Finally, the plane that the entire X-Plane community has been following the development of, the Hot Start TBM-900, is approaching release. Cameron, the founder of X-Aviation – the storefront on which the TBM-900 will be distributed through – made a post on the X-Pilot forums today to announce that the aircraft is due for release this coming Saturday at 00:00 EST (that’s Friday night, or Saturday 0400z, for those unsure).
Hot Start, made up of experienced developers Goran Matovina (most widely known for his Leading Edge Simulations Saab 340) and Saso Kiselkov (known better as Totoritko), first announced the TBM back in March, though the aircraft had been in development for a little longer than that. Since then we’ve seen a number of previews showing Goran’s incredible modelling work, as well as Saso’s masterpiece of an avionics suite, which has left GA simmers drooling to get their hands on the aircraft.
The TBM is packed with immersive, study-level features. Some of the stand-out items include;
- Heavily multi-threaded systems architecture to leverage the performance of modern CPUs with many cores.
- Flight model tuned to perform to within a few percent of the real aircraft in the normal flight envelope, including maximum and stall speeds, rate of climb, fuel burn, trim behaviour and control feel.
- Full aircraft state persistence. Every switch, flight control position, fuel state and on-airport position is restored upon reload. Even between reloads, system resources change in real time. The engine and oil cools down slowly between flights, the battery drains, tires slowly deflate, etc.
- Fine-grained systems model, down to individual sub-components. The always-on failure system realistically responds to wear & tear and overstress for each sub-component based on individual load factors. Over-torque, over-temp, frequent starts, hard landings, operating in FOD-contaminated environments and many more all affect individual sub-component wear & tear and service life.
- Aircraft maintenance manager to inspect and repair or replace any damaged sub-component. The maintenance manager tracks per-airframe operating expenses in a realistic manner to show the real cost of operating the aircraft.
- Airframe manager that allows you to operate multiple simulated airframes, each with their own independently tracked wear & tear, livery selections and custom registration marks applied.
- Airframes can be automatically synchronized between multiple machines over the network with just a few clicks. This automatically syncs up aircraft position, configuration and wear & tear to simulate multiple users sharing the same physical aircraft. See how your fellow pilots treated the aircraft by checking the maintenance manager and engine trend monitoring outputs.
- X-Plane 11 G1000 avionics stack with lots of customizations and overlays to simulate the special extensions in the real TBM900. This includes a custom EICAS, systems synoptic pages and special integration with the extra simulated systems such as the weather radar, TAS, electrics, etc.
- Integrated Synthetic Vision into the PFD with obstacle display, navigation pathways, airport labels and TAWS-B integration.
- Integrated live charts display from FAA and Autorouter.aero. Navigraph integration will be available in a future update.
- Highly accurate PT6 engine model with realistic startup and operating behaviour. Engine lag, secondary fuel flow, ITT evolution, response to auxiliary load and many more fine-grained behaviours.
- GWX 70 weather radar with weather & ground modes and realistic radar return painting. Full simulation of radar beam energy dissipation, signal attenuation when passing through dense weather and vertical cell analysis modes. Terrain mapping accurately paints surface features, including recognizable peaks, valleys and lakes. Supports the X-Plane 11 default atmospheric model as well as xEnviro.
- Dynamic custom registration mark painting on the fuselage and instrument panel with support for custom TrueType fonts, colours and positioning. This lets livery painters make a “generic” livery and each pilot apply their own custom registration mark with just the click of a button directly in the simulator. Liveries can specify a custom position and font to optimize the look.
The feature list is way too much to include in this article, so make sure you check out the thread on the X-Pilot forums which includes some previews of the avionics and engine start model. There will be additional previews every day leading up to the release, too.
At this point in time, despite being dangerously close to release, the team has not decided on a price point at this stage. In the opinion of FSElite, however, we would expect the aircraft may be priced around the $65 mark. This is based on the high-quality modelling and systems depth of the plane, while also taking into consideration the current pricing of GA aircraft vs complex airliners currently available.
We’re sure that X-Plane users everywhere will have their wallets at the ready this coming Friday night.