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The Embraer E-195 v2 … a Brazilian princess

Part I

It was never my intention to split this review in Part I and Part II, but being right now while typing half way, I came till the conclusion that the review will be too big to read and therefore, I’ve decided to split it in a part I and part II, and added for your convenience, a Table of Contents.

Foreword
Embraer E-Jet Family
– Introduction
– Design and Development
– E190 and E195

Who or What is X-Crafts
But First … what do you get?
– What features can you expect?
– The Contents
– Documents and much more

The Plan
First Impressions SBSJ – SBRJ
– Intro
– X-Crafts Screen Icons and TAB Hotkey
– Time to Fly

Ground Check I
– External Inspection

Foreword

This review has everything to do with the X-Crafts Embraer E-195 v2. That said, X-Crafts isn’t the only X-Plane developer who makes an Embraer E-Jet family aircraft. You’ve got SSG (Supercritical Simulations Group) with their E-Jets E170LR Evolution.

X-Crafts is known from their Embraer E-jet E175 which was already for a while upgraded to version 2.0 which is also applicable for the E-915 v2 model. I’m quite sure you’re aware of X-Crafts as well as is SSG. Sorry for those who had hoped that this review will also be a comparison between the overall quality of the SSG Evolution and the X-Crafts besides that these aren’t the same model.

I don’t own the latest SSG Evolution model and not unimportant to me, I write these days only on “special requests”. This keeps me sharp, it keeps me giving pleasure in testing and thus writing about the add-on product. Reviewing too many add-on products will only lead to becoming exhausted and no longer being critical. Writing under these conditions will mostly result in an overall lower quality review.

As far as my knowledge goes, Marko Mamula, lead developer of X-Crafts, creates these Embraer models together with Steve Wilson, who’s the navigation brain behind the projects. I can’t say anything yet about the overall look and feel of his E-195 v2 model, but what I’ve seen so far, I think it will be a success. Let’s find that out!

Embraer E-Jet Family

Perhaps not the most interesting section, but it’s worth to highlight a bit more of the Embraer E-Jet family.

Introduction
The Embraer E-Jet family is a series of narrow-body medium-range twin-engine jet airliners produced by Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer. Launched at the Paris Air Show in 1999, and entering production in 2002, the aircraft series has been a commercial success primarily for its safety and efficiency. The aircraft is used by mainline and regional airlines around the world. As of 30 September 2015, there is a backlog of 263 firm orders for the E-Jets, 433 options and 1158 units delivered.

Design and Development
The Embraer E-Jets line is composed of two main commercial families and a business jet variant. The smaller E170 and E175 make up the base model aircraft. The E190 and E195 are stretched versions, with different engines and larger wing, horizontal stabilizer and landing gear structures. The 170 and 175 share 95% commonality, as do the 190 and 195.

The two families share near 89% commonality, with identical fuselage cross-sections and avionics, featuring the Honeywell Primus Epic Electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) suite. The E-jets also have winglets to improve efficiency.

E190 and E195
The E190/195 models are a larger stretch of the E170/175 models fitted with a new, larger wing, a larger horizontal stabilizer and a new engine, the GE CF34-10E, rated at 18,500 lb (82.30 kN). These aircraft compete with the Bombardier CRJ-1000 and CS100, the Boeing 717-200 and 737-600, and the Airbus A318. It can carry up to 100 passengers in a two-class configuration or up to 124 in single-class high density configuration.

The first flight of the E190 was on March 12, 2004 (PP-XMA), with the first flight of the E195 (PP-XMJ) on December 7 of the same year. The launch customer of the E190 was New York-based low-cost carrier JetBlue with 100 orders options in 2003 and took its first delivery in 2005.

British low-cost carrier Flybe was the first operator of the E195, had 14 orders and 12 options, and started E195 operations on 22 September 2006. Air Canada operates 45 E190 aircraft fitted with 9 business-class and 88 economy-class seats as part of its primary fleet. JetBlue and American Airlines also operate the E190 as part of their own fleet. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Want to read all about it?
Then you can check the following links:
Wikipedia Embraer E-Jet Family
Embraer Commercial Aviation

Who or What is X-Crafts?

Have you any idea who or what X-Crafts is and what X-Crafts has in mind bringing out these Embraer aircraft? So, let’s find that out! After I contacted Marko Mamula, he is/was more than willing to offer you some background information about X-Crafts and the whole idea X-Crafts behind it.

