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Guest BeaverDriver

Critique With Screenies

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Guest BeaverDriver

I recently purchased OpusFSX and have done a couple of flights with it. I wrote a small "review/critique" at Bushpounders where I mostly hang out. I am reprinting that here for the information and benefit of potential purchasers and for those who may already have the program (we all like screenies, right :smile:?). I tried to keep it as objective as possible, but understand I wrote it from the perspective of someone who is flying 737's (mostly) into northern areas. This sample flight was from Victoria to Prince Rupert, British Columbia in a Canadian Airlines B737-700. I made note in the text of a serious graphics corruption that was temporary. I do NOT attribute this in any way to Opus, and neither should you. There were other mitigating factors at that point that had nothing to do with Opus. I just want to make that clear. So, this (and the subsequent reply as there are quite a few screenies) is a direct reprint of my sample flight. Please keep in mind (and I believe I mentioned it in the text) that most of the items I noted as not quite to my liking are in fact, being addressed by Opus. Perhaps Opus' biggest selling point is their willingness to listen to customers. So most of these are not new or unaddressed concerns. As such, by all means comment on both the shortcomings and the strengths, but do not take them as new or ignored "problems" please. Here we go:

 

----------------------------------------------------------

 

OK, I'll be honest. I'm getting really skeptical in my old age and rather jaded. It does take a fair bit to impress me now with FS. I've had serious misgivings about Opus because there are a number of features I really want/need which it doesn't have, and a few that it has that I wish weren't there or were adjusted. They really need to make the Cirrus layer random and typically below 35000 ft. Right now they are pegged at 43,000 so you never get above them. I believe they are working on that. Also, it's a royal pain to get anything other than current METAR's in their system. Also, upper winds are "calculated", not actual. That said though, there are no sudden windshifts anymore and they do seem to be reasonable based on actual conditions, so in fact that part isn't bad. Lastly, if you want a briefing, you need to get it from the actual source (Skyvector.com is a good one) because Opus really just provides the wx. That's it (and camera angles if you want them. I didn't).

 

What it DOES do though, it actually does very, very well. Key points are that you can finally have a full overcast condition in FSX. I had an undercast a good part of the way on the trip you'll see pics from below, and it was solid. I mean, horizon to horizon with maybe only 1 or 2 very small breaks. Secondly, when there is mist or fog on the ground now, your vis of the ground stays dim or blanked out, but your vis to the horizon is pretty clear. The low vis seems to lie below the clouds, which is as it should be. For a lot of the way, I had more or less clear skies but limited vis, and that's what I saw from FL380. Lastly (for this segment), you really do pass from one wx system into another, and you can actually see the wx systems around you without having it also being right underneath you. Port Hardy was overcast at 300 ft and 1 mile vis, while just north of that up to past Bella Bella it was partly cloudy and about 10 miles vis, then it was overcast again with 9 miles vis and ceilings at 700. As I left Port Hardy (I was at altitude) I could see it clearing up ahead. After being over that for a bit, I could see the edge of the cloud deck further north. It didn't suddenly appear under me and all around me. As I went further north, I overtook it, but could look back and see the clear skies behind. Similarly, going up the middle of Vancouver Island I could see clouds on the western side of the mountains but it was mostly clear on the eastern side. That's what the METAR's gave for Tofino and Campbell River respectively. I was really impressed by this. Coming into Prince Rupert, the skies were 700 overcast and 9 miles vis. Unfortunately I didn't note at exactly what altitude I was at when I popped out, but it was pretty close to what was called for as at the 1,000 ft callout from the FMC I went flaps 40 and I still couldn't see the runway. When I did pop out, it was a ragged ceiling underneath and it was as real a scene as I have witnessed outside of the real thing, in all honesty. I was blown away. Vis underneath seemed a bit high for 9 miles, but that is an extremely subjective feeling and I may have just been adjusting to seeing nothing one minute to the whole airport the next.

 

I must say, I am very impressed indeed. They need to work on a few things, but they do listen to the customer which is nice, and there are constant updates and improvements. The biggest drawback for me is not being able to get archived weather and the respective briefings. For flights in Norway when living in Canada, this means afternoon flights have nightime wx. That can be significant in the foggy season. I likely will continue to use AS2012 for that area. For Canada though, I think it will be close enough that I can use current even if it's a few hours old. Especially on the west coast it will be better. Still if I want to do an early morning flight out of Halifax and it's evening here, that wx is pretty old. But by that time I'm probably getting back to more typical morning conditions by virtue of it being night again. In any event, I like the program well enough to really give it a good shake down, and to stay with it and see how it develops over time. For now, some pics of a 737-700 flight from Victoria to Prince Rupert. I didn't get any going out of Victoria because I had a graphics hiccup which I suspect was caused by a memory issue from Victoria, Orbx and the 737. I'll have to explore this further later on. So there's one shot on the ramp, then I pic it up again about opposite Comox on the way north.

