palaver is just plain painful is the sort of starting point you just don't need. In the extensive (even mind boggling) features and system depth the KA350 is astounding, the feature list is simply huge, even mind boggling and the detail in the systems is even very and highly realistic, it is noted as "Study" grade and I will second that. Electrical, Fuel Systems, Pneumatics, Fire Protection, Ice and Rain Protection, Pressurization and oxygen systems and Hydraulic Power System are all covered and all are highly realistic and you are wanting for nothing. In avionics and again the feature list is huge and with a lot of depth of a perfect replication of the Collins EFIS 84 (Electronic Flight Instrument System) and EADI/EHSI displays and yes it is the very best EFIS system now in X-Plane... in the value aspect then the money is off the wall in what you receive and even at an US$50 investment. If you buy this aircraft you will certainly love it like I did, and certainly for it's depth. But also be very aware it takes skill to fly it well, but more so to work around all it's current foibles, quirks and some are quite maddening... as for deep down this still a buggy aircraft and still in development and in currently purchasing the aircraft you have to be aware of that factor, even if some things noted here are just so simple to avoid. So this KA350 aircraft is absolutely brilliant, but lacks refinement. I will note this review was also done without a manual? there is a manual available but only in the.php format, and that version would not load via the Chrome browser. And as infuriating that is, for this also is an extremely complex aircraft and totally requires this sort of indepth information to use it, and in some ways that fully sums up the release of AirFoilLabs King Air A350. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The King Air 350 by AirfoilLabs is a new release for X-Plane11 and NOW available here at the X-Plane.OrgStore King Air 350 Price is US$49.95 This aircraft is a noted aircraft for X-Plane11 only and version v1.0 is required Features: PBR 3D Model Extraordinary Ultra HD details both in interior and exterior. Every rivet, every sign, every screw, every light, every instrument inside and outside is modeled to the highest fidelity. And photorealistic engines. Ultra realistic cockpit details, glasses, dirt, scratches. Ice on wings, windows, rain effects, wipers and more. High Optimization Method - to save performance all details were designed in separate overlay objects to enhance 3D detail and economize on texture size. 18 amazing, hand painted Liveries with artistic touch. All liveries are based on real paint schemes. 3D FMOD sound 924 sound events and snapshots in total. Real recording from 350 was used, too. The principle is that all you can touch and move is provided by manually and meticulously edited sound samples. Enhanced Multi Layered Engine Sound Design meets realism and complexity. These details are taking into account: Location, Propeller, Propeller Pitch, PT-6 engine (no propeller) On, PT-6 windmilling, Starters, Igniters - all modeled separately to cover all real world situations. Realistic cockpit sounds are modeled to such details as Bus Ties Relays (electrically operated switches), Ticks in the audio system, electrical discharges during igniters, etc. Ground Movements, Tire rumble based on surface, Cockpit vibrations based on G-Forces, breaks squeaking, skidding, Impacts based on G-Forces. When manipulating with aircraft in the exterior everything is provided by a sound: caps, latches, remove before flight objects, doors, electrical towing, refueling etc. Pilot/Copilot Callouts indicating V speeds and other details during takeoff and landing phase. Ambiences - you feel, when you are outside, real wind sounds based on X-Plane 11 weather system, outside precipitation Aircraft Systems Simulation Electrical System: Custom made system for simulating complex electrical DC and AC behavior in details with electrically operated relays, load distribution per component, inverters, sensors and more. The load of the system influences even how bright the annunciators lights are. Simulated buses: Battery Bus, Center Bus, Dual Fed Bus, Left Gen Bus, Right Gen Bus, Tripple Fed Bus, Left AC Bus, Right AC Bus, Avionics buses 1, 2 and 3. Lighting: All lights in Cockpit, Cabin and Exterior, described in the real aircraft manual are operational and connected to correct buses. Master Warning System And Annunciators Logic with dimming. Fuel System: Realistic layout of the fuel cells with boost pumps, transfer pumps, crossfeed system, firewall fuel valves, vents and drains for manual Fuel Check in exterior preflight. Auxiliary Power Unit simulation with engine start, realistic electrical behavior. Engine: Custom made simulation of Alpha, Beta(Ground Fine) and Reverse regimes. X-Plane Commands modified to match real behavior. Inertial separator simulation. Custom Feathering system. Custom Autofeather system and test logic based on real aircraft. Simulation of Primary Governor, Overspeed Governor, Fuel Topping Governor. Low Pitch Stop and Test simulation. Rudder Boost logic and Pitch Trim system logic based on Manual. Fire Protection: Engine Fire System detection replica with FW Valves logic and Fire Extinguisher. Pneumatics: Custom logic matching the real system dependencies to environmental controls, pressurization vacuum system, gyros suction. Ice and Rain Protection: Engine Inlet Lip Heat, Inertial Separators, auto-ignition system, windshield anti-ice, wipers, propeller deice system, pitot heat, surface deice boots simulation. Pressurization: Cabin Pressure Control systems with testing logic simulated. Hydraulic Power System. Avionics: all systems are modeled as close as possible to the real instruments. Radio instruments (COM 1, COM 2, NAV 1, NAV 2, ADF, Transponder) all modes available with memory function and simple testing sequence. Avionics power and gyro initial spin-up replica. All digital displays graphics and logic based on real aircraft data. EADI (Primary Pilots Display), EHSI (Pilots HSI/Map), MFD (Main Map Display), EHSI Copilot. Weather radar simulation. The provided FMS is X-Plane 11 FMS, therefore the aircraft uses standard navigation database integrated in X-Plane. Autopilot Modes Logic and interconnections are custom made to match the real one. Aircraft performance is tuned to match speeds in real performance tables XJet A new plugin system for X-Plane 11 that provides licensing, software distribution, automatic updates as well as full integration in X-Plane 11 via the newest X-Plane SDK. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Requirements: X-Plane 11 (Fully updated) Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 800Mb Current and Review version: 1.0 (April 5th 2019) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation: Download for the AirfolLabs KA350 is done via an installer "AFL+Product+Manager+Windows+installer" messy to use and buggy (see details above) and final install in X-Plane folder is 2.29gb. Final authorisation is done via the X-Plane plugin, again messy and unreliable. Documents: Manual is available only in the .php format, and it didn't work when used in the chrome browser... useless! ____________________________________________________________________________________  Review by Stephen Dutton  20th April 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 Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : SimBrief - Free Scenery or Aircraft - KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00 - KPDX - Portland International Airport 1.5 by mister x6 (X-Plane.Org) - free
