Peter Hager’s A321 has been revised to v2.0, and both FT56 and I are working through this immensely challenging file – slowly but steadily. We hope to do this grand ACF justice and will write up some brief experiences along the way, but learning your way around this ACF means nothing less than working through most of the real aircraft’s systems, so you just don’t open this one up and go about flying circuits. We long ago dubbed such complex files “procedures SIMs”, and this is the grand-daddy of ‘em all – to date, anyway. You may see the ACF from time to time popping-up in our write-ups of new scenery files, but a full review of this aircraft is still a few weeks away – at best. If you’re already an Airbus junkie you probably own the file, but note the revision is now available; if you really want to get a handle on Airbus systems and procedures, this is an excellent place to start. The included OPS manuals alone are worth the price of the file!
Long-time reader DomSmith fell away from all things XP a while ago, tired of dealing with updates and dashed expectations as we all have from time to time, but he saw the STMA Otter we reviewed a few weeks back and that was enough to pull him back into the hangar. He’s also enjoying the v10 revision of the Inside Passage package…as you can see below:
We have a few new scenery files to go over today, as well as some fresh paint, so let’s get through some news then dive on in:
- The Federal Aviation Administration has warned some manufacturers of light sport aircraft that they are violating safety standards. Most of the violations involved missing paperwork, said Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. “Missing a document doesn’t mean an airplane wasn’t built right. It just means you can’t prove it was built a certain way,” he said. Bloomberg Businessweek
- Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin has announced that the state was chosen for a three-year research study on deploying unmanned aerial vehicles for first responders. The project by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will include an initial investment of $1.4 million. The UAVs will be tested in restricted airspace over Fort Sill, a U.S. military base. Tulsa World (Okla.)
- The Federal Aviation Administration has determined that a Foreign Object Debris detection system that uses radar and electro-optical sensors meets the agency’s requirements. The FODetect system is manufactured by Xsight Systems. “Real world installations show that FODetect has detected hazardous FODs on operating runways such as metal parts from aircrafts as well as birds and wildlife,” said Alon Nitzan, president and CEO of Xsight Systems. Airport-World.com
- Donegal Chin, 15, is participating in the Coachella Valley Youth Aviation Education Program in California. The program, started by local pilot Rafael Sierra, teaches students about aviation and prepares them for their first solo flight. “It’s pretty cool because we can start early, and some of us we can get our pilot’s license before we get our car license, our driver’s license,” Chin said. KESQ-TV (Palm Desert, Calif.)
- An aviation rule-making committee for the Federal Aviation Administration has recommended that the agency update its written exams for pilots. Its report says, “Test questions should not only be relevant to the way pilots operate in the real world, utilizing current technologies both in and outside the cockpit, but also test how those technologies can be used to facilitate proper risk management skills.” Flying online
- Hawker Beechcraft has reported a net loss of $90 million in May. The Wichita, Kan.-based aircraft manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection May 3. Hawker is required to file monthly income statements as part of its bankruptcy proceedings. The Wichita Eagle (Kan.)
- The seventh edition of “The Instrument Flight Manual,” a manual for pilots, has been released. The text originally written by William K. Kershner has been edited by his son W.C. Kershner. The new edition reflects new technology, operating procedures and regulations. General Aviation News
- Blogger Michelle Alexandria enjoyed her first experience taking a flight lesson in a Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse. “I played a lot of Microsoft Flight Simulator back in the day, but nothing prepares you for the feeling you get when you first step into the cockpit and actually steer and control a plane for the first time,” she writes. BlogCritics.org
- The Aviation Summer Camp in Corsicana, Texas, teaches children about many different aspects of aviation. At the second annual event last week, campers 9 to 12 years old built model planes out of foam and learned about the parts of an aircraft. “They’re having a ball,” camp leader Robert Isbell said. Corsicana Daily Sun (Texas)
- STRONG SOLAR FLARE IN PROGRESS: A big, active sunspot (AR1515) is growing on the Earthside of the sun. This morning it erupted, producing an M5.6-class solar flare that ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere with a brief but intense pulse of X-rays and extreme ultraviolet radiation. More eruptions are in the offing as the sunspot turns to face Earth.
Checkhttp://spaceweather.com for more information and updates. Now let’s look at some paint!
