AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

AlphaSim

Heinkel He111H ver1.1

Product Information
Publisher: AlphaSim

Description: Add-on Aircraft.

Download Size:
46 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS9
Reviewed by: Marc Radford AVSIM Staff Reviewer - December 4, 2007

Historical Background

The Heinkel He 111 was Germany’s primary offensive medium sized bomber in the Battle of Britain, however the planes origin was a strategic deception driven by the German Military, and often carried out with the cooperation of Lufthansa Airlines.

In 1919 came the Treaty of Versialles, which tightened its grip on Germany and restricting Germany from even having an air force.

In 1934, the Luftwaffe made the request to have a large commercial airliner built, along with that request came the criteria of the design being easily adaptable for military use as a bomber; although the advantage for Germany seemed obvious, in the long run their deceptive scheme did not come without many flaws.

In 1935 the first prototype rolled out of the hanger, the Heinkel He 111 V1 followed by both the V2, and the V4 by May 1935.

There were a large number of variants of the Heinkel He 111 over the next 4 years, with the test pilots reporting impressive flight handling and favourable overall results, the real achilles heal of the plane was the 578hp BMW VI 6.0 six-cylinder in-line engines which were under powered.

The new turning point for the Heinkel came in 1939, when the Heinkel He 111 H sported a whole new powerplant - the Junkers Jumbo 211, 1,100 hp (820 kW) engines.

The Heinkel He 111 H variant saw more action then any other version during WWII, however it did not take long for the plane's performance to be superceded by the enemy.

The Heinkel He 111 was retired in 1945, but not without seeing over 60 variations with the most bizarre being the Heinkel He 111 Z; this was quite simply 2 planes side by side linked together by an additional engine and being used as a glider tug for the Me 321.


Introduction what do we get in this add-on?

AlphaSim has brought us the Heinkel He 111 H variant, which is the most important version of this plane’s history.

1/KGr 100, France July 1940 6/KG 26, Italy summer 1942
2II/KG 26 Sardinia 1943 5/KG 4, Russia Winter 1942/1943

What we get are three unique models and four texture schemes. The models are quite impressive visually which is what you would expect from AlphaSim. You will notice with the four models above, one of them does not have any weapons underneath it; instead the one on the top left has animated bomb bay doors.

One of the nice little surprises with this package is the bombs can actually be dropped, however on the bomb bay door model there is not a bomb on the inside to be dropped. The bomb animation itself is a nice little bonus, however it happens so quickly you will need to be super fast on your change view key to even see it happen; also note the armament does not create any drag, therefore its mostly cosmetic. Also note that all models included, share the same 2D and VC cockpit visuals and panels.

Listed below is the full feature list for this plane, which I took directly from the AlphaSim web page.

- highly authentic models and superbly detailed, weathered-effect textures
- full FSX model with all FSX features (bump mapping, self-shadowing, bloom etc)
- custom He111 sound set included
- custom effects for faint exhaust smoke trails (FS9 only), custom startup smoke fx
- detailed and authentic virtual cockpit with many animations and clickable controls
- authentic all-xml 2D panel, custom pop-ups for authentic Luftwaffe autopilot and radios, fully clickable
- VC rain fx (FS9 only)
- animated bomb bay, dropable bombs and torpedoes
- animated crew entry hatch (shift-e) and dorsal gunner canopy (2nd exit)
- animated cowl flaps
- highly authentic, thoroughly-researched flight model
- two realistic crew figures, toggle on/off
- Adobe PhotoShop source textures included for repainters

Installation and Documentation

Test System

Pentium4 - 3Ghz HT
1 GiG of Ram
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128
SATA 160 GB HD

Flying Time:
25 hours

My version of AlphaSim’s Heinkel He 111 came to me by means of a link, a single 46 MB zip file supplied by the developer. Anyone familiar with AlphaSim knows that the installation is completely up to you manually copying both the aircraft and effects folders into your FS9 directory. I am not sure anyone can convince me of the requirement for me to manually copy the files where they need to go is even acceptable. Ok, so I’m not a fan of their FS9 installs, nor am I a fan of their supplied documentation either, and this add-on’s documentation was even less then I expected.