  2. News! - Release! : AirfoilLabs release the Beechcraft King Air 350 Pre-release views were everywhere then there was nothing for a few months... then suddenly we have the actual release! Welcome to the Airfoillabs King Air 350. Previous release of the C172 from AirfoilLabs was an interesting and if very different take on the usual type of aircraft from say the likes of Carenado or vFlyteAir... you either loved the 172SP which many did, or found the 172SP a bit of an odd one out... my take was a boot in both camps, so the King Air 350 is an interesting next step on the same path, I think it will be excellent. Main feature is a new plugin called "XJet" a new technology plugin system for X-Plane 11 that provides licensing, software distribution, automatic updates as well as full integration in X-Plane 11 via the newest X-Plane SDK. The XJet plugin is still LUA based but quite different from the standard SASL plugin system. Features Include: PBR 3D Model Extraordinary Ultra HD details both in interior and exterior. Every rivet, every sign, every screw, every light, every instrument inside and outside is modeled to the highest fidelity. And photorealistic engines. Ultra realistic cockpit details, glasses, dirt, scratches. Ice on wings, windows, rain effects, wipers and more. High Optimization Method - to save performance all details were designed in separate overlay objects to enhance 3D detail and economize on texture size. 18 amazing, hand painted Liveries with artistic touch. All liveries are based on real paint schemes. 3D FMOD sound 924 sound events and snapshots in total. Real recording from 350 was used, too. The principle is that all you can touch and move is provided by manually and meticulously edited sound samples. Enhanced Multi Layered Engine Sound Design meets realism and complexity. These details are taking into account: Location, Propeller, Propeller Pitch, PT-6 engine (no propeller) On, PT-6 windmilling, Starters, Igniters - all modeled separately to cover all real world situations. Realistic cockpit sounds are modeled to such details as Bus Ties Relays (electrically operated switches), Ticks in the audio system, electrical discharges during igniters, etc. Ground Movements, Tire rumble based on surface, Cockpit vibrations based on G-Forces, breaks squeaking, skidding, Impacts based on G-Forces. When manipulating with aircraft in the exterior everything is provided by a sound: caps, latches, remove before flight objects, doors, electrical towing, refueling etc. Pilot/Copilot Callouts indicating V speeds and other details during takeoff and landing phase. Ambiences - you feel, when you are outside, real wind sounds based on X-Plane 11 weather system, outside precipitation Aircraft Systems Simulation Electrical System: Custom made system for simulating complex electrical DC and AC behavior in details with electrically operated relays, load distribution per component, inverters, sensors and more. The load of the system influences even how bright the annunciators lights are. Simulated buses: Battery Bus, Center Bus, Dual Fed Bus, Left Gen Bus, Right Gen Bus, Tripple Fed Bus, Left AC Bus, Right AC Bus, Avionics buses 1, 2 and 3. Lighting: All lights in Cockpit, Cabin and Exterior, described in the real aircraft manual are operational and connected to correct buses. Master Warning System And Annunciators Logic with dimming. Fuel System: Realistic layout of the fuel cells with boost pumps, transfer pumps, crossfeed system, firewall fuel valves, vents and drains for manual Fuel Check in exterior preflight. Auxiliary Power Unit simulation with engine start, realistic electrical behavior. Engine: Custom made simulation of Alpha, Beta(Ground Fine) and Reverse regimes. X-Plane Commands modified to match real behavior. Inertial separator simulation. Custom Feathering system. Custom Autofeather system and test logic based on real aircraft. Simulation of Primary Governor, Overspeed Governor, Fuel Topping Governor. Low Pitch Stop and Test simulation. Rudder Boost logic and Pitch Trim system logic based on Manual. Fire Protection: Engine Fire System detection replica with FW Valves logic and Fire Extinguisher. Pneumatics: Custom logic matching the real system dependencies to environmental controls, pressurization vacuum system, gyros suction. Ice and Rain Protection: Engine Inlet Lip Heat, Inertial Separators, auto-ignition system, windshield anti-ice, wipers, propeller deice system, pitot heat, surface deice boots simulation. Pressurization: Cabin Pressure Control systems with testing logic simulated. Hydraulic Power System. Avionics: all systems are modeled as close as possible to the real instruments. Radio instruments (COM 1, COM 2, NAV 1, NAV 2, ADF, Transponder) all modes available with memory function and simple testing sequence. Avionics power and gyro initial spin-up replica. All digital displays graphics and logic based on real aircraft data. EADI (Primary Pilots Display), EHSI (Pilots HSI/Map), MFD (Main Map Display), EHSI Copilot. Weather radar simulation. The provided FMS is X-Plane 11 FMS, therefore the aircraft uses standard navigation database integrated in X-Plane. Autopilot Modes Logic and interconnections are custom made to match the real one. Aircraft performance is tuned to match speeds in real performance tables Menus are comprehensive with Aircraft Setup, 2D Panels, Active and Static elements, Weight and Balance Panel and Settings panel. There is a walkaround feature and an instrument panel closeup feature as well. User Interface What you need is always reachable quickly. Main Menu appears on the left side when you are close to the left edge. Camera Views appears in the left Bottom Corner when you are there. Cold&Dark, Before Engine Start, Before Taxi and Before Takeoff states are available. 2D Panels: The practicality is overwhelming. You can very comfortably manage different aircraft systems that are modeled in detail also in 3D, but it is so much easier, especially during busy flight phases. All windows are detachable and can be placed anywhere. Ground Services: Manage your ground services quickly and easily. You can certainly go outside and touch and manipulate all too, if you don’t hurry. Weight & Balance: Tens of pages in the real Aircraft Manual are transformed to algorithms and graphics that permits you to play with your fuel and weights limits. Everything is very well graphically arranged. Settings: All is stretched to minimum option so that you don’t have to spend time going through settings rather than flying the aircraft. What we can, we are implementing directly in X-Plane. The Aircraft Handbook will appear in the right bottom corner. Sections: Aircraft Specs and Limits, Checklists, Performance. Automated Checklists: The Checklists can be set as fully automated with speech, hints and messages. You can look and learn and next time you can put the automation down a notch and try it for yourself. By the way the Speech System represents 768 separate audible sentences. Performance - Hundreds of real world performance pages are transformed manually to programming language to calculate Takeoff and Landing speeds and distances. Walk feature - You can walk everywhere, inside and outside of the aircraft where collision zones are programmed. You can climb stairs and there is 1G force simulation. The walking interferes with X-plane terrain too. Requirements X-Plane 11 (Fully updated) Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download size: 800Mb Current version: 1.0 (April 5th 2019) Overall an excellent aircraft... Now available at the X-Plane.OrgStore! ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Airfoillabs Beechcraft King Air 350 is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : King Air 350 Price is US$49.95 ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 6th April 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews
  3. News! - Aircraft Updated to X-Plane11 : Cessna 172SP by AirfoilLabs The plucky little Cessna 172SP from AirfoilLabs has been updated to X-Plane11. In this nice if small update but it does cover extensively the changes to the new X-Plane version, including the new X-Plane11 flying characteristics in the new engine tuning, but also the flight model tuning, fuel and weight calibration and a new propeller animation detail. The XP11 PBR (Physical Based Rendering) feature is covered is covered as well with all the textures reworked and for the metalness feel on related items applied. The DDS textures have also been redone for faster loading and better framerate. Officially this version is known as "Version XP11 1.0" But there is now a separate X-Plane11 aircraft file for X-Plane11 use. The X-Plane10 version is still "Version 1.72" which is still included in the package. Full changelog is : Version XP11 1.0 (April 14th 2017) Separate file for X-Plane 11 All textures reworked and metalness applied DDS textures export Weight and fuel system redesigned for XP11 Engine tuning for XP11 Flight model tuning for XP11 Propeller animation corrections Other small adjustments related to XP11 So a nice update to X-Plane's best General Aviation aircraft, and now flyable in X-Plane11 as well. If you have already purchased the AirfoilLabs C172SP then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore and update to vXP11 1.0 from your account. ______________________________________________________________________ The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 If you have already purchased the AirfoilLabs C172SP then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore and update to vXP11 1.0 from your account. The update to X-Plane11 is free. ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 18th April 2017 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: 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)
