x+s+r // SECU + EDWG + RJCC

xsr secu

Landing in a bodacious crosswind at SECU (above), what’s the one thing missing from the scene to really increase the immersive nature of what you’d be looking at out the front office glass?

How ’bout the wind whipping the trees around? Wouldn’t that be a hoot? I’m not sure that’s been done in any sim before…and is it even possible?

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A few new paints today, two for the new 763 and one for the 752:

paint t

Condor: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48347-condor-ff-b767-300er-pw-extended/

BA Chelsea Rose: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48343-flight-factor-767-300er-british-airways-chelsea-rose/

Air Greenland: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48342-ff-b752-air-greenland-oy-grl-pro-v2/

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SECU + Mariscal Lamar International Airport is a certified high altitude nightmare of an airport, surrounded on all sides by the Andes, and with some nearby peaks almost ten thousand feet higher than the airport. The airport is also surrounded by dense urban housing, and the runway is only 6300 feet long. Do pilots operating out of this one earn their pay…?

On the chart below, you need to pay attention to the differential between field elevation and some of the surrounding peaks. There is zero room for screwing the pooch here, and an engine out on takeoff in a fully loaded freighter will bring on a full head of gray hair faster than a rattlesnake in an outhouse.

SECU chart

LATAM and TAME both fly to Quito from here, and LATAM adds Guayaquil. Beyond that, there’s only non-scheduled air cargo service as well as GA traffic.

SECU

Flying the 763F into here in a brutal crosswind is about as fun as it gets in Xp and I highly recommend the experience. The file has just enough detail to work in daylight (it’s nicer at night, anyway), and the sloping runway adds just enough spice to really work up a sweat on rollout. As such, this is not a beginners airport…unless flying here in a Piper Cherokee 140. It IS a handful in anything “heavy”, while the various E-jets and 737s/A319 are right in the groove.

Recommended for fun and games in crosswinds, you’ll find SECU here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48227-ecuador-aeropuerto-mariscal-lamar-secu/

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tdg’s EDWG Wangerooge Island Airfield stakes out the easternmost region of his East Frisian Islands project; we have another exquisitely detailed little GA airport combined with nearby village details, especially down by the docks:

tdg

We’ll work up an overview of all these airports soon so you can plan an extensive flight around the region. Til then, this is another 10/10 effort, and you ought to get it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48364-edwg-wangerooge-airport-germany/

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RJCC New Chitose Airport, part of the Sapporo Area Airports Package, came in for some minor exclusion zone tweaks. Always worth updating this excellent, 10/10 file.

RJCC

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/26029-japan-sapporo-area-airports-rjcc-rjco/

And that’s all, folks. S’ya next time – C

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x+s+r // paint + KOKC

xsr 763F

It’s amazing how powerful the role of “brand” plays in the construction of memory, especially where our memories of travel are concerned. Maybe it all comes down to tribal affiliations, perhaps in a way similar to how we develop powerful bonds to local sports teams. People who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area developed affinities for United Air Lines, while people from Boston may relate more powerfully to long gone brands such as Eastern or TWA. One thing is clear, however: after watching the livery scene in X-plane…people have very strong feelings about their favorite airlines, and they want liveries for those airliners.

And the unsung heroes of this niche in the X-plane omniverse toil away quietly, helping – I think, in a very real sense – make such dreams come true.

Maybe it was your first airplane ride as a kid, or the first time you flew overseas…perhaps during college or for a school trip. Maybe it’s the airline you took on your “honeymoon,” or coming home after a long overseas deployment…?

It’s said that travel heightens experience, that our internal video recorders are, so to speak, working full-time when we travel abroad, especially on an overseas vacation. Perhaps it’s logical to assume then, that every little thing about the experience is indelibly ingrained in memory, and that the first time we venture forth from our comfort zones into the unknown such experience takes on even deeper meaning. Perhaps that helps explain why our childhood memories take on the characteristics of powerful chemical bonds. Such moments echo through our lives in ways we may never fully understand, but they’re there…waiting.

And these memories find a home in X-plane too, find a new way to express that bond, provide a means of reliving cherished moments…and who knows, perhaps that’s behind our passion for flying, or wanting to fly again in X-plane.

