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PMDG Development Update – NG3 in MSFS, 777 Update, and more

PMDG NG3 MSFS (6)

Robert Randazzo has posted an update on the PMDG forums, giving us a lot of details about their upcoming products. Covering everything from Global Flight Operations, to the upcoming first Microsoft Flight Simulator release, let’s dive right into it.

NGXu Expansions

The NGXu has two new expansions that are nearing completion. First is the NGXu Cargo Expansion. This product is going into beta testing later this week, and PMDG expects that it will be a short beta cycle before the release. The expansion will include the “737-700 BDSF and 737-800 BDSF (BeDeck Special Freighter) as well as the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter”. The initial release will only have the blended winglet option, but with a micro update, the split scimitar 800 BCF will be added to the expansion. The expansion will only require the NGXu base package to be installed as well.

Second, the NGXu Boeing Business Jet expansion. This will include both the BBJ and BBJ2 aircraft. The product is about to start alpha testing, and PMDG anticipates it will be rolled out in the next few weeks. The team will provide a visual overview when the product goes into beta testing.

777 Update

PMDG has said that the 777 update is progressing slowly, but is still coming along nicely. At the moment, the FMS is being brought up to the same level as the 747 and is now ready to start communicating with PMDG Global Flight Operations. The team is also mapping out a strategy of bringing the 200ER to the product as well.

Global Flight Operations

The testing team for Global Flight Operations has been expanding as the team is quietly bringing on new users to test out specific functions of the product. PMDG anticipates having some more announcements about Global Flight Operations, as well as a way to join the early access program in the coming weeks.

Fleet-wide Update

PMDG has been working on an update to the whole fleet of products offered by PMDG. This will include an update to the magenta line drawing, LNAV, and Flight Director. The 747 is close to going into beta testing, sometime in mid-August, then the 737 NGXu and 777 will follow in the following months.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

As previously announced, PMDG will be bringing the NG3 to Microsoft Flight Simulator as an exclusive product to the sim. PMDG also intends to bring all of its core products over the new sim, which includes the 737, 747, 777, and DC-6. The NG3 will be the first product from PMDG to be released for the new sim and is not simply a conversion of the Prepar3D product. The team says that just as the NGXu was a big jump from the NGX, the NG3 will also be a big jump from the NGXu.

The NG3 will feature an entirely new flight model that is designed to use the new capabilities of MSFS. The sound design will also capitalize on the abilities of the new sim. The NG3 flight deck also is a lot larger in terms of texture size and number of polygons, with no negative effects on performance. At the moment, the displays are not powered on as they are simply not ready to be shown off. The team expects there to be no functionality lost in the NG3 and expects to be able to add a number of new features to the NG3. The team has been working with Microsoft and Asobo to get development tools to where they need to be to fully develop products. The team is also excited as they say the new platform will allow them to do so much without having to “hack” the platform to get the results they are after.

At the moment, the team is expecting the beta testing to start in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the release coming late in the first quarter of 2021. This, however, is not a very firm timeline as Robert has said that depending on how some of the current development hurdles are handled. The timeline could shift earlier or later depending on a number of things. If progress is accelerated, Robert hopes to give an updated timeline on the NG3 near the end of the summer.

As always, we will share more information once it becomes available. Check out the full update on the PMDG forums for more details.

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FSUIPC6 for Prepar3D V4 & V5 now Available

FSUIPC

John Dowson has released on Simmarket the latest version of FSUIPC, that is now compatible with both Prepar3D V4 and V5.

FSUIPC (Flight Simulator Universal Inter-Process Communication) has been around for more than two decades in the world of Flight Simulator for Windows, created by Pete Dowson, and now taken over by his son John. It provides an easier interface to interact with the deeper inner data of the Flight Simulator and Prepar3D engine. It is extremely popular as it enables simmers to configure and calibrate their hardware in a much more advanced way than the default simulator settings. By reading deeper needed data, FSUIPC (in its basic unregistered version) is also required by many add-ons to work properly.

