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  1. Aircraft Review : North American P-51D Mustang by Khamsin Studio In the world of military aviation you can ask anyone to name the most famous aircraft they know and the answer would the Supermarine Spitfire, that is if you are European. But ask the same question to any American and the answer would always be the P51 Mustang, or the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang. A little known fact is that It was actually first flown operationally and was a war time requirement by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber in the Mustang Mk I with the same engine as the Supermarine Spitfire in the Rolls-Royce Merlin. But it was the P-51B/C model that transformed the Mustang's performance and its claim to fame in being able to fly at altitudes above 15,000 ft, thus matching or bettering that of the current Luftwaffe's fighters in performance. The definitive version however was the P-51D, which was powered by the Packard V-1650-7 a variant license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage two-speed supercharged engine. The aircraft represented here by Khamsin Studio is this definitive version in the P-51D. There is no doubt in the historical story of the Mustangs superiority over the fields of Europe in the late parts of World War II and that it was a very significant asset to cover not only the long range bomber missions but also in the Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theaters, and also served with distinction against the Japanese in the Pacific War. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down in combat. The P-51 was still even a major asset still at the start of the Korean War, the Mustang was the main fighter of the United Nations until superiour jet fighter aircraft such as the F-86 finally took over this role; even then the Mustang became a specialized fighter-bomber. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the Mustang remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. Even today many Mustangs still fly very actively in civilian use, especially in air-racing, and increasingly, preserved and flown as an historic warbird aircraft at airshows. Khamsin Studio P-51D Mustang So X-Plane was always going to welcome this very significant WW2 warbird into it's hangars. But the point was to have not just any decent P-51D aircraft to fly but one that could live up to the huge historical and sheer performance this the most ironic of iconic aircraft. Luckily for us it was picked up by the one X-Plane designer that specialises in such great American warbirds as the B25 Mitchell and the heavy Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.... Khamsin Studio's. So let us get down to the serious detailing nitty gritty... Well you are not going to be disappointed by the detail here that is for sure. Textures are really high quality with exceptional panel work. There are a few notes though in spaces that are noticeable though. One is the wide gap between the tailplane and the rudder and another small gap is just behind the exhaust outlets that allows you to see right through to the pilots feet? But close up and it is really exquisite work. You can note every single rivet and screw with all the text panel notices to be aware of. Note the drop down animated Oil Radiator airflow vent that is controlled from the cockpit. There is an excellent metallic sheen to the panels that is very realistic in the right lighting angles, and it brings out the sheer beautiful lines of the aircraft to a great effect. The iconic underbelly vent is excellent, but I think a slightly darker internal mesh would have been more realistic in some views. But there is no doubting the excellent masterful 3d modeling here as this is smooth and beautifully sculptured work. Cockpit detail is also above exceptional. That real WW2 era design comes through with every switch, lever and panel. First view is that the aircraft looks complicated, it is to a point until you locate and note everything, but there is no doubting the sheer complexity of the 3d and texture work on offer here, as you are in the realms and the touch of the hands of a master craftsman. If authenticity is your game then you will be very hard pressed to find faults in this cockpit space. Not every switch works though, but overall most of the aircraft's basic systems are well featured. Highlights are those lovely wooden floor boards, great leather seat back/belts and note the excellent riveting on the wing out of the canopy view. Panel and Instruments The instrument panel is dominated by the Gun-Sight apparatus and the whole instrument realistically vibrates in flight or on the ground. There are a lot of dials to focus on and it can take a few moments to understand where everything is placed. The yellow boundary line separates the Standard Six instruments in: Airspeed Indicator Directional Gyro Flight