Ok, so let us talk about the documentation, asides from a bare bones instruction on how to manually edit your aircraft.cfg to configure different payloads, you get the checklist and that’s it. Lets take a quick step back again, they give instructions on how to manually edit the aircraft.cfg for 3 different bomb load outs; how about a button I can click on instead?!?

AlphaSim wants you to enjoy flying their planes, not being bogged down by documentation and long drawn out procedures so why need more then this? Maybe you don’t, but the least you could do is give us a setup.exe for the install then.

I will admit being hard on them for their install and documentation given the price of the product, but let's move forward because AlphaSim does make some great planes and this one is no exception!

1st Impression before Flight / Exterior Model

After seeing many screen shots of AlphaSim products before, and reviewing two of them, I know to expect a high quality model just like the Hienkel He 111.

(1) SPOT – Nose Dive (2) SPOT – Bottom of the plane (3) SPOT – Cruising over mountains

(1) SPOT – Pushing the Heinkel He 111 into a nice dive is great fun, the model and the effects look great to what I would expect from AlphaSim.

(2) SPOT – A great shot of the belly of the Heinkel He 111, notice the bomb bay door just behind the cockpit and machine gun turret.

(3) SPOT – The Heinkel He 111 cruising over the mountains with awesome effects off the wingtips, great representation of an old war plane on a bomb run

(4) SPOT – Big left bank (5) SPOT – Top of the plane (6) SPOT – Landing gear detail

(4) SPOT – The Heinkel He 111 performing a huge right bank trying to avoid the machine gun fire from the enemy

(5) SPOT – AlphaSim has done a great job of representing an old war bird, notice the large elevators at the tail

(6) SPOT – Awesome quality and detail of the landing gear, the detail on the tires is an awesome effect if you like watching replays of take offs / landings

2D Cockpit

(1) 2D Cockpit Normal (2) 2D Cockpit Left (3) 2D Cockpit Right

(1) 2D Cockpit – Things look great up here in the 2D Cockpit, nice crisp gauges, note the altitude is measured in meters.

(2) 2D Cockpit – Really nice view for a 2D Cockpit looking left, AlphaSim never fails deliver with their visuals and effects.

(3) 2D Cockpit - Even better looking to the right, you get a nice detailed view of the propeller while you do some sight seeing.

(4) 2D Cockpit Upper Right (5) 2D Cockpit Upper Left (6) 2D Cockpit Panels

(4) 2D Cockpit – I think the visuals in the 2D Cockpit for the Heinkel He 111 are very impressive, the great view from the cockpit is a joy on landing

(5) 2D Cockpit – Not being a huge fan of VC Cockpits, I enjoyed seeing the great visuals like the propellers and wing in the 2D Cockpit

(6) 2D Cockpit – The full panel layout :

Throttle Panel – This panel has quite a few controls on it including Propeller Control, Throttle Control, Elevator Trim, Engine Ignition and Magnetos
Switches, Cowl Flaps Lever, Flaps Lever, Left and Right Fuel Valves, Fuel Mixture Control, Landing Gear Lever, Battery Switch, Pitot
Switch, and interior and exterior light switches

Fuel Panel – Note that all labels are in German and include Left and Right Primary/Auxiliary Fuel Tank Switches, Left and Right Auxiliary Fuel gauges,
and Left and Right Oil Pressure Gauges

Radio Panel - The Radio Panel looks really nice, it is filled with unique looking knobs I have never seen before including NAV1 controls, IDENT sound
toggle switch, Automatic Direction Finder control knobs, ADF IDENT sound toggle switch, COM1 and COM2 toggle switch, and
Transponder setting controls

Autopilot Panel – The Heinkel is more of a hands on plane, however it does have a decent amount of automation including Altitude Hold Selector and
Toggle switch, NAV Hold Selector and Toggle Switch, Heading Hold Selector and Toggle Switch, Autopilot Master Switch, Wing Leveler
Switch, and Backcourse Switch

GPS Panel - There is no button for the GPS on the 2D panel, you just need to press SHIFT+6 to bring it up.

