Version 9.20

X-Plane 9.20 is the first substantial public update to X-Plane after 9.00. It contains a lot of new systems features, as well as a bunch of new stuff all around. X-Plane 9.10 was delivered to Precision Flight Controls and Excel exclusively for FAA-Certified use.

Austin's description of 9.20...

New Stuff for 9.20:

Countless frame-rate and RAM optimizations. One of the many examples is the new scenery-loader: Texture loading now uses as many cores as you have. Photo scenery should load a lot faster on multi-core machines, especially if you have four or eight cores.

General New Features:

DOME projection option! It is in the rendering options screen. This is designed for the bigger sims... It requires a level-2 key to use! All sorts of edge-blending and offsets are avail as well in the Rendering Options screen to get multi-projector setups on conical or cylindrical screens!

Joystick view control:

MAP page shows a magenta line sprouting out from any VORs that you have tuned on the OBS radial you have selected.... kind of nice for evaluating whether you are tracking the radials OK. Really useful on the IOS.

BOUNCERS!
See the systems screen in Plane-Maker, BOUNCERS tab. You can enter the spring and damping constants of various stuff that could bounce around in the cockpit. The data you enter here will drive datarefs that you can then use in your custom OBJECT cockpit files that you make. Click on the links below to see some possible 'bouncer' type objects:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9USxJ9vPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8gPRgw5_y8

Garmin-400 support as well as 430 and 530... This is nice for the Eclipse-jet, which uses this system.

Marker flares!
Put them on in the special equipment page in Plane-Maker, and be sure to add a parachute-flare button to the panel as well. Then, toss out marker flares that float down! They will float down, and sit on the ground and burn as well! There is also a joystick command to deploy them.

You can have up to 4 landing lights. New "named lights" let you create independently controllable landing lights in your attached OBJ files. More docs on Airplane development:
http://wiki.x-plane.com/Category:Aircraft_Development

New Instruments:

All new user interface for the Plane-Maker panel editor!

New slip indicator type: INVERTED. This is like any slip indicator, except you only use it when you are upside down. Used on aerobatic airplanes.

New 4-digit ADF-frequency selector instruments. Well, they use 'em in Russia!

4-digit angles for generic gages... lets you make metric altimeters

Better instrumentation for Thrust-Vector on the HUD and vector handle. (X-Plane is now being used by duPont Aerospace to fly a VTOL jet concept). (Importing instrument panels from other planes will keep the custom instrument attributes).

ANY number of instruments can now be added to the panel. There is NO LIMIT. Is that enough instruments?

6-digit fuel-flow for the EFIS-digital and engine-digital-only gauges. The round gage with scrolling digits at the bottom will indicate in thousands of gph or pph if needed to fit the max fuel flow into 4 digits.

HUD reference changed a hair: The CDI's now sit on the glideslope angle, not the horizon.

Round trim indicators indicate trim, like they should, not control deflections, like they accidentally were.

The generic instruments have a ton of new features. Every instrument has key framing. There are new instruments (text display, pointer) and some of the other instruments have new features.

You can distort the moving parts of generic instruments by dragging their corners to make perspective views in 2-d panels look just right.

You can now specify parts of an OBJ file to be dragged in 3-d in a cockpit. Use this to make dragable throttles and yokes, or 3-d switches that can be moved around. File spec and ac3d plugin support coming soon.

You can specify up to 16 different dimmers for the instrument lighting, and pick which dimmer each instrument follows.

Generic instruments can have a new "back-lit" lighting mode... the LIT and daytime textures are combined. Use this to make back-lit mechanical instruments. Back-lighting will respond to the instrument brightness dimmers.

You can create up to 3 "spot light" masks for the 2-d panel. 3 dimmers control the spot light, which apply to burned in backgrounds and overlays.

General Refinements:

3-D flight paths work with FDR files... nice for people importing FDR files that want to see the whole flight in 3-D at once.

Seaplanes go to nearest water on the Planet-click, and the seaport you requested if you request if you requested one of them.

Track-IR works a little better... Now we have 5 axis: pitch, yaw, and 3 axis of translation.

No more time of day seeming to get out of sync between master and external visuals sometimes.

PREFERENCES folder lives in the OUTPUT folder now, not the RESOURCES folder.
This makes it easier to copy X-Plane to other machines without messing up its prefs... just copy the RESOURCES folder, not the OUTPUT folder.

Flight path display kept in sync across all external visuals. Get a lot of computers with X-Plane and make all but one of them external visuals and zoom out and hit 'o' a few times to see the flite path displayed across all the monitors... cool!

Better job of keeping track of flite path display and markers and stuff across all the external visuals.
Flight Data Record and Joystick-Dropped file markers go to all external visuals, as is used by the National Test Pilot School.

Rendering Option: Limit FR to monitor refresh. This can reduce OSCILLATIONS in frame-rate if your computer is super-duper fast.

Better language-localization

Up to 3 chutes now! Like the XB-70 has! And you specify the angles the chutes come out of the plane, so you can get them in the right places better as well! The parachutes also rotate around a little when deployed because, umm, I like them to.

