A Classic DC-3 For X-Plane 10/11

XPlane DC3 by Vskylabs

VSkyLabs Douglas DC-3 for X-Plane 11

Every aviation enthusiast has an appreciation for the Douglas DC-3.  It may not get your adrenaline pumping as much as a high speed pass by a P-51 Mustang or Spitfire, but the venerable DC-3 has a remarkable history everyone must appreciate.  From revolutionizing airline travel to carrying paratroopers into France to hauling cargo around the frozen north of Canada and Alaska, the DC-3 is an accomplished design.

Now you can fly the DC-3 in X-Plane 10 and 11.  The quality add-on by vSkyLabs focuses less on eye candy and shifts toward realism.  If you are used to the point and fly dynamics of FSX, then this isn’t the aircraft for you. But, if you want to try your hand at operating this workhorse, then grab the model.  Heck, if you want have a bit of aviation nostalgia in your virtual hangar, then grab the model.   But, read the instructions first!

The visual model is a little dated, but still relevant.  It is a model from an older version updated and ported to work with XP10 and XP11.  While a little rough around the edges, you can appreciate the classic DC-3 nose, square side windows and the unique tail section.  To me, the protruding landing gear behind the oil coolers is really what makes this a DC-3!

The cockpit of the VSKYLABS DC-3 SeattleOn the inside, using Shift-9, you can fly the aircraft from the Virtual Cockpit view.  Holding a right click on the mouse allows you to pan around the 3D model of the cockpit and cabin.  Plenty of switches, nobs and levers to keep your inner pilot giddy for hours.

This model truly shines from when you start the takeoff roll, or even before if you start the sim cold and dark.  This model behaves like a real DC-3.  Locking the tail wheel is a must!  Proper trim, power setting, and finesse of the controls is the name of the game.  Abuse this plane and it will result in virtual personal injury.  You truly have to be aware of what the aircraft is doing and don’t over correct or over control the aircraft.  The DC-3 is a gem to fly, if you work with her, not against her.

For $19.95, this is a great deal.  While the visual model might not be the best thing out there, it does not matter since the flying dynamics and realism are what counts in this purchase.  I highly recommend this purchase for all serious simmers.

Purchase From X-Plane.org

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Weather, Fog and a Cool View

 

Sometimes, the less than ideal weather that causes that voice in the back of your brain to scream, “don’t fly! don’t fly!”, really is the best weather to fly in.  Not only for entertainment purposes, but also because it can make you a better pilot.

b747

I recently took the SSG 747-8f out for a spin around the Seattle area.  The Cargolux beast took to the air from Everett/Paine Field and quickly became consumed in fog.  Flying IFR was great on the ascent, but changed to chase view in X-Plane to capture the above image.  Sorta of reminds me of jaws coming out of the deep blue sea.  Without the tail, the sexy, curvaceous fuselage really pops.

Happy Flying!

 

FlyJSim Releases Boeing 727 for X-Plane

As if Christmas came early this year, FlyJSim beat Santa Claus to the virtual flying gift with their long awaited release of the Boeing 727 for X-Plane 10.  Available as stand alone packages or a complete pack, the group offers the 727-100, 727-200Adv, and the 727-200F variants.  If this release is anywhere close to the quality of their existing Dash 8 Q400 model, the 727 is going to be an awesome experience!

FlyJSim releases the 727 series

FlyJSim releases the 727 series

If that hasn’t gotten your mouth watering, available separately are livery packs, such as “The American Classics Pack” from XPJets for the -200Adv model.  You can also purchase a pack that contains all 54 liveries across all three variants.

What surprises me is that by the time you buy the Complete 727 Model Pack ($62) with the Complete Livery Pack ($19.95), you are pushing north of $80.  While the sticker shock makes me change my underwear, when you realize you are getting a complete package of one of the most detailed and advanced models for X-Plane 10, suddenly that sticker shock seems like a bargain.  Of course, you could just purchase your favorite variant $32 individually.

< click to see the purchase options at the .Org store >

I know what I am doing this weekend… flying the virtual skies in a classic three holer!

FlyJSim 727-100 on approach to KSEA. Detailed cockpit is awesome.

FlyJSim 727-100 on approach to KSEA. Detailed cockpit is awesome.

Update – Purchased the complete variant pack and the complete livery pack. After a simple installation, I took the -100 variant in an Eastern Airlines “whisperjet” livery out for a flight from KPDX to KSEA.  I can say that I am speechless.  Everything I love about the Dash 8, applies to the 727.  The detailed cockpit, sounds, and exterior model are simply the best and justify the expense.

Banking turn from KPDX on a test flight to KSEA in the FlyJSim Boeing 727-100

Banking turn from KPDX on a test flight to KSEA in the FlyJSim Boeing 727-100

With three models and 54 liveries to explore, this X-Plane 10 add-on is going to keep me busy.  Time to  sit down with the manuals and start with cold and dark cockpit.  Full review coming soon!

