x+s+r // 11.30b4 + RJTH/RJTO

XSR varig 762 snow

Things are really getting interesting in Particle Land…aka Laminar’s new implementation of Vulkan…as all kinds of refinements to almost anything particulate are now coming into the sim. Yup, tip vortices were the first, most obvious manifestation, and yes, those are interesting…but look over the images we’ve got today, because other interesting effects are popping up in the most unexpected places.

No, not just the clouds, but the ambient color of the clouds…as reflected on the pavement! That’s the amber color below, but as far as I can tell the pinkish color may well be coming from the lights on the catering vans. Either way, it’s a pretty spectacular effect. That’s also a spectacular new Varig livery by fscabral for the 767-200 ER.

762 cloud reflection color

And if you’ve been flying in low-level cumulus clouds in Xp over the years, you may have been vexed by the inability to render various layers of cloud – other than as one amorphous glob of cloud that seemed to follow your aircraft all the way up to cruise. For instance, setting a single layer of broken cumulus with tops at 10,000…only to have the clouds follow you up to FL330…or…setting multiple levels of cumulus between GL and cruise and, you guessed it, flying through one continuous layer.

Well…those days are gone…

762 contrails

And clouds that sort of leaned up against mountains? Uh, well, note the subtle blending of clouds up against mountains in the images below…

762 clouds

Even ground level cloud formations are rendered distinctly from another level just a few thousand feet above, and the color range seen in these formations is much more subtle than before. No neon apricot clouds at dawn now…but that’s a dramatic sky lingering over UUWW – and down on the ground, too.

762 ground layer clouds

And how about fog? Foggy conditions have almost always been a joke, with the airport still visible through the murk cheerfully guiding you down. Uh, oops…hope you weren’t counting on that anymore…’cause those days are gone now, too. In the second image below, the airport is immediately behind the 737, and you’re looking at a 700 ft thick layer of overcast/fog with an RVR of less than a thousand feet (300m), with another layer of goop at 3500AGL. This seems like a really major change…because now if you set Cat III conditions you’d better know what you’re about.

fog

So, there’s a lot going on with these new features, and if you want to sit down with a tall cup of java and read about all the various parameters of the particulate system, boy…do I have a link for you. Try this tutorial from Laminar’s site: https://developer.x-plane.com/article/x-plane-11-particle-system/

And read the release notes to beta 4, where you’ll run across all kinds of new references to an F-14. When 11.30 gets out of beta, you think we’ll see that new Tomcat? In time for Top Gun II? Kind of looks like more than a good possibility of that happening – soon.

So far the most complete implementations of the particle system appear limited to Laminar’s default aircraft, as contrails seen in most other .acf are evidence of a universal implementation. There are images of the default F4 on LRs FB page that look like the wing is covered in vapor; so far I haven’t been about to replicate that but it should be interesting to see.

Oh…Two revised airports in Japan to look at before we sign off for the day, so let’s dive in.

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Unlike many of the Japanese airports available in X-plane, RJTO and RJTH make for a very pleasant GA excursion while also being perfect for RJ-737-A319/A320 pilots who want a more laid back experience in VATsim. Both of these airports are located on islands well south of the Tokyo Megaplex, with the farthest away (RJTH) located about 180nmi south. What makes this run so fun/interesting is the stepping-stone nature of the VOR routing, and that these islands are volcanic and so easily visible in the distance. They’re also in a region of the ocean where squally weather is the norm, lending an unpredictable “air” to any excursions “out there.” In other words…FUN.

NCA Do228

ANA serves RJTH with 737, 738, and A320 class aircraft, with all flights from RJTH going to Haneda. Flights from RJTO are handled by the New Central Airservice, who fly Do-228s to Chōfu Airport, a small airport on the west side of Tokyo, and Toho Airservice, who use Cessna 172s (you read that correctly) as well as AS350 flutterbugs. Whoever doubted you could use the default 172 in scheduled airline service…oh…well…go for it!

RJ charts

First word of warning about RJTH: set runway follows terrain contours to OFF or the terminal becomes a jumbled mess. I kind of wish this wasn’t so because it alters the surrounding landscape – which is otherwise really interesting.

As I’ve covered these airports before I wanted to dial up the snotty weather this time, and image these in low light and with a fog rolling in. Probably too artsy-fartsy, but here goes. I’m going for tonal range here, not gross detail…

RJTH

The last night image above is with the file open and Runway Follows Terrain Contours set to ON; the entry simply disappears and the parking lot turns into a hilly mess.

ANA has served RJTO in the past, hence the static ANA 737-7 parked next to my EADT 738. There is a Toho flutterbug on the ramps and a Toho hanger that has an animated door that slides open from time to time. The file is otherwise nicely detailed in all respects, and the control tower/building is really first class work.

RJTO

I’m glad the current developer is keeping these files up to date; they’ve been in Xp for years, passed along from dev to dev and modified as Xp changes. These are both Must Have files – for the reasons outlined above – so give them a try if you haven’t yet…but do yourself a favor. Go VFR, CAVU all the way. The scenery is worth it.

