The L-1011 ..the WhisperLiner
I’m aware it’s a matter of taste. I’m aware that some didn’t like it and prefer the Douglas Dc-10 Series, but overall, the L-1011 was an extraordinary appearance. Let’s find out what Lockheed Martin has to say about it.
In April 1972, after six grueling years of design and some unforeseen setbacks, the then-Lockheed California Company (now Lockheed Martin) delivered the most technologically advanced commercial jet of its era, the L-1011 TriStar, to its first client, Eastern Airlines.
In a similar fashion to other iconic passenger airliners before it, the L-1011 faced daunting challenges on the way to its inaugural flight. Divergent needs from competing airlines led to design challenges. Financial difficulties ravaged its engine’s manufacturer. And a recession, fueled by the world’s first oil crisis, lessened the demand for commercial airliners.
But the L-1011, like its parent company, endured the storm, including a government loan guarantee, but in the end, more than 4,500 jobs were saved. And on April 30, 1972, Eastern Airlines began scheduled service of the L-1011, with a smooth flight from Miami to New York. On the runway, the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar was an undeniable beauty. With its large, curved nose, low-set wings, and graceful swept tail, it looked as sleek as a dolphin. But in flight, the L-1011 was nothing short of a miracle, the first commercial airliner capable of flying itself from take-off to landing.
Worth to highlight since the Lockheed Tristar L-1011 was a very sophisticated aircraft in those days. Check out this “the L-1011 featured a highly advanced autopilot system and was the first widebody to receive FAA certification for Cat-IIIc autolanding, which approved the TriStar for completely blind landings in zero-visibility weather performed by the aircraft’s autopilot. The L-1011 used an inertial navigation system to navigate; this included aligning the navigation system by entering current coordinates of longitude and latitude.
It also had a unique direct lift control (DLC) system, which allowed for smooth approaches when landing, without having to use significant pitch changes while on the approach path. DLC helps maintain the aircraft on the glideslope during final approach by automatically deploying spoiler panels on the wings. Thus, rather than maintaining the descent by adjusting pitch, DLC helps control the descent while maintaining a more consistent pitch angle, using four redundant hydraulic systems. Production also used a unique “autoclave” system for bonding fuselage panels together; this made the L-1011 extremely resistant to corrosion.”
This DLC system can be downloaded via this X-Plane.Org link. According to Org user By J. Kiss “This is a plugin for L1011 aircrafts and provides the Direct Lift Control function. DLC is used during landing to keep the pitch of the aircraft relatively level to prevent tail strikes. DLC is automatically engaged with full flaps and couples the spoilers with the elevator. Several custom datarefs are available for annunciators. “
Want to know more about the L-1011? Then check out this dedicated Wikipedia web page.
Welcome On Board Intro
On behalf of Wilson Classics I welcome you on board of the X-Plane 11 Lockheed Tristar L-1011. I’m testing the modelled L-1011 which comes in two flavors – the -150 and -500 Series – for you on a test flight from KBOS to KMIA. Just for info, this review is based on the following package numbers:
By the way, in case you’ve got no idea what a -500 and -150 series is, let me highlight the following …. the L-1011-500 was the last L-1011 variant to enter production. It was a longer-range variant first flight tested in 1978. Its fuselage length was shortened by 14 feet (4.3 m) and MTOW increased to allow higher fuel loads. More powerful RB.211-524 engines, increased wingspan, active-load-control ailerons and other improved systems were features introduced by Lockheed to exploit newly available technologies in the late 1970s. The -500 variant was popular among international operators and formed a significant portion of the L-1011 fleet of Delta and British Airways.
However, its late introduction resulted in many potential customers buying the DC-10-30 instead. The TriStar 500 first flew on October 16, 1978, with the first delivery to British Airways on April 27, 1979. It entered service with British Airways on May 7, 1979, flying between London and Abu Dhabi.