  4. Aircraft Update! : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk v1.70 by Airfoillabs Airfoillabs have updated the Cessna 172SP to v1.70. When the c172SP was released from Airfoillabs it set a new level in immersion for General Aviation aircraft and introduced many exciting new features to the X-Plane simulator. Immersion is the word here, as from not just flying this aircraft which is highly realistic, but to the maintenance and the general running of the aircraft including wear and tear the C172SP runs to a very deep level. This made the aircraft a huge success in X-Plane and it is well deserved. In most ways the C172SP does not feel very X-Planey, it has it's own feel, intergration and sounds. But that is what makes it more interesting and more challenging than most GA aircraft. It is also something you would like or not, but the overwhelming response in the user base is for the "very much like" than the other. Features are extensive and most areas were covered in X-PlaneReviews main review of the C172SP here: Aircraft Review - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by Airfoillabs v1.70 If you are familiar with the original release of have read through the review, then you would notice the biggest changes to the aircraft has been a complete reworking of the menu system and newly designed layouts (above right). The v1.70 update mostly continues on that theme with a new panel in the "Failures and Behaviour" menu (below right) that has been split from the "Maintenance" (belopw left) and that menu now is all focused only on repairs and the general state of the aircraft. The "Failures and Behaviour" panel now separated allows for a more bigger selection and selected failure groups which can be used in a new function of training and the handling of failures. You can also select the system fail probability factor between Never - Medium - High. I selected "Engine Systems" to fail and set the training timer to five minutes, I also set the probability factor to Medium. To start the scenario you press the "Start Scenario" checkbox and then wait unnervingly to die! It didn't take long before the engine started to cough... then splutter and the needles started to do things that they shouldn't usually do. Then the 172SP started to feel really sick! Sounded really sick! The 172SP didn't just conk out which is the easy thing to do, but just ran rough and spluttered along at a minimum of power, a look at the maintenance panel showed that my spark plugs were fouled. So I found a bit of clear ground and put the Skyhawk down... You can adjust the time of the failures, plus how many you want to... fail and which group of systems were you want those failures to happen. As we saw above or heard, the sounds have been added to simulate the problems and the overall sounds have had a few tweaks as well. So the notes in v1.70 are for the new failure system activation, New complex failures in the system, the engine failures have all been reworked and the adjoining maintenance has also been overhauled and had new components added to the already extensive list. Starting and ease of use features have been added via a slider with Ease - Medium - Real settings. And (thankfully) the actual starting (including Autostart) procedures have been made a little more realistic than before. Engine oil and EGT temperatures have also been adjusted for realism. Brake and flat tire logic has also had attention. My only quibble here is the pilots and the passengers? Their actions and animations are very good, but the texture quality is quite average and they are very visible both inside and outside the aircraft, and they look a little cartoony and in need of medical attention. Fittingly a better set of people would be more in tune with the quality of the aircraft. Summary To a point this upgrade completes the aircraft in the menu panels and systems as that with like with the maintenance menu, as it was missing at the release of the aircraft a few years ago. So the best description of this v1.70 update is to say it is a maturing of the the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk from Airfoillab's, but to note it is still an X-Plane10 version and not yet converted to X-Plane11, although I would say that release won't be too far away. Overall this v1.70 keeps this excellent Skyhawk general aviation aircraft at the front of the best of all GA aircraft, mostly through it's in depth systems and running wear and tear features, still good... now slightly better. ______________________________________________________________________ The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 ______________________________________________________________________ Full v1.70 Change log: REWORKED FAILURE SYSTEM ACTIVATION NEW FAILURES COMPLEX MENU REWORKED ENGINE FAILURES REWORKED MAINTENANCE MENU + NEW COMPONENTS AIRCRAFT MUCH MORE EASE TO OPERATE AND TO START POSSIBILITY TO SET EASE OF USE PARAMETER FAILURES SCENARIOS OPTION SMOKE IN THE COCKPIT LOGIC BIRD STRIKE BROKEN WINDSHIELD FLAT TIRE FLIGHT MODEL LOGIC NEW BRAKES LOGIC ENGINE OIL TEMP LOGIC CORRECTED ENGINE EGT TEMP LOGIC CORRECTED CORRECTIONS IN THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS AUTOPILOT 100 FEET SELECTION CORRECTED REWORKED AND CORRECTED AUTOSTART CONTROLLER PANEL TOE BRAKE AXIS CORRECTED CONTROLLER PANEL MIXTURE AXIS CORRECTED COCKPIT PANEL 3D MODEL AND TEXTURE ENHANCEMENTS SOUND CORRECTIONS NEW SOUNDS REPRESENTING FAILURES Stephen Dutton 17th December 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  5. Aircraft Update - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk v1.40 by AirfoilLabs Updates to newly released aircraft can come a quite a rate after the initial release, and mostly are nips and tucks to cover the wide spectrum of users and computer specifications. Airfoillabs were extremely good at clearing the way through their first time release of the Cessna 172SP for this new developer on the X-Plane simulator. Reaction and quick implementation to comments and even ideas can gain you a lot of credibility and resales into the future, and no doubt Airfolilabs have done a great job to cover the notes and this update is noticeable in that the developer is willing to make big changes very early in the release period. What is interesting here is that the changes in v1.40 are not focused on the aircraft, but mostly on the menu structure. It was not like the original menus were poor in the first place, in fact they were very good, clear and well laid out. But here in v1.40 they have been already comprehensively redone. I do at this point recommend to read the full comprehensive X-PlaneReviews release review here : Aircraft Review - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs Before understanding the changes between the release version and this update v1.40. The original release version put the menus side by side (original on the left) and you can see clearly the complete overhaul and look of the two menu versions. First off there is now a transparency look on the main menu tab, it is darker (as all the menus are) in black and blue than the white/grey look of before. I personally welcome the change as the white was sometimes a bit overwhelming on the bright computer screen, the darker tone works far better. Menus can be moved around the screen, but not compressed. The seven "Menu" tabs are situated left centre of your screen. The alphabet tabs have also gone and now each tab is just worded They still represent Quickstart - Camera - Payload and Fuel - Settings - Controllers - Engine and Checklist. That adds in two new tab items in Controllers and Checklist. On the "Quick Start" there is no change in any items, and they are... Quick start in "autostart" or "cold & dark" when starting the aircraft up (cold and dark is the default), "Secure aircraft" will shut the aircraft down and add in the static elements in one click. "Prepare for Start" will have the aircraft ready to the point of turning the key. The other two options are to connect the GPU and use a flashlight. "Autostart" is now excellent if you want to fly quickly, just watching the aircraft light up, set and start itself is great fun. The "Camera" tab has been completely revised. All the same choices in views are still there in (Internal) Pilot, Radio Panel, Fuel, Co-Pilot/Pass1, Passenger 2 and Passenger 3. (External) Left wing, Right wing, Tail and Front. A slider is now your controller of the "Field of View" by degrees, instead of a - or + button. "Go Outside" has been changed to "GO OUT/IN" but has the same function of moving you into the pilots seat or outside the aircraft. The "Smart Camera" choices have been moved from the old settings menu to the Camera menu and have been completely