RJTH: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48416-japan-rjth-hachijojima/

RJTO: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48414-japan-rjto-oshima/

Hasta later, y’all. Catch you next time – C

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x+s+r // SBGL + DTNH

xsr sugar loaf

Let’s look at that second Rio area airport today, as well as a revised freeware airport in Tunisia. Along the way, we’ll take in a few more Hot and Fresh paints for the new FF763, so let’s hit the road…

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SBGL hdr

So…you say you don’t know the name Antonio Carlos Jobim? Ah…well, you’re probably not alone. Still, odds are you know the song The Girl From Ipanema, a piece made famous in the U.S. by Frank Sinatra in 1968, but Jobim’s contributions to Latin American music were larger still and became the stuff of legend. The mascot of the 2016 Olympic Games, those just held in Rio, was named “Tom” – in honor of the name Jobim went by – and Galeão Airport was renamed in Jobim’s honor after his death in 1994. There just aren’t too many airports in the world named after musicians – John Lennon in Liverpool, W. A. Mozart in Salzburg come to mind – so it’s a curiously rare phenomenon. What is it about music that can come to define an era, or even a culture? And what does it say about the things we hold most dear that we’d name a large commercial institution after an intensely private musician?

If you’ve not listened to the 1967 collaboration between Sinatra and Jobim…well…I’d recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in music generally – and in jazz more specifically. Try the piece Dindi, or even Corcovado for a taste of the magic that arose when these two legends came together, and if you get a chance to read the liner notes someday…they are fascinating.

…Soft…

The Brazilian airport SBGL has had a long and somewhat tortured history as a commercial airport; the facility was originally an air base – and the air base is still active on this site – though the union has frequently been an unhappy one. Still, the commercial needs of the region were best met by this field as SBRJ Santos Dumont was too limited by the surrounding city to expand.

Recall we looked at SBRJ last week? Well, GloballART’s SBRJ and SBGL should be considered complimentary scenery files, and having one without the other simply make little sense. Not only are the airports unusually close to one another, but complimentary Rio city objects are included in each – not both – so, for instance, in order to see the renowned Christ the Redeemer monument looming over the city – along with the cable car up to the summit of Sugar-Loaf Mountain – you need both airport files. Another consideration? SBRJ handles a limited number of domestic flights, while SBGL-Jobim handles all the heavy international stuff – and then some. Even so, both airports are served by a relatively limited number of carriers, and with the demise of VARIG in 2010 almost all flights to Europe and North America have been handled by these respective countries flag carriers.

I personally find the old VARIG paint from the 50s and 60s, the one first seen globally on VARIG’s 707-320s, to be one of the very best liveries ever. The lines and colors are classic, the brand unmistakable, and ‘fscabral’ – one of the best livery painters in X-plane – just added the 763 to his collection of VARIG liveries, and it’s gorgeous. His paint is a fitting tribute to the airline, and a perfect compliment to GloballART’s SBGL file.

SBGL+paint

GloballART’s original v1 file was completely revamped last summer and, together with the same developers SBRJ, make a compelling case for adding a new South American destination to your existing route network. BA, Air France, Alitalia, Lufthansa, LOT, Edelweiss, TAP, Iberia, KLM and Norwegian Air Shuttle all call on this airport from Europe, while American, Delta and United handle the chores to North America. Notably, there’s also non-stop service to SCEL Santiago, Chile by several carriers, linking that great airport file to Rio and adding yet another route to your available options.

SBGL 2

SBGL-Jobim can handle any size aircraft, up to and including the A380, and note that Air France’s inaugural run with the very first Concorde was direct service to Rio, and to this very airport.

SBGL chart

The facility is covered by all major charting packages, too.

SBGL 319

GloballART’s file is complete in every regard, from PBM/HDR materials to layout. The ortho used is high resolution but objects are used for depictions of cars and ground service facilities & related vehicles. There are massive air cargo facilities, nice though limited GA and biz-jet ramps, a number of flutterbug pads (most lighted, as below). Ramp lighting is excellent while pavement markings are intact but faded, matching the weathered nature of the surrounding ramps and runways. The region’s highways are modeled with care when they get close to the airport.

Below, a quick hop in the Bell 407 passing the Christ the Redeemer statue on the way to SBRJ – via Sugar Loaf mountain. Keep an eye out for the blue-lighted statue and the cable car station atop the mountain…

SBGL CTR

These off-grounds features are well detailed, with ancillary tourist facilities modeled in appropriate areas, and both are defining cultural landmarks – as well as noted navigation points.

SBGL is a 10/10 Must Have file for long distance international flights to the US, Europe, Africa, and major South American cities. Together with SBRJ, these two create a nicely immersive urban landscape and so, you might say, they make beautiful music together. Frank and Tom would approve.

