Notes from first flight - Unfortunately couple snags.
First of all, congrats on the release of the 146 and best of luck with the coming Avro RJ as well.
I just want to say overall the product is very neat, and i've always enjoyed QW's rendition and was looking forward to this release.
I want to preface this post that I in no means intend to come off as pompus or critical - only wish to see finally an excellent rendition of an aircraft close to my heart! What you as developers and publishers have accomplished here is a great platform for an excellent add-on that I hope will succeed.
First off - my first flight (CYVR-CYXT) suffered from a bizzare performance issue. Upon loading the aircraft into P3D - I selected cold and dark from the just flight addon menu from pressing the 'Alt' key. This resulted in an immediate almost 50% drop in frames. I continued the flight till conclusion - having landed and shut down in YXT - and when I selected the 'lighting bolt' from the 'Panel Selector' arrow - the performance loss immediately went away. Cycling that lighting bolt then powered up the aircraft with no descernable performance loss. There seems to be some loss when Cold and Dark is selected from the P3D addon menu.
That was the only performance issue I had.
Onto overall physical impressions.
The 4096 Textures are impressive. Definitely lots of definition there. However I found the annuciator legend text and overall integral lighting completely underwhelming. The font used in the annunciator text unfortunately isn't very close to the actual aircraft - and the perfectly even illumination of of said annunciators isn't very accurate to the actual aircraft. These are incadescent illumated panels and insturments and having such even lighting doesn't really accurately create the immersion. The integral lighting of panel text and switches suffers similarily. It's much too "cool" of a illumination. The real aircraft the bulbs integral lighting comes off with a much warmer colour than what is simulated here.
Also - for airframes that are reaching 40 years of age I found the overall cockpit textures much too sterile and clean. Although I understand this is an aesthetic opinion and choice of the developer so it's not much of an issue to me.
Externally, wow. Spot on gang. Model, textures, scale...great job.
Systems wise - I have a couple snags.
First of all - The DC Meters should show Battery 1 or 2 voltage when selected regardless if the aircraft battery switches are selected on. In the real aircraft leaving them in the Batt position will invaribly discharge the battery (and occasionally discharge the cargo fire bottles if equipped as voltage decreases - for some reason)
The Flight Annuciator Dim knob dims all the aircraft annunciators rather than just those of the Flight Mode Annunciators. IE: The MWS annuciators should not be affected by the FMA dim knob. Same goes with the overhead panel annuciators.
The MWS doesn't have the GND PULL mode simulated. This would eliminate alot of nuisance MWS warnings as the aircraft is prepped for start.
The MWS doesn't appear to have any time-delay modelled. The real aircraft there is usually a 10-30 ms time delay from overhead panel annuciator illumination to the respective chime and illumination on the MWS on the forward instument panel. This eliminates nuisance Master Caution attention-getter illuminations and chimes. The majority of the overhead panel annunciations and switches are what we call NIPS switches ie: Not In Position Selected. So when you for example turn on an Engine Air Valve - you will briefly get a annunciation on the overhead panel adjacent to the switch as the valve opens. When the valve is open the annunciation extinguishes. A time delay is built into the MWS system so that these transient indications don't trip the MWS chime and annunciations on the forward panel. Other examples include the Pack, Anti/De-ice valve switches, Engine Air Faults, Engine Air switches, Hydraulic Iso Valve switches...and more.
The DC Hydraulic pump should not show any pressure indication on the Yellow Hyd Press ind on the overhead panel. The DC pump basically plumbs directly into the yellow brake accumulator and emergency extension actuator directly, and is isolated from the yellow system manifold (where the press indication is) via check-valves. It does not pressurize the whole system. The only indication the the pump is pressurizing is an increase in yellow system brake pressure with the park brake set (or yellow brakes selected and depressed) and audible sound (which is only barely audible from the cockpit with the engines and apu off basically).
The Yellow AC pump sounds exactly like the real thing. Good job on the sound. I found the PTU sound (when powering the Green side from the yellow AC pump only) pretty underwhelming though. It starts off with much more a higher pitch growl as the green system pressurizes than cycles. Logic wise this seems to work correctly, along with the Auto AC pump function with drop in Yellow AC pressure.
I didn't note any rise in APU EGT with APU Air or Packs selected on. On the real aircraft the APU is pretty anemic - and you'll usually be within 100-50*C of redline with both packs running. That's if the APU isn't tired and if it is you're usually right on the edge of the red line with both packs running! Would be accurate if you simulated this - as air management between the APU and Engine Air is one of the quirks of the 146/RJ series aircraft - as the engines don't really produce much bleed air and indeed are basically insufficient at providing enough volume top operate the packs under 65% N2. Hence why most operators actually utilize APU Air for all ground and air ops below 10000'.
If utilizing APU air with both packs - you will usually see a 25-50 degree decrease though with Recirc selected.
The Recirc valve appears to work regardless if Pack flow is provided. In the real aircraft the Recirc valve only opens if there's sufficient flow from the air conditioning packs. IE: The recirc 'valve' is electrically controlled but pneumatically operated. In practice this means the NIPS indication on the overhead panel of the Recirc valve should stay illuminated if selected on with no packs on.
This is also true of the Engine Air Valves. They usually don't open even if selected on with the engines at idle. More NIPS indications and MWS stuff follows.
The engine start is quite hot. I see other threads about this so I wont dwell on it. Hottest i've ever seen off the APU gen in a ALF502 - 146 is maybe 750ish, and it certainly didn't peak as much as this one.
