What a week!
We started with the TBM900 – a truly groundbreaking .acf if ever there was one – and yet by midweek we got the Citation II from Carenado – another seriously great file that once again breaks new ground in Xp. And let’s not forget EBBR Brussels, one of the best new airport files in ages.
But things have been hoppin’ on the freeware front, too, with a revised KIAH Houston Intercontinental/Bush ready to go for all you UAL drivers…as well as a glorious Howe Island file for all of us who enjoy flying Down Under.
And then there was 8W9P, a private airstrip located about 50 miles south of Boeing Field, in Washington State. Look at the image above, at the top of this post, because words fail me. They’ll fail you, too, when you try a take off from this runway that ought to be used as a nordic ski jump. Let’s take a look…and we’ll wrap up this post with a flight from LOWS Salzburg to LIMJ Genoa in the Citation II. And in case you’re keeping count, the TBM900 is now at v1.0.6 as the developer keeps optimizing the file for better frame rates.
Damn! What a week! It don’t get much better than this, Bubba…!
8W9P is hoot, so don’t miss this one. It’s almost as nice looking as an Orbx file, but don’t let the surface charm here fool you…this is a certified ball-buster masquerading as someone’s little backyard strip.
Note the scene below. You’re driving down a country lane and you come upon this narrow patch of green grass…but then you just make out a couple of wind-socks down the hill…so you park your hot pink Vespa by the side of the road and check it out…
And in short order you come to a group of houses, and by golly they all have airplanes and flutterbugs laying about…
Anyway, you’ve got to try this one. It reminds a little of Alp d’Huez near Grenoble…except this is tougher. Set your Garmin for Boeing Field and give it a try. I think you’ll enjoy it. I do NOT recommend the 172, however. A little too slow, a little too much runway. The Bell 407 may be the best way, but wow…the feeling going off into the void with barely enough speed is palpable here.
…and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This NAPS file by Fred reached Must Have status a while back, but if you don’t have it the latest revisions make this one a standout freeware file you probably NEED. Night windows are a mixed bag here, however, with some of the dreaded smeary blues making an unwanted appearance here, yet the file is – on the whole – very nice looking from the pattern or the taxiways – so it gets the job done…yet other areas are finished very well indeed and almost approach payware quality. In other words, you better take a look at this one if you like flying to Mexico or Central America…or Europe…or Asia…because this is one of the busiest international airports in the States.
Technically a part of Australia, the Lord Howe Island Group is an administrative unit of New South Wales. Tourist facilities are somewhat limited and there are rarely more than 800 people in the islands. Located 560 miles east of the Australian coast, the island is a vital refueling point for small aircraft transiting to Norfolk Island and on to New Zealand. QantasLINK serves Sydney and Brisbane.
The file is quite well done and would make an interesting dead-reckoning exercise to or from the mainland.
In that last image above you can make out Ball’s Pyramid, a huge granite outcropping worth taking a look at.
This second flight in the Carenado Cessna Citation II was made to check out NAV systems in the .acf, particularly the balky ILS LOC coupling experienced at KSLC on our first flight.
We took the Citation from LOWS Salzburg to LIMJ Genoa Rwy28 (LOC 109.30), a little longer flight than our first short hop from KIDA Idaho Falls to Salt Lake International. Note the Austrian registered livery used for this flight; it’s high-gloss finish is simply stunning. You can get outside at altitude and look at the landscape passing below…reflecting in the paint!
Once again we made this flight VOR to VOR and a very basic IFR approach to check systems. Longer flights like these are necessary as for some reason balky instrument failures like this occur after 45 minutes to an hour, and so are related to a flaw in the aircraft file’s electrical system. Yes, I know, it’s complicated…
This Austrian paint is simply out of this world gorgeous, and I don’t say things like this about paint jobs very often…but I’ve never seen a finish as good as this before.
The cockpit is a very easy place to work, and we left Salzburg bound for FL200 and Milan Linate. The Citation made almost 4000FPM and 170KIAS leaving LOWS, very respectable numbers.
The first leg, to Milan, was IFR; the next – on to Genoa – was borderline VFR all the way through the preliminary approach. The AP was used for the final approach, coupled to the ILS at Genoa…and note the LOC is offset to the south 1.52º…which you’ll see in the approach images below.
The approach was non-eventful and the AP held LOC all the way to cut-off (about 200AGL), so I’m not concerned there’s a bug in the mix somewhere.
The file represents something really quite new for Carenado and I hope the community embraces this effort. It’s easy to fly, as easy as a King Air, anyway, and even for such a simple jet it’s wildly fun the first few times out. I highly recommend this one, and its still out only at the Carenado Store.
Y’all have a good weekend. We’ll seeya soon –