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New in version 9

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Here's what's new in version 9.

Contents

General

As of X-Plane version 9.00, we have:

  • 867 instruments
  • 25,737 airports
  • 25,866 navaids
  • 88,367 fixes
  • 18,008 scenery files (each file is one degree of latitude and longitude)

Big New Features

Improved Frame rate DSF meshes are optimized on load - saves about 50 MB of RAM, can increase frame-rate up to 10% when shaders are off in areas with lots of mountains and few objects. Enhanced use of VBOs increases frame-rate. There are COUNTLESS frame-rate optimizations that are too numerous or proprietary to mention here.

ALMOST NO DELAY IN SCENERY-SHIFTING! (but you need a multi-core or multi-processor machine to fully realize this benefit!) Now you can fly around the entire planet without every having a significant pause to load scenery... you can look at continuously-varying textures across the whole Country from San Diego to New York and ditto that world-wide. Imagine: You get into a light plane in San Diego and fly it clear to New York, watching the terrain change from the green coastal conditions to the deserts of the SouthWest, then transition to the fields of the midwest, then forests of the Northeast, then the cities of New York, right down to Central park greenery. It's ALL THERE, and you can watch the whole thing in one continuous flight, with hardly a delay to load scenery if you have a dual-core or multi-processor machine. It is simply stunning, just like doing it for real. As well, QUICKTIME MOVIES are now much, much faster, also using multiple cores, to give you much higher framerate during QuickTime movie creation.


AMAZING NEW PLANES with INCREDIBLE DETAIL: We now have a new Cessna 172, Piaggo Avanti (you have been waiting for this one!), ASK-21 glider, and even a Cirrus-jet! Be sure to load the Cessna, Avanti, and Cirrus jet in the 'General Aviation' folder, and hit the '|' key to check them out! The Cirrus Jet, as a matter if fact, is the SAME .acf file that Cirrus used in-house with their copy of X-Plane! (We also have first-drafts of ALL the Vans RV homebuilts, so if you are an RV pilot, you can use these as a quick-start to modelling YOUR RV!)


Aircraft panels can be up to 2048x2048. Those who want to every bit of detail on a B-36 or B-52 cockpit: Your time has come! Check out the 'Example Airplane WideScreen' in the 'Instructions' folder. Use the left and right arrows to see the whole screen, or run in a res of up to 2048x1024 to see more at once! Now you see you can make very wide-screeen airplanes! Of course, if you make the left half the panel the pilot's side, and the right half the copilot's side, and split your output to two monitors running 1024x768, then you get a pilot and copilot display from one computer, and one copy of x-plane! kind of convenient.


It gets better: If you want 3-D cockpits, the 3-D cockpit has 3-D lighting for panel texture, to really make flight with 3-D cockpits immersive! Get in the Cirrus Jet and hit 'control-o' to see this. Then use the mouse, arrow-keys, and page-up/page-down keys to move around the cockpit while flying. Try it as well in the Cessna 172 or Avanti. The 3-D clicking into 3-D cockpit tracks a lot better as well, so you can do full flight operations in 3-D... a real experience in the Cirrus Jet! (It's inside the 'General Aviation' folder)


Custom liveries! Look at the 'Example Airplane WideScreen' in the 'Instructions' folder. You can make all the custom liveries you want, with all the names you want! Then, in X-Plane, go to the 'open liveries' menu item (right under the 'open aircraft' menu item!) and select the livery you want!


Moderate User-Interface overhaul. Every single menu and window has been re-evaluated for optimum placement. Every windows has been re-evaluated for optimum organization, with many changes. The interface has a mildly different look and feel, and much re-organization to be quicker and more friendly to use. This has included countless changes, including: -Fonts are now bigger and clearer... in fact this is the font that was designed specifically for (the real) Charles De Gaulle airport! -All interfaces to enter DIRECTION are are now done with round compass-rose type interface . -Interface to assign keyboards is now a dream: Every function can easily be seen at-a-glance. -Any function can be assigned to any joystick button as well. So now any function can be assigned to any key and any joystick button.


Generic Instruments! In Plane-Maker, Hook ANY variable to ANY digital readout, handle, needle, tape... ANYTHING. You could, for example, have digital oil pressure or hydraulic quantity gages... Just choose the generic LED instruments (in the generic folder in the instrument list in panel-editor of Plane-Maker) and select whatever variable you want to attach to each digital readout! Using this technology, you can finally view any variable you want on the panel! This really lets you make your own instruments. Now, I am adding a new variable and dataref: EFIS PAGE. This is an integer that can go 0 to whatever, and you can hook it up to a generic instrument rotary. Find it here in the data-ref selector: "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page1" "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page2" "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page3" "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page4" "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page5" "cockpit2/switches/EFIS_page6" So, your generic rotary instrument can run the EFIS PAGE variable to any value. Great. NOW, the NEXT thing you can do with generic instruments is set the instrument to only be VISIBLE when a certain dataref is a certain-value. Let that dataref be the EFIS-PAGE variable and you can make multi-page EFIS systems!