Would be nice if the engine start was scripted a little more accurately, with fuel and light off coming on as soon as you introduce fuel - rather than the P3D modelled exactly at 20% regardless of fuel cock position.
I find the click spots and technique for moving the power levers from Fuel Off to Idle (and vice-versa) difficult. I can't consitently figure it out.
Would be nice to hear more of the contactor 'clack' sound as generators are brought on line and off.
Usually there's about a 10kw load increase on the AC buses when the Galley power is selected on. Would be neat to see this simulated.
I didn't see any increase in TGT with engine air selected on or the bleed load increasing with Anti/De-Ice valves opened. Engine idle N2 did appear to increase though.
I noticed the label - is the 26,000 ft limitation in icing conditions still applicable to the 146? Thats from almost 25-30 years ago.
I for the life of me could not get the NAV 1 Radio to turn on. No matter what I did. It doesn't appear to turn on from cold and dark scenario.
Aircraft follows the LNAV stuff pretty good.
FD bars behave as the real 146 from what I remember. The SEP10 is very limited and old-school autopilot.
Flying Snags -
None really. Flies very accurately and smooth.
Engines actually feel a bit overpowered. Flying the -300 series at near to max gross and taking off and climbing at 2000 fpm isn't very accurate - especially with the 502s. You'd be lucky to see >1000 fpm above 16-17000' at close to 95%N1 (I know it's sad).
Because I could't get Nav 1 to work - I flew an ILS off NAV 2 with both HSI's slaved to Nav 2. There appears to be bug if you are within range of receiving the glide slope indication, but fly off out of range of the G/S indication - the G/S flag doesn't go away even when the G/S diamond returns. You can fly the G/S manually with the indication to the right of the ADI but can not couple the G/S with the GSP button should this bug occur. Tuning in and out of the ILS station didn't rectify this.
FMS is basic but works very well and has most of the functions well simulated. I didn't try VNAV mode or anything as I couldn't get it to work and it was never really utilized in the specific 146 operation I was familiar with. I understand it's something you intend to work on as the the user base grows so looking forward to its development!
I love the sway and bank as you taxi the aircraft on the ground. Spot on.
I hope these things will help you further develop this product. To be honest as I play around with it i'm sure I will find more.
Of course, the choice to model or fix these things lies with you! I've already paid my coin and I believe this is an excellent platform and a great addition to my flight-simming library. Having worked with and on 146s and Avro RJ's for a signifigant portion of my real-life career (and continue to), it is an aircraft near-and-dear to my heart. I only wish to see it showcased accurately for the flight-simming public. It is an aircraft that is frequently mis-understood and rediculed, and it's awesome to see this add-on developed!
Looking forward to the future of the 146 Professional,
this is a great post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, hope this gets taken onboard by the developers.
@plhought great post. Really informative.
Thanks for the comprehensive feedback! We had several RW pilots and crew from civilian and military operators involved in the development and testing but more information like this is always welcome.
We'll always have to make judgements about what features to include, how much depth to go into on a certain system, what age of aircraft to replicate etc, but here's some initial responses:
- We'll investigate the 'Cold & Dark' performance issue as that's not something we've encountered here but should hopefully be reproducable
- We'll look to improve the annunciator lights
- The cockpit is based almost 100% on a specific aircraft based in a UK meuseum. That was in active service for quite a long time but was maybe cleaned up for the meuseum. There should be plenty of wear and tear, even if there aren't coffee stains and crumbs! As you've noted, general appearance and colour balance etc are an artistic choice but IMO an accurate reproduction of our chosen reference aircraft.
- DC meters will now show battery voltage when selected, regardless of battery switch position
- MWS ground mode has been added
- MWS time delay has been added
- Yellow hydraulic system no longer indicates pressure with only DC pump on
- The AC pump and PTU were recorded from a real aircraft but we'll see if the volumes need tweaking
- Air-conditioning recirculation valve will now only open with sufficient air flow from packs
- Engine air valves will now only open with sufficient air flow from engines
- APU TGT will now vary depending on APU air, pack and recirc selections
- TGT logic improved to produce more realistic values at engine idle, start and max thrust
- We'll look into adding more custom coding for engine start
- The logic for the thrust levers is left-click to push down the latch and then right click to move between the FUEL OFF and ON positions
- Galley power will now add to electrical load
- Can you point me to the figures for increase in TGT and bleed air load so I can simulate that?
- AFAIK the aircraft we photographed which featured the 26,000ft limit label was retired circa 2000
- Did you push the 'ON' button on the face of the VHF NAV 1 frequency knobs?
- We'll have a look at fine tuning the engine power
Cheers for getting back to me! All great to hear!
I definetly didn't press the 'On' button on the Nav 1 Control Head - woops
To help with your inquiry regarding bleed load I've attached some photos from a bleed balance run on an Avro ages ago. Sorry I don't have pics from a 146 run.
Of course the 507's use EGT not TGT but you can extrapolate what you will from the noted EGT increases and get something that I believe will be close enough.
As for Anti/De-Ice load - with those on you can also probably add a good 20-25 degrees to TGT.
Disregard the numbers with #3 & #4 - it was during bleed balancing and that whole side was out of wack.
1 & 2 ENG AIR OFF - 3 & 4 ON - PACK 1 & 2 ON
1, 2, 3, 4 ENG AIR ON - PACK 1 & 2 ON