The point here, and there is one, is that liveries (or paints) for airliners are a vital part of our individual experience, and they shouldn’t be ignored. If you have a favorite and you can’t find it, ask a painter if he or she can help. It can’t hurt.

Today, we’re going to look at a bunch of paint. We’ll start off with the 767 but branch off and look at a few other airline liveries, recent ones for the most part – but not all. So…let’s look at some fresh paint, and maybe take a trip down memory lane…

763 Paint EDDF KSEA

(above) TUI 767-200ER paint here; LOT 767-300ER paint here; American 763 2nd generation paint here; Pacific Air Cargo 763F paint here.

762 paint 2

(above) For the 767-200ER, the LOT paint here, and the Varig paint here.

763F paint

For the 763F, CargoJet here, and FedEX here.

Paint 2

For the FJS 732, Air Florida here; for the FJS 721: American 1st generation AstroJet here; Sabena Interim here; Lufthansa 1965 here. For the 722F, VarigLOG here. For the FF 752, LTU here. For the default 738: TUI Blue here; AnadoluJET here.

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KOKC hdr

I can’t imagine there are many people left in this world who know the name Will Rogers, let alone what he meant to the United States, and perhaps even to the world, during one of the darkest chapters of the 20th-Century. The world moved on, time passes, memory fades until even the people who relied on his wit and wisdom fade away too, and all of it is too soon lost, even the memory of such things. We are left with memorials and words on the page, until time erases those things, too.

Perhaps you recall the name Mark Twain? An American writer and humorist, he portrayed life in late 19th-Century America in a manner similar to Charles Dickens in his earlier portraits of life in early-industrial-era Britain. Well, Will Rogers was such a writer, only for the most part he wrote newspaper columns…when he wasn’t making movies or on the radio…and yet it is the radio, and its vital role in American life, that is most rapidly fading from view these days. It’s not easy to remember how isolated life was before radio pulled us together, and perhaps it was radio that ignited the quest for deeper and closer means of sharing. Television certainly, perhaps even the internet.

When Franklin Roosevelt took the office of President of the United States in 1933, he communicated with the American people by radio address, and these “fireside chats” bound the people to Roosevelt in ways impossible to measure these days. In another vein Will Rogers did so too, using his signature “cowboy wit” to reassure the American people during the darkest days – and months and years – of the Great Depression. And in the same way Americans embraced Roosevelt, they also embraced Will Rogers. We the People needed to really know we were all in this mess together, and radio filled that need.

Will Rogers was Oklahoma’s “native son,” and they’ve embraced the memory of the man and held on tight, so it was only right they dedicate their biggest airport to the memory of his name. You see, Rogers was also an early advocate of commercial aviation in this country…early…as it right after the First World War. He died, in 1935, in a flight with pioneer aviator Wiley Post, trying to map out a route from the lower 48 to Alaska, and then on to Siberia.

So…journalist, actor, political commentator, explorer…and to a wounded nation…a national treasure.

Now we have the airport named in his honor, right here in X-plane. The original release is already fading from memory but the developer has kept at it, I’d assume learning as he goes, and the file is at a point now where I think it’s worth sharing, and worth a download.

But…why would you? Well, look over the list of airlines and destinations (here) and also note that Southwest is a key player here, and interestingly so. Back in the days of railway passenger service there were two kinds of trains: express and local. Express trains like the California Zephyr and the Super Chief went from Chicago to Los Angeles with a minimum of stops, and these name trains were almost all sleeper cars, club cars, and dining cars. Locals handled the less glamorous runs, almost always nothing but coach cars and maybe with a diner.

Well, the “local” is Southwest’s model in a large swath of the US: Chicago Midway to Kansas City, to Oklahoma City – branching off to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi, Texas, and also to El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These were Braniff’s “bread and butter” routes too, and why Southwest rose to prominence after BI passed into the history books.

So…KOKC + Will Rogers. Let’s take a look…

KOKC 1

Some work remains to be done here. The terminal needs an entry area, roadways need work around the main terminal too, fencing needs to delineate the public areas around the terminal and hangers from more restricted areas, more trees, more ramp lighting…but this one is about 90% of the way to being really good and I’d hate to see the developer stop now. Oh, there’s a very good city file linked on the main download page and I’ve included that below.

