x+s+r // edlw + rjns + n07 + ukll

xsr hdr rj

A lot to cover today, so let’s jump right in.

Recall our 741 reminisces last week? Well, with at least one 742 about to hit the market, how about a quick spotter’s guide for older 747s?

  1. The 741, steam gauge city and note, typically just three windows per side on the upper deck, at least on the earliest versions:


2. Whereas on the 742, you’ll typically find 8 windows per side on the upper deck:


3. The 743 was the radical departure, now seen with the original elongated upper deck and a glass cockpit – but without the winglets found on the 744:

KLM 743

The Delta 741 pictured above was a frequent visitor to Dallas Love Field, by the way; it was a gorgeous aircraft and the huge cockpit was intimidating in its day. I flew to ATL on the way to FRA in this very aircraft…so kind of good to see her again.


EDLW Dortmund

xsr edlw

Despite being a little smaller than aeroSoft’s last file (EDNY Friedrichshafen), this latest airport contains a vibrantly lifelike airport as well as an unusually deep city file and, as a result, we hope this marks a turning point of sorts for aeroSoft going forward. Many of their recent efforts have been devoid of such detail, and with poor night textures the results were dismal. Still, you won’t run into either of these issues with this new file.

EDLW comp 1

You’ll not find smeary blue window textures here, yet this is a small terminal and you have to wonder why the developers didn’t opt for a modeled interior. I guess the answer to that question is almost obvious, however: they needed the headroom to power the city file. Still, these windows are devoid of life and make the terminal look like a closed facility, or maybe the interior of a giant freezer.

EDLW comp 2

The model doesn’t waste CPU/GPU power on the terminal entry or parking lots, and we don’t like the results – but – this is a flight simulator, not a parking lot simulator so we can live with the results. Still, when you look at a tdg or Mr X airport you’ll find better results…yet that takes us right back into the scenery object library debate…and we’ve had that conversation before…and besides, the attention to detail seen in the custom objects below makes up for all that other stuff.

EDLW comp 3

You’ll find the industrial areas around the airport nicely done, too, and even the nearby suburban tracts are convincingly nestled on contoured ravines – and the results are simply excellent, despite some blurry ortho textures doing double duty as parking lots and parked cars.

EDLW comp 4

When you first explore the city of Dortmund you’ll want to do so in a flutterbug or a fixed wing that will allow you to putter around at slow speed. This is a rich, densely modeled area that is fascinating and immersive. The area is, in other words, a highlight of the file.

EDLW comp 5

Dortmund is located in the Ruhr Industrial Area, yet the city is ancient even by European standards. Read this, from wikipedia’s introduction to the city:

Founded around 882, Dortmund became an Imperial Free City. Throughout the 13th to 14th centuries, it was the “chief city” of the Rhine, Westphalia, the Netherlands Circle of the Hanseatic League. After the Thirty Years’ War the city was destroyed and decreased in significance until the onset of industrialization. The city then became one of Germany’s most important coal, steel and beer centres. Dortmund consequently was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II. The devastating bombing raids of 12 March 1945 destroyed 98% of buildings in the inner city center. These bombing raids, with more than 1,110 aircraft, hold the record to a single target in World War II.

The region has adapted since the collapse of its century-long steel and coal industries and shifted to high-technology biomedical technology, micro systems technology and also services. In 2009, Dortmund was classified as a Node city in the Innovation Cities Index published by 2thinknow and is the most sustainable city in Germany.


EDLW is currently serviced by five airlines with a short but impressive list of destinations, and you can fly to many Mediterranean and Eastern European destinations, as well as a few short inter-city RJ flights, including Munich and London Luton. A few Greek and Atlantic Island options round out the list. Below, the real airport:

EDLW real 1

Perhaps this file, along with Friedrichshafen, represents a kind of “pause and take stock” moment for aeroSoft. We hope so. After a string of unimpressive airport files they desperately need to “up their game” in order to remain competitive in this constantly evolving market. Looking at images of aeroSoft’s recent files for the FsX/P3D crowd, I am NOT impressed with what I see, and as the catalogue of Laminar’s LegoBrick tools continues to grow, and improve, payware developers won’t be able to stand still and try to pawn off the “same-ole, same ole” for much longer. There are simply too many good freeware files hitting the market now.

Still, that statement is not meant to imply there’s no market for payware in the X-plane ecosystem. That’s simply not true, and everyone knows it. What that statement does mean, and explicitly so, is that the market for mediocre payware is going to dry up real fast, and looking over this file it seems to me that aeroSoft finally “gets that.”

This file has good depth on the ramps but lacks weathering and other detail (i.e., clutter), yet the buildings are excellent, and decent at night. We think it was a mistake to not model the main terminal interior but understand why; still, we see this as a missed opportunity to compete with the DD design ethos (re: Warsaw Chopin).

EDLW real 2

The lack of a more detailed terminal entry and parking lot detail was an odd omission, but again, we view that as a compromise reached to allow a more detailed city file to be developed and included as part of this effort. Still, the interior seen above would have been interesting.

