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Yes it is THAT time of the year again. Carenado's "I must have that before Christmas" sale is now on and you can get up to 50% off most lovely Careando aircraft. Some nice biggies are available here (and for X-Plane11 as well) including the Beech 1900D, King Airs B200 and C90B and the XP11 Caravan. All deals are available till December 16th, so update your hangar now, and have a "very Happy (Carenado) Christmas"... All the deals are here on the X-Plane.OrgStore. ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 7th December 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
Developer Updates and Aircraft Release : vSkyLabs Nobody is as prolific in developing and updating their aircraft as vSkyLabs are. So here is an overview of their current releases and updates. VskyLab's is unlike other developers in that they don't have a single product to develop and then release, but they have instead a lot of projects on the go at the same time. That is good in one way in the fact that their aircraft are updated very often, but that also means a lot of downloads of the same aircraft concurrently. Most developers only update when they have a significant amount of fixes and bugs cleared up, but with every download of a vSkyLab project aircraft it could just be two or three items and so both development approaches have their strengths, but also their weaknesses. Currently there is the release in the Scheibe SF-25C Falke and three other updates to other projects of the Tecnam P2006T, Air Phoenix U-15 and the DC3/C-47. The updates to the last three aircraft are mostly focused on VR - Virtual Reality compatibility for use with the X-Plane VR beta that is now available. But first a Motorised Glider... Scheibe SF-25C Falke (Falcon) This SF-25C is a is a German touring motor glider developed from the earlier Bergfalke glider by Scheibe Flugzeugbau. Developed in 1963, the original SF-25 was a high-wing powered glider, but the wing was lowered to create the SF-25B/C. There are a lot of variations of engines powering these gliders, but this model known as the Falke 2000 is using the 60 kW (80 hp) Limbach 2000 EA, and driving the propeller at 3,450 rpm. The aircraft is of basic construction with a single underfloor nose wheel and two support wheels under each wing. It is a twin-seater, but with a tight cockpit. The Fuel Gauge is located on the rear panel of the cockpit, which makes it slightly difficult to read while in flight, lock above is for the canopy. The instrument panel is particularly well done and looks quite professional. The main flying instruments are to the left, with a - Vertical Speed Indicator, Airspeed Indicator and Altimeter. A Rate of Turn instrument is far left. Centre panel is a large Cylinder Head Temperature Gauge, with the RPM gauge centre right. As this aircraft is a glider it uses a dedicated Variometer and this Energy Variometer gives information regarding the change in total energy of the aircraft. This is expressed in vertical speed (Meter per Seconds) and has an audio on/off switch and a dedicated volume control. Right side of the panel consists of a large aileron trim gauge, then engine gauges far right with a Suction Gauge, Oil Temperature and Oil Pressure. Far right is the Voltage dial and Radios in COMM 2 and Transponder. The Aircraft comes with a GNS 530 that covers the COMM 1 and VOR 1 frequencies. Switch gear and (working) circuit breakers are lower panel and there is a really nice Elevator trim lever to the left, but a warning on using this trim lever, a little movement is still a lot of elevator trim movement, so use with care. Canopy holds a compass and a yaw string. The free flowing string is used to find the correct the yaw of the aircraft, mostly for landing. Canopy opens forwards with just a touch of the glass. A note that this aircraft like all the latest vSkyLabs Projects are now VR compatible, so turning switches and pressing knobs can be done with the hand controllers and so are all items for 100% VR usage of the stick, throttle, spoilers, circuit breakers, levers and handles, but remember all VR in X-Plane at this point in time is in the beta stage, so things may change later. So how does the Scheibe fly? Well it is a very, very simple aircraft, and the it flies in that manner. The low output engine is there only to pull you up to an altitude or to get you out of trouble, so once the engine is shutdown, you are in gliding mode and all the tricks of flowing on warm rising air is at your disposal. So this is an aircraft for the purist here. The engine maybe of a low output, but it does make a very nice sound and that is courtesy of a very good FMOD sound package, 3d surround sound and great for directional VR movement. There are no flaps, but just very long ailerons... Landing speed is controlled via two stage air-brakes that pop up out of the wings, and they are highly effective. There is only one livery supplied and that is the F-ALKE one currently on the aircraft. Summary This excellent Motor Glider is at its heart a very basic aircraft, so that means really anyone can fly it. For a Pro-Glider pilot then they will certainly get more out of the aircraft. The instrumentation is really good and well laid out, as are sounds, but there is nothing else really in features except for the aircraft's very accurate flight dynamic modeling and that has been tested by pilots that know the aircraft well for the perfect representation of the SF-25C. Overall the Scheibe SF-25C Falke is not a flashy aircraft, but simply a good motor glider and an easy flying machine. The Scheibe SF-25C Falke Project is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Scheibe SF-25C Falke Project - Price is US$25.00 ______________________________________________________________________ The following aircraft are all updates, and all are mostly focusing on the VR intergration. Tecnam P2006T v1.4 Analog/G1000 v4.2 I was impressed by the P2006T that I reviewed late last year, but the G1000 version was the standout of the two aircraft supplied. It is a nice clean aircraft and the update to v4.2 covers mostly the use of VR