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Introduction:  Embraer Bandeirante… or Bandit?

Introduction

I think you will agree that ‘bandit’ isn’t worthy of this very nice aircraft,  although her nickname is Bandeirante, or officially the Embraer EMB-110. According to WikipediA The Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante is a general purpose 15-21 passenger twin-turboprop light transport aircraft suitable for military and civil duties. It was manufactured by the Brazilian corporation, Embraer.’

‘Bandeirante or English for pioneer was the name given to the Portuguese settlers and pioneers who expanded the limits of the Portuguese Empire, language and culture in Brazil by progressively moving in and then settling from the early coastal settlements towards the inner, then unknown and uncharted zones of the vast continent. Actually, yes, it becomes even weird, The EMB 110 was designed by the French engineer Max Holste. The goal was to create a general purpose aircraft, suitable for both civilian and military roles with a low operational cost and high reliability. On this measure, the EMB 110 has succeeded.’

Photos courtesy of Airliners.Net

Although this background information is interesting, it really is time to turn our attention to the modelled aircraft from DreamFoil.

But first … What do you get?

When you buy the aircraft at the Aerosoft eShop, you get a non-serial numbered/non-registered package. That said, unzip the package and install it, as usual, in the X-Plane Aircraft folder. You can, as I do, make a sub-folder named DreamFoil and place it in there. The basic package comes with a couple of liveries, but if you look for liveries on X-Plane.Org you will find a few more.  However, it turns out that there aren’t that many user painted liveries available. Hopefully that will increase in the near future. There’s also a ‘manual’ folder that offers:
– emergency procedures;
– normal procedures;
– performance tables;
– pilots ops handbook.

I would like to discuss in more depth the pilots ops handbook. It consists of only 13 pages and offers the following sub-chapters:
– Installation;
– Performance;
– The Aircraft;
– Instrument identification;
– SmartMenu and SmartLivery;

That’s it.

There’s no tutorial included and I deliberately wrote ‘instrument identification’ because it doesn’t offer more than where to find various  handles, switches, knobs and indicators. In the manual I noticed that some of the main instrument panel indicators/instruments are not highlighted at all. Indeed, there’s no description of what some instruments do or what you can expect from them or their general behaviour. Another item worth noting is the option to choose from two ‘acf’ files. When loading the Embraer EMB-110, you can choose between an EMB110.acf and an EMB110_WD.acf. The WD version offers an EMB-110 that has 10 degrees of dihedral on the horizontal stabilizer while the other doesn’t have this feature.

Preparations

Hot Spots
With the EMB-110 parked at one of my favourite NAPS / Marc Leydecker airports (KPVG Hampton Roads Executive), it’s time to open the passenger and cargo  doors. While walking to the nose of the aircraft, I first open the passenger door. When you move your mouse towards this door, you’ll see two white arrows above each other that indicate the ‘hot spot’ to control it. By the way it surprised me that the door opened and closed very quickly. Perhaps this could be slowed down a little in the next update or Service Pack. Opening and closing the hydraulically controlled cargo/baggage door is carried out in the same way as the passenger entrance door (ie using the two white arrows). This cargo/baggage door is controlled via a small panel right behind it. Again, this small panel door opens like Speedy Gonzales, but closes at a much smoother rate. The moment you’ve accessed the small panel door, the large door in front of it opens/closes at a smooth rate.

However, the EMB-110 comes with more interesting hot spots. With four arrows in a circle you can install/remove all the individual ‘DO NOT BEFORE FLIGHT’ red labels or engine inlet covers. This is quite realistic as you have to do this for every item, exactly same as you would do in real life. Hold on, there’s a much easier way to locate these four arrows, and the answer can be found at the radome nose. Click on the radome nose and you’ll see a popup window that allows you to control all these ground safety covers individually or using just one click.

And finally, refuelling.

When you walk towards the middle of the wing leading or trailing edge, you’ll notice that a fuel nozzle appears. By clicking the fuel nozzle, a quantity indicator pops up. Clicking on the fuel quantity scale allows you to increase or decrease the amount of fuel per wing. An interesting detail is that, when you increase the amount of fuel, the resulting larger fuel load will lead to the compressing of the main gear strut.