KOKC 722

If you fly into this one, do yourself a favor and read up on Will Rogers. Souls like his pass this way only so often, and I’d not like to think of a world where even the memory of his time here fades completely away.

Link to KOKC: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47617-kokc-will-rogers-world-airport/

Link to Oklahoma City VFR file: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47725-vcities-oklahoma-city/

We’ll seeya next time…C

 

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x+s+r // Dubai + MMBT + FreiburgVFR

xsr dubai

First there was London. Then the Vegas strip. Chicago’s Lakefront came next.

Yup, all major city files incorporated into the default X-plane scenery matrix, and Dubai was apparently next on Laminar’s hit list. When you download the latest beta for Xp, which is now at 11.30b3, you’ll catch a little flash as ‘Dubai’ loads…then go look inside your Custom Scenery folder and there it is. Dubai.

Yet…I was a little concerned. How would the new payware OMDB Dubai airport file mix with this new set of structures…given that many of the same buildings are at play in both Laminar’s latest beta as well as within the payware airport’s scenery file?

Well, not to worry…no conflicts on my end! I did notice that the exhaust coming from the 763’s two GE engines is noticeably more particulate, with the dark gray sheen of raw hydrocarbon emissions much more viscerally offensive now…

Dubai 1

The two major structures from the airport file, the 2717 ft Burj Khalifa and the sail-shaped Burj al Arab Jumeirah hotel are included, as is the massive fan-shaped residential development located just offshore (known as The Palm Island). Another new addition…? The Dubai Frame, seen in the first image above (out the cockpit); this is simply the world’s largest picture frame, designed to frame Dubai’s world famous skyline.

Still, Laminar’s effort falls well short of the mark. The skyline still appears empty in Xp…at least when compared to what’s on the ground.

Skyline r

But…this is not a complaint. As laudable as Laminar’s goal here is, this should have been addressed by the OMDB airport file’s developers, and realistically in the form of a payware addition to their airport file. A truly immersive effort would include all of Dubai’s mesmerizing skyline, including the riot of light and color seen from the air at night…

Dubai night r

So much of the world’s most remarkable architecture is unfolding in this city right now, and such a landscape properly captured could be a compelling addition to the X-plane ecosystem. Laminar had the right idea; now it’s time for outside developers to step up to the plate and take a risk. Can they capture this city’s style and grace?

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MMBT hdr

ruifo is at it again. And how!

Of course, you’ve heard of Cancun…yet before 1970 the place hardly existed off the planning table. The resort area we know today was a centrally planned project designed to kick-start the tourist industry on Mexico’s Gulf/Caribbean coastline, and the government funded most of the early, riskier development.

Well, welcome to Huatulco, the next Cancun.

Located on Mexico’s southern coast, on the Pacific side of the equation, Huatulco is another centrally planned resort development being sponsored by public and private interests. The beaches are glorious, the setting tropical…yet all within the shadow of 12,000 foot high mountains not at all far away. Canadians have “discovered” Huatulco and are now coming here en masse from November through April, and it won’t be long before Europeans learn about this gem and the charters from Helsinki to München start.

First consideration here, as a pilot in Xp? Rocks in the clouds. Mountains above 12,000MSL within just a few miles of the coastal plain this airport was built on. What else is implied by this setting? Winds. Updrafts and downdrafts, especially in the late afternoon. From late summer through the autumn months, monsoonal flows and tropical storms. On the chart below, note the Caution re: radar altimeters? Know what orographic conditions means? No? Read this.

MMBT chart

ruifo has taken tremendous artistic license here, creating something for X-plane that is in many ways much more interesting architecturally than what is actually on the ground. Like Punta Cana, the real buildings here are palm thatched roofs with most buildings open-air. ruifo’s solution was to adhere to the basic plan of the original but to stick with Laminar’s Lego-brick paradigm…hence…

MMBT 1

In many ways this is ruifo’s most interesting work to date. The clustered buildings appear almost Mayan, and with each building capped by a broad glass roof he’s kept to the original paradigm…to let nature inside the buildings…as best he could with Laminar’s assets. What he’s presenting is a real masterpiece of conception and execution, too, with layers of lighting, foliage and, to a degree, the flow of buildings creating interlocking fields of visual depth. When you get right down to it, this is a stunning file – night or day; stunning in it’s apparent simplicity, yet I can tell you this design is anything but simple. Again, this is the work of an artist who understands light and color, and how these affect perception and mood.

