Looking for something to spice up your flying and help you enjoy your sim a bit more, by offering you some goals to meet in X-Plane?
X-CPL-Pilot may just be the thing you are looking for.
Let me start by saying what it is in a nutshell. I will get into more detail as there is a lot of complexity here. Don’t worry, though: the complexity is on the side of the developer and on the background, not exactly for you.
In fact, I found this plugin to be very easy to use.
So, in a nutshell, X-CPL-Pilot is a plugin for X-Plane that creates different kinds of jobs that you may then fly for your own virtual company and make some virtual money.
But there’s a bit more to it so, keep on reading.
As you will find with anything in this plugin (at least I did), installing it is pretty easy.
Purchase the plugin, download it, open the zip and just copy the XCPLPilot folder that comes inside it to the X-Plane 11\Resources\plugins directory.
That’s the installation part. Now for setting it up.
The initial setup
The initial setup will take a while but it’s necessary for us to have a better experience – or an experience at all.
First of all, you will need to enter your key so that it activates itself.
The plugin will then ask you in which continent you want to fly at, and it will then work its magic and build its internal database. This will take about 20 minutes or so, depending on your computer.
After that, you will be asked to enter the ICAO code for an airport which will be your HQ or main FBO.
You will eventually reach a point at which your (virtual) assistant, Wayne will present himself and will give you some pointers.
And you’re good to go.
Getting your hands dirty
Like I said, using X-CPL-Pilot is not hard at all. The basic stuff about it is simple: select a job, fly the job, pay things such as landing fees, fuel and aircraft leasing fees and the rest goes into your account, which starts with 10 thousand Euros.
I immediately looked for some jobs and found out there are 3 types: passenger, cargo and sightseeing. I found the sightseeing ones particularly interesting.
Those sightseeing jobs usually tell you to start and finish your flight at your hub, but they also give you 2 other goals: a minimum flight time and a city you need to fly over.
These goals will be traced, and you will know when you have hit them.
I jumped into the R66 grabbed one of those sightseeing jobs and Wayne helped by finding some slots available for us at the airport, which, in my case, is LPCS.
I then selected one of those slots that Wayne found out and I got the option to use the “time machine” feature which fast forwarded me to the slot time.
My client then arrived in a car (which you can actually see arriving and it honked after it stopped next to the helicopter) and I could control when the client boarded the helicopter (we don’t see the passengers boarding, though), we made our safety briefing and were ready to go.
X-CPL-Pilot monitored the entire flight and let me know as I completed the goals. This was a 10-minute flight minimum (which was no big deal as the second goal – fly over a certain city) made it a 30+ flight.
A countdown was shown so I could see how long I still needed to fly for and as soon as it reached 0, that goal turned to green.
I wasn’t sure how close to the city I had to fly but X-CPL-Pilot doesn’t force you to fly at the center of the city. In fact, I was flying just outside the city’s outskirts when I completed the goal.
Done and done. Back to return to LPCS.
The flight back was uneventful, and I landed, shut the engine down and allowed my passenger to deboard.
X-CPL-Pilot did all the math, presented me with my expenses and incomes and the remaining money was transferred into my virtual account. Not before telling me how I rated in regards with my goal and how comfortable my passenger was, which is quite nice. This allows you to understand how well you are doing your flights.
The small details
X-CPL-Pilot is rich in small details. The fact that you can actually see a car approaching your aircraft and can hear it honk or that you can hear your passenger take photos during the flight (for real) is surprising and it adds so much to immerse you in the world.
Something cool is the fact that X-CPL-Pilot can create a flight plan that you can open in the GPS. I found an issue, though, which I already reported to the author: at least for the sightseeing missions, the location of the city is not added to the route. So, I end up with an entry from LPCS to LPCS. Just that.
But, like I said, I mentioned that to the author, which said that he would take a look at it.
Compatible with VR
X-CPL-Pilot is VR-compatible! Yep! You can do all this from inside VR. No need to remove your headset every time you need to change something or keep track of your job.
This gets a huge thumbs up from me!
One of the things that you will notice if you purchase this plugin is that you’ll have a new version to download almost daily. Updates are constant as the developer keeps on improving the plugin.
A developer that listens to the community
A lot of those constant updates comes from the fact that the author is very active and listens to the community and the feedback we provide him. He has added a few small features or changes to cater for the helicopter crew, for example.
I have been looking at X-CPL-Pilot for some time and I was waiting for it to be released. I have to say I had high expectations about it, but it not only met my expectations, it surpassed them.
I think X-CPL-Pilot may improve as there is a lot more that can be done (both in tools – we can create our own jobs but the tools we have right now are a bit limited – and in the regular use of the plugin.) over time.
Right now, X-CPL-Pilot is one of my favorite addons, easily. I will keep using for sure as it gives me some more purpose to the sim, without actually having to leave the sim and I believe the author will make it much better over time.
I definitely recommend it.
If you’d like to take a deeper look at X-CPL-Pilot, you can check the manual as it covers every corner of the plugin. I highly recommend you do.