AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

Just Flight’s Spitfire & Tempest

Product Information
Publisher: Just Flight
Description:  Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Tempest aircraft package
Download Size:
19 MB
Format:
Auto-installer (.exe)
Simulation Type:
FS 2004
Reviewed by: Joseph Ellwood AVSIM Staff Reviewer - 10 June 2006

Introduction

Perhaps the most famous aircraft (or man made creation for that matter) of all time is the legendary Spitfire, famous throughout the world for it’s dominance in WWII against the Luftwaffe. But we’re not here to have a history lesson, we’re here to take a look at Just Flight’s Spitfire & Tempest.

So, what do we get in this package?

- Supermarine Spitfire MkVb with N°401Canadian Sqn and N°249 Maltese Sqn colours
- Hawker Tempest MkV in RAF N°3 Squadron

Just Flight is one of the most well know developers/publishers in our community. They have possibly a hundred or so titles available at their site, many of which have been created by their own team– just like this product. Now, let’s take a look at the title.

Test System

Intel Pent 4 2.66GHz

512MB RAM PC2700DDR

ASUS A9550

40 GB HD 5400RPM

Flying Time:
19 hours

Installation and Documentation

Installing this package is a simple process. Once you’ve downloaded the main installer you will need to go through a quick anti-piracy process, which involves entering a few simple details. There is a neat .pdf manual for installing it via the net, which is both clear and concise.

Once installed, you’ll find a brief aircraft and gun manual for each individual plane included. These are three .pdf pages and include information such as:

- details for accessing the aircraft in the sim
- general history of the airplane
- performance specifications
- frame rate tips
- uninstall info
- how to obtain product support

Each of the three aircraft in this release contain similar manuals. The manuals are very brief and unfortunately they didn’t include panel instructions or detailed notes on how to properly fly the aircraft. A few brief pages with info about the cockpit and a labeled panel of the aircraft would have been nice.

Exterior Model

The models that are included are simply a joy to view. The models clearly display the Spit and Tempest in all their glory. As you pan around, you’ll simply fall in love with these aircraft (if you haven’t already!) Both aircraft have been modeled in accurate detail, and the textures included show a wealth of time spentl. It meets and exceeds most simmers standards and wears features such as, moving control surfaces, opening canopy and a fun little gun effect.

 
Ready for Takeoff Guns in action, note the second set you can see is the effect of the sim pausing. The exterior of the Tempest dosen't disappoint.

What makes both models realistic, is the unsynchronized gear extension and retraction movements. Although this is only a small feature, it adds to the realism and generally sums up the level of detail that the Just Flight crew have put into the package. I have nothing second-rate to say about about the model, very easy on frames, lot’s of detail and simply put, two beautiful models.

2D Panel and Virtual Cockpit

I was honestly surprised at the two panels for the aircraft. The Spitfire’s panel looked great, but after switching to the Tempest it seems that less attention has been spurred here. They both feature well designed panels with all the necessary gauges and switches to maintain knowledge of the aircraft's performance status.

The gauges are also clear and easy to use, unlike some panels which the developers try to squeeze everything in so you have to squint to check your airspeed. Both aircraft feature a GPS pop-up in case you find yourself in some nasty weather. Of course, as with the real aircraft, no autopilot is implemented, who would want it with an aircraft like this?

Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with the Tempests’ panel, it seemed as if less attention was shown to the panel – mainly because the default gauges were used and the bitmap looked a bit more “plain”. This is the case again with the Virtual Cockpit, which will be explained further below.

 

Spitfire 2D panel Spit's Virtual Cockpit
Tempest's panel The Tempest's VC is disappointing

Like the real things, the planes don’t have night lighting. However, if you do feel the need to do some late night flying, the 2D panel features some handy lighting which perfectly illuminates the panel bitmap and gauges for easier usage. A nice feature for those who also like to explore the city lights.

The Virtual Cockpits (VC) included are very nice. But as mentioned above, I feel there’s less attention to detail in the “inside” of the Tempest. The textures in this aircraft are generally less detailed and plain. The Tempest is fun to fly, but the experience would have been more complete if a better VC was included. The Tempest’s VC featured less clickable parts, which again was a let down.

The Spit’s VC however, is a very different story. Extensive modeling and artwork are evident the minute you lay eyes on the cockpit of this awesome bird. Pan over to the side and get some neat views of the wings, and watch the ailerons flap up and down as you please the crowd flying over Farnborough. I love flying the Spit from the VC, turn your speakers up and have some fun!

Sounds

Like many others before me, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the thrill of a few Spitfire fly-by’s. Unfortunately, at the time, this particular Spitfire was in formation with an RAAF F/A-18 and a Canberra bomber, so the sound of the Spit was very faint. I’ve done my research, checked out some videos on the net, and from what I can see (or hear!) the sounds included for the Spit are incredibly realistic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any videos of the Tempest in action.

Both aircraft have the “rough” sound in the cockpit, which gives one the feeling of immense power at their fingertips. Lurching down the runway feels no different; the big mighty roar of that Merlin engine is plain music to the ears. The Hawker of course uses a different sound set, which is similar in some ways and unique in another. The Spit has more of a “powerful” feel, and I particularly like this set better than the Tempest’s.

My favourite part of the sound package (and this is for both aircraft) is the sound when at full throttle, then quickly pulling back to idle and hearing the big props settle down, simply awesome!

Flying the Spitfire & Tempest

Flying these two beauties is really a thrill. The minute you open up the throttle, the aircraft will leap down the runway. The Spit only has one stage of flap, whereas the Tempest has a large variety of settings up to 80°. Both aircraft get airborne reasonably quick, I found the Spit to be a bit cautious of pitching up until the drag from the gear was gone – once then, the aircraft builds speed and the fun awaits!

The Tempest is no different. The performance specs show this plane has 1000 hp more when compared to the Spit. I did feel this difference in the air, especially on takeoff. The Tempest seems more keen to get in the air, and I didn’t notice pitch problem with this aircraft. Maneuverability-wise, I couldn’t find a difference, although the Tempest has a bit more of a tendency to quickly enter a stall, which can be corrected with a bit of rudder.

These two aircraft are awesome to fly, and landing is probably my favourite part. It may take some practice, but accomplishing your first successful landing in these two warbirds is an awesome feeling!

Performance (Frame Rates)

This package ran perfectly on my system, loading times were the same as defaults. There was no stuttering and the frame rates are about the same compared to the stock Microsoft planes.

Summary

Do I think this is a good package? Yes. All the necessities are there and as I mentioned above, I had an absolute blast flying these two planes. I recommend downloading this release, grab some RAF scenery and do some aerobatics over the U.K. – this will complete the experience.

Unfortunately, the Tempest didn’t meet my expectations after I’d done some flying of the Spit, which is honestly a letdown. An improved VC and more detailed gauges would have put the icing on the cake.

This release will bring the simmer endless hours of fun, I know it has to me. I’d not only recommend this to historic aircraft fans, but for those big iron pilots – conquering the Spit and Tempest is just as rewarding as completing your first successful flight in the 747!

 

What I Like About Spitfire and Tempest
  • Accurate models
  • Lovely sounds, very distinctive
  • Fun-to-fly flight dynamics
  • Easy performance wise

 
What I Don't Like About Spitfire and Tempest
  • Not enough detail in the 2D panel and Virtual Cockpit for the Tempest

Printing

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Spitfire and Tempest

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Standard Disclaimer
The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order provide you with background information on the reviewer and connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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