MMBT 2

I’ll be keeping this one of course, and given the flight options available from here, that Air Canada 767 should see heavy use to Toronto very, very soon. This is a solid 10/10 Must Have file, so get your copy here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48243-mx-mmbt-bahias-de-huatulco-intl-airport-2018/

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lidlrico’s GHD sets were causing some installations to hard crash; revisions have been posted for all three versions (get them here). Below, this is the existing payware LIMJ Genoa v2.1, by BCSceneries. It’s not bad considering its age, but it will be interesting to compare to the new aeroSoft file when it releases. This is one of the best commercial approaches in X-plane, btw, with all kinds of distractions on final.

FF GHD rev

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Freiberg hdr

Freiberg, Germany is a medium sized city in far southwestern Germany, located near the border with France and a famed center of education and ecclesiastical studies.

freiberg pano

The latest VFR city file from Günther Kremp models many of the famous religious and scholastic buildings, and as you proceed out of the city you’ll find all kinds of transmission towers which, I suppose, are local VFR reporting points.

Freiberg 1

There’s also a large hospital complete with flutterbug landing pad – notable as it’s big and well lighted. Or the flutterbug I was driving was incredibly tiny…or both?

One thing struck me flying over this city at night. It looked dead. Few cars, almost no street lights, no traffic signals…the exact opposite of what I found in Sioux Falls last week. Is Laminar working on Europe now? Why the big difference between default autogen in Europe and the US?

Oh well, keep on checking those betas! We’ll see you next time…

 

 

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x+s+r // 767GHD +MMCU + EDWY +KSGF + SECU + KCHD

xsr edwy

Looks like a busy weekend ahead for painters; tons of new liveries will be needed for the 767-200, as well as that great new freighter, and the community seems to be reacting with speed so far. Good news that, wot…?

aeroSoft still has at least two new scenery files in the pipeline, for Geneva and Genoa. Work on LSGG ought to be about done now, so my guess is this one will be with us soon.

Lots of freeware to go over today, so better grab a HUGE cup of java because your weekend edition of x+s+r is ready to roll.

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GHD hdr

First out the gate with new 767 files were lidirico and dpv09, with lidirico creating all three necessary JarDesigns GHD sets and dpv09 the first paint for the 762, for the Dynamic Airways 762 seen just below at ruifo’s new MMCU. This first image has only the equipment that comes with the FF767 series aircraft, and so no JarDesign’s equipment. Same with the second image, with the AAL 762 at EDDP. The third image, the LH Star Alliance image, has all JD equipment, as does the fourth…but note, you can mix and match to your hearts content, but only the FF GPU works to power ship’s systems.

762 GHD

Lidirico’s JD file for the 763 is seen below intermixed with FF elements, and two versions of the Icelandair paint came out last night, both by arctic pilot (links here), as well as a new JAL (link here), seen at Tokyo Haneda.

763 GHD

Lidirico also got his freighter version for the 763 out last night, and this one just looks great. Add some FF ground elements for a riot of activity on the ramps around the aircraft, et voila:

763F GHD

Note the smooth arc of the new version’s wing-flex, as well as subtle gradations of fog and light rendered by Xp11.30b2.

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ruifo’s MMCU Chihuahua is located near the Big Bend region of SW Texas, so it makes sense there’s service to DFW via American Eagle and Houston/Bush via United, while even Mexican flag carrier Volaris handles traffic to DIA-Denver. Lots of domestic flights from here too, from MMMX on AeroMexico to Baja on Calafia. A lot of tourist traffic comes to visit the region’s mountains, as well as Copper Canyon via the Chihuahua-Pacific Railroad, regarded by many as the most scenic railway line in the Americas.

