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About Jordan1995

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  • Birthday 05/05/1995

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    Lubbock, TX
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    Texas born and raised. Currently a Sophomore in college.

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  1. Super excited to add this to my hanger I've been waiting patiently since 2014 also.
  2. Alabeo Aztec A review by Ray Marshall Flight Sim review by Ray Marshall It is not uncommon to find a discussion in the forums seeking the perfect light twin for flight simulation. Now what specific models would or should be considered as a light twin. In my mind, I would immediately think of the Beech Barons, the Cessna 310, and then, uh, hmmm, maybe the newer Pipers like the Seneca V, or the Diamond DA42. No turboprops, no jets, no singles, no commuters, what does that leave? Should I search for the best twin for FSX I will surely get several recommendations for the Beechcraft B60 Duke, Cessna 310, Beech Baron B58 and the smaller E/B55 Barons and the Twin Otter. Maybe the Diamond DA42 is mentioned by the newer pilots or the old time favorite Twin Comanche by the older ones. A couple of my favorites that are glaringly absent from the payware choices are the Aero Commander 500 and the Piper Aztec. Well folks my wish list has just been cut in half. Alabeo introduced their PA-23-250 model F Aztec on Thursday. What is a PA-23-250 model F Aztec you ask? This was the mainstay 6 place light twin from the Piper Aircraft Company for a little over 20 years. The Aztec was initially a 5 seater and it sported twin 250 hp Lycomings on the wings from the gitgo and it was always named the Aztec. The Aztec experienced only one change in max weight from the introductory 1960 gross weight of 4,800 pounds until its first update two years later when the B model was capped at 5,200 pounds. The C through the F models were mostly changes in stretching the nose from very blunt to very pointy and the reshaping of the engine cowlings from bathtub to tiger shark, and the evolution of the flight panel from scrambled eggs to an acceptable form of the standard 6 flight instruments on the left with the avionics stacked vertically in the middle and all engine instruments on the right. The Century III autopilot is lower left and mostly hidden by the pilots yoke. The major forms of the Aztec were the normally aspirated, the most popular, then the turbo equipped which opened up the heavens to FL250 and bumped the cruise speed from pedestrian to decent, and the float model which the guys in the outback are still flying and think of it as a gift. The production run was from 1960 to 1981 and the prices ranged from the initial introductory price of $49,500 fully equipped, yea right, to the 1981 fully equipped turbo model that went for around $250,000. None of these models were ever intended to create a love affair or even long term bragging rights. No, the Aztec was always intended as what many would call an honest airplane. A loose definition of an honest airplane is one that you could reasonably expect to place a full sized person in every seat, add a reasonable amount of baggage for each of those folks, fill it up with gas, and expect to fly a reasonable distance - and still be under the maximum gross weight limitation and within the allowable CG range. More than a handful of light twins will meet two or three of those requirements but only the exceptional ones will meet all of them. The Aztec for the most part will. For a long time it was a common line that you could fill the seats, (and there are 6 full sized seats) fill the baggage compartments (two very large areas), fill the tanks (144 gallons) and take off and fly for about four hours. It was not unusual to hear that if you could close the door after stuffing it full of people and then close both baggage doors then it was OK to fly. This was a bit of an exaggeration but not totally untrue. Aztecs have always been heavy haulers and it is not uncommon at all to see 6 full-grown men climb out of an Aztec and when the baggage starts coming out, the line boy calls for a second and sometimes third taxi. My first impression when I crawled into the left seat (only one door on the right) for my first lesson on the way to a multi-engine rating was the spacious cabin with generous headroom throughout and the 5th and 6th seats were real seats, and not the baby seats like in most 6 place planes back then. I will never recover from not being able to find the trim handle when looking for a Cessna like wheel in the lower center but, seeing instead a yellowed cigarette-stained finger pointing straight up. That is also when I first noticed the steel tubes extending from the corners of the windshield down to the instrument panel. I later read about Piper’s el cheapo method of aircraft design and how expensive it would have been for them to build them like Beech and Cessna. Yep, all these Aztecs and similar models had a ’53 Studebaker looking crank handle mounted upside down on the ceiling of the cabin. It works amazingly well, if I could just remember to reach up for it rather than down as I was accustomed in the Cessnas and Aero Commanders. As a matter of fact, most of the military aircraft designs on both sides of the big pond had ceiling mounted cranks for elevator trim controls. It was the newer, smaller general aviation designs of the early to mid-60s that changed it to a small wheel and moved it to the more convenient lower center location. But, not all of course, the big old clunky DC-3 that was my transition aircraft once I received my multi-engine rating in the Aztec, had a huge, properly placed trim wheel ‘bout a foot in diameter that you just rested you hand on one once you were in cruise mode. These large wheels were mounted on both the left and right side of the throttle quadrant for the pilot and copilot. Most of the early prop driven airliners, like the Convairs and DC-4 and DC-6 had similar large dual trim wheels. Another odd Aztec layout feature was the location of the Landing Gear and Flaps controls. Most folks think they are reversed and blame Piper designers for their gear up mistakes. I never really had a problem confusing a landing gear lever with a big round wheel for the grab knob and the more delicate wing or airfoil shaped flap control lever. The fat, high lift, Hershey-bar looking wing design has a lot to do with the low speed handling and outrageously low stall and VMC speeds of the Aztec. Of course, that is also the limiting factor in trying to squeeze a few more knots of cruise speed out of two engines with 500 horses. The Aztec wing is not that different from the J-3 cub, other than one is fabric and the other metal, of course. I guess the timing just did not support the rush of speed mods or any of the lightweight scimitar shaped multi-bladed props for the Aztec. Seems like I posed that question to a Hartzell rep and he replied something along the lines of “You put a tie on a pig and you still have a pig”. Well. Thank you very much. About 5,000 Aztecs were built in the Piper plant at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania with the B and C models being the most popular. Once the nose was stretched only the Aztec pilots and owners could tell the difference in models when parked on the ramp. The final F model, sold the least number when looking strictly at units delivered, but they were also the most expensive. The typical B – C – D models were all priced in the reasonable $60,000 - $80,000 range. The big kicker was the ever escalating price of gasoline, services and wages. When the decision was made in the late 50s to use gas guzzling 250 horsepower Lycomings the price of av gas was about 19 cents a gallon. The rise in the Aztec operating cost per hour is a mirror image of the rise in gas prices and cost-of-living increases throughout the 70s, especially the late 70s and early 80s when gas was up to a staggering $1.75 a gallon. Of course those guys in southern California that were paying $8.00 gallon last week would love to see those early 80s prices again. According to Piper records, you could expect to operate your Aztec C model for about $19.34/hour wet in 1964. Ten years later in 1974, gas was still only 52 cents a gallon and the hourly wet cost for the E model had moved to about $25.00/ hour. It seems there was never any serious attempt to streamline the Aztec with the intent of gaining speed or fuel efficiency. The nacelle were flattened and elongated along the way and the gross weight was increased from the initial 4,800 pounds to 5,200 pounds and the fuel load was bumped up with the optionally outrageous total of 184 gallons but the empty weight kept increasing as more and more avionics, radars, turbos, and heavier seats were added. At the end of the day, the useful load for the all optioned turbo model was eroded to the age old 4 people in the 6 seats like everyone else’s light twin. To be fair though, Piper was introducing sleeker, faster, and sexier models all along. The Twin Comanche and Seneca lines carried the flag for fuel efficiency and speed, while the Navajo was the mini-airliner or big cabin model and the Ted Smith Aerostar was the speed demon. The Aztec, never the fastest, nor the prettiest, just kept plugging along as the 6-seat heavy hauler in the family. The early Aztecs found a home with the small charter outfits, the air taxi and air ambulance services and especially the FBOs with training fleets. TwinAir, an Aztec only TWA commuter service operated from New York’s JFK airport to downtown and cross town and to other nearby major airports, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC for years. The Aztec on floats has its own name – the Nomad Floatplane and Amphibian. Now this is a super specialized aircraft and would make an outstanding follow-on model expansion from Alabeo, IMHO. Finally, a new Piper Aztec for FSX/P3D From time to time I read in the forums where one of our members is asking, or wishing a Piper Aztec would be the next new add on for our flight simming pleasure. Be careful what you wish for. Alabeo just released one yesterday and the screenshots and website information says it is the one that most of us would choose – the Aztec F model. The proper model number is the PA-23-250 but that in itself is never enough to know exactly what specific model we are talking about. The last Aztec off the Piper production line in New Haven, PA was the F, as in Foxtrot, model that included some nice aerodynamic changes to the previous E model. About the only thing we could have added to our wish list would have been to make sure our Aztec included the optional turbos. I suppose, because we weren’t specific with our wishes, we have the normally aspirated model and will just have to be satisfied flying slower and lower and through the weather, rather than over the weather. But wait! The new Alabeo Aztec F is turbo powered with the big TIO-540-C1A factory supplied turbos straight from Lycoming. This means we will have the factory built turbo edition with fully automatic wastegates and therefore we will have the extra manifold pressure for climbing higher above the weather and can fly faster and further. I guess the Alabeo website didn’t think this was important enough to make this distinction in their description. Now, this is something to get excited about. According to the website, Alabeo, a fully owned Carenado company, was created with the aim of bringing a different type of flying experience for those that may not otherwise have the chance to experience it. I am not sure I understand what Alabeo does that Carenado doesn’t, but I do like the recent model choices of aircraft by both companies. The lines are somewhat blurred and I’m not sure I can actually tell any difference in the modeling, textures, sounds, flight dynamics and such when I compare an Alabeo model and a Carenado model. Obviously, many of the details are shared between the two companies that also share office space. I asked this exact question some time ago and I think I remember being told that Alabeo would be building the “fun and immersive models’. I then asked if that was any different than what Carenado was building. I don’t think I got an answer. Not that it matters, both Alabeo and Carenado are cranking out some outstanding looking models and choosing ones that I immediately want to add to my virtual hangar. When I hear the term Aztec, or the coffee shop conversation at the airport comes around to ‘light twins’, sooner or later someone will ask the difference between an Apache and an Aztec. I think the standard answer is that it is just a matter of time. Both the Apache and Aztec shared the exact same model number for several years. For at least two years they had very similar specs just different names, but the Aztec was always intended to be a step up from the Apache. The Apache was the slower, lower powered, and less attractive of the two, but was the one that started Piper down the path of building metal airplanes. Until the Apache was built to compete with the Twin Bonanza and the Cessna 310, Piper was still building tube and fabric milk stool looking Pacers, Tri-Pacers, and Cubs. As the old timers are quick to tell us, Son, if it wasn’t for the Apache, you wouldn’t have an Aztec. There is obviously a lot of truth in that statement because most folks consider the Aztec just a grown up Apache. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and see just how our Alabeo PA-23-250 Aztec F arrived in our download box. 1948 - Piper bought the Stinson Aircraft Company from Consolidated Vultee and received an original design for an unbuilt ‘Twin Stinson’ along with the rights to the single engine Stinson models. The Twin Stinson was only a proposed design with a twin-boom tail, small engines with unfeathering propellers but did have mostly retractable landing gear. Think of a mini Beech D-18 with a front nose wheel. The first prototype PA-23 was a four-seat, low-wing all-metal monoplane with a twin-tail, powered by two 125 hp Lycoming O-290-D piston engines. It first flew on 2 March 1952, but performed badly and it was redesigned with a single vertical stabilizer and an all-metal rear fuselage and more powerful 150 hp Lycoming O-320-A engines. Two new prototypes were built in 1953 using this redesign and entered production in early 1954. More than 2,000 Apaches were built with very minor changes other than slightly larger engines. The initial production model was designated PA-23 Apache, with follow-on models PA-23-150 Apache B, C, D, then in 1958 the PA-23-160 Apache E, G and H was produced by upgrading the engines to 160 hp . The G model got the longer internal cabin and extra windows. 816 were built before being superseded by the Apache 235 in 1962. With a 1962 price of $45,000, the Apache 235 was to be the last of the Apaches but looked very much like the Aztec with a swept tail that would replace it. In 1958 an upgraded version of the Apache G with 250 hp Lycoming O-540 engines and a swept vertical tail was produced as the PA-23-250 and named Aztec. These first models had five-seats and was first available in 1959. In 1961 a longer nosed variant, the Aztec B, entered production. So there was an overlap of the late model Apache and the early model Aztec for a couple of years. Check out this early sixties sales brochures for the B model. The long blunt nose of the B and C model Aztecs would be a familiar site at most of the larger general aviation airports throughout the sixties and seventies. No other model by any manufacturer looked like the long nosed, big-engined Aztec. In 1963 Piper introduced the Twin Comanche for those low end buyers looking to step up to a twin. The Twin Comanche had smaller, flatter looking nacelles housing 4-cyclinder Lycoming engines with only 160 hp initially, but were soon upgraded to fuel-injected 200 hp and a few years later a turbocharged version was available. These were quite a bit smaller than the Aztec and initially found a good home with flight schools as inexpensive trainers and first-buy twins. The Twin Comanche had a cruise speed very close to the Aztec but was much lighter with a 3,600 MTOW and only had 4 full seats with 2 baby seats added later on. With aerodynamic wing tip tanks and the flat engine nacelles and sleek lines, the Twin Comanche was a very efficient and very light twin. Most casual observers might miss the sometime minor, sometime not so minor changes or upgrades for the C, D, E and F models. But we as pilots probably would like to know the subtle changes. OK, here is the short version. The 1962 Aztec B is the model that most pilots are familiar (Piper did not use any A model designations). The enlarged nose serves as a second baggage compartment, also helping with the weight and balance with a gross weight of 4,800 pounds. This was one of the first airplanes to have a modular instrument panel, allowing easier maintenance of the individual instruments and avionics. The left side middle window serves as a pop out emergency exit. The optional AiResearch turbocharged engines allows a cruise speed 235 mph (204 KTAS) at 25,000 feet. Fuel injection and dual alternators were first offered on the B model as an option. The 1964 C model introduced the Twin Comanche's streamlined "Tiger Shark" engine nacelles and fiberglass landing gear doors. The optional fuel injection and dual alternators from the B model became standard. The normally aspirated C had a top speed of 218 mph (189 knots). Long range cruise was a whopping 1,300 statute miles (1,130 nm) with no reserves with the incredible endurance of almost 8 hours. Normal cruise at 80-percent power would yield 208 mph (181 kt) with 4 hours endurance and 830 miles range with no reserves. Piper did a lot of print advertising for the B and C Aztec models and targeting both the businessman and the well-heeled family man looking to transport a young family to vacation spots almost anyplace. Check out these ads when Piper teamed up with the Bahama Tourist Bureau. Six full sized seats, plenty of baggage space, 200 mph cruise and 1,400 miles range were certainly good specs. The businessman ad’s headline was “You can’t beat the Piper Aztec C for day-in, day-out dependability, passenger appeal and profitability.” And “Passengers like the big seats, the big windows and the solid feel of the Aztec in flight.” The boost in max gross weight to 5,200 pounds would be the standard for the balance of the production runs. In 1966 the fuel injected turbo option became a full-fledged model with a standard oxygen system. Being in production for five years, the longest period of any individual model, the C had the largest production total of the almost 2,000 Aztecs. The 1969 D model is where the instrument panel and power quadrant were upgraded to what you might call the modern Piper look. Not to the level of the mid to late 90s like the Saratoga II TC total makeover, but to a desperately needed basic layout for flight instruments, engine instrument grouping, switch alignments and grouping, etc. The haphazard shotgun or scatter placement of ‘stick it anywhere’ was finally organized to a standard that would last through the next decade and until the end of production. This was the sorely needed grouping of flight instruments, with a full avionics stack in the center right, and engine instruments and gauges on the right of the avionics. A new row of fairly accessible switches were placed just above the flying pilot’s knees with a spill over to the left side wall for the ignition and starter switches. B model on left F model center and right A new control wheel was introduced that allowed a clear view of the flight instruments. All new color coded and standard shaped knobs for the throttle, props, and mixture handles. The cabin seats were upgraded with removable armrests for the front and middle row seats. A few joints were smoothed and flared resulting in a gain of a few knots of airspeed in both the normally aspirated model and the turbo version. The load-carrying ability of the Aztec had always been one of its selling points. You can fill the tanks, put a standard weight person (170 lbs) in each of the 5 remaining seats and load up both baggage compartments (150 + 150 lbs) and still not reach the maximum certificated takeoff weight of 5,200 pounds in the normally aspirated D model. The standard D has a useful load of 2,267 pounds, the turbo, 2,077 pounds. The 1971 E model’s base price had escalated to $69,990 (add $10,125 for the turbocharger), and came with the stretched, pointy nose with a recessed landing light. The stretch reduced the useful load by about 100 pounds. The nose baggage compartment grew in volume but was still limited to 150-pounds. The landing light placement opened up space to add weather radar in the nose. Additional options included strobes, automatic prop synchronizers, heated windshield, and a flight director system. The E model is the only one that I can recognize from a distance due to the single recessed landing light dead center of the big nose. By this time, the Aztec's low VMC of 70 KIAS, superior short- field performance (820-foot takeoff roll, 1,250 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle, 1,250 feet to clear the same obstacle coming back, and 850-foot landing roll), rate of climb (1,490 fpm fully loaded for the normally aspirated E; 1,530 fpm for the turbo), and 1,600-pound cargo payload had made it a favorite both at home and abroad in mail, cargo, and air ambulance applications, as well as air taxi and charter work, and Piper pursued these markets with vigor. By 1974, gas was still only 52 cents a gallon and operating costs ran about $25 an hour, according to Piper. Now we come to Aztec F model and the one of choice by Alabeo for our flight simulator version. The F model was the final model and was built from 1976 through 1981. All models of the Apache and Aztec from the very first stubby nosed, under powered 5-seater to the very last F model were all built at the Piper assembly plant in Lock Haven, PA. Other than the short break in production in 1972 to recover from the Hurricane Anges flood that wiped out every plane in production, some model of the Apache and/or Aztec has been coming off the assembly line. When it was introduced in 1976, the F model had a standard price of $99,600, but by 1981, the price had ballooned to $165,960, and avionics packages could increase that by another $34,000; the "turbo group" of options added yet another $39,580. Fuel was now $1.75 a gallon, and operating costs had risen to $80 an hour for the normally aspirated F and over $95 an hour for the turbo. Oh my. A fully equipped Aztec could cost over a quarter of a million dollars: The turbo F featured in the December 1979 AOPA Pilot magazine had a price tag of $247,988, not chicken feed then and equivalent to about $850,000 today. The first few years the F model was decked out with and a newly designed rectangular stabilator with oversized balance horns on the tips, but, the pilots didn't like it and kept complaining until Piper returned to the previous E mode l stabilator in 1980. We will have to see which version Alabeo has chosen for our simulator model. Squared-off wing tips were added for the F model along with an direct interconnect between the flaps deployment and the stabilator trim to counteract the long-time nose pitch-up as flaps are deployed. A very visual change from the E to the F model was moving the balance weights for the stabilator out to the tips from the earlier location inside the tailcone. From the photos of the real world F model it appears to have a squared off and wider stabilator in the early years but no one seems to know for sure what the 1980 and 1981 models had other than “Piper reverted back to the earlier model stabilator”. Update: I am now told the whole story. Piper received so many pilot complaints about this new stabilator design not having the correct ‘feel’ and the FAA issued an AD that addressed the cracking, fastening, and bushing problems for the large exposed horns at the tips. The fix was to totally remove the new stabilator changes and go back to the previous E model stabilator with some slightly different damping and balancing. Using internal bob weights up forward on the elevator instead of the inside and adding a lower-tension downspring was to make the ‘feel’ more predictable. Also, it is said that pitch stability at cruise was improved with this fix. Visually, the E model stabilator and the reverted F model stabilators should be practically identical. This is what I see on the Alabeo model. Further, Carenado stated that their real world model may have received some stablilator damage at one time so that could explain the reversion to the E model look alike. Hmmm. A good cross check are the photos of the F model used for the flight test in the AOPA Pilot magazine in the December 1979 issue – the Aztec may have actually been a 1980 year model that had the reversionary fix. The B – E models all had four 36 gallon fuel wing tanks for a total of 144 gallons. All of these had 137 or 140 gallons useable, depending on the specific serial number. The F model, that we have, comes with the standard 144 gallons in the wing tanks but does not have the two optional 20 gallon tip tanks. J ust so you know, the normally aspirated models all use 91/96 octane (blue) or 100/130 octane (green), but the turbo models all require 100/130 (green) fuels. Our F model fuel capacity is the standard 144 gallons (137 useable) in four 36 gallon wing tanks. That is still a lot of gas folks. The range at intermediate cruise (~75% power) is 725 nautical miles with 45 minutes reserve. Long Range endurance looks like about 830 nm (~55%) with 45 minutes reserve when leaned to best economy. When sitting in the pilot seat of the Alabeo Aztec it is not obvious that the cowl flaps and fuel selectors are in a suspended box as shown in the drawing. It must be the flight sim limitations that tend to make the controls look flat and almost 2d. The F lost a little takeoff performance but has a shorter accelerate/stop distance than its predecessors (1,985 feet). A full set of copilot instruments was an option. The four front seats got new backs like the ones on the Navajo; the fuel filler ports and caps likewise came from the Navajo. The new F model was introduced just in time for Piper to convert the airspeed indicator from mph to knots. The Pilot Operating Handbook for the E model (1971 – 1975) is in mph with an occasional speed with both mph and kts, but the POH for the F model is only in Knots throughout so make sure you are alert for this if you are using an older flight manual. All references to airspeed in the review will be only in knots. Almost 5,000 Aztecs were built during the airplane's 21-year production run, and more than 2,500 remain registered with the FAA today. Many have headed overseas to satisfy foreigners' insatiable hunger for American airplanes. A well-equipped 1981 F model will run you about $94,500, with the turbo costing about $110,500. An average 1968 C model would go for around $38,500, with the turbo version running about $42,500, according to the Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest. The F model Aztec used for the AOPA Pilot Magazine flight test in December 1979 was a fully equipped turbo model that carried a price as tested of $247,988. Woah. This one is probably as close to the Alabeo model as we are going for find. You can read the full article here. http://www.aeroresourcesinc.com/uploads/197912-1979%20Piper%20PA-23T-250%20Aztec%20F.pdf The true Aztec lovers will find several well written and informative articles on the E and F models (1977)in Flying Magazine and the AOPA Pilot magazine (1979). Of course, we have the advantage of installing our F1 GTN750 or Reality XP GNS530 in the top slot for greatly improved situational awareness, not to mention moving charts and full LPV approach capability for the F1 GTN owners. Alabeo has made this 3rd party upgrade as simple as humanly possible. In the root directory of your installed Aztec F you will find 3 exe files. One for the default GNS530, one for the Reality XP GNS530 and one for the Flight1 GTN750 installer. You can execute one of these files, provided you in fact own either or both premium avionics packages and in less than a minute you will be ready to fly with the GPS and panel arrangement of your choice. You can revert back or change your mind and simply run one of the other exe files to change your configuration. One of the nifty features and well thought out installation is that when you choose the F1GTN750, the installer will remove the Collins transponder and Garmin Audio Panel because they are both included within the GTN750. I am very glad to see such well-designed features coming from Alabeo. Not taking anything away from the 3rd party installers, but I feel Alabeo missed a golden opportunity to really shine with their special installers for the Aztec F. Many of those who own the F1GTN750 also owns the GTN 650 and can use them in tandem as a combo. This provides much more than one might think. You can have alternate approaches on the 2nd units, you can monitor additional frequencies, and best of all you have Nav/Com 2 units built in. I like to fly the approach on the 650 and monitor progress on the big 750 with the chart display zoomed up. It looks like it would have been an extra few minutes of design time to allow the installation of the 750/650 combo with the removal of the old Collins big faced square Nav/Com 2 units. The fit is near perfect and the result would have been outstanding. Not that Alabeo could not include this feature in an update somewhere down the road. Think v2.0, maybe even v1.1. A lapse in memory must have contributed to the popup clickspot for the GTN to be placed at the top center of the unit (which is where Carenado and Alabeo place all their avionics popups) while the return is in the ‘normal’ and expected lower left side of the frame. I noticed some posts that actually thought Alabeo had forgotten to include the popup click spot. This can be fixed by our community mods group but shouldn’t have left Santiago this way. The Aztec was incrementally refined over the years, but it never really changed much in any big way. Aside from the wildly disorganized instrument panels found on pre-D models, the systems in one are pretty much like the systems in another. Flaps and landing gear are hydraulic, driven by a pump on the left engine. Though later models had one on the right engine as well, many older airplanes have been retrofitted with an auxiliary electrically powered hydraulic pump. Should both fail, manual gear (and flap) extension can be easily accomplished using a hand pump that telescopes from under the power quadrant; 30 to 40 strokes are required to raise or lower the gear (about a dozen for the flaps), but the leverage is excellent. The Alabeo Aztec F does not seem to have any references to anything hydraulic such as pumps for providing pressure for the landing gear, flaps and brakes. The documentation someplace mentions the props can be feathered so that will make the engine out emergencies much more realistic. Most early models also were equipped with a C02-powered blow-down system, activated by pulling a ring under the pilot's seat in case of hydraulic system failure, but I think they have gotten away from that system. The flaps and landing gear handles are still reversed from today's defacto standard, with the flap handle on the left and the gear handle on the right. As stated earlier, that has never been a problem for me. I think everyone should hesitate a few seconds and consider the consequences before operating a gear handle while still on the ground. The fuel system is straightforward. Inboard or outboard tanks are selected for either side. The console between the front seats houses these fuel metering controls. Each wing has two 36 gallon fuel tanks, one on each side of the engine, hence the inboard fuel tank and the outboard fuel tank. All total we have 36 x 4 = 144 total gallons of fuel. Our drop down box for the simulator allows us 140 gallon total useable fuel. Mounted on the front of the fuel metering box toward the panel are the two cowl flap controls. These are individual manual controls for the engine cowl flaps and can be set at any value between full open and fully closed. When the knob is straight up, the cowl flaps are fully open and allowing the maximum amount of cooling air flow into the engine nacelle. Each engine has two cowl flaps, one on either side of that engine and the two are operated as one unit. We never refer to the individual cowl flap on a given engine as Left or Right, just the cowl flaps for the number one engine or the cowl flaps for the number two engine. The fuel tank selection process, crossfeed control, and cowl flap levers is a model of ergonomic efficiency. Crossfeed is either on or off and is generally unnecessary unless a long distance must be flown on one engine; fuel can be pumped from any tank to either engine. There are some nice sounds associated with moving these fuel flow controls. Due to the placement of the fuel and cowl flap controls it will be difficult to see your settings while flying without some head down time looking straight down between the seats. I never was able to get a good view of the cowl flaps levers looking from the front back between the seats. The Ezdoc users will want to set up a couple of custom views for this. I was having difficulty getting the props to feather so I was doing all sorts of throubleshooting things, like making sure the fuel tank feeding the dead engine was totally out of fuel. So I used the drop down feature to set fuel to zero. The strange thing was that with zero fuel, if I moved the mixture control out of cutoff for the dead engine I could hear engine start sounds although I could not see any evidence on the gauges such as increasing manifold pressure or any RPM changes. This may need some looking at the coders by Alabeo. All my comments are based on the initial release of the Alabeo Aztec, so any SP1 or patch may fix these things. UPDATE: Not going to happen. Carenado tells me that an update to the Alabeo Aztec is not planned at this time. Climbing into an Aztec for the first time, you'll notice steel tubes extending from the corners of the windshield down to the instrument panel. The Aztec's skin is wrapped around a tubular steel cage, a throwback to the days when Piper planned to produce the Apache with a fabric fuselage. By the time the decision was made to go with metal, re-engineering the fuselage was deemed too expensive. End result, every Aztec has the steel tubes interfering with the view from the pilot’s seats – only twin I know with this unique feature. The Aztec's docile handling characteristics make it an ideal multiengine trainer. If it seems to handle like a really big J-3 Cub, that's because it shares the cub’s wing cross-section. The Aztec accelerates briskly at a light training weight to a rotation speed of VMC plus 10 percent, 76 KIAS, and then on through VYSE, 89 kts, to VY, 104 kts. I don’t know how you configure your simulations, but I seldom takeoff at MTOW unless I am running some timed tests for a review. I typically start with half fuel and either one or no passengers so the airplane performance should be more responsive than a fully loaded or fully laden aircraft. Here are some weight calculations that I made for gross weight with full seats and full fuel. There is always going to be some give and take, even with an Aztec. The later models, especially with the weight of the turbos and a full panel of avionics have a hundred or so less pounds available for payload, but nothing that can’t be worked out. My first calulation used standard FAA pilot and passenger weights and full baggage weight limits and full fuel to see how we fared – not real bad, overweight by 190 pounds. An adjustment here and there using real world expected weights and we can takeoff with the 6 seats occupied, an ample amount of baggage, full fuel and 1 pound under gross weight. I