changed. G-Effects OFF - G-Effects Basic - Compatibility Mode -G-Effects Advanced are the new settings and you also have a slider to adjust the amount of effect in % you can have. The % effect slider is a great change, I didn't like the heavy movement effects in the original review it was even very disruptive to operating the aircraft, but now it is perfect as you can find your correct feel (of the brakes and movement), a great change. One thing that is better in the G-Effect changes is that if you switch them off (G-Effects OFF) you get full movement back in the cockpit via your keys. Before you were locked into the pilots seat point of view only and restrictions if you wanted to move to the left or right or up and down around the panel. The "Dynamic View" and "Simulated walk" (around the aircraft) options have now been moved to the bottom of the tab menu screen. Overall on this tab the changes have been a significant improvement over the original ideas. The "Weight and Fuel" menu is also a major change and even in name from the old "Payload and Fuel" menu. The menu has been greatly expanded and sliders again replace the old - and + adjustment. It is brilliantly clever in being able to select the exact weight of the pilot and passengers on board, and so also the baggage. The fuel is easier set as well. Even more great is the fact as you change the weights you can see the shift and changes in the aircraft's Center of Gravity and the set limits of where that weight goes on the aircraft are shown on a very well prepared graph. Both "Total Payload" and "Total Fuel" are noted on the bottom of the menu. Zero Fuel is the aircraft's weight with no fuel on board (the default position) and the Takeoff weight of the aircraft with the adjusted Center of Gravity, both weights are shown. The seat forward and aft adjustment has been removed. The "Settings" menu has also had a total makeover. The "Smart Camera" options on the original settings menu as noted have been moved to the "Camera" tab. The settings "Engine Running at Start", "Start with pilot inside" and "Disp Footer Panel" have been moved to the the top of the menu with "Display Text Messages" added in to the list. I have never seen a "Pilot Inside" yet? even though I have always had the box ticked on?. Sounds have been completely redone into a set of five sliders covering; "All Sounds", "EXT. Sounds", INT. Engine", "INT. Environment" and "INT. Instruments". This set up gives you far more control and more great options to create better sound out of the aircraft, settings are on % of 100%. The "Intro Tutorial" on the older menu has been dropped. Bottom of the Settings tab menu are three new options for "Glass" in; "Glass", "Fog effect" and "Ice Effect". The "Glass" setting at this point does not seem to do anything, so is that for lighter or darker glass or rain effects?, ditto "Ice Effects", I cooled the aircraft down to -13º and put it in a snowstorm and could see nothing happening? Fog effects however are amazing!.. If the outside temperature is around or below zero the windows start to fog up... and pretty soon you can see bugger all. Your thoughts are how can I land this aircraft and using a cloth and a wipe of the (computer) screen is not an option? A panic pulling of every knob and a search for any demisting switches was solved by pulling out the "Cabin HT" and "Cabin Air" knobs buried behind the Co-Pilots yoke... and the screen thankfully slowly clears clean, frighteningly authentic. Add in to the tab menu structure is a "Controller" menu. Many users wanted more control of their Saitek Yoke addon system to get a better response to the feel of the aircraft, and this menu is in response to that feedback. It allows you to switch from the standard X-Plane axis settings to a custom set you can adjust to your perfect handling of the aircraft, again the "Saitek" option is a separate custom setting just for that addon gear or you can have the "Joystick" option. And the sliders cover the Pitch, Roll and Yaw axis areas of "Sensibility" and "Artificial Feel" More tickbox options cover "Yoke Movement Swicthes (Switches) Autop. Off" in other words if you take control of the yoke the autopilot will switch off and give you back control. "Disable Rudder Trim" and "Disable Aileron Trim" are two other options. The engine menu tab is not changed and the panel is still blank. I thought this would have been operational in this v1.40 update... but no. The new "Checklist" Tab is just sensational! Designed around a spiral tabbed Aircraft Checklist notebook, its simplicity is so clever you wonder why it wasn't done before. The main tabs cover five areas in "Contents", "Preflight", "Takeoff-Cruise", "Landing" and "Emergencies". Navigation to other pages is via the arrows on the bottom of the notebook and the contents include almost everything you would find in a real checklist pad. "Crosswind Component" graphs, Landing distance tables, Emergency failure procedures and great vSpeed references are all in here besides the usual start up and shut down checklists... just amazing. No doubt this tab menu selection is vastly improved over the original system, it looks far better as well, a great improvement. In the aircraft walk-around if you now touch the Rudder, Flaps or Aileron you get a popup info chart and tickbox checklist. I like the idea, but this means now if you are doing your walk-around if you touch the surface you have a menu option on your screen to click away before moving onto the next one, doing all the surfaces means a lot of boxes opening up and being closed again... I am a visceral person, in the moment and I liked the idea of moving around the aircraft checking the surfaces ready for flight... popup boxes will in this context would spoil that in the place and moment feeling, that is my view anyway. KLAL Lakeland-Linder to KFMY Page Field, Fort Meyers A quick run from KLAL to Page Field KFMY was decided to see how the C172SP felt with the upgrade. First up the effects in now being adjustable remove an irritant that I didn't like first off in the original aircraft, so I was more comfortable straight away. The loading of the aircraft was fun as well with the new "Weights & Fuel" menu, and the checklist pad was simply excellent. Speed is still pathetically slow, so take a book to read even on a short sector. But that is missing the point, as this C172SP is a trainer and not a long distance cruiser. I was slightly indifferent to the AirfoilLab C172SP with my first encounter with the aircraft, I found it overly complex for a simply trainer that would be aimed at first fliers (and sometimes new to simulation as well) learning the ropes. But now I feel this aircraft is turning into an X-Plane classic... it is brilliant, and with tons of features. More adjustment in v1.40 have been inserted were it counts and the aircraft is more sorted and complete than the release version was and that was certainly very good. I really enjoyed the flight down to Page Field, it just worked really well and you know you want more flying time when after a slight rest you just turn around and fly back to base at KLAL, that means you want more, more fun and more time on the aircraft, that then makes it a good sign it is a great aircraft. Summary Like I noted at the start of this update review, great developers listen and change to what the users want, doing that quickly and even throwing away good ideas to do better ones are certainly paying off for AirfoilLabs and this C172SP is turning into simply a sensational aircraft, a classic even for X-Plane. Most of the focus in v1.40 has been on the "Menu" system and the effects the changes in there has on the aircraft, which in this case is quite comprehensive, there are a still a few notchy things like sometimes the engine is missing when you remove the covers? and some items like the tiedown won't disappear but these are very, very minor issues. But the changes to adjustablity in effects, Addon (Saitek) control and sounds are a good big move forward. The choice now in X-Plane in the General Aviation category is one of the fiercest and competitive areas in X-Plane and more so in the this higher price range bracket. To spend and invest here means you want value for your high investment, no doubt even at this early stage the AirfoilLab's C172SP Cessna is a great deal and a long termer in usability in your hangar and overall there is no doubt that AirfoilLabs will be a major player in X-Plane in the future. The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 If you have already purchased the Cessna 172SP from AirfoilLabs then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account, log in and download v1.40 from your account. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Fully featured and including: FLIGHT MODEL Very accurate Flight Model. Tested and approved by real world Cessna 172 SP pilots and flight instructor Realistic weight and balance - lateral and longitudinal loads placement Custom made flight characteristics derived from the real aircraft flight recordings and based on real flight manual performance data Calculation of real KIAS based on KCAS according to flight manual Realistic stall characteristics Climb performance according to flight manual performance data Cruise performance data precise match (PRESS ALT, TEMP, POWER, KTAS, GPH) Electrical system derived from the real ELECTRICAL SCHEMATIC Functional Circuit Breakers logic HIGH QUALITY 3D MODEL, TEXTURES AND ANIMATIONS High resolution 4K textures Easy to read, high-resolution panel All switches, buttons and knobs animated Volumetric side view prop effect Realistic 3D night lights effects. Dynamic loading/unloading of 3D parts and plugin logic for FPS optimization _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 567.80mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 962.80mb Notes: None Documents : You get a Manual that at this point is still a bit of work in progress and you can check and download a manual here: AirfoilLabs.com Requirements : X-Plane 10.40+ (any edition) running in 64bit mode - Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.7+ or Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible 64bit version required - Microsoft C++ Redistributable 2013 64bit is required - 1Gb+ Dedicated VRAM Video Card (2GB VRAM Recommended) Current version: 1.40 - Last updated on October 16th 2015Developer Support Site : (AirfoilLabs X-Plane.Org Support) Full v1.40 update notes NEW MENU SYSTEM NEW CAMERA SYSTEM WITH MORE COMPATIBILITY NEW PRE-FLIGHT SYSTEM WITH WINDOWS AND NEW ACTIVITIES NEW SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLERS SETTINGS CHECKLISTS WEIGHT AND BALANCE SYSTEM WINDOWS FOG AND ICING EFFECTS REDESIGNED ELECTRICAL SYSTEM WITH FUNCTIONAL CIRCUIT BREAKERS UPDATED SOUNDS AND ADDED SOUND SAMPLES (AVIONICS FAN, ENGINE COOLING, STALL BUFFETS, etc.) REDESIGNED SOUND MANAGEMENT WITH MORE OPTIONS AVAILABLE INSTRUMENTS, AVIONICS AND RADIOS FIXES NEW CUSTOM COMMANDS FOR EASIER INTERACTIONS TEXTURES CORRECTIONS AND NEW TEXTURES 3D MODEL FIXES _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 26th October 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.40 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : WorldTraffic v2 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KFMY - Page Field, Fort Meyers by Timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  6. News! : Aircraft Update! : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirFoilLabs The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirFoilLabs was X-PlaneReviews general aviation aircraft of the year in 2015, and that award was not without some outstanding design and brilliant features to lift the GA category to whole new level of aircraft immersive experience. The updates for the C172Sp have been coming thick and fast from the v1.20 release version to this latest v1.61 release. Here is the full set of release notes: Cessna 172SP Skyhawk Release v1.61 COMPLETELY REWORKED SOUND SYSTEM WITH MUCH MORE STEREO SOUNDS MANY NEW SOUNDS ADDED, VIBRATIONS, DAMAGED ENGINE, ETC. NEW CUSTOM MADE MIXTURE LOGIC NEW CUSTOM MADE THROTTLE LOGIC FUEL FLOW SIMULATION NEW ENGINE PRIMING LOGIC NEW ENGINE START LOGIC BASED ON MANY PARAMETERS NEW MAGNETOS SYSTEM LOGIC SPARK PLUGS SIMULATION - FOULING POSSIBLE OIL AND EGT TEMPERATURE LOGIC OIL PRESSURE LOGIC NEW COMPLEX ENGINE DYING LOGIC NEW FUEL PUMP LOGIC NEW BATTERY AND ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT LOGIC NEW ENGINE STARTER LOGIC COMPLEX FAILURE LOGIC AND DEPENDENCIES: CYLINDER DAMAGE OIL FILTER DAMAGE SPARK PLUGS MAGNETOS OIL LEAKS OTHER CUSTOM FAILURES: FUEL PUMP FUEL INJECTOR STARTER FUEL FILTER FUEL LINES ALTERNATOR AIR FILTER VACUUM PUMP NEW JOYSTICK CONTROLLER DETECTION SYSTEM NEW CUSTOM LOGIC OF TOE BRAKES - SMOOTH CONTROL NEW NEEDLES FLUCTUATIONS LOGIC FUEL TANK NEEDLES FLUCTUATIONS BASED ON ACCELERATIONS REWORKED ENGINE VIBRATIONS PROPELLER VIBRATIONS AND FORCE MOMENT EFFECT LOW RPM PROPELLER ANIMATION NEW MESSAGING SYSTEM WITH VOICE HINTS SYSTEM INSTRUMENTS DIRT NEW MAINTENANCE MENU PANEL SETTINGS PANEL REWORKED CONTROLLERS PANEL REWORKED XPDR VFR CODE OPTION INTRODUCED MANUAL TOWING NOW POSSIBLE ON GRASS PARAMETERS SAVING REWORKED AirfoilLabs notes that there are more features coming later during this northern summer and also a new "intelligent instructor" failure activation training system. X-PlaneReviews did a full review of the excellent C172SP, so check it out here: Aircraft Update - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk v1.40 by AirfoilLabs _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 If you have already purchased the Cessna 172SP from AirfoilLabs then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account, log in and download v1.61 from your account. Requirements: X-Plane 10.45+ (any edition) running in 64bit mode Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.7+ or Linux Ubuntu 14.04LTS or compatible 64bit version required Microsoft C++ Redistributable 2013 64bit is required 1Gb+ Dedicated VRAM Video Card (2GB VRAM Recommended) Current version: 1.61 (last updated June 16th 2016) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 16th June 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
  7. Aircraft Review - Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs That first flying lesson and the moment you are free to do your first solo, are two moments in your aviation career that will always be burnt hard deep into your memory. Just you and the machine and the freedom from the earth, you are flying and you now have no bounds to the earthly core below you. There are more chances than not that both of these great moments in your life will be behind the controls of this aircraft... The Cessna 172SP. It is the trainers, trainer aircraft, the workhorse of most flying clubs around the world, first flown in 1955 (nearly 60 years ago) and there are 43,000 172's scattered around the airfields of the world. They are the backbone of the General Aviation world, the Volkswagon Beetle of the plane world, the everyman's aircraft... In other words there is a lot of them and they are all part of the aviation scenery all around you. Things you did erase however out of your gilded memories are that the 172SP is morbidly slow and shockingly noisy, but lets not damage the cloud high dream. The venerable Cessna 172 started life as a tricycle landing gear variant of the taildragger Cessna 170, that had a basic level of standard equipment. In January 1955, Cessna flew an improved variant of the Cessna 170, a Continental O-300-A-powered Cessna 170C with larger elevators and a more angular tailfin. And although the variant was tested and certified, Cessna decided to modify it with a tricycle landing gear, and the modified Cessna 170C flew again on 12 June 1955. To reduce the time and cost of certification, the type was added to the Cessna 170 type certificate that then became known as the Model 172. Later, the 172 was given its own type certificate, 3A12. The 172 became an overnight sales success, and over 1,400 were built in 1956, in its first full year of production. Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170s, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall landing gear legs, although the 172 had a straight tailfin while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. Then later 172 versions incorporated revised landing gear and the swept-back tailfin, which is still in use today. The final aesthetic development incorporated in the mid-1960s, was a lowered rear deck allowing an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as the "Omni-Vision.", and Cessna has not changed the airframe configuration since then, except for updates in avionics and engines, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit in 2005. Production halted in the mid-1980s, but resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk. Cessna supplemented this in 1998 with the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP. AirfoilLabs This C172SP is the first design from Czech studio AirfoilLabs. And being a new design from a new direction it is quite a different feel from most X-Plane standard aircraft. No doubt the starting brief was to create the most outstanding C172SP in X-Plane, and the aircraft is nothing but highly ambitious in creating that standard and refinement. But even at this point the skill and quality is there and there is no doubt about that and certainly