The L-1011-150 was a development of the L-1011-1 with its maximum takeoff weight increased to 470,000 pounds (210,000 kg). It was available only as a conversion for the L-1011-1. The -150 involves the conversion of Group 1 and Group 2 L-1011-1 aircraft to an MTOW of 470,000 pounds (210,000 kg), an increase of 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg), about 10%, from the L-1011-1, giving the aircraft a slightly better range than the -50, but without the additional center-section fuel tank, less than the L-1011-100 aircraft.
The first aircraft was converted by MBB at Lemwarder in Germany during the winter of 1988/89 and was subsequently handed over to Air Transat of Canada on May 11, 1989. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
But First … Cockpit Impression
For this flight, I’m using the -500 series, so the short model. The cockpits are basically the same, so seeing one cockpit model configuration is enough.
With different L-1011 cockpit lay-outs over the years, with so many system and navigation configurations, it’s difficult to go for “a” cockpit lay-out. But Wilson Classics has chosen for the lay-out with the default X-Plane 11 FMS (M)CDU. As you might know, the default FMS (M)CDUs with popup, needs “fms” flight plan extensions.
My first impression is that a lot of time and effort is put into this cockpit. Since we’re dealing with an old-fashioned aircraft and not many flying around anymore, it’s not easy to create cockpit textures and, if the developer prefers, using photos to make cockpit textures of it. If this is the wish of the modeler to give it an as real as it gets look and feel, then high resolution/quality photo material are needed and with such an old aircraft, that’s not always easy.
Most of the panels I see are made old with scratches, dents and weathering which is I think as real as it gets. What said, it’s an old aircraft and I hardly believe that you’ll find brand new cockpits with no scratches, no weathering etc., so I like the way it looks like.
The following update should be brought to your attention. According to Mike from Wilson Classic “I had originally envisioned that it would be a quick little update for the L-1011, but Julien wants to build a working flight engineers panel, and I am now in contact with L-1011 flight engineer Ed Dunlap of stargazer, the last flyable L-1011, thanks to VETTE for connecting us.” That said, a lot things to expect with the next update!
Most of the text on the panels is clearly readable, although some text is slightly fussy, but still readable and I have my doubts if the right font is used. Scanning along the main- and center instrument panels, you can clearly see the 3D effect from the indicators, lights, bulbs, and even from the screws. It must be said that not all switches, selectors and lights are functional.
There’s however a critical note I have and that deals with the photo real texture of the FE panel. I mentioned this before, it’s only a photo, no functionality and the photo isn’t of a good quality. Further on, the back wall with circuit breakers shows some C/Bs, but the majority is empty. Perhaps something missing, but for sure the next update will solve the missing C/Bs.
I’m not 100 percent sure, but the Wilson Classics DC-8 had window temperature sensors, but on the modelled L-1011 I don’t see any sensor. It could be that the L-1011 didn’t ha any, but that’s something I hardly believe thus no temperature sensors in the windshield panels modelled. One more thing and that’s the AFT overhead panel or perhaps it’s better to say the AFT C/B panel.
And I need to correct myself. On this panel you’ve got red marked C/B’s and the regular black C/B’s. The correction is that near the FE panel this is the same. That said, there you’ll find the regular black C/B’s and amber/orange clipped C/B’s, but without any text that identifies the C/Bs. Informed Mike about this and this will be implemented in the next update. Additional note for the modelled seats and carpet; it looks OK but, I’m aware this saves FPS, but for the seats not many polygons are used so they look a bit blocky.
Although the textures in the 3D cockpit look OK, the overall look is a bit cartoonish. While writing this note done, looking to the rudder/steering pedals, they are covered with real photo material.
What … inspection, of what?
I’m talking about an external check or walk-around inspection. Although the external overview gives me a good feeling that the modelled L-1011 looks good, I also noticed many things that could be better, especially for a payware. Let me give a couple examples; the engine textures.
The engine shiny Alu look is great, but when zooming in it turns out that the text on it is hardly readable. Besides that, the overall look of the engine textures is blurry. The gears and wheels are modelled with some eye for details The nose wheels have no visible rim on the outside. The sides of the tire have no details. It seems that a texture is forgotten. Informed Mike about this and action will be taken.
