• Saturday

    | 328 views


    Flight Simulator X - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Aviolet Boeing 737-300 by Ivano Marongiu
    Air Canada Express Embraer 175 (C-FRQN) by Gustavo Aguiar
    Update for Volga-Dnepr An-124 RA-82044 by Adam Hamada | Thomas Ruth

    Flight Simulator X - Scenery
    Shetland, West Mainland upgrade for Orbx Scotland. by john watts

    Flight Simulator 2004 - Aircraft Repaints, Textures and Modifications
    Swissair Boeing 777-300ER (HB-JNF) by Sergey Gleba aka serg09

    FSFlyingSchool 2017 for X-Plane 11 and 10

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    The team of talking virtual instructors in FSFlyingSchool 2017 for X-Plane 11 and 10 now support a whole hangar full of popular aircraft, small, medium and large, and the list of supported aircraft is growing. All these planes are supported at the same level of detail which has been popular with FSFlyingSchool's FSX and Prepar3D add-ons and for which FSFlyingSchool has won 5 consecutive PC Pilot Magazine Classic Product Awards.
    In addition, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and Cessna 208 Caravan are supported at the extra 'detail pack' level, at which the instructor knows are great deal more about the specific airplane, including procedures, checklists, v-speeds, engine management and much more.
    The following aircraft are automatically supported in this new product:
    Beechcraft Baron 58   (Carenado)
    Beechcraft Baron 58   (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Beechcraft Bonanza F33A   (Carenado)
    Beechcraft King Air B200   (Freeware)
    Beechcraft King Air C90B    (Carenado)
    Beechcraft King Air C90B   (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Boeing 737-800    (EADT)
    Boeing 747-400    (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Boeing 777 Worldliner   (VMAX)
    Boeing 777-200    (Supplied with X-Plane 10)
    Boeing 787 Dreamliner   (VMAX)
    Cessna 152 II    (Carenado)
    Cessna 172     (Carenado)   
    Cessna 172     (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)  
    Cessna 208B Caravan   (Carenado)   
    Cessna 337 Skymaster   (Carenado)
    Cessna 340 II    (Carenado)
    Cessna CT210 Centurion II   (Carenado)
    Cirrus C4 'The Jet'    (Supplied with X-Plane 10)
    Columbia 400    (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Diamond DA40-180 Diamond Star   (Shade Tree Micro Aviation)
    Lockheed C-130 Hercules   (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Lockheed L-1011 TriStar    (Wilson Aircraft)
    McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender  (Supplied with X-Plane 11 + 10)
    Mooney M20J    (Carenado)
    Piaggio P180 Avanti Ferrari    (Supplied with X-Plane 10)
    Piper PA-28 Archer II   (Carenado)
    Piper PA-32 Saratoga   (Carenado)
    Piper PA-34 Seneca II   (Carenado)
    ...and the list is growing.
    And the best part is that you can add support for as many additional planes as you like - full instructions are provided in the manual. You only need to provide a little data about the plane and you're all set!
    FSFlyingSchool 2017 comes with a huge set of additional new features...
    Enhanced Instructor Awareness version 2
    FSFlyingSchool have once again made several incremental improvements to FSFlyingSchool, including new areas requiring the pilot's attention.
    Mr Smith, the chief instructor, is looking at each pilot's performance in even greater detail with the arrival of FSFlyingSchool 2017. Here are some of the enhancements:
    - Mr Smith has always advised that your flight controls be checked before flights. In addition, he will now expect you to specifically check the free and correct function of your elevator, ailerons and rudder.
    - Your instructor will advise you that if your aircraft has been stored for a long time you need to check for damage or obstructions caused by insects and birds.
    - In cold weather, Mr Smith will remind you that frost on the wings can prevent the aircraft from becoming airborne.
    - Shortly after entering cruise mode, you'll hear comments from Mr Smith on your success or failure in checking your elevator, ailerons and rudder before take off. Let's develop good habits.
    - If you're in the kind of aircraft that has a 'run-up' procedure, Mr Smith will point that out and expect it to be done before take off. You'll be hearing from him later if you don't.
    - Mr Smith will remind you to fully extend and retract your flaps before take off to check their correct function. You'll hear his feedback on this so let's get it done.
    - You'll be reminded, when climbing on warm days, that steep climbs can lead to overheating - so be careful out there.
    - Familiar with displaced thresholds? Mr Smith will remind you to land beyond any red lights preceding the runway.
    - Even without lights you'll be told to land beyond the displaced threshold. Mr Smith can see it - can you?
    - You'll get timely advice about taxiway edge lighting (blue), runway edge and centre line lights (white), red lights marking the far end of the runway and green lights across runway indicating its start.
    - And more...!
    Weather Tutor Included
    Get ready to learn about temperature, wet runways, dew point and much more - including interactive crosswind instruction! Look at the features the NEW INCLUDED 'Weather Tutor Pack' adds to FSFlyingSchool 2017 for X-Plane 11 AND 10:
    Weather plays a key part in aviation and a thorough knowledge of weather and its effects is an essential part of every pilot's studies. Now your chief instructor Mr Smith can help in X-Plane.
    Mr Smith is the man for Weather Tutor
    As your chief instructor, he's the one who explains temperature, elevation, dew point, precipitation, crosswind techniques and more!
    Interactive weather advice is optional
    If you want to hear it, turn on the 'Monitor Weather' option at the Pilots Screen of FSFlyingSchool. You'll hear your instructor describing the current weather and giving instruction and advice on it.
    Interactive crosswind advice is optional
    If you want to hear it, turn on the 'Monitor Crosswinds' option at the Pilots Screen of FSFlyingSchool. You'll hear crosswind take off and landing instruction right when you need it!
    Weather and crosswind tutorial advice is optional
    If you want to hear this advice, turn on the 'Weather Tips' option at the Settings Screen of FSFlyingSchool. Chief instructor Mr Smith will give you general instruction on weather and more when you are flying during quieter periods. In order to avoid these tips sounding repetitive, they are chosen randomly so you won't keep hearing the same advice each flight. A great way to learn - and all while cruising along!
    Get ready to learn - here are some of the areas Mr Smith will explain to you:
    (Note that in addition to weather, the Weather Tutor covers several bonus subjects that are not strictly weather but still essential to safe flight.)
    - Effects of temperature-dew point spread
    - Considerations when flying in low light
    - Considerations when flying in low visibility
    - Considerations when flying in the presence of clouds
    - Considerations when flying in low temperatures
    - Crosswind landing technique
    - Crosswind take-off technique
    - Crosswind take-off roll aileron use
    - Crosswind landing roll aileron use
    - Take-off from a high elevation
    - Landing at a high elevation
    - Take-off at a high temperature
    - Landing at a high temperature
    - Take-off from a wet grass runway
    - Take-off from a dry grass runway
    - Landing at a wet grass runway
    - Landing at a dry grass runway
    - Landing at a wet paved runway
    - ...and a lot more!
    PRO Pack Included
    A powerful collection of add-on features for FSFlyingSchool including interactive VOR navigation instruction! Look at the features the NEW INCLUDED 'PRO Pack' adds to FSFlyingSchool 2017 for X-Plane 11 and 10:
    Interactive Help with VOR Navigation
    - Instructor monitors VOR instruments in aircraft.
    - Instructor offers detailed advice and tips on how to navigate with VORs.
    - Learn about: TO/FROM/OFF flag, Omni Bearing Selector (OBS), Course Deviation Indicator (CDI).
    - Get information as you fly, change settings and as the instruments react to your flight path.
    - Instructor describes at length the aspects of different elements of VOR navigation as you fly along.
    - If you approach and cross a VOR station, instructor describes what to expect instruments to do.
    - You'll soon be a VOR navigation PRO!
    Enhanced Instructor Awareness - instructor is watching even closer:
    - Instructor watches for parking brake set at correct times.
    - Advice when coming in too fast for a landing to slow down or go-around.
    - Instructor requires throttles to be operated smoothly.
    - Advice to slow to a taxi speed soon after landing to clear for next arrival.
    - Advice to accelerate promptly when taking off so as not to waste runway.
    - Reminders to get going if on runway for excessive time for take off.
    - Warning if not heading into wind when on final approach.
    - Advice for steering problems on take-off run.
    - Reminder to use flaps if appropriate for take off.
    - Reminder to disengage autopilot while on the ground.
    - Advice not to run throttles high while on ground with parking brake set.
    - And more!
    Instant Help
    - Spoken help on aircraft instruments, switches and controls when they are used during flights.
    - Instant spoken help you can use immediately while flying in X-Plane.
    - Adds a whole new level of fun and learning to your flights with X-Plane.
    - You hear and see help and tips for controls, instruments and switches immediately in flight!
    - Help when you use COM radios, NAV radios, autopilot functions like heading hold, speed hold...
    - Help when you use altitude hold, spoilers, autobrakes, gear, lights, pitot heat and so much more.
    - Use some help up there in the Simulated Skies? Get familiar with those switches, dials, buttons etc.
    - Listen and learn as a friendly instructor explains the role of the device you operated.
    - Help is given immediately, in real time, with optional text captions so you can read the advice too.
    - Once you operate a device, you won't hear the explanation again for a while - avoids repetition.
    - Optionally turn off the voice completely and use the text captions for reference during your flights.
    - Alternatively, you can turn off the captions and just listen to the voice of the instructor.
    - Configure the FSFlyingSchool Instant Help option the way you want it!
    Interactive Aviation Help
    - During flights, instructor shares detailed aviation knowledge with you.
    - Subjects include cockpit instruments, controls, techniques and much more.
    - With chief instructor Mr Smith's help you will soon be familiar with:
    - Flaps
    - Mixture
    - PAPI
    - VORs
    - Turn technique
    - VASI
    - Stall recovery
    - Autopilot speed hold
    - Autopilot heading hold
    - Autopilot altitude hold
    - Autothrottle
    - Transponder use and codes
    - Crossfeeds
    - Speedbrake
    - Fuel pumps
    - Carburetor heat
    - Spoilers
    - Anti-ice
    - Decision height ...and dozens more aviation subjects.
    - Includes optional text captions so you can read the advice too.
    - A great way to learn - and all while cruising along!
     
