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Commercial Simulators Reviews

This page was last updated: Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Welcome to the AVSIM Online Commercial Simulator Reviews section, where you will find reviews of commercial aviation simulation programs and related hardware. We keep an online archive of our reviews for all readers to reference. All are accessible from this page.

Pro Flight Cessna Controllers & Pedals By Saitek / Mad Catz. (Mar 24, 2012): Contributing reviewer Ray Marshall re-equips his trusty Cessna with a complete control array from Saitek/Mad Catz. "Saitek has teamed up with Cessna to bring to market a real life sim changer. This is a collection of key components used in the cockpits of our real world airplanes." "At present, three items display the world recognized Cessna red, white and blue logo as Officially Licensed Cessna Products. The Pro Flight Cessna Yoke and 3-lever Quadrant module; Pro Flight Cessna Rudder Pedals; and Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel." Plus Ray has added a few extra pieces of kit into this detailed review. "The Pro Flight Cessna Yoke has a total of 13 switch positions just on the left grip that are actuated with your left thumb and one finger, and that is while using only one Mode position. That is the 8 position POV (point of view) hat switch, a unique 4-way dual horizontal/vertical switch immediately below the hat switch and a red button for your left trigger finger. The right grip houses two 2-way sliders, one horizontal and one vertical, the 3 position illuminated Mode switch, and a black button for your right hand trigger finger. The right rear of the box houses a USB 2.0 hub with 3 extra receptacles for additional Pro Flight modules or for general use." "The Pro Flight Cessna Rudder Pedals are advertised as Authentic Cessna Pedals with independent toe brakes, self centering mechanism and adjustable tension. They even have a foot rest extension." "The Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel just might be the sleeper in the bunch. This is a seriously nice instrument. If I didn’t know better, I would take it as a real world equivalent. This adds so much to the simulation with 9 full rotations (4 ½ in either direction) making it extremely accurate." "The Pro Flight Throttle Quadrant. This is also a quality instrument. It looks good, feels good, and has the 3 separate and necessary controls for Throttle, Propeller, and Mixture." Ray concludes with "A quality yoke, quality rudder pedals, engine controls quadrant and large trim wheel with all the associated key assignments seems to fill that last void in making a simple home desk look and feel like a real world airplane cockpit."
X-Plane 10 By Laminar Research. (Mar 19, 2012): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis takes a personal look at Laminar Research's X-Plane 10. "A full year ago, January was when the first images of X-Plane 10 arrived on the net and my first reaction was to say I was impressed with what I saw and my initial expectations were significantly high because I knew that X-Plane 10 would be a strong contender in the simulation market." "The X-Plane 10 fleet is impressive at first glance as it has 13 different categories of aircraft to choose from and a range in everything from big jets to small general aviation aircraft and experimental planes. Those of you that have used X-Plane 9 or earlier will quickly recognize many of these aircraft and that they have not changed much since their earlier releases." "X-Plane 10 generates cities, roads and traffic in areas that are populated and brings them to life by creating a living breathing city or town and although it does not necessarily represent its real world counterpart, but represents it as X-Plane sees it and where it thinks a city or town should be. The roads in X-Plane 10 are generated to match that of the real world and where it stands out the most are the freeways, highways and road networks that lead in out and of the cities and towns and into rural areas." "The weather engine has not changed any from X-Plane 9 and allows the user to set up the weather themselves or download the real world weather. Global textures change as you progress throughout the program, desert areas, forested areas, mountainous regions and valleys all have different textures depending on the region you select to fly in." "X-Plane 10 is a huge simulation and I think I have only managed to graze the top of the entire program and from what I have seen I do like X-Plane 10 and I will continue to use it in the future and throughout its development life. I really think that X-Plane 10 represents a jump ahead in the X-Plane world as far as development and innovation is concerned and it opens up new and exciting features and takes full advantage of your systems resources and is a strong contender in the simulation market."
Sound Pack for Cessna 337H By Oovee Sound Studio. (Feb 26, 2012): Contributing reviewer Ray Marshall adds new sounds to his Cessna 337H with a Sound Pack from Oovee Sound Studio. "I have spent several very enjoyable hours in and around the Skymaster, now enhanced with the Oovee Sound Pack. I am absolutely convinced that a blind person would not know the difference between a good sound system running FSX with the two add-ons and a real Cessna 337 in your living room. I realize that directly off either wing tip while cruising is probably not a normal position to be listening to an airplane, but it sure works well for me in FSX. When I have finally convinced myself that the exterior sounds are actually better than the interior cabin sounds, I press F9 for the VC and wow, nope; the interior sounds are just perfect. That is until I start to listen from a different vantage point. I continue to find new sounds each and every time I fly." "This is a very reasonably priced addition that will provide some wonderfully rich sounds for your Skymaster. I highly recommend you give it a try."
Take On Helicopters By Just Flight / Bohemia Interactive. (Feb 20, 2012): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis heads to the Emerald City (Seattle Washington) to fly a civilian style game centered on flying helicopters. "Take On Helicopters has several different modes of play as there is an option for Single Player and Multiplayer game play from the main menu as well as an options menu to set the in-game settings for optimal performance during play. From the single player menu you can access Free Flight, Career, Challenges, and the Editor." "The Free Flight mode is where I spend most of my time because it allowed me to fly any chopper and lets me explore Seattle and its surrounding areas to my heart’s content. The Single Player Campaign in TOH is where the nuts and bolts of this game exists, while most of the campaign is scripted it will have you flying contract missions that range from Civilian to Government, passenger transport, emergency services to heavy lift operations while flying different helicopters that you can purchase or upgrade as you progress through the campaign." "The choppers in TOH are based on real world helicopters. Take the light version for instance. It is based on the MD500, the Medium chopper is based on the 412 and the Heavy chopper appears to be based on the Sikorsky S-92 and their respective military variants. The exterior models are simply gorgeous and offer a lot of eye candy depending on what model you choose to fly and what I found most impressive was the shadowing both inside and out of each helicopter, as it really brings them to life in the game." "Take On Helicopters far exceeded my expectations when I witnessed how beautiful the game was and how well it ran on my system. I know this review only covers the tip of the iceberg when it comes to TOH, but every time I go to use the game again I find something new. If you like choppers, Seattle Washington, graphically intense games then TOH is for you."
T.16000M Joystick By Thrustmaster. (Feb 14, 2012): Staff reviewer Benjamin van Soldt gets ahold of a new controller with Thrustmaster's T.160000M Joystick. "Finding a left-handed or ambidextrous joystick that is within reasonable price limits proved to be more difficult than though. You might ask yourself why I would you want an ambidextrous or left handed joystick when I am right-handed. The answer is simple: Airbus aircraft. Enter Thrustmaster T.16000M." After going into detail about the overall features and setup of the joystick, Benjamin concludes, "The Thrustmaster T.16000M is a fine joystick. It’s comfortable to hold and use. It registers every move you make and translates it into fine and accurate control inputs. The positions of the buttons are generally okay and seem easy to reach." "While it’s a straightforward process, changing the handedness is a bit of a hassle and may prevent you from actively changing the handedness whenever you want to. I can recommend this joystick to both right-handed and left-handed simmers that are looking to replace their old joystick with some new; something that is 256 times more accurate than what they had before."
Class 67 Advanced & Car Carriers By Just Trains. (Jan 25, 2012): Resident Train Sim reviewer Gene Davis looks at Just Trains' Class 67 Advanced & Car Carriers. "This new package from Just Trains offers up yet another great engine and a set of cars for Train Simulator 2012. This time around you will be in control of the Class 67 Advanced engine hauling everything from freight and passengers to brand new cars using the new car carriers that are included with this add-on." "The package includes six different liveries for the Class 67 Advanced and the IPA Car Carriers that both use ACTIV Train and ACTIV Wagon features and a full sound set. What is ACTIV you ask? ACTIV gives the virtual engineer a more realistic cab environment by allowing more features within the engine and ACTIV wagons add more interactive features to the carriers, such as the ability to load and un-load."
World of Subways 3 - London Underground: The Circle Line By Aerosoft Train World/ TML Studios. (Jan 15, 2012): Senior staff reviewer and RailSim/Railworks enthusiast Gene Davis looks at a famous subway route underneath the city of London England. "The London Underground features over 30 miles of drivable track with reproductions of 35 different stops along the Circle Line route and includes a virtual reproduction of the C Stock train that includes both the cab and passenger areas along with an accurate sound set throughout the entire virtual world of WOS 3 that literally brings the simulation to life." "In WOS 3, sim play is broken down into two different categories. In one you will have the option to Drive to Schedule which will allow you to select from 10 different route options, each with the ability to select time of day and weather conditions. The routes will run from 5 AM until 1  AM making this portion of the game somewhat customizable when it comes to running a train schedule. The other is called Missions and this gives the Subway Driver the ability to select from 10 different missions that include a first time out scenario, to that of dealing with delays caused by an accident on the subway line." "I like this simulation as it is one of the most comprehensive subway simulations yet released from Aerosoft. Its graphics are simply phenomenal and the control and feel from inside the cab gives the user a true to life feel of what it would be like to be at the helm of one of these trains."
Ultimate Airbus A321 Simulation By PerfectFlight. (Dec 17, 2011): Contributing reviewer Ray Marshall takes his A321 on an ultimate experience with Perfect Flight's Ultimate Airbus Simulation. "When was the last time you had a perfect flight in FSX? There is a company in Italy that is hard at work preparing a new batch of FSX add-ons with exactly that in mind. The goal of Perfect Flight has always been offer a realistic aeronautical ambiance, simple to use but fully enjoyable. I think they have certainly achieved their goal with the Ultimate Airbus A321 Simulation." "It comes with all the navigation charts and maps needed for these flights. You determine weather conditions, season, departure date, time, etc. This also has the entire BA fleet for FSX plus the Perfect Flight L-1011 Tristar in old British livery. The missions are similar to the Ultimate Airbus A321 with all the ATC interactions, checklists, speed calls, announcements, etc." "This is most definitely a quality add-on that elevates flight simulation to a whole new level of immersion. Until you personally experience the verbal conversations and the professional level of flight planning with the perfectly timed step by step checklists it is difficult to know what you have been missing. By taking the time to walk through the flight tutorial pages of the user manual along with the choreographed flight plans you will then appreciate what is required to sit in the left seat of one of these modern airliners. With a total choice of 27 full featured missions of varying distance and durations selectively scattered around the world one should not feel bored for some time."
Air Hauler for X-Plane By Just Flight. (Dec 10, 2011): Staff reviewer Ted Gold starts his own freight company using Air Hauler for X-Plane from Just Flight. "Air Hauler guides you through setting up your first company. You can pick any airfield present within your X-Plane installation as a base of operations. The database features extensive filtering including a display of affordable bases - a prime consideration in Career mode with limited starting funds. Your decision process will vary depending on what your plans are and what mode of play you decide to use." "With the current popularity of shows like “Flying Wild Alaska” and “Ice Pilots” and the lack of FSX-style missions within X-Plane this add-on hits the mark, offering a variety of challenges and options to satisfy everyone."
Koeblitzer Mountain Route By Aerosoft Train World. (Dec 3, 2011): Senior staff reviewer and RailSim/Railworks enthusiast Gene Davis looks at a fictional scenery set in Germany with Aerosoft Train World's Koeblitzer Mountain Route. "The route itself incorporates electrified track that covers almost all of the route and it offers both passenger and freight types of service throughout. In total there are 10 different scenarios to choose from and each is as unique as the actual route" "The route offers three different locomotives and a drivable control car from German Railroads. There are over 1000 custom made objects for this route and as you pass through each town or village you will notice that it will have its own unique church and or other custom buildings. The vegetation throughout this add-on is intense and really adds to the entire Koeblitzer experience visually." "The Koeblitzer Mountain route from Aerosoft’s Train-World is simply one of the best routes visually for Train Simulator 2012 and if you enjoy train simulation then you definitely owe yourself this one."
Bristol to Exeter Scenario Pack By Just Trains. (Oct 29, 2011): Senior staff reviewer and train sim enthusiast Gene Davis looks at Just Trains latest add-on, the Bristol to Exeter Scenario Pack. "The Bristol to Exeter Scenario pack is exactly as the title suggests, it is an additional set of scenarios designed to work with Rail Works, the Voyager add-on and the Bristol to Exeter route." "The biggest thing to remember when it comes to scenarios built into a train simulator is that a train’s schedule is what is most important and whether or not that train makes it to its destination on time or not, because ultimately that is what a scenario is for a program like Railworks. So like most of these scenarios, you will find yourself trying to make up time at stops and pushing the train a little faster to pick up some of those lost minutes from being delayed." "If you have already invested in the Voyager and the Bristol to Exeter route then this package becomes a must have."
GeoApr By Flight 1. (Oct 26, 2011): Staff reviewer Mike Cameron adds to his navigational skills with Flight 1's GeoApr. "GeoApr is a utility program that is designed to display airport approach plates while FSX is running. Also, when connected to FSX, the program will show your aircraft’s position on the plate in real time. The program can display PDF, JPG and BMP format files and can optionally convert PDF and BMP files to JPG format." "Some of the other included features are flight record/playback, display FSX waypoint locations, change GeoApr track colors, clear aircraft history trails, regeneration of default FSX scenery geo-reference points & all installed scenery geo-reference points and more." "If you like to regularly fly or practice airport approaches, GeoApr could be a useful program to own. For the most part it is easy to calibrate the downloaded approach plates to FSX and I love being able to see my aircraft displayed on the approach plate in real time."
ATC Simulator 2 By Aerostudios. (Sept 23, 2011): Staff reviewer Marlon Carter stays on the ground while controlling aircraft with Aerostudios' ATCSimulator2. "ATCsimulator 2 allows you to take on the role of an Approach or Departure controller at your choice of over 120 Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities of the United States National Airspace System (NAS), or TRACONs as they are more commonly called. Your goal is to allow for the "safe and expeditious" flow of air traffic." "ATCsimulator®2 was modeled after the ARTS-IIIa radar equipment used at the MMAC in Oklahoma City, Radar Training Facility. All of the dials and switches are simulated with photorealistic quality, and perform all of the functions of their real-life counterpart. Whenever possible, the keyboard functions of the ARTS-IIIa terminal are accessed in the same manner as in real life. There are no fancy shortcuts or Windows GUI interfaces (that do not exist on real ARTS-IIIa equipment) as is found on other so-called simulations...you use the keyboard using the same keystrokes as Real controllers." "ATC2 is jammed packed with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I strongly recommend this to anyone who is interested in ATC or to any aspiring Air Traffic Controllers out there."
Class 153 DMU & Totham By Just Trains. (June 18, 2011): Senior staff reviewer and Rail Sim specialist Gene Davis looks at a combination pack from Just Trains, their Class 153 DMU & Totham route. "You will find yourself at the helm of a complex Class 153 DMU engine and traveling a route that is, in my opinion, one of the best routes available for Railworks 2." "The Class 153 that comes in this add-on has been built from the ground up to match that of its real world diesel counterpart. It incorporates a complex cab with realistic controls and gauges for the virtual engineer and a highly detailed passenger view for those moments where you need to just get out of the cab and watch the world go by. The engine includes accurate lighting both inside and out and features animated doors with external interlock lights along with authentic sound set recorded from the real world Class 153 DMU." "The Totham route is by far one of the best routes I have seen designed for Railworks yet! It incorporates 30 miles of drivable track that includes 13 different passenger stops throughout the entire route along with realistically modeled towns, cities and landmarks. The cities and towns are so intricately modeled and the attention to detail is almost mind-numbing." "The Class 153 and Totham is a fantastic package and is a must have for just about any train sim user as it adds both a complex Engine and a versatile route that will keep you train simulating for hours."
Aspen EFD By Friendly Panels. (April 10, 2011): Senior staff reviewer Bert Pieke looks at a new glass cockpit in his Beechcraft Baron with Friendly Panels' Aspen EFD. "What is particularly interesting about these gauges is that they fit into the existing 3 inch holes in the cockpit panel that are left behind when you rip out the original steam gauges that are typically mounted in a GA aircraft. The installation is straightforward, and indeed, you end up with two new Baron models, one equipped with a Bendix KLN GPS and one equipped with a Garmin 530." "Friendly Panels have done a nice job of modifying the default Baron with not only the new gauges, but also a removable yoke. This makes it easier to see the switches and is a welcome modification. Also, the engine gauges have been replaced with more readable units. Compared to the standard steam gauges, the EFD panel gives you a wealth of information, complete with moving map. The panel also has a GPS (Garmin or KLN) installed, so you can program and follow GPS flight plans."
PMDG MD-11 Training By Angle of Attack. (February 22, 2011): Staff reviewer Marlon Carter goes back to flight school to learn about all of the intricacies of the PMDG MD-11 with Angle of Attack's training program. "These training videos are in a vastly different format to the training previous customers would have been accustomed to. First of all, there is no systems section to the training as all systems are covered during the three (3) featured flights and procedures section. This allows for a more practical approach to learning since you are able to see how it all works in an actual flight setting. Secondly, these videos are beefed up to HD format with stunning video editing with the aid of TrackIR and EZDok. Added to this is the use of FSX as its training platform. Finally, the professionalism of these training videos is highlighted in the detailed use of FSbuild and TOPCAT for the flight planning portions." "These training videos made me reminiscent of my flight training days and it really felt like I was in a classroom or simulator training session with an instructor giving one on one instruction on nearly very aspect of the aircraft. This is truly a valuable training tool to anyone who owns the PMDG MD-11 or anyone who is contemplating whether or not they should purchase this aircraft." "If you were to use the MD-11 training as a basis of what to expect for future products, I for one will be eagerly awaiting the next training series in the pipeline which is the 737 NGX."
Bristol to Exeter By Just Trains. (February 15, 2011): Resident staff train enthusiast Gene Davis looks at Just Trains new route for Railworks/Railworks 2 "Bristol to Exeter". "The route itself features over 85 miles of track that run between Bristol Temple Meads to Exeter St. Thomas in the United Kingdom as well as 14 realistically modeled stations in between those cities, along with the loop at Weston-Super-Mare. "The add-on doesn’t stop there as it also features an extensive list of custom designed buildings and landmarks throughout the entirety of the route. In total there are over 30 different buildings and landmarks that have been beautifully designed to coincide with that of their real world counterparts littered throughout the surrounding scenery." "After having spent a great deal of time with the Bristol to Exeter route one can’t help but fall in love with it and with its attention to detail you can’t help but realize how much work must have gone into this add-on in its overall design. In my opinion this is probably one of the best routes Just Trains have done yet and the fact that it was designed for Rail Works 2 makes it all the better!"
Multi-Switch Panel By Simware/VR Insight. (December 15, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen looks at Simware/VR Insight's Multi-Switch Panel. "The Multi Switch Panel is a compact unit to control any function available from ALL simulators and games capable of handling joystick inputs. A quick look on the panel teaches me that it’s indeed full of push buttons, switches, knobs, sliders and a few other components." "The panel itself looks good, completely made of metal with blue backlight at the front. I tested this VRinsight MS panel primarily with FSX. The only thing you need to do is to calibrate the USB pad and assign keys/commands to it in the same way as you do with other FS hardware. The panel looks good and since it’s easy to calibrate and assign commands to it, it’s a worthy investment."
Garmin GNS 430 By Elite Simulation Solutions. (December 6, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Bert Pieke installs Elite Simulation Solutions' Garmin GNS 430 into his aircraft's dashboard and uses his hands to control the device instead of his mouse. "Elite is well known for their FAA approved simulation solutions which are used in flight training centers, as well as for their custom simulations software that runs on a PC. Less well known is that you can buy home cockpit components from Elite - everything from a complete Bendix-King radio stack, to a single control module, like the G430, and use these with FSX." "Pushing the V-button caused the 430 on the screen to power up and a couple of Enter pushes later, I was in full command. At first, it seemed unnatural to have the G430 screen up on my monitor while the knobs and buttons were off to my right, but it did not take long for this to become second nature. The knobs are really nicely made and feel very professional with just the right amount of resistance and nice clicks for every increment. This is way better than having to position my mouse over the inner or outer knob on the screen and then using the mouse wheel to turn. Entering data with the right knob or selecting radio frequencies with the left knob was now a real pleasure." "All in all, a nice piece of gear! At $549, not exactly inexpensive, but “welcome to the world of real avionics”. As a comparison, a real Garmin GNS430W costs $8,000 new, or about $6,000 refurbished. If you are building a GA home cockpit, you will certainly want to include a Garmin GPS unit of some sort. The Elite G430 fits into a standard radio stack and is manufactured with the mechanical precision that makes it feel like the real thing. In short: a niece peace of gear!"
Mountian Flying in Switzerland By Vertial Simulations. (November 26, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen heads for high ground with Vertical Simulations' Miountain Flying In Switzerland. "Vertical Studios is pleased to announce the launch of their first series of Add-on Missions for Flight Simulator X, Mountain Flying in Switzerland. Designed by FAA certified pilot using actual flight paths, Mountain Flying in Switzerland includes detailed aeronautical charts of each departure, route, and arrival as well as real world voice actors to provide the most realistic flight experience available in FSX. The Add-on Missions also include complete FSX Nav Logs, Flight plans and GPS with programmed waypoints." "The entire round trip takes over 2 hours to complete, but the missions are built as 3 separate parts, with each part lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. Experience all the beautiful scenery, including incredible views of the snow covered Alps and Lake Geneva." "Basically, Mountain Flying in Switzerland is all about missions and what comes with it. Keeping the price of each mission in mind, I can conclude that these Vertical Studios missions are absolutely worth every penny. You’ll have a lot of fun flying these mixed French, Swiss and again French mountains."
Airshow Pilot By Just Flight. (November 6, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen hits the show circuit with Just Flight's Airshow Pilot. "Airshow Pilot is all about aerobatics, and you’ll be testing your skills against other flight sim pilots in competitions around the world. This is against AI competitor’s generated offline on your home PC or against real flight sim competitors who will be flying in the same events throughout the year and comparing their results with yours online.""Don’t expect that within 10 or 20 training hours you’re ready for the real competitions. Even highly experienced flight simmers will confirm this, but see it as a challenge. By the way; real aerobatic pilots didn’t learn these aerobatic figures within 10 hours." "Although the program size is small, it offers you a lot of fun. No, there’s no scenery enhancer program added except for the Hawk T1 airplane. The manual also offers a kind of step-by-step procedure as well as detailed background information of all the symbols used in the Airshow Pilot program. Whenever you’re ready, you can create your own flight events with flight program and if you want, your own population for the air show. Together with those additional programs, comes a Tools manual." "Just Flight’s Airshow Pilot is a great add-on it offers you FUN, FUN and even more FUN! See Airshow Pilot as your new Flight Simulation Challenge!"
GPS 5 By SimWare/VRinsight. (August 26, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen tries not to get lost as she explore SimWare/VRinsight's GPS 5. " This VRinsight electronic unit is a replica of the Garmin GPS 500. It’s the same unit that can be found in default FSX and FS2004 airplanes. With a replica I mean that all the buttons and selector knob functions are 99% the same as the real one." "The GPS-5 housing is completely made of metal and that means it’s heavy. It looks like a Garmin unit although that name is not used. The GPS-5 can only be connected and thus tested with the default FS2004/FSX Cessna 172. Furthermore, once the MSFS Garmin GPS500 is moved to the VRinsight display, it behaves like a normal MSFS software Garmin." "Pressing the buttons or keys on the GPS-5 feels solid with a nice clicking sound and depending on the button/key, an action – logically - can be seen on the screen. Because of the four rubber pads on the bottom of the angled bracket, the display won’t slide when pressing one of the buttons/keys." "The overall package including VAT will cost you €390.00 or approximately US$ 400.00 excluding VAT. I’m pleased with the hardware design although it’s not a 100% replica of the real Garmin GPS500. The buttons/keys are absolutely different as well as the selector knobs. Pressing the buttons/keys gives me a good feeling, which is the same for the inner- and outer selector knobs."
Discover Great Britain

