Q400 status update - More screenshots!

  • Dear Aerofly fans,


    In October I released a couple of screenshots of our upcoming Bombardier Dash8 Q400 (short just "Q400"), here is the link to the old thread: Bombardier Dash 8Q-400.

    Back then it looked like the release was just around the corner but the work was interrupted in order to get the software development kit (SDK) out. Sorry for getting your hopes up high and then don't release soon. But that is the risk I took when I uploaded the screenshots, I just wanted to share the process on the Q400 and didn't know it would be pushed back that much. As I mentioned back then the turboprop engine was pretty much the only thing missing. In the last months we picked up the Q400 right where we left off and implemented a new turboprop engine specifically for the Q400. It features a simulated two stage compressor together with core turbines plus the power turbine that drives the large propeller. The basic physics for that are working pretty great at the moment, We have some fine tuning left todo (e.g. improve the FADEC) but that is all manageable, apart from that we're pretty much done with that aircraft.


    The shut down engine on the screenshot below is the current state of my development version. We have not yet decided weather the initial release of the Q400 will feature engine start as well but we all agree that that would be pretty awesome. In the engine physics we would need to adjust a few things so that we can actually start the engine from zero rotation speed. We need to hook up a starter to the core turbine's shaft and then program the FADEC (engine conroller) just right to that it doesn't flood the engine. It's a bit more work for us, so maybe you can comment below if you would like to see such a feature from day one and if you would want wait just a little bit longer for that? :) Personally I'd love to implement the engine start procedure first


    The Q400 has quite a bit of system depth, here is an excerpt of its features

    (this list is far from complete, just the things that just now popped back into my head)

    • engine derates (MTOP, NTOP, MCL, MCR, RDC TOP) using condition levers and engine control push buttons
    • reduced propeller rotation speed for landing (REDUCED NP LANDING)
    • fully feathering propeller, reverse thrust
    • all system pages and display swaps
    • navigation source selection and HSI select (+DUAL FD on ILS approach) to make the autopilot follow the FMS, ILS or VOR inputs from either pilot or copilot primary flight display
    • HSI on the navigation display to pre-tune the ILS approach (see screenshots below)
    • ARCDU (audio radio control display unit) with multiple pages (including the expanded pages), option to disable the automatic FMS tuning with the knob (ON/BOTH/FMS)
    • set v-speeds
    • DH/MDA selection
    • caution and warning annunciations for several warnings and cautions (will be expanded over time)
    • gear warning, beta range warning horn (when levers are below flight idle in flight), takeoff warning (+test), elevator trim warning, altitude alert, stick shaker,...
    • ice protection panel with automatic or manual selection of the airframe parts to deice
    • annunciator and advisory light test (screenshots below)
    • a lot of push buttons are moving when clicked (the other aircraft have that as well in my developer version - will be updated soon)
    • pretty much every button in the flight deck is implemented in my developer version, the ones that aren't functioning yet will likely be disabled in the release but that isn't certain yet. Maybe you'll get to click everything, too
    • stick pusher for stall protection
    • sound is actually pretty nice and has quite a bit of features. Also a lot of audible warnings :D
    • handling is very nice as well, it's a lot of fun to fly, has noticeable prop-wash effects as well, straight takeoffs and climb outs actually require a bit of rudder and aileron trim
    • autopilot is simulated accurately and features almost all modes (e.g. VOR OS, VOR capture annunciation is missing but VOR mode itself works, so nothing is really missing except maybe MLS but that is rarely used IRL and we'd need to implement procedures and receivers for that first)

    The FMS will be implemented later, once we tackle it for all aircraft. So no changing of the flight plan from within the cockpit just yet.

    Electric and hydraulics systems are not implemented yet but probably will be in the future.


    Disclaimer

    The screenshots below are taken from my developer version that doesn't have all required features for the scenery, my trees are missing for example. These are work in progress (WIP) development screenshots that may contain certain mistakes or bugs, the final product may differ. Not all of the features shown below might make it to the public version on first release.

    Engine data is not fine-tuned yet, might be off a bit on the screenshots but we are not done there yet.