    Existing owners of any registered version of FSFlyingSchool for X-Plane can upgrade to FSFlyingSchool 2017 for X-Plane 11 and 10 at a generous discount.
    To find out more, watch movies, download a free demo of this version, etc, just hop over to the FSFlyingSchool Website 
    An AVSIM review by Marlon Carter. Product by FSDreamTeam.
    INTRODUCTION
    When it comes to the best scenery products available, FSDT has maintained itself among the top 5 scenery developers known for creating detailed and innovative products. Since the release of their Vancouver scenery, FSDT has been busy with the development of more popular U.S airports. The newest of these products is the Memphis International airport which is well known as the busiest cargo airport in the U.S. Being the major hub for FEDEX, this airport sees constant airline traffic at nearly all hours of the day. With regard to passenger operation KMEM sees some 3 million passengers each year and is serviced by nearly all U.S major and domestic airlines. Given these details, KMEM was a wise choice for FSDT and a welcome addition to flight simulator enthusiasts. With FSDT constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within the FS platform, what can we expect from this new product? Let’s have a look at some of the features.
    FEATURES
    Fully customized ground and runways in high resolution, DX10 Compatible Ground terrain seamlessly integrated with Flight Simulator. Optimized for the Avatar mode in Prepar3D. Immersive Surround Sound Effects. Smart animations and people with almost no impact on memory and fps. Support for SODE Jetways. Woking EMAS system. Use of the advanced material properties, like bump and specular mapping. Fully 3d taxiways lighting. Intensive use of LOD techniques in order to offer the best possible performances. High resolution building textures. Complete GSX Integration ( requires GSX, free version ) YouControl™ menu, to turn on/off static airplanes. Video Previews

