It’s always exciting to see new developers enter the market, bringing new skills and technologies to simulator add-ons. It’s even more exciting when a developer branches out from what they’re already known for and gives us something totally different. Such is the case here, with the announcement of the Socata TBM900 for X-Plane by a “new” developer going under the banner of HotStart.
HotStart would be better known to some as totoritko, or “the guy who makes Better Pushback for X-Plane”, and as it turns out he has also teamed up with Leading Edge Simulations, another well-known developer with plenty of aircraft development experience, for the announcement of their upcoming Socata TBM900 product.
The announcement of the TBM900 on the X-Pilot.com forums contains a long list of features being promised with this new aircraft. Punters should expect “a high-fidelity simulation of the TBM 900 high-performance single-engine turboprop aircraft” with a persistence wear & tear component system, simulating the perks (and pitfalls) of owning such an aircraft in the real world. Right down to things such as persistent switches and flight control positions. Maintenance items such as tyre pressures, oil condition, battery charge and so forth, will all deteriorate between aircraft reloads.
Inside the cockpit, you’ll be looking at a G1000 glass panel, including a custom EICAS, system synoptics, and integration with additional systems such as Wx Radar, electrics, etc. While on the subject of electrics, the busses and breakers are all functionally modelled, as well as failure logic integrated with X-Plane’s failure system.
When it comes to the handling and behaviour of the aircraft, it’s claimed that the flight model is within just a few percentiles of the real aircraft’s flight envelope, meaning highly accurate modelling of the maximum and stall speeds are present, along with the climb, fuel burn, trim behaviour and control feel characteristics.
On the exterior, we’re being promised something special. HotStart is promising a “dynamic custom reg mark” system which they say will allow livery artists to paint a generic aircraft, and the user is able to then apply their choice of reg number to the livery in-sim using one of the aircraft menus. Livery artists will be able to specify a custom position and font to optimise the overall look.
As someone who considers myself to be a reasonably skilled livery artist, this part excites me most.
One of the big selling points for new aircraft these days is the sounds. Some people will make a choice to purchase an aircraft based on the sounds alone. Fortunately, HotStart is promising a custom sound engine, filled with samples from the real aircraft, along with accurate modelling of the engine state noises and individual sub-component noises, such as fuel pumps and hydraulic pumps – all the little things that make a huge difference to the immersion.
Most importantly though, the plane spruiks heavy multi-threading architecture in order to utilise modern CPUs to their full capacity, hopefully delivering excellent performance. No word on how it will handle older hardware though, but hopefully the same effort has been put into optimising performance on systems not running the latest and greatest.
The release of this aircraft is aimed for early in the Northern Hemisphere Summer of 2018 and will be available through X-Aviation upon release.
Updates are promised between now and then on the X-Pilot forums for those who are chomping at the bit to get their hands on this excellent looking turbo-prop.
Check out the screenshots below, or click through to the X-Pilot forums to see the full feature list and collection of screenshots.