    Shut down engines:


    Annunciator and advisory light test in action:



    Taxiing out to the runway (this is OrbX Innsbruck but in my developer version I don't have all the new scenery features yet)


    Ready for takeoff:


    Lift off, pushed the "NAV" button on the autopilot to follow the route (FMS as nav-source required)


    DUAL FD - CAT 2 ILS approach (this thing can't do CAT3 with autopilot or do a fully automatic landing sadly - it has only one autopilot, two would be required)


    Initiating a go-around by pressing the GA-button (assignable in control settings)


    ARCDU, expanded page for the ATC/TCAS: line select the squawk and push "EXP" to get there...


    HSI is displayed on the navigation display so that you could continue to follow the FMS but can also already monitor the NAV receiver, nice handy feature!



    All in all there is a lot to play with in the Q400. So much that we will need a thorough tutorial for it perhaps.


    Regards,
    Jan

  • It's a bit more work for us, so maybe you can comment below if you would like to see such a feature from day one and if you would want wait just a little bit longer for that?

    If the Q400 is at the same quality level as the A320 - then it's more enough to start work out on this beauty. Then we'll receive updates anytime ... when it's done. It also lowers the pressure on the developer.

    It's called "Early Access". And I'm a fan of that...... :thumbup: :)

  • If the Q400 is at the same quality level as the A320 - then it's more enough to start work out on this beauty. Then we'll receive updates anytime ... when it's done. It also lowers the pressure on the developer.

    It's called "Early Access". And I'm a fan of that...... :thumbup: :)

    Yes it's pretty much up there with the A320 and LJ45, in some areas it exceeds them. Compared to the current Steam version the LJ45, A320, B747 will get quite the improvement with the upcoming autopilot update, the 737 and C90 are also updated but aren't as much of a flag-ship for the Aerofly I think.

    So not only will the Q400 be above average (by quite a bit), the average of airliner functionality is also improved.

  • Looking great! I myself however would find it a bit odd to release the very first aircraft for AFS2 with deeper systems without the option to manually start it... I think this will also be frowned upon in the sim community. As I said this will be the very first 'deeper' airplane (don't what other word to use for it) so everyone will be watching it and if you can't start it yourself I do think some will think that's a bad start (no pun intended). I personally would LOVE showing off this plane to all my fellow simmers but I don't know if I would do that without a start procedure.


    I would understand it if this plane will be released without a start option but I don't know if it would be wise. Starting a plane is such a basic thing that without it I don't know how many die hard simmer will take this one seriously. Not that all die hard simmers have to be pleased (you will never be able to do that LOL) but still... I'd work on it a bit more and add the start procedure.


    Then again... I see you aren't sure about adding electric and hydraulics systems so... it has to be seen if 'die hard simmers' will take this addon serious anyway, despite all the great things it offers.


    Take note that for me personally the plane looks great (although I'd like to see that start option myself too) but I am thinking about the future of AFS2 and what kind of addon plane would be best to show off the sim to FSX/P3D/XP users.


    P.S. If you add a start option I presume you will also add a cold and dark option...?


    EDIT

    P.S. 2 I do wonder how the heck I am going to learn to fly this plane in VR without the possibility to read a tutorial or PoH... ;) Does the plane come with a special manual? Tutorial? It seems too complicated to not come with any additional info! We really need a solution for reading pdf's and things like that while in VR!

  • Looking great! I myself however would find it a bit odd to release the very first aircraft for AFS2 with deeper systems without the option to manually start it... I think this will also be frowned upon in the sim community. As I said this will be the very first 'deeper' airplane (don't what other word to use for it) so everyone will be watching it and if you can't start it yourself I do think some will think that's a bad start (no pun intended). I personally would LOVE showing off this plane to all my fellow simmers but I don't know if I would do that without a start procedure

    That is a valid point, adding engine start would be a lot more viral.


    Cold and dark is a lot more work though. The way we simulate it that would mean full electric and hydraulic systems or we would have to fake it for the time being. Sure we can make everything dark but then it won't be realsitic when you just put one battery one for example. It's almost easier to implement the real world electric network and then have the consumers fail when their electric bus looses power. We will get there some point but I don't think it would be a good idea to wait that long.

  • Not that all die hard simmers have to be pleased (you will never be able to do that LOL) but still... I'd work on it a bit more and add the start procedure.

    At this early stage of development - Aerofly FS2 is not finished for so-called "die-hard-simmers" (which is occupied by each nut in airplanes...). It is better to pay attention to those of us who understand what "Early Access" implies. As a customer, it is exciting to participate in this trip - and see that the simulator is gradually growing....