By First Class Simulations. (August 24, 2010):Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen goes on an adventure as she checks out First Class Simulations' Discover Great Britain. "What will it be; a mission, an adventure or just a collection of stretches in and around Great Britain? Let’s say it’s a Britain adventure. It will guide you to every corner in Great Britain. That means the CD offers an airplane, some documentation and a chart how to fly from A to B to C to D and so on." "Apart from the prepared flight legs, it’s worth looking at the FCS Auster airplane. We’re dealing with an old GA type manufactured years ago, but that shouldn’t make any difference. I can tell you that at first instance it’s not bad. The Auster Autocrat comes with a 2D and Virtual Cockpit." "The 2nd part of the software are the sixty six prepared flights. The flight legs of “prepared stretches” guide you to every corner of Great Britain." "Discover Great Britain offers one aircraft with some textures and the sixty-six flight plans. There is no scenery enhancer files, no additional airport scenery files implemented and no new or different clouds models introduced ... nothing of that! The external model looks nice and some parts are very realistic like the rudder, tail wheel, rudder horn, control cables but also the wings, wing tips and nose cowling. The 2D cockpit is simple and offers apart from the pop-up GPS, a radio unit and compass. The Virtual Cockpit is of an average to low quality. The floor, side panels, door ceiling, controls, instruments are slightly better than the default GA airplanes. The sixty-six flight legs are handy but not exceptional."

Playseat By Playseats. (August 15, 2010): Reviews editor Robert Whitwell reports on a Flight Sim/Gaming Chair from Playseats that he saw demonstrated at the 2010 E3 Conference. "When you're going to sit for a long period of time, whether it be during a real life activity or during a sim session, you're going to want a comfortable seat." "Following the easy instruction, which are all pictures and no words and using the tools provided (IKEA comes to mind), I had my Playseat assembled in about 40 minutes. It is made with an extra strong, lightweight, powder coated tubular steel frame with high-tension spring and wire system. The seat will confortably fit up to a 42-inch waist." "The chair can be configured to your personal use during flight operations. Flying with a yoke and throttle control? No problem, use the side wings and centre column. Flying a fighter? Take out the centre column nad use the side wings for your HOTAS set-up. Left handed? Playseat has you covered there as well as you can place your controls on the side of your choice." "The PlaySeat is the best gaming chair I have used to date. Though it is seemingly quite simple in design it has everything you need for simming or general game play. While it won’t fit everyone's budget, it is one of the best choices in my opinion for anyone looking for a multi-functional simming/gaming chair."
Flight Deck 6 By Abacus. (August 14, 2010): Another new staff reviewer makes his debut with Abacus' Flight Deck 6. "this is the newest release in the Flight_Deck series with 4 and 5 being the older generations. This release includes the T-34 turbo Mentor, T-45 Goshawk™, F/A-18C Hornet™, F/A-18E Super Hornet™, EA-6B Prowler, C-2A Greyhound, E-2C Hawkeye, SH-60B Seahawk, and the USS Harry S. Truman CV-45. It also includes great Naval Air Station custom scenery." "The graphics for the aircraft are what you would expect from a gaming package. The cockpits are equipped with just the right amount of avionics and controls to do the job but are lacking in the virtual cockpit arena. The 2D panels are acceptable for their purposes and operate in a manor that coincides with what the aircraft, or system, is doing." "The panels are functional only to a degree. Many of the controls (switches) are not accessible (I.E. switch is there but does nothing when you click it). Many of the tasks can be simplified by programming switches on your joystick. Flight Deck 6 comes with instructions to accomplish this task." "Abacus' Flight Deck 6 is pretty good if you take it for what it is. If you like bombing missions or even head to head aerial combat then this is the game for you. If you are looking for precision, functionality, and “as real as it gets” then you probably will not find what you are looking for here."
Class 20 Collection By Just Trains. (August 13, 2010): Contributing Rail Sim reviewer Gene Davis takes a look at a recent release from Just Trains, the boxed version of the Class 20 Collection. "This software package comes with the Class 20 Diesel Engine, the Rail Head Treatment Train (RHTT) and an FNA Nuclear Flask Carrier. I found this add-on to be rather unique as it is an incredibly versatile package that allows for multiple uses and functions when it comes to railroading, something we really haven’t seen yet for Rail Works. The add-on also come with 12 different scenarios that span just about every default European route in Rail Works, if you own Newcastle to York Modern there are also scenarios included for that package as well and they include duties such as RHTT cleaning." "The Class 20 Engine that comes in this package has been beautifully rendered and accurately models its real world counterpart. The liveries that are included in this package are that of real world engines and are accurate to that of their particular regions where the engine is used. Climbing into the locomotive is also a special treat as its age definitely reflects its design, there are a decent set of gauges, dials and knobs. The design of the cab also allows for it to be controlled either looking forward or backward as it does have functioning controls on both sides of the cab." "There are several different setups for the Rail Head Treatment Train available in the Class 20 Collection. The first, which is the most used, is that of the three tanks with water and the generator car, the other is usually 1 or 2 tanks of water, with a sandite car and a generator. The cars themselves are nicely rendered, though I think they look a little too new and are not weathered in their design; they do have accurate markings and fit well into the Rail Works universe." "The FNA Nuclear Flask Carrier is what it is, it has been nicely designed and is accurate to that of real world carriers in and around Europe. The carrier is highly detailed and features an authentic flashing light on the rear of the carrier. If the car is loaded you will see it with its accurate hazard diamonds markings and if it’s unloaded those diamonds will not be present. The car also has a weathered model and a clean, freshly painted, model." "The Class 20 Collection from Just Trains is simply fun and I strongly recommend it to anyone who uses Rail Simulator or Rail Works. This collection is a unique set of rail content that offers hours of rail simulating."
Discover Europe & Pole To Pole By 1st Class Simulations. (June 3, 2010): Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen takes a look at 2 titles from 1st Class Simulations: Discover Europe and Pole to Pole. "Discover Europe gives you a total of 64 flights stretching the length and breadth of Europe. We visit the northernmost city of Europe at Hammerfest and travel all the way south to Istanbul on the border of Asia. The journey takes us on a clockwise route through Europe, visiting more than 30 countries!" "Pole to Pole software offers in total 52 flights providing in excess of 20,000 miles of flying. The journey starts close to the North Pole and finishes at Palmer Base, deep in the southern polar regions of Antarctica. The entire trip will take approximately 300 hours to complete with the included Aero Commander 680." "Discover Europe comes with the Piper PA-20 Pacer; a simple single engine prop aircraft, christened as G-EURO. It comes with a 2D and Virtual Cockpit, it's a tail dragger type and it offers a simple Auto Pilot, which is not a bad idea for all those legs to fly. As far as I can see some default instruments are used, so it's not entirely handmade. The VC is not of the Carenado quality, but still good enough." "In Pole to Pole, the Aero Commander AC680 comes in two flavors. One for ice skating and one used on a roller coaster. Seriously ... one model offers skis, which allows you to land on ice while the other model is just an ordinary version with a nose and main wheels." "With Discover Europe and Pole to Pole, the software only offers the Piper PA-20 Pacer and the Aero Commander AC680 aircraft and lots of flight plans and different manuals which offer the flight simmer background information on where to fly to, and what he/she can see on the way. Flight plans that helps you fly the prepared Discover Europe tour and the Pole to Pole stretches. No scenery enhancer files are installed, no additional airport scenery is implemented, no new or different clouds models are introduced ... nothing of that! Ok, it's handy to have in total 114 flights available for you, which cover a total distance of more than 30,000 miles, which means months to fly."
Wings Of Prey By Gaijin Entertainment. (April 10, 2010): Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk takes to the skys in his trusty "kite" as he experiences Wings of Prey from Gaijin Entertainment. "Now that Microsoft's Flight Simulator projects have been shuttered, the window of opportunity has opened for other developers to come forward with products for those of us who need our fix of virtual flight. Some of the world's leading flight sim programmers are now working out of Russia. Gaijin Entertainment is a new developer, and they have produced Wings Of Prey, a World War II flying combat sim inspired by the phenomenal IL-2 Sturmovik line of products." ""Wings Of Prey" is the conversion of "Birds Of Prey" to PC, and it features many new improvements over the console version, including improved multiplayer support, multi-core enhanced graphics, and the ability to use a TrackIR for viewpoint." "If you like a lot of shooting action with spectacular graphics, if you wanted to see the major battlefronts of the 1940’s from the air, then you should find a lot to like in Wings Of Prey. The advantage to PC-based Wings Of Prey over Birds Of Prey is that the game has been optimised for more powerful computer processors. As well, Wings Of Prey easily supports high-end controllers, such as a joystick and throttle, rudder pedals, and a TrackIR. For a port-over, Wings Of Prey provides a lot of PC-friendly features." "There are many eye-catching special effects to behold. Light and shadow effects look true to life. Specular highlights are beautifully modelled, and shaders look absolutely striking. Wings Of Prey is one of the prettiest flight sim games on the market. It makes FSX look out of date by comparison, and IL-2 seems positively ancient. This is a fun game, and there are a number of very interesting things to see and do. Multiplayer is easy to set up, whether you want to host your own game or join one in progress. If that's good enough, then we can leave things there."
TCAS By DBS Studios. (January 24, 2010): Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen makes modification to various aircraft panels with the addition of DBS Studio's TCAS (Traffic Alert / Collision Avoidance System). "These systems are referred to as TCAS II (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System) in the United states and ACAS II (Airborne Collision Avoidance System) internationally." Angelique guides you through the installation and adaptation of this instrument in various default and add-on aircraft. Specifically she looks at the installation of this utility in the Cessna 172 SP Skyhawk, The Mooney Bravo with default instrumentation and the Glass Cockpit version, the CRJ700, Capt Sim's 757, the Level-D 767, Wilco's Airbus Vol 2, and the ERJ 135. "Although the DBS TCAS instruments are slightly different from each other depending in which airplane they are fitted or should I say which gauge file is requested, the general idea of this add-on software is to warn you about other traffic and if needed, helping you with what to do." "Looking at this add-on software I must say, when you’re flying mainly with default FS9/FSX airplanes, it’s worth buying it. However, when you only fly add-on planes that are equipped with an integrated TCAS functionality, then there’s no reason for buying this add-on in my opinion. Overall impression: not bad at all and keeping the price in mind and what it’s intended for, I think it’s a useful add-on package."
MFD Cougar Pack

