The new November/December issue of PC Pilot has finally touched down, and as always it is loaded with exciting reviews, features and tutorials!
In this is a special issue we put the spotlight on X-Plane, produced by Laminar Research. Traditionally, X-Plane has perhaps been the ‘Cinderella’ of the party, with Microsoft Flight Simulator (in its various iterations), in terms of pure numbers, being the more popular platform. However, over the past few years, particularly since Microsoft stopped supporting Flight Simulator, the popularity of X-Plane has been steadily growing, particularly since the release of version 11; and that growth (in terms of sales) has accelerated in the past 12 months. In that time, we have increasingly received requests from our readers to include more X-Plane related content. So, given its ever-growing popularity and due to popular demand, we decided to produce this X-Plane special issue.
Over the following pages you will find X-Plane-related reviews, features and interviews. In future issues, we will continue to give X-Plane the coverage it duly deserves. However, for those who are perfectly happy with the other main platforms such as FSX and Prepar3D, rest assured we will continue to support those simulators as we have done in this issue.
Raising the bar – FlyJSim’s 727 Series Professional V3
FlyJSim has continuously improved its products, updating them to current X-Plane 11 standards and enhancing them to levels that has earned the company a stellar reputation. With the third major update, the 727 Series Professional V3 appears to have reached full maturity and is one of the top X-Plane experiences to be had.
The gateway to California -Shortfinal Design’s KLAX – Los Angeles HD
‘MisterX6’ is well-known in the X-Plane community because of his superb freeware airports and almost legendary static aircraft library. His real name is Justin Kissling and this is his third commercial product, which I would say is probably the most challenging to date as the airport depicted in this release is Los Angeles International (KLAX), developed under Justin’s commercial banner of Shortfinal Design.
This is a realistic and accurate portrayal of Los Angeles and is accentuated by the massive array of objects scattered around the airport, from empty baggage carts to service vehicles.
A new Airbus for Prepar3D – Aerosoft’s A318/A319 Professional
The arrival of the latest A318 and A319 professional marks the debut of Aerosoft’s Airbus in
Prepar3D V4. It’s a remarkable journey for a product that began as the Airbus X many years ago. Now in its fourth incarnation, Aerosoft Airbuses have grown from just the A320 to include the whole family from the baby A318 to the long-bodied A321. Along the way, the humble ‘bus’ has just got better and better. This latest version, a P3D V4 exclusive, sees the ‘bus’ stretch even further from its beginnings.
Turbine version! – MilViz’s DHC-3T Turbo Otter
One of the classic bush planes is the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter. Many airframes of this
robust plane were subsequently converted by replacing the radial piston pounder with the Pratt & Whitney PT6A turbine engine. MilViz has responded to consumer requests and released this turbine version, the DHC3- Turbo. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up.
The innovative VTOL aircraft – AOA Simulations’ V-22 Osprey
When one considers that we are only a bit more than 100 years past the inception of manned, powered, controllable flight, it is quite amazing to see the aircraft and spacecraft
that have gone from the drawing board to the skies above us and into space beyond. It is an entertaining thought experiment to imagine how the early pioneers of flight constructing their gliders and odd contraptions in garages and barns, would react upon seeing an aircraft as complex as the V-22 Osprey take to the sky. Thanks to AOA Simulations, we can try our hand at mastering this unique Vertical Take- Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft in X-Plane 11.
Life’s a Beech – Carenado’s D18S
Carenado has created yet another fine aircraft here that is an honest reflection of the real one. It you enjoy flying the classics I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one… it’s a beauty!
The original Manchester Airport – Orbx’s Manchester City and Barton Heliport
Orbx is expanding its product range for X-Plane 11, which taps into a massive potential customer base. This latest release reinforces its commitment to the platform because it depicts an airport that is currently only available for X-Plane. The airport in question is Manchester City (EGCB) Airport, also known by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as Manchester/Barton or Barton Aerodrome. While it’s classed as an airport, it is in fact an airfield, with grass being the only covering for its four runways. So it’s primarily a (very popular) GA airport that also caters for helicopters and a few small commercial operators.
