Monday, November 30, 2009

feelThere/Wilco ERJ v2 Mini-Review Coming Soon

I've been flying around in the feelThere/Wilco ERJ v2 for the last couple of weeks, and I have to say, I really like it. The previous version of the ERJ was one of my favorite little planes to cruise around in, and the new version improves on it substantially while retaining the spirit of the original at the same time.

I just got done simulating a delivery of an ERJ-135 to Luxair from the Embraer factory in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil -- seven hops in all, including stops in the U.S., Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. Fun times.

There are a few minor bugs, but nothing that I would consider a showstopper at this point. Overall, it has been rock stable, with no CTD's. feelThere is keeping a list of known issues in the forums, and promises fixes soon.

Wonder what those guys are thinking of working on next? Can't wait to see. In the meantime, the ERJ v2 promises to be lots of fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Captain Sim E-767 AWACS Expansion Model Available

In the latest addition to their 767 line of add-ons, Captain Sim announced the release of their E-767 AWACS expansion model for the 767 Captain. Once again, price is €9.99, which works out to around US $15.00.

This appears to wrap up all the models based on the 767-300 base model in the 767 Captain. Wonder how far along they are on the 767-400? Probably isn't a whole lot of work to do on the exterior model, but I suspect the new all-glass cockpit introduced on the -400 is going to take a fair amount of work. I am very interested to see how this one turns out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Level-D Gives a Sneaky Peeky of the 757

Not to be outdone by all the other recent announcements, Level-D Simulations has thrown the faithful a bone this week, in the form of a screenshot of their 757! No word yet as to their progress, or when we can expect to see it. Perhaps 2010 will be the year!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Captain Sim KC-767 Tanker Model Expansion Available

Hot on the heels of yesterday's big announcements, today Captain Sim announced the release of their KC-767 Tanker expansion model for their 767 Captain add-on. Price is €9.99, which works out to around US $15.00. Enjoy!

2009 Buyer's Guide

The holidays are fast approaching. Even yours truly has a birthday coming up this month! Maybe you just need a new plane to test out that new tricked out rig you built especially for FSX this year. Whatever the reason, either you or a special flight simmer you know will be looking for something cool to add to the ol' virtual hangar this year. This article will specifically cover the new products released during the previous 12 months, although it is definitely worth mentioning that you can't go astray with perennial favorites like the PMDG 747-400X or Level-D 767-300ER.

Captain Sim
Sorry FS9 fans, all Captain Sim products appear to require FSX only.

Buyer's tip: watch for Captain Sim's annual Holiday Sale in mid-December. In 2008, they offered substantial discounts on most products in their catalog. I picked up their C-130 this way for a very low price!

Flight 1

Leonardo SH
  • Fly the Maddog v3.0 -- both FS9 and FSX versions available. €39.99 (approx. US $60) for the Standard Edition, or €49.99 (approx. US $75) for the Professional Edition.

McPhat Studios
  • CoolSky Super80 Classic World Airliners 1 €13.29 (approx. US $20)
  • CoolSky Super80 Classic World Airliners 2 €13.29 (approx. US $20)
  • CoolSky Super80 Professional World Airliners 1 €13.29 (approx. US $20)
  • CoolSky Super80 Professional World Airliners 2 €13.29 (approx. US $20)


  • Embraer Regional Jets PIC (a.k.a. feelThere! ERJ v2) -- both FS9 and FSX versions available. Includes ERJ-135, ERJ-145, and ERJ-145XR. €33.02 outside Europe (approx. US $50)
  • World Airliners 1 Livery Pack -- extra repaints for the new ERJ developed by McPhat Studios. €9.83 outside Europe (approx. US $15)
  • World Airlines 2 Livery Pack -- extra repaints for the new ERJ developed by McPhat Studios. €9.83 outside Europe (approx. US $15)

Happy holidays, simmers!

Stuff to expect to see in 2010, and beyond:
  • Captain Sim 767-400
  • Captain Sim 707
  • Captain Sim B-52
  • PMDG Boeing 737 NGv2
  • PMDG Dash-8
  • PMDG's "next big thing" (a RJ maybe?)
  • Airsimmer A320 Advanced Edition for FS9 and FSX
  • Next Level Simulations A380
And who knows what else?

