One way I relax, and get my mind off nearly everything is tooling around in the X-Plane Flight Simulator. I downloaded a new jet model some time ago that I haven’t had much time to try out. I’ve flown on this plane before, and chances are many of you have as well. The manufacturer is Embraer, and it’s one of the many signs that Brazil is aiming to be a major player in the world economy. It takes a certain amount of sophistication to be able to produce airplanes; even the Russians and Chinese haven’t really managed an airliner that you’d want to take your wife and kids on, but the Brazilians have, and Americans are flying on them in droves every day. Dan Klaue has created a fantastic X-Plane model of this Regional Jet, which my video doesn’t really do justice. Flight is from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International (KATL) to Cleveland Hopkins (KCLE), near dusk:
As a 3D model this plane is tip top, though it still needs some work in the systems simulation category. Nonetheless, it’s a great platform, and is X-Plane 10 compatible whenever that ends up coming out. I’ve preserved all the sounds on my video, which are pretty true to what I can remember flying on Embraers. You can see in this video some of the deficiencies of the X-Plane 9 model, including having to bake lighting features on to scenery, with the rest being pitch dark and unrealistic looking at night. Twilight is spectacular though, which I’ve always thought X-Plane renders quite well. You can also notice the rather ad-hoc nature of building scenery when you get close to it in the X-Plane 9 model. X-Plane 10 will have global illumination, where even cars on the roads will have light sources in their headlights. It will also base its mapping data on Open Street Maps, and generate plausible communities based on that data. I’m really looking forward to X-Plane 10, and hope it’ll be out before the end of the year.
I do all my own piloting in these, which shows in the takeoff and landings being far less than you would expect from a professional. In particular I flared a little early on the landing, drifting a bit in the crosswind and putting the left rear wheel down on the runway before the right, and slamming the nose down a bit hard. Live and learn.