AirfoilLabs are another welcome addition to the X-Plane world. Cessna 172SP X-Plane comes with a default Cessna 172SP and it has already a 3d cabin and controls, It is very good and of course free if you have purchased the simulator. For many this aircraft is their first introduction to the simulator, but most new users will usually fly the huge default Boeing 747 which is a really silly thing to do as the aircraft requires a little experience with all that weight and heavy aircraft flying characteristics, and I am as guilty as everyone there. The aircraft comes in three versions: Low-res : Medium-res : High-res Which is the weight of the textures in low/med/high in quality. The first thing you notice is that the aircraft is heavy, not only in the download but in the simulator and that is the penalty that comes with quality. No doubt that AirfoilLabs are aware of that and so hence the three choices, and the "Low" is well too low, in blurry texture writing on the panel and liveries, and the high is for only people that have computers that are run directly off nuclear power stations. So the "Medium" is the best compromise and that is what we are flying here. First impressions are of a highly detailed design and the forementioned quality, no doubt this is an excellent 172SP. Detailing is deep and significant, with ribs, great paneling, riveting and the whole lot of screws and bolts holding the aircraft together. Glass is first rate and the whole machine has a real authentic look from the start. For a first time effort it is a very good design. The aircraft is fuselage full of features, there is a lot on the aircraft. But we will start with the menus. The five "Menu" tabs are situated left centre of your screen. They represent (Q) Quickstart - (C) Camera - (P) Payload and Fuel - (S) Settings and (E) Engine Service Panel We will start with the (C) Camera because it is important to understand the view system. In X-Plane you use a view system that is mostly set by using your keyboard to represent a certain view and your position inside and outside of the aircraft. The AirfoilLabs view system mostly over rules that feature by taking control of your views and giving you certain actions within that view field. That can cause some conflict between the two systems as we will see. But the way you should approach the views is to say be inside the AirfoilLabs views or out of them. The idea is to give you a full view and control of the aircraft, it is very clever but has some restrictions. On the (C) Camera menu you press the "Go Outside" box to go into the system and that is noted by the notice at the bottom of your screen " Manipulation Mode Active" you can still use you left- right and forward - back movement keys to move around but they are slower (even with the -Shift double speed pressed down). But you can then also access the many active zones all over the aircraft that are represented by the hand, press the zone areas on the forward upper and lower engine cowling panels, and there is a whirr of bolts coming off and the panel then split and rest on the ground in front of the aircraft and reveals the internal uprated Lycoming IO-360-L2A (200hp - 149kW). The beautifully constructed but fragile looking Lycoming is very well detailed and a great feature. These active zones are positioned all over the aircraft. To check your fuel, you press on the step on either the side of the aircraft, and you are lifted onto the wing and the fuel tank cap rotates off. You can then adjust the fuel load of each tank via the menu. Pressing on the flap on the cowling will show you the oil stick. You can pull (manoeuvre) the aircraft by pressing on the front strut and pulling the handle and there are check items on the wheel covers. All static items like tie-downs (wings/rear) wheel chocks, pitot cover can be individually attached or hidden. (note: when starting the aircraft and giving the aircraft throttle you may wonder why? It doesn't actually move?, it is usually the wheel chocks are still in place, but to remove them you have shutdown the engine again and move outside to do so, move again back inside and then restart the engine) Doors (Pilot's and Co-Pilot) can be opened by pressing on the latch and so can the baggage door to the rear. All move-able surfaces can be checked on the walk-around, by placing the hand on the surface, items that can be checked (they move for you) are the flaps, ailerons, rear elevators and rudder. A lot of the items noted will only work if you are close to them, any distance and they don't work... the oil stick is quite hard to animate. From the menu you can connect an external GPU (Ground Power Unit) but only if the cowling is on the aircraft, again you press the small hatch (left high) to connect. Get close to the door and the internal cabin is extremely well done, only the rudder pedals are a bit too shiny and not worn for my liking. The seating is well done and the internal fittings are first rate, the aircraft is however not grubby and tired like you find in an Carenado, but still very good. The panel is very authentic and well done, highly realistic. To get into the aircraft you press the centre of the seat and with that you are in the pilots seat. To get out again you press the step on the wheel support. Both actions are on the view "menu" and Pilot will put you in the drivers seat and Go Outside will put you on the ground again. You realize sorta quickly that you are a little restricted? you can rotate and angle up or down but not move actually left-right or up-down like you can with the X-Plane keys. To move you have to use the view menu and go to that position. You do get used to it... in time, but you feel restricted overall. A fellow user that tried the system hated it, and if it gets confused with the X-Plane system you get a bad shudder and no more movement is possible. An escape from the shudder is press your X-Plane "Cinema Verite" key or (view) menu option, it is the only one that works? In the rear it is nice and cosy back there. And the door can be closed by touching the catch, the window opens on both doors as well and the external sounds go up or down with them open or closed. A nice touch is when the engine is running the doors and windows if opened will vibrate in the slipstream and can't be fully opened, but will thankfully close. The (C)-Camera (views) menu covers a lot of options internally (including the various equipment views) and externally. The POV (Point of View) can be adjusted to get the best position and that is usually a required adjustment as it is too far back. Panel and Instruments This being a trainer then the panel is set out in a basic configuration, just the main flight instruments front and centre. But the aircraft and instruments are not basic, basic... there is a bit of power in there to do more than circuits. The standard six instruments ( Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator and Vertical Speed Indicator) are large and clear as they should be. Below is the engine RPM dial. To left are the four clear engine instruments in Fuel (both left and right tanks), EGT (exhaust gas temperature) and fuel flow, Oil pressure and Temperature and VAC (Vacuum) and AMP (amperage). In a bit of modernity there is up at the top a digital display for Temp, Volt and timer. Right of the Standard Six are two CDI (course deviation indicator) for VOR OBS (Nav2) and NDB direction, a third (top) is a ILS alignment vertical and Horizontal) dial (Nav1). Top of the panel is the NAV/GPS switch. And on the Co-Pilots side you get just a large clock. Lower panel is the main key start switch, Power switches (master) and Avionics power switches. Set out between are the seven switches for lights, pitot heating and fuel pump. All the relevant push/pull fuses work, so don't mess around with them. Lower centre is your panel lighting, throttle and mixture push/pull knobs, (note the small "lean" knob between the throttle and mixture knobs) flap lever is to the right in four positions 0º... 10º, 20º, 30º. A large lovely trim wheel is beautifully done and nice to use On the floor is a fuel tank selector (all or left/right tanks) and fuel cut off push/pull knob. The central equipment stack is quite comprehensive for a small trainer (and making the aircraft more powerful and versatile). So as we turn on the power and avionic power then the Eq Stack starts up. It is becoming common now in X-Plane to switch on individually the separate radio sets and you do so here as well. It is a full Benedix/King suite with the standard X-Plane Garmin GNS430 GPS. Top to bottom is the standard COMM KMA 26 TSO, then the Garmin GPS which is also your COMM 1 and VOR 1 settings. The KX165A radio is your COMM 2 and VOR 2 set