SBGL is available at all the usual outlets, including the Org Store; price is just under 30 buckeroos USD. fscabral’s 763 paint is located here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48378-varig-pp-voj-for-767-300-professional-extended-from-flight-factor/

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DTNH hdr

DTNH Enfidha is Tunisia’s largest airport, true enough, but it is also the second largest airport on the African continent (after Johannesburg, SA), and as the sun falls towards the southern horizon every winter the flights from Eastern Europe and Russia start heading this way. With pristine beaches, an ideal climate, and an established tourist friendly resort network…is it any wonder?

DTNH chart

Most flights from Western Europe are handled by TUI/Thomas Cook, and we just happen to have another relevant new paint for the 763 today (link here).

DTNH 1

This airport simply looks better at night in it’s current state, though the developer is working on revisions. Still, it’s good enough as is for most OPS, and if interested in North African destinations you won’t want to miss this one.

Get it here, too: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47260-dtnh-enfidha-hammamet/

That’s all for today…we’ll see you soon – C

 

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x+s+r // SECU + EDWG + RJCC

xsr secu

Landing in a bodacious crosswind at SECU (above), what’s the one thing missing from the scene to really increase the immersive nature of what you’d be looking at out the front office glass?

How ’bout the wind whipping the trees around? Wouldn’t that be a hoot? I’m not sure that’s been done in any sim before…and is it even possible?

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A few new paints today, two for the new 763 and one for the 752:

paint t

Condor: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48347-condor-ff-b767-300er-pw-extended/

BA Chelsea Rose: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48343-flight-factor-767-300er-british-airways-chelsea-rose/

Air Greenland: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48342-ff-b752-air-greenland-oy-grl-pro-v2/

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SECU + Mariscal Lamar International Airport is a certified high altitude nightmare of an airport, surrounded on all sides by the Andes, and with some nearby peaks almost ten thousand feet higher than the airport. The airport is also surrounded by dense urban housing, and the runway is only 6300 feet long. Do pilots operating out of this one earn their pay…?

On the chart below, you need to pay attention to the differential between field elevation and some of the surrounding peaks. There is zero room for screwing the pooch here, and an engine out on takeoff in a fully loaded freighter will bring on a full head of gray hair faster than a rattlesnake in an outhouse.

SECU chart

LATAM and TAME both fly to Quito from here, and LATAM adds Guayaquil. Beyond that, there’s only non-scheduled air cargo service as well as GA traffic.

SECU

Flying the 763F into here in a brutal crosswind is about as fun as it gets in Xp and I highly recommend the experience. The file has just enough detail to work in daylight (it’s nicer at night, anyway), and the sloping runway adds just enough spice to really work up a sweat on rollout. As such, this is not a beginners airport…unless flying here in a Piper Cherokee 140. It IS a handful in anything “heavy”, while the various E-jets and 737s/A319 are right in the groove.

Recommended for fun and games in crosswinds, you’ll find SECU here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48227-ecuador-aeropuerto-mariscal-lamar-secu/

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tdg’s EDWG Wangerooge Island Airfield stakes out the easternmost region of his East Frisian Islands project; we have another exquisitely detailed little GA airport combined with nearby village details, especially down by the docks:

tdg

We’ll work up an overview of all these airports soon so you can plan an extensive flight around the region. Til then, this is another 10/10 effort, and you ought to get it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48364-edwg-wangerooge-airport-germany/

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RJCC New Chitose Airport, part of the Sapporo Area Airports Package, came in for some minor exclusion zone tweaks. Always worth updating this excellent, 10/10 file.

RJCC

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/26029-japan-sapporo-area-airports-rjcc-rjco/

And that’s all, folks. S’ya next time – C

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x+s+r // paint + KOKC

xsr 763F

It’s amazing how powerful the role of “brand” plays in the construction of memory, especially where our memories of travel are concerned. Maybe it all comes down to tribal affiliations, perhaps in a way similar to how we develop powerful bonds to local sports teams. People who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area developed affinities for United Air Lines, while people from Boston may relate more powerfully to long gone brands such as Eastern or TWA. One thing is clear, however: after watching the livery scene in X-plane…people have very strong feelings about their favorite airlines, and they want liveries for those airliners.

And the unsung heroes of this niche in the X-plane omniverse toil away quietly, helping – I think, in a very real sense – make such dreams come true.

Maybe it was your first airplane ride as a kid, or the first time you flew overseas…perhaps during college or for a school trip. Maybe it’s the airline you took on your “honeymoon,” or coming home after a long overseas deployment…?

It’s said that travel heightens experience, that our internal video recorders are, so to speak, working full-time when we travel abroad, especially on an overseas vacation. Perhaps it’s logical to assume then, that every little thing about the experience is indelibly ingrained in memory, and that the first time we venture forth from our comfort zones into the unknown such experience takes on even deeper meaning. Perhaps that helps explain why our childhood memories take on the characteristics of powerful chemical bonds. Such moments echo through our lives in ways we may never fully understand, but they’re there…waiting.

And these memories find a home in X-plane too, find a new way to express that bond, provide a means of reliving cherished moments…and who knows, perhaps that’s behind our passion for flying, or wanting to fly again in X-plane.