    After examining the features and previews of the KMEM airport scenery, there is no doubt that this product was created to be a further evolution in scenery design. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to find out some additional information on this product and how it was created by having a chat with Umberto from FSDT. The following are his responses to a few questions that you will find very enlightening.
    1. Why did FSDT decide to create KMEM?
    First and foremost, by listening to our users. We had a poll on our forum in mid-2014, and KMEM arrived first:
    http://www.fsdreamteam.com/forum/index.php/topic,10563.0.html
    We also thought the Cargo flyers community was too much neglected, and we also have a GSX extension in the works, which will cover Cargo operation in better detail. Which is also why, we have a separate team working on KSDF (Louisville, home of UPS), which should be released not that very far after KCLT.
    2. What would you say are the obvious improvements over past products such as KIAH and CYVR?
    We always try to do something different with each scenery. No two sceneries were ever created equal and, with each one, we sometimes purposely question everything we did before, and try to wonder “could this be made differently?” or “what we can do better than the previous one?”
    CYVR was and still is, a scenery ahead of its time. It was designed when MS Flight was still available, and P3D wasn’t like it is today so, we were frustrated we couldn’t get the nice light environment which is standard with every other game (except FSX) and that MS Flight also improved, which was proper real-time shadows, which changed depending on the time of the day. So, we tried to work out within the constraint of the MS SDK, to do something like that in FSX. With the help of the Couatl engine, we add the Couatl script that runs CYVR, to perform astronomic ephemeris calculations, to obtain the correct sun position at that date/location, and draw different objects with pre-calculated shadows, so the scenery wouldn’t be “frozen” in time.
    This happened a bit before people started to realize that FSX, as a 32 bit app, has an hard limit of maximum 4GB, regardless of the OS used or the total amount of RAM available. When FSX was initially released, it was assumed that nobody would ever hit that limit, but after 10 years, with addons getting more and more complex, memory has become a scarce resource.
    CYVR, because of this, took a little bit more VAS than your usual large airport scenery, not much, maybe 10-15% more than, let’s say, our previous KLAX but, when you are short on memory, and when the airport resides in an area where there were other popular addons available, it could be the “straw who broke the VAS camel’s back”. Of course, you cannot say what is really “responsible” for an OOM: the scenery ran just fine by itself, and even with several addons added but, it couldn’t always work together when many of them were used at the same time. User realized this, and CYVR probably raised the awareness of memory being a limited resource, to be managed carefully.
    For the next scenery, KIAH, we took a different approach. We wanted reliable scenery that didn’t cause any problems so, we tried to hit memory as low as we could, and restrain ourselves, since KIAH is not by any means a small airport. This totally succeeded, and KIAH is by far our product that requires less support. However, the downside of it, is that some users found it a bit bland and less exciting. 
    But after CYVR, how we could do it “better”, without breaking the memory at the same time?
    That was the main reasoning behind the development of KMEM. Doing something good to look at and never done before, as in CYVR, or making a reliable and good performing product, that might look a bit dull?
    The additional complication was that KMEM, frankly speaking, is not what we can call an architecture masterpiece. Nothing like some of the fancy European or Asian airports with designer-made terminals full of glass/steel and easily recognizable. It’s quite plain, with no fancy passenger terminals, and an enormous cargo area which is even more boring, with so many open spaces, that we could consume all the available memory by filling it with stuff, and people will still perceive it as being empty.
    So, the design challenge was quite high, because we had to do something good to look at, when even the real airport is nothing to write home about...
    In the end, we decided to invest in:
    - Applying new graphic styles and techniques, most of them coming from the “real-world” game developers using more powerful graphic engines, and the raising trend of Physical Based Rendering, which is the actual big thing in game graphics. They are a game-changer, allowing to approach photorealism on 3d objects, in real time, without being significantly more taxing on the hardware, provided the video card is reasonably recent. Sure, FSX and P3D still cannot do proper PBR, but many of the workflow and techniques can still be applied and benefit the FSX/P3D engines and, when PBR will eventually arrive on the platforms, we’ll be ready for it…
    From a graphic design point of view, applying the lessons of PBR, means working not just with “nice textures”, but thinking in terms of real world materials, and the interaction (which is ruled by known scientific rules) between the different parts that makes a texture, such as colors, normals, specular and glossiness. This allows us to have less materials and less textures, but with a more realistic behavior, especially during different times of the day. The advantage of this approach is that, the better the sim graphic engine becomes, the more realistic the objects will look, without having to remade them again. 
    - Another area we wanted to focus on was special programming features. Trying to stay true to our requirements to be as conservative as possible in memory, but doing a large and good looking scenery at the same time, we tried to leverage our in-house scripting tool, the Couatl engine, help us adding features that will not take any precious memory away from the sim, and keep the scenery engaging. Since Couatl can run an entire complex add-on like GSX, which also have its code running outside the sim, we can use the same system in our sceneries. To us, a scenery is made by two separate and entirely important parts: the graphic part, which is the objects and the textures, and a code part, which is the script that runs the scenery.
    In KMEM, the Couatl Python script is doing A LOT (and not alone) while the script language is Python, which is one of the most used game-scripting language out there (together with LUA, probably, but we like Python more), for the really complex things, we need the help of fast C++ routines, which are running inside Couatl.exe.
    And for KMEM, we did something a bit crazy, like writing our own “collision engine” from scratch.