Indicator Altimeter Bank-and-Turn Indicator Rate-of·Climb Indicator From the rest of the panel. But you have to focus quite hard to distinguish the standard six detail when flying hard. That is not to say the instruments are poor in their design, but quite the opposite in excellent detail, but it is fine detail at that. So you take the point of creating a reference item to lead you to the instrument you require and make a metal note of its position and after a time you can then zoom in on that required dial. It time you will also decipher the rest of the panel in their layout positions. Under the gun-sight are four dials (left to right) covering: Remote-reading Compass Indicator Clock Suction Gauge Manifold Pressure Gauge Five dials are set out to the right of the Standard Six (yellow line) in: Coolant Temperature Gauge Tachometer Carburetor Air Temperature Indicator G-meter Oil Temperature and Fuel and Oil Pressure Gauge Lower right knee panel has two dials in: Blinker Oxygen Pressure Gauge And there is a Magnetic Compass sited high right. Lower Left knee panel has: Supercharger Control Switch Fuel Booster Pump Switch Oil Dilution Switch Starter Switch Engine Primer Front and center behind the stick is a control panel that includes your: Ignition Switch Gun and Camera Safety Switch Weapons selector Cockpit Light Switch Fuel Shut-off Control Fuel Selector Control Hydraulic Pressure Gauge The stick gets in the way of the view of the panel and the rest of the switches are tricky to see and use, you do work around it, but in a eyes up and eyes down, trying to fly the aircraft and flickering around the dials and switches you don't want to get caught by a bearing down hunter killer aircraft from the 2 o'clock afternoon sun position. On your left is the Rudder Trim Tab, Aileron Trim Tab and Elevator Trim Tab Controls. Other controls include Landing Gear, Throttle, Propeller, Mixture and Coolant Radiator Air Control Switch (opens the lower fuselage air vent) and the Oil Radiator Air Control Switch. The lever form the Carburetor Air Control is used to adjust the RAM air amount and in most cases is left open unless you are in icing or desert conditions. I like the Signal Pistol in case of being shot down. All the huge trim dials and levers are very well recreated and are nice to use, as with everything here it all become second nature after a few flights, but a study of the manual is an necessity to find your way around all this WW2 era style layout. On the right panel is your electrical... Recognition Light Switches, Right-hand Fluorescent Light Switch, Ammeter, Generator-disconnect Switch, Battery-disconnect Switch, Gun Heater Switch, Pitot Heater Switch, Position Light Switches and Recognition Light Keying Switch and forward panel is the Oxygen Regulator. There is a primitive SCR-522-A Radio Control Box that we will get to later with the rotating canopy handle that pulls back the excellent clear canopy that you can the reflections on or off via the menus. Gun-Sight Gun-Sight power switch is to your upper left (magenta) and you can adjust the sight via two knobs of the accurate six diamond aiming pattern. Menus The P-51D's menus are comprehensive and they are positioned in tabs on the left low position of your screen. There is five tabs altogether and they consist of MAN - Manual CHK - Checklist COM - Communications (Radio) W&F - Weights and Fuel INF - Information The actual included .pdf manual is really only a instrument, switch and lever locator guide, nothing more than a few images and item numbers (but worth browsing). But the two tabbed manuals in Manual (MAN) and Checklists (CHK) has a more in depth description of what the aircraft is and how it works, the right side tab list way of selecting selections is easy and clever as well. Go through both of these manuals and you are a long way in front of understanding how the Mustang works and how it flies, very good. The COM (Communications) tab brings up the pop-up SCR-522-A Radio panel and overall it is easy to use in inserting your two COM 1&2, or two VOR 1&2 Frequencies and bottom row (X) Identity transponder. If you are not sure then it is all covered in the manual section of Communications Equipment or tab N. INF The INF - Information tab has Khamsin's details and aircraft version. Selections include hiding the canopy reflections and adjusting the Field of View. W&F - Weights and Fuel The Weights and Fuel pop-up is used to set up the aircraft in fuel and armaments. Top of the panel selections allow you to reload the six (three each wing) Browning M2.50 Calibre guns, you can unload the cannons if you wish to as well. Left lower panel is the fuel or tankage loads in the aircraft. You have two wing tanks (2 x 92 Gal) and a body (85 Gal) fuselage tank. Underwing armaments and extra distance drop tanks can be specified in six selections. Wing Racks only (left) - 2 x 75 Gal Drop tanks (right) 2 x 50 lb Bombs (left) - 