The point here, and there is one, is that liveries (or paints) for airliners are a vital part of our individual experience, and they shouldn’t be ignored. If you have a favorite and you can’t find it, ask a painter if he or she can help. It can’t hurt.

Today, we’re going to look at a bunch of paint. We’ll start off with the 767 but branch off and look at a few other airline liveries, recent ones for the most part – but not all. So…let’s look at some fresh paint, and maybe take a trip down memory lane…

763 Paint EDDF KSEA

(above) TUI 767-200ER paint here; LOT 767-300ER paint here; American 763 2nd generation paint here; Pacific Air Cargo 763F paint here.

762 paint 2

(above) For the 767-200ER, the LOT paint here, and the Varig paint here.

763F paint

For the 763F, CargoJet here, and FedEX here.

Paint 2

For the FJS 732, Air Florida here; for the FJS 721: American 1st generation AstroJet here; Sabena Interim here; Lufthansa 1965 here. For the 722F, VarigLOG here. For the FF 752, LTU here. For the default 738: TUI Blue here; AnadoluJET here.

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KOKC hdr

I can’t imagine there are many people left in this world who know the name Will Rogers, let alone what he meant to the United States, and perhaps even to the world, during one of the darkest chapters of the 20th-Century. The world moved on, time passes, memory fades until even the people who relied on his wit and wisdom fade away too, and all of it is too soon lost, even the memory of such things. We are left with memorials and words on the page, until time erases those things, too.

Perhaps you recall the name Mark Twain? An American writer and humorist, he portrayed life in late 19th-Century America in a manner similar to Charles Dickens in his earlier portraits of life in early-industrial-era Britain. Well, Will Rogers was such a writer, only for the most part he wrote newspaper columns…when he wasn’t making movies or on the radio…and yet it is the radio, and its vital role in American life, that is most rapidly fading from view these days. It’s not easy to remember how isolated life was before radio pulled us together, and perhaps it was radio that ignited the quest for deeper and closer means of sharing. Television certainly, perhaps even the internet.

When Franklin Roosevelt took the office of President of the United States in 1933, he communicated with the American people by radio address, and these “fireside chats” bound the people to Roosevelt in ways impossible to measure these days. In another vein Will Rogers did so too, using his signature “cowboy wit” to reassure the American people during the darkest days – and months and years – of the Great Depression. And in the same way Americans embraced Roosevelt, they also embraced Will Rogers. We the People needed to really know we were all in this mess together, and radio filled that need.

Will Rogers was Oklahoma’s “native son,” and they’ve embraced the memory of the man and held on tight, so it was only right they dedicate their biggest airport to the memory of his name. You see, Rogers was also an early advocate of commercial aviation in this country…early…as it right after the First World War. He died, in 1935, in a flight with pioneer aviator Wiley Post, trying to map out a route from the lower 48 to Alaska, and then on to Siberia.

So…journalist, actor, political commentator, explorer…and to a wounded nation…a national treasure.

Now we have the airport named in his honor, right here in X-plane. The original release is already fading from memory but the developer has kept at it, I’d assume learning as he goes, and the file is at a point now where I think it’s worth sharing, and worth a download.

But…why would you? Well, look over the list of airlines and destinations (here) and also note that Southwest is a key player here, and interestingly so. Back in the days of railway passenger service there were two kinds of trains: express and local. Express trains like the California Zephyr and the Super Chief went from Chicago to Los Angeles with a minimum of stops, and these name trains were almost all sleeper cars, club cars, and dining cars. Locals handled the less glamorous runs, almost always nothing but coach cars and maybe with a diner.

Well, the “local” is Southwest’s model in a large swath of the US: Chicago Midway to Kansas City, to Oklahoma City – branching off to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi, Texas, and also to El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These were Braniff’s “bread and butter” routes too, and why Southwest rose to prominence after BI passed into the history books.

So…KOKC + Will Rogers. Let’s take a look…

KOKC 1

Some work remains to be done here. The terminal needs an entry area, roadways need work around the main terminal too, fencing needs to delineate the public areas around the terminal and hangers from more restricted areas, more trees, more ramp lighting…but this one is about 90% of the way to being really good and I’d hate to see the developer stop now. Oh, there’s a very good city file linked on the main download page and I’ve included that below.

KOKC 722

If you fly into this one, do yourself a favor and read up on Will Rogers. Souls like his pass this way only so often, and I’d not like to think of a world where even the memory of his time here fades completely away.

Link to KOKC: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47617-kokc-will-rogers-world-airport/

Link to Oklahoma City VFR file: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47725-vcities-oklahoma-city/

We’ll seeya next time…C

 

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x+s+r // Dubai + MMBT + FreiburgVFR

xsr dubai

First there was London. Then the Vegas strip. Chicago’s Lakefront came next.

Yup, all major city files incorporated into the default X-plane scenery matrix, and Dubai was apparently next on Laminar’s hit list. When you download the latest beta for Xp, which is now at 11.30b3, you’ll catch a little flash as ‘Dubai’ loads…then go look inside your Custom Scenery folder and there it is. Dubai.

