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Aircraft Update : Mcdonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.42 by Rotate The Mcdonnell Douglas MD-88 has had another upgrade. It is a slightly different change this time around because both the main new features rely on 3rd party plugins, and so except for a few tweaks and bug fixes from Rotate the MD-88 is now just as good as ever, and even better. The new features are both plugins. One is WebFMC by Green Arc Studios and the second is TerrainRadar by DrGluck. Both are excellent plugins, but as we shall see in that the MD-88 certainly benefits even more so from their inclusion. We will start with the WebFMC plugin first. WebFMC by Green Arc Studios FlightFactor pioneered the tool of allowing a standard web browser to used as a platform to access the FMC (Flight Management Computer) for easier input of flight data. The use in this respect made the FMC or FMS as some call it a module on a tablet (iPad/Samsung Tablet) and the ease of being able to input numbers and text via your fingers instead of a using mouse or keyboard, there is also the functionality of being able to move the tablet away from the flying computer via WiFi that made it even more flexible. Mostly all FlightFactor aircraft come with this feature which was developed by Philipp Ringler. But what if wanted the same functionality in another aircraft other than a FlightFactor then that feature was not available... welcome to WebFMC. X-PlaneReviews did a full review of the plugin here: Plugin Review : WebFMC Pro by Green Arc Studios and an update here; WebFMC Pro v1.04 WebFMC is free for several aircraft including the default Boeing 737-800, but sort of look at this plugin version as a demo. The WebFMC Pro is the pay version and it is this version that is required for use in this Rotate MD-88.. and the cost is US$19.95. In reality it was for aircraft like Rotate's MD-88 that the WebFMC plugin comes into it's own. In most earlier aircraft on the plugin list, they did have mostly all pop-up FMC units, but the Rotate MD-88 does not... so the really awkward full front console position and the wanting to also see the panel map display made it hard to set out a route in the aircraft on the built in FMC unit. The WebFMC is connected to X-Plane via the browser and a WiFi connection... the address used is http://10.0.0.2:9090/. In an instant the WebFMC will appear and with the correct MD facia FMC face plate (Supplied by Rotate) for authenticity. I use it on an iPad below, but also for convenience also on my main Mac screen. Here I am using SimBrief on the left and the WebFMC Pro is shown on the right. I also have it set up on the computer, but WebFMC Pro can as noted be used on any browser with WiFi, although Google Chrome is recommended. The route today is KSLC (Salt Lake City) to KORD (Chicago). The ease of use is not to be underestimated... You are now free to set up the map display in "PLN" (Plan) mode to see your route, but you can also look at the panel display in an front on angle and not the odd angle required before with the fixed FMC. Route data input is simply far easier. If using a tablet then direct finger input, if on a computer screen then either a mouse or direct keyboard input is also available... the time saved just to be able to type in the route is invaluable. Performance data input can be used with the remote pop-up panel browser display... ... because the WebFMC panel is that much larger and as it is easier to work with and it is easier get the data correct, as with sitting the WebFMC on a tablet or another computer also allows you that more freedom to now to set up the takeoff computer settings that much easier as well. Having the WebFMC open on the "Aircraft Management page" means it is always ready for instant use, so it is just a point/touch to hide the APU, and close the doors ready for departure, and so no pulling down menus or moving the view over to the cockpit FMC screen to do the job, this is excellent if you are closing up the aircraft from the external view as everything is just a click away. WebFMC is a tool, but a very good one for ease of use, more importantly it gives you a lot more functionality in setting up and getting the aircraft ready for departure. We will see a few more uses of the WebFMC Pro in flight. You can use "BetterPushBack" with the Rotate MD-88, which another great addon feature... and it has been refined for use by Rotate for the aircraft. TerrainRadar by DrGluck The second plugin feature is DrGluck's excellent TerrainRadar plugin. This plugin is free from the X-Plane.Org: Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.14 There is nothing I don't like more than a weak or blank display in the cockpit. And so it is with the weather display that relies on weather information of any sort of activity, and even then it is pretty useless. In the MD-88 it felt like it was an item that wasn't working, as there should have been a tape across it with a "Not Operational" sign. But with DrGluck's plugin inserted you get a far more realistic display and now a working weather radar function, it looks excellent. Only comment is that is far more grainy than in other aircraft, and maybe that is