All in all, this is a solid effort that falls short in only a few areas, yet it’s still possible this is going to be a hard sell for many people simply because the real airport is a minor player on the world stage. And while that may be the file’s Achilles heel, we’d nonetheless recommend you give this one a try if at all interested in this part of Germany, and Europe. RJs, 737s, A319s, and even GA flyers and flutterbug operators will all find something to like here.


Rather than just present EDLW today, we thought that a few new freeware files might put the opinions expressed above into sharp relief.

The next file we’ll look at is a small GA facility in New Jersey, one not at all far from New York City. Given our growing list of great freeware and payware files in the region, including iBlueYonder’s Nantucket, Minute Man and Plum Island, as well as great airports on Block Island and Long Island, this airport will fit into a really interesting matrix of truly good GA airport files. So without further ado, here’s N07 Lincoln Park airport, complete with a nice coffee shop:


From the Victorian light posts to the runway and taxiway markings, this little airport is detailed to the max, and in practice this airport simply “feels good.”

N07 ge

Yes, if flying out Long Island you’ll transit the NYC/LaGuardia TCZ but that should make this an interesting, if complex training flight if flying under ATC. You’ll find the file here:


And we highly recommend you try this one out.


The next file we’ll look at is located in Japan and the airport is quite literally almost under Mount Fuji’s shadow, and this is also an excellent file that pushes the boundaries of just how good a freeware file can be. In other words, if this is freeware, just how good would a payware file have to be in order to represent a competitive choice in the market? Anyway, here’s RJNS Mount Fuji / Shizuoka Airport:


I hate to even mention this, but compare this file to Dortmund, just the airport, and compare in terms of immersive potential and how it feels in day-to-day use. The thing is: I’m just not sure aeroSoft is going to like the answer to this proposition. In fact, if you have the time I’d recommend you do just that: try them both and see what you think about the airports. The EDLW file includes the city, yet this RJNS file also includes a detailed Mount Fuji file, as well as orthos and detailed bridge files. The surrounding area in this file is impressive as can be, and I’d say almost equal to the Dortmund effort…but you decide.


You’ll want to look over the runway lighting too, then putter over the surrounding city to really get a feel for all this area has to offer.


Located SW of the Tokyo metropolitan area, when you fly between these two cities you’re going to do so with Mount Fuji just off your wingtip, and there just aren’t too many files out there that will present you with this opportunity (The list of airlines and destinations is kind of interesting too, though no Tokyo airports are listed – bullet train, anyone?).


Yes, night textures on windows could be better, but that’s not a fair gripe for freeware, but like Dortmund our guess is most of us will look this one over and say “no, thanks.” With most of the available destinations located in Korea and China, just how many people in Grand Prairie, Texas are going to be interested in this? And that’s always been a problem in X-plane, hasn’t it…?

Because there are no payware files for major Japanese airports, let alone Beijing or Seoul. There ARE a few good freeware options in Japan (try this one), but by-and-large many of the options fall short of current standards, so unless tdg or someone with similar skills gets to work the situation won’t change anytime soon. It hasn’t over the past ten years, anyway. And Japan would be SO interesting, even for domestic flights. The mountains are surreal just west of here…

Anyway, you’ll find the file here:


We highly recommend you give this one a try.


One last file, and just a quick look around for now.


Welcome to UKLL Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport, located in Lviv, Ukraine (in the far western part of the country, about 30 miles from the Polish border). There’s a decent list of airlines and destinations, so we’d say if at all interested in expanding your stable of airports in Eastern Europe you’re going to want this file.

Still, you might look this file over for another reason. Yes, to compare with aeroSoft’s recent files, and no, we’re not picking on aeroSoft. We ARE yet again calling attention to the rapidly increasing quality of freeware files AND trying to raise the alarm for payware developers! Again, payware file developers really need to kick it up a notch, because the competitive environment is showing no signs loosening up. So…fly your Toliss A319 from Vienna to this little gem and then on to EDLW, then think about what you experienced.

You’ll find this UKLL file here:


Again, we really like EDLW and we think aeroSoft is moving in the right direction with this release. Still, when you look at recent payware efforts (such as in Poland, with one of our favorite small commercial airports, FlyDesign’s EPSY) you just have to step back and look at the overall picture in order to understand how rapidly this market is changing. With fresh young designers moving into the market and eager to show-off their talent, things are only going to get more interesting.

Y’all have a great weekend – A


Posted in Europe Regional Routes, Opinion, Scenery: Europe | Tagged | Leave a comment

x+s+r // aeroSoft edlw dortmund released

xsr edlw

Just a quick note for now, but aeroSoft released Dortmund late at night here in the states, early in the morning in the EU, and we’ve used it for an hour or so and can report this is one of aeroSoft’s better files, perhaps the best in a long, long time. We’ll add to this post later on Friday with more details, and more imagery, but the file is currently out at the aeroSoft Store.


A highlight of the project is a nicely realized Dortmund city file.


Night textures are better than most of aeroSoft’s recent efforts, as well.


Again, we’ll have more later on Friday.