Yet…I was a little concerned. How would the new payware OMDB Dubai airport file mix with this new set of structures…given that many of the same buildings are at play in both Laminar’s latest beta as well as within the payware airport’s scenery file?

Well, not to worry…no conflicts on my end! I did notice that the exhaust coming from the 763’s two GE engines is noticeably more particulate, with the dark gray sheen of raw hydrocarbon emissions much more viscerally offensive now…

Dubai 1

The two major structures from the airport file, the 2717 ft Burj Khalifa and the sail-shaped Burj al Arab Jumeirah hotel are included, as is the massive fan-shaped residential development located just offshore (known as The Palm Island). Another new addition…? The Dubai Frame, seen in the first image above (out the cockpit); this is simply the world’s largest picture frame, designed to frame Dubai’s world famous skyline.

Still, Laminar’s effort falls well short of the mark. The skyline still appears empty in Xp…at least when compared to what’s on the ground.

Skyline r

But…this is not a complaint. As laudable as Laminar’s goal here is, this should have been addressed by the OMDB airport file’s developers, and realistically in the form of a payware addition to their airport file. A truly immersive effort would include all of Dubai’s mesmerizing skyline, including the riot of light and color seen from the air at night…

Dubai night r

So much of the world’s most remarkable architecture is unfolding in this city right now, and such a landscape properly captured could be a compelling addition to the X-plane ecosystem. Laminar had the right idea; now it’s time for outside developers to step up to the plate and take a risk. Can they capture this city’s style and grace?

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MMBT hdr

ruifo is at it again. And how!

Of course, you’ve heard of Cancun…yet before 1970 the place hardly existed off the planning table. The resort area we know today was a centrally planned project designed to kick-start the tourist industry on Mexico’s Gulf/Caribbean coastline, and the government funded most of the early, riskier development.

Well, welcome to Huatulco, the next Cancun.

Located on Mexico’s southern coast, on the Pacific side of the equation, Huatulco is another centrally planned resort development being sponsored by public and private interests. The beaches are glorious, the setting tropical…yet all within the shadow of 12,000 foot high mountains not at all far away. Canadians have “discovered” Huatulco and are now coming here en masse from November through April, and it won’t be long before Europeans learn about this gem and the charters from Helsinki to München start.

First consideration here, as a pilot in Xp? Rocks in the clouds. Mountains above 12,000MSL within just a few miles of the coastal plain this airport was built on. What else is implied by this setting? Winds. Updrafts and downdrafts, especially in the late afternoon. From late summer through the autumn months, monsoonal flows and tropical storms. On the chart below, note the Caution re: radar altimeters? Know what orographic conditions means? No? Read this.

MMBT chart

ruifo has taken tremendous artistic license here, creating something for X-plane that is in many ways much more interesting architecturally than what is actually on the ground. Like Punta Cana, the real buildings here are palm thatched roofs with most buildings open-air. ruifo’s solution was to adhere to the basic plan of the original but to stick with Laminar’s Lego-brick paradigm…hence…

MMBT 1

In many ways this is ruifo’s most interesting work to date. The clustered buildings appear almost Mayan, and with each building capped by a broad glass roof he’s kept to the original paradigm…to let nature inside the buildings…as best he could with Laminar’s assets. What he’s presenting is a real masterpiece of conception and execution, too, with layers of lighting, foliage and, to a degree, the flow of buildings creating interlocking fields of visual depth. When you get right down to it, this is a stunning file – night or day; stunning in it’s apparent simplicity, yet I can tell you this design is anything but simple. Again, this is the work of an artist who understands light and color, and how these affect perception and mood.

MMBT 2

I’ll be keeping this one of course, and given the flight options available from here, that Air Canada 767 should see heavy use to Toronto very, very soon. This is a solid 10/10 Must Have file, so get your copy here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48243-mx-mmbt-bahias-de-huatulco-intl-airport-2018/

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lidlrico’s GHD sets were causing some installations to hard crash; revisions have been posted for all three versions (get them here). Below, this is the existing payware LIMJ Genoa v2.1, by BCSceneries. It’s not bad considering its age, but it will be interesting to compare to the new aeroSoft file when it releases. This is one of the best commercial approaches in X-plane, btw, with all kinds of distractions on final.

FF GHD rev

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Freiberg hdr

Freiberg, Germany is a medium sized city in far southwestern Germany, located near the border with France and a famed center of education and ecclesiastical studies.

freiberg pano

The latest VFR city file from Günther Kremp models many of the famous religious and scholastic buildings, and as you proceed out of the city you’ll find all kinds of transmission towers which, I suppose, are local VFR reporting points.

Freiberg 1

There’s also a large hospital complete with flutterbug landing pad – notable as it’s big and well lighted. Or the flutterbug I was driving was incredibly tiny…or both?

One thing struck me flying over this city at night. It looked dead. Few cars, almost no street lights, no traffic signals…the exact opposite of what I found in Sioux Falls last week. Is Laminar working on Europe now? Why the big difference between default autogen in Europe and the US?