    But some people may prefer to see their children only when they are finished adults? ;)


    We will get there some point but I don't think it would be a good idea to wait that long.

    I agree. No need to wait until each bolt is in place. :)

  • All sounds good. I'd be happy to wait for engine start. You say the sound is nice - is it stereo? Am I correct in thinking all sounds are mono at the moment?

  • Having input for VOR,ILS, and ADF plus having the autopilot track the VOR/ILS is important....at least to me. Being able to do my own navigation outside of the Aerofly flight planner is something I would like. I am one of the hard care guys who has recently come to Aerofly2...the visual aspect of Aerofly2 is very nice.....actually I recently retired after a career in various cockpits for 40 years. I really miss what I was privileged to see out the front window hence I enjoy the Aerofly scenery. Being able to do my own navigation is important if I'm to keep using and purchasing more Aerofly2 add-ons. Thanks for your consideration.

  • Stunning pics. The level of detail is fantastic. Listed system functionality looks great!


    As far as releasing with or without engine starts... I would vote for early release with engine starts added later. A normal start of engines on the Q is quite boring due to FADEC. Select the engine, hit start, NH, condition lever start/feather and then you just sit there and let it happen.


    BTW the Q can do CATIII's but you need an installed HGS. No autopilot required or used during the CATIII. Hand flown.


    Can't wait to get my hands on this beauty in AFFS2! Looks awesome!:thumbup::thumbup:

  • Oh, absolutely beautiful. I'm lost for words, so it must be immaculate.


    I'll go with whatever you want, as it's your baby.


    Well done, you must be so proud.


    Jim.

    Computer: PB Gaming 62000 Skylake Core i5 6600, Quad Core 3.3Ghz with Premium Cooling, 16GB DDR4 Gaming Ram, 250GB SSD, 2TB HHD, N'VIDEA GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5, DIRECTX12 Gaming Graphic's Card, VR Ready, Windows10 Home Edition, 64bit, 2 x 24" Widescreen HDMI 1080p VDU's

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    Amateur Radio Station: ZL2BMH

  • BTW the Q can do CATIII's but you need an installed HGS. No autopilot required or used during the CATIII. Hand flown.

    You're right, with the heads up guidance (HGS) it could manually be landed in CATIII conditions.

    The HGS is certainly something we are considering to add to the Q400, I don't know the latest plans for that though.


    Regards,

    Jan

  • It is time to release this beast. We paid to take part in the early access process, so we expect the aircraft to be incomplete and to require future updates. And let's be brutally honest: there hasn't been a whole lot from IPACS in the last six months. Utah and that's about it. (Remember, I said IPACS, not Orbx.) Patience is a virtue, but boredom is a reality. You are losing customers to your competition.


    I promise I will defend you from any "hard-core" types who complain. I have been doing that for months as it is!

  • It is time to release this beast. We paid to take part in the early access process, so we expect the aircraft to be incomplete and to require future updates. And let's be brutally honest: there hasn't been a whole lot from IPACS in the last six months. Utah and that's about it. (Remember, I said IPACS, not Orbx.) Patience is a virtue, but boredom is a reality. You are losing customers to your competition.


    I promise I will defend you from any "hard-core" types who complain. I have been doing that for months as it is!

    Hang in there. The Q400 is moving into internal alpha testing now, so expect at least a first version shortly thereafter. There is a lot being improved and updated regarding the aircraft systems that affect most of the aircraft so unfortunately it needs to be carefully tested before it's released to the public.


    As for your statement, this has been mentioned a lot on here and the Steam forums, a lot of preliminary work had to go into the ORBX releases, and work on the GeoConverrt tool has also taken some time to perfect behind the scenes. Yes, there hasn't been a lot of new toys to play with but the core of FS2 needs to also be built up to accommodate those toys. The core work will set the tone for the future features.

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • You're right, with the heads up guidance (HGS) it could manually be landed in CATIII conditions.

    The HGS is certainly something we are considering to add to the Q400, I don't know the latest plans for that though.


    Regards,

    Jan

    Hi Jan,


    I would happily pay extra for an upgraded version of the Q400 with an accurate HGS. What a thing of beauty that would be! If you were asking (and I know you are not), my vote would be yes, please plan for an HGS upgrade to the Q:!: