April scenery updates and hosting transition

If you haven’t noticed, I started to transition all of my scenery from X-Plane.org to Caffeinated Aviator including four new Utah backcountry airports.  The reason for this change is twofold.  First and foremost, it is much easier to maintain all of my scenery and plugins in one place.  Up until now, I have been posting updates to X-Plane.org, as well as this web site.  I will, however, still update the scenery version on the Org to keep users abreast of changes.  Second, some of the recent administrative changes, like the odd new scenery naming conventions, take autonomy away from scenery developers.  Hosting my scenery on Caffeinated Aviator will allow me to maintain that autonomy.

Fellow scenery developers are probably aware of the recent release of WorldEditor 1.2 Beta 2.  This release fixes crashes experienced when exporting airports with polygons that use bezier curves.  This release was supposed to help scenery developers get rid of the backlog of unreleased scenery, but another showstopping bug was introduced.  Any draped polygons with “Use Texture Map” checked will not show up in the airport.  For the non-scenery developers out there, draped polygons are used to paint the ground with orthophotos, taxi signs, and other airport features.  Once this bug is fixed, I will be able to finish some of the airports I have been working on (e.g. Reading Regional Airport).

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GoFlight 46

XGoFlight 2.3 release adds GF-46 support, fixes EFIS switch reversal

Just moments ago, I made XGoFlight 2.3 available for download.  The primary focus for this release was adding support for the GF-46 module.  I also fixed the EFIS switch reversal that several people kindly reported.  Another change, which has the potential to affect users, involved the renaming of the XGoFlight plugin directory.  The plugin directory has been renamed from Xgoflight to XGoFlight.  Lastly, I made a few internal improvements from logging to abstraction, which should make troubleshooting a little easier and save users a tiny bit of memory.

To learn how to configure the GF-46, please visit the Usage section of the plugin documentation.  Also, if you happen to come across any new bugs, please feel free to report them on the Troubleshooting page.

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XGoFlight 2.3.2 maintenance release available

As of this evening, another maintenance release of XGoFlight has been made available.  If you are one of the individuals having issues with the EFIS map mode knob, the XGoFlight 2.3.2 update is for you.  Based on the feedback I’ve received, I’m hoping this will fix the map mode issue once and for all.  If you don’t own the EFIS module or are not having issues, you can safely skip this release.

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Laminar gives Cessna 172SP some noticeable improvements

Up until X-Plane 10.21 Release Candidate 1, the native Cessna 172SP has featured a bland 3D cockpit.  While there is still significant room for improvement, Laminar Research has made some noticeable improvements to the 3D and flight models.

Before X-Plane 10.21 RC1, this was the 3D cockpit for the Cessna 172SP.

Cessna 172SP (Pre-10.21 RC1)

Cessna 172SP (Pre-10.21 RC1)

While the overall feel of the 3D pit is the same in X-Plane 10.21 RC1, there are several improvements to note.  Both the radio and instrument panels are no longer flat; now they are in 3D.  In addition, the lighting for the landing lights, taxi lights, and annunciator panel appears to have been improved.  The switches just below the yoke also got a makeover.

Lastly, there seems to be a backpack in the backseat.  It’s not mine!  I can’t remember whether this was there before 10.21 RC1.

Cessna_172SP_2

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Added nine example XGoFlight configuration files

The next version of XGoFlight will not include example configuration files in the ZIP file itself.  Instead, all example configuration files will be posted and maintained on this web site.  This simplifies the release process and reduces clutter in the plugin directory.  So far, nine example configuration files have been posted.

  • Airbus A320neo (JARDesign)
  • Baron B58 (Laminar Research)
  • Boeing 727 (FlyJSim)
  • Boeing 737-800 (EADT x737)
  • Boeing 747-400 (Laminar Research)
  • Bombardier Challenger 300 (ddenn)
  • Bombardier CRJ-200 (JRollon)
  • Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 (FlyJSim)
  • Cessna C172SP (Laminar Research)

[View Examples]

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XGoFlight 2.1 brings full customization for RP48 rotaries, array dataref support, and GA MCPPRO profile

Although it has been a mere two and a half weeks since the release of XGoFlight 2.0, I am pleased to announce the release of XGoFlight 2.1, which adds full customization for the RP48 rotaries, array dataref support, and a general aviation MCPPRO profile.

Customizing RP48 rotaries

When I started the XGoFlight project, my goal was to create the most flexible and customizable GoFlight plugin on the market.  In all versions prior to XGF 2.1, the rotaries could only be used with a limited number of preset actions.  After receiving some user feedback, I decided it was time to extend command and dataref-based customization to the RP48 rotaries.  An example JSON configuration for the rotaries is included below:

Let’s break it down…

  1. Uses preset action: spoiler
  2. Each turn to the right will increment the auto brake by one, whereas each turn to the left will decrement the auto brake by one.  The minimum auto brake level is zero, which usually signifies RTO.  The maximum auto brake level is 5, which usually signifies MAX.
  3. Each turn to the right will execute the command defined by “command_on,” whereas each turn to the left will execute the command defined by “command_off.”  In this case, turning the rotary left will turn the XPDR off, whereas turning the rotary right will turn the XPDR on.
  4. Uses preset action: engine_apu_switch

Using array datarefs

While most X-Plane datarefs contain only one integer or float value, some datarefs contain multiple integers or float values.  The datarefs that contain multiple values are called arrays.  In plugins/DataRefs.txt, those datarefs are indicated with brackets, as pictured below:

We will use the two “generator_on” datarefs for this example.  The first dataref (sim/cockpit2/electrical/generator_on) is an array of eight integers.  The following example can be used with the RP48, P8, or WP6 for any aircraft with two generators.

