Another slow news week, and not many new releases to liven up our weekends. One that may have slipped under your radar is the new v1.9 of Tom’s MU-2 over at X-Aviation. This one is free to existing customers, and we’ll have images soon.
An interesting post over at Threshold you ought to read can be found here.
And…at last! Another new file from tdg, and this one in the heart of the Adriatic region, located at Tirana, the capital of Albania…
With a dark Cold War past, Albania is one of those countries thats been slow to emerge from it’s totalitarian past, but all that’s changing these days. Located on the line between Rome and Athens, it’s easy to see how useful this file will be just be checking out the maple below.
The list of airlines and destinations is surprisingly varied, with options to fly from here to most European capitals, and then some. The airport is almost on the Adriatic coast, and the surrounding scenery is quite nice to take in on your approach. Looking at the overhead image below, you’ll note this is a densely packed terminal area, and tdg appears to have nailed it. You’ll find a nice reproduction of the area in this file.
There are a number of details that tdg includes in his files that set them apart…details I wish more payware developers took note of and included in their work; needless to say, these details are on full display here. Appropriate static aircraft is one nice touch, and there’s nothing more annoying than bare ramps in a new file, but a close second would be to find yourself parked next to an Alaska Airlines CRJ200 – in Italy or Thailand. You won’t find that at this tdg file, either. You will find animated ground traffic, including baggage handling carts and fuel trucks, as well as static ground equipment at parked (static) aircraft. This is the kind of detail that lends just enough oomph to make a scenery truly immersive, and that should the ultimate goal of any developer.
But look deeper still, At layers of shrubbery, at decent looking parking lots for cars – even at peripheral buildings like airport hotels – and of course night lighting is just about perfect. The word I’m looking for here is DEPTH, because while anyone can add this stuff to a scenery file, it takes an artist to use all these elements to create an immersive sense of depth. You feel it when you pull up to park on the apron and find yourself confronted with layers of activity, be it flags fluttering in the distance or baggage trains moving around right under the cockpit…
That tdg’s files are freeware? Who knows what his motives are, but his labors are defining what most scenery developers should be striving to achieve. When you add a top-tier aircraft file – like this Rotate MD80 – X-plane really begins to show off its real potential. I had good performance here, but also a couple of exclusion zone issues, with auto-gen housing popping up in the middle of some gas stations. Still, this is close to X-plane perfection, and not to be missed. Good for flights to Athens, Rome, Frankfurt await…
tdg’s file is located here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45371-lati-tirana-international-airport-albania/
A freshly revised GCFV Fuerteventura Airport popped this week, too.
We looked at Canary Islands airports a few months back, and this revision to GCFV is worth the download; get the updated file here.
Another interesting twist? We reviewed the payware LGSK Skiathos at X-Aviation a few weeks ago, and yikes! – a new freeware file pops up for the same airport this week, and it ain’t half bad. If you can’t swing the shekels for the payware, here’s a decent alternative: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45342-lgsk-skiathoszip/
Aerobask dropped a freeware Robin on us this week too. Anyone remember when Arno and Khamsin made this aircraft file and released it through xpfr? Well, this one is a bit nicer and is also equipped with a Garmin 1000 panel. Very nice overall, and a ton of European liveries are popping up at the Org for this one. If you’re a dedicated GA single pilot this one merits your close attention; it’s an easy flyer with room to grow in. The file is located here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45373-aerobask-robin-dr401-cdi-155/&tab=comments
Aero Commanders have always given me the clanks, but maybe that’s because a real Aero Commander crashed about 50 yards away from me when I was a kid. No kidding. The aircraft was coming into Dallas Love Field and the wing buckled as it turned onto final – and the thing dropped like a stone onto the bike racks at my elementary school. A half hour earlier and it would have made bad history, and to this day I can’t look at one of these aircraft and not see the wreckage.
Meanwhile…back at the ranch…
Carenado’s file is simply spectacular, and this cockpit is one of the best they’ve executed in quite a while. The left seat’s horizon and HSI are a little on the dim side but that’s the only “fault” I could find in a quick once-over, and the flight model didn’t exhibit any surprises, either. The gear extend/retract cycle is something to behold, too.
Of course, this is Carenado so the interior is gorgeous and there are operating doors and chocks/cones galore…and the PBR materials employed look quite impressive with rendering settings dialed up.
And note the red/green lights bouncing off the ground in the image below.
This is a turboprop variant (Garrett AiResearch TPE331-5-251K), so a bit more complicated on the front end, but a better IFR learning tool would be hard to find; the file just released this morning and is currently available only at the Carenado store. The twilight images are at the recently revised KSAF Santa Fe, New Mexico, another Must Have freeware file.
Kinda like deja vu all over again…ain’t it?
One of our very first posts (we were called xp+10+reviews way back then, in early v9), and our first developer interview, centered on Heinz’s 787. While considered somewhat dated by today’s standards, Heinz’s 787 was, I think, the first payware tube-liner with a 3D cockpit, and we liked it well enough. Well, there’s a somewhat new kid on the block, and though this file has been knocking about in various stages of development for a while, MagKnight’s 787-9 recently came on the market at the OrgStore, so of course we had to try it.
The flight model seems decent enough, with no major goofs noted, and the aircraft brakes and taxis well, too. There are tons of liveries out there for this latest version, and a new JarDesigns GHE package as well. I’d say the pit works better for me at night than in daylight, as there’s still a bit of that “flat” look visible in daylight. The night ‘pit looks nice and works quite well. No operable doors and such as yet, but this file seems to be in an almost perpetual state of development – so who knows, right? Maybe next week? There are some rough curves here and there, but this file is priced at the low end of the spectrum…the same as Heinz’s old file, as a matter of fact, so judge it accordingly.
Anyway, this is an incremental improvement over Heinz’s version and no, it’s not PMDG quality, but it is an improved 787 and it is available right now. You might give it a try if in the mood for something new, and we think the file worth the time for folks trying their first payware heavy metal, so give it a chance. You might be surprised. Besides, supporting new developers is not a bad way to help the community along.
Later – C