VC Cockpit

(1) VC Cockpit Normal 1X (2) VC Cockpit looking down 1X (3) VC Cockpit looking up .50X

(1) VC Cockpit - This is the VC Cockpit at the default zoom of 1x, it looks great and offers a great view for sight seeing and landings.

(2) VC Cockpit - We are still at default zoom 1x looking at the yoke, great quality and both Yoke and Rudder Pedals are animated.

(3) VC Cockpit - Now at zoom .50 looking up at the canopy, notice on the right side the red bomb lever which was forgotten on the supplied
documentation. There is also a video below which shows the canopy opening and closing from spot view, and also from the VC Cockpit.

(4) VC Cockpit Lower Left .50X (5) VC Cockpit Lower Right .50X (6) VC Cockpit Looking Back 1X

(4) VC Cockpit - This is a lower left shot at .50x zoom, great looking visuals and nice view of your left engine and propeller. All the engine controls are
very accessible, and the majority of controls are clickable which is always a nice.

(5) VC Cockpit - Same shot and zoom but now on the right side, great shot of your left engine and propeller.

(6) VC Cockpit - Looking over your right shoulder we see the bomb bay, unfortunately it is not animated from the inside when opening up the bomb bay
doors.

Videos

(1) Watch the canopy animation! (2) Watch the engine start animation! (3) Watch VC look around animation!

(1) Watch the canopy video – This is a small little video showing the canopy animation from both the exterior and VC Cockpit.

(2) Watch the engine video – This is a small little video showing the engine starting up from both exterior and VC Cockpit. Note that when loading the
plane, it will always default to having the engines already running.

(3) Watch the VC video - This is a small little video showing a look around inside the VC Cockpit, also you see the yoke and rudder pedals animations.

2nd Impression After Flight / Flight Dynamics

As with my last review of Alphasim’s Valkyrie, I love a plane which my first attempts of taking off results in numerous crashes; this way I feel that the dynamics and attention to the check list are important, which is always a thumbs up for me. The supplied documentation does warn you that the take off is challenging, and also notes this plane is more trim intensive than many of Alphasim’s planes to date.

The historical information of the Heinkel He 111 always pointed to an aircraft that was underpowered, in this simulation it is no different, requiring very sensitive inputs to both yoke and trim on initial takeoff and climb; this is both initially frustrating and rewarding when you finally get the hang of it. The plane's specifications and documentation note the Heinkel is not built for acrobatic maneuvers, however, it is capable of performing some aggressive dives and steep banks that are more than satisfying.

The Take Off

The Heinkel He 111 is one of those planes where your payload and weight make a dramatic difference on taking off. You can adjust the payload within FS2004 with normal payload adjustments; this also includes the payload of bombs you would like aboard. As noted earlier, the supplied documentation shows you how to manually adjust the bomb payload by editing the aircraft.cfg directly, this would be if you always wanted a specific payload configuration on start up. There is also one more thing to note in regards to the supplied checklist, the cowl flaps settings do not appear on the checklist; I contacted AlphaSim and was given a general guideline on the cowl flap procedures which I included while flying the Heinkel.

The Take Off

Before we can takeoff, we need to taxi to our departing runway safely first, when taxing in the Heinkel be very careful not to apply too much front brakes or the planes nose will smash into the ground and flip; for me, I found just tapping on the brakes lightly to slow down worked fine, also using the differential brakes can help.

So, we are sitting on the runway with our clearance to takeoff, we have our flaps set to 15, we have adjusted the trim on the throttle panel to 1 degrees nose up, and our cowl flaps are at 67% open and we are ready to go. Next we apply the throttle slowly up to full power and begin our run down the runway, it is noted in the checklist applying full power should be done slowly so you do not damage the engine.

Rolling down the runway will require some consistent rudder controls to stay on the center line, at about 80 KIAS you will notice the back end start to lift up off the runway which is quite scary at first as it seems like the plane is about to do a front flip on the runway; at 85 KIAS (155 km/h) you start your rotation.

