I like my planes to include both a quality, fully-functional 2D panel AND a detailed 3D cockpit. Does The Jet include a detailed 2D panel?
> Yes and No. Given the way the real Cirrus interiors are laid out a 2D version of the same is impossible. Couple that with in the Cirrus Jet mockup, they don't reveal where any switches or system controls are at. The 2D panel in the Cirrus-Jet is somewhat like half of a PCATD screen where the juicy panel content is on a black background (for now, possibly permanently) so you can actuate switches, and have a clear 1:1 and squared-up view of the Avidyne and Garmin items.. while the primary flight view and primary pilot view is intended to be 3D.
If there is a 2D panel, will it be custom, or a generic 'mule' panel as on some of your other models?
> The Cirrus SR series 3D only cockpit is similar, while having enough conventional and at least known locations for the exposed switches and controls. The Cirrus-Jet is all custom. Only previous material coming forward is the custom Avidyne solution (MFD). The 2D panel is usable, but is not on a graphical image background. I have some ideas for how to hybrid it up a little, but presently it consists of the twin Avidynes, twin Garmins and 55X neatly nested at the bottom width wise strip along the 2D view, and a scroll down reveals the systems switches. When I devise a location to put the 2D switches, maybe under a flip up armrest.. the 2D panel will be disabled and operation of the aircraft will be 3D only like the SR's.
Will this detailed model affect my framerates compared with, say, the default X-Plane models?
> Fortunately... no. I develop the aircraft to be as absolutely optimized as possible. My own system specs are pretty low, so if I get (very) satisfactory performance, I expect everyone else will enjoy the same or better than even I get. The aircraft is ALL 3D OBJ, interior and exterior so it is more for the simulator to run than an ACF only with no 3d interior, but it is very optimized, very lean & mean, while being absolutely full flavor, totally juicy, and a very robust 3d model without being wasteful of even a single 3d node.
Your cockpits are so realistic, richly-textured, and atmospheric. How do you manage this without affecting frame-rates?
> All in my vision for and execution in the artistry & artwork. It's not automatic, it's a result of my hand made, custom designed, and form fitted textures.
Will the download include flight planning and performance data?
> The Cirrus Jet is a prototype, mockup, and with very ... very limited mfgr published specs. It is largely un-documented beyond the TCDS for the engine, so you get the pleasure and challenge of being a new owner and bit of a test pilot. The mfgr published speed and range projections are assured, but in between you are able to explore what flight regime and settings work best for you and the way you fly. I will included in the "production notes" my own test flight experiences and recommended speeds.
> Addendum. I have keyed out an extensive operation and description document. So, yes, it is as well documented as I can devise presently.
You promise support through X-Plane 9. When is X-Plane 9 coming out? ; }
> Austin has directly indicated to me Q1 '08, as well as saying the same thing to the public at Oshkosh recently.
You promise support through X-Plane 9. Will The Jet's work perfectly in X-Plane 8?
> Austin's own words are "(v9) will read v8 files just fine". My development version of choice is 850, which is as feature rich as they come, and avoids the version specific hassles and nonsense of 860. So at the core level, the CTJ is an 850 native model, with robust 3D that works flawlessly now and is built to the standards I expect v9 forward will exemplify. Many of the developmental decisions I have made for the CTJ keep it flexible and compliant to the current version and looking into the future for 9+.
Will The Jet come in different liveries?
> The current standard livery is my variation of the Cirrus Design two tone gold'ish / white with bronze stripes. In the future I plan on several custom livery versions similar to the ones I have designed for the Learfan-X, though I'll let exactly which ones be a mystery to be a surprise when they're ready.
Why does the model cost so much more than your other models? "Isn't The Jet just a Cirrus with a jet engine"?
> 3D development is excruciatingly more involved than acf-only, standard-texture, and no interior. Each level up the ante scale, requires countless times more work, and more focused and intricate work. The .. ahem... Cirrus Jet depicted in the video at the the-jet.com website is on par with the acf-only type of design that can be a normal type of rate. The all 3D OBJ8, inside and out, no acf portion visible.. is the result of extremely taxing time-on-task, and mind melting 3D labor. Expect that all 3D OBJ aircraft by any vendor to quickly reach the $20 level (or higher) considering that this same aircraft for MSFS could easily be priced at $35 to $40 or higher knowing those guys. However, also know that as a 3D OBJECT based aircraft, it does start to conform to MSFS type standards of design which are good-now, good-then in that the 3D object based aircraft is not as subject to the version to version changes of x-plane itself. My 3D mesh and my texture use will remain the same as long as I leave them un-molested. Anyway, of an additional note, considering the full future-forward of 9X, I think this is an extreme bargain for this grade of aircraft now, with a projected lifespan forward of up to 4 years and easily 50-75 update releases given the track record of updates, additions, and enhancements I do to most all of my aircraft over time.
