posted by Chip
A couple of liveries to go over today, as well as a new payware ACF, but first…a little news…
- Apple unveiled a completely revised Pro and Air notebook lineup at the WorldWide Developer’s Conference on the 11th, and introduced a next gen MacBook Pro with “retina” display. This new model is touted as a high end graphics powerhouse, yet Diablo 3 was demonstrated at the presentation. With the latest processors and high speed memory, as well as a GeForce GT650M (Kepler) video card onboard, Jony Ive claims it’s the very best computer Apple has ever built. 15.4 Retina display, 2.3GHz quad-core i7, 8GB of RAM, GeForce Gt 650M with 1GB of VRAM, 256GB flash storage. Starting at $2199, shipping today. Maybe XP10 will run on this one!
- The next Maps App in IOS6 for Apple iPhones (etc) will include a type of simulator for flying over your planned route. Highly detailed cityscapes are integrated into the new maps application too.
- One of the unforeseen effects of the Eurozone financial crisis is the dramatic effect the fall on the Euro has had on the value of Swiss franc, and on Swiss Airlines. The franc has skyrocketed in value and made Swiss’ airfares almost surreally high as a result. If the trend continues the carrier could be in real trouble, real fast.
- Yet even so, both Boeing and Airbus remain upbeat about the market for new airliners. Both the 737MAX and A320 NEO continue to wrack up nice sales. Also, the BBC reports that repairs on A380 wings could down each aircraft for up to 8-weeks. Ouch. New production aircraft from 2014 onward will not need the mods.
- Oh, here’s a decent video of the Blue Angels at work.
Andrey Belov advises that progress on the A318 is being made, with final details on the gears being worked out as we speak, so to speak, and we hope to see this one on the ramps soon.
Leen de Jager creates some of the most interesting – if complex – liveries available for aircraft in X-Plane today, and his latest – a “Colani Cargo” for X-Scenery’s MU-2 is no exception. I did NOT make all of the normal map/specular highlighting installations/adjustments that you can make to this file, but you can see the basics here, and you can see the file with all the bells and whistles active here, at the download link.
If you have the ACF, this is a great looking addition, and useful too. The aircraft with this new livery applied looks generally as though its piled through a couple of thorn bushes (or worse), and the engine air inlets in particular look as though the aircraft has recently flown through a flock of geese and making this a perfect representative of the type of cargo carrier all midnight warriors know and fear.
Also note: there is no Colani Cargo (that I can find, anyway), and so I suspect the name comes from and is a tribute to Luigi Colani, the noted industrial designer. At any rate, a must have for all MU-2 pilots…
Seen below on the latest v4.6 EADT x737/8NG is a new Alaska Airlines paint. I particularly like the LIT tail and how the face seems to glow apart from its surroundings.
Alaska just may be the most overrepresented airline in X-Plane, but hey, who cares! Always nice to have a new livery, right?! When nice like this one, you can never have too many.
The Texas Ranger’s vFlyte Remos GT was a well received little GA sportster (with fun STOL characteristics, a very useful aircraft it is, too), so perhaps the thinking was that by following the same route the road to good fortune lay ahead! Well, TR sent along his latest, the P2004 Bravo, and the ACF is indeed a sweet little GA cruiser. Will it work for you? Well, let’s take a look and find out.
Tecnam is an Italian manufacturer of composite aircraft; most are single engine GA aircraft – but the company is branching out, developing twin engined multi-role aircraft as well. The P2004 costs roughly 160K new these days, used ones a bit less, making these a relatively affordable entry level GA aircraft. Of course, vFlyte’s P2004 ACF won’t set you back quite so much…roughly 14.95USD will get you up and running in this new file. You’ll note this is somewhat less than typical Carenado files, so if you’re in the market for a GA trainer and don’t want to break the bank this is a good place to start. Of course, you’ll not get many of the Carenado class goodies we’re beginning to take for granted – like opening doors and über-detailed panel instruments – but you will end up with a nicely detailed, very flyable GA trainer that also has admirable STOL characteristics as standard equipment. So, first things first… Let’s ignore evidence of Simon’s latest debauchery and take a look at the panel:
Yup, that’s Chaos Manor at KMPI up above – the morning after one of Simon’s notorious tantrums. He goes through these things periodically when trying to get Windows 7 to work as advertised. After almost three years of telling him to “Get a Mac!” he still ignores me…and this is the result. He puts on Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting and gets to work.
Also seen above is a very workable panel that also happens to include about 3500 NAV COMM heads (in case one breaks?) so you will never, repeat never, be without working radios in this puppy! There’s also a Garmin 430, and almost everything is linked to the LCD nav display ahead of the pilot. The panel is full of 3D objects and many of these are manipulator controlled. In short, this is a well done front office, but be careful stepping through the blood and beer cans on your way in.
So, can she fly an ILS? Well, if you can, she can. There’s no A/P on this Tecnam, and this reflects real world, base model equipment levels, but the NAV display works admirably well for shooting a basic ILS approach. Manipulators on the NAV heads were a little hard to hit, but easier on the G430.
But…but…how does she fly?!
Quite well, actually, even with Simon’s habitual Blood Alcohol Level of 3.7…which is somewhat over the legal limit in most jurisdictions. But not, apparently, in Oz.
You’ll note that the interior is quite well done and that the ACF handles very nicely indeed, even after 43 pints. And if take off speeds feel abnormally sedate (around 60 KIAS), landings with full flaps might be considered surreal. Try 45 KIAS and see what happens (not much), then note your landing distance (very not much) when you touch down at just over 40 KIAS. While not quite VTOL capable, vFlyte’s Bravo will get you grinnin’.
I’d say this is a perfectly acceptable VFR GA trainer, best suited either to those lucky enough to have access to a real aircraft, or who want to try one out before renting or purchasing one. The flight model in this ACF is benign enough for the easy primary training relevant to either a Sport License or PPL maneuvers, and the quality of the ACF is in general terms more than acceptable for these purposes. We’ll recommend this one for people looking for some Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) experience, or for all folks in XP looking for a nice and easy “hands on” GA trainer suitable for light duty VFR OPS with a big handful of STOL handling thrown in.
So, stopping distance? Well, look at the image below. With a slight crosswind at KBFI 13R I was able to hit the stripes and still come to a complete stop in a ridiculously short distance. Try it…see how you do. Again, this is a fun little trainer, and up to the challenge!
So, I’ll be taking things slow and easy for the next few weeks, still a little unsure of the kind of pace I can handle. FT56 and I are working on a few reviews for later in the week, and we’ll see you then. Chip