The NLG (Nose Gear Strut) has some dirty spots, has some weathering but it lacks in my humble opinion in those tiny details. The main wheels or tires have the same issue as I’ve seen with the nose wheels, but the MLGs (Main Landing Gears) lack of many details. It’s now just a strut without any typical details and thus you won’t find any leads or lines. Personally, I would love to see that the 3D modeller can improve this. Same as above, informed Mike about this.
Another example that could be improved are the passenger window blinds. It’s up to the developer how to model these blinds, but now it looks unrealistic.
Besides these small items, I also checked for example the quality of the Euro Atlantic livery. Hopefully that the painter can improve the quality of this livery. It’s blurry, in particular the logo and text on the aircraft nose. But there’s more. Even the decals near or on the lower deck cargo doors aren’t sharp. The lines are blurry, if there’s a decal added, it’s hardly readable and so on.
My overall impression of the L-1011 liveries and thus the texture quality is not 100 percent satisfied. Not only that, I’m not so happy with the simple 3D modelling of the MLG (Main Landing Gear) and I feel that many decals are blurry as well as the previous mentioned Alu engine skin panels. Although I found NML (Normal Mapping) files in the Objects folder, I hardly saw anything of that when changing the external lighting conditions. Personally I hope that with a future update these 3D issues and texture quality can be improved to make it a worthy payware model.
Several liveries are made by L-1011 lovers and they are pretty nice. Mike is aware of the overall quality of the stock liveries and, as far as possible and time permits, action will be taken.
Welcome On Board KBOS-KMIA
I started somewhere in the beginning of this review with a test flight. Now it’s time to continue to fly to KMIA and see how it flies. What said in the beginning, it’s a default X-Plane FMS aircraft and doesn’t come yet with the INS (Inertial Navigation System) or better known as the xCIVA.
To create a flight plan you could use many programs like Routefinder which offers you quickly a flight plan, but this is not in “X-Plane fms” format. Or you could go for FlightAware, but again, this doesn’t allow you to export it to an fms file format. Another option simBrief. You need to register but it’s for free and a wealth of flight planning information becomes available.
Then there’s also the browser-based Online Flight Planner, but I go for SkyVector, but I need for this X-PlaneTools. You and I all know SkyVector, but SkyVector saves your flight plan in fpl format which in turn can be converted to fms with X-PlaneTools. I prefer to create a sightseeing IFR flight, so I use SkyVector above all the other options since it allows me to add waypoints on my scenic IFR route.
After I’ve updated the default X-Plane AIRAC and placed my KBOSKMIA.fms flight plan file into the X-Plane output folder, it’s time to start.
Additional notes X-FMC
It’s worth before starting with my test flight, to highlight a couple of things mentioned in the provided manual. The L-1011 comes standard with one default X-Plane FMS MCDU however those simmers who prefer to use the X-FMC plugin, have to follow a different procedure to get it operative. According to the developer “EFIS map and X-FMC 2D popup toggle. When installed, the X-FMC plugin can be used by pressing the efis map screen. Only 2D panel is provided. Standard FMS is still useable when X-FMC is activated.”
The current version of X-FMC as of this writing on December 31st 2017 is 2.6 for Mac, Windows and Linux. You can grab your dedicated OS X-FMC copy if not yet in your hanger shelfs via this X-FMC download link. The best option for X-FMC to work is when it comes with a dedicated configuration file for that add-on aircraft. I tried to find on at the X-FMC website and at the dedicated X-Plane.Org X-FMC forum, but couldn’t find “yet” a dedicated configuration file for the L-1011 X-FMC.
It’s weird by the way that Max from X-FMC, is writing about a version 2.7 somewhere mid 2017 while the legacy download version is still 2.6. I leave this version 2.6 for the moment as the last stable download version.
Additional notes xCIVA
Another item to highlight is the implementation of the CIVA INS (Inertial Navigation System), but I write this with some caution since the available xCIVA is official only compatible with X-Plane 10. According to the user manual “the CIVA is not included in the L-11011 package. When purchased and installed, the CIVA plugin can be used both in 2D and 3D. Pressing the red battery button allows the use of the 2D popup panel. Refer to the product manual for a comprehensive procedure. Note that the plugin hasn’t been yet updated for V11 planes.”