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x+s+r // eglc + nzch + pakt + mroc

xsr threshold 738 hdr

Hate to start off this post with bad news, but Chip suffered a mild stroke a few days ago. They caught it early but he may be out of it for a while; anyway, he’s on the mend and will be resting, so I’ll try to muddle on as best I can until he’s back in the saddle again. Also a further note concerning this site, you’ll see the default 738 wearing a Threshold “N-XSR” paint around the ramps today, and that’s not an accident. Not long ago Threshold contacted us and asked if we would like to migrate to their site, and we’ve thought about what that might mean for the future of x+sim+reviews going forward; we’re still not sure what it means for us a year or so down the road, but for now there won’t be many changes, if any at all – beyond a new “address.” We’ll still focus on new files, both freeware and payware, and still only those released for X-plane 11.00+, and we’ve been promised a hands-off policy so we’ll still write like the idiotic morons we strive to be. (I think you’ll agree we’ve succeeded quite well on that score.) At any rate, writing for this blog, as Chip told me once, has been a window through which we can see each other, to share insights and observations about this thing that unites us – this whole X-plane thing. We hope that’s what dropping by has become for you, and it’s an idea we’d like to see carry-on after we can no longer work on it as much as we’d like…hence…Threshold is an opportunity to make that come true. The thinking is that both Chip and myself will continue writing until such a time as either one or both of us simply can’t any longer, and then we’ll turn our duties over to someone in the Threshold community to carry-on. It’s not immortality we’re seeking, but continuity, as – like any such endeavor – our community needs independent voices to help get the word on new files out there, and you may have used our site over the years to look up information on a file that came out months ago, and we want to see that service continue, as well. To that end, we’ll keep this site up and running after we start the transition, and even long after…just so you can search our past issues for information not yet on the Threshold servers.

So…still no changes yet, we’ll still be right here as we work out the nuts and bolts issues of our migration, but we wanted to share this information with you now, because change is the one constant in our little corner of the universe.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


FranceVFR released their long-awaited LFMT file this morning, but when we tried to purchase through their store the transaction stalled out, twice, so we won’t have anything further to say about that one. We’ve noted a trend among smaller developers to try this “independent store” approach for some time, yet many such efforts end in failure if only because of issues like this. The truth is rather simply put, too. Middlemen like the Org, aeroSoft, and Threshold may charge a small percentage, but they help eliminate this kind of nonsense. Many US banks simply flag European transactions for denial, so adding another service like PayPal might make more sense, but nothing beats having a real, live customer service rep online to handle issues like these.

Anyway, best of luck to FranceVFR on their new release.


eglc hdr

JColgate’s new EGLC London City is the best version of this fabled airport I’ve seen to date. There is a payware file under development and hopefully this other team will do their homework, because this new jCola London City is a rip-snorter (translation: it’s really very good).


Lots of scenery library objects in this one, including many of the usual suspects…

– MisterX Library v1.6 (and the new v1.6 is mandatory – so, see, we told you to update last week!)
– FAIB Aircraft Library
– The Fruitstand library
– RA Library
– PP Library (aka the pavement paintings library)
– CDB Library
– OpenSceneryX

…so those of you not doing the scenery library dance, you’ll want to shuffle on down through the next few files. For those of you imbibing, just note this file uses assets from Xp11.20, so if you haven’t upgraded yet – now’s the time. The next set was imaged without AlpilotX’s v4 mesh…so there are lots of roadway and railway errors, and dense urban areas are weirdly full of small houses.

eglc 2

Another thing to consider, post v11.05 objects assets in central London were added, so flying over the area is quite fun if you know what to look out for. Central London looks great! Note the London “I” and Parliament/Big Ben below:

eglc 3

This is a Must Have file, and you’ll find it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46123-eglc-london-city-airport/


Here’s a fun Lego-brick airport for Christchurch, NZ, and it’s a keeper.


This file, by fsclips, requires Xp11.20, as well as the following scenery libraries:

– MisterX library (version not specified, but do we have to nag you to update again?)
– OpensceneryX
– The Fruit Stand Aircraft (for the static aircraft version)
– Cami De Bellis’ (CDB) Library
– Autogate (for animated jetways)

fsclips has released a bunch of decent files lately, so you might check out his other files – located here. His NZCH file can be found here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46149-nzch-christchurch-int-airport-new-zealand/


And here’s an amazing gray cockpit/panel file for the default 744, by Dak7.

744 gray panel

Have to admit this looks good, despite not being legit to the 744, and in a way it simply makes the default 744 much more unusual, kind of like opening up a new airplane. You’ll find these new colors here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46111-b747-400-bluegrey-cockpit-repaint/

Easy installation, too. Just follow the simple instructions in the ReadMe file.


Hesitate to show this PAKT Ketchikan International, because it’s been yanked from the servers at the Org. Still, it was decent and perhaps it’ll return.


