I noticed while reading the forums that a few of the frequent posters were absent for days at a time. Finally, one of them made an innocent post that he was busy flying, or actually learning to fly the A2A Civilian Mustang. Eventually I got around to reading up on the Civilian Mustang and seeing what the hubbub was all about.
This is quite a story and I am not sure how to begin. Maybe the beginning would be a good place to start.
It is late 1940, Britain is at war but it is Pre-World War II for the USA. North American Aviation, now Boeing, was approached by a British delegation and asked to build a large number of P-40 fighters for the RAF. This was a pre-cursor of the ‘Lend-Lease’ Program later instituted by the U.S. President where he explained it as ‘Think of this as your neighbor’s house is on fire, and you are standing there with your water hose. You would lend it to him in his time of need wouldn’t you? And, with no thought of payment, just return it after the crisis.” In this particular case Britain was prepared to pay for the new aircraft.
The USA with its vast natural resources and large manufacturing plants were being called upon to help our Allies repel the ##### by building ships and airplanes and making shipyard docks available for urgent repairs prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
This history lesson must be endured because we have to win the war in Europe and Japan with the help of the military versions of the P-51 in order to even have a Civilian version. I will get to 1946 just a fast as I can, but, here goes the short version.
As usual, a simple Google search of ‘history of the p51 Mustang’ yields 2,210,000 results in 0.21 seconds. Well, that is a little much, but I elected to skip the Wikipedia hit and move to the second one - surely the Boeing.com/history site should shed a little light on the subject. I’m hooked for the evening with this lead in: A veteran of two wars – WWII and Korea – North American Aviation’s P-51 Mustang was the first U.S. fighter airplane to push its nose over . . .
This is not intended to degrade or take anything away from any of the other many outstanding WWII aircraft, like the P-38, P-40, and all the Hellcats and Corsairs and whatever else we could talk about. It is simply that I have chosen to limit this review to just the Mustangs. I plan to gloss over many key milestones and probably make a lot of our elder retired pilots and aviation historians furious by doing so, but I promise to add some links at the end for those purists to follow the true path and exact details of the birth of the Mustangs.
The production numbers are staggering with more than 15,000 total P-51s built between early 1941 and late 1945. As always, there were some ones and twos of special models, but the bulk of the force was the B, C and D models. This one has a slight twist in that the B and C was basically the same model; just the B was built in California and the C in Texas. The D model is generally considered the definitive Mustang. More Mustangs, specifically the K models, were super-high performers near the end of the war in Europe.
There were about 1,600 early versions built using American-made Allison engines that suffered from reduced horsepower with low-performing turbochargers. These early versions were well received but, relegated to low level strafing and reconnaissance.
So the story goes . . .
Rather than agreeing to build the vintage P-40, as requested, actually a 1933 design, that would have to go head-to-head with Germany’s best, NAA offered to build a completely modern, newly designed fighter for the RAF. The Brits were desperate and were willing to take most any fighter in quantity as long as it could be built quickly. The British agreed to a new design but stipulated that a prototype must be ready for review in 120 days. North American beat this near impossible deadline by 3 days by using wheels from the T-6 trainer and delivering a design with no engine specified.
Early model Mustang I destined for the RAF. Notice the large dual 20mm Cannon fairings on the wings.
Two months later, after several modifications the aircraft took to the air and reached 382 mph, exceeding the P-40’s top speed and even faster than the beloved Spitfire. The British Air Purchasing Commission was elated and ordered 320 on the spot and later doubled that order. This early version had an Allison engine developing 1,200 hp with a 3-bladed prop. The US did not order any P-51s for two more years. According to many, this was because North American would not pay kick-backs to those greedy few that profited from the war effort. It took a Presidential inquiry to resolve this issue.
Rolls-Royce, the British engine manufacturer, took it upon themselves to outfit 4 of the early B models with their larger and clearly superior ‘Merlin’ V-12 cylinder 1,695 hp engine with a ‘proper’ turbocharger with the now iconic 4-bladed propeller for a demo and as they say, the rest is history. The combination of the state-of-the-art laminar flow wing design, large fuel capacity, and the larger Merlin engine the Mustang was instantly transformed from a low level ho-hum escort to a high altitude, super-fast, kick-&@($* fighter of the first degree. Everyone wanted this version and they couldn’t build them fast enough.
Some accounts have North American fitting the larger Packard-built Merlin engine in a couple of test airframes in parallel with the Rolls-Royce examples in England. It seems each side of the pond was working totally independently and the US version had additional modifications to accommodate the increased horsepower, torque and speeds. The huge 4-bladed Hamilton-Standard propeller was chosen by both modification teams. One account has these first examples flying less than 3 weeks apart.
Something like 3,700 Razorback Merlin Powered B and C model were built and 8,100 D models were cranked out between North American’s Inglewood, CA plant and the Dallas, TX facility. The charts show another 1,500 K models came out of Dallas. Another 500 or so H models were built. The alphas that were skipped were the one and two special models. The Merlin engines were built in America by contract arrangement with Packard.
Once the performance numbers were proven with the enhanced Merlin engine demonstrations and the Truman Inquiry into kickbacks was complete, the US Government placed orders for 2,200 of the more powerful fighter before the first one of the new design ever flew in combat.
Our British friends converted the Alpha designations to the Mustang I, II, III, and IV with the conversion being the III = C and the IV = D and K models.
It seems another big improvement was the use of drop tanks to extend the effective range deep into Germany or other parts of Europe. The 12-cylinder Merlin, while cranking out 1,695 hp was a fuel guzzler, especially when engaged in aerial combat.
The later C, D and K models had a FL410 ceiling and a range of up to 2,000 miles using the drop tanks which nearly doubled the available fuel. A typical cruise speed was 325 mph with a max speed of 437 mph with 4 - 6 50 caliber machine guns blazing or 2 thousand pound bombs and some of the later D and K models carrying ten 5 IN rockets. The Luftwaffe pilots certainly did not want to see one of these things in their rear-view mirror as some 5,000 enemy aircraft were downed by the P-51.
The Mustang was fast enough to chase down a V-1 Buzz bomb and shoot it down while enroute to England. Although not nearly as fast as the German Me 262 ramjet the Luftwaffe usually did not choose to tangle with a P-51 in the hands of an experienced pilot. Chuck Yeager, flying a P-51, is credited as the first Allied pilot to shoot down a Me-262 when he surprised one during its approach to landing.
During the European campaign, the RAF and USAAF flew the P-51 in 123,873 sorties and the P-51 accounted for half of the total USAAF kills in the entire European theater.
The P-51 has garnered a few bylines like ‘the aircraft that changed the course of a war’ and ‘the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence’ and it is arguably the most recognized and celebrated American fighter of the Second World War - a truly iconic warplane.
"The day I saw Mustangs over Berlin, I knew the jig was up" -Hermann Goering
The P-51 remained in the active service inventory well into the age of the jet fighters. The last two escort missions were flown in 1968. It was not only a major factor in the Korean War but was used by Israel in two wars and several other countries well into the 1980s.
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Toward the end of 1945, the US Government was paying around $50,000 for each Mustang. Converted into 2013 dollars that would be about $750,000 to buy one P-51. At the end of WWII most of the inventory was scraped or sold at bargain basement prices to wealthy civilians for as little as $1,500. Many were also sold or given to our Allies who used them for several more decades. Less than 300 P-51’s exist today and only half of them are airworthy. This is also my estimate for the number of books about the P-51 that are available for purchase at Amazon.com or you can just read all the interesting history on the internet.
