AVSIM Commercial FSX Aircraft Review

De Havilland Comet 4C Jetliner

Product Information

Publishers: Just Flight

Description: A British Classic and the first commercial jetliner.

Download Size:
87 MB

Format:
Download/Boxed
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Aaron Graham AVSIM Staff Reviewer - November 14, 2011

Introduction

The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the HatfieldHertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design. It featured an extremely aerodynamically clean design with its four de Havilland Ghost turbojet engines buried into the wings, a low-noise pressurized cabin, and large windows; for the era, it was an exceptionally comfortable design for passengers and showed signs of being a major success in the first year upon launching.

However, a few years after introduction into commercial service, Comet airframes began suffering from catastrophic metal fatigue, which in combination with cabin pressurization cycles, caused two well-publicized accidents where the aircraft tore apart in mid-flight. The Comet had to be withdrawn and extensively tested to discover the cause; the first incident had been incorrectly identified as having been caused by an onboard fire. Several contributory factors, such as window installation methodology, were also identified as exacerbating the problem. The Comet was extensively redesigned to eliminate this design flaw. Rival manufacturers meanwhile developed their own aircraft and heeded the lessons learned from the Comet.

Although sales never fully recovered, the redesigned Comet 4 series subsequently enjoyed a long and productive career of over 30 years. The Comet was adapted for a variety of military roles, such as surveillance, VIP, medical and passenger transport; the most extensive modification resulted in a specialized aircraft variant, the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod. Nimrods remained in service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) until they were retired in June 2011, over 60 years after the Comet's first flight.

Just Flight has decided to simulate the Comet 4C. The most recent Comet variation.

*Information from Wikipedia

Installation and Documentation

Installation is easy and straight forward. Before installation begins you will be prompted to enter your Just Flight account login information. The installer will automatically find your FSX installation. The manuals are not up to the usual Just Flight standard. They asked for you to purchase a real Comet 4C manual implying that the aircraft has all the systems simulated.

This is less than ideal to make up for its short comings as after all, you purchased the product and you should have a manual that shows you how to use all the aircraft’s systems. The manual tells you where switches are but goes into very little detail on how they affect the simulation.

Overall, the manual was poor compared to other manuals that come with aircraft.

Activation using your Just Flight account.
Installer starts once activation is complete.
Installation
List of aircraft added to Flight Simulator X

Virtual Cockpit

The virtual cockpit is poor. Very poor. It looks like a cartoon! There appears to be no photo textures used at all. Everything is clean with not a spec of dirt in sight. No wear and tear effects, there isn’t even chipped paint.

The aircraft looks as if it just came out of the factory. Everything has solid colors. All the textures look as if they were computer generated and look incredible unrealistic. The virtual cockpit looks like a plastic toy, and I am not exaggerating. You can very clearly see the use of polygons; circles are not circles but are more like octagons when you zoom in to 1.10.

The virtual cockpit would have been okay in FS2004 standards however compared to other FSX virtual cockpits, it is a disaster. Some freeware virtual cockpits are better. I would even go as far as saying that default cockpits are better than the texturing areas. The hydraulic handle on the overhead panel is just a black lump with no fine detail. The developers seem to have wanted this aircraft released as soon as possible and to do so they have cut corners. If I designed this virtual cockpit and I would not be proud of it.

Night lighting is average. I can some up the quality of the virtual cockpit in one word; dreadful.

‘Cartoonish’ Virtual Cockpit
Flight Engineer
Big Black undetailed handle

Virtual Cabin

The Comet Jetliner includes a virtual cabin. It is part of the virtual cockpit. There is a pre-defined camera view to go to the virtual cabin. Like the virtual cockpit the cabin also is plagued with issues. The windows on the left side of the virtual cabin don’t exist! There are no windows on the left side of the cabin, only on the right side. It is rather sad as when you look around the cabin where there is a side with windows and a side without windows. It looks rather strange and freaky.

The seats are well modeled and the magazines at the front of the cabin are readable. The cabin doesn’t have the ‘cartoonish’ effect that the virtual cockpit does. It looks like they put more effort into the cabin than the virtual cockpit. The stewardess’ uniform changes depending on the airline, which is a nice feature.