Look in the airliners in the 'Heavy Metal' folder in the 'Instructions' folder. You will see a file ending in 'icon.png'... this is an image of the airplane that will be visible whenever you scroll thru the aircraft-selection window in X-Plane. Now you can see what each plane looks like when deciding what plane to fly! Complete new electrical system model. In Plane-Maker: You can now set the bus and amperage of many electrical systems, to get your plane's electrical system just right! As well, set the actual watt-hours of the battery in the SYSTEMS window in Plane-Maker. So now you can now get every amp of every system set just right for your plane, and each system on the right bus, so you draw just the right power from the generators or buses, and lose just the right systems when buses go down, after electrical failures. It's in the SYSTEMS window in the DEFAULT menu in Plane-Maker.

Major Scenery Improvements

Upgraded global scenery package! All new scenery files! That's 18,008 new DSF files! These new scenery files come with refinements in the grid and about 20% MORE polygons to refine the terrain detail a bit further! So, these new global scenery files have 20% detail and complexity to just push the envelope a little further. Now, the more exciting features of this new scenery are that this new scenery comes with European buildings and forests, as well as higher-accuracy terrain! As well, the version-8 scenery only went up to 60 degrees North Latitude... The new Version-9 scenery goes up to 74 degrees North Latitude for more Alaska and North-European flying!

We now have better flattening around airports (especially coastal ones). This means that runways always have gentle slopes and gradients, just like real runways!

Alaska, Hawaii, and some US territories now use high-detail road data, for more accuracy in roads and the buildings that sit near them. As well, roads are now auto-generated in non-US cities to create high detailed cities... this gives countless thousands more buildings for you to fly around! We also have more regional scenery detail... we have European-looking buildings in the right places, and the red soil of Australia, for example! Now, to render these cities more accurately, World-wide cities now use smaller objects - means they look better on sloped terrain, and means the US or European object sets can be used anywhere in the world! (And users can make new looks for cities using the library system!) Look closely, and you will even see the occasional TRAIN running on along!

Also, be sure to turn on some level of FORESTS in the Rendering Options screen... the forests are now pretty amazing, and truly 3-D!

Water reflections! Get in the Canadair in the SEAPLANES folder and go to KAVX. Then do a SEAPLANE TAKEOFF from the LOAD SITUATION menu, then go to an external view... not too bad! Smooth fog! This allows nicer rendering in almost all flight cases.

Earth orbit rendering much better, with auto-generated orbital images to perfectly match the low-level scenery, and bump-mapping as well!

So, the new scenery offers more detail, accuracy, variety, with everything from reflective water and new fog (turned on in the rendering options screen!) to smoother transitions all the way out to a hi-detail bump-mapped orbit! This really starts to show off what the new X-Plane scenery engine can do. Lots of new objects for Europe from Cris. Taxiway signs are now always lit (even during the day) to make them easier to read. Lighting on cars at night. Prop alpha is a little bit more opaque at high RPM.

And scenery improvements for scenery authors: Animated objects and lego-brick instruments can animate based on whether commands are pressed. 6 levels of water detail, with optimizations for frame-rate at all levels.

New Airfoil-Maker Features for Modelers

New option in Airfoil-Maker: finite-L/D! What is this? Simple! You enter the aspect ratio and efficiency factor for the wing of your plane, and then (for the foil you have open) this screen will plot the lift and drag after all the finite-wing math is applied (considering the losses around the wingtip) and also the lift over drag ratio of that wing. This way, you can see what the lift and efficiency of the wing will be when applied to the airplane you are actually designing! This makes it possible to really do good airfoil selection.

Controllable airfoil sections! Go to Airfoil-Maker and click on the 'Camber' tab, and you can visually set the airfoil camber and profile! This is only done for LOOKS, but it means you can get your wing curves right!

New Plane-Maker Features for Modelers

Check out the new example planes in the instructions folder to be sure you know the latest options for liveries and stuff! You can see how to make custom cockpit objects and misc objects that hold multiple liveries for one plane. In Plane-Maker, you can specify that any part of the plane is not visible, so it is not drawn... this can increase framerate! Now, why would you NOT draw parts of the plane? Because you use a custom object for the aircraft visual model! If you do that, then you can run at the same or higher framerates than before by having X-Plane NOT draw the physical geometry created in Plane-Maker.

New spoiler and speedbrake options for Airliners in Plane-Maker to really get those airliner speedbrake, spoilers, and ground speedbrakes perfect!