 

A Cessna 182RG Turbo for X-Plane

Surprises are always great unless they involve death or car crashes.  Luckily for the X-Plane community, this post doesn’t have anything to do with death or car crashes.  That means good news for the general aviation crowd running X-Plane (9 or 10 works).

The great news is the .Org (X-Plane.org) purchased from Shade Tree Micro Aviation (STMA, checkout their awesome DHC-3 Otter!) their Cessna Skylane Turbo RG model and have made it free to their members.  Whenever a former payware aircraft goes freeware, you have to take a step back and bring your expectations down a level.   In this case, they don’t have to come down too far.

STMA’s Cessna SkyLane 182RG for X-Plane

 

I took the Skylane out for a test flight from Three Forks, MT to Bozeman, MT and have to say my expectations were beyond met.  Granted this is an older model and you can tell it is more of X-Plane 8.6 refinement, but the panel, virtual cockpit, flight dynamics, and overall package are superb.   While perhaps lower in quality compared to Carenado’s payware, the overall package delivered here for free sets it apart.

The modeled interior is a welcoming place to spend a few hours.  While the refinement will likely be hard for some to get over, the fact is that the interior is there.  Seating for four, door handles, and yokes have been fully modeled.  While I was a bit disappointed with the 2D-like panel in the virtual cockpit, you have to remind yourself that everything you need is there; light switches, HSI, altimeter, throttles, etc.

Hey, it has a back seat!

The Skylane Turbo packs a bunch with over 200-hp and a cruise speed of 150+ knots.  The retractable gear is also fully animated and its just cool to watch it fold back into the stowed position with this model.    The flight dynamics are “reactive” yet forgiving.  True to the X-Plane feel, you have to fly this plane or set the auto pilot.

Power and speed in a compact package, the SkyLane Turbo is a great companion.

Perhaps one of the best features is the return you get in frame rates.  Running this model on X-Plane 9.70 on my old 2007 iMac with settings cranked fairly high, I was able to get 45+ fps, easy.  That means more processor power for the world around you.

< Cessna SkyLane Turbo 182RG for X-Plane  >

So, if you haven’t already skipped to this part (who reads these posts anyway?), you can download the model over at the .Org.  Just make sure to say a thank you to Shade Tree Micro Aviation and the .Org while you are over there.

 

Carenado’s Cessna 337H

Carenado sneaks up on you at times and just screams in your ear, scaring you half to death.  Well, not quite, but seeing the release of their Cessna C337H for X-Plane was a big surprise.   Now this means that I have yet another awesome aircraft to buy…   Who knew running a flight simulator blog could get so expensive??

< Carenado’s Cessna C337H page >

Anyway, you X-Plane Cessna fanatics better get over to their store and buy it.

Poll: Which Flight Simulator Do You Fly Most?

With an upcoming series of posts that touch on multiple flight simulator products, please share which flight simulator that you fly the most?

Poll closes Friday, November 2nd at Noon PST!

Decisions on Flight Simulator: A Multipart Series

Here at ARoMO, I am not only intrigued by the awesome aircraft that our community creates, both payware and freeware, but I am also intrigued by the choices we have.

As a multi post series, I would like to discuss some of the larger decisions made when we sit down in front of our computers and click on the icon of our favorite simulator.   In fact, the very choice of which simulator to fly in is the first of a series of critical decisions we make, hence Part One, the Simulator.  If you are like me and have FS2000, FS2004, FSX, P3D, X-Plane 9, and X-Plane 10 sitting on your hard drive, how do you decided which one to use?  So, this is Part One, choosing the simulator.

For Part Two of this series, the airports.  I wanted to touch on how to decide where a flight a should take place.  From which airport, are there multiple legs and which arrival airport?  The very essence of the flight takes form in the decision we make here, although I don’t think this is the most critical.  In fact, the decision we make here influences the decision in part three. I will also offer some tools that can help inspire your choice of airports should you be looking for a new adventure or lacking inspiration.

For Part Three, the aircraft.  We will discuss the decision on which aircraft to fly.  From what’s available in the hangar, how do decide what your bird is for the day?  While dependent upon the size of the airports selected in part two, this decision is not as simple as walking out to your driveway, jumping in the car you own, and driving off to work or where ever.

One could argue that Part Two, Airports and Part Three, Aircraft can be flip flopped.  Sometimes the decision to fly a particular aircraft drives the decision of where to fly.  Bush planes fly in Alaska, but 747’s fly international between big airports.  But, if you want to fly a route, such as KSBA to KBZN via KDEN, that would take a regional jet or a more advanced general aviation aircraft like a Piper Malibu if you want to fly non-stop.

You can start to see some of the decisions we make every time we fire up the simulator, no matter which one it is.  My hope is that by the end of the three parts, my readers and flight simulator community at large will share their ideas on how they create their own flying journey’s across the globe.