I think this is a very nice virtual cabin. It is a real shame the virtual cabin is better than the virtual cockpit.

External Model

The external model continues to carry the ‘cartoonish’ look that the interior of the aircraft has. The external model is rather clean for such an old airplane. There are almost no dirt effects on the aircraft. Everything is crystal clean. The wings appear to have no oil effects where the flaps are, something that is on most other add-ons. The aircraft comes with all the major operators of the Comet a list of liveries is listed;

  • BOAC
  • Malaysian Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Dan Air London
  • Mexicana
  • Saudi Royal Flight
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • RAF Transport Command
  • Kuwait Airways

The quality of the liveries is average. The BOAC livery has some minor mistakes with the lineup of the blue stripe. The aircraft’s windows are ‘cut out’ instead of being textured on. I have found some freeware repaints for the Comet which are must better than the ones that come with it.

The resolution of the textures used on the model is low. They appear blurry even when zoomed out. The engine vents are just textured on instead of being modeled in 3D and the 2D image does not look very convincing. Some areas of the fuselage seem to have got more attention than other areas. The gear seem rather basic, it looks like very little effort was put into modeling the gear. There is also no wing flex, something which I imagine would happen on such an old aircraft.

When the aircraft’s engines are pushed to full thrust black smoke comes out of them, which is a neat addition. The smoke effect looks realistic.

Average External Model
BOAC Repaint error
Smoke Effects from Engines
Just after Take-off
Wing View
Flaps Extended
Gear Down
Final Approach
Just before Touch Down
Flare
Speed Brakes Armed
Note 2D Engine Vents

Sounds

The sounds of this aircraft are rather bland; they don’t sound anything like a Rolls Royce Avon Jet engine according to YouTube videos. When in the external model all you hear is a constant roar, when you increase engine thrust the roar just becomes louder. In the virtual cockpit they are just a hum and like the external sound, when the thrust is increased the hum becomes louder.

Test System

Computer Specs

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400
8GB RAM
1TB HDD
NVIDIA GeForce 330 GT
Windows 7 Home Premium
24” 1920x1080 Display

Flight Test Time:

25 hours

The sounds seem totally unrealistic, which is a shame as Just Flight’s sounds are almost always great but the Comet seems an exception. I feel the sounds are the final nail in the coffin for this aircraft. There are no sounds for several items in the cockpit such as the windshield wipers.

Airfile

The flight dynamics for the Comet Jetliner are good. The aircraft behaves as expected during all phases of flight with no nasty surprises. One thing that I did notice was that it took almost ten seconds for the spoilers to have any effect on the flight dynamics. Take off speeds and landing speeds seems correct for an aircraft of this size and age. The engines took a while to spool up as expected for this aircraft. Overall the air file is good.

An Identity Crisis

The Comet Jetliner has an identity crisis. The manual suggests buying a real Comet manual so I followed the advice only to find a large chunk of the systems are simplified or don’t function. The aircraft doesn’t know whether it is an F-Lite aircraft or a full simulation. In my view it should be part of the F-Lite series.

Frame Rates

Frame rates are fantastic on this aircraft, consider that it has well modeled cabin. The frame rate drops by around 5-15FPS compared to the default 737-800 however the experienced still remains smooth. I got 20FPS in the VC with the London City Xtreme add-on from UK2000, compared to the default 737 where I got 27FPS. I think the FPS are excellent consider the cabin is part of the cockpit.

Summary

The Comet Jetliner is an average aircraft. The aircraft seems overpriced by about £10. I think it should retail for £15 instead of £25. If you are a fan of classic airliners get it, but don’t expect it to blow you away. There are a few repaint errors which could be fixed in a service pack however all the other negative comments are what I believe is a result of not putting in enough effort.

 

What I Like About The Comet Jetliner

  • Nice virtual cabin
  • Cut out windows
  • Good Flight Dynamics
  • Great frame rates

 

What I Don't Like About The Comet Jetliner

  • Poor Manual
  • Awful Virtual Cockpit
  • No 2D Panels
  • No windows on left side of virtual cabin
  • External model is average
  • Some errors on liveries
  • Sounds are Bland
  • No Wing Flex
  • Over Priced

 

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De Havilland Comet 4C Jetliner

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