8.15 is the next version after 8.11,
with substantial new content.
Note: there are a couple of gotchas with V8.15 including bad
preferences and new restrictions on airfoil assignments. For details see
the V8 Current Favorites section
So what's new with 8.15? TONS, with special emphasis
towards MORE FAA-CERTIFICATION FOR FLIGHT TRAINING.
This means my focus has been pretty tight
on detailed modeling of engine temperatures and performance, electrical
and vacuum systems, autopilot and GPS accuracy, and more powerful IOS
(Instructor Operators Station, or "IOS" button on the MAP window in the
OUTPUT menu). These are the type of things that have to be right on the
money for FAA-certification, and X-Plane is now improved in these areas
So, with more powerful and accurate
instructor stations, autopilots, GPS systems, and engine-modelling being
the primary goals, and a TON of other cool little additions that people
have asked for, here is the list of new stuff done for 8.15!
Cool new feature: Run an IOS on a second
monitor on your ONE computer!
Here is how it works:
- Go to the rendering options screen and check "draw
cockpit on second monitor".
- Now, the cockpit will be drawn on the second monitor if
you have a dual-head video card or a really wide monitor.
- Now, go to the OUTPUT screen and select LOCAL MAP...
and watch yourself crawl across the map as you fly!
- Now hit the IOS buttons if you like, and you now have
an IOS (instructor operators console) and can set the weather, failures,
etc... all as you fly! Cool! When in this mode, the application of the
key presses depends on what window your mouse is in, so you can move the
mouse to a window to select it for key-press use!
Instructor station can now
put you in 3 new modes:
- LOCATION-FREEZE: This causes the flight model to behave normally,
except that you DO NOT GO ANYWHERE!
- DOUBLE-SPEED: This causes the flight model to behave normally,
except that you cover terrain at 2x normal speed.
Both of the these features are required for FAA-certification, because
they allow the sim to be stopped or sped up to facilitate flight
- QUADRUPLE SPEED: Do the math.
- Cool new option on the map screen: DRAG a plane (your
or any other) to just MOVE IT, or CLICK (WITHOUT dragging) to do a full
init to the speed and alt in the upper right corner of the map. Now, to
take it to the next level, plug in a second monitor on a dual-head card
and turn on the "draw cockpit on second monitor" option... Now bring up
the map and drag your plane (OR OTHER PLANES!) around with the mouse and
watch you or them move across the sky as dragged by the mouse!
- Zoom on the maps does a pretty smart job of
auto-zooming on the profile (side) view as well, if you have that view
checked in the upper-right. Also, the landing gear and flap deflections
are now shown in this vertical plot on the IOS screen... this makes it a
bit more thorough for checking your ILS approaches.
- The glideslope profile plot on the map view sets itself
to whatever ILS frequency you have tuned (if any) to get the profile
plot perfectly accurate. As well, landing gear and flap deployments are
shown on the glideslope plot.
- Click on an airplane on the map (any plane) and a
little dialog comes up that lets you change it's heading and speed and
altitude. Do this to your plane, or any of the others.
- Anti-aliasing option! Turn this on in the rendering
options screen to get anti-aliasing at various levels. It can be slow,
but it does look good!
- A new artificial horizon good to 90 degrees... nice to have for
- Round thermometer, as used in real Cessnas. Check it
out in the supplement folder. (and, ALL thermometers show the actual
temperature of the aircraft skin, which may well be well above ambient
thanks to compressive heating!)
- New airspeed indicatior: Twin Needle. Used on some of
the old fast jets!
- Flap linear LABEL... This flap indicator type is like
the regular linear flap indicator, but actually labels the flap
deflections in degrees for you.
- MAST torque for those helos... indicate the total
torque to each rotor, no matter how many (or few) engines are going to
it. This is available in round, linear, digital, EFIS, ECAM, the works.
- New "engine round ALL" for all engine instrument
types... this plots the rpm, manifold pressure, etc, for BOTH (or more)
engines all on the same gage, with 2 different needles available as well
so you can tell which engine is doing what all on one gage.
- New handle in the handles folder to dump water ballast
in the amount that you like.
- New "vac/amp" engine gage, like in the new Cessnas.
- New "GA" autopilot selectors for altitude and vertical
speed that show the mode as well as the values you have entered.
- New "lo vacuum" warning lights, available per-engine.
- New handles for variable-sweep, variable-dihedral, and
variable-incidence, so you can control all variable-geometry properties
of the plane independently.
- New low and high rotor rpm warning annunciators in the
annunciators folder, good for getting a visual warning when your rotor
rpm is too high or low in those helos.
- Ice detection switch. (turn the detection system on or
- Ice detected annunciator to indicate if you have ice if
switch is on and you are picking up ice.
- WHOLE NEW FUEL-FLOW MODEL! You can now enter the specific fuel
consumption is now more flexible... enter the SFC for the engines at lo
and hi altitude, idle and half power. As well, enter the fuel flow ratio
to maximum when the engine is at idle. This lets you get the most
accurate SFC in all phases of taxi and flight, at different altitudes as
- Downwash and wing efficiency model improved a bit to
handle more exotic cases.