that works in conjunction with the very bottom KN62A for VOR distance, speed and time to the set waypoint. Then your KR87 is the ADF and flight time unit and the XPDR (Transponder) is a KT76C. The autopilot is a comprehensive KAP 140 which we will come back to later, but all the equipment radio sets are excellent to use and are very authentic. A nice detailed compass sits mid central pillar. On the (P) Payload and Fuel menu there are a few options in setting up the aircraft for flight. If you don't want to go scrabbling over the wings to put fuel in the aircraft then you can do so here, and adjust the oil quantity. You can add or takeout baggage in the small compartment behind the cabin and choose not only if you want a passenger but also very cleverly both the pilots and co-pilots weight in five settings, and the full payload and gross weight of the aircraft is shown. You can adjust both front seats front and back which is a nice touch and gives you a set up your right position feeling. Yoke is beautiful, certainly it is an added bonus if you have a Yoke and Rudder pedal set up, you can hide both yokes if you want more of a panel view, but they are nice to have in view. Flying the AirfoilLabs Cessna 172SP Two more menu pages help with the start up and settings while flying. The first is (Q) - Quick Start, that gives you options on either the aircraft is quick start (auto) or cold when starting up (cold and dark is the default), "Secure aircraft" will shut the aircraft down and add in the static elements in one click. "Prepare for Start" will have the aircraft ready to the point of turning the key. The option to connect the GPU and flashlight. The other menu is the (S) - Settings menu. This page is more for the special effects (Smart Camera) and sound. You can select to start with the engine running, pilot in the seat on startup (never saw any pilot?) and a footer menu at the bottom of the screen for flight data. There is a final menu tab for (E) Engine Service Panel but that system is not yet implemented, but looks very interesting. A lot of thought has gone into making sure the 172SP is totally authentic with the real Cessna. That is apparent in the way you start the aircraft. Make sure the fuel shutoff is in on the lower pedestal (fuel pump is on), and so is the lean knob... mixture knob is too the dash and turn the key to start the engine. The propeller will turn but stutter? Try again... no it still won't start? Give the aircraft a little throttle, another key turn and... the Lycoming IO-360-L2A will burst into life! Let the engine warm up and then settle it back into idle. Love it. As the engine crackles your vision is slightly moving with the vibration. This is the G-Effect feature, and it is to give you an authentic movement as you fly the aircraft. Before departing I try out the lighting. The Navigation lights are beautiful and well done, and so is the tail beacon. There is a taxi and landing light in the left wing, but looking closer the actual light is a bit like a rough diamond than a smooth surface, but the light itself is good. Park brake off with a loud thunk and we are moving. Touch the brake to check the forward speed and Whoa! You get this severe forward movement that your head is about to go through the windscreen? Don't like that? It is not the idea doesn't work it is the severity of it. X-Plane has two brake modes "regular" in 50% brake action and "Park" for 100% brake. Here you get 100% every time you even lightly touch the brakes, so you don't actually taxi but hop and bounce your way to the runway, so you try every angle not to "touch that damn brake", on landing it is a real pain in freezing the wheels and catapulting you out of your seat and into the glass, just for trying to slow down the aircraft. It is just too violent and at 50% would have been far better and softer, I didn't like it at all, and I doubt the real aircraft is as severe (I hope). The visual G-Effect movement is quite odd as well but you soon get used to it. Sounds are exceptional, there no doubt that AirfoilLabs has got the rough aircooled four-stroke clatter down right. On the hold the aircraft sounded perfectly authentic and real, throttle up and you get that roar and wind you know well. The aircraft has the excellent DreamEngine Sound plugin with 140 different sounds and range with Doppler Effect and Atmospheric Attenuation... So okay it is very good. Throttle in and you are moving with the featured visual movement backwards, the thrust will send you slightly off line to the right but that is normal and needed to be corrected. At 65knts and the aircraft wants to fly and a slight pull of the yoke and your easily airborne. The aircraft is jittery when you first get all the axis loose together and you will find yourself looking for the aircraft's balance, certainly experience with the aircraft will smooth this out, but this is a first impression. Once found it is great to balance and fly, this a basic trainer after all. It will however if you are not smooth then give you a very moving and visual disorientation, that can be again a bit too severe, and too the point here that I couldn't fly the aircraft and had switch it off as my pitch was sending me into the ground even as I was trying to keep the aircraft level, It is distortional to what is natural if you are trying to fly the aircraft. The basics are correct but it is just too disorientating for my tastes. All these movements are certainly great, but too violent and disorientating if you don't keep the aircraft very, very smooth, but even a bank turn can make you think you are on LSD! Trimming the aircraft is essential, and it takes a little practise to get the balance right. but you can feel the changes and the feel of this C172SP is very good so that helps. But trimming the Cessna perfectly has another reason to get it right... The KAP 140 Autopilot is a real sensitive bugger unless that trim is absolutely, perfectly, annoyingly, frustratingly on the button in being absolutely minutely perfect to lock on. If not you get a beep, beep... and no activation. You actually think it is broken, but it is not... It just hates you! Once (finally and ten NM off course) activated it is thankfully very good. You will love the Yoke action that follows the autopilots commands, but if you pull on the Yoke it will also disconnect for manual flying. You are not going to go very fast anywhere in the C172SP, this little aircraft goes slower at 122knt cruising speed than most aircraft go on final approach, some even on the runway in reverse thrust... So you have tons of time to take in the very slow moving scenery, Vertical speed is not riveting either at a top of 700 fpm or usually 500fpm and wanting to test out the aircraft's ceiling altitude 13,500 ft (4,100 m) is going to take an afternoon, going down thankfully is a little faster. Once you get over the embarrassment of the laughing birds as they overtake you, it is a lot of fun up here. The aircraft just trundles along and you enjoy watching people spend their hard earned cash at Walt Disney World Florida below you. The aircraft comes with fully working systems (temperatures, electrics) and perfect performance data. Weight & balances replicated from an original aircraft with perfect lateral and longitudinal loads placement. Finally you turn to approach KORL or Orlando Executive Airport RWY25. There is a noted gap in the green speed zone between 85knts and 90kts and it is ideal to drop the flaps 10º, C172SP pilot's note the flaps come down like barn-doors and create lift, but I found it not so savage in this zone and you can easily adjust the flap setting to revolutions of the engine to maintain a good speed to lowering the altitude feeling, in other words you have plenty of control. Keep the speed in the green zone and around 50knts and the aircraft will fly there all day, but it is perfect on approach, again the aircraft has good balance when trimmed correctly. Sliding under the 50knt zone will allow you to bleed off height and the slow speed can rest as low as 40knts when kissing the runway. You feel totally in control, and just don't spoil it by smashing your head against the windscreen by touching the brakes. I couldn't sit on the ground at KORL very long as it was getting darker by the minute, and I had a long slow flight back to KLAL Lakeland-Linder. So once the passengers and their baggage was deposited I headed straight for the runway. Lighting Panel lighting is gorgeous and similar to the Carenado CT206H Turbo Stationair, in you have that strip lighting under the glareshield. The dials are clear and bright and very nice to fly by in the dark. There are two switchable spot lights over the front seats, but the rear cabin spot light