What are the ceiling, range, and top speed of The Jet?
> Cirrus Design publishes at the-jet.com in the spec sheet pdf a certified ceiling of 25,000' (which I suspect is limited to the pressurization system, large windows, and the certification thereof. Early testing indicated the aircraft alone is capable of higher, into the 30's (like most jets) but due to the airframe, windows and doors subject to pressurization 25,000 is the certified limit.) the-jet.com publishes an estimated range of 1100nm, which I do confirm. That range value is at mid weight, tested at published max altitude for best true airspeed, on published target true airspeed, and includes IFR reserves. I used my special calculation methods to derive the onboard fuel quantity to very authentically add up to an appropriate aircraft weight, and gallon quantity. Speed, you want to know about speed.. :-D the-jet.com has published 300 knots true as their high-cruise target. That doesn't suggest what maximum speed is, doesn't suggest what Vne is or even what most efficient speed is. But they put 300KTAS as their high-cruise target, which I've massaged to result at an appropriate N1, less than max, and higher than a relaxed N1. ;-)
Does The Jet have speedbrakes?
> None that Cirrus has indicated on the-jet.com, or even in watching their ... video. Whenever the final real one rolls off the assembly line, it may have pop up airbrakes similar to any Lancair or aftermarket solution, mainly to help bleed off speed in an aircraft that is extremely aerodynamic, efficient and slippery. But for now, if they don't depict it, indicate it or I can't see it on the mockup.. similarly I don't add items that aren't indicated to be present. The-Jet (CTJ) IS very easy to fly, as you would expect any Cirrus to be, similar to the SR's.. some forethought and planning are in order to plan a descent, not pick up too much speed, and not force the issue uncomfortably for passengers. But that's the game when flying any pressurized and jet aircraft. But even for me, I have been surprised at just how comfortable and natural this aircraft is to fly.
Is The Jet's 3D cockpit animated? How much does this affect framerates?
> Yes, side control sticks, pedals w/ brakes, and the go-babey-go throttle lever. Short of a flip up armrest to hide buttons under.. there isn't anything else to animate. Suppose I could animate the air-vent vanes.. but that'd just be busywork. Doesn't affect framerates at all. Extremely smooth.
Why is the exterior shape of your model so smooth?
> Ancient family secret. "Be the ball." "There is no spoon." and "wax-on wax-off". um. pun accidental.
Is yours the model that Cirrus uses in their promotional video for The Jet?
> I'm glad you asked. I can proudly say NO-WAY-JOSE. Seeing their acf only fueled me like being drenched in gasoline and handed a sparkler to do it up right. Their real mockup of the aircraft is so radically striking and sexy that I really felt that I had to just go for it to make the absolute best one I could. Austin said that they made theirs in-house and not necessarily by art staff. So.. I went for it, burned the midnight oil, countless 17-20 hr workdays on it, and have this to show now. My hope is that should cirrus-design get wind of it that they will only be proud, and pleased that a designer personally invested so much passion into crafting their plane, on his own from scratch, yet to such exacting detail and authenticity. I applaud Cirrus for using X-Plane to demonstrate their new Jet, I only hope I do it proud in the version I have made that will only serve to add more fuel, add buzz, add excitement to this extremely exciting and sexy new aircraft.
1. Would a stronger graphics card be needed to run it in 3D? I always make the corrections in Plane Maker so all of your aircraft are always 3D and I never use the 2D panel.
> No, not necessarily. For x-plane use, the better the graphics card the overall more satisfying the scenery and rendering options are.. but my system specs are pretty low, by which I generate these screenshots with V8GS, this CTJ 3D OBJ model, with up to 20+ clear visibility, on "very high" resolution settings. The 3D models in general require a little more horsepower than an acf-only w/o interior model.. but I keep mine as optimized, lean & mean as possible. You're absolutely welcome to fly in 3D 99% of the time, while the 2D panel is present mainly for button flipping, radio tuning etc, it's main function is to feed the 3D the live content for the Cirrus wide-screen cockpit display. So until Cirrus publishes any photos indicating where they put systems switches and all.. I won't assume and the switches and buttons are on the pcatd like 2D panel, by which you actuate them and then return to your deluxe 3D view. In fact I added some cool features last night that better enable the screens as touch-screens for some things, so other than rocker-switch actuation for startup or setting the lights the way you want, you can fly in 3D 100% of the time if you prefer, with keen use of the 3D pan/zoom view.