The P-51 was affectionately nicknamed by the bomber crews as their “Little Friends”. The P-51 Mustang and the pilots who flew them saved countless lives in the skies and on the ground, and helped turn the tide of WWII. The P-51 is arguably the finest fighter aircraft in the history of aviation
As the war in Europe was winding down, all the P-51 production was targeted for the Western Pacific theater. Although, the first Mustangs to appear in Asian skies were Allison-engined P-51As in November, 1943. Later model P-51s were outfitted for long range B-29 escort service and based in Iwo Jima. Both the US and Australia used the Mustang as an aerial fighter and to attack ground targets throughout the Pacific.
Starting with the P-51B models fighting alongside P-40 Warhawks and P-47 Thunderbolts in Burma, China, the Philippines and all over the Western Pacific, Mustang Aces were being made as early as 1944. Almost all the early P-51 American Aces were in China with a combination of the first 3 or 4 kills in a P-40 or P-47 and the 5th, or Ace kill, in the Mustang. It was a big day to step up to a new Mustang with the increased speed and firepower from an old worn-out P-40 in 1943. The N and K models were fierce combatants as the Allies closed in on homeland Japan.
When Japan finally said “uncle” in September, 1945 and the Empire of Japan ceased to exist with the stoke of a pen onboard the USS Missouri, the full inventory of used and surplus aircraft were slated for the chopping block. Some were made available to the public for purchase directly from the Air Force. About ten years later they would do it again when the Mustang was officially retired and replaced by the new jet propelled fighters.
The dumping of Surplus Aircraft in 1945 and 1946 (adapted from the A2A Foreword by Mitchell Glicksman)
Aviation sportsmen, buyers for museums, and all kinds of ex and would-be fighter pilots flocked to the sites where they could purchase the recently surplused P-51s and other types. At each of these sites there would be thousands of war weary military combat aircraft of all kinds, from B-17s to AT-6s, lined up in long rows in fields of hundreds of acres.
Prospective purchasers were permitted to inspect the airplanes and to start the engine (if they knew how to). Small quantities of fuel, oil and gasoline were supplied along with battery carts for starting. No proof of flying experience or even of a pilot’s license was required for purchase. If satisfied, the purchaser would pony up the agreed price in cash and sign a waiver absolving and holding harmless the Army or Navy for the condition of the airplane and any mishap that might occur with regard to it after purchase. A few more gallons of fuel, usually by a hand operated pump from a portable fuel drum, was added to fly the airplane to the nearest airport, then towed to a nearby makeshift runway usually just a dusty open strip of desert, and the owner or his or her representative would fly it away.
These P-51B, C and Ds were a true bargain at the going price of around $1,500.00 ($1,500.00 in 1945 had about the same buying power as $20,000 in 2013, the average annual inflation over this period being less than 4%) The average price of a P-51D in good condition is upwards of around $1,500,000.00, if one can be found for sale.
Not surprisingly, one of the main uses for these P-51s was air racing. Immediately after WW II highly modified surplus P-51s competed in the 1946-1949 Thomson and Bendix Trophy races as well as in the Cleveland Air Races.
Here begins the story of one particular P-51:
The A2A Civilian Mustang.
This is not just any old P-51; it is a very special one with a rich, well documented history with the name ‘Blaze of Noon” taken from an Ernest K. Gann novel about flying in the Roaring 20s which was made into a movie by that name.
The great cinema and airshow pilot, the late Paul Mantz purchased P-51C-10-NT (44-10947) in late 1945. He intended to enter this airplane in the 1946 Bendix Trophy race, a transcontinental, point-to-point race sponsored by Vincent Bendix founder of the Bendix Corporation. Mantz had the airplane stripped of all military and other unnecessary equipment and had the wings modified so that each wing was, in essence, a giant fuel tank. This became known as a “wet wing”. Because the Bendix Trophy was a long-distance race typically from the Los Angeles area to Cleveland, OH, maximum fuel capacity was essential to minimize the number of fuel stops.
Other tweaks and modifications were done to the Mustang’s airframe and engine in order to extract every ounce of performance. Mantz and his team created what soon proved to be a successful formula for racing. Blaze of Noon won first prize in the Bendix Trophy race of 1946 averaging 435.50 mph, in 1947 averaging 460.42 mph, and yet again in 1948, averaging 447.98 mph. One item I noticed was the bubble canopy was removed and replace with a low profile set of small windows.
Not content to merely win this prestigious air race, the always competitive and valiant Mantz set the coast-to-coast speed record across the United States in 1947.
When modified military piston-engine air racing was banned after the 1949 season after some spectacular crashes, Mantz sold Blaze of Noon to actress Maureen O’Hara’s soon-to-be husband, pilot Charles Blair, Jr., who renamed it the “Excalibur III”. Blair went on to set a number of world records in it, including the 3,460 mile New York to London record in 1951 which was flown in 7 hours 48 minutes at an average speed of 443.59 miles per hour.
A few months later Blair flew Excalibur III from Bardufoss, Norway to Fairbanks, Alaska, over the North Pole, a total distance of 3,260 miles in 10 hours and 27 minutes. This was significant because it was thought at the time that flights over the North Pole were not safe due to the magnetic anomalies near the pole which greatly interfered with navigation. For this brave feat he won the 1951 Harmon Trophy.
Excalibur III is currently on display in the National Air and Space Museum’s facility at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport where it can be seen along with such notable aircraft as the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet aircraft in the world; the Boeing Dash 80, the prototype of the venerable 707 airliner, and the historic Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” which dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Japan on 6 August 1945.
Of the 15,496 Mustangs built, only about 150 exist in flyable condition today
Over the years, millions of people have been, and will surely continue to be entertained, thrilled and impressed by P-51s flown at air shows, warbird gatherings and historical fly-bys all around the world. This is a fine and deserved legacy for the legendary P-51 Mustang, considered by many to be the greatest piston-engine fighter airplane of all time.
Most folks, especially older pilots and military pilots, agree that the Mustang is the best piston engine fighter ever built. The exception seems to be those associated with the P-38 Lightning. They think there bird is the best piston engine fighter ever built, but will usually concede the P-51 Mustang was the best fighter ‘for the price’, but their P-38 was the best at any price. Might be some truth to it - it had a lot going for it and the Luftwaffe sure respected it.
Wings of Power 3 P-51 Civilian Mustang for FSX
“The release of the “Civilian Mustang” marks an important milestone for A2A. Our roots have been in both general aviation and military aviation history, and A2A has used this passion and experience to bring many Warbirds to Microsoft Flight Simulator X. However, this release does our best job combining these two worlds.”
The height of single-engine complexity from the war years would be the P-47 Thunderbolt, which had a plethora of systems to manage (manual cowl, cooling, and oil flaps, manual turbo, manual throttle management, etc.). The pilot was being taxed to just fly the aircraft, let alone engage an enemy or avoid being attacked. Over the course of the war, aircraft were made ever more aerodynamic, engine power was pushed to its limit, and systems were gradually made to work automatically.
The P-51 Mustang represents the very pinnacle of this wartime development, and today the few remaining P-51’s fly in a modern world and perform not just adequately, but admirably. The P-51 Mustang today is an outstanding, all weather cross-country platform. It is considerably faster and can fly further than the fast majority of general aviation aircraft, and is just shy of the speed of a personal jet. While maintaining a real Mustang is hobby for the wealthy few, Mustang pilots today regard their aircraft as sturdy and reliable.
During the development of the Accu-Sim Mustang over the years, we have taken four test flights in two different Mustangs flying today. The cockpit we designed in this Civilian Mustang was designed over many months with the assistance of Mustang pilots, owners, and our own in-house staff. Owning and operating a Mustang today is a dream to many, and this is what we believe flight simulation is all about.
Welcome to the Cockpit of the Civilian Mustang
So if you don’t have an extra million or two to purchase a real Mustang you can learn to fly this simulator edition and still enjoy the dream.
The Accu-Sim Mustang is as close to owning and flying the real thing as anyone has accomplished.
