Sweet: A 747-8F

Being mostly all things Boeing, Project Opensky (POSKY) has been busily working away on different variants of the classic 747.  With their recent release of the AL-1 platform and development of a 787 model, the next generation long-haul freighter, the 747-8F couldn’t be far behind.   Ya know somethin’?  It really isn’t!

Recently posted in the POSKY “Official Preview” forum are some fantastic screenshots of the new model.  Check them out. While you are there, make sure to leave a comment and congratulate the team on yet another superb model for Flight Simulator 2004. If compatibility is on par with their other models, we should be able to enjoy it in FSX as well!

Cheers!

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POSKY CRJ-900 V3 is OUT!

Project Opensky released the first of many liveries that adorn their new CRJ-900 version 3 model for flight simulator.   I will save you the hastle of having to read a lot before you get to the download link and I will just post the link to the download.  As for flight simulator version compatibility, it was designed for FS9, but would likely work in FSX as their CRJ-700 does.

Lufthansa 2303 at Heathrow

<GET CRJ-900 V3 HERE>

POSKY CRJ-900 v3 turning toward Prague over the UK

I took this beauty on a short flight from Heathrow to Prague to get a feel for its FDE and another look at the exterior model.  You know, POSKY surely knows how to model the CRJ.  Their CRJ-700 model set a new standard for animation and eye candy.  It is no surprise that this new CRJ-900 model shares the same new standard.  Very cool stuff.

The FDE is behaved with only a few surprises. The throttle response seems slow to pickup, but when it does, hang on.  I found myself constantly adjusting the throttle to maintain speed both while taxiing and during flight.  I believe this is a characteristic of the real world CRJ.  Nothing to complain about, but it will take you surprise the first time you experience it.

Cheers!

2/2/10 – note: A bunch more liveries are now available in the download site.  Liveries now include: Adria, SAS, Delta Connection Multi-Pack, and SkyWest 35th Anniversary edition livery.  Go get em!

Project Airbus A380 Project Resumed

A while back, when Project Airbus announced stopping development of their upcoming Airbus A380 release, I was a little disappointed. Sure, other modelers have produced fairly decent versions of the massive, double-deck passenger plane for flight simulator, but none had the extensive detail that has become synonymous with FSX.

Well, I am no longer disappointed as Project Airbus recently restarted work on the A380.  Yes!

Project Airbus home page features a stunning A380 screen capture.

You can read their announcement here.  While no release date has been set, good things come to those who wait.  Looking at the screenshots in their forum, the A380 will impress!

Good news! While designed for FS9, compatibility with FSX is expected to be good.  Their current A320 family ports to FSX with minimal issues and a patch.

Cheers!

– Update 5/23/2010 – With WIP screenshots of repaints (oohh… Lufthansa!) in the forum and a lot of buzz around this wonderful A380 model, watch closely for a potential release.  While no release date has been announced, you might to check out the group’s activity as release nears.   Also, follow @projectairbus on twitter if you are a Tweetie!

– Update 6/29/2010 – This amazing A380 has been released.  Check out the A Reality of My Own release post here for links.

Another Cargo Jet: C-17 by UKMIL

Tom Ruth’s Antonov AN-225 is the largest cargo jet available (see The Biggest of the Big).  However, it doesn’t exactly handle like a sports car.  If you are looking to haul a lot of stuff to distant front lines with short runways, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster will fit the bill.  Now, thanks to UKMIL, you can enjoy the C-17 in FSX SP2.

C-17 by UKMIL descending over Europe

The C-17 by UKMIL descending over Europe

The C-17 is not only a great looking plane, with an important military role, but it has some great facts as well (wikipedia):

1) Developed and built by McDonnell Douglas and later Boeing in the United States

2) It is the third model of the Globemaster series; the C-74 (I) and  C-124 (II) are predecessors in the strategic airlift role

3) Each C-17 costs $218 million.

4) Each C-17 can haul 160,000 lbs. of cargo 2,400 nm, and can land on runways as short as 3,500 feet.

The C-17 is a true workhorse and operates as the sports car of cargo aircraft.  It is so popular with armed forces, that military units around the world use it for a variety of missions.  From med-evac, to troop deployments, to tactical airlift, the C-17 can do it.

You can do it too thanks to UKMIL’s extraordinary modeling abilities.  Their Flight Simulator X model is full of eye candy, including a detailed virtual cockpit, animated ramps and plenty of doors to open and close.  They even delivered this download with 12 (twelve!) liveries, including one Qatar livery.

UKMIL C-17 Virtual Cockpit in Flight Simulator X

The VC includes fully functional HUDs for both seats!

To me, one of the best features of this model is the virtual cockpit itself.  Yes, the graceful, rounded lines of the fuselage are cool and the animation is there to please the eye, but the realistic flight experience is where the enjoyment is.  There are very few models on the market that offer realistic, functional virtual cockpits like this C-17 does.  The dual HUD’s are just the beginning, with clickable auto-pilot buttons, advanced panels, and animated yokes that add to the impressive experience.