Oh well, keep on checking those betas! We’ll see you next time…

 

 

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x+s+r // 767GHD +MMCU + EDWY +KSGF + SECU + KCHD

xsr edwy

Looks like a busy weekend ahead for painters; tons of new liveries will be needed for the 767-200, as well as that great new freighter, and the community seems to be reacting with speed so far. Good news that, wot…?

aeroSoft still has at least two new scenery files in the pipeline, for Geneva and Genoa. Work on LSGG ought to be about done now, so my guess is this one will be with us soon.

Lots of freeware to go over today, so better grab a HUGE cup of java because your weekend edition of x+s+r is ready to roll.

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GHD hdr

First out the gate with new 767 files were lidirico and dpv09, with lidirico creating all three necessary JarDesigns GHD sets and dpv09 the first paint for the 762, for the Dynamic Airways 762 seen just below at ruifo’s new MMCU. This first image has only the equipment that comes with the FF767 series aircraft, and so no JarDesign’s equipment. Same with the second image, with the AAL 762 at EDDP. The third image, the LH Star Alliance image, has all JD equipment, as does the fourth…but note, you can mix and match to your hearts content, but only the FF GPU works to power ship’s systems.

762 GHD

Lidirico’s JD file for the 763 is seen below intermixed with FF elements, and two versions of the Icelandair paint came out last night, both by arctic pilot (links here), as well as a new JAL (link here), seen at Tokyo Haneda.

763 GHD

Lidirico also got his freighter version for the 763 out last night, and this one just looks great. Add some FF ground elements for a riot of activity on the ramps around the aircraft, et voila:

763F GHD

Note the smooth arc of the new version’s wing-flex, as well as subtle gradations of fog and light rendered by Xp11.30b2.

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ruifo’s MMCU Chihuahua is located near the Big Bend region of SW Texas, so it makes sense there’s service to DFW via American Eagle and Houston/Bush via United, while even Mexican flag carrier Volaris handles traffic to DIA-Denver. Lots of domestic flights from here too, from MMMX on AeroMexico to Baja on Calafia. A lot of tourist traffic comes to visit the region’s mountains, as well as Copper Canyon via the Chihuahua-Pacific Railroad, regarded by many as the most scenic railway line in the Americas.

MMCU.png

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48206-mx-mmcu-chihuahua-intl-airport-2018/

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EDWY hdr

tdg continues to buildout airports along the North German – East Frisian coast, and this time one of my very favorite airports gets the whole tdg treatment. I’ve been using a couple of v9 files for EDWY forever and they were decent enough, but tdg went the extra mile here and really did this island airport justice. I am in Hogg Heaven tonight!

First things first: tdg’s file includes a representation of the island’s main settlement, the town of Norderney. A noted tourist destination with a number of seaside hotels and spas, the island has attracted tourists since Napoleons time. Today, high speed ferries carry tourists and townspeople alike, but note there is no scheduled air service to the airport here. On the chart below note the location of Helgoland: Norderney makes an ideal jumping off point to go out to the island.

EDWY chart.png

Now, let’s look at tdg’s latest…

EDWY 1

Diversions on final are always a good thing, the marina/harbor in town is a first for Xp. Below, there are bicyclists, a woman walking her dog, people sitting on benches…all sorts of human activity…and these are the things we rarely see in our scenery files. Good to find them here.

EDWY 2

Anyway, this file is a gem. Get this one, and tdg’s recent efforts in the region, and fly the area on your own, or read The Riddle of the Sands…then fly around these islands with one foot in history.

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48210-edwy-norderney-airport/

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KSGF hdr

Country music, Hollywood variety shows, mega-concerts in massive outdoor amphitheaters, and, well, yes…Dolly Parton, too…all bring people to Branson, Missouri, and many of these folks come via KSGF Springfield-Branson, located in nearby Springfield, Missouri. Allegiant, American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express all carry passengers to their big brothers’ hubs, and most people head to Branson for the live music.

KSGF 1

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48209-ksgf-springfield-branson-national/

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Chandler, Arizona isn’t home to much, not when compared to Branson, Missouri anyway, but it is close to Phoenix and that makes all the difference. One of the 50 busiest GA airports in the US, KCHD typically sees over 150,000 aircraft movements per annum. There’s no commercial service here, but a whole bunch of flight and aviation tech schools. No doubt because of all the rainy weather in Arizona, eh…?

If contemplating a network of GA airports to traverse the US, this will be a good one to add to your collection. Great looking file, too.

KCHD

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48236-kchd-chandler-municipal-airport/

And that about does it for today. We’re working on the next edition, and we’ll seeya then.

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x+s+r // flights of fancy: hawk + 762

xsr kclt

We’re headed up today, up there. Into the virtual sky, going to take a long, slow flight down memory lane if you will – with one foot in history and the other just out the door, out there in the unknown. We’ll start at the new LIAA file in the Carenado Stationair, then hop in the Citation for a quick jump towards Genoa. Then, off to Geneva for a fast ride over the snow-covered Alps in the new JustFlight Hawk – on to Zurich, where we’ll change into something a little bigger for an even longer flight. And bigger…as in FFs freshly updated 767 series. So lots to look at today, and you’ll need a BIG cup of java to stay along for this ride, so lets get to it.

