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Guest gasebah

A few observations on the Cardinal 177

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I admit I was really looking forward to the Cardinal 177 release because I figured it would be the closest thing yet to the 152s and 172s I am currently training in for my PPL. The DF Archer has been my favorite GA single so far, not because it is exciting to fly mind you, but because it feels like a real plane in almost every situation and it flies very much like a Cessna, critical numbers and all. I can fly the Archer in the virtual pattern just a few minutes after my real lesson (I live very close to the airport!), and almost all of my little quirks, for better or worse, are faithfully recreated in the simulated world.I'm not sure I've even seen a 177 but the numbers look very similar to the 172, which isn't that much different than the 152. That said, I loaded up the 177 on the harddrive and took it for several laps of the pattern. Bear in mind, I use the virtual cockpit almost exclusively, with most of the subpanels distributed to two additional monitors and Tracker IR to change my view. I use a Hagstrom keyboard emulator for most switches, which keeps from having to rely on the 2D view.The interior of the plane looks very nice, with all the little perqs we've come to expect from DF. Still, there are some strange anomalies in the VC mode. I am short in real life (5'4") yet the default viewpoint in the VC is quite high. Look to the right and you'll see that indeed the headrest is halfway down your back. It feels good to be tall! The only problems are that the cowl still isn't visible. In fact, if I raise my view to where it really resembles my view in the real plane, my head is nearly against the ceiling. What's worse, at that point, as I look out the side windows the wings all but obscure the view. In the real plane, about the only time the wings really obstruct the view is turning to crosswind and turning base. I did find one quick fix, however. If you look down you will see that the seats are all the way back. I didn't even know they went back that far! In the real plane my seat is so close to the firewall that no track is visible. Moving your view forward helps a bit, but ofcourse, now I feel like I'm sitting on the edge of my seat (which is the way it feels in real life sometimes!)In real-world flight training you are taught to memorize certain "visual images" for various modes of flight. The horizon during proper climb, for example, transects the windscreen at a very predictable place - to the point that you hardly need to refer to the ASI. Those landmarks are reasonably close in the 2D cockpit but not even close to realistic in the VC. To see the cowl during the flare in VC mode is nearly impossible, keeping the other landmarks consistent. Not being an artist, though, I really can't put my finger on what is wrong. The wings seem to hang down, obstructing vision, or the cabin is squished a bit. The cowl, besides being ugly (as others have correctly pointed out!) is not prominent enough or something. Weird not having struts either but I certainly can't blame DF for that oversight!Other aspects also seem erroneous but not having flown a 177, I just can't say for sure. For example, drop the nose just a bit and the airspeed rises incredibly fast. Also, 2000RPM on the downwind leg ought to get you somewhere around 80kts. At least close enough to put some flaps down as you come even with the threshold. This plane carries on at 110kts or more.Some minor things include no measurable response to checking the mags, cooling fan noises (that are a really cool addition I might add!) that are so loud that they drown out the engine noises, and a GPS that really kills frame rates in the map mode.Would I buy it again? Probably, because Dreamfleet has always been pretty good about tweaking things and I'm happy to support any FS company committed to doing good work. It doesn't wow me like the Archer continues to do but I'll keep my fingers crossed for the future. ;-) If someone who has flown a 177 can correct me, I'm more than willing to eat crow. In fact, I've developed a taste for it!David

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I noticed some things which were more subtle, and which had to do with the exterior of the aircraft...1) There is no dihedral in the wings... The real Cardinal, both RG and FG, had noticeable dihedral. Oddly enough, the flight model has dihedral incorporated into it.2) The tail is too big for the aircraft modeled. Someone pointed out that the tail is the one used in the 72-74 Cardinal, although the aircraft is supposed to model a 78...3) The nose cone is too wide where it meets the cowling...I was somewhat disappointed in Lou's response in the Dreamfleet support forum--he just noted that 3-view drawings were used, and that the designer's father has a Cardinal. Another response chimed in talking about how photographs distort, never mind that I too have seen Cardinals and 3-views (almost went into partnership on one back in '85). I also agree about the front seet--way back, and it compromises the roomy backseat Cardinals are noted for. It's a pity that they couldn't have been a bit more accurate in the visuals, especially for a payware aircraft.Still, quality is top notch. Visual flaws aside--unlike older aircraft, this aircraft offers a very real sense of flying a Cardinal. The virtual cabin gives me the feeling I'm guiding a real aircraft--even it's 3-D mode is top notch. And there are panel options galore... Other things, such as the seat height, can be adjusted.I sense from Lou's response that the visual flaws I noted won't be changed--call it artistic license or the Microsoft model of support, but I am disappointed with that. For pictures of real Cardinals, to see what I'm referring to, look at this site:www.cardinalflyers.com-John

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I honestly think that you guys are being way to picky. I know that Lou and his team worked very hard on this project. and, myself, as a beta test, tried to fill him in on all of the small problems. you have to understand that this is a simulator, it is not real life and never will be. We can't make everything perfect. you also have to understand that this is not a 172, the design of the fuselage is much different, it is more squished down and wider. It is not going to have the same characteristics while looking out the window. We are doing the best that we can, this is not real life, and we want to keep stressing that we can't make it exactly like it should be.Tadd Garcia

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"I honestly think that you guys are being way to picky....."I somewhat expected this response--it crops up every time there is anything which resembles a critique of a product on this forum. The bottom line: this aircraft costs half of the purchase price I paid for FS2002. I don't expect it to be perfect, but it can be improved--and really the things noted by both of us are modest. I haven't suggested changing the shape of the fuse--I know what a Cardinal looks like. But adding a bit of dihedral to the wing, putting the tail in the proper proportion to the rest of the aircraft, and perhaps remolding the spinner are fair and doable thoughts.And there's nothing wrong with suggesting that... I'm not here on the forums fighting with everyone who wants to see improvements in my freeware programs. I try to take the suggestions under advisement, and then I do what I can. That's all I expect from the Dreamfleet team and from the community as a whole. If they can't do it, fine, but there's nothing wrong with saying "let's try."