Clicking around this flying office really made me want to take for it for a test flight, just to see if the rest of the experience measures up.   So, I loaded up a flight plan from Dubai to Zurich.  The flight started in the dark, early morning hours, but it was okay since the visibility from the cockpit is great and the taxi lights are nicely illuminated. Ground handling is quite good, although you have to take it slow.  This isn’t a Cessna and does not turn on a dime.  Well calculated turns are needed here, especially on narrow taxiways.

Aligning the nosewheel on the center line of the runway, I eased the throttles forward.  The four Pratt and Whitney PW2040 (F117-PW-100 if you are DoD) engines roared to life and started accelerating down the runway.  We were quite light, so rotation came quickly and then our flight had begun.

On our ascent to cruising altitude, I couldn’t help but wiggle the wings and do some banking turns (sorry dudes in the back!) to see how the C-17 handled.  I have to say much more nimble than the AN-225 and more like a 737, which is great considering how much weight it can haul the its larger size.

UKMIL C-17 at cruise altitude in Flight Simulator X

At cruise altitude over Iran, notice the marker lights

Cruising along at 32,000 feet, you can’t help but play with all of the cool buttons on the panels in the virtual cockpit. Some of the switches operate the lights, one of which turns on the marker lights.  The outside view with them on in the early, early morning light, you can get the sense of what it would look like from the tail of a KC-135 refueling tanker.  Imagine placing the refueling boom in that box (screen above) while cruising at a few hundred miles per hour.  Yep, the imagination wanders while cruising with the auto-pilot.

C-17 by UKMIL descending into Vienna

Descending into Vienna with IFR weather conditions below.

After the sun came up and illuminated the Swiss Alps, it was time to start our descent into Zurich. Unfortunately, the weather at Zurich was IFR below us so ATC took us on a little tour of the greater Zurich area to align us with the runway.  But then I came in a little fast and conducted a go around, which required even more maneuvering.   It is a good thing that I found the C-17 a joy to fly and a joy to look at it in chase view.  For such a utility oriented aircraft, it really handled quite responsively with light controls and a tight 360 radius.   I am not sure if the passengers in the back would ever fly with me again, but I enjoyed it. 😉

C-17 trying to land Zurich

Coming around for another pass at low altitude

Landing was a breeze the second time around.  Flaps, trim and air speed all set and this Globemaster settled easily on the runway just over the piano keys.  Engaging reverse thruster (didn’t need to, but what the heck) brought us quickly to taxi speed.  Turning off the runway at Zurich, we were cleared to the cargo ramp.  The taxiways at Zurich easily accommodated this big bird and I was shutting down the engines, disappointed that such a great flight, in such an awesome FSX model came to an end.

But then, I can still play around with the eye candy before I exit flight simulator; the doors, the ramp, the lights, the flaps.  Plenty of things to watch go up and down, left and right, and everything in between.

C-17 on the ramp at foggy Zurich

On the ramp, unloading at foggy Zurich

Overall, the C-17 Globemaster by UKMIL is another one of those must-haves for flight simulator.  The guys at UKMIL delivered an awesome package of a true military workhorse.   From the awesome virtual cockpit, to the exterior model, to the graceful and responsive flight dynamics, they spared no expense in delivering this model for us to enjoy.  Cargo enthusiasts will spend many, many hours behind the yoke of this bird!

Cheers!

Author: UKMIL
Filename: 1UKMILC17.zip (simviation)  V1.1 Patch: 2UKC17p11.zip (simviation)
Filesize: 21.5mb , patch 7.8mb

New Flight Simulator Directory Page

For your convenience, I compiled a directory page featuring some of the top freeware add-on design teams for flight simulator.  As I find more groups, I will add them to the list.  Consider this phase one with refinement of the directory coming as I have time to update it and add detail about each group.

Flight Simulator Model Directory

If you have a favorite freeware group you would like to see on the list, please leave a comment.   Of course suggestions and feature requests are always welcome as well!

Cheers!

New Sounds for Your POSKY 777

Project Opensky released a fabulous sound set for their 777 family aircraft fitted with the Rolls Royce Trent 800-series engines.  These account for 40% of all 777’s, according to POSKY. Head over to their announcement and download your 100% authentic sound set today!

Another Saab to Fly!

Some of you may remember when Brent Henderson released his FSX Saab 340 earlier this year.  Well, there is another 340 available for you to choose from.  Both are excellent models.

The FSX model on the tarmac at KSBA.

The FSX model on the tarmac at KSBA.

The second generation Saab 340B is available for download from Premier Aircraft Design (PAD).   Compatible with FS2004/FS9 and FSX, it is currently available in two liveries, Provincial Airlines & FlyBE.  Look for more liveries in PAD’s “repaint corner” in the future. I am hoping for an American Eagle repaint.  How about you?

The model includes a great virtual cockpit and a fully modeled interior.

More to come after I put it through its paces!

Happy Saabing!