2 x 75 Gal Drop tanks and six rockets (right) 2 x 50 lb Bombs and six rockets (left) - Ten rockets (right) Your total aircraft weight (lbs) is shown on the right. This arrangement make loading the aircraft very accessible, but you can also use the X-Plane aircraft/weight & balance & fuel/Ordnance menu to reload/unload any armament as well. On the ground The Mustang is beautifully rendered on the ground, as detailing is again simply exquisite. You have to admire the undercarriage design and fuselage dropdown tailwheel, and the power and the glory of that huge 11.2 ft (3.4 m) Hamilton Standard propeller. A Dallas-built version of the P-51D, designated the P-51K, was equipped with an 11 ft (3.4 m) diameter Aeroproducts propeller in place of the Hamilton Standard but the hollow-bladed Aeroproducts propeller was unreliable, due to manufacturing problems, with dangerous vibrations at full throttle and was eventually replaced by the original Hamilton Standard that we have here. Flaps droop if there is no hydraulic pressure which is noted great detail. Externally the cockpit looks excellent with a highly well rendered pilot in full flying gear. Flying the P-51D Mustang You have a supercharged 1,590 hp (1,185 kW) at your disposal with a 438 mph (705 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m) top speed, you can climb at 3,510 ft/min (17.8 m/s) which is all very impressive. But you can't do that all at once as it is really only available in the way you set up the aircraft for which role you want to undertake. Light fuel and a lightly loaded armament selection will give you the performance you need. But load the aircraft up and the performance suffers, or either go for those long missions with a lot of fuel and only a few rockets as your defence and again you have to find the balance of range to performance. The aircraft is trimmed and balanced to the ninth degree as well so you have to readjust the trim of the machine to loss of armament and fuel weight. But if you get up high and are very light then the power is available to you, so no doubt the best part of any mission with the P-51D Mustang would be running high and hard for home. I found selecting the different armanents awkward, but I think it was more the X-Plane to joystick interface selection than the aircraft's rotary selector. Noted in the manual is... Fire guns - weapons/guns or Release bombs - weapons/fire_air_to_ground settings but It worked on the rockets but not the wing cannons. Effective killing machine it is though! Landing however is a real test of skill. To put it eloquently "You can't see shit!". The high panel and vibrating but visually blocking gun-sight make life very hard in not only simply finding the runway but then landing on it. Dropping the gear will also move your center of gravity quickly forward so you have be aware and ready for that, but then big issue is that at a certain point your forward view of the runway is totally masked by the aircraft. You come over the threshold and realise you are not where you really want to be... You adjust, in my case slightly right but until the edges of the runway come into view you are trying to get some sort of visual clues over the high canopy sides in where you are actually positioned. Practise will of course give you perfect approaches, but it is damn difficult those first few runs. Getting your wheels down on the hard stuff was the easy part... The P-51D is a taildragger, and a nasty one at that. The aircraft needs a lot of skill to settle correctly and then you have to find the perfect speed to turn the aircraft on to the taxiway with a very reluctant tailwheel. Too slow and it sticks straight ahead, too fast and you are winding around in circles... There is a slow speed sweetspot that you have to find to get any sort of communication with your rear end, I found it, but taxiing is a hard business that can quickly catch you out when the aircraft feels like it. Lighting In the P51D cockpit there are two forms of lighting control. One is the panel lighting of the instruments and the set of secondary light sources are the two red side mounted cockpit lighting pods, and between them they are highly effective. So you find the right panel lighting adjustment with both sources in action, either in a lit panel to check various items or close to darkness in attacking or for night landings. External lighting is nothing special, just navigation lights and one left undercarriage landing light. But I am not happy with the way the HDR lighting is working in X-Plane lately. It is either perfect or not. in this case the lighting can be slightly oversized or showing through the various areas like wings or the fuselage of the aircraft. Liveries There are four liveries at present with the aircraft... Steel default, Blondie, Geraldine and Big Beautiful Doll. All are exceptional high quality and well designed... but only four? I would with an aircraft of this