Veterans Day

By the way, I just wanted to say thanks to all the veterans for their service today. Without the service of people like you, I wouldn't be able to enjoy flight simming or even blogging about it. Thanks so much for all your valor, courage, and sacrifice.

Anybody want to buy a jet?

It seems wealthy tycoon Donald Trump has decided to upgrade his private jet to a newer, larger model. So for the ultra low price of a mere $4 million to $8 million, you can fly the friendly skies like a king in a luxuriously tricked out Boeing 727 manufactured in 1968. Here are the pictures.

It's actually a rather nice looking livery. Any volunteers to do a repaint of the Captain Sim 727 in this one? :)

Wonder what he's replacing this one with?

Captain Sim Updates Their Calendar

Captain Sim has updated their calendar of scheduled updates. This is not surprising, since there was a whole flurry of 767-related activity taking place in October. Looks like the v4.4 update to the 757 (FSX version) has been pushed back to November, and the next update due for the 727 has been pushed back to December. I'll forgive them, as I know they have been busy. ;) I sure would like to get an update for the 757 to fix the broken FMS issue at KDFW, though...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flight Simmer Buyers Guide for 2009 Coming Soon

Since the holidays are coming up for most of us, it is probably time to start thinking about what to get that special virtual pilot in your life. While 2009 got off to something of a sluggish start, with the rotten economy and all, things in the flight sim world have definitely picked up recently. (Just like the global economy, come to think of it.)

I will be putting together a recap of some of the most interesting products for flight simmers that came out in 2009 within the next few days. At the same time, I'll do a refresh of some things we may expect to see in 2010. Stay tuned!

Eaglesoft Cessna Citation X 2.0 for FSX Released

You know the holidays are approaching when...

In still more good news for flight simmers, Eaglesoft recently released the FSX edition of their Cessna Citation X 2.0 ("Extreme Edition"). This one has a full FMS (with support for Navigraph updates), and looks rather impressive. Note that they do require a registered version of FSUIPC for full FADEC operation.

Price is US $49.95. As with the Airsimmer A320, this one also uses the Flight 1 eCommerce wrapper/installer. Again, no mention of it at the Flight 1 site yet. Somebody needs to go poke them and get them to update their website. :)

Oh boy, I'm going to have my hands full for a while!

One Thing I Would Like to See

I've been thinking about my wishlist of planes I would love to see in Flight Simulator that aren't yet available. A Dash-8 turboprop is way up there, as there is a growing interest in airlines operating this type for short-haul flights due to its fuel efficiency. (I would especially love to see the Q400 variant!) PMDG has said that they are hard at work on this one, which will be cool to see next year, hopefully.

For a long time, a Boeing 777 has been on my list, as it is the one major long-haul airliner that is not very well-represented. Wilco has a so-so version that is extremely buggy, too much so for my liking. I have a feeling -- and this is purely speculation -- that Captain Sim will eventually not disappoint us on this one. They have already announced that they are working on a 767-400. It would be fairly simple for them to step up from that one to a 777, in much the same way they stepped up from the 757 to the 767-300/-200/-F variants. The 767-400 uses the same cockpit as the 777, so they could reuse much of their hard work with designing cockpit gauges and displays from the 767-400 on the 777. Again, this is just a hunch, but I suspect Captain Sim will eventually deliver us a 777 sometime within the next two years or so.

The more I think about it, the more I really want to see a high-quality BAe 146 or its updated variant, the AvroRJ. There is something cute about a little commuter-sized plane with four engines under the wings. The BAe 146 has gone the way of the Fokker 70/100 in most American airlines' fleets, in favor of more efficient regional jets from Bombardier/Canadair and Embraer. However, the BAe 146 still sees a fair amount of duty over in Europe, with airlines such as Lufthansa's regional variants. (Although I think even those airlines have eventual plans to phase these out, too.) So how about it? This would be a project I would love to see somebody like PMDG take on -- given their propensity and desire for modeling "unique" aircraft, this one would fit right in over there.