    What’s wrong with the built-in FSX/P3D collision engine? Well, nothing really but, it might be expensive in term of performances, it’s not very fine in resolution and if you try to make it finer, it will totally destroy the fps. Have you tried getting closer and closer to an airplane with the P3D Avatar, only to realize you can’t? That’s the default collision engine in action, it’s based on the very well-known Octree system, which is a grid of boxes around the airplane, which are not very detailed, because it’s easier for the graphic engine to calculate collision over a rough grid of boxes rather than on the actual mesh. So, you couldn’t be very precise with it.
    Also, the default collision system is really only good to know if you “crashed” into something, nothing else more useful could be done with it and, apart for printing a “You crashed” message, the only other feature that got some usage of the crashbox, was the Avatar. With its frustrating and tantalizing inability to really go close to things.
    With the Avatar available and P3D becoming more and more popular, we wanted to let users visit the airport from a different perspective, and experience it in different ways. Like walking IN the Control Tower, and visit it from the inside.
    But it couldn’t be done with the default collision detection system, because it wasn’t precise enough, but if we just disabled it, it would have been possible to simply walk into anything, ruining the experience and the suspension of belief.
    So, we went ahead and added a whole new collision engine, built into Couatl, and accessible to the script that runs scenery. The most obvious think it does, is to allow a very fine control over which surfaces becomes “hard”, since it can use the same kind of data used to create the actual scenery objects. We can make any polygon in 3D Studio Max to act as a logical barrier (without even being exported in the visible scenery), and have the Avatar, or the airplane, react in some way, for example not being able to pass through it. This is what made possible for the Avatar to climb the fairly tight staircase that goes in the Control Tower control room, and being realistically constrained by the internal walls. 
    But that was just one use of the collision engine. We added custom behaviors too so, for example, something like an animation or a sound or any other event could happen, if the user or the Avatar crossed into an hot area. This way, we could make the Control Tower elevator doors to be opened automatically as soon as the Avatar get close to them, and close them automatically too, when he gets away. This is how the EMAS system is working: as soon as the airplane enters in that area, we display some visual effects and we slow down the airplane.
    We also added the ability to have objects appearing/disappearing if the user enters in a certain area, which is not just a center/range or a rectangle, it can be any shape and, with a custom behavior too. This is the way we added lots of animated scenes with people, available on almost all parking spots (there are about 180 of them), which appears as soon as the airplane enters in a certain parking, but not immediately and not while the user is taxiing or flying, in order to preserve the smoothness. There was no way we could ever be able to fit hundreds of animated people and additional details in memory and, even if we could, they would have destroyed the frame rate anyway, so it wasn’t possible doing it without using some kind of logic.
    But it’s all handled as different cases of the general “collision detector” system, which we of course could use for many other things, like future sceneries and future versions of GSX.
    Other interesting things at KMEM were the sound effects. Sure, we had our own sound engine for a while, since GSX uses it too. It’s based on OpenAL, which is a standard open library which (under Windows) stays on top of DirectSound, and allows to do amongst other things, positional audio and sound filtering like reverb, occlusion, etc. Again, being handled by Couatl, which runs externally of the sim, we could play sounds; allocate WAVs, etc, without ever touching the ever-precious VAS.
    So, with the KMEM Control Tower, we really exploited both the positional audio features, but also the occlusion/filtering features of OpenAL. Inside the control room, there are several telephones, and there’s someone typing on a computer. So, we took the exact 3d coordinates of these objects, as they are visually modeled, and pass them to the Couatl Python script that handles KMEM, so it could create several sound emitters, for a ringing phone, or a person typing on the keyboard, which are located exactly where the object is. OpenAL would do the rest for us so, if you have a surround sound system (it's especially effective with 5.1/7.1 Headphones), you can walk with the Avatar into the office, and hear a realistic sound ambience all around you. You’ll hear a telephone ringing behind you so, your instincts might tell you to turn around in that direction and…there’s a telephone, right there where the sound came from! We have some sampled chatter, taken from the real KMEM live ATC, which comes from a radio in the office.
    During development, we even toyed with the idea to play the *actual* Live KMEM ATC, since Couatl/Python can easily access the internet and download everything, including an audio stream, but then we argued that it would be distracting to hear the real world ATC, without having matching AI airplanes so, we dropped it, maybe something for the future…
    By taking advantage of the sound occlusion features in OpenAL, all sounds in the control room, which is on the 2nd floor of the room, will be more “muffled” and muted if you are still on the first floor so, as soon the elevator doors opens up, you’ll hear some sounds, which will become more and more clear, while you are climbing the stairs.
    We added several other positional sound effects to the scenery, the large FedEx hangar, which can be opened with the KMEM menu, has a big sound representing the opening of its main door, and inside of it (the Python script will not even create the detailed internal if the door is closed, so no memory is wasted if you don’t need that feature), there are several rails on the ceiling that moves randomly, and they also make a sound that comes from their actual position.
    3. Does this product offer a much better experience for P3D users vs FSX user? 
    Absolutely. Lots of its features has been designed with the Avatar mode in mind, but with the latest update, we made a very important part of the scenery ( the background textures, everything which is not 3D ), using the native P3D SDK, which allowed us to save a lot of complex mechanics we were always forced to use so far, to fix the longstanding issue with doing complex layered backgrounds, without being forced to rely on the slow and bad looking FS8 ground polygons, or having to rely on the sim doing the wrapping over the round earth, which comes at some cost in fps.