Control-O auto-centers the mouse so the view does not jerk around when you switch to that view.

Reset flite path on the IOS or master to clear it from all displays.

Set the transmissions-per-second to the external visuals to whatever you like.
40 transmissions per second is default, but you can set it as you like if you think a different send-rate would be better.

Basic simulated Garmin 430 should allow you to go to fixes and navaids now, as well as airports.

Flight-Model Refinements:

More advanced ICING model for FAA-certified use... We now build up ice on individual propellers and engine inlets and wings, and can fail individual parts of the de-icing system to have more ice on one wing than the other, for instance, if you fly in icing conditions with the de-icing system on but the LEFT wing de-icing system failed!

Turbines and exhaust systems stay hot after shut-down for a while, as in the real planes.

Wake turbulence from other planes is now more realistic... we now consider the size of both planes, and the G-load of the pane producing the turbulence, which determines the amount of lift, and thus wake turbulence, produced!

If you set the auto-brakes to RTO, and arm the speedbrakes, then the speedbrakes will auto-deploy on the rejected take-off.

Autopilot disco takes out the auto-throttle as well.

'Hide-prop-from-airflow-when-retracted' checkbox in the vectored thrust screen in Plane-Maker to hide props from the airflow when retracted works better now... It really does stop all forces on the prop.

Flight-Model SYSTEMS Refinements:

Oil cooler designed differently for recips, turboprops, and jets to give more accurate oil temperatures. Jets actually use their FUEL to cool the oil, unlike recips.

You can now assign electrical systems to run off of EITHER bus: They will run as long as EITHER bus is powered. This is in Plane-Maker systems window.

Yet more electrical system refinement!
If the load is too high for the generators, their voltage starts to sag until the batteries take over!
The batteries are turned off or dead? Then systems start dropping of-line!
The more rpm you are spinning, the more amps the generators can put out!
It is when you demand too many amps of the generators that the voltage sags.
For some Cessnas, King-Airs, and Lancairs, this is a consideration during taxi: The load may be higher than the generator can provide, and higher rpm is used to keep the generators meeting the electrical system demands!
If you DON'T do this, then the BATTERIES will be taking the load, and gradually dis-charging during the taxi!

Fuel system overhaul:
Enter a different fuel pressure per tank in Plane-Maker: You can use this to control what tanks are burned first!
Also the l/c/r fuel-tank selectors and transfer-to and transfer-from buttons will take from or give to ALL the tanks on that side, which can be nice for multi-tank planes! This is useful for various planes that always burn the MAIN tanks first, leaving the SUMPS full until you are fuel-critical.

Plane-Maker option in gear screen to specify whether or not the gear can retract on the ground. Amphib planes sure can use this!

The autopilot heading, alt, vertical speed, and airspeed adjust commands all now give a nice increment with a ONE-button hit, but continue to give continuous motion when HELD.

Engines and oil pumps quit when inverted or otherwise pulling negative G!
This happens in most real planes! Don't like it? Then check the INVERTED FUEL AND OIL SYSTEMS checkbox in the engines screen in Plane-Maker!

Inverter powers: Radar, autopilot, electric gyros, and/or torque indicators, all as controlled in Plane-Maker If you find other stuff in real planes that are power by the inverters, let me know and I can add them easily!

Sep switches for art stab in pitch, roll, and yaw. (The yaw damper is art stab in yaw).
The XB-70 Valkyrie has this, so this could be useful if you are going to be taking in a check-ride in an XB-70 any time soon. They might want you to know about the individual control of art stability on each axis, maybe.

Auto engine-sync option in Plane-Maker, Engines screen. Works for props and jets, too, like the real Eclipse-jet has.

ADG: Air-Driven Generator!
This keeps your elec system going after an engine-driven generator failure. As your speed decays below stall speed, though, you will lose power for sure!

New options in Plane-Maker viewpoint screen for verbal 500 agl, gear, and stall warning callouts.

Autopilot discos in the stall, as it should.

Ground-power unit option in the failures screen... used to plug in the GPU!

New Equipment Failures:

INDIVIDUAL autopilot servo failure options: Aileron, elevator, auto-throttle, and yaw-damper!

New failures: Electric and engine-driven fuel pumps... Either can run the system!
The elec pumps have amperages that can be assigned in Plane-Maker, so you get a change in generator load when you turn on the various fuel pumps!
Of course, you can assign those pumps to either bus, and any lack of generators and batteries that power that bus will cause the electric fuel pumps to go down, which will fail the engine IF the mechanical engine-driven pump as failed as well.

New failures: bleed air, left and right. Used for pressurization

Gear INDICATOR failures. Kind of nice for training.

New failures: Elec trim runaway!
We have failures in pitch, roll, and yaw trim!
So now we can fail trim to lock it down motionless, or have it run away out of control!

New Data Output and Joystick and Keyboard Commands:

New joystick buttons page to make it easier to assign joystick buttons to ANY function!