This aircraft has been fitted with a complete IFR panel that was not even possible in a 60 year old military aircraft at any cost until recently. With this new instrumentation and equipment you now have a high speed powerful propeller driven aircraft able to perform and compete in the general aviation field. With the addition of the Century III autopilot system and a Garmin GPS400 you now have a set of extra mechanical hands and a state-of-the-art navigation system to assist you while flying in most weather conditions. This aircraft represents what a pilot or observer may find in many Mustangs at airshows today.
During the creation process several high hour pilots were asked what they would like to see in addition to what had already been created for this modern variation. It is believed that A2A has created a very unique environment that caters to most pilots that has never been experienced before in Flight Simulator. This could well be the most unique simulation available to FSX users as it is not only designed and built using input from Mustang owners and operators but is up-to-date with easily recognizable avionics and instrumentation. All traces of warbird guns, bombs, radar, etc have been removed in the design phase.
How do you make a Military Mustang a Civilian Mustang?
- 6 Browning M2 machine guns (Gun ports still visible)
- Radio wire from tail to canopy
- AN/APS-13 tail warning radar
- K-14a Gun sight, brackets, cables
- IFF/SIF Military ID equipment
- (Lots of weight removed)
- Cockpit layout and Panel
- Radio and Nav equipment
- Various gauges/Nav tools
- Old style Military helmet to Modern HGU-71/P w/O2 Mask
- Cockpit colors now gray
- External Nav lights/strobes
- Many Switches and Indicator Lights.
- Garmin GNS 400 GPS
- Century III autopilot and lateral guidance system (Replaces K-14a)
- Underside rotation beacon
- New Civilian paint and Registration number.
First you remove all the old outdated wiring and equipment that no longer functions or has any purpose in the aircraft. Then you replace some of the necessary and functional stuff with more up-to-date and modernized avionics and instruments. And finally, you add those items that are unique to all civilian aircraft and register it for an N-number.
When all done, you still have the look, feel, and sounds of the Mustang, but you are looking at a more familiar panel and pleasing colors. What was not added, but would normally be found on most civilian aircraft would be a baggage compartment.
This is solved by simply carrying your toothbrush in your shirt pocket. (Update: I found the baggage area, a brown RON kit, left of seat)
There are a few additional differences in the Military model and the Civilian model that we will discover a little later on.
One of the Civilian Mustangs used for measurements and design by the A2A Simulations team is Moonbeam McSwine, a currently flying Mustang with racing heritage and a regular at big airshows. Moonbeam’s owner, Vlado Lenoch, made her available for audio and video recordings as well as flight tests to record base values for development and design tests of the A2A edition.
While researching the old history records, I see that an old friend, Lefty Gardner, of P-38 airshow fame, once owned this particular P-51. This one was built in the California plant in October 1944 and arrived in Britain just in time to celebrate V-E Day then returned to Newark NJ depot in July, 1945. She was bounced around a few AFBs and then handed down to a few ANG bases and finally put in storage at the end of 1956. Two years later she was sold as surplus for $1307.50.
In 1975, N2151D was restored as Moonbeam McSwine and won Grand Champion Warbird in Fresno, CA that same year. Vlado purchased her in 1988 and after a brief racing career now flies with the USAF Heritage Flights and is a regular at air shows.
The Century III Autopilot and Lateral Guidance System
The Century III is a light weight autopilot offering maximum performance and utility. The system can compensate for unbalanced fuel loads and incorrect trimming as well as power changes making it an ideal autopilot for the P-51D Mustang. Please note that only pitch trim is adjusted with this autopilot system and not aileron or rudder trim however turns made with the system are coordinated. The simulation closely mimics the unique features of this autopilot system.
This is truly a full-function autopilot but does require one to perform the proper and expected Engagement Sequence. Not exactly a press the button engagement other than the ALT HOLD. This one is a Press to engage feature.
Radio and Navigational Equipment
A cluster of four Bendix/King Radio and Nav receivers are located in the lower center of the panel. The view is partially blocked by the flight control stick. The 4 control and selection heads are similar enough to be intuitive with familiar power on and off knobs and frequency adjustment with a standby and active 5 digit readout and a push to transfer, or make active, button. Model numbers are KFS 598 VHF radio, KFS 564A Nav/VOR/ILS, KFS586A ADF, and a KFS 576A Transponder unit for Mode A and C interrogations.
Century III Engagement Sequence:
1. Trim aircraft to desired attitude with standard trim systems.
2. Center roll knob and engage the roll switch (into up position).
3. Center heading bug/course selector on the horizontal situation indicator to your current heading.
4. Center the trim indicator in the trim window on the autopilot console with the pitch command wheel and engage pitch mode (pitch switch up).
5. Engage altitude hold switch (up) at desired altitude
Basic 6 Cluster of Flight Instruments
The basic six is has the expected layout with the Rate of Climb gauge calibrated for 6,000 FPM on either side. This is bordered in yellow and slight offset to the left of center.
One of the most useful navigational instruments in the cockpit is the Gold Crown King KPI-553A HSI with the DME readouts. This single instrument still sells for $8,000 on the used market. This instrument alone deserves its own manual due to the many functions that it performs.
The balance of the front or forward panel houses the clock, standby ROC (10K FPM) and Suction gauge to the left of the Basic 6 and a digital OAT gauge further left. On the right starting at the top is Manifold pressure gauge with the Tachometer at the 5 o’clock position and surrounded by smaller engine monitoring gauges with a direct reading Fuel Flow gauge at the far right.
Immediately below the Basic 6 is the Auto Pilot control buttons with the Roll, Pitch and Trim selectors and the four engagement rocker switches on the left and the Bendix/King Audio selection panel on the right. These are push to engage button with the Audio colored yellow and the Nav white. Directly below the audio panel is a hydraulic pressure gauge, the GPS/NAV switch and rotary Nav selector switch.
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The cockpit lighting consists of two directional lights with most of the individual instruments having some nice soft internal lighting. There is a standard on/off light switch location near the pitot heat switch on the right side panel.
This is a good time to talk about how well the VC texturing is render and presented. It is an absolute pleasure to be able to fly a modernized WWII iconic fighter with the most up to date VC with the IFR panel. Now, add the Accu-Sim needle vibrations, stick shaking, and all the general almost-real noises and features and it is almost overwhelming. Outstanding presentation, A2A.
At the base of the control stick on either side are some very important rotary knobs. On the left is the defroster and on the right is the ‘Hot Air’ control. Should you overlook these controls, you may find yourself flying full IFR when the canopy is covered with condensation.
A2A Simulations Wings of Power: 3 P-51 Military (for FSX, first released May 27, 2012)
As I researched the differences in the A2A Civilian Mustang and the A2A P-51 Military simulation that was released about 6 months previously, I immediately knew that I needed to get both simulations to write this review. Now I have both and the Accu-Sim for Wings of Power 3 P-51 Mustang(s) add-on that is common to both simulations. There is actually a 4th program needed to have a total, updated installation. You go to the A2A Simulation’s Forum site and download and install (last) the latest version of the Accu-Sim core update. This one is for not only for both P-51 Mustangs, but also for the Accu-Sim Spitfire and P-40.
The A2A models are accurately referred to as simulations and not add-ons as we commonly use to describe the latest aircraft we are adding to our FSX collection.
All that abbreviated history from the last few pages will not be wasted, because we will simply follow a dual path in the development and presentation for this review. As we progress we will have an authentic, and I do mean authentic, as in realistic, accurate, faithful, researched, true representation of the real deal. Scott Gentile, A2A Founder and Chief Designer, not only researches the real world aircraft in parallel to the in-house simulation development, he records the visits on video and makes them available for us to view.