‘amerrir‘ strikes again!…with a wonderful full metal jacket for K&A’s B17G. FuddyDuddy is offered in two versions as well, with WWII and current paint available. The wartime paint is weathered (seen below, on the runway), while the current version is as clean as a whistle! Both exceptional, highly recommended paints are available here.
Another Airbus A330 livery to look at today, this by Marsilg, and for Samen’s A330/200; this effort for SWISS International Airlines’s STAR ALLIANCE variant. Cleanly executed, I noted no logo lighting visible in XP10. Still, I like this one and will use it regardless. It’s very well done and worth having on hand.
So, we’ve got three new/revised airports to go over today, and let’s start with XPFR’s latest – LFOL + L’Aigle Saint Michel – a small GA airfield located west of Paris and south of LeHarve:
Noted as such in the documentation, the airfield is a convenient facility for Parisians working on their PPLs, and this airport may find a welcome reception for those using XP to work on the area’s procedures and navigation aids. Once on the ground, however, you’ll be in for a treat…for XPFR has produced yet another sweet GA airfield.
The file’s facilities sit on an ortho-texture, and the results are generally very good.
There is, as usually happens when orthos and OSM are forced to mix it up a bit, a little conflict with roadways, as can be seen above, right, in v10.
As has been the case recently with new work from XPFR, well executed photo-textures define the buildings, leaving a very nice feel to the FOB/cafe area. The trees used (seen upper right, above) could still use some work.
The facilities look equally good in XP 9.70, seen above.
The a/c lighting in v10 (above) lends a little to the effort as well, a good thing as there is no other lighting in this file.
All in all, this is a very well done, and highly recommended file – for those needing a GA airport in the area south of the Norman coast. It ought to prove useful for pilots operating in northern France, as well as the English Channel area. Good documentation included, of course.
Located some 90 miles north of Dublin, Ireland, you’ll come to Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in due course you’ll come upon EGAC + Belfast City Airport. You’ll have noted (if you’ve been following along with the blog, anyway) that GOLF1 has created a few nice facilities in the area already, but his “George Best” airport may well be, ahem, his best yet.
This effort is, generally speaking, very well done and it adheres to what’s on the ground well enough.
The main terminal is of the ultra modern variety, and note the cranes in the second image, below:
Those bright yellow cranes are of some historic import, and are included in a second file. They make excellent VFR landmarks. Note also that the following airports are served commercially from EGAC:
|Flybe||Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow-International, Inverness, Leeds/Bradford, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Southampton Jersey, Newquay Memmingen, Salzburg, Verona|
|Manx2||Isle of Man Anglesey, Blackpool, Gloucester|
You’ll find need for CRJ200s, Q400s, AVROLiners, 737s, and the smaller Airbus aircraft as well when operating out of this facility, and GA traffic and air cargo OPS are handled as well.
You’ll also take note of the AerLingus aircraft on the ramps in the file are NOT usually seen at the real facility, but in keeping with the spirit of things we imaged with an RJ100 sporting those lovely older AerLingus colors (in v10).
LIT textures appear to be used here, and the lighting does not appear to be fully XP10 compliant. Seen above in XP10, the facility looks decent, but ramps are a little dark, and a bit bare. Looking over the ramps in v9.70 (below) things appear almost the same, but airport lighting in general is brighter in v9:
I had good framerates in both v9 and 10, BTW, from the XPFWProject’s 752 to more complex ACF like the AVROLiner Project’s RJ70 and the Carenado Grand Caravan.
Images above and below from v9.70.
Below, a sequence of images from v10:
In short, a nice complement to Irish airports already in XP, this is a must have file, and highly recommended.
‘blumenmann‘ has consistently been turning out some of the best small GA airports in Germany for many months now, but EDDW + Bremen marks his first major commercial effort. For the project he turned to the Lego-Brick approach afforded by recent updates in WED 1.2b1 and Overlay Editor, and as such OpenSceneryX (OSX) is not needed. In fact, the file is tiny – but the results are impressive – yet blumenmann has this to say about the results:
“At all it is nothing special, because it looks a little bit like the other Lego-Brick airports from aerosoft. But I was very surprised how fast it is possible to build an airport for XP10.” He also advisees that XP9 users need not bother, as using this file will likely result in a crash.