By ThrustMaster. (December 10, 2009): Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen adds some hardware to her cockpit with Thrustmasters MFD Cougar Pack. "The package consist of two MFD frames - let’s call them for now display units – made of plastic although due to the weight and the way it’s designed and casted, you get the impression it’s made of a metal so you’re off to a good start. Each display has its own USB cable, which can be connected to any USB port or hub." "The supplied FSX related cards can be inserted in-between the Plexiglas plates. Via button programming and of course the supplied software, a card can be used in combination with either a “Generic profile”, “Light Aviation profile”, “Airline profile” or “own made”. Own made by the way means you’re able to program special functions and print them on the card itself."

"You have the following choices of profile files:
- Light Aviation profile for Flight Simulator X (or FS9)
This profile is specifically designed to meet the requirements of light and leisure aircraft.
It comprises a basic autopilot feature as well as landing gear and flaps controls, electric systems management features, engine mixture, propeller pitch and engine cooling system controls, etc.
- Airliner profile for Flight Simulator X (or FS9)
While offering a number of features available in the Light Aviation Profile, this profile also accounts for more specific aspects inherent to airliners and professional aviation, while also providing an advanced autopilot feature.
- Generic profile for Flight Simulator X (or FS9)
This profile covers the most frequent requirements for both civil and military aircraft."

"The two MFD Cougar panels suggest that those come from a military airplane and yes, they are mounted in a General Dynamics F-16, but how do they respond in combination with a simulated F-16? Before doing anything, I prepared myself by first inserting the Generic Profile cards in the left and right MFD panels, loaded the Generic Profile via the plug-in for FSX software, fired up FSX and loaded the F-16 Fighting Falcon, ready to go from a American AFB. I can tell you already that the Generic profile isn’t well integrated with this modern piece of simulation. Does this mean nothing works or that the Generic Profile can’t be used in combination with this F-16? No, that’s not true since many other buttons and switches are working." Although the Thrustmaster MFDs don’t offer real TFTs, I still liked the hardware that I reviewed. The software installation is perfect and the integration with the hardware is even more stunning. The Control Panel software allows the user to check and test the individual MFD, including buttons or switches testing. Using the different profiles – Light Aviation, Airliner and Generic – gives, as far as I’ve seen, no problems with the default FSX airplanes. Altogether it’s nice looking hardware and well designed, great backlighting options, great basic software, however I do miss dedicated profiles for the most known add-on aircraft models."