My name is Marko Mamula and I am the founder of X-Crafts. I am the head of development, responsible for the 3D modelling, flight model and cockpit development including all instruments. I am a 23-year-old student of mechanical engineering from Czech Republic, but I am also a proud half Serbian.

I have always been interested in airplanes and flying because I’ve been traveling a lot since young age. In 2012 I first came across X-Plane, which at that time was actually …. on my iPod! After that I got the desktop version and I slowly started learning how to fly these complex aircraft. In late 2012 I started making liveries for some freeware add-ons and I was enjoying it. I was amazed that people are downloading my liveries and I was super glad whenever I received some positive comments.

After some time, I thought to myself that it would be interesting to create a whole airplane, but I thought to myself that it would take me forever to do it because it is so complicated.

That said, I started experimenting with Laminar Research Planemaker a bit and after a couple of small airplanes of my own design, I decided to make a freeware E195, and soon I was hooked. I was obsessed with developing this aircraft. I would often be going to sleep around 3am, just because I couldn’t stop (and I had to wake up for school the next morning).

Seven months later I was not even half way through with the model, and I thought to myself that since I am devoting all my free time to this project, I might be able to get this plane to a level where I could charge some small money for it if I worked even harder. And so, after around 18 months from the start I started selling the Embraer ERJ195 LR through theX-Plane.Org store. I was 20 at that time and it was definitely the biggest achievement of my life so far. But what I loved the most, was that people liked what I made! I always tried to make the plane so that it was easy for me to fly it. I didn’t like that in some add-ons I had to aim exactly at a button to trigger it. So, I made all the click regions very big. I didn’t like that I couldn’t read the displays very well, so I created the pop-up displays and FMS and so on ……. And people seemed to like it as well.

Now, obviously, the first version had a lot of issues and bugs, I had no beta testing team at that time, and it was a first ever airplane that I had finished. But thanks to all the feedback that I got from all the users, I could continuously improve the plane.

After some time, I started working on the E175 and now the E195 v2. I wanted to create add-ons that would fill the gap between the cheap and expensive add-ons. And so I tried to create add-ons that look awesome but that can be enjoyed by both, the beginners as well as advanced flight simmers. Whether you just want to jump in and fly, or you want to fly online with the strict guidance of ATC, it’s your choice, the X-Crafts models will always satisfy your needs.

Creating the E175 and E195 v2 would not be possible without the second member of the team: Steve Wilson. Steve who has developed the awesome Tekton FMS and all the plugins and I will forever be grateful to him for that.

I consider myself the luckiest man alive. For me flight simulators are fun and developing these models has always been and always will be my hobby. I never think of it as a job or anything like it. But at the same time, I am incredibly grateful that I achieved this in my life, because I will now be able to fund my postgraduate studies that I would otherwise not be able to afford. So, I would like to thank anyone who has ever bought one of my airplanes …….. You really have changed my life!

But First …. what do you get?

What features can you expect?
I could copy and paste all the information from X-Plane.Org into this review, but I find that useless and not efficient. Therefore, here’s the direct URL to the X-Plane.Org X-Crafts E-195 v2 store page.

What is perhaps important is that the X-Crafts E-195 v2 is made for Windows, Mac and Linux and as mentioned before, it is made for work with X-Plane 10.50+ 64 bits and it’s also compatible with X-Plane 11pb8+. More about X-Plane 11 in a minute.

The Contents
First and most important, the X-Crafts package which is, of this writing version 1.0. I got my press package via X-Plane.Org and on request of Marko (thanks guys for this). After you’ve unzipped the package, copy the complete contents to the X-Plane 10 Heavy Metal group. On purpose, I write X-Plane 10 since Marko informed me that, end of January 2017, with the following “Although it is compatible with X-Plane 11, there are still some issues, so please do base the review on XP10 testing. Let me know if you need anything else.” That said, the base review deals with X-Plane 10, but for sure I’ll add a section dedicated to X-Plane 11.

The package comes with a couple of liveries, to be exactly 13 of which one is a white livery that can be used as base kit for your liveries. The remaining 12 liveries are those of Air Canada, AirDolomite, Augsburg Airways, Austrian, Azul, Flybe, several JetBlue’s and Virgin Australia. But as always, when an add-on aircraft is interesting enough for the X-Plane community, lots of user liveries popup in no time. That’s also with the X-Crafts E-195 v2. You find many add-on liveries at X-Plane.Org.