New control phase-ins and phase-outs: See the "Control Geometry" window in Plane-Maker, in the "Phase-Outs" tab... This lets you set the controls to phase out smoothly above certain speeds, or BELOW certain speeds! This really lets you get smooth, accurate controls simulation for a wide range of craft.

We now have speedbrake 1 and 2 on the wings for different speedbrake deflections, just like with spoilers and ailerons. As well, we now have an option to have some speedbrakes only deploy for GROUND deployments.

Windshield wipers! You add them in the panel-editor on Plane-Maker, just like any other instruments! The button to turn them on and off is in the 'buttons' folder, and the wipers themselves are in the 'supplements' folder.

New Pressurization option: Auto-pressurization. In the Systems screen in Plane-Maker, this checkbox will automatically keep reasonable pressure inside the craft at all times. New Pressurization option: Automatically dump cabin pressurization below 1000 ft radio altitude! This is pretty nice, and exists in some planes. Check this to automate pressurization systems in this regard.

All airplane engine noises can now be customized to be different as heard from the inside and outside of the plane! This has been an oft-requested feature. Look in the resources/sounds folder for the _inn and _out sound files, which you may customize for YOUR planes as well. Here are the naming conventions for the engine, starter, and prop, inner and outer, for engine number 1, which you may run up to 8 of course: aircraftname_engn1_inn.wav aircraftname_star1_inn.wav aircraftname_prop1_inn.wav aircraftname_engn1_inn.wav aircraftname_star1_inn.wav aircraftname_prop1_inn.wav and: aircraftname_afterburner_inn.wav aircraftname_afterburner_out.wav aircraftname_reverse_thrust_inn.wav aircraftname_reverse_thrust_out.wav

Look in the panel-editor in Plane-Maker. Look in the 'buttons' folder for the 'slider' instrument. You can have up to 20 of these sliders in the cockpit. They are 'slider switches'. In Plane-Maker, you can set the 'slider times' in the 'Systems' window, third tab. Those times control how long it takes the slider to go from full-off to full-on. In X-Plane, you can turn the slider switch off or on in the cockpit, running the slider from 0.0 to 1.0 over the time specified in Plane-Maker. Then, simply hook any part of the aircraft object up to the slider float dataref in your 3-D object-editor to watch it move in X-Plane... this would be used for doors, refueling booms, canopies, etc. So, we finally have a very easy way for you to control variables to drive doors, refueling booms, or anything else you care to model in a 3-D editor and hook to a dataref. One more detail: By default, SHIFT-F1 will toggle slider #1, SHIFT-F2 will toggle slider #2, etc, up to SHIFT-F16.

Custom parachute texture now possible for any plane: aircraftname_chute.png

Plane-Maker aircraft object export includes a few polys to show where the landing gear is.

'Insert' section button in Plane-Maker so you can insert a section in the middle of your fuselage or nacelle or misc body or whatever.

Completely different throttle-governor and fadec systems are now simulated! Go to the Engines screen in Plane-Maker to equip the plane with either, both, or neither system. Put switches for either, both, or neither system on the panel. Run either, both, or neither system in flight based on the switch positions. Now you wanna know: What's the difference between a governor and a fadec? Here is the answer: The THROTTLE GOVERNOR runs the throttle up and down as needed to hold the operational rotor rpm on a helo. The FADEC maintains the optimal fuel-air ratio in recip engines, keeps the engine from over- or under-revving in recip engines, and keeps jet engines from exceeding their max allowable power in low-alt and lo-temperature situations.

New button in plane-maker SYSTEMS screen: Autopilot altitude-hold is ALWAYS armed. Checking this button ON is the modern convention, used in the G-1000, for example. With this type of autopilot, you simply enter any altitude you want in the altitude window, and as long as you are in VVI, PITCH, or LEVEL-CHANGE mode, the plane WILL level off when it hits the altitude in the altitude window. In contrast to this, older autopilots did NOT do this. They would simply fly any mode you gave them forever, and hold altitude if you hit the altitude button. UNcheck this button to obtain that functionality.

Speedbrake extension and retraction times are now customizable in Plane-Maker!

Custom limits for transmission temperature and pressure now settable in Plane-Maker Engines screen, and new instruments to show them (in the round engine instruments folder).

Plane-Maker: Default to 9 vertices per side for the fuselage. Plane-Maker: Main aircraft screen is hi-contrast now to really see the aircraft design better. Plane-Maker: Running Plane-Maker in hi res gives you more room for editing the airplane fuselage in top and side views.

Check out the SYSTEMS window in the DEFAULT menu in Plane-Maker. You can now assign various different electrical systems on the craft to run on different electrical buses. Now you can really get all the right systems to drop out when a bus fails! Simply specify what bus each system is on, and if you lose that bus in flight, those systems will go down with it!

Different standard and emergency max throttle. IF there is an engine failure, then you will get the emergency max throttle value! This is done in the real Eclipse jet.

