Tuesday, 12 January 2016

X-Plane 10

Having flown simulations on FSX and MS Flight between Molokai and Honolulu, I thought it would be interesting to do the same flight using X-Plane 10, to see how it measures up to the task.
Using a PA-38 Tomahawk, I started from Molokai airport. There are no airport buildings and no taxiway signs or markings.  This little 2 seater is easy to fly, but it does have a lot of engine torque on this simulator.  With no rudder trim available and no autopilot, a slight pressure on the rudder was needed to keep the plane on course.
This is a slow aircraft and it is a little under powered - ideal for training or short flights.  It has a steady climb rate and a clear and accurate compass gauge.
With the weather settings I had, low cloud and high humidity meant that Oahu was not visible until the aircraft was well over the ocean.
On the approach to Honolulu, the city has fewer skyscrapers than expected and no air traffic.
The runway approach was the same as on the other simulators, as was the overall flight, but the lack of airport buildings again, made the approach rather uninteresting.  A few static caravans were set before the runway threshold and a radar beacon could be seen across the hard standings.
The little Tomahawk will sink gently onto the runway at low revs and needs to be taxied slowly around the taxiways to keep the nose going where it needs to be.
I parked the aircraft on the hard standing where I would expect to see the main terminal buildings and the big jet parking.  All I got was tarmac.  I am sure that airport scenery exists that can be purchased and installed on this airfield - there is also an airfield scenery building kit with X-Plane 10, but I have not used it.
The local map facility allows you to see your aircraft location and the location of other aircraft.  Whilst I was parked, an AI aircraft did take off from the runway, but I only noticed it on the map view afterwards.
Once X-Plane 10 has been fine tuned, it gives a good feel to flying the aircraft. I find the scenery colours and clouds a bit other worldly on this simulator.  The world does not look like this from a real aeroplane.  It is also difficult to get a perspective view of the aircraft whilst in flight.  I much prefer the look and feel of FSX.

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