Airsimmer A320 Basic Edition Released for FS9

More good news for sim pilots!

After a lengthy wait, Airsimmer has just rolled out the Airbus A320 Basic Edition for FS9! This looks like one sweet plane. I'm going to hold out for the FSX version, and I can see an eventual upgrade to the Advanced Edition in my future. This looks to be a PMDG-quality simulation of the A320. Really looking forward to this one -- I can't wait to give it a try!

The Basic Edition is very reasonably priced at US $39.99, while pricing for the upcoming Advanced Edition is US $89.99. It appears that there will be an upgrade path for Basic Edition customers to upgrade to the Advanced Edition without having to pay full price for it on top of the Basic Edition.

[EDIT: upgrade path to Advanced Edition is "still under consideration" at this point, according to this post.]

The download uses Flight 1's eCommerce wrapper and installer, although there is no mention of it up at the Flight 1 site yet. I suspect we will see something there soon. In the meantime, the Airsimmer folks have a link to the A320 download from their products page.

Combined with PMDG's upcoming 737 NG v2 due (hopefully) next year, it looks like these two add-ons will allow us realistically simulate most of the domestic fleets of most major airlines in the world today. Very cool.

Looks like we simmers are going to be in for a very merry holiday season this year!

feelThere! ERJ v2 Released

feelThere! has officially released the ERJ v2! You can order it directly from them here.

Contrary to previous speculation, Wilco is once again offering distribution of the ERJ v2. They updated their page today to reflect the release of the ERJ v2, which they are calling "Embraer Regional Jets PIC". Here is the link to Wilco's product page for the new ERJ.

The price is US $46.99 from the feelThere! site. Wilco is charging €33.02 for customers outside of Europe, which is currently around US $49. European customers who have to pay VAT will pay €39.99.

In addition, as with the E-Jets product last year, feelThere! has teamed up with McPhat Studios to do some extra liveries for the ERJ v2. There are two extra livery packs available this time around. These are available from the McPhat site or the Wilco ERJ v2 page. If you order them from Wilco, they are charging €9.83 each to non-European customers, which is currently around US $15. Again, European customers who have to pay VAT will pay €11.90 each.

Pretty good deal. I have enjoyed the E-Jets and original ERJ, and am really looking forward to the ERJ v2. It will likely be this weekend before I can get around to downloading it and posting a mini-review. But stay tuned...

Have fun, pilots!

EDIT: forgot to mention both FS9 and FSX versions of this are available.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fix for Captain Sim 767 Rocking Issue

Many of you who have already picked up the Captain Sim 767 know what I am talking about: there is a rather annoying bug when having the autopilot follow the glideslope on APP mode in an ILS descent. On the automated descent, the plane begins to rock rather violently from side to side, almost as if you were landing with a 30 knot crosswind, even when the winds are calm! I have observed this personally on both the 767-300 base model and the 767-200 expansion model. This ruined a perfectly nice flight I took on the 767-200 from Schiphol to Houston Bush Intercontinental, for what it's worth...was not able to control the landing, and I landed in a part of Bush where planes aren't supposed to land. :-(

Somehow, it seems that the flight dynamics on the 767 are a little off. Fortunately, some folks on the Captain Sim forums are on the case, and posted a fix for the 767-300 here. You'll need to hack your aircraft.cfg files for each plane. Check it out, if you need it. I actually scaled the values back a little for the 767-200...not sure if the mathematics/physics work out correctly on that, but it seemed to yield satisfactory results when I test landed my modded 767-200 using the ILS on 35L at Austin-Bergstrom last night.

Reportedly, the 767 Freighter does not suffer from this issue. Hopefully the Captain Sim folks will roll the fixes into the 767-200 and 767-300 models in their next service update.

Now if they would just fix those remaining minor-but-pesky FMS bugs in both the 757 and 767...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

McPhat Readying Extra Liveries for feelThere! ERJ v2

McPhat has been working hard on their end, with a whole slew of extra liveries for the ERJ v2. Terrence says they have been working on the installer for the extra liveries package, and they expect to have it done very shortly.

Looks like the ERJ v2 is about to drop, folks! Are you ready?