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Coming soon to a review near you....

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It's been a long time since I did a review for Avsim, but that is about to change. I'm currently in the process of doing an Avsim review of the latest shiny new jet fighter from Just Flight - their very pretty Hawker Hunter - so look out for that soon, but in the meantime, here's a few pics of it:

 

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VERY NICE! Is the Blue Note simulated I wonder??

 

Yup, it is. If you stick it on 'Tower View' in the sim you will hear that very distinctive sound. There are actually five sound files in the Hunter's sound folder in the sim which create the effect, so they've clearly spent quite a bit of effort on reproducing it, so that is indicative of it being quite an in depth simulation of the nuances of the real thing. I'm not sure if they've actually got the sound off the real thing, but it is certainly a possibility because there are still quite a few Hunters flying and preserved airshow circuit Hunter 'Miss Demeanour' (i.e. the one with the very colourful yellow red and blue paint scheme) regularly does the rounds in the UK at airshows, with many of these taking place just up the road from where Just Flight is located, at former WW2 RAF airfields.

 

For anyone who wonders what the hell we're on about, the name comes from a musical term: a blue note is  commonly found in blues and jazz music, which is technically a little bit off key (usually lowered about a third of a tone or so), to get an emotive soulful sound. It is sometimes referred to as a 'worried note' and you'll hear it in lots of jazz standards. Where the Hawker Hunter is concerned, it is caused by the open gun ports on the aircraft (and possibly the camera port on some variants). These act a bit like a chinese flute when the airflow blows into them and it makes the Hunter create an interesting and actually quite pleasant sound as it flies by. So you don't hear that sound coming from the unarmed PR versions of the Hunter.

 

There are a few aircraft notable for creating sounds like that or similarly unique sounds, for example, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter creates a distinctive howl when it winds up for take off, which is caused by the long tubular fueselage acting like a church organ pipe, and bizarrely, at some airfields, that sound was responsible for deer wandering onto the runway because it apparently sounded similar to their mating call! Some variants of the Supermarine Spitfire (i.e. those with an underwing air intake of a type made by Morris, which have a distinctive mesh on them) create a bit of a whistling sound, particularly at fly-by 'circuit' speeds. Many people erroneously think that is part of the distinctive Merlin engine's sound, when it is actually the air intake causing it, so some Spitfires without that particular air intake type don't make that sound, or make a slightly different sound owing to their different air intake.

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What a lovely model!

 

Yup, there's no doubt that the Hunter is a very pretty aeroplane, in addition to being often regarded as very much a 'pilot's aeroplane' by those who've flown it. Pretty much a classic case of 'if it looks right, it will fly right', although one suspects its good flight characteristics were more to do with the fact that Sydney Camm designed it.

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