Engine markings can be chosen for APU N1 in Plane-Maker 'Engines' screen, 'Markings' tab... Seems sort of 'minute' but it was requested!

New trim option: "Trim extends maximum control deflections" Most systems should NOT have this box checked! This is because the trim only changes the resting-point of the controls, NOT the maximum deflections! But, SOME planes MIGHT use the trim as a floating nuetral-point for control deflection that allow the controls to EXCEED their normal, zero-trim limits! Check this box in that rare case.

Cool new feature: Auto-Wing-Sweep with Mach number. In the 'Special Controls Screen' in Plane-Maker, you can enter a lo and hi Mach number for the wing sweep. Do this, and the wings will automatically sweep smoothly between those two Mach numbers. This really makes planes like the B-1 easier to manage!

3-D cockpits can use 4 sub-sections of a large panel - save VRAM if the 2-d panel is huge. In Plane-Maker, I have now labeled the 'invisible parts' screen wheel fairings to include the wheels themselves as well. This lets you build custom landing gear properly: By hiding the gear here and making a custom OBJ, not by making the tire out of a clear texture that messes up the rendering a bit, as authors have been doing.

New parameter in Plane-Maker: Additional gear flatplate area. Tune it to get your gear drag just right, so the plane comes down at just the right rate when the gear is deployed.

Custom landing gear constants operative, BUT YOU MUST OPEN AND RESAVE ANY PLANE IN PLANE-MAKER that you have custom gear constants for. New option in the SYSTEMS window in Plane-Maker... 'TOGA disconnects autopilot servos'... hit this and if you hit the TOGA autopilot joystick button then the servos will disconnect and you will fly manually. Some planes are like this in reality, some not. Plane-Maker panel import: Will only import the 2-D panel in the 2-D panel window, and ditto in the 3-D panel. Plane-Maker: keys to zoom and pan fuselage and other body cross-sections restored... click on the part description box to enter descriptions, or away from it to pan and zoom. New generic instrument type: annunciator!

TRIGGER generic instrument type now gives you access to all commands, so you can do everything in X-Plane from generic 'TRIGGER' instruments.

2-D and 3-D panels can now be different! See the 'Example Plane-Widescreen+Objects' plane in the 'Instructions' folder. This shows you how you can have 2-D cockpits, and, if you like, DIFFERENT panels for your 3-D cockpits. This can be nice if you want to lay our your instruments in a neat pattern to build a panel textures for your cockpit that has nothing to do with the 2-D layout.

Now, here is a reminder mentioned earlier, but it needs mention since people are still asking:

Let's say you want an airplane door to open over 2 seconds. Build your aircraft model in AC-3D with the door attached to one of the SLIDER datarefs ('sim/flightmodel2/misc/custom_slider_ratio'). Now go to the SYSTEMS window, SLIDERS tab in Plane-Maker. Now set the 'time to deploy slider #1' to 2 seconds. Now go to the PANEL windows in Plane-Maker. Now drop a 'buttons/but_command_slider.png' button instrument on the panel. Now go into X-Plane and load the airplane you just made. When you hit the generic trigger button, the door should open and close over 2 seconds! Customize the artwork to make the button look like a door handle, or anything else you like!

New instrument in the HANDLES folder: Water Rudder. This is for raising and lowering the water rudder, which can be useful for seaplanes in the take-off and landing phase, where the water rudder would be too effective at hi speed if not retracted.

Flight Model Refinements

Carrier cat-shot operations significantly improved. The force-model should really be more accurate now.

The helo rotor-brake force is now tuned to be more appropriate for a real rotor-brake.

Braking-model refinement. For light braking, there should be no little skid at the end of the stop, like there is for heavy braking under ABS.

Speed-brake lift-reduction model improved a bit.

Jet engine throttle response gives more fine control at high N1, as is needed to fly jets.

Hydraulic pressure systems modeled a bit more accurately.

Propeller dynamics a hair more accurate for props with swept blades

Angle of attack of wing elements in propwash now consider the propwash angles of tilt-rotors as well! This can make propwash over the wings much more accurate!

Aircraft moments of inertia now found a hair differently, which may be a little more accurate.

Auto-slat-with-stall now brings the slats out earlier to prevent the stall before it starts developing! This should also prevent oscillations from the slats just coming out too late. Yet more tuning of the propeller/rotor model to rack real helos ever-more-perfectly! A military helo pilot (Brett Sumpter) is flying every X-Plane beta and feeding back info to get the rotor effects just perfect!

Rotor turbulence when passing through effective translational lift (around 5 knots). Floatplane dynamics tuned a hair as well.

Bodies on the plane that move with gear, control surfaces, etc, interact with the ground and water as they move. More tuning of the rotor model to get rotors (and props, for that matter) more realistic.