Colton & Northern / Class 60 By Just Trains. (December 6, 2009): Senior staff reviewer and resident TrainSim enthusiast Gene davis looks at 2 new releases from Just Trains, the Colton & Northern route and the Class 60 engine. "The Colton route is based on a route that that may have run between the cities of Westin and Colton in North America some years back. Now, the interesting part of this route is that if you read the designers page and how he came up with this route. No one, including Richard, can really attest to this route’s actual existence. Except for a firsthand account and some stories, this route is pretty elusive even in this modern age." "Climbing into the train on the Colton in Rail Works is quite the adventure because there is a lot to see and do. This package includes over 20 different scenarios and includes over 30 different types of industry to be serviced by your train and includes just about every facet of the train industry. The Just Trains package also includes Rural Landscapes and Scale Roads packs that must be obtained if you buy through the author’s site. Graphically the Colton is simply beautiful as it includes costume designed buildings and scenery objects throughout the entire route that are not default to Rail Works. At one point you will be in the heart of the town and as you make your way out of town the scenery will quickly change to a more rural theme and then eventually you make your way to the coal mine in the surrounding hills." "The Class 60 brings the diesel locomotive to life in Rail Works. You will find a custom sound set that sounds good both inside and out of the cab as well as many different liveries and scenarios that cover most of the default European routes. Employed mainly as a freight hauler, the 60 is still in use today and continues its level of service throughout the world." "As you climb into the cab you will find that it matches its real world counterpart almost to a tee! But that is not all, because all of the gauges function, most of the switches work and some of the dials turn making the 60 totally interactive from the engineers perspective. The levers and switches move in conjunction with the input from the Rail Driver unit so you still are able to observe the control animations from within the cab." "The Colton and Northern is a phenomenal piece of work and if you are into programs like Rail Works, this is definitely a must have for everyone! The Class 60 locomotive is worth having and adds nicely to an already well rounded product."
World War II Online: Battleground Europe By Carnered Rat/Playnet. (November 16, 2009): Staff reviewer Etienne Martin takes a step back from flying and enters the world of Combat Simulation. "Battleground Europe (BE) is a subscription based historical combat simulator for the PC and Mac platforms. It was originally released in June 2001 under the name World War II Online (WWIIOL) and has seen several enhancements over the years. As of this writing, the title has seen 30 releases. The current name is “World War II Online: Battleground Europe”. This article covers version 1.30." "The concept is a massive multiplayer online (MMO) game with a full-fledged multi-unit simulation engine set in the Northern European war theater from 1940 to 1941. The goal is simple: find ever new ways of outsmarting your “real” player opponents, capturing the other side’s terrain using a combination of infantry, ground, air and navy assets, and probably most of all, teamwork. This is accomplished through the use of an impressive selection of no less than ninety six (96) individually modeled air, ground and navy assets appropriate for the period. Each unit type has its own historically accurate weapons, ballistics and damage model tied to a physics model." "Above all, the game requires teamwork and good communication, which is probably where the heart of the experience is. The player community thinks in terms of “squad nights” which are preset times where squad units meet, and each member of the squad assumes unique roles based on their expertise." "BE is not the kind of game you can casually play, and it is not a “whiz-bang shooter”. It falls squarely in the “serious strategy” category, in a narrow historical context to boot. This will likely delight military buffs and the patient player who favors team based tactical play, planning and outsmarting a very smart opponent. It will also do for anyone looking for a good dogfight or tank battle for that matter."
Dash 8-300 Training Edition By Majestic Software. (October 29, 2009): Staff review Marlon Carter heads to the classroom and then into the cockpit for some hands-on training with Majestic Software's Dash 8-300 Training Edition. "Due to its complexity, the developer has created 3 versions of the aircraft. The Pilot edition, the Pro edition and the Training edition." "In this review we will take a closer look at the features of the training edition which is the most advanced of their Dash8-Q300 series and is intended as a training aid for professional pilots and technicians, as well as the CBT system’s familiarization and demonstrations. The training edition is a former AIRLINE edition, which was already in use for some time in the numerous flight schools for pilots and technicians training. This edition provides the full range of failures in every aircraft system using the included instructor station, as well as our new guide on how to utilize the capabilities of this software to prepare for the recurrent pilot proficiency checks. The training edition supports a full hardware enabled cockpit, and can be used to build home cockpits of various complexities from the ground up." After taking the aircraft for a series of checkrides, Marlon conludes, "The Majestic Software Dash8 300 training edition is quite a unique product. Never before have I come across an add-on for any home flight simulator that is so in-depth and practical for real life use. If you ask me, this product has perhaps been grossly underrated. The scenarios that can be created are almost endless and it surely creates some excitement to those uneventful flights when you have a friend cut your engines on final while in IMC conditions. I honestly recommend having this aircraft or its lesser priced versions added to your flight sim hangar."
Flight System G940 By Logitech. (October 13, 2009): Kevin Glover asked if he could contribute a review after he received the Logitech G940 flight control system. Not known for turning down flight sim enthusiasts who wish to contribute, we said sure. Here's what Kevin has to say about his Gold Star Awarded G940 system. "The Logitech G940 is the equivalent of the F-22 in controller circles; bigger, better, and revolutionary. This package comes at you with an extensive list of features and a very sleek physical appearance. In the box you’ll find a quick-start guide, a sheet of decals to apply to buttons, a CD with Logitech’s drivers and profiling software, and the AC power cable. The Logitech Profiler is, in my opinion, a very intuitive program which will allow the user to gain a good deal of versatility from the controller. I must admit that I was rather daunted at the prospect of learning how to use this Profiler and after using the Logitech program, I breathed a silent sigh of relief when I discovered that this program is considerably less complex than other managers." "The pedals - The base of the pedals has two retractable carpet grips, in addition to the rubber grips for slicker surfaces. In my opinion, the pedals themselves are very comfortably sized and I can wear my bulky shoes and still have them fit comfortably on the pedals." "The throttles - Most certainly one of the biggest selling points of this product is the ‘dual throttle’ feature. By means of a small metal rod in the base of the levers, the user can alternately lock or unlock the throttles and thus operate them separately or together. Perhaps one of the more interesting features of the throttle are the eight buttons which are purported to be capable of changing color in relation to such things as gear or flap position in-game." "The joystick - The stick features one POV-switch, a two-stage trigger, a pinkie trigger (intended for the little finger to operate the shift control, but it can really be used for anything), as well as other assorted buttons. Most interestingly, there is an odd little miniature axis, complete with pushbutton, mounted on the top of the joystick above the POV. The joystick is fairly heavy, which is definitely a good thing since extra force is used upon it to overcome the force feedback. The base is rather large and comes equipped with rubber grips to prevent sliding. One rather nice thing about this stick is the addition of three axes on the base of the unit. These are intended to control trim on an aircraft." "the G940 uses something called I-Force technology from Immersion Corporation. I-Force is a pre-coded engine that controls how the joystick responds to stimuli from whatever game you’re playing. As products with I-Force have their own chip dedicated to processing FF commands, it is intended to take some of the load off of the CPU and actual game engine. Additionally, it can coordinate the motors to replicate multiple forces, such as rolling along a dirt strip with wind gusts at the same time." After taking this system for its test run through various flight regimes, Kevin concludes, "I will be one of the first to compare this unit to the Saitek X-52 Pro. The X-52 has had a long and glorious career as one of the pinnacles of the flight simulator world – change, however, is a good and constant thing. My overwhelming feel is that this is truly a quality unit and I feel that I can confidently say that this is the definitive HOTAS or Force Feedback-enabled system available."
Strike Fighter 2 Series By Third Wire. (October 7, 2009): Staff reviewer Peter Clemenko III jumps into the cockpits of various military fighters in a series of releases by Third Wire - Strike Fighters 2, Strike Fighters 2 Vietnam, and Strike Fighters 2 Europe. "Strike Fighters 2 is more based around the Middle East, where the Vietnam title is, you guessed it, based in Vietnam, and Europe is Cold War era Germany. Each one comes with a multitude of aircraft, and a good array of campaigns and weapons." "As far as content goes, with the various products installed, you get plenty of campaigns along with a random mission generator. The biggest issue I had though was there were no pre-set missions, mission editors, or training missions, and no multiplayer. The campaigns are pretty good, however they seem a little repetitive. However, the sim does well to mix up air to ground and air to air ops, even though the missions felt canned." "The AI in this sim seems to be pretty good. I don’t want perfect AI that never makes mistakes as that would just ruin the feeling of it being human. The graphics seem pretty decent, and as such, I enjoyed them. I enjoyed the little details I noticed such as the pilots head pivoting on a swivel in the cockpit from the external view. I also noticed that the cockpits were pretty good, and there were plenty of them, including various cockpits based on numerous versions of the same aircraft. That was a nice little touch." "All in all, Strike Fighters 2 is a breath of fresh air up to a point. There are some major let downs though. The biggest one I can think of is the fact that they pulled the Multiplayer option (which was in the first version), and they didn’t include any training missions."
Rise Of Flight: The Great Air War By neoqb. (September 21, 2009): Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk straps on his "kite" and takes to the air in wood and fabric while exploring Rise of Flight: The Great Air War from Russian developer "neoqb" and distributed by Aerosoft. "In Rise Of Flight you jump into the cockpit of a state-of-the-art fighter craft, or at least what was state of the art in 1918 near the gruesome climax of World War One (WWI)." "Four user-flyable aircraft from 1917-1918 are included in the game, with the option to purchase more. Two aircraft belong to the Allies, while two fly on the German side. Each aircraft is distinctive in terms of looks, sounds, and handling. The aircraft are masterworks of virtual aviation, with realistic paint jobs, detailed cockpits, and beautifully rendered dynamic highlights and shadows. The sense of real flight is phenomenal." "Brutal dogfights dominate the action in Rise Of Flight, as you are plunged into a desperate battle for your life and your country. The war front is never far away, a massive grim by-product of the clash of nations. Although you soar like a bird over the mud and the trenches, your life is only worth the cost of a single well-placed bullet." "There are several ways to fight WWI in Rise Of Flight: as a raw recruit, you can fly a series of engaging training exercises; you can test your mettle in pre-rendered historical missions; you can attempt to survive a dynamic career mode; and you can challenge other human pilots in on-line multiplayer combat. Missions rage from pure dogfights for aerial superiority to suicide runs against well-guarded targets like balloons and aerodromes, to ground assaults against tanks and other vehicles, to the defence of all of the above against a cunning and implacable enemy. The sim looks and sounds absolutely beautiful, and it runs smoothly and without major bugs for most users." "The enemy artificial intelligence (AI) understands the quality of each airplane, and will use their strengths against your weaknesses. They are capable of a wide range of deadly combat manoeuvres. If you master the AI, you can always try your skill against human competition in multiplayer." "Overall, I feel that Rise Of Flight fills a valuable niche in the flight simulator world. There are not very many great new combat flight sims any more, let alone many that are set in WWI. There are parts of Rise OF Flight that truly raise the bar for excellence in flight simulation."
Extreme Bush Trekker By Pacific Islands Simulation. (September 11, 2009): Staff reviewer Etienne Martin takes a light aircraft and heads to the South Pacific to take on several adventures throughout the various islands in Pacific Islands Simulation's Extreme Bush Trekker. "This is the second of two scenery products on Papua New Guinea from Pacific Island Simulation. Extreme Bush Trekker, which adds 15 new destinations, comes with all the trimmings for the aspiring adventure pilot: exotic beaches, remote areas, high altitude short fields, one way takeoff and landings, dirt and grass strips, and a few helicopter pads and float plane docks." "The locations in the scenery make for a variety of exotic destinations from coastline and island strips to rugged mountain slopes – in fact quite similar to Lukla in Nepal, except with more opportunities for unwanted collisions. Fortunately, in addition to the mostly unpaved strips, we also get platforms for helicopters and if the locale happens to be near water, you’ll also find a place or two to dock your amphibian. The product recreates huts, small houses, smoking chimneys, aircraft undergoing repair, palm trees and other tropical plants dotted around the landscape near each landing strip." "Extreme Bush Trekker makes good use of sound to add to the ambiance. The scenery contains several “nature” sounds from birds to gurgles in the rapids to whales hissing. Most of those are hard to hear when your engines are on, so the feature is best enjoyed when parked somewhere." "Extreme Bush Trekker takes us to a wondrous area of the world that combines high mountain ranges and lush tropical islands, and one that definitely fits the adventure motif. This product comes with numerous visual rewards. Nearly all the approaches involved here are very difficult, especially if the weather does not cooperate. If you find it fun to land on narrow postage stamps in an exotic setting, this product is for you. Extreme Bush Trekker delivers high difficulty that is sure to challenge your flight skills."
African Airstrip Adventures By Aerosoft. (August 27, 2009): Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury takes off on an African Aistrip Adventure, an FSX mission expansion pack from Aerosoft. "There’s a lot of scenic detail in the package, much of it animated, and although at first I struggled to find a position for the sliders in FSX to get the best out of it, with a bit of playing around, I found that you can have it looking pretty and smoothe." "You get 40,000 square kilometers of realistic Kenyan scenery in the area north of Nairobi, centered around Mount Kenya. This features over twenty airstrips, ranging from large military bases to hair-raising tiny strips carved out of the scrublands and marked out with conveniently placed fifty-five gallon oil drums. And you should be aware that although they mostly have an NDB to locate them (not all of them do), some of those airfields are damn tricky to land on even if you are a seasoned bush flyer, with undulating runway surfaces and potential hazards such potholes, ditches and even wild animals wandering around them. If you fancy yourself a hotshot pilot, this will definitely be up your street. But there’s a lot more to the scenery than that." "In addition to that large chunk of scenery, you’ll also find a host of other terrain features, such as safari lodges small townships and native villages, and these are extremely well modeled. What is more, the entire place is populated with thousands of animated creatures, from pink flamingoes to giraffes, elephants, leopards, lions, rhinos, zebras – you name it, with many birds flying around the place as well. There are signs at most of the airfields you can find, warning of the dangers when the animals are present, and they are not kidding, this is a wild place!" "What African Airstrip Adventures does is create an open-ended career in FSX where you can happily fly one ‘mission’ for hours on end, with new tasks cropping up all the time over the radio via the dispatcher’s calls, allowing you to earn money, reputation (and lose it), struggle with aircraft maintenance problems, choose different aircraft to fly, and experience all manner of challenges. You really do have to stay on top of things too. The various flights you make, such as picking up some passengers and flying them to an airstrip, or picking up some cargo and making multiple drops, are often time critical, and since you have to refuel and keep on top of maintenance, it’s not as simple as it might sound." "I could go on at great length about African Airstrip Adventures, but it really doesn’t need me to do that. That’s because as a concept it is not complex, but that simplicity really belies just how enjoyable it is. What you get here is a reason to indulge in plenty of genuine seat of the pants flying over wonderful varied terrain, with excellent animated wildlife all over the place that is smart enough to be in believable locations, coupled with great airstrip scenery which offers really challenging landings." "Air America might not have won any Oscars, but African Airstrip Adventures is certainly worthy of one. It’s a simple concept, but the simplest ideas are usually the best. And put in a similarly simple fashion; it’s great fun."
Air Hauler By Just Flight. (July 17, 2009): Avsim reviewer Proflig8tor goes into the cargo business for himself as he checks out Just Flight's Air Hauler. "Have you ever thought, “it would be neat to be financially rewarded for doing a good job in Flight Simulator, to have something more than another 0.8 in the logbook to show for your work?” If so, running your own cargo operation in AirHauler might be just what you are looking for." "The set up and creation of your Company is straightforward with the ability to customize your Flight Sim version, Company name and your Chief Pilot. You then select the difficulty level from amongst Easy, Hard, or Career Mode. Career mode is the most challenging scenario. You can even choose to use real world weather and oil prices. Then you must choose a base to begin operations." "Air Hauler is very much a real time affair which relies on a link between it and your Flight Simulator using FSUIPC. The link is very stable and works very well, sometimes too well. AirHauler is a product that enhances Flight Simulator by making your Sim flying more meaningful. If you like point to point flying in airliners and enjoy real world weather and operations, you will have a ball in AirHauler. You will want to pick aircraft for use in AirHauler that are both easy to fly, and fly well without intense monitoring. The Beechcraft Baron, B200 and Cessna Caravan work well." "Overall the program is remarkably stable given the potential for problems running an add-on program plus third party aircraft with add-on panels within Flight Simulator. I’ve not experienced a single frozen screen or crash to desktop while using AirHauler. AirHauler’s developer built the sim that he wanted to play. It is a very well done effort that has resonated amongst many Flight Simulator users and which gives real promise to the continued growth of the genre. The program is easy and fun to use." "I consider it a must try at its reasonable price, particularly if you ever harbored any thoughts of being a freight dawg pilot. Air Hauler is on its way to becoming a classic in the Flight Sim community."
Vehicle Simulator By Quality Simulations. (July 9, 2009): Staff reviewer Peter Clemenko III sims outside the box and looks at Vehicle Simulator from Quality Simulations. "Vehicle Simulator is a combination of the Micro Flight and the Virtual Sailor simulators. It is a simulator that covers land, sea, and air." "Most of the vehicles are simplistic. While they look decent and handle well, there isn’t much in the way of avionics. Usually with the default vehicles it’s no more than four or five switches in the cockpit. According to Ilan (the developer), more detailed avionics simulations is possible. The vehicles are more of a taste of what it can do handling wise, rather than avionics wise." "There are volumetric clouds, caustics, and all kinds of things. One of my favorite views was driving a submarine just submerged and looking at the light rays in the water shining down, and then seeing fish swim by. You can add animals to the area, which is nice to see, however it seems they really aren’t there for anything more but looks." Peter includes an interview with Ilan about Vehicle Simulation and concludes, "This is a remarkable piece of work, and includes so many different elements of simulation; it’s amazing this is only done by an independent developer. With the pure potential this has, I can imagine some very highly detailed vehicles in this simulator's future."
Trainz 2009 By Auran. (June 23, 2009): Resident rail guru Gene Davis takes a look at Auran's new Rail Sim, Trainz 2009. "The box says that there are over a million copies sold and is adorned with a modern diesel engine on the cover and on the back, it goes into further detail about how the new version of Trainz offers more terrain and texture detail, higher resolution graphics, a new content manager and how it includes over 13,000 rail related items in one single package." "In total there are 39 different routes to choose from along with multiple sessions for each. As I progressed through the different routes and explored some of them I found that many of the routes and their associated sessions are all in the language they were designed in." "The first route I decided to try was that of the City and Country USA and found that particular route to be interesting because you are traversing over desert, then to desert mountainous, continuing on to that of urban terrain. The second route that I thought I would give some time to was that of the Dresden to Nuremberg route. My favorite route from the previous Trainz release was that of the Iberia Line as it offers a long and well traveled route that does take some time to traverse, and the good news is the session orders are mostly in English." "The plus side of Trainz 2009 is that you can drive just about any type of train; whether it’s Steam, Diesel, Electric or even MAGLEV. They are all there for you to drive. There are a lot of different trains available in Trainz 2009 and odds are if it exists in the real world it will be available to drive in Trainz. The biggest change in 2009 is the addition of the high resolution textures and the increased resolution." "I had some really high expectations, but with Railworks on the horizon, Trainz 2009 would have to offer a lot. From what I can tell, those expectations were only halfway met! If you really enjoy train simulation and are a fan of the Trainz product line, then you will probably want to get Trainz 2009. Functionality wise though, there is a big difference and I have to say that Trainz wins out overall on things like animations, especially when it comes to loading a train and how much more involved and realistic it is. This is where the Trainz product line shines!"
Voyager, Isle of Wight & Class 66 By Just Trains. (June 14, 2009): Senior contribnuting reviewer Gene Davis, our resident train buff, looks at 3 new releases from Just Trains. The Isle of Wight, Class 66 and Voyager add-ons for Rail Simulator. "The best part of using a sim like Rail Simulator is that you get to visit places far away, journey through time and or build an entire world to explore. With these 3 title, you will explore three different era’s of rail." "The Isle of Wight is a popular vacation spot for British citizens and the Island itself sits off the southern coast of the United Kingdom inside the English Channel and can be visited either by plane or boat. But, from what I have seen in this add-on the best way to see the island is taking a boat or ferry from the mainland to Ryde Pier Head Railway Station that sits off the north eastern side of the island near the town of Ryde and riding a train onto the island. The diversity of rolling stock is where this add-on gets interesting, not only do you get rail lines that span almost the whole eastern half of the island, but you will have your choice of either a Class 483 Electric Engine/ Passenger car, or a Kitchener Class 0-4-OST “Invincible” steam engine. The island itself has been built around the railway in this add-on, no matter where you are at along the rail line there will be accurate scenery objects and buildings." "The Class 66 offers the user a chance to try out one of the more popular freight haulers in the United Kingdom. The package offers a full set of Class 66 engines in 6 different paint jobs along with an ultra-realistic soundest that brings out the look and feel of these engines. The engine itself is visually stunning and it doesn’t stop outside the engine either. Inside there is an equally detailed cab that allows the user to operate the train from within the cab rather than a keyboard. The 66 is available via any European route that came default with Rail Simulator, once the product is installed there will be activities in each that are specific to this train. In total there are 7 different activities/ missions that the user can use to challenge his or her train operating skill." "Voyager comes with two different versions, the 220 and the other is the 221. The 220 comes packed with four different styles of rolling stock and the 221 comes with 5. Each cabin car has been accurately designed and modeled after that of their real world counterparts and it is kind of interesting to see the differences between standard and 1st class. The Voyager is beautifully rendered both inside and out, but where it impresses me the most is its interior views from both the passenger’s perspective and that of the engineers. The Cab is nicely done and most of the controls from within the cab all work. The sound for the Voyager is nicely done and is exceptional from within the cab." "What I like about Rail Simulator add-ons is the fact that you can use the stock and some of the scenery objects in your own user created routes and activities, this really goes to extending the life of the add-on within the sim by allowing the user to create and explore using his or hers imagination as a guide."
Train Add-ons Galore By Just Trains. (June 5, 2009): Senior contributing reviewer Gene Davis expands on his experiences with Rail Simulator with a look at 4 Rail Simulator add-ons from Just Trains. Rascal & Cottonwood is a fictional representation of a coal carrying branch line in North America and runs about 20 miles through the town of Tri-City, onto the Cottonwood Foundry and to the actual coal mine itself. Cargo Wagon IWB and Flat IGA Plus Pack have been designed specifically for use in Rail Simulator. The IWB and the Flat IGA are two incredibly detailed rail cars that come packed with real world liveries and full sets of scenarios for each car. RS Plus Pack Combo - Pack 1 gives the Rail Sim user a sound makeover for the HST125, VP185, HST 125 MTU, and the Class 47. Along with the sound upgrade, you also get nine new scenarios that exist in the Oxford to Paddington route. First time out in the Class 47 was a whole new experience for me as the sound added a much more authentic aural feel to the entire engine! This carries over to the other engines as well and I have to say that it really brings the Rail Experience to life in Rail Simulator. It is products like these sold by Just Trains that make rail simming much more enjoyable and these four products alone have given me more hours of enjoyment with Rail Simulator and I recommend them to anyone that is interested in this mode of simulation!
Multi Crew Experience By F++ Simulations. (April 15, 2009): Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury passes off some of the routine cockpit duties to his co-pilot with Multi Crew Experience. "Voice-control computer applications are great when they work. Trouble is, they have a long history of not doing that very well at all. Thus it was with no small degree of hope that I installed Multi Crew Experience onto my hard drive; it being the latest stab at this tricky proposition. This time by it's developer FS++ Simulations." "Needless to say, you’ll need some sort of microphone with full duplex sound capabilities (i.e. the ability to record and play sounds at the same time) and a good quality noise-canceling headset with a boom mike is obviously going to be a plus point for performance. Here’s the clever part though; instead of getting you to read ‘Mary had a little lamb’, or something equally irrelevant in order to calibrate your microphone and teach the software to recognize your voice, you read out a tutorial for the product. While you read, your mike calibrates. So you actually kill two birds with one stone when setting things up." "I imagine that, like me, you’ve probably assumed the name Multi Crew Experience refers to the product attempting to emulate having multiple crew members on board your virtual aircraft that you can talk to. And you’re right, that’s certainly part of it.Multi Crew Experience can do a vast number of things, and I do mean vast. (See review for a detailed list). As impressive as being able to chat to your co-pilot and give him commands is, you’ll find it is by no means Multi Crew Experience’s only party trick, more like an overture to a huge repertoire." "One of the best and most useful features is that you can control and respond to the default FS air traffic control via voice with Multi Crew Experience, but perhaps more importantly, there is the option to allow the co-pilot to handle ATC communications if you get too busy. This feature in particular, is especially useful if you are not great on correct nomenclature and phraseology for talking to ATC, because Multi Crew Experience can effectively teach you how to do all that." This extensive, detailed review goes into all (well almost all) of the features of Multi Crew Experience. Alan says, "only a fool would deny that Multi Crew Experience clearly owes a lot to the trail which products such as Vox ATC and FSHotseat have blazed before it, and, of course, the pioneering work which Microsoft have done as far as voice recognition goes. But inasmuch as those have illuminated the way forward, Multi Crew Experience has picked up the torch and run with it. If you go to the FS++ Simulations website to try the demo of this product, don’t go there out of idle curiosity. Because you will want to buy it once you’ve tried it, that I can promise you. Recommended? Damn straight it is."