“We recently went up in the beautiful, "Moonbeam McSwine." Owner and operator, Vlado Lenoch, has quite an impressive history. He not only has over 8,000 hours total time, he has a masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT, is ATR rated in the Boeing 727, is a flight instructor in single, multi, and gliders, has an LOA (License of Authorization) for the L-39, T-33, P51, and others, and interestingly, his uncle Cvitan Gallc, was a 36 victory Luftwaffe fighter ace.”
Scott Gentile, A2A Simulations
Check this Mustang Walkaround from September 10, 2010, 30 miles South of KORD, and then compare the subject to FSX edition of the same name and colors. (6:25 Moonbeam McSwine) (http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=22369)
Not only are the developers active pilots, they used detailed input and design assistance from many world renowned P-51 owners and pilots from around the world. The A2A Forums have daily posts by P-51 pilots suggesting how to better fly the Mustangs in FSX.
A follow-on HD video of the ‘Glamerous Gal’ can be found here. (9:24
Some Screenshots of the WOP3: P-51 Military (Memorial Day launch, 2012)
These screenshots taken from the Screenshot Forum for P-51 Military at A2A Simulations.com Special thanks to the repainters.
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What is this Accu-sim stuff?
But, even before you grab your checklist you need to fully understand this Accu-Sim. I know enough to explain it to you but, I fail to understand why it is a separate purchase. I would venture a guess that less than 1% of the WOP3 customers fly without Accu-Sim.
Accu-Sim is an additional simulation that is specific to a A2A flight model or a family of models. This is what makes the shake, rattle and roll, shake, rattle and roll. Touted as ‘built by pilots for simulator pilots to extend FSX to another level’, or a higher plane (pun intended). It comes in two parts – the core, which is constantly being added to and updated and the specific model Accu-sim that you purchase along with your A2A Simulation.
Accu-Sim is coded totally outside the FSX box and is connected by strategic hooks with the end result a simulation that run in FSX but acts like FSX on steroids and upgrades the flight model to appear and feel much more realistic. Your first indications will be bouncing needles, panel shakes, vibrations of all sorts, sounds you have never heard in FSX and just generally a much more real-world-like simulation. This has several advantages for both the developer and the sim pilot. The Developer is no longer restrained or limited by the unfinished version of FSX and Direct9 and therefore can model specific systems and details as needed.
The sim pilot is rewarded with near real world sounds, images, actions and reactions and can now use FSX in a way that real pilots use their equipment. A big plus is all these feature-rich enhancements do not use any of the CPU allocated to FSX with a net result of smoother running simulations at higher FPS. There will now be consequences of needles in the red and over boosting an engine on takeoff or in the case of the Mustang, not understanding and following the checklists and maintenance schedule. No more of that jump in and fly or land, stop and jump out and go to dinner. Proper shuts downs are just as important and proper startups and other procedures.
Dudley Henriques, A2A Chief Pilot Emeritus, recently responded to a post asking what one would be missing by flying the P-51 without Accu-Sim. His partial response is . . . “With Accu-Sim, you are no longer "playing" with FSX. You are operating and flying an airplane as a pilot would be flying that airplane. In other words, you are no longer a "gamer". Accu-Sim is SERIOUS business. When you start up, take off, and fly, then land an Accu-Simmed P51, when you park it and close down FSX, you have accomplished as close to actually having flown a P51 as I believe has ever been made possible in a desktop simulator experience. Not having Accu-Sim is like missing a date with Pamela Anderson because you had to mow the lawn.”
Another frequent poster added . . . “now you have a real reason to do a run-up, you really should check the suction, prop, mag drop, etc., they could actually exceed tolerances. The chances of things like that exceeding tolerances is related to your style of flying. If you are hard on the airplane, things will break/wear out quicker. (TJ)
So, in summary, a large dose of ‘Realism’ is added to FSX without using any extra computing resources. A simulation with Accu-Sim is unmistakable, even non-pilots instantly notice the ‘realistic environment’. I think flying without Accu-sim is akin to ordering a hamburger, then saying, ‘Oh, hold the meat, please.’ Somehow, it is no longer a hamburger.
OK. Now we Learn to Takeoff? Not yet, but we can start it up - soon.
Yep. When you move up to a modern A2A Simulation with Accu-sim, you will be required to treat your new aircraft as if you would a real world equivalent. This means hitting the books, watching videos, making notes, reading the forums and burning the midnight oil, as they say.
Depending on which model you have chosen to fly today, you will find a section with several pages of instructions in the A2A manual.
The smart pilot will read the manual at least once prior to attempting to start the Mustang. Should you choose the Military P-51 you have 50 of the most interesting pages you may have ever come across. Eight sections will get you feeling comfortable enough to want to read the 60 page Accu-Sim manual. The first half of the Accu-Sim manual is more like a crash physical and aerodynamics course with the last half of the manual covering specific systems and parts of your P-51 with a couple of pages of hints on how to fly it.
The 8 sections of the Military P-51 manual is divided up into bite size sections for easy comprehension. The lead-in, introduction and short history gets you interested, then a very short 3-page installation guide follows. Variants and specs with cockpit diagrams keeps you interested enough to read the section on 2D Panels where the memory work starts. You've got to know how to use the Shift+# keys to get to some of the goodies. Next to last are explanations and descriptions of the 17 major systems of the Mustang and then the part you have been looking for – Flying the P-51 – with 4 pages covering the Prelim check, how to get in and do a proper startup. Taxi, run-up checks, actual takeoff and the use of power. This is where you learn full power does not mean full throttle. And finally, prep for landing and actually landing. It is not over with the landing. There is more to do.
For those that chose the Civilian Mustang . . .
I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is the Civilian Mustang manual is 27 pages longer than the Military manual. Go Figure. The good news is the Accu-sim manual is the same for both so you may already be half way home.
The Civilian Mustang manual appears to have been written by the same author of the Military P-51 so you are in for more interesting reading. This time the Introduction actually covers the systems as such meaning the Autopilot, Radio and Nav equipment, gauges and controls, and features and overview. All in 15 pages or so. The first 5 pages consist of the full version of the Blaze of Noon story as told by Mitchell Glicksman. My greatly abbreviated version earlier was just enough to get you interested in reading a little more about it.
The Saga of 5412V by Dudley Henriques, A2A Chief Pilot and MSFS Consultant Emeritus
This is a real treat. It’s an easy to read tear jerker mini-novel about a great airplane and a great pilot written by the great pilot’s friend. You will enjoy this immensely.
Following some nice detailed drawings showing what things are and where they are located in the cockpit and the general specs for speeds and dimensions we get to the section on 2D panels. Now, these are not like you may imagine typical 2D panels should appear. These are more along the lines of click and choose for specific configurations. Kind of like a Configuration Manager divided up into Pilot’s Notes (very handy), Controls (Too many things to summarize), Payload and Fuel Manager, Map (A big, useful map with a compass rose and airports and such) You click on a dozen little boxes for Nav data, rings, zooms, etc
The radio control box is a nifty method of channel selection and viewing. Finally, something new to many will be the Maintenance Hangar where you can perform a complete overhaul or simply check the oil. This is a color coded, click to perform feature. This is an A & P mechanics dream so enjoy this one. Make sure you do a full compression test to get started – remember there are 12 of those suckers in the Merlin. Learn to keep good records early in your training.
There are sections on the GPS400 and a Joystick Mapping Utility instruction sheet.
The systems chapter is a little technical, duh, but is quite interesting. It is not just dry descriptions but is well written with interesting overviews with some how-to's and consequences of doing or not doing. You may want to print this section and grab your highlighter.
Get ready for the fun part. Checklists and procedures. Probably more detailed than you have ever seen. Lots of great information packed into these last 10 pages. I recommend reading these last two sections every night for a month.
Set your FSX Realism Settings before you try to fly.