the type of display it is using... ... You can test it, or select either the WX/TCAS or MAP function for a representation of the terrain around the aircraft, and vital if departing airports like KSLC - Salt Lake, with the high mountainous elevations around you. More than anything it looks great in operation when flying, no more blank boring panel, but now you have one with a use. Water and high ranges are shown and you can adjust the radar distance for advance areas. Four main menu selections cover; Color Scheme (Solid Colors - Grain Colors (Boeing style) - Regular Tiles (Airbus Style), Lines or Dot), Scanning Speed, Brightness and Options (Show Water - Peaks Mode - EGPWS Alerts - Range Arcs Options), and the radar install looks terrific set between the two outer FMC panels. A full X-PlaneReviews review of DrGluck's plugin is here: Plugin Review : TerrainRadar by DrGluck In flight the WebFMC for the MD-88 is very handy. Certainly for following the flight's "Progress", as it gives you very a quick visual glance... Approach references are easier to see as well when flying the aircraft on the final approach, as there is no need to adjust your zoom or to move your forward view away to look at the remote panel FMC position with the angled data, instead just look over and glance at the other screen, or tablet. As you can gather I am a big fan of WebFMC Pro, not just because it is handy and versatile, but it seriously helps in the speed to input data in getting the aircraft ready for flight. v1.42 Notes Other areas that have had attention is mostly corrections, tuning and a few bug fixes. The FMC now has Improved trajectory calculation with/without PERF data being entered, there was a bug in estimated speed that was seen in some waypoints and a bug in the ARRIVALS page. Systems covered are with the Stabilizer Motion alert times, that was a constant annoyance in the alarm going off has been thankfully now adjusted and feels far more realistic, another annoying bug was in Autothrottle switch logic, that is fixed as well. The LAND annunciator logic and TCAS electrical dependency have also had attention. There has been a few nips and tucks around the aircraft 3d modeling wise, but otherwise it is the nice old MD-88 we all know and love. Arrival at KORD was all very wet and showery, and why is it so wet in Chicago lately? its been like this for ages? The Rotate MD-88 is certainly one of my absolute favorite aircraft, and it is at a very mature situation now, my only note is the in flight wind noise? I pull the sound .wav file out because I find it a bit too annoying, it hurts my ears after a period of time as well. But that is the only comment. Summary You are noticing on how small the update list each time around is getting now, and so unless Laminar Research makes a global X-Plane change, then there is not much wrong with the aircraft. Of course there will always be updates, but you can safely say the MD-88 is at a very mature stage now. This update is focused on two new features, and both are external from Rotate and the developer themselves. The two additional features cover the plugin options of WebFMC Pro and Dr Gluck's TerrainRadar, and both plugin developers note the extensive work that Rotate has done with both of them to make sure both installations are perfect, and it certainly shows when they are both operating. The install of the WebFMC Pro is an even more useful tool as the FMC setup in the MD-88 cockpit does not have any pop-up panels, I would rate this situation and the plugin's use in this capacity as for the worth of just buying the Pro version of the WebFMC plugin alone. And Dr Gluck's Radar fills in a really blank space on the instrument panel, and in so making it more active and realistic. A great and functional update, even better if you have the required plugins already. Note if the updated plugins are not yet available on the release of this this update review, then they will be very soon. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! the v1.42 McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro by Rotate is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro Price is US$59.95 If you already have purchased the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate, then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the free v1.42 update. Green Arc Studios WebFMC Pro plugin (US$19.95) is available here : WebFMC Pro v1.04 Dr Gluck's TerrainRadar Plugin (Free) is available here: Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.14 Developer Rotate - Rotate.Com Developer Support - MD80 - X-Plane.Org _____________________________________________________________________________________ Features: Custom Flight Management System (FMS) and Automatic Flight Route, departures and arrivals procedures (SIDs and STARs). Custom LNAV and VNAV. Climb, cruise and descend management with altitude and speed restrictions. ARINC424 instructions support. Save and load route to/from text file. Performance management, with complete VNAV profile calculation, including T/C, T/D, and time, fuel and altitude predictions. Takeoff and approach speed management. Custom Navigation Display with curved transitions and MAG/TRU operation. DFGC, Thrust Rating