- Co-axial rotor differential-collective for yaw control
now available! Cool! Build a helo with co-axial rotors and spec out a
differential collective in Plane-Maker to get yaw control without a tail
rotor! This is used for at least one Russian attack helicopter. The
setting is in the "VTOLs and helos" page of Plane-Maker.
- MUCH-improved calculations for finding the supersonic
drag on bodies! X-Plane is EXCELLENT at subsonic, high-aspect ratio-wing
flight, and EXCELLENT with all types of subsonic engines, but the
spuersonic model of the fuselages and bodies has been pretty poor in the
past (too loosely approximated). Now, we do a good job of tracking the
supersonic compression shocks and expansion fans, and skin friction, all
the way along the fuselage when supersonic. I have tried an idea like
this before, but now the implementation is much "harder to fool" with
strangely-shaped bodies, and is more accurate in general.
- Free-turbine engines indicate fuel pressure UPSTREAM of
the condition lever... all other engines measure fuel pressure
DOWNSTREAM of the condition lever. In other words, the fuel pressure for
free turbine engines will be hi when you turn on the fuel pump, no
matter the condition lever location, as long as you have fuel in the
selected tank(s)... But for all other engines, you will actually need to
advance the condition or mixture lever to get fuel pressure.
- See the Engines screens in Plane-Maker... ITT, EGT, and
OIL T can all be in degrees F or C... This lets you tweak the units
per-airplane, and also gets the atmospheric ambient temperatures
affecting the various aircraft temperatures just right.
- As well, enter the maximum amperage, voltage, vacuum,
etc that the systems can provide... time to get all those systems just
- As well, enter the green-arc values for all of these
systems to get the gages labelled just right without having to make
- As well, enter the green and yellow arcs for fuel flow,
manifold pressure, EGT, ITT, etc etc etc to get all the gage marking on
those systems just right without having to make custom gages. As well,
specify lo and hi-end redlines. (some systems, like oil pressure, have
LO-end redlines as well as hi-end redlines).
- Left and right magneto failures.
- More electrical system detail: Multiple batteries are
now simulated (one per engine)...
- Add multiple battery switches to turn of or off per
battery, as the generators and batteries all respond properly.
- Nosewheel steering enhancement: The self-centering
tendency of the nosewheel is now simulated, resulting in much better and
more realistic ground-handling at high speeds.
- Improved night-vision in panel-mounted camera and
weapons cameras and HITS display.
- In Plane-Maker, set the texture coordinates of every
propeller and engine pylons differently for multi-engined planes, if you
- Yaw string is now red, as typical in real gliders.
- Arcs on the engine gages and airspeed indicator look a
little nicer now... X-Plane does some anti-aliasing on the arcs.
- Full ELUMENS dome support ( www.elumens.com )
- Other planes leave their nav and strobe lights on 24/7,
to help you see them.
- The runway lights are now visible a bit farther than
the runway in foggy conditions... the lights cut through the fog a bit,
as in reality.
- The q/e keys change the views on the external visual,
not your cockpit, if you have an external visual selected... This is so
you are changing the view you actually WANT to change when you hit those
- Go to the Landing Gear tab in the Visual Texture Editor
in Plane-Maker and you will see you can now edit the texture area used
for the STRUT textures, to get your gear struts just right.
- Customize the cockpit night-lighting colors for your
plane in the Viewpoint screen in Plane-Maker.
- Cool little view indicator that tells you which way you are
looking is an option in the rendering options screen.
- Cinema Verite (camera-shaking the way it would if held by a real
person) is now an option in the View menu... turn it on or off at will.
- Situation files now save the PLANET you are on, as well
as everything else they always have.
- Option to load scenery or not!
- Garmin 430 improved a bit... a few more details are
like the real thing
- Joystick button to turn ignition on or off, as well as
- Many de-clutter options on the map page to look at what
you want to see, no more or less.
- Fuel Flow gage shows gallons per hour instead of pounds
per hour in recip engine airplanes, pounds per hour otherwise, as in
- New joystick button option: Reset to runway... It puts
you on the last runway you manually reset to.
- New joystick button option: Toggle 3-d "virtual" cockpit
- Maps in the Output menu can now be IOS or regular, with
glideslope or without.
- No more autopilot disconnect on touch-down!
- If you leave the autopilot on glideslope mode clear
through touchdown, then the autopilot will disconnect
glideslope-tracking on touchdown, like a real auto-land autopilot would.
(Autopilot is more accurate as well, especially in tracking crosswinds
on the localizer)
- The autopilot will follow the GPS when the flight dir
is set to ON and the HSI is set to GPS even if you have gotten a
full-scale deflection before you engage it. Helps with flying the GPS on
- FMS will only skip to the next waypoint in your plan if you come
pretty close to it, causing it to do a better job of following complex
flight plans with many waypoints without skipping ahead in the plan.
- Auto-throttles operative with PFC hardware.
- Hit the d-> button on the FMS at any time to reset
your course from your current location to your destination when flying
the GPS... this is useful if you wander off course for some reason and
want a new direct plot to your destination... really quick to do... I do
it in the Cirrus all the time.
