AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

Golden Age Simulations
Stinson Model A

Product Information
Publisher: Golden Age Simulations

Description: FS9 Aircraft.

Download Size:
29 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9
Reviewed by: Juan "Chucho" Llobera AVSIM Staff Reviewer - September 27, 2007

Introduction

I have to start by saying that I feel more comfortable doing scenery reviews than aircraft reviews. Why? Well its simple, when you are doing a scenery review you are looking for is realism. You could also take some pictures from the real scenery and compare the real thing with the “virtual thing”, but when you are reviewing an aircraft, how do you know if the flight model is accurate?

I mean let’s face it, all of us probably have hundreds of flightsim hours with a 737, but how many of us know how much thrust you have to apply to get the airplane moving? Obviously, it's all about doing some research and having common sense.

So if doing an aircraft review is not that simple, then you might be wondering why did I choose this product? (yeah we can actually choose here at Avsim) Well my friends, I’ll tell you why.

First of all, I was captured by the name of the company: Golden Age Simulations. About what “golden age” they were talking about? Well immediately after entering their website, I knew. The GOLDEN AGE, the period between the so called Great War and the WWII.

The website design gives you the idea that these guys really care about what they do. The picture of what looks like a “Tin Goose” is there to welcome you and somehow says “ Here at Golden Age we care about props”. And let me tell you this, nowadays when the FS world has turned into a gold mine, a company that chooses a path and sticks to it, well, it's something to admire.

So what do they sell? Props? Yep, golden age props. But the best is that they just don't only deal in payware, they also have a freeware aircraft page full of models that you’ll be amazed with.

Ok, now that you know a little more about Golden Age Simulations, I'm going to go ahead a tell you a little bit more about the Stinson Model A. The Stinson model A ( a low wing trimotor ) was designed in 1933 as an eight-seat feeder-liner for American Airlines. It featured some unusual design s like the double-tapered wing and the forward-racked windscreen. Those design details really made the aircraft look sinister, like the kind of aircraft Dark Vader would choose if he had to go back to the 30’s. It also featured a main landing gear, that when it was retracted, part of the wheels would remain exposed ( like the DC-3 type ), apparently because a lot of pilots would forget to lower the landing gear on landing.

The Stinson A was produced until 1936, and in those three years a total of 30 airplanes were produced. The airplane became quite famous, not only because it was one of the first airline airplanes to include a lavatory on board, but also because of a series of legendary air disasters.

Today there is only one Stinson Model A left, which is owned by the Aviation Heritage Museum at Anchorage, Alaska.

Installation and Documentation

Installation is quite simple. You get an .exe file after going through the buying process (which is made via the Fligh1 Wrapper or via Paypal), and after a couple of clicks, you have the Stinson Model A and the Stinson Model A-2W (a multi-engine variant designed for Airlines of Australia).

After the installation is done, a read me file will pop up warning us to reduce our R.P.M’s once we have achieved a stable climb attitude, otherwise the engine will BLOW UP. Yes, the aircraft is equipped with an engine failure system. The read me will also recommend you to use FS’s “tool tips” in order to get a better idea of the panel instruments.

So is there a .pdf manual or some sort of thing? Well, unfortunately there isn't, but the good news is that inside the simulator (on your knee-board) you’ll get every single checklist as well as technical information about the plane. So even if you don't get a .pdf manual, you’ll have everything you need to fly the airplane, as well as some background and technical information about it.

A nice detail I found is that the checklists are written with an “airline operation” emphasis, so you will see things like “ Supervise passenger loading”, etc.

Exterior Model

The exterior model is really well done, not only in the Model A version but also in the A-2W. You’ll get one livery for each model, an American Airlines livery for the Model A and the Airlines of Australia livery for the Model A-2W. After comparing the American Airlines livery with real color pictures, I was amazed by the level of detail, especially on the logo’s and the engines textures. The aileron's movement looks realistic as well as the flap system.

Aircraft lights have been modeled and I have to admit the aircraft looks quite good at night. The panel illumination is something that I like a lot, that soft light really gives you the impression that you are flying a 1930’s piece of metal.

The only animation I was able to find was the one that opens the passenger doors (there’s one on each side of the aircraft) but unfortunately you are not able to open them separately. Passenger doors are the only doors visible on the airplane, so we could say that every single door has been modeled, but I was hoping to see a “parked animation” or something like that.

Anyway the exterior model looks really good on both variants.

Logo Detail, Engines and cockpit illumination from spot view.
Model A, Model 2-AW and the flap mechanism

Flight Model

The first thing you’ll notice when flying this aircraft is its power. It was once called “America’s Fastest Tri-Motor” and with three Lycoming R-680 radial engines that deliver 260HP at 2300 R.P.M , this beauty can achieve up to 180 mph at sea level. So is it easy to fly? Well it depends, if you are the kind of simmer who usually doesn't fly props you may want to give a couple of looks at the checklists before soaring the skies.

On the ground the aircraft handling is quite acceptable, so taxiing the airplane to the runway is not going to be a problem. A thing you’ll have to remember is that when doing the Engine Run-Up you don't overheat the engines. So a good idea would be doing the engine run-up's separately.

