In 1935 the United States Army Air Corps’ frontline fighter was the Boeing P-26 Peashooter, a low wing, externally braced, fixed landing gear aircraft armed with two .30 cal machine guns and a top speed of 234 MPH at 6000 feet. Because of the clear obsolescence of this fighter, particularly in comparison with the English and German monoplane fighters under development in Europe, the USAAC issued a specification for a new, more modern fighter.
There were three serious responses to the request: the 850 HP Seversky P-35 which was the predecessor of the Republic P47 Thunderbolt, the 700HP Northrup Model 3A which was later developed by the Vought Company who produced the famous F4U Corsair for the US Navy, and the 1050 HP Curtiss model 75 which was the direct ancestor of the iconic P40 series of Kittyhawks, Tomahawks, and Warhawks which gave such yeoman service in the Second World War on just about all fronts.
Vertigo Simulations has reproduced the Hawk Model 75A in a number of its variations to give a broad representation of this historically significant aircraft.
Installation and Documentation
The program is available from Vertigo Studios via direct download only. Once the 84.2MB file is downloaded and the key available, the EXE file does the installation for you without a hitch. It also installs the 20 page manual. As mentioned, there were no issues with installation and the program functioned properly from the start.
Actual documentation as presented in the manual is fairly sparse, although the illustrations of the cockpit are clearly labeled and figuring out the starting procedures is not difficult if you have some experience with piston engine aircraft. If not, the CTRL+E combination will get the aircraft started.
The only checklist provided is what appears to be a photocopy from an original aircraft manual. Interestingly, this aircraft seems to have been equipped with a variety of starters; the checklist in the manual refers to inserting a “cartridge”, there is an internet video of an RAF Hawk being started with an inertial starter, and the aircraft modeled in this simulation is started electrically.
Inside and Out
Overall I have to say at the beginning that I was very pleased with the performance of this add-on. Download and installation were about as effortless as they could be and the program functioned well from the start. The graphics design and execution are in a single word, stunning; the aircraft both inside and out is just beautiful.
I am old enough to remember the sounds that large radial engines produced and the sounds supplied with the aircraft are of very high quality. There are several internet videos where Hawk 75s are actually flown, and the simulation sounds appear to faithfully reproduce the originals, at least when compared to the existing clips on the Internet Videos.
The external and internal modeling are sharp and crisp, the paint bright and clear and the schemes appear to be faithful to the period. Obviously a great deal of careful research has gone into the design of the simulation and the end results reflects that care and effort. This is a quality product.
Eight liveries are supplied with the package, 3 USAAC, 2 RAF, 2 French AF ( 1 Free French, 1 Vichy), and 1 Finnish AF. All appear to be very well done.
Flying the aircraft is quite pleasant although the pilot does have to pay attention as the aircraft is sensitive to control inputs at speed and is inherently a little unstable as one would expect a fighter to be: this is not a large jetliner and appropriately does not have that sort of inertia. Careful attention does have to be paid particularly in turns, the aircraft looses lift rapidly and this has to be compensated for by the stick. Overall, the aircraft is fun to fly, but it does have to be flown.
For long flights, the use of the Z key will engage the FSX autopilot. The autopilot functions only to hold the current pitch angle and height at the time the autopilot is engaged. There is no visual confirmation of whether or not the AP is on or off in the cockpit.
This aircraft is VC only, there is no 2D panel. The instruments are readable and appear to update smoothly. I could never figure out how to adjust the altimeter, I just could not find the spot. The canopy opens easily using the mouse, the primer, starter fuel boost pump also operated well.
I had difficulty with the fuel take selector as it required a lot of mouse movement to move it from one position to another. I never could get the cowl flaps to open or close with the mouse, but programming a key for that function on the joystick worked fine.
I did notice that the navigation lights seem to work irregularly; they don’t seem to be visible from the rear or the cockpit views, they sometimes appear as ON from a head-on viewpoint, but that also seems to require that the landing light be on also.
When the aircraft is on the ground, removing the pilot (menu shift+4) causes the elevators to drop. Forget taking off in this configuration as the elevators are un-responsive and the plane just noses over and does not recover. I did not see any mention of this in the documentation, but I guess the point is that you have to have the pilot on board to fly.
The same menu also allows chocks to be placed and the canopy cover to be installed. Right clicking will bring up another menu for camera views of the rear of the fuselage which is nicely detailed.
Eye candy, I suppose, but very nice eye candy. I tried moving the controls to see if anything moved, but couldn’t see that it did.
I really had no problems as far as operating the Hawk on my system. My system is now a year and a half old, but frame rates were the same with this aircraft as with just about any other that I own. I fly out of KCLT/KEQY primarily and the ImaginSimulation KCLT add-on, plus Ultimate Traffic 2, plus FS Meteo can sometimes push my FPS into the single digits, depending on weather and traffic, but at no time did the simulation become un-flyable or inadequately response.
As noted above, this aircraft is VC only. I have always preferred the 2D panels for flying being more systems oriented as opposed to the “Virtual Reality” of Flight Simulation as a hobby ( I always wanted to be a real pilot but it was just one of those things that didn’t work out; we all have one or two of those.) BUT, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun flying this plane, from the VC, so much so that I may have to revise my thinking about VC verses 2D.
Gauge response was excellent on my system and with a couple of exceptions (fuel tank selector and cowl flaps as noted previously) the panel seems to work quite well.
Summary / Closing Remarks
Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed the Curtiss 75 re-creation by Vertigo Studios. In my opinion, the graphics, sounds, and computer modeling aspects of the program are very well done. I particularly respect the fact that the aircraft does not slow my system to a crawl and that it allowed me to fly the plane and not have to play with settings, etc.
This is the first time that I have spent much time in the VC of an aircraft and it proved to be a very pleasant surprise. I can certainly recommend this aircraft to those who want the experience of learning and flying a historically significant aircraft.
What I Like About The Hawk 75
What I Don't Like About The Hawk 75
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