assume if you are buying a twin for your FSX/P3D that you probably have some type of yoke or flight stick for your simulator. If so, you will want to make sure your elevator trim is mapped properly to your yoke or flight stick because you will be using it most of the time you are flying the Aztec. You may as well check the flaps, gear and such are also properly mapped to an easy to use button or switch. Not everyone has a twin throttle setup with individual controls for Propellers and Mixture so it makes the engine out simulation a little harder, well that part is not hard, it is getting the proper prop, mixture, and throttle back so you can put the single propeller into the feather position. The recommended cruise climb speed of 117 KIAS results in a very leisurely climb rate. Visibility over the nose is not bad at 120, and the cowl flaps do a good job of keeping cylinder head temperatures in the green. In cruise, the flight controls may feel heavier than the typical lighter airplane as you start your roll, maybe not so much so in pitch. Steep turns can be accomplished fairly easily and are one of my favorite maneuvers in the Aztec. I like to make lots of clearing turns when approaching an airport, especially when coming out of the clouds. If I am going to make a turn, I usually make it a steep turn and then roll from one direction directly to the other. Power-off stalls are unremarkable; you'll feel the flight sim equivalent of the buffet through the control wheel well before reaching the 55 KIAS stall speed. Nose it over to accelerate through VMC before adding power; this takes a moment with the draggy landing configuration. Departure stalls are similarly bland; lower the nose and let the airplane accelerate. I performed some fairly aggressive stalls but other than a wing dropping just before or just after the nose dropped they were all pretty much the same. Remember, not to confuse the Calibrated Airspeeds with the Indicated Airspeeds when flying at the low end of the flight envelope. What I miss when doing stalls or any aggressive flight maneuvers when flying the Carenado or Alabeo models are changes in wind noises or aerodynamic sounds that are possible in the simulator when flying some of the RealAir or A2A with Accu-sim add ons. I guess it is just a lot less realism due to the total absence of feel in the yoke and rudders and for sure the absence of any g-force changes in anyone’s add on, but the changing sounds sure help. This may be out of place in the review but I want to make sure I call your attention to this slight error in the Alabeo provided performance charts. It is always important to read the conditions or details of any chart to make sure it matches you airplane’s exact configuration. Take a look at these range charts and see if you would have caught the faux pas? Under the hood, you will find the airplane stable and predictable, even with the critical engine feathered. I would guess that the folks with the F1GTN 750 sitting high and pretty in the VC will be flying a lot of LPV approaches and those that don’t will be flying ILS approaches so be prepared for some serious enjoyment. You have probably heard me say this plane is ‘as stable as a table’ in so many reviews that you just skip over such statements. But, this one flies real similar to the Carenado Seneca V and the Alabeo Saratoga II TC which are both excellent IFR training airplanes. Once you setup on a given glide path you should be able to maintain your proper rate of decent with only small touches of power changes. We can get into the age old choice of power for altitude and pitch for speed, but, use whatever works for you. Visibility is excellent and the Alabeo team coded just the right amount of reflections in the windows and the glass scratches are as realistic as anyones, including those in the real world. Just my one standard statement about the two pilot figures not being selectable as one or none and being the same two guys that fly every model of every plane from Carenado and Alabeo from crop dusters to mini-airliners and corporate jets is getting a little old. I suggest that they at least add some choices for sunglasses, ball caps, different color shirts or something to make them appear slightly different. They do add shoulder boards for the corporate and mini airliner models, so we know they know how to do it. While I am at it I may as well mention my disappointment with the scare documentation. Wish Alabeo could add a little more information about the airplane, systems, lack of systems, maybe a few how-to items or something more. The Shift + # has some very nice features but AFAIK there is nothing, anyplace that tells the new users to use the Shift + # keys for additional features and choices. Personal suggestion would be to make good use of the FSX Kneeboard for listing the specs and performance of the airplane as it is currently lacking this critical information. A quick check of the [General] and [W & B] sections in the aircraft.cfg file revealed a faux pax or two. The big one is the Maximum range of 1310 nm. Hmmm. This was most likely taken from an incorrect range chart – probably the 177 gal fuel optional tanks in the normally aspirated engines Aztec F. My best guess would be maybe something near 1,000 NM max range with 45 min reserve using best economy leaning and 24 in MP and 2200 RPM. (this would be crawling along at about 150 kts all day long) I found no mention of any type of Oxygen system in the Alabeo Aztec. This is a turbo, would be nice to know how in-depth the Oxygen system is for altitude operations, if at all. There is a total absence of any hints at how to actually fly the Alabeo Aztec but you might want to start a habit of burning fuel from the outboard tanks first just in case someone did code a little dutch roll into the simulation. There’s really nothing special about the cockpit of the Aztec except for its generous size. It’s laid out in the traditional manner, and these airplanes are getting old now and individual modifications through the years have left each one like a fingerprint and totally unique, especially with upgraded radios and GPS. Gear and flaps are hydraulic and not electric. Prior to the Piper Aztec F, the hydraulic pump was on the left engine. If that engine quit, the pilot would need to give a hefty 30-50 pumps of the manual gear extension to get the wheels down. The Aztec F added an auxiliary hydraulic pump on the right engine. I’m not sure how the Alabeo hydraulics work without a pump. A guess is they are electric, but they also work with the master switch off. Hmm. If I intentional kill the left engine and secure it, I can still operate the gear and flaps using the normal up and down controls. Maybe, we just need to assume we have the aux hydraulic pump also on the right engine and it is automatically taking over the work of providing hydraulics. Apaches and Aztecs have wings with constant, long chords, and this gives them great slow-speed performance, making takeoff and landing on short fields a breeze. This’ll cost you a few knots in cruise though, especially given the rest of the plane’s overall short, generally chunky appearance. Engine failures are easily coped with. The yaw is overcome with moderate pedal pressure, and a quick turn of the trim crank relieves that. The trim controls are overhead and consist of an outer crank for pitch and an inner crank for yaw. After a couple of flights, you become acclimated to the proper directions to turn them. This is important because, as noted above, the airplane exhibits a moderate pitch up with flap extension and pitch down with flap retraction. Most of the pitch change comes with the first quarter flaps, which is no big deal on pattern entry or downwind, where you'd normally first deploy them. The challenge comes on the go-around, when the full- power/flaps-up drill requires considerable back pressure on the wheel until you get retrimmed. There is little if any trim change with gear extension or retraction. Quarter flaps can come down at 139 KIAS, but there are no detents; there is a flap-position indicator on the panel, but it's more efficient to learn how long to hold the flap lever down or up to reach the desired setting. Gear can be extended at 130 KIAS. The gear handle, in the shape of a tire, is clear plastic; if a throttle is retarded with the gear up, a red light in the handle starts flashing. If both throttles are brought back below about 12 inches of manifold pressure, the gear horn sounds. The gear handle is equipped with a mechanical latch to prevent inadvertent gear retraction on the ground (there's also a squat switch). Makes we wonder how all those dummies keep having unintentional gear retraction on the ground in their Aztecs’. A smooth power reduction over the numbers, accompanied by a slight nose-up attitude, and the airplane touches down gently just as the throttles hit the stops, the arrival cushioned by big oleo struts. The gear is beefy enough to absorb clumsy landings or unimproved landing sites, and, if proper speed control is exercised, the airplane stays planted; when that wing stops flying, it stops flying. Nosewheel steering is heavy, as might be expected. Even at idle power settings, the airplane will build up speed in the taxi. Avoid riding the brakes. Instead, take a tip from the airliner cockpit: Let the airplane speed up on its own, then apply the brakes to slow to walking speed. Cycling the brakes in this way helps keep them cool. I found this description of the Aztec, but I couldn’t find the source for the credit. Just so you know, I did not write it but I would have if I were a writer. “The Aztec was never the fastest light twin, nor the one with the greatest payload, nor the most powerful. But in terms of cabin space, load- hauling ability, fuel economy, range, VMC, short-field performance, durability, and accelerate/stop distance, it matched or beat its rivals handily. What it lacked in panache, it made up in good manners. Today, more than 30 years on, it continues to provide comfortable personal transportation and to labor honestly in the vineyards of commercial aviation. Perhaps more important, it offers many students their introduction to the challenges of multiengine flight, where, like any good instructor, the Aztec is a gentle and reliable friend.” Piper was never bashful about running their engines hard to squeeze another mph or knot out them. It was good for the marketing people as they say. The timing was perfect for Piper to choose our Aztec F 1976 model as the one to convert the airspeed indicator from miles per hour to Knots/hour. (required by the FAA) It is not found in print in many locations, and it is often mis-represented but Piper liked to use four performance chart settings. These are Normal, Intermediate, Economy and Long Range. The Airplane Flight Manual for the Aztec F model uses these four terms in the performance section. These 4 setting are roughly equivalent to 80%, 75%, 65% and 55% power setting. Not exactly, but very close. In addition to the four ‘Cruise Settings’ there are two fuel/air mixture settings – Best Power and Best Economy. The Turbo charts are not to be confused with the High speed or Fast Speed cruise settings used by some of the other manufacturers. In the normally aspirated Aztec without the TIO engines with turbochargers the performance charts do not have charts representing anything faster than the Normal settings. For the Turbo equipped Aztec F with the TIO-540-C1A engines Piper has provided specific cruise power charts similar to those for the Aztec F with normally aspirated engines. In this case the Normal Cruise charts are replaced with the Turbo Cruise charts and the Intermediate, Economy and Long Range charts have (Turbo) added to the title. Anytime you are using any performance related charts, take the time to check the title and the engine number that the charts are intended. Some charts are for either the normally aspirated engines or the Turbo equipped engines such as descent and glide related speeds and distances. Also check the conditions for each chart. An example would be those charts specific to using the optional tip tanks that our Alabeo model does not have. Another example would be the Landing distance charts that would apply to either or both models. Most performance charts have conditions such as temperature, altitude, wind, runway condition, etc. Other charts are more specific about the airplane condition such as using a specific propeller, flaps deployed, or not deployed, landing gear extended or not extended and yet others are specific to the mixture settings or throttle settings. Most airspeeds used in performance charts use KIAS for indicated airspeed as read directly on the airspeed indicator, but some are KCAS and require the use of the Airspeed correction card to obtain the calibrated airspeeds. The Performance Charts provided by Alabeo are straight out of the official POH. Like a said earlier, just always make sure the chart details match your engines numbers and fuel configuration. The turbo model only has one identifier for all turbo models – TIO-540-C1A and the fuel load will be shown as 137 – 140 gallons useable depending on specific block production runs. Ours has 144 gal total, 140 useable. For those charts that specify that one engine be feathered, you can simulate a feathered engine by using 11 IN manifold pressure and 2175 RPM. Cowl flaps settings are not specified but are normally closed when an engine is feathered. I made a summary chart of the book performance speeds and fuel flows taken directly from the Airplane Flight Manual for the F model Turbo. You will notice the difference in fuel burn and cruise speeds for the 4 settings. Best speed is 9 knots faster at the 80% best power setting than the 75% intermediate setting at gross weight, but it will cost you 4 gal/hr more fuel. The difference between the best power mixture and best economy mixture at the four settings averages about 5 gallons per hour. You can find the sweet spot that fits your style of flying by studying this chart. The savings in fuel or those costs for by higher maintenance and jug replacements that the real world Aztec drivers are constantly weighing may not even be a concern at all for the sim pilot with a virtual credit card. Then again, not everyone wants to see how fast their Aztec will fly, some like to take it easy and cruise at the economy or long range settings. To each his own. Navy Model Aztec An ex-United States Navy U-11A on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum. I made a repaint for the flight sims using this one as a model, of course, mine is the most modern Aztec F, but it still looks very Navy. Using this photo I came up with our modern day equivalent Navy Aztec for the flight sims. You can find this ready for downloading in the Avsim library. The b&w images on the left appeared in a Lear Radio ad in the October 1954 issue of Skyways magazine. Lear advertised that his line of radios would add value to any of these flying twins. A little later on, Bill Lear invented the autopilot, 8-track tape players and of course designed the LearJet. I added more recent photos to show how each one evolved over time. What it lacks in size, it makes up in an almost complete lack of habits AOPA, Seth B Golbey What do I get in my download? You get 6 very different repaints, plus the standard white one with two interior color choices that will fly in FSX, Steam, and P3D v2-3. Check out the chart here. The standard GPS is the Carenado GNS530, but come with automated installers for the Reality XP GNS530 and the Flight1 GTN750 (both of these require 3rd party purchases) The Alabeo Aztec F comes with full instrumentation including dual nav/coms, ADF receiver, DME, VOR/LOC/GS, and slaved gyros, RMI, a switch for most everything, plus a few more, including a full circuit breaker panel. It does not have the copilot gauges (4 black blank gauge covers) which is probably a good thing for the flight simmers with challenged PCs. This one comes with the factory installed turbos with fully automatic wastegates so it is mostly add power and go fly. The turbos come into their own at about 8,000 where the advantage of the blowers begin to show and the practical upper limit for the Aztec F turbo is FL250. The sweet spot altitude seems to be FL220 for best speed. Sure you can climb higher but there is no payback. What can I do with my new Alabeo Aztec F? I chose to use the Sporty’s N706SP red and white repaint and based it at Sportys hometown airport I69. This is a very convenient suburban airport with a 3550 foot runway in excellent condition in the shadows of the Cincinnati Lunken airport, LUK, that has SIDS and STARS and the full boat load of instrument approaches to make good use of that big ole GTN750 sitting high in the panel. Here are some screenshots at and around Sportys. Should you already own a Flight1 GTN750 and you are in the market for a light twin, the Alabeo Aztec F is a slam dunk. With more than 3,600 LPV approaches available in the USA and practically every one of them are ready to fly in the GTN, it makes for some great instrument work in the twin Aztec. WAAS is really coming into its own now. Not only do we have this great number of LPV approaches that are for all practical purposes as good as an ILS approach, but the GPS brings more than a 1,000 new airports into play for precision approaches. Meaning these 1,000+ airports do not have an existing ILS approach. Yeah. http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/techops/navservices/gnss/approaches/ To be fair to the folks that don’t have a GTN, don’t want a GTN, and are probably tired of hearing about them, you can use the basic approaches, including the ILS, LOC, ADF and whatever to fly your instrument approaches in your new Aztec F. In FSX you can use your Realtity XP 530 instead of the F1GTN750 should you have one. The F1 GTN will work just fine in P3D but you need to buy a P3D specific version to do so. Of course, if you are a VFR pilot and are just moving up to a twin for load carrying capacity, or for the safety of having a 2nd engine, then you can just ignore that Glide Slope and go out and enjoy flying high above much of the weather and filling up your six seats and going someplace. I would expect a lot of engine out emergencies where you identify the failed engine, clean it up, feather the propeller and go looking for a runway to make your single engine approach and landing. You can choose to continue on with your flight with one engine and practice your fuel transfers and maintaining course and altitude with one operating engine. Most folks recommend disengaging the autopilot when flying with one-engine out. Some of the early posts in the support forums were making untrue statements that the props could not be feathered (because they didn’t know how to do it). It is not as simple as say the Realair Duke but it certainly can be done. Mixture full back, prop lever full back, keystrokes CTRL+F2 to put the prop control into the feather position. Those users with FSUIPC can automate this to make it a little easier. You can also practice some of those intentional gear up landings. Do it at night and make some spectacular sparks as you gouge the concrete. You can spend as much time as you like doing your engine runups and pre-takeoff checks to fine tune your procedures. The mag drops and prop exercise is not perfect and the correct sounds are not present but it is certainly close enough for your basic light twin. Just make sure you are using the recommended RPM settings in your procedures. Here is the Run-Up from the Normal Procedures in the POH. BTW the Alabeo provided Normal Procedures are word-for-word the same as the real world version. And best of all you can take some nice long cross country flights in the lower Flight Levels. The Aztec has never been known as a frugal airplane but with a virtual credit card who really cares about the price of av gas. Go ahead and see how it feels to fly for extended periods at 80% power. Just keep a close eye on the cylinder head temps because Aztecs tend to run on the hot side of the scale. Does the autopilot work correctly? Glitches in autopilot operation seems to be common faux pas at Carenado these days, did it spill over to Alabeo? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. The Aztec has the proper time period Century III AP and even though I think it does indeed work properly, it is not real intuitive at first look. I suggest you at least read the Alabeo provided 3 page pdf for the autopilot, and if you want to know a little more, you can download the real world manual. The Century III is a full 2-axis autopilot including pitch hold, pitch command, altitude hold, and GS coupling (but not VS command or altitude preselect). There are thousands of Piper aircraft with this exact AP installed, but with a special arrangement, the faceplate says Piper Altimatic IIIc, later on that switched to Autocontrol III. Behind that faceplate is the Century III AP. The Century III was a top of the line autopilot in the early 1970s. Other than being about 4x as large as the modern AP and having an extra button called OMNI (which can be used to fly a LOC course without the Glideslope), and a missing button – APPR, and no obvious On/Off switch, there is not much difference in this one and any other AP that we see in the flight sims add ons. The Century III AP in the Aztec has ALT hold, HDG, NAV, LOC (Norm), and LOC (Rev) modes. The only thing missing is APPR, but not to worry. Use your NAV mode for your approach and when at your IAF or FAF and on course, switch to LOC Norm. The glideslope should engage if you are slightly under the required altitude. I usually use ALT hold for my approaches just so I have more time to look around and enjoy the approach, but for the Century III it is a requirement. You might notice that glideslope is a little slow at engaging – this is the way the Century III works and is normal. According to the real world manual, three conditions must be present for GS capture. 1. Set to LOC Norm, 2. Must be in the ALT mode, and 3. GS deviation indicator must be deflected upward for 20 seconds. This provides assurance that the glide path will be intercepted from below in a normal manner. There is a Pitch mode with a Pitch Command Wheel directly to the right of the switch. Use your mouse wheel to select the VSI desired in increments from 1 -5 up or down. This Aztec does not have an Altitude Pre-select mode. I am intentionally not going to tell you where to find the Master Switch for the Century III AP. The answer is in the first paragraph of the 3 page pdf manual supplied by Alabeo with a big red circle around it. As to how it works, it seems to do everything correctly. There are some limitations for speed and bank angle, but you shouldn’t have the AP engaged in either of those cases. Just remember the Century III like that 20 second delay. What is a Stormscope? Does it show weather? Show weather - No, show lightning strikes – No. Does in work in FSX/P3D? Well, sorta, but, you have to have some FSX weather for it to see and you have to have the Stormscope turned On and set to the proper distance. Then you will get some little green patches showing the worst of the weather that you can probably see looking out the windshield. The real world Stormscope shows lightning strikes as individual points or dots. So how is the fit and finish of the Alabeo Aztec F? In a word, excellent. Looks like a real world late model Aztec. The VC textures are as good as anyones, the exterior may be even better. The material shines and reflections are the best in class and add even more realism to the simulation. The extras are typical Alabeo/Carenado and should not be taken lightly. These extras add a lot to the simulated realism when flying the Aztec and are almost expected for a premium model nowadays. I especially like the window scratches (never seen an Aztec without them), and I like the gauge reflections (this is personal choice so it is covered for everyone). I like the click sounds of the switch movements, the realistic fuel pump whine, and many of the other sounds (more on this later), and although the web site doesn’t mention it, but I notice the little things like the aircraft settling down on the ramp when weight is added. You will appreciate the volumetric side view prop effect when flying the Aztec. The emergency exit (left side, 2nd row window) is designed but not functional. The upholstery is near perfect also. It has that slightly worn, but well cared for look and it looks like simulated leather. Nice. The Alabeo Aztec abounds with little touches to give it that used look, like the metal heel plates show the proper amount of scratches and the paint is worn near the most used switches and knobs. How about the animations? The animations are about what is typically found in the Alabeo/Carenado mid-level models. Which is more than many of the competitors. The little pilot’s window opens and closes and the sounds change when open or closed. The sun visors work, but only full up or full down – no intermediate positions available. The yokes can be hidden individually. I personally do not care for the Alabeo advertising on the return button for the yokes – This is not something found on any real world Aztec and is a distraction to me. The door handle and lock is animated but like the visors, it is either open or closed and locked – you don’t get to participate – just watch. The real Aztec had a slide latch to push forward to lock prior to flight and also a pull up/push down door lock similar to any typical American automobile. Alabeo captured both along with the movement of the car handle locking door handle. Everyone expects all the levers for engine controls to be movable and therefore animated, but not everyone does a good job on some of the secondary knobs, levers, and controls like the Fuel Management area. This one is perfectly done, however, just like in the real Aztec, it requires total head down time if you want to see what you are doing. Day to day Aztec pilots can manage the fuel flow and cowl flaps with nothing more than a quick glance to confirm the positions or settings. Sim pilots will have a much tougher time with this. I guess the Ezdoc users can figure out a how to see it but, the standard FSX/P3D view is not much use in an emergency situation. Shift + Number 2 – 7 popups. The Shift+4 popup window should list all the available 2d windows but, it is a little honked up. There is never going to be a Shift+1 popup in FSX/P3D as shown and the AP is in the Shift+2 position, but other than that these are very useful to first time users and also the popup AP is necessary unless you fly with the pilot’s yoke hidden. Also the Shift +3 Window Manager is the only place I know for selection of static elements (chocks, remove before flight items) and instrument reflections and VC windows. Flying Instrument Approaches The Alabeo Aztec is a near perfect instrument flight airplane. I guess I better add, as long as you fly with the pilot’s yoke hidden or the autopilot in a 2d window when needed. The gauge layout is ideal and the 3d looking gauges are in the standard 6 configuration. The engine instruments are not that easy to read from the pilot’s seat, but the primary engine indicators, like the manifold pressure, RPM and Fuel Flow are very readable due to their large size and placement. The EGT is practically unreadable without zooming in, then it is very readable. Once you are familiar with the expected EGT settings you will only be looking for needle placement (9 o’clock). I did notice the temperature is shown as deg F x100 so make sure you are thinking that 1,600 deg F is the upper limit for EGT temperatures. I made several LPV approaches and then immediately followed up with the equivalent ILS approach if the airport had both. There is not much difference anymore, we just have a lot more precision approaches available provided you have the F1GTN installed. Sound Package The Alabeo provided sounds should be sufficient for the casual sim pilot. Those sim pilots that can actually hear the turbo whine will have to strain and do a little imagining while searching for realistic engine and turbo sounds. The cockpit sounds – those clicks of the switches and the movement of the lever in the fuel management controls are above average. Door opening and closing and the small pilot window movements both have great sounds that add to the immersion. The gear movement, propeller sounds and general engine sounds are pretty much standard Alabeo/Carenado sounds. What is missing is that throaty Lycoming roar at takeoff power and full propeller pitch and totally missing is the turbo whine at all settings. Most flight sim pilots that have never heard the sounds of the real Aztec will probably be satisfied and never think twice about improved sounds. But, for that special group with the discerning ear that want to hear those missing sounds. No problem. Our friend Aaron Swindle at Skysong Soundworks has taken his Piper Twin Comanche sound set and added the turbo whine and a few other tweaks to make it fully turbo Aztec compatible. You can hear his sounds prior to purchase and those listening for the throaty Lycoming roar and the turbo whine will probably want to upgrade the Aztec sound package. Look for the Aztec adapted twin Comanche sound set for FSX. You can hear it here and read the list of sounds. This is a nice boost in the overall sounds of the Alabeo Aztec and can be purchased for less than $10. Highly recommended. http://skysongsoundworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=38 How about the Frame Rates? I have no problem whatsoever with the Alabeo Aztec and FPS. Set to unlimited in P3Dv2.5 mine bounces around 45 – 55 FPS with no stutters. I would suspect the only ones that might have a problem with FPS are those with Legacy Systems and they are going to have FPS problems with most any add on. I checked the forums and did not find a single thread on FPS for the Aztec. That must say something. Additional repaints and panel colors. I have added 6 additional repaints to the Avsim library for download. Some are original repaints and others are simply registration number changes requested by fellow flight simmers. I have also added 3 new panel colors for those that wish to have something more than Blue or Gold. Blue and Gold has served the Naval Academy well for more than a hundred years but for flying an Aztec in 2016, I prefer the easier on the eyes Ivory, Gray, or Black. http://library.avsim.net/search.php?CatID=root&SearchTerm=aztec+ray+marshall&Sort=Downloads&ScanMode=1&Go=Change+View Summary and Conclusion I think Alabeo has brought us a good turbo Aztec that will fill the void in many virtual hangars. It is a late model and turbo equipped, with the possibility to add either your Reality XP 530 GPS or your Flight1 GTN750 to the VC panel with no more effort than selecting the proper exe file. I commend Alabeo for adding this highly requested feature to a 30 year old airplane. As previously mentioned the texture quality inside and out is the best in class and far superior to what we typically see in this price range. As expected, other than switch clicks and knob movements, the systems depth is not much deeper. I expected at least an oxygen switch, outlet, sensor or something with the word Oxygen somewhere in the cockpit when the plane was delivered with factory turbos. I also missed seeing any reference to a hydraulics system, no switch for a pump or no gauge for pressure, which is a little strange on a plane with hydraulic flaps, brakes, retractable landing gear, and two hydraulically actuated constant speed propellers. The answer here is rather simple – Alabeo chose to make all things hydraulic electrical for this flight sim model. On the positive side, the fuel management system can keep you occupied and delighted going into and out of crossfeeds and using your full-feathering propellers to simulate one-engine operations. You have operating cowl flaps to help control engine temperatures and best of all you have factory built twin turbos with fully automatic waste gates for super simple operation. You have 4 fuel tanks with the ability to feed from any tank to either engine and to move fuel around for balance. The Alabeo Aztec comes with excellent instrumentation, easy to read placards and switch labels, good lighting, good backlighting and a very capable time-period autopilot. You can fly ILS and ADF approaches just as it comes out of the download using the standard GNS530 GPS or add a ton (3,600+) of LPV approaches when you add the Flight1GTN750. You have an ample selection of liveries (6 + white) and a limited choice of interiors (2) but more are available for downloading at the Avsim library. Overall, there is still a lot going for the FSX/P3D Aztec F. Many seasoned pilots and flight simmers alike crossed paths with one of the Aztec models somewhere along the way. These same pilots and sim pilots have yearned for a realistic FSX/P3D Aztec to help them re-live some of those days. The Alabeo PA-250 Aztec F can do exactly that for you. Recommended. Comments about flying the Alabeo Aztec posted at Avsim. It may not be a Real Air or A2A product, but, after flying the Aztec for about 30 minutes, I cannot find any problem with this aircraft so far. The modelling both internally and externally, as usual with Alabeo, is beautiful and so far everything I have tried on the Aztec has worked perfectly, although I have not as yet flown it on the autopilot. The sounds also are excellent and, as someone with RW flying experience in these albeit many years ago and in the older Aztec D model, I can confirm that the flight dynamics appear pretty realistic. With half tanks I successfully flew this in and out of a 1000ft strip that I once flew from in the RW and it coped with it very comfortably. I'm certain I will be doing a lot of flying in this impressive aircraft. Bill (scianoir) 16 February 2016 Avsim Forums Ditto on the flight dynamics... with a caveat. I very much enjoy flying on two engines. It handles well in flight and through the flare to landing. Notwithstanding the different types this flies as well as their Titan. However... there is no drag with a windmilling prop. Which is just as well since there is no way to feather a failed or shut down engine's prop. As long as you are not expecting real world single engine performance, this is a decent hand flyer and the AP is pretty intuitive... if you have flown the A2A P-51 Civilian version... One simple thing I wish they would fix is to put in the clickspot to bring up the GTN 750 2D popup. Donald Trail 19 February 2016 Avsim Forums I'm having no problem whatsoever feathering the props. Very realistic behavior. Very impressed with this aircraft. A great simulation! P.S. Sounds and lighting are good on my setup. Autopilot behaves perfectly as it should. An Alabeo Home run for me. JesC, 04 March 2016 – Avsim Forums My error, I wasn't giving it enough power before pulling back the prop levers. Love this aircraft, it has fantastic STOL performance - I've just gone back to some Idaho dirt strips I tried with the Cessna 185 before Christmas and with care the Aztec can handle some of these, the large flaps mean I can drop onto the runway at just over 55/56 knots. Fantastic - a twin bush plane! 27 April 2016 Avim Messenger The AP is acceptable and fits the style of the plane. It holds HDG & ALT well. It's not hard to use. I have Klipsch speakers with a Creative XFI Titanium HD audio card so everything sounds good. The sounds seem realistic. I love the VC, external model, and the flight model. Overall is an excellent light twin that I highly recommend to any simmer. DJJose (real world Flight Instructor) Credits Thanks for Carenado and Alabeo for providing the Eval copy for this review. SETH B. GOLBEY and AOPA for their research and text used from the Piper Aztec, Hello Old Friend article that appeared in September 1991. Flying Magazine for their timely articles on the E and F model Aztecs. David and Jose for the excellent screenshots. Jesse and Jose for passing along key information about flying the Alabeo Aztec.
