AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

AlphaSim

F-106A/B-Delta Dart

Product Information

Publisher: AlphaSim

Description: 1959 Era Interceptor Jet Fighter.

Download Size:
FS9 - 64 MB

FSX - 59 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9 and FSX SP1 & 2 & Acceleration Pack
Vista & DX10 Compliant
Reviewed by: Laurie Aston AVSIM Staff Reviewer - July 6, 2008

Introduction

The F-106 Delta Dart! “The Ultimate Interceptor” arrives for FSX & FS9, with both the single seat and 2 seated configurations included with three authentic texture sets each. A full complement of AIM-4G Falcon missiles can be swung out from the bomb bay and targets can be tracked using the versatile Tracking Radar system (radar is FSX only).

The FSX model is of course fully SP2/Acceleration/Vista/DX10 compliant and has all the features you would expect from a model sold for FSX - self shadowing, bump mapping, bloom effect and VC self shadowing. Other effects include awesome turbine and after-burner flames, start-up and exhaust smoke, wing flash over and wing tip vortices.

F106 Montana ANG F106A FIS
F106B California ANG F106B ADWC

The virtual cockpit was modeled using the real operator’s manual as reference: all switches are authentically placed and labeled, although not all work. Many are mousable too, including the very useful drag chute. A suitably thunderous sound set is included and the flight dynamics are right on the mark, so get ready for a challenging ride! A “clean” configuration model and a very easy-to-use paint kit are also included in this great package.

Installation and Documentation

Yet again with AlphaSim, the software is easily accessed via their website and can be downloaded at a cost of $47US, £23.75, 30 Euros or $50 AUD and the software takes up 59Mb of hard drive space for SFX, or 64Mb if you use FS9.

The cost includes the paint kit, and although there is no manual, the check list for operating this aircraft is comprehensive and gives clear warnings about the stall characteristics, and lack of buffeting or stall effects, delta-wing peculiarities and how not to demonstrate this aircraft as an “Airshow” exhibit as it was not designed for it and can catch you out unexpectedly when you least expect it.

I recommend you print out the whole checklist and read all of it before attempting a first flight. Then, after you have crashed the first time, read it all again. It might be 1960’s technology, but easy to fly it “aint”. Remember that the definition of a good pilot is one who has the same number of landings in his logbook as takeoffs.

Taking off is not a problem, but everything else associated with flying this Delta Dart is a process which requires thinking ahead. That is my opinion and you may not find it so, but at least be warned!!

The F106 A/B Delta Dart

FS9 - ANG F106 Delta Dart

The F106 Delta Dart is a lot of airplane, and in either simulation it looks really good. I was pleased to be given the chance to review this airplane because I was first introduced to it at the Otis Air National Guard Base at Cape Cod in Massachusetts in 1974 when I was allowed to spend an afternoon at the invitation of the Base commander with the F106 Delta Dart, and what an interesting machine it is.

From its slab-sided cockpit windscreen to the Delta wing, a unique batwing airbrake deployment facility, and a host of items that seemed state-of-the-art in the 1970’s, and probably were, here is an airplane that lives forever. AlphaSim has done a great job in re-creating, in just about every detail, what was once a frontline interceptor, and served its time well, even after being scrapped in the 1980’s. It lives on in many museums, and even served a second term in the form of a drogue pilotless target.

The F106 is not an easy plane to handle, and that is no fault of AlphaSim, they have modeled it perfectly, even using original manuals to form the cockpit and panels correctly. Starting up is straightforward, releasing the brakes and taxiing is a pleasure when slowly managed, the view from the front cockpit is good, but too much power and it will rock alarmingly, the landing gear track is not that wide, and the delta wing, although very sleek, has to house the gear in the underside neatly, so ease up on the power when you start to taxi to the runway.

Once there, and the checks are completed, giving the throttle a full head will eventually bring in the re-heated engine afterburner, and she leaps off the piano key area like a thoroughbred stallion. Once in the air and climbing, the gear folds away quickly, and then the fun begins.

Tower view Weapons check
Cleared to taxi Lined up

For a true delta-wing airplane, it is as expected, very maneuverable, but easy to overspeed airframe wise. The engine can stall and flame out, lift can be lost because there is very little indication of stall buffet, both in high angle maneuvers and approach to landing, and in fact the aircraft is not approved for aerobatic procedures. Neither is it recommended as an “Airshow” demonstrator because it is tricky to fly properly, but once you settle in and find out what it is capable of, it is a really enjoyable machine to fly.

With an acceptable range of travel, and the awesome sound of a huge power unit just behind your seat, it's very exciting. Carrying out an intercept is not only a real possibility, but having such a reserve of power can keep you out of trouble too.

There is a time lag in spooling up the engine, it is not capable of an instant response, so think ahead if you can. Do not get too low when on the approach, and remember that a high alpha angle is ok if there is power in hand, so that when you do touchdown, it is very satisfying indeed.

Over the California Desert Over San Diego
Defending San Diego Tracking a target

There is an authentic drogue chute to assist in slowing the aircraft to a slow taxi, and circuits at a favorite airfield will give endless hours of honing your skills and a lot of pleasure too.

The Air File

For both the FS2004 and FSX versions of the F-106 A/B Delta Dart, the air file is superb. The finish is just great in any of the displayed variant color schemes, and from any angle there is just a clean display line with no hint of deformity or deviation from the true plan form of the Delta Dart.