    In previous sceneries, we had to raise the background depending on the user eyepoint, in order to prevent heavy flickering (because the scenery wasn’t processed in any way by the sim, thus being faster), but in KMEM, we had so many objects to raise, that this was starting to take a toll on Simconnect, especially when used together with many other add-ons that also send many commands to it for various reason (such as weather engines), we started to get reports of stuttering.
    Using the P3D SDK, we cut on 90% of this activity and got rid entirely with the need to raise the background in real-time, which results also in a more visually reliable scenery, which is also way less prone to stuttering and which will keep the good framerate that we would have lost, had we used other more conventional methods of doing the background, since P3D finally has a feasible solution that proved to work just fine. We’ll surely use it for all the upcoming sceneries, and we’ll likely revisit several of our most recent existing ones, like KLAX, CYVR and KIAH, to use the same method.
    I suggest all KMEM P3D users to be sure to download the latest installer (or the smaller patch we published on our forum), because it’s runs so much better than the original release.
    But in addition to that, P3D is simply way more stable, especially compared to the normal FSX (the Steam version is a bit better). We are now starting to feel constrained by FSX, which is showing all its age. We are *not* at the same stage as we were years ago, when we felt constrained by FS9 and decided to stop supporting it, but are are getting closer to that moment.
    The P3D SDK is SO much better, and we still have used only a tiny small fraction of it, because we couldn’t probably afford to do a P3D-only product but, we took this “soft” approach, of adding more and more P3D-only features, one step at the time, while the user community is moving towards it, together with us.
    4. As usual, the quality of your textures are outstanding, are they custom created or do they also include real world photo textures?
    KMEM uses hand-made textures almost entirely. We never have been fond of photorealistic textures so with each scenery, we tried to move away from them. They might be nice for flying in wilderness areas but, if you are doing an airport which is mostly aprons/grass, which must be hand-made anyway for quality, what would be the point to place a satellite photo underneath, only to be covered by custom aprons and 3d buildings? So, we might use photorealistic images as a reference, internally, but what will end up in the scenery has been remade so heavily, which is basically a whole new texture. KMEM uses more of this method and, with the previous discussion about PBR materials, the supposed “realism" of a photo, can be matched and surpassed by a material that behaves realistically under the different lightning conditions in the sim.
    5. Finally, can you explain a little about Coualt and any advantages it has over the traditional methods of scenery development?
    Well, I think I have discussed already quite a bit of what Couatl does, and how it has been invaluable for us, allowing to do entire products with it, like GSX and XPOI, and being the heart of all the special features in the scenery.
    Another thing that does on KMEM, is the water puddles. Sure, several other developers have custom water puddles that comes out when it’s raining but, isn’t a bit odd that, as soon as raining stops, the apron gets dry again immediately? With a small Python routine running at KMEM, we added a bit of logic to it, and instead of relying on the standard SDK way of doing wet surfaces, we checked the weather and, in case of rain, we display the puddles independently, take notice of when the rain stops, and have them disappear after a while, so you could get the effect of getting back a clear sky and sun shining, but with parts of the apron still wet, because not enough time passed since the rain stopped.
    Another feature we use it for, is for further optimize the usage of texture memory. With the way FSX/P3D works, if it’s day, an object will load its day textures, if it’s night, it will load the night textures but, in Dusk? The day and night textures will be blended together, so both textures will be loaded, which means 2x the texture memory will be consumed at Dusk, which might be a problem, if the scenery is massive. So, we reused our handy astronomical calculator we made for CYVR, so we can both decide when switching from day into dusk and into night (instead of relying on the sim, which sometimes has troubles with time zones), but we can also display a specific dusk version of an object, which contains a pre-blended texture which is appropriate at dusk, instead of loading day & night together, saving a bit of memory in the process.
    Since we licensed the Couatl engine to Flightbeam, which is in my opinion the most talented scenery developer out there, they used it in some of their sceneries, like KIAD and KSFO, to display different apron light effects, depending on the visibility, thus simulating the effect that fog would have on the spreading of the light over the apron at night.
    So, basically, there’s really no limit to what Couatl can do, since its more accurate description is:
    - A scripting interpreter based on the Python language. And not just any Python language, but a version especially designed for real-time games, which is called “Stackless Python”, which has lots of optimizations when many snippets of code need to run together at the same time, which is the typical scenario of an “open world” simulation, with many vehicles, objects, characters, all running their own behaviors.
    - An external add-on module, running as an .EXE, so it will have access to its own VAS, so it can access lots of memory, running even complex code, without taking away any VAS from the sim. Being an external .EXE, it can take advantage of the task allocation made by the OS, so if there’s one of the cores of a multi-core CPU which is idling, the OS will automatically allocate an .EXE to it, without any special programming on our part, something that we would need to do if we were running in-process (like a DLL or a Gauge)
    - It’s the “glue” between what Simconnect can do, what Simconnect cannot do, and what we do in a custom way, outside the sim (like the collision engine or the astronomical engine), which might be individually very complex to do, but are instead wrapped in a very user-friendly and powerful language like Python.
    I certainly want to take the opportunity to thank Umberto for his insights into this product. When it comes to innovation, we have seen a constant forward progression when it comes to aircraft design. With scenery products however, the innovation has been quite limited over the years with only a few developers testing the limits of what can be done. As we can see from our interview with Umberto, KMEM is a product that is unlike anything that we’ve seen thus far and we will be taking a closer look at some of the innovations that were implemented later in this review. For now, let’s move on to talk about the Documentation that comes with this product.