Weapons-selection joystick buttons work more like most people expect them to: turning the weapons-select handle in the cockpit.

You can load flight-plans in 3-D cockpits. More tuning of the rotor system. We are tuning effective translational lift, vortex ring state effects, settling with power envelopes, cyclic deflection requirements, and ground effect to match real helos more closely.

A bit of flight-model tuning to handle hi-rotation rates more accurately (read: spins!) Further flight model improvements: propwash over-haul! We should have a better sense of WHAT parts of the plane are blanketed in propwash. Engine model in Cessna 172 tuned a hair. Helo model refined a bit, improving the accuracy of the propwash through the rotor, which was too high in earlier betas. This is improving pitch response at high speed, and making the auto-rotation descent rates more accurate as well! Wind model improved a bit. Set some wind and especially turbulence in the weather screen, hit | to go to external view, hit / a few times to see the wind. Then start flying and see how it changes faster as you fly faster. This was introduced in v8 and refined for v9.

General Features Having to do with Aircraft Operations

Buildings with helipads on top are hard... Land on them!

New autopilot mode: "Maintain current heading, altitude, and speed". This is selectable as a joystick or keyboard command. This is a quick 'hold it all right here' mode. The autopilot will drop out of glideslope mode if the heading mode is engaged, as in reality.

HUD and EFIS airspeed and altitude tapes can handle thousands of knots and hundreds of thousands of feet.

All systems fail if you crash the plane really hard. Kind of more accurate, I guess.

Eject is now shift-space.

No more A-I planes in multiplayer games! This may help multiplayer sessions go a bit better, without any electronic voyeurs peeping in on you and your partner. If the A-I DOES fly, though, he is smart enough to start up the engines and stuff.

Nosewheel-steering centers during retractions, as in reality.

Autopilot mode annunciators are now correct for the system they are modeled after. They were a hodge-podge of coloring and mode indications, but now properly show the ARMED versus ENGAGED states. (Remember: you ENGAGE wing-leveler, pitch-sync, heading, vertical speed, and flight-level change, and you ARM altitudes and nav courses and glideslopes... and those things CAPTURE if you intercept them while they are ARMED!)

Thermals are now at different places different times you run the sim to make them a little more interesting to find!

Parachute is tracked in replay.

Hit B in a seaplane to lower the anchor. We had this long ago but I took it out because people kept deploying the anchor in their seaplanes, dragging to a stop, and then calling it a bug in X-Plane when the plane stopped because they did not know that their anchor was dragging out there! Well, I put the anchor back in, but this time with a text message on-screen to TELL you the anchor is deployed!

EFIS horizons go to 90 degrees pitch.

If 'Cinema Verite' is on and you are in 3-D cockpit mode (control-o) then your viewpoint will move with the G-load.

You can now have 500 waypoints in the FMS. Auto-cowl-flap option. Set in the Special Controls window in the Expert menu of Plane-Maker. The ME-109 used this. In X-Plane, the cowl flaps will automatically open or close to maintain a CHT right in the middle of the green. After an engine fire, you aren't getting that engine back. ;-) Put out the fire with the extinguisher button, but the engine is down for the count. Interesting note: In an engine fire, the engine will continue to put out power for some short period of time... but hitting the extinguisher will stop the engine NOW. So here is the interesting point: On take-off or go-around, you may be better advised to let the engine run (even though on fire) for a little while before hitting the extinguishers, if the airplane depends on having the engine for a few more moments.

Terrain-following radar now follows the altitude entered into the decision-hight of the radio altimeter, if you have one. (It shoots for 200 feet, otherwise).

More accurate hail, precip, and snow selection model. Hail is, in actuality, formed by balls of ice forming at cold altitudes, falling down into warmer altitudes, getting coated in rain, then being pushed back UP into the cold altitudes by updrafts!!! At the colder altitudes, the water on each ball of ice freezes... the ball of ice is now bigger!!! The extra weight causes the ball of ice to fall down to lower altitudes. At the lower altitudes, the rain from the thunderstorm coats the ball of ice with more water, and the updrafts push it right back up into the freezing levels again! This water freezes and now the hailstone is bigger yet again! This process can go on and on... the greater the updrafts, the greater the rain, and the greater the temperature differential, the bigger the hailstones! X-Plane now understands all of this, and the hail model has been updated as a result to consider all of this. Other planes fly at a much nicer speed for formation flying. Autopilot airspeed can now be set in Mach as well as KIAS... the Mach mode had problems in earlier betas. Autoland refinements. New HSI source button: Nav-1/GPS. This is nice if you just want a variable-source HSI (and, therefore, autopilot), to either fly Nav-1 or GPS. If you have a variable-source HSI in the panel, then this button will just switch between Nav-1 and GPS. Now here is where it gets interesting: If you have an HSI that only goes to Nav-1, and an autopilot that can fly either the HSI or the GPS, and a button on the panel that is really only used to set the autopilot source (between Nav-1 and GPS), then you can put a Nav-1 HSI on the panel, and this button, and when you flip this button to 'GPS', your autopilot will fly the GPS, even though your HSI continues to show the Nav-1 readout this is NOT an optimal layout, I think, but it does still apply to some actual aircraft.


