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Sim-Wings' La Palma scenery has been released for Prepar3D version 4. The latest in Sim-Wings' Canary Islands series to get the P3Dv4 treatment, La Palma is the most north-westerly of the Canary Islands. With a population of around 85,000, La Palma's main claim to fame is as the home of a number of leading astronomical observatories sited on its highest peak, the Roque de los Muchachos. The climate and location of the island means any cloud generally forms below the 2,423m (7,949ft) summit, leaving clear skies for stargazers. Europe's second-largest optical telescope, the 4.2m (165in) William Herschel telescope, is amongst those sited on the mountain. La Palma Airport, on the island's east coast, is equipped with a 2,200m (7,218ft) main runway and handled around 1.3m passengers last year. Although the airport is mainly served by inter-island services which operate year-round, during the summer holiday season larger aircraft operated by the likes of easyJet and TUI bring tourists from further afield. Sim-wings' rendition includes a detailed 3D model of the airport, including optimised 3D runway lighting, dynamic vehicles and Aircraft Parking and Information System (APIS). Full details of the release can be found on the Sim-wings Facebook page.
Aerosoft's DC-8 has been released for Prepar3D v4. The vintage jetliner was Douglas' first jet transport and was familiar to millions around the world during the 1960s and 70s, with more than 500 examples built. Although passenger models were largely superseded by the introduction of wide-bodied airliners such as the Boeing 747 and Lockheed L-1011, many DC-8s remained in service as freighters and even to the present day it is thought a few continue to ply the skies. Despite the type's cargo heritage, however, Aerosoft have elected to model the 50 series passenger version of the airliner. The first variant to be equipped with the iconic JT3D turbofans which powered the Boeing 707, the -50 was capable of carrying up to 189 passengers over 5,800nm, with a maximum takeoff weight of 315,000 lb (142,881 kg). The 3D virtual cockpit features all the instruments and controls you would expect to see at both the pilots' and the Flight Engineer's position, whilst the gauge lighting can be selected to four levels of intensity. Aerosoft claim the aircraft features 'in-depth simulation of more than 10 aircraft systems', though they have kept to the same 'normal procedures' philosophy they have applied to their Airbus A320 series aircraft, so it is unlikely this will include realistic responses to system failures. Sounds are provided by Turbine Sound Studios, whilst TFDi's TrueGlass technology has been incorporated to provide rain effects on cockpit windows. Of particular note, Aerosoft claim to have introduced custom icing code which they claim will result in realistic changes to lift and drag, whilst de-icing equipment will gradually remove these effects. Signalling a shift in the direction of flight simulation development, the DC-8 has been released for Prepar3D v4 first. 32-bit simmers will have to wait until May for an FSX/Prepar3D v3 version to be released, though this will be at no extra cost. Watch Aerosoft's official preview video by Jeroen Doorman below.