    DOCUMENTATION
    As with all FSDT products, the documentation is thorough and easy to follow. The documentation not only mentions the features of this product, but it also takes you step by step through each feature and how users of FSX and P3D utilize these features effectively. For example, the Control Tower Experience operates a bit differently if you are an FSX user verses P3D users who have the ability to use Avatar mode. An added benefit of the documentation is that it also includes a full set up charts for the airport and this will be useful to those of you who enjoy having easy access to the departure and arrival charts. Let’s have a closer look at this scenery and some of the new features that have been implemented.
    THE SCENERY
    If you’ve had the opportunity to try FSDT’s KIAH (Houston International) scenery, you will no doubt agree that it was a vast improvement over their older products such as KORD or KFLL. After seeing the stunning textures, modeling and detail that was packed into KMEM it is quite clear that FSDT is on a mission to constantly improve on the features of their products.
    Given the fact that the FedEx facility at KMEM is the largest cargo operation in the U.S, it comes as no surprise that the terminal buildings and ramp area used by FedEx would preoccupy a significant part of this airport. The detail of the cargo terminal and ramp areas are outstanding to say the least and they include not only high quality textures, but also numerous minute details such as ground equipment, light poles, powerlines and animated ground crew personnel.  
    As we move over to the main passenger terminal and other areas, it becomes quite clear that KMEM doesn’t really offer much in terms of a unique airport design. However, there is no doubt that FSDT spent a considerable amount of time in creating a detailed model of FBOs, Hangars, ANG ramp and Terminals A, B and C with perhaps some of the most detailed Jetways I have ever seen. The textures used for the Terminals are all high quality textures that perfectly capture the “used” look of these buildings.  The ramp area surrounding the main passenger terminal buildings not only has an accurate layout, but it also has a set of very detailed textures which go as far as showing the cracks in the ground. Also included with this scenery is the special effect of having standing water on the ramp and taxiway during rainy weather condition. This dynamic effect certainly adds to the overall realism of this airport in addition to the nicely modelled vegetation throughout the airport. As an added bonus, your experience at the terminal is further enhanced with the addition of GSX which works for free with FSDT airports. For more information on GSX, please read this review HERE.
    During the night, this airport truly takes on a new life with 3D lighting effects and outstanding night time textures that are the most convincing to date from FSDT. A very special feature that many of you will enjoy is that FSDT KMEM allows user to control the night lighting within the FEDEX maintenance hangar. While this may seem insignificant to some, this shows the level of detail sought after by the development team in order to deliver a product that is unique. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few screenshots showcasing this amazing airport.
    With most scenery reviews, after discussing and showcasing the terminals, textures and special effects we would typical start discussing our summary of the product. However, in this case we may actually be just getting started! As mentioned in the interview portion of this review, KMEM has a host of special features including a custom collision model, Tower view and 3D sound positioning. What does all of this mean? Well let’s examine some of these features and how they enhance the value of this product.
    The custom collision modelling allows for the first time, (from my recollection) the ability to actually hit 3D objects throughout this scenery. The first time I experienced the collision modelling was while parked at the FEDEX ramp without my parking brake on and the aircraft rolled into a light pole. What happened? Well the aircraft hit the pole and rolled backward. There was no sound effect or damage associated with the collision (I always have damage turned off), but this shows that you can’t pass through 3D object as you would with the majority of other scenery products.
    This unique feature also allows for FSDT to implement a working EMAS system (Engineered Materials Arrestor System). This is basically a bed of engineered materials that are laid at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft overrun with minimal damage to the aircraft and human injury. When an aircraft overrun is eminent, the aircrafts is slowed down as the landing gear crushes through the EMAS material. This may typically be accompanied by a crushing sound in addition to materials being dispersed.  With the FSDT KMEM scenery, this system has been nicely implemented and thanks to their custom collision model it works quite accurately.
    The next and perhaps most significant feature of this product is the Control Tower view. This might seem like a useless feature of some, but to those of us who enjoy attention to detail, the Tower view feature of this airport is perhaps one of the most intriguing features of any scenery product to date. If you are a P3D user, this feature will open your minds as to the possibilities of scenery design. Using the Avatar mode, you can walk up to the control tower, open the door, and take the elevator to the control room area. Once you’ve gotten to the control room area, you will see a fully modeled control tower equipped with animated ATC personnel (2) and numerous computer screens with static images that change depending on the time of day. While this in itself is stunning to look at, FSDT has taken things to another level by adding positional sound effects. For example, if a phone is ringing, you will know the position of the phone based on the sound. Additionally, you can also hear ATC chatter just as you would in a control tower. If you walk away from the control tower, the sounds from that room can no longer be heard. While the sights and sounds within the control tower are quite stunning, the view of the entire airport from the control tower window is equally breathtaking. From the control tower you can have a full view of the airport including AI aircraft and roadway traffic if enabled. With this feature, we now have the choice of flying out of KMEM or sitting in the control tower and enjoying the AI action.
