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Robert W

AVSIM Reviews - Behind the scenes

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I've read many comments about "opinions" on how forum contributors think we do reviews at AVSIM. So let me quell some of the misconceptions. 1. We are all vounteers, we have no loyalty to any company. We review to get the information about our experience with the product out to you. We are not ALWAYS right.2. We will review anything and everything that a developer or vendor releases to us. Unlike other sites, we don't care if you don't want to advertise with us, we want to expose your product to all the flight simmers who enjoy AVSIM and may want to purchase a product. (or not)3. I offer a list of products available to the review staff in chronological order that I receive them. I ask that they choose from the top down (oldest to newest releases). Now we all know that when a "shiny new airplane" is released, it's more attractive than a scenery from a little known developer who is trying to get some "air time". I take that into consideration when a reviewer asks for the latest release.4. I have more product than reviewers. I have some reviewers who write/review a lot more than others. Why? Some reviewers are really dedicated to the hobby and others get a review written as their personal lives permit. We're volunteers, remember?5. I'm always looking for new reviewers, but I ask potential reviewers if they truly have the time. It's been known to have a reviewer come on strong with 2-3 great reviews and then disappear over the horizon, never to be heard from again.6. If you don't want to be a "Staff Rreviewer", but would like to contribute the occasional review, then you can be a "Contributing Reviewer" and I can usually get a product title for you. That's the perk of reviewing, you get to keep your product sample.7. Point of interest - I received PMDG's aircraft recently....I'm still waiting for the iFly 737 to come in the mail (the developer emailed and said it's on the way)....thus the PMDG first look was published first...there is another staff member currently working on a full blown review of this aircraft....I also have a reviewer waiting in the pattern for the iFly 737 to arrive.8. If there is a product out there that you think should be reviewed, and it isn't already on my "available" list to the staff....let me know, I'll try to acquire it and get it reviewed.9. Communication....it's a 2-way street, but try to be kind. We all have feelings and written words can be so easily misunderstood. If you have a question about the review process, ask...don't point fingers without doing your homework.

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Robert Whitwell
Reviews Editor
robertw@avsim.com

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Yes, thanks Robert! I have begun to become quite annoyed with how come people think Avsim reviewers operate. The PMDG 737NGX first look thread is a good example of that...


Benjamin van Soldt

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There is also no association between reviews and the product being available in our store, other differences are the links provided in our reviews do not link to our store even if it is available, but to the developers point of purchace, product information and forums where provided.

 

Credibility is not advanced when the profit motive becomes involved in editorial content.

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Yup, I can assure anyone who thinks there may be any hidden agendas in reviews, that there are not. The vast majority of people who volunteer to do stuff for Avsim (and that's everyone, from the forum admins to the people who sort out the files in the library) do so simply because they want to chip in to the hobby and help, and that being the case, it stands to reason that they would not steer people wrong simply because they got a freebie, because that would not be contributing to the hobby which they have demonstrated they care about by volunteering their time and efforts.

 

Where reviews are concerned, it is perhaps worth noting that one frequently sees Avsim reviews where a correspondent has clearly done a massive amount of research into the subject, often at considerable expense in both time and monetary terms to themselves, and if one considers that perhaps the average flight sim add-on costs maybe thirty quid, but the review might take literally weeks of testing and research and writing, then that thirty quid turns out to be a rather small hourly rate of pay for such efforts, so if any reviewer was going to 'take a bung' for writing something overtly positive, they'd be selling themselves and their credibility fairly cheap!

 

As with many things of this nature, I think most reviewers accept that they are somewhat sticking their head up over the parapet and inviting people to take a shot at them when presenting an opinion on something for all to see, but that just kind of goes with the territory, and it is in any case stated at the bottom of every Avsim review that it is the reviewer's opinion, as indeed it must be. But I do think that most reviews on Avsim are a fairly well balanced look at stuff, and it would be a rare thing indeed to see one which is vastly wide of the mark.

 

Avsim is a remarkable thing; it's a haven of courteous good nature in its forums, and a vast pool of knowledge from everyone involved in aviation, either real or simulated, and it is all free. So I would encourage everyone to get involved and support it in any way they can, whether that be with a donation of a few quid, or a donation of time or knowledge in either the forums, or in a more official capacity. Because in doing so, you will be making friends with everyone around the world who likes aviation, and that's a lot of friends.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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As with many things of this nature, I think most reviewers accept that they are somewhat sticking their head up over the parapet and inviting people to take a shot at them when presenting an opinion on something for all to see

 

I've actually been disappointed I haven't been able to spark any truly raging debates yet :P I guess I'll have to try harder. Closest yet was my Seabee review...