The initial rotation requires very sensitive inputs on the yoke. You want to start a very shallow climb at first and pull up your landing gear right away, and then you need to build some speed to around 110 KIAS (200k/m) to retract your flaps. Once you hit 110 KIAS (200k/m) and no flaps, this is really where your climb starts paying close attention to your speed to avoid a stall; the Heinkel will stall at 76 KIAS.

Having flown countless planes in FS2004, it seems a natural instinct on takeoff to apply a certain amount of pressure on the yoke to start your rotation and climb; with the Heinkel you will need to apply quite a bit less pressure or else you will stall on your climb out. Stalling on your takeoff is very easy to do, and after you finally figure it out, you will appreciate what it was like to fly a plane that was under powered like the Heinkel; very sensitive inputs on your stick with some slight trim adjustments is how to be successful with this plane.

The recommended climb speed in the Heinkel is 135 KIAS (250 km/h) and cowl flap setting at 37% open up to 10,000 feet, expect your climb up to 10,000 feet around 800 to 1000 V/S and adjust your fuel mixture accordingly; once you pass 10,000 close the cowl flaps and continue your climb.

Also note, if your realism settings do not include auto fuel mixture, you will be adjusting the mixture quite often on your climb or you will stall. Knowing when to adjust the fuel mixture can be done a couple of different ways. You can watch the Engine Manifold gauges to ensure they are at maximum of 1.4 ata up to 10,000 feet, the sound of the engines often clue you to the fact the rpm’s are falling, also your falling speed will be a good indicator, but the best method I found was to watch the Propeller Lever Position / Propeller Pitch gauge. As you adjust the fuel mixture, this gauge seems more sensitive and easier to gauge when you need more or less mixture. As a general rule of thumb, at 10,000 feet your mixture is about 30%, at 15,000 feet about 25%, and at 17,000 around 20% mixture.

The Cruise

The recommended cruising altitude for the Heinkel is above 15,000 feet, and maximum speed is 240 KIAS (400 k/m). To reach your top speed will require you to adjust the throttle and propeller pitch settings; the lower the power the better the fuel efficiency you will achieve.

The Cruise

I did, however, encounter one problem with the maximum cruise speed. I could not attain a speed faster then around 180 KIAS at any altitude above 10,000 feet. I tried everything I could think of to reach a faster speed, and also read Alphasim’s forums where I saw some customers also found the same problem. When AlphaSim released the Heinkel He 111 it appears that the engines were underpowered and a patch 1.1 was released to solve the problem. It is important to note the 1.1 patch is being used here for this review.

One of the first obvious things to change was my payload set to the minimum with no bombs and small amount of fuel. This changed the takeoff and climb rate dramatically. However, it did not allow me to reach the maximum speed as per the supplied specifications.

I contacted AlphaSim in regards to the top speed of the plane, and also mentioned others in the forum had a similar problem. According to AlphaSim, the plane specifications are correct and any problems with engine power were remedied with the 1.1 patch. The detailed response I received matched the responses in their forums regarding this problem, in a nutshell the plane is fine and any problems with the maximum speed was because the plane is not being flown properly as per the checklist. It is fair to note in the forums many people did not have any problems with the maximum speed, so I am not sure how I am flying the plane incorrectly.

In general the cruise of the Heinkel is nice and relaxing; both the 2D and VC cockpit views are amazing and offer some great sightseeing opportunities.

The Landing

Alright, we are on approach for a nice landing, we have slowed our speed down to around 200 k/m and have our flaps extended to 15; at this point you can lower your landing gear at speeds under 200 k/m.

The Landing

The view you have regardless of the cockpit used is just awesome, a nice huge view to aid you on lining your bird up to the runway is really refreshing. As we start our final decent for landing, we start to lower our speed to around 175 k/m and we can now extended our flaps to 30.

At this stage of the landing you must be very observant to your speed gauge, this plane will require a constant adjustment to your throttle to ensure that you do not stall as the speed drops quite quickly. Asides from the vigilance you will need on the throttle, the actual landing is quite easy and intuitive and there are not any surprises here. But as mentioned with the taxing, you do not want to be applying too much brakes and some quick tapping on the brakes is sufficient to bring the plane to a safe stop.