Aviation & Mission By Wilco Publication. (April 7, 2009): Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury climbs aboard his PIC 737 and flies various missions and profiles with Wilco Publishing's Aviation and Mission. "Wouldn’t it be great to have a mentor in the cockpit with you, helping you to learn how to do things properly as you conduct your airliner flight? Wilco Publishing thought that too, and so that’s exactly what they have created, but with a bit of a twist…" "Aviation and Mission is a pretty bold attempt at creating a product which does more than one thing; a combination of on-the-job airline training and thrilling adventure. There was a real risk that it could have fallen between two stools by having too broad a focus, but fortunately, that’s not the case. It remains perfectly poised between the two, which I think is a remarkable achievement." "Because of this, many people will discover at least one, and probably several reasons to like it. Inexperienced PIC 737 users will find it immensely helpful in increasing their familiarity with the aircraft’s systems, yet there’s enough of a challenge in there for users who already know all that stuff, so its appeal is not limited to newcomers." "The notion of having to complete the missions in order to even get hold of, let alone attempt, more challenging aspects of it also provides an excellent spur to improve one’s understanding of the PIC 737 and the operation of other aircraft too. But most of all, it’s just damn good fun. This planned series will definitely be one to watch, and while you’re watching, if you have the PIC 737, why not give Aviation and Mission a try? I think you’ll like it."
Around The World In 80 Flights By First Class Simulations. (March 5, 2009): Staff reviewer Alan Bradbury goes Around The World In 80 Flights with First Class Simulations product of the same name. "Around the World in 80 Flights eh? Now there's a challenge. In fact, there’s 400 hours worth of challenges courtesy of this FSX/FS2004 add-on package. You get to go completely around the Flight Simulator world, visiting 112 countries en-route, as you complete a 35,000 mile trip; and in a piston-engine 1930s-era Lockheed Electra." "As a concept, Aound The World In 80 Flights is as vast as your own imagination, and that for me, is what makes it such a thrilling title; it’s the tool with which to create your own epic airborne adventure, which is something that appeals to me as much as aviation itself does." "Without giving too much away, as you progress on your orbit of the Earth, you’ll find yourself over cities, vast seas, mountains and deserts; you’ll land at large high altitude airports where your engines struggle to keep you in the air, glacial airstrips in the frozen wastelands where your touchdown is critical on runways that seem too short for even your small aircraft. You’ll see the Pyramids in Egypt, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the vast tracts of Central Africa, the Himalayas as you skirt Pakistan, you’ll cross South East Asia, the Pacific, Australia, island paradises in the middle of oceans, the Grand Canyon and all the major famous sights on the North American continent, before eventually heading out across the north Atlantic and skirting the Arctic Circle, where you might get a glimpse of the Northern Lights if you are lucky (yes, they are present in both FS2004 and FSX). From there you’ll come down through Scandinavia and on to Germany and the heartland of Europe, before heading back to the British Isles, where you’ll pay a visit to my local airport at Manchester on the penultimate flight, before finally heading back to Farnborough where you started out. "Around the World in 80 Flights will take you to places in FS that you might otherwise never have thought to fly over or land at, and there’s a lot to see in that crazy mixed-up virtual world. If you want to write your own story about a flight around the globe, I don’t think you’ll find a better soundtrack for it than the one those two big old radial engines will provide. I also recommend you get hold of a nice map of the world on which to track your progress, it adds a lot to the fun of this title."
I Am An Air Traffic Controller 3 - Tokyo Bigwing By TechnoBrain. (February 20, 2009): Senior contributing reviewer Gene Davis takes a look at Air Traffic Control in a completely different light with Techno Brain's "I am an Air Traffic Controller 3 - Tokyo Bigwing". "Every now and then there is a new program that just jumps off your computer screen and screams play me!" "Tokyo Bigwing I am an Air Controller 3 creates a beautifully rendered version of Tokyo International Airport along with all sorts of different types of aircraft. The graphics are some of the best I have seen in this type of simulation, as it totally immerses the player into the operation of the airport by allowing him or her to see and hear everything from just about every perspective." "The game comes with 6 stages of playability, all from within the control tower of Tokyo International. Each level, or stage as they call it, is much more complex than the previous and as you progress through each stage, you will definitely need to keep a level head and be mindful of your actions, otherwise your career as an air traffic controller will come to an abrupt end." "Tokyo Bigwing was definitely a fresh and new approach to the ATC simulator set, it offers a different style of game play that is often fun and insanely fast paced! I have to say, Tokyo Bigwing has remained on my PC."
Traffic X By Just Flight. (January 21, 2009): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis adds to his AI sim world with Just Flight's Traffic X. "Traffic X includes worldwide AI coverage all in one little package. With it you will have access to over 80 different airplane models with over 1700 different liveries and variants. Besides including Commercial Aviation traffic, there is also General Aviation traffic, helicopter traffic and military traffic that is region specific to each individual aircraft, airplane and helicopter. Every aircraft that is included with Traffic X has been created to make full use of the FSX graphics engine." "Traffic X offers the user several options when in Flight Simulator for enjoying the AI aircraft. The first is a tower that comes in several different models and functions, like an aircraft that can be placed at any airport using the slew commands; it does include a working radar and NAV screen. Traffic X also includes a couple of vehicles, a follow me car and a pushback vehicle that will allow you to tour the airports jetways and get up close and personal with the AI. Finally, there is Spotty and this is that guy that stands outside the fence of just about every airport armed with his camera and binoculars." "Traffic X, for me, was a must have and it is a definite favorite of mine. Its overall ease of use and wide array of aircraft makes this product one of the more versatile AI products."
Steel Fury By Lighthouse Interactive. (December 13, 2008): AVSIM seems to be standing for "All Vehicle SIM", according to one staff member. In that light, staff reviewer Etienne Martin takes a look at a new WWII Tank sim from Lighthouse Interactive called Steel Fury - Kharkov 1942. "Steel Fury may signal what seems to be a return of the detailed combat simulation genre that had been all but abandoned in the last decade." "It sends us back to a few days in May of 1942 on the Eastern Front of the European ground war, with Russian launching an offensive against the Axis 6th Army forces in a battle near Kharkov and Krasnograd in the Ukraine. In Steel Fury, you get to be one of several crew members on a small selection of Allied or Axis tanks. The few player models are the T-34, the Panzer IV, and the A-12 Matilda II." "Mission maps are large and the terrain is rich with visuals. The base terrain has rivers, ponds, ditches, dirt paths and paved roads, mud, plowed fields, medium and heavy forest, a few rocks, etc. The flora includes various types of grasses, flowers, bushes and trees. Water is reasonably convincing, and it is possible to cross water features when they are shallow without sinking your tank. Structures blend well with the terrain, and include fences, posts, wood sheds, various types of houses and other structures. These includes obstacles for the tanks and infantry, such as pillboxes, barbed wire, foxholes, trenches and anti-tank gators." "Visual effects abound, from bump mapping on the armor plates, to particles of dirt that fly around your tracks as you move or turn. Clouds of dust come up depending on what terrain you’re on, which can give your position away. Being on the receiving end of shells is dramatic as a mountain of debris gets launched on impact. One Axis mission in the preview has you take a hill; as you approach, the crest of the hill in front of you starts to get pelted by enemy shells sending smoke, dirt, debris and the occasional infantryman in the air." "Controls for the various functions rely on a smorgasbord of keyboard commands (4 pages worth). There are remarkably very few points of interaction with the mouse except for giving the driver waypoints by clicking on the terrain (an interesting and convenient way for the commander to tell the rest of the crew where to go), aiming the main gun or machine guns, and expectedly, complete interaction with the map. Learning the keyboard commands is a challenge. Joystick input is available." "Steel Fury delivers a deluge of clanks, squeaks, engine noises, gun loading and track noise when the tank is in operation. Firing the gun is loud. Getting hit is loudest. Sounds of battle in the distance are very good, with low rumbles and distant explosions letting you know where the action is, getting progressively louder as you near." Etienne sums up Steel Fury with, "The handful of missions I experienced provided give a good taste of what the sim can deliver. The visuals are stunning, as is the detailed level of the equipment as depicted. While a bit short on training, Steel Fury shows it can viscerally drive home the reality of armored combat of the era. The level of detail for a tank simulation is high, and it carries a steep learning curve. Combat is very realistic. The fact the statistics show exactly what happened indicates the core damage model under the hood is quite sophisticated. This makes for an interesting sim, even if there are some gaps here and there, yet much depth exists with many options using the wonderful terrain to try different tactics."
PMDG 747 Instructional DVD By Angle of Attack. (November 7, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Angelique van Campen goes back to school and learns the ins and outs of the PMDG 747 with Angle of Attack's Instructional DVD's. "FlyAoAMedia, developer of this Angle of Attack DVD package, offers you a highly educational DVD package that brings your PMDG 747-400 knowledge to a new and higher standard." "This 3 disk DVD set instructs you on the Systems, Procedures and Flight aspects of PMDG's 747. In principle, each DVD can be used without having the PMDG 747. But these DVD's will help you learn everything about being the owner of this title." "Angle of Attack's Instructional 747 Training DVD's doesn’t come with paper or digital manuals but instead it comes with three DVD’s full of useful information. DVD 1 covers more or less the most important aircraft systems. DVD 2 comes with important procedures needed for any flight to get this Queen successfully in the air (take offs) and back on the ground (approaches). Finally DVD 3 covers, in detail, a complete North Atlantic flight." Check out this review and see if these DVD's will help you get that real world job as a 747 Captain.
Tower Simulator By Wilco Publishing. (October 4, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis takes on the role of an air traffic controller as he secludes himself with Wilco Publishing's Tower Simulator. "Tower Simulator comes with 5 different airports and a long list of air traffic ranging from commercial airliners to general aviation aircraft, as well as realistic airline schedules to each of the 5 different airports. The five airports that are included in the Tower Simulator game are: Orange County (KSNA); Chicago O’ Hare (KORD); Princess Juliana (TNCM); Paris Charles de Gaulle (LFPG); and finally Munich (EDDM). Each controller is graded on his or her performance and how well he or she handles certain types of situations after each scenario has ended. Weather can be set prior to each session, as well as the time of day and the number of runways one wants to handle during one setting." "Upon booting up Tower Simulator I found myself at an old favorite and that was TNCM, and what I first saw was really disappointing. The graphics looking out onto the landscape looked pre-FS9. It was choppy and did not really reflect the beauty of TNCM, at least the beauty that I have come to expect and see often in FSX, or FS9 for that matter! The next step is learning the displays and what each one accomplishes. The first is the ATC window that displays the aircraft in your specific area in flight, the other is a display that shows a diagram of the airport and the third shows the a tape board that illustrates the arriving and departing aircraft and the relevant flight information for each. The other display is actually the control menu, or text command window as I like to call it, and this is where you will spend most of your time!" "A couple of weeks after doing the above, it was all I could do to even want to get back into Tower Simulator. Tower Simulator had a savior for me though and that was in the form of Voice Buddy. After reading a blurb somewhere about how Voice Buddy would work with Tower Simulator, I found myself on the Voice Buddy Site and downloading the newest version of that particular add-on. I spent a great deal of time trying to make Voice Buddy and Tower Simulator work together and at one point I even went back through the Voice Training just to see if I missed something." "For a product like this you need something to pull you in and usually it is something like sound that does this. At each location you do have audible environment sounds like cars, birds and ocean, but what is the real catcher, is the sound of the planes landing and taking off. There really should have been more emphasis in the sound department on each individual aircraft, especially the big jets." "I think the hard core ATC simmers will get past the text commands and will find some enjoyment out of it and see it for what it is. But for the amateur or casual simmer that wants to try something a little different, I think he or she will find themselves in the same boat as I am and on the fence about how he or she feels about Tower Simulator. But the biggest factor has to be that of patience. Learn it, use it and then make a decision."
Mission: WWI Dogfight By Abacus. (June 25, 2008): Staff reviewer Robert Mariani goes back to the Great War to fly missions in aircraft that have 2 and 3 sets of wings with Abacus' Mission: WWI Dogfight. "ABACUS has released several missions so far, with some of the more creative ideas we have seen. Now their creativity has reached another milestone and they have added the combat aspect to the civilian sim. These Pups and Fokkers have real guns and the user gets to shoot-'em-up in order to complete the goals of eight missions." "There are eight full-length missions that require you to complete the goals in order to achieve the rewards. In addition, there are also eight quick action missions that give no rewards and offer plenty of quick and dirty shoot-‘em-up experiences. Some of the full-length mission have several goals and get progressively harder. Included in those eight full length missions are two ground combat affairs in which you will be driving a tank and shoot at other tanks...yes in a flight simulator!" "As a part of the package, you will get several WWI era airplanes in multiple liveries, and the best part is that if you are still frequently using FS9, they will work like a charm there. No, you will not be getting the guns and bombs in either FS9 or FSX free flight, but you will at least have a chance to fly some old classic bi-wing and even the tri-wing designs without fear of being shot at. All of the airplanes have virtual cockpits, and so does the blimp – sorry – Zeppelin. Standard moving surfaces are present, such as rudder, ailerons, and elevators and there are no lights, which again is true to the era when these planes graced the skies." "It is hard for me to say how realistic these plane's air files are, but I can tell you that the take-off roll is very short and that on some of them it is quite easy to overspeed in level flight. Landing or even taking off with any wind can be quite an affair, and you will struggle to keep the biplanes on their main wheels even with some fancy footwork." Wrapping up his aerial dual in Abacus' Mission: WWI Dogfight, Robert says, "if you just have to be shooting to enjoy flying occasionally, and have the significant computer power to support it, you might as well give it a try. Don't forget that you will get five new airplanes for both FS9 and FSX included in the package and some challenging missions to keep you busy for a while." see in another package. So, if you are into FSX missions I highly recommend this product."
Rescue Pilot By Just Flight. (May 22, 2008): Staff reviewer Jon Murchison comes to the rescue to aid those in distress in Just Flight's Rescue Pilot, a mission add-on package for FSX. "In recent months we have started to see fully developed mission add-ons coming out covering all manner of events and times in our history. Rescue Pilot is the first from Just Flight, and places you in the action front and centre flying a number of sorties in a range of aircraft across 12 missions." "Of the 12 missions available, each one utilizes one of the default FSX aircraft types, these being the Bell Jet Ranger, Cessna C172, King Air and the Learjet. The missions range in difficulty from beginner through to advanced, so you can build up experience as you go. In general terms, the missions cover a good variety of situations from search and rescue over land and sea, airlift rescues from precarious places like mountains and ice lakes, or long range transportation to hospitals or larger metro areas." "The area the majority of the Rescue Pilot missions cover is limited to a few hundred square km’s in Wales and England. You are based at the former RAF Llandwrog, now known as Caernarfon Airport (EGCK), a small facility sitting on the western coast operating mainly GA aircraft. Just Flight have provided detailed scenery for this airport that captures the spirit of the facilities rather than presenting itself as a duplicate of its real world counterpart." "All of the missions in Rescue Pilot have sound sets unique to the mission being flown. I was also quite impressed with the ambient sounds whenever I landed at an emergency site. Inevitably as soon as the crew opened the door, I was met with wailing sirens making some of the locations quite frantic visually and auditory. Every time my crew jumped back in, I heard the reassuring thump of the door closing as well. Nice touch this, adding depth to the environment." Jon concludes his busy day as a Rescue Pilot with, "In my view FSX missions add depth to the flightsim experience and can be a great tool for learning and showing off the flightsim world. In this package, I think Just Flight have shown some of what can be achieved. Many aspects of this add-on are innovative and immerse the user in a world of rescue flying that I have yet to see in another package. So, if you are into FSX missions I highly recommend this product."
Rail Simulator By EA, Expansion by JustTrains. (May 20, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis lets go of the yoke and grabs a throttle of a different kind as he climbs into the cab of a railway engine and reviews Rail Simulator and its add-on. "You might as well call Kujo’s Rail Simulator, Train Simulator 2 as the folks at Kujo are the ones that brought us the original Train Simulator from Microsoft." "No matter where you choose to go in the Rail Simulator world there are different types of trains and content that accompany them. In total, there are nine different engines to choose from and they are; the 7F 280 Locomotive, Black 5 460 Locomotive, BR294 Shunter, DB BR101 Express, Class 166 DMU, A High Speed Train, A Rail Freight Class 47, ES 44AC Locomotive, the SD-40 and the ES 44AC locomotive. Each individual engine was meticulously designed to match that of its real world counterpart thus giving the user a very authenticate feel either when looking in or outside the train." "Included with the US version are four different routes, 3 European and 1 US Route. The included routes are Oxford to Paddington, Bath Green Park to Templecombe, Hagen to Siegan, and finally Barstow to Sand Bernardino. Each route is created as close to the actual route as the sim will allow, towns are historically accurate as are the roads and farmlands that encompass each area. In total there is over a 1000 miles of track between all four routes, thus offering long-term playability with each." "Reality is the name of the game in Rail Sim, controlling your train in any mode except expert is really just a waste of time. Because I have the Rail Driver unit, controlling each individual train is relatively easy. But for those without it, you can use either the keyboard or the mouse. If you choose to use a mouse, you will be pleasantly surprised that everything in the cab is clickable, thus allowing very little keyboard usage." "I have to tell you, I do not think I have spent half as much time as I have with the routes then with the World Editor. This program adds so much to this program that I just cannot express it in words. Building and object placement is relatively easy, and with the list of objects to choose from, the worlds you can create are almost endless." Gene sums up his Rail Sim experience with, "If you have not guessed I like Rail Simulator a lot. It has subsequently replaced all of my other train simulations. I think Rail Simulator will be a must have for any rail nut, you just cannot go wrong getting this sim."
Raildriver By P.I.Engineering. (May 8, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis travels IFR, I Follow Rails, as he looks at P.I. Engineering's Raildriver in concert with Microsoft's Train Simulator and a few add-ons. "A controller designed specifically for the use with train simulation. "How cool could this be?" I thought." "The Raildriver unit looks a lot bigger in its pictures than it actually is, as it is only a little over half the length of a keyboard. That is probably a good thing though because it doesn’t end up taking a lot of desk space and can be tucked away neatly when not used. The unit is shipped with instructions and a drivers disc that includes drivers for Microsoft Train Simulator and the Trainz series along with a couple other train sims that are quite a few years old." "Setting up the unit is easy. Simply plug in the USB cable into a USB port and install the necessary drivers. There is also a DC plug that drives the sound amplifier built into the unit and if you want to use it you must divert your main sound line into the unit and then run a second line to your sound system. Once the product drivers are installed, you will need to configure the unit for whatever sim you are going to use it with. This is just like setting up a joystick and takes about 10-15 minutes. The good news is once it is done, it is done." Gene's review guides us through his trips through Switzerland and Germany using the Raildriver. "The realization is this, MSTS is old but it is good and offers a lot of replay ability with each new route that is released for it, especially with the Rail Driver unit. Had it not been for the Rail Driver unit I probably would not have gone back to MSTS, but it did make me realize how good it actually was."
Space Shuttle Mission 2007 By Exciting Simulations. (April 1, 2008): Senior contributing reviewer Alexis Esguerra heads into orbit as he commands Exciting Simulations' Space Shuttle Mission 2007. "Exciting Simulations has come into the world with Space Shuttle Mission 2007, a product that promises to “provide the experience and excitement of the NASA Space Shuttle missions in extreme detail.” It’s a bold statement to be sure, and one that requires a little looking into." "SSM07 is certainly not the first Space Shuttle simulator – there have been numerous programs that have attempted to capture the flavor of the STS (Space Transportation System - its official type designation), but few I have run across have tried to capture the full mission experience with any real degree of fidelity. Earth scenery is good, with an overall 15m/pixel rendering of the planet with a higher 1m/pixel reserved for the shuttle’s launch and landing facilities. You won’t see every single structure at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), but enough is presented to give the user a true flavor of the site. But the highlight is the centerpiece of this sim – the five shuttles that were built for space flight. (Columbia, Challenger, Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavor), and any payloads or orbital facilities they’ll work with." "The quality and accuracy applies within as well, with a VC flightdeck present (the lower deck is not modeled). SSM is replete with what appears to be every panel on the flightdeck in 2D representation. The 2D panels are the meat and potatoes in operating the shuttles in SSM07, and believe me, there are a lot of meat and potatoes! I was caught off guard by the seeming inclusion of every single switch, knob, display, and indicator that was present (including caution and warning lights, there were 340 of them on the pilot’s side panels alone!!!)." "Of all the items that provide some sanity-saving grace in SSM07, the definable difficulty level is easily at the top of the list. EASY starts the fledgling astronaut off with such provisions as detailed in-sim procedures, flashing pointers that route you to the right switch/knob, and helpful sim pauses for events that are very time critical. Step up the difficulty as you garner experience and these helpful tidbits are phased out; by HARD level, you’d better have the manual and optional checklists by your side and keep to the established timetables." "The obvious goal of the program is to allow the user to experience first hand what it is like to take to orbit aboard the STS, and SSM07 does so through eight historical scenarios, ranging from the maiden STS-1 flight of Columbia to Atlantis’ STS-117. These eight missions vary terms of mission duration and objectives, but all contain the six basics mission phases – prelaunch, launch, orbital insertion, execution of the mission objective(s), deorbit & reentry, and landing." Alexis goes into detail of one such mission as he attempts to get the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Bringing the Shuttle back down to Earth in prep for another mission, Alexis reports, "SSM07 just blew me away with it’s attention to detail in every and all aspects of the Space Shuttle. It’s visual and audio recreation of the orbiter is top-notch, and the simulation of the STS operations from launch to landing, from my personal experience, has no equal. The ever present factor of gravity was the only thing keeping me grounded to reality; the immersion that SSM07 provides into this specific realm felt that convincing."
XLoad By Captain Sim. (March 16, 2008): New staff reviewer Mark Kolo looks at Captain Sim's XLoad, an addition to the Acceleration add-on. This additon adds the F-117A and the F/A-18D. "There are so many 3D features including gauges, switches, knobs and handles that this VC provides an experience that is nearly life like. The VC also has an authentic “used” look with paint chipped away and a bit of dirt here and there that adds to the realism immensely." "The F/A-18 from CaptainSim includes numerous custom animations that are not included on the default F/A-18. These animations include: Opening Radome (Visible in the VC), Moving and Sweeping Radar Dish, Extending Refueling Probe(Visible in the VC), Gun Loading Port (with 3D Bullets), Crew Boarding Ladder, Opening Canopy(also visible in the VC), Pitot Tube Covers, Engine Intake and Nozzle Covers, Wheel Chocks, Folding Wings, Custom Loadouts (using the loadout 2D panel), as well as the standard flaps, ailerons, elevators, speed brake, and the paraphernalia for carrier landings (Hook, Launch Bar)." "The exterior model of the F-117 is the finest F-117 model that I have ever seen. After comparing the CaptainSim F-117 to the real Nighthawk, one of the things that impressed me the most was the accuracy of the extremely complex radar reflecting angles and shapes that allow the F-117 to penetrate airspace undetected. The eye candy includes: Opening Canopy, Auxiliary Air Intakes, Pitot Covers, Refueling Receiver, Wheel Chocks, Drag Chute, Configurable Weapons, Opening weapon doors, as well as moving flight controls." "The only problem with the airfile of the Hornet is the unrealistic behavior of the aircraft while landing, especially on a carrier. I have never seen a proper carrier landing end with the plane’s nose scraping the ground as it slides sideways down the deck after catching the 3-wire. The planes seem to slide sideways down the runway no matter what I do to correct any deviations from the center line. I am not satisfied with the landing behavior of either aircraft, but all other aspects of the F/A-18’s flight envelope are properly set up and executed." Mark conludes his look at Captain Sim's Xload with, "Despite the problems that X-Load has, it is still an excellent package and a great value. The highlights of X-Load are definitely the model files and the VC. I will let you form you own opinion about whether X-Load would be for you."
Trainz Railways By Auran / Just Trains. (February 24, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Gene David steps into a cockpit of a different sort as he looks at Trainz Railways by Auran available from Just Flight/Just Trains. "Trains, what do we need trains for when we have a Flight Simulator? Many of us we use Flight Simulator, but for that railroad engineer in us I have found that Auran seems to fill that void with their product line of Train Simulators." "I had a big misconception about Trainz Railways when I offered to review it. I thought that it would incorporate all of the features from the original and offer some new fluff to keep me interested in this sim. The first thing I found was that the new Trainz Railways only comes with 4 real trains and one tram for the Metropolis route giving you a total of 5 engines to plot and build with." "The four engines that come with TC are the FL9 (my personal favorite), The SPW 2000, The Shore-liner and the P32ACDM, each of which are passenger based but you can take the FL9 and add a cargo consist and with a little effort you will be hauling goods instead. There is a fifth engine and it is the Tram for the Metropolis route and with a little creativity I think one could design his or her own route to use it on. The Harlem Line from New York covers over 40 miles of actual track. Cities and towns are laid out as they appear and all have custom scenery objects and buildings, as well as accurate landmarks." "As for the Metropolis route, I was able to clear the schedule for one of the inner-city trams and operate it myself. What a ride! Watching ahead, checking speed and making sure the correct switches are switched is crucial to getting your passengers to their stop on time. Getting into the cab of a train doesn’t really appeal to a lot of people. What does a train driver do but just sit and watch the world go by. Personally, I think that is a big misconception of train operations because there really is a lot a train driver has to keep track of (no pun intended!). Posted speeds, switching tracks (mostly done with computers now) but in Trainz Classics you need to make sure all the tracks are switched properly, and most importantly, keeping time so that you don’t interfere with other train traffic is crucial." Gene goes on to describe the scenarios within this sim as well as the ability to design your own rail world. Remember designing your own scale railroad on plywood in your basement? "I have to say that I really enjoy the Trainz series, I found that this reintroduced me to PC railroading. I have since spent more time with the Metropolis route and finished my virtual world. Train Simulating is a matter of choice, the design capabilities of Trainz is great and I recommend it to anyone that wants to get into this kind of sim."
