Version 8.40

Versions 8.40 is the next major functional release of X-Plane. Among all the other features and bug fixes, the control sensitivity problems of 8.32 are largely fixed.

SO WHAT'S NEW FOR 8.40? TONS! READ ON:

This new version of X-Plane has a TON of new stuff, and a LOT of refinements... this is by the far the most carefully-tuned, carefully-refined X-Plane release we have ever done... but the really big one for me is: SUPPORT FOR THE NEW INTEL-MACINTOSHES. These new Intel Macs REALLY SCREAM (several times faster than the G5's in many cases!) but you have to have the latest X-Plane (8.40) to get the maximum SPEED! So, Mac-Users: Get an Intel Imac and X-Plane 8.40 and you will see more speed in X-Plane than any other Macintosh made. Ever. I see 58 frames per second with plenty of rendering options turned on with the new Imacs.

There are TONS of other things as well...


Flight-Model Improvements:

  • New wing option: RETRACTABLE WINGS! Select the "retract" handle in the "handles" folder, and check the wings as being "retractable" in the "airfoils" window, and you can retract the wings... the best way to do it is to make a wing of 2 separate wings (as most people do now) and let the outer panels retract into the inner ones. This lets you extend wings for landing, and retract them for cruise, for best blend of lo and hi-speed performance.
  • New battery/solar-power options! See the "engine" screen in plane-maker, SFC tab... enter your panel and battery specs there! You enter the portion of the wings covered by solar panels, the solar cell efficiency, the battery storage in kilowatt-hours, and of course the electric motor horsepower in the "engines" screen as always. X-Plane will look at the ambient brightness for the time of day and weather conditions, and the atmospheric thickness (the atmosphere soaks up some light, so solar cells get more light as they get higher, which X-Plane DOES consider) to see how much power you are getting into your battery, and the engine to see how much power is coming out... can you design a solar plane that can take with battery-assist, but maintain flight without drawing any more battery voltage? There is a data output for the solar cell situation (#115) so you can see what the power inputs and outputs are.
  • User-controllable spring and damping constants for the landing gear! Check out the gear screen in Plane-Maker... it's fun to experiment with different constants.
  • More accurate aerodynamic flight-control response... the earlier betas just had too much control authority!
  • The new control system is based on cross-inspection three different engineering texts and also flight-test in my Cirrus, so should finally have arrived at a pretty decent simulation of aileron, elevator, and rudder control effectiveness.
  • Jet engine windmilling drag is more accurate.
  • Rev-limiter! See it as a new option in the "Engines" screen in Plane-Maker... It cuts out power if the engine rpm goes above redline.
  • Autopilot is restricted to 25% control-travel... real autopilots do not really go full-scale when flying.
  • Differential collective phases with thrust vector dynamically to work on VTOLS as well as helos.
  • Hydraulic system can be pressurized by either the engines or the props in the "equipment" screen in Plane-Maker...good for helos which are pressurized by the rotors or planes which may be pressurized by the engines.


New instruments:

  • New EFIS element: radio altimeter.

  • A new EFIS element: Austin's re-entry helper: Throw this instrument on the EFIS to get the orbital speed, deceleration to come to a stop just as you arrive at your target, vertical speed to descend at to arrive at your target, and other such niceties for re-entry.

  • Little white triangle on the adaptive round airspeed indicators to indicate landing gear-extension speed.

  • Look at the text file for the HSI description in "resources/bitmaps/cockpit/standard-six". You can now specify the DME and OBS text readout locations.

  • Text files for EFIS HITS, weapon camera, and EFIS camera to decide the size of their displays.

  • Different mouse-clickable buttons now avail for each layer of EFIS map options: tcas, airport, vor, etc... in the EFIS folder.

Major Features:

  • CHECK OUT THE DEFAULT MENU IN PLANE-MAKER, MISC OBJECTS SCREEN, WITH THE EXAMPLE 3-D PLANE IN THE INSTRUCTIONS FOLDER!!!! THIS SHOWS HOW TO ADD ALL THE OBJECT FILES YOU LIKE TO AIRPLANES, ATTACHING THEM TO LANDING GEAR AND CONTROL SURFACES AS DESIRED! Now you can finally add objects to aircraft to detail them as you like. You can now attach the misc objects and weapons to the WHEELS, so they deflect properly when the plane touches down and various parts of the landing gear compress, etc.
  • Edit all the navaids in X-Plane now, if desired, in the MAP screen. Quick and easy!
  • Historically, X-Plane has ADDED artificial stability values to the raw values to get the final control deflections on the plane. Now, you can tune OUT the raw joystick input so you are flying ONLY on the artificial stab equations if you like. This is set in the artificial stability screen in Plane-Maker.
  • Hot and hung starts in the engine failure screen!
  • You can easily grab and launch the latest installer from the "About:Current and Latest Version" menu selection.


Minor Features:

  • It has been for many years that X-Plane would start up at the airport you were CLOSEST TO when you quit, even if you were just FLYING OVER IT! Then, I made it so that you always started up at the last airport you ACTUALLY STARTED YOURSELF AT WITH THE LOCATION MENU, so simply flying over an airport would not start you up there the next time you launched the sim. Now, the airport you start out at is THE LAST ONE YOU ACTUALLY LANDED AT OR CRASHED NEAR. This way, if you land at an airport or place yourself at an airport, X-Plane will be there when you re-start the sim... but simply flying over an airport will not be enough to get you to be there when you re-start. Hopefully this will work best for everyone.
  • Plane-Maker option to drop red fire retardant instead of water.
  • Seatbelt and gear switches make the little bing-sound.
  • New data outputs: hydraulic system and solar system.
  • New weather-screen slider: ICING PROBABILITY. Use this to determine how likely icing is when in icing conditions. (Icing conditions are between -20 and 0 degrees C in visible precip or cloud)
  • The weather presets in the set weather screen now can set the clouds as well as the visibility.
  • Airfoil-Maker lets you enter Reynolds numbers into the tens of thousands.
  • 20 com ports allowable... nice for some virtual serial ports and stuff.
  • Cool new flying car design. Check it out in the "Austin's Designs" folder.
  • The mouse-cursor updates based on what part of the airliner autopilot heading selector you are rotating.
  • The "drop anchor" function on the seaplanes where you drop anchor by hitting (OR LEAVING ON) the brakes is now GONE.
  • Nobody understood it. Everybody kept dropping anchor and then wondering why they could not move their seaplanes, and the planes pulled to the side as if... as if... AS IF THEY WERE DRAGGING AN ANCHOR FROM THE NOSE! This feature was nothing but trouble. It's now GONE.

