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Publisher: Real Air Simulations
Did I read Kit Plane, as in homebuilt? You did indeed.
Using his natural talent for lines and symmetry, Neibauer conceived a two-seat, composite airplane that was as wide as a Bonanza and almost as fast—on nearly 200 less horsepower. The first Lancair 200 was a lightweight work of art with a gross weight of only 1,275 pounds. It featured a DuPont NOMEX honeycomb structure with epoxy-impregnated glass cloth covering.
After some very successful 4 seat designs, starting and selling a few new companies, he collected a double handful of new speed records. Lance then returned to his roots and came up with a back-to-basics, fixed gear Legacy ES.
RealAir Simulations have been creating quality flight simulation software since 2001. They have developed a reputation for creating some of the finest quality and most innovative add-on simulation software in the industry. Their releases have received the highest awards available in the flight simulation world.
They introduced the first aircraft with accurate stall and spin behavior; the first aircraft with realistic side-slip behavior; their ‘Smooth Gauge Technology’ adds smoothness and clarity to virtual cockpit gauges; their exclusive ‘RealView’ system simulates the forces experienced by a pilot in flight as well as simulating the buffeting felt during a stall; realistically simulated engine failures; user-configurable VC panel layouts, and much more.
Sean Moloney was a student pilot when he first teamed up with Rob Young to design the Citabria for Fly. He is currently living in Brisbane, Australia. Sean designs all the graphics, gauges and 3d models for RealAir.
Rob Young has designed flight aerodynamics for many of the major flight simulator developers. He designed flight models for Fly! II and since changing his focus to Microsoft Flight Simulator has designed the aerodynamics for a diverse group of developers including Lago, Just Flight, Eaglesoftdg, feelThere, and MAAM-Sim, picking up awards for nearly every aircraft he has co-designed.
OK, enough background, let’s see some details about the Lancair Legacy for FSX.
The Legacy is a drop-dead gorgeous, fast, fully IFR equipped touring plane that is also capable of light aerobatics. Yes, all you Reality XP owners can swap out the GPS in a matter of minutes, and yes, the Legacy has those new custom 3D landing lights that actually illuminate the ground.
Here are a few paragraphs taken directly from the RealAir Simulations website:
RealAir calls their primary user guide a “Flying Guide” and it is indeed just that. This is by far the most detailed, most accurate, and therefore, most useful document I have ever seen in FSX. They don’t just tell you how to do something, they take the time to explain the why and why nots. You can learn more about how to get the most out of FSX by reading this guide, even if you never load up the add-on. It really is packed with innumerable interesting tidbits along with the necessary instructions specific to the Legacy.
The Flying Guide is a 52 page pdf file in full color with lots of charts and illustrations on how to tune your system to your new Legacy. RealAir has introduced so many new and previously unheard of animations and features that you really do need to spend some serious time reading how they intend them to be enjoyed.
The Lancair Legacy is a kit plane and is usually built in a garage or rental hanger space so it is up to the individual builder to assemble the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH). This is because no two homebuilt aircraft are exactly alike although they may appear identical. RealAir states that the Legacy for FSX does not and will not have a POH as such. What it does have is this Flying Guide which for the most part actually gives us more useful information than many Pilot’s Handbooks. About the only thing I see different is a POH usually has more performance charts for climb and cruise conditions and a weight & balance section.
One of the links in the guide is to a CAFE report on a very similar Legacy – the 310 hp N199L. This is a comprehensive series of flight tests sponsored by the EAA and published by the chief pilot of the foundation. Using the CAFE report and the Flying Guide as reference we have far more real world data than any comparable Cessna or Piper type aircraft.
N199L and the RealAir Legacy for FSX are exceptionally similar, the only item I see, is N199L does not have spoilers. A few of the speeds are slightly different, but, mostly more favorable for the FSX version.
Here are the performance results from CAFE for comparison.
For those of you who have some real world experience as a pilot or student pilot you are in for a treat. This is truly the one we have been waiting for. From the very first view looking out over the nose from the VC with the engine running, you will gasp as you recognize the realism of the shaking or vibrating airframe that increases or decreases with the amount to power delivered to the propeller. The 100 or so custom sounds aren’t just sounds; they are what you would expect to hear at that time and place and adds tremendously to the immersion.
Those of us that have become accustomed to having Accu-Sim running will still be impressed. Like all really complete and well designed products, you have full control over how much and how often you will use these nifty new features. The Legacy is light years ahead of your typical FSX add-on aircraft. Not only are you introduced to more than a dozen totally new and previously unseen aerodynamic actions but you instantly know they look correct, feel correct, and sound correct. What is most impressive to me is how Rob and Sean were able to put this all together and get it working so smoothly in FSX.
I was flying late last night in South Florida and just casually practicing some basic commercial pilot maneuvers – chandelles, lazy eights, accelerated stalls – and I got so excited because it was so realistic. Not just how the aircraft handled, which is absolutely marvelous, but the smoothness of the motion, the spot on sounds of the interrupted air, the propeller pitch changes with attitude, the creaks and groans, the shakes and vibrations at just the right instance. All together, the Legacy must be the most advanced and most realistic flight simulator package available for a desktop.
The Everglades is a great place to fly in FSX as there is almost nothing to drain any FPS away from the simulation. Try KTNT, a large boondoggle of an airport, in the middle of nowhere.
