Firstly, we want to start this update by saying thank you to everyone that attended Flight Sim Expo and came to our booth to try the TFDi Design MD-11 and smartCARS 3. We saw so many faces who shared our enthusiasm in seeing a live demonstration of the aircraft and trying the brand-new version of smartCARS! The team has been working extremely hard since Flight Sim Expo, and we are here to show you some of the progress that we have made in the short time since we were on the show floor.
TFDi Design MD-11
Since the version we demonstrated as Flight Sim Expo, the yokes and throttles have seen visual improvements, as well as other animations and parts throughout the cockpit.
When we presented the MD-11 at Flight Sim Expo, we were still in the process of building the starters and ensuring that a full start could be achieved without any simulator assistance (such as Control+E). For the first time, we were able to completely start the aircraft from cold and dark and progress through to the take-off roll. Although a massive achievement, there is still progress to be made, as we still need to link up the engine starters to the APU and pneumatic demand. This requires the air system to be fully developed, which has been one of our main focuses. We will have more on the pneumatic system in our next update.
Brakes and Gear
We have also made progress on more of the displays and their surrounding systems. The “CONFIG” Secondary Display (SD) page has also been fully implemented, with a full simulation of the landing gear, the tires, and the brakes. The brakes behave realistically, including some pilot-induced failures. Hydraulic systems 1 and 3 each power one of two hydraulic pressure accumulators to provide backup brake pressure. When they have pressure, you have brakes:
This backup system provides enough pressure to fully apply and release the brakes approximately 10 times. If they run out, the brakes no longer have pressure:
If you have no brake pressure, your brakes will no longer provide any stopping power until the hydraulic pressure is restored. We have also simulated the brake temperature and brake overheat as well as tire pressure. This, in effect, means that if your brakes get too hot, they can melt a fuse that depressurizes the tire!
With our custom autobrake system, we have ensured that the aircraft attempts to decelerate with the speed the real aircraft would: 6.5 feet/s2 for LOW, 9 feet/s2 for MED, and maximum braking force at MAX. This allows for a consistent and reliable stopping distance and a smoother ride for those onboard.
The centre landing gear now responds to the CTR GEAR NORM/UP switch, meaning you can control the centre landing gear separately. Finally, the reverse thrust system has been implemented as well. This brings us one step closer to the flight ready state.
We are happy to report that the system is functional in MSFS! Nearly all standard modes are and the aircraft is flying relatively well. Magenta line tracking code has begun but is not yet complete (though the code to generate and draw the magenta line is much further along).
Along with these improvements comes improved LSAS functionality as well. When the are released, the LSAS will attempt to hold the nose level (within its authority level); it will also help apply nose down force during landing to help with landing stability.
Additionally, we implemented the single cue PFD layout as an option for those that wish to use it.
We have also been working on becoming more transparent on the progress of the MD-11, so we created the TFDi Design MD-11 progress page, which breaks down the big items and shows you the total progress for our current focus phase. We are currently working towards a “flight-ready state”, and we are getting closer to it every day. We also post updates on our Discord before anywhere else, so make sure you join our Discord if you are interested in more updates.
We are still working hard on smartCARS 3, and we have recently released a new update (0.12.1) which fixed a few major bugs and improved even further on the existing smartCARS Premium features! As we approach the end of the Premium roadmap, we are getting closer to a Release Candidate for smartCARS 3, which will mark a code freeze for the project until release!
We want to note that there will also be some important changes to the API used by communities with the phpVMS 7 platform in the future to implement more natively with the platform. We do not yet have a timeline for when this rewrite will be ready to use, but it is a planned update.
Finally, we will dive into the details of smartCARS Mobile after the smartCARS 3 desktop client completes testing.
As always, we want to say thank you to the community for their interest and support in our projects. We are excited to continue innovating and to see our customers enjoy the products we have been putting so much effort into over the last few years.
If you are interested in supporting the TFDi Design MD-11 project, we have a presale opportunity available here that can save you $5 on the whole package and some download time on release day.
If you would like to learn more about smartCARS 3, the product page contains more information and links to get started.
Finally, thank you for reading and stay tuned for more!