8.10 is the first
release after 8.01 with a substantial set of new features...
So, what's new? TONS.
- Custom LIT instruments are now possible! See the example plane
for an example! You can now have custom LIT panels, and custom LIT
instruments.. every one of the 4 layers can have a LIT version! Cool!
You can really go wild with NITE-LIT panels now!
- New burner enable button! Turn this OFF and you can
punch the throttle to the stops on afterburner-equipped planes WITHOUT
the afterburner kicking in... good when you want full military power,
but no burners using all your fuel... then flip the burner switch ON
when you are ready for maximum kick.
- New Angle of Attack gage: stall reference... this is an
easy way to tell if you are about to stall... it is conveniently
labelled with arcs for desired approach angle of attack, and stall
angle of attack!
- New autopilot: S-Tec 55, common in many planes,
including the Cirrus SR-22.
- New GPS: Garmin 430 instrument, common in many planes,
including the Cirrus SR-22. (Note: This is a somewhat SIMPLIFIED Garmin
right now... if we tried to program every function in the REAL unit
then we would not get X-Plane 8.10 for another year! Right now you can
use the Garmin to tune radios, enter GPS destinations, get a moving
map, look at the destination airport runways and altitude and
frequencies, and get speeds as well as descent and time enroute
profiles: In short, everything you need to go GPS-direct. All of this
is done exactly like the real Garmin 430. What we do NOT do is the
million OTHER things the real Garmin does, like SIDs and STARs, save
flight plans, and save waypoints. This is stuff almost nobody would use
and the interface is just too SMALL for anyone to read it if we went
into that much detail! Bottom line: We simulate the amount that you use
99% of the time in the real airplane.
- New autopilot displays: OBS-1 and OBS-2. These are
mechanical, Boeing-style displays, just like the heading displays. We
already have rheostats to CHANGE the OBS, so the rheostats combined
with the displays give total OBS control to you in an autopilot console.
- Cool new instrument for the cockpit: tailwheel lock! Put
the handle in the UP position and the tail-wheel will FREE-CASTOR. Put
the handle in the DOWN position and the tail-wheel will LOCK IN THE
CENTER. A good test of your skills and X-Plane's flight model is to
experiment with various tail-wheel options while trying to take off and
- Cool new equipment-failure options: Gear and flap
ACTUATION SYSTEMS (be it electric or hydraulic) When you trigger those
failures, the gear and flaps will stay in their current position, UNTIL
YOU PUMP THEM DOWN MANUALLY WITH THE NEW EMERGENCY GEAR AND FLAP PUMP
BUTTONS! Hit those (mouse or assignable joystick button) as many times
as you specify in Plane-Maker (10? 50? 100?) to get the gear and/or
flaps down after an actuation system failure. It's kind of fun watching
the gear and flaps slowly jerk down as you pump! (of course, it's
easier to hit the mouse or joystick button 100 times than crank a big
pump 100 times!)
- The total-energy variometer now runs smoother, and has a
mild delay, like the real instrument.
- Radar altimeter now has custom angular limits assignable
in Plane-Maker, so if you get really excited over exact replicas of
strange radar altimeters, your day has come! (well, some guy DID
- New N1 smaller engine instrument that shows 1/10s of a
percent of N1!
- New N2 smaller engine instrument that shows 1/10s of a
percent of N2!
- New APU N1 instrument, and we have APU SOUND now as
well... of course you can customize it like any other sound... look in
the RESOURCES:SOUNDS folder for the example.
- New instrument panel type: FIGHTER IFR. This is just
like the fighter cockpit but with more space allocated to the
instrument panel so you can get more instruments in there.
- New Directional Gyro type: LINEAR. This is a really
old-style type that looks like a compass.
- New Compass type: ROUND. This is a really old-style type
that looks like a directional gyro!
- New instruments: aileron, elevator, and rudder
standalone deflection indicators. These are in the "supplement" folder,
and are mechanical indicators that show your control deflections. These
are used in the (real) Concorde. These shows the final, actual flight
control deflections, so they will NOT perfectly track the joystick in
aircraft that have fly-by-wire (or stability-augmentation) systems! We
have linear AND round control indicators available.
- We have had fuel transfer selectors to go TO a certain
tank... now we have fuel selectors to go FROM the selected tank!
- New instrument: Fuel indicators that show the TOTAL FUEL
ON BOARD, summing up all the tanks for you.
- New DIGITAL oil presure and temperature instruments in
the "engine supplement" folder.