Knowing the discussions on the X-Plane.Org forum, it’s perhaps a good idea to wait with the implementation of the xCIVA till it’s officially updated for X-Plane 11. And yes, I’ve seen forum postings that simmers use it successfully with for example the FlyJSim 727, but even for the Wilson Classics DC-8 it’s still an issue. That said, hopefully the xCIVA developer updates this add-on soon, so it can be used again as it was intended.
Additional note for the xCIVA; it seems that with the release of X-Plane 11.11, the issues have been solved with the xCIVA, but at the same time I also read difference simmer experiences. What I understood from Mike is that this will be perhaps implemented with the next update. Just be patient!
I found it a good idea to use the cold and dark start procedure from the manual, but I also found out that, because the FE panel isn’t simulated yet, you’ve got no possibility to select for example the FUEL PUMPS ON. In other words, when you apply electrical power to the aircraft, the fuel pumps or fuel pressure is already available without the possibility to select fuel pumps. A bit weird to be honest.
Following the cold and dark procedure is simple and not as I had hoped for. The steps to follow and thus to start the engines are far from realistic and reduced to simplified steps. When you can live with that, then there’s no problem else you need to wait till the FE panel is also implemented. The cold and dark procedures can be found at page 12 of the manual. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to load my flight plan in the FMS MCDU.
Finally, some settings to be made on the AUTO PILOT panel or should I say the glare shield panel and I’m ready for my test flight. This section seems to be short and it looks like that before you know you’re ready to go, and yes, this is true. That’s partly because not too many systems are simulated and some procedures are simulated in a simplified way and this means not much time is needed for the preparations.
Some words about adjustments to be made on the auto pilot panel. I noticed that adjusting the altitude and heading aren’t easy to do. Ok, that’s the issue I’m facing; the altimeter selector knob has a very low sensitivity. It takes too many times to turn the altimeter knob to get for example an altitude of 20.000 feet. I experience more or less the same with the HDG selector knob unless this all works fine with X-Plane for Windows, but the issues I highlight are with macOS High Sierra. Curious what others think of this?
Since the L-1011 package doesn’t come with a pushback option, I’m using the X-Plane 11 build in “Ground Handling” feature (Flight – Ground Handling window Shift+g).
Taxiing the aircraft is no problem although no additional features are implemented like rumbling noise while taxing over the taxiway and runway. I took off with the intention to fly or follow the runway heading, speed selected of 220 and flying to 9900 feet with a V/S of 1600. I had already selected the selector switch to FMS, but once in the air, I selected the HDG, ALT, VS and AT (Auto Throttle) buttons. Later I selected the LOC button to connect the FMS to the Auto Pilot (AP). When I think about it, LOC means localizer which is a part of the ILS. When there was written LOC/VOR it made more sense to me. Anyway, I also noticed that this panel has 2 VNAV buttons. Normally you find 1 VNAV and 1 LNAV button unless I’m mistaken and I’m becoming old and lose my aviation knowledge!
It’s something I don’t understand or let’s put it like this; it’s to me confusing. Anyway, while the L-1011 is climbing out to 9900 feet, I double check the Auto Pilot panel selections as well as if, once I’ve selected the LOC button, th4e Auto Pilot is connected to the flight plan of our FMS MCDU. Left of the FMS MCDU you find a kind of simplified ND (Navigation Display) that shows you the flight plan and your position.
With the AP connected in the ALT ARMED, AT, LOC (FMS guidance) and VS active, I have the time to look around in the cockpit to check out things I didn’t see before. Although it’s in the manual, FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator) of the active and armed AP/AT modes can also be seen under the “T” of the Captains and First Officers panel.
Keep your HDG bug up-to-date!
I’ve mentioned this before in other reviews, but it’s a good habit to keep your HDG bug on the HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) aligned with the current HDG you’re flying. Although everything goes well, the default ROLL mode is HDG and suppose for some reason the system refers to a default PITCH and or ROLL mode, then it’s pleasant for you that the HDG bug is/was at the last known actual HDG you’re flying.