The A2A Simulations Wings of Power P-51 Mustang was built to a very high degree of realism and accuracy. Because of this, it was developed using the highest realism settings available in Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
The following settings are recommended to provide the most accurate depiction of the flight model. Without these settings, certain features may not work correctly and the flight model will not perform accurately. The only exception would be “Crash tolerance.”
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Some differences that may not be so obvious.
Military P-51 Airspeed is in MPH, Civilian Mustang Airspeed is in Knots. (1.00 kt = 1.15 MPH)
Military P-51 has APU available, Civilian Mustang does not have APU capability.
Startup checklist has you checking Bomb & Gun Switch positions in Civilian Mustang – Ignore.
Civilian Mustang does not have Wing Pylons therefore no long range fuel drop tanks are available.
Now its time to review the cockpit layout and read the labels.
Seven colorful cockpit diagrams are included in the manual with labels for each switch, gauge, lever or whatever. It would be a good idea to review these diagrams to get an feel for what is packed into this cockpit.
I think just a general overview is called for at this time. Detailed explanations will follow shortly.
Because the P-51 Military edition was available 6 months prior to the introduction of the P-51 Civilian model, there is naturally more selection of videos and tutorials tailored that that model. However, one should be able to adapt one model to the other except for a few selected systems like machine guns, radar, IFF, etc. on the Military version and the GPS, HSI and autopilot from the Civilian model.
Things to help you fly the Mustang
One helpful item that is not normally found in a FSX simulation is a Popup Pilot’s Notes with active updatable flight information. The Shift + 2 keystroke bring the Pilot’s Notes up as a 2D panel. This has a little bit of everything displayed for a quick glance. OAT and Cabin temps, Ground speed, range and endurance numbers, Power settings for takeoff, climb and cruise and fuel flow.
Shift + 3 Controls seems to be an extension of the Pilot Notes except it is more action oriented. This will be nice when flying using the external view. With my Mad Cats/Saitek hardware cockpit it will be a natural.
With Controls (Shift + 3) You can:
- Attach your GPU (ground power unit) for easier startups
- Put on your oxygen mask
- Set wheel chocks
- Jack up the aircraft
- Remove the pilot
- Adjust various switches and levers including your radiator flap, lights, etc.
- Set the aircraft to a cold-start state
- Set aircraft to automatically start in a cold start state
- Set throttle gate to match your joystick detent
Additionally, Accu-Sim users can:
- Enable or disable damage modeling
- Adjust the volume of the Accu-Sim sound system
- Use headphones
The Payload and Fuel Manager is assigned Shift + 4. This is a ‘real-time payload and fuel manager allows you to visually click and load your aircraft. This is a mouse controlled action panel with + and – boxes for adjustment or you can just fill in the blanks.
Using the Payload and Fuel Manager you can service.
- Coolant fluid
- Engine oil
- Hydraulic fluid
- Aftercoolant fluid
- Remove fuselage tank
- Change fuel grade
- Change oil grade
Pilot’s Map (SHIFT-5)
This small popup panel provides input for your virtual cockpit radios but in a simplified and easy to use manner. This popup features all the amenities of the actual radios but in a singular unit which allows you to control your communication, navigation, ADF and transponder radios from a single source. You can do most everything with this popup that you can do using the radio head in the VC. You can switch standby to active frequency, change frequencies, adjust channels, press Indent.
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Maintenance Hangar (SHIFT-7)
The Maintenance Hangar is where you can get a review of how your aircraft engine and major systems are functioning. You can both see and read your crew chief’s report stating:
- A summary of your airframe, engine, and propeller installed
- Hours on airframe and engine since last major overhaul
- General condition of the engine
You can also perform a COMPLETE OVERHAUL by clicking on the OVERHAUL button. This overhauls the engine and replaces any parts that show any wear with new or re-conditioned ones.
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Red Must fix or replace
While the maintenance hangar is accessible for non-Accu-Sim installations, engine damage, wear, and advanced systems modeling is part of the Accu-Sim expansion pack.
This feature alone adds so very much to the simulation. You have you Mustang sitting on jacks so you can run use the color coded screenshot and the mechanics work order to perform the repairs. A click on the item will enact an instant repair or you can simple click on the box for a ‘complete overhaul’ and do all repairs instantly. Same with the big Merlin engine, if a couple of cylinders have low compression, can repair just those two or all 12 at once. The Yellow items are good candidates for failure during your next flight and the red one must be repaired on the spot.
One thing is for sure, learning to fly the Mustang is no easy task and it is quite easy to make a spectacular crash resulting in major damage. Fortunately, they can all be at no additional cost for repairs using your Maintenance Hangar. Some Civilian Mustang users have complained in the forums that the model of choice on the jacks is a Military model and it should be changed to one of the Civilian models.
I like the answer that if you are not happy with the one of choice, then find a suitable screenshot of your choice and replace it. That way A2A and keep actively working on the next model and making meaningful upgrades to this one as no two users will be totally happy when there is a choice of three.
Remember, this is in the Accu-Sim part of the simulation and is common to both the Military model and the Civilian model mustang.
This GPS functions the same as the one in the virtual cockpit. The GPS in the virtual cockpit can be easily swapped with a 2D one should one desire to swap the unit with other avionics freely available to consumers such as the Reality XP GNS430. This would enable WAAS and LPV approaches in addition to enabling Navigaph updates.
Joystick Mapping Utility
The Input Configurator is a small utility that allows users to assign keyboard or joystick mappings to many custom functions that can’t be found in FSX controls assignments menu. It can be found in the A2A/P-51/Tools folder inside your FSX installation directory.
Starting in 2003 as a one man operation, A2A have now developed into a flight simulation leader with some of the most skilled people in the industry. We continue to strive for the enhancement of realism, immersion and entertainment in everything we do. The A2A Accu-Sim P-51D is a minutely modeled sim, giving you incredibly realistic cockpit instrument control. Every button and knob in the Accu-Sim P-51 cockpit works, is clickable, mappable and adjustable.
But Accu-Sim does much more than just bringing your cockpit to life. It is a complete systems simulator, meaning that as you fly, it tracks in real time the state of all the aircraft systems (control surfaces, hydraulics, engine, cooling system, gear, etc.) and monitors and reports on their state.
Your P-51D becomes a living, breathing machine. As you rack up the flight hours in your aircraft, systems will wear down, fluid levels will fall, mechanical systems will fail in a simulation of a "persistent world" as applied to a single aircraft. Your machine will need maintenance to stay in top condition. Fail to maintain it, and critical systems will fail in flight. Unlike an MMO, you don’t need to rack up "credits" to perform maintenance, it is just something you need to attend to, as with any real life aircraft!
The Accu-Sim P-51D functions as any other aircraft in FSX. So you can fly it in any of your FSX worlds or missions, which may include maps covering theatres in which the real P-51D was flown. Want to skim along the railway tracks through the countryside in Western Europe? If you have that regional scenery installed in FSX, you can! Or, if you want to fly out of the airport right near your home, and you have that scenery installed, you can buzz your own house in a Mustang. Look ma, no hands!
But as for doing what the P-51D was designed to do (blow stuff up), you can’t
A few Systems highlights prior to starting
The engine has a two-speed, two-stage supercharger which cuts into high blower automatically. For all normal operations, keep the switch in AUTOMATIC.
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Carburetor The engine has an injection-type carburetor and an automatic manifold pressure regulator. With this automatic regulator, you don’t have to jockey the throttle to maintain a constant manifold pressure in the high-speed range as you climb or let down. All you have to do is select the desired pressure by setting the throttle lever, and the pressure regulator does the rest. It compensates automatically for the difference in air density at different altitudes by gradually opening the carburetor butterfly valve as you climb and smoothly closing it as you descend.
