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  1. Aircraft Review : Embraer E-195LR by Supercritical Simulations Group This is the all new Embraer E-195LR. Your first "hand in the air" moment is that, is this the updated version. Well no it isn't, and in fact the aircraft is all new and it is even a completely different aircraft than before because the first SSG "Stretch" version of the E-Jet family was actually the "E-190" and not this slightly longer E-195LR. This E-195LR is however more closely related to SSG's updated E170 that is currently in v1.08 (update review here). Besides the new variant of the E-Jet this aircraft has a completely new and revised FMC, again at first look it does look so very similar to the E-170's FMC, but it is different in use and programming, in a twist this new improved E-195LR FMC here will also be inserted in to the next E-170 update that has been released at the same time as this E-195LR. As this release is coming after X-Plane11-10 final (now v11-11) then the benefits of the X-Plane version upgrade are in the aircraft as well, they are now smaller things compared to the earlier XP11 changes like the excellent PBR (Physically Based Rendering) that really give the aircraft a great and modern feel and look, a note is that both SSG EJets are now only available for X-PLane11. As a personal preference I like the longer "stretch" versions of commercial aircraft. A321's, B757-300's and the grandaddy of them all the Super DC-8 Series 63... long and thin and that there is "a lot out at the back" feel is here in the E-195LR. Quality in modeling is very good in this EJet with a great external design and the aircraft is highly detailed. Even under close scrutiny you get a high pass on the finer details in nice wear and tear (I like the burnt engine gas outlet areas). Rivets and paneling are also very good, but expected on aircraft of this caliber and price. The cockpit and panel is fully featured now. The detailing is very good with the excellent altitude position panel as part of the MAP display (It can also be switched off). The PBR lighting brings out the best of the cockpit as well and shows off all that fine crafted work, overall you can't fault the design. But all this detail does come with a compromise? Any setting less than the full "Max" texture setting will make the PFD and MAP displays and panel text slightly more blurry and does not reflect the different high quality on the external areas as the same in here on the panel displays. And that max setting also comes with a nasty penalty and in my case the graphic texture load was 7065gb, yes nearly the full 8gb of my graphic card space? So using this max setting is really not really a normal setting of usable use, even for the power users. I found an easy 10 frame drop between the external view and the panel view on the aircraft, and the actual PFD displays look like an older feel in X-Plane design. Set the textures a notch below and the aircraft is fine, but when I still found myself in the 30-20 framerate range and then in parts it struggled in the lower framerate operations of 20-18 while using a detailed airport as an the 28 frame run externally (which is fine) is lowered to 18 frames internally (which is not)? I'm not saying the SSG E-195LR has a framerate issue because it doesn't, but there are compromises at higher settings x quality internally. Overhead panel is a crossover from the E-170 version as is the Autopilot panel, as both are very good and well developed. Old style half-moon manipulators are available and also mouse scroll, but both are hard to locate (certainly the mouse scroll) if you are not directly centered on the knob, and quick knob adjustments are slow to find if you come from the captains seat angled viewpoint. The rusted (worn) central glareshield looks odd and slightly out of place in such a modern aircraft cockpit style. Central column "Adjustments Display" is the same as the E-170. This is basically your aircraft menu system. It does put all of the items and features at your fingertips, but you always have to centre and zoom in close on the display to use it, so it is a constant movement from your pilots flying position to closing in on the menu screen to use it, it also makes the pushback feature hard to use effectively. But for a small display it is quite powerful for setting up the aircraft. You can set "Payload" (passengers and cargo) by percentage in lbs and kgs. Fuel can be manually loaded or set from the FMC, and you can reduce your fuel load as well. External features allows you to open all the doors (pass and cargo) and both cockpit side windows and there is an external GPU. I have always liked the really great set of boarding stairs provided in the package and the included matching airline livery. Cabin The cabin on the newer E-195LR is far different from the E-170. The colour in cream is different and so are the seats in blue and not the dark/light greys of the E170 (below) E170 Personally the E170's cabin looks far more sleeker, modern and cleaner, but more to ones own choice. Detail is however still as good. ___________________________________________ Flying the SSG E-195 One area of discernment for me has been the FMC's that are created by Javier Cortes (FJCC) in SSG aircraft. Let us say in the past that the FMC and myself never really got on together or I would say they always felt slightly buggy, and mostly in the areas of TOC (Top of Climb) and TOD (Top of Descent) positioning. SID and STAR execution wasn't that great either... so I approached this version with a bit of trepidation. I will admit that most FMC's are always fiddly and time consuming anyway and mostly around the execution of STAR layouts and airway insertion. So it was to my big surprise that this latest version is really very good, and relatively bug free. Some areas can be hard to find in this very different layout from the Boeing way of doing FMS insertion, like the airways insertion page is hidden behind a "Next" button. But overall the inputting of the route "KATL to KDCA" was error and bug free and creating and activating the route was relatively easy. All the details in creating routes are in the QSG Manual provided. The FMC panel does pop-out for ease of use (F8 key Win/ Linux - FN F8 keys Mac) and keyboard input is also available. RTE is Route setup, and NAV is Departure and Arrival SID/STAR inputs. You can get confused because the DEP and ARR input selections are also on the PERF (Performance) page as well? Departure was from ATL RWY26R then to STAR "NUGGT9" which was activated correctly and so was the crossover to waypoint and airway insertion. Airway insertion is found by pressing "RTE" then "Next"... ... all airways inserted correctly and activated, I didn't use standard "Waypoint" Insertion here in this flightplan but it works fine. Arrival was via "IRONS5" STAR via "RIC" (Richmond) to DCA RWY01. "Route Discontinuity" or the Route - SID join was at "KATRN" which was easily joined up to complete the full route KATL (Atlanta) to KDCA (Washington National), Yes I know it is now called Ronald Reagan but "National" is still national. The aircraft's PERF (Performance) data is mostly all done for you, all you need to fill in is the smaller details like transition height, steps and wind. I found a few inputs were not accepted, but overall it was a smooth operation. Steps only allowed 1000ft increments. Performance covers: Takeoff, Climb, Cruise and Descent procedures and all data is noted in the PROG (Progress) pages (three pages) and nice touch is the Flight ID on the top of the progress pages. So route building was excellent and easy to use, with thankfully now no swearing or throwing things. Yes I was very impressed. Departure ATL I found that with EJets that pre-takeoff adjustment of not only the usual... Speed, Altitude but also the NAV (FMC Route) can be selected ready and importantly so can the V/S (Vertical Speed) at 1800fpm. Selecting both of these does make the transition from takeoff manual handling to AP (Autopilot) flying smoother and clean. There is a built in pushback truck that is still a semi-truck on a stick movement, but it is now far better than the average original version. I don't usually use this pushback as it is hard to control from the central window panel operation, so I use the built in X-Plane native pushback instead. Climb-out is very good and powerful with a great feeling in the cockpit, it is a nice aircraft to fly both manually and from an automated perspective. There has been a lot of development in these Ejets from SSG and you feel all that work is now final paying off, to me a good simulation is a smooth one in operating the aircraft and your interaction with it. Sounds are not yet FMOD, which is disappointing and to a point a feature now expected on aircraft like this. They are not bad in the range that they are, and the aircraft uses the "Dreamengine" sound plugin, but the sounds do feel older or slightly dated now than some of the newer released FMOD sound. An odd audio is that you get one type of sound only on the right hand speaker in flight or under high-power. But overall the sounds are good, but not exceptional. Flight instruments are good, but as noted are slightly, slightly blurry and bloated at this lower texture setting. But they are very comprehensive in detail. All PFD instruments are done correctly and I really like the correctly switchable VOR1/ADF and VOR2 pointers with comprehensive adjoining information. A small note in that the X-Plane local map direct radio frequencies don't switch to the FMC radio frequencies, so you have to manually insert the VOR1 (ILS) and VOR2 (DME) frequencies into the radio page. The MAP/NAV display is also very comprehensive with information with excellent route data, wind, external temperatures, DME, TCAS and weather. The excellent lower "Altitude Indicator" is also excellent and V/S Vertical Speed in range is also very good. (the curved line that shows you your range position on the map for the set altitude and vertical speed target) Also available are: Nav-Aid, Airports, WPTs, PROGRESS (details on the route), Vertical Profile (Lower MFD, Very Nice!), TCAS and Weather and Terrain is on the lower selections. Systems are all covered and include: Status (doors), FltCtrl (Flight Controls), Hydr (hydraulics), Fuel, Elec (Electrical), and Anti-Ice. Flying the IRONS5 STAR, I found no breaks in the flightplan or odd vectors. This was a nice clean approach by the flightplan. It is important that the approach settings in ILS frequency (VOR1) and the system is switched from the NAV to APP in that the VOR1 is set on the PFD, a few times it didn't set and the ILS didn't connect. It is not a system issue, but an awareness one. Short finals and I am under complete manual control, approach speed at full flaps is around 125knts. I like the throttle response in that you can control the thrust minutely... ... it allows for great control and the low approach speed can allow you the time to correctly select your landing point with accuracy. The aircraft flares nicely and you know that was a good landing. Great feedback from the aircraft can do this and I liked the E-195LR in this area a lot. Reverse thrust action was great and I like the way the airbrakes work independently. Aircraft clean up and taxi is very good, but you have to anticipate tiller turning as it is a slightly slow turning front gear set up, but highly realistic. Overall very impressed. Lighting Lighting is excellent overall, the cockpit and instruments has a lot of adjustment and the under glareshield strip lighting is very nice... The right feel in the cockpit at night is important to me and the E-195LR scores highly in this area, the adjustment of surround lighting down to what I call "Approach Lighting" was excellent in clear instruments, but not a lot of reflective glare. Overhead (Storm/Dome) lighting is good in two settings low and high (below). Cabin lighting is very good, and totally separately adjustable from the cockpit lighting which I really like, adjustment is on the central pillar "Adjustments Display". External lighting is also very good with a lot of options. Nav, Strobe and red Beacon are standards, but you have three landing lights (two wing and one front strut), taxi nose and side, logo and INSP (Side lights). Side, Taxi and landing lights are slightly blobby, but this is a Laminar issue and not a developer one, but a slight bit of fine-tuning would make them perfect. Tail brand lighting is excellent. Liveries There is in all sixteen liveries and all are excellent across a wide range of operators. Five liveries in Aegean, Air Domomiti, Alitalia, Lot and Lufthansa are duel liveries in both NEW (Clean) and USED (Dirty) so overall there are nine operators and two factory (house) liveries with one the "Factory Bird".. I would have liked a standard Flybe as well as the "Flybe Kids and Teens" logo, and US Air is well gone... Summary This E-195LR has come a long, long way since Supercritical Simulations Group started their E-Jet series. This aircraft is all new in the E-195 size, but a lot of the detail is based on the E-170 version already available. Both aircraft are now built to a high standard, but both aircraft also still hold remnants of the past as well in mostly the textures on the PFD, MAP/NAV and central displays, the heavier weight in framerate is also noticeable from these textures as well with a 10 frame drop from the external view to the internal position. You can of course up your texture quality to (Absolute) max and fix the slight blurryness, but that comes with a huge penalty on your graphic card, so you have to use the lower texture setting to fly the aircraft comfortably. This apart then in every other area the E-195LR really shines and the refinement to Javier Cortes FMC is now very good as well. It is a slightly different FMC to program, but now also very flexible and easy to use with Airways also available. The FMC does give you a lot of helping hands in setting out your aircraft preferences, and the heavy user will want more control, but for the rest of us it sets up the aircraft there and then and your ready to fly. Cockpit and instrument detail with comprehensive data is excellent, and that is why the prefs are more automated than with manual inputs to get the best out of the data and on to the displays. I prefer the E-170's sleek grey cabin to the E-195LR's. It is good but the cream tends to date it a little as does the blue seats.... The idea I think is to make the aircraft overall feel more older and tired as with the rusted glareshield. The manipulators can be tricky to use from an angled perspective, you do get used to it, but there are now better manipulator ideas to use for ease of use than these. Features are good, all the doors (and cargo) open and the "Adjustments Display" is quite powerful for loading up the aircraft, but it doesn't fully replace a decent menu system. The EJet flies very well manually or automated if you plan and use the Autopilot in settings to transition from manual to AP flight, this is a quirk with EJet's and get it wrong and the transition can be a little clunky, not the aircraft, it is just in the way you fly them. The aircraft EJet series from Supercritical Simulations Group is now both the short E-170 variant and now this longer, faster with slightly more range E-195LR. Both compliment each other and note that both aircraft have been updated (20th Dec) to the current specifications and both are now only X-Plane11 compatible as well. In a deal if you already own the E-170 you can purchase the E195LR with a US$20 discount or buy both aircraft together as part of a double package. So if you love your regional spoke and hub airlines then this is now one of the best medium class aircraft to fly. You get more refinement and a lot of features, in its class it is now the best, and myself the longer variant of the EJet 195LR is the better of the two, but why not have both and enjoy them perfectly together... _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Embraer E-Jet 195LR Evolution by Supercritical Simulation Group is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Embraer E-Jet195LR Evolution Your Price: $49.95 Note: if you are already an original owner of SSG's E-170LR Evolution you can get to upgrade to the "E-195LR Evolution" version with a US$20 discount! to the price of US$29.95, so Please email sales@x-plane.org to get your discount code and include you original purchase order number. Embraer E-Jet170LR Evolution Your Price: $49.95 Twin package of both advanced E-Jets by SSG is also available: E-170 Evolution E-195 Evolution Embraer E-Jets Evolution Series Your Price: $64.95 Features: Advanced FMS and Navigation system Custom-built FMS (done by FJCC) designed for the SSG Evolution Series SIDs, STARs, transitions, approaches, flare and rollout modes. FMS is compatible with Navigraph navigation databases. Manufacturer's performance data embedded as tables in the fully functional FMS. Option to use either a 2D pop-up (resizable) MCDU or one within the 3D cockpit. Radio communication audio consoles optimized for on-line virtual ATC operations. FMS performance information based on real aircraft data, including V-speeds. FMS includes capability for autotuning navaid frequencies. Vertical Situation Display (VSD) on the MFD, Unique in XP. Terrain display mode on the MFD, which is a part of the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) on the real aircraft. High-Res 3D modeling complete with detailed animations and textures\ Realistic displays (PFD, MFD with system synoptics, and EICAS) External lights and strobes operating realistically, with dynamic lighting in the scenery. Display management similar to that in the real aircraft. Autobrakes with anti-skid system that works in all conditions and includes a realistic rejected takeoff mode. Realistic wing flex and other animations. Window rain effects and animated wipers. Option menu incorporated into the 3D cockpit. Ground vehicles include a tow truck, GPU and airstairs. Over 10 detailed liveries come with the package. Custom systems and Flight Model Aircraft will meet most of the real aircraft's performance data for consumption, AOA, speeds, flight dynamics, etc. in close consultation with real world E-Jet pilots. Realistic 3D cockpit with high resolution. Many systems are implemented with realistic logic, such as electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, engine fire extinguishing, fuel, wing and engine anti-ice (including automatic mode), communications, and TCAS. Comprehensive autopilot functioning in modes similar to those of the real aircraft First Officer's MFD display is independent from the Captain's. EICAS messages based on the real aircraft's with lists and scrolling DreamEngine Sound System 3D sounds with DreamEngine plugin. Comes with a comprehensive documentation Airplane Operations Manual (AOM) Quick Start Guide (QSG) Quick Reference Randbook (QRH) to permit easy reference to data for FMS entries and other necessary data Requirements: X-Plane 11 + Windows, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating System 2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Current version: XP11 (last updated Dec 20th 2017) Installation Download of the SSG E-Jet 195LR is 546.30mb and it is installed in your X-Plane Airliner Folder as a 707.80mb folder. Aircraft comes with a automated X-Updater for direct updates for the life of the X-Plane11 release. Documents There are three comprehensive documents provided: SSG E-Jet Evolution AOM.pdf (Aircraft Operators Manual) SSG EJet Evolution QSG.pdf (Quick Start Guide) SSG EJet QRH.pdf (Quick Reference Handbook) All are comprehensive with weights, checklists and vRef's _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 22nd December 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.11 Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery: - KATL - Atlanta International by Nimbus Simulation (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$23.95 (Note that KATL by Nimus has just been upgraded! Check it out) - KDCA - Washington XP by Drzewiecki Designs (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$30.00 (Washington XP Review is here)