Over Bear Lake Over the Cape

As previously mentioned, the aerodynamic reproduction of this aircraft would appear to be spot-on, while I have never flown an F-106 in my life, I am fully qualified in the dynamics associated with Delta wings. I helped build the Concorde and worked on the line for several years, and this airplane is true to form in that respect.

It is difficult to fly at first, in my opinion, in fact it becomes a challenge, and to persevere is to win. So by the end of sweaty hour long flying sessions, if one can last that long, and using endless pauses to correct the impossible flight situation you can be drawn into, the Delta Dart actually becomes an aircraft that you can appreciate as being more than just your stable flying platform “lets cruise down the coast” kind of airplane.

It gives you the satisfaction of being capable of being used for the purpose it was intended for, the “ultimate” Interceptor, and what a beast it is. A bit like a giant Black Jaguar with wings, soft and gentle at times, but if you stroke it in the wrong place it will turn and bite off your hand, arm, leg and anything else you leave laying around in your attempt to escape.

I love it, it is such a real airman’s airplane, from the noise it creates to the speed it can perform at, the landing pattern challenge and actual touchdown, deploying the drogue chute, slow taxi, take off, and everything in between. It is a great airplane at a great design phase of delta wings, the early era of subsonic/supersonic flight, a pioneering adventure into the future of the edge of the flight envelope technology. Yet demonstrating the hesitance of the power train, difficulty of aerodynamic intake and delta design airflow, all replicated in excellent detail, for the cost of a handful of bolts from a real Delta Dart.

The Panel

I am not going to dwell on the panels in endless paragraphs because Alphasim has reproduced the cockpit and instrument panels faithfully, and although not all the switches and buttons actually do work, there is enough function of the important items to keep you busy, and there is enough to do without unnecessary “eye candy” getting in the way.

FS9 Instrument panel

This is the basic flight panel, and it has “ribbon” indications for some of the key functions. The autopilot panel as such does not function, but using the mouse to trigger the autopilot button will bring up a panel which then does everything you want just by pointing and clicking. A radar display in FSX (only) will function really well, and interceptions are easily possible. Any aircraft within radar range will be indicated clearly in detail.

Sounds

The F-106 was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney J75 axial-flow, dual compressor J75-P-17 turbojet engine producing 16,100 lb's of thrust, with 24,500 lb's of thrust in afterburner. The J75 was a scaled up J57 and first flew in 1955. This turbojet was in production from 1956 through 1967 and was the same engine which powered the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. (Information courtesy of Pratt and Whitney aero-engine division).

AlphaSim have done a great job on sound reproduction, and this engine's replication sounds like the “real deal”, from startup to shutdown. The re-heat segment is excellent, and the afterburner cone is a sight to behold, very accurately reproduced and in perfect detail too. I spent so long using the spot view to watch the afterburner that I nearly ran out of fuel in the process. Oops!!!

Below Reheat throttle Reheat On

Summary/Closing Remarks

Test System

Asrock K7S41GX Motherboard
AMD Sempron 2600+ CPU
2Gig DDR Memory
Nvidia Gforce6200 256 Graphics
2x80 Gig HD + 1 x 400Gig external USB HD
Windows XP Pro SP3
FSX SP1 SP2/Acceleration
Microsoft Force feedback Sidewinder + Rudder Control
CH Flightsim Yoke

Flying Time:
22 hours

In my opinion, this package by AlphaSim has everything that one would wish for, from the detailed aircraft and unit colours and markings to the simulated performance. It has sufficient challenge to test the skills of most simulator pilots, together with a choice of single seat or dual seat interceptors, at a reasonable price and with sufficient paperwork to satisfy most simulator pilots as well.

Although the airplane is a bit old, it was very popular and still is. I have seen several examples in various parts of the United States over a period of years which proves what a popular concept AlphaSim have developed in replicating what is now a museum exhibit to a fully flyable realistic model of a very testing delta-wing airplane.

The F-106 will perform for everyone from a new simulator pilot, young or old, to an experienced person who may have been with aircraft of different types for many years, like myself for example. There are packages on the market that may not be to everyone’s liking, but AlphaSim's F-106 A/B Delta Dart has nothing that I can see not to like.

I do hope you agree, and perhaps give it a trial flight or two. You will not be disappointed I am sure.

 

What I Like About The F-106 Delta Dart

  • A very accurate copy of the F106 A & B Delta Dart airplane, in different variants
  • Colorful finish and attention to detail is superb, with lots of little placards all over the airframe and wing areas
  • Accurate check list with lots of interesting things not to do with this airplane, as it can bite you.
  • Flight envelope math is very accurate it would appear, as this airplane is not your ordinary everyday hack, and requires thinking and doing before making an aerodynamic error of varying magnitude, to the detriment of the airframe in all cases.
  • One single payment purchases a complete package, at an acceptable price and it performs with enough challenge to keep at it.
  • A "must have" addition to anybody’s hangar. The F106 Delta Dart is a classic example of “once seen, never forgotten”.

 

What I Don't Like About The F-106 Delta Dart

  • For the perfectionists, I suppose some more paint jobs would have been nice, or perhaps a drogue version, or even a NASA example, but for my money the airplane is challenging enough without any paint at all, so who cares and anyway it has a paint kit with it, so try improving on AlphaSim’s examples if you wish.

 

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F-106 Delta Dart

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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 to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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