Documents and much more
This paragraph has everything to do with the manuals, links and, for sure important to many of us, a demo flight. Ok, what or which Adobe Acrobat manuals are included in the Documents, Useful links and Demo Flight folder:
– Embraer E195 v2 Manual
– FMS TUTORIALS, MORE LIVERIES, TECH SUPPORT
– READ THIS TO ENABLE REFLECTIONS
– Embraer E195 v2 FMS Manual

Let me start with the Embraer E195 v2 Manual.
It basically offers everything you need for the modelled aircraft to handle and to fly it, and with the separate supplied FMS, it completes all what you need to know. Both manual use a clean structure, well organised and with actions to be taken whenever applicable. At the end of this manual you’ll find 2 pages with the start-up procedure or when you read more closely, it’s the power ON procedure. And that’s it, no more then only a power ON procedure!

I had hoped to see more, but that isn’t the case and the provided demo flight manual is what it says … a demo flight manual and not a tutorial flight manual. That said, the package doesn’t come with a tutorial manual that discusses all the steps to follow from a cold and dark situation till and including a cockpit/aircraft termination after landing.

The writing style of the Embraer E195 v2 FMS Manualis, more or less, the same as the systems and aircraft manual except that it only deals with Tekton FMS. I won’t say I know all FMS brands, but TekTon … no idea! Time to consult Steve Wilson from X-Crafts. Steve informs me as follows; “Tekton FMS is a product of my own visualization of something that new users would find more challenging than what was available in X-Plane 10, but not so blindingly complex as a study-sim level of authenticity that is found in the most expensive payware airliners.”

“By overtly dividing the basic elements of a commercial airliner flight into it’s discrete components, the departure, the enroute and approach elements, the user gains confidence that can eventually be applied to more complex systems. The response has been great from the inexperienced users, while the response from sim pilots used to a more real world FMS has been less enthusiastic. And I certainly can’t blame them – to these folks it would not be unlike putting the training wheels back on their bicycles!”

The FMS tutorials, liveries and technical support Acrobat page is only one page. It offers only URL’s. Not more, nothing less!

Then there’s the separate Acrobat page that deals with how to enable aircraft reflections (glossy external look), a hot item for X-Plane 10 aircraft. It explains the steps how to make this possible. By default, this feature is deactivated because “this plugin is developed by a 3rd party and X-Crafts is not responsible for it’s compatibility.”

Additionally, you’ll find a Demo flight folder with the following Acrobat files and a “fms” flight plan format file:
– E195 Demo flight instructions
– 00430IL11L
– 00430DINGO
– 00430BURRO
– KTUS2KTUS.fms

I thought, no I had hoped that the demo flight was a complete tutorial from A to B which is in this case a roundtrip from Tucson International Airport (KTUS) to Tucson International Airport. But this demo flight folder offers only the necessary papers for a BURRO THREE DEPARTURE, a DINGO FIVE ARRIVAL, the paper for an ILS landing runway 11L, the KTUS2KTUS.fms file for the on-board Tekton FMS and a demo flight instruction Acrobat file. But this Acrobat file is only one page and doesn’t offer the necessary steps for a complete flight. The first paragraph of this document says “this is a step by step checklist for a simple systems orientation flight that should take less than an hour or so to prepare and fly. You’ll want to at least review the section of the manual that describes how to control the MCDU buttons and knob.”

That said, I had hoped that with the release of v2 a more comprehensive tutorial was included since this one page document mainly covers how to handle the Tekton FMS and nothing more, but I have to accept that this is also a developer decision.

In the Embraer E195 v2 FMS Manual you’ll find on page 5 a link to the X-Crafts YouTube channel with lots of tutorials. These movies are mainly related to “how to handle the Tekton FMS”, but not a tutorial that starts with a cold and dark aircraft.

The Plan

Ok, what do I have in mind with the Embraer E-195 v2.
After I’ve picked up the new X-Crafts Embraer from the factory, located in São José dos Campos (SBSJ), I first fly – to meet somebody – to the wonderful airport – created by Richard Nunes and Nielsen Flightsim Scenery – of Santos Dumont Airport (SBRJ). After landing, I have the time to do an inspection and see if everything is still attached to the aircraft and how it’s all modelled.

