x+s+r // news & freeware

KRAP hdr

When Turbulent released KIDA Idaho Falls a few months back we finally got a taste of what we might find coming to X-plane if the expected wave of FsX developers did in fact migrate some product our way. If you’ve not tried it yet that’s understandable, because KIDA is a world class airport file so far off the beaten track (in the USA, anyway) it may have been hard for some people to justify the purchase – and that’s too bad. The main terminal building has some of the best modeling we’ve ever seen, and it’s a small airport so performance is spot-on.

Well, looking over on Threshold yesterday we learned that Turbulent is on track to shake up the market once again with their release of KMBS, Michigan. This file will, as we’ve mentioned, fit into the midwest route network we discussed last autumn, directly linking Michigan to major hubs in Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. From these hubs, of course, the world is your oyster, but so far there’s been little action in Michigan save KTTF Custer Gateway, which is, in the end, an insignificant GA airport when viewed in terms of commercial aviation.

KMBS features great architecture and the model by Turbulent reflects that, right down to the fully modeled interior:

turb 2

This facility is geared towards ops by RJs, especially CRj-200 type aircraft, and the super detailed jetways are set up accordingly:

turb 1

Turbulent’s KMBS is the type of airport X-plane has been desperate for, and it’s one we can’t wait to see in action.

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Also seen over at Threshold, word that a new Beechcraft is in-development, this time a King Air 350, and with a file that looks detailed enough to challenge Carenado’s place as best GA aircraft developer in X-plane.

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So, two hopeful trends emerging this week, with KMBS being the best news we’ve seen in a long time. Stairport’s Daytona Beach was, as we concluded, a mixed bag – yet on balance it’s a good fit for people who like to fly in and around Florida. I’m not sure it’s a Must Have for people, say, who prefer Europe or Oceania, as its utility is somewhat limited regionally, but for folks who like to fly Delta’s SE route network it’s a nice addition. Anyway, it wasn’t the knock-out punch we might have been hoping for, so…we have high expectations for Turbulent’s KMBS.

And so, on to the day’s new freeware: if you like to fly Delta’s western routes, Sioux Falls, South Dakota was a nice addition last week, and what more could you ask for? Well, how about two more on Delta’s Rj net: KGSP and KRAP, so let’s take a look at those two now.

KGSP

KGSP Greenville-Spartanburg Regional serves the all-important BMW manufacturing facility in South Carolina, and hey, the beemer plant is even included in this file, too! Note: this airport file is also for Xp11.20 or newer, as the latest Laminar library objects are used. Looking at the image just below, these appear to be quite nice. The main terminal building appears to have an interesting texture set, as well. The view from the ‘pit? Great!

KGSP

Get KGSP here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/44721-kgsp-greenville-spartanburg-for-xp-1120/

It’s a long drive from, say, New York or Boston to Rapid City, South Dakota, and not a very pretty one at that (except in winter). Make the drive in August and you can add miserable heat to the reasons not to make this trip, yet early each August thousands of lunatics get on their Harleys (count me among that number once upon a time) and zero in on Rapid City, as this is the last stop before hitting Sturgis, the little town almost on the Wyoming border where every August a few billion Hawg riders congregate to see how much chrome can possibly added to a stock Harley. Also in the area: Deadwood and the Mount Rushmore National Monument. Also not far away, Devil’s Towers, Wyoming (Close Encounters, anyone?), so before you write off an airport around here as irrelevant you might consider there are a few places to explore around the region. Note: Devil’s Tower is a joke in Xp…won’t somebody please take care of this?

KRAP Rapid City Regional uses Xp11 library objects too, so here’s yet another piece of the freeware puzzle that tells you Xp10 is fast fading into irrelevancy. Decent little airport, too, with the Big Three legacy carriers all working out of here and, interestingly enough, KIDA Idaho Falls makes a nice GA hop from this area – as you’ll overfly the Tetons on that route. Another factoid? Many attendees at Sturgis have their bikes shipped to the rally and arrive at…you guessed it…KRAP.

KRAP

Get all the KRAP you’ll ever need right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/44690-krap-rapid-city-regl/

Quick-takes

Rio

This freeware SBRJ Santos Dumont in Rio will never take the place of GlogallArt’s excellent payware file, but if you don’t fly to Rio frequently enough to justify picking up a payware file this is a decent scenery library file with nice Xp11 compliant features.

St Mary's

EGSE St Mary’s has been revised again! Worth adding the new version, too.

HINC

HNIC is a hospital-rooftop helipad just up the hill from LFMN Nice. Interesting approach, worth picking up, though the ortho is a little off-putting.

Last Word

Carenado’s F33A release over the weekend got us thinking about Carenado’s other Bonanzas available in X-plane, and while these models represent an interesting spread of capabilities, only the F33A is currently fully Xp11 compliant. That said, the version 3.2 V35 model (V models have the split “butterfly” v-tail arrangement) is a perfect initial GA training aircraft, and this acf could even see you through the early phases of instrument training. The current F33A bridges the gap between the V35 and the A36, which is a stretched six-seater. Carenado’s v3.2 A36 is equipped with a modest glass panel, the Aspen Avionics EFD 1000. While in theory an interesting choice for this aircraft file, in practice there’s not enough documentation for this unit, and real world manuals are of little value as the unit in the acf has limited functionality. This panel also includes 2 Garmin heads but no radar altimeter, another curious omission.

If I was going to hop in just one of these (real) aircraft to fly across the US (and assuming a light payload) I think I’d go with the F33, which might explain why Carenado chose to convert this file to Xp11 standards first.  The F33A has a nice selection of old school instruments just perfect for simple – you might even say bulletproof – operations, and I’d sooner fly cross country with VOR/NDB instruments that any glass cockpit, though a Garmin backup wouldn’t be a bad idea. If all you do is VFR over short distances, the A36 is overkill, and even the F33A is a little over the top, too. The V35 is perfect for this pilot. That said, the A36 has air conditioning, so if hot KRAP is on your plate this summer you won’t lose your cool.

Bonanzas.png

Both models imaged on the GA ramps at Daytona Beach; night panels on these v3.2 versions are just functional, by the way, and some manipulators are dodgy.

Carenado also just released their Saab 340a for that “other platform,” and it looks quite nice. The big question? Will that file make it to X-plane anytime soon? If so, how will it differ from the Leading Edge 340? I think it would be an interesting decision on Carenado’s part to port this one, too. Time will tell, I suppose. As Goran said recently, competition is good. To which we might add: competition spurs developers to take chances, to really lay it all out there, and that too is a really good thing.

We’ll see you next time. Keep cool – A

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