FSUIPC6 also incorporates WideFS7, which allows running external programs to FS from a remote computer. The use of WideFS requires a separate key purchase.

Feature List

  • Easier and more accurate joystick calibration
  • Direct axis assignements
  • Fine tuning of multi engined aircraft throttle
  • Joystick button programming
  • Compatibility with Project Magenta controls
  • Detent setting for flaps and spoilers
  • Specific aircraft profiles

FSUIPC6 can also be used as a free version, which does not give access to the specific fine calibration functions.

FSUIPC6 is available from Simmarket for €29.99. An upgrade fee for owners of FSUIPC V5 is available if it was bought through Simmarket. The upgrade fee is €9.99.

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XSquawkbox Updates Vatsim Client to Version 2.0

XSquawkbox 2.0

Vatsim client developer XSquawkbox has updated their Vatsim client to version 2.0 for X-Plane.

XSquawkbox is a plugin that is used to communicate between the simulator and the Vatsim network to allow you to fly online.

XSquawkbox has been in development since 2011 and has been improved no end and has become one of the most recommended Vatsim Clients for X-Plane. Version 2 has been through a development process consisting of six public betas and is now at a stable version 2.0.

Some of the features that have been reworked as part of the new version has been the integration of a native Audio For Vatsim tool that handles the new voice codec without the use of a third-party application to bridge the gap between XSquawkbox and Vatsim.

Alongside making XSquawkbox up to date with current software, the developer has made other changes such as implementing warnings before disconnection as well as letting you know when your system may not be satisfying the 20 frames per second minimum for Vatsim as well as a further message to tell you when you have reached the minimum FPS afterwards. The plugin now supports text and voice on COM2 radios.

You can find the final changelog for the stable V2.0 below as well as a full list of changes since V2.0b1 over on the XSquawkbox website. You can also find comprehensive documentation of how the plugin is best utilised with X-Plane.

XSquawkbox version 1.3 will become deauthorised to work with Vatsim and therefore you will need to update your current version of XSquawkbox if you wish to continue flying on the network. you can do this by heading over to the XSquawkbox website and re-downloading the plugin. Be sure to keep checking this page for further updates as the plugin does not contain an auto-updater.

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VATSIM Cross The Pond 2020 Westbound Bookings Open

Ctp 2020 West

[Update 21MAR2020 @1430Z : all slots have been booked in a matter of minutes. In the mean time, VATSIM has broken the record of connections on the network. Definitive figures will be published this week-end].

VATSIM has opened today the booking system for the slots of their upcoming popular Cross The Pond event. The first edition of the CTP event for 2020 will take place on April 4th and will start at 1100z.

This Westbound 2020 event will take place at the following airports.

Departures: EDDK, EGCC, EHAM, EIDW, LIRF, LOWW
Arrivals: CYYZ, KBOS, KJFK, KMIA, KORD, KSFO

The bookings are opened today in the following order :

12:00z – EDDK & LOWW bookings open
12:30z – EGCC & LIRF bookings open
13:00z – EIDW bookings open
13:30z – EHAM bookings open

Pilots can still fly if they have not been able to grab a slot ; however, they might expect very long delays for departure.

Slot reservation can be found at VATSIM dedicated Cross The Pond website.

 

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VATSIM Announce Restructuring of Pilot Rating System

Vatsim

In a post over on their website, VATSIM has commented on the new revised Pilot Rating System used to grade their pilots who use the online network.

VATSIM currently grades both pilots and air traffic controllers by the user’s experience and knowledge about their chosen area, but the revised system will be aligned with real-world operations and the natural progression of a pilot. With the alignment comes an all-new rating at level P0, this is to engage all new starters with the network and to ensure their level of competency is good enough to hit the ground running when they do connect for the first time. The new rating will be delivered by an automated training program and is designed to cover the basics and how to become a good VATSIM member, even before they sign into the network and also to build confidence in those existing members that might want to develop their initial skills. All existing members will automatically be awarded their P0 rating, this will enable user progression to P1 and above.

