• Review: X-Plane 11

    X-Plane 11

    Publisher: Laminar Research

    Review Author:
    Raymond Andersen

    Suggested Price:
    $59.99

    Buy Here

    Intro

    My name is Raymond Andersen and some of you might know me better as Rays Aviation - I have primarily been flying Microsoft's various Flight Simulators as well as DCS and WOP. However, I have never tried out X-Plane, so with the brand new release from Laminar Research of the X-Plane 11 featuring a full 64-bit platform, I just had to expand my view to include X-Plane.

    X-Plane 11 logo

    I know that normally X-Plane vs FSX vs P3D is almost as a religion to most simmers, but for me I just want to get the very best flight simulation experience. I am certainly very excited to test this new release and do realize that comparing X-Plane 11 to FSX would probably not be fair since FSX is a rather old platform.

    Testing the platform is easy and a whole lot of fun, but writing a review about it can be done in many ways as e.g. just one word "Excellent" or I could do a complete in-depth write-up that probably would drain the readers' interest quickly when realizing the review would be more than 1,500 pages. Therefore, I have chosen to write a review covering as much as possible but without going into all specifics. I hope you will find my experience of XP11 and my discoveries to be interesting.

    Download, Installation And Setup

    I downloaded the X-Plane 11 directly from www.X-Plane.com and the download went quite fast for a file of more than 58 GB. The version covered in this review is the original 64-bit Home release version also known as the X-Plane 11.00.

    Installing the platform is easily performed using the installation wizard - of course, the entire installation process takes quite some time due to the huge amount of data, however the process and certainly the installation wizard is very user friendly and it guided me nicely all the way through the installation process.

    During the installation I had the possibility to select how much of the FS world that I wanted to install - this option is a great option if you only want to fly within certain regions of the FS world or if you don't have too much available space on your hard drive. If you just wanted to install the US or Europe, then the rest of the FS world would show as just ocean water - this was however not an option for me and I installed the entire 58.20 GB of FS world for this review... well the 58.20 GB of course also includes the program, the aircraft, etc.

    Starting up X-Plane 11 for the first time I now saw a completely new user interface that I now needed to get familiar with. It certainly does not look anything similar to FSX and even though I did not know anything about this before, I found the user interface to be user friendly, simple and logically built.

    The opening screen provides three choices about flights (Resume, New or Load) together with an entry to a Flight School and a Settings menu. The fun part would probably be to go directly to the flying, but I did enter the Settings menu instead.

    X-Plane 11 main menu

    The Settings menu covers a variety of specific settings that I could customize to fit my computer and my idea of how I wanted XP11 to perform. All the features, all settings and options are very well organized and placed logically in the various pages which can be entered directly from the Settings menu.

    The selectable pages are General, Sound, Graphics, Network, Data Output, Joystick, Keyboard and GPS and they all feature numerous settings and options that can be enabled, disabled or set in between using either clickable feature boxes or sliders (bars). The settings and options are logically located within each page as e.g. the page Sound features a customization of the audio both on/off but also in details with volume control of radio, aircraft exterior and interior, co-pilot, environment, etc. - of course also a master volume control.

    The Graphics page is focused on the textures, the antialiasing, the detailing, shadows, resolution, default view, visual offsets, etc. together with an option to enable Vsync, a head-tracker and the Matrox TripleHead2Go, etc.

    Settings like language, ATC guided arrows, FPS's for the flight model, red and black-out, damage on aircraft due to stress, etc. as well as the unique X-Plane sloping runways are to be found on the page General together with additional features.


    18 Comments
    1. raimondo2's Avatar
      raimondo2 -
      Excellent review of a simulator that truly deserve it ! i also associate with the author to thanks Laminar for the excellent work they have done.
    1. pdewey's Avatar
      pdewey -
      how about connecting to Vatsim with VA airlines ie, Sqwawkbox or FSinn
    1. mikeybo's Avatar
      mikeybo -
      You can connect to Vatsim with the plugin xSquawkbox. Note that FSinn hasn't been supported for years meaning don't expect to get any update for FSX, P3D or XP
    1. ceparsons's Avatar
      ceparsons -
      You didn't touch on the crappy/non-realistic ATC and AI. We all got suckered in by LR's demo several months ago. It's now "bait and switch", we have to spend more money for an addon to accomplish something that should already be in the program WE PAID FOR! For that reason I am noy a fanboy for XP11 and have removed it. My 2 cents worth.
    1. RatRace's Avatar
      RatRace -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceparsons View Post
      You didn't touch on the crappy/non-realistic ATC and AI. We all got suckered in by LR's demo several months ago. It's now "bait and switch", we have to spend more money for an addon to accomplish something that should already be in the program WE PAID FOR! For that reason I am noy a fanboy for XP11 and have removed it. My 2 cents worth.
      True that a) XP's ATC/AI is wanting (but are out-of-the-box FSX/P3D that much better?); and b) I cannot recall any instance where someone ever said that XP's ATC/AI is perfect or even adequate for that matter (in fact, XP's ATC/AI has been a point of contention for many years now).
      I also agree that a comprehensive review should have mentioned this fact, but for me the advantages of XP11 still outweigh the disadvantages. I don't think I will live to see the day that a perfect flight simulator hits the shelves, or whatever expression you have to use in these digital days.
    1. raimondo2's Avatar
      raimondo2 -
      no sim have a perfect Atc;
      if atc is so important for some will be worth to have a look at
      https://www.pilotedge.net/