and better sound with the addition of FMOD (vSkyLab's does note that the FMOD application is still an ongoing project). VR compatibility update: Both Yokes, all levers, knobs, switches, handles are defined for VR operations. Simultaneous (dual) and differential, throttle operations: control EACH or both throttle levers with a single VR controller. Avionics: Fixed G1000 fine altitude selection fixed. Flight Dynamics Model: VFE maximum flaps extended speed fixed for T.O. position. Performance - landing gears drag refined. Ground handling refinements - nose wheel steering setup fine tuned. FMOD sound pack added: FMOD sound pack In the package you do get both the G1000 above and the analog instrument version below... The analog version does feel different from the G1000 aircraft, and the single livery is different as well, but overall this is a nice modern utility aircraft and this v4.2 is also a nice update to keep it current in the Flight Dynamics. The Tecnam P2006T v1.4 Analog/G1000 v4.2 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Tecnam P2006T G1000 - Price is US$28.50 ______________________________________________________________________ Phoenix Air Phoenix Project v4.5 This vSkyLab project is based on the Phoenix U-15 aircraft, which is a kind of a 'hybrid' aircraft and powered aircraft by a powerful Rotax 912 ULS 100 hp engine, and at the same time it is like the above Scheibe a high performance glider. There is a lot of similarities and certainly in the instrumentation with the SF-25C, but this Phoenix feels like a far more modern design. The Phoenix is a derivative of the Urban Air Lambada motorglider, developed by Martin Stepaneck who was formerly with Urban Air before that company's demise. The Phoenix was designed to comply with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale microlight rules and US light-sport aircraft rules. It features a cantilever wing, a T-tail, a two-seats-in-side-by-side configuration enclosed cockpit under a bubble canopy, fixed conventional landing gear and a single engine in tractor configuration. (wikipedia) The aircraft comes in two versions, the extended wingtip (above) that gives it a 15 meter wingspan (49 foot). And the short wingtip (below), that turns it into an 11 meter span (36 foot). There are two sets of update notes with one update released late 2017 and the other update early in 2018... Version v4.5 (January 14th 2018) VR compatibility update: Both control sticks, all levers, knobs, switches, handles are defined for VR operations. FMOD sound pack included. Update log for v4.4 (nov 21st 2017) Maintenance update for future X-Plane 11.10 compatibility: This update was triggered to encounter some engine issues which were detected in X-Plane 11.10 beta versions. It is a minor update in terms of features, but a major update in terms of internal engineering and preparation for the upcoming updates. Compatibility maintenance: The aircraft is X-Plane 11.05 model, but with the needed fixes to it's engine's simulation model for X-Plane 11.10 compatibility. Interactivity: Improved cockpit manipulators layout. Flight Dynamics Model refinements: Wing spoiler/brakes efficiency tuned. X-Plane 10.51 support ended: The package is no longer including and supporting X-Plane 10. The 2018 update covers the same VR compatiblity and the addition of FMOD sound. If the Scheibe SF-25C is a bit outdated for your tastes then this Phoenix U-15 is then more versatile and more powerful... again a nice update and the VR experience is always going to be better in these confined spaces. The Phoenix Air Phoenix Project v4.5 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS Air Phoenix U-15 LSA Project - Price is US$19.95 (Currently on special for US$17) ______________________________________________________________________ DC-3/C47 Flying Lab Project v2.5E The Classic DC-3/C47 was the outstanding release from vSkyLabs in 2017. It was also the most updated aircraft project with updates coming at times only weeks apart. The last and significant update was in October with the v2.5A update which X-PlaneReviews covered in depth here: Aircraft Update Review - DC3/C47 v2.5a by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project Since October it has been quiet on the DC-3/C47 project, but in this early part of 2018, we then got two updates in succession. Version 2.5e (January 29 2018) VR-Related update: Added VR Dual operation for throttle/prop/mixture levers. Side window can be opened in VR. Pitch and Aileron trims operation fine-tuning. Update is only for the X-Plane 11 version. Version 2.5c (January 8 2017) VR-Related update: Both Yokes, all levers, knobs, switches, handles - including the lower and aft landing gears and flaps handles are defined for VR operations. Update is only for the X-Plane 11 version. Mostly the updates were the VR compatibility changes in the "C"release, but the "E" release then was required to fine-tune a few of the VR actions. Note these updates are only for the X-Plane11 version as X-Plane10 is not applicable for VR. No doubt the VR environment for this DC-3/C47 would be phenomenal, but I would prefer the cabin to be finished off first with the promised opening cabin doors... but it is not bad actually in look, but feels incomplete. The DC-3 is still sensational to fly, and very slow and pondering compared to the current jets, but "oh" what a way to fly, and very tricky to get the landings correct... ... especially with strong Icelandic crosswinds! But I don't care as I love it. The DC-3/C47 v2.5e by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : VSKYLABS DC-3/C-47 Flying Lab Project - Your Price: $24.95 ______________________________________________________________________ vSkyLabs Aerospace Simulations has a full extensive website on all projects for updates and information including aircraft manuals available here: www vSkyLabs.com All projects are also available for purchase from the X-Plane.OrgStore here: VSKYLABS _____________________________________________________________________________________ Updates and Review by Stephen Dutton 31st January 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)