An interesting thing to note about the flaps. As per the checklist, flaps at 30 is for landing, however the flaps available are 60 and that position is not mentioned at all in the checklist. If you try to set the flaps to 60, your speed will just fall off, even applying full throttle will not be quite enough; so I am not sure if that is mistake or just not documented.

In a nutshell the landing of the Heinkel does present some challenges, this plane is a real joy to land especially after a long flight and its awesome cock pit views.

Watch the Heinkel He 111 in flight!

Watch 4 minutes of the Heinkel He 111 in flight!

Screenshots of commercial FS2004 products are fine, but only seeing the product in action will give you the full experience to evaluate how it will be when flying this plane.

The above video is 4 minutes in length and showcases the Heinkel He 111 during initial engine start, canopy animation, take off, cruise, animated bomb bay doors, simulated bombing run, landing gear animation, and finally the landing coming home.

Performance

As expected from AlphaSim, the fps performance is great in both 2D Cockpit and VC Cockpit views, my fps rarely dropped below the 25 fps I have set. There were times in the VC Cockpit when it did fall for a second, but given my very average machine specification, I think this runs excellent on my machine and looks great also.

I am not sure what to think about the problem I had reaching maximum speed as per the supplied checklist and specifications, and judging by the response I received, there is some confusion on what I could be missing or doing incorrectly to solve the problem. Also, because the plane is considered to be functioning properly, there is no plan to have any additional patches.

Summary / Closing Remarks

The majority of AlphaSim planes are what I would call expensive. On my last review of AlphaSim Valkyrie when it came to the price, I chose the perspective of what could you get out there for the same price? My response to that question was there were many reputable add-ons available that offered a lot more for a smaller price.

I have since changed my view on what you can get out there for a cheaper price. You cannot easily go and find quality planes of this genre; however, if don’t have your mind set on a specific model of plane in this genre, there are some other alternatives out there for you.

AlphaSim caters perfectly to their market and I do not think my opinion on their prices will change any of those people's mind. Afterall, they do have a pretty large customer base and the comments in their forums are always very favorable and positive. So if you want a plane from them you are going to pay more for it. If you are familiar with AlphaSim products already, the Heinkel He 111 is a great piece of work all around and would make a nice addition to your hangers.

I contacted the developer quite a few times to have questions answered. Most of those questions came up due to the fact things were missing off the checklist and documentation. Most of my interactions were with a gentleman named Louis, who was much more then willing to not only answer any questions I had, but it was very obvious he had a super passion for developing and was a real pleasure to deal with. Also something to note in their forums, AlphaSim seems very proactive all around to get customer’s questions answered quickly which is comforting.

I reviewed another AlphaSim product recently, and now I've reviewed The Heinkel He 111. I have also spent some time with another AlphaSim product which I am reviewing next. I can tell you with these 3 products, I find it very obvious when it comes to documentation that they all have a very rushed feeling to them. The documentation is either lacking in depth, or just overall presentation, and all of them require you to manually install the files, at least in FS2004. I think there should be more to offer in the way of automation, and/or additional sceneries or missions.

All in all, the Heinkel He 111 really is a quality plane in visuals and flight dynamics, and if you are looking for a quality representation of that bird, here it is from AlphaSim.

 

What I Like About The He-111

  • Great 2D and VC Cockpit views in terms of visual quality, and in terms of representing the real plane
  • Believable / Realistic flight dynamics that are both challenging and rewarding
  • Landing and sight seeing is a real joy in this plane with the spacious cockpit view
  • Great visual representation in terms of quality and overall accuracy
  • The fact the bombs can actually be dropped is nice little bonus
  • In terms of the exterior model the attention to detail is obvious, especially when you see the quality and detail of the landing gear

 

What I Don't Like About The He-111

  • $60.00NZD ($45 USD) is a bit steep, with no additional sceneries or missions this is no exception
  • The supplied manual appears rushed and is missing a couple of important things like cowl flaps, and bomb lever
  • The fact you have to manually install files for at least FS2004 version, for this price is not justifiable

 

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