X-plane as a simulator has a great reputation for its very highly realistic flight model. The simulator can reproduce real-world flight dynamics extremely well - if the aircraft model is created accurately and makes full use of the simulator's capabilities.
In order to fly accurately in X-plane, the aircraft must be made accurately in Planemaker (X-plane aircraft creation software), utilizing not only a thorough understanding of X-plane itself but also real-world design principles, which are reflected in X-plane. In addition, airfoil data needs to be understood and in most cases generated using external software.
It is easy to create a flyable aircraft for X-plane that behaves very unlike the real-world equivalent; it takes much more time and understanding to bring true realism to the simulated aircraft performance.
It is possible to obtain some book values (such as straight-line speed) with a less than accurate Planemaker model, but the model may not be accurate in other areas, such as the stall, maneuvering, climb rate, etc.
Aspects of the flight model that are not readily represented by simple data tables cannot be achieved without an accurate flight model. Even frequently overlooked attributes such as fuselage shape have an influence on aircraft handling.
A precise and accurate flight model will also eliminate the need to alter aircraft performance by a plug-in or other ‘cheats’. Exceptions would be rare and usually relate to novel or complex systems.
Who is behind these projects?
My name is Cameron, and I live in the beautiful South Pacific country of New Zealand.
I have developed flight models for several developers including Laminar Research (the developers of X-plane), several third-party payware developers, as well as aerospace companies and individuals.
I am an expert at using Planemaker, having been using X-plane and Planemaker for over 20 years (since version 5). I have been involved in the X-plane community for almost as long, and volunteer as part of the moderator team on X-plane.org.
I am a real-world pilot, holding a commercial pilot’s license, instrument rating, and instructor rating. I have also worked as an air traffic controller at several airport towers in New Zealand. I also worked for a company flight testing a new E-VTOL aircraft.
I have a deep interest and knowledge of aerospace, and I read technical books on aircraft and aircraft design just ‘for fun’.
As an extension of this, I have spent countless hours applying that interest and knowledge in designing ‘custom’ aircraft in X-plane, as well as recreating real-world designs.
I am building a real full-size composite aircraft in my garage, to one day fly myself and my family around the country, and perhaps the world!