Laminar Research has recently inundated the community with plenty of previews and insights into the ongoing work behind X-Plane 12. Through a collaboration with well known friend, Michael Brown at XForcePC, Austin has showcased three new aircraft coming to X-Plane, the F14 Tomcat, Airbus A330-300 as well as Austin’s own experimental Lancair Evolution. Simulation filmmakers, Aviation Lads has also showcased the Cirrus SR22 in an all new full flight trailer for the aircraft, shot straight from X-Plane 12.
In a single screenshot of the Beech Baron on their Facebook page, Laminar Research suggests that they have been working not only on new default aircraft, but working to improve the already released default aircraft within X-Plane 11. The post mentions that the new Baron will require proper start up procedure because if the engines flood through improper startup, you will have to wait, follow a procedure to drain the engines of fuel before attempting to start the engine once again.
In an extremely visually appealing trailer from Aviationlads, the Cirrus SR22 is showcased in a full flight from a bustling Santa Monica airport (KSMO) to Placerville (KPVF). Not only do we experience some of the aircraft’s systems, modelling, animations and sounds, we are also spoiled with other features that X-Plane 12 will have to offer over X-Plane 12 such as the new clouds and sky textures, icing effects on aircraft surfaces and windows as well as librain in full effect in a very wet approach. We also get a glimpse at a heavily populated Los Angeles which includes many points of interest such as the Griffin Observatory and the infamous Hollywood sign.
In a demonstration video with Michael Brown, Austin shows us exactly what the F14 is capable of. Austin starts of by outlining the history of the F-14 and how it came to be which maybe an insight as to why they may have included it in the next generation of X-Plane. Austin has lots of fun showcasing the aircraft to include incredible afterburner effects and sounds, both internal and external modelling and crisp textures as well as full animations such as gear, flaps, slats and automatic wing folding at mach 0.98. The level of detail doest stop there with Austin describing that the real aircraft doesn’t have a battery so if the aircraft runs out of fuel, you will not be able to restart in the air if you miraculously refuel mid-flight, just as in the real-world counterpart. Austin finalises the video by completing a carrier landing on the existing X-Plane 11 carrier whilst mentioning that this is to be replaced by a new carrier that is currently being worked on, ready for X-Plane 12.
In a video to showcase the new Airbus A330-300, Austin starts by commenting on the very visible icy runway and tells us that depending on the ambient temperature, ice will transform and melt into puddles when the temperature is above zero degrees and water will form to ice when the temperature falls below zero, just as it would in the real world. Turning to the aircraft, Austin shows us around the externals of the giant Airbus to show fine details such as bump maps on the fuselage metal, differing materials with custom reflections as well as the very detailed landing gear mechanisms. On takeoff Austin comments on how sluggish the big bird accelerates and slides on the icy runway. Once in the air, further focus is brought to the unique eagle claw landing gear which extends the rear wheels further than the front wheels on the main landing gear to help soften the landings which is described in great detail in true Austin fashion. Turning to the flight deck, he describes the in-depth detail that they have taken in terms of systems to include ECAM warnings and checklists, emergency pages, hydraulics and the complex intricacies of the Airbus’ Fly By Wire system including bank limits, overspeed and low speed corrections. Austin also mentions that the aircraft is capable of pushing these limits when in direct law mode which is also modelled in the aircraft.
A third video shows N844X, Austin’s own Lancair Evolution which he built alongside Lancair which is an experimental airframe in which only around 50 have been manufactured. Externally, the aircraft looks polished and well modelled with reflections and PBR textures but when looking a little closer, Austin and Michael see the artist has included real world nicks in the paint along the leading edge of the wing which suggests the effort they have taken to recreate this aircraft. On takeoff, Austin shows the sheer power by allowing the aircraft to idle down the runway to reach over the takeoff speed of a Cessna 172 before adding only 40% power to takeoff and climb out at 4,000fpm. After showing some agility in the air which includes a full roll, Austin describes the cockpit layout and the flow that he designed into the aircraft for ease of use, working top left to bottom right as you would need them. He also points out that the Honda S2000 start button is also included and modelled in this aircraft, as it is in his own. After further demonstrations of the aerobatic ability of the aircraft and the improved stall dynamics, Austin attempts a dramatic approach from a high level, slowing to a high speed approach and landing on another icy runway whilst exhibiting the sound of the prop in Beta.
Austin mentions a few more tweaks and developments will come to X-Plane 12 to include dramatic stepped lighting will be worked on to be a lot more smooth, Roads and coastlines will see improvements with coastlines falling below the water line and disappearing where the land meets the sea to give a much more authentic representation, fog and clouds are still being worked on to ensure they are nothing less than perfect too.
What we are seeing is the basis of what stands to be, a huge leap from X-Plane 11. There have been no further mentions of timeline and it important that this is still in early Alpha testing stages with 200 private testers, so there will be a while before we see the release in online stores yet.