If you need an airport at this location, there remains relicroy’s file:

PAKT old

…which you’ll find here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/37875-pakt-ketchikan-international-airport/


And finally, a few interesting paints to round out the day, with links below:


  1. https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46117-ff-a320-finnair-happy-holidays/
  2. https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45752-fictional-icelandair-livery-for-defaultzibo-738-by-request/
  3. https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46073-ssg-747-8i-advanced-new-gol/
  4. https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46119-ssg-747-8i-hifly-malta/
  5. https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46070-ssg-747-8i-corsair/

And I hear the Fat Lady singing so its time to beat feet. We’ll see you next time, on our way over the Threshold – A

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x+s+r // nttb + lsgy + 727s at kdal

xsr NTTB hdr

Another new Tahitian file today, a revised GA airport file in NE Switzerland, and yet another trip down memory lane as we reflect on Dallas Love Field in the 60s and 70s. Ready? Okay, let’s dive in…!


Continuing a recent trend with Alpha Aviation releasing another file in the Tahitian archipelago, and todays new airport is for NTTB Bora-Bora. This island group is located about 140 miles NW of Papeete, so a long trip in a GA single and more suited to a twin like the Navajo, the new Aero Commander, or any number of small King Air-class turboprops. Scheduled service to a number of regional islands is carried out via ATR-42 & 72 aircraft by Air Tahiti.


The island is justly famous as a diving paradise, with reef diving a notable activity here. Looking at sunsets probably ranks as the number two activity, and a quick look around at the surroundings will reveal why:

Bora real 2

I’d guess the main attraction is the new Four Seasons Resort complex:

Bora Bora Real 1 4 seasons

And the other attraction? Diving…

This airport is located on a small motu (island) in the lagoon area, so ferry service is required to get passengers to the main island for transfers on to their hotels, and this transfer pier is included in the file… Oh, try this livery for the MagKnight 789 at NTAA:

ATN 789



Freshly revised: LSGY – “Yverdon-Les-Bains” Airfield


Lots more little objects in this revision, like the large mower  seen just above, and this file is getting more interesting with each new revision.



Something a little different today: a look back at KDAL Dallas Love Field, Braniff International, and with some gratuitous shots of Fly-J-Sims 727v2 thrown in for good measure. And we’re imaging the airport in Xp11.25 using this airport file: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/38777-kdal-dallas-love-field-by-dsd-gaming/

This is a decent enough freeware file, in some ways almost as good as payware, and it’s a reasonably accurate rendition of the airport circa 2015-2107. There are always construction projects going on as this airport morphs again and again to accommodate Southwest Airlines.

Below, a 727-100 in Braniff’s first “Flying Colors” scheme, followed by a 722 in the second version.

KDAL 721 722

Fly-J-Sim’s cockpit lacks only one thing to feel complete: fresh coffee and stale cigarette smoke. This ‘pit – without a GPS or INS – is the way flying should be, while this night ‘pit is about as good as it gets.

KDAL 721 pitvu

Which is a good thing, as this KDAL works especially well at night.

KDAL 721 2

As good as Jack’s 727 series is, there was room for improvement and he’s about to release v3, and we’re excited about this one, folks. I’ve heard rumbles about no cabin model, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’re still no opening doors and cargo hatches. And I get that, too. Save framerates for the things that really matter and cut out everything else. And although we agree, odds are more than a few people won’t get this file for those very reasons.

All I can say is “Wow, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

Oh, the second image below is the old Braniff simulator campus & maintenance hanger, but more on that further down…

KDAL comp 2 day

Above, the airport in Xp; below, the real McCoy on a broken overcast day, with Big D in the distance.

KDAL aerial view

Commercial aviation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a long, storied history – while some might call the history between these two cities more than a little contentious. During the post-war years – up through 1969 – there were two commercial airports in the region: Love Field in Dallas and Amon Carter Field on the southeast side of Ft Worth, this second airport later called Great Southwest International. Carter/GSW ceased operations in 1969 after the CAB refused to support two airports in the region, and demanded the cities cooperate in the construction of what would become KDFW, which opened for business in 1974. Hostilities then commenced between the two cities and have rarely subsided since, yet American Airlines has huge facilities on the remnants of Carter/GSW, including a major simulator facility.

Love Field underwent a drastic transformation after WWII, changing from an Army Air Corps training base to something that looked a little like this by the late 1950s:

LOve FIeld c 1960

Braniff even had a sort of monorail system in place, and though it was short lived it was one of the first of its kind in the world. Today the main terminal looks somewhat different, though the basic skeleton remains reasonably intact:

Love entry modern

Love Field was the home of Braniff International, and many of Braniff’s original hangers and operations facilities are still visible at Love today, including this distinctively shaped building:

BI 727 bldg

Which is currently being renovated and will soon look something like this:

BI Tac Air

Maintenance and pilot training took place on this campus, and this side of the airport also had a number of large FBOs (the most successful was Southwest Airmotive), as well as a large installation hanger maintained by Collins Radio.

JFK landed here in Air Force One on 22 November 1963. When he returned to Andrews AFB later that afternoon he was no longer our president, and that event has colored the city – and the airport – for generations.


As we mentioned in a post a few days ago, Love Field saw the first jumbo operations in Dallas, not KDFW. Braniff flew 747s to Honolulu and London from Love, American their first DC-10s, while Delta first flew 747s to KATL, and then L-1011s. Here’s Fat Albert (aka The Great Pumpkin) taking-off for Hawaii on 13R, from the Braniff Archives:

Fat Albert

KDAL is currently ground zero for Southwest Airlines, and whether you manage to get hired by them or just want to go buy a type rating in a 737, their facility at Love Field is where you’ll end up. The video below will take you on a quick look around the facility, and give you an idea of the scope of pilot operations here, but their new campus at KDAL is huge, and will be expanding again soon.