  2. Aircraft Review : Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) Boeing 748i Advanced Route : EDDF Frankfurt au Main to KMIA Miami International It is hard to believe that the Boeing 747 has been with us for nearly fifty years. First as a concept stage as the CX-Heavy Logistics System (CX-HLS) for the United States Airforce (1963) and then as a full development 747 series in 1965 when Joe Sutter was moved on from the Boeing 737 development team to create the first widebody (Twin-Aisle) aircraft. The 707 series with the Douglas DC-8 changed the world in jet performance. But the 747 changed the world by moving millions of passengers around the world in the next forty years. It set standards in size, performance, reliability and most of all it made airlines and still does billions of dollars in profit. It was a gamechanger. It was a worldchanger and the most iconic aircraft we still use. But even the most brilliant aircraft ever built is starting to feel old. It is trying to survive in a world were airlines survive in the threat of exorbitant jet fuel prices, It was once a huge moneymaker, but the margins have now caught with the "Queen of the Skies" and Qantas is now sending one a month off to the Victorville graveyard. The last stretched version in -400 series is old as it was first put into service in the Northwest Airlines in February 1989. And today most are 20 years past their introduction dates and have only 5-10 years left on their airframes. Boeing knew their greatest achievement would not last forever. So in 2005 they announced the Boeing 748 (747-8) Advanced. The aircraft is a fusion of old and new in the old well proven concepts of the Boeing 747 family and the fusion with the new Boeing 787 (Dreamliner). Boeing want the best of both worlds, in the size, power and abilities of the 747-400 and the new generation (fuel efficent) engines and systems of the B787. It was also needed to compete with the more modern Airbus A380 that would be a threat to Boeing in the VLA (Very Large aircraft) market. In a strange change of context, the VLA market is shrinking in a world of increasing billions of people. Airbus has only sold 259 aircraft and Boeing has only sold 107 747-8's, including 67 of the freighter version, and 40 of the passenger version (i - Intercontinental). Efficient big twins are more fuel efficient and can bypass huge hubs by going directly from one port and directly to the next. However these two aircraft may still have the larger market yet as airport slots become more expensive and airports are still getting larger. Moving large volumes from Asia to the USA or Europe is also going to need large aircraft. VLA's might not rule as large as they once have, but they are still a required need for airlines. The 747-8 was designed to be the first lengthened 747 to go into production. The 747-8 and 747SP are the only 747 variants with a fuselage of modified length. The two 747-8 variants (Freighter and Intercontinental )feature a fuselage stretch of 18.3 ft (5.6 m) over the 747-400, bringing the total length to 250 ft 2 in (76.25 m). The 747-8 is now the world's longest passenger airliner, surpassing the Airbus A340-600 by approximately 3 ft (0.91 m). With a maximum take-off weight of 975,000 lb (442,000 kg), the 747-8 is the heaviest aircraft now flying in either commercial or military, manufactured in the United States. The sweep and basic structure has been kept to contain costs, but the wing is thicker and deeper, with the aerodynamics recalculated. The pressure distribution and bending moments are also different, and the new wing for the passenger version holds 64,225 US gal (243,120 L) of jet fuel, and the cargo aircraft 60,925 US gal (230,630 L). The increased wing span now requires airports in Category F rather than E, making the -8 similar to the Airbus A380. The new wing features single-slotted outboard flaps and double-slotted inboard flaps. Raked wingtips, which similar to the ones used on the 777-200LR, 777-300ER, and 787 aircraft, are used on the new 747 variant instead of winglets as used on the 747-400. The General Electric GEnx is the only engine available for the 747-8. It is one of the two powerplant choices offered for the Boeing 787. The 747 engine variant has been adapted to provide bleed air for conventional aircraft systems (The Boeing 787 is electric) and feature a smaller diameter fan to fit on the 747 wing. On February 8, 2010, after a 2.5-hour weather delay, the 747-8 Freighter made its maiden flight, taking off from Paine Field, Washington at 12:39 PST. During the flight tests, Boeing discovered a buffet problem with the aircraft, involving turbulence coming off the landing gear doors interfering with the inboard flaps. Boeing undertook an evaluation of the issue, which included devoting the third test aircraft to investigating the problem and the issue was resolved by a design change to the outboard main landing gear doors. Boeing handed over the first 747-8F to Cargolux in Everett, Washington, on October 12, 2011. (After contractual issues). Lufthansa received its first 747-8I on May 5, 2012, and began operating the 747-8I on flights from Frankfurt to Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2012. Cruising speed at 35,000 ft (11,000 m) 8i Mach 0.855 (570 mph, 495 knots, 917 km/h) 8F. Mach 0.845 (564 mph, 490 kn, 908 km/h), Maximum speed at 35,000 ft (11,000 m) Mach 0.92 (614 mph, 533 kn, 988 km/h), Range 8i 8,000 nmi (9,210 mi; 14,800 km) at MTOW with 467 passengers and baggage 8F 4,390 nmi (5,050 mi; 8,130 km) at full payload (295,800 lb (134,000 kg)) Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) SSG was formed in 2011 by Ricardo Bolognini, Carlos Garcia, and Stefan Keller with now Javier Cortes and Bill Grabowski to create great aircraft for Xplane. Their early work included this 747-8 series aircraft for freeware on the .org. SSG then moved on to a series of E-Jets in the Embraer E-170 E-Jet and the Embraer E-190LR E-Jet (both are available together at the price of US$29.95). Both E-Jets are innovated aircraft with excellent features. The main aim however was to redesign the original B747-8 series into higher quality and full system aircraft. The aircraft in this review outwardly looks similar to the freeware version, but in reality it has very little in common with that aircraft except for the landing gear and that has also been slightly modified. The main fuselage has been completely remodeled as also has the wings and more though detailing. If you have the freeware version (which is very good) then don't think this just an upgraded version of that aircraft. In every aspect, area and feel, It is completely different. Modern aircraft with composite structures look very different than aircraft that were made from stringer frames with overlaid aluminum panels that are held together with rivets. These composites are created from long sections of molded panels that give a look of clean clear lines and almost a plastic feel about them as they cover more area with less joins. Smooth and molded to fit it can make an aircraft even the size of the B748i look quite bland compared to the standard design of the former B747 series. SSG has however created the feel and look of the B747-8 very well, with great detail when you get close. The wings and engines are a highlight of this composite design, and in the way they are very well crafted and designed. 748 has single-slotted outboard flaps and double-slotted inboard flaps rather than the usual triple slotted flaps on the existing 747/744 series, Leading edge flaps are very nicely integrated, so all the flaps look far cleaner in full extended position than your usual 747/744 versions. The wing is the same 37.5 sweep ratio but the wing itself is thicker. The 748 is actually a slower flying aircraft than the B747-400 as economy and not speed is the airlines mantra nowadays. A 1percent decrease in speed not an really important issue to an operator these days over the price of jet fuel. The undercarriage design is excellent as well, but you need to get really close in. All supports and struts are very good but they all bit clean for a working aircraft. Detailing includes even the notes on strut and the wheel rims are a work of art. The centre rear bogies turn as they should. By all accounts this is seriously one large aircraft. The problem is it then relates to the same size in Xplane. The model will still take up the same amount of volume as it does in the real world, but in our case it is in polygons and textures. Compare the size of a general aviation aircraft like from Carenado and put it next to the B748i to get the idea. Make the Carenado the same size as the Boeing and you can see the problem in how much Xplane has process in numbers to understand that it is going to use a lot of space to do the same thing. If you fly Peter Hager's A380 you will notice the same problem. In Peter's case he lowered the numbers by compromising on the textures against the high poly count. But it still took up a lot of your frame rate headroom. A big aircraft uses a lot of space and you can't change that fact. Cockpit The B748 cockpit is a hybrid really. Part Boeing 744-400, part Boeing 777 and a few modern items from the Boeing 787. Mostly it is a B744 cockpit and layout, but the idea is that any pilot from the older Boeing 744 and even a Boeing 777 would find the layout familiar. Airlines are big on commonality today and if you are a B744 pilot you should very easily transfer to the B748 without much extra training. That said it is to be noted the engines are very different and have different start up procedures, On the overhead panel it is mostly a clean panel is a correct panel and only show the abnormality of an incorrect or not working item. Which is following the Airbus philosophy in cockpit procedures. The cockpit is 3d and is very good. Textures on the early version were horrible!. The thought of flying ten or more hours looking at them filled me with dread. These are far better, but even better textures are coming in the next