2. Will it operate in V9 only? I know alot of people still prefer flight charicteristics in older versions.
> The model is 850 native, tuned for use in 860, and the 3D model is slated to be the new-standard for the future, into v9 and beyond. It is branded a 9X because version 8 is so late in the day that it's only responsible and realistic to pick up the eyes and look forward. My development version of choice is still 850, with all the features and able to add, change and adjust to suit the needs of the next version(s) up, it allows the ability to retain compatibility at the 850 level while serving higher versions also. I'm sure this will change at some point tho when some really cool new feature drives the required version up to take advantage of whatever new cool feature may come later, but the 3D model of the aicraft and interior will remain consistent irregardless of what changes might happen to the acf over time, and the 3D model IS backwards compatible so a new updated interior or exterior enhancement in the future, as long as the animation dataref is not version specific, can be applied to any given acf version below. It is pretty cool to disassociate the "aircraft" from it's flight model data and structure. Don't get me wrong, the acf structure beneath is still within 1" resolution of actual at all measured stations, and the engine data is straight from the Williams FJ TCDS.. but with the 3D OBJ body, it's more flexible to mix and match obj to acf of any version up or down the line.
3. When will it be available?
> Very nearly, very soon, and nearly immediately to now. But this is a big dog, a real real serious industry first and I have to launch it with all of the proper ferocity and fuel I can to get it out, very wide, in front of as many people as need to see it, including MSFS ppl to draw them over to x-plane to get this Cirrus Jet that as of now, exists first and only for X-Plane, and I have the only one available to the masses. I hope to see it covered in Computer Pilot, COPA Cirrus Owners & Pilots Assn, and many other pubs, as well as featured at org, maybe at com, and hopefully google and the likes will spider onto it's existence. This really is a capital moment in the history of X-Plane, the most salivated over, and anxiously anticipated aircraft in as many years, by Cirrus.. is available first and only for X-Plane... Not to mention it's A-Game grade, top shelf, and benchmark setting. I hope to underscore how great x-plane is and can be, and lure MSFS users to x-plane simply with this really beautiful Cirrus Jet debut.
4. For all of your existing Cirrus models, will you be focusing on them as well to bring them to this level of detail?
> Eventually. All aircraft that will continue forward into v9 will be receiving the 3DHD treatment. 3D work is, up to and including, excruciatingly laborious, time consuming, and involved.. to say the least. It's re-creating reality one vertice, one node, one face, and one textured pixel at a time. Carving this out of clay would have been easier, but yes, I am going the route of 3DHD for all aircraft that will be going forward into V9. There are really exciting things afoot, unfortunately they take time to do.. so while exciting, they are also subject to everyone being patient for them to be worked on and completed.
5. Is the 3D cockpit fully functional from start-up to shut-dow?
> Yes and no. The 3D cockpit is as functional as the Cirrus the-jet.com gallery shots of the mockup reflect it to be. That said, the 2D panel IS required to actuate necessary systems switches and buttons that are not depicted as to where they are in the real cockpit mockup. One could suggest that the big wide-screen touch screen actuates and activates all aircraft systems with no hardware buttons. We are talking about a futuristic prototype mockup here, where there are not conventional rocker buttons, rheostats and knobs all over the place... but in x-plane we do have to conform to having those rockers and rheos in order to do the deed. So the 3D cockpit conforms to the Cirrus interior mockup, and the 2d conforms to the requisite items x-plane needs to function. The beauty is that you just switch to the 2D long enough to flip a switch or accurately change something on the Avi or Garmin and then just toggle right back to the beautiful 3D view for live eye flying. But honestly once the rocker switches you want are on the way you want, the Avidynes and Garmins can be interacted with directly in the 3D view with pan/zoom/click, and keyboard direct functions for flap, gear, etc.
6. *This one is an out-of-the-box question, but it recently happened to me and I was generally pissed. Will it remain a payware for it's cycle? I purchased a model of the Viggen that is now available for free just by updating your version of X-Plane.
> LOL, ok, fair enough. Well, in general each aircraft has to earn it's keep. I really wrestled with what to price this at to be fair to everyone, you, me, and the long road ahead. Similar grade MSFS aircraft are easily in the $35-40 range, but that's just a bit steep and I don't want to rake anyone over the coals, even MSFS switchers. The amount I picked I think is more than fair for the grade of quality it is now, and the reality of a long term free-update 9X model of this caliber to start with. I think the only things that over time I do drop the price on, are ones that are facing retirement at the end of a whole version run. Anyway, the mainstream items that require regular service/support have to earn their keep, initial and over time.