I suppose we’re lucky to have a decent freeware KDAL in X-plane, but given the airport’s long history I hope a good payware file comes along someday. There are a lot of ghosts wandering around the old Braniff facilities, just as there are one or two people left who still have good memories of the place, but time marches on.

Whoever tackles the project, don’t forget the skyline. It’s dramatic and quite colorful at night.

KDAL Bachman

If you weren’t around when Southwest got off the ground, their first slogan was The Airline That Love Made, referencing Love Field – this despite the airport got its name by way of an Army aviator, Moss Love, who was killed in a training accident in 1913.

Just as an aside, the Dallas Police Department’s Academy was, once upon a time, located in the immediate area, and the jogging trail around Bachman Lake (seen in the image just above) was notorious for applicants barfing their guts out on hot summer afternoons. If you’ve ever piloted an aircraft into Love, or jogged this trail, the image above might bring back a few interesting memories. The DPD academy is now, by the by, located by Red Bird Airport, near Duncanville, Texas.

So, a quick look around KDAL, and if you’re flying Southwest 737s or Delta MD80s, don’t forget to hop in here from time to time. It’s a great training airport, and home to a lot of special memories…

And we’ll see you next time. Thanks for dropping by – C

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x+s+r // lzkz + ntte/ntaa

xsr hdr

Carenado’s new Piper PA-31-310 will prove an endlessly useful commuter in all sorts of locations, though a bunch of recent scenery files in French Polynesia (that we’ve been covering) ought to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. This acf slips into and out of even small air-strips with ease, so if interested in this sort of flying you’d do well to think about this latest Piper.

Stephen Dutton informed me that Felis is working on a new, steam-gauge 742, and JustFLIGHT is as well. Thank You Stephen! Thank You Felis! And you guys at JustFLIGHT? Could you speed things up? And did you see Jack’s new video for the 727v3? Head on over to Threshold to check it out (here); and note Threshold has started a new forum for all kinds of information. Sign up and check it out!

And looks like tdg released yet another airport this week, and true to form there’s no way to tell where he’ll strike next. Last time Greece, and today’s file is in Slovakia, so let’s jump right in and take a look.

LZKZ hdr

LZKZ services far-eastern Slovakia, a region with borders on several eastern European countries, including Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Romania and the Czech Republic are close to this region as well, and Austria is not at all far away. Interesting set of airlines and destinations at this airport as well, soon including London Southend. Which, hopefully, someone (ahem, cough-cough) will model. Soon. Vienna and Prague are close enough to make interesting short flights, Warsaw too.


A handful of scenery libraries used in this file, and do note that the MrX Library came out with a major update this week (link here), so update to v1.6 now, before you forget!

If you can see it, look at the quality of the bus pulled up at the terminal (image just below). Smashing! Most of these buildings have good detail on all surfaces, including the rooftops, so the overall effect is quite good from all angles.

LZKZ comp 1

Only problem I had? A small exclusion zone area in the parking lot (below) leaves two houses quite near the terminal.

LZKZ exclusion zone

In use, the airport is small enough to be easy to find your way around and otherwise trouble-free, yet detailed enough to get your attention, and keep it. Interesting destinations only make it more useful.

LZKZ comp 2

There’s a huge, quite important Gothic Cathedral about five miles away and if it was included in the file I couldn’t find it. It’s things like this that take a file to the next level, good for VFR reporting landmarks and just for the fun of discovering such things in X-plane.

Sigh. Maybe next time.

Anyway, tdg’s latest is right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46038-lzkz-kosice-international-airport-slovakia/


alpha-aviation has dropped three new files on us this week, and all clustered around Papeete, Tahiti. Below, just added this afternoon, NTAA in Papeete, and keep in mind these are all Xp11 only files. If interested in these airports but still using an older version of Xp, drop on by the xpfr site and get their versions (here).


And late yesterday NTTE Tetiaroa came out, a small commuter airport located on a tiny islet.


Here’s the layout in Google Earth:

FPA ge

If you recall, NTTM came out earlier in the week (review), and you’ll find all three files at the link above. They’re not complex files, and I suppose that’s because they’re not complex airports, but the region is fun to fly around so check it out.

Y’all have fun this weekend, and we’ll see you next time – A

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x+s+r // 741 + carenado pa31 navajo

xsr 741 KBOS

We usually focus on scenery files, but not tonight.

Let’s start with a freeware 747-100 (741), commonly referred to as turboblazer’s 747. This file has been around a while and paints come out for the file from time to time. That’s the acf, above, wearing a new TWA paint that came out this week, and the images below are from a couple of real 741s, so let’s take a look at those first.