The Flying Guide recommends we start with most of the default settings and then revisit our choices. I suspect this is because RealAir has introduced so many new choices that it is hard for us to comprehend what we are selecting or deselecting. I suggest you at least look at the myriad of choices and selections just to see what you have in store on that first flight. The Legacy is nothing like that simple little Cessna 172 that you love so much.
I realize that practically no one is going to take my recommendation here, but, I really do think you would enjoy your first flight more if you read the entire Flying Guide prior to starting up the Legacy. At least flip over to the last few pages and read the specifications, which includes a lot of critical speeds, and the abbreviated checklists. The full checklists are a separate 8 page pdf found in the FSX/RealAir/legacyfsx/ AutoPlay/Docs folder. There is a ten page section entitled Flying the Legacy starting on page 32. This walks you through all the phases of Start-up, taxi, Take-off and climb, General handling, Cruise, Descent and landing, Navigation, with the balance about acrobatic maneuvers.
First things first
The download is straightforward, assuming that you have an account with RealAir. Otherwise, you are required to register and confirm you are indeed the bone fide owner of the software. The install is pretty much automatic, if you pay attention to the quirks of Win7 and ‘run as administrator’ and check that the installer did indeed select the proper FSX location. You will have a unique key code that must match your email address when you purchased the Legacy. All total, the install should take less than 5 minutes.
Lots and lots of choices – 5 Exterior textures, 5 Panel colors, 5 Cabin colors. N1BR, BluRay is my personal paint.
Here is where you need to slow down and pay attention to a few details. Practically all configuration problems can be traced to the user either not following the Win7 ‘run as administrator’ rules or simply not clicking the SAVE button at the bottom of the page prior to moving on. If the Save button is not grayed out, then click on it once you complete your configuration choices for each tab.
This is where you should start to appreciate just how much futuristic and previously unavailable features have been designed into the Legacy for FSX. Some are relatively minor but most are ground breaking new additions to FSX. Things like choice of tarmac or grass for suspension settings, catastrophic flap failure, spoiler sounds, etc.
You will want to spend a little extra time with the Realview tab. This is the ‘Oh, I can’t believe this is possible’ section or for me, the ‘wet your pants’ tab. You use sliders to set the amount of bumps, thumps and chunks that you hear and feel as you move around the tarmac and takeoff and fine tune the sights, sounds and feel of that realistic stall buffeting. You can even adjust the engine and ground roll vibration or the amount of engine torque at startup.
You can even change these configuration settings on the fly. Details are in the Flying Guide.
The optimum slider settings are discussed with specific recommendations for scenery, traffic and weather. The target FPS is 30 and should be achievable on a mid level PC like mine – i7 – 8 GB RAM, reasonably current graphics card (GTX-460/1 GB) - and 40 FPS on a higher spec computer.
The Flying Guide devotes a section to getting the most out of what you have available for running FSX. Many recent add-ons with HD textures have offered additional Lite textures for those with marginal PCs. This one offers options for 3 exterior models - the very detailed HD model that you see in these screenshots, a medium detail and a low detail exterior model.
There is a section on setting up your yoke or joystick with specific recommendation and the reasoning for the settings. The Realism settings are rather interesting. The General slider absolutely must be set full right at 100% at all times. The recommended Crash tolerance setting is full left at Zero so we can experience the teeth gnashing sounds and feelings of a gear up landing. Sure am glad we can just reload in FSX!
There is a page or two on recommended calibration settings for joysticks and yokes and for setting and adjusting the sounds in FSX. These calibration settings work just fine for my Saitek Cessna Yoke.
There is a nice section on the new sounds and how they interact with FSX. This makes for some good reading. Some of these sounds will make you a better pilot. Just let that little ball in the Turn and Bank instrument slip out to either side and you will hear some new FSX sounds for sure. There are lots of new custom sounds to do with the retractable landing gear, flaps, spoilers and canopy. By the way, I read someplace that the totally unobstructed view from the Legacy cabin is better than the view from the cockpit of the F-16.
The custom sound effects are controlled through a special gauge and they are not affected by the standard FSX sound control menu. To balance these additional sounds with the standard ones, you change the relative volumes within the FSX sound control menu, but also balancing these against the custom sounds by reducing or increasing the standard sound volumes as a whole, then adjusting your speakers or headphones for overall volume. RealAir has developed additional special sound effects which radically improve the atmosphere and immersion you will feel in operating the Legacy, and these extra sounds work in concert with the many visual special effects.
In all there are nearly one hundred separate sounds accompanying this package and almost two hundred multiple instances of these sounds available depending on your speed, attitude, location and maneuvers. So, if you don’t have a good sound system, now might be a good time to go shopping.
Here are some of the special sound effects that are not part of the standard sounds that we hear in FSX:
The sound effects just described are linked to a suite of special custom visual effects so that the two work together. Almost every custom sound effect is linked in some way to an accompanying visual effect, sometimes obvious and other times subtle. Each effect has been carefully designed to offer the maximum immersion factor when flying. From the engine start up and shutdown effects which match the sound exactly, to the movement of the propellers, to the airframe vibration and shaking effects which work in tandem with the landing gear, flaps, spoilers, almost every aspect of the Legacy’s flying and ground handling has associated visual and sound effects working together. This is really something to behold. Absolutely amazing!