The ultimate utility helicopter – DreamFoil Creations’ Bell 407
When it comes to building helicopters for X-Plane, DreamFoil Creations needs little introduction. Its latest release is based on the four-bladed Bell 407 single-engine utility helicopter, designed specifically for X-Plane 11. The real example is an upgraded version of the 206L LongRanger but it was equipped with several improvements including a tail boom and rotor hub made from carbon fibre while a powerful Rolls-Royce/Allison 250-C47 turboshaft engine provides improved better hot-and-high performance. We find out how the DreamFoil has modelled this versatile utility helicopter.
Precision engineering – TPR: Thrustmaster’s Pendular Rudder
Thrustmaster has always had a reputation for producing highquality products, particularly for the flight simmer. Over the years I have owned a number of their controllers including
the F-16 FLCS (Flight Control System), F-16 TQS (Throttle Control System), HOTAS (Hands-On Throttle and Stick) Cougar and the HOTAS Warthog. However, the very first Thrustmaster product I ever purchased, back in the 90s, was the RCS (Rudder Control System). This was a very sturdy and robust unit that lasted for many years. So when I heard that Thrustmaster was producing a high-end set of rudder pedals with a new and potentially revolutionary system, I had to find out more. So, I invited the company to take part in a Q&A to explain, among other things, the rationale behind the TPR: Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder (or TPR).
X-Plane 11.30 – An Interview with Laminar Research
With the impending release of X-Plane 11.30, we decided to speak to the Laminar Research team to find out what features we can expect in the new version.
MilViz – An exclusive interview with Colin Pearson
Military Visualizations, or MilViz as it is best known, is one of the few add-on developers in the industry that has a hand in all three sim genres: military, civil and GA. The development team has only recently taken the plunge into the world of X-Plane with its first aeroplane, a C310T, due out in the coming months. So we decided to sit down with MilViz’s creative director, Colin Pearson, to discuss this move and all things MilViz.
ORBX – The move to X-Plane
Orbx CEO, John Venema discusses how his passion for flight simulation resulted in the formation of Orbx Simulations and the release of X-Plane 11 served as the catalyst for the company’s expansion into the X-Plane market.
Flying Circus – A new beginning
We invited Jason Williams, President of 777 Studios and Executive Producer of 1C Game Studios, to discuss their new World War One simulator: IL-2 Sturmovik: Flying Circus.
Challenging Airports: Bolzano, Italy (LIPB)
Some areas of the world are just ‘genetically gifted’ when it comes to topography and natural beauty. As we’ve hopscotched around the globe during our Challenging Airports series, we often find ourselves coming back to the same regions simply because they have so much to offer. Such is the case in this issue, where we revisit the spectacular mountain landscapes of northern Italy and the scenic vistas provided by the Dolomites surrounding the valley city of Bolzano.
Flight Adventure: The Beechcraft B200 King Air
In this issue Peter Stark takes a look at the B200 King Air and demonstrates the versatility of this popular aircraft as he flies across several routes in the North Atlantic.
Back to Basics: Planning your flight
Despite the recreational virtues of flying, the usual purpose is to get to a nominated destination. So, while this series will continue to expand our knowledge of related meteorology, aircraft performance and weight and balance, we will also be spending a lot of time seeing how real-world pilots flew before GPS existed and how to use flight simulators to practice visual navigation techniques.
If that was not enough, this month’s online section features several videos. To accompany our X-Plane Q&A feature starting on page 12, we have a two-part developer discussion featuring members of Laminar Research – including its founder Austin Meyer. We also showcase Aerosoft’s A318/319, FlyJSim’s 727, Shortfinal Design’s Los Angeles Airport HD, MilViz’s DHC-3T Turbo Otter, Orbx’s EGCB Manchester City Airport and Heliport (Barton), Carenado’s Classics D18S, AOA Simulations’ V-22 Osprey and Dreamfoil Creations’ Bell 407. Finally, we also have nine freeware files comprising a mixture of airports, aircraft and utilities.