Drew Sikora

Staff Blog

Founder/Designer, MSE Airports

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Seabee review nearly got you a job as a beta tester; I have need of good eyes. Only thing that stopped me from asking you to do so is your review talents are a public service, as one cannot assess or comment without bias on a product one works on, it would have effectively denied our readership the opportunity to see more reviews like that you did for the Seabee.

 

With typically four projects on the go with different teams there is plenty of testing going on, as the Seabee proves you can never do enough testing or have too many thorough reviews.

 

Keep it up guys , your efforts make better products !

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Seabee review nearly got you a job as a beta tester; I have need of good eyes. Only thing that stopped me from asking you to do so is your review talents are a public service, as one cannot assess or comment without bias on a product one works on, it would have effectively denied our readership the opportunity to see more reviews like that you did for the Seabee.

 

Very true, Chuck. Thanks - I would if I could but at least I get to help out still in some fashion!


Drew Sikora

Staff Blog

Founder/Designer, MSE Airports

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Robert,

 

Glad to see you are still here! You were a pleasure to virtually work for.

 

The average AVSim review took about 30 to 40 hours between testing and documenting. I had a real head start since most of the airplanes I reviewed were aircraft I had flown in real life with someone else paying me to learn the systems. Some of the more interesting reviews of outstanding products, like PMDG's MD11 and Lotus Sim's L39 took more than 100 hours. ( I enjoyed the formation flying shots and those took a lot of time to stage with as many as four aircraft flying through )

 

Best regards and thanks for encouraging people in a way that keeps our hobby vital.

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I've no criticism of the review of the P-38 simulator, just  a comment or two on the history of the plane.  Whatever the faults of the Allison engine were, and there were plenty,  Der Gabelschwanz Teufel was the only plane that the Luftwaffe feared.  Their pilots were instructed to run away from any dogfight with them because the plane was just that much better.  Having said that, 90% of all combat kills in WW2 were from the 6 O'Clock high position, or bushwhacking, from above and behind.  If the P38 pilot saw the enemy plane before the enemy plane could open fire, he'd either climb or dive his way out of the kill zone.  The rate of climb was about 30% faster than anyone else and its ceiling was 2,000 feet higher than its nearest competitor, the Mustang,  44,300 feet vs 41,900.  In a power dive, the P38 was almost breaking the sound barrier and nothing could catch up to it.   The P38 was the better fighter.  The Mustang could out-turn the P38 and could out run it, by about 20 knots.  The problem with the P38 was that it had two engines, which mean twice as many man hours to maintain the plane and a much higher purchase price, $140K vs $70K for the P51.   The P51 was important because it was a cheap escort for the bombers, not because it was better.  The FockeWulfe 190,  Supermarine Spitfire, the Yakovolov 3A and the Mistubishi A6M Zero could all out-turn the P51 and the P47 Thunderbolt had a higher top speed.  It was the best single engine fighter the US had for the money, but was not the best fighter.  The brass loved it, so they started spreading rumors about it.  e.g, can't fly on one engine, can't bail out without breaking your back on the big aileron, etc.   This is probably the best informed dissertation on the topic.  http://www.ausairpower.net/P-38-Analysis.html   

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I've no criticism of the review of the P-38 simulator, just  a comment or two on the history of the plane.  Whatever the faults of the Allison engine were, and there were plenty,  Der Gabelschwanz Teufel was the only plane that the Luftwaffe feared.  Their pilots were instructed to run away from any dogfight with them because the plane was just that much better.  Having said that, 90% of all combat kills in WW2 were from the 6 O'Clock high position, or bushwhacking, from above and behind.  If the P38 pilot saw the enemy plane before the enemy plane could open fire, he'd either climb or dive his way out of the kill zone.  The rate of climb was about 30% faster than anyone else and its ceiling was 2,000 feet higher than its nearest competitor, the Mustang,  44,300 feet vs 41,900.  In a power dive, the P38 was almost breaking the sound barrier and nothing could catch up to it.   The P38 was the better fighter.  The Mustang could out-turn the P38 and could out run it, by about 20 knots.  The problem with the P38 was that it had two engines, which mean twice as many man hours to maintain the plane and a much higher purchase price, $140K vs $70K for the P51.   The P51 was important because it was a cheap escort for the bombers, not because it was better.  The FockeWulfe 190,  Supermarine Spitfire, the Yakovolov 3A and the Mistubishi A6M Zero could all out-turn the P51 and the P47 Thunderbolt had a higher top speed.  It was the best single engine fighter the US had for the money, but was not the best fighter.  The brass loved it, so they started spreading rumors about it.  e.g, can't fly on one engine, can't bail out without breaking your back on the big aileron, etc.   This is probably the best informed dissertation on the topic.  http://www.ausairpower.net/P-38-Analysis.html   

 

+1 Thanks for the short essay.

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