  3. Narita International By Wing Creation Inc. A review by Marlon Carter Introduction Formerly known as the New Tokyo International Airport, Narita International is the predominant international airport of Japan which handles the vast majority of international air transport. While Narita may be very popular, it is still the second largest airport after Haneda which now handles the domestic and some international markets. Given the fact that Narita handles the majority of international travel, within the world of Flight Simulation it is quite understandable that having a highly detailed rendition of this airport will have a far greater appeal for those of us who love long haul flying to new destinations. Given the fact that Wing Creation is based in Tokyo, it is no surprise that they ceased the opportunity to create the highest quality scenery for Narita to date. For those of you who are not familiar with Wing Creation, they aren’t necessarily a brand new developer since they were founded in 2012 and have already released 5 high quality add-ons for Japan. As far as Narita International is concerned, here is a listing of some of the features we can expect. Features Video Preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXNTN0FQ7w4 From the features listed above, it would seem that this scenery product offers some of the basic things we all look for in an airport add-on. While the feature list include the things we enjoy, it’s quite obvious that some features such as volumetric grass, surrounding custom autogen and Self Shadowing are not present. Does this mean that this product isn’t up to par with the rest? Well let’s have a closer look to find out. Installation & Documentation The installation of this product for both P3D and FSX are quite simple and we need not waste anytime delving into the specifics. What may be of greater concern to customers is the documentation that comes along with the product. The manual for RJAA is a 15 page PDF document that nicely outlines the feature of this product and the recommended setting for the best visual experience. Also included in this document is an insightful history of the airport and the numerous changes that has been made over the years. At the time of the development of this product, many changes were made to the real world Narita that were not captured in this product. The developer didn’t conceal this fact and they nicely outlined some of the updates they were able to capture as well as those that they did not. In the event of any issues, there is also a FAQ section of the manual that addresses issues such as AI disappearing in the daytime and Jetways not connecting to the aircraft. For users of DX10, please keep in mind that it is not recommended that DX10 be used with this product since some default library parts may disappear at night time. Ultimately, the documentation provided in this product is sufficient and it is written in a manner that is easy to understand. The Scenery At first glance it was quite evident that a significant amount of research when into the development of this airport. The layout of the airport is very detailed and it sufficiently represents the terminals and surrounding buildings at the time that this product was developed. While the level of detail is high, I think it’s important to mention that there are a few features missing from this product. For example, there is no animation for the shuttle system and there are a few missing details in the taxiways and Cargo 5 and LCC terminal. If you are familiar with the present day Narita, you will also notice that the new terminal 3 and the relevant taxiway and apron changes are also missing. While this may seem to be a shortcoming of this product, it is quite understandable that keeping up with airport development can be a challenge that requires compromise. Despite the challenge however, Wing Creation has done an outstanding job with the layout of the airport. After taking a closer look, it was clear to see that the modelling of the terminal buildings were very detailed in their general appearance and this can especially be seen at terminal 1 and 2 with their unique and very detailed design. The detail that’s missing however, is that the terminal windows are not transparent and most of the details are texture based. While some of us may not see this as a problem, I am sure that many who have grown use to the detail of other airport developers may be a bit disappointed. Nonetheless, one can still appreciate the fact that a significant amount of work went into ensuring that many of the details of these terminal buildings were sufficiently captured. Other interesting details on the terminal buildings include working Jetways which is a must have feature for any airport product these days. After testing this system with various aircraft such the 747 and 777, I found that the Jetways are fairly accurate in lining up to the doors on the aircraft. If you experience any issues in this regard, the manual discusses possible solutions to this. The airside areas of the airport were also very detailed. In this case one can clearly see that Wing Creation (WC) made good use of aerial photos to ensure that the markings and general look of the apron was captured. Aerial images were also used for much of the ground texture work that covers parking lots, grass areas and roadways. While using aerial images has its advantages, I thought that it may have been better if these images were used as a reference for more detailed custom texturing and 3D modeling for the airport surroundings. Despite this fact, the aerial images that were used are all high resolution and this certainly helps to improve the overall look of the airport environment over the default FSX/P3D airport environment. For users of FTX and GEX, the textural compatibility might be a bit of an issue since real world textures are often very different in appearance. As a suggestion to the developer, perhaps having optional textures for compatibility with FTX and GEX will result in a more natural transition between the two textures. While discussing the airside of this airport, it is also important to note that products such as GSX work just fine if you want to have a true to life experience when using this airport. If you commonly use product such as WOAI, you can also rest assured that there will be more than enough parking spots for other aircraft. To ensure that cargo and passenger aircraft park in the correct spots, you may want to read the FAQ section of the manual if you are experiencing any issues. In the end, I think that WC did a good job with accurately recreating aprons and taxiways of this massive airport. The final three areas we will consider is the surrounding terrain, night time environment of the airport and performance. One of the features of this product that was most welcome is the addition of seasonal textures. Given the fact that the entire environment of an airport can change dramatically at a specific time of the year, it’s unfortunate that many developers neglect this feature. Thankfully however, WC saw this as a necessary addition to enhance the realism of this airport. In this regard, custom textures were added to enhance the look of the airport at different times of the year. Other aspects of the surrounding such as roadways and grass are all textural and to the disappointment of many, there is no volumetric grass or use of speedtrees in the case of P3D. At night, the airport takes on a completely different atmosphere and the custom night textures and lighting create an authentic experience which may not be perfect, but is surely among the best available. Personally, I would have enjoyed the night time experience more if the terminal windows were transparent and more use was made of 3D lighting effects. Ultimately, Narita is still a very good product and when used with other 3rd party products such as FTX, UTX and even the addition of the default FSX vehicular traffic, the environment truly comes to life. Here are a few more screenshots showcasing the night time environment. Finally, when it comes to performance, this scenery product is very balanced. By default, the textures used are all high definition and this can have an impact on performance depending on your PC specs. If your PC doesn’t deliver high end performance, WC has also included an optional texture folder than will increase performance without sacrificing too much of the visual quality. After testing both texture sets, I can say without a doubt that both work quite well, with the lower resolution textures having the best performance. Conclusion In conclusion, I think that this is a very good product that nicely represents Narita airport. While the quality may not be on par with some of the more popular scenery developers, I think that everyone will be quite pleased with what WC has offered. The price (EUR 41.65 or 35.00 excl VAT)may be a bit more than we typically pay for a scenery product, but one has to understand that the developers would have spent a considerable amount of time and money in visiting the actual airport and gathering enough data to make this product as true to life as possible. Given this fact, it’s understandable that the price would be slightly on the high side. If the price is an issue for you and you are interested in purchasing this airport, I would recommend taking advantage of any sale discounts which are often offered by WC. Overall, I think that Narita is a product worth having since it creates an immersive environment with custom landclass and seasonal textures. The addition of moving Jetways is also a plus since some developers do no offer this in many of their scenery products without the aid of other ground service products. Finally, adding optional textures for better performance was a most welcome option to customers who are concerned about frame rates. Wing Creation has certainly proved that they are capable of producing high quality work and we can only look forward to seeing bigger and better products from them in the future. On that note, Wing Creation is already busy with their Haneda Airport project with a v2 of Narita planned thereafter. These future products will no doubt see many new features but in the meanwhile, their current Narita airport is a fine addition to your simulation if you enjoy flying long haul flights to new and interesting destinations. Custom landclass textures and seasons Animated Jetways Docking System High resolution textures Night Textures and lights Countermeasure for Frame rates This product is incompatible in DX10 preview mode.
  4. ICELANDAIR 757 A review by Marlon Carter Publisher: JUST PLANES Description: ICELANDAIR 757 Format: Download Reviewed by: Marlon Carter INTRODUCTION Flight Information A/C Reg Flight Route Flt Time Destinations 757-200 TF-FIT FI 613 FI 612 KEF-JFK JFK-KEF 5h59 4h45 KEF Keflavik, ICELAND JFK New York JFK, USA 757-200 TF-FIJ FI 520 FI 521 KEF-FRA FRA-KEF 3h00 2h59 KEF Keflavik, ICELAND FRA Frankfurt, GERMANY 757-200 TF-FIO FI 679 FI 678 KEF-ANC ANC-KEF 7h06 6h30 KEF Keflavik, ICELAND ANC Anchorage, USA + Cockpit filming using up to 6 cameras for fantastic views on takeoff & landing! + Detailed Preflight Preparations + Crew Briefings + Checklists + Aircraft Walkaround + Departure & Arrival Airport Charts + Detailed Cockpit Presentation + Detailed Systems Presentation + The 747 Love Affair with Air France + Great scenery on both flights+ Cockpit filming using up to 6 cameras for great views on takeoff & landing!+ on ground at JFK! + Pilot Presentations + Flight Preparations + Cockpit Set-up + Boeing 757 with standard cockpit (JFK) and with new glass cockpit (ANC & FRA) + Pilot Briefings + Checklists + External Walkaround + Departure & Arrival Airport Charts + Cockpit Presentation + Etops flying + Polar flying + Fantastic Canarsie arrival into New York's JFK Airport runway 13 Left!! + Dramatic images of our air to air encounter with the Boston-Keflavik 757 over the Atlantic! + Midnight arrival into Iceland with great views of the midnight sun! + Amazing scenery on all flights, especially on polar flight to Alaska + Our Frankfurt Captain takes you on his private Cessna for a beautiful flight over Iceland! HIGHLIGHTS The fact that this program was available on Blu-Ray and has since been sold out in a VERY short space of time tells us that this is not your ordinary Just Planes video program. While this is the second time that Just Planes has visited Icelandair, this program features some of the most unique moments of flight ever captured by Just Planes. We begin our journey from Keflavik to New York with a briefing among the flight crew as they discuss important details such as the weather and routing. Once this is completed, we join the First Officer as he takes us on a detailed walk around of the 757-200 which was very enlightening. Other interesting highlights that stood out for our first flight includes a presentation on the cockpit of the 757, history of the 757 at Icelandair, ETOPS and an amazing landing on 13L at KJFK. While the return flight to Keflavik was entertaining, the next most outstanding segment of this program is featured in our flight from Keflavik to Frankfurt which showcased the 757 with upgraded avionics and a closer look at the cockpit preparation and FMS setup that is performed before a flight. Another equally interesting and visually stunning flight takes us from Keflavik to Anchorage which is a 7 hour flight to a region well known for its beautiful landscape. The final bonus highlight of this program is a beautiful aerial tour of Iceland onboard the private Cessna of one of our Captains from the Frankfurt flight. This aerial tour showcases the lush green and ice capped terrain that is synonymous with Iceland. Ultimately, this program was undeniably one of the best presentations of the 757 ever captured by Just Planes and I think everyone will truly enjoy the insightful presentations from the cockpit and the beautiful scenery from the aircraft. – Highly Recommended! Video Preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMaO_LV5bcs
  5. Good to hear, is anyone else having a problem with the anti-col button, it does not allow me to turn off the beacon or strobes.
  6. I'd try a reinstall, but first check to see if it's in your sim objects folder. I also bought it, going to give it a few more hours of testing.
  7. Norwegian 787 LAX Dreamliner A review by Marlon Carter Publisher: JUST PLANES Description: Norwegian 787 LAX Dreamliner Format: Blu-Ray/Download Reviewed by: Marlon Carter INTRODUCTION + Cockpit filming using 6 cameras for great views on takeoff & landing! + Pilot Presentations + Briefings & Checklists + External Walkaround + Departure & Arrival Airport Charts + Detailed Cockpit Presentation + Boeing 787 Systems + Special look at what’s new in the 787 Cockpit + Flight Planning & Fuel + ETOPS + Presentation of ADS (Automatic Dependent Surveillance) + Presentation of HUD (Head Up Display) + Great scenery enroute and on approach & landing Flight Information A/C Reg Flight Route Flt Time Destinations 787-8 EI-LNF DY 7087 ARN-LAX 10h30 ARN Stockholm Arlanda, SWEDEN LAX Los Angeles, USA 787-8 EI-LND DY 7084 LAX-OSL 9h31 LAX Los Angeles, USA OSL Oslo, NORWAY HIGHLIGHTS This program is perhaps one of the best presentations on the 787 done by Just Planes. After meeting the flight and cabin crew, the Captain briefs his team onboard the aircraft as they prepare for a 10-hour flight from Stockholm to Los Angeles. For this flight we have the Captain, First Officer and a relief Captain who takes us through the walkaround segment of this program. The walkaround was very detailed and it nicely showcased some interesting details about the 787. For example, when examining the landing gear, you will notice the absence of hydraulic lines. This is due to the fact that the brakes on the 787 are powered electrically. Moving back to the cockpit, the First Officer engages the viewers with an interesting presentation on the FMC. This presentation will be of particular interest to fans of the 787 who are curious of the innovations that have been introduced into this aircraft. Other interesting presentations included the EFB and the performance calculation capabilities it contains. While enroute to LAX there were many highlights that are guaranteed to pique the interest of viewers which included an in-depth look at the EFB, Time Zones, Decompression routes and charts. The Captain also discusses some of the major differences between the 787 and other aircraft which includes reduced noise levels in the cockpit, better humidity, lighting and cabin altitude control. All of these features truly set the 787 apart from older long haul aircraft and it results in lower levels of fatigue as a result of long flights. For our return flight to Stockholm, some of the highlights included an in-depth presentation on the FMC, details on the other aspects of the cockpit and a more personal look at the career of the Captain. The 787 is a remarkable aircraft and Norwegian is proving to be an equally remarkable airline with a dedicated staff, top notch training and flight crews that truly enjoy sharing their knowledge of aviation. Ultimately, I think this program is well worth having and I hope that we will see more of Norwegian in the future. Video Preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt5GY66e7wQ
  8. Tropic Air A review by Marlon Carter Publisher: JUST PLANES Description: TROPIC AIR Format: Blu-Ray/Download Reviewed by: Marlon Carter INTRODUCTION Flight Information A/C Reg Flight Route Flt Time Destinations Caravan Airvan V3-HHM V3-HGZ 9N 001 9N 002 SPR-SPR SPR-SPR 1h00 0h24 Blue Hole Air to Air Caravan V3-HHM 9N 361 TZA-BZE BZE-DGA DGA-PLJ PLJ-PND 0h06 0h12 0h12 0h16 TZA Belize City Municipal, BELIZE BZE Belize City International, BELIZE DGA Dangriga, BELIZE PLJ Placencia, BELIZE Caravan V3-HHM 9N 360 PND-DGA DGA-BZE BZE-TZA 0h25 0h18 0h04 PND Punta Gorda, BELIZE DGA Dangriga, BELIZE BZE Belize City International, BELIZE Caravan V3-HHM 9N 290 TZA-BZE BZE-CUK CUK-SPR 0h06 0h10 0h06 TZA Belize City Municipal, BELIZE BZE Belize City International, BELIZE CUK Cave Caulker, BELIZE Caravan V3-HHM 9N 700 9N 701 SPR-CZH CZH-SPR 0h15 0h17 SPR San Pedro, BELIZE CZH Corozal, BELIZE Caravan V3-HHM 9N 600 9N 601 SPR-ORZ ORZ-SPR 0h17 0h08 SPR San Pedro, BELIZE ORZ Orange Walk, BELIZE Caravan V3-HHM 9N 290 TZA-BCV BCV-CYD CYD-SPR 0h18 0h13 0h37 TZA Belize City Municipal, BELIZE BCV Belmopan, BELIZE CYD San Ignacio, BELIZE HIGHLIGHTS Tropic Air is a newcomer to the Just Planes line up and it can easily be one of their best programs available. Given the fact that I live in the Caribbean, I am always please to see programs that feature a Tropical climate. Tropic air is based in Belize and while Belize may be far away from the rest of the Caribbean, it is still classed as part of the Caribbean Community. Over the past view years; Just Planes has mainly featured large airlines and aircraft in their programs. This time, we go back to the basics with an in-depth look at a unique airline that has experienced tremendous growth since its humble beginning with just a Cessna 172. Tropic Air had its beginning in 1979 and since then, it has quickly grown into the largest airline of Belize. Today, the fleet of Tropic Air consists of the following aircraft; Cessna 172, Cessna 182, Cessna Caravan, Beechcraft Kingair 200 and the GippsAero GA8 Airvan. For a brief period, Tropic Air also operated the Twin Otter but at the time of filming this program, the aircraft was entirely removed from the fleet. In this program, we will be flying onboard the Cessna Caravan and the Airvan on flights to the Blue Hole, Dangriga, Belize City Municipal, Cave Caulker, San Pedro and many other destinations. What highlights can we expect from this program? Well some of the highlights I enjoyed the most were the stunning scenic views on flights to the world famous Blue Hole which is a large marine cavern with a circular island-like coral reef surrounding it. With Belize being a well-known tourist destination, this is definitely one of the must see attractions of this country and you will be awestruck with the amazing views captured by Just Planes. Other points of interest in the program include numerous presentations by owner and the chief pilot who guides the viewers through a detailed look at the cockpit and exterior of the Cessna Caravan. Another interesting segment features the simulator training done by new pilots on a very unique Caravan simulator which is a first for this region. This presentation nicely showcased the professional training environment at Tropic Air and after viewing some of the amazing takeoffs and landings at the smaller airports; it’s no wonder that Tropic Air ensures that their pilots are trained to the highest standard! While on the topic of presentations, I previous mentioned that the fleet of Tropic Air included the GippsAero Airvan. For some of you, this may be the very first time hearing about this aircraft. The role of the Airvan is comparable to the Cessna 206 and it can hold 8 passengers including the pilot. This program features an insightful presentation on this aircraft and it also includes some amazing air to air video clips of the Airvan and the Caravan! The final highlight I would like to mention is the fact that the numerous camera views truly made this 3hr+ program a joy to watch. With cameras based on the ground, wing and cockpit of the aircraft, this gives viewers a perspective unlike any other. Tropic Air is presented in this program as an airline that would be any pilots dream job and as a pilot; I would welcome the opportunity to experience this type of in a heartbeat. If you are a fan of General Aviation, Scenic flying or even regular aviation enthusiasts, I would definitely this video program and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed! Video Preview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5PejbbXZpQ
  9. My Goflight yoke arrived 2 weeks ago and after 2 weeks of flying I've gotten used to it. Its a fantastic yoke and I like the metal feel , if you are okay with parting with that much money I say go for it. If not the satiek yoke is great I've had mine for just over 7 years. It still works great I just wanted an upgrade.
  10. P3D by Lockheed Martin A review by Marlon Carter INTRODUCTION No one can argue the fact that the Flight simulation hobby has transformed dramatically over the past 20 years. It seems that with each release of a Flight Simulator platform, we become closer and closer to achieving the most realistic experience that can be had on a home based PC. One of the transformations that stood out to me personally was the dramatic improvements seen between FS95/98 and FS2000. This transformation changed what we once thought was possible and just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, FS2002 was released and later FS2004. For many of us, the release of FSX was by far the most exciting moment in the history of flight simulation. For many years, FSX was a very popular platform and it saw support from numerous developers down to today. This being the case, it was quite understandable that the FS community was saddened to hear that there would be no further development on a new Flight Simulator to replace FSX. Thankfully though, this sadness was short-lived and in November of 2010, Lockheed Martin announced that it would continue the development of Microsoft ESPTechnology into Prepar3D. The intent of this “new” simulator was to meet the training needs of Private Pilots, commercial organizations, militaries and academia with a far more immersive environment. As with the changes seen in MSFS, over the years since P3D v1, P3D has also undergone numerous changes leading up to the newly released v3. The features that have been implemented into P3D were nothing short of revolutionary. Many of the issues we once had with FSX were either fixed or significantly enhanced. Some of these changes were so dramatic that many have all but abandoned the use of FSX in favor of the ever evolving P3D platform. What are some of the basic features of P3D v3? Here is a listing provided on the P3D website. Virtual cockpit capabilities allow exact replications of 3D cockpits with fully interactive displays and representative physical switches Microsoft© DirectX 11 rendering engine takes full advantage of modern day graphics cards Increased performance, increased realism, and offers the full control over what is displayed Dynamic shadow system, including internal virtual cockpit shadows, terrain, and cloud shadows. HDR lighting system brings increased immersion when training in all times of day. Volumetric fog and increased fidelity of clouds and weather. High quality graphics support texture limits as high as 4096 x 4096. Different times of the year or different times of the day will change how you simulate with our real-time weather system, continuous time of day, seasons, and a variety of lighting effects. Visit 40 high-detail cities and almost 25,000 airports, with 3-D buildings specific to the city (e.g. The White House is in Washington D.C.). While moving across different regions, users will notice accurate topography with regional specific scenery textures to make it feel like you’re actually there. Modern user interface – faster and easier to customize your learning, training, and simulation experience. Extensive configuration options to give users additional control on what and how Prepar3D performs and simulates. Easy system configuration across laptops, desktops, and multi-monitor environments. Multiple view support allows a single machine to output multiple views on multiple devices and create an immersive experience that engages the senses Quickly save and load panel and scenery window locations across multiple monitors. Multiplayer allows up to 64 users across the globe to train and collaborate with others in real-time. Sensor Cameras – Users can experience night vision and infrared sensor camera options to enhance military mission or night flying training. Realistic Scenery – Millions of square kilometers of the earth have been checked and upgraded to accurately represent the urban environment. High resolution (12cm) content added for specific locations. Using real data from the U.S. Geological Survey, users can simulate an underwater experience using our submarines with our up-to-date bathymetry. Expanded Hardware Controls – Users, especially fighter pilots, can train with realistic hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS). Prepar3D is fully compatible with almost any Windows supported controller or device. Artificial intelligence (AI) controlled non-user entities include highway vehicles, air and maritime vehicles and traffic, as well as livestock and wild animals. Air Traffic Control (ATC) capabilities – New pilots can learn the basics, and veteran pilots can practice their skills. Communicating with ATC in Prepar3D mimics the way pilots and controllers communicate in the real world. Flight Planner feature allows users to create a realistic scenario of flying from one airport to another, choosing different types of routes and flight plan types. Fully expandable vehicle library with outstanding default vehicles: Lockheed Martin F-35A from Dino Cattaneo and the India India Alpha Foxtrot Echo team Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor from IRIS Flight Simulation Software H-60 Black Hawk from Virtavia Beechcraft Bonanza A-36 from Carenado Extra 300s from Alabeo See the Vehicles page for a complete listing A Professional Plus license enables extensible military weapons training capabilities, as well as the Learning Management System interfaces and customizable military based AI behaviors. A fully-configurable, dynamic weapons system allows our military-focused customers the ability to perform weapons-based training. Support for targeting, bombs, missiles, guns, and countermeasures are included, as are examples to show you how to implement features in your training. In addition to these features, there are also a few new features aimed at developers. SimDirector is the cutting-edge training and simulation scenario generation tool Rapid creation of training scenarios – Drag-and-drop scenario creation requires no programing experience. Virtual Instructor allows dynamic delivery of training feedback to trainees. Flight Instructor Mode allows for instructors and trainees to create, grade, and debrief flight segments and flying maneuvers in real-time. Software Development Kit (SDK) allows developers the ability to create and integrate their own content SimConnect SDK can be used by programmers to write add-on components and access complete simluation data SimObject API allows developers to implement their own flight, aerodynamics, and physics models in their simulations Modeling SDK consists of a set of tools that help in the building of 3D models, panels, and gauges Environment SDK supports integration of scenery, terrain, and airport data Custom post-process system allows developers to write custom effects and apply those to further customize how 3D image is generated Highly configurable air-to-ground radar simulation and visualization that is controlled by C++ plug-ins and XML gauges. From the list of features shown, P3D v3 seems to be a promising step forward in the field of flight simulation. However, in an effort to provide some more insight into this new version of P3D, We will be having a brief chat with Adam Breed who is the Software and Technical Lead on this project. Then, we will also look at the expanded feature list. Hi Adam can you tell us; -Why did LM decide to introduce a completely new version of P3D? -Prepar3D v3 combines well over a year of intensive development backed by major changes to improve core functionality. It builds on the legacies laid by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Prepar3D v1/v2 and further refines the experience while adding some vast new capabilities. We expect some of the new capabilities to redefine the simulation landscape and offer new immersive training capabilities never before seen in a publically available commercial simulation platform. Our audience for Prepar3D v3 is quite broad - from novice learners to military service members, Prepar3D v3 provides an even more realistic training environment for critical mission readiness. -With P3D v2 being quite popular, can you share some of the benefits of using V3 over V2? -Prepar3D v2 was definitely a tipping point in the flight simulation community’s interest in Prepar3D. We have seen an even more overwhelming community response to Prepar3D v3 and we are very encouraged to see the amazingly positive response to the release. One of the key updates are the new memory management capabilities. Many users are reporting their “out of memory” issues have been entirely eliminated. Additionally, we expect a lot of the new Prepar3D v3 features to really begin to blossom once third party developers start utilizing them. For instance, the new Autodesk® Scaleform® capabilities allow rapid gauge/panel creation with an extreme level of fidelity. In addition, the new avatar mode enables advanced maintenance training and allows users to have a new perspective of their simulation environment. Finally, we’ve fixed bugs and made improvements based on customer feedback. We take our user experience very seriously and listen to our customers when developing features. Most of those updates and enhancements were driven directly by our public forums. -Can you tell us what the future holds for P3D V2.5? -We have provided nearly two years of support and updates to the v2 baseline and expect many customers to continue to use it. It is not required that anyone update or move to Prepar3D v3, but we hope most customers will find value in the numerous updates and platform enhancements to justify the cost of the new license. As with Prepar3D v1, we will continue to offer Prepar3D v2 for sale on our website and facilitate support through our Forums. -Is P3D v3 going to be a stable platform for LM moving forward, or will it eventually be replaced or upgraded to v4.0 if new features are added? -Prepar3D v3 will be a stable platform moving forward, but we plan to start work on major features that will eventually lead to a Prepar3D v4 in the future. Our current primary focus is developing point releases in support of Prepar3D v3. -From a developer's view point, are there any major differences between P3D v2 and v3? -Prepar3D v3’s key updates are from the developer’s point of view. Specifically, the Autodesk Scaleform capabilities will be a huge gain to content developers. Scaleform really opens a lot of possibilities for interactive courseware and integration of content. Plus, it is a quick new way to develop panels/gauges over the typical legacy C++/XML methods. Additionally, further refinements to the Prepar3D Development Kit (PDK) allow full control over nearly everything in Prepar3D. No longer is SimConnect the only way to interact with Prepar3D. We have opened up the entire system for developers to use. Finally, SimDirector continues to evolve and improve. SimDirector is the industry leading courseware creation tool, allowing developers to create fully immersive scenarios for training. Users have created some impressive training scenarios. Scenarios are a great discriminator for developers to showcase their content. -Are there any new features or enhancements planned for P3Dv3? (Note – this question was made when the review started, end of 2015) -We are currently developing Prepar3D v3.1, which will be released before 2016. One of the major updates to v3.1 is a new controller calibration screen that will further support legacy controllers. We continue to work on various new features for point releases, but we can’t discuss specifics. Because Prepar3D exists at the core of many of Lockheed Martin’s complex flight simulators, we know how important it is to continue enhancing the training experience. We believe 2016 will be quite an active year for the Prepar3D team! -PC performance has always been a big factor in using Flight Simulators; can you tell a bit more about how V3 differs from V2 in this regard? Also, if you can, can you comment on how this also compares to FSX? -Absolutely. Fully utilizing next generation hardware has always been a focus of the team. At the same time, we are doing our best to maintain backwards compatibility. For example, memory efficiency in Prepar3D v3 is greatly improved compared to Prepar3D v2, v1, and FSX. As a result, developers and users are taking advantage of more high-definition add-on content than was ever possible in previous versions. Also, with Prepar3D v3 more particle simulation work has been offloaded to the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) improving the performance of smoke, fire, and weapon effects for more realistic performance. There were also a number of other optimizations made through the engine to improve overall performance and smoothness of the simulation based on the ever improving hardware. Thank you for sharing some of this information with us Adam. For those of you who would like to a more detailed feature list, here is a detailed breakdown of what’s new in V3. Autodesk® Scaleform® Integration Gauges and panels as well as scenario object content can be built using Adobe® Flash® and integrated using Autodesk Scaleform. Several UI screens have been replaced with Scaleform implementations such as the ATC window, the Menu System, the InfoGen, and Menu Prompts. These aforementioned UI can be themed by third party developers. Avatar Mode Enter and exit vehicles in Avatar Mode Avatar fully controllable in first and third person views Third party avatar support Updated User Interface New default theme for v3 Fixed UI layouts, position bugs, and improved overall usability ATC window now transparent and can be docked into main view Menu system performance and appearance improved InfoGen readability improved Fixed bug in menu system where blank entries could be created Fixed a bug where drop-down menu state would not always update while open Added close buttons to docked views when window titles are enabled (feature was always present but no visual indicator existed) Default scenario is now visible in Load Scenario screen Fixed a bug where Prepar3D.cfg setting 'ShowATCText' was not enabling ATIS captioning Fixed a bug where Prepar3D.cfg settings for ATC message color customization was not being respected Fixed bug with InfoGen where text would not appear when pausing or entering slew after changing start page to 0 in scenario Fixed issues with modifying default and favorites in save and load screens Load scenario page now shows vehicle name along with scenario description Trimmed down amount of menu items in certain cases including multiplayer and the context menu Fixed bug with Flight Planner that would prevent a flight plan from saving out if it was between two airports with no intermediate waypoints Fixed bug with certain text boxes where pasting text would not respect current selection and incorrectly move cursor Fixed bug where undocking a message view would instead undock the main view Fixed bugs with Scenario Startup screen where weather theme changes would apply when clicking cancel and user defined weather would not get applied when changed Fixed bug that prevented multiplayer menu items from being added to customized menus Fixed bug with Scenario Startup screen that prevented vehicle selection background from updating with the time