management (EPR modes) and Flight Mode Annunciator. Aerosoft NavDataPro (2016) included (for updated database third party subscription is needed). DIRECT TO page. LEGS page with RTE DATA extension page. CLIMB page with CLB DIR function. DESCENT page with SPEED/PATH, DES NOW and DES DIR modes. Complete HOLD functionality with entry pattern calculation and Present POS. PROGRESS pages with pilot selectable waypoint. More accurate time and fuel predictions. PERF page with BURN SCHED, WIND/TEMP corrections and calculated remaining fuel. FIX page. Detailed simulation of systems WX/TCAS with TA/RA advisories. Power plant: accurate PW-JT8D-219 model, Fuel Distribution, Heat and Quantity Indication, Automatic Reserve Thrust. Electrical: Power Generating and Distribution, APU, Battery Charger, Emergency Power Supply. Hydraulics: Rudder and Elevator HYD/MAN operation, GPS, Reversers and Brakes accumulators. Air: Pneumatics, Air Conditioning and Distribution, Pressurization. Slat/Flap controls with Dial-a-Flap control. Takeoff Condition Computer. Complete Engine Fire Detection and Extinguishing simulation. Simulated Tests: DFGC, Altitude, Engine Fire, APU Fire, GPWS, Windshear, Flight Recorder, Voice Recorder, TCAS, Brake Temp, Stall, Anti-Skid, LED/Annunciators. Pop-up Menu Ground operations page, with GPU/GPS request, doors management, and fuel/cargo/passengers load functions. Fuel & Load page, with load stations according to Weight & Balance manual. Weight & Balance section, with accurate custom CG computing, and Weight/CG predictions for Takeoff and Landing. Hyper-realistic visuals Highly detailed 3D cockpit, passenger cabin and exterior model. Normal and specular maps for enhanced detail. Thorough HD day and night textures. Accurate animations, including wing flex animation. All external and internal lights. Liveries: A set of ten ultra-high resolution liveries, including a paintkit. Custom sounds 3D sound engine with stereo and doppler effects. High quality multi-layered engine sounds. Wind and control surfaces sounds. Cockpit ambient and custom alerts. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows Vista/7/8/10, OSX 10.9+ , Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (or compatible) and up - 64 bit operating system Processor: Multi-core Processor 3.3GHz - 8 GB RAM -Hard Disk: 3.3 GB Graphics: 2GB VRAM (4GB+ VRAM or more for best performance) Current version: 1.42r1 (last updated Oct 5th 2018) File Download is a huge 960.40mb _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 12th October 2018 Copyright©2018: 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)
Plugin Review : TerrainRadar by DrGluck In the last few months if you are a bit on the eagle-eyed side, you will notice that the Navigation/Map panel in our reviews on the default Boeing 738 is a little bit different? It is running a plugin called "TerrainRadar" by DrGluck and very good it is as well. Most early adopters used it in the Zibo Mod (Modifications) of the default X-Plane Boeing 738, but it is far more powerful plugin than that and so that requires a closer look at the this great new addition to X-Plane by Denis Antontsev (aka DrGluck) and Sergey Popovichev (aka Vanger) If you have also flown FlightFactor's brilliant Boeing 767, or the later version of their Boeing 757. They both came with a great new feature of the terrain display on their Navigation/Map panels. It was and still is very good and the best terrain feature in X-Plane bar non, but for other aircraft to have this feature as it wasn't an option till this plugin became available and the great thing about it is that it can be adopted to almost any aircraft in X-Plane with either the built in Navigation/Map display or without with a popup window. Terrain radars give you elevation detail of the surrounding landscape on your aircraft's Navigation/Map display. The display will note the elevations in different colours to note the heights of the surrounding mountainous areas. This allows you to navigate or be aware of dangerous high ground and is especially useful in low visual or fog conditions where you can't see or find the areas surrounding you that are masked by this low visibility. Terrain of more than 1,000 feet below the aircraft is coded black. Terrain less than 1,000 feet but more than 100 feet below the aircraft is coded yellow. Terrain less than 100 feet below the aircraft is coded red. Man-made obstacles (e.g., radio towers, power lines, buildings) generally do not appear in a topographical database. Installation TerrainRadar is free, or Freeware and is available from the X-Plane.Org site : Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.7 There is a donation button on the download page so please support the developers for their excellent efforts!. Installing is easy, as you just deposit the plugin into your X-Plane/resources/plugins folder. (download is a frisky quick 241kb) Currently the plugin supports internally: Boeing 737-800 by Zibo (XP11) -left ND (will be fixed later!) - TERR button turns the radar on or off - CTR switch in VOR or APP modes: expanded -> center -> expanded -> center with VSD (later Zibo will add MAP CTR mode!) Boeing 737-800 default (XP11) - both ND, TERR buttons supported Boeing 