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Since you removed your rant, James, I'll do likewise and remove my "rave" :)

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I'm sorry, rough day here, and guess I should check what I write before posting. x(What I was trying to say in amongst my ramblings, was that the model that Mikko was modeling off (blueprints) might've been from the different version of the Cardinal. However, I do see a definite dihedral in the wings. I can get a screenshot to prove that I do have one. Sorry for blasting off at ya. :-beerchug http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/edenw/FS_..._banner_je1.jpg Long Live General Aviation!

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Take a screenshot from the front of the a/c--that's where the lack of dihedral is most visible. Also, if you're a Cardinal fan (as I am), a worthy model is Dana McGee's RG.... That's where the Dreamfleet product begins to shine, but Dana's RG was IMHO the best until the Dreamfleet Cardinal came along.I'm hoping that some of the paints I see at the CardinalFlyers.com website make their way to the Dreamfleet model...

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I'm not a big Cessna fan, but I might check that model out. Ok, here are the two shots. In the first pic, you can't really see the dihedral sa well becuse of resizing, but I can defienitly see it when I look at it in full screen FS. The second one shows the close up of the wing. You can see a definite sloping beginning to show.Might just be my eyes, but I truly believe that there is a very visible dihedral there.http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/edenw/FS_...s_banner_je.jpg Long Live General Aviation!

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One thing that might skew these shots a bit is caused by the shape of the Cardinal wing. It tapers from the root toward the tip, but most of the taper is at the rear of the wing. The leading edge is almost straight from the root out to the tip... I think that taper adds to any perceived dihedral...I'm just learning gmax, as I hear it will be part of CFS-3 and I've badly wanted a nice Lancair IV-P.... What I've learned, is I can churn out something that looks like an airplane in a matter of minutes. Minus propeller, wheels, flaps, tail, stab and other parts that some sticklers might think would be needed for an airplane. Lord knows if I'll ever get good enough to produce something as freeware, but I believe if I can hold out until FS2008, I might have a chance!

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Im with John on this one. Im actually holding off buying this otherwise wonderful aircraft due to the dihedral thing. The Cardinal sitting on the ramp has a noticeble dihedral on the TOP of the wing. In those shots there is virtually none. It kind of destroys the look for me and I have a few hours in these aircraft. To me its in the area of a moderate oversight and I have to admit its not a big deal, but i wont buy it. I have the other fine aircraft, I especially like the Archer.Hornit

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Greetings!There's no dihedral in the picture. My 22 inch monitor has a completely flat screen, so I could easily put a ruler against the top of the wing, and it's straight as an arrow. I too bought the Dreamfleet Cardinal, and it's a nice little thing to fly. Whether one sees any dihedral from the outside is totally indifferent to me, since I hardly ever see any MSFS plane from the outside anyway: I'm a simulator pilot, not a simulator plane spotter. As long as the dihedral and other aerodynamical characteristics are incorporated in the physical flight model I'm quite happy. I kind of like the Cardinal. Most of the time I use the 2D cockpit, on account of the virtual cockpit in combination with my ED stereo glasses putting the instrument panel to far forward. Every now and then, when I like a change from my faithful R4D, I fire up the little Cardinal and pruttle happily away among Terramesh's rather realistic Italian or Swiss hills and mountains. I have no idea of the work put into the Cardinal, but I guess it must be enormous. As for a comparison of tis price with that of MSFS2002: sure, the little add-on costs about half of the complete simulator. But I don't think the Cardinal is expensive, I think FS2002 is extremely cheap. I really can't think of anything that has given me (and is still giving me) so much pleasure for so little money as MSFS does. And add-ons, whether payware or freeware, make it even better!Be, stay, live and better well!Jaap Verduijn.

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Wow, not sure what all went on in this thread last night! As for being "picky", I'm only picky because Dreamfleet made me that way. ;-) The Archer showed us what was possible and maybe set the level of expectations too high. As for the dihedral, I don't care much about it either except that it might make the visibility out the side windows more realistic. Also, can anyone see the elevator trim indicator? I can't make it out in VC mode. I wish it were included on one of the subpanels.David

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I agree. We have to tread carefully with the personalities of the freeware authors. However, when we pay we can comment. Too many people create something here and then defend it excessively. They cannot seem to accept that they could have done better. I thiught that this was a USA trait but it seems worldwide. The view out the front is odd. The other things commented on are probably also odd. Perhaps someone can fix these items. Perfection is something to be strived for and probably never attained. But to cast it aside is wasteful.Dick

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Hi David,With reference to your original post, if you find the GPS is affecting your frame rates in Map mode you can change the refresh rate via the Display Setup Page. Also, you can de-clutter the airports via the Map Setup Page which can help - it's all explained in the manual. If you have any other problems or need help on anything with the Cardinal you are welcome at the Dreamfleet forum - I don't want to abuse the forums here with tech help postings. :-)Many thanks.Nick Jacobs

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