of day Enhanced ATC window to provide feedback when ATC communication is disabled, i.e. Sim Paused, No Electric, etc. Fixed bug with ATC window that prevented UI from refreshing when switching from an AI camera back to the user Updated graphics profile UI and added prompt when attempting to save over existing profiles Time Preview window now takes up less space and readability improved Updated visual style of scroll buttons to be more clean Instrument Panel menu option now disabled if vehicle has no panels Added restrictions on what items can be accessed during Structured Scenarios (default restrictions can be overridden by developer) Removed redundant UIs used when importing and exporting controls Reassigned menu shortcut keys to remove duplicates Added Settings button to main menu screen Fixed bug where "Esc", "Spacebar", and "Enter" keys would not function in Scenario Startup screen Changing full-screen resolution while in full-screen now immediately changes resolution Fixed bug with category selection in Settings menu Fixed bug with UI scaling at low resolution and high DPI settings Made OK/Cancel button alignment consistent across screens Updated About Menu Platform Improvements "Flights" terminology has been changed to "Scenario" better reflecting Prepar3D's full land, sea, and air training capabilities Fixed controller/joystick dropping issues with Windows 8.1 Fixed multiplayer issue preventing user log out when exiting Multiplayer NET_VERSION correctly incremented to prevent different versions connecting with each other Fixed a bug where the main view could be closed while window titles were enabled Fixed bug where crash would occur when entering invalid license Fixed bug where thumbnail images for scenarios and aircraft would not match correctly Fixed bug where piston engine failure could reverse itself back to 100% health Fixed and updated multiple areas in the Learning Center Added more options in Scenery.cfg to accept more variables Fixed bug causing certain library objects to be rendered in wrong locations Fixed issue with multiplayer weather serialization Oculus Rift VR headset fully integrated into core. Headset now appears in camera mode list if connected. Fixed scenario reset bug where full scenery reload would occur when not required Added content error reporting for gauge loading errors Fixed an issue when deleting a scenario from the Load Scenario screen, the xml file would not get deleted from the Prepar3D v3 Files folder Fixed focus issue with multiple views. Would sometimes cause the camera to change on the wrong view when using context menu Panel-only prevented from being set on non-main views Fixed bug that would cause frame drops when hitting escape during instant replay playback Fixed bug that would cause full scenery reload to occur even when not moving vehicle Fixed bug where application icon would not appear in taskbar when booting into multiplayer Fixed bug that would always prevent user from entering lobby when booting into multiplayer Fixed bug where TowerController could spawn on the ground in multiplayer Added greater customization of InfoText appearance Scenario captions now on by default Fixed bug where child views could become panel-only after being opened Scenery library items which cannot be found are now prompted for removal Fixed bug that would prevent Scenario Briefing from being displayed in certain cases Fixed bug that would prevent pilot records from updating Fixed crash that would occur from misconfigured weapons and pylons Fixed weather serialization bug in multiplayer Fixed bug that would cause custom camera zoom levels to save out incorrectly Invalid flight plans are now prevented from being saved Fixed bug where non-unicode languages would alter starting location Fixed bug with booting into multiplayer from command line that would prevent scenario from loading Fixed bug that prevented cockpit button picking from working in FS9 BGL models Changing default scenario now immediately writes out to the Prepar3D.cfg Fixed bug that would prevent thunder sounds from being audible Updated vehicle load failure popup to relay when user will be placed in viewer sim Fixed issue that caused instability when using hoist and sling features Fixed docked view positioning bug when undocked views were opened Undocked views now position themselves on top of other open views Change low speed thrust limit on propeller in order to better blend the low and high speed thrust calculations User tips now enabled by default Fixed bug that would cause the WindowPlugin system to hang when changing between certain vehicles during a crash sequence Fixed bug where slew would not disengage when entering Instant Replay Fixed bug where changing the assignment of the "esc" key would not register Fixed bug that caused XBox 360 controller triggers to register as z-axis on first assignment Added Camera Center Offset to camera configuration SpeedTree Integration (IDV Inc.) Platform now supports SpeedTree models which are high quality 3D trees, with wind animations and smooth LOD transitions SpeedTree models can be placed using SimDirector New Content Virtavia Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk India India Alpha Foxtrot Echo F-35A 18 new scenery library models of 3D trees (powered by SpeedTree) Rendering and Performance Updates Updated Visuals and Performance Updated HDR to increase default brightness and enhance color clarity Developed animation blending support enabling lifelike avatar animations Fixed issues with water reflections that were affected by secondary views Fixed bug with non-tessellated terrain that would prevent ground detail flag from being respected Fixed visual bug with ground normal particles Fixed bug where taxiway lights would shift at large airports Removed old sun glare effect Fixed issue where virtual cockpit night lighting would not work as expected Fixed issue where global environment map would fail to load in some cases causing aircraft to look dull Fixed shadow issues seen with bathymetry enabled Added alpha write option for virtual cockpit panel textures Fixed bug where GPU terrain would shift at high altitudes Fixed light scaling issues Fixed issue that would prevent models from instancing in certain situations Fixed bug where applying vsync with triple buffering would cause rendering to freeze Fixed bug where shadows would not display properly on non-tessellated terrain Improved memory management reducing overall VAS usage and spikes Fixed bug that caused different objects to burn through fog including the sun, moon, galaxy, airport lights, and lens flare Fixed bug where material NO FOG setting was not always respected Multiplicative particles now fog correctly Fixed bug where pre-lit objects disabled fog Fixed water rendering issues while using non-tessellated terrain including reflection appearance and shadow brightness Optimized texture unloading during loads Unused terrain detail textures no longer loaded Added modifiable saturation effect to HDR enabling greater customization of visual appearance Fixed bug that would cause panel transparency to also affect virtual cockpit panels if Mipmap VC Panels was enabled Fixed issue where certain clouds would disappear at certain camera angles when on the ground Exposed bloom material scalar to Prepar3D.cfg to allow finer control of bloom Fixed bug that would cause fog to flicker when changing views Fixed bug where fog would not respect ShowWeather flag in camera config Fixed bug with fog appearance in reflections Overall shader optimizations for increased performance Fixed bug where certain scenery effects would only occur during the day Fixed bug where landing lights would draw incorrectly at steep angles Fixed bug where HDR and FXAA would not applied for one frame when switching views Fixed crash bug that could occur when opening multiple views in quick succession Fixed bug with wave animation wind offsets Enhanced Particle System Optimized particle system by better utilizing GPU and system resources by reducing CPU side work, supporting indirect draw calls, and improving sorting algorithms Fixed issue where certain particle effects would not render due to prioritization errors Fixed bug with particle lifetimes Fixed z-fighting issue with particles using same emitter Fixed issue where certain aircraft light emitters would not be deleted Fixed bug where extrusions would not connect properly with certain effects Enhanced Multiple GPU Support Fixed bug where lights would not draw correctly multiple GPUs Fixed bug where batched scenery objects would flicker across multiple GPUs Fixed bug where scenery objects would not correlate correctly across multiple views Fixed issue where effects would not synchronize properly between multiple GPUs Fixed bug where particles and extrusions would flicker and get out of order in SLI SimDirector Updates Added Lua scripting support to SimDirector. Scripts can be fired through actions and ScenarioVariables can be used enabling more complex scenario logic Full avatar support in scenario creation. For example, the avatar can be referenced by other objects and can be given waypoints. Added scenery import and export support in SimDirector. BGLs can now be created from scenarios with scenery in SimDirector which greatly simplifies the scenery creation process Visual Path object added which can be attached to moving objects or waypoints Fixed bug where hang would occur occasionally when exiting backstage Updated internal error checking to prevent intermittent crashes Fixed bug that would prevent mobile scenery from appearing in preview window Fixed waypoint placement issue that would prevent waypoints from being placed close to other objects Fixed validation bug with timers Fixed issue where mouse cursor state would not change in certain cases Fixed bug with Menu Prompt Trigger that caused windows to close prematurely Fixed bug that prevented Jet Fighter Time Trial from loading in SimDirector Fixed tabbing issues in Catalog UI Fixed crash that would occur when attempting to play back VI session while in Virtual Instructor mode Fixed bug where sound would distort when entering SimDirector Fixed hang that would occur when booting directly into SimDirector ATC menu no longer stays open when entering SimDirector or switching SimDirector modes ThreatDome models added to object catalog Color property now supports alpha (e.g. Focal Point Color, Area Definition Color, On Screen Text Color) Fixed bug where SimDirector camera would be changed when switching the time of day Fixed bug with failure system index that would cause all instances to trigger when index of "0" was used Fixed bug where effects played in preview mode would persist when leaving preview mode Removed empty scenery objects Fixed bug that would cause a crash when entering SimDirector with auto validation on Fixed issue with ViewChangeAction that would prevent camera list from repopulating when loading new scenarios Fixed bug with POI scaling Fixed bug that would cause app to be disabled when pressing Ctrl+V in a group Enabling mouse yoke no longer prevents SimDirector controls from functioning Triggers now have OneShot set to false by default Improved scenario save and load times Scenario no longer unpaused when starting recording playback Fixed issue where help button was not selectable in undocked views Fixed catalog view to show selected object when using arrow keys to navigate through menu Fixed issue where SimDirector could crash if closed while changing modes Scenarios can now be saved in .spb format Snap to ground is now a global setting Minor errors in scenario .xml files no longer prevent scenario from loading Updated SimDirector settings page appearance and added options to enabled error logging Scenario error logging now on by default Fixed resource path issues that could occur when modifying scenarios in both core Prepar3D and SimDirector Fixed issue where sounds in sound subfolder would prevent scenario from being previewed Improved scenario loading times ScenarioMetaData no longer required but still recommended Validation window now opened if validation errors are reported during a mode change and user cancels Fixed issue that could cause SimDirector to slow down after prolonged use Object titles in Scenario Visualization now show ellipsis when string is too long to fit instead of just clipping out Fixed crash that could occur on shutdown caused by invalid objects being accessed TargetPlayer now settable in actions that can occur in multiplayer scenarios Fixed bug that would prevent DisabledTrafficAirportsDescr from updating Failure Action no longer shows systems that are not applicable to current vehicle Fix crash that could occur when loading scenarios with invalid containers Modified FlightRealism object to prevent users from opening the Flight Planner, entering slew, and changing location, vehicle, or fuel during Structured Scenarios Added WorldRealism object to prevent users from changing world settings (weather, time) during Structured Scenarios Fixed bug where SimDirector UI styles would be applied to core application when leaving SimDirector Updated OnCompleteActions to support multiplayer concepts including IsGlobal and Triggering Triggers now have one shot set to true by default Fixed bug where switching between an entity and scenery object would not correctly update the preview window Fixed bug where Scenario Name and Description would be changed when leaving Preview mode with legacy flight (FLT) files SimDirector window title now uses the File Name instead of Scenario Title Fixed crash that could occur when bringing an item in the History into view Failure Action can now be applied to specific subsystems Fixed bug preventing weather settings from being respected in SimDirector Added message box to show when LoadScenarioAction would fire in Preview Mode Fixed issues with resource path when saving the same scenario both in and out of SimDirector Fixed bug that caused placed objects that were scaled in SimDirector to cull out prematurely SDK and SimConnect Updates The ATC, Menu System, and InfoGen support third-party skinning through the Scaleform SDK SimConnect_WeatherRequestCloudState now returns correct range of values Fixed bug with SimConnect_AIReleaseControl not fully releasing control of AI Enhanced ISimObject property management Additional improvements to path configuration files to support third party developers Multiple configuration files added to support the path configuration system Added command line parameters for developers to add or remove additional paths to core content Sample projects updated to use Visual Studio 2013 SetupAcesRoot.ms script added back to 3dsMax SDK Fixed incorrect Learning Center scenario names in documentation Cameras can now be attached to model attach points Base scenery can now be overridden without being deleted DLL.xml can now be modified through command line Scenery.cfg now supports command line activate and deactivate operations Added Weather System PDK allowing developers to set weather related settings and interface with weather station data Updated Learning Center descriptions for goals and mission objective SimConnect enumerations XToMDL tool now displays exceptions more clearly Updated carrier documentation Restructured Add-Ons documentation Added function to CabDir tool to strip trailing slashes or quotes from end of path Corrected how up events and up/down data are returned when using SimConnect_MapInputEventToClientEvent with joystick buttons and POV hats Added new blend mode for instrument panels to better support HUDs. Installer Updates Installer now split into three separate components which can be updated and installed independently: Client, Content, and Scenery. Folder organization scheme modified to support new content and scenery installers Updated versioning scheme for installed files Legacy SimConnect clients no longer installed with Prepar3D installer. Separate installers for these are provided in install package if needed. Process of activating from another computer has been simplified The licensing and Digital Rights Management (DRM) system has been completely overhauled Source reference http://prepar3d.com/SDKv3/LearningCenter/what_is_new/new_v30.html As you can see, over the past year or so, the development team has been very busy fine tuning numerous updates for what would become P3D v3. These updates and additional features were so significant that it warranted a new license and version number. What does this mean for v2.5? Well as Adam nicely indicated, support for v2.5 will continue and users of this platform are not required to move over to v3. However, taking into consideration the level of work that has gone into v3, one can easily see why it can be viewed as a whole “new” simulator. As an example, let’s look at the Avatar Mode, Interface and Speedtreesthat comes with P3D v3. The new Avatar mode serves a number of uses within the virtual world of P3D. Given the fact that P3D can be useful to Private Pilots, Commercial Organizations and the Military, having an Avatar mode creates an immersive experience for training purposes that has never been implemented in a simulator platform of this type before. This new feature allows you to enter and exit vehicles with first or third person views, creating endless possibilities for training which includes maintenance training and even aircraft walk-around familiarization. Avatar Mode As for the new User Interface, this includes a new default theme, improved ATC window and Menus along with numerous other improvements that are outlined in the expanded feature list. All of these updates are as a result of the innovations created by the development team and the valued feedback from loyal customers. Another interesting feature that is worth mentioning is the fact that for the first time ever, we now have high quality 3D trees that are animated by the wind. The animation of these “Speedtrees” is very realistic and it truly adds a new level of realism to any flight simulator. In the Prepar3D v3.1 SDK there is a new SrtToMDL tool that will work with the SpeedTree Modeler to convert their Srt files into a Prepar3D readable MDL file.This means that scenery developers can now use these Speedtrees and place them just about anywhere as part of their scenery package. The end result is that we will now have scenery products that provide a new level of realism and immersion into the environment. SpeedTree On another note, while the SpeedTrees will be pleasing to the eyes, it can also serve a practical purpose. Given the fact that the SpeedTrees are animated to move with the windspeed AND direction, this creates a new level of immersion that was once unheard of for a flight simulator. For General Aviation enthusiast, you can now determine the wind direction when flying into smaller grass strips or even when doing a forced landing due to an engine failure. In the past, we mostly depended on 3rd party weather programs to tell us the wind direction, but now, we can look at the trees for a good indication of the winds direction. Whether you choose to make use of these new trees simply for eye candy or as an added tool to determine wind conditions at an airport, everyone will love this new addition. Here is a short video by Rob Ainscough that nicely shows this feature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFUQux5qZoM But is this all P3D v3* has to offer? Well let’s dig a bit deeper. * During the course of this review, v3.1 was released and this review focuses on the v3.1 update.For a detailed listing of fixes and features added to V3.1, have a look at this link http://prepar3d.com/SDKv3/LearningCenter/what_is_new/new_v31.html THE EXPERIENCE GETTING STARTED After starting up P3D, the changes in the new interface were very obvious. If you are a v2.5 user, many of the menu options remain the same in that they offered the ability to adjust many of the settings to your liking or PC performance.Unlike FSX however, the various setting for the graphics and scenery options are much more detailed and they offer you the ability to fully customize your experience whether it is for maximum visual performance or for optimizing your performance. If this is the first time you are having a closer look at P3D, perhaps it would be beneficial to have a quick overview of some of these new menu options. Menu Options In the scenery/graphic sections of the P3D settings menu, you will notice that there are a few interesting new features such as HDR, Bloom Effect, Shadow,Tessellation and Water and Bathymetry settings. What do all of these fancy settings do? Well let’s start off with something that most FSX users may be familiar with. Some FSX users may be well aware of a mod called ENB Series which adds a bloom effect to the overall scenery. This mod wasn’t quite perfect and at times it required tweaking to soften the effect. With P3D, LM added this effect as a default option that is fully customizable. Next in the lighting department is the HDR effect. HDR is an abbreviation for High-Dynamic-Range lighting and it displays a more realistic lighting environment with an increased level of detail. HDR lighting renders a more detailed scene by using light calculations done with a larger dynamic range. This appears to the user as sharper and more natural light reflections of the sunbeams and rays, as well as moonlight effects on the surrounding atmosphere. If you are a current user of P3D v2.5, you will notice that in v3 there are more sliders for fine tuning the HDR effect. HDR on and off Bloom Effect w/3rd Party Ground Textures Another interesting feature is the Shadow settings which allow you toadjust the quality and frequency of the rendered shadows. Other options allow you to have the Terrain, clouds, Simobject, buildings and vegetation cast shadows. This new feature is one of many features that truly set P3D apart from any other simulator on the market. Shadows Detail Progression Finally, within the graphic and water settings you will immediately notices two new features called Hardware Tessellation and Water and Bathymetry. Tessellation enables GPU terrain rendering, which reduces CPU usage and stutters by offloading terrain mesh generation to the GPU. This system also enables features like time preview, dynamic terrain shadows, 3D water, and per-vertex materialization for lighting and sensors. Prepar3D v2/v3 includes an option to disable tessellation and fall back to FSX/ESP/v1 terrain for legacy support and lower-end GPUs but it is strongly recommended that this feature be left on if you are using current generation graphics hardware. Water and Bathymetry settings allow you to take full control of every aspect of the water simulation within P3D. Using the Water detail controls you can adjust the number of detail textures used. When Tessellation is enabled, this allows you to access the Ultra setting for 3D waves. Bathymetry (which is basically the measurement of water depths), uses water depth data to affect wave heights and in areas where no data is available, the water depth is approximated based on water classification. This feature is a significant update to the basic FSX platform and it allows you to take a vehicle underwater! Since the water surface mesh is dependent on terrain and mesh resolution, it is recommended that the mesh resolution be set to the highest value when using the Ultra water setting. From the screenshots below, you can clearly see why doing this will produce the most visually impressive environment. Here is another preview video of the Water Bathymetry from v2.4 of P3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrrziW3ec7c Bathymetry On and Off Water Screenshots (Q400, C90GTX and Lancair Legacy are 3rd party products) After setting up my display preferences and loading up P3D for the first time, one of my first observations was that the day time environment was much brighter than both FSX and P3D v2.5. How so? Well the development team had upgraded the rendering processes to improve the realism. A key improvement was to the HDR system (mentioned earlier) which changes how luminance, exposure, and saturation are applied. The end result is a simulator that is a definite step up from FSX and P3D v2 from a visual perspective. Before taking off, it’s also fitting to comment on the new ground textures and autogen that comes along with P3D. In FSX, a single ground texture was generated per-tile with lighting, shadows with day/night texture variations baked in. This required textures to be constantly rebuilt as simulation time progressed. Ultimately, this will affect your performance and it causes inconsistent lighting/shadows between tiles which could be noticeable at sunrise/sunset. With P3D, lighting to create shadows and effects are not “pre-baked”. As an alternative, P3D calculates per-pixel lighting of both the sun and moon on the GPU and it utilizes land class information to better simulate how light reflects off different surfaces like rocks and snow. A suggested way of seeing these differences is through P3D’s time-preview feature. While the ground textures of P3D are superior to the default FSX textures, you will also be please to know that P3D works closely with 3rd party developers to easily create content that improves the look and feel of the environment. To that end, products such as Ground Environment X and FTX Global products work quite well with P3D and are often the preferred choice for individuals who wish to give their simulator a visual upgrade. Time Preview Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwBvq11mI4 Default ground textures and Autogen When it comes to autogen, most of us will agree that in the beginning, the FSX autogen was quite nice. Some of the drawbacks however was that the autogen settings in FSX significantly impacted frame rates. Is P3D v3 any different? Well I am quite pleased to say that the autogen system was given a massive overhaul to improve the memory usage. The new system is said to use 17x less memory per tree over FSX, which you have to admit is quite impressive. This was accomplished by taking a few innovative steps such as moving much of the workload to background threads and to the GPU. Also, the transition of trees and buildings into the scenery was improved by allowing this process to take place smoothly. From my own observation, I found that the overall look and performance of the P3D autogen was a most welcome improvement over FSX. TAKING TO THE SKIES After admiring the features on the ground, it was time to take to the skies for a better view of what P3D had to offer. For our test flight there is an abundance of aircraft choices provided by P3D.Some of the default aircraft are a carry-over from FSX, but there are also a few add-ons from IRIS, Dino Cattaneo, Virtavia, Alabeo, Carenado, Justflight and Lionheart! If you’re worried that your favorite FSX add-on may not be supported by P3D, you may want to reference the Developer Network Listing on the P3D website found HERE With so many new additions to the default aircraft line up, some of you may be wondering whether the flight characteristics of P3D differ in any way to FSX. To answer this question, there were countless updates to the flight characteristics of P3D. Many issues that existed in FSX were corrected and numerous enhancements have been made to better simulate specific features. For example, configuration files, weight and balance and other features have greater tuning capabilities to improve flight characteristics. Additionally, I was told that the P3D development team also created the ISimObject capability which allows developers to create their own simulations with their own characteristics for integration into P3D. This new feature gives developers the opportunity to create extremely complex training systems which is another step forward over FSX. Knowing that so much has changed, I was quite eager to take to the skies to see whether or not the changes were easily discernable. However, from the numerous flights I’ve done so far I honestly couldn’t single out a specific detail that has changed. Does this mean that all the hard work was for nothing? Not at all, in fact, what I CAN say is that I enjoyed flying in P3D much more than FSX. This in itself was a clear sign that the numerous changes made to P3D has indeed resulted in an overall better flying experience. Apart from the joys of flying within P3D, I was equally captivated by the stunning visual experience offered by P3D. One of the most remarkable features of P3D seen from the sky is the stunning water animation which was actually improved in the 3.1 update to have a realistic appearance at high altitudes. As mentioned earlier, when the waves setting is set to Ultra, 3D waves are generated based on the wind speed as determined by the weather simulation. This offers a more congruent training environment by matching the visuals to the actual weather simulation. Another equally stunning feature is the true to life volumetric clouds that reflect off the surface of the water. Over the ground, the clouds also generate shadows over the terrain which is yet another remarkable feature that is offered in P3D. While on the topic of reflections, a brand new feature to P3D v3.1 is the addition of dynamic reflections which replace the static environment map we have all grown used to seeing. This means that the reflection seen on the aircraft will change depending on your location or viewing angle. Clouds, water, dynamic shine pics When flying at night, the environment looks very different to FSX. What immediately popped out was the fact that the lighting on the ground was much brighter in more developed areas. In addition to this, with some of the enhanced lighting effects enabled, you will notice that the runway lighting is much better than what we’ve grown use to with FSX. If you are a long time FSX user, you will be quite familiar with the fact that flying at night can take a toll on your frame rates when compared to flying during the daytime. How does P3D v3 fare in this regard? Well LM had this to say “As with all simulations, a large number of point light effects are rendered at night. In Prepar3D those effects were CPU intensive in the v1 rendering engine, but they have since been optimized extensively for Prepar3D v2 and v3. Low lighting situations are challenging because they are affected heavily by differences in monitor settings and subject to user preference. Prepar3D’s HDR lighting in v3 is tunable via the user interface and Prepar3D configuration file, which allows users to tweak their system to match their visual expectations.” From the above statement, we can see that P3D’s night lighting is far superior to FSX and it offers the user the option to configure the settings to suit their needs. When using products such as UTX/GEX or even FTX Global, the night environment takes on a completely different perspective that brings users even closer to a realistic night time environment. Default Night time P3D with FTX Global P3D with GEX (Works well with v2.5 and v3 with no difference in appearance) As far as3rd party products for scenery, weather and aircraft are concerned, initially there were just a few products that were compatible with v3 even though they previously worked with v2.5. For scenery products, most developers have included or added installers for P3Dv3 since its release. Some of these developers include Drzewiecki Design, Aerosoft,Flytampa,Flightbeam, FSdreamteam, latinVFR, Taxi2gate and much more. As far as weather programs are concerned, Active Sky Next wasn’t far behind with an update to make their popular product compatible with v3. I haven’t been able to test other weather programs but it seems that others such as Opus also work with V3. While it’s great to know that scenery and weather programs can also be enjoyed in v3, most of us are concerned with the compatibility of 3rd party aircraft add-ons. From my testing thus far, it seems that Carenado was among the first few developers to have their products compatible with P3D v3. In addition to Carenado, other popular developers such as PMDG, Aerosoft, RealAir, A2A, and Majestic Softwarehave also made most of their products compatible. This is good news for most of us who enjoy using these products and the added benefits of the new memory management within v3 will ensure that OOMs will be a thing of the past. On the matter of performance, how does v3 compare to FSX and v2.5? The next subhead will elaborate. 3rd Party Products Compatible with P3D v3 A2A (Various) RealAir(Legacy v2) Majestic Software (Q400) PMDG (777) With P3D’s new memory management, new features such as the Taxi Camera can now be seen in the VC display of the 777! Drzewieck Design (NYC v2) Carenado/Alabeo (Various) PERFORMANCE Be Honest, you came directly this section didn’t you? Well, it’s no surprise that performance is perhaps one of the topics weighing heavily on the minds of prospective P3D users. For users of FSX, depending on the number of 3rd party add-ons and your PC specs, you may be well familiar with the dreaded OOM (Out Of Memory) message which tends to occur at the worst possible time during a flight. What causes OOM? Well, I am by no means a technical expert, but the general understanding is that FSX is a 32bit program that can only utilize up to 4GB of memory. The Virtual Address Space (VAS) of certain add-ons increase this usage and if you have the “perfect” combination of high end product, it will result and an OOM. With P3D v2.5, while many of the advantaged of v3 are present, users still experienced OOMs. With v3 however, the ultimate solution to OOM issues was implemented by limiting the amount of data being loaded to the location in which you are currently flying. This new feature results in an overall lower VAS usage that allows you to use your favorite add-ons without worrying about an OOM. Apart from the OOM issues being resolved,it’s important to note that P3D differs to FSX in another significant way. With FSX, having a powerful processor was the order of the day to achieve the best performance since FSX was designed to rely heavily on the PC’s processor. With P3D, many of its resources are drawn from the graphics card which relieves the processor of the too much usage. This being the case, in order to have good frame rates, it is recommended that you have a mid to high end graphics card. In my case, I have an ATI 1GB graphics card with an FX-8 processor and I was sufficiently satisfied with the performance thus far while using a few scenery product from FSdreamteam, Flightbeam and add-on aircraft from Carenado, A2A and Majestic Software. Other points to consider on this topic is the fact that your graphics card settings and applying various tweaks to P3D can result in improved overall performance. Either way, if you currently have 30-60 steady frame rates with your current FSX setup, the chances are good that P3D v3 will perform quite well even if you have to adjust some of the settings. CONCLUSION In conclusion of our short overview of P3D v3, I honestly believe that this platform should be the FS platform of choice moving forward. While FSX is still very good and perhaps won’t be going anywhere for a while, P3D v3 is a dream come true for long time FS users who have longed for something better than FSX. The innovations included are truly remarkable and it shows that the sky is the limit for Lockheed Martin when it comes to delivering fresh ideas. Both the developers and the general public are to be thanked for this amazing simulator since it is the combined efforts of the development team and the suggestions from customers that have made P3D v3 this successful. For those of you who currently use P3D v2.5, rest assured that this version will continue to be developed and supported. If you are thinking about moving over to v3, I can honestly say that after using v2.5 and moving to v3, I was impressed with the enhancements that were made. The changes may seem subtle on the surface, but when you dig deeper into the numerous upgrades and new features of v3, it is fully understandable why this can be viewed as a whole new simulator and not a v2.5 patch. For those of you who are fans of FSX, moving over to P3D v3 will be a night and day experience that will leave a smile on your face from ear to ear. If you have a mid to high end graphics card, your experience with P3D v3 will be mind-blowing to say the least and it’s no surprise that many have already switched to P3D without looking back. Finally, it’s important to note that moving from FSX to P3D comes at a cost other than the purchase price of P3D. Due to licensing options, most developers of 3rd party products may charge an upgrade fee, a separate purchase prices or a significantly higher cost for using their products on P3D. At this point one can easily ask the question, why are some developers charging more or a separate purchase price for P3D products? Well the answer to that question can be complicated, but generally it must be understood that P3D is not sold under an entertainment license. This can easily open up a can of worms for developers who have very complex simulation products that can be used for “official” training purposes. The risks that go along with this type of use are very high and some have taken the safe route by charging more for their products if they are to be used in a training capacity. For other products that are not very in-depth, you will usually find that the developer will simply offer a separate purchase price (which will likely have a different EULA), a small upgrade fee (for the additional work in making their products compatible) or a multi-installer for both FSX and P3D. Either way, it’s important that you consider these factors before making the move. On the topic of licensing, The Academic License will cost you $59.95, while the Professional License will cost you $199.00. If you purchase the Professional Plus License, be prepared to spend the significant sum of $2300.00 per license!If you are confused about which license is best for you, LM has posted a very clear description of each license and all that’s required is for you as an individual to select the one that best describes your intended use. In the end, the product is still the same and you will be able to truly enjoy a flightsim experience like no other. It should come as no surprise therefore, that P3D v3 is definitely worthy of a Gold Star Award as one of the most innovative flight simulators to date! With P3D v3.2now released (As of March 2016), it’s was unfortunate that we didn’t get to cover the features of this update but I am sure we can only look forward to bigger and better things from LM. User Comments on P3Dv3 If you want to hear more on what others think of P3D v3, here is a link to the Avsim Forum with a few comments from individuals who currently use P3D v3. http://www.avsim.com/topic/484866-your-thoughts-on-p3d-v3/#entry3385894 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following individuals and companies. - Adam Breed for contributing a copy of P3D v3 for this review and for all his assistance with some of the technical aspects of P3D. - Carenado for contributing their new C90 GTX for screenshots and - RealAir Simulation for contributing a copy of their new Lancair Legacy V2. - Simeon “Kroswynd” Richardson for assisting with some amazing screenshots. - Drzewiecki Design for contributing a copy of their NYC v2. - A2A Simulations for contributing P3D versions of their products. - Robert and Kyle from PMDG for contributing some amazing screenshots of PMDG products in P3D v3. Links to some of the products seen in this review Carenado C90 GTX Drzewiecki Design NYC X RealAirLancair Legacy V2 A2A Simulations (Piper Cherokee, Cessna 182, Piper Comanche) PMDG 777 GEX P3D World FTX Global