Microsoft Flight Simulator X For Pilots: Real World Training By Wiley Publishing Inc. (February 3, 2008): Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk has University flashbacks as he completes a book report about Microsoft Flight Simulator X For Pilots: Real World Training, published by Wiley Publications Inc. "The authors, Jeff van West and Kevin Lane-Cummings, are both experienced pilots and writers. In fact, both men are CFIs, Certified Flight Instructors. Not only are they experts in the field of flight training, they are also both seasoned authors. They successfully channeled their real-world experiences into the world of virtual flight, and wrote an extremely clear manual on how to fly." "The text of FSX For Pilots is clearly written and easy to read. The lessons are logical and progress from the very basics of flight in a Piper Cub on a sunny and calm afternoon and go all the way up to the rigorous standards set for Air Transport Pilots in zero-visibility IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) conditions. You can read the lessons in any order, given your personal level of flying experience. As well, you can download content that supplements the book, including custom-made flights that let you immediately try out the lessons you just read about in the book." "Every aspect of real-world flight that is modeled in FSX is explained in detail and made simple through excellent tutorials. The things that FSX fails to model correctly are also covered; however, the focus is on flying with FSX rather than on real-world flight instruction. Some parts of the book do get complicated; even so, the authors do their best to shed light on even the most obscure facets of aviation." "FSX For Pilots has lessons for VFR (Visual Flight Rules) and IFR flights, including instrument and GPS approaches. After the student has mastered FSX as a solo pilot, the book also introduces the dynamics behind learning to fly (or control traffic) with the on-line multiplayer system in Flight Simulator." "FSX For Pilots has it all! There is a heavy amount of reading involved, and a few descriptions of crashes which might be disturbing to some readers, but FSX For Pilots will keep sim pilots like me soaring for years to come." "The measurements of the book are 9 ¼ inches by 7 ¾ inches by 1 ½ inches thick. I am telling you this because this is the amount of room you must make on your flight simulator desk for this book. If you have that space available, I would strongly recommend that if you are interested in a great realistic manual for FSX aircraft, you should fill that empty space with a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X For Pilots: Real World Training."
Live For Speed By FeelThere (January 10, 2008): Staff reviewer Robert Mariani leaves his airborne cockpit and straps himself into a cockpit a little lower to the ground as he takes to the road in FeelThere's Live For Speed, a car racing sim. "This offers you the opportunity to drive cars that are beyond the means of an average driver, at speeds that are far above what most of us would achieve on a regular highway. In addition, this car sims provide an opportunity to take risks you are not going to take in your own car." "You will not find any brand name cars in the game with the exception of BMW F1. The rest are all imaginary and come with such names as UF GTR, FZ50, LX4, LX6 etc. They look good and represent typical front or rear wheel drive cars you might see on the roads. Their specifications vary from the not-so-powerful UF1000, to the more exotic types represented in GT series. When you look closely at each car you can see elements of your typical Japanese, European, and American cars. When you read the specifications of these cars, they have more or less similar engine/drive layout as well as similar horsepower, to what you would find in the cars that Honda, VW or any other manufacturer might offer for real." "Most cars have a generic panel that is sufficiently informative and easy on the frames. Not too much to see there except for the tach, speedometer and few other gauges that are shared on almost all the models except for the Formula type racers. What is nice about the interior is that it is functional, adjustable, and gives you enough info that won’t keep your eyes constantly looking down when you should be focused on the road ahead. You can choose to display the steering wheel, driver and wheel, or nothing except the gauges." "Just like with the cars, the tracks are fictional and range from city courses to typical road racing tracks, a drag strip, and one oval track. The sounds in car are done right. If you don’t like the volume of tire squeal you can adjust it as well, but the engines sound great and if you set your options to blip the throttle when downshifting, you will be immersed without being overwhelmed." "This sim is outstanding as far as car racing sims go, even without your typical chase or be chased scenarios or big car manufacturers involvement. It has enough depth to keep you glued behind your steering wheel (which is a must for any serious car or racing fan), and offers a variety of challenges that even in the single player mode can put a serious ding in the time you spend flying or doing other things with your PC. This review of Live For Speed barely touches on some of the aspects of this game," Robert admits, "but even if you are remotely interested in car sims, then you ought to give it a try. Remember, you get to try it for free and be the judge for yourself. I am looking forward to perfecting my skills and competing online with others in this simulating environment, which truly differentiates this sim from the other more well known choices."
FSFlyingSchool By FSFlyingSchool (December 15, 2007): Senior staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk goes back to school to break some bad habits while exploring FSFlyingSchool. "This a useful product that simulates having a Flight Instructor along with you as you fly in FSX, FS2004, or FS2002." "It provides a simulated flight instructor who watches over how you handle your aircraft from taxi to final touchdown, and who can grade your performance. As well, your flight data can be logged and even uploaded onto the Internet so you can see how you compare with other sim pilots." "FSFS is capable of using a wide variety of aircraft including large passenger jets as well as single-propeller General Aviation planes. It cannot use acrobatic aircraft, gliders, or helicopters, though. If your favourite aircraft is not supported directly by FSFS, it’s very easy to add it using a simple performance editor included with the program." "The instructor follows the progress of your flight from your initial taxi to after your final touchdown. He or she will talk to you as you fly, letting you know when you are doing something wrong or unsafe, and sometimes offering constructive flight tips. The most interaction comes during the landing phase, which can either be a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) landing. Afterwards, you are graded on several aspects of your flight performance." "The FSFlyingSchool application runs smoothly and without any major bugs. It does require a reasonably fast computer system, and it works best if you fly using high-quality flight controls like a yoke, throttle, and rudder pedals. The instructor voices are recorded at a low audio resolution, but are acceptably realistic for use in a sim cockpit. All of the instructors speak clearly and their comments are easy to understand. The user is free to modify the instructors in FSFS, including recording their own voices, if they wish." "A fast-learning student pilot will quickly understand the importance of planning the landing sequence in advance. Even a few circuits with an FSFS instructor should help you settle into a good rhythm for making acceptable landings. Now that I’ve spent some hours with FSFS, I find that I am working some of the bad sim-flying habits out of my system, and I think I am getting better at aviation simulation in general." Jeff's final word abouFSFlyingSchool is "if you believe that you are ready for more realistic and more disciplined sim aviation, then FSFlyingSchool is worth checking out. You can try before you buy with the FSFS demo download, which means that you can easily see if this interesting program is right for you."
Operation: Valkyrie By Lionheart Creations Ltd.. (November 19, 2007): Senior staff reviewer David Wilson-Okamura delves into the word of espionage with Flight Sim with Lionheart Creations' Operation: Valkyrie. "It begins with a young German pilot learning to fly gliders. Soon, he is inducted into the Luftwaffe and learns to fly powered aircraft, first a single-engine trainer and later a six-engine transport. In the process, he becomes involved with a high-level conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. This is where fiction merges with history: there was a conspiracy in real life, and its code name was Operation Valkyrie." "There are three fully flyable aircraft in the Valkyrie package: the Schneider “Grunau Baby II” glider, the Bücker Bü-181 “Bestmann,” and the Messerschmitt Me-323 “Gigant.” Each of the aircraft is represented in several configurations and liveries. In addition to the three aircraft, Valkyrie also comes with a ground vehicle and a submarine." "Ortis has a background in automobile design, so the external models are very convincing. Care has been taken to make the cockpits authentic as well. Also available through pop-ups are the radios, an autopilot, and a version of the default GPS. There is a lot of detail here, and Ortis has gone to great lengths searching for cockpit photos and dressing the interiors with authentic props." "In addition to the five vehicles, Operation: Valkyrie also comes with nine war-time airfields and one submarine base. There are no moving jetways, but there is moving ground traffic at some of the airports. Signage is authentic, and there are various types and sizes of airplane hangar." "There are 65 missions in the package. There are several missions for practicing gliders, later you learn to pilot the Gigant.
Once your training is over, there are more missions in Africa and southern Italy. Eventually, you make contact with the conspirators and fly missions on their behalf." Concluding Op:Valkyrie, David says, "The missions, if you fly them all, will keep you busy for at least a month, and when they’re done you will still have eleven vintage airports, three very different aircraft, one ground vehicle, one submarine, and one submarine pen."
Mission: Blackhawk By Abacus. (November 15, 2007): Staff reviewer Robert Mariano takes on a variety of adventures with Abacus' Mission: Blackhawk for FSX. "In all of these missions, you play the role of the brave helicopter pilot; be it Marines, Air Force, Army or Coast Guard." "The six missions and six variations of the Blackhawk helicopter that are included will keep you busy for a while. You will do a lot of flying over the ocean, land on oil rigs, drop cargo and paratroopers, avoid enemy fire, and rescue hurricane victims as well as hostages. The weather varies from nice and sunny to windy and rainy, and challenges your flying skills accordingly. The scenery for the missions is well done, and it serves the purpose adequately." "You get several variations of the Blackhawk helicopter. They all share the same panel, virtual cockpit and flight dynamics seem very similar. On the other hand, you will get six distinct exterior models and you can also use those during freeflight in FSX. The instruments that come with the panel are a mix of standard gauges and military green LCD’s. The sounds of the helicopter mesh in well with the special mission voice-overs." Robert concludes, "Mission: Blackhawk is an interesting add-on for those of you who like helicopters and the mission part of the FSX. The six missions get progressively more challenging and provide good entertainment for some time. This package is exactly what it claims to be, and I had fun running it within FSX."
Bugatti Adventures By Lionheart Creations. (August 14, 2007): Staff reviewer Marc Radford goes on a tear between the pylons with Lionheart Creations' Bugatti Adventures. "So what do you get with this package?" Marc asks, "8 airplanes, 2 racecars and 4 scenery packs. Plus 18 missions to utilize them all in." "When you think of getting 8 planes and 2 cars in one package, you don’t expect to see 6 unique 2D Cockpits (couple of planes even have an IFR variant), and 6 unique VC Cockpits, not to mention the flight dynamics on all of them are different. When you fly the P100 it becomes obvious this plane had the most attention given to it. The rest of the planes offered in this package are more what I would call “extras”, not to be confused with “throw ins”." "There was no impact on FPS in the 2D Cockpit, or in the VC Cockpit. The sounds alone of the engines are surprising, it sounds just like a crazy modified car engine. How else would a Bugatti engine sound?" Marc goes into detail of what flying in a pylon race is really like and the screenshots say a lot more than the narrative does. Marc continues his review of the Bugatti Adventures with detailed descriptions of some of the mission included in this package as well as the different aircraft involved in each one. In conclusion of this package, he says, "Bugatti Air Racer Adventures package is an odd endeavor. The developer wants you to have fun experiencing the thrill of racing with a bunch of planes you can swap out on the fly for a great price. So you would expect with all the offerings you get here, the planes would be unrealistic and videogame like; nothing could be further from the truth in regards to the P100 series. The developer is extremely generous for what he is offering."
AudioFX Pro 5+1 Gaming Headset By eDimensional. (July 21, 2007): AVSIM Reviews Editor Robert Whitwell slips on a newly designed headset from eDimensional designed by Benjamin Heckendorn. "The nice thing about this headset is that it is all run from the USB port. The headset has one USB 2.0 Plug and Play connector with an integrated 5.1 surround sound decoder." "The mini-DVD has all of the necessary drivers to setup your new headset and the multiple configurations screens guide you through an easy process to set up this headset with the built in configuration settings or you can customize it to your own personal liking." "An in-line volume control and microphone mute switch is a nice addition to this comfortable, lightweight headset with its leather-like earpieces and flashing small LED's that signal the force-feedback action going on inside your head. The 5.1 surround sound features of this headset enable you to hear and feel all the action in a true 3-dimensional audio environment. The newly designed microphone with improved sensitivity completes this headset for the gaming world." Read Robert's complete review on eDimensional's new AudioFX Pro 5+1 Gaming Headset.
SE5A & The Western Front By AlphaSim. (June 4, 2007): Senior staff reviewer Gene Davis goes back to the days of wood and cloth with AlphaSim's SE5A combined with The Western Front scenery package. "In total, there were over 5,000 SE5A’s built during the course of WW1 and they were built by six different manufactures, but the first series of SE5’s were inherently unstable. The real SE5A flew at a top speed of a 138 MPH with a maximum range of 300 miles and a service ceiling of 17,000 feet." "From the skies of WW1 comes the SE5A to our virtual skies of flight simulator. This time around you are placed in the seat of an old single engine bi-plane made of wood and cloth. The Alphasim SE5 is a virtual treat as it is nicely detailed with all of the traditional moving parts as well as an exceptionally detailed exterior model. The SE5A is designed for both FS9 and FSX." "The SE5A from Alphasim also has a nice variety of effects, from takeoff to landing you will notice things like a functioning exhaust system with smoke effects and flame effects coming from the engines. There is also a nicely done damage model. If you come in too fast and crash on landing or wipe out on takeoff, the plane will actually break." "Seen as advanced for its time, the SE5A cockpit is a journey into a different time and place. The panel is made of wood and the seating looks rather uncomfortable. The single mounted Lewis machine gun sits atop the wing and a set of very basic instruments adorn the cockpit. There is no GPS or advanced avionics, just the ones needed to monitor things like the engines RPM, speed and a compass." "The scenery package from Alphasim was a little disappointing for me, as when I read the title it said Western Front. From that I assumed that it would include some portion of the actual war front to fly over. In reality, it only includes the airfield along with several AI aircraft that fly about the surrounding airspace. The airfield itself is nicely detailed and does offer a nice base of operations as it is littered with WW1 era style buildings, vehicles, planes and tents for the bases personnel." Wrapping up this WWI tour of duty, Gene closes the SE5A & Western Front review with, "Alphasim releases are just getting better and better. Is the SE5A worth its price tag? Yes, if you are into the era of flight this aircraft represents. How about the scenery? Well, that is a whole other issue and I would have to say that it is worth it if you absolutely have to have a WW1 style airbase. With Alphasim's tradition of good quality add-ons, you really can’t go wrong."
Admiral Kuznetsov & Su33 Naval Flanker By AlphaSim. (May 29, 2007): Staff reviewer Fred Clark goes ballistic from the flight deck with AlphSim's Admiral Kuznetsov and the Su33 Flanker. "The first flight put things into perspective. I had always thought that Alphasim made ‘out of the box’ aircraft. Ones that you can just pick up and fly. And to a certain extent I was right. The frame rates of both the scenery and the aircraft seem to reflect those of simple add-ons. With Alphasim there wasn’t any drop, and even when flying through the worst weather toward the carrier, the frame rates remained at the amount I had locked them to." "The aircraft will easily climb to 45000 ft at max takeoff weight of 72,750 lbs, and on initial climb will still build airspeed as you power through 10000 feet. It tends to struggle a bit as you reach the colder altitudes, but you will be well clear of ground fire by then. To many potential Flanker buyers, the real selling point of this aircraft will be its amazing maneuverability, and its ability to do post-stall maneuvers. This includes tail slides and back flips. Alphasim say in the manual: “The Su 33 is capable of all advanced acrobatics and can perform post-stall maneuvers”. I found this to be true for the majority of flight. Its claim to be stable in slow flight was certainly not a lie and when crawling along you will not be in fear of loosing control." "The admiral Kuznetsov Scenery does not come with working arrestor cables, and doesn’t come with working catapults. The latter is actually accurate, however for owners of Abacus’s Flight Deck 4, both can be added using the supplied files. Because of the lack of arrestor cables, the tail hook is ineffective and another means of slowing down is needed. The breaks are therefore more powerful on the model to compensate. This can result in very bumpy landings though, which can spoil the perfect approach you worked so hard to make." "Overall, I am extremely impressed with the panel. It is fully capable of IFR flight, although if you are using the autopilot you might want to keep speeds low, as the turning circle for 30 degrees of bank will grow much bigger at mach 1 and you can easily overshoot waypoints. As far as I could make out, all gauges were custom made for the model." Landing back onboard, Fred comments, "I have certainly enjoyed my time in this aircraft. The addition of the carrier certainly adds for a flying challenge and getting the aircraft down on deck safely will take more than a few hours of practice. All in all, a big thumbs up to Alphasim for producing the Admiral Kuznetsov and the Su33 Flanker."
F-Lite A340 500/600 By Just Flight. (Oct 9, 2006): Staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk continues Just Flight's F-Lite series with a look at the A340 500/600 jet. "The Just Flight/CLS A340 500/600 is an add-on for Flight Simulator 2004 that can be downloaded or purchased on a DVD-ROM, showcasing the four-engine Airbus A340 passenger jet. It features Just Flight's exemplary "F-Lite" avionic system, a straightforward control scheme that provides a high level of visual detail and a realistic flight model. Despite being a part of the "F-Lite" brand, the Just Flight/CLS A340 500/600 can actually be rather challenging to fly. In this product, a well thought-out cockpit system with some automated instrumentation, such as the MCDU and the ECAM, goes a long way to help a novice pilot to manage his or her flight. This product should appeal to a wide range of sim pilots of long-haul passenger jets, in that you can have an A340 in the air in a matter of moments, or you can follow real-world checklists and run your cockpit much in the way a real airline would." "The visual models are authentic and beautiful. The cockpits are filled with realistic instrumentation, although I found some of the read-outs to be tiny, even at the normal zoom level. There are several user-configurable viewpoints included in the add-on that allow you to enjoy a nice wing view and passenger cabin view. Day and night textures are rendered well, and the sound set that comes with the A340 500/600 includes a wide range of excellent aviation audio." "The Just Flight/CLS A340 500/600 has been released near the end of the FS2004 life cycle. To me, it represents a peak in the evolution of the third-party vendor add-on. It is accessible to sim pilots of just about every type; from beginners, to casual pilots, to dedicated long-haulers. This kind of flexibility is a real asset for Just Flight, at least in my opinion. The A340 500/600 boasts sophisticated features and a strong attention to detail. The installation is stable and reliable." Jeff sums us with, "I give the final word on A340 500/600 over to the crew at Just Flight, who wish me to pass this message along: "At £19.99, this package is very good value and if you fancy an alternative to the four-engine offering from Seattle, this may be just the thing!"
Cargo Pilot By Just Flight. (Oct 9, 2006): Staff reviewer Joseph Ellwood opens his own air hauling company to review Just Flight's Cargo Pilot. "The beauty of products such as this is it brings an entirely new dimension into the sim. It allows the user to be creative, do something different other than fly, and more importantly, keep their flying skills in top shape." So what is Cargo Pilot all about? "You start up with a set amount of funds, enough to buy yourself a small piston aircraft and a small airstrip to use as a base. Once you’ve done this, you can select different types of flights to do. Each flight is unique. Some may be short hops carrying a few goods while others could be much longer; for example, delivering mail. As your company grows, you expand both your fleet and bases." "Once you’ve selected a flight, you’re presented with a flight plan and briefing. Flight Simulator is opened via Cargo Pilot, which will skip you through all the menus and will put you straight onto the tarmac for cockpit preparation. Once you’ve landed, shut down the aircraft and close the sim, then view your post flight briefing." Wrapping up the Cargo Pilot review, Joe states, "The beauty of this product is it gives the simmer something "outside the box" to tinker with. I’m sure this product will not disappoint any freight dog out there."
WW II Fighters By Shockwave Productions. (Oct 3, 2006): Senior reviewer Gene Davis takes us back some 60 years and looks at another offering of World War II aircraft from Shockwave Productions. "WW II Fighters is probably one of the most reasonable titles out on the market right now that offers highly detailed and complex models for aircraft of this type." "Once the product is installed, you will find 5 new aircraft in your hanger for you to choose from. They are the P-51, Zero, P-47. Spitfire and the ME109. Each aircraft is masterfully created and surprisingly frame rate friendly. It is truly amazing that any one developer would release 5 different aircraft of this caliber in one inexpensive package." About flying these aircraft, Gene comments, "Flying each of the aircraft is a challenge. I found that each plane has its own little quirks and it takes some getting used to! You can’t just point your plane down the runway and expect to takeoff. It is also important to follow proper in-flight procedures as far as managing your engine's power and watching your instruments carefully, otherwise you might just find yourself in the drink as the engines can overheat or freeze up if you are not careful." "The WW2 Fighters package is meant to be flown from the virtual cockpit and no other. The level of quality and detail that is incorporated into each of these aircraft is simply amazing. The sounds in this add-on are some of the best I have ever heard for WW2 aircraft and capture each of the aircraft really well as each sound package has been created from the actual sounds of each aircraft." Gene sums up his review of WW II Fighters with this statement, "If you have an interest in vintage aircraft or a desire to try something a little less conventional than that of modern aviation, this product has it all."
Coast Guard By Aerosoft. (Sep 10, 2006): “Semper Paratus” or “Always Ready” is the official motto of the United States Coast Guard. Staff reviewer Joseph Ellwood takes us onboard the Sikorsky HH-60J Jayhawk as he tours Aerosoft's "Coast Guard". "The Jayhawk comes with just the one livery – the current USCG red and white scheme. The model has numerous moving features that I enjoyed. Opening doors have been standard on models for a while now, and this model has two opening doors. When the side door opens, the man in the cabin will get off his seat and crouch down at the door, unfortunately there is no command to lower him onto the ground!" "The primary instruments of the cockpit of the Jayhawk are of course, the PFD and MFD. Both are fully customizable to your preference, and both contain lots of information to keep you on top of things. The Virtual Cockpit is fully clickable." About the flight model, Joe says, "Once you take off, your initial thoughts are “gee, this thing is heavy”. The best way to get accustomed to the flight model is to do the tutorial flight. The flight takes you from the USCGC Bertholf just off Dover to London City." Returning to the ship is another matter, "Approaching the cutter for landing is something that needs a lot of practice," comments Joe. In the conclusion of Aerosoft's Coast Guard, Joe remarks, "I had a great time flying the Jayhawk and the flights it includes. Not only is this a sophisticated helicopter simulation, but the cutter allows the simmer to be imaginative and create their own virtual sorties. You’ll have a lot of fun flying the HH-60, it’s very charismatic to fly, looks and sounds lovely, and is generally a great helicopter add-on. This package will not let down any helo simmer, as it is a fun package and is sold with a very tempting price tag on it."
F-Lite Airbus Collection By Just Flight. (Sep 3, 2006): Staff reviewer Jeff Shyluk looks at a handful of aircraft released in one package. The Airbus Collection fron Just Flight's F-Lite series. "The Airbus Collection is a re-issue of Airbus add-ons originally released by developer Commercial Level Simulations as downloadable payware. Just Flight is re-issuing the CLS airplanes under their own "F-Lite" brand." "The cornerstone of this add-on is definitely in the flight dynamics of the various airframes, the "True Feel" system was created based on the experiences the CLS developers had in FAA Level D flight simulators. The Airbus Collection does a nice job of representing the variants of the A300 and A310. The choice of liveries is from around the world, with many of the real-word paint schemes originating from Europe and the Middle East." "As far as the models go, the variety of airframes is good and there are some interesting choices given that all of the aircraft are twin-engined. The A300-600R and the A310-200/300/304 do resemble each other on a basic level as their airframes are all designed to the same purpose. In terms of what you can do in the cockpit, the Airbus Collection provides a good level of refinement over the default MSFS cockpits without being overwhelming for the novice or casual sim-pilot. All of the usual basic controls and gauges, such as heading indicators, autopilot controls, radio stack, engine read-outs (EICAS), and so forth, are modelled." Jeff sumarizes his look at the Airbus Collection with, "This add-on for FS2004 can either be downloaded or purchased on DVD. This package comes loaded with A300-600R, A310-200/300/304 variants, including passenger planes, freight haulers, military transports, and air-to-air refuellers. Did I forget to mention the inclusion of the A300-600ST Beluga? Aimed at the casual sim pilot, the Airbus Collection is suitable for the novice pilot who wants more realism than the default MSFS planes, right up to experienced veteran simmers who want to get up into the sky and enjoy flying a realistic-seeming jetliner without having to run through a fifteen-minute checklist just to start the engines. Every plane in Airbus Collection looks good, sounds great, is frame-rate friendly, and comes loaded with animated parts. For the average casual user, Airbus Collection provides a stable, robust, and most importantly, fun add-on for MSFS."
Flight Deck 4 By Abacus. (Aug 5, 2006): So you want to be a Naval Aviator, but couldn't pass the physical. Well now you can have all the fun and excitement of carrier flying without having to worry about those long deployments. Sr Staff Reviewer Alexis Esguerra flies off the USS Ronald Reagan as presented by Abacus' Flight Deck 4. "The exterior modeling of the carrier is generally good. All the basic obvious structures appear to be present (including a basic hanger deck), and their proportions appear correct in all dimensions. The colors of the general textures seem accurate, as do the markings that adorn them. Night is even better, when the various lights come on in all their glory. As for adding the naval aviation flavor to the mix, Abacus decided to populate the deck with the things you’d normally expect to see there. A crash truck and several tugs are scattered around the deck, as are (of course) the aircraft themselves." "Abacus included each type of aircraft that makes up a typical Carrier Air Wing, with the scenery for both the purposes of adding eye candy, and for the fun of flying them. A quick check of the hangar shows that their focus was CVW14, which includes the following: F/A-18E Super Hornet, F/A-18C Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, S-3 Viking, E-2C Hawkeye, C-2 Greyhound, and the SH-60 Seahawk. The SH-60 is the best one overall. The final appearance of the exterior model may not be the most convincing of the lot, but shows good detail and has the best weathering textures of the lot. At the other end of the scale is the E-2C Hawkeye. The exterior model is almost devoid of any detail shying away from the generalized realm; few panel lines, no rivets, zero weathering and highly generic pilot figures. The rest of the aircraft fall somewhere in the middle." But what about the flying? "The mere act of take off and landing from any flattop is very much a different affair from the way it’s done from the land. It is in this regard that Abacus saves the day; nowhere else in MSFS have I experienced what FD4 does for simulating this special little world. Taxiing to the starboard bow catapult, you finally note just how little room there is to maneuver on this largest-of-all-flightdecks. Stick slightly back, one last check on the panels, brace your head back into the headrest... now time for some fun. The key to getting back onboard is IFOLS (Improved Fresnel Optical Lens System). This device is designed to align your plane vertically for the landing. The trick is to maintain the ‘ball’ dead center throughout the approach, and it’s a lot harder than it sounds." So what does Alexis think of Flight Deck 4 as a whole? "It depends on what you hope to garner from the package. Flight deck operation simulation is definitely the high point of FD4. When reduced to its absolute scenery essentials, FD4 hits par, and there’s no denying that some of the aircraft could have used a bit more visual work. I thoroughly enjoyed FD4 with the experience it provided. Yes, it does need some tweaking here and there, but it was a great entrance into the realm of true Navy flying."
Fly Into The Sky! World Airlines