741 cockpit images

The first thing to take note of is the steam-gauge panel. Second, the color: gray. Below, a decent vid of the last flying -100. Worth a watch, too:

And here’s turboblazer’s acf in action, departing Mr Xs KBOS:

741 comp.png

It’s odd that this file is labeled a 747-100, as its plain to see this cockpit resembles what you’d find in a 747-300, and some displays look like they came right out of a 747-400. The panel color is simply wrong, too, and the cockpit omits the flight engineer’s station entirely. The engines do not appear accurate, at least not what was found on original production -100s, as these resemble Rolls-Royce RB-211s found on later variants and on the L-1011. The leading edge on this wing appears to be off just a tad, too, as the slats do not extend to a fully deployed position.

Flaps and landing gear look decent enough, and the rest of the external model might pass for a -100, too. There’s a hard spline that extends up from the center of the windscreen that could be smoothed out a bit, and the cockpit windows aren’t quite accurately designed, but those are small quibbles. In the end, what we have is a very nice freeware file that in fact more closely resembles a 747-300, at least in the cockpit.

Goran at Leading Edge Simulations (of Saab 340a fame) had been working on a classic steam gauge 742 during the 2010-12 time frame, but as I haven’t talked with him in ages I really have no idea how far along he took that work, and I’ve seen no word on this project moving forward. You can find some of his old development images online (here, for instance), but at this stage those dated images are almost meaningless. He’d be an ideal developer to tackle the project, however.  Jack at Fly-J-Sim is the current guru on steam-gauge Boeings, and if his promising 727v3 turns out to be as good as it looks I’d think he might be in a good position to tackle this daunting aircraft, too. Of course, if you want to dive into the deep end of the speculation pool, wouldn’t it be something if IXEG was working on this? It’s impossible to tell if this team finished the 733 and then disbanded, or if they’re locked away in a closet somewhere hard at work on their next project. I think that’s called silent running, and after what happened to XPJets that’s not hard to understand.

In the end, however, as interesting as this freeware “747-100” is, or could have been, it’s just not a classic steam gauge cockpit so I’m not sure why anyone would choose to use it instead of the Laminar’s default 744. When that file first came out (early in v10) the aircraft looked more like a weird 743, yet now, in v11.25 the exterior is improved and the cockpit is just about better than payware. The funky segmented flex as the wing loads remains problematic, but I reckon the team at Laminar will perfect that too one day, perhaps even bring the acf up to PMDG standards. Time will tell, I assume.

Anyway, this 741 is worth tinkering with, and you’ll find it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/35638-boeing-747-100/

The TWA paint is right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46004-trans-world-airlines-twa-livery-for-turboblazers-747-100/


Pa31 hdr

When Carenado first came to X-plane, and that was not quite ten years ago now, there was a tremendous sense of excitement in the community. Some of that had to do with an established FsX developer finally coming to X-plane (they were the first, by the way), but there was also real recognition that one of our own – Dan Klaue – was responsible for the conversion. Dan had been making all kinds of tutorials concerning the proper use of powerful drawing tools, then he made his ERJ and cemented a name for himself. Carenado picked him to help with their conversions, and they’ve stuck with him ever since.

Good thing, too.

Because this new Piper Navajo is outstanding, and in no small part because the file lets all the rendering assets in Xp11 really shine through. Yes, it’s a Carenado Class file – and then some – with a sumptuous interior, a brilliantly detailed exterior, but this one has what may be the best panel Carenado has yet done for X-plane…so…thank you, Dan! It takes an insider to squeeze the most out of Xp11, and Dan has proven himself capable time and time again.

The Navajo was a light/medium twin produced from the mid-60s through the mid-80s (1966-1984), and Carenado’s variant, the PA-31-310, is a non-pressurized model with two turbocharged Lycomings and a well equipped panel capable of basic IFR operations. The aircraft competes with such aircraft as the Cessna 400 series, and many have seen service in the commuter airliner role.

Let’s take a look around the exterior first…noting this model is equipped with the optional wide passenger door and that cones and a ground cart are included. The interior seems quite well modeled, and after a quick look around back there I found that all the textures are sharp and as usual the overhead reading lights work. You gotta love the varieties of light reflecting off the treads in the image just below. Awesome.

Pa310 comp 1

The front office in this file is a treat for the eyes, with color, light, and shadow combining to create a really immersive looking cockpit. Of course, none of that would mean a thing if it didn’t work well, but this is Carenado we’re talking about, and good operations are almost a given – yet the point can be made that part of the ease of operation you’ll experience in this file comes directly as a result of this brilliantly modeled and textured panel. There’s no time wasted trying to read blurry or dimly lit instruments, and along with a good HSI and decent AHI, you’ll find a Garmin 530, dual NAVCOMM heads, a weather radar, a dual channel Lean Assist indicator and my favorite IFR add-on: a radar altimeter. Good anti-icing equipment is provided, as well, including boots.

Pa31 pit

I’m pretty sure you won’t find a better GA panel out there.

We took her up for an extended spin around Mr X’s PAJN Juneau and handling was pure Piper – hard to trim and keep trimmed at speed. But that’s what APs are for, right? And the same AP unit Carenado uses in most Beechcraft and larger Cessnas shows up here, so odds are you know it already so won’t have any issues with it.

At lower speeds, the flight model is benign and she handles well on final.