does not work. A nice touch is the light over the lower fuel tank switch. External lighting is good as well in the dark. The Navigation lights look great as does the tail beacon, the taxi and landing lights are as noted before well don. In the cabin the strobe can be seen and you get this slight light flash as you crawl along. Earlier flying in the dark in X-Plane was a fraught dark affair, but with the improvements and the better HDR it is now quite exciting to do. KLAL slips by on my left as I fall into a circuit to land on RWY 05, I used WIREY (227) NDB as a pointer to the lineup. With the slow approach speed of the C195SP, you have the one thing you never have on an approach and that is time. Time to get the centre line correct and the time to get speed exactly right. Coming in over the threshold and the single landing light starts to work, the instrumentation lighting is simply excellent as you can adjust it to stop glare but have good visual readings off the dials. As you come closer to the runway, the more the offset lighting beam becomes more focused and you can see the offset spill just from the one wing distinctively. It looks very realistic and I loved the effect it gave in front of the aircraft. Back at the office I shut the C172SP down and set out the static elements and a day's job was done. No doubt this is a great aircraft in this General Aviation category. Liveries are few in - One blank white and two designs, but I sure many will soon grace the download files as every one creates their personal or private favorite. Summary For a first time release as a designer then AirfoilLabs have done a sensational job. Their aim to create the best C172SP in X-Plane is certainly a very highly ambitious, but they have certainly had a very good stab at it and to a point succeeded in that aim. The basics are very good, and there is no doubt about that. but it does not feel X-Planey in that context, but pilots that own or have flown the C172SP say that the aircraft is very true to the original and so that is the whole point. Updates and feedback from users has created a quick succession of revisions (and another to come in 1.40), but I would stress that the original release was very good anyway, this is just refining around the edges and tightening up, again AirfoilLabs are responding to the multitude of variables that can't be foreseen in the development stage, but their quick response shows skill and the ability to make this a top quality aircraft. Certainly I really liked the aircraft, but found the views system a bit tight (but you get quickly used to it). The G-Effect feature is very good, but too dramatic in that you can even get disoriented in the aircraft and those brakes are so sharp and neck twisting... ... the aircraft is very clean, nice but needs a little more realism, like the huge amount of exhaust smoke (that looks really authentic) would certainly leave a trail of soot on your pristine paintwork, so a bit of airflow dirt or worn items and marked seats would build the aircraft to a more world weary state that Carenado do so well. It can be done as the propeller wear shows off that effect well. But no doubt the list of features (and more to come) is long so you get a lot of aircraft for your investment. But that does come at a small cost with heavy textures in framerate. The Carenado C208B Caravan is 8frames lighter in the same context and X-Plane settings. That does not sound a lot, but it is the difference between dropping too low and having a smooth simulation and the AirfoilLabs C172SP did struggle in areas. Certainly AirfoilLabs are aware of this as to provide three settings (low-med-high) but really "med" is the only usable setting for most, unless you have a power computer. But you feel the frameweight. But this is nitpicking on a very good aircraft, and details around the quality that you expect at this level. For feature wise and design/detailing it is exceptional and certainly anyone going for their PPL (or have one) this C172SP is a perfect training tool, and to a point that is the aim of the real aircraft's role, I would however as a complete novice start on X-Plane's basic C172 before graduating into this AirfoilLabs version, as it is more advanced and the features can be confusing if you can't fly the aircraft on the very basic level. Ambitious, clever and fun, words you would never use for a basic aircraft trainer, but that is what the excellent Cessna 172SP Skyhawk is from AirfoilLabs, It is slightly different in feel as well but to the benefit... Yes a great aircraft and another new standard in X-Plane in General Aviation. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna 172SP Skyhawk And is priced at only US$34.95 _____________________________________________________________________________________ Fully featured and including: FLIGHT MODEL Very accurate Flight Model. Tested and approved by real world Cessna 172 SP pilots and flight instructor Realistic weight and balance - lateral and longitudinal loads placement Custom made flight characteristics derived from the real aircraft flight recordings and based on real flight manual performance data Calculation of real KIAS based on KCAS according to flight manual Realistic stall characteristics Climb performance according to flight manual performance data Cruise performance data precise match (PRESS ALT, TEMP, POWER, KTAS, GPH) Electrical system derived from the real ELECTRICAL SCHEMATIC Functional Circuit Breakers logic HIGH QUALITY 3D MODEL, TEXTURES AND ANIMATIONS High resolution 4K textures Easy to read, high-resolution panel All switches, buttons and knobs animated Volumetric side view prop effect Realistic 3D night lights effects. Dynamic loading/unloading of 3D parts and plugin logic for FPS optimization _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 585.20mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 914.90mb Notes: None Documents : You get a Manual that at this point is still a bit of work in progress. Requirements : X-Plane 10.36+ - Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit version- 8Gb RAM - 2.5Ghz CPU - 1Gb+ Dedicated VRAM Video Card Current version: 1.31 - Last updated on August 15th 2015 Developer Support Site : (AirfoilLabs X-Plane.Org Support) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 10th September 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : WorldTraffic v2 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KORL - Orlando Executive Airport/Destination Florida v8 by Tom Curtis (updated to Destination Florida 8 WED Edition 105 by Rocketman X-Plane.Org) - Free
  8. News! - Airfoillabs releases the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk A highly featured Cessna 172SP has been released for X-Plane. And available now from the X-PlaneOrgStore http://store.x-plane.org/Cessna-172SP-Skyhawk_p_401.html Features, Features.... and more Features. NEW!: INTERACTIVITY FEATURES AND FREE WALK AROUND Free walk around the aircraft using the controllerManipulation with chocks, ropesLanding gear service doors Oil checkBaggage loadingManual towing of the aircraftControl surfaces free movement checkGPU connectRemoving engine cowlingManual refuelingGetting in and out of the aircraft DreamEngine SOUNDMore than 140 soundsReal aircraft recordings3D sound distributionDoppler Effect and Atmospheric AttenuationHeadphones high freq. attenuationDifferent levels of landing hardnessEngine windmilling, brakes, bumps, AOA wind sound, etc.FLIGHT MODEL MAIN FEATURESVery accurate Flight Model. Tested and approved by real world Cessna 172 SP pilots and flight instructorRealistic weight and balance - lateral and longitudinal loads placementCustom made flight characteristics derived from the real aircraft flight recordings and based on real flight manual performance data Calculation of real KIAS based on KCAS according to flight manualRealistic stall characteristicsClimb performance according to flight manual performance dataCruise performance data precise match (PRESS ALT, TEMP, POWER, KTAS, GPH)Electrical system derived from the real ELECTRICAL SCHEMATICFunctional Circuit Breakers logic Priced at US$34.95 Requirements: X-Plane 10.36+, Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit version, 1Gb+ VRAM Video Card. The Cessna 172 SP is a four-seat, single engine, high wing, fixed-wing aircraft made by the Cessna Aircraft Company. More Cessna 172s have been built than any other aircraft. Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful aircraft in history. Cessna delivered the first production models in 1956. As of 2015, Cessna, and its partners, had built more than 43,000. Stephen DuttonX-Plane Reviews© X-PlaneReviews 1st Aug 2015
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