By Overland Japan Ltd. (Jul 3, 2006): New reviewer Jeff Shyluk takes a look at a product from a Japanese developer, Fly Into The Sky! World Airlines from Overland Japan Ltd. "Although World Airlines was created for a Japanese flight simulation audience, all of the included aircraft have English-language cockpits and liveries, and the manual has instructions in English as well." "In terms of sophistication, these jets are roughly equal to what you would find among the default MSFS airliners," Jeff reports, "if you are looking for sophisticated details in these airliners, then there are a few improvements over the basic jets, but operationally speaking, there are not a lot of complicated in-flight functions. Flight controls and cockpit devices for all of the World Airlines jets closely resemble those for the default MSFS airliners. There are no working Flight Management Computers, other than the Flight Planner that comes built into Flight simulator." "Every World Airlines jet has a basic 2D cockpit and a 3D cockpit. Overall, I found the presentation of the flight decks to be quite good. Since there are no truly complicated controls in any of the World Airlines cockpits, you may feel free to experiment with what each switch does without the worry of ruining your airplane. The 3D cockpits in World Airlines are very nicely done. For those sim pilots looking to find Airbus jets with clickable 3D cockpits, you should be happy with the selection in World Airlines." Commenting on the exterior models, "The number and variety of passenger jets in World Airlines is impressive, but the real star of the show has to be the exterior models of the airplanes. In a word, they are beautiful! Every World Airlines jet comes loaded with animations. The attention to detail in the World Airlines models is very high. The World Airlines planes look like they are made from real-world metal rather than pixels. The unpainted aircraft parts shine brightly, while the painted textures have just the right degree of specularity and glossiness." As far as flight dynamics goes, Jeff says, "The first impression that I had when I started to test all of these planes is that twenty is a very large number to go through! Most aircraft add-on packages will either give you one airplane with a very high level of detail in terms of avionics and flight dynamics, or they will give you an assortment of planes with a lesser amount of detail. World Airlines fits into the latter category." Jeff concludes his extensive review with, "Fly Into The Sky! World Airlines is an ambitious add-on for Flight Simulator 2000/2004. Featuring 20 different airframes and many liveries from all over the planet, World Airlines deserves its name. The best feature of World Airlines are the stunning aircraft models. Beautiful and realistic, these airplanes are marvellous to look at in both day and night conditions. The cockpits of each aircraft are visually sophisticated, with a very good balance maintained between the visibility of the flight instruments and the view out of the front windscreen. My impression of World Airlines is that it is a good add-on. There is a lot of material to explore in this product."