747-400 default (XP11) - both ND, TERR buttons supported Bell 429 by timber61 (X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11, version 1.0+) - all displays, look at the screenshot to find the TERR button FlightFactor Boeing 777-200LR/200F/200ER/300ER (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key) JARDesign Airbus A330 (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key). Note: radar is turned off if the aircraft's standard radar is displayed! Virtavia C-17 Globemaster III (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key) Gulfstream G-IV SP V11 by ghansen - both ND (radar ON/OFF in radar menu or by hot key) Cirrus SR20 G1000 by vFlyteAir (TerrainRadar Plugin Compatibility Patch is needed!) Bombardier Challenger 300 by ddenn Tu-240/214 by Pilot-Sanya (only for test purposes, because plane is under development) But I am sure that many other developers will quickly install the feature on their aircraft as it is a great addition and the plugin is very easily adopted to most aircraft. Menus The TerrainRadar menu is accessed via your plugin menu for "Terrain radar" And it has four accessible menus in - Color Scheme Scanning Speed Brightness Options Show radar window, window size and radar range are currently greyed out for non-use. If your aircraft does not have the intergrated display, then it will be shown in "Windowed Mode" and then the radar window, window size and radar range options are then active. You can set the window (popup) on a key set to hide/show the window, change the range (below) and show the EGPWS alerts. A very nice extra feature is the built in aircraft elevation position indicator at the bottom of the window, but the so called large and small sizes of the window doesn't seem to have any change... the choice to either have the elevation position indicator on or off would be a better option. Color Scheme There are three options for the color schemes in - Solid Colors - Grain Colors (Boeing style) - Regular Tiles (Airbus Style) Clockwise is Solid, Grain and Regular... and all three can be set without the blue which represents water which is the last image lower left. The next two menus cover first the "Scanning speed" with both 1x and 2x scans available... ... and secondly the display brightness from 30% to 100%. I found 90% was the best level, but the brightness does have a habit of resetting itself back to the default 50% and needs to be checked every time you start or reuse the feature on a new flight. Options There are four options in the option menu, with - Show Water - Peaks Mode - EGPWS Alerts - Range Arcs Options Show Water This option is very handy in showing any water under the aircraft, mostly it is very good in defining a coastline and the line between the land and the sea. The display however is limited to the size of the currently loaded X-Plane tile, push the range out high and you will see the tile's straight line square boundaries. But I really like this option, mostly for what I just noted in leaving one coastline and then arriving at another coastline after the over water flying, it is so good, you can actually define the area of the coastline you will be flying over as you arrive. Peaks Mode As you go higher to your cruise altitude you will lose the effects of the terrain below, so the "Peaks Mode" will still show the terrain elevation even when you fly at altitude. EGPWS Alerts This setting will tell you if you are too low or are in danger of flying into a rising slope or simply a bigger monster of a mountain. Range Arcs Options This will show/hide the Range Arcs on your Nav/Map display. Different aircraft displays with TerrainRadar The default X-Plane Navigation/Map display is actually quite still a basic layout even in X-Plane11, in fact you wouldn't see much change from earlier (or very earlier) X-Plane versions and all the way back to X-Plane9®. vFlyteAir Cirrus SR20 So it is a great advantage to give the display a real different look and certainly the TerrainRadar plugin does a great job in doing that. We will look at the more standard aircraft in a moment but first to see the bigger advantage you can get with this plugin that is set up correctly is with the updated vFlyteAir SR20 which I reviewed quite recently here: Cirrus SR20 G1000 v2.5 by VFlyteAir You do have to download a compatibility patch from vFlyteAir and it is a little complicated to install as you have to replace certain files in a few folders (make sure you backup the aircraft first) but when all completed with the install the results are well worth the effort. The Cirrus has a hybrid version of the G1000 system called the "CirrusPerspective system" and those screens are large. The TerrainRadar does a really great job with the resolution on such a very large display, but close, close up it is a little out of focus, but that is in the screen display popout mode or if you really want to get picky. But here at Salzberg, Austria, it is very effective. You have the red terrain mode as well, but it is not as detailed. Takeoff and fly into the Alps and you can easily pick your way through the peaks to get out of or through the valleys... ... it is very impressive, and map rotation is slightly laggard because of the big