Late model Mustangs are equipped with a single-position carburetor. The mixture control has the following settings: IDLE CUT-OFF, RUN, and EMERGENCY FULL RICH. These carburetors are fully automatic and the normal operating position is RUN. The EMERGENCY FULL RICH position is for use in case the carburetor fails to function properly in RUN. The quadrants have two friction-lock adjusting knobs. One adjusts the friction of the propeller and mixture control levers, the other the throttle control lever.
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The P-51D propeller is a Hamilton Standard, four-blade, hydraulic, constant-speed prop with a diameter of 11 feet 2 inches and a blade angle range of 42°. As is the case with all single engine aircraft, the prop cannot be feathered. You control propeller rpm manually by a single lever on the throttle quadrant.
The remaining systems are covered in the manual to this level of detail. These systems are Landing Gear, Brakes, Hydraulics, Electrical, Fuel, Oil, Cooling, Oxygen, Emergency, Recognition Lights and Canopy.
The cockpits of fighter-type airplanes are generally pretty cramped, and that of the Mustang is no exception. Concentration of numerous instruments and controls into a small space is unavoidable. In the case of the P-51D, the controls are simplified, and their grouping has been planned to give you the greatest possible efficiency. As fighter airplanes go, the cockpit is comparatively comfortable.
The cockpit can be both heated and ventilated. Cold air is fed into the cockpit through a small scoop located between the fuselage and the big air scoop. Warm air is fed into the cockpit from inside the scoop just back of the radiator. Warm air from this source also serves to defrost the windshield. The controls for regulating cold and warm air and the defroster are on the floor of the cockpit, around the seat, as shown in the accompanying illustration.
The pilot’s seat is designed to accommodate either a seat-type or a back-pack parachute.
The back cushion is kapok-filled and can be used as a life preserver. The seat is adjustable vertically; you’ll find the lock on your right. No fore-and-aft adjustment is possible. Your comfort on long flights will be increased by a small, folding arm rest on the left side of the cockpit. A standard safety belt and shoulder harness are provided. There is a lever on the left side of the seat for relaxing the tension on the shoulder harness. This permits you to lean forward whenever necessary-for example, to look out of the canopy in taxiing.
Finally, Flying the P-51
Accu-Sim is about believing you are there. It knows that, in the real world, certain truths exist. However, we also expect the unexpected, because in life, things do not always fall right into place. When you hit the starter for a great big radial engine, it doesn't always just say, "Yes, sir," and start right up. Sometimes it does, and when that happens you may think, “That was a nice startup.” Other times, the engine does something else – it turns over, it sputters, it coughs, and when just enough things happen to line up, brrrrroooom, the engine fires up. It is not a whole lot different than starting your cold lawn mower engine, but a large aircraft engine just has a lot more going on.
Accu-Sim understands that while one aircraft may be the same model as the next, each aircraft is unique. It also understands that if we do things exactly the same way as we did before, things will not always respond in kind. Most of the time, yes, things will go as we expect. But there is a tolerance we watch for in all things. For example, if your engine tends to run at a specific temperature, say 220 degrees, and that engine is running at 225 degrees, you may consider that normal, or acceptable. Maybe 230 degrees is the point when you think, “That is a little too high,” or maybe 230 degrees is again considered OK by someone else. This is because you, the pilot, are considering not just the temperature of that engine, but all the other factors that go into what makes that engine heat up. Perhaps it's a bit warmer outside the aircraft or you want a little more speed that day so you've closed your cowl flaps an extra inch, trading speed for a little hotter temperature. Maybe the temperature gauge is off a bit, or perhaps you, the pilot, become a bit concerned. Maybe these indicators mean something more is at play. Perhaps you let the engine run a bit too hot on takeoff or maybe something else, completely out of your control, is at work.
No matter what it is, the world is not run by absolute numbers; it's run by real things we can see and touch. It's observing the behavior of such things and making decisions based upon what we know to be true. With Accu-Sim, one thing is for certain – no two flights are the same. Welcome to the world of Accu-Sim.
Discovering Accu-Sim is akin to finding the world’s best hamburger, or maybe that perfect chocolate milkshake, or an easy method that works to stopping smoking, or maybe that first successful trip to a chiropractor that fixed your nagging lower back pain. Whatever, you can relate to, that is what we are talking about here. Once you are exposed to Accu-Sim, that level of expectation will be your minimum level of satisfaction, but, you also will want to share your experiences.
You know how sometimes you wish someone would just quit talking about how great something performs, well, that is the way Accu-Sim affects you. It is so different, so really high level, so out-of-the-park type stuff, you want everyone to experience it also.
There is no denying that my level of expectation has increased dramatically after flying the P-51 Mustangs with Accu-Sim. Preflight and startups now take on a totally new meaning. The same for how one cares for his or her airplane while in flight and how one chooses to leave it when shutting down. Remember, if you notice a weak or squeaking brake when taxiing to the hangar, it will be in the same condition the next time you come out to fly the plane.
I suppose it is like when you move from being a ‘renter’ to an ‘owner’. You just seem to be a bit more caring about the equipment.
The Maintenance Hangar is a true godsend for managing the cost of keeping an old warbird in pristine condition and ready for the next airshow. It is like having the perfect group of mechanics with a virtual credit card. Any and all things can be fixed with the click of the mouse but, records are kept for your review.
I’ve had to resort to using a good headset rather than my new Bose speakers. My wife just doesn’t appreciate the sweet sounds of the Merlin during startup and run-up checks while she is watching the Food Channel or HGTV.
The Headphones selection choice (found in Shift+3 Controls) works great to balance the cockpit sound levels with the outside view sound levels. FSX has always had a problem with sound levels when switching back and forth.
There is just something special about the deep throated rumble of these big ole oversized piston engines. Words fail me, but those that have experienced it instantly know what I would like to say.
The FL410 Encounter
ATC: Cessna Citation N510F1, be advised, a faster moving Mustang is overtaking you at FL390. Report when in sight.
Citation: Roger Center, Citation OF1 level @ FL410, Must be another one of our Model Five-Tens in a hurry?
ATC: Negative Citation 01F, this is a Model Papa Five One Delta
Citation: Say Again Model number.
ATC: Roger Citation 01F, overtaking aircraft is model Papa-51D ‘Mustang’
Citation: Uh, er, Roger, er uh, duh, uh Hey, Look at that! . . It’s a real Mustang. Holy Cow. Sorry Center. Fast mover now in sight.
ATC: Roger Citation 01F. (chuckle, chuckle)
High Flying Cross Country Mustang
Loaded up with your toothbrush, a change of underwear and full tanks you can fly an all-day cross country in the A2A Mustang. You can cruise at FL410 with the Superscharger switch set to Low and fly as fast as the most up to date Mustang at economy cruise. That would be the Flight1 Cessna Citation Model 510 Mustang. This is the first simulation that I have heard myself breathing through the Oxygen mask. Neat feature.
Oxygen starvation (hypoxia) is modeled. Just takeoff and climb without oxygen and see what happens. It will be just like the real world with the exception that you will live to tell about it.
Control is a little on the mushy side in the rare air so it is best to use your Century III autopilot to maintain your heading and altitude while you take in the scenic beauty of it all and monitor those engine gauges with special attention to the O2 gauge. This is a real wonder – a 1940 designed warbird flying alongside or even faster than the most modern corporate jet at 41,000 feet. Thanks North American Aviation, thanks A2A Simulations and thanks Microsoft Aces.
Lots of different Mustangs for Flight Simulation.
There are at least a half dozen P-51 models available for flight simulation, but, maybe only one that I would consider as a competitive product to the A2A Simulation with Accu-Sim. That would be the DCS World P-51. This one gets an extra point or two for having ordnance that makes noise and smoke and such but, loses a lot of points by having such a restricted area for flying. You need to be able to read Russian to pronounce the airports available to you and the flight area is about the size of a postage stamp compared to the World that is available in FSX. Actually the DCS flight box is about the shape and size of Colorado.