Here is a summary of the visual effects.
And the second example, the flap speed limit is 122 knots. If you select full flap at speeds greater than this limit, the flaps will begin to vibrate with more intensity than the “normal” vibration seen with full flap selected within the speed limit. If you select only one or two notches of flap, the vibration will be less severe. If you continue to increase your airspeed with any stage of flap deployed, they will eventually fail. The more flap you extend, the quicker the failure will occur. Before the catastrophic failure you will be warned to select flaps up by not only the vibration but also the accompanying noise.
At speeds greater than 160 knots, the flaps will fail very quickly. At that point you will hear a loud bang and the whole aircraft will briefly lurch sideways since one flap usually fails slightly before the other. The flaps will now hang down and continue to vibrate. Any attempt to raise them at this point will not be possible and you will hear the broken flap motor failing to drive the actuators. To restore the flaps to working condition, reload the Legacy using the “reload aircraft” key which can be assigned to any button or key you wish using the FSX control/assignment menu.
Link to hear sounds and see panel
This is a short video that captures the excellent sounds inside and out. Only 2:26. Also hear a takeoff run and gear retraction and see a just a touch of the visual special effects. Airport is Coffs Harbour (YCFS) Orbx. Thanks steadyflyer for the video and link.
The panel layout is a pilot’s dream delivered. There are several design decisions that I personally think border on the best of the best. I am here to tell you that RealAir has fixed all those problems for me and solved a few that I didn’t even know that I had. Moving around the VC is an absolute pleasure due to some real ingenious click spots.
An item that always bugs me is the non-standard placement of instruments by the various manufactures and therefore the developers. These are usually innocent enough looking designs but really distracts from enjoying a nice day of flying. I hate to have to look around a panel to find the altimeter. Other examples are the flap actuator switch hidden behind the mixture levers and the Gear Up/down knob placed near your knee along with the 3 green lights totally out of view when descending or on approach. The Avionics Master switch placed in the middle of the switch panel along with the light switches or down by your ankle. Another is the engine monitoring gauges and instruments strewn all over the panel with the manifold pressure gauge not adjacent to the tachometer. My last complaint is the game they play where you try to find where the Nav/GPS switch is hidden. Whew, got that off my chest.
You get the accurate Outside Air Temperature, OAT, from the engine gauge cluster and using the black knob at 5 o’clock rotate the dial to align the OAT with the altitude. This example shows the white card at the top set to an altitude of “8”, meaning 8,000 feet, lined up with the scale above for 0 deg C. The needle now points to an indicated speed of 220 knots while the white outer ring shows a true airspeed of 245 knots. You can also hover the mouse pointer over the airspeed indicator and the tool tip will read TAS.
Engine and Electrical gauges
The big green square just to the right of the radio and avionics bay is the Vision Microsystems VM1000C digital engine and electrical monitor. Everything we need is there in the box. You can actually adjust manifold pressure to the ‘tenth’ of an inch.
Manifold Pressure: In the top left you’ll see a manifold pressure indicator. This includes a bar graph for quick scans and a digital readout for setting the exact manifold pressure (in. Hg).
RPM: In the top right you’ll see the RPM indicator. Like the manifold pressure it includes a digital readout and a bar graph to aid quick scanning.
EGT: On the second row down on the left is the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) readout. It includes a bar graph for each cylinder as well as a digital readout of the hottest cylinder’s EGT in degrees Fahrenheit. This readout is useful when leaning the engine at altitude.
Oil Temperature and Pressure: On the second row in the middle you’ll find oil temperature and pressure with both bar graphs and digital readouts.
Electrical System: On the second row on the right you’ll find a display showing the electrical system’s voltage and amperage.
CHT: In the bottom left you’ll find the Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT) display. This includes a bar graph for each cylinder as well as a digital readout showing the hottest cylinder’s temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
When one of the engine or electrical system readings goes outside safe limits “WARN” flashes at the top of the VM1000C display and the master warning annunciator on the main panel will also start flashing.
Radio, GPS, and communications bay
This may be my only disappointment with the Legacy, and it is easily corrected. For such an advanced simulation I would not expect to see the default Garmin 500 as the primary navigational device. I suppose the inclusion of a premium GPS would have driven the price point way too high. Of course, should you already own or elect to purchase one of the outstanding Reality XP WAAS enabled GPS’ for FSX you are only a click or two from total transformation. More on this a little later.
Starting at the top, the audio panel is a Garmin KMA 28 audio panel with the default GPS500 with a new RealAir black dress, then dual Bendix/King KX-155A transceivers, with the KFC-225 Autopilot completing the center stack. To the right of the radios is the KR-87 ADF and mounted below the ADF is a KT-70 transponder. Plenty of avionics here.
A new gauge that is usually only seen in high performance military panels has found a new home in the Legacy panel. This is the Angle of Attack (AoA) gauge located between the Airspeed indicator and the pitch trim indicator and has three color coded regions: Green, Yellow and Red. This gauge is extremely useful and is a handy addition to the traditional way of assessing how near to the stall you are by reference to the airspeed indicator. The problem with just using the airspeed gauge in this way is that airspeed is not always a good indicator of how near the wings are to stalling. The Angle of Attack indicator gives instant information about how much lift there is available whatever your speed.