After a short stop-over including the ground check, I hop towards the US airport KTUS. For KTUS there’s a well-modelled freeware airport from X-Plane.Org user T_Fleck. In case you want to have it all a little bit more realistic then without his scenery, you can download KTUS via this link and don’t forget to add the following libraries:
OpenSceneryX
FF_Library
R2_Library

Being at KTUS, I’ve parked the Embraer at position “A2 – Regional Any/Southwest”. And of course, you’re as free as a bird to park it somewhere else. Take the right livery, so not for example Lufthansa Regional since this company will most likely never land on this airport with such a small aircraft although I read an article that the Lufthansa crew pickup their aircraft at the factory in Brazil.

Flown from Brazil to the US means that I’ve seen already a lot of the X-Crafts Embraer E195 v2, but it’s still worth to test out the demo flight papers and see if it’s OK or that things are missing.

Ok, ready to join me on my flights?

First Impressions SBSJ – SBRJ

Intro
On this first short flight, it’s only between 35-40 minutes and no more than approximately 165NM, I think I will have a nice “initial” impression of the modelled aircraft. The flight plan, created with the help of SkyVector, is rather simple and straight forward. From SBSJ I fly towards NDB UBT (295), VOR SCR (113.6), NDB (IH) and then from the ocean towards SBRJ.

I’ve chosen for the BlueJet livery with the barcoded tail.

X-Crafts Screen Icons and TAB Hotkey
Anyway, first I need to highlight a couple of X-Crafts icons on the X-Plane screen. These screen icons, identified as M, P and C are only in view when you move the mouse pointer completely towards the left side of your X-Plane window else they are out of view. Very nice because I not always want to see those icons.

The X-Crafts screen icon M icon represents Miscellaneous items like “requesting a pushback truck”, “toggle ground equipment”, “requesting a GPU (Ground Power Unit)” and aircraft doors. By clicking on the passenger/cargo doors green arrows, you’re able to open/close these doors. When a door arrow is clicked, the door opens/closes (logically), the arrow turns amber and turns 180 degrees pointing towards the OPEN/CLOSE direction.

A couple of small issues I’ve seen when activating it all together.
When you’ve requested a pushback truck and the GPU, it turns out that the GPU power cable is half in-between the pushback truck which is in real not the case. Although the following isn’t an issue, but I sincerely hope that with a future update a passenger stair or stairs are included in the “M” animations. Now it is so weird to see open passenger doors without any stair being available or when it is the cargo door, a loader belt for the luggage.

The X-Crafts screen icon P icon represents the pushback function. Logically to say, but well thought about, when you haven’t requested a pushback truck, this P popup window tells you “be advised: pushback disabled”. To remove the popup window, you either click the “X” on the right-hand top or you click “acknowledged”. Assuming you had the pushback truck in position, the P popup window allows you to select the distance you need for the pushback, if you want to pivot the aircraft to the left or right and finally, you can park the pushback truck to the left or right nose of the aircraft.
Only problem I faced, the M and P icons are gone after I clicked the “pushback truck to the left or right nose of the aircraft”. Unless I do something wrong, but the only way to get these X-Crafts icons back is to reload the aircraft. Time to contact Marko. Marko wrote me; “the P and M icons are only available before pushback. Once the pushback is completed, it is assumed that you will not need any of those functions again, since you’re about to take off. They will reappear again once you land and go to a full stop with brakes.” Although this sounds logic, what when you’re playing around with these icons without running engines?

Marko advised me to contact Steve for more in-depth information. Steve replied with the following information “I appreciate that you’ve been experimenting with the pushback menu selections, which is fine for familiarization while learning the nuances of the product. Under such circumstances, reloading the aircraft is to be expected if one wishes to restore the simulation to the initialized state. We all have to find the best way to learn something when functionality isn’t adequately documented.  Hey – that’s the X-Plane way, right?  Just joking.  You’ve made a good point here! With better docs, then you wouldn’t need to play and reload.”

“My rationalization for the overall design of the options is that while the pushback adds to the experience, we are first and foremost providing a *flight* simulation experience, not an airport ground handling experience.  To extend this, I expect users to know what they want to do before they press “commit.” Recovering from an errant decision, for example, to park the tug but then changing one’s mind, then suggests we should have provided a means for the tug to drive back and reconnect. I would disagree that this is necessary.  It would add another complex animation routine to already complex code, and further would potentially add a confusing bit to the menu, and yet more detail to cover in documentation that may or may not get read. The design decisions can get out of control here, much like that last sentence.”