The number located within the brackets is called the offset.  Every array starts with a zero offset.  In this example, generator_on[0] is the first generator, and generator_on[1] is the second generator.  This pattern is relatively consistent across all X-Plane datarefs.

MCPPRO: General aviation profile

The default MCPPRO profile is geared toward jet aircraft with complex autopilot systems.  The default profile supports VNAV, autothrottle, and other functionality not seen in a common Cessna 172.  The general aviation profile provides a non-specific solution for users looking to more closely match that class of aircraft.  Below is a comparison between default and GA profiles (only differences are highlighted):

Default GA
A/T ARM NORMAL
SPEED NORMAL
LVL CHG NORMAL
VNAV NORMAL
ALT HLD ARM SYNC/HOLD
V/S NORMAL PITCH SYNC
V/S WHEEL NORMAL NOSE UP/DOWN
DISENGAGE NORMAL

To use the general aviation MCPPRO profile, add the following to your xgoflight.json configuration file.

 

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How to configure starters for the MESM in XGoFlight 3.0

The upcoming release of XGoFlight adds support for GoFlight’s Multi-Engine Start Module.  The configuration for the MESM is very similar to that of the EFIS module.  MESM functionality can be assigned using datarefs or commands, offering the flexibility needed to accommodate custom aircraft.  Below is a command-based configuration file for the default Cessna 172:

As stated, the MESM also supports datarefs.  The configuration file below is based on the Challenger 300 by ddenn:

Since the igniter switch is still a work-in-progress, I have opted to exclude it from this tutorial.  Stay tuned for much more news on the upcoming and highly anticipated XGoFlight 3.0 release!

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Hardware compatibility for payware aircraft

For those of us who do not use the keyboard and mouse with X-Plane, datarefs and commands are required for a proper experience.  For the payware aircraft that rely on standard X-Plane datarefs and commands, full compatibility is available out of the box.  As payware aircraft become increasingly complex, they increasingly require non-native datarefs to achieve full compatibility with external hardware.  I have started to create a list of payware aircraft that provide datarefs or out-of-box compatibility for customers.  For the time being, I recommend avoiding those aircraft vendors who do not provide full lists of datarefs.

Full list

  • Boeing 727 by FlyJSim
  • Bombardier CRJ-200 by JRollon
  • Bombardier Dash 8 by FlyJSim
  • Challenger 300 by ddenn

Default datarefs (out-of-box compatibility)

  • Boeing 787 by Heinz
  • Embraer 170LR by SSG
  • Seamax 1.2 by JRollon
  • Twin Otter by X-Aviation
  • T-34c Mentor by JRollon

Limited list

  • Boeing 777 Worldliner (autopilot only)

None

  • A320 Neo by JARDesign
  • Airbus aircraft by Peter Hagar

 

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GoFlight EFIS

GoFlight EFIS supported in XGoFlight 2.2

As of XGoFlight 2.2, the GoFlight EFIS module is fully supported.  Like the MCPPRO, the EFIS module uses profiles configured at the code level.  Currently, there are two profiles available—default and vmax_777.  The default profile works for almost all freeware and payware aircraft.  The only outlier found was the Boeing 777 Worldliner by VMAX.  If other outliers are found, please feel free to make a feature request by posting a comment on the XGoFlight page.

This release also adds the “increment” parameter for integer datarefs to P8/RP48/WP6 events.  The behavior of the “min” and “max” parameters was also changed.  If “min” and “max” are equal, the button will no longer act as a toggle.  This allows a very specific use case, as detailed below.

Today, a user asked how to configure the fuel selector for a general aviation aircraft.  In the native Cessna 172SP, there are four settings for the fuel selector—off, left, all, right.  Prior to XGoFlight 2.2, making “min” and “max” equal prevented the button from working at all.  Now, users can configure four distinct buttons for the four fuel selector positions without any unanticipated side effects. Continue reading

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Departure procedure and Civil Air Patrol signs added to Doylestown Airport

Doylestown Airport 2.2 for X-Plane adds two objects to the beautiful Bucks County landscape—the departure procedure and Civil Air Patrol signs.  I also removed the runway distance markers because the 3,000-foot sign was being rendered in the middle of a taxiway.  Unfortunately, this is done at the simulator level, so I have no control over final placement.  Below is a preview of the two new objects for your viewing pleasure.

My favorite addition is the departure procedures sign, which is attached to the picnic area fence.  Follow the posted procedures for the most realistic experience possible!

Departure procedures

The second object is the Civil Air Patrol sign, which is located directly across from the Doylestown Airport sign at the entrance.  It’s not visible from within the road, but it is a familiar sight to commuters.

Civil Air Patrol sign

The Doylestown Airport update can be downloaded from the Scenery section.

 

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