Repaints and downloads for the A2A P-51
In addition to the 3 outstanding repaints that come with the Military P-51 and another 3 outstanding repaints that come with the Civilian Mustang, A2A makes available a HD paint kit for downloading from their forum site. There are a couple of dedicated threads available at A2A and several other private and well-known download sites that have dozen of quality repaints available for free download.
It is just a matter of paying attention to a few differences in the aircraft cfg file to copy a Military repaint to the Civilian Model and vice-versa. You can mix and match some interior colors and textures for either or both models. Just be careful to keep the Title and Variation unique to avoid the dreaded ‘duplicate title’ error message when you load FSX.
I am sure, without exaggerating, there are more than a hundred high quality repaints available as you read this review. Some are well organized by type, ie ANG, by state, with a download link associated with the table. There are fighter groups, geographical location grouping, etc. A2A even sponsors a ‘Request a repaint’ thread where you can post images or descriptions for that one special repaint just for you, your dad, your cousin, uncle or whomever.
Some of the repainters have several choices of the same basic repaint such as a ‘Clean version’ and a ‘Weathered version’. Nice. Most of the screenshots in the repainter thread are somewhere between Outstanding and Unbelievable. A few are off the wall but they will grow up one day.
Just as the simulations are outstanding, the crash scenes are also outstanding. A2A has come a long ways from the bent prop in the J-3 Cub simulation, which was unique in its day, to the call 9-1-1, the first responders and the local fire department with the Jaws of Life type crashes of the Mustangs. And that is just on the takeoff roll.
After all the gawking and the astonishment wears off, just move the wreckage over to the Maintenance Hangar and select ‘Complete Overhaul’ and you are good to go. Ain’t flight sims great!
A Special Note to those with Legacy PC Systems
Because so much of the coding for these simulations are done in modern code outside the FSX box and linked as needed to run with FSX the overall efficiency or CPU drain is changed dramatically. This is hard to quantify, but, this ultra-complex add-on should run more efficiently on a properly tuned PC system than most of the much lesser complex add-ons. I would venture to guess the A2A P-51D with Accu-Sim will run smoother and with higher FPS than most complex freeware and almost all payware add-ons.
You can read another opinion on how this manifests itself in the Avsim review by Ted Gold of the A2A COTS B377 Stratocruiser. http://www.avsim.com/pages/0112/A2A/B377.html
A bunch of quality screenshots for you to gaze at the amazing details.
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Things that could added
For the Civilian Model – Cruise Tables, Time to Climb Tables, Fuel Consumption Tables, Weight & Balance chart, drop tank option.
For the Military Model – Active weapons.
| Test System |
• Hellfire FS Intel i7 2700 OC to 4.5 GHz
• FSX w/Acceleration, Win7-64, 8 GB RAM
• nVidia GTX580 w/1.5 GB RAM
• Crucial M4 256 GB SSD, Intel 330 180 GB SSD
• Seagate 3TB data drive, WD Black 1TB data drive
• WD My Passport 750 GB USB 3.0 External Drive
Pilot Qualifications: Commercial Pilot License with Single-Engine Land and Sea, Multi-engine Land, Instrument Airplane and DC-3 type ratings and Instrument and Advanced Ground Instructor and expired CFI/CFII licenses
Without a doubt, this is the highest quality and most realistic add-on that I have ever seen. It extends much further than a flight model - actually a whole lot further. The Merlin engine is a fully modeled engine. This engine looks, sounds, acts and performs like a real V-12 military aircraft engine. It will require special care and attention at all times; it will overheat in a heartbeat and cause serious damage, or it will slowly deteriorate with visual and sound cues like excessive blue or black smoke, detonation, reduced output, and a host of other not-so-good things.
Each of the systems is fully modeled to the extent they can all basically stand on their own as impendent models or systems. You will think you are a hydraulics engineer at times; you will learn to manage the landing gear in the normal mode, the emergency mode, and sometimes in some in-between mode. You will learn to care for the brakes, tires, prop, paint, etc.
Detailed checklists will become a necessity and second nature when owning and caring for a Mustang. 2d popup screens take on a whole new meaning with this model. They are not for instrument or panel viewing but for checking, selecting, configuring, and activating.
In essence, for the Mustang to fly and perform as designed, you will be required to love and care for each and every piece and part on a daily basis. The slightest out of balance item will be noticed as you learn the proper vibrations, sounds, even smells (well almost). A bouncing needle is likely a good sign, and the proper number of turns of that big 4-bladed prop before the mag switch is turned on will become second nature. You will even learn when it is expected to have excessive oil pressure and how long before the temp is correct to taxi. You will learn the different techniques for hot and cold starts and you will spend a lot of time in the Maintenance Hangar taking care of business.
My wife noticed my dirty fingernails at dinner last night and commented – “You are going to have to remember to wash your hands with Lava soap after flying that Mustang with Accu-Sim.” Yep. She understands.
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose the Military model or the Civilian model as long as you do indeed get the Accu-Sim expansion pack. The Accu-sim works with either or both and is discounted when purchased together. The more time I spend in the separate models the more dissimilarities I tend to notice. The Civilian Mustang is way more than the Military model without the military fixtures. It is more like its own standalone model that shares the same engine and flying surfaces and basic systems, but, not much else.
If you are inclined to spend time flying straight and level, you should consider the Civilian model for the Century III autopilot and the Garmin GPS400 and some very useful navigational instruments. Did I mention how fast this planes flies? Oh yeah, the FL410 encounter. If you are more into zipping in and out of the clouds and scaring the cows then maybe the Military model would be a good fit. You cannot go wrong with either and it is nice to have both.
The A2A Simulations forums are like a band of brothers. Lots of good information is traded and shared on a daily basis. Both models have been released long enough for all the kinks to be worked out and it is always more fun for me not to be a first responder. I like to show up a little late when a hundred repaints are already available and a dozen links are posted for manuals and documents.
Add-ons like these Mustangs with Accu-sim are the very reason we have Avsim Gold Stars. This review gets three recommendations: One Gold Star for the A2A P-51 Mustang, One Gold Star for the A2A Civilian Mustang, and a third Gold Star for the Accu-Sim Expansion Pack for the Mustangs. All well deserved.
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As real as it gets. Wow.
An Interview with Scott Gentile, Owner and Operator of A2A Simulations
This interview with Scott Gentile was conducted while I was writing the Avsim review of the A2A Simulations’ P-51 Mustangs – Military and Civilian Models with Accu-Sim.
Avsim: With the success of the P-51 Military with Accu-Sim why did you decide to build a Civilian Model?
Scott Gentile: Many Mustangs today have modern avionics and play an active role in general aviation. It’s also truly amazing that a 1940’s design has this kind of speed and range. Its cross country capabilities compare favorably against the most modern turboprop aircraft from all the big names like Piper, Cessna, Cirrus, Lancair, etc. and the Mustang is generally faster than all of them (nearing jet performance). For long range flights you can fly at high altitude with the LOW blower (supercharger). Accu-Sim models supercharged engine efficiencies so you can experience realistic speeds and fuel burn at all altitudes.
It’s also a capable IFR platform with its automatic systems (mixture, water cooling, oil cooling), especially when compared to the earlier generation warbirds with all manual setups
Avsim: Are there any differences between the two P-51 models that are not readily apparent, like removal of the guns, gun sight, radar, and the adding the GPS, A/P and modern instruments?
Scott Gentile: If you just look at a side by side comparison, you’ll see that virtually the entire cockpit is new. There are new radios, navigation, cooling gauges, and an authentic Century III autopilot.
Avsim: What was your biggest challenge in building the Civilian model on the heels of the successful P-51 Military?
Scott Gentile: The P-51 Civ was in development and testing for almost as long as aircraft we built from scratch. This is because, in many ways, it was like building an entirely different model. Beyond this, there were extra demands on making a modern panel in today’s GA environment.