- Rotor-brake added... grab it in Plane-Maker for your plane.
- Afterburner button is now per-engine.. you will need as many
buttons as engines to turn them all on and off.
NEW PHYSICS TUNING:
- Next level of navigation realism: The NAVAIDS now flicker and
wander around near the edge of their reception range, as the real ones
do! Cool! As well, the localizers and glideslopes will NOT always go
out of range at the same time, so you can have a localizer capture on
an ILS even though the GLIDESLOPE is not received yet, or is barely
received, and thus wandering around. This happens in the real plane,
and is a major cause of high blood pressure when shooting an ILS in
actual instrument conditions.
- While we are talking about flickering signals, the star
colors tuned, with a bit of star TWINKLING as well!
- Better autopilots on ILS, localizer, and VOR
intercepting and tracking.
- Better flight-director response as well... more
accurate, and more like the real airplane.
- Incredibly cool technology: Weight-shifting to change the CG in
flight! We have had "weight shift" in the special controls for some
time, but now we take it to the next level:
- We have "weight shift" in the weight and balance screen
in Plane-Maker now so we can most quickly see and change it for the
aircraft. This allows you to enter the max allowable weight of a pilot
in a hang-glider, for example.
- We have a "center of gravity" indicator as an available
instrument (in the "Supplement" instruments folder) so we can see the
current CG. This allows you to monitor the CG in planes like the
Concorde that require fuel to be pumped fore and aft in flight.
- We have a new fuel transfer selector now to transfer
between 2 tanks, to quickly and easily pump fuel fore and aft in
flight, monitoring the (changing) CG indicator as the fuel is pumped.
- So, we can now shift weight either with joystick control
or by pumping fuel, with the ability to enter any shifting weight
amount and see the center of gravity indicator change. Cool!
- More accurate thrust, and windmilling, of jet engines...
the inlets slow the airflow to keep the engines from overspeeding at
supersonic speeds... This is what real inlets do, and is now done in the
- As well, the air DENSITY into the engines across a wide
range of Mach numbers has been improved, recovering total pressure when
BELOW the max inlet efficient Mach number, and suffering normal shock
losses when ABOVE that number.
- OIL COOLERS get ram-air effect, just like the engines,
for cooling now.
- Differential left and right deflections for rudders!
Why? Because planes like the Long-EZ have 2 rudders (one per wingtip)
and each one deflects ONLY ONE WAY. Now you can get the rudders just
perfect for those planes.
- Just like we have 2 sets of ailerons and rudders, now we
have 2 sets of elevators!
- Then, to REALLY expand your options, look at the
JOYSTICK AXIS ASSIGNMENT SCREEN... there are now "pitch 2", "roll 2",
and "heading 2" options... why? Well, set any joystick axis you want to
the "2" settings, and that joystick axis will control only the SECOND
ailerons or the SECOND elevators or the SECOND rudders (remember, you
have ailn 2, rudd 2, and elev 2 in Plane-Maker now), so you can have
one joystick controlling the primary flight controls, and a second
joystick controlling the secondary set! Strange? Yes. But possible! If
you do NOT assign any of your joystick axis to the secondary controls,
then the secondary control just follow the primary joystick input, just
- Enter the speed and altitude and heading for placement
on the PLANET map as well... these numbers are used whenever no airport
is found nearby.
- Lift fans work differently now: the fan is geared
directly to the engine compressor stage, so the fan does NOT lag behind
the engine in speeding up and slowing down, but instead tracks the
engine N1 perfectly, as is the case in the real F-35.
- Better ground-effect modelling: Now we model the GROUND
EFFECT of the DOWNWASH from one wing onto the other as well! This makes
airplane-handling more realistic in the pitch-response in the flare.
- Better aspect-ratio determination, now considering the
various variable-sweep/taper combinations across the span of the wing
- Major improvement in joystick handling for joysticks
that have drifting pots: There is no longer a joystick "null zone".
Instead, it is a joystick CENTER. Center your joystick when in the
second joystick tab and that location will be used as the center of
action of the joystick! This give center-point accuracy with immediate
response on either side, unlike a nullzone where you lose control
accuracy because of a non-centering stick! This way is much better!
- Refinement of speedbrake model.
- Refinement of the water model: waves are a bit more
randomized now, as in nature.
- Refinement of the fuel-flow model.