      i heard is quite good (i am not connected to pilotedge whatsoever) is just what i heard from experienced simmers and students pilots.
    1. ricardo_NY1's Avatar
      ricardo_NY1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by RatRace View Post
      I also agree that a comprehensive review should have mentioned this fact, but for me the advantages of XP11 still outweigh the disadvantages.
      The night lighting alone is worth jumping ship in my opinion.
    1. ceparsons's Avatar
      ceparsons -
      RatRace, et. al.:

      At least FSX AI/ATC has some variety to it.

      When I did get XP11 running it had some good views day and night. But, XP01 and XP02 as call signs?????
      No thanks.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceparsons View Post
      RatRace, et. al.:

      At least FSX AI/ATC has some variety to it.

      When I did get XP11 running it had some good views day and night. But, XP01 and XP02 as call signs?????
      No thanks.
      Can you tell me in when you hear those call signs?
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Quote Originally Posted by DominicS View Post
      Can you tell me in when you hear those call signs?
      When you have more than 2 AI aircraft enabled. And they get the exact same 3 things repeated to them over and over again
    1. Daniel.T's Avatar
      Daniel.T -
      Very good and elaborate review Nels. Thanks.
      Looking forward for a 64 bit platform simulator, it was very instructive.
      But, as a prop GA flyers, like in real life, it's a little deception for the choice of default GA planes... C172, Colombia 400, B58 or C90. With strange ones like SR71, X15 and the space shuttle, it doesn't look serious for a flight simulator.
      Well, I'll keep looking...
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by JSkorna View Post
      When you have more than 2 AI aircraft enabled. And they get the exact same 3 things repeated to them over and over again
      Jim, I don't experience anything like this (even with 19 aircraft added).

      I have the correct call signs for each aircraft and they pretty much do as they are told.

      Attachment 197816
    1. Nels_Anderson's Avatar
      Nels_Anderson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Daniel.T View Post
      Very good and elaborate review Nels. Thanks.
      Looking forward for a 64 bit platform simulator, it was very instructive.
      But, as a prop GA flyers, like in real life, it's a little deception for the choice of default GA planes... C172, Colombia 400, B58 or C90. With strange ones like SR71, X15 and the space shuttle, it doesn't look serious for a flight simulator.
      Well, I'll keep looking...
      Please note that I did not write the review, I just published it.

      "Not a serious simulator"? I cannot see where you get that from. Do you understand the methodology that X-Plane uses to simulate flight? If not, go to Laminar's web site and read up on it. They've taken great pains to make the aircraft fly realistically.

      As for the default aircraft, how much does that matter really? If you're an FSX flyer now do you ever really use the default planes? Most people don't...there are too many other aircraft out there. The same is true with X-Plane, they have to include some default planes but it's more important as a platform on which many planes can be used.
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Quote Originally Posted by DominicS View Post
      Jim, I don't experience anything like this (even with 19 aircraft added).
      Get one to say Delta, American, or Cessna.
    1. Daniel.T's Avatar
      Daniel.T -
      The only time I loaded a default FSX plane was for the install process, for a few seconds. But we're talking of a ten years old product.
      I am a FS flyer since version 5, and having my PPL for 42 years. I think I can figure the
      gap in physics/dynamics. It seems so hard to programmers to bring just fair p/d in a
      simple high-wing single engine, imagine a SR-71... That's what I meant..!
      But, just bough another Samsung 850 SSD, to put all chances on my side and will try
      the demo. I'm confident about the advantages of memory management/usage on 64b
      platform. And maybe, hoping in fact, I'll be surprise by the overall envelope.
    1. W33's Avatar
      W33 -
      Love the sloped runways and the new shader effects. The lighting is truly something.

      Nice review Raymond.

      W33
    1. btwallis's Avatar
      btwallis -
      I just bought and installed this puppy. And one needs to grab some basic freeware to enhance their experience...which I'm doing.

      So far I really like this sim. There are several things that have jumped out at me that need work but out of the box this thing rocks.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by btwallis View Post
      I just bought and installed this puppy. And one needs to grab some basic freeware to enhance their experience...which I'm doing.

      So far I really like this sim. There are several things that have jumped out at me that need work but out of the box this thing rocks.
      Excellent!

      Don't forget to check out the FlightSim.com file library for some impressive X-Plane add-ons!

      Many of those created for X-Plane 10 also work in X-Plane 11...so have fun exploring!!

      Dominic
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