When there is a danger of stalling the Legacy, either through flying “low and slow” or during more aggressive maneuvers like high speed tight turns, the AoA gauge lets you know when to ease the stick forward to avoid a stall or spin. The gauge is calibrated so that when approaching maximum Angle of Attack, the green and yellow display disappears and then begins to show only red, until that band of color also disappears, at which point you are stalled.
The Legacy has panel lighting that is calibrated to show the gauges clearly in most FSX lighting conditions. FSX tends to exaggerate the brightness of panels in daylight with the sun behind the aircraft, and somewhat under light the panel with the sun in front. The panel lighting can compensate for this when used even in daylight conditions, and includes a subtle gauge backlighting effect.
Both kinds of lighting are operated by a single switch on the lower part of the panel. In the Config Panel there are options for lighting, including a setting for users who have a high gamma setting in their display properties, and there is also an option to enable or disable the reflections in the gauge backgrounds.
VC Views - Navigating your way around the panel
RealAir Simulations has been a champion of 3D panels for many years. Their gauges and displays are so clear and sharp that they no longer see the necessity for 2D panels. As a means of replacing the 2D popup panels, RealAir and a few others provide very ingenious view systems which enables you to instantly zoom in on any portion of the panel. And importantly enough, to also zoom back to the default view.
This ‘click to view’ was introduced to me with the RealAir piston Duke a few years ago and I thought it couldn’t get any better.
After loading up the long awaited PMDG 737NGX I thought I may give up general aviation and fly airliners for enjoyment, then I wrote the Avsim review for the Carenado Cessna 337H Skymaster and the flying qualities and generally outstanding textures and sounds brought me back. Then out of nowhere I was asked to write the Avsim review for the Milviz F-15E Strike Eagle and started dreaming about air combat and blowing up bridges and power plants. Then RealAir released this RealAir Legacy and now I fly faster by far than the Cessna Twin, and at times think I’m in some kind of rocket ship. It shouldn’t be long until someone uploads a military paint scheme for the Legacy. A couple of foreign countries are already using similar Lancair models as high performance military trainers.
Oops, I kind of wandered off the reservation there for a minute, OK, back to the VC view system.
What I really like about the RealAir method is the simplicity of one properly placed left click gets me where I want to be looking, and one right click gets me back from any of those areas to the pilots standard view. It was really good a few years ago, but now it is great. Sometime after the piston Duke was marketed, TrackIR got really popular and those folks want everything perfect, as well they should. So here we are, TrackIR users are getting snapped around a bit, so Ron goes back to the drawing boards and comes up with the new and improved, hybrid system. Now the traditional user and the TrackIR users can co-exist and both be happy as the hot spots are now more restricted but not really, more like enhanced. Let’s take a look at the new improved system.
A left click on the selected colored area and you are instantly viewing that section of the VC. A right click from any of these areas and you are instantly back at the left seat pilots view looking straight ahead.
If you are a TrackIR user or prefer not to have this feature, it can be disabled via the Legacy’s Config panel. To do this open the Config Panel, go to the “Graphics Options” page and select “Disable VC-view click-spots.
To make navigating the extra VC camera views even easier, you can assign keyboard shortcuts within FSX. By default two key commands are already set, they are as follows: F9: Jump to the main VC view. F10: Jump to the ‘IFR Main Instruments’ view.
A natural thing to do is to assign keyboard shortcuts to move between these VC views. Using the standard FSX Buttons/keys tab users with joysticks and yokes will want to assign these to one of the hat keys or other switches or buttons. The Flying Guide has specific instructions on how to do this and the standard caution that view assignments are global across all aircraft so keep that in mind. You can always cycle through all views using the keyboard ‘A’ key.
The bottom line is this is the best method I have seen for moving around the VC.
Operating the Radios and Gauges
If you have “tooltips” enabled in FSX then almost all of the Legacy’s gauges will show relevant and useful information relating to the gauge when you hold your mouse pointer over it. For example if you hover your mouse over the aileron trim gauge located near the fuel selector, a tooltip will pop up giving you the exact percentage of trim.
You can choose your personal method - Click/drag or left-click, right-click and don’t forget to use the scroll wheel.
RealAir is a big fan of the click and drag method for rotating a knob or increasing or decreasing a value. The Flying Guide has a detailed section where they present their case for using this method. The good news is you can try it and if you like it fine, if not you can elect to use the old school left click, right click method. Both work, and like Lexus and Mercedes, one or the other will appeal to you.
Hidden behind the new black case and the nifty RealAir backlit 3D knobs you will find the FSX default Garmin GPS500. Functionally it is exactly the same as the 2D FSX GPS500, which is to say it has a lot of limitations but when compared to VOR and ADF it is a marvelous navigational device. A new click area has been added to the left of the right rotary knobs.
I was a little disappointed that when you use the GPS popup feature the old faded gold case with the arrows on the rotary knob is what you are greeted with. Fortunately, the Pop-ups of the optional Reality XP GNS units are crystal clear and re-sizable when using the FSX undock window feature. I move a window over to my second monitor and enlarge it and it works great while in the ‘windowed’ mode,
The necessary Nav/GPS switch when using the default GPS500 is located in the upper left of the main panel directly above the airspeed indicator.
But, the black redress and lighted 3D knobs is a great improvement as this side view shows and will serve the basic user well.