upgrade. But these are okay, and I found them quite nice after a while. There isn't the sheer detail and workability of the Boeing 777 but everything here is still nicely covered. Five screens across the forward panel with Two each side (left/right) for the Pilot and Co-Pilot in the MFD (Main Flight Display) and MAP/Navigation screen. Central is the Integrated Standby Flight Display (ISFD) and "Upper Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System" (EICAS). One Lower screen is the "Lower Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System" (EICAS). Overall if you are familiar with most Boeing's cockpits the layout is generally the same with the glareshield Autopilot (A/P) and the pedestal (Control Stand) layout of items and switches. First job is to get power to the aircraft: Flip the lid and switch on the Batteries, as nothing will happen until you do this. You now have a choice in starting the APU (Aircraft Power Unit) or the GPU (Ground Power Unit). The GPU is situated on the side screen panel on the pilots left which is known here as the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). This screen is also your menu system for the aircraft. Besides selecting the GPU, you can also (left side) Hide Yokes, Select Co-Pilot or Pilot flying and zoom position in the 3d cockpit. (right side) you can select GPU, Open Cargo doors and Cabin doors. Opening the cabin doors and or with the cargo doors is opening all of them, you can also use the F1/F2 sliders, but I would prefer a more controlled way of which doors to open. Another function of the screen is with a clock (insert) which is very good on long flights. Once the GPU is operating then press on the EXT Power buttons on the overhead panel. You get no Ground Power Cart outside the aircraft which is bit of a shame, as they are usually de rigueur today. Once power is complete the aircraft is ready for setting up for flight with fuel and the programming of the route and flying preferences with the FMS (Flight Management System). FMS (Flight Management System) The main feature on the SSG Boeing 748i is the FMS (Flight Management System). This version comes from Javier Cortés UFMC known as the FJCC and is more associated with the x737and as an add-on FMs to other aircraft. The difference here is that this has been totally integrated directly into the B748i systems and into the Control Display Unit (CDU). I would like to note that this is a review. But the programming of the FMS is worthy of a section in the review because it does show the full set of actions and in one full procedure it is really needed to be shown on how it works. And two there are some slight and very noticeable differences in programming the unit that is really needed to be understood to get the best out of the B748i. The set of procedures are in hindsight are really quite simple. Can in reality if not followed correctly in sequence can leave you a raving idiot. One wrong selection will mean the route is hard to program and the insertion of the DEP/ARR runways can not be inserted (or seen). On start up you have a blank screen with only MENU and "FMS" LK1 (Left Key 1) press this to start. This shows the IDENT of the aircraft including the Type and Air Navigation data in the system. RK6 is your next step key to the next step in the programming procedure and here it shows "POS INIT" (arrowed). POS INIT - Here you insert in the lower scratchbox your departure airport (EDDF) LK2 to set the location for the FMS (It uses the standard Xplane position co-ordinates) then select ROUTE RK6. ON the RTE 1 page you insert your Arrival airport KMIA RK1. When done you need to ACTIVATE the route by pressing RK6. Then when the green light is lit then press EXEC (Execute). The first thing to understand on this FMC is that in most FMC's is that that when you "Execute" the route it is usually when the whole route and prefs (preferences) are completely inserted. Here the EXEC is really an insert button and you press it to set certain conditions as you plan the FMC. Javier has noted that the system will be later changed to other style of system. Now you need to set up your DEP/ARR runways by selecting the DEP/ARR button (and not go to the next page via the route button RK6). My departure runway is O7C and so I select that via EXEC. We are going to at first just do a direct departure and arrival and not use SID/STARs of which we will insert later. Select your Arrival runway (KMIA) which is in this case ILS 27. You must EXEC after each insertion of DEP and ARR runways. if you don't then the system will not insert your DEP runway correctly at the right GPS position. (A bug being looked at) Then you can just fill in the route fixes (waypoints) via the RTE key or by pressing ROUTE RK6. The system is very flexible in that it accepts almost all fixes in VOR, NDB's, Air Routes, Atlantic and Pacific tracks, numbered and standard fixes. Just input down the page via the right keys and then move forward to another page when listed to the bottom of that full page. Switch the MAP view to PLN (on the Glareshield). And the route should appear as you input the data. If you want to check the whole route then select the LEGS button and you can use the STEP RK6 key to go down the route that is noted by the . At anytime you can switch between RTE Page and the LEGS page to insert the flightplan. The tricky part is connecting up the last fix (ZILBI) to the runway (ILS 27) which is displayed. You should be able to just input the runway here but it doesn't work. So easiest solution is to use a TRANS on the ARR runway to do the connection. So go back to your ARR runway in the DEP/ARR page and again select ILS 27, only this time also select the TRANS (HENDN) and EXEC. You get the route connected, but there is also a mess connected with it as your route goes off the MAP display. In the LEGS page you will see and then need to do a - ROUTE DISCONTINUITY - to join them up. To do this just type in the next fix over the -ROUTE DISCONTINUITY- which in this case is SARCO and log it into the five box area noted as "THEN". When done then press EXEC to input the change. You will then notice the same route is displayed in White and dotted? This is the MOD or modified route and you have the choice to either select it by doing another EXEC or not. In most cases the flightplan should be complete unless you have to do a few more ROUTE DISCONTINUITY's to clean it up. Care in selecting the last fix to match the TRANS can make your plan perfect. A final note is the racehorse track at the end of the plan is for a missed approach and a hold position. Three items to note: 1) make sure the Flightlevel is inserted in the PREF page that can be accessed by the LK6 INDEX. Failure to note the Flightlevel will mess up your flightplan by adding in the TOC (Top of Climb) and TOD (Top of Decsent) at the wrong points and it changes the flightplan by making it unreliable. (flickers in and out?). 2) Second if you want to restart or clear the flightplan at any time then press INITIAILIZE. 3) Cost index can interfere in the VNAV and ALT predictions, Most CI is listed as about or between 070 > 090. Other prefs (preferences) including more preferences and Thrust Limits, Takeoff and Approach prefs can also be done via the INDEX page. Adding in a SID or STAR from the start of a flightplan is besides adding in the runway (Right KEY(s)), you also add in the SID on the left keys and the TRANS below on the ARR/DEP page. Then find the next best fix to start your route from the SID on the RTE page. On the STAR it is usually slightly more messy. You do the same in selecting the runway (Right KEY(s)) and then select your STAR and TRANS (It will note as the selected TRANS). But when it appears in the LEGS page it might be a bit of a mess with (sometimes many) -ROUTE DISCONTINUITY- 's that will be needed to be cleared up to get a clean plan. Again care is needed to join up the last fix to the first STAR fix so it is clear connection. After few routes and it becomes all very easy to do. But there are a few bugs ( is one that happens to appear more than once in the LEGS page) in the system that will be fixed. Flying the Boeing 748i Engine start up is mostly automatic. Just don't forget to set the cabin pressure after switching off the APU bleed (Outflow Valves, Open). After pushback flaps were set to 10º. and you will need a very heavy shove of the throttles to get the heavy aircraft moving at 421,000lbs of weight. Taxiing is limited to 9knts on the turns (the steering won't allow more). But taxiing is very good, but watch that huge size on turns You are very high up at 28 feet 5 inches (8.66meters) and very far forward (97 feet 4 inches (29.6 meters) from the nosegear) on the main bogie wheels - This is a very big aircraft. Power up and your rolling, but very slow at first. The FMC will calculate the correct V-speeds. At rotate she comes nicely off the runaway at 212knts and if you have the Autothrust (armed) and the LNAV selected, then when ready just select the Autopilot (A/P) and the transition to the A/P system is very smooth and controlled. As the flightplan requires an almost 180º turn almost immediately to the south, so from the pilots seat the ride was excellent and with a great view across all the windows. This is what flying heavies is all about, size and weight and big slow movements. Wingflex here is excellent with not too much or too little movement over those huge wings. Recommended "Rates of Climb" (ROC) is Maximum 3,800 feet per minute (FPM) at 250 kts under 10,000ft but I would never go near that. With this weight I used only 1800fpm. other maximums are 2, 200 fpm from 10,000 - 20,000 ft at 280 - 340 kts then 2,000 - 1,500 fpm from 20,000 - 26,000 ft then 1,500 - 400 fpm from 26,000 - 35,000 ft. Again I was far more conservative at 1800fpm to 15,000ft then 1200ft to 30,500ft and then run off the heavy fuel for 500nm before stepping 2000ft at 300fpm until I reached my cruise altitude of 36,500ft. I found the 1200fpm from 15,000ft to 30,500ft started to hit the speed of 300knts (mach) and so I dropping it back to 1000fpm. There are