“Also, there are advantages to keeping documentation from being too lengthy. We don’t want to overwhelm new users – but we do want to be complete.”

Lastly, I have to admit that I do see the tug parking options as fairly useless, given that there really isn’t much need to enable the pushback in the first place, only to direct the parking of the tug. It’s been almost a year and a half since the pushback was designed, and my recollection is foggy – but it may be that I presumed at one point that the aircraft would load with the tug already hooked up.  With the ability to enable or disable the tug on the master options menu, the ability to park the tug is a bit extraneous.  But we did want to provide the ability for users to deploy other developers’ pushback tug add-on’s if they wished.”

“So, in sum I completely agree: we have needed to do a better job of documenting the ground support options for some time. That is certainly something that we can and should add to the documentation. We’ll have a chance soon, I’m sure!”

I know, it’s a long reply from Steve, but worthy background information and that’s appreciated by me and it’s useful information for our readers.

And last both not least, the X-Crafts screen icon C icon from Checklist.
Via a handbook layout you can use this non-interactive checklist and move from one tab to the other. In total, you’ll find 8 tabs for each flight phase. Clicking away the checklist booklet isn’t via a “X” located in the right-hand top. When I click just above the PREFLIGHT tab, it disappears. For clarity, I marked this on the screenshot below.

TAB Hotkey
When you don’t fly online, you’ll probably don’t need it or you haven’t even seen it. And besides that, I’m not sure but I couldn’t find it in the X-Crafts manual. Anyway, the enable/disable TAB Hotkey can be found via the X-Plane plugins menu option “E-195 Options Configuration” When you click this, you have the option to enable/disable TAB Hotkey, but what is it and where is it for?

According to Steve from X-Crafts “The TAB hotkey acts as a toggle for direct keyboard entry(DKE).  If a user wishes to fly on IVAP or VATSIM, this conflicts with the use of the TAB key on those clients.  If disabled, the command to enter DKE can be mapped to another key, or the user simply clicks on the MCDU screen which is a hotspot toggle for DKE as well.”

Time to Fly
It’s time to face my first X-Crafts E-195 v2 flight impressions. I did all the preparations and used for this the checklist booklet. Why not? It’s there, so use it! Parked at the apron, taxing to the runway and off I go. I decided before even thinking about the take-off, this first test flight will be a mix of manual flying, using the AP and ATHR in HDG and NAV mode. In this case, the NAV mode is by using and tuning VOR SCR with a frequency of 113.60. What said before, it’s a short and easy flight, but let’s see how it flies and how it feels. It is an stays difficult since I have no real experience in how this aircraft flies in real.

The first think during the take-off run I noticed was the quick acceleration of the E-195. Not sure if this is normal, but what I know is that I had the E-195 quite fully loaded. By the way; the package doesn’t come with a W&B (Weight and Balance) calculator. It is not a problem, but it is fair to mention it. Perhaps a thought for the developers?

Being in the sky climbing out, I try to trim the aircraft in such a way that I don’t have to do much besides the real weather implementation that could always ruin my stable trimmed flight. While climbing out to my first assigned altitude of FL120, I’m heading for NDB UBT (Ubatuba | 295) and during my manual flight, I keep the HDG bug constantly synchronized with the actual heading I’m flying.

I have selected the FD (Flight Director) ON, and I did set of course my initial altitude, that at least my FD follows in what I’m doing wrong. Wrong … flying away from the selected HDG and ALT! Perhaps pilots will not fly for such a long period manually, but it’s the only way to find out how it flies, how it feels and how it trims.

Far before reaching NDB UBT, I did enter already my next waypoint, VOR SCR (113.60). With the aircraft altitude being high enough, it picks up the VOR signal and the PFD lower section shows me an active VOR 1 needle. That said, I turn the CRS knob on the glareshield and decide to select the AP, but first …. Sync the HDG knob, set a speed of 300 knots and my next altitude of FL160. After that, set AP.

By the way; at the for last screenshot you see a windows reflection which can be selected ON or OFF, depending on your computer performance and thus the additional calculation needed to draw reflection or not. The last screenshot shows you, only available in the 2D cockpit view, the HUD (Head Up Display).