These ‘hot spots’ should really have been included in the manual in my humble opinion. If you’re familiar with the previous DreamFoil models, you’re probably aware of these. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be too much extra work to add this to the handbook.

Quick Check
When I carried out the preparations, I was already happy with what I saw: a very detailed EMB-110! The landing gear struts are all modelled with great detail, although it looks like all the liveries are brand new or repainted. Besides the missing scratches and weathered spots, I also miss – who am I to write this – oil leaks or dirty stripes on the engine cowling. Yes, I know, it is just possible that all models have had their annual inspection including a fresh coat of paint on their skin, but I think it would be more realistic if a more used look was depicted.

Besides this, many tiny details aren’t forgotten and these contribute towards giving the modelled EMB-110 a realistic look. Zooming in on the fuselage skin decals I should point out that not every piece of lettering is readable. This isn’t a big deal, but perhaps the lettering could be improved a little bit with the next update. Taking a closer look at the engine cowling and propeller blades in particular, the Hartzell decal isn’t readable at all. Looking at some other GA aircraft I know that this could be much better. I’m also aware that some simmers aren’t really interested in such detail, but it’s my aim to highlight such things anyway.

Although the wing tips look straightforward, I am impressed by them and in particular I like the modelled plastic glass on top of the red/green navigation lamp unit. From the wing tip towards the fuselage I also notice the way the flap supporting struts are modelled. Very nice work! Further on, on the left hand side of the fuselage, just behind the cargo/baggage door, we’ve got the small panel door with perfectly modelled hydraulic hand pump, hydraulic lines, selector valve, cylinder and red hand pump handle. And then, it’s a pity in my view to see the two static ports next to this on the fuselage skin, surrounded by yellow markings, blurry with no text. These could be better!

As expected, the tail is well depicted, although I’m wondering if the white tail light or perhaps strobe light is modelled. There’s something that looks like a light bulb housing, but it’s the same colour at the rest of the fuselage skin. Normally I would expect to see a glass bulb unless I’m completely mistaken. On the other hand, looking from the end of the tail to the top of the vertical fin, I have to say that every static discharger is modelled (same as on the wing trailing edge) as well as some antennas. Overall a good replica of the real Embraer EMB-110!

Powering Up but first …
Via the passenger entrance door I can get access to the right-hand cockpit seat, but first I ought to cover a special popup window from DreamFoil. This popup window is activated left and right of the LH/RH FIRE TEST switches on the glareshield panel and allows you to control:
– SmartLivery;
– Quick Views (cockpit, passenger area, baggage area and tail camcorder);
– Volume (exterior, interior and wind or master);
– FOV (Field Of View, standard set at 75);
– GPU (activation/deactivation of the Ground Power Unit);
– Stability (adjust pitch, roll and yaw stability);
– Exterior (wheel chocks, caps, tail support etc);
– EXIT this window in the middle!

OK, time to move on and first print out the normal procedures manual. The reason is that you get a better appreciation of how to fly the EMB-110 but in addition it offers the checklist and how to start the engines.

Starting with a cold and dark Embraer EMB-110, if you follow the checklist to power up and start the engines it all works perfectly. Only a couple of switches aren’t modelled, but more than 95 percent are. That said, the checklist is a good guide, but in the middle of the instrument panel, beneath the COMM/NAV 1/2, you’ll find a control panel that wasn’t covered in the manual. It’s the Trimble Navigation TNL 2100T GPS navigator. Since the DreamFoil manual doesn’t feature this control panel, it’s perhaps an idea, if you’re interested in it, to download the official TNL 2100T user guide via this link.  Using the FPL button it allows you to load an ‘fms’ format flight plan. With the WPT, AUX and APT/VOR buttons you can enter a waypoint, NDB or VOR station. The ‘D’ is for DIRECT TO, while the NAV button is for showing the first waypoint on the loaded flight plan. By the way, the radar display not only shows weather radar information but also your flight plan as a simple red line.

Close-up screenshots of the COMM/NAV panels, WX panel, ATC and AP control panel situated at the AFT of the pedestal.