a lot of performance tables in the Manual and you are wise to print them out and study them. They include fuel, weight, Long Range Cruise control and Vref with associated flap settings. The B747 is a very different aircraft empty. Heavy the 747 flies in a slightly ponderous way, but light it climbs like a jet aircraft and the centre of gravity (COG) moves considerably. The Manual is very detailed in getting the best out of the B748i and also shows you the best way to fly the aircraft. You get a lot of alarms and mostly for the "tail stab" fuel tank... If under a certain fuel weight it doesn't fill the tail tank and also for the flaps (while the speed drops to slowly). I've learnt to pick out the important ones out from the annoying ones. At 30,500ft and heading towards m84. the cockpit is a nice place to be. The MAP (pilots) and PLN (CoPilot) on each of the displays, show the route and flight details. The centre panels (upper) engine and the lower is changeable with other items of details of the aircraft's systems. Covered are ELEC, FUEL, EGS, FCTL, HYD, DRS (doors), GEAR and general INFO. All can be switched over to the Pilots or CoPilots MAP screens and both the MAP and PFD (Primary Flight Display) can be swapped over. One factor is the frame-rate with the B748i. As noted as an aircraft in Xplane it has a very large presence that can translate to your frame-rate. First is that 1gb of VRAM is recommended, and I really second that. I only have 512gb and I feel the pressure on the system. But I can still fly the B758i under my conditions. The rules are the same as the Peter Hager's A380, In keeping the render textures low and restricting the "World Detail". The aircraft does have a strange relationship to the Xplane ground textures? In that inside the 3d cockpit the frame-rate can be higher than the outside view. Which is very odd as it is usually the other way around. The frame-rate dips up and down more than any aircraft I have ever flown at a high level. (most get a high frame-rate in say at say 50fr then it just usually stays there) but if you can cover the dips in the headroom then you are okay. Sorting out my render settings to accommodate the B748i took a little time, but I have as usual found a sweet spot to enjoy the aircraft - yes there is a tradeoff in texture quality (the aircraft is fine) but otherwise it is very good and well under my 512mb VRAM. A final note is that you have to also pick your DEP/ARR airports with care, a really big scenery (KLAX or KJFK) will be hard work or not work at all. The cockpit as a work place is well done. detailing is very good and the main systems are very well modeled of which include... with realistic logic, such systems as the electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, engine fire extinguishing, fuel (with dumping capability), wing and engine anti-ice, cabin pressure, communications and TCAS. Night Lighting At night the aircraft has a slight white glow, but otherwise the lighting is good. I like the different lighting to show the separate classes within the aircraft and the windows look nice at night. In the cockpit it is very nice place to be, and I really like the strip-lighting under the glaresheild. All panel lettering and detail is very good and adjustable is all the separate panel displays and the dome lighting. Liveries Five liveries in - Boeing House and Boeing Sunrise (top row), Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China (Lower row) All the livery quality is very good, and the Air China is a nice bonus (another un-named livery is coming out with the next update) Arrival over the Grand Bahama was noted as "not much light left". The huge Boeing looked wonderful in the soft light that showed off the SSG's excellent work. Work on the flight deck sorted the aircraft out for landing and after 10hours flying I was tired but ready for the approach and landing. The descent had been set at "No idle" which was good as I was now holding minimum fuel after a 15knt - 22knt headwind almost all the way over the Atlantic. There is the feature of the Vertical Situation Display (VSD) on the Navigation display. A MAP display is in the horizontal plane. Here the VSD gives you the vertical view of your height and relativity to fixs and angle to your Vertical speed. It is a very good tool but it does take a large portion of the lower navigation display. Note the Radio page. The ILS freq is noted in "Park" but I still had to insert the ILS RWY 27 frequency in the VOR1(L) (LK1). As per the TRANS (HENDN) it was my final turn to MIA's RWY 27. I like to keep my heavies low on approach and more so in the B748i. My height was 1700ft and my speed was still lowering to 165knt. I keep my height low as a trick in that with the weight it won't build up momentum on the glideslope. This can keep the speed in check as the B748i is aircraft is a fast lander and you need plenty of space to slow it down. In the sinking light the hanging outer bogies look fabulous waiting to touch the ground. On landing the weight keeps you firm on the tarmac. but still it takes ages to rub off the speed and you run the reverse-thrust long. The full nose steering does not come back until you are in the low 12knts - 10kts range. Cleaning up the aircraft and noting the weights and fuel is done on the long taxi to J Terminal. It is a nice cool night here in Miami and soon the big aircraft is parked tightly at the terminal. Conclusions Creating aircraft like the Boeing 748i in Xplane at this level is a Herculean task. Even with a large team as the SSG is there is still many areas that have to be covered. This was brought to light lately by the quiet cancellation of the XPJets Boeing 777. A few years ago this was once the most anticipated aircraft in the simulator. But the developers (some of the very best from past Xplane experience). didn't keep up with the huge natural change and the sheer amount of new features and scale now required to deliver aircraft in this category. So no doubt the B748i is a hugely ambitious project for the SSG team and the release was certainly a worthy goal succeeded. To understand the B748i is to what you don't see on the surface but in how it delivers. The FJCC from Javier is the central aspect of the aircraft. This standard of FMC's are now a certain requirement in this class of aircraft. But aircraft in this class are complex beasts. On the surface everything is simplified for ease of use like in the real world operations. But under the FMC is a complex web of systems that needed to be set correctly and preferences that are inputted into the FMC are needed get the very best performance out of the aircraft. Your notes and details in route, weights, fuel, wind and takeoff/landing performance can all have a significant bearing on the way the aircraft performs behind the scenes. So central to getting the best out of the B748i is understanding the FMC right down to every setting and detail. We look for features we can see and touch. But this is simulation and this is really what real simulation is all about. But a few special effect features would have been nice. The missing GPU cart for instance, checklists, working wipers and rain effects are always welcome. I would have liked the doors to be more flexible in their operation and some slightly more detail around the cockpit. (the panel and operations is fine). All will come in time no doubt. Fine tuning of your render settings is an art and here if you don't have the inserted cards of tons of VRAM and the speed to run a small town, the B748i can run your system hard. As noted 1g of VRAM is the basic safe requirement. But I ran the B748i well with getting my settings just right with 512mb easily (Just make sure you get as much headroom as you can above the 20fr limit to allow for the yo,yo framerate). So it can be done. In many respects the B748i is very, very similar to Peter Hager's A380 in settings and the use large complex sceneries are out however with this memory restriction. (I haven't tested yet SFO by Tom Curtis and I have had no problems with the A380 there). The more time i spent on the Boeing 748i from SSG, the far better it became. Certainly in tuning the settings in both the render settings and the FMC routing and preferences, this then in turn this brought the aircraft a better and better performance in Xplane. As a heavy jet its performance is first rate. So this is a deep and challenging aircraft in most respects. The addition of a separate Freighter (F) version and new cockpit textures will move the aircraft even more forward and I expect it to become a standard Xplane stablemate (with the freighter version) well into the future. In the mean time it is a great aircraft to fly now. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! the SSG Boeing 748i Advanced is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : Boeing 747-8 Inter Advanced Price is US$35.00 Technical Requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 / 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.7. Sorry not compatible with Linux X-Plane 10 fully updated. 32 or 64 bit. (X-Plane 9 not supported) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (8GB RAM and 1GB VRAM Highly Recommended) Current version : 1.02 (last updated December 16th, 2013) Installation. Download is 166.50mb (expanding to 372.50mb on disk). just drop into your Aircraft folder and activation (key) is required. Documents. Developer Site : Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) Support Forum : SSG Boeing 748i Advanced .org Review By Stephen Dutton 24th December 2013 copyright© 2013 : Stephen Dutton _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Scenery - EDDF - Frankfurt - Aerosoft (free with X-plane global Ed) - KMIA - Miami International - Butnaru US$19.95 Shop.org Store