  11. RealAir Simulations Legacy V2 A review by Ray Marshall My flightsim dream plane arrived on Saturday morning. No, not the A2A biz jet that I have had on order for way too long, this one is my fun airplane. I am talking about serious fun, very serious and very fast turbocharged fun. Would you believe a two place, custom tourer with retractable gear, laminar flow wing, speed brakes, dual turbocharged 400+ hp engine without any ugly bumps or bulges in a super clean cowl, bubble canopy, oxygen system, full IFR panel with an honest to goodness TAS of 300 knots. That is knots folks, or as the Cessna Citation salesman would say – almost 350 mph. This one arrived in two downloads. One for FSX and FSX Steam, the other for P3Dv2 and v3. Completely debugged, thoroughly testing by a team of experts over several grueling months, and a handful of new, never before seen repaints with several matching interiors, and would you believe full Flight1 GTN integration in both FSX and P3D. Not only that but for those of us that are still clinging to our RXP GNS systems, they also work in the FSX versions. Be not dismayed, if you happen to have neither, you can use the user friendly GPS500 with your full load of matching Bendix King nav/coms, ADF, transponder, and top of line and fully functioning KFC-225 autopilot. I briefly mentioned the new oxygen system that comes with a finely tuned hypoxia system that reacts to the ‘personal fitness profile’ that you select along with the selectable O2 tank size. You may want to choose the large canister if you are planning on getting high. I am talking about FL350 type high. I don’t have full performance charts just yet, because this is a custom kitplane and the supplier requires that individual owners prepare their own POH and performance curves and tables. I do have some recommended MP and RPM settings and some expected TAS numbers lower down and generally below FL180. A POH template is available for downloading. We will get into some of those details a little later, but be advised this one is filled to the brim with brand new flightsim technology, much of which is not even thought possible by many of our developers. We are taking about true ground breaking design enhancements that can be turned on or off, or adjusted with new custom sliders on the fly. Did you catch that last part – on the fly. Yep, go to windowed mode, minimize, open the config panel, make your selections or changes, save, exit, maximize the window and hit reload. A few seconds later you are on your way with your custom selections. You are not interested in all those options, you say. No problem, the installation comes with a pre-selected choice of options for a well-heeled, attractive and successful brave young flyer just like yourself. You can opt not to do anything more than choose your avionics package, depending on what you have available in your virtual hangar, or not even that, and be ready to taxi in short order. However, if you choose not to even glance at the spanking new 127 page Flying Guide, actually it is properly titled Flying and Setup Guide, you are doing yourself a real disservice. First, a quick look at the RealAir Legacy V2 The Legacy V2 is a relatively small, high performance, aerodynamically clean and very attractive, composite, two-place, low-wing, high speed touring plane with retractable landing gear, large engine with 3 bladed propeller and outfitted with a full IFR panel, and oxygen system. This ‘fastest in the air’ airplane is unique because it is only available as a kit. Yes, you read that correctly, you can only buy a Legacy RG in kit form, build it yourself or hire a professional team to build it for you, or maybe built parts of it for you, but when completed, it will only be certified as an ‘experimental’ kit built airplane. There are hundreds of real world Legacy airplanes flying today, some with fixed landing gear and some with advanced retractable landing gear like the one modeled by RealAir Simulations as this Legacy V2. Many of these ‘homebuilt’ Legacy aircraft rival the best factory made airplanes and are in many cases better equipped with the latest avionics and integrated glass panels. Here is an example of a top of the line buildout. It has been flying since 2008. As many of you already know, I am a stickler for documentation and ‘how to’ tutorials and guides so we can properly enjoy our add ons. This one ranks right up at the top of the heap for usefulness. As a matter of fact, if this flight guide was presented in book form, I would guess it would be on the Best Seller list and recommended by all the reviewers for newbee and seasoned veteran flight simmers alike. The reason it is so good, is that is doesn’t just list the choices, but it makes recommendations for certain choices – i.e., this is good, but may not be the best choice. Reading the RealAir Flying guide is almost like receiving special instruction directly from a master designer. Nothing is added to the guide that is not explained by why it is there, or why or how the system or feature was designed. Many times we learn some of the short comings of FSX or we might gain insight into some of the work arounds for specific shortfalls in FSX coding. The Flight and Setup Guide is arranged in a logical and easy to read manner with a concise index with page numbers and nice bold section headings. Starting with the short History, then New Features, Realview, a little about your flight sim – just to make sure you are reading to correct guide for the flight sim you are currently using, followed by the Setup Guide, Config Panel, and VC. I have to stop here to mention the VC clickspots. This may be the most fun you can have in a cockpit with your clothes one. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if there was an Oscar for the ‘most useful feature in a starring role’ the VC Click-Spots that allow you to jump between VC views would win my vote – hands down. When I fly one of my other 97 add ons, those not built by RealAir Simulations, this is one feature that I miss the most. More on this later in the review. The RealAir Realview needs a special introduction for those new comers and first time buyers. Realview is like a large umbrella that covers a comprehensive collection of advanced aerodynamic effects, animations and sound effects related to flight simulation. Of course, it is so much more than this. For instance, instrument needle and cockpit vibrations, propeller torque effects and sounds, the airframe shake as you approach a stall, the changing sounds of the air or wind passing by the window as you turn, speed up or slow down. The bumps and thumps made by landing gear moving or the doors closing, the buffet effect when you deploy flaps or spoilers. All these type things, and there are many more, including several totally new and never before felt, heard, or experienced fall under that large Realview umbrella. You can think of Realview as Accu-sim on steroids plus a whole lot more. Of course, Rob and Sean were developing and using their RealView effects a good ten years prior to the first Accu-sim product. OK, back to the Flight and Setup Guide overview. After the VC comes a discussion on Gauges and Switches. I bet you didn’t know there were that many different methods or ways of flipping a switch or turning a knob or looking at a gauge. And every one of them are available for your choosing as your preferred method. Then the Standard GPS discussion where you are introduced to the left click – right click, or click drag inner/outer knob choices when using your standard two button wheel mouse. Then on to the Flight1 GTN discussion on how to install them and how to use them. If you already have your own F1 GTN units then you already know all the advantages these units bring to the flight sim. If not, you are missing some if the better features that you could be using while flying in the sim. Just the moving charts and approaches are reason enough to add the GTN750, but that is already covered in another review. Adjustable back lighting is one of those things that most everyone that owns the GTNs have been asking to be figured out. Well, this setup has it figured out and installed so when you dim the panel lights, all the panel lights dim, including the 3rd party GTNs. Kudos to the team. The custom installation of the Flight1 GTNs are so specific that if you choose the big GTN750, then the separate Audio panel goes away leaving more room in the panel, because all the audio functions are built-in to the 750. But, if you choose the smaller GTN650 which does not have the audio functions built-in due to the smaller footprint, then the Audio Panel is present in the panel. Great minds at work, again. Because the GTN has built-in dual Nav/Coms and transponder, you can choose to have separate, but not necessary, units installed. Most folks will probably not elect to have the additional transponder or nav/coms but who knows. The option is yours. Although you can have dual GTN750s, which just about fills the panel with just enough room for the autopilot and ADF, you still have the popup feature available with the big, easy to find click-spots. We all know the Reality XP folks are officially among the missing, except for the sales website. The old standby GNS 530/430 are perennial favorites for many flight simmers, myself included. The Cross-fill feature will have to be setup using the included RXP Config program. A panel mounted GPS/NAV switch is placed near the Oxygen System panel on the far right of the new V2 Legacy panel for use with the GPS500, but is not needed for the RXP units. The RXP units have a built-in button for Nav/GPS selection. Like the options available with the Flight1 GTNs, you can also elect to have separate dual Nav/Com radios in addition to the RXP built-in Nav/Com feature. We now arrive at the Hypoxia and Oxygen section, which is quite lengthy and new to most flight sim add ons. You will want to read this one more than once, because once you start passing out while flying, it may be too late to read the manual. Don’t worry you will be given sufficient warning that something is amiss. A short intro to the optional turbo charged high horsepower engine comes next followed by a discussion of the 3D landing lights and limitations with suggested work arounds using default landing lights. Then after a whopping 93 pages, we come to the fun part – Flying the Legacy. This is the section with the meat. Read it, read it again, and then reread it. It is that important if you really want to enjoy flying this magnificent airplane. I am not going to go into all the detail that you really should already know, but most of us either had lousy instructors, we didn’t pay enough attention in class, or we have gotten old and forgot most of it, but any safe pilot should be aware of most every word in this section. Ask yourself this question. When was the last time you bought an add on for your flight sim that came with a bondafide detailed description of how to actually start the damn thing, how to taxi, tips on how to use those touchy differential brakes, things to do and consider before take-off, how to take-off, climb and cruise. Followed by how to get it back on the ground in one piece. If there was ever an airplane that needed speed brakes, this is the one. The Legacy reminds me of a group of cranky old NASA engineers crowded around this perfectly shaped model that has just completed its final wind tunnel test and they are considering how to shrinkwrap it. One wants to squeeze it just one more time to make sure all the bulges are gone, another want to make sure it looks like a jelly bean that has been sent through one of those candy making machines where they stretch and twist it until all the air bubbles are gone and then it comes out smooth as a baby’s butt. In the Flight Guide, Ron gives the impression that using the speed brakes or spoilers is sort of cheating when descending and landing. I totally disagree on this point. In my humble opinion, using the spoilers should be thought of just as you would think of using the flaps - speed or descent control devices. Both are secondary flight controls and can and should be used as needed with no thought of ‘getting away with something’ or a ‘cheat’ device. As a matter of fact, I would enjoy the RealAir Legacy V2 a lot less if it did not have wing spoilers or for some reason I could not use them. I use the spoilers on practically every flight in the Legacy V2. Watch out below, because if I see an interesting looking airport or landmark as I am cruising along at FL250, I may in an instance, disengage the AP, deploy the spoilers, roll over and point the nose at the ground and fly a needle width under Vne (276 kts) until reaching the 250 knot limit at 10,000 feet. I can be entering the traffic pattern in a matter of minutes. It is not uncommon to have the Vertical Speed indicator pegged at -4,000 fpm but tooltips will reveal twice that descent rate for short periods. Sorry, sometimes I drift off. There are discussions about speed management and you will most definitely become as master of speed management if you fly this new Legacy. Even though you have these large and very effective spoilers, you might want to perfect you side slip technique for close to the ground work. Hints are available. The Legacy is so powerful and so aerodynamically smooth and flies so fast that you have to fly it almost like a jet. Meaning, you need to be ahead of the plane at all times and thoroughly plan your approaches and give yourself plenty of distance and time to slow down in order to get the gear and flaps deployed and be at the correct speed and altitude when arriving over the fence. Spoilers will save the day for you. Although the Vle speed is somewhat low at 132 kts, you can deploy the 1st increment of flaps at 170 knots. Just make sure you don’t accidently move the flap lever to the second notch at that speed because you will hear the flaps fluttering and feel some abnormal vibrations just prior to a loud bang as the flap controls fail. You are screwed until you reload your Legacy. You can still fly the plane with the broken flaps, just don’t land where your friends can see your mistake. This feature can be disabled under the Realism Tab of the Config Program. With one of the largest and most powerful non-turbine engines available for a light plane and that big wopping 3-bladed Hartzell prop biting into the wind, you will also want to make sure you are well versed in engine management. Remember, you probably don’t have many fuel injected, high horsepower engines in your hangar so go find some web sites where you can learn more about the ‘care and feeding’ of your new pet. You may have read or heard that Lancairs are known for their speed and fuel economy. Well, not that is an old wives tale. Speed absolutely and in spades, fuel economy, yes that too but, we still have to prove those numbers, but early results look very promising. When you are looking at 38 inches of manifold pressure at sea level with the Critical Altitude just shy of 15,000 feet it opens up all kinds of possibilities. A key to knowing how to manage your engine is knowing how to read the engine monitoring gauge. Fortunately, the new Legacy V2 has one of the best and easiest to read at a glance. It even has a flashing warning message to get your attention, when needed. Just in case you missed the big flashing red light in front of your nose. One of the many great features of the VM1000C Engine Monitor is that you have a constant easy to see readout of fuel flow in gal/hr, fuel pressure in PSI, and fuel quantity in each of the wing tanks. The digital readout is quick to read, but the graphic display is nice also. I downloaded the manual for the real world VM1000C which is 66 pages and covers the basic operation that I am interested in but, also covers the installation and setup. The real one in loaded with optional and customizing features that we probably would seldom or never use in FSX/P3D. Our RealAir simulated unit has plenty of easy to see and easy to understand features. One feature that I especially like is that everything to do with monitoring the engine is in one spot and we are only a click away of a zoomed view and another click away from back to monitoring the flight instruments. On my wish list is the ability of read % Power in the sim version as one of the engine monitoring choices like in the rw version. You will want to learn all the ins and outs of leaning that beast up front not only for best fuel air ratio but also monitoring the temperatures for longer engine life. The turbocharger’s inlet temperature is measured by the TIT but we only have a graphic for these readings. The individual cylinder head temps have a dedicated readout in the lower left corner of the Engine Monitor with a composite or summary that we use as an average for all 6 cylinders. Most mechanics are quick to tell you that the most important thing you can do to keep your turbo’d engine running long and smooth is to control the temperature and the CHT is the key. It seems like using the EGT digital readout is the preferred method of fine tuning the fuel/air mixture in lieu of the TIT. When you read that 50 degrees LOP or 150 ROP or any such cryptic recommendation, do you know what they are talking about? Knowing that LOP is Lean of Peak and ROP is Rich of Peak narrows it down a bit. So using the mixture knob all you have to do is find the peak or highest number then either continue leaning for another 50 or so degrees for LOP or push it back toward the firewall for ROP. Many old timers rely on the engine sounds with their ear tuned to any change in engine sounds to indicate they might want to tweak the mixture a bit. They can’t necessarily tell someone else how to do this, it is just one of those acquired talents based on years of flying experience. Precise mixture adjustments, percent of power, LOP, ROP, TIT, EGT, and similar readings seem to hold special meaning to only a very select few sim pilots. Most only adjust the mixture when the engine starts coughing. Ah acrobatics, or maybe aerobatics. The new Legacy V2 is designed and stressed for limited or mild acrobatics (utility category). This means if you perform your loops and rolls and hammerhead stalls correctly it will be very enjoyable. If you are a little rusty then you will hear some strange sounds and new shakes and vibrations to let you know the Legacy has also noticed you are a little rusty and you may be headed for trouble. Yes, you can spin the new V2 Legacy in your flightsim provided you have the proper sliders set correctly and you know how to enter and exit spins. Read the book to find out what I am not telling you. Hint – You must have the Realism slider full right, not almost, full right for “realistic”. This can be very enjoyable in the V2. Checklists. A full featured checklist is provided for your use. Make sure you use it every time you fly and you may live to fly another day. Should you wish to become more familiar with the RealAir Legacy V2 you will find the specifications, and performance data bundled with the Checklists. A few of the early purchasers posted their version of a personalized Legacy checklist and was inundated with howls and suggestions to correct a few obvious errors and omissions. A cut or two later, a more workable and correct checklist was made available for sharing. I personally think these checklists are on the lengthy side, but hey, whatever blows your skirt up. What is important is that you use a checklist every time you takeoff and again every time you come back to earth. Your checklist can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, but as a minimum it should keep you from running out of gas, landing with your gear up, and include the proper settings for the mixture and prop controls just in case you have to make an aborted landing or go around for some reason. GUMP is as brief as I get and it has saved my butt numerous times. As mentioned earlier, because the Lancair Legacy is built from a kit, a Pilots Operating Handbook is not supplied with the kit package. A download link is provided for a POH template, with a big ugly watermark planted diagonally across each page, for a generic retractable gear Legacy. In the real world, the kit builder/owner is required to inspect his work, test the installed components and flight test the completed aircraft and record performance data under the supervision (not really) of the FAA inspectors. There have been over 195 Lancair accidents with 159 fatalities in Lancairs since the first on August 1, 1989 at Oshkosh when a Lancair 235 was lost with two fatalities. The reasons for the accidents are varied but in the majority of cases the pilot failed the airplane, the airplane did not fail the pilot. The most striking statistic is that 50% of our accidents to date have been with PIC’s who have less than 100 hours in make and model. Many of our losses have occurred on the first flight. Good flight training cannot be overemphasized. (Source: Lancair Legacy Training Manual) Because RealAir used specific design criteria the specifications, speeds, quantities, fuel flows, etc, are specific to their basic 310 hp powered Legacy V2. The optional turbo’d 400+ horsepower engine is experimental or maybe fictional, and therefore has much less specific performance data. I did notice the RealAIr Legacy and the real world Lancair Legacy have a few differences in speeds, but not enough to be concerned. AFAIK, there are less than a handful of Legacys flying with dual turbos, and especially with that huge 400+ engine. There was one for sale that has its own website and lots of photos and links to performance data. Let me just say, it is a real screamer with lots of custom mods – one of those real deal racers with a couple of speed records. The RealAir Legacy V2 was loosely based on this one but without the mods, according the Rob. These specially modified racing Legacys with the dual turbos also have modified cowlings to enclose the extra baffles and piping for the turbos. The unmodified IO-550N Continental is a very snug fit without any modifications. I have never seen a Legacy with a Lycoming engine, but things like this are possible when dealing with a simulated model. Our RealAir Legacy V2’s exterior appearance is the same with or without the optional turbo engine selected. The only change is the additional 8 inches of manifold pressure, the ability to climb faster and higher, and of course the improved top end airspeed when using the dual turbo option. There is a very extensive troubleshooting section in the guide and answers to most of your questions concerning this and other add ons that you may have been having problems in your sim. If you do indeed require support for your new V2 Legacy, go to the back of the guide and make sure that you really do need support. Most support issues are solved by reading the manual. Hint. Hint. The VC Click Spots Feature This feature alone makes the RealAir models stand out and above the crowd. This works well, even if you use Track-IR5 or not. If this is not enough, you can assign keyboard shortcuts to jump between your most used VC views or even better, map them to your joystick or flight stick. Neat stuff. Background, beginning and history I retrieved the Avsim review of the RealAir Legacy that I authored back in July 2012 and read the first couple of pages. Rather than try to improve to the history that has not changed one iota in the last three and half years, I decided to simply correct a few typos and fix some of the grammatical mistakes and paste it here. I was pleased to note that the original Legacy review has been viewed 25,668 times so it must have some substance. You can read the full review here. http://www.avsim.com/index.php/_/reviews/lancair-legacy-r402 Let’s start at the beginning of the story. It seems a young boy who was exposed to high performance flying machines while visiting his uncle got lots of passenger time in a Meyer 200, a very advanced Navion looking aircraft. Twenty years later and now a graduate graphic artist, Lance Neibauer was looking for a used personal airplane. Finding nothing to his liking or thin pocketbook, he joined the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to design his own. He had become captivated with the possibilities of using composite materials - fiberglass or carbon fiber held together with epoxy to revolutionize homebuilt aircraft design. Neibauer prepared a very extensive survey of fellow builders asking what features they were seeking in a homebuilt design, compiled the results then immediately started work on his new design. Looking for high performance and the latest possible features, he selected a new NASA Natural Laminar Flow airfoil. After overcoming a few obstacles, and doing some re-shaping and minor changes, the Lancer 200 was shown at Oshkosh ’85. This first design was equipped with a used 100 hp Cessna 150 engine but easily out flew anything powered by the same engine. A naming conflict was easily resolved by changing his original chosen name of Lancer to Lancair (pronounced "Lance air"). Neibauer loved flying, but existing production designs didn’t interest him. He felt most production airplanes were boring, me-too machines. “That was my primary motivation for starting on the Lancair 200 in the first place,” he says, “to build what I hoped would be an aesthetically more pleasing design with better performance and handling.” Using his natural talent for lines and symmetry, Neibauer conceived a two-seat, composite airplane that was as wide as a Bonanza and almost as fast—on nearly 200 less horsepower. The first Lancair 200 was a lightweight work of art with a gross weight of only 1,275 pounds. It featured a DuPont NOMEX honeycomb structure with epoxy-impregnated glass cloth covering. “That first airplane was intended as a one-off machine, and I never assumed I could build a business around it. To start the process, I bought a Cessna 150, gutted it, sold the airframe and kept the engine, instruments and avionics. I wanted to see how much performance I could wring from the little 100 hp Continental O-200 engine by using an extremely light, low-drag airframe and wing.” The 200 was soon replaced by the Lancair 235, equipped with the slightly more powerful Lycoming O-235. Re-engineered versions quickly followed; the Lancair 320 with the 150 hp Lycoming O-320, and the Lancair 360 with the 180 hp Lycoming O-360. These designs provided the highest performance in the single-engine GA class, and as the kit-build market was dominated by pilots looking to outperform existing "off-the-shelf" designs, the Lancair's kits sold well. By the end of 1990 they had sold over 600 s for the various two-seat models, giving them what Neibauer claimed was 30% of the kit-built market. After a very successful 4 seat design, the Lancair IV, then starting and selling off a few companies, and collecting a double handful of new speed records, Lance then returned to his roots and came up with a back-to-basics, fixed gear Legacy ES aka Columbia. 15 years after the Lancair revolution began; the Legacy represents the culmination of more than a decade of development, testing and invaluable input from Lancair builders and fliers. Redesigned from the tail to the nose, it’s bigger, faster and easier to build. This latest version, and the one we are most interested in, the Lancair Legacy, offers increased interior size and even higher performance. Fitted with the 310 hp Continental IO-550-N six cylinder, four-stroke engine and a 3-bladed propeller, this low-wing retractable-gear composite monoplane is a true personal rocket. The byline on the Legacy brochure is ‘The heart of a sports plane, the soul of a rocket’. With the 310 h.p. Continental 1O-550, the Legacy achieves stellar performance, by cruising 280 m.p.h. at 10,000 ft. The Legacy’s climb rate of +2200 fpm will amaze you. MyJetReview.com RealAir Simulations have been creating quality flight simulation software since 2001. They have developed a reputation for creating some of the finest quality and most innovative add-on simulation software in the industry. Their releases have received the highest awards available in the flight simulation world. They introduced the first aircraft with accurate stall and spin behavior; the first aircraft with realistic side-slip behavior; their ‘Smooth Gauge Technology’ adds smoothness and clarity to virtual cockpit gauges; their exclusive ‘RealView’ system simulates the forces experienced by a pilot in flight as well as simulating the buffeting felt during a stall; realistically simulated engine failures; user-configurable VC panel layouts, and much more. Sean Moloney was a student pilot when he first teamed up with Rob Young to design the Citabria for Fly. He is currently living near Brisbane, Australia. Sean designs all the graphics, gauges and 3d models for RealAir. Rob Young, now living on the South Coast of England, has designed flight aerodynamics for many of the major flight simulator developers. He designed flight models for Fly! II and since changing his focus to Microsoft Flight Simulator has designed the aerodynamics for a diverse group of developers including Lago, Just Flight, Eaglesoftdg, feelThere, and MAAM-Sim, picking up awards for nearly every aircraft he has co-designed. Introducing the newest RealAir Legacy – the Legacy V2. Because this is version 2, you really should know more about the original RealAir Legacy (we will call version 1) but that is all available for reading in the Avsim review and also the excellent Mutely Hangar review by Andrew Godden where it received the perfect 10 in every category. The Legacy may be the only airplane to ever receive the perfect 10. Read it here. http://www.mutleyshangar.com/reviews/ag/rll/rll.htm Once you read these two reviews, you might ask, how in the world can this be improved? I am of the opinion that no matter how good a product may be on a given day it can be improved over time. This is usually due to new discoveries or in this case the unexpected introduction of FSX Steam by Dovetail Games Franchise in Frankfurt, Germany just last year. Or consider that P3Dv2 or v3 did not even exist when the RealAir Legacy was introduced in 2012. Once many of the flight simmers jumped onboard the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D bandwagon, there were immediate wishes and desires, and even demands for RealAir to build a P3D compatible Legacy if for no other reason than to have Flight1 GTN compatibility. RealAir was very straight forward in their response that they did not wish to release a simple port over from FSX to P3D because quite frankly, it didn’t work like that. The Flight1 GTN add ons for P3D can only be purchased from sister company – Flight1 Aviation Technologies (Flight1tech.com) and will not work in FSX. The only way to get what we were asking was to go back to the drawing boards and do what RealAir does best – learn all you can about the simulator of choice and figure out how to build a ‘designed for P3Dv2 and v3 Legacy’. I think the FSX Steam edition was a bit easier to accomplish and now we have available the FSX and the P3D versions. It is probably safe to say, RealAir cut their teeth with Prepar3D when they designed their V2 RealAir Dukes with P3D compatibility. Now they had to apply all that expertise to the P3D edition of the Legacy once they had added all the new touches and features to the basic Legacy. This is not to be taken lightly, this was full time work for more than a year. Borrowing just a bit more from my 2012 review, my first flight in the RealAir Legacy was over the swamps in South Florida and I captured the essence as follows: The Legacy is light years ahead of your typical FSX add-on aircraft. Not only are you introduced to more than a dozen totally new and previously unseen aerodynamic actions but you instantly know they look correct, feel correct, and sound correct. What is most impressive to me is how Rob and Sean were able to put this all together and get it working so smoothly in FSX. (Note: Although Lockheed Martin had Prepar3D available for commercial use in 2012 , the flight sim community was not convinced they could legally use the low priced academic version for non-educational sim flying.) I was flying late last night in South Florida and just casually practicing some basic commercial pilot maneuvers – chandelles, lazy eights, accelerated stalls – and I got so excited because it was so realistic. Not just how the aircraft handled, which is absolutely marvelous, but the smoothness of the motion, the spot on sounds of the interrupted air, the propeller pitch changes with attitude, the creaks and groans, the shakes and vibrations at just the right instance. Altogether, the Legacy must be the most advanced and most realistic flight simulator package available for a desktop. The Everglades is a great place to fly in FSX as there is almost nothing to drain any FPS away from the simulation. Try KTNT, a large boondoggle of an airport, in the middle of nowhere. OK, Can we talk about the new Legacy V2 now? Yes we can. There are actually so many new features mixed in with a host of upgraded or refined features that I am afraid I don’t know where to start. To make sure I don’t miss telling you about something that you consider really important, I am going to put the onus back on you. A neat way of doing this is to send you over to the dedicated Legacy V2 section of RealAir’s website for you to read what Ron’s has to say about it. This way I can spend more time talking about those things that blow my skirt up. I just found out that you can download the full Flying and Setup Guide prior to making the decision to purchase the V2 Legacy. Get it here. (http://www.realairsimulations.com/legacyv2/downloads.php?page=legacyv2_downloads) This alone is worth the price of the V2 Legacy provided you read it and put what you have read into practice. Now, for those of you that are only casually interested in the V2 Legacy, I am not going to list all the reason we are so excited about having this new addition for all our flight simulators. (Yes, I know X-Pane is also a simulator, but this in not available for X-plane so you don’t need to leave dozens of messages for me). In case you missed it, this short, concise announcement was on our front page starting January 24, 2016 with a link for additional information. RealAir Simulations announced the release of their Lancair Legacy V2 for FSX/FSX-SE and Prepar3d V2 and V3. The Legacy V2 now has full integration of Flight 1's GTN gauges in FSX and P3d V2 and V3, and continues support of Reality XP GNS integration with FSX. In addition to several new liveries, many new features have been added including a turbocharged engine option capable of up to 4,000 fpm climb rate and 300 knots true airspeed. The Legacy now has oxygen and hypoxia simulations, enhanced aerodynamic visual and sound effects, panel light dimmer and other new features making it our most advanced aircraft yet released. For further information and details please navigate to the RealAir Simulations Homepage. There should be one or two items on the list that get you excited. For me, the real biggie is the optional turbocharged engine and the new Oxygen and Hypoxia system. Why you may ask. Good question. I will now tell you