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…

//

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.

//

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

 

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This entry was posted in Aircraft file reviews, Europe Regional Routes, First Look, Scenery: Europe and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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