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Timothy Thomas

FSX for 10 years, FS9 before that. Real World Private Pilot. Freeware Scenery developer for FSX. Gamer, youtuber ETCwww.youtube.com/countryflyboy

RealAir is closing down!

RealAir Simulations announced today that thew will be closing their doors. Sean Moloney said “Early in 2015 my partner Carla was diagnosed with aggressive cervical cancer.” He goes on to say that treatment has been unsuccessful and sadly she has only been given 1-2 years to live.

He then ended on a more positive piece of news saying “The great news is that further scans taken several months later suggested the cancer was clearing up, and each scan since then has been good news.”

On behalf of FSElite I would like to extend our best wishes. Rob Young has stated that having reached retirement age he feels he no longer has the energy to continue working for RealAir. The two have decided to shut down the company.  This development is sad to hear as Real Air has been one of the most popular and innovative developers for Flight simulator over the past 16 years. I think I speak for everyone here when I say we wish both of them well in their future’s. And we all thank them for their hard work over the years.

Real Air has stooped selling their addons as of right now. Currently it is unknown what exactly will become of their products, or how they plan on handling activation in the future is Unknown. Real Air has been known over the past 16 years to develop some of the best, and most innovative products for Flight Simulator. Pioneering such things as Smooth Gauge Technology, RealView (a system that simulates the forces experienced by a pilot in flight), Realistically simulated engine failures, And user-configurable VC panel layouts.

 

X-Plane 11 Demo/Public Beta Released!

Laminar Research has released a Free Demo for X-plane 11. A tweet from X-Planes Official twitter called it a Public Beta. So there may be bugs and such that wont appear in the final version on release day. As a reminder they wanted to have X-Plane 11 out by November of which there are 5 days left. So you may not have to wait long for the full release version. At first glance there appears to be no restrictions listed on the demo like limited play time, limited aircraft selection, ETC. So if your looking to give X-Pane 11 a try go ahead and download the Demo from their webpage here.

 

EDIT (1613EST): It appears the demo area is limited to Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington State. There was no mention of this on the web page or the Tweet. I only found out once i ran the demo and changed my graphical settings.

EDIT (1650EST): There is also a play time limit of 20-30 minutes TOTAL! This is not per flight, thats all you get to play around with it and see if its what you want. Laminar maybe tell us the limits next time!

Switching Simulators | How I’m going to decide what my next sim is

The time has come. Like FS9 before it, and FS8 before it. FSX is dying. It’s not dead yet, nor will it die overnight. It will be a slow process but eventually people will move on. Already addon devs are switching exclusively and soon the player base will follow. On the horizon we see 3 simulators heading our way. X-Plane 11, Prepar 3D v4, and Dovetails Flight Simulator. One of these 3 is what people are going to go to. One of these 3 is what I’m personally going to go to. With X-Plane’s minimum requirements and list of default airplanes released recently, I thought now’s a good time to talk about how I’m going to judge each sim, and ultimately how I will decide which to go with. My list is simple. Performance, graphical quality, available aircraft, extra features, Switching cost, the deal, avionics modeling, and flight model. And in that order of importance. The list is probably a wee bit different from what you’d expect; Notably avionics and flight model are on the bottom. This article I’d like to explain why I list those things in that order.

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X-Plane 11 FMOD Sound Preview

Laminar Research has released another Video previewing X-Plane 11. This time they showcase the new sound engine. To Quote the press release, “The new FMOD sound model is a versatile engine that will be in the default Cessna 172SP on day one, but is also highly customizable by third party developers. FMOD sound reacts to the physics of the world, and everything you do makes a difference in what you hear.”

A video is attached to the press release showing of the new Sound engine on the Default Cessna 172. Unfortunitly it seems from the Post the only Airplane that will have this is the Default Cessna and any Third Party planes that choose to make use of it. They do however imply that more aircraft will have this as time goes on. One other thing I picked up from the video is that there may be Cat Simulation. A Cat can be heard at 1:48. it may be Possible we have to keep the cat off the glare shield for full immersion. No word in the press release that confirms or denies the presences of Cat Simulation so I guess we will have to wait until release day.

FMOD is a sound effects engine for video games developed by Firelight Technologies. Its used in Meany Game Engines including Unity, Unreal Engine 3 & 4, Cry Engine, and Source. Its also the Technology that runs the sounds in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, War Thunder, Rise of Flight: The First Great Air War, iRacing.com, LittleBigPlanet, And meany more High Profile games.