that just having a really, really fast state-of-the-art homebuilt two-place pocket rocket kitplane, with retractable landing gear, wing mounted lift spoilers, bubble canopy, 3-bladed prop, and full IFR instrumentation with the ability for you to add your own GTN or GNS GPS/Nav system is just not enough for some people. I fall into that category. No matter how good it looks, or how good it flies, or how reasonable the purchase price may be, it is just not enough, we always come back with, “I want more”. Try this on for size. How about they add something special to the airplane and reserve a special place for us to play with our new toy? A few of the rich guys have already added the JT-6 turbine to the Legacy and broke all the speed records for climb time, speed over a set distance and won a few of the unlimited class races. Sure it looks kinda like a Legacy from a distance but when you get a little closer you see these outrageously oversized exhausts pipes the size of pipelines sticking out the sides of the cowling. Take a look at these photos. So when they go flying, they have to go really high to make use of their turbines. Maybe a low altitude for them would be somewhere around FL260. Now consider the hundreds of finally completed and flying Legacy 2000 series homebuilts and we find most of them hanging around the 6,000 – 12,000 altitude band and clipping along at 200 – 220 mph and thinking ‘ain’t life grand”. You see, the Lancair Legacy kit builders brochure does a good job of convincing you that the $65,000 IO-550 310 hp Continental engine and the $16,000 Hartzell propeller is all anybody should ever need for this aerodynamically slick Legacy. Btw, the full all-inclusive RG-550 kit is only $259,500 prior to taxes and delivery. And after you put in 3 –10 years of build time and maybe another couple of hundred thousand dollars for shop/hangar rental, tools, jigs, and such you can something real similar to the base 310 hp RealAir Legacy V2. Now consider if you will, what are our options for flying above the crowded denser air skies, above say 12,000 feet and below the high-twenties flight levels where you find all those turbine powered King Airs and old Citations. Answer: That area that has a floor of say 12,500 and an upper limit of say FL250. The dense air folks can’t fly there because they generally don’t have oxygen on board and their engine conk out due to oxygen starvation, and the Turbine guys just zoom right through it on their way to the assigned altitude of FL260 and above where their engines are more efficient. The second part is that we are going to assume that we choose not to cut holes and stick big exhaust pipes and things into the slick, beautiful lines of our new V2 Legacy. This gives us two basic choices, once we decide to install an Oxygen system and the new Hypoxia system so don’t forget to add the O2 bottle and flip the switch on the panel. We could get into the age old argument of whether adding a Supercharger is better than adding a Turbocharger but, we can totally avoid the discussion and just recognize that RealAir chose the Turbo route. It is a done deal and is it does no one any good to present their case for an alternate method of adding ram air to the engine. We find that with the simple movement of a slider switch about a quarter-inch to the right we can elect to change our already wonderful Continental IO-550 310 hp engine into a growling, howling, whinning dual turbocharged, intercooled 400+ horsepower engine with automatic wastegates so we don’t over boost at low altitudes. "I am told by those experts with hearing tuned to a very discernable level that RealAir Legacy V2 may have the best turbo ‘whine’ sounds they have ever heard in the flight sims." . Once we save our configuration and exit the config program we notice the maximum manifold pressure moves from the upper 20s to the upper 30s. Yep, almost an additional ten inches of manifold pressure that will hold steady right up to the critical attitude of something close to FL150. Remember, we have to make our own performance booklet because this is an experimental homebuilt aircraft. No way around it. FAA says so. You should be able to maintain the maximum MP while climbing from sea level up to the Critical Altitude. This is usually defined as the altitude at which the engine can no longer maintain full-rated manifold pressure minus one inch. But, where the extra available manifold pressure really shines in way up there in the thin air above much of the weather and where you get better gas mileage while approaching cruise speeds near that magic 300 kts. In summary, we now have an optional turbocharged engine custom designed and installed in our V2 Legacy with the necessary stay-alive Oxygen and monitoring system for us to get way up there over the weather where we can fly even faster, longer, and therefore further. The fuel flow is significantly reduced where we will be flying. For those of you that lean toward the technical side, I asked our designers if they would describe for our readers this new turbo optional engine for the V2 Legacy. Almost word for word, here is the scoop. As you know in a high performance aircraft like the Legacy you can add either supercharging, which is a mechanical turbine driven via belts from the engine directly, and places extra strain and wear on the engine parts, or turbo charging which extracts exhaust gases and uses that energy to force more power, and is regulated as you say by (in this case) an automatic waste gate. We simulate dual turbo chargers that are serial, not parallel in that they are driven by two separate exhaust manifolds. This is less of a strain on engine parts and is overall more efficient. The lag associated with turbo chargers is a slight problem on cars but not really on aircraft as a slight lag is insignificant. The wastegate is essentially an auto-functioning diaphragm which prevents over-pressure at low altitudes but still can provide extra power even at near sea level. The limit for the Legacy with dual chargers is just over 38 inches of manifold pressure. The wastegate automatically prevents the manifold pressure from exceeding that limit. As altitude is gained the diaphragm, which is hydraulically driven, allows more and more exhaust gases to boost the inlet pressure and maintain power even though the outside air is thinning. Care has to be taken not to whack the throttles suddenly forward as the diaphragm adjustment can't keep up with the sudden power increase. You can see this on the Legacy's MP readout which can exceed limits temporarily (more than 38.2) then settles back. With normal throttle control this is less likely to happen. The critical altitude of the turbo chargers is that which provides the maximum, non-wastegated power, and in the Turbo Legacy that is between 17,000 and 20,000 feet, which is why the magic 300+ knots TAS can be achieved around this altitude. Beyond this altitude the turbos cannot compensate wholly for the thinning outside air and the MP begins to decrease. However outside temperature plays a big part in this. If the ambient sea level temp is hot then critical altitude kicks in lower down. Generally speaking though, the Turbo engine will provide a remarkable amount of boost to very high altitudes. The Legacy starts to lose significant power from 25,000 feet upwards and by 30,000 feet is struggling. By 35,000 feet there is little climb power left. Except for the thrill of achieving this extraordinary altitude for such a modest little aircraft, there is not much point in cruising at altitudes more than 25k. Also remarkable is that the turbo chargers are extremely efficient compared to superchargers and fuel flow remains quite low given the boost in power. A description of the RealAir Legacy V2 The Lancair Legacy is a high performance, two-seat, amateur built aircraft, and it is powered by a Continental IO-550N engine. This engine drives a three bladed Hartzell constant speed propeller. The aircraft features a composite airframe of predominately carbon fiber in an epoxy resin matrix. The wings have electrically actuated full-slotted fowler flaps and mechanically actuated high aspect ratio ailerons. Speed brakes, or spoilers are installed at mid-span on the top of the wings. The elevator and rudder have centerline bearings. The elevator is push rod actuated; stainless steel cables actuate the rudder. The tricycle retractable landing gear is hydraulically actuated. The nose gear is a self-centering free swiveling unit and all three gear legs utilize air/oleo struts. The main wheel brakes have their own independent system and are hydraulically actuated. The battery, alternator, and the magneto/start switches are located on the instrument panel. The circuit breakers are generally located on the far right of the panel. A 70 ampere gear driven alternator is mounted on the right front of the engine. A transistorized voltage regulator adjusts alternator output to the required load, which may be either 14 or 28 volts. The engine starter is located on the engine accessory case (aft right side). To energize the starter circuit, hold the magneto start switch in the START position. There is a 30 second limit on starter operation. The radio master, pitot heat and internal and external light switches are also located on the left subpanel. An ammeter/ loadmeter generally should be installed. OK, how about some performance numbers. Owning a blazingly fast airplane that can fly as high as the new V2 Legacy, while having the fuel onboard for 4+ hours of endurance opens up a vast number of overnight getaways for me. Let’s do a little simple math to get us started with the Turbo’s Legacy performance book. Fuel on board – 66 gallons (62 gal useable) Fuel Flow – 10.1 - 12.7 gal/hr @ FL250 Endurance – 4.4 – 5.4- hours w/60 min reserve (for planning purposes only) Cruise speed - 280 knots (fast cruise) 260 knots (normal cruise) 240 knots (economy cruise) Range - 1,150 nm Normal cruise speed w/one hour reserve These numbers are being verified by our flight sim community but should be very close, I plan to make a few more cross country flights to confirm that these numbers are indeed achievable. The Legacy is one fugal flyer. Should a pilot wish to extend the endurance, I suspect you could add several hundred miles to the range by flying closer to the 55% power curve. I’m not sure how to compute a specific power level for the Legacy but some interpolation of the CAFÉ report data would probably be close enough for flight sims accuracy. Turbocharging vs Turbonormalizing First, let’s make sure we all understand that we are using a Turbocharger system as in turboboosting and not a Turbonormalizing system. The fairly common Turbonormalizing systems are what we see on the Cirrus SR22 Turbo and the Cessna 210 Turbo and similar airplanes. These are designed to maintain sea level manifold pressure (~ 30 IN) at altitude to avoid the progressive reduction in horsepower that occurs in normally-aspirated engines as we climb. The turbo boosting system that we are using boosts the manifold pressure about 8 inches higher than sea level ambient, to a little over 38 inches. This system is better suited for those that might use high elevation airports like Denver or Jackson Hole, or live and fly at high elevations. For us that live at near sea level, it just gives up that much more available power as we climb. This increased horsepower has to be contained or retrained so as not to blow up the system. This is where the automatic wastegates that Ron mentioned above comes in. These are butterfly valves that vent excessive pressure when we attempt to overboost the engine by going to full throttle to quickly, but supplies the proper exhaust volume to the turbine otherwise. You need to be smooooth when increasing or decreasing the throttle. The intercooler keeps the system from overheating and operating within limits. Smart pilots always adjust power slowly on any airplane, normally aspirated or turbocharged, but it’s especially important on engines with a blower out front. Automatic control. Fortunately, our system is fully automatic using simulated hydraulic wastegate actuators and a pressure controller to keep our dual turbo output at the desired pressure. There is nothing for us to turn on or turn off, just fly the airplane and pay attention to the engine monitor readings. Of course, you will find that if you don’t pay attention to the fuel mixture settings you will not be developing the necessary horsepower to climb or go fast. Proper leaning of the Legacy’s turbocharged engine is a continuous learning process. A little later you will learn about LOP and ROP. This refers to the digital readout of the TIT, Turbo Inlet Temperatures. The EGT, Exhaust Gas Temperature and the CHT, individual Cylinder Head Temperatures are also used as indicators of engine performance. There is a peak setting, and if you continue to pull the mixture knob towards you, you will be Lean of Peak and if you ease it back inward toward the firewall you will Rich of Peak. Full In is full rich, Full Out is full lean (that is when the engine quits running) Different engine manufacturers recommend LOP or ROP depending on many factors, like age, condition, ambient conditions, break-in periods, etc. You might read or hear about 50 LOP or 50 ROP for recommended settings. The two compelling reasons for these settings are to develop maximum horsepower while keeping the engine from overheating and to extend the life of the engine. Overheating is always the culprit and will damage you engine if left unchecked. I understand from rw Legacy pilots that TCM does not recommend flying LOP at power settings over 65% with the stock IO-550N Continental. For our optional dual turbo’d Legacy it would be rare circumstances where one could actually fly LOP. I see this question all the time – Where should I set my mixture? There is no one answer and the better question might well be – Where should I NOT set my mixture? In the flight simulator is doesn’t really matter where you set the mixture if you are reasonably close to the correct setting. Many sim pilots just ease the mixture setting out until the engine begins to run rough then push it in just enough to get a smooth sounding engine. As you climb higher, you must lean the mixture setting to develop the necessary horsepower. You will need to remember to “enrichen the mixture” as you descend for the same reason. Usually around sea level the mixture is set to full rich or almost full rich. At the extremes if your mixture is too rich the engine will run rough, you will foul the sparkplugs, and the whole airframe might shake and shimmy. If your mixture is too lean, the first indication might be the rise in CHT and EGT and the Warning flashing on the VM1000C as you exceed the temperature limit, then one of the things most feared by pilots, the one propeller that you have quits turning or maybe starts windmilling as the engine quits running due to fuel starvation. The new repaints and interiors. The new Legacy V2 comes with 4 new repaints, all with lightning bolts and jagged striping. The original Legacy’s 5 repaints have been brought over to V2 to make a total of 9 liveries. The main cabin panel is different enough from the prior model due to the new Oxygen System panel, a new Hobbs meter, a new dimmer knob and a lesser number of electrical breakers. The Nav/GPS switch has been relocated from above the airspeed indicator to the far right side and the new light dimmer knob has been added at that location. These additions and changes do not allow you to use the original Legacy interior texture files with V2 without modification. You will also have to update the V2 interior files if you want your call sign displayed above the DME display. The original Legacy did not have call signs displayed on the panel. Here you can compare the old and the new panels. How do I fly the Turbo Legacy V2? Just like almost all things, there always are more than one way to do anything, but just in case you would like to hear mine. Here goes. We have to taxi before we can fly and the free-castoring nosewheel which is another way of saying “freely rotating” which means it is not connected to the rudder pedals as you might expect. To taxi the Legacy you will need to steer using differential braking. This may require a little practice so go slowly while learning. On your takeoff roll the rudder becomes effective fairly quickly and then you will be holding the centerline with rudder pressure. Should you not have rudder pedals with differential brakes as part of your flight sim setup, then you can disable the freewheeling nosewheel and steer with rudder pedals with whatever means you use. Tight or sharp turns are difficult with rudder pressure only. Let start off with the term WOT. This is the normal position of the throttle when I am flying the Turbo Legacy. This means wide open throttle, or sometimes referred to as Full Throttle, or balls to the wall (actually have never understood this one but, I hear it often). This is not your Grandmother’s Cessna, Piper, Mooney, Bonanza or whatever, this is the new Turbo Legacy. This leaves me with only two controls for setting the needed horsepower – the Propeller and the Mixture. Ron has run some tests and determined that only minimal differences can be found with the variable prop settings in the Turbo Legacy. He recommends 2,400 RPM as an almost fixed setting and I see no need to mess with that. Every time I glance over at the Engine Monitor I expect to see something really close to the 2400 RPM setting. I use the Saitek x52 Pro Flight System and the excellent throttle unit leaves a lot to be desired for setting the Propeller. Sometime I have to choose either 2395 or 2405 because that sucker does not seem to like good round numbers. But, this is most likely closer than the age old ‘needlewidth’. I am going to let you in on a little secret that I learned over years of flight simming. The FSX coding for the mixture is crap. Some of our developers have learned to live with it, others have added custom coding to make it a little more forgiving and reasonable. That is why the ‘higher end’ add ons tend to have mixture setting that may seem extreme when looking at the physical knob. I use the tooltips and my mouse wheel for fine tuning the mixture settings. Now we come to a clear difference in choice of how to best use that extra 8 inches of manifold pressure if we are starting out at or near sea level. We can set a climb profile using WOT by setting the throttle fully open and leave it there until there is a compelling reason to reduce power. The other choice is to fly like we don’t even have a turbo charged engine and as we lose manifold pressure as the altitude increases, we continually add more throttle. Cruising in the Turbo Legacy With the RPM permanently set at 2,400 RPM, and full throttle, the only remaining control to adjust is the mixture. Should you really want to fly slower to maybe increase your endurance, you can tweak the mixture level down to some really low fuel flows. According to most articles that I read about the rw Legacy and comments at some of the builder’s blogs, these fuel flows are a bit unrealistic and probably could not be achieved. RealAir is working on a new Performance and Endurance Chart specifically for the Turbo Legacy V2. Here is a pre-production copy that we are using to fine tune some of the numbers. If you like to fly cross-country, you can have a ball with this one. Checkout the endurance in the upper Flight Levels. Wow. This Turbo Legacy uses so little fuel when climbing that I can’t think of any good reason not to climb high for extended touring. Flying the Legacy V2 in the different simulators. I have FSX:SE and P3Dv2.5 installed on my fast pc and I try to alternate sims when writing reviews and flying. I don’t see much difference in performance although the scenery seems much improved with P3D but that may just be my setup and not a knock on FSX. What is very noticeable is having the Flight1 GTN units available in the Legacy when flying in P3D. That was one of the things I that I really missed. An unexpected, maybe I should say surprising feature when flying the new Legacy in either sim is all the new airflow or wind sounds. I think RealAir calls them aerodynamic sounds, but they are very noticeable. These aren’t just canned sounds that you expect to hear in your run of the mill add ons. These are the sounds that airplanes make when taxiing and flying. It must have something to do with the pitch and volume changes of the various sounds at different speeds and attitudes, because they are so believable. Once you start paying attention to some of these little extras, it is hard to fly straight and level. I keep wanting to side slip on final, or do what I like most – practice commercial flight maneuvers. I really enjoy the sounds and vibrations and such while flying Cuban Eights, chandelles, and the various stalls. The Legacy V2 makes them all come to life. I have been doing a lot of slow flight, just to pay attention to try to find one more new item that has been added. The side benefit is that I am becoming a fairly proficient and much smoother pilot, once again. You will most likely find conflicting speeds and procedures when reading how to fly a homebuilt airplane. This is not uncommon and should be expected. Even within this review, I’m sure many people will use different techniques, differing speeds, and so on. In a flight sim, this should not affect the flight model or your general safety. Specifications for Legacy V2 310 hp engine (non Turbo) Fuel System The aircraft has two wet wing fuel tanks in the outboard wing sections holding a total of 66 gallons. The tanks are vented to the outside atmosphere by ports on the bottom of each wingtip and each cell has flush type filler caps mounted at the outboard end. There are two low point drains on each wing. Fuel runs into a baffle tank on the inboard end of the cell. There are two one-way flapper valves to keep fuel from running outboard in unbalanced flight. Generally, only 1/2 gallon per wing is unusable. (very early models had up to 2 gal unusable per side) The selector valve located on the center console and has LEFT, RIGHT, BOTH and OFF positions and I don’t see how anyone could misread the position. Just make sure the sharp end of the red selector knob is in one of the fuel flow positions and not stuck between detents. Fuel will not flow if the pilot selects an intermediate position. The pilot must select the respective tank and switch tanks often in flight in order to maintain a balanced wing or just select BOTH. Fuel flows from the selector valve to an electric boost pump in the center console and mounted on the aft face of the nose gear tunnel and then through the firewall to the fuel strainer (gascolator). The boost pump has an overboard drain should the pump diaphragm fail. The fuel strainer should be drained often to keep water and debris out of the engine. Fuel flows from the fuel strainer to the engine driven fuel pump on the accessory pad of the engine. Excess fuel returns to the fuel tank selected via a return fuel line. Using the FSX/P3D Tooltips Placing your mouse pointer on any given gauge, switch, knob, or level should reveal additional details. The easy method of viewing your TAS is to simple place your mouse pointer on the face of the airspeed indicator. You will be able to read both IAS and TAS. You can cross check the accuracy by using the OAT from the engine monitor and using the knob at the 5 o’clock position to set the density altitude and temperature at the top of the gauge. A lot of detailed information can be seen using these tooltips, Should you place your mouse pointer on the [HSI] gauge you will be given the current heading in degrees, however if you place the pointer on the Course knob you can read your yellow arrow course selection. If you place the mouse pointer on the Heading knob itself you can read the Heading Hold selection degrees. Of course, none of these tooltips are available should you Pause your sim. Note: The tooltips for the Flap deployment is in Percent only. First notch = 10 degrees (25%), 2nd notch = 20 deg (50%), etc. Included in the tooltips are reminders of the click spots or hot spots for the unique VC view zoom locations. For instance, directly below the bottom row of switches you can left click for a zoomed in IFR view or right click for the main VC view. The area directly above the 3 engine levers and below the center avionics bay you can left click for the throttle view and right click for the main VC view. The click spot that I use most often is the face of the autopilot with a left click to see the GTNs, the engine monitor, the AP and just the corner of the mixture knob. I would like to have this view zoomed out just a hair so I can see the annunciator panel at top center and the throttle, prop and mixture controls at the bottom. With all the click spot choices none of them includes the annunciator panel. I can see the annunciators ion the full VC view only I can see and the color is green or red so I know something is amiss, but I can’t necessarily read the text. There are 20 unique annunciations announced there. Speaking of annunciators, I would love to see a small indicator light either just above the speed brake (spoiler) switch or maybe on the switch itself that stays on whenever the speed brakes are deployed. I realize there is an annunciator that is On whenever the spoilers are deployed but, if you are using any of the VC click spot zooms you can’t see it. This all assumes you are flying in the windowed mode. In the full screen mode you can see the annunciator panel. My standard GUMP checklist is now GUMPS so I can remember to check that Speed brake prior to landing. Some folks use the S for seats adjusted and locked, others for Seatbelts buckled, but I never fly with my seatbelt off but I have been known to slide my seat back a few inches on some long cross country flights to stretch my legs and be a little surprised when I can’t quite reach the rudder pedals when entering the pattern. Duh. Remember, use those checklists. Another little tip is to take advantage of the new panel lights dimmer switch located just above the airspeed indicator. I find it needs to be turned to the low end of the range to avoid the bleed through in some of the AP indicators. See screenshot. DESCENTS Descents from high or fast cruise in the Legacy requires that you stay ahead of the aircraft. Smooth air descent can be at speeds approaching Vne until reaching 10,000 feet MSL, where you should slow to 250 Kts. In bumpy air the aircraft should be slowed to Vno or 220 kts and if in turbulent air slow down to Va Maneuvering Speeds of 170 kts at near gross weights and 158 at 1900 lbs. You will have to keep checking your mixture setting as you descend. A continuously richer mixture will be needed in the denser air. Throughout your letdown, monitor your engine instruments and speed while making clearing turns. I use the speed brakes in order to stay higher longer and then make a somewhat steeper descent than I would if I did not have the wing spoilers. Power should be reduced to maintain cylinder head temperature and keep the oil temperature in the green and usually a richer mixture setting is needed to keep these engine temperatures within limits. APPROACH & LANDING You will appreciate those nice big electrically actuated full-slotted fowler flaps that extend from aileron to fuselage as you get closer to landing. When approaching the airport area I aim for an airspeed of about 160 KIAS to allow for the first increment of flaps. A shallow descent with a gradual reduction in power but holding 2400 rpm will allow for an good view of the airport traffic from about 3 miles out. The Vlo speed for the Legacy V2 is 132 knots so I aim for 130 knots as I blend in with the traffic pattern at the standard 45 degrees angle. Enter the pattern on the downwind leg at 1,500 feet AGL and lower your power setting to 11 to 13 in MP/2400 rpm. This should keep the aircraft at 130 KIAS. Lower the gear at the abeam position - opposite the intended point of touchdown and begin a gradual descent. Small adjustments of the throttle will control your rate of descent. Flying the RealAir Legacy you will be able to hear the changes in airflow as you fly your approach. When turning base, reduce power and add additional flaps as necessary to maintain 110 – 120 KIAS and a 700 – 800 fpm descent. Halfway through base leg your altitude should be approximately 700 – 800 feet AGL at 110 kts .with half flaps extended. I like to perform my final landing checklist at this time. I have never landed with the gear up because I always use a checklist and have never experienced a mechanical failure of the landing gear. I usually try to turn final no closer than 1/2 mile from the end of the runway and at approximately 500 feet AGL. I aim to cross the fence or threshold at 100 KIAS and usually with full flaps. I add or reduce power as necessary to maintain my chosen rate of descent and I aim for the numbers. The Legacy RG’s recommended normal landing configuration uses full flaps. You can certainly fly the Legacy V2 at lower speeds over the fence, even as low as 85 knots with full flaps and lighter weights in smooth air, but I reserve for speeds for those short grassy runways with the tall trees. Allow your airspeed to bleed off and aim to touchdown at 80 kts with full flaps. Don’t use a large flare like you might in a small Cessna or Piper – you have a high performance laminar flow wing so fly the aircraft onto the runway just slightly nose high. I try for a near 3 – point touchdown, using minimal flare. That is just me and it may be because I have been flying small jets so much recently. With an 80 knot full-flap touchdown you may well see the nose well up in the air. For those of you that may be transitioning from the Cessna 172 trainer or maybe one of the smaller Cherokees all these pattern speeds and climb speeds will be about 20 knots faster and will require some time for your to ‘catch up’ to the Legacy. You sit high in the Legacy with outstanding visibility so making greaser landing are a chinch in the Legacy. Remember, everyone in the coffee shop will be watching so make it a smooth one with the nose wheel dead center of the runway. If you are not sitting high enough, you can use the appropriate keyboard strokes to change the eyepoint. Here is a well thought out traffic pattern that has had input from hundreds of real world Legacy owners and pilots. This VFR airport traffic pattern depicts the flight techniques and procedures being taught and flown by most Lancair Legacy pilots. This is not the only method, but is one to learn if you are seeking a standard for approach and landing in the RealAir Legacy V2. You may have to use a slightly lower gear down speed than the graphic due to the real world RG having 140 kts for Vlo and use the 2400 RPM setting recommended by RealAir. There are a dozen ways to fly a traffic pattern and I have seen all of them. Some are too large, too high, too low, too slow, some look like Navy carrier landings and some break all the rules when some dude flies straight in to whichever runway may be aligned with his flight path. These are usually one of those guys with a half million dollar airplane but is using the free 10 year old VFR map that a few states still publish or maybe even a Shell Oil road map. Duh. What is important is for you to blend in with the existing traffic and modify your chosen pattern if need be. The problem could simply be a new pilot on is first solo in a Cessna 152 or Cherokee 140 and is flying an extended pattern. This would not be the time to show off your talents with your new faster and sleeker Legacy RG. I like to listen to the ATIS or CTAF to monitor the chosen frequency to know what is happening at my destination airport long before I can see it. Knowing the active runway and traffic will enable you to preplan you entry in the traffic pattern with ease. But don’t get complacent; remain vigilant for that tractor mowing the grass that may decide to cross your runway or that pilot that may be practicing his cross wind landing technique and thinks it is his own private airport. The built-in default ATC in FSX/P3D will allow you to monitor airport traffic and announce your intentions to fellow pilots. A Tutorial Example of How to Fly an LPV Approach with the Legacy V2 and GTN750. I asked my good friend Bert Pieke to prepare a brief tutorial for our newbees and some of our old timers so that you can see how the Legacy V2 and F1 GTN750 handle an LPV approach. I ask J van E to beta test it and then I flew it a few times and added a piece of text here and there. Bottom line – we have a ‘Quick and Easy Instruction Box for those that think LPVs are old hat and we have the same approach with a more turn for turn instruction. Take your choice, they both will get you to the air`port. Zoom image of choice and print. Why are there not any Weight and Balance calculation examples? I suppose because the weight part should take care of itself. The pilot and copilot can be a little heavy or a little light as long as they physically can fit into the seats, and you can close the canopy and still move the flight stick. The wing tanks are almost dead center of the balance envelope and if you don’t add too much baggage everything should stay in balance. As fuel is consumed, the CG will move with a slightly forward bias, which is the direction we would like and at near empty tanks the elevator effectiveness and the elevator trim should keep the fore and aft pitching motion in check. Running a simple Fuel and Payload/Weight and Balance calculation using the FSX/P3D dropdown feature we find: Empty Weight 1400 lbs Payload (Pilot, CoPilot, Baggage) (170, 170, 64) 404 lbs Fuel (full tanks) 66 gal x 6.0 = 396 396 lbs Gross Weight 2200 lbs Max Allowable Gross Weight 2200 lbs Max Allowable Fuel 396 lbs Put a couple of chubby guys or girls in the seats and (210, 200) and baggage is limited to a very light flight case and a toothbrush. If the chubby flight crew actually needed to carry 50 pounds of baggage, they would have to limit the fuel to 396 – 56 = 340 lbs or 56 gallons. Ten gallons (15% of full fuel) of fuel weighs 60 pounds to not exceed the MTOW of 2200 pounds. Easy Peasy. My understanding is only about ½ gallon per tank is unusable fuel. After reading just about everything I could find related to the later model Legacy RG that this RealAir Legacy V2 should emulate, the Empty Weight of practically all of them tilt the scales higher than 1,400 pounds. I’m sure the retractable landing gear and typical full avionics panel are the main contributors to the increased weight. A higher Empty Weight would require lighter weight crews and maybe even a reduction in the full load of fuel to remain within the MTOW. For flight sim purposes this might do nothing more than create a flashing warning that the max weight is exceeded when viewing the FSX/P3D drop down Fuel/W&B feature. The CAFE Report for the Lancair Legacy N199L, February 2002 This official report is probably the most detailed and most accurate measurements and recorded data for any kit built airplane – ever. There are tons of information and data recorded and a myriad of measurements that are normally only done for certified aircraft developments. The IO-550N develops 310 horsepower at full throttle, 29.6 in MP and 2700 rpm. A cruise climb setting of 2500 rpm and full throttle initially yields 240 horsepower, but power available will start decreasing after approximately 6,000 feet MSL. (from CAFÉ report). One key concept was introduced based on this particular report. The CAFÉ Foundation term VbC defined as “velocity for best CAFÉ”, or best Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency. This occurs at a particular mixture setting that delivers the best CAFÉ score for a given RPM, altitude and throttle position. This special power setting depends on the drag curve of the aircraft, the torque and fuel economy characteristics of its engine, the propeller efficiency, etc. This is getting a little deep for a flight sim model so I am going to see if we can approximate some of the report finding and see how the RealAir Legacy V2 compares . My test will be to match as close as practical the test Altitude, RPM, and Fuel Flow and then record the TAS. We will do this at two altitudes – 8,500 ft and 12,500 ft and at 2550 and 2300 RPM for both altitudes. I used MTOW and climbed directly to the test altitudes. We will only use the base model 310 hp engine because that is the engine that the CAFÉ report used. The bottom line is this new VbC Index should the absolute best cruise power settings using about 55 – 65 % power. Not exactly what a flight sim pilot with a virtual credit card and therefore an unlimited fuel and oil budget might be seeking. 