New data output, flite plan legs: Useful to see what the autopilot has planned for you next!

OK, for the first time I know of, I have REMOVED a key command: Key commands for all flight controls are GONE! They never were right, since there was no right answer as to when the rudder and nosewheel steering would be connected... no matter what I did, half the people said it was wrong. So, use the mouse to fly, or, if you want to do it RIGHT, use a joystick and pedals!

New commands: Audio selector to com1 or com2.

Total energy audio control now is available as a joystick button and key command.

(New button in key-command window to REMOVE commands, as well).

Other new tweaks for 9.20:

A few improvements on the V-22 thanks to help from a crew-cheif on the real plane
A few improvements in the linear-tape instruments for airspeed and Mach number and the like.
No more rain starburst pattern.
A few problems with replays and loaded situations addressed
Minor improvements in the EGT modelling.
New cmnds: Fuel pump: PRIME. HOLD DOWN the button to run the electric pump.

Flight model enhancement: We got RID of a variable that everyone was mis-using: Critical altitude of jet and turboprop engines. The critical altitude is the max altitude at which the engine can put out full power or thrust. Plenty of jets and turboprops have critical altitude way above sea level: They can put out full thrust or power way above sea level! BUT, they can only do this by going ABOVE 100% N1 flying high, or by staying well BELOW 100% N1 when flying low! In other words, these engines are air pumps: They can NOT make the air any denser! They can only continue to put out rated power in thinner air by spinning the N1 up higher! SO, if you want to have a flat-rated turboprop or jet engine in X-Plane that has a critical altitude well above sea level, then you have exactly 2 options:
  1. Enter the true thermodynamic power of the engine in Plane-Maker, and keep the N1 well BELOW 100% N1 to avoid actually hitting that power. Only advance the throttle as you climb into thinner air to use the engines' excess capacity to continue to put out full power during climb.

    or

  2. Enter a max throttle of OVER 1.00 in Plane-Maker. Take off at 100% N1, and as you climb, advance the throttle so the N1 creeps OVER 100% N1, holding constant thrust as you climb!
In both cases, you will see an increasing N1 as you climb to hold a constant thrust up to the airplanes' critical altitude... AS IN REALITY.

Now, for RECIP engines, it is a bit different! THOSE engines can be turbocharged, and the turbo can AUTOMATICALLY spool up faster-n-faster as you climb, resulting in a constant engine horsepower as you climb with no change at all in engine indications (other than higher cyl-head temperatures, in reality) So, we are leaving THAT critical altitude in place in Plane-Maker.

Double click time matches OS preference - easier to double click now
Menus drag and click like OS X and windows
Better framerate - up to 10%, depends on CPU, GPU

PAPI lights at LOWI go in the right direction
More translations
Dark areas and stripes fixed in Planet
Generic pointers don't jitter

More commands, and some command re-organization of the commands.
Keys do not activate commands now when you press them in the key-assign screen!

Enter fixes into the g430 now! (Could only enter navaids and airports before... sorry!)
Enter destination into airport screen, bring up the location map, and the airport ID is auto-entered for you there to do runway selection≥

APU operative
Magneto control operative
Bug-fix in recip engine modeling was costing us 5% power, now fixed.
When you pan around using the q/e keys, if you have the 'default to full-screen' button checked in the rendering options screen, then X-Plane will do so coming back to the forward view with the q/e keys.
Background bitmaps in Plane-Maker fuselage screen align left-justified.
A handful of labels have had spelling and punctuation corrected, and the like.
The IOS screen has the airport-browser button that some people like (from the location menu) as well as the airport ID-entry field
New command: APU start.
The cloud layers can be made infinitely close to each other now.
Weather rate of change does not change weather when the sim is paused (it did before... oops!)
Cursors are better aligned to the instruments in the panel.
Comment saving in PLN won't copy comments randomly to instruments with no comments.
Show-hide filters on generic instruments work correctly even on array datarefs.
VOR range corrected - long-range VORs were broadcasting too far before.
Click on generic rotaries won't double-increment the dataref when the instrument has "mechanical lighting"
Preview animation of generic rotaries shows last animation frame.
Plane-Maker popup menus won't go off the bottom of the screen.

New airport rendering detail control in the Rendering Options screen. You can now control how smooth the airport taxiway curves and lines are. Check out KSBD with high settings to see smooth lines.

Control the CAR-traffic density with a rendering setting. You can now get an LA traffic jam even if the object settings are lower.

Mostly just bug-fixes, but a large handful of new joystick/keyboard commands as well... specifically for pressurization and bleed-air control, and various bugs and settings, cowl flaps, and ADF radio frequencies.

The electrical low-volt annunciator will come on when the bus voltage is below the LO-END-OF-GREEN-ARC GENERATOR voltage.

The electrical system will stop working when the bus voltage is below the REDLINE LO-END BATTERY voltage.

As well, a minor flight-model refinement to be a bit more accurate at very low speeds in vehicles that sit in their own propwash. What sort of machines do this? Hovering helicopters!


Version 9 Overview

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