- Refinement of the fuselage sideforce and vertical-force
- The VASI and PAPI approach glidepath lights are now only visible
from a 30 degree approach cone either side of the runway, as in
reality. Various scenery improvements in rendering technology, to
prepare for the big global-scenery upgrade that we are working on now.
- Different cirrus and stratus cloud textures per layer for more
variety. Look at the new cloud puff pngs file if you want to customize
cloud textures... You have 4 cloud puffs in one image... X-Plane will
randomly select different puffs in the PGN file for different parts of
the cloud in the sim, with a tendency to use the puffs at the top of
the png file towards the top of the clouds!
- Track-IR support! Just hit 'ctrl-o' when in the cocokpit and look
around when wearing your track-IR headset and you can look around while
you fly. (www.naturalpoint.com)
- New feature in Plane-Maker... all the WING editing screens now
have a "snap to" feature, letting you snap any wing to any other wing,
exactly, with a single selection of what wing you wish to snap to!
- INCREDIBLE new feature: X-Plane will now work flawlessly with a
REAL Garmin 430 radio!
- Get a REAL Garmin-430 radio (from Garmin or an authorized dealer)
and solder a switch inside the unit to drop it into SIMULATION mode.
You will NOT want to do this with a unit in a real airplane (you
would void the warranty and certification, and how would you use the
G430 for regular flight again?), so you will want to get a real Garmin
430 that you can plug into X-Plane... this costs about $10,000 though!
So, your first step is to get a real Garmin 430 from Garmin or an
authorized dealer and solder the switch into simulation mode.
- Take a REAL Garmin 430
Plug the Garmin into the com-port of your computer. This
Garmin 430 radio will now take input from X-Plane via com-port in your
computer instead of satellites in the sky! Cool!
In other words, X-Plane tells the
Garmin 430 where you are... you can now use this real Garmin 430 with
X-Plane JUST EXACTLY AS IF YOU WERE IN A REAL AIRPLANE. The Garmin will
show the moving maps, and you will enter destinations, radio freqs, and
flight plans all in the Garmin 430, driving X-Plane as you do.
Finally, you can practice using
your REAL Garmin 430 in a flight simulator... this is a first: NO OTHER
FLIGHT SIM DOES THIS. The training potential here is huge: Garmins are
a bit tricky to use with their HUGE functionality, so practicing for
free on the sim is INCREDIBLY VALUABLE. The alternative is to learn to
use the radio while you are hauling across the sky in your Cirrus
burning 15 or 20 gallons per hour at 200 miles per hour just to learn
how to push a few electrons around... THAT IS JUST PLAIN DUMB! Flight
schools and anyone else that wants to train pilots with Garmin 430's on
the ground rather than in the air burning fuel like crazy and racing
across the sky should grab a (real) Garmin 430 (but not out of the
airplane they rent.. again: you will have to open it up and soldier a
switch into simulation mode) and a copy of X-Plane right away... the
training benefits will be huge, and the safety and environmental
impacts of learning how to use the complex, quirky radio on the ground
rather than in the air with the engine gulping gas are significant!
EVERYONE should learn how to use a G430 this way: in an excellent
flight sim, on the ground, with zero stress, zero noise, zero
distraction, zero fuel burn, and zero risk. Then, once you have
mastered the 430 on the GROUND, it is time to go flying!
- F5 and F6 keys control prop pitch for all prop types now...
collective, direct-control pitch, whatever.
- Take a look at the landing gear screen (tab-2) in
Plane-Maker... check a "start in water" box there for your flying boats
if you like!
- Cinema verite for the external shots... the camera is
held by a camera-man in those cases. ...and, while working on the
cameras, the spot-view starts farther back from the craft, so big ships
like the Hindy can do a total fly-by.
- World-Maker can go into 3-D mode... pretty cool!
- Plane-Maker section-editing is handled a tiny bit
differently... the nodes will NOT "jump" to the mouse-click area when
you are editing them... instead, Plane-Maker "auto-adapts" to your
mouse-click location and only moves the node as much as you move the
mouse! This applies to section-editing mode only.
- Plane-Maker automatically sets the decimal places for
the SFC to a reasonable value for that engine type.
- The 3-D flight-path color (o-key to activate it)
changes based on the ambient lighting conditions to always be visible.
- Maps are smarter about when to plot DME frequencies.
- Glideslope indicator lights on the ground (both VASI
and PAPI) are now tuned per airport to be accurate for the actual
commanded slope of that particular airport.