Avsim: Do you ever just sit down and fly one of your models in FSX for enjoyment? If so, which one?
Scott Gentile: That is a great question and yes. We get so involved in each project, that flying a model made a few years back is inspiring and in some ways surprising. I flew our Accu-Sim B-17 recently, and just took my time getting re-acquainted with the plethora of systems. Working the systems and listening to the crew just made me shake my head and smile thinking about what we accomplished together. Each plane is literally a piece of each person on our team. There is no way any of this could be done unless we we’re all fully engaged and passionate about the work we do.
Avsim: Would you discuss the amount of the work that is 'outside the FSX box' vs. standard FSX coding in your A2A models?
Scott Gentile: Our first Accu-Sim aircraft, the Boeing Stratocruiser, had probably 90% of the cockpit being run from outside the aircraft. This was a huge step forward. The P-47 Thunderbolt took over more of FSX as we added an all new sound system with a fully audible cockpit and environmental effects (you could even open your canopy and hear the proper wind outside). The J-3 Cub went another step further with a new passenger AI project (Heidi), all-new water physics (even supplied an oar so you could paddle to and from the dock), new gauges physics (the magnetic compass took a solid week to build), and in many people’s opinion, spins so real you could train new pilots on proper entry and exit techniques.
The B-17 introduced a maintenance hangar many levels deep, along with a new multi-crew AI project.
The Spitfire started the current “Accu-Sim Core” series, where it and future planes would be managed together in the same system. The main feature with Accu-Sim core was taking completely over the engine audio and physics. There is no “ON / OFF” switch with an Accu-Sim engine – it literally runs in suspension and momentum, just like a real reciprocating engine does. The P-40 introduced genuine hydraulics and cracked open the aircraft with manual, raw systems.
The P-51 brought in more automated systems including the first dual speed supercharger. The supercharger physics, in the Mustang, are a true simulation of what a supercharger does. It’s not just an on / off switch for show, it’s the mechanics of the supercharger assemblies kicking in and out. All you need to do is throw the supercharger in manual and play around with it, and you will see what I mean. So, by this time, virtually every functioning system inside the aircraft is in Accu-Sim (outside FSX). FSX is mostly a home to the 3d model, textures, and the world environment.
After all these years, we went back to the original Boeing Stratocruiser and developed a “Captain of the Ship” upgrade that gives you a full blown systems engineer, crew, and flight attendant, all of which lives in our Accu-Sim engine.
Perhaps the best part of working outside FSX is that we are able to manage the systems better and work more efficiently. We build the engine and flight test it outside FSX, and then bring it in. When changes need to be made during development, those changes are again made and tested outside FSX, then brought in.
Avsim: With identical PC setups, how much more efficient is the P-51 w/Accu-sim vs. a similar, complex 'All FSX' model?
Scott Gentile: Comparing FSX with Accu-Sim to just FSX is sort of like comparing an aquarium to a small fish tank in your home. But the advantage is Accu-Sim is being run in our modern C++ based engine, of which we have authored from scratch and have complete control over. We have done performance testing and can barely read 1fps loss when we completely bypass Accu-Sim, so the performance hit is negligible.
Proper, professional modeling is the other factor. It’s not uncommon to see 50% more polygons and unnecessary texture overload in a competitor’s same model as ours, yet, ours looks as good or better. It’s easy to impress the community with renders of mega poly models in development. It’s an entirely different thing to have a model look great in FSX and deliver fluid, stutter-free performance.
Ultimately, it’s about what the customers think so people should use the forums and ask customers how certain aircraft perform on their systems.
Avsim: Any general comments for the review readers?
Scott Gentile: First I would say that realism doesn’t mean hard, rather, realism is life – including experiences both complicated and simple.
Unfortunately, over the past years the word “realistic” has become synonymous with “hard.” At A2A for the better part of a decade, we have been working to reverse this trend, which is frankly the result of repeated poor implementation. We at A2A see realism as simple.
Lastly, we should be thankful to have such a thriving flight simulation community – these are special times. FSX has maintained such dominance with home PC flight simmers, and Lockheed Martin’s commercial FSX counterpart, P3D, has infiltrated the entire aviation and military industry. FSX is a wide opened system that it could be argued is just taking off.
Also, like any product, just be so careful about what you buy. Expect nothing short of outstanding customer support from any company you spend your hard earned money on. At A2A, our business is bringing fun and realistic flying experiences to everyone, from kids to pilots to seniors. We own and operate our own aircraft, and flight simulation is just as important to us as someone who has never sat in an aircraft. It is our job to do the hard work and your job to sit back and enjoy the beauty of flight simulation. We are proud to be a part of this great aviation / flight simulation community.
Photo - "Excalibur III" Photographed at NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia, USA, November 2006, by Steve Doktor
Photo - "Excalibur III" brad.schram's photostream, Arroyo Grande, California, USA
Brown Mustang - P-51 "Mustang" fighter in flight near the Inglewood, California, plant of North American Aviation. October 1942. From 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer. This is a P-51 (no suffix), RAF equivalent is Mustang IA. Only this version had the four 20mm Hispano guns. Mustang Mk. I's had two chin-mounted .50 caliber machine guns and one .50 caliber and two .303's in each wing for a total of eight. The Mk. I's were exported for use by the RAF and RCAF. From http://www.shorpy.com/p-51-mustang
This is a Mustang I, the original version built for the Brits before the US put in their order. The primary clue is in the guns -- all US versions were armed with Browning 50 caliber machine guns, which have barrels short enough to almost fit in the wings. Only stubs will show for 50 calibers. On the other hand, the Mustang I was ordered with four Hispano 20 mm cannons instead of machine guns. The long gun fairings conclusively identify this as an Allison engined, 20mm cannon armed, Mustang I.
Photo with drop tanks from http://www.howitflies.com/Legal-Notice further to Wikipedia copyright link.
B & W Photos - The vast majority of the digital images in the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) are in the public domain. Therefore, no written permission is required to use them. Credit goes to the National Archives and Records Administration as the original source.
A flight of P-51 Mustang aircraft, over Europe, 6 Jun-9 Aug 1944 Added by C. Peter Chen 361st FG, 375th FS, flying out of RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire. Lead plane in this formation (P-51D-5-NA #413410 “Lou IV”) was shot down by ground fire during ground attack Aug 12, 1944, pilot Lt.Col. Thomas J Christian was killed. Plane at right (P-51D-5-NA #413926) crashed Aug 9, 1944, pilot was killed.
P-51 Mustang fighters of the US Army Air Force 375th Fighter Squadron flying in formation, Europe, 7 Jul-9 Aug 1944
An African-American US Army personnel loading ammunition for a .50 caliber machine gun in the wing of a P-51 Mustang fighter, Italy, Sep 1944
P-51 Mustang fighters seen through a window of a B-29 Superfortress bomber, 1945
Escort carrier USS Altamaha transporting a deck load of P-51A Mustang fighters has just left Alameda, passed under the San Francisco Bay Bridge (background) and steams toward the Golden Gate, 16 Jul 1943 via D. Sheley
Special thanks to A2A Simulations for providing the Mustangs and Accu-Sim.
More special thanks to Patrick Van Der Nat, aka Soya, for providing the extraordinary high resolution screen shots specifically for this review. Make sure you zoom these up to full screen for some super enjoyment.
http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=19387 How an engine works link to A2A Flight Academy
http://www.stclairphoto-imaging.com/360/aircraft/Hazy/Hazy_swf.html (Try full screen HD) The tail of the dash 8 blocks he view Excalibur III in this video.
http://www.baron58.com/Downloads/gold%20crown%20avionics%20oa%20KDI572.pdf download Gold Crown Manual.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3nddCJbcdI P-38 movie