Reality XP GNS WAAS 530/430 Integration
If you own the Reality XP GNS WAAS 530 or GNS WAAS 430, you will, of course, choose to use these units in place of the standard FSX GPS 500. Integration of the Reality XP units is pre-engineered and expertly handled by the Legacy’s Config Panel. This has to be the simplest and most professional 3rd party installation of any FSX product. Seriously, one click on the proper radio button and another click to save the configuration tab and that is all that the user has to do. Crossfill is available with the Unlimited pack.
The end result is an absolutely perfect fit for several combinations of Reality XP WAAS 530 and 430 GNS units. No matter what combination of 530/430 or 430/430 or my favorite the 530/530 they are custom fit exactly with all the 3d knobs working as designed. This is another one of those firsts for RealAir. This one deserves a very high level ‘attaboy’.
If you don’t already own one or more of the RealityXP WAAS GNS units, you are depriving yourself of an almost essential part of the true flight simulator experience. The Reality XP units are practically the real world equivalent in the flight simulator realm. This is one of those, ’I can’t believe I waited so long to do this’ kind of experiences. The Reality XP units have a much newer database, full RNAV approach capability and a long list of other features like superior graphics and the ability to add replacement units throughout your hangar inventory with the ‘Unlimited’ pack.
In practice, it is just like having the same Garmin unit in your flight simulator that you may have in your own aircraft. When you are seeking a tutorial book or CD, you can use the exact one that real world pilots use for training. Here are the combinations available in the Legacy, provided you have separately purchased the necessary units from Reality XP. Notice how each one is a totally seamless and perfect fit. Even the Nav/GPS switch is removed for RXP installations as the units have built-in VLOC/GPS switches (CDI). Amazing.
Here is a great screenshot showing off the panel in dark grey with the optional Reality XP 530W/430W combo. Some of the reasons for getting the Reality XP Unlimited Pack for your FSX hangar inventory:
Fly WAAS Approaches
Like its real world counterpart, the GNS 530W XP comes with built-in WAAS navigation capabilities, and is capable to fly LPV “glide slope” approaches without reference to ground-based navaids of any kind.
Put It on Autopilot
Working in tandem with the FSX autopilot with a proprietary roll-steering command interface, GNS 530W XP behaves like a high-end flight management system (FMS) and can automatically fly your aircraft through holding patterns, procedure turns and other position-critical IFR flight procedures
Enhance Situational Awareness
GNS 530W XP seamlessly integrates built-in terrain and navigation databases, providing a clear, concise picture of where you are and where you’re heading, using the Garmin Ltd. Trainer huge Jeppesen® database containing location reference for all airports, VORs, NDBs, Intersections, Flight Service Stations, published approaches, SIDs/STARs, Special Use Airspace and geopolitical boundaries. A detailed base map clearly shows airports, cities, highways, railroads, rivers, lakes, coastlines and more. Using information from the built-in terrain and U.S. obstacles databases, the 530W XP displays color coding to graphically alert you when proximity conflicts loom ahead.
Integrated Navigation and Communication
GNS 530W XP includes an integrated NAV/COM unit interfacing with Flight Simulator radios. The provision of the integrated communication and navigation radios in the unit gives the extra capabilities of auto tuning and pre-fetching your navigation and approaches frequencies. Flying has never been easier!
GNS 530W XP is a complete IFR enroute and approach GPS. It recreates the pilot's environment and interface. Its authentic autopilot roll-command guides the aircraft whether you follow a flight plan, a Direct TO vector, or a DME arc: the simulation will precisely drives the autopilot NAV mode to the intended location.
A complete set of gauges
The optional GNS 530W XP includes a complete set of gauges simulating the finest Garmin GNS 530W avionics:
I just recently added the Unlimited Pack to my Reality XP 530W unit and I discover new and enhanced features every time I go flying. You can bet the RXP430W unit is on my wish list. Maybe Father’s Day.
All Reality XP gauges can be installed in any aircraft, in any panel, and perform as fast and as fluid in both the 2D panels and the Virtual Cockpit.
All these Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges require either FSX SP2 or FSX Acceleration to be installed to work properly with the Legacy. Older builds will require upgrading to the new WAAS models.
A first for RealAir are custom 3D modeled landing lights that actually light the terrain rather than cover the terrain in a white wash (as the default landing lights do). This method of creating landing lights was pioneered by Mike Johnson of Lotus Sim in his wonderful L39 and has since been used by many other developers.
The nature of these lights means they will look brighter or darker depending on the lightness or darkness of the surface they are shining on. On very dark grey runways they will look quite dim but on lighter grey runways they will look nice and bright. If you use a product like REX to set your runway textures they recommend setting the runways to one of the lighter grey options to really bring out the best in the Legacy’s landing lights.
With these landing lights it is possible to produce much better and more atmospheric landing lights overall, but there are some limitations that cannot be avoided. The biggest limitation occurs when the edges of the textures that produce the landing light become visible when they should be invisible. RealAir says that this is a problem that is present in all aircraft with this method of lighting, and it appears to be an insurmountable limitation of this form of landing light. They have been able to reduce the severity of this problem and believe they have the best compromise possible given the limitations of FSX. All the details are in the Flight Manual. Bottom line is these 3D lights are far superior to the default lights and only slightly less than satisfactory in low visibility like early dusk and late dawn.