MMCU.png

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48206-mx-mmcu-chihuahua-intl-airport-2018/

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EDWY hdr

tdg continues to buildout airports along the North German – East Frisian coast, and this time one of my very favorite airports gets the whole tdg treatment. I’ve been using a couple of v9 files for EDWY forever and they were decent enough, but tdg went the extra mile here and really did this island airport justice. I am in Hogg Heaven tonight!

First things first: tdg’s file includes a representation of the island’s main settlement, the town of Norderney. A noted tourist destination with a number of seaside hotels and spas, the island has attracted tourists since Napoleons time. Today, high speed ferries carry tourists and townspeople alike, but note there is no scheduled air service to the airport here. On the chart below note the location of Helgoland: Norderney makes an ideal jumping off point to go out to the island.

EDWY chart.png

Now, let’s look at tdg’s latest…

EDWY 1

Diversions on final are always a good thing, the marina/harbor in town is a first for Xp. Below, there are bicyclists, a woman walking her dog, people sitting on benches…all sorts of human activity…and these are the things we rarely see in our scenery files. Good to find them here.

EDWY 2

Anyway, this file is a gem. Get this one, and tdg’s recent efforts in the region, and fly the area on your own, or read The Riddle of the Sands…then fly around these islands with one foot in history.

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48210-edwy-norderney-airport/

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KSGF hdr

Country music, Hollywood variety shows, mega-concerts in massive outdoor amphitheaters, and, well, yes…Dolly Parton, too…all bring people to Branson, Missouri, and many of these folks come via KSGF Springfield-Branson, located in nearby Springfield, Missouri. Allegiant, American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express all carry passengers to their big brothers’ hubs, and most people head to Branson for the live music.

KSGF 1

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48209-ksgf-springfield-branson-national/

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Chandler, Arizona isn’t home to much, not when compared to Branson, Missouri anyway, but it is close to Phoenix and that makes all the difference. One of the 50 busiest GA airports in the US, KCHD typically sees over 150,000 aircraft movements per annum. There’s no commercial service here, but a whole bunch of flight and aviation tech schools. No doubt because of all the rainy weather in Arizona, eh…?

If contemplating a network of GA airports to traverse the US, this will be a good one to add to your collection. Great looking file, too.

KCHD

Link here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48236-kchd-chandler-municipal-airport/

And that about does it for today. We’re working on the next edition, and we’ll seeya then.

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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…

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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

 

Posted in Aircraft file reviews, Europe Regional Routes, First Look, Scenery: Europe | Tagged , | Leave a comment

x+s+r // MMGL + LIAA + SBRJ/paint

xsr mmgl hdr

The theme for the day? It’s good to be wrong…sometimes.

Anyway, Delta held a big public ceremony yesterday down in Atlanta welcoming their newest aircraft to the family – and reports are the event was well attended and the baby Airbus was equally well received.

A221

I can’t help but think Boeing is going to regret not taking on Bombardier as a partner over Embraer, as the odds are the little C Series jet is going to be a real game changer. The more you read about this aircraft the more impressive it seems, too. With both JetBlue and Delta now firmly onboard the future looks good for the new Baby Bus, while the order book at Embraer has been flattening recently…as more and more potential customers hold their breath and watch public reception to the little Bus. Again, the more people who take a flight on this thing the better it gets, and in Europe its gaining a real following as the most comfortable little jet on the market.

In a similar vein, I wonder why SSG chose to do the CRJ-700 over the new “Airbus.” I do understand a lot of people would like to see JRollon re-do his CRJ-200s cockpit, bring it up to v11 standards and do away with that dated v9 panel. So…it was a shock to learn Rollon’s next project will be this SF260D:

This .acf kind of reminds me of Tom Kyler’s Falco, like of a hot-rod for those with testosterone issues. Oh well…we will see…but we can still wish he’d work on his CRJ, can’t we…?

A kind hearted soul pointed out that there is as yet no hope for the Google-impaired. Yes, there is indeed an Atlantic Airways livery for the Toliss A319, contrary to what some blathering know-it-all over at x+sim+reviews claimed yesterday. Oh…this is x+sim+reviews? Apologies all around then, and many thanks again to Philippe for the heads up.