calibre and its very varied career that it would support at least ten or more variations of operations and a few air-race liveries, so a slight disappointment there, their is however a paintkit available. The great thing about the P-51D Mustang is how many are still flying regularly and on show throughout many airshows and displays. The Reno air-races are full of these time machines but now more restricted because of the few accidents in the last few years. Either way the P-51 Mustang is not going to be flying into the aviation sunset anytime soon. Summary Any one who has already purchased an Khamsin Studio aircraft (or scenery) will know what value and quality they usually get with their aircraft. Quality in outright 3d design and and extremely high quality textures are always a big factor, and the Mustang here certainly does not change that in this high expectation. You would also know that the aircraft are very functional but not overly covered in every switch working or moveable. That is the case here also in that all the dials do work with the aircraft's systems but a many (more few than not) of the switches are for show more than function. In this case however you do get more than what you would usually get from Khamsin Studios and so overall it is quite an expansive workable package. X-Plane has always desired a great iconic aircraft like the P-51D Mustang, the issue comes in that if the results are not worthy of the history in design and execution of the project. Thankfully in this case the developer is a well known and highly skilled designer that has done a great service to this of all American aviation icons... The result here is a fantastic Mustang for all of us to fly and value in its quality and pure breathtaking beauty. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The North American P-51D Mustang by Khamsin Studio is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : P-51D Mustang Priced at US$27.95 Requirements: Windows , MAC OS 10.7 (or higher) or Linux - 64bit Operating System required X-Plane 10.45+ (any edition) - running in 64 bit mode 1GbVRAM Minimum -(2Gb+ Recommended) Version 1.0 (last updated April 23rd 2016 ) Features: Superb Modeling and texturing Design by Khamsin Studio, known for its superior textures Accurate 3D visual model Normal and specular maps (for reflections) Ultra-High Resolution textures: 4K HD textures Fully detailed and animated 3D cockpit with 3D gauges Polygon optimized model, manipulators technology Night lights effects Professionally tuned Flight Model With a 12-cylinder 27L engine, the P51 is a very hard aircraft to model accurately in X-Plane. This aircraft was modeled with the help of X-Aerodynamics Flight model X-Aerodynamics (C. Garner) Tuned to fly and behave as close to specs as possible Perfect for dog fights with your friends Dynamic Pop-up Menus MAN - Manual CHK - Checklist COM - Communications (Radio) W&F - Weights and Fuel INF - Information _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the P51D Mustang is 183.80meg and the unzipped file deposited in the "Fighters" X-Plane folder at 285.30mb. Documentation: North American P-51D Mustang MANUAL (more documentation is noted in the Menu onscreen manuals) ____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 20th April 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 8 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: I have added a few extra objects for my own use to this scenery, mainly an office, truck and oil barrels, funny enough the office was in the original version of this scenery that had been removed in the 2014 update)
  2. Aircraft Release : Khamsin - North American B25J Mitchell Khamsin has released the twin-engined North American B25J Mitchell medium bomber. The aircraft was used by many Allied air forces and in every theater of World War II. It continued with many other air forces after the war ended, and saw operational service across four decades. Features include: Highly detailed and animated Crisp and easy to use panel and cockpit functions WWII pilot copilot and gunners Checklist on panel Operational bomb bays Advanced Fuel Management (the B-25 has 7 tanks) Ultra-High Definition textures Superb texturing all across the aircraft Fully modeled and textured interior 3 Ultra HD Liveries This is a superb historical aircraft with Khamsin's highly regarded quality and features. The North American B25J Mitchell is available now at the Shop.OrgStore : North American B25J Mitchell Price is US$24.95 Technical Requirements: Windows , MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher) or Linux X-Plane 10.20 (or higher) - 32 and 64 bit compatible) 4GB RAM/512Mb VRAM (1Gb Recommended)- 250MB available hard disk space Version 1.0 (last updated October 19th 2013) A full review will follow soon of the B25 Mitchell on X-Plane Reviews. Stephen Dutton 21st October 2013
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