Flying the Legacy - Finally
The Lancair Legacy has a very powerful engine with correspondingly high power to weight ratio, together with a very low drag airframe and wings. This means that in level flight speed will build very quickly and be quite hard to bleed off when approaching for a landing. To help slow her down, the Legacy is fitted with powerful spoilers to aid deceleration. They are deployed by using the white spoiler switch on the panel. Use this switch for them to work correctly – it is all or nothing – no intermediate settings. You can try a few approaches without the spoiler to experience the slippery nature of the Legacy’s airframe. This should encourage you to plan well ahead when approaching an airport.
The following sections on operation of the Legacy are general guidelines. There is a separate reference for specifications and detailed checklists. As with most airplanes, there is no one way to fly it, it all depends on how much time and effort you are willing to devote to learn the subtle nuances and get the feel of the plane. It can be very rewarding. Let’s go through the basics.
I wish I had a remote control fob on my keychain that would open the canopy of the Legacy. Meanwhile I use Shift+E to open and close the canopy
To start the Legacy, first set the parking brake on. Switch on the master battery and then switch on the fuel pump on for a few seconds, then turn it back off to silence the loud pump noise. Check that the mixture control is full rich, the prop control is fully forward and the throttle set to idle. Rotate the ignition switch through the three magneto positions, the starter will engage at the full right position. Make sure you have your speaker system volume cranked up a little because this is one of those ‘ah ha’ moments.
The Legacy does not always start first time, just as in the real aircraft. You may have to give it a couple of tries before the engine fires, especially if it is cold. If you are starting from a high elevation airport you may have to lean the mixture a little. Again, just like in the real world.
If you are in a hurry to get going, you can always use the default Ctrl+E key sequence. Now, I close the canopy, but, due to our high Summer temperatures I like to leave it a couple of inches from full down as I taxi. I have to imagine this part, one of the features of flying a simulator. I’m still looking for the Canopy Open/close handle; meanwhile I use Shift+E. Oops, found the lever. If it was a snake it would have bit me on my Right elbow. You can’t see out front to taxi with the canopy open due to the bottom frame blocking your view.
I have the excellent Saitek Combat Rudder Pedals correctly set with differential brakes so turning and stopping is a pleasure. Should you not have rudder pedals and are using a joystick with the twist for rudders function you will want to select the ‘Conventional FSX rudder’ option in the Config panel.
Ease in just enough throttle to get slowly moving then use a combination of rudder and brakes for steering. I like to set the parking brake while performing my run-up and engine checks prior to takeoff. This is where that nifty new backlit status panel at the top center will probably be first noticed. ‘Park Brake’ will be illuminated in Yellow.
I use either one or two notches of flaps for takeoff, and set my takeoff elevator trim to about 30%. You can hover the mouse over the elevator trim gauge to check your exact setting. This hover feature works for most of the gauges. I am usually alone with 50% fuel and no baggage just in case I get wild and decide to do some acrobatics. Should you have passenger, full fuel, and some baggage, your settings will be different. Spins seem to be better at closer to max gross weight.
Takeoff and climb out
When I taxi onto the active runway I am always ready for takeoff. I am not fan of applying full power with the brakes on and making every takeoff a STOL encounter. I like to gradually, really gradually, add power until I have full power and keep an eye on the manifold pressure gauge and engine monitoring instruments. This one is so real, that you can get some warnings on a hot day that says you have exceeded max fuel flow or max manifold pressure, if so, just slightly reduce power to cool the oil. Amazing.
The takeoff roll is rather short due to the super smooth airframe and big engine so be ready for early rotation around 70 knots. It is easy to rotate too early and the stall warning horn blasts your ears as the nose comes up. This doesn’t look good for your flying skills, especially when your envious buddies are watching your takeoff. I like to do that easy application of full power and apply just enough back pressure on the yoke to bring the nose gear off the surface and then hold that attitude and let the plane fly when it is ready. This technique makes for an exhilarating takeoff in the Legacy with the full package of visual and aural cues. Be ready for some great, never before seen, airframe shakes, rattles, and vibrations. The bouncing of the instrument needles is so very realistic and the wind sounds during acceleration and rotation are just like the real thing.
When I am sure I am over the end of the runway, I retract the landing gear. Be ready for some new thumps, clunks, and sounds in the Legacy. When I am firmly set on my climb profile, I retract the flaps. Be ready for some new readings on the VSI gauge. 2,000 FPM climb is pretty normal for my load and my home airport at near sea level.
I reduce power slightly to around 24 inches, and then reduce the prop speed usually to match, say 2,400 rpm. If I am going to altitude I start leaning the mixture as I notice any reduction in MP. Again, be ready for some great sounds and sensations as you reduce power or prop – very realistic.