Refinements:

  • Low-rotor rpm warning is a bit smarter about when it goes off.
  • Sky colors have smooth and gradual shift in upper viewing angles.
  • Aircraft checklists from the "special" menu can be up to 400 items long now.
  • Full support for PFC turboprop quadrant. Flap and gear are now operative on the PFC throttle-only quadrant.
  • Data output lines come up in the data output file only as often as really needed.
  • FADEC defaults to OFF if you are starting with engines not running.
  • Flight realism sliders in the "joystick" screen handle helos better now... No rudder pedals? Then the roll axis will now operate the rudders as well as the nosewheel steering...

  • Joystick is now 10x finer in allowable resolution on windows... we have gone from 100 steps to 1000 steps, finer control than your hand or joystick hardware can indicate. Macs have not had this joystick limit...

  • Both raw control INPUT and ACTUAL FINAL CONTROL DEFLECTION are saved in replays and sent to external cockpits and visuals. The two can be different due to artificial stability systems and autopilots and control-system failures, and can be seen in any cockpit that draws the physical yoke.
  • Better orbital mechanics... fixed a few minor bugs that caused the gravity to be off by just a hair.
  • Smoother path-tracking in chase-view on external visuals.
  • Flight replay with ',' key and external visual displays of your flight track a number of instruments and flight params more smoothly and accurately.
  • Real-weather downloader is a little smarter... it should restart automatically if it has problems getting data from the server... Real-weather wind transitions are now smoother as you move from one reported weather area to another.
  • Indicated airspeed is now better tied to the angle of attack and sideslip of air on the aircraft.
  • Approach lights go right thru the displaced threshold, as in reality... Approach lites are directional: they don't leave little lit areas on the ground... Landing lights attenuate more over distance... Strobe lite effect in the clouds not so strong... Strobe lites and carriers sync across all the visuals in a multi-machine setup.
  • SAVE button in the file saving dialog, in case you do not guess that you can save by hitting enter.
  • Weapons can weigh millions of pounds and produce millions of pounds of thrust.
  • The altitude of the plane does not change as it is dragged across the map.
  • Electrical system no longer required to operate speedbrakes.
  • Icing probability is saved in prefs.


New Joystick Buttons and Keys:

  • New autopilot and joystick button: Approach. This arms both localizer and glideslope with ONE mode-select on the autopilot.

  • control-! fuel TO SHUT-OFF
  • control-@ fuel tank 1
  • control-# fuel tank 2
  • control-% fuel tank 3
  • control-^ fuel to ALL thanks

  • Look in the instructions.keys folder... you can set a few of the keys for Plane-Maker in there now as well.


Bug-Fixes:
  • You can't set a time offset from real GMT if real-time tracking is not on.
  • ATIS will only come on if you are tuned to the ATIS frq AND ACTUALLY HAVE RADIOS IN THE PLANE, not just have the ATIS frq left in from the last plane with radios.
  • Multiplayer should not control your camera any more.
  • EFIS shows glideslopes when it should... including odd cases like KSBD which have navaids listed as LOCALIZERS and glideslopes rather than ILS's and glideslopes.
  • ADFs display properly on the IOS and in replay and on external cockpits across all relative bearings.
  • The IOS can control the number of aircraft in the rendering options screen.
  • You can select airport-placement even when in orbit now with no problems resetting you to the ground.
  • You can run the IOS and external visuals and multiplayer sessions all at once.
  • Moon phase and rise-time correct for the date.
  • Clocks track real-time properly on the new Intel-Macs.
  • ADF and glideslope deflection appears on the IOS and external cockpits and replays.
  • Glideslope and horizon on IOS always work.
  • Attached-toAircraft objects are only lit up at NIGHT, when they should.
  • Strobe lites on the plane flash at night even when real-time tracking is turned on.
  • Prop velocity vectors drawn properly for the DIRECTION of the prop.
  • World-Maker now plots all airports.
  • No more negative drag at certain supersonic speeds.
  • The date tracks correctly as time advances.
  • The tip-jets for the tip-jet helos now draw in their correct location at all rotor speeds.
  • Multiplayer plane does not accidentally set YOUR radio or autopilot!
  • Hitting the start/end of flight buttons always works in replay mode.
  • Forest fires only plot on the maps when there are actually forest fires!
  • ATIS plays fully, and stops the moment you change the frequency.
  • Zulu/local time-offset is now allowed even if you are not doing real-time tracking.
  • Vertical-speed is reset to 0 when you place yourself on the map... even at orbital speeds!
  • Rudder deflection joystick BUTTONS work properly.
  • No more "black airports off in the distance".
  • Aircraft are auto-repaired after losing a wing in the over-G or over-speed case and resetting.
  • Various other little tweaks and bug-fixes.
  • ATIS will stop in mid-sentence if you change the freq in the middle of an ATIS broadcast.
  • Multiplayer planes are now visible on external visuals.


Version 8 Overview

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