Some words about that red line; is it really helpful? To be very honest, not really! Waypoints on your flight plan aren’t shown; you can’t request surrounding NDB or VOR/VORTAC beacons to come into view; and there is a lack of the detail which is normally shown on a Garmin GNS 530. OK, you and I need to live with this. On the other hand, when you have a low altitude map in your hand, it’s fun using only the Trimble GPS navigator. Adding some VOR/VORTAC beacons to your route with DME readout provides you with a good way to navigate.

Back to the intended flight plan. I’ve created a short flight plan from KPVG to KBOS. There are many ways to create an ‘fms’ flight plan but, since I’m on a Mac, I used Online Flight Planner.Org (http://onlineflightplanner.org). The route in total is just over 400NM which gives you enough time to check out the aircraft systems, how the EMB-110 flies and how to use the Auto Pilot, although I need to point out that the EMB-110 is equipped with a so-called ‘basic AP’. By the way, on the AFT side of the pedestal you’ll find the AP control panel with an AP switch below. Select this switch to ON and then you can use the buttons and knobs on the panel itself.

Time to Fly

Taxiing with the modelled EMB-110 is nice, although no rumbling sound during taxi can be heard, at least, I didn’t hear anything. Before the takeoff I went over   the checklist again and when all the items were completed, it was time to fly. Doing the takeoff isn’t a problem, the same for the climb. If needed, you can trim to reduce your workload. When you decide to connect the AP, either in HDG or NAV mode, I found it a pity that the AP panel does not have a popup window. I also noticed that the AP control panel itself isn’t quite clear, or should I say the text is difficult to read. Yes, I can read AP, YAW, NAV, but HDG is hard to make out. As this reflects the real panel, it would be a good idea to make it more legible and, as I mentioned before, add a popup version of it too. It is not very convenient to have to move constantly to the AFT pedestal to make an adjustment.

When at 6000 feet, and using the ALT button on the AP, I noticed that the AP had some problems levelling off the aircraft. It took longer than expected before the IVSI needle stopped moving. Right now I’m flying in HDG, ALT and AP mode. OK, AP is not a mode. It simply means that the AP is connected in heading and altitude hold mode. The active mode can be seen, of course, via the ON lights on the AP control panel and the flight mode annunciator above the horizon. At a certain moment I decide to climb to FL100 and turn the ALT button on the AP panel off, use the trim switch to climb with 1000 feet/minute and – what happens – all other AP modes drop OFF. Is this normal? This doesn’t sound logical to me. Fortunately I did notice this had happened, but suppose you miss it and don’t see it? No AP and no HDG mode. That’s not good in my humble opinion but perhaps I’m completely wrong!

I think it was a good idea that DreamFoil didn’t decide to go for the default X-Plane Garmin GNS 530, since it doesn’t belong in this aircraft. The Trimble GPS navigator does more or less the same thing but there’s no display that offers you your flight plan with so much detail. However, the plan is shown on the WX display but as mentioned before it’s no more than just a red line.

And … how is the modelled 3D cockpit?
That’s an interesting question but an easy answer.

I’m pleased with the 3D cockpit modelling including all the switches, knobs, indicators, panels etc. I have highlighted already the blurry look of the text on the AP control panel and the missing popup function of this panel. Besides these small issues, the other panels look gorgeous as does the overhead panel. The integral lighting of the overhead and centre instrument panels is very nice and can be controlled via a switch or simulated rheostats, located on the left-hand lower switch panel. Zooming in on the panel will make you happy since all the instruments stay sharp including the needles, indicator plates, panel text etc. On the side windows you’ll find small window panels that can be opened for ground operation and it must be said that these are well done.

Since there’s no door in-between the cockpit and virtual cabin, I thought it would be a good idea to have a quick look in the cabin too. I can see a lot of work has been put into the cabin with seats, carpet, seat tracks, sidewall panels and ceiling. Although for some the virtual cabin isn’t so important, it is worth just mentioning that the cabin window frames with screws are blurry. I hope that with an update these screws are depicted a bit more sharply.

At the end of the cabin, you’ll find the cargo/baggage area. Although the modelling is basic, it completes the whole virtual cabin. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the interior of the passenger entrance door. I appreciate that I have already seen it during my quick external check but, with the door closed, it looks totally different than when unfolded. This is partly because everything is folded together to give the interior door a slim look. Nicely done. No other words needed!