Pa31 comp 2

I’ve had a few rough nights in Navajos. One night flying into Baton Rouge, the fuel manifold ruptured and all the gas onboard just disappeared – about three miles from the threshold. We ended up with branches and leaves in the landing gear – and a few more gray hairs – but that was about the extent of it.

On another night we flew down to Dilly, Texas to pick up some dove hunters and fly them back to Oklahoma. The weather was nasty, big thunderstorms, lots of lightning, and the poor guys had apparently been down to Mexico the day before and their stomachs were in bad shape. We had to land in Wichita Falls and hose out the interior. I have never seen so much barf and diarrhea come out of four people in my life.


Carenado’s PA31 is a big winner, a MUST HAVE file for anyone interested in flying GA twins under both VFR and moderate IFR conditions. The flight model is sound, the detailing “best in it’s class” – and the panel will delight even the most experienced pilots in X-plane.

Its at the Carenado Store right now, and it’ll no doubt turn up in all the usual places within a day or so. I wouldn’t miss this one, as it’s as good as their recent Aero Commander, and I’d say that Carenado, and Dan Klaue, are on a roll right now.

Thanks, and we’ll sea you around the campfire. Beware of barking tree-frogs – C


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x+s+r // nttm + cymx + mmpq

small LH707320c.png

It really doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago when jets like this Lufthansa 707-328 were new and exciting. Driving out to Dallas Love Field with my dad when I was a teenager, we routinely watched Braniff DC-6s and 7s lumber down the runway, or the occasional Trans Texas DC-3 too. Still, long before the Beatles burst on the scene we might see a Braniff 707 coming or going and, as we’d often park near the end of the runway while we watched the flow of traffic, when one of these new jets took-off we’d cover our ears as they roared-off down the runway. You could feel concussive waves through your entire body build – then fade slowly away, and I remember those moments as being full of giddiness – and something akin to awe.

When I was processing the image above all those memories came back to me, and who knows, maybe it was the black smoke that got to me. Those of you not around when the 707 came on the scene won’t have anything to relate to, but let me just say those beasts were really very loud, I mean ear-splitting loud, and the amount of dark gray soot that belched out of those primitive jet engines had to be seen to be believed. Those first jets would leap into the sky and you could still see them minutes later just by following the blackish-gray soot trail they left in the sky, and the pervasive smell of half-burned jet fuel surrounded the airport 24 hours a day. But if you were born thirty years ago? Well, all that was just about gone by that point…

Yet it wasn’t so many years after the first 707 came to Dallas when Braniff and Delta were flying 747s out of Love Field (yes, Love Field), but when one of those monsters took off the feel was entirely different. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people gathered to watch those first flights, when Delta’s 747 took off for Atlanta and Braniff to Honolulu. Atlanta! – can you imagine Dallas to Atlanta in a 747? Those first 741s were remarkably quiet, yet as we watched them start their takeoff run we’d hold our breath…because we just knew there was no way something so big could really make it up into the sky. The first time my dad and I watched Fat Albert, Braniff’s bright orange 747-100, the sight was at once frightening and astonishing, truly a surreal sight. We’d watch the main gears retract and shake our heads…because something so big just didn’t fit into our conception of “flight.”  You can sigh at the cliché of “My, how things change…” – but it’s true. I think about my grandfather from time to time, born before the first automobile hit the market, and he would witness two world wars and men walking on the moon. That’s not a cliché…that’s life, and you might stop and think about that ebb and flow from time to time, try to make sense of the world streaming by…

Reading this week about Boeing’s current forecast for commercial aircraft over the next twenty years, they think 70+ percent of the market for new aircraft will be for single aisle aircraft, and while a market for the new 777 might still exist, it looks like the 787 will make up the majority of Boeings twin aisle market. The 747 looks to be going the way of the dodo and, indeed, Airbus’ A380 faces an equally bewildering, even a troubled future. Wasn’t it just a few years ago Airbus rolled out the A380 to such hopeful fanfare?

And yet over the past few months Boeing has absorbed Embraer and Airbus Canadair/Bombardier, so the trend towards consolidation continues, as does the outlook for smaller jets. Ventures in China and Russia will enter the market facing two immensely strong rivals with solid market presence, so who knows how the market will evolve over the next twenty to fifty years. Indeed, with Trump’s America embarking on trade wars of massive proportions, who knows what will happen to Boeing by the time the dust settles. And how will climate change shape the market?  To the people living in Los Angeles this past week, that’s a burning question – isn’t it?

One thing now seems certain, however. Twenty years on I doubt there will be many 747s left in the skies. Of course, there was a time, and it wasn’t so long ago really, when I said the same thing about 707s. Interesting to watch the flow of history. What will you see come and go?


No, nothing new from xpfr this time out, rather we have a new NTTM Moorea by Alpha Aviation, and we hopped across the channel to NTAA in the little E-Jet (it takes about five minutes, by the way, to get there, and don’t bother climbing above 1500MSL). So, one more duplicate file – but this one is nicely done so we’ve included it in today’s post in case you get curious.