    For FSX users, you may be wondering how this feature can utilized given the fact that FSX doesn’t have avatar mode. Well you will be quite pleased to know that this feature can also be utilized by FSX users but it will require a 3rd party camera program such as EZDOK. I haven’t had the opportunity to test this with Chaseplane but I can only assume this program may work just the same. The downside for FSX users however, is that you won’t be able to open doors or use the elevator. Ultimately, this feature is an outstanding example of what can possible when a developer thinks outside the box.
    While this review focused on some of the primary features of this product, it is important to note that this product has many other intriguing features. As an example, it offers users the ability to enable runway sound effects which are common when the landing gear rolls over the center lights, ability to warp to various parts of the airport including hangars, the ability to open and close hangar doors, use animated Jetways to your liking and to Hide and enable static aircraft. Many of these features are accessed through the YouControl menu which is opened by using the Ctrl+F12 command. If you would like to make use of the Animated Jetways using SODE, you can also do this by using the Ctrl+Shift+F12 command and I can guarantee that once you’ve used these features, it will be difficult to go back to using other products that do not support these features.
    Here are a few screenshots showcasing the features we just discussed.
    PERFORMANCE
    With so many features, the logical question on everyone’s minds is whether or not this scenery product has an impact on performance and VAS.  Thankfully, FSDT has done an outstanding job in offering such a detailed product that has no significant impact to performance. For the purpose of this review, I’ve tested the performance of this airport along with products from PMDG, FSLabs and Carenado and I was quite pleased with the result. Even while using addon weather programs such as AS16, the performance remains quite stable. With regard to VAS usage, thankfully this product doesn’t consume a massive amount of VAS due to the new techniques in scenery design used by FSDT. Unlike some older products which had a slightly high VAS usage, you can feel confident that while using your favorite aircraft, you will not see any OOM errors. Ultimately, while everyone’s experience may differ, I am certainly impressed with the performance aspect of this product given the high level of detail even when using World of AI.
    FINAL THOUGHTS
    To conclude this review, FSDT’s KMEM airport is by far one of the most innovative scenery products available today. While other developers may come close or even match the high quality textures and modeling, the special features of this product that are made possible by the Coualt scripting engine are simply unmatched. Three of the most outstanding and innovative of these features is the able to enjoy this product from the perspective of an Air Traffic Controller which is a first for FSX/P3D. To fully enjoy this experience, it is highly recommended that you use a 3rd party AI traffic product or simply log onto VATSIM to enjoy the movement of aircraft traffic. The second feature is GSX is another product worth having that works for free with any FSDT airport. GSX truly adds a new level of realism to your experience at the airport.
    The third most outstanding feature is the EMAS which allows users to experience the consequences of a runway overrun whether it is due to pilot error or a system failure of the aircraft. This is a feature that is a first for FSX/P3D and it is a fine example of what can accomplished with a little innovative thinking on the part of developers. It is for this reason; I honestly believe that FSDT deserves an AVSIM Gold Star for developing an outstanding product with new and innovative features. With all of these features (and more!), you will be pleased to know that you can have FSDT KMEM airport for only $29.00 USD. At this price point, FSDT offers a product that exceeds the quality and performance of many other products that come with a higher price point. For those of you who would rather the try before you buy method, FSDT offers a trial version of the product which offers you the full product with a time restriction of about 5-6 minutes. Within this time period, you will have more than enough time to assess the performance impact and the special features of this product to make a decision to purchase. Why not give it a try? You won’t be disappointed!
    Acknowledgement
    Special thanks to Umberto for his assistance in providing some additional details on the product and the development process.
    In case you were wondering, here is a list of the other Products seen in this review:
    PMDG 777 PMDG MD-11 (No longer available for purchase) Alabeo Piper Seminole Carenado Cessna Caravan Cargomaster
    Level-D Simulations and Flight One Software have officially released the Prepar3D v3 and Windows 10 compatibility update for the Level-D 767-300.
    The Level-D 767-300 is one of the most iconic products ever released for the flight simulation platform. Level-D, working with Flight1, have now provided an update to their classic 767-300 so that it works natively in Prepar3D and also Windows 10. Compatibility is also included for FSX Steam.
    This compatibility update is free to all previous purchasers of the Level-D 767-300 for FSX. The full installer also contains the previous Winglet models and there is no need to download these models separately.
    For more information please visit the Level-D Simulations 767-300 Product Page. 
    This highly accurate Chiltern Main Line route takes you some 112 miles from London to Birmingham, through 40 detailed stations, and features numerous custom buildings and landmark objects.
    14 scenarios for a variety of rolling stock are included, along with a Chiltern livery for the Dovetail Games Class 68 and the Mk.3 Standard Class and Business Zone carriages.
    The line from London to Birmingham is known as the Chiltern Main Line and runs from its London terminus at Marylebone north-west to Birmingham Snow Hill.
     Set around 2012-2016, this Quick Drive enabled Train Simulator route is approximately 112 miles in length and features 40 detailed stations, numerous new custom assets, 14 Standard scenarios and two Free Roams.
     Also included (courtesy of Matthew Wilson, Vulcan Productions) are a Chiltern livery for the Dovetail Games Class 68 and a Chiltern livery for the Mk.3 Standard Class and Business Zone carriages. These carriages have brand new animated plug doors with functional body-side indicator lights, custom window layouts and 3D window frames for extra detail along with high definition decals for new auto-numbering, accurate fleet running numbers, larger step boards and corner pillars, emergency egress handles, up-scaled textures for higher resolution liveries, and custom script for implementation of the additional detailed items.
     
