Call it “early access“, “open beta“, “unfinished product” or “version 0.9“, it always leads to the exposure of the developer to critics and arguments.
Could Colimata be exempt from that? No.
Indeed the “early access” version of his Concorde FXP has been long desired by each user of X-Plane, because actually the FS Labs “Concorde X” isn’t available for us, and after many years of freeware models, Colimata has taken the responsibility of bringing a realistic add-on.
And if I must tell the truth, as I’m supposed to, I was really curious to know what was the level of this early access, especially after the F18 that generated a lot of both positive and negative reactions.
To give an honest review of this product, I decided to write a normal article, avoiding our standard aircraft review format, because it would have been untreatable if I had given marks for an unfinished aircraft.
Me and Francesco have been studying the Concorde for a long time, and that’s hat we can say now.
The first thing you see in an aircraft is the flight deck, and the Concorde has a very iconic one, that Colimata portrayed really well.
The textures are good and the reflections are quite natural.
It would have been a potential 10 out of 10, but I noticed that the engineer’s position is not fully modeled, that’s not something that affects the experience that much, because you’re actually intended to be the pilot, but it’s still something noticeable.
The mechanism that lowers the nose during the approach and landing phase is well done, and the experience is reasonably realistic.
Transitioning to the external model, there’s not much to say.
It’s well known that Colimata had spent a lot of time in the 3D model, and the results he achieved are good. The fuselage textures looks smooth, and the other textures are well done.
I can’t avoid to mention the intuitive GUI, that is still in development (and that’s why it’s not really useful during this phase), but it allows the user to control a lot of animations, and it will be a primary feature once completed.
It’s already good, and it has a lot of potential to exploit!
It’s good also the way to access the GUI, as you will also have the “CONCORDE FXP” menu in the upper menu of X-Plane 11, with a “GUI” clickable spot at the bottom of the screen. Good accessibility.
The experience of the ear will be pleasant, the FMOD sounds are well done, even though the plane doesn’t sound exactly like the real one (basing on as much video and audio files I could retrieve).
The copilot announcements are useful and, instead of many other add-ons, they aren’t annoying at all.
It’s like having someone next to you that actually understands which is the perfect moment to say something.
The sound part, anyway, is almost complete, the developer should just refine some sounds.
The thing changes when you break the barrier of sound, because you can’t hear that sound named “sonic boom” in external view.
I think it’s a limitation of the simulator, because I don’t know any plane who has such a feature, but I’m not sure.
From a quick flight test I can say that the flight model seems to be fine-tuned, even if it still needs some work to improve it and make it feel a little bit more realistic. That said I feel that any other comment on flight dynamics that are supersonic is just trash as it’s a completely different way to fly and I’m obviously not qualified (as well as the most airline captains) to professionally talk about it.
From the system depth there is not much to say at the moment. The plane is in a very early stage and systems are almost absent. There is a massive presence of default base and developed systems that makes the airplane flyable and enjoyable as a “game” but obviously it doesn’t meet the high requirements that a such high price would require.
In the end buying this plane is a choice.
You can support the developer from now, and judge how the aircraft will be updated by yourself, or just wait to see the future versions, especially if you want to use some of the particular modes of the Concorde’s autopilot that will be ready in some months, as explained by Florian.
Keep always in mind that this is an early access version, so you can’t expect much more than a flyable eye-candy, potentially the product could become almost a study-level plane, but it depends on Colimata.