RENO! Air racing at its finest. Now before anyone furiously composes a nastygram with my name at the top, I will concede the Red Bull air races are definitely action packed events. But for head to head high speed pylon racing, Reno has no equal. If you haven’t been to the Reno Air Races, I highly encourage you to go at least once in your life. It’s an experience you will never forget.
Although there are smaller weight classes and jet events, the unlimited races with highly modified WWII fighters blazing past at 500+MPH will surly get your attention. (Just in case you are wondering, 22 year old Steve Hinton won last year’s Unlimited race flying a P-51 Mustang)
Reno is also where you can sometimes find the Spirit of Texas Hawker Sea Fury. Built by Ezell Aviation and flown by owner Stewart Dawson, this Sea Fury’s 18 cylinder 3,100hp Wright 3350-26WD engine turning a four bladed prop screams by at 450 kts. Many readers will remember the original Sea Fury sported a Bristol Centaurus 2,500hp engine turning a 5 bladed prop.
For information on the real Spirit of Texas Sea Fury, check out Warbirddepot.com.
Hawker Fury History
The Hawker Fury was an evolutionary successor to the successful Hawker Typhoon and Tempest fighters and fighter-bombers of World War II. The Fury was designed in 1942 by Sydney Camm, the famous Hawker designer, to meet the Royal Air Force’s requirement for a lightweight Tempest Mk.II replacement.
as the "Tempest Light Fighter", it used modified
Tempest semi-elliptical outer wing panels, bolted and riveted together
on the fuselage centerline. The fuselage itself was similar to
the Tempest, but fully monocoque with a higher cockpit for better
visibility. The Air Ministry was sufficiently impressed by the
design to write Specification F.2/43 around the concept. Six prototypes
were ordered; two were to be powered by Rolls Royce Griffon engines,
two with Centaurus XXIIs, one with a Centaurus XII and one as a
NX802 (25 July 1945) was the last Fury prototype, powered by a Centaurus XV. With the ending of the Second World War in Europe, the RAF Fury contract was cancelled and development centered on the Sea Fury. LA610 was eventually fitted with a Napier Sabre VII, which was capable of developing 3,400-4,000 hp (2,535-2,983 kW). As a result it became the fastest piston engine Hawker aircraft, reaching a speed of around 485 mph.
In 1943, the design was modified to meet a Royal Navy request (N.7/43) for a carrier-based fighter. Boulton-Paul Aircraft was to make the conversion while Hawker continued work on the Air Force design. The first Sea Fury prototype, SR661, first flew at Langley, Berks, on 21 February 1945, powered by a Centaurus XII engine. This prototype had a "stinger"-type tail hook for arrested carrier landings, but lacked folding wings for storage. SR666, the second prototype, which flew on 12 October 1945, was powered by a Centaurus XV turning a new, five-bladed Rotol propeller and was built with folding wings. Specification N.7/43 was modified to N.22/43, now representing an order for 200 aircraft. Of these, 100 were to be built at Boulton-Paul.
Both prototypes were undergoing carrier landing trials when the
Japanese surrendered in 1945, ending development of the land-based
Fury; work on the navalized Sea Fury continued. The original order
to specification N.22/43 was reduced to 100 aircraft, and the Boulton-Paul
agreement was cancelled. At the same time construction of what
was intended to be a Boulton-Paul built Sea Fury prototype, VB857
was transferred to the Hawker factory at Kingston. This aircraft,
built to the same standard as SR666, first flew on 31 January 1946.
The first production model, the Sea Fury F Mk X (Fighter, Mk 10),
flew in September 1946. Problems arose with damaged tail hooks
during carrier landings; after modifications, the aircraft were
approved for carrier landings in spring 1947.
SimFlight 3D version
SimFlight 3D was generously given access to this aircraft with the goal of making it available to flight simulation enthusiasts worldwide. In addition to the Spirit of Texas livery, SimFlight 3D also includes Royal Navy textures for those who want the military version. (Reviewers Note: Although the Royal Navy textures are offered, they are on the race modified model.)
SimFlight 3D’s website, we bring you the product features.
With the Sea Fury installed, it’s now time to put her through the paces and see if the SimFlight 3D version is worthy of your virtual hangar.