Test System

AMD ATHLON64 3800 DUAL CORE
1GB RAM
2x80GB Disk
Nvidia 7300GT 256MB DDR2

Flying Time:
20 hours

The take off procedure is similar to those required by the DC-3, for example. Remember that this is an airplane with a flat attitude on the ground, so don't expect her to fly off until she’s ready to do so. There are two techniques you can use, using one or the other depends on the length of the runway and on the presence of some sort of obstacle.

The first one is to wait until the tail gear rises and then start pulling the yoke back, this will happen after a take off run of about 1000’. The other technique (the one you would use if the runway is short) consist in applying some pressure on the yoke in order to get the tail gear off the ground, and then gently pull the yoke towards you to start climbing. If you use the second option, make sure to not over-rotate the aircraft, that will make the tail gear descend and hit the ground.

Getting this aircraft to your assigned cruise level is probably the hardest thing, it's not THAT hard but is kind of tricky. Remember, this model is equipped with an Engine Blow-up failure system, so after an initial climb rate of 980 ft/m be sure to decrease the R.P.M and change your climb rate to 500 ft/m. Getting to a normal cruise level will take you about 25 minutes because, even if the aircraft could reach a cruise level of 17,000 ft, if you are the kind of simmer who flies as real as it gets or if you are using add-ons such as FsPassengers, you wont go higher than 10,000 ft (the recommended cruise level is around 6,000ft); since this aircraft is not equipped with a pressurization system.

Like every other mid-heavy prop I flew, the airplane tends to loose some altitude once leveled, so a good idea would be to go 300 ft higher in order to compensate the normal lose of altitude. Another possible technique would be to leave the climb power applied a couple of seconds longer once you get your desired cruise level.

Landing the Stinson Model A is actually not a difficult task. Descent is made with a 300 ft/m rate and after going through the approach and landing checklists, you wont have any problem doing 300 to 500 ft/m touchdowns. After some hours of practice you’ll find that doing three-point landings with this aircraft is actually possible. My only advise is to be careful with the power during final approach. If you come in too fast the plane will tend to soar over the threshold and if you come too slow, ailerons and rudder will lose efficiency, so make sure you do some touch and go practice before jumping into a crosswind landing.

Panel

The aircraft comes without a 2D panel, which is not a big surprise considering that a lot of simmers usually prefer a 3D environment. For those of you who still like the traditional 2D panel view, don’t panic because the 3D panel is really well done. It not only looks good, full of R.P.M and cylinder temperature indicators, but also works really smooth.

In fact, it is one of the smoothest 3D panels I’ve seen. Plus, the Stinson Model A and the Stinson Model 2-AW are different. They differ in the position of the engine indicators (on the Stinson Model A they are in front of the pilot seat, while on the Model 2-AW they are at the middle of the panel), in the position of the VOR and in the number of yokes (The Stinson Model A has only one yoke, the other seat was intended to be use by a relief pilot or a passenger).

Obviously since you don't get a 2D panel, the 3D panel is fully clickable with every single indicator working. My only concern is that in the Stinson Model A, the VOR indicator is right in front of the co-pilot's seat, so if you don't have an add-on like Active Camera or a joystick with a hat-switch you may find it hard to look at the VOR needle during some IFR flights. Panel illumination, like I said before, is really well done.

Another nice detail is the cabin views. Each model has different interiors, each one is designed in a different way so you’ll get the idea you are flying for different airlines (AAL and Airline of Australia). Also, you’ll see some nice details like advertising posters and, of course, the lavatory door.

Some comparison pics: A-2W and Model A

Sounds

So how does it sound? Well, I have to say it sounds amazing. The sounds were created by Aaron Swidle of Sky Song Soundworks, and I have to admit he did an amazing job. The engine sound is really well done, giving you the feeling of a powerful, fuel-eater Lycoming R-680. The difference between the sound at different thrust settings is duplicated quite well, and you may be able to tell when the engine is going to blow up just by listening to it.

If you happen to own the FSD J3-Piper Cub or the Dream Fleet’s Piper Archer, then you know the amount of realism Aaron is capable of achieving.
Flaps, touchdown as well as door sounds are also included.

Performance and Conclusion

Performance is excellent. Like I said before, the 3D panel is one of the smoothest I’ve seen and my PC was able to handle the exterior model without any problem.

If you are the kind of guy who doesn't own a top of the line computer or the one who’s looking for an airplane to use it with an FPS-killer add-on, then this aircraft is for you. The performance I got was totally comparable with my default DC-3.

So should you buy it? Well, if you like flying some old-powerful pieces of metal, a prop lover or just a pilot looking for new challenges out of a glass-cockpit, then go ahead, you wont regret it !!

 

What I Like About The Stinson

  • You get two models for the price of one.
  • Really fun plane to fly
  • Performance
  • Sound created by Aaron Swidle

 

What I Don't Like About The Stinson

  • Minor things like the absence of a .pdf manual.

 

Printing

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Stinson

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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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