- You can now enter a MAX frame-rate in the rendering
options screen if you like... just enter a number LOWER than your
machine can really handle and you will always run at exactly that
- Cockpit designers: look in the NAV DISPLAYS folder at
the various VOR instruments... we now have TEXT files for all those
VORs to specify the deflection ranges for all the VORs so you can
customize the deflections.
- Com-port signals are now faster.. you will get less, or
no, pausing when using the outputting to moving maps, Garmin 430 radios
in simulation mode, PFC hardware, etc.
- Wind noise: The PITCH is based on the TRUE airspeed,
and the VOLUME is based on the indicated airspeed... more realistic, I
- New "High-Speed" map tab in the map output screen to get
more quickly-responding maps... though without the terrain details.
- New text-file line in the HUD Horizon instrument...
pitch reference offset from center, used to draw the pitch-ref bars
farther down than up, or vice-versa.
- Plane-Maker flashes the currently-editing wing in the
editing screens so you can quickly see which wing or body you are
trying to edit!
- Visual force-vectors (/ key) are now scaled for the
area of each element, giving a lift distribution on the flying surfaces
that is more intuitive to look at.
- View to show cockpit and exterior of craft at once is
- New option in the "Special" menu to show the name of
each instrument in the cockpit as you hold the mouse over it motionless
for a second.
- The mileage scales are back on the maps... those were
removed when we went to all-3-d technology, but are back now!
- Now you can enter a minimum CONTROL DEFLECTION TIME in
the "Controls" window in Plane-Maker. This is useful for controls that
can only move at a certain RATE, as is the case with hydraulic control
systems. A fun experiment is to load your favorite airplane up in
Plane-Maker, enter a minimum control-deflection time of 4 seconds, and
see if you can still fly the plane... can you? This is effectively a
"drunk pilot" simulator... you are always running a few seconds
behind... but if your skills are sharp enough, you should still be able
to fly well... I can! Can YOU???
- A commonly-requested autopilot feature: You now have
separate GLIDESLOPE, ALTITUDE, and VNAV autopilot buttons. GLIDESLOPE
follows the glideslope once it is intercepted. ALTITUDE follows the
altitude you have entered in the altitude-entry box. VNAV follows the
FMS altitude, whatever that may be of course, you may toggle between
modes at will, and you can arm the GLIDESLOPE while in ALTITUDE or
VNAV... the GLIDESLOPE will take over once the GLIDESLOPE needle comes
through center position.
- More data output variables!
- Frame-rate improvements in the orbital rendering.
- Better internet-connections between multiple computers
running X-Plane now... slower machines can still keep up with faster
ones... it used to be a problem if multiplayers had machines running at
different speeds, or external visuals were running slower than master
machines, as the slower machines simply could not keep up... this is
now fixed: the slower machines still process every message, so they
never fall behind.
- The panel vertical scrolling is now held even when you pan or
otherwise switch views.
- ATC refinement: Use the current baro setting in your acf when
below 18,000 feet, and 29.92 when above 18,000 ft.
- Networking: External visuals go into pause mode when
they get no data.
- Hit enter to close the airport-selection windows AND GO
TO THAT AIRPORT. Just close the window with a mouse click to AVOID
- World-Maker always shows airports in airport mode
- Startup airport when you start the sim is no longer the
last airport you were CLOSE to, but instead the last airport YOU
MANUALLY ASKED TO GO TO FROM A MENU.
- Battery voltage now indicates like in a real plane: the
CENTER of the indicator is nominal.
- Note for people setting system failures with UDP
messages: setting system FAILURES using the UDP "FAIL" message is now
done slightly differently... see the udp reference html doc for the new
- Moon phase SHOULD be correct for the date
- Negative flap deflections are OK... and FUN! Take a look
at "Austin's Private Flyer"... it has huge, heavily-reflexed flaps...
raise the flaps to the upper (reflexed) position if you are too fast on
final approach and watch the plane drop out from underneath you! RAISE
the nose WAY UP to hold lift, getting drag from the fuselage and
leading half of the wing. You are now bleeding off energy at a
tremendous rate from the wing and fuselage hitting the air at a high
angle. Does this sound familiar? It should! This is very similar to the
"Feathering" concept used by SpaceShip One!
- Field-of-view tweaked slightly, to be more accurate
- The art stab system is now kept within
control-deflection limits no matter the craziness of the art stab
constants or the flight condition.
- The "create object from aircraft" option in Plane-Maker
now does a better job, handling strange cases like offset bodies
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