display, but still far better than most pro screens doing the same complex movement. Zoom out the range and you can see the full network of the Alps... ... so overall it is excellent. The biggest impact is on just how much the TerrainRadar changes the whole perspective of the SR20 panel's display, it makes it far more, in fact much more a complete G1000 system feel and gives you a completely different viewpoint than the original's display set up, so it is a very worthy addition or feature to add into the vFlyteAir Cirrus SR20 at absolutely no extra cost. Boeing 747-800 X-Plane's Boeing 747-800 is another aircraft like the default Boeing 737-800 that the plugin will work in. The B744 is a bit older and more dated in it's layouts and so the plugin is shown on a far more smaller display than in the B738, it is far darker as well and that required the brightness of the plugin to be quite bright. I descended the heavy huge Boeing very low and in real life would have lost my licence by flying big Boeing's this low, but if you don't tell the authorities then it was all in a good cause... Again the this excellent plugin was highly impressive, and still again you are impressed by the way it changes the display's feel and viewpoint from your flying perspective. Bombardier Challenger 300 Ddenn's Challenger 300 gets the internal upgrade treatment as well. Again the TerrainRadar is a very nice addition in here as well. But the smaller tighter and very cluttered display does make it complex to see everything (or anything). So unless you really need them, then the fixes (waypoints) triangles (left image) need to be removed from the display to give you a better and far clearer terrain perspective (right image). The "Grain" setting is always the best with these tight displays as both Solid or Regular don't give you as much or any real definition of the surrounding terrain. Boeing 737-800 It was the Zibo's Mod of the Boeing 737-800 that highlighted the TerrainRadar's dynamics and potential. The plugin's developers note that it only works on one screen the pilot's in the B738, but I found it works on both the pilot's and co-pilot's displays by pressing the "TERR" button. It is fine on the standard X-Plane version of the B738 as well, so you don't need the Mod in there to use it on that aircraft as well. As with the original features on FlightFactor's Boeing 757 and 767 twin, it is a significant addition to any cockpit display, but there are more adjustments and features like radar range and angle that on those aircraft and it is far more sophisticated in its design. However the TerrainRadar is created to be a far more generalistic tool across more aircraft than the featured FlightFactor design. One thing that is very apparent here with this plugin. If that any developer does intergrate the terrain plugin with a custom fitting into their aircraft the benefits to them and the aircraft is very high. So I would be extremely surprised that the plugin will not start to be quickly intergrated into more aircraft in the future and that list of intergrated displays will soon be quite long and commonplace. Summary Simple and brilliant... This Freeware tool brings any cockpit map and navigation display alive and dynamic at the same time. Super easy to install and even use and already it is being used in a far range of aircraft in their displays. No intergration in the actual aircraft? No problems as you also have a popup window to still use the plugin with the added on aircraft elevation position indicator. It is also very good, but nothing really beats the plugin set up on the navigation display. As noted there will be no doubt we will be seeing this TerrainRadar display tool in many aircraft as it will easily (or should) become a default plugin standard... But remember to support the developers in making a nice donation, as this is a very worthy addition to X-Plane. Overall a must have and you will smile every time you look at your aircraft displays on how a big difference it makes to the cockpit... Just brilliant. ____________________________________________________ Yes! the TerrainRadar Plugin by DrGluck is Available now from the X-Plane.Org here : Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.7 Price is : FREE! There is a donation button on the download page or set below so please support the developers for their efforts Donation link: https://www.paypal.me/drgluck Requirements X-Plane 10 64-bit (XP10 32 will be added in the future) X-Plane 11 64-bit OS version: Windows, Linux and MacOS Installation : Download file size is a whopping 241kb (yes kilobytes). With installation of the plugin into your X-Plane Resources/plugins folder. ______________________________________________________________________ Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton 6th October 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: WorldTraffic 3 US$29.95 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 737-800 X-Plane default aircraft with and without ZIBO MOD installed - Boeing 747-400 X-Plane default aircraft - Cirrus SR20 G1000 by vFlyteAir (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$29.95 - Challenger 300 by Dden (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$29.95