General Features Having to do with Simulator Operations

Multiplayer a bit better: Planes show up on the map with the last 3 digits of their ip address, and there will be no artificially-intelligent traffic in a multiplayer session. 1 IOS can control many copies of X-Plane. This is nice if you have a lab of X-Planers flying around, and there is one instructor to orchestrate the chaos. Real-Weather can now handle russian metars, which are in meters per second. Hmm... OK.

The mouse cursor auto-switches over the numerical data-entry boxes so the mouse tail does not hide the number... sort of nice. All forward and reverse replay modes are available.

PLENTY of new commands for the joystick and keyboard... check them out in the joystick or keyboard setup windows.

Straight up and down views are now accessible by key or joystick or View menu.

The frequency-list in the upper-right of the map that shows the frequencies for any airport you click on now can show all the freqs for that airport, no matter how many.

Quicker load-times for the same amount of data! This applies to scenery, situation files, fdr files, the works.

Move the mouse over any column in the FDR screen to see a description of that column of FDR data.

Checkboxes at the top of the data output screen to enable the various different types of data output... This lets you enable or disable all the output of a given type at will, without having to re-check everything.

All custom scenery packs can live in ONE FOLDER in the 'Custom Scenery' folder. So, just drop any custom scenery packages into the 'Custom Scenery' folder. That's it. Yer done. Easy.

File-open dialog for aircraft shows the aircraft name and description from Plane-Maker viewpoint screen now... kind of nice.

New UDP message: DREF. Look it up in the 'Sending Data to X-Plane.html' doc in the instructions folder. This lets you send in any value to any dataref in X-Plane! Very powerful!

UDP messages continue outputting, even when X-Plane is only replaying a movie.

New internet output: Send camera image! this sends an image from X-Plane over the network... an S3TC compressed raster image, at the same res and speed as the Quicktime movie preferences you have in X-Plane. This will be very useful for researchers wanting to look at IMAGERY from X-Plane for various auto-flight or pattern-recognition research.

3-D flight-path gives lines from the wingtips now as well so you can see the roll in the replay.

With thanks to Jonathan van Tuijl, the automatic selection of vertical field of view is now more accurate... it was just a hair off before!

Better sync between the master machine and external visuals and cockpits: In-sync rotors and stuff like that.

Cool new failures: Bird strikes and wind shear. Rather than the random strikes and wind shear which can already happen, the instructor can trigger those in the IOS as well. Good for training. Variable dihedral, incidence, and wing-retraction now stored in replay-mode... let me know if they do not work for you properly. For multi-machine setups, the external visuals now track location in the cockpit if you move around with the arrow and page up/down keys in control-o mode. This is kind of nice because you can move around the cockpit while surrounded by many screens all giving you a wide field of view!

Profile view in the map is a hair smarter on plotting, and can show time or distance-based profile. As well, the aircraft icon now appears on the glideslope on the map window as well.

Replay mode is now perfectly-controllable from instructor console.

For networked setups, set the rendering options in the IOS, and they go out to the master and external visuals to keep everything in sync! Altitude is more carefully defined for the 3 mile and 10 mile approaches to put you at a 3 degree glideslope on short final, below that on long final to give you time to configure for glideslope intercept.

Quicktime movie now records movies in SIMULATED time rather than REAL time, so even if things get a bit slow during the Quicktime RECORD, they still play back in proper simulated speed. In place-aircraft-by-airport screen, the current airport is auto-loaded into that screen the first time you open it (convenient) and hitting ENTER will TAKE YOU TO whatever airport you have entered there. (kind of convenient) Carrier and frigate pitch and roll tracked in replay.

Visibility slider in weather screen re-labeled a hair to by in sync with the cat-1, cat-2, cat-3, etc buttons. New feature in the Internet screen for multiplayers: Set the number of transmissions per second to the other players. If you are NOT playing on a LAN, then you can lower this number to keep from overflowing a slower net connection when doing multiplayer games online. Click on various NAVAIDs, airports, fixes, etc on the Map screen and the data is displayed in the upper-right of the map without the background rectangle being too large for the data. 10% nullzone in the brakes so they don't hang or drag at all if you use CH Pro Pedals or any other axis for brakes. As well, the braking model improvement: Dragging along with partial brake application should now be handled properly. Assigning a joystick axis to look left/right/up/down does not put you in the control-o mode automatically, but simply lets you look around whenever you DO hit control-o. As well, the joystick input is 'smoothed' a bit, making for smoother looking around.