    Note: If you purchased Train Simulator after 20th September 2012 you will require the European Loco & Asset Pack (available to purchase via Steam) for the route to display correctly.
    Note: Some of the included scenarios require additional payware locomotives for them to run correctly - see the scenario information in the Detailed Description below for full details.
    Full details available from the CHILTERN MAIN LINE Product Page .
    In an announcement posted by DTG spokesman Cryss in Avsims Dovetail Games Forum it was stated that Flight School would no longer be available for purchace and download on steam .
    The announcement was as follows :
    Our goals with Flight School were twofold: to create an entry level sim for people new to the hobby and to implement technical functionality to build upon in the future. Now, we have expanded our goals for our upcoming simulator, a platform we plan to expand upon and support for years to come.
     We will still retain the ethos of introducing beginners to the hobby, but without compromising on the depth and complexity demanded by more experienced flyers by implementing a much clearer curve to mastery in our upcoming sim. With this in mind, we have made the decision to retire Flight School. The sim and all of your saved data will remain in your Steam library, however it will no longer be available for purchase.
     We will have more announcements about our upcoming sim in the following weeks as well as something special for existing Flight School owners to thank you for your continuous support and feedback .
     
     
     

    EasyFMC Mobile

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    EasyFMC Mobile is now available, Now you can have your Flight Management Computer on your tablet or smartphone.
    EasyFMC is a simplified and universal Flight Management Computer that is very easy to install and use. It can be used with any aircraft and requires no navigation database as it uses the simulator internal database.
    EasyFMC Mobile is a specific variant that makes EasyFMC available as a web application that runs in any web browser (Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge...) so it can be used on any device: iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, PC, Mac, everywhere...
    For more information, please refer to the  EasyFMC Mobile page .
    The F-4B Phantom II from Simworks Studios is the ultimate version of this iconic 1960s aircraft. Featuring the B and N variants and VRS TacPack integration, every aspect of this aircraft has been painstakingly reproduced. From the little details on the aircraft model to the sound of the pilot's heavy breathing during high-G manoeuvres, this package is an enthusiasts dream!

    The F-4 Phantom II is a tandem, two-seat carrier-capable supersonic fighter/bomber, first flown in May 27, 1958. Designed during the 1950s as an all-weather Mach 2 interceptor, the F-4 Phantom II could boast a maximum speed of more than twice the speed of sound, thanks to its two J79 engines. It was the first aircraft to be adopted both by the US Navy and US Air Force and it served with many air forces around the world in different variants. The Phantom II set a number of speed and altitude records and during its service life it proved to be a very adaptable aircraft, to the extent that it will still be in service in 2020 with some air forces.
     
    A high detail exterior model covering almost every F-4B/N variant to grace the skies, supported by many high-detail repaints!
    Two different versions of the F-4B cockpit, created with immersive detail
    TacPack compatibility from the outset: utilise the F-4’s arsenal against air and ground targets
    USS Coral Sea: a 1965 rendition of the USS Coral Sea with innovative features, allowing you to customise the appearance of static aircraft on deck
    Immersive flight modelling: Feel the plane when doing high performance manoeuvres
    Note: To take advantage of the TacPack functionality you will need to purchase the TacPack software separately. See the Vertical Reality Simulations website for full details.
    Visit the Simworks Studios Phantom II  Homepage for further details.
    You might be familiar with the name Richard Slater. Richard is part of the Just Flight development team, recent projects he has worked as lead coder on include the Tornado GR1 the Canberra. PR9 and the recently released Hawk T1A Advanced Trainer.
     
    On top of working hard on the development of those and other projects, Richard has been training hard over the winter in order to tackle the Brighton Marathon on the 9th of April on behalf of Action Duchenne the UK charity dedicated to finding a cure or treatments for Duchenne & Becker muscular dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting disease which the son of a family friend has sadly been diagnosed with.  Instead of just asking for donations from the FS community, however, Richard has come up with an idea to give something back in return for any support you might be kind enough to give.
     
    Richard has spent a lot of his own time developing a great new utility called GPS Anywhere and you can get the slick and very handy GPS Anywhere app for FSX or Prepar3D for only the cost of a donation to charity. Everyone making a donation, however small, through Richard’s JustGiving page will get a reply from him with a link to his GPS Anywhere and in turn will help drive him on to complete all 26.2 miles of the Brighton Marathon this weekend and support a very worthy cause.
     
    Many thanks in advance for anything you are able to give! 
    Here’s the link to find out more  
     
     
    Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria.
    This addon scenery covers Munich city center with very high resolution.
    More than that, it is built with over five thousands german style custom autogen buildings and houses,
    which gives you a fantastic view when flying over the city.

    Features:
    •Photoreal city of Munich in high definition.
    •Ground textures in summer and spring.
    •3D customized buildings and houses including famous landmarks,hotels, schools, shopping malls and hospitals, factories, churchs, stations, etc.
    •Misc objects : freeways with traffic.
    •good frame rate
    •Compatible with some other german vfr addons.
    Visit the Germany Munich RealCity VFR homepage for further information.