The RealAir Lancair Legacy for FSX is no doubt the most advanced, most realistic, and most fun to fly of any general aviation add-on available today. The awesome combination of the many new visual effects and animations with their accompanying sounds are absolutely astonishing. My MadCatz Saitek hardware’s byline is ‘closer to reality’ and combined with the RealAir Legacy, my flight simulation immersion factor is certainly closer to reality and is actually peaked out. I hesitate to state that it doesn’t get any better than this, but if there is a better combination for flight simulation available out there someplace it is indeed truly exceptional. (Watch for a new Avsim review of the MadCatz Saitek Cockpit coming soon where I test the compatibility with some of the top tier twin-engine add-ons in FSX – in Corfu and Innsbruck no less)
The Legacy is capable of phenomenal cruise speeds for its class. Typically you will see 240 knots true airspeed or more at 8,000 feet when properly leaned for full cruise power. Even though we only use virtual fuel, the fuel flow at this speed is also remarkably low. As stated earlier, the RealAir Legacy does not come with a POH, so we don’t have all the cruise tables of a typical production model aircraft. That is mostly an afterthought for me as I am clipping along at 4 nautical miles a minute.
The RealAir Legacy is fully equipped to fly on autopilot under Instrument Flight Rules, IFR. In addition to the multiple navigation radios and the VOR1 and VOR2 heads which enable you to tune and track to two VOR stations, and the primary Horizontal Situation Indicator, HIS, having a standard course selector and Heading Bug, it also includes an ADF receiver and indicator. The Legacy comes with an adapted version of the default Garmin 500 GPS. Many users will, of course, elect to install the optional Reality XP GNS units. Also included is the KFC-225 autopilot and KT-70 transponder.
With the above extensive list of equipment available you can navigate anywhere in the world, fly a flight plan on full autopilot, and make all VOR, LOC, ADF, and ILS approaches. You can also fly the lateral part of RNAV approaches and use the KFC autopilot VS feature to control the glide slope.
For those users with the optional Reality XP GNS units installed, you can, of course, do all of the above, plus a whole lot more including full RNAV approaches including the vertical component with a more up-to-date database.
I asked Bert Pieke, a colleague and Reviewer for Avsim, if he would contribute a section of the review that deals with flying the RNAV approach in the Lancair Legacy with the optional Reality XP WAAS GNS. This not only illustrates the capabilities if the navigational system but can be used as a tutorial for approaches in general.
Bert’s Review Input
When Ray asked me to write a section dealing with my experience with Reality XP GNS gauges in the Lancair, I immediately thought of the lovely flight from Bend, Oregon to KPDX Portland International, featured in the Flight Video Productions video of the Columbia 400. This instructional video can be found at: www.flightvideoproductions.com/columbia_400.htm and, if you are at all serious about flying the Lancair and Garmin avionics, I highly recommend spending the $18 and getting a copy.
Now, you might say, is that not a Columbia aircraft? What does that have to do with Lancair? Well, as it turns out, Lancair was the parent company of both the kit-plane aircraft division that we know as Lancair, and the certified aircraft division that got branded as Columbia (and is now owned by Cessna).
The video shows in great detail, a flight from the original Columbia factory in Bend, Oregon, via the DSD Deschutes VOR to a landing at KPDX, using Garmin G1000 avionics for navigation. It is great fun to fly the same flight in the Lancair, using the a set of GNS 530 / 430W to guide us all the way to a Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance, LPV landing.
LPV is the GPS equivalent of an ILS approach, but without a requirement for any expensive equipment on the ground. All the navigational guidance comes via satellite.
Here, in pictures, is the flight. First we enter the flight plan: DSD, KPDX, and initially set the autopilot to HDG mode following the runway direction. We take off and start a 1200 ft/min climb to our target altitude of 10,000 feet. After retracting gear and flaps, we switch the autopilot to NAV mode and let it take us to the DSD VOR, and then north towards Mt Jefferson. Here, the GNS Terrain page comes in handy as a crosscheck, to verify that we are safe to fly by this volcanic peak, which at 10,500 feet is higher than our cruising altitude.
Now, we select our approach into PDX: an RNAV R10L approach via the initial approach fix of BUXOM. We see the city of Portland off our left wing as we descend, first to 6,000 feet and then, to 2,400 feet, using the speed brakes to slow us down for a teardrop hold entry to our final landing approach. Unlike an ILS approach, there is no need to switch to VLOC - we switch the autopilot to APR mode, and stay with GPS guidance all the way down to the decision altitude of 400 feet – at which point we hand fly the Lancair to touchdown.
As you can see from the screenshots, the Reality XP gauges give us a clear picture all the way: Map, Terrain, Flight plan, all within easy reach. Having two units in the panel, gives us the ability to track several views concurrently, which assists greatly with situational awareness.
As Ray said, this is truly “as real as it gets” – and with the Orbx PNW scenery down below, it looks exactly like the Flight Productions video!
As you can tell, I really like this airplane, it feels so real, it is hard to believe I am actually sitting in my office – instead of “up there” flying the real airplane. But that is pretty much what FSX is all about, as far as I am concerned!
But, just for a different view, how about a half roll, and hold that inverted position for a little while, now you need to add some forward pressure on the stick to stay level.
Hammerheads and Tail Slides
Commercial Practice Maneuvers
Descent and Landing
RealAir Lancair Legacy - Specifications
Engine: Continental. IO-550-N
Horsepower: 310 hp @ 2700 rpm
Propeller: 3 blade, constant speed
Length: 22 ft.
Wingspan: 25.5 ft.
Wing Area: 82.5 sq. ft.
Wing Loading: 3 lbs/sq. ft.