- Also, the autopilot flies the GPS courses lots better
- x/y/z location data output outputs the vector speeds
now as well.
- Aide views show a little top-view of the plane with the
view direction at the top of the screen to help show what way you are
looking... nice to have in those side views. Turn this option on or off,
at your option, in the rendering options screen.
- Aural stall warning option: Go to the viewpoint screen
in Plane-Maker and set whether or not your plane has an aural stall
warning... this used to be hooked to the stall INSTRUMENT, but now you
can have a stall instrument, or not, and an aural stall warning, or not,
- Audible avionics cooling fan... hit the master on and
off when the engine is not running and if you are on the ground you can
- Whenever you go to open an airplane, all applications
now start you off at the last folder you were looking around for
airplanes in... makes it quicker to open planes usually.
- Real-Weather: If the file reports visibility 9999 (6
miles or greater) then we go to the max allowable vis you have specified
in the Weather screen.
- Press the CENTER of the barometric pressure rheostats
in the cockpit to auto-set to 29.92... kind of convenient.
- Improved PFC hardware calibration... Now, you can set a
center offset AND a nullzone for your joystick or PFC hardware.
- New failure option: Runway lights! It's in the failure
screen along with all the other equipment failures.
- Custom limits screen on the radio altimeter now lets
you set how high the radio altimeter can actually indicate.
- Volume sliders for many different groups of sounds...
people ask for this pretty often.
- ATC takes wind into account when assigning all headings.
- If a machine in multiplayer, or acting as external
visual, does not have the same plane as the other multiplayer or master
machine, then the sim will just load the default acf (747) and not give
an alert message.
- 2 Vfe speeds available now... one for the first notch
of flaps, one for the rest, as is common in light planes.
- There is now an audible rotor OVERSPEED horn to
complement the underspeed horn.. the option is in the Special Controls
screen in Plane-Maker
- The linear VVI now has a agent auto-pilot command
display on it, as requested.
- The map now shows the runway numbers for the
airports... kind of nice.
- The Set Weather window really shows the whole weather
system for the area, with you and the terrain in it for reference! This
lets you really see how your plane will interact with the thunderstorms
- Set the torque gages to be in ft-lbs or in percent in
the new engine limits screen in Plane-Maker.
- Set the real-time tracking offset so you can be in
Daylight Savings Time or not.
- Better carrier and frigate and oil rig placement... we
really put them in large bodies of water now, not just little streams
- There is now a new plane in the Austin's Designs
folder: "The Demented Loner". Check it out. I got this idea from a
recent episode of MythBusters.
- The airport name and plot in the "place aircraft by
airport" dialog now gives the airport ID and elevation.
- The "AI Flies" is now operative, and improved a bit
over previous generations.
- Engine START sounds not played unless the starter REALLY IS
- EFIS VVI properly scaled... oops!
- Cabin pressure VVI now works correctly in both
- Finite-deflection times for controls no longer
interfere with trim
- Various improvements in multiplayer robustness,
including lan party-support for up to 10 players at once.
- Real weather SCAN operative even if DOWNLOAD is not
- Large linear engine instruments scale correctly.
- Specific-Instrument failures fail all instruments.
- Entering lat/lon into the FMS results in a clear,
accurate fix display in the GPS
- Sending the various vehicle name/location UDP messages
handled more smoothly and with more robustness.
- More Garmin 430 details... hit the CLR button to always
go quickly to map mode, and de-clutter as well.
- Bug-fixes for scenery that did not load early enough,
and some roads that went up above the ground.
- The Avidyne PFD turn-indicator now scales nicely.
- Bug where the default "at-rest" attitude of the
aircraft would sometimes incorrectly be set to 90 deg is now fixed.
- The shifted weight in the Weight and Balance screen is
now added correctly regardless of the number of fuel tanks.
- Look at the LAYER-2 of the WEATHER RADAR in the CUSTOM folder of
the cockpits folder... the size dimensions of that image now determine
the visible area of weather radar returns in the weather radar
instrument, so if you customize the weather radarinstrument for your
cockpit, then be sure to set the size of the layer 2 to determine the
area of weather radar that you want to see.
SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM BEN ABOUT
- The little amm/volt button that makes an ammeter show
voltage also now makes a volt-meter show amperage! Anyway, it's a little
more useful now. Real King-Airs have them.
- ENV Taxiway lines are now drawn.
- Tall OBJs with hard polygons should work better - before they
didn't take the earth's curvature into account, so the hard poly's
physics representation and graphics representation were misaligned
(graphics right, physics wrong).
- ENV "wetness" in V8 now matches V7.
- I think the "NaN" bug is fixed. I ran WorldMaker over all 18,000
or so Glos ENVs successfully last night without a NaN error.
- RC3 fixes two bugs introduced in 815: failure to reload scenery
when flying east-west at some latitudes, and strange elevations of
highways. I think highway elevation is better than 811 for ENVs in most
cases, but there are still a few ENVs that create some really whack-O
- Please note: ENV and DSF road elevations are totally separate in
implementation and in code. So DSF road heights should not have
changed at all and continue to be bizarre both due to DSF internal
problems and airport flattening.
Version 8 Overview
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