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Simbrief Status Update

Simbrief

Many users of the popular online flight-planning tool Simbrief have noticed that the servers have been under a lot of load lately. An increase in users has led to slowdowns and errors of the tool which were mainly occurring during the busy weekends. This has been visible on the website not only in terms of performance, but also a warning icon indicating a high server load.

To mitigate and prevent this issue, Simbrief is looking to upgrading the web server. This process is currently ongoing, and the website should hopefully be online on the new server by the end of this week. The developer states that no promises can be made however. During the transfer, there might be some downtime.

We’ll continue to keep you updated in the case of any significant changes with Simbrief.

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[Updated] projectFLY Status Update – Patreon Launch and V4 Delays

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projectFLY has posted on their Discord and on their Facebook page a long message regarding the current status of projectFLY. This press releases covers the projectFLY Focus Group, a projected timeline and the launch of a Patreon campaign.

projectFLY Focus Group

The projectFLY Focus Group is targeted at Flight Simulation intense flyers that will act as beta testers for the early releases of future projectFLY updates. The Focus Group members will be recruited through an application process that will go live at the same time as their Patreon Campaign. Only once the Focus Group will be gathered, the projectFLY team will turn back their attention to projectFLY V4. No further information on the application conditions have so far been stated.

The Focus Group process is expected to take from 4 to 6 weeks, which implies that the release of V4 is still much further away. 

Patreon Campaign

The major announcement of this release is without a doubt the launch of their Patreon Campaign. It is a secret to no one that projectFLY has often had difficulties with paying their bills, and has in the past been plagued by multiple server cutoff from hosts rendering the application unusable. With the launch of this Patreon, backers will be able to donate on a monthly basis to projectFLY starting £1 a month. It is unclear for now if Patreon will have any benefits compared to other regular members. Patreon is a platform that helps artists and creators get a monthly income set freely by people appreciating their work.

Update March 8th, 2020 2030Z : Focus Group registrations are now opened.

Make sure to stay tuned on FSElite for further information regarding the projectFLY situation.

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VATSIM Server Migration in Progress

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Announced through a Facebook and a VATSIM forums post, Matthew Cianfarani, the VP for Network Infrastructure of the VATSIM network, has indicated that VATSIM was starting a migration of “most of [their] websystems onto a new infrastructure”.

The time window for the migration is set from Monday, March 2nd @1700Z through Wednesday March 4th @1700Z.

Some services will be disabled and databases won’t be written during the migration. Servies such as new user registrations are temporarily unavailable, as well as several servers such as the stats server and the main vatsim.net domain.

The status of the network servers can be accessed at all time through this website.

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VATSIM Cross The Pond 2020 Westbound Date Set

Ctp 2020 West

Given to pilots through a broadcast message on the network, the VATSIM Cross The Pond 2020 Westbound will happen on Saturday April 4th, 2020.

The dedicated website is currently being updated with all the relevant information. The airport application should happen early March, and voting will follow shortly thereafter.

A semiannual event, Cross the Pond sees pilots from all over the world make the trek over the Atlantic. One event sees all traffic head westbound (leaving Europe and arriving in North America) and the second event each year sees the traffic do the opposite.

Make sure to stay tuned on FSElite for further information regarding this much expected event.

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POSCON February 2020 Progress Update

Poscon

It has been close to 6 months since POSCON last released a development update to the community. Development seems to have progressed very well and the February 2020 Dev Update by Andrew H. is consequently huge and bears a lot of news.

Public Beta

The pilots public Invite-Only Beta is around the corner. Invites have been sent to the selected pilots who have previously subscribed. There has been up to 700 invitations for Phase 1 pilots. Those pilots will soon receive an approval email. ATC are still hand-picked by the POSCON Staff and will be under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. ATC is still under heavy work, and ATC stations will be scarce during the first weeks of Pilots Public Beta.

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