Aspect Ratio: 7.95:1
Max G Loading: +4.4, -2.2
Empty Weight: 1,400 lbs
Gross Weight: 2,200 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 66 gal
Useful Load: 800 lbs
Max Cruise: 245 knots TAS @ 8,000 ft
Stall Speed Clean: 75 Knots
Stall Speed Flaps: 65 Knots
Service Ceiling: 18,000 ft.
Take-off Distance: 850 ft
Landing Roll: 900 ft.
Rate of Climb: 2,200 fpm max gross weight
Maximum Range: 1,150 statute miles
Fuel Consumption: 13.5-15 gph (typical)
Cross Wind Landing: 18 knots component
Oil Pressure: 30 - 60 PSI normal operation
Oil Temp: min 75° F, max 240° F
CHT: Recommended max at cruise: 420° F
CHT: Limit: 460° F
Speeds & Cruise Settings
Never exceed speed - Vne: 276 knots
Best rate of climb – Vy: 135 knots
Best angle of climb - Vx: 100 Knots
Full Flap extension - Vfe: 122 knots
Landing gear Speed - Vge: 132 knots
Typical Cruise Settings – 8,000 feet
Power – 75%
Manifold Pressure – 22-23 inches
Rpm – 2400
Fuel Flow – 13.5 GPH
Speed – 235-240 knots TAS
245 knots TAS @ 75% power and 2700 RPM
Note: Power/ speeds vary with temperature.
This was taken directly from the Flying Guide.
We have tested the Legacy extensively with a wide range of systems and are confident that the only bugs are related to problems beyond our control. Below is a list of known issues:
• Landing lights - In low visibility you can sometimes see a big square in front of the aircraft surrounding the landing light splash. This is an FSX limitation, please see the main Landing Lights section for more info on this.
• Landing Lights - Appear only at a very low altitude in low visibility. This has been done to reduce the above problem as much as possible. Please see the main Landing Lights section for more info on this.
• Missing Texture Warning - If you have FSX set to give a warning message when it finds missing textures, when you first load FSX and go to the Free Flight selection screen you will get a warning message saying “Failed to Load texture: $RASLegacy_CFG”. This is related to the way the exterior has been made with a fully functioning cockpit. The warning won’t actually show in FSX when you’re flying, it only ever shows in the selection screen because FSX isn’t properly loading the aircraft.cfg gauges when in the selection screen, that is to say there is in reality no missing texture.
• On some systems the HSI won’t work with the Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges. To fix this you need FSX SP2 or Acceleration installed. A few years ago, some FSX SP2 installations were having problems with the HSI not communicating with the GNS WAAS gauges. The solution is to download the latest version of the Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges, or install the FSX Acceleration expansion pack. If you have an RXP GNS build later than 2010 (more than likely) this should not be an issue.
• Custom sounds stop working - It is possible for the custom sounds to stop working. The gauge that triggers the sounds has a known issue whereby if you have a long session triggering sounds over and over again then the sound gauge can stop working and the custom sounds will no longer be heard. If this happens the only solution is to restart FSX. In our experience this only ever happened when we spent long periods coding and testing the sounds. In normal flight we never experienced this particular problem.
I probably glossed right over or totally missed something important to you and if I did, I apologize. A few things probably should get more credit and as you fly you will notice something totally new and different on each flight. It is difficult to take notes while flying upside-down.
I found a few more notes that I made while flying but the review is already long enough. Here are a few key thoughts: I TRIED TO USE A PROFANITY HERE - AREN'T I STUPID!in’ Betty works just fine, I hear a lot of ‘sink rate’ and ‘pull up’ nags, abrasions on the canopy are perfect, also the sun reflections, don’t forget to reset the g meter often. The last time up I had 8+g’s – ouch! Have you noticed the ‘black out’ when you really stress it over the limit? Neat stuff. How about those terrain warnings on the Reality XP units like Yellow and Red bands popping up.
A Paint Kit will be forthcoming as soon as RealAir is assured all the external textures are indeed correct. How about adding Page Numbers to the Flying Guide and Checklists for the printed copy (for those of us who like to print and bind the documentation)? Sunglasses at night needs to be revisited by the design team. While you are there, how about adding an old bald, blue eyed, pilot with a mustache (now who could that be?) as an alternate pilot figure. You could save a few polygons with the reduction of hair and sunglasses!
I wonder if the canopy could be cracked open a couple of inches for ventilation for those long taxiways on the hot summer days? Open/Cracked Open/Closed/Locked
Credits and links:
RealAir Simulations for providing the evaluated download www.realairsimulations.com
Jean-Luc at Reality XP for providing the GNS units http://www.reality-x...s530/index.html
Bert Pieke for providing the RNAV flying section, general encouragement and other assistance
Screenshot on Page 1 is from the cover of the Legacy brochure http://www.lancair.c...cy_brochure.pdf
Thanks to Steadyflyer for youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmd1ryys4JA
The Yellow Legacy landing, DJJose, CFII, Florida screenshots
Night landing and taxi w/ 3D lights screenshots by Aleksi Lindén, PPL&NF, Finland
The CAFE Foundation report is available at www.lancairlegacy.com/Gallery_images/CAFE_Legacy_report.pdf
All other screenshots are by Sean Moloney, Bert Pieke, or Ray Marshall
My STSOAD award goes to the designer of the disappearing Nav/GPS switch when replacing the default GPS500 with the Reality XP units.
In Loving Memory Of
Tom Allensworth, Founder of AVSIM
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