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
- 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.
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.