Just Flight Socata TB-10 & TB-20: The FSElite Review

DEVELOPERInnovative Design Studios, Turbine Sound Studios, Various IndividualPRICE$41.99
PUBLISHERJustFlightBUY FROM Just Flight Store

As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.

Just Flight Socata TB-10 & TB-20 was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.

Scoring System

I want to summarize my Scoring system. Everything is carefully calculated. ) means the product did So bad it can only be described as unfinished. 1-3 is Low Quality, 4-6 is Average Quality. Average is not bad. Its just average, run of the mill, normal, nothing special. 7-8 is High Quality. 9 and 10 are reserved for Not only High quality, but new and innovative things. Things that have not been done before. However all that only applies to Performance, Avionics Modeling, Visuals, Sound, Flight Model, and Options. Overall quality and value are more subjective, and I already explained above. I personally would put this addon in the Low budget AAA range of $20-$40. And on the lower end of that. However I’m attaching a caveat to this. If the main problems I have mentioned get fixed. The problems like GPS position, and HSI Drift. And add an Option to swap the Altimeter out for one that lets us set it by inHG; I could see this addon being on the higher end of that range. However Just Flight charges $41.99 for this plane. And it ships with the issues I mentioned. That puts it on the lower side of the High AAA price range.

Justflight recently released a small airplane named the Socata Tobaga. A small single engine airplan that if I had to compare it to another airplane, it seems to want to fill the role of a Cessna 172. It even uses the same engine as the early C172 the O-360. Unlike the C172 however it has a constant speed prop. Just Flight was kind enough to include the TB10’s more complex cousin the TB-20 Trinidad. Which continuing the Cessna comparison, is most like the C182. In fact these planes are so much like the C172/C182 that honestly with the exception of the bigger engine in the TB-20; Everything I say about one essentially carries over to the other. They fly roughly the same, and are operated roughly the same. So while I did test flights in both airplanes, I’m only going to focus on the TB-10 in this review. Rest assured however they are mostly the same and any differences I will point out.

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X-Plane 11 System requierments released

Laminar Research has released the Minimum and Recommended system requirements for X-plane 11.

Minimum

  • Intel Core CPU, 2 or more cores, 3.0ghz or faster. Or an AMD Equivalent
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Nvidia Direct X 11 capable Video card. Or an AMD, or Intel with at least 512MB VRAM

Recommended

  • Intel Core i5 6600k at 3.5ghz or better
  • 16-24GB of RAM or more
  • Nvidia Direct X 12 capable video card. Or AMD or Intel with at least 4GB of VRAM
    • GeForce GTX 1070 or better, or Similar AMD card

Supported Video cards

  • Nvidia GeForce 400 series or newer.
    • 600 or newer recommended.
  • AMD HD5000 or Newer.
    • HD7000 with GCN Core or newer recommended.
  • Intel HD2000 or newer.
    • HD4000 or newer recommended.

Supported Operating System

  • OSX 10 or Newer
  • Windows 7, 8 ,or 10 at 64bit
  • Linux: “While X-Plane 11 will run on Linux, we don’t provide support for specific distributions; if you want to run on Linux, you will need to try X-Plane on your distribution to see if it is compatible. With that in mind, we have developers using Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 LTS successfully. For Linux, we require the proprietary driver from AMD or NVIDIA to run X-Plane. You may be able to get X-Plane to run on the Mesa/Gallium driver with an Intel GPU, but this is unsupported.  We absolutely do not support the fully open source drivers for AMD and NVIDIA.”

Even the minimum requirements are quite steep; As to why this is so we do not know. X-Plane 11 is expected to be released later this month. And just as a reminder if you purchase X-plane 10 from their website you can get X-plane 11 for free.

Does it Hold Up | Integrated Simavionics

Default planes suck. We all know that. No it should not be the way of things, but it is. Notably defaults suck in the realm of navigation. Particularly Instrument Navigation, Specifically RNAV capability. The defaults all come with the GPS 500 or the GPS 295 on them. Which is not true RNAV equipment, Not in Flight Sim. Yeah it can follow a programmed route but for true RNAV status it needs to be able to load procedures. SIDs, STARs, and Approaches; as well as build flight plans in the gauge and edit them. So we have addon airplanes shipping with their own avionics. For example the PMDG 737 with its FMS. But addon airplanes cost a lot of money, and they tend to have a really steep learning curve. They aren’t necessarily known for their frame rate friendliness either. These things all combined created the need for a FMS that is generic enough to work on any aircraft in FSX, defaults or addons. But also cheap enough to be affordable to anyone. Enter Integrated Simavionics.

Integrated Simavionics (hereafter referred to as ISG) came out in 2011 and was developed by Ernie Alston. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same guy who developed FSbuild; which was objectively  the best Flight planner for Flight sim for a long time running; though it’s since been replaced by things like ProFlightPlannerX and Simbreif ( it’s still my personal favorite though). He also assisted PMDG in developing their Jetstream 4100 by coding the FMS for it. That same FMS is one of the gauges you can get with this addon by the way, though it’s notably lacking in the more aircraft dependant features as it is meant to be generic. Now what is ISG? Put simply ISG is a collection of 9 gauges that are generic, meaning they work on any aircraft you put them on. But they are also integrated, meaning the gauges talk to one another. This means when you build a route on the FMC that route is shown on the NAV display. These gauges were meant to fill the gap of generic enough to work on anything, but realistic enough to be useable for more advanced flying. And honestly I think they filled it quite well. Over the years I’ve purchased a lot of addons for flight sim. Several of them were a waste of money. But I’ve never felt that for ISG. It was one of my earliest addons for flight sim. And I still use it to this day.

b737-2
This is the FSX Default 737-800 with Alejandro Rojas Lucena’s Virtual Cockpit mod, and I added ISG gauges to it. Checkout the Windshield rain effect. Haven’t seen a payware plane with that yet.

The best way I can think to describe ISG is by telling you what I use it for. It breathed a new breath of life into the default airplanes. There was a time when I could not afford fancy addons (wait I still cant). So I had to make due with defaults. But I was also getting into flying online. With realistic routes and the possibility of route changes. The default GPS really shows its issues when you get a clearance with a different route than what you filed. In the default 737, I had the ISG FMS. No problem, I just enter in the route I was cleared for. ISG then shows that route on my nav display, And commands the autopilot to follow it. I also get TCAS, and a rudimentary VNAV as well. Takeoff hit LNAV and I was on my way. Pretty similar to flying a fancy addon airplane. But this was a default.

When I hit LNAV I also get a notation on my PFD along with the other modes that autopilot was set to. I get a traffic warning of a nearby aircraft complete with resolution advisories. The controller gives me a short cut today. Im cleared to bypass the rest of my SID and proceed direct to a enroute waypoint. I get above ten thousand feet and press VNAV. The autopilot then commands the plane through the rest of the climb. And no I had not been drinking and was confusing the PMDG aircraft with a default. It was the default 737. I complet that flight and the next day I feel like flying some rich person to Key West. I take the default king air on this trip. It also features LNAV, partial VNAV, and TCAS. Wait a minute we are talking about the defaults. The massive piles of crap that somewhat resemble airplanes.

Have I pushed it hard enough? Well honestly it’s probably one of my favorite addons. And one of only 2 addons that to this day I would say are truly must haves, were it not for one problem we will talk about soon. Not only can this be used in defaults I have used it to improved countless freeware planes. Alejandro Rojas is well known in the freeware community for creating some of the best planes available for FSX. Including a MD83, P35, and C750. He also did several improvements to the default B738 and B744 cockpits. Giving them features usually only found on payware planes, and in some cases he’s got one up on the payware planes. He’s not the only freeware developer that makes amazing things. Richard Schwertfeger made a fantastic Global Express. That thing could be payware if it had better texture quality. All the planes came with a FMS by the way. But it was the freeware Bendix King FMS that is nothing more than the default GPS with a fake VNAV and looks like a FMS. But I have ISG. I replaced the avionics of those planes, with the ISG avionics. Payware? Where I’m going I don’t need Payware!

glex-4
A wide shot of the Virtual cockpit of the freeware Bombardier Global Express by Richard Schwertfeger. I added the ISG gauges to this aircraft. with that this aircraft features almost full system modeling. If the textures were a little better id call it payware quality.

Now it’s not all sunshine and lollipops don’t get me wrong. ISG comes with 9 gauges. And while the gauges are all pretty realistic, they contain some features that are locked away that make them much better. The biggest problem is that ISG is just the gauges. If you want to put them in the airplanes you’ll need a modified panel file for them. Now ISG does have panel retrofits for a lot of aircraft on their website. You can also build a panel for the aircraft yourself if you know how. And the gauges work fine as they come. But to really make them sing, you have to dive into their CFG files. There is documentation. Full walkthroughs of each gauge as well as documents on these special features im talking about. But the documentation for editing the associated files is not that straightforward. If it was not for the difficult process of actually getting the gauges working in an aircraft, ISG would score a lot higher.

By the way these gauges have navdata updates available by both Navigraph and NavDataPro. They also feature the ability to Load SIDs, STARs, IAPs, load a flight plan from a PLN file or their own special format, Save flight plans for future use, enter crossing restrictions that the airplane will adhere to; the FMS will also calculate a descent profile including crossings for each waypoint. Enter in any waypoint in the database to go direct to or add into an active flight plan (without erasing the flight plan). Enter Vspeed that will show up as speed bugs on the appropriate PFD. Meaning that entering in V1, VR, and V2 speeds on the boeing FMC will cause the V speed bugs to appear at the correct speed on the boeing 777 PFD. That’s the main stuff. There’s more but all the other features have to be unlocked by editing files and like I said the documentation is not the most straightforward.

I really feel as though I can’t put everything this addon can do to words so I’ve prepared the video above. Thats me Programing a Flight plan into the Honeywell GNS-XLS Flight Management System. It along with the 8 other gauges can be placed in any aircraft. In addition to that FMS, I modified the default King Air to have a Honeywell EFS50 ADI & EHSI, along with their associated control units. I also made a dedicated ISG CFG file for it which unlocks some of the more advanced features we talked about. I often choose to fly this King Air over the 2 other payware ones I have. You want to know the best part about ISG? It’s only $23, That’s it! That’s not that bad really. The only real complaint I have about it is the fact that unless you know how to edit panels it can be hard to get the most out of it. But it makes a great addon for thoughs of you who can’t afford a full addon aircraft like PMDG and company. Or for those of you who want to learn how to work the avionics in a less demanding setup than a complex addon aircraft. All the gauges work like their IRL counterparts. And ISG works on P3D to.

The Big question is Does this addon that was released in 2011, stand up today? Id say yes. Integrated Sim Avionics does withstand the test of time. It does exactly what it should do, and does it well. Its cheap enough that mostly anyone can afford it. It works on any airplane. There’s Minimal performance impact. Were it only for the actual panel installation process, and the overall user friendliness; I could call it a truly must have addon for anyone. My favorite part is the price. At only $23 its exactly where I personally would value it. See I can’t answer the question of weather or not this is worth your money. I dont know how much you value your money. I can only tell you that this addon is exactly in the price range I would put it if I was selling it.

By: Timothy Thomas

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Imgur album showing off the aircraft I have ISG installed on.

Integrated Simavionics

Alejandro Rojas freeware aircraft

Richard Schwertfeger Global express

DCS Spitfire now available for Pre-Purchase | and DCS Module Trading is now Banned!

DCS World one of the most popular Combat Flight Simulators will soon have a new Aircraft, the Spitfire LF Mk IX! Originally developed as a response to the appearance of the Focke-Wulf FW 190A; The Spitfire LF IX was the most numerous version of the Mk IX, with 4,010 produced. It’s powered by the Merlin 66, A Liquid Cooled, Piston powered, V12 Engine. The Engine produces 1,720 hp at 5,750 ft and can push the Spitfire to a Maximum speed of 404 mph at 21,000 feet. The majority of Mk IXs of all types used the standard “c” wing, which would often carry two 20mm cannon and four .303in machine guns. The DCS Spitfire features Highly detailed, six-degrees-of-freedom cockpit. Accurate Spitfire LF Mk IX model, squadron markings, and weapons. Detailed modelling of the Spitfire LF Mk IX instruments, weapons, engine, radios, fuel, and electrical systems. Instant Action and Single Missions. And Interactive training missions. It’s now available for Pre-purchase at a price of $39.99, though it will jump to $49.99 on release day. Note this is Not for Steam. Sadly Steam users of DCS must wait until the aircraft fully releases on the Steam store as DLC.

In other news Eagle Dynamics has Banned the Transfer of keys between accounts. Before now you could transfer Product keys between accounts. They were also able to be traded between users. Sadly not anymore. Eagle Dynamics has Banned module trading. After some digging it appears ED cited EULA Violations as the alleged reason for this move. They have also stated that the planned to implement a Gift system, but do not currently have a timeline for this system.