But first…

Bombardier shed its DeHavilland unit today, including all future production of the Q-series, Beavers, etc. New buyer Viking Air intends to continue “as is,” for now.

Airways reports that Boeing released an interim Emergency Airworthiness Directive re: the Lion Air crash; at issue – recovering from a bad AoA sensor disrupting pitch commands via trim tab. If this is the culprit, we’ll no doubt we’ll be learning more about the issue as events unfold.

Do you follow Steveo on YouTube? If not, maybe you should…considering he’s a decent teacher and chatty as hell; he let’s slip all kinds of pointers in his videos, and whether you’re a real driver or getting your kicks in Xp he’s got a thing or two to tell you. In this video, taking a brand new Cessna Stationair from the mountains of northern Georgia down to the flats, check out the simple IFR clearance and discussions about technical aspects of the Cessna’e newest engine…

If you’ve been following x+sim+reviews long you know that Cessna is still making the Stationair, but listen closely to the description the gal in the right seat gives concerning the new engine management features in the latest version of the old Cessna. Holy smokes! I want one! And…check out that gated airport facility. Scenery devs…take note! Northern Georgia is a righteously cool place…and recall the Appalachian Trail begins here and goes all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine. A nice, brisk walk, eh?

And of course you know that General Motors makes a Denali SUV, but did you know that Cessna is about to unveil their own take on a Denali? If not, look over Cessna’s product info here. The panel looks crazy good…with the 3-panel G3000 touchscreen system front and center, but didn’t anyone bother to tell Cessna’s designers it’s really uncool to copy someone else’s work so closely?

Here’s a great A340 landing in Cape Town, 4k and at night, and annotated, too. Good for all you Airbus drivers out there:

I’d say all sims have a way to go before they look this good.

Okay…off to Italy for a cappuccino before we hop in our Stationair and head north…on Leg 1 of an all day journey…

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LIAA hdr2

So, with no set agenda I opened the Cessna at LIAA again – as I wanted to look around the airport and the surrounding valley…only with more sunlight this time! But, why not head up to Florence after? It’s less than a 100 miles and a decent flight between the coastal range and the Apennines, with lots of lakes and vineyards along the way…so ‘why not’ indeed…and away we go. Set the GPS for the approach into LIRQ, fire up the squirrels in the engine room and start paddling…

LIAA Leg 1

The Stationair is still a v3.2 file, an Xpv10.5x file that works well enough in v11 but is in no way optimized. Some manipulators are balky, the Carenado G1000 is almost hopelessly out of date now, but she flies real good and remains a favorite. The cityscape around LIAA is decent, with hundreds of custom objects readily visible if you fly low enough to see them, and while the ortho doesn’t ruin the proceedings too much, too much detail relies on photo imagery, so…

I mentioned I tend to think of this LIAA payware release as Skyline’s answer to KTTF Custer Gateway; hyper detailed airport with über good surrounding detailing for the local town, and I think they’ve succeeded…to a degree. The airport is excellent, the spindly control tower a true work of art, and I’m not going to talk about the botanical riot around the grounds again…other than to say it’s the best effort I’ve seen yet in Xp. You have to compare the landscape there “before and after” to really see what Skyline has pulled off here, but their effort extends well beyond the airport and creates a truly lush, verdant landscape compared to the default.

The town is less successful to my eye if only because it looks like an industrial wasteland…and who knows…maybe it is..but the old quarter with it’s red tiled roofs just doesn’t leave the impression it could have, so c’est la vie. I like the airport enough to want to come back again and again, so that ought to tell you something.

The flight up to Florence is uneventful once you get out of the low-lying mountains that surround LIAA; after that a direct course at 8000MSL will keep you away from of all the rocks in the clouds.

CitTION GENOA

Once in Florence I changed over to the new Citation for the run up to Genoa. Yet I can’t call this Leg 2…not really.

After closing on the coastal range, looking at the mountains you see in the last image just above, the urge to fly in the Alps hit. I thought about xpfr’s Alpha Jet, an old favorite from way back when, but then I remembered the JustFLIGHT Hawk that came out recently and she seemed an ideal aircraft for what I had in mind…so I quit Xp and ducked over to the Org Store and read Stephen’s review of the file…and was impressed enough to see this is indeed a special aircraft file…for special occasions just like this…a visit to Piz Gloria…

Leg 2 hdr

With winter set in TerraMAXX the Hawk’s default white paint just seemed to fit the mood. Call it winter camo, I guess? The little jet seems easy enough to fly right out of the box, too, with minimal manual time needed to get up to speed. Read Stephen’s review too, to see if this is your cup of java, then make sure you’ve got the Piz Gloria file loaded and away you go!

