From The Wide Open Sky To The Safety Of My Desktop!
Some years ago when I was in grade school, I found myself on a trip out of Seattle en-route to Anchorage Alaska. I was very young and remember very little about the aircraft but what I do remember is the wide body and that the jet had 3 engines; I also remember that there were very few people on board the plane and my visions of that day tells me that I seem to remember almost having the entire plane to myself.
I remember asking my Mom about the lack of people on the plane, she told me that it was a night flight and fewer people flew at night. I vaguely remember watching the jet as it taxied into position from the massive window in the terminal, man those windows seemed so big! I remember being transfixed as I watched the plane approach the gate and couldn’t help but wish that was me in the cockpit.
It is truly funny what you remember, I actually remember the food on the plane and how cool I thought it was that they were giving me this meal to eat. As time went on and I got a lot wiser, I vaguely remember how nasty it really was!
I also remember knowing about the third engine on the tail of the plane and during the entire flight I remember thinking about what would happen if that engine fell off; funny what kids think, huh? I remember being so concerned about it that I asked one of the stewardesses and she told me, “ the pilot only turns that one on if he needs it” Of course I know now that was, of course, to only make me feel better.
This plane was of course, the DC-10. An aircraft that has had an incredible life as some are still flying today. The DC-10 was used with almost all of the major carriers in the world and although it had a rough start, it eventually became a favorite amongst pilots and passengers alike.
Installation and Documentation
Installing the DC-10 Collection is as easy as installing any Just Flight product, simply insert the disc and go. The documentation that comes with the DC-10 comes both as a printed manual and a PDF file on the disc. The documentation is straight forward and explains everything in detail and to the point.
It is important to know that after this product was released from Just Flight and CLS, they have released several updates for this aircraft package. One being a product patch, the other a new livery and most importantly is a fully functional INS computer.
These particular patches, and especially the INS patch, can be attained from Just Flight and are easy to install, though if you install them it is required that you have the DC-10 DVD in your drive.
The Douglas DC-10 From CLS
The Douglas DC-10 from Just Flight and CLS comes with over 38 different liveries. Everything ranging from Military, Freight, and of course, Commercial Passenger. Along with the 38 liveries, there are over 15 different variants of the DC-10 model giving this title a wide array of aircraft to fly and use from the DC-10 family.
I was really impressed with the wide array of liveries that are included. Each is historically accurate and many of the liveries are of days gone by. Take for instance the old United livery, in total there are three different paints for United Airlines; the same can be said for Continental and British Airways. In fact, as I was looking over which ones I wanted to photograph for this review, I found myself with way too many pictures at the end of this review just because I like each one that is included with this package.
Externally, the planes are simply gorgeous and the designers really didn’t leave anything to the imagination; from the landing gear wells, to that of the entire fuselage of the plane, every conceivable moving part is there. As you look around the aircraft you will find all sorts of extras; take for instance the passenger loading stairs and the functioning fuel boom on the military DC-10, each is animated and offer an extra bit of detail to an already well rounded product.
I was also impressed with the lighting on the exterior of the jet. If you are using FSX, you will find FSX lighting and effects, but the lighting on the FS9 model is also exceptional as well. To my surprise, I found that even the passenger compartments had lighting in the windows, this is something that we have come to expect in FS9 aircraft, but with the release of FSX, some of those features were no longer available when porting FS9 planes to FSX. My next step with these aircraft is to incorporate the enhanced lighting add-on from Shockwave, can’t wait to see it!
With all of the added features and extra 3D objects that are available externally, they are easily accessible through a click spot on the main 2D panel. There are also click spots on the virtual cockpit as well, but they are easily accessible through the 2D panel.
CLS aircraft are definitely rich in detail externally and that can be said with just about all of their titles. But I have to say that this is my favorite out of their product line and really does the F-Lite product range justice.
The one thing you have to remember about this title is that is part of the F-Lite product range at Just Flight. So when it comes to things like the cockpit and actual aircraft function from within the cockpit, the product is geared more towards the casual Flight Sim user and doesn’t really offer a true-to-life cockpit experience.
That being said, the DC-10’s cockpit is relatively good and very easy on frame rates. Although you don’t have the access to more complicated systems, the cockpit is visually pleasing and offers an easy to use flying environment. I was impressed with the amount of actual panels that are accessible; though their functionality is questionable, there is still a lot to see here. Not only do you get the pilot’s panel, but you have a switchable co-pilot’s panel, and an extensive engineer’s panel that is broken down into about three different panels.