IP address of the master machine is auto-set on the external visuals and cockpits by the master... Kind of convenient for multi-machine setups! In the joystick windows, the flight realism sliders are labeled in %, so you can set them precisely if you like! Interesting new feature: Check it out in the operations and warnings screen in the settings menu: Flight models per frame! 1 is recommended, 2 or more may be needed for very fast, light, small aircraft if you are flying at low framerate! Here is the deal: If you set this to 1, then X-Plane will run 1 flight model for every frame of the sim. This is usually fine! BUT, if you are running a plane that is very small and lightweight, and goes very fast, then, in REALITY, this plane might maneuver VERY quickly! In that event, you need to run MANY flight-model frames per second to predict what this plane is going to do! Now, if you are running at a lower frame-rate because you have a slow computer or tons of scenery cranked up, then you may need to do MULTIPLE flight-models for every visual frame! In that event, enter a number like 2 or more here, to get more flight models done each frame, giving the hi-speed integration that is needed for quick- manuevering planes! NOTE: If you see a fast plane suddenly tumble out of control at high speed, then it is a good bet you need to crank up the flight models per frame here! You should be able to raise and lower the landing gear when in the water... amphibs need to do this!

Joystick pan/tilt buttons do more stuff in more views, as requested.

Mouse-steering cross-hair reminders now remain at last yoke position, not center position, as requested.

View indicator in side view stays center-screen now.

Parachute texture mapping is now handled differently to really let you customize chutes.

Airplane draws at perfect location on the map, no matter the altitude. When you enter a heading, altitude, and speed for other planes in the IOS screen, those planes will hold that heading, altitude, and speed for an hour or until they fly out of range, whichever comes first. As well, the plane will hold the TRUE airspeed that you select.

Hardware Support

G1000 support more complete and thorough (I am talking about the REAL g1000)... this includes the VNAV functions used in Cessnas! We now allow more joystick buttons and axis as well. The mouse wheel zooms on the map. Kind of convenient. \Refined Garmin 296, 396, 496, f30, and g1000 driving. TONS of joystick buttons and devices and axis now available, I believe. TONS.


New Instruments

There are countless new instruments, but here are some highlights:

New button in the "Buttons" folder to turn off the camera (either camera instrument or tv-guided weapon)... This is kind of convenient if you want to turn it off for higher frame-rate. ROUND trim indicators. Because somebody wanted them.

Jet engine percent thrust gage, as some planes have.

HUD digital alpha and G-load, as some HUDs have.

Carb air temp and oil quantity gages.

New round flap AND slat indicator. Kind of nice. New fuel gages... like analog gages with rolling tapes. Kind of nice. A handful of new radio gages, including an airliner-style audio panel.

New standby airspeed with digital scrolling tape for airliners.

New fuel pump type: Pump per TANK. Just have as many pump switches as tanks, and any time you hit one of these switches, you are turning on the pump from that TANK. This is commonly used in larger aircraft.

New instrument: Autopilot power switch. Surprisingly, this is NOT really so needed, because we have had autopilot disconnect keys and joystick buttons forever, and you can just set the flight director to 'off' to disable the autopilot... but now you have a switch as well.

Improved instruments for the IOS... That's the 'inst' tab at the top-right of the IOS.

New instrument: APU ON light... A single light to indicate if the APU is on, as in some jets.

New annunciator: Slats Deployed! New button and command to show auxilary fuel tanks... It's nice if you have more fuel TANKS than fuel GAGES. Hit this button to show the other tanks on the same gages. This works if you have twice the number of tanks as you do gages. (2, 4, 6, or 8 tanks are all OK, if you just have half that many gages). The KingAir, for example, has 4 tanks but only 2 gages... hit this little button on the panel for the gages to show the aux tanks! Cool! New instruments: Autopilot pitch and roll over-ride. Hit these trim-like buttons, and the autopilot will drop OUT of whatever mode it is in, and into PITCH and ROLL modes, with your dragging these buttons scrolling the pitch and roll targets around.

New Commands (assignable to any joystick button or key) and Data Output

There are countless new commands, but here are some highlights:

Commands (assignable to keystrokes or joystick buttons with the custom commands menu, of course) to do countless new things, including landing, taxi, nav, strobe, and beacon lights, pitot-heat, adf frequency toggle, and many other things as well, such as CENTERING the landing light and alternate static air.

New data output option: Camera. This sends out an rgb array for the frame of the size, and framerate, specified in the QuickTime movie output! This is just like QuickTime, but you send to an ip address instead of the disk! This is cool if you want to use X-Plane to send camera-like imagery to another computer!

Tandem-rotor, single-engine helos can now have their collective controlled with function keys. You can drag 'backwards' throttles (like on the roof of a seaplane, which operate backwards) with the mouse.