Still, even at this early stage of the game it’s worth noting that like using OSX library elements, WED/scenery library efforts like this one may well become stale over time – as the newness wears off, and as more and more scenery files are created with these Lego-Bricks. It’s inevitable that more and more of these efforts will begin to look alike. One way to combat this will be to continuously expand the buildings available to use in WED, while another part of the equation will be how well developers use existing WED objects to conform to the real world placement of buildings in their files. This is, again, of some vital importance: how well developers adhere to what’s on the ground at real (or historically recreated) airports will become crucial to the success of these projects, and – to quite possibly a large degree – the future success of XP itself. That said, using these ready made objects will “work” if the basic layout of the “real” airport is recreated accurately, and if the recreated facility blends in well with OSM’s (OpenStreetMap) rail and roadways networks. We’ll try to judge the relative success (or failure) of these efforts by how well they conform to existing real world layouts (as determined in Google Earth); that said, let’s take a look at EDDW + Bremen, and first, at an overhead image from Google Earth.
Now here’s the facility in XP10, with trees, objects and detail at max settings:
The area around the airport barely looks like what’s on the ground, and the sparse housing in particular is jarringly out of character. Of course, this isn’t ‘blumenmann’s concern, and hopefully XP10.10 will address this, but it’s troubling nonetheless. Of more immediate interest, the airport proper is well done from this angle, if a little bare looking. There is no “visual chaos” on approach.
Note in the overview below that EDDW will make a very interesting addition to the Helgoland Triangle we worked out a few months back, and even Q400 OPS to Norway seem reasonable from here. Obviously, OPS throughout Germany, Holland, Belgium and the UK all seem most relevant.
Here’s the list of operators currently using EDDW:
|Air Berlin||Antalya, Nuremberg, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South|
|Air France operated by Régional||Paris-Charles de Gaulle|
|Germania||Fuerteventura, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Burgas, Corfu, Funchal, Heraklion, Izmir [begins 4 July], Kos, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Thessaloniki
|KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper||Amsterdam|
|Lufthansa Regional operated by Augsburg Airways||Munich|
|Lufthansa Regional operated by Contact Air||Stuttgart|
|Lufthansa Regional operated by Lufthansa CityLine||Munich|
|OLT Express||Copenhagen, Toulouse, Zurich
|Ryanair||Alicante, Edinburgh [ends 26 October 2012], Fuerteventura, Girona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Łódź, London-Stansted, Málaga, Manchester, Sandefjord, Stockholm-Skavsta, Tallinn, Tampere, Tenerife-South, Vilnius
Seasonal: Faro, Haugesund, Milan-Orio al Serio, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Venice-Treviso
Above, real buildings on the ground – and of the “ultra-modern” variety; below, those from WED in blumenmann’s file are anything but:
Below, the GA ramps, with an excellent WED hangar in the background:
Peter’s 321 near the large (and well done) maintenance hangar, below; Jetways/airstairs are very well done, and identical to those found at SeaTac:
The “ultra-modern” character of the terminal buildings is lost using WED’s Lego-Brick elements, and the overall look is less dense than found at the real airport. Still, placement of gates is decent. The Do328 on the grass seems a little out of place, however.
Some buildings conflict with OSM elements (below), so perhaps other, smaller buildings could be used? More buildings too, I think, to make this layout better reflect what’s on the ground in Bremen?
There are a few ACF on the ramps, but none at the gates to interfere with VATSim OPS. Still, after looking this one over a few times I think these WED efforts are going to work best at night in XP10. Both night and GI lighting effects overwhelm all other (missing or included) elements under night conditions, and the facility just looks great in XP10 when either overhead or on the ground – at night.
At any rate, we commend ‘blumenmann’ for this effort, and it’s worth having in XP10 “as is”. It could use some tweaks to building placement to better integrate with OSM roadways, and would be improved with more building density around the main terminal buildings – and perhaps more static ACF and ramp vehicles. And hopefully XP10 will get around to filling out the area around the airport with an appropriate level of housing and general building density – someday.
And sorry, there were some glitches getting this posted today. WordPress is acting up again, but perhaps that’s because major changes to the blog are in the works???
Well, that’s about all we’ve got – today. Oh, besides taking in Prometheus a few times, been listening to some Duncan Sheik this week, and if you’ve never heard She Runs Away, it’s a good piece of 90s music, and on iTunes as well. Kind of like Nick Drake – if you like that kind of music (his Riverman is an old favorite, too). Oh well…enjoy these dog days of summer…it was only 105 degrees F here Saturday in the Tarheel State. Hasta later – and keep cool…Chip