The DC-10 cockpit is put together with a slew of analog and digital gauges that one would expect from an aircraft of this type and age. The core add-on is shipped with the default GPS for navigation, but this is where it gets good! As I said before, the folks over at CLS released a fully functional INS system that works flawlessly with the DC-10, this alone makes the DC-10 a very competitive product as it does incorporate technology that creates a realistic environment as far as navigation is concerned. Learning to use the INS computer is relatively easy and once you get the hang of it, it is kind of fun. Though, you can still use the GPS if that is your preference.
The gauges in either the virtual cockpit or the 2D cockpit are nicely done and the gauge update seems very good during flight. Ultimately, I was very impressed with the level of detail of all of the gauges, they fit nicely into the CLS DC-10!
With all of the included panels that come in the 2D panel mode, one still ends up using the CTRL-E option to start each engine, this is especially necessary if you are flying strictly from the virtual cockpit. The virtual cockpit is entirely clickable, but I did find some of the labels difficult to read or even hard to get to with the standard view in the virtual cockpit.
There was one thing that I didn’t like about this add-on and that was having to turn the virtual cockpit on via the 2D panel. This is acceptable in FS9 because the 2D panel comes up when you open up a flight, but in FSX it doesn’t and you have to bring up the 2D panel just to turn on the virtual cockpit.
Flying The DC-10
The F-Lite Series touts a realistic flight model and I have to say that I have spent some time with other CLS aircraft and found that their ultra-realistic flight models are somewhat questionable at times. Take the DC-10 for instance, fully loaded with fuel, I am able to takeoff with little or no effort, as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of affect on the overall flight model. I am also able to land the plane fully loaded, with a full tank of gas there is little or no physical effect on the aircraft.
One of my favorite flights that I like to do, is that of flying out of Hong Kong International, simulate some kind of engine failure or something and make an emergency landing at the old Kaitek airport. With products from PMDG or even the Sky Simulations MD-11, I actually have to lose some fuel before making a successful landing. With the DC-10, I have no issue getting the plane to stop or land without incident when fully loaded. I guess that is where the questionable flight model comes to mind, I doubt very much that it would be that easy.
Takeoff's seem almost easy at times as the plane seems to just reach for the sky, even when it is fully loaded. In fact, without trim and flaps, the CLS jet will actually rotate by itself with little or no input by the pilot. Granted, I have to take into account that this aircraft is powered by three massive engines. I just can’t help but feel the plane's flight model is a little on the easy side.
I did find that when flying the 10 in FSX, the plane reacts remarkably well to wind and turbulence giving it a very realistic feel from inside the cockpit, not to mention that watching it from the outside is even a much better show. This is one of the first aircraft, besides default aircraft, that react in this way.
As with all CLS aircraft, the sound with the DC-10 package is really good and offers the flight sim user a very realistic environment from within the cockpit. Outside the cockpit, the sound varies from where you are in relation to the plane as well as captures most of the functions from within the cockpit. The only thing missing, at least for me, was that of the sound of the trim wheel.
The DC-10’s sound makes this aircraft stand out and with this package, whether its startup or shutdown, the aircraft seems well modeled in the sound department. I was mainly impressed with the feeling of power the sound expresses when the plane is taking off; you really do get the feeling of the power and the size of the aircraft!
Internally, the sound is really pretty good especially when you take into account that the designers chose to include voice callouts from the crew and a functional GPWS. There seems to be a lot going on all the time, as much of the cockpits audible systems are also featured.
FS9 VS FSX
I found that my sim of choice for the DC-10 was that of FSX. This aircraft seems to operate very well within the FSX environment and it performs remarkably well when it comes to the performance department.
As I spent more time with the DC-10, I found that the aircraft had a very solid feel within FSX and as I did a couple of cross country flights, I found that I really liked it.
Visually, the external model seems to look really good in FSX and incorporates some of the new features of FSX. The lighting also uses some of the new FSX features and it was nice to see the entire plane, including the passenger compartment, all lit up.
The DC-10 in FS9 is also very good, especially if you are spending your time flying from the 2D panel environment. The DC-10 is gorgeous in either sim of choice, but I really do think you will enjoy it the most in FSX.
In The End
Out of the entire product line from CLS, I think this is definitely my favorite. This aircraft isn’t so complicated that the designers are trying to pass off simplified avionics or navigation equipment for the sake of making a modern aircraft without modern features. With CLS giving us the INS navigation system after this plane's initial release, really does raise the quality of this product.
With the DC-10, we have an aircraft that was developed back in the early 70’s and resembles the technology of its time. That being said, the DC-10 is really a very good add-on and if you are a fan of the Douglas DC-10, I would definitely recommend this add-on.
What I Like About The DC10 Collection
What I Don't Like About The DC10 Collection
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