Completely forgotten to mention that … flying the aircraft manually is not that complex, but perhaps it’s an idea to set the IAS and connect the ATHR system. This helps a lot when flying by hand. No need to monitor and act on your IAS. Then you only need to monitor your roll and pitch. Much easier isn’t it?

While the aircraft is at cruising altitude and everything seems under control, it’s time for me to play a little bit around with a couple of nice features, known already from the previous E-175 X-Crafts model. X-Crafts included a feature that offers an enlarged PFD, MFD and EICAS DU. Not that it’s only nice, it allows you to see clearly what’s going on at the PFD or whatever you’ve selected without the need to zoom in on the respective DU.

These are not the only popup DU’s. There’s also a possibility to popup the radio panel and the Tekton FMS MCDU or the default X-Plane FMS MCDU. How to achieve this? You can either check it out at the pages 36 and 37 of the user manual and follow these steps. It’s not difficult. Left of the captains PFD you find a dark circle with dashes. Click on it. Due to this action, you’ll see two additional dark circles. One with a R and the other with FMS.

When you click the R, you get a floating popup of the radio panel while the FMS gives you, by default, the Tekton FMS MCDU. On the top left of the MCDU, you’ll see a double arrow. Click on it. The MCDU is swapped with the default X-Plane FMS MCDU, but personally I would ask myself the question why you should do that? The Tekton FMS is so detailed, offers so much information and so much information is available how to use it including the previous mentioned YouTube movies. You go for the Tekton FMS MCDU!

And seeking for some additional “clickable cockpit areas”? You’ll find it all on page 38 of the same manual (Embraer E195 v2 Manual). Clickable areas or animations are, besides the regular throttle, flap handle, speedbrake handle etc., the captains / co-pilots armrest, the sliding windows, toggle the visibility of the yoke and open/close control of the cockpit door besides the windshield screen reflection earlier mentioned.

I think it would be fun to fly the last part of the flight manually, but just in case, I enter the ILS frequency for runway 20L (110.10). Approaching along the coast line from the south, I level off at 3500 feet with an IAS of 235. Since the ILS of my intended runway which is just on the other side as I’m approaching the airport, I need to fly a downwind, turning to base and finally, to pick up the localiser and glide slope.

That said, the E-195 is flown by now manually, with ILS frequency set, but the ATHR is still active. The only thing I need to do is to set with the different flap positions a new belonging speed. Which speed? No idea since I did check all the manuals, but there’s not “yet” a TO/LANDING popup window included that shows you the take-off or landing speeds as you sometimes see with other developers.

But at the same time, I need to correct myself in respect to the take-off speeds. The Tekton FMS offers you on the PERF PAGE 1 take-off speeds, even without an entered flight plan. That said, this is good news. So, no TO/LDG data booklet, but right away available via the Tekton PERF page 1. For approach speeds you do need to enter several data before it can calculate approach speeds.

It turns out that even in these manual flying conditions, flying the E-195 v2 is not as complicated as expected. Even with the flaps almost at maximum position, it’s still easy to handle. While turning to final, I disconnect the ATHR – I know, a little too late, but anyway – and once the aircraft is level, I extend the landing gear, double check my flaps and under these environmental conditions I always have PAPI too.

So, how felt my first impressions of this X-Craft E-195 v2?
Too early to say!

Perhaps you expected a different answer, but such a short flight isn’t enough to judge about the flight characteristics of the modelled E-195. I need to do more flights to get the right feeling. For now, I landed safely at SBRJ and parked my Embraer at the apron. End of this test flight!

Ground Check I

External Inspection
While doing the ground check, I’m pleased to see a couple of things. The decals on the fuselage, wings and tail are all razor sharp. No blurry text at all! I’m happy with the way the landing gears are modelled although, based on my own real aviation experience; I’m wondering why the nose landing gear strut has no weathering or dirty spots from grease while the main landing gear strut do have a weathered layer.

Besides that small thought, many tiny parts (objects) are included like cables, hydraulic lines, centering springs, steering cylinders (only applicable to the NLG), torque links and much more of those small objects.

And not to forget on the nose gear strut assembly as well as the interphone box. What I expected on this JetBlue liveries is the red line on the small nose landing gear doors aft side, indicating the maximum towing limit when the aircraft is towed. It could be, airline policy, that JetBlue doesn’t have it on their E-195, but how is it with others?