While scanning the cockpit main instrument panel I notice something that could be right or perhaps it needs a small adjustment. While cruising for the moment at FL220, I noticed that the RA (Radio Altimeters) show the end of the tape thus 2500 feet. As far as I know all those RA indicators, once they have reached the end, they move slightly further to a complete black tape. Not sure what you currently see in the L-1011 RA indicator, if this is correct.
The L-1011 is designed for long distances thus using ADF or VOR/VORTAC beacons is a possibility, but with the installed FMS MCDU or the replacement X-FMC, is a more logical option to use this equipment instead of tuning for beacons. But when you love to use these old-fashioned navigation aids, then play with it. I did it during my FMS controlled flight. Bring up the IOS panel (Flight – Show Map or Show IOS), check for a VOR/VORTAC beacon somewhere in a range it can be received, and enter this frequency in the NAV 1 and/or NAV 2 selector panels.
Now you’ll see that the RMIs (Radio Magnetic Indicators) single and dual pointers show you the direction to these beacons. These RMIs only show you NAV frequencies. When I look closely, the RMI for ADF indications is mounted aside of it. Perhaps you’ve seen it, perhaps not, but the selected VOR/VORTAC frequency also show you the DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) to or from this station, if a DME signals is connected to the VOR/VORTAC beacon.
The manual comes with some performance tables, but I only found tables for the TO and landing. Perhaps there’s nothing more, but that means you need to guess a bit for cruise as well as for the descent. By the way, and I mentioned this before, bringing down the ALT selector on the Auto Pilot panel is not fun. It takes ages to go down from FL340 to let’s say FL120 or FL060. This is not fun. What said before, it’s or macOS X-Plane or it’s just something that has to be modified with the next updater. Changing the ALT and also applicable for the HDG must be better.
For my intended ILS approach, oh yes, I could try to fly the L-1011 manually, but it’s also worth to check out which or what I need to activate for an ILS landing. Most likely it won’t offer you and me a FLARE and ROLLOUT function, but I may hope that it can guide you for a full ILS. That said, that a LOC and G/S signals can guide the L-1011. I go for an ILS landing KMIA runway 09. This means:
– ILS ID is I-BUL
– 110.9 with a CRS of 092
– Approach altitude for capturing is 3000 feet
Keep in mind, I mentioned this before, LOC and GS is no problem, but you need to adjust the IAS speed by yourself. There’s no calculator who tells you unless you use the PERFORMCE tables) or as far as I can remember X-FMC. With selected on the Auto Pilot panel the AT, ALT (HOLD), LOC and GS, it picks up the LOC very nice and at a certain moment the GS signal too.
The moment the GS signal – which was ARMED before – becomes active, the ALT (HOLD) extinguishes and deactivates. And then, the L-1011 follows nicely the ILS although the initial VS DOWN by the GS seems to me a bit high, but corrects quickly. At final approach, I disconnect both the AP and AT and do the rest myself. At touchdown, throttles back to IDLE, select REVERSE thrust and brake.
All together a nice flight, but it must be said that the model needs some additional work. On the other hand, when you like historical models, then this is nice to start with assuming that the developer improves both the textures (internal and external), adds the FE panel, and does something with the selector knobs on the AP panel.
Simulated Equipment and Doors
To visualize additional equipment or features, you won’t find a popup window or screen icon. Instead, the user manual provides these features on page 4. These are an animated cockpit overhead hatch and how to show/hide the First Officer. That’s it!
What other features are implemented?
As far as I can see, no other doors or panels are simulated. For the 3D cockpit; I couldn’t find any other simulations like movable arm rests, movable sliding window or functional cockpit door.
What do you get?
Two L-1011 models, a manual and a paintkit
From X-Plane.Org you need to download the following ZIP files as per December 2017:
When unzipped, you end up with two folders, one for the L-1011 -150 and one for the -500 Series. Each folder has 3 sub-folders:
– 11x L1011-150 v20 (or the 11x L1011-500 v20)
The Adobe Photoshop paintkit file format speaks for itself although the PSD file only offers the fuselage section and a tail section. The manual folder comes with one Acrobat file namely L1011-manual. An informative manual, nicely organized and dedicated to X-Plane 11 which sounds logic to you and me, but isn’t always the case with other developers. It explains how to install the aircraft – no serial number or activation needed – and the necessary settings and animations to make/are included.