The ramps at NTTM are too small to handle even the little E-Jet, and the Twin Otter is really all you need; and though xpfr’s French Polynesia files could use a little updating, you already knew that. The new NTTM file can be found here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45975-moorea-temae-airport-nttm-french-polynesia/


Next on our list today, CYMX – Montreal Mirabel Airport, located in Quebec, Canada. This new file, by the ever prolific Canada4XPlane, kind of came out of the blue and I would highly recommend you download this one straight away and look it over. The airport is huge, the facilities modeled are impressively diverse, and you’ll want to read up on this airport (here) before figuring out how to use this file. Here’s the opening paragraph from the wikipedia entry, just in case:

Montréal–Mirabel International Airport (IATA: YMX, ICAO: CYMX), originally called Montréal International Airport and widely known as Mirabel, is a cargo and former international passenger airport in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, 21 nautical miles (39 km; 24 mi) northwest of Montreal. It opened on October 4, 1975, and the last commercial passenger flight took off on October 31, 2004. The main role of the airport today is cargo flights, but it is also home to MEDEVAC and general aviation flights, and is a manufacturing base for Bombardier Aerospace, where final assembly of regional jet (CRJ700, CRJ900 and CRJ1000) aircraft and the Airbus A220 (formerly Bombardier CSeries) is conducted. The former passenger terminal apron is now a racing course, and the terminal building was demolished in 2016.

That said (or read), you’ll want to look this one over carefully. It’s impressive, and not so long ago would have been considered payware quality.


If air cargo is your thing, this one ought to be at the top of your list of things to do this weekend. Get it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45987-cymx-montreal-mirabel-airport/

And oh, there’s a separate winter textures file included. Nice touch.

748f to CDG, perhaps?


YPDN Darwin, Oz came in for a revision and it’s worth adding if only to provide another destination to fly to from Orbx’s Broom. Decent little file it is, too.


Next up (as in just above): this revised GMMI + Essaouira-Mogador Airport  serves Essaouira, Morocco, a small city in the Marrakesh-Safi region of Morocco. You’ll find direct flights to Paris from here, and an interesting variety of other European and Moroccan destinations, as well. Very interesting little airport, nicely done file. Get it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45990-gmmi-essaouira-mogador-airport-v2/


Palenque most often refers to a Mayan ruin complex south of the Bay of Campeche, and the town that grew up in the area isn’t anywhere near as old as the ruins. ruifo’s latest airport file, for MMPQ Palenque, is actually one of the newest airports in Mexico, which appears to have been built to funnel tourists to the ruins.

The ruins?

Yeah, the ruins. Not familiar? Take a look:


One of the oldest such sites in the Americas, Palenque dates back to 200 BCE and was a flourishing city by 500 AD. More remarkable still? The current site open to the public covers approximately one square mile, yet estimates are that only ten percent of the site has been reclaimed from the surrounding jungle.

And yes, the area around the ruins is pure jungle, complete with big cats (jaguars) and even bigger snakes, and despite these cute critters almost a million tourists visited last year. The new airport has been purpose built to handle these crowds, and the town of Palenque in located near enough to present few logistical problems.

Looking at the first image just below, the more distant runway services the commercial terminal (just barely visible upper right) and the small GA/bizjet ramps are located lower center of the image…complete with their own runway!

ruifo’s airport uses Laminar assets (only) so frame-rates are not an issue, and let me call your attention to one of the images below – the fifth, to be precise. The Laminar MD80 is being serviced by the JarDesigns Ground Handling package, while the Laminar 738 is actually an AI aircraft…and note that it too is being serviced, only by Laminar’s ground equipment. First time I’ve run across this, and it was quite impressive to watch. The Laminar baggage truck at the MD80 drove up and stopped by the JarDesigns loaders, which was a first, too.


This new file is vintage ruifo too, meaning it’s simply excellent. I can recommend visiting the ruins, too, though when I first went (around 1970) conditions were a little more primitive than you’ll find today. We ran across a little restaurant out in the jungle (seriously) and they had bowls of “hot sauce” on the tables. Clear liquid, like water, only with a bit of shaved carrot and pepper floating in it…and I remember thinking: “How hot can it be?” Famous last words. Someone down there had discovered a potent new variety of rectal rocket fuel and put it in a bowl, and the lukewarm cerveza I downed as a result of the ensuing inferno did not one thing to put out the spreading fire. Then, of course, the cramps hit, followed by the dreaded Aztec two-step an hour or so later.

Ah, Mexico.

I didn’t check, but wouldn’t it be nice if the ruins were modeled and included in this file? Talk about nirvana for flutterbugs…!

Anyway, you can pick up ruifo’s latest right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45985-mx-mmpq-palenque-intl-airport-2018/

Uh…hot sauce optional.


And last up today, if you want to drop a little old-school class on Mike Wilson’s Boeing 707-320c, try this vintage Lufthansa paint. Pure. Bodacious. Gorgeous. Both of ’em, and what an amazing aircraft to fly. Give it a try.

LH707320c comp

And you’ll find the paint here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/45981-lufthansa-707-320/  and the acf at the Org Store.

And that’s about all the fun we can stand today. Y’all best fire up X-plane and go make a few memories of your own. Adios, and we’ll see you next time – C

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