Commuter Xpress 2

By Abacus (Jun 27, 2006): The "Cap'n", Brian Fletcher, looks at Abacus' Commuter Xpress 2, which provides six commuter aircraft, each with six liveries, and a flight creator that can be used to add a storyline to this package. The aircraft in this package include the Bombardier CRJ-900, de Havilland DHC-8-200 (Dash 8), Dornier 328 prop and jet models, Embraer ERJ-190, and the Saab 340B, all of which can be found operating in the Hub and Spoke system as commuter aircraft. Taking a look inside and out of these aircraft, Brian comments, "My first impression of the exterior models was one of complete disappointment. The texturing appeared sub-par at best, and I was not overwhelmed by any of the six liveries, including Airlux, Ciel, Prestige Air, Sucaba Aviation, Swift Connection, and Zwaan. No matter how hard I searched I could not find any indication of rivets, screw or bolt heads, wear, dirt and exhaust effects, or anything else that would suggest any effort put forth to make these models suitable for FS9. I was not very surprised to see interior modeling considerably inferior to most of the recent payware releases. I have closely examined the virtual cockpits to find that they are actually not too far off from there real-world counterparts, but it can be hard to tell with the substandard texturing." About the flight dynamics, Brian reports, "As far as I can tell each of the aircraft flight dynamics in this collection seem to be moderately authentic, but I would have to say that they all tend to favor the novice simmer. In fact, I have been quite successful at operating each of these aircraft with just my mouse and keyboard. All in all I am not overly exited about the airfiles, but I am not as disappointed as I was with the rest of the aircraft." Wrapping up the review, Brian says, "it is with great regret that I am unable to recommend this product. The models are accurate but the detail is simply sub-par at best. It is not my goal to bash this product, at least not intentionally. There may very well be some of you who would like this package as is, or with a few modifications."

Flying With The Stars

By Bill Lyons (May 21, 2006): Rookie AVSIM reviewer Joe Elwood offers his first contribution, Bill Lyons' - Flying with the Stars. "Bill Lyons has always brought the flight simming community exciting packages, not just including one aircraft, but usually with add-on scenery and included flights for the user's convenience." "The SJ30 lives up to all expectations. It features all the regular eye candy you’d expect from any payware aircraft, such as full moving control surfaces, rotating fan blades, detailed gear, wing flex and an opening door. To view the accurateness of Bill’s model, I searched for real photos of the SJ30 on Airliners.net, and from what I can see – this rendition of the airplane is perfect." "The great thing about this package is the simple and easy to use panel. The panel itself has clear and easy to read gauges, which makes flying a lot more enjoyable. The airplane handles great at high altitudes, and has an amazingly low stall speed – which makes this aircraft awesome to handle when flying into those small exotic airstrips. You do not need a high-end system to run the SJ30." Joe concludes his review with, "if you don’t want to mess around on the ground and want to fly – then you’ll get a heck of a lot of enjoyment out of this plane. This is an all around fantastic package, which includes some awesome scenery to add to the fun."

Trainz Railway Simulator 2006

By Just Flight/Just Trains (January 22, 2006): Avsim staff reviewer Gene Davis turns his attention from the skies to the ground with a look at another product from the JustFlight family - Trainz Railway Silulator 2006. "This is the latest installment of the Trainz program from Auran which brings the user a wide of array of steam, diesel and electric trains." Gene opens with, "It was with great anticipation that I approached this title as I was a big fan of the original Microsoft Train Simulator and I have always wanted to see one of Auran's offerings. Little did I know that I would be in for a world of aggravation and a world of headaches with this version of the Railway Trains Simulator, AKA TRAINZ 2006." He continues, "With eleven drivable routes, I was ready to get in and go. Having had no experience with previous Trainz titles, I decided to look through the printed manual. This was little help as I ended up going into the program and selecting one of the preset tutorials." "Driving a train is a bit of a challenge, but the controls are relatively easy once you get to know them," Gene comments on operating the program, "it’s simply knowing when to brake that is the challenge and following all of the posted speed rules. Navigating the trains through the maps is also a challenge." He continues, "Traveling from station to station is a relatively easy task, but in the real world, trains have to keep schedules and be on time. This is where the challenge comes in, you have to remember that all of the other trains that are functioning in your sim are on their own schedules. So if you don’t leave the station on time you will ultimately effect other train traffic, whether it be cargo or passenger." Gene also provides some insight into the "stand-alone" Train Driver also from JustFlight in this review. In closing, "I found that I do kind of enjoy RS 2006. Do I recommend this one? I will after AURAN releases a patch, according to their forums one should be available in the near future."

Flight Sim Design Studio V3

By Abacus (January 8, 2006): Staff reviewer Brian Fletcher walks up though a new utility to create aircraft for MSFS 2004. Flight Sim Design Studio Version 3 from Abacus. "FS Design Studio V3 is an amazing technological marvel that simplifies the design, construction, animation, and implementation of aircraft, static displays, flight-line vehicles, buildings, cars, trucks, ships, and in deed anything that you would want to fly or use for static or dynamic scenery in Flight Simulator", explains Brian, "If you are not familiar with the process of creating your own aircraft and scenery objects, you are missing out on one of the most incredible and rewarding aspects of Flight Simulator." Is this one of those "you need an enigineering degree and experience with AutoCad" programs to use? Brian says, "Prior to receiving FSDS, I had never built an aircraft or anything else related to Flight Sim for that matter. By the end of the first day, which included printing out the help files and experimenting a bit, I had already built a fuselage, wings, tail, and landing gear. I used day two to make the intricate parts and build the virtual cockpit. By the end of day three, I had assembled my aircraft, added animations, textured all of the parts, and was flying it in FS9. Not bad for my first go at it." Brian also looks at another Abacus product, the Virtual Aircraft & Scenery Studio, "the Visual Aircraft & Scenery Studio (VASS) is a separate utility from FSDS that can be used to texture your creations." Brian sums up his review with, "if you want to dive right in and be flying your creations in no time, then I would highly recommend Flight Sim Design Studio."

Fly The Airbus Fleet

By Abacus (January 5, 2006): Have you ever wanted to fly every airframe that Airbus has marketed? Well now you have a chance with "Fly the Airbus Fleet" from Abacus. AVSIM reviewer Brian Fletcher takes a look at the A310, A319, A320, A330, A340 and A350 in this multi-aircraft package. "Each of the six aircraft in this package are modeled true to life and have a variety of textures. Given the fact that this package bundles six aircraft with 14 liveries, you might expect to see a lesser quality, but in this case, I believe that the exterior modeling is very authentic with a great level of detail", says Brian about the exteriors. About the interiors, he says, "the interior modeling of the Airbus fleet is done in a manner that provides realism and functionality without torturing the frame rates. What you are actually getting in the VC's is a level of detail that far exceeds the default aircraft. Each of the panels have a Flight Management Computer (FMC) which can access flight plans, give aircraft performance statistics, show the aircraft location, and much more on the control display unit." "The quality of the sound set is second only to the exterior modeling. From the hiss of spool up to the deep roar at full throttle, the sounds offer an authentic recreation of an actual Airbus twin jet", Brian notes. "After several hours of testing in each aircraft I am confident that each of the aircraft perform very closely to real life." Brian makes an honest observation in his review's conclusion, "The bottom line is that you will have to decide the quality of this package for yourself as I cannot possibly compare these aircraft to all other comparable aircraft on the market." So read the complete review and draw your own conclusions.