New master caution, alert, and warning silence commands for joystick buttons. New joystick/keyboard commands: Prop sync on, off, toggle. Avionics off/on as well. New commands for all the various de-icing sub-systems. Nice if you are building a big sim with plenty of buttons and switches in it to control de-icing states! New command that you can assign to any key or joystick button: FADEC power. Hit the CUSTOM COMMAND button in the upper-left of the Joystick Buttons window to get to it.

VS and ALT selection autopilot commands are now available to hook to any joy button or key press.

New command: Gear warning horn silence. So you can assign a joystick button to it now. Kind of convenient. New command: INSTRUMENT BRIGHTNESS. Kind of nice.

New Failures

There are countless new equipment failures that have been requested by various professional customers from Cessna to Japan Air Lines to instructors to freight operators.

A few of them are:

Failures for all 10 gear accessible.

Fuel tank vent blockage now simulated: Block access to any fuel tank in the Failures windows.

Two prop governor fail options! Fail to fine pitch, fail to coarse pitch! Cool! You should be able to guess what happens in each failure case, and the effect on the plane.

Fun new equipment failure: Smoke in cockpit. Try it!

Oil pump failure will run the temperature up as well.

Engine fire failure: You still get thrust for a few moments, but not for too long! The engine is melting!

Static port failure takes vvi to 0, as it typically should.

New failure options: Water in fuel, and aircraft fueled with wrong type of fuel! This feature was requested by a freight company that uses X-Plane to train their pilots, and found that Aero-Commanders being mis-fueled with the wrong type of fuel was actually the most common cause of Aero-Commander accidents!

Better organization and accuracy for the NAVAID failures in the failures page. Fail the glideslope only of any ILS, the localizer only of any ILS, the marker beacons only of any ILS, or fail any NDB or VOR! And heck... We don't stop there! You can even fail the DME PORTION ONLY of a VOR and still get VOR signal, but no DME! Now here is where it gets cool: In the audio panel, you can monitor the morse code of nav 1 or nav 2 to see if that NAVAID is working. Do this by hitting the nav 1 or nav 2 button on the audio panel. Now here is where it goes crazy: Hit the DME BUTTON on the audio panel while nav or nav 2 is selected, and you will hear the morse code of the DME PORTION OF THE NAVAID! Then, if you fail the DME of a VOR or ILS that normally has DME, then you will NOT get the morse code for the DME when you go to monitor the morse code of the DME! As well, you can fail the VOR or ILS transmitter on the ground (second tab of the Failures screen), but leave the DME transmitter on the ground working, so you get DME but no CDI! Then, when you monitor the morse code from the audio panel, if you do NOT have the DME button checked when you hit the nav-1 or nav-2 button, then you will NOT get a morse code, but if you DO check the DME button on the audio panel, then you will get a morse code because the DME is functioning, even though the needle deflection is not working! And now for the final step: Turn OFF the nav1 and nav2 selections on the audio panel, and ONLY turn on the DME. Now, you will monitor the morse code of the STANDALONE DME, which is an optional avionics instrument, separate from nav-1 or nav-2. WHEW! So you can fail any part of any NAVAID, and use the morse code selections in the audio panel to see what parts of what NAVAID are working or not! And now for the final little touch: the DME makes a higher-pitched morse code signal than the rest of the NAVAID. You will hear that if you ID the DME portion of a VOR-DME or ILS-DME.

Seaplanes or landplanes, the engines now fail if they get under water! So be careful in heavy waves in those seaplanes! New failure: Yaw damper.

Format Changes

The "Copilot" name modification in the "Internet Setup" window is now a FOLDER name modification, not a file name modification. In other words, if you have a separate airplane running on a separate X-Plane computer for the copilot's panel, then the NAME of the PLANE should be the SAME, but it should sit in a FOLDER with the name suffix that you specify at the bottom of the "Internet Setup" window. This lets you simply copy the main airplane, modify the panel a bit to be the copilot's panel, change the folder name, and be done.

CUSTOM COCKPITS WITH CUSTOM HUD AND AIRSPEED INDICATORS WILL HAVE TO UPDATE THEIR ARTWORK TO LOOK RIGHT. SEE THE REFERENCE IMAGES IN THE RESOURCES/BITMAPS/COCKPIT FOLDER AS ALWAYS. A number of the key-commands are changed! This is to allow more commands with good consistency.

Small addition to the FDR file: Tight after the NAV frequencies, we see 2 new columns: nav-1-type and nav-2-type. Use 0 for none, 3 for VOR, 5 for Localizer, 4 for ILS. Engine power round gages with digital tapes built in now use 4 digits, not 3. Engine power digital limits section in Pane-Maker now allows 4 digits of entry, not 3.

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