Atlantic a319

I assume you’d like the link, while I’m still learning to use Google…?

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/43003-toliss-a319-atlantic-airways/

So, enough already…let’s head Down Mexico Way…before we hit Italy…then Rio…

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MMGL hdr

Let’s assume you’ve never been to Guadalajara, or that you may have heard about the place but know nothing other than it exists…somewhere. That’s okay. What else is X-plane for?

Mexico City is a surprisingly cultured city by any standard, and even Parisians are often startled by how civilized parts of that city are. Very cosmopolitan, yet still somewhat conservative, but of most importance – Mexico City is full of good bakeries. Well, Guadalajara is one of those places too, with a number of prominent universities, as well as two medical schools, great museums…and of utmost importance – good bread. And, just as you’ll find the flamenco dance a distinctive expression of regional influence in Spain, you’ll note the mariachi band became a distinct cultural expression of rural life in and around Guadalajara…beginning in the 1700s. The musical form evolved as the city grew and, in effect, led Guadalajara to cultural prominence in Mexico, and then…beyond.

Well, Guadalajara is the also second largest city in Mexico (with almost 6 million people in the region, and growing…) and the 10th largest in Latin America. The airport is the second largest/busiest in Mexico, too, and when you look over the list of airlines and destinations (right here, as always) you’ll understand that this is an airport you probably want in your scenery folder. American, Delta, and United all do their thing to the States from here, but the real surprise is Volaris…which flies to more US destinations than domestic. And yes, there are Volaris paints for all the popular Airbuses!!!

Guadalajara

ruifo’s scenery is a sprawling, very detailed affair, with nicely cluttered commercial ramps, a large GA area, cargo ramps as well as a small military logistics facility loaded with KC10s and small transports. There is also a massive flutterbug ramp…with space for a dozen or so helicopters. Take a look…

MMGL 1

Yup…all the details are here. Great car parks, ramp detail…everything ruifo is noted for…so call this is another 10/10 Must Have for your trips Down Mexico Way.

Need the link? Try this: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48174-mx-mmgl-guadalajara-intl-airport-2018/

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LIAA hdr

A freeware LIAA came out yesterday – right about the time this payware version came out – and about all I’ll say is that the freebie doesn’t even come close.

That said, when I looked at the promo pics over at the Org, then looked at the price…well…I think I said a few uncharitable things under my breath. Like…WTF? Then I went on my merry way.

So…I held off…decided to let this one walk on by.

And, like I said…it’s good to be wrong…sometimes.

So, I went and pulled the trigger, decided there had to be a good reason for an über small GA file to cost more than FunnerFlight’s KLAX (you know…the one “with 750 animations?”)…which is right by it on the Orgs “New” page.

Well…? WTF?

I hate to say it, but this file is the latest iteration of the KTTF Custer Gateway type file that came out last year. This file has Foliage. Foliage…and then more foliage. Its got more kinds of grass than a dorm at UC Berkeley. If you have hay fever – do NOT open this file without a box of tissue handy…unless you really like a sticky keyboard.

Or…open this file, take a quick look around, then open the freeware version and try not to fall out of your chair.

Yes, I was wrong. Again. But at least I self-corrected.

Then I cleaned off my keyboard.

LIAA

You kind of have to imagine driving out to this airport about a half hour before sunrise (in your old Ferrari. Your old – RED – Ferrari…), because you want to get their before all the kids working on their privates fill up the pattern, get in some serious flying-time up in the mountains…so you drive out and park by your hanger, gas up the old Piper and away you go…

You take off, fly out over the city, marvel at the densely packed medieval village…surrounded by modern commercial developments, more houses…then warehouses and factories…before you come to all the farms and vineyards…

Turning back to the airport you come in for a fast short final, almost catch a wing-tip…but it’s all good…

LIAA 2

You pull up by the café and pop the door, can just smell the coffee and freshly baked croissants. Ooh…Nutella and orange marmalade today?

