Recently, I had a chance of trying out the latest presentation to our hobby, Opus Software weather engine.
Now, I will also state that I’m a long time ActiveSky user, and when Opus came out I was as always inclined to try it out.
While ActiveSky has been putting mostly quite nice displays, and finally I was flying calmly with realistic wind changes, no sudden changes, my fuel planning and prediction was correct and that was one real neat thing.
When Opus came out, many were raving about how it correctly depicts the weather from horizon to horizon. That is correct – it really does. Why? Because it is station-based METAR-based weather program. Something we had from ActiveSky 7 years ago. We still can have it in the basic depiction mode. But there is one big downside in this mode – there is no possibility to smooth out wind changes, and definitely no chance to have correct fuel prediction for airliners. I tried this myself, I planned the flight normally, entered the data from AS, then flew with Opus. Terrible. My fuel was way off, wind shifts all the way, getting stalls in the NGX etc. Of course, if I turn on FSUIPC smoothing, things were somewhat better, but if the wind shift was severe, even that didn’t help enough. Finally I had to give up with the NGX.
Then I flew with Cessna around, and noticed how it was actually quite nice with Opus.
Conclusion is quite simple: Opus is *currently* only for low and slow flying, giving a nice cloud representation, current METAR, and that’s it. Go higher and you come into problems.
The team behind the Opus is, as they say, at hard work to implement those wind shifts. It’s always nice to see competition in our hobby, but there is one thing rubbing against my brain: what can they think of that HiFiSim can’t? Can they?
On the other hand, the amount of dedication from Opus development team must be noted, and said that their support is very active on the forums, trying to help users out.
HiFiSim is currently also bringing SP2 out for the ASE and should by their words be really spectacular.
Also, additionally, currently released new weather engine, REXE+ is out and has yet to be tested. Also implementing full wind and temperature management and apparently correct flightplanning. I am yet to start playing and checking it, but I hope it’s good as they say it is!
So, let the weather-wars commence!