8,500 FT 22.3 MP 2300 RPM 12.6 gph 262 smph converted to kmph = 228 kts 227 kts 12.6 gph 8,500 FT 22.1 MP 2550 RPM 14.2 gph 282 smph converted to kmph = 245 kts 234 kts 13.6 gph (I was not able to reach 14.2 gph at this altitude with the RealAir Legacy V2) 12,500 FT 19.1 MP 2300 RPM 11.5 gph 262 smph converted to kmph = 228 kts 220 kts 10.7 gph 12,500 FT 18.9 MP 2550 RPM 12.0 gph 266 smph converted to kmph = 231 kts 227 kts 11.6 gph (I was not able to reach either 11.5 gph or 12.0 gph at this attitude with the RealAir Legacy) There is a section is this report that should be of interest to most anyone that has an interest in the Legacy. Starting with First Impression (Awesome performance), External Appearance Stands out from the crowd), Cockpit (Long text), Ground Operations (Mostly Superb). Takeoff and Climb (WOT climb), Maneuvering, Stability, Roll Rates, Trim, Stalls, Field of View, Descents, Traffic Patterns, Landing and Summary (Superior performance and handling qualities). Plus many tables of data and minute details of the flight data. You can find the report with a good search and read it front to back, if interested. I found it at http://cafefoundation.org/v2/pdf_cafe_apr/legacy.pdf Here is a copy of the test Legacy data and specification table. I did notice a few differences in N199L and our RealAir Legacy V2 base model. We have wing spoilers and a 3-bladed propeller. N199L does not have spoilers and has a 2-bladed propeller. This was a very early model when only 8 – 10 kits were flying, although a hundred or more were in work. There are other differences but none that should influence how you fly the RealAir Legacy V2 in your simulator. Legacy V2 Turbo option Performance With the new Oxygen system, you can fly both airplanes at FL180, The conventional or normally aspirated 310 hp will still cruise at 210 kts on 8.6 g/h with a light load when properly leaned or on a good day will return 240 kts TAS at 8,000 feet. Of course, you can expect the Turbo Legacy V2 to climb to the higher altitudes much faster and then keep climbing into the Flight Levels. At 18,000 the Turbo Legacy V2 will easily accelerate to 300 kts TAS on any given day, some days a tad more. You can also achieve remarkably high cruise speeds in the mid-teens with equally remarkable fuel economy. I made several timed climbs in the Turbo Legacy from Sea Level to various altitudes and then recorded my TAS and fuel flows. Using full power and 2400 RPM and paying special attention to leaning the mixture for peak power, I was able to climb to FL250 in less than 10 minutes – every time. At maximum Manifold Pressure, 2400 RPM and leaned for best climb/cruise conditions my notes show: 8,000 feet, 267 kts TAS, 33IN MP 2400 RPM, 17.2 gph, TOC in 3 minutes 12,000 feet, 276 kts TAS, 33IN MP 2400 RPM ,17.4 gph, TOC in 4 minutes 15,000 feet, 291 kts TAS, 33IN MP 2400 RPM, 17.5 gph, TOC in 5 minutes 18,000 feet, 300 kts TAS, 31.7 MP 2400 RPM, 17.7 gph, TOC in 6 minutes 22,000 feet, 286 kts TAS, 26.9 MP 2400 RPM, 15.1 gph, TOC in 7 minutes 25,000 feet, 280 kts TAS, 23.7 MP 2400 RPM, 12.7 gph, TOC in 9 minutes A visit to some Legacy builder’s site. First, not just any Legacy builders site, the site of one of our very own repaints – N508DB. This site can keep you captivated for days. The narrative starts with the excitement of the first flight, followed by the owner’s first solo the next day. There is a builder’s log starting with the arrival of the big kit, then follows the 2,200 hours of work, and concludes with a generous gallery of N508DB photos and another gallery of other Legacys. Work started in early 2002 and it came out of the paint shop in April 2005. http://lancairlegacy.com/introduction.html (Legacy #198) Be sure to visit or follow all the heading and links. (There are a lot of dead links due to the age of the website). Award Winner – N25XY Builders’s Site A second builder’s site follows N26XY and has flight videos and other articles of interest. This is a Grand Champion winner at Oshkosh and was started in March 2004 and had the maiden flight in August, 2009. Painting was completed in June, 2011 just in time for Airventure 2011. This builder’s log contains 65 photo albums that covers just about every step of building this stunning Legacy. These are fascinating stories if you are interested in following some of the human interest stories of Legacy builder and owners. https://lancairlegacyn26xy.shutterfly.com/ Our Special site is the home of N321TF – 14 years in the making Valin and Allyson Thorn are NASA retired aerospace engineers and owners of N321TF and Starflight in Broomfield, CO, a custom design and supply firm for Lancair Legacy customization options, innovative cockpits, rudder pedals, and other improved features for the Legacy. After retirement, Valin and Allyson focused on completing their Legacy build project of 14 years. N321TF, which they call the “StarHawk Legacy”, is flying and has completed flight testing. He sent me this image of what their N321TF Legacy’s instrument panel will look like when it comes out the paint shop. The paint scheme remains a guarded design and will probably be unveiled when on final at AirVenture later this year. I have seen the sketches and it will make the astronaut corps proud. The Thorn’s had their paint scheme design concepts modeled for 1TF by Joseph Thompson to help in refining the design concepts. Valin told me that he’ll make the repaint textures available to the flight sim community this summer before Oshkosh AirVenture. This futuristic panel should be the envy of those seeking glass panels and more situational awareness. N321TF made its first flight the end of September and now has a grand total of 72 hours flight time. A recent trip over the Rockies out to the birthplace of the Legacy in Oregon had them cruising at 16,500 MSL with the stock Continental 550N Platinum engine. Valin upgraded his RealAir Legacy to the new Legacy V2 model and is enjoying flying in FSX while 1TF (One Thorn Flyer) is down for painting. He says he was happy to see the GTN750 panel option but keeps hoping for an option for the Garmin G3X Touch system he and so many builders are now installing. Be sure to zoom up these panel and cockpit images. Wow. I thought a NASA aerospace engineer and newly flying Legacy builder/owner that has already upgraded to the RealAir Legacy V2 could provide the flight sim community with a unique view and perspective of how the RealAir Legacy V2 compares to the real deal. Valin says: I’m still exploring the RealAir Legacy V2. So far I see the model is amazingly accurate in exterior, interior, and visual effects modeling. I noticed even the label for the brake calipers is shown! The sounds are very accurate. Yes, the electric fuel pump really does sound like that at the high setting. Performance modeling, engine and aerodynamics, is very close to the real world Legacy. If anything, it under models the rw performance. As far as handling goes, even on the most accurate, sensitive settings, the rw airplane is much more responsive. In the rw Legacy, the slightest pressure on the control stick at anything above pattern speeds results in a response from the airplane. The rw airplane is flown at most higher speeds with only fingertip pressures. It would be difficult to model that type of control responsiveness in a home sim. I can say that I truly love the Lancair Legacy. The performance, handling, visibility, and good looks are fantastic. I’ve talked to a number of veteran, life-long pilots, who’ve flown almost everything out there, and they say the Lancair Legacy is their favorite airplane to fly. I asked one of them if they’d flown a P-51 and he said yes, and the Legacy is more fun to fly… It’s great that sim pilots have the RealAir Legacy available that so faithfully models the truly special, real world Lancair Legacy airplane. What the RealAir Legacy V2 doesn’t have. I have either mentioned most of what is included with the RealAir Legacy v2, or provided links for further reading, so now let’s explore what is not included. Our flight sim model does not have any type of winglets, a movable elevator trim wheel in the cockpit, no operating buttons or switches on the flight sticks, no maintenance tracking or repair functions, and no visible icing on the airframe - or my often asked for feature – bug splats on the windshield or windscreen. Caution: Flying the RealAir Legacy V2 may be habit forming and may affect your sleep patterns and interfere with your real world hobbies and home life. Not only that but for some strange reason almost all my other add ons seems dull and a little lifeless. We can certainly do without the small winglets and the movable trim tab and even do without the maintenance, but having a Legacy that looks, sounds, and flies like the real world equivalent, shouldn’t we be expected to fly in real world weather conditions. With the new ability to fly really high where icing is usually found I think the realism should include looking out and see some ice buildup on the leading edge of the wings or in the edge of the canopy. I don’t know for sure about England or Australia but here in the southern U.S. bugs on the windshield are as common as apple pie and coffee. Just my 2 cents. I already can guess what Ron and Sean are going to say about the icing and the bug splats. As designer and developers for flight sim add ons you have to draw the line someplace, otherwise you might never get the add on to the level needed to bring it to market and every option can’t possibly be included. Another consideration has to be a concern for keeping the FPS in check and running smoothly on the lower end PC systems (I almost said the legacy systems, duh). But, maybe just one or two small bug splats . . . . . You can read the manual in advance of purchase using this free download link. http://www.realairsimulations.com/legacyv2/downloads.php?page=legacyv2_downloads Do not overlook the hundreds of special features included in the Legacy V2. I was severely criticized for using too much information from the developer’s website in the original Legacy review, so I will probably be criticized for not using enough in this V2 review. But, what is important is to realize that practically everything you see, touch, feel, or experience while flying the Legacy V2 in the flight sim has been put there after being thoughtfully researched, skillfully coded, tested and retested. You will not find any examples of poor coding, sloppy workmanship, or such that seems so prevalent in many of our recent add ons. You can expect things to not only look realistic, but to act and react realistically as you fly. The more time I spend in the cockpit of the Legacy V2, to more I little thing that I notice and appreciate just how difficult it must have been to make it look and feel so right. All those fingerprint and smudges that give the instruments and avionics that ‘recently used’ look and how every gauge and instrument looks like it was ordered and installed from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Everything is full 3D with just the correct amount of dirt, dust, smudges, nicks and dents. I found a youtube video showing many of these details using Ezdok to capture some close-in views with good commentary. Although using the original Legacy, just keep in mind that V2 is at least that good but in many cases better with the improvements and additional new features. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMb2q7koswI 56:32 A full HD extreme closeup look and verbal description of the original Legacy by flightsim481. Ooozes with comments like gorgeous, awesome, brilliant, lovely. Conclusions In short, this is the most aerodynamic and best handling, highest performing and realistic airplane I’ve ever flown. I thought the Quickie 2 was the ultimate kit in the early 1980s but the Legacy has a 30 year advantage for advancements, both inside and out. I’m surprised that someone like Burt Rutan didn’t come up with the original design but Lance Neibauer beat him to it, otherwise the Legacy would probably have had a Canard Wing up front. What makes the RealAir Legacy V2 unique, other than all the realism, is that we actually get two airplanes for the price of one. The normally aspirated IO-550N Continental engine and the special 400+ hp Lycoming with dual turbochargers. A flick of a single slider in the config program is all that is needed to switch from one to the other. All the extras are applied to both airplanes. Let’s check on the Recommendations from my RealAir Legacy Avsim review in 2012. Avsim Gold Star The RealAir Lancair Legacy for FSX is no doubt the most advanced, most realistic, and most fun to fly of any general aviation add-on available today. The awesome combination of many totally new visual effects and animations with their accompanying sounds are absolutely astonishing. I therefore recommend the coveted Avsim Gold Star be awarded to RealAir Simulations. I really wish there was a recognition that was even a little higher than our Gold Star, maybe a Platinum Star or a Sierra Hotel Gold Star. I would surely recommend that one also. The Legacy is that good. Update for V2. Not much more I can add to this. This new V2 improves on almost everything, plus adds new and improved sounds and vibrations, plus the new Oxygen and Hypoxia systems and the dual turbo optional engine. I suppose the biggie in the bunch is that models are now offered for FSX / FSX:SE and P3Dv2 / V3 and all with the GTN 650/750 and the Reality XP units for the FSX models. If you like that turbo whine and high performance, then this is the one for you. The Future (My personal recommendations for improvement from 2012) How about adding Page Numbers to the Flying Guide and Checklists for the printed copy (for those of us who like to print and bind the documentation)? DONE. Big page numbers now and printable Checklist. Sunglasses at night needs to be revisited by the design team. NOPE! Cool pilot still wearing sunglasses at night, errrgh. While you are there, how about adding an old bald, blue eyed, pilot with a mustache (now who could that be?) as an alternate pilot figure. You could save a few polygons with the reduction of hair and sunglasses! NOPE! I really didn’t expect this, but you never know. I wonder if the canopy could be cracked open a couple of inches for ventilation for taxiing on those long taxiways on the hot summer days? Open/Cracked Open/Closed/Locked DONE. Yes, you can taxi with the canopy unlocked and cracked Open. Very realistic. You have to admit it, 2 out of 4 ain’t bad. I just wish I had added my bug splats on the windscreen to this list back in 2012. My suggestions for the new Legacy V2 A few low key bug splats on the windscreen really would add to the realism. Maybe some FPS savings can be found in the future to make room for some visible icing on the airframe that melts as we change altitudes. VC rain is still a favorite for many of the flight simmers. Can the Duke VC rain be adapted to the Legacy V2? A carryover from 2012. The pilot is no longer cool when wearing sunglasses at night. Just a casual suggestion. I would like to see an illuminated indicator that Speed Brakes are deployed. Sure, I know the annunciator panel has it but not at or near the switch and not close to the flap actuator switch. Like this – check the switch. I forgot to mention that when looking into the cockpit from an external view, you will see the same view as you would if you were using the VC view. This may be the first FSX/P3D model to have this feature. This is another reason that having alternate pilot figures would be nice. That old bald headed, steely blue-eyed guy is still available for a photo session. Maybe even a hot chick for a change of pace in pilot figures. Video Link – Legacy V2 at new Orbx Meigs Field, Chicago I looked for some short videos of the Legacy V2 to capture some of the special sounds and features but failed to find a short one. I did find a rather long video at the new Orbx Meigs Field in the rain. This one is slow moving, but if you are into the details it has captions and captures the gest of flying the new Legacy V2 and it is in HD. Crappy weather for flying, but it is Chicago in January. I had to pause the video and put on a sweater, brrrrr. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLDhOjuhRIE 24:24 Thanks to Gunter Willems for making the video. You will notice the Garmin GTN does not have Meigs Field in the database. This video was made on the very first day of availability of the Legacy V2. Impressive learning curve, Gurnter. Here is very short but outstanding video that I used in the 2012 review of the original RealAir Legacy. You can compare the old and the new. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmd1ryys4JA 2:26 I love this video by Steadyflyer – it is short, bright, uses excellent scenery, sounds are absolutely superb and the flying is first-rate. This one highlights the sights and sounds from both inside and outside of the Legacy. You will notice that almost all Legacy landings sound hard but remember this is a stiff landing gear. No heavy trailing link mains to soak up the weight on a homebuilt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y63-oalEjfU&feature=player_embedded 8:27 This features real world VH-ZYA Legacy that has appeared in several print articles in AU. No doubt, we will have plenty of videos featuring the Legacy V2, given enough time. This review is coming out so quickly I am ahead of the video production curve. My Newest Repaint – Red, white, and gorgeous . You just never know when something totally unexpected might drop into your lap. Take a look at this repaint with its first flight at the new Meigs Field for FSX:SE. I’m sure it will eventually work its way into the public domain and maybe the Avsim Library. Final Thoughts This RealAir Simulations’ Legacy V2 is the culmination of a year-long project of the RealAir design team and is as up to date as possible. Practically every detail was looked at, evaluated, and if possible, brought to an even higher level than the original Legacy – which was already at the top of the heap. Most folks really do not understand how difficult it is to improve an add on that is already the leader of the pack. Sure, much of the work was to solve the dilemma to bringing the Legacy to the P3Dv2 platform, but with P3Dv3 looming the production schedule had to be stretched to comply with the new and untested P3Dv3. It was when I was watching fightsim481’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMb2q7koswI) video that I took time to totally appreciate many of the smallest details of the model and how difficult it must be to balance the level of detail and the expected FPS needed for the older PC systems. And then there is this other crowd, that keep asking for more and more, and even more. Asking why this or that was not included, or why the design team didn’t choose to update a different add on or create a new one. The catch-22 of flying the new Legacy V2 hit home for me when one of our forum members posted that he had just completed a long cross-country flight and he was disappointed that he had arrived at his destination so quickly. He stated he wished he could have flown the new Legacy just a little while longer. Duh. Our broad spectrum of flight simmers as a whole are obviously delirious with the new Legacy V2 on several levels. I think most everyone agrees that having the Legacy flying in P3D with GTN avionics satisfies most wishes. The unexpected big 3 improvements – Oxygen, Hypoxia and Turbo Optional engine – certainly will tilt the scales for anyone wondering if they should upgrade their Legacy to the Legacy V2. On yet another level, we will find those hard core flight simmers that look past all of these totally new features and just sit in the cockpit and listen to the turbo whine or continually flip switches just to hear and feel the feedback. Yet others will marvel at the overall complexity of a homebuilt glass airplane that flies at FL250 and will reward you with a TAS of 300 knots while you wonder how the canopy and instrument reflections work and appreciate the stunning colors and shadows brought to life with Prepar3d V2 and V3. And the fact that practically every forum member will agree – the support provided by RealAir Simulation is next to none. Not that much support is actually required other than the question - did you overlook the discussion on page so and so of the manual? I think the one single factor that stands out most for me is the through testing and final polish of the model prior to making it available for download. I don’t think I have ever even heard of a broken RealAir model or one of those silly misspelled placards or switches that work backwards or maybe autopilots that won’t engage or folks asking for help in understanding the basic design logic. This review is beginning to drag out and is seriously impacting my flying time. Time to send it to the Review Editor. As before, the RealAir Legacy V2 is my all-time favorite propeller driven airplane and I have no qualms recommending the coveted Avsim Gold Star continue with the new V2. Credits Thanks to Rob and Sean for providing the models for review. Special thanks to Rob for answering my seeming endless list of questions. Thanks to Valin Thorn, owner of N321TF, for using his Normal Traffic Profile graphic and for providing his new panel design graphic and interior sketches. Also thanks to Valin for providing his unique view and comments about how the RealAir Legacy simulator model compares to a real world Legacy model. Credit is given to the CAFÉ Foundation for providing the Legacy Report of February 2002. Credit is given to the hard working folks at the Legacy Owners and Builders Organization for much of the background used to understand the details I used to describe systems and such.
  12. Just Flight Tornado A review by Justin Cogo Just Flight Just Flight, the company behind many add-ons like the BAE 146-200, Tristar, Fokker Friendship and many other add-ons over the years has released their latest product for Flight Simulator. Tornado GR1 A multi-role combat aircraft produced by Italy, the United Kingdom and West Germany, the Panavia Tornado GR1 can be compared to the U.S.’s F-111 in its capabilities. The Tornado GR1 serves multiple purposes in a combat role. Entering service in 1979 it was mainly used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), and Italian Air Force (IAF). Its main features include: Two jet engines Variable Swept Wings Super-sonic speeds Two-seat cockpit Multi-role capabilities Features as described in package: The Tornado GR1 has been produced for Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D by Just Flight and includes the following features: Model Modeled to accurate aircraft plans, including animations like canopy, accessory equipment, all control surfaces, animated crew as seen from outside, reversers, refueling probe, arrestor hook High resolution textures and graphics characteristics for truly 3D feel Wing sweep modeled and integrated like real world aircraft Customizable payload configurations, bombs, fuel tanks, missiles Cockpit 3D virtual cockpit, detailing all aircraft systems FSX can handles, down to modelling cables and piping. Pilot & Navigator positions with respective controls and instruments Functions avionics like HUD, Terrain Following Radar, Radar warning receiver & map Autopilot with normal modes and terrain following & radar height following Built-In Test Equipment (BITE) for testing of all aircraft systems Functioning extra aircraft systems like Oxygen system, V/UHF, TACAN, ILS, Canopy, magnetic indicators, warning lights, push to test buttons, Navigator TV displays for Navigating, Ordinance, Flight Plan, and other uses. Liveries 24 authentic color schemes Royal Airforce, German Air Force, German Navy, Royal Saudi Air Force, Italian Air Force variants Aircraft Systems Realistic back-up systems, inter-functioning wing sweep/flaps/lift dump and airbrakes systems. Fully functioning fuel system, including in-flight refueling, tanker spawning, fuel dumping Correctly modelled hydraulic and electrical systems driving certain aircraft systems APU, Emergency Power Supply, cross-drive system in event of emergency Functioning fire detection & extinguishing system, and warning system (indicators) Realistic modelled aircraft performance data based upon real world data Other Features Flight Analysis Tool, Configuration Tool 144-page Operations Manual 40-page Operating Data Manual First Impressions My first impressions of the Tornado GR1 lead me to think it has many features and is a strong fighter-jet aircraft. Its outside makes it look like a fast, capable aircraft, one you want to just get in and fly. Looking at the inside, it has many bells and whistles and one hopes they all work because, that would add heavily to the value of this package. Cockpit The Tornado GR1 comes with a two-seat cockpit. Built for complex roles, ranging from air defense, reconnaissance, electronic counter-measures, and close-range fighting, the two-seat role is necessary so the navigator/weapons systems officer can aid the pilot in these roles. Born in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s, the Tornado’s avionics include classical and some complex avionics. Pilot Cockpit The pilot position serves mainly a flying role in the Tornado GR1. Thus it includes the instruments needed to fly, providing the aircraft’s position, velocity, direction, etc. These instruments include altimeter, vertical speed, attitude, engine, angle of attack, g-force instruments, etc. Also, during this time period more complex avionics came into use. Radars were now installed in the airplane for scanning for other aircraft / objects and for terrain. In Just Flight’s Tornado GR1, these complex instruments are modelled. They include: Terrain Radar (with E-Scope for displaying returns) Heads-Up Display Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) (basically a TCAS) Moving GPS map (FSX Default Style) For flight planning purposes the moving map can display flight plan information entered into FSX’s flight planner. The pilot cockpit includes autopilot systems with some other cool advanced features as well. The Tornado’s autopilot has normal autopilot features like heading, altitude, speed hold, and also some advanced features I’ve never seen recreated in Flight Simulator before. These advanced features include terrain following hold and radar height hold. These two features allow you to have the aircraft maintain a certain altitude over terrain. The pilot can enter a specific height-over-terrain or water into the autopilot and the autopilot will fly it. These two features are very cool in fact to try: Terrain Following Hold, will maintain a pre-selected altitude over terrain as scanned by the aircraft’s radar. Radar Height Hold will maintain a pre-selected altitude over water/terrain features, but is mainly used over water. These two features fully work in Flight Simulator! Other avionics included in the pilot cockpit are communications equipment and aircraft systems equipment. A V/UHF radio in the cockpit can tune radio frequencies for communicating but an included tool, the Agency Names Tool, allows you to save names for up to 17 saved frequencies in the radio. Controls for working features like refueling probe and canopy are located in the pilot cockpit as well! The Tornado GR1 has working aircraft systems like Hydraulics, Electrical and advanced fuel systems. Buttons, dials and levers for these systems are almost all working. Additionalcockpit details included are day/night variations in lighting and emergency gear lowering and braking systems. As you can see in the screenshots below, aside from all the dynamic features the cockpit of the Tornado has to offer, there is plenty of eye candy like small details of the seat’s ejection-system and internal aircraft parts like air hoses and detailed wiring lining the cockpit. Of course every airplane in flight simulator has moving levers for throttle and spoilers, etc., but the Tornado has a detailed lift dump (wing spoiler) and reverser system controllable via the throttles, not only working but intricately detailed in the cockpit. The throttle sticks on the left-hand side of the cockpit control not only throttle but the lift dump and reverser systems as well. The throttles can be moved forward and back for thrust control, but also rocked side-to-side for arming the landing systems. Rocking one throttle to the side arms the lift dump (spoilers) and rocking the other throttle arms the reverser. Once armed the systems engage upon touchdown. An added feature to this is once the reverse thrust is activated it can be controlled using the throttles, moving them rearward for least reverser and forward for max reverser. Controls for heating, cooling, ventilation, pressurization, deicing and demisting are in the pilot cockpit as well. Extra small features that are nice are the trim button on the control stick, which rocks forward and backward when trimming up or down and the brake pedals which, when using the brakes, tilt forward and backwards to simulate pressing of the pedals for braking. Navigator/Weapons Officer Cockpit The Tornado is a two-seat aircraft, this because it serves more complex purposes in combat like reconnaissance and special fighting roles. The rear seat is for the Navigator / Weapons Officer. This person has displays for flight planning, aircraft ordinance management, fuel management, as well as other systems management. Most of these systems are modeled in this cockpit. One of the most interesting is the refueling management. Here the user can pick which tanker he wants to use to refuel as well as set the difficulty in refueling. The refueling feature is discussed later in this review. Some of the other instruments included in this back-seat cockpit are gauges like altimeter, angle of attack, speed and map displays. External Aircraft Details The outside of the Tornado is modeled and textured very nicely, consisting of moving parts, accessories, and different Tornado schemes. Moving Parts The outside of the aircraft features moving parts like flight controls, landing gear, moving engine nacelles, arrestor hook system and canopy. An arrester hook and dynamic canopy are included with the Tornado. The canopy can even be jettisoned, but don’t worry, the Flight Simulator pilots in the cockpit probably won’t be able to tell. The refueling probe on the Tornado visibly extends form the right side of the aircraft and of course in-flight refueling actually works in Flight Simulator! Accessories Additional accessories bringing the Tornado GR1 closer to its real-world counterpart are ground equipment, engine intake covers, wheel chocks, external avionics port covers, crew ladder, ordinance, and external fuel tanks. Tornado GR1 Schemes The Tornado GR1package by Just Flight comes with 24 variants, ranging across different European Air Forces and Navy’s paints that have used the Tornado since its production. Lighting &Night Appearance At night the Tornado is lit by external and internal lights controlled internally from the pilot cockpit. Lights includeinternal flood and gauge, external navigation, obstruction, formation, anti-collision, landing and taxi lights. A ganging bar sitting alongside all the light switches in the pilot cockpit allows simultaneous control of all lights. Checklist Every aircraft has a checklist, and the Tornado’s checklist comes in the form of a pop-up screen, sized so you still have a good view outside the cockpit of the aircraft. Pages of the checklist can be turned and multiple checklists are available. Each checklist item can be clicked and highlighted to show completion. There is even an Air-to-Air Refueling checklist so you can perform your aerial refueling. Flying Characteristics Flying the Tornado has been very interesting and fun. These fighter aircraft are fast and docile so having accurate and smooth controls are a necessity. The Tornado handles well during all stages of flight. It has good stability in slow flight and can require intricate controlling during some maneuvers like in-flight refueling or combat. In-flight refueling can take some practice as you’re trying to place a small probe into a drogue at 17,000 feet while flying at speeds of 200+ mph. Sounds Sounds in the Tornado are realistic enough for the intended effect. There are some extra sounds like reverser bucket sounds and engine afterburner sounds that add to the realism. The sounds for the Tornado were created by the popular sound team Turbine Sound Studios (TSS). I was impressed with these sounds. In-Flight Refueling As discussed previously, this Tornado GR1 package includes an in-flight refueling feature with a spawnable fuel tanker and working fuel transfer. The process of performing in-flight refueling is to extend the refuel probe, turn on the various refueling modes and connect to the tanker, then of course when refueling is done you can do that in reverse. In-flight refueling requires accurate placement of the aircraft’s refueling probe to the tankers refueling drogue, thus included in the package is the ability to adjust the difficulty in making a refueling connection. In the backseat cockpit (navigator/weapons systems officer), the TV screens display refueling options so you can adjust this difficulty. To be sure you correctly prepare the aircraft you probably want to go through the AAR checklist as described above. Additional Aircraft Systems SPILS(Spin Prevention and Incidence Limiting System) All aircraft are of course prone to spins which are very dangerous. A spin is the result of a stall, dangerous as well. The SPILS system monitors angle of attack and flight control signals and automatically reducesAngle-Of-Attack (AOA) and reduces control authority in the flight controls. This can be a life saver, because since these fighter aircraft may be in more situations where they are flying slow and at high angles of attack the aircraft is more prone to stalls/spins than, let’s say, a Cessna 182 or a Boeing 737. BITE (Built-In Test Equipment) Almost all systems in the Tornado include a testing function. BITE (Built-In Test Equipment) is the equipment that tests these different systems and gives indications of successes or errors. This system can test a variety of aircraft systems. Failures Failures of different aircraft systems are built into the aircraft. For instance a failure will be produced in the airplane that can either be fixed via proper procedures or backup systems will cover the failed system or the system may simply fail and be unrecoverable. Notifications of these errors are produced in the cockpit and backup systems are available in case of an error. Tools As described above there are extra tools included with the Tornado. Some additional tools included are: Panel Selector Flight Analysis Tool Configuration Tool The Panel Selector allows the pilot to open various panels for the Tornado as well as display the aircraft’s external accessories. The Flight Analysis Tool takes a record of the aircraft’s position and velocity in-flight and displays this on a readout in the tool for analysis. You can see these information on a map and chart for analyzing you flight’s details. The Configuration Tool has settings to adjust aircraft’s textures, modeling, and features which significantly affect aircraft performance. This can be good if you want to gain better performance in Flight Simulator. My Computer Specifications FSX: Steam AMD A-10-5800K Quad-Core, 3.8 GHz 8 GB RAM NVidia GT 545 4 GB Windows 8.1 64 bit Computer Requirements FSX (Acceleration Required), FSX: Steam or Prepar3D Intel i5 3.2 GHz or similar 4 GB RAM 1GB graphics card Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP (32-bit or 64-bit) Joystick 3.5 GB hard drive Performance The Tornado performs well for an aircraft of its detail. The details and features can be adjusted for better performance or higher detail so its performance is slightly subjective. It’sPerformance in High Detail, for instance if flying at less detailed sceneries is good, averaging 20 fps. If flying in highly detailed sceneries flight simulator may run slowly at around 10 fps or so. Even though my computer is a Quad-Core system, you really need a high-end video card too for better performance, so this is why I think my fps dropped during high detail.Also this is typical when especially when running simultaneous detailed add-ons (airplanes, sceneries, etc.). The Tornado’s Performance in low detail pretty much results in great performance even at highly detailed sceneries, resulting in 20+ fps. In low detail you may have less detailed textures and only a single-seat cockpit but all other Tornado features remain the same. If you have a low performing system it may be beneficial to turn down the detail on the Tornado as it does have a significant effect, but in low detail only the backseat cockpit is not modeled and everything else is fully functioning so you’ll still have a good experience. Summary The Tornado GR1 has been an outstanding aircraft to fly in Flight Simulator. With my experience with fighters it maneuvers like a real one and isn’t too difficult to control, of course if trying to recreate actual combat situations you may need practice. Visually and features wise the Tornado is full of fun and I just want to keep flying it after I’m done with this review. The Tornado has so many features it really is a must you use the manual to learn about the different aircraft systems. There is also a tutorial flight you can open up in flight simulator, as well as a tutorial section in the manual and is recommended you go through it because of the complex systems. Check out the Just Flight YouTube channel for some tutorial videos and samples of the Tornado in action too! Score Flying Characteristics 10/10 External/Internal Features 10/10 Documentation 10/10 Learning Curve 9/10 Overall 9.75/10 Acknowledgments Thanks to Just Flight for providing me a copy of the Tornado GR1 for review purposes. Thanks to the Just Flight development team for helping me so much in figuring out any issues with the Tornado promptly. Thank you to AVSIM for allowing me to provide this review.
