A couple of freeware airports to look at today, as well as our first look at Digital Replica’s Cessna 310L. It’s not a Carenado, so the question is: how does this file from a new developer stack up against the A-Team? Read on to find out, but first let’s look at two airports…
LDRI Rijeka Airport is the international airport serving Rijeka, Croatia. It is located near the town of Omišalj on the island of Krk, and to better place this island just think of Venice, Italy…which is due West about 100 nmi. Most of the traffic here is by seasonal charter, but a few carriers fly year round. Check out the list here.
This is a really good looking file serving an extremely popular vacation area, so don’t poo-poo this one. It includes some nearby objects, like motorway bridges, and the airport proper is very well done. Very nice.
The title image up above is from the ramps at night, and as we’re beginning to get a few good airports along this coast the area could quickly become a favorite area.
You’ll find the file here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46519-ldri-rijeka-airport/
Ruifo came to our attention last year when he started turning out some badly needed airports in Mexico, but it turns out he’s been developing airports in Brazil too (among other places), and for many people this earlier work put him “on the map” as a great developer. Now he’s going back and updating some of these earlier files, bring them up to Xp11.25 standards, and the work ought to grab your attention.
BR PE SBRF – Recife Guararapes Intl Airport (2018) 2.0.0 is the first one I’ve looked at, and man-o-man, is this an interesting file! Recife is located in the easternmost reaches of Brazil, where the country juts out into the Atlantic. Besides the expected domestic service within Brazil, you’ll also find regularly scheduled service to Frankfurt, Madrid, and Lisbon (see the list here).
Ruifo’s file is very good, almost payware quality, but he’s also built out the adjacent city with 3×10 to the 32nd power skyscraper models. The overall effect is simply stunning, even at night…
By way of comparison, here’s the real deal…
Ruifo has included commercial ramps, as well as air cargo and GA facilities…and even a football pitch!
Night textures and ramp clutter is about perfect, but then again, Ruifo is one of the best freeware developers currently working in Xp.
This airport makes sense to anyone operating in S America, but further out, too. If you enjoy fly TAP or Condor routes, you’ll want to add this one to your CS folder ASAP.
And you can do so right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/37476-br-pe-sbrf-recife-guararapes-intl-airport-2018/
Well, well, well…a new GA twin – and it isn’t from Carenado! What on earth shall we do?
Let’s say we go flyin’…just like Sky King used to do…
Say what? Sky Who?
Hmmm… Chances are, if you’ve never heard of Sky King you weren’t around back in the 50s or early 60s, but if you were, and if you were into airplanes, when Sky King came on TV you were probably glued to the tube! You see, Sky King was a TV show about an Arizona rancher who used his stable of airplanes (not horses) to run down the bad guys, or rescue damsels in distress if so needed, and from the mid-50s on Sky King did his daring deeds in a Cessna 310…rather like the one below. In fact, just like the one below! That’s Songbird III, as all King’s aircraft were named Songbird…
And there’s Sky King (above), played by Kirby Grant (also a real pilot). And read this, from Wikipedia: The best-known Songbird was a 1956 twin-engine Cessna 310B used in episodes 40 through 72. It was the second production 310B (tail number N5348A), provided by Cessna at no cost to the producers and piloted by Cessna’s national sales manager for the 310, Bill Fergusson. Fergusson got the job after the motion picture pilot already selected was deemed unqualified to land the airplane at some of the off-airport sites required. Some months after a library of stock footage had been compiled, additional sequences were filmed using a different airplane. Cockpit sequences were filmed using the static test fuselage, also provided by Cessna. The original 310B was eventually destroyed in a crash at Delano, California, in 1962, which killed its owner-pilot. A 1962 310D took its place. A third 310, “Song Bird III,” was used for publicity photos. It is still flying today, making appearances at airshows in a modified Sky King livery.
And now, try this:
Cessna’s 310 was an extremely popular airplane as a result of the whole Sky King phenomenon, with the assembly line churning out the various 310 models from 1954 all the way to 1980. Of course, many are still operating to this day, and in the video above, check out the wing-flex…
All of which makes Digital Replica’s Cessna 310 L a very welcome addition to the General Aviation community in X-plane. This file has been around a short while yet I’ve seen nothing about it, and stumbled across it while getting my Saab 340 updated over the weekend. I’m glad I did, and if you’re into GA twins you will be too.