Installation and Documentation
As with every SimFlight 3D aircraft, you can purchase the aircraft from their Sea Fury FSX product page. After purchase you are emailed the download link. The website states this could take up to 24 hours.
This product will set you back $24.95USD, which is less than some recent releases from other developers. With that said, it’s important to mention there are also a few FSX aircraft now available with a much higher level of overall quality in the same price range.
Installation is silly simple. Run the exe file and away you go. Following installation you will find two Sea Fury’s under the SimFlight heading in the FSX aircraft page. Since these aircraft don’t have a 2D panel, if your FSX installation is set to a 2D panel by default, you will initially see a black screen until you select the VC.
Documentation consists of four .txt files, two .doc files, and three images outlining the panel buttons and controls. Your documents are:
I wish SimFlight 3D would streamline their documentation and offer one PDF instead of 9 separate files.
Models and Textures
Like SimFlight 3D’s other aircraft, the Sea Fury modeling is fairly accurate and any shortcomings in this area are relatively minor. What you will not see is cutting edge high resolution modeling, and for performance this works out great. Unfortunately for those looking for a high quality representation of the Sea Fury, the wait continues. While carefully evaluating the model, it seemed the quality was closer to the default FSX aircraft than what we’ve come to expect from developers.
The textures of both aircraft are “photo realistic”, and are somewhat of a mixed bag. From 50ft away they look ok, but the closer you get, the worse they are. As I’ve said before, the textures are only as good as the source imagery. Looking at the image of the real aircraft near the top, you’ll see the paint is crisp, clean and polished. I think creating a custom paint instead of using photo textures would have been a better way to go here.
I know what goes into creating an aircraft for FSX, and to spend hundreds of hours developing a product, only to have a reviewer give it less than a glowing report is tough to accept. There is no malice intended only the hope future SimFlight 3D products will be built on the lessons learned from your first releases.
As I mentioned in my recent SimFlight 3D Cessna 140 review, I’ve emailed this company several times without a single reply. I hate to guess how long the wait would be if I actually had a technical issue and needed support.
Cockpit & Panel
The cockpit is all military. No fancy leather seats here, just grey metal surfaces and man sized controls. Ok, since there are a growing number of female warbird pilots, I should change that to beefy controls.
Most features are modeled and include a working tail wheel lock, stick mounted push to talk button (activates the ATC dialog window), and map window to name a few. The cockpit uses the same “photo textures” as the rest of the aircraft but they don’t look too bad in the small confined cockpit.
The panning effects in the VC seem to be off a bit. The amount of movement each separate element has doesn’t seem quite right. Almost like early FS9 VC movements. It’s more pronounced with TrackIR and Flight1’s EZCA, but is still noticeable without them.
The aircraft is easily flown from the VC but since I fly numerous aircraft on a daily basis, I picked up on it pretty quick.
The sound file is something I really liked about this title. It really puts you there and when positioned in front of the huge spinning propeller, you can hear each blade slicing through the air. At the end of this review is the link to an Avsim QuickClip video I put together. Listen carefully during the shots taken near the prop.
I HAVE NEVER FLOWN A HIGHLY MODIFYED SEA FURY. There…I said it just in case anyone wondered. I haven’t even flown an unmodified Sea Fury, but I have flown a T-28C and an AT-6. While they didn’t have 3,100hp under the bonnet, they were as close as I came.
In addition to reading everything I could in preparation for this review, I also corresponded with a gentleman who flew a Bearcat. With everything I’ve learned about flying high performance single engine WWII era fighters, I felt at least qualified to make an educated guess on how close the air file is to the real deal.
It’s not. Now don’t get me wrong, the SimFlight 3D Sea Fury is fun to fly, and there are differences in the “feel” of the aircraft across the performance envelope, but it’s akin to selecting the “easy” flight model.
I put the aircraft through an entire regime of flight tests and rather than bore you with the details of each and every performance number recorded, suffice to say the flight model is for the casual flyer and not the hard core group.
Summary / Closing Remarks
The SimFlight 3D Sea Fury comes in below the current crop of FSX releases in quality and flight dynamics. For the casual armchair military pilot types, it’s a great, fun to fly aircraft. More serious simmers may want to pass on this one.
For a short video of this aircraft in action, check out the Avsim QuickClip.
What I Like About The Sea Fury
What I Don't Like About The Sea Fury
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