 

Opus01.jpg

CYYJ

 

Opus02.jpg

Climbing to FL380

 

Opus03.jpg

Looking west near Comox

 

Opus04.jpg

Now looking east near Comox

 

Opus05.jpg

Near Port Hardy which is under a layer of fog

 

Opus06.jpg

Ditto. Note solid undercast horizon to horizon

 

Opus07.jpg

Similar

 

Opus08.jpg

Reaching the edge of the cloud bank north of Port Hardy. Only repeating cloud patterns I saw on the trip.

 

Opus09.jpg

Near Bella Bella. Note lower vis down below but good up top. You can just make out the next cloud bank to the north which extends to Prince Rupert and beyond.

 

Opus10.jpg

Crossing the boundary of the next system

 

Cont'd next Reply...

 

Opus11.jpg

Crossing into the next system

 

Opus12.jpg

Ditto

 

Opus13.jpg

The transition to the next system is not instantaneous

 

Opus14.jpg

Four miles final on the ILS for 13 at YPR

 

Opus15.jpg

Just breaking out of the clouds

 

Opus16.jpg

Short Final. Note the ragged bottoms. Very realistic

 

Opus17.jpg

On the ramp with the ragged clouds in the background

 

Opus18.jpg

Done and parked.

 

I am impressed. With a little work, this program will blow all the others right out of the water. The downloads are not noticeable when flying and the new weather MOSTLY loads very smoothly. I did have a couple of very sudden shifts in clouds, but only a couple. No windshifts at all.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

PS - one item I have noted but not really addressed in this article is that I do occasionally get flashes of "clear" visibility (not cloud clearing). I do not have any other wx program running and it's not frequent, but it does seem to be in "bands" as you climb/descend. I've noted Opus has mentioned this in their manuals as being typical if you have something like AS2012 running and those vis options conflict with Opus', but such wasn't the case here. In a Caravan flight I did the other night, I seemed to get into one of those "bands" at cruise altitude so vis underneath the clouds was always "unlimited" until I descended a bit. With this flight, I would go through the "band" so quickly on the way up or down that it was only a flash. I'm not sure what's going on, but as long as it's a quick "flash" and you don't get locked into that situation, it's not a big deal. Just more an FYI thing.

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Just to keep you informed we will be working on the archived weather import tomorrow. After that we will be implementing the winds aloft and then looking at either developing our own weather planner or integrating with another 3rd party package.

 

Regards

Cheryl

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Guest BeaverDriver

Thanks Cheryl. As I mentioned in the article, many, if not all things I discussed were being worked on. No rush on this; it's just a point for future consideration :smile:.

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Todays Beta has included the cirrus height option.


Glenn

Ryzen 3700X, X570 Pro Wifi, 32GB 3600mhz RAM, Nvidia Titan Xp "Galactic Empire", RM750x PSU, H700 case, 2x NVMe M2 SSD, 1x SATA SSD

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Excellent review Glenn - and your results pretty much mirror what I've seen in the last few days of flying. I resisted for some time despite the positive feedback and extremely impressive vendor response to requests and issues, waiting for another package's promised updates but finally pulled the trigger a few days back. I'd all but stopped flying real world weather in frustration. Now? Man!

 

The biggest single issue I'm still seeing (running today's beta) is wind shift. With and without wind smoothing enabled in FSUIPC, I still see some pretty wild wind shifts, even in the lower (2xx) flight levels. Tonight flying the PA46T from PASI to PAKT via LVD, I had three major abrupt shifts first about 35 miles out from Level Island, then near the VOR and finally outbound descending to the IAF for the ILS 11 at PAKT. Each was almost 180d.

 

Otherwise? Simply awesome. Finally, "real world" weather in FSX actually approaches being real world for all the reasons Glenn articulates. I'm incredibly impressed.

 

Scott

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Guest BeaverDriver

Thanks Scott, glad it helped. I've had further issues with windshifts, and more people are starting to report this. I think the option of global winds is a good idea Stephen/Cheryl. Might help quite a bit.

 

Glenn

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OpusFSX Beta Version 2.27.0 is now available for download on our website.

If your system is still plagued with wind shifts at higher altitudes then first try setting the Transition altitude to 0 feet and adopting global surface winds. I would like to stress this is a known FSX bug and the only complete cure is to adopt global (static) weather. You could also look to minimising the overhead on FSX by reducing the number of active addons making demands through the SimConnect interface.

 

Cheryl

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@Glenn.. Couldn't resist to absolutely and totally agree with you!.. This is really the most amazing weather program for FSX and it only gets better (this, unlike other developers, on daily basis)...


 

Regards,

Martin Martinov / VATSIM 1207931

 

fs2crew777.jpg

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Thanks for your review I am a recent buyer of OpusFSX and I wouldn't use anything else so far. May I ask what you have your update period and distance set to for this flight? At the moment mine is 60 minutes and 75km.

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Guest BeaverDriver

Glad to be of some help guys. Kannwar, I had all my settings at default. Hope that helps,

 

Glenn

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