  3. Aircraft Review : Boeing 747-8F - Freighter by Supercritical Simulations Group This review includes references to the 747-8 Intercontinental V1.1 (The base aircraft are the same) Supercritical Simulations Group have now produced two versions of the latest Boeing 747 Series in the 748i - Intercontinental Advanced and now they have released the Freighter version in the B747-8F. In many respects it is the F-Freighter version that is more interesting in that Boeing are selling the Freighter version almost 3 to 1 of the passenger version, and even those aircraft have been downgraded to 3 per month on the production line. Sadly both the these VLA (Very Large Aircraft) in the B748 and A380 category are struggling to fill any orders. You would think that the cargo masters would want the biggest and most efficient yet freighter on the market, but no they don't. In many ways it doesn't make sense. As the world is more populated than ever before and are set out in these huge mass density centers with limited airport slots, then you would think these aircraft would be an answer to their prayers. But they are not like the original Boeing 747 was in setting the world on fire to aviation and the world in the 70's and 80's. The big twins are filling the market and not these huge transports. But as oil (and fuel) goes a little cheaper then may they suddenly become more profitable and become fashionable once again to their operators. In a strange paradox it was exactly the same time last year that SSG's Boeing 748i was released and I was flying that aircraft hard before Christmas 2013. Like a déjà vu, I am again flying an SSG Boeing 747-8F through its paces, but unlike the version last year this aircraft has had a full year of development behind it and that certainly shows here. As a more rounded and complete aircraft is one of the things you love about it. I will hand on heart be honest and wish that this variant in the Freighter had been released first. I like the B748i for its long routes, but it is the freighter version that gives me far more scope for adventure and cargo business. I like the routes from Singapore and Hong Kong out to Anchorage, then over the top to Europe, Or Dubai out to either the East or west to Europe. North America down to South America have had a few runs as well. Then there is my usual F1 flying to take the Formula One cargo to the flyaway races. The Boeing 747-8F would fill in very nicely many of these routes and I missed it and its range this last year. That should be put right in 2015. Although the B748i Inter and the B747-8F are different in many areas, mostly they are very similar and the notes in this review does also reflect on the development of the B748i as well to date. X-Plane Reviews has covered the B748i in two update reviews here and are worth both browsing throught to understand the past development that has gone into these aircraft: (Dec 2013) - (July 2013) But what we are looking at here and the focus is on the Freighter option. The aircraft is different from the B748i in that the high forward fuselage is like the original Boeing 747-100/200 in that the bubble behind the cockpit on the upper deck in more shorter and more 747 than the long top deck cabin look of the B747-400. The original version was more of a fighter jet look in profile that was sorta lost in the later versions. I loved the original look of the B747 as from certain angles it was simply a very commanding aircraft to look at, and here that pose has thankfully been returned. In development the Boeing 747 was originally created as a big logistic lifter for the U.S. Airforce (The contract went to the huge C-5A Galaxy) as the CX-Heavy Logistics System (CX-HLS) in March 1964, and the cabin or freight deck was to be a complete open space for loading and unloading of cargo, that is why the cockpit is positioned above on a separate deck. So the cargo version is in reality the original design and production 747. The huge nose section raises up to reveal the large volume of space available for cargo. This aircraft is a cargo haulers dreamboat. You open the large nose door and any other door including left side cargo door, lower hull cargo doors, and main entrance doors via the menu on the pilots right hand side. The doors and the APU are located on the options (OPT) page. (turn the menu on via the "On" button). The nose does not just appear opened but can take a fair period to raise up to its full open position. A small thing but I really loved that aspect, if you want realism then that is a perfect start. Carrying cargo is our business, and to fill your aircraft with the weight and amount of required cargo is what makes the business run. And here SSG have given you the perfect solution to get the job done. Under the menu "PLD" is the "Cargo Load Assistant" that gives you a large list of options on how to load the aircraft. If you don't want to spend hours agonising over every little KGS then you can select a % of the load in 25% - 50% - 75% - 90% and 100% load factors. I selected the 90% as that felt realistic and pressed the "Load Aircraft" button to load the aircraft. When done you can see your cargo loads through all the doors on the aircraft and the cargo weight is noted as well. Certainly this set up is the best in the business for X-Plane at this point if your a big hauler fan like me. Your fuel is best loaded in next. Again on the Menu is a fuel page "Fuel" that allows you to load the aircraft's fuel load the way you want in KGS x 1000 (lbs is available). The load can be set (loaded) manually but is best loaded via the FMC option. To load the selected fuel then press the "Load Fuel" button. The cargo (and aircraft weight) and now the fuel load is reflected on the FMC. It is best to load the cargo and the fuel in first because if you do change later then you will just have to totally redo your "Pref's" or takeoff and landing preferences as they are related to the weight of the aircraft in MGTOW (Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight) that is limited at 875,000 lb (397,000 kg) and 65,000 lb (29,000 kg) MTOW increase over the -400ERF. The FMC's (Flight Management Computer in Boeing speak) in the SSG B748i and B748F are from Javier Cortes. This is an adapted version of his successful "UFMC: Universal Flight Management Computer" plugin. It is a fully accessible in the B748i/B748F FMC including SID/STAR and route management and aircraft takeoff, cruise and approach preferences. This adapted FMC was not quite developed in the original release of the B748i and throughout the year Javier has done continuous work to bring the FMC up to a very good aircraft management system. Part of the issues were that the B748i is a very complex and highly systematic aircraft than the Universal type of plugin version, and to Javier's credit it is now a very good FMC. But some niggles still remain that I found in here last year. I will note they could be Mac (Apple) related or just me? But they are still there when programming in the route from EGNX (Nottingham East Midlands,UK) to LROP (Henri Coanda International, Bucharest, Romania). I found the SID's entry still did not work, so I created my own departure route from EGNX from charts (which was not hard) after noting the departure runway, and the STAR entry worked fine but I still found I got that long line off the MAP display to a final waypoint (arrowed) that did not exist after the airport runway and holding track? If I saved a route, and if I reloaded or loaded that route into the FMC my screen would freeze (I can still enter anything into the FMC scratchpad?) So I always have to enter any route from the start to finish. These niggles aside I found the FMC easy to programme and use and very easy to set up a route and activate it ready for flight. There is also the AirFMC app for Apple’s iPad that was developed by Haversine available from the App store and is priced at US$13.99. Which is a bit pricy for the one or two aircraft here, but if you have the x737 737FMC, CRJ-200, A320neo (JARd) or the X-FMC. It will run the iPad on all of them, so that would make it a better consideration. I tried connect up to the B777/B757 iPad app, but it didn't work. Both MAP displays from the Captain and F/O can show the different aspects of the route in MAP and PLN (Plan) mode and range, which I like in flight. The menu also gives you a "Clock" Function (CLK) that notes ETA, Local and UTC times, plus your weight and fuel flow (when the engines are running), you can reset the elapsed timer. Closing up the aircraft is done again by the "OPT" menu and you are ready to go. Put the MAP display range down to 1 and you get a layout of the airport... which is extremely handy with an aircraft of this size. APU running and I start both engine 1 and 4 to provide power to the aircraft but not too much thrust so the push-back truck has to struggle in pushing all that weight and the idle engines (it saves time on push-back as well). Engine startup now is very well done (unlike the original last year which was average), as slow blade animation becomes a blur to a slower blade in the background looks extremely realistic, sounds great as well with the new "DreamEngine" sound set that gives you the full GE GEnx effect which uses some technology from the huge GE90 Engines that powers the B777. You can set your takeoff preferences (Prefs) and thrust limits via the FMC. And you are ready after clearance to push-back. There is a built in Push-Back Truck that is activated by the "Tow" page on the menu. You can push or pull in two speeds of "Low" and "High" (I found low to slow) and the truck is what I call a "truck on a stick" as the whole assembly turns in a rigid manner that looks quite awkward, but does work very effectively. You have to provide a fair bit of thrust to get all that weight moving forward, but once doing so the aircraft is quite easy to taxi. It needs to be as this aircraft is very big to taxi around most airports, routes must be considered with areas that you can actually turn around in, but the turns the aircraft can do are quite tight, with that little extra thrust to keep the momentum correct. After runway hold and clearance it is time to line up and push up the throttles. EGNX in 9/27 (9459ft) has the worse bumpiest runway in X-Plane! It's a pain as you have to have the "runways follow terrain contours" box checked as if not you get that flat table top "lost