Back to the flight
As with many other aircraft, the EMB-110 can be easily flown manually using the trims or via the AP. I already mentioned my thoughts about the absence of an AP popup panel, although I know that this is my preference and perhaps others don’t see this as a problem. The AP control panel is, as I said, difficult to read and the manual doesn’t offer much more info, not more than a picture of the AP panel itself. I think it would be a good idea for DreamFoil to add a description of the AP panel in the manual. In that respect the manual is too limited when it comes to the explanation of certain systems and/or panel description and operation.

As highlighted in the previous paragraph, flying the EMB-110 manually is possible but you need constant attention to keep it on your vertical and lateral track. In particular, if you decide to fly the aircraft by hand with the help of the trims, please bear in mind that the aircraft responds slowly, so before you realise it you’ve given too much trim. I found the aircraft stability – all set by default at 50 percent – a little too sensitive. Some adjustments are welcome to prevent over steering. With the AP connected, you’ve got enough time to fiddle around with the COMM/NAV control panels and see their NAV 1 and NAV 2 output. These COMM/NAV panels may look authentic, but not all the text is clearly visible and sometimes I felt I was guessing what was what.

Descending, initial approach and landing can be done visually with the help of an airport VOR/VORTAC, using the AP or making a guided landing. I personally like to land the aircraft myself. Difficult? No, not at all, but close attention is required to keep the aircraft in the air!

Anything else?

No, I think I covered what I wanted or what I feel you might need to know about this aircraft before you decide to buy it. Perhaps I will finish off with some words about the frame rates and the aircraft sound folder.

During my EMB-110 test flights of course I noticed some frame rate drops; however,  that wasn’t due to the aircraft, but more to the airport scenery and SkyMAXX Pro. Being a high quality model like the EMB-110, it’s still possible to fly it with reasonable frame rates and by reasonable I mean at least with 25 FPS or more. The modelled EMB-110 doesn’t come with complex EFIS, EICAS, ECAM or FMS equipment and this most likely results in good frame rates.  Of course, as we know, frame rates aren’t just dependent on the type of aircraft and its simulated equipment. X-Plane rendering options could be of a major factor, plus your X-plane screen size, your PC or Mac hardware specifications and so on.

I cannot confirm that the aircraft has authentic Embraer EMB-110 sound files included. I have never seen this aircraft in reality, even looking at YouTube doesn’t provide me with a good comparison.

Summary

This is another interesting addition to the X-Plane aircraft fleet, although I think that an update would be welcome. I mentioned that the operations manual is – in my view – missing too many items or explanations. I feel that some of the main instruments, like the COMM/NAV control panels, the Trimble GPS navigator and the AP control panel, need some rework when it comes to legibility and I strongly suggest  having a popup window for the AP control panel. This will make life much easier, rather than constantly moving down and aft to check the panel on the pedestal. At least, that’s my opinion.

The EMB-110 is nicely modelled externally and internally. The exterior has many tiny details, as well as the virtual cabin and 3D cockpit. I sincerely hope painters will take the time and effort to provide some more liveries. The current default liveries are nice, but the model deserves more.

Is it worth checking out the DreamFoil Embraer EMB-110 yourself?

I think so and I encourage you to have a look at the dedicated Aerosoft eShop EMB-110 web page (http://en.shop.aerosoft.com/eshop.php?action=article_detail&s_supplier_aid=13568&s_design=DEFAULT&shopfilter_category=Flight%20Simulation&s_language=english).

For this review, I used the following payware and freeware add-on products:
Freeware:  KPVG Hampton Roads Executive from Marc Leydecker aka Belga12345. You will need to sign in first.

Payware :  SkyMAXX Pro 3.x

Anything else?

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: PaywareDreamFoil Embraer EMB-110
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | Aerosoft | DreamFoil
Description: Realistic rendition of the Embraer EMB-110
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 1.1GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: September 4th 2015
Hardware specifications: - iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013
- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (El Capitan 10.11.4)
- 3 external 1TB SSDs
- Saitek Pro Flight System
Software specifications: - El Capitan (10.11.4) | Yosemite (10.10.5) | Mavericks (10.9.5)
- Windows 10 Professional
- X-Plane 10.45c | X-Plane 10.45m

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