While not quite as “picture perfect” as a Carenado file, Digital Replica’s model is extraordinarily well conceived and executed – just keep in mind that the panel on this variant is almost straight out of the late-1950s (with the exception of a single Garmin on the panel). Like most planes of this era, the AP is beyond basic, and forget about such niceties as a radar altimeter or a Lean Assist module. This file is representative of what multi-engine rated pilots in the late-1950s (and into the 60s) flew, as the 310 was, without a doubt, the most popular twin of its day. Alabeo has produced a 310 R model for FsX, and – given the 310s popularity – it’s surprising the file hasn’t been ported to Xp yet. Given that Digital Replica’s file is really quite good, it ought to be, as a result, a wildly popular model in X-plane.
Take a look at these images at PAKT (310 version 1.4) to see what I mean:
The flight model is surprisingly good, with ponderously heavy low speed handling (good) and predictable behavior in all other tested flight regimes, including simple stalls and stalls in climbing turns. Takeoff behavior is mild-mannered, with modest torque steer and good directional control until the rudder bites, while landings are a real treat. Chop throttle and the aircraft slows…imagine that! Deploy flaps and you’ll note only a slight, momentary pitch up, not a rocket ride to the moon. Taxiing, braking, making tight turns on the apron…all are no problem. Sounds are decent, but nothing spectacular. In short, very nice indeed.
I made a brief flight in this 310L from PAKT to PAJN using VORs and the flight was uneventful and stress free. I will say that trimming this aircraft for level flight almost makes an AP redundant, and because both elevator and aileron trim are super responsive flying this file feels very “true to life” to me. Also, looking out the cockpit in-flight you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of subtle wing-flex (rare on a GA model, to say the least). Load up the tip tanks for the most pronounced effect, but don’t forget to switch tanks and keep your load balanced.
Basic details like the (operable) main door and the intricate nose gear are kind of like icing on the cake, too, though you will not find Carenado’s left-side tabs for camera positions and operating niceties like chocks and other ground detail. You will find, however, side tabs with all kinds of useful information (performance charts, operating speeds, etc.) as well as a graphical load manager (for pax and gas – not gassy pax, but then again, those are always a problem in small cabins).
So…I picked up this file and made a few flights and closed Xp, and there in my In Box was an email from X-Aviation stating my brand new 310 (version 1.4) had literally just been updated to version 1.5.
So…download the new version, install it, then open up at PAJN and make a few more flights. The changelog* is simple and noteworthy, too, with new cockpit textures (and night lighting) at the top of the list. Scan through the next set of images and look over the night panel shots, and I think you’ll find this panel compares quite favorably with Carenado’s best (I had zero dome lighting on in these images, too, so it’s a little darker than you might set it):
Maybe a bit more post-lighting on the six-pack? And I’ve never been a fan of black panels for one reason: it’s hard to light the damn things (I prefer the cool gray panel found on later variants). Still, gauges are crystal clear and most instruments easy to see – aside from the ADF head and the Flaps Position Indicator. The flaps indicator is not the developers fault, mind you. That boner was all Cessna’s (it’s hidden behind the red Mixture knobs on the center panel). The rotary dialed ADF is a nightmarish beast best ignored (if possible), as they’re hidden under the yokes and the tuning window is almost impossible to read if trying to fly at the same time (in the real aircraft tuning can be accomplished by feel, something not possible in Xp). A pop-up for that beast would be appreciated. An optional second panel with a fully updated glass cockpit might be an added extra many buyers would spring for, too.
Here’s the panel at night with some dome lighting added:
There are four basic liveries included, though none for the US or Canada…or most of Europe, for that matter. Despite that, we think Digital Replica’s Cessna 310L is one great file. It desperately needs a Sky King livery as soon as humanly possible, however.
The price? A very reasonable 25 buckeroos, and that includes X-Aviation’s legendary customer service and ease of installation, so that makes this a 10/10 Must Have file for GA drivers (and Sky King fans) all over the X-plane omniverse.
- New KING 64 DME
- Corrected function of the Davtron 902A DVOR (Display next to VOR/ILS)
- Windshield reflection effects can be turned on/off by clicking the windshield, and instrument reflections can be turned on/off by clicking any of the six pack instruments (artificial horizon, altimeter, etc.)
- Autopilot NAV 1/2 switch out of range when G430 is set in GPS mode.
- Model Fixes
- Texture fixes
- Manipulator fixes
These are a few of our favorite things…
The occasion? A new TWA livery for the Rotate MD80. Utterly gorgeous, we thought, so why not highlight these two at our favorite airport…Short Final’s KABQ? That said, here they are, together again for the first time in a long time.
And that’s all, folks! We’ll seeya next time –