Sections that are included are for example show/hide the First Officer, weight and balance with fuel, and how to view pre-set positions. Personally, with the 3D cockpit available, I think that these pre-set views aren’t so much of interest since you can move to every position angle/view.
Further on, aircraft panel description and thus “what is what” is briefly highlighted and good to read the non-modelled FE panel will be provided with a later update. Then you’ll find a cold and dark starting procedure. Although the aircraft doesn’t offer high skills, it’s always worth to have this section included. Directly behind this section you’ll find a real copy of the L-1011 checklist however, many systems aren’t simulated thus the checklist could become confusing what’s simulated and what’s not.
A quick highlight …. the installation is straightforward. Just unzip the package and install all the aircraft folders in the X-Plane 11 Aircraft folder.
I’m satisfied with the frame rates. It can range from 25 to far past the 40, but that depends on your machine, perhaps even the OS (Operating System), your monitor resolution, X-Plane 11 settings, used add-on airports and/or other sky enhancement products and so on. And having higher frame rates also has something to do with the non-complexity of the modelled L-1011.
Want to know a bit more about this installed famous Roll Royce RB211?
Then it’s perhaps a good idea to follow this YouTube movie. It offers you authentic sound when the RB211 is started in a test configuration. Better sound adventure isn’t possible!
At the End
And at the end, the summary.
Ok, let us first look what it cost and where to get it? The Wilson L-1011 XP11 collection is available via X-Plane.Org. The package cost, of this writing on December 30rd 2017, 25.00 USD while the X-Plane 10 version is only 20.00 USD.
As you might know now, the package comes with 2 different L-1011 aircraft types. The package doesn’t include yet an INS version, but hopefully that will be soon possible. And of course, everybody wants to know if it is worth the package price versus what you get?
I pinpointed already during my walk-around check some texture issues and the lack of details with for example the MLGs. Hopefully that can be improved. Although the 3D cockpit does have nice textures, some improvements at the FE table and back wall would be nice. For this I informed Mike and hopefully this is or can be implemented in the next update. Also, the missing C/B identity text is an issue to keep in mind. That not all systems are simulated or at least not all switches and knobs aren’t functional, is something you see with other developers too. That the default X-Plane 11 Auto Pilot is used instead of a dedicated own modelled one, is also something you see with other developers.
I personally like old-fashioned aircraft, so I like the FJS 737 Classic, FJS 727, the Rotate MD80 and these Michael Wilson historical models. And from a distance the L-1101 looks very fantastic, but there’s in my humble opinion a lot of work to do to bring the current model to a higher standard!
What else did I forget?
Perhaps a lot and mostly after a week or so, I think “hey, I have forgotten this and that to highlight”, but I think that this review does give you a good idea what I feel, what I’ve seen and what I think of it. Perhaps you think I missed the Virtual Cabin since I didn’t mention it. I’m sorry about that, but the L-1101 doesn’t come with a virtual cabin at the moment.
I would like to add the following to this review. Via this X-Plane.Org link you reach the official forum posts of the Wilson Classic L-1011. The following links are for those who love the L-1011 Tristar, but seeking for some additional liveries. Check out this:
– Eastern Bicentennial
– LTU (D-AERN)
– RAF ZD952
– Air Canada livery pack
– Other liveries
So, this was it for the moment. When the promised update has been released and hopefully with full xCIVA INS update, it time to add a new part to this L-1011 review. That said, keep on monitoring X-Plained.Com.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Lockheed Tristar L-1011|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Wilson Aircraft|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of Lockheed Tristar|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 630MB (zipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||January 17th 2018|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac 27″ Late 2013|
|- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz|
|- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB|
|- 32GB 1600MHz DDR3|
|- 1 internal 1TB SSD (High Sierra 10.13.2)|
|- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino|
|Software specifications:||- High Sierra (10.13.2)|
|- X-Plane 11.11|