7.As your collection of each type of aircraft grows, will you make available a package for each, as your Piper collection?
No, sorry. The Pipers do really "throw the curve" in every respect. If it weren't for all 10 of them being made in my spare time, spare patience, and own training needs at the time, for version 7.30... they may not exist as a ensemble collection today. The magic in them is in the quantity, TEN aircraft in one collection, and priced at round-a-bout ONE buck per plane.. although for each main release. It's an outside the box strategy that some really take to, draws fire from some others, but in the end are a really really successful and long standing ensemble. It wouldn't work if it were only 5 aircraft in the pack, and would not work as an ensemble in an 8X or 9X strategy, the ensemble collection only works in many units included and only works in each-release format. For that reason I can't do a 3 pack of Cirrus, 4 pack of Cessna's etc. The each have to earn their own way, and any stragglers face retirement. As time has passed, and I've watched x-plane mature, evolve and get a lot more, both sophisticated and complicated, the requirement for making aircraft and enhancing existing aircraft has gone up exponentially. Back in the old days, a whole plane, textures and gauges could be done in a couple days, at most.. less if relying on largely stock gauges/panel content, and a pretty basic acf. That is still true today in the guise of acf-only, stock panel, and no interior, but what everyone wants is a lot loftier than that. To par the hole, the drive distance keeps doubling and tripling. So mile for mile, click by click.. there is many times more work to do to any one aircraft today than yesterday* and I only expect it to get exponentially harder and more consuming in the future. One report for the next version of Gran Turismo stated that each car, 3d model and all was taking up to 6 months per car. i can't say I hope we never get there, and I can't say we're not there NOW, all i can say is that most all aircraft that are actively worked on, evolve over time to continually receive improvements and enhancements... all of which have to be supported so that the work can continue into tomorrow. So, only the PIPERS will remain an ensemble collection, and all others will be separates trying to earn their keep.
8. Will your PiperJet also be modelled as beautifully as this?
Yes. the PJ is a strange bird. Namely it's published dimensions vary widly from the artists rendering of it in the images. I was too far along in making it before I realized that the published height to the top of the vstab yielded a whale-tail of a rear end. That made it look a little unsightly and resulted in a lot of unflattering angles. Couple that with it's (mockup) interior that is all gooey and ... difficult to do in 3D without a putty knife. That said, it is currently in VIP status, meaning it's a low beta-mule introductory price now for orders that will extend into 9X.. but the tradeoff is that it has a lot of workshop stand-in materials in there until it gets some more attention. I really want to do it right, just like the CTJ, but to do so, I'll have to intentionally deviate from a few published dimensions, and re-shape things by eye until they look right to me. Namely that giant tail and unfortunate nose. But do expect it to be improved upon, enhanced, and receive the same full meal-deal treatment. The road ahead is both long and exciting, so everyone should watch the PJ also for really cool new stuff in it in the future.
9. Every detail within the cockpit looks like you can reach through the computer screen and touch. Are the only animations at the hand control and foot pedals?
> Yes, only animated items inside are the normally only moving items in the cabin. At least only moving items that are physical aircraft controls and would move on a regular basis. In the event I decide to put the switches in a concealed console.. that will be animated to open-close so that actuation of the switches in 3D is possible. The clean interior has animated twin joysticks, throttle lever and dual set of pedals. I'm not a fan of X-DOOR.... animated door simulation. :-)
10. Will an update to this jet be necessary cosmetically, or only flight model? From the look of it in this stage, I dont think it could be perfected any further.
> Absolutely correct. I've burned the midnight oil to do just about everything I can to the 3D model, interior and exterior. Even all the way down to the shadow of the map pocket net. As usual, as x-plane evolves along through version after version, updates to the acf to "speed tune", address any new performance/handling issue, or apply any new feature that was not present before. The ACF being disassociated with the visual model makes it more flexible in the big picture so that x-plane based changes, features, support and breakage should not affect the 3D model, interior, exterior, it's appearance or operation. Austin can change the default texture layout and it won't change anything about my 3D structures or my textures on them. But important to know is that my ACF model underneath IS every bit as accurate and authentic as ever, but I just forego adding all the acf based fixtures, nick nacks and textures and go straight into building up the 3D body and all of the custom textures for it directly.
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