This blog is about the building process of a first generation jetliner for X-plane
About the aircraft:
The Sud-Aviation SE-210 Caravelle is the first jet airliner for the short and medium distance. The first flight was in 1955.
There are only few Caravelles remaining, only one in a partially working condition and none flying. The aircraft is mostly forgotten, however;
Back in the day this aircraft was considered the pinnacle of aviation. The flagship of Air-France, united airlines, SAS and several other airlines. The first aircraft to make a fully automated landing and it had many records to its name.
When they were superseded by the next generation of aircraft, such as the DC9 and the Boeing 737, Caravelles continued to fly for regional and low-cost airlines in Europe, making aviation accessible for the average holiday makers.
Eventually the Caravelles were being replaced, mainly due to noise constraints and high fuel cost, it continued to fly in Africa and South America until the last aircraft was retired in Gabon in 2005.
I am building an X-plane model in memory of this iconic aircraft.
Phase 1 – Making a functional aeroplane for normal operations
- X-plane flight model – Complete but needs tweaking
- Exterior model
- Basic model – Complete
- Door animations – Complete (air stairs need more details)
- Interior model – WIP Contains many placeholders
- Cockpit windows – in place and are now transparent inside and outside
- Cabin windows and portholes – tbd
- Virtual cockpit
- Panel layout – Complete but needs tweaking (overhead panel)
- Instrumentation – building each gauge one at a time
- Primary flight instruments – complete (needs reworking (remove bones)
- Engine instruments – wip
- Fuel instruments – wip
- Hydraulic instruments – Need a working hydraulic system first
- Electric instruemnts – few added, need a working electrical system first
- Click spots and manipulators – learning the process
Phase 2 – improving visuals, texturing and sounds
Phase 3 – adding custom programming for non-normal situations
- Because this aircraft is from the 1950’s there are no computers, displays or FMS to be found. Operation and navigation of this machine is fully analogue.
- Non-standard systems. Because this aircaft was built before systems were standardised, this aircraft has very unusual electric and hydraulic systems for modern standards. X-plane is not fully capable of simulating this, so eventually I will have to learn how to write code for a plugin.
- X-plane, latest version (1.5 public beta)
- Planemaker – provided with x-plane
- Blender 2.8.2 (public beta) Freeware with Blender2Xplane plugin.
- Aeroplane flight manual SE-210 (SAS/Swissair) May1960 – source: Aircraft Archives
- Book: Uitgelicht Caravelle SE-210 – Aviation Megastore.com
- Private photo collection
- PH-TRO Caravelle III (Cockpit) Transavia livery – Aviodrome aviation museum
- F-BHRA Caravelle III Air France (first production airframe) – PS Aero Baarlo
- flightinstructoronline is proud supporter of Le Caravelle Club SE-DAI
The basic hull shape, wing geometry and engine performance added in plane maker.
First attempt to model the iconic cockpit shape in Blender 2.79. Not quite there yet but it’s a start!
First work on the instrument panel. All instruments are analogue and vintage. To ensure the correct looks of the cockpit I will have to custom make every instrument separately.
First impression of the virtual cockpit. Currently several gauges are modelled and functional:
Attitude with flight director bars, Altimeter with altimeter setting drums, Airspeed, ADF RMI with heading bug, VOR RMI, EGT, RPM, Fuel flow, Fuel temperature and flap position.
Also the brake parachute handle is modelled and working.
Some more work on the exterior. I now know how to add metallic shine, still I’m not happy with the shape of the cockpit.
Because the cockpit was ‘borrowed’ from the DeHavilland Comet, which had a smaller fuselage diameter than the Caravelle, a fuselage connector was added to match the different sizes. That gives the Caravelle a bit of a droopy nose. I have no exact measurements in any of my documentation of the windows, so it’s trial and error to get it right. Perhaps I’ll revisit this later.
Some more gauges added, Turn and slip, Vertical speed, Radio altimeter, functional but all textures are placeholders.
A modern airliner may have a bogie landing gear which is a rocker on the end of the strut. The Caravelle has two rockers, one on each side, with several shock absorbers that are interconnected with an intricate on either side (and through) the main strut. All of it has to retract into a tiny gear bay, so the retract axis is not aligned with the wheels. This is probably the most complex part of the aircraft. I have not done any texturing yet, but modelling and animation of suspension and retraction is done.
The muscles of the Caravelle is a pair of Rolls-Royce Avon engines. The same as on the DeHavilland Comet, Hawker Hunter and English Electric Lightning