So, what we have here is a massive, highly detailed ortho covered with a gazillion custom objects, then someone used a pressure washer to hose this file down with grasses and weeds. And trees. Anyway, assuming you’re interested in GA flying in central Italy, this file is going to make your head spin. Yes, take your allergy meds and the feeling will go away…then pull the trigger…go have some fun…count the varieties of pollen producing plants along the taxiway…but don’t forget to clean up your keyboard before you flip those magnetos.

Slyline’s LIAA is at the Org Store, about 22 buckeroos USD. The Kleenex is all on you.

//

Varig hdr

SBRJ Santos Dumont is the old school airport located in the heart of Rio, right on the water. It’s the cool airport. And it’s the cool airport file in X-plane, too. Don’t believe it? Well then, take a look at all the old school Varig paint roaming around the ramps down there…back in the day…

Varig 732

There’s something about this airport. Something that feels like the 60s. Like this place is haunted by old Boeings looking to take wing again…to pull up to the gate again…load up and roam the skies again…

Varig 1

There’s a ton of city included in this file, then all the other landmarks that surround the city. Really…you don’t want to miss this one…

Varig 733

So, yeah…I was wrong a couple of times today…about the A319 paint…about LIAA…but it’s all good now. I spent a couple hours in Rio…so it’s all good again…

It’s like…new perspectives…a fresh point of view. I was looking at these images today, comparing them to old images, to even older memories, trying to reconcile those fragments in my mind with what I was seeing on my screen. Has X-plane really gotten so good? Is v11.30 really the game changer, the paradigm shift we’ve all been hoping it would be? Look at that last image, then you tell me…

It sure looks that way, don’t it?

Y’all have fun flyin’ today. We’ll seeya around the campfire – C

 

Posted in Mexico & Central America, S America Regional Routes, Scenery reviews, Scenery: Americas, Scenery: Caribbean, X-plane liveries | Tagged , | Leave a comment

x+s+r // EKVG + KFSD + 11.30b2 images

xsr sun scr

A few weeks ago I dropped by tdg’s page at the Org and requested he give EKVG – the Faroe Islands’ sole airport – a try. Turns out that was unnecessary as several others beat me to it! Anyway, happily he’s obliged; the results are, as you’ll see below, as interesting as they are stunning. Also today, revisions at an airport we’ve looked at several times over the past few months…to KFSD Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Captain K-man, the developer, has previously taken this airport file into near payware quality…yet he just keeps on improving this one and the results are, again, as interesting as they are stunning. Now it’s time for you to decide: has he reached payware quality? Is this developer shooting to be the next tdg or ruifo? Before I could finish writing this up he’d released yet another update, adding more detail to the military ramps. Geez!

Of course, a key ingredient to much of this visual success can be found in Laminar’s constantly improving art assets and atmospherics, and I’ve tried to highlight some of 11.30b2’s effects in today’s screenshots which, if you’ll excuse me, are a little more artsy-fartsy than usual. What I’m trying to get at is simple enough, however: X-plane is now capable of producing some very immersive weather effects, and as Vulkan technology infuses these atmospherics with more detail I’d only assume things will get better. I’ll end today’s post at LSZH with some WinterWorld shots courtesy of TerraMAXX, so hang onto your hat and enjoy the show, then get these two files onboard and go flyin’!

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FAR hdr

Imagine a point in the center of an almost equilateral triangle, with Glascow, Scotland to the south about 400nmi, BIKF to the NW/600nmi, and Bergen to the NE/500nmi. If you were a P3 driver during the last Cold War (or a P8 driver during our current Cold War) you’d know exactly where the Faroe Islands are…smack-dab in the most contested stretch of water between the US and Europe…the so-called GIUK Gap. If you were a skipper in a relevant navy, perhaps the skipper of a destroyer, you’d know that the waters around the Faroes are home to 100 foot waves during the frequent winter gales that pummel this region year after year. And if you happened to fly for SAS or Atlantic Airways this last fact, this truly crummy weather, might be more than familiar to you.

As a pilot in X-plane, try setting the weather with METARs and then give this one a try…or not. Fly the islands and enjoy the scenic grandeur, or the mesmerizing approach to either runway, but just – Try It!