World" mountain effect. So you have to suffer it and the hard continuous crashing of the undercarriage and pray the goods in the back are not totally destroyed. Vr (rotate) is noted at 166knts+10 but I need almost 180knts to still clear the runway, I have eyeballed the end of a few runways trying to get the lift and only a slight pitch (3º) to get airborne in a cargo 747(200), But I have the sheer power here available and once clear the B748-8F will climb quite easily at 10º pitch. To lift these heavy aircraft up to altitude, you have to almost coax it up there. The FMC calculated that FL300 (30,000ft) was the best cruise altitude. So I climbed to FL265 and then stepped the last few hundred feet. You eyes are on the N1 outlet dials, you need a margin here to get you out of trouble, so keeping a gap of 10%-15% is always a nice feeling, In this case I climbed hard to FL220 at 1400fpm V/S and then 500fpm V/S to the first flight level. The steps were at 300fpm. I will note that I made two complete flights on this same route... The one recorded here is the second. On the first flight I climbed the aircraft at just under 290knts to m60 (mach) as sometimes I do with a very heavy freighter, the point is to keep your speed low to lift in the vertical speed and not to run out of puff from the engines. But here in the B747-8F it created a pitch of 7º to 10º that I could not dial out later at 5º even when I had the cruise speed of m80. The point of course was the slow speed. In the second run I increased the speed to 310knts and m65 and that reduced the pitch nicely to 7º to 5º and then 3º in cruise. In both flights I did a transition altitude at 8500ft from the runway (09) at 250knts to clean up the aircraft and change the speed settings. I found it just very hard to adjust out that 3º pitch in flight (and that was the best result of the two flights). The FMC does adjust the CoG (Center of Gravity) in this case 22.8%. But the aircraft flew very nose (pitch) up on both flights? It just didn't feel right or comfortable and come to the approach/landing phases I found it hard to keep the nose down. I tried to adjust the CoG in the X-Plane "Aircraft" settings but they don't allow for adjustment there. I did a final very short flight up to FL300 with no payload, and I got a 2º pitch which is fine. The auto-pilot is excellent and the if you adjust the bank (I like 10º manual) then the aircraft will do perfect turn as noted on the MAP display, just pull the range down to see the turn curve. The cockpit is supremely appointed now. The average bland textures have been replaced long ago in the B748i/B747-8F SSG aircraft. And you don't worry now about spending those long hours up here over distances that can take over 10-12 hours. Everything is now working and adjustable. The aircraft has the v1.1 improvements of the B748i in the hydraulic system has been improved, and unpowered control surface behavior has been added, fixed the “Recall” button and message logic, added is new seat belt sign logic, the braking system has been improved for XP10.30 and many of the flight dynamics have had improvements. The MAP function gives you three options by pressing the middle (CTR) of the Map select knob. One is the standard MAP view with weather distance bands, another is a ROSE, which I usually use the most in areas of adjusting the aircraft's heading in manual takeoff/landings or flying VOR. And a third option with a altitude display on the bottom. All are very good but I didn't use the altitude display that much on these flights. Five liveries consist of one House (Boeing) as default and four cargo operators in CargoLux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Atlas Air and Korean Cargo. There are two versions of each livery in High and Low Res liveries. I tried both versions and it didn't seem to make much difference to my settings (or frame-rate)? but the quality was very good. Frame-Rate : I am going to note the frame-rate aspect of these two large aircraft because it is not an issue but is theme that constantly comes up. Is the aircraft frame-rate friendly? Well yes and no. In yes, when compared to the release version last year these latest versions are extremely good. SSG notes you need a minimum of 512mb graphic power and 4gb of memory, which I have (6gb of memory). But that is really too low, you need a full 1gb to run this aircraft in a normal load and more memory as I found 6gb was on the line (as noted also by the X-Plane.OrgStore). But that does not say you can't run it effectively. It did take me a fair while to get the right compromise to run the B747-8F mostly by getting the numbers under that 512mb level. The texture setting on normal is the best way to do this and I switch off my "trees" and "draw per pixel" and keep my anti-alias to "x4". Once done I found the aircraft very steady in the simulator, with no frame-rate shuddering and no shuddering in movement of the views, I completed both routes perfectly with no changes needed to compensate for undue changes, certainly any weather or very large scenery would have had an effect, but both Depart/Arr airports are not over large but still good scenery. From that aspect the B747-8F was a very good simulation, even by my minimum standards. In no, It must be noted that these two VLA's are just that "Big", Loading any of each of these aircraft are going to create a large hole in X-Plane, It is not the actual file size of the aircraft (around 580mb less the liveries) as X-Plane can easily absorb bigger files than that. But the actual pixel size? filling your screen as there are not many aircraft of this size you are flying in there except for Peter Hager's A380 Series, This size does give you a strange effect to other items being processed in your X-Plane screen. I have noted this before and it must be considered when using the aircraft. The default B744 is of course a big aircraft, but it does not have the complexity or sheers numbers and pixels in its design as you have here. This is reflected in the loading times of the B747-8F, I recorded a time of 4.11 seconds to load from the Quickstart menu in the EGNX scenery, which is the longest I have sat out a simulator load. And change anything and it is well worth your time to go and make a(nother) cup of coffee. So getting the right set up (or make notes on what they were the last time you used these aircraft) will make your simulation a far better ride. Once done as noted it was very good, if not excellent and I was even able to use the downloaded weather to great effect. High in the cruise at FL300, you cover a lot of ground at m82. France disappeared in a flash, and then I was over EDDF (Frankfurt-Main) and that point on the flightplan was soon followed by LOWW (Vienna) and then into Hungary and Budapest was another past point before starting my descent into Romania and Bucharest (LROP). In cockpit (low but audible) and outer aircraft sounds are very good with the powering on GEnx engines, sounds can be adjusted on the "SND" menu if you want more noise in several areas including the wind, engines and Misc (my guess is background noises)... but I found them perfect. You can use the altitude display to set your descent, I found that the V/S distance half-moon circle perfect for setting the correct point of altitude (5000ft) to the point just before my next waypoint. I totally buggered up my first arrival at LROP on my first run. The culprit was the setting of the ILS frequency (110.70) for RWY 26R. On most FMC's your ILS freq is noted not in the top right box of the radio page but located four rows down in the ILS-MLS box. Usually this is a separate freq for the ILS. But here it is, and yes noted in the correct place... but? it is not actually active. You have to reset the freq in the top right VOR L (1) box, and to fail to do this will mean a fail to capture the ILS or runway alignment and a lot of swear words. On approach any high percentage flap movement is very touchy, get any wrong flap and speed position and the nose will rise (the CoG issue). To a point I was ready for this effect and had no real problems as it was just a matter of getting the correct speed right, but if you are not then you could easily stall the aircraft. Braking action was set to 4, and speedbrakes armed... I crossed the threshold on 175knts. You have to have the thrust-reversers set to just open the doors as the B747-8F has a throttle action to provide the required thrust you want (very nice). The runway was wet in this case, but the nose was hard to keep down and even on the runway under-braking and REV action you had to work hard to keep the nose gear touching the hard stuff. power off and rev-doors closed and you are at a taxi speed. The aircraft felt the size it is here and the usual parking areas for cargo at LROP were too small for the huge 747-8F, so I had to park it out on the main apron in front of the terminals. Lighting : External lighting is excellent, with inboard and outboard landing lights (wings) and taxi lights and very effective runway turn lights on the front gear. Wing (ice) lighting is also very effective as the engines glow in the dark, logo, double-beacon (upper/lower selectable), strobe and nav lighting is all noted. Internal lighting there is a lot of adjustment, there are five overhead lights (adjust together) that fill the cockpit with flood lighting, and turned down the panel lighting can be set perfectly for landing or takeoff roles. Primary Flight Display and MAP displays are adjustable individually. Summary : If you want the biggest, newest and best cargo hauler around then the Boeing 747-8F is it. SSG have provided the best perfect logistic mover yet, with not just the opening doors but also in the way of loading in and unloading that valuable money making freight weight, pallet by pallet. Plus you have the ability then to move it across continents or to simply anywhere in the world (if the airport your heading to is big enough). It is a big aircraft, to use and to fly, but easier to taxi and move across the world than you think. A full FMC routing and preferences access give you