If you’re expecting F-14 speed from this old trainer you’ll be in for a huge disappointment, but this Hawk is no slug, either. This jet is all about energy management, and properly managed this old gal can provide hours of acrobatic fun, just like the AlphaJet can. In fact, the files are quite similar in that regard.

Leg 2.1

What will convince you this file is special are the things Stephen noted in his review; the textures, the varied reflections in the canopy, the smallest details here and there…he’s spot on, too. I think the panel is the least well executed part of this .acf, however, with the mottled gray metal utterly unconvincing. Just uniform gray, please, and no unnecessary artsy fartsy stuff, okay? And that big expanse of nothing in the upper left portion of the panel? I know, I know, that’s where all the weapons controls hang out when you invoke the armed T1A version, but that blank spot’s gotta go. Maybe a pin-up photo of a St Bernard?

Now…on to Piz Gloria. Coming from Geneva you’ve got to get on track for Interlocken, then pick out the Eiger. Once you’ve got that in sight…your final objective is right across the valley from the main peak, just above the village of Mürren. Take a closer look, because you’re trying to find…

Leg 2.2 Piz Gloria

Blofeld’s mountaintop lair from the Bond flick On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Yes, it’s a devil to find but worth it when you do…then it’s back to Interlocken and on to LSZH Zurich for a little change of plane…

Leg 2.3 lszh

The Hawk? What can I say? In a way it reminds me of the Citation…underpowered and yet intentionally docile. A teaching tool, easy to learn, hard to master. The file? Decent sounds, average panel, but the instruments on the panel are first class. The exterior is like starting your meal with dessert. The canopy animation is kewl, ditto the speed brake.

Hard to know what to say about the flight model. Feels a little sluggish at times…too dampened, but otherwise quite fun. For peeling down mountain valleys? Not bad. Not bad at all. Better with good headphones on and the volume turned WAY UP!

Leg 3 hdr

I think all the Heavy Metal folk have been waiting for the revised FF Boeing 767 file since word slipped out it was in the works. Why? Well, this is a fan favorite, one of the most popular metal files in Xp, and with good reason. Yet when released, FF stuck with the same formula as when they released the 757…namely, release one variant then add an extended package down the line. With the 757, FF released the 752 first, then added the -300 and the freighter to their extended package. Now, with the 767 series we had the 763 first, and now we’re getting the 762 and the freighter variant. Not only that, but dozens of refinements to onboard systems, textures and finishes as well.

Personally, I’ve been hoping the 762 would come along for a while now, so I opened that variant right away. The panel looks unchanged at first, then you start to notice little refinements here and there, yet some improvements – such as manipulators – won’t grab you until you actually try them for yourself….while others, such as refined panel textures, are immediately apparent when you tweak cockpit lighting – especially on the upper edges of protruding flight instrument bezels. Also, I used the pushback truck commanded by the .acf’s plug-in, and it’s a simple, reliable way to get back from the gate.

Leg 3.1

There are no third party liveries for this one yet, so you’ll have to make do with the limited set included with your download for the time being. The flight model seems little changed, and many revisions take place on the level of FMS code so you’ll never “see” them, yet almost everything about this file feels a bit more refined. I already liked this one…but now? I think I’ll be using the -200 a lot in the near term, the freighter too. And wing loading (flex) produces a delicate arc now, not a segmented facsimile. Much better.

Leg 3.2

There are no JarDesigns’ Ground Handling files to support either the -200 or the F-freighter as yet and, again, just a few paints to get you going are included, yet I think the addition of these two variants is more than welcome and my first impression is simply this: FF has worked out a sweet, useful upgrade package. If you own the 763 Pro you’ll only be out 20 buckeroos to get the whole package, a real bargain and one you shouldn’t miss.

If you don’t have either the 757 or the 767 series, which should you choose? I’d go with the 757 Series first, see if you like this style of cockpit, then evaluate your needs after you know the 757. Panels are almost identical, BTW, and this was no accident. Buying both the 757 and the 767 is, I think, more a labor of love than an abject necessity, as these two are deliberately similar aircraft. One caveat, however: the 767 freighter is the more interesting, better executed cargo hauler of the two.

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So, starting in a Cessna single and ending in a Boeing heavy. Only in X-plane…right?

We’ll take a closer look at the Hawk and the 767 over the days ahead and add what little we can to the pile of reviews bound to come flying our way, but so far “first impressions” concerning these new .acf are good. No rough edges, reliable operations, and the new 762 seems perfect to me…for what I wanted, anyway. The Hawk? I’d say that .acf is more a stress reliever, a plane to take out when you just want to relax a little and enjoy the experience of flight…not confined by the layers of rules and regulations that have come to define flying in our hectic day and age. In that regard, JustFLIGHT’s new trainer is a real winner.

And LIAA? I still like it…the Stationair, too. Like coffee and croissant…they just go together…and maybe we’ll finish our flight to Genoa someday, too.

Hasta later – C

 

Posted in Aircraft file reviews, Europe Regional Routes, First Look, Scenery: Europe | Tagged , | Leave a comment