The Cessna 421 Golden Eagle is an American six or seven seat twin-engined light transport aircraft, developed in the 1960s.
A wonderful aircraft: fast, powerful and just plain sexy.
We had access to one of these beauties and did not miss this opportunity. Armed with cameras and microphones, the whole plane was tried out, measured, photographed, filmed and marveled at quite a lot. Such an old aircraft and still the fastest in its class.
This is now quite a while back. During this time our team has created the 3D model, inside and outside. Then everything was animated and put into the simulator. Which one? X-Plane! Why? Because we want to simulate the aircraft as accurately as possible.
In the meantime, we also came up with the idea of integrating a new scripting language into X-Plane that combines the simplicity of xlua with modern C++ components. We are now able to script in a simple and performant way, which is especially reflected in the cockpit instruments. The variometer has a realistic delay, the compass has a deviation influenced by the circuit and some components were completely coded from scratch like the GTX330 transponder.
In addition, there is already a tablet, via which, for example, checklists can be called up and the virtual co-pilot can be controlled. This guy is quite a help. He can perform the normal procedures like the correct start of the engines or the power setting during the climb.
The aircraft also comes with different options that can be selected and saved per livery. Currently we already have the different landing lights (folding out of the wings left and/or right as well as retrofitted landing lights on the engines). Let’s see what else is coming in the future.
Especially challenging is the autopilot, an old model which needs some training. The flight dynamics are also implemented as realistically as possible. Our coder is a long-time Commercial Flight Instructor – we are confident about his abilities. Fortunately, so is he.
The pictures shown here are relatively old, so they are far from our current state. But we want to start from the beginning.
Regarding the timeline, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1) it is our first aircraft project in X-Plane. We have a great team working with enthusiasm. However, there is still a lot to learn.
2) it is (currently) not our main project but rather a fun gap filler. After 2 years we are at least ready to make it public. So we can’t be that far away from the goal anymore.
3) X-Plane 12 will be available soon, but many people (including us) will continue to use X-Plane 11. Because a stable development environment is essential for us, the aircraft will be released for X-Plane 11 first, even if X-Plane 12 has been on the market for a while by then.
We will try to inform regularly about this project. This will not always work out but we can already promise two things:
1) the project has been alive for 2 years and still exists, we won’t bury it.
2) it won’t take another 2 years.
Now we have built up enough pressure for ourselves with this announcement. Let’s look forward to the result :)