  13. Fokker F27 Friendship 100/200/300 A review by Mike Cameron Introduction Information for the introduction was gathered from the product page & manual, Airliners.net and Fokker-aircraft.info/F27 websites. The F27 Friendship was designed and first flown in the 1950’s and is still in service today, proving its reliability and versatility. The Just Flight package includes the -100, -200 and -300 variants along with twelve high quality airline liveries from around the world. Just flight has included all of the latest modeling and texturing techniques along with accurate flight dynamics and realistic sounds to bring an accurate simulation of the F27 to the home simulation market. Each of the included models has been built from the most accurate available plans and the unique ear- piercing sound of the Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines are faithfully reproduced. An authentic virtual cockpit has been built with ease of operation in mind and reflecting a typical example of the aircraft. Also included are boarding steps, a baggage tug with its trollies and a Ground Power Unit (GPU) with included sound effects. Probably closest to being a replacement to the fabled DC-3, the Fokker F27 Friendship, including the Fairchild built F27 and FH227 were built in greater numbers than any other western built turboprop airliner. The Fokker F27 began life as a 1950 design study known as P275; a 32 seat aircraft powered by twin Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops. With the aid of the Dutch Government, funding of the P275 evolved into the F27, which first flew on November 24, 1955. The original prototype was powered by Dart 507’s and would have seated 28 but by the time the second prototype flew (January 1957), the fuselage was lengthened to allow seating for 32. By this time Fokker had signed an agreement that would see Fairchild build Friendships in the United States. The first aircraft to enter service was in fact a Fairchild built F27 in September 1958. The Fairchild aircrafts differed from the initial Fokker F27 Mk 100’s by having basic seating for 40, a lengthened nose capable of housing a weather radar and additional fuel capacity. Other models included the Mk200/F27A with more powerful engines, Mk300/F27B and the military Mk400 Combination variant. The MK500 increased the length by 4 feet, 11 inches allowing for seating of 52 and the Mk600 was a quick change freight & passenger aircraft. Fairchild independently developed the stretched FH-227, which appeared almost two years earlier than the Mk500. The FH227 featured a 6 foot stretch over the standard length F27’s with standard seating for 52 people. For the models included with this package, 85 F27 Mk 100 were produced, 117 Mk200’s, 4 Mk 300 and an additional 9 F27 Mk300M aircraft. Specifications Engines: Mk100 & 300 – Rolls Royce Dart 6 Mk 514-7 Mk200 – Rolls Royce Dart 6 Mk528-7 First Flight: Mk100 – March 23 1958 Mk200 – September 20 1959 Mk300 – May 2 1960 Dimensions all models: Length: 77 Feet, 3.56 Inches Wingspan: 95 Feet, 1.73 Inches Height: 27 Feet, 10.64 Inches Service Ceiling: 27,800 feet Maximum Speed: 262 Knots or 302 MPH Cruise Speed: 460 Kilometers per Hour or 286 MPH Range: 1616 Miles Rate of Climb: 1451 FPM Seating Capacity: Mk100: 40 Passengers Mk200, 300: 44 Passengers Weights: Empty Weight: 24,701 Pounds Maximum Take-off Weight: 43,592 Pounds Selected Just Flight Features: Cockpit Highly functional 3D cockpit with virtually all of the hundreds of switches, knobs and levers which are animated and functional. Many of the gauges are modeled in 3D for smooth operation. Equipment and features are drawn from a number of types of F27 aircraft to give the best combination of features and usability. Full cockpit lighting with atmospheric instrument backlighting. Special ‘Baked’ textures have been used to present a well-used look and feel to the cockpit areas and controls. Autopilot functionality modeled from the operating period with NAV and ILS Approaches, VOR & ADF receivers and displays, transponder and a full communications suite. Many features to help with ‘usability’ such as switches to hide the control yokes for better view of the instruments and pre-set angled views for the overhead panel, throttle quadrant and radios. Fully functional engine fire warning and protection/extinguishing system built into the cockpit. If you get an engine fire, pull the fire handle and the fire will be extinguished. Realistic ‘cold and dark’ cockpit starts are possible. And more. Exterior Specular map to give realistic light effects on the aircraft surfaces. Bump mapping to give a more realistic 3D effect to aircraft liveries. Model built from the most accurate plans available. Includes many detailed exterior animations. Ground Power Unit (GPU), baggage tug & trollies and passenger steps. Twelve liveries included and an optional paint kit available from the support page. Flight Dynamics & Sound The F27 flight model has been tested and verified by a real-world F27 air crew. The distinctive whistling Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engine sounds have been captured to give the most realism in full stereo along with audible switch clicks and knob effect sounds. Installation Installation of Just Flight products is very easy but does require an active internet connection for activation. After purchase, proceed to “Your Orders” on your Just Flight Account area and select your F27 Friendship aircraft order. Open this link which will provide the download link and instructions for activating this product. After downloading, run this file, select your language, select your simulator (FSX or your P3D version), the recently released Service Pack includes support for Prepar3D Version 3 which is wonderful without having to purchase a separate license for P3D. I will be reviewing this aircraft in the P3DV3 simulator. When selecting FSX you will also be presented with the option to install into FSX: SE. The Just Flight activation window will now open and to activate simply enter your Just Flight account information. Once approved, the setup process will begin and follow the prompts to complete. No long serial numbers to enter or other complicated activation processes to complete. This aircraft is now unlocked for this computer only and can be uninstalled and installed as many times as you wish without having to unlock again. If you format your hard drive or purchase a new computer, simply download again and repeat the activation procedure. A nice 64 page manual is included with a detailed cockpit layout, features and a tutorial flight to get you started. The manual and tutorial has been updated with the Service Pack. Rather than a patch system, Just Flight updates the full installer so uninstall the current aircraft, download the update and install again. As stated previously, you do not need to activate again. For details about what is included with this update visit the F27 support forum located here: http://forum.justflight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=28387&title=service-pack-5th-november-2015 . The first time that you load one of the aircraft into the simulator you will be asked by the simulator security alert system to run the JF Sound Module, select “Run” and “Yes” to approve this file and repeat for the next three files. The only minor issue that I ran into was with the tutorial flight files and my FSX Steam Edition simulator. I only have the Steam edition installed on my system and usually I just select the FSX and the setup program automatically finds my FSX: SE directories. This time I decided to use the FSX: SE install option and the aircraft installed just fine but the installer created a FSX: SE documents folder for the tutorial files. Not a big deal but all of my flights and flight plans are saved to a FSX document folder so I moved these files there so that I could access them from the simulator. My P3D installation worked flawlessly and the tutorial flights saved to the P3D documents folder. I will comment more about the tutorial later in the review. Interior and Cockpit I decided to combine the interior and cockpit features into one section because Just Flight only included two interior views, the default VC view and the co-pilot view. They decided not to include a model for the passenger cabin which I personally do not have an issue with because how many times will I actually use the passenger cabin. Oddly when cycling through the alternate cockpit views, the last view is labeled “Passenger” but is actually a view of the right engine and gear assembly which does look good if it was part of the exterior views. The cockpit textures are a bit hit and miss. For example, sitting in the pilot seat looking at the right side of the cockpit, most of the textures look pretty good and cockpit objects both large and small are three dimensional and pretty realistic looking. Looking at the cabin door from the Pedestal view (eye point adjusted), reveals some blurry signage and no door handle which seems very unusual. I do like that some wear textures are included on the door and on the floor carpeting. The service pack includes a feature for removing the pilots arm rest for a better view of the pedestal. This is done by left mouse clicking on the pilot seat to remove the arm rest from view. I am glad they included this feature; I just wish Just Flight would have had the arm rest move up and down which would be more realistic than having it disappear entirely. I probably will just use the alternate view when I need to use the pedestal. Looking at the left side of the cockpit is the pilot Clearview window which is opened and closed with the light blue handle. This has a nice animation associated with this action but no sound effect. There is another one on the co-pilot side of the cockpit. The left side wall contains the pilot controls for the microphone, cockpit heating, oxygen, nose wheel steering & lock and more. Just Flight includes a wonderful tool for adjusting your eye point, no more having to remember the keyboard shortcuts, which is opened with the Shift+1 keyboard shortcut. If you want to go back to the default view there is a very handy reset button on this tool. This is easy to use but personally I will probably just use the simulator zoom controls and mouse look. Labeling on the left side of the cockpit for the most part has clear readable textures except for the very small labels which I can probably live with. The co-pilot side wall contains many of the same controls as the left side wall along with the cabin pressurization controls, (which are not simulated), de-icing and the A/C spill valve controls. Behind the co-pilot seat is some form of electrical panel but the textures for this is not good at all but is another one of those things that I can probably live with if the flight model is acceptable. The default VC view provides a view of the entire instrument panel but I prefer to be closer which I adjust with zoom and eye point. Clicking on the bottom of the instrument panel on the pilot side of the cockpit will hide the yoke so that you can have an unobstructed view of the instrument panel. The instruments themselves are large enough to be easy to read and label textures are very good. The service pack introduced an alternative altimeter which is impossible to read the correct altitude but other users have already complained about this and Just Flight will fix this and other post service pack issues with another update sometime in the near future. As I am writing this Service Pack 2 was released with the new altimeter and other fixes, reference the forum link above to read what is included with this new service pack. The manual does an excellent job explaining the instrument panel and cockpit layout so I am not going to detail it here. The pilot side of the panel contains the primary flight and navigation instruments, the center contains all of the engine instruments and the copilot side contains the same instruments as the pilot side along with the gear & flap position indicators, fuel and some other instruments that the first officer would monitor in flight. If you like 2D windows then you will be disappointed because there are none other the default GPS that was added with the service pack. Just flight did include plenty of alternate views of all of the various cockpit areas for you to use. The quality of the instrument panel, center pedestal and the overhead panel controls are excellent. As part of my preflight routine, I adjust the zoom level of all of these alternate views to better suit my eyes which will greatly help during engine start and in flight. Exterior Features There are twelve F27 Friendship aircraft to choose from with four-100 series, seven – 200 series and one of the 300 models. The manual does a great job explaining about the real world details of each of these aircraft. Just Flight also includes detailed descriptions of each aircraft on the simulator aircraft selection screen which is also a very nice feature. All good premium aircraft products include some static ground features and I love the Just Flight process for displaying and hiding these objects. Rather than relying on a menu item or control panel to activate the wheel chocks and pitot covers, the user flips the Isolating switch on the instrument panel. There are three doors on the 100 & 200 series aircraft and four doors on the 300 series and they are open and closed with the Shift +E+2,3,4 keyboard shortcut to open the 100 & 200 doors and Shift +E for the extra door on the 300 series aircraft. Normally I do not like keyboard shortcuts to open doors, I sometimes have trouble, but they all open without issue. The included animations of the door an operation are excellent and look very realistic and also have a nice sound effect. Even though the passenger cabin is not modeled with an alternate interior view I love that I can see passenger cabin details through the windows and on some of the open doors. Now that the doors are open we need ground service and the boarding steps which are toggled with the Crew Call switch located on the overhead panel. The last ground object that is included is the ground power unit and is displayed & removed by right clicking on the Power Supply switch on the overhead panel to EXT_PWR to display the GPU and clicking on the External Power switch in the same area to turn on the GPU and begin supplying external power to the aircraft. Just Flight has included some very nice sound effects of the powered on GPU. The nice thing about the above procedures is that they are part of pre-flight routine and also post flight which adds to the realism minus having simulated ground workers opening doors and hooking/unhooking the various ground objects. Also, the textures of these objects are outstanding. I am now going to remove all of the ground features so that I can look at all of the alternate exterior views. Twelve alternate views are included and I will adjust the zoom level for a better look. The textures are very nice with a nice amount of sun reflection on some surfaces. The amount of exterior details that Just Flight has included with the F27 Friendship is excellent with all features three dimensional. As far as I could tell I could not find any blurry textures with the exterior model but with the engine number 1 view on the Northwest Airlines aircraft, the top & bottom of the propeller is chopped. The other aircraft’s propeller display correctly and I will verify if this is corrected with the service packs. Verified with service pack 2 and propeller has the same textures, maybe this is a characteristic with this particular aircraft. Finally, the external lighting effects are excellent. Flight Model This is one of the larger and more complex aircraft that I have ever reviewed and I will do my best to explain things correctly. Obviously, I have never piloted the Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft so I will have no idea how realistically the simulated version operates. I am going to approach this review from the point of view of a simulator user with limited experience in complex aircraft. Basically, can the average flight simulator pilot that has experience in general aviation twin engine aircraft learn these aircrafts procedures without too much trouble? I do have some experience with turbo-prop single engine and multi-engine aircraft and will comment along the way if something is more difficult to understand. I am going to use the excellent tutorial flight that is included for this section and as a reference for my future flights. A checklist is also included but the tutorial is nice because there are a lot of pictures included to how where to look in the cockpit. I am going to be using the aircraft in Prepar3D Version 3 but the procedure is the same in the FSX versions. From the Scenario Setup Page in P3D or Free Flight in FSX, open the Scenario/Flights window. Just Flight has been kind enough to include three separate tutorial flights depending on what scenery that you have installed on your system. The three options are Orbx Global or Default, Orbx England or UK 2000 VFR Airfields scenery. I will be using the Orbx Global scenery option. After loading the flight you will be parked “cold and dark” at Norwich International Airport (EGSH) in Norfolk England which is located 100 miles north-east of London. The tutorial flight takes us to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (EHAM). Before preparing the aircraft for startup, I adjust all of the cockpit views that I will be using. The first several procedures in the tutorial were covered in the previous section so I am not going to detail those procedures now. Now that the ground power unit is supplying power to the aircraft it is now time to start powering up the other systems. If you have started a realistically simulated airliner you may have heard the term “Flow” used to describe the flow of procedures. What this means is that you stay in a cockpit area and perform several procedures there before moving on to another area. The F27 also uses an organized process for the pre-start and engine start procedures. There may be some jumping around but for the most part the various switches and knobs are organized in a logical way. For example, we were using the overhead panel to power on the ground power unit and the next set if procedures, turning on the Inverters & Generators, are located in this same area. Both AC power needles display the correct which is a nice realistic feature. Continuing with the “Flow”, the next procedure is to verify that the engine start system is receiving power and these controls are located right below the battery/external power controls. I then continue through the tutorial turning on the Alternators on the left overhead panel and the NAV light, Fasten Seatbelt & No Smoking sign switches which are located below the radios. The familiar sound effect is played when turning on the Fasten Seatbelt/No Smoking signs. I love that there are separate views for both the radios and the exterior light switches because I can zoom in close on both of these views to be able to read the switch labels and also have an appropriate zoom level for the radios. Now it is time to unlock the nose wheel steering located on the left sidewall before moving back up to the right overhead panel to verify that the Fuel Tank select knob is set to both and that all indicators are on. As you can see there are a lot of procedures to learn but the process are organized nicely and the tutorial helps a lot. While still looking at the fuel controls turn on all of the fuel pumps and verify the Water Methane System. Also here, verify that the Fuel Filter Heaters are off, (not needed for this flight but I wish the tutorial would have explained at what temperature they would be required), then move over to the left overhead panel and turn on the Pitot Heat switches. Now it is time to position the two HPC levers located on the center console to the “Closed” position which places both fuel control switches into the “Cut” position. Verify that the levers are closed with a tool tip message, the fuel control levers will move to the “Cut” position and the Flight Fine warning lights will go out. The next procedure is obvious, look at the first officer side of the instrument panel and verify that the gear is down, three green, and that you have enough fuel loaded for the trip. When you load any of the aircraft, it is fully loaded with passengers and the proper amounts of fuel so if you want to adjust this, use the default simulator payload manager. Next are the oxygen test and mode procedures on the right side panel. The Oxygen Blinker is animated nicely. The last pre-start procedures are to verify that the oil pressure lights are on and that the emergency flap and autopilot master switch are both off. Again, the tutorial does and outstanding job explaining these procedures with plenty of location pictures that I believe that most experienced simulator users should not have an issue with getting to know these procedures. Do to time constraints, I stopped and started over the tutorial several times and I started to remember the various procedures and where everything was located. Before starting the engines, the tutorial has us setting up the radios for the trip. This procedure is self-explanatory so I am not going to provide any detail about this procedure other than to say that this is an older aircraft that uses navigation aids and radios for navigation instead of modern navigational avionics. The first service pack did add a default GPS as a 2D window for reference purposes. This is probably a good thing if this is your first airliner type aircraft because learning the modern navigational systems takes a while to learn on its own. It is finally time to start the engines beginning with the right and repeating for the left. The tutorial does an excellent job explaining this process and if you follow along it really is not that hard. Rather than repeating what the tutorial says, I am going to do my best to summarize. Similar to other aircraft we need to close the doors and remove the stairs and wheel chocks first. Repeat the process that is used to open doors and place chocks and stairs. Also, similar to most aircraft we need to alert other aircraft & workers nearby that we are about to do an engine start by turning on the anti-collision and beacon lights. If you turn on the anti-collision lights first the beacons also are switched on but if you want to switch on separately, beacon first then anti-collision. The next procedure that was new to me and thankfully the tutorial explains the procedure for using the Fuel Trimmer realistically and FSX limitations with first service pack update. Starting a turbo-prop aircraft is more complex and requires monitoring the engine instruments and proper use of the HPC levers but again, the tutorial explains the procedure extremely well and most experienced simulator pilots should understand the process fairly quickly. It is also similar to the engine start on general aviation turbo-prop aircraft. This is where I miss having 2D Cockpit area windows, where I could be in exterior spot view and have the window open to watch the engine start and propeller animation. I solved this minor inconvenience by opening the small spot view window so that I could watch the engine start from the VC view. The propeller animation and the engine start sound effects are excellent. A minor issue that I had with the first service pack is sometimes the ignition switches would work together instead of separately which is more realistic and on another flight I could not get the left ignition to switch on with the mouse at all. I had to use the simulator automated engine start for this switch to turn on and it also switched on the right ignition switch. Once the right engine is stabilized by looking at the engine instruments, repeat the procedures for the left engine. All of this may seem intimidating if you are new to this type of aircraft but it is really quite easy if you have everything setup correctly. With both engines running it is now time to operate the fuel datum computer to calculate the fuel trim settings for our departure. The tutorial does an excellent job explaining this technical procedure in a very straight forward manner. The final procedure in the engine start process is to transfer power from the external power cart to the aircraft battery which is done by moving the Set Power switch to BATT (right click once) and this also automatically switches the power off on the GPU. Push Back, Taxi, Departure & Climb Now it is time to do the push back procedure and taxi to the active runway. It is never too late to learn something new. I always knew about the Shift + P command for a straight push back but I did not know the by adding +1 or +2 would push back the aircraft and turn the tail to the left (1) or to the right (2). For the tutorial flight we will be using Shift + P + 1 to have the aircraft in the proper direction to taxi to the active runway. Remember this is a very large aircraft and would require a large circle to turn to the opposite direction. I recommend watching from spot view to know when to stop push back Shift + P. At this point we turn on the taxi lights and place the flaps in the 16.5 degree take-off position. Now if you have never taxied a turbo-prop aircraft before the procedure will take some time to get used to. It takes some time for the engines to have enough power and only requires a small amount to start moving the aircraft, so resist the urge to apply to much power. I recommend looking at the tool tip and add small amounts of power until the F27 starts to move. In my case it was about 17 to 20 percent, I then reduce by a small amount to slow down the taxi, just do not go too far into the reverse position. It takes some practice but once you get the amount of power right then it should be similar for all flights. Make sure your controllers are properly calibrated and with complex aircraft, the registered FSUIPC version is also beneficial. After reaching the holding point, the next checklist procedures are the same as with all aircraft, taxi light off and landing & strobe lights on. Line up on Runway 09 and smoothly apply power, rotate at 100 knots, gear up at about 130 knots, maintain runway heading of 90 degrees and retract flaps as the speed increases. As soon as you are stable in your climb the tutorial says to reduce power to about 75 percent or 16000 RPM. The RPM gauge is kind of hard to read the exact amount, so the power levers tool tip helps. The next procedure, the tool tip display is almost a requirement for me because it is hard to see the exact placement in the VC. I need to place the HPC levers to the “Open” position and the tool tip should display “H.P. Cock Open” and the Flight Fine lights will go out. Why this is important is because if you pull them back too far the engines will stop. We do not move them forward again until I am on final approach. At 3000 feet it is time to turn on the autopilot power switch & engage the autopilot. At this time the autopilot is holding your current pitch and keeping the wings level. All of my flights during the review were with the SP1 altimeter and I could not read what the altitude was with that one. I used the coordinates/frame rate display to see what altitude that I was flying at. The new altimeter released with SP2 should work better. For a large aircraft the F27 is a wonderful aircraft to hand fly and responds to my control movements without issue. Now we need to start are turn to the first waypoint the North Denes (ND) NDB. There are several different ways to do this. The tutorial explains how to use the Alter Heading button and the heading adjust knob on the autopilot to start your turn to the NDB. Left click Alter Heading button to turn this function on and because we are going to make a right turn towards the NDB, right click and hold the heading adjust knob to bank the aircraft, the longer the hold the sharper the bank for a maximum of 25 degree bank. At this same time I am watching the RMI needle to calculate what heading we need to be at to be flying to the NDB. If you are unfamiliar with NDB’s and the ADF gauge or in this case the RMI, the needle should be pointing straight up. When you release the mouse, this knob will re-center and the aircraft will level out on its new heading. At this time, left click on the Alter Heading switch to lock the heading, place the A/P Beam Mode Select switch to HDG and left click on the Beam switch to engage autopilot heading hold mode. Now use the heading bug on the HSI to make any further adjustments to fly to the NDB. I am going to be honest and say that I skipped over most of these steps and went directly to the last part, A/P Select and the Beam switch, used the heading select mode on my Saitek Multi-panel or the heading bug on the HSI to turn towards the NDB and it worked the same way. The tutorial is more realistic but this way is easier. Also, F27 has an older style autopilot so you do not enter an altitude and have it climb and maintain that altitude. During climb, use the autopilot pitch adjuster to maintain the proper pitch for your needed airspeed, in this flights case, 180 knots. After reaching 10,000 feet, turn off the landing lights and when we cross over the North Denes NDB we need to start are turn towards the Rotterdam VOR which we entered into the NAV1 radio during the before start procedures. This is very easy but this is an older autopilot so it may take some time to get used to. Rotate the course (CRS) knob on the HSI to center the needle with the arrow pointing up (to), then switch the A/P Beam Select Switch to NAV and the Beam Hold button to on. This works just as the tutorial instructed and I look forward to flying other radio navigation flights in the near future. The DME distance display is built into the HSI and we should be at our cruise altitude of 20,000 feet at about 90 miles from the Rotterdam VOR. The climb performance of the F27 is wonderful as I am getting 1700 FPM at 170 knots indicated. Once reaching the cruise altitude we engage altitude hold by left clicking on the Airspeed/Height knob and let the aircraft increase speed to 220 knots. The autopilot is now controlling the aircraft, maintaining altitude and flying to the Rotterdam VOR so it is now time to set up the avionics for the approach and landing. The tutorial does not explain this but is always a good idea to monitor the engine instruments during your flight. I do not know if Just Flight modeled system failures but it is still a good practice to do. Approach, Landing & Shutdown Setting up the radios for approach is similar to what was done before departure and if you have used the navigation radios in a general aviation aircraft, the procedure is the same. At 40 miles from the Rotterdam VOR, disengage the altitude hold and start the descent of about 1500 FPM using the pitch selector knob which is about -4 degrees down pitch, the tool tip will help with this or just watch the vertical speed gauge and adjust appropriately. Also reduce power to maintain 220 knots. When descending through 10,000 feet, turn on the landing lights and when crossing the Rotterdam VOR adjust the heading bug to match the RMI needle which is tuned to the Schiphol NDB. Place the A/P Beam Mode Select switch to HDG and click on the Beam knob to enter heading hold. Every time the A/P Beam Select switch is changed it cancels the current beam hold mode. When in range, tune the Amsterdam-Schiphol ATIS to get the current temperature and look at the map for the airport altitude to setup the fuel trim for approach. A lot is happening but the autopilot is still controlling the aircraft. The fuel datum computer calculation is the same so I do not need to adjust the fuel trim. For me the most difficult part of the flight is about to begin, the ILS approach and landing. Enroute to the NDB it is now time to place the ILS frequency into the active position and set the runway course (059) in the HSI using the CRS knob. On the pilot side of the instrument panel place the FD Mode Select knob to the AUX/NAV position for the flight director to start to provide lateral guidance to assist with intercepting the instrument landing system (ILS) for this runway. The tutorial explains at what altitude to start applying flaps and as before I could not read the altimeter so I used the coordinates display. I should be able to see the airport at my two o’clock position when passing over the NDB but I had trouble finding it so I consult the P3D map and start a turn towards the ILS. The tutorial does a wonderful job explaining how to use the autopilot and the HSI to follow the ILS approach but I had trouble reading this instrument for this purpose so I decided just too manually fly the approach. I am going to have to read this part of the tutorial and fly this approach again to understand how understand this instrument. Also I will adjust the zoom level/eye point so that I can clearly read the instrument when performing an ILS approach with the autopilot. I am going to need some more practice landing the F27 but I did manage to land safely and taxi to the parking position. After slowing down enough to turn on to the taxiway, turn off the strobe and landing lights, turn on the taxi lights and place the HPC levers into the “Open” position. After reaching your parking position, the engine and systems shutdown is very easy but I recommend using the tutorial or checklist to make sure everything gets done in the proper order. All that is required to shut down the engines is to move the HPC levers to the “Shut” position and the engines will power down with a nice sound effect of this process. After this just follow the tutorial to shut down all of the other systems and get the aircraft ready for de-boarding. I have just completed this wonderful tutorial and look forward to future flights in the Just Flight F27 Friendship. I do not think any simulator user that has some experience should have any trouble learning to operate the Just Flight F27 Friendship. Entry level users will also probably do ok because the tutorial does such a great job explaining the procedures, just take your time and study & fly the tutorial in steps rather than in one sitting. Also this aircraft is a lot easier to learn then trying to jump right into a premium Boeing 737 or similar aircraft. Conclusion Accessibility The F27 Friendship is currently only available from Just Flight so it is not the most accessible product but this is probably a good thing because owners can download updates as soon as they are available without having to wait for the other resellers to issue the new versions. Affordability At $37.99 USD I consider the F27 very affordable to have a premium 1950’s & 1960’s era propeller airliner for my hangar. It has plenty of airline liveries to choose from and includes some of the 100, 200 and 300 series of the F27 to fly. Ease of Installation Just Flight products are extremely easy to install, just enter your Just Flight account information to activate this aircraft on your computer and this activation will remain active for as long as you have this computer. No long serial numbers or other unusual activation procedures. Uninstalling and installing new versions will not require a new activation for this computer which is wonderful. If the installed hard drive fails or you purchase a replacement computer, just download the aircraft and activate again for the new hard drive or system. Features & System Performance I will do system performance first which is excellent. I do not measure frame rates but they were great and I did not have any performance lag or out of memory crashes when flying this aircraft in P3D or FSX: Steam Edition. With the first service pack Just Flight includes an option to install into Prepar3D Version 3 along with Version2 and FSX or FSX: SE without having to purchase a separate license which is fantastic. If you like having a passenger cabin view and extremely detailed interior textures then you may be disappointed. The passenger cabin is not modeled but you can see it from exterior views and open doors. Some of the cockpit textures are blurry looking but if the flight model is good, I can live with some blurry textures. Cockpit and exterior features are three dimensional and look very good. I especially like that ground support objects are included and that the GPU has sound effects when powered on. The cockpit features and instrumentation also look great and also operate realistically at least the ones that are simulated. Just Flight listens to their customers and releases updates in a timely manner, meaning with service pack two there is now a more readable altimeter along with other fixes. I am not an expert in flight modeling but I believe it is accurate for an aircraft at this price point. Final Thoughts I am very happy I had the opportunity to review the Just Flight F27 Friendship. I really was not looking to add an airliner to my virtual hangar but am always ready for a challenge. I am so glad that I did because this is a wonderful aircraft and better after the service packs. The outstanding tutorial flight should be enough to have simulator pilots of all skill levels the ability to fly this aircraft from one airport to another. Just remember this is a large aircraft so if you primarily fly small general aviation aircraft it will take some getting used to. That being said after flying the tutorial or other flights a few times, I was able to understand the various systems without issue. For a large aircraft it also pretty easy to manually fly and the old style autopilot also work’s great. To learn more about this aircraft visit the Just Flight product page located here: http://www.justflight.com/product/fokker-f27-100-200-300 . I want to thank Just Flight for providing the review copy of the F27 Friendship. Test System Hardware: Computer Specs: Intel Desktop Computer Intel i5 4670K 3.4Ghz Non OC Processor 8GB DDR3 1833 Memory 2TB SATA HD (7200 RPM) NVIDIA GeForce GTX970 Video Card with 4GB GDDR5 Memory Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick Software: FSX: Steam Edition, Prepar3D Version 3 Windows 7 – 64 Bit REX 4 Texture Direct with Soft Clouds Orbx HD Trees, Global, Vector, Europe Landclass & Multiple Regions FS Global 2010 FTX Compatible DX10 Scenery Fixer FSX Fair Weather Theme Flight Test Time: 25 hours
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