Far 1

The approach here is among fjord-like passages between cliffs; the runway is an almost true parabola and would seem a real challenge, but once you look over the Youtube video below it might not seem so terrifying…

…yet tdg’s file does NOT have the built-up runway extensions seen in the video, so the parabola is deeper than exists at the real airport. Still, I was able to land the Toliss A319 here (which SAS uses on this run), and the AVRO RJ-85 (which most airlines used until the recent past), as well as the default 738, the IXEG 733, and the FJS 732. These last two are ideal…if you don’t have the RJ-85 (but you can get one here, by the way, and we recommend all the Avroliner Project’s .acf). This first set of imagers uses the Avro…with a variety of weather conditions set, including Full Winter in TerraMAXX.

Far 146 1

The AVRO-85 is quite docile on this approach (or takeoff) and, again, this .acf is a good choice for your first flights in or out of this airport. Below, I found the A319 more of a challenge but still managed to stop at the turn-off. The FF A320 ought to be more problematic but I didn’t try it here today. Atlantic takes it out to the island so I’d guess it’s legal, same with the 738 (but I did try this one and did manage to get it stopped a little past the turn off). No AP used today, just simple VFR stuff. Here’s Atlantic’s A319, for which no livery currently exists in Xp:

FAR A319 real

Maybe a painter will hit this one soon? Below, the SAS A319 from Copenhagen.

FAR 3 733

Both of the older 737s are easy to use here, and the IXEG 733 acted more like an F4 Phantom with a light load. The new Citation II is a real easy rider here, too. I haven’t tried the Saab 340 but it should be an obvious choice. Jack’s 732 turned out to my favorite here due to its forgiving flight model (and great AirStairs!!!).

Far 732 Cit

The Citation II was pure fun (and a revision was posted Sunday, to v1.1, at Carenado, so…better update). Stall comes on fast at 80KIAS, so start a deep flare at 85-82 to make an easy landing on that inclined threshold area. Maybe a revised file could see the runways built up to current standards?

tdg’s Must Have file is located here. Give it a try:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48131-ekvg-vagar-airport-faroe-islands/

The Atlantic paint for the FF320:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/48154-ff-a320-atlantic-airways/

The Atlantic paint for the Avro-85:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45039-avroliner-rj85-atlantic-airways-oy-rcd/

//

FSD hdr

Captain K-man’s KFSD + Joe Foss Field, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is as unlikely a place to find a rip-roaringly good airport file in X-plane as we’re likely to find in a while, yet this airport will fit into any existing route network that utilizes Chicago, Detroit, or Minneapolis as a go-to hub, and you’ll also find Southwest, Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier here, hitting destinations all over the American West.

We’ve covered this one in-depth before so we won’t waste a lot of breath on words. That said, take a look:

FSD 1

Like that old America AL paint? Yeah, me too. Check out this link:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/profile/341022-fscabral/content/&type=downloads_file&

Below, a bunch of images at extreme magnification (telephoto effect):

FSD 2

The image with the FedEX DC-10 hit me…mainly because of the street in the distance. Look at the traffic, then all the other traffic signs and lights. This is the plausible world Austin was talking about at the introduction to v10, come to life here in South Dakota. Now, some daylight…finally…

FSD 3

If you ever want to know why car/objects should be used around a scenery file – instead of orthos with ortho cars – look at this airport file.

Again, this is turning into a crazy-good airport file, by any measure.

//

Now, we’ll end today’s post with a bunch of images at aeroSoft’s LSZH Zurich, with Winter-World active via TerraMAXX:

LSZH 1

Notable above? A panel mod for the SSG 748i that tweaks textures and lighting, and that can be found here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/41283-cockpit-textures-for-ssg´s-747-8/

The FF Trip-7 is seen below, and note that with TerraMAXX active it casts a blue winter light on all scenery and cockpit imagery.

LSZH trip7

Gorgeous paints, neh?

Oh yes…as mentioned the Carenado Citation II posted a revision on Sunday night to v1.1, and the Milviz 310R posted its first revision today…to v1.1 as well. The 310 proved quite forgiving on these approaches, in case interested. The TBM900 updated twice yesterday and I’m still getting “caught up” with that .acf…

FAR 310 end

Hasta later…we’ll be back with more…soon – and thanks for dropping by –

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