the ability to perform and get deep into the aircraft. It is not the easiest aircraft to set up for flight and set up in the simulator itself if you don't have a powerhouse graphic computer, but once done, then it does perform very, very well, and yes it will fly on a machine like mine very well. So the B747-8F is not for the novice. You will need a bit of (very) heavy aircraft and FMC programming experience to get the very best out of these big Boeings, but it is very rewarding when you do. I did note a few small issues like the FMC still has those smaller bugs, but they don't really hinder your routing if you program the FMC correctly. and I simply wasn't happy with the Center of Gravity positioning, Is it adjustable? Different cargo weights need CoG adjustments and you have to compensate for that. But these are very small issues in the whole scheme of things, Big Jets require lots of flying and experience and this freighter is of no exception. In a year both the B748i and this newer F-Freighter version from Supercritical Simulations Group have come a very long way and are now both very good aircraft. A great investment, but my preference is for this freighter version as it gives you a better experience in long distance freight hauling and I have more reasons to use that ability than using the services with the passenger version, that is a personal choice mind you, but in that case I also had wait longer for this freighter to do those sorts of routes and services, but the wait was certainly well worth it. Review is by Stephen Dutton Installation. Download is 325.40mb (expanding to 613.30mb on disk). just drop into your Aircraft folder and the activation (key) is required. Documents. Yes! the SSG Boeing 747-8F Freighter is now Available from the New X-Plane.OrgShop : Boeing 747-8F Freighter Price is US$45.00 Important Notice: If you have already purchased the SSG B748i Inter Adv, then you are then eligible for a US$20 voucher off the Freighter version, see the X-Plane.OrgShop for details. Also the v1.1 SSG 748i Advanced (passenger) update is free to all users that have already purchased the SSG - B748I Adv (check-in at your account at the X-Plane.OrgStore) SSG Boeing 748i (International) Advanced is also Available for US$45.00 from the New X-Plane.OrgShop : Boeing 747-8i Adv Developer Site : Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) Support Forum : Support forum 19th December 2014 ©copyright 2014 : Stephen Dutton Technical Requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista or Windows 7 / 8 (32 or 64 bits) or MAC OS 10.7. Sorry not compatible with Linux X-Plane 10 fully updated. 32 or 64 bit. (X-Plane 9 not supported) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (8GB RAM and 1GB VRAM Highly Recommended) Current version : 1.1- last updated November 17th 2014 v1.1 update change-list - Added DreamEngine sound plug-in for improved sound effects as well as sounds professionally recorded from the real aircraft by Turbine Sound Studios. - Hydraulic system has been improved, and unpowered control surface behavior has been added. - Fixed “Recall” button and message logic. - Added seat belt sign logic. - Brake system improved for XP10.30 - Some flight dynamics improvements. - Added option to use kilos and pounds for cockpit displays. - Added new copilot side Navigation Display pop-up capability. - Added a resizable pop-up FMC. - Many texture improvements. - Many FMC and autopilot issues fixed. - Updated default , Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air, BBJ, Boeing blue and extra KLM fictional Liveries. - Added LOW RES liveries version All these updates are also standard for the newly released Freighter version. Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.31 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - EGNX Nottingham East Midlands Airport v1.0 - Golf 1 (Free .Org) - LROP Henri Coanda International, Bucharest - DAI-MEDIA Scenery €20.00 DAI-MEDIA Sceneries LROP
  4. News! - Updated - Boeing 747-8 Series V1.4 by Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) Supercritical Simulations Group have updated the huge Boeing 748 Series to version v1.4. SSG below have noted the main changes.... "This update brings terrain displays to both pilot and copilot navigation displays (NDs). This is part of the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), which is installed in the real aircraft, and is quite complex in operation and capabilities. However, the most visible part of the system is the terrain display on the NDs. The terrain display is much like that of a radar, sweeping the flight path ahead of the aircraft and showing terrain that might pose a threat to the aircraft in color coded fashion from green to red, even showing areas of water in blue. As the aircraft climbs and descends, or the range scale is changed on the ND, the terrain display changes accordingly." Also, external textures and normals (the textures that create realism and raised surfaces) have been enhanced with added details and all the default liveries have been redone. Other improvements, bug and fix changes in v1.4 include: - Fixed issue where some users experienced moving artifacts in the external model. - Fixed issue reported by some users where the parking brake would switch off when changing aircraft loads. - Problem with some cockpit sounds activating incorrectly has been fixed. - Added functionality to the switch that allows the ND and PFD to switch between magnetic and true heading. - Improved TCAS function with targets now limited to those within 9,999 feet and with arrows to show whether the target traffic is climbing or descending. - Transponder now has different modes working rather than just ON/OFF, primarily TCAS. - Added the AUTO function for the engine and wing anti-ice systems with proper logic to allow for those systems to activate in icing conditions on their own like in the real aircraft. - Addressed bug in which an engine shutdown message appeared on the EICAS even though the engines were merely at an idle setting. - Improved the speedbrake operation and message logic. - Improved runway presentation on the ND to make it closer to the real aircraft’s. - Modified external model properties to gain FPS on some systems. - Added an option on the EFB to disable rain effects. Various FMC and autoflight improvements such as: - Reduced delay/lag in FMC display functions - Flightplans now are stored in an x-plane/Custom Data/UFMC/FlightPlans/ folder so they are not overwritten any time the aircraft is updated and will work for any add on using future versions of the UFMC (V3.0+) and/or x737FMC (V3.2+) , which can read/write flight plans. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the SSG 747-8 Intercontinental Advanced by Supercritical Simulations Group is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Boeing 747-8 Inter Advanced Price is US$45.00 Boeing 747-8 Series Price is US$69.00 - Includes both versions 747-8i Intercontinental Advanced 747-8F Freighter If you have already purchased the SSG 747-8 Intercontinental Advanced/Series then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account, log in and download v1.4 from your account. ______________________________________________________________________ Requirements Windows 7,8,10; MAC OS 10.7+; Linux 64bit X-Plane 10 fully updated. 64 bit. (X-Plane 9 not supported) 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM (8GB RAM and 1GB+ VRAM Highly Recommended) Current version : 1.4 - last updated November 20th 2015 SSG X-Plane.Org Support forum Stephen Dutton Updated 21st November 2015 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  5. Aircraft Development and Announcement : SSG Boeing 748i Supercritical Simulations Group (SSG) has announced that their Boeing 748i will be released on the 15th November 2013. If you like your aircraft big? Then they don't come any bigger than the Boeing 748I. This is one huge aircraft. The Cockpit is very comprehensive with a full complete FMC with SID and STAR routing. SSG has issued these features as part of this aircraft release. Accurate 3D external model based on datas provided by Boeing with all animations and hi-res detailed paints and textures Real look and feel for 3D cockpit with very high resolution, in all render settings. Electrical segregation (all sources: GPU, APU, ENG, GEN, BATT.) Hydraulic pumps segregation Fire extinguisher bottles for engines works like a true one Fuel management, complete, tanks, valves, automatic electrical end gravity feed. Fuel crossfeed, auto and manual Fuel dumping, with quantity control, automatically to MLW and manual. Engine start system, relight, shut down Anti-ice system External lights and strobes Pneumatic system, bleed air, air driven Very complex PFD, ND, EICAS, and synoptics, EICAS display management Vertical Situation Display (first for X-Plane) Custom radio consoles, audio Console, and transponder. Autobrakes with anti-skid system that really works. EICAS messages based on the real aircraft’s with lists for multiple pages Custom Caution ,warning , master caution functions Complete autopilot functioning the same as the real one. Complete FMC, with more then 100 interactions with the flight model, including SIDs, STARs, and flare and rollout modes. A Complete Custom FJCC FMC with AeroSoft Data pro navigation database compatibility All V-speeds calculated with PFD indicators Aircraft meets most of the true aircraft’s performance data for consumption, AOA, speeds, flight dynamics, etc. Accurate flight controls in all stage of flight True wing flex Engine reverse protection logic Accurate APU fuel consumption Realistic TCAS system Simplified Electronic Flight Bag with option menu All development was followed by real B 747 -400 and -8 Pilots Advisors Real Engine sounds, INN/OUT Real wind sounds Buttons , handle, switches with sounds Custom aural sounds for almost systems. Comprehensive manual The Boeing 748i will be available for MAC, Windows and will be 32/64 Bit (Sorry no linux at his stage) Stephen Dutton 6th November 2013
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