It turns out that only the modelled liveries Virgin Australia, Star Alliance, Azul and Austrian have the red limit towing line on the small nose gear doors. All the other liveries don’t have it. To be sure about myself, I double checked this with real photos from Air Canada, AirDolomite, Augsburg Airways and Flybe. Informed Marko about this. Feedback from Marko “will be solved with the next update.”

With the cargo doors open, I’m pleased to see that the inside of the cargo hold is modelled and textured too. Textured in a way that it offers a realistic look how the walls and ceiling are in real, but there’s a small issue with the integrated ceiling light. By the way, the lighting is well done.

Ok, what’s then the issue?
When the aircraft isn’t electrically powered, the cargo lights switch themselves on when the external lighting conditions dim like with sunset. Oops, without any electrical power or ground service bus power connected to the aircraft? Worth to ask Marko about it. According to Marko “This issue is simply the way X-Plane works. The lit textures appear when you change the time of the day to night regardless if the plane is powered or not. This could be reported as a bug to Laminar Research.” So at the end this is not an thought/issue, it’s a X-Plane issue itself.

Oh yes, the gorgeous looking and well modelled engines.
Very well done and as seen with the other parts, many eyes for details. That means all decals are in place and worth to mention, all of a very high quality thus this means … razor sharp. Further on, you’ll find many NML (Normal Mapping) files responsible for the 3D effect under the correct external lighting conditions.

The turbine cowling looks realistic as well as the engine exhaust tail cone. The overall painting of the engine pylon and cowling is in my humble opinion a little bit too clean – read no weathered look and/or dirty spots/stripes – unless the aircraft is brand new. On the other hand, the stainless-steel part at the engine pylon lower AFT side is gorgeous.

But let’s be honest, I’m pleased with how the engine is made and how many polygons are used. When you look to the nose cowling inlet you hardly see the polygons. Well done!

Walking from the nose to the tail, I’m happy with what I see. I compared the modelled fuselage (dimensions, shape, curved areas) with that of official Embraer ground handling papers. I tried to compare it with chapter 51 of the AMM (Aircraft Maintenance Manual) but couldn’t find that one.

I still think that X-Crafts did a nice job. There are some weathered strips down along all the windows, but that’s it. The fuselage, wings and tail are very clean and a further weathering isn’t implemented. Is that a shame or …? This is always up to the developers and painters. Most important is that the 3D model looks OK, and that the paintings, as far as possible, as close as possible to the real livery. Adding weathering is then a matter of taste!

Perhaps something for the developer to think about; the passenger door frame and fuselage frame could be a little dirtier. I’ve seen many different aircraft types in my live as ground engineer, but these door frames are always dirty, have scratches or the paint is just weathered.

Some final checks to do of which one is the external lights check and flaps/slats including spoiler panels in the fully extended position.

The external lights are OK, well balanced as far as I can see, but some additional words about the flaps/slats and extended spoiler panels and then in particular for the interior side of the spoilers. The spoiler panels are, which is also applicable for the flaps, a little bit too clean, but on the other hand, the way the hydraulic cylinder of the spoiler panel is modelled, is gorgeous. Not only the spoiler actuators are visible, but I do see hydraulic lines, roads, valves, brackets and other components. Perhaps you normally don’t see this, but give it a try when you’re parked your aircraft at the gate or somewhere at the apron.
Very well done Marko!

Overall, a well modelled 3D model of the Embraer E-195 with eyes for tiny details, decals perfectly implemented and razor sharp. But a little more weathering as “test” on a livery or perhaps on the factory livery world be welcome in my humble opinion. The same is applicable for the engine pylon/cowling and some on the nose landing gear.

He, I haven’t seen the factory livery being included in the base package – would be an idea, right?

And as said in the very first paragraph of this review, this is the end of part I. Much more will come in a couple of days. I hope you enjoyed it so far.

See you soon!

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this part I of the X-Crafts Embraer E-195 v2 review. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Payware X-Crafts Embraer E-195 v2
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | X-Crafts
Description: Realistic rendition of the Embraer E-195
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 1.1GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: February 13th 2017
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 (Sierra 10.12.3)
- 3 external 1TB SSDs
- Saitek Pro Flight System
Software specifications: - Sierra (10.12.3) | El Capitan (10.11.4)
- Windows 10 Professional
- X-Plane 10.51m | X-Plane 11 pb9

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