Review by Mike Cameron. The information that I am writing here was gathered from the product web page and the Quick Start Guide.
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning set new standards and was hugely popular with the United States Air Force. During World War II, this fighter bomber was noted not only for its tri-fuselage construction, but also for its highly successful missions. After more than 70 years when they were first produced, there are only a few remaining flyable P-38’s left. In March of 2009, one of these flyable aircraft made its way to Salzburg, Austria and is home to the aircraft that is being modeled for this package, the Milviz P-38 Civilian Redbull Redux.
This P-38 has had a hard life until it was restored to gleaming perfection by the Redbull energy drink company. In September, 1945, P-38 F-56-6-LO, serial number 44-53254 was dismissed from the Air Force and registered as a civilian aircraft. It was acquired by air racing enthusiast J.D. Reed who worked on it to further optimize the speed of the aircraft. With pilot Charlie “Firewall” Walling at the controls, it came in second place at the 1947 Miami Air Races.
In 1963, this aircraft was acquired by Marvin “Lefty” Gardner who was inspired by the colors of the Confederate Air Force, opted for an exterior color in white with the nickname “White Lightning”. Marvin Gardner attended the Reno Air Races for decades where he would sometimes win two out of three races, however his greatest strength was Precision Aerobatics. In 2001, the White Lighting was being piloted by Marvin’s son Ladd when it suffered an engine fire and Ladd was able to land the aircraft in a cotton field in Mississippi. Ladd barely escaped with his life and the white plane was now black with substantial damage.
Eight years later after an extensive restoration at Ezell Aviation, this P-38 looked as if it had just left the factory floor with a shiny metallic exterior showing off the double cantilever body. Modern avionics and systems were also installed at this time to complete the restoration. The P-38 Civilian is the fastest modified World War II war aircraft available today. It can cruise at 335 miles per hour at 12000 feet.
Registration Number: N25Y
Serial Number: AF44-53254
Wingspan: 51.8 Feet
Length: 37.7 Feet
Height: 12.8 Feet
Maximum Weight: 17,527 Pounds
Maximum Speed: 360 Knots
Cruising Speed: 240 Knots
Engines: Twin Allison V1710-111/113
Power: 1475 Horsepower Each
Year Constructed: 1944
Service Ceiling: 40,000 Feet
Landing Speed (Extended): 175 MPH
Landing Speed (Flaps 100% Extended): 150 MPH
(Flaps 50% Extended):250 MPH
Landing Light Extended: 140 MPH
With 300-Gallon Drop Tanks Installed: 250 MPH
Installation and Documentation
Milviz provided an unlocked copy of the aircraft for review so installation is very easy. Milviz uses the Flight1 Wrapper system for purchase and activation, so if you purchase directly from Milviz you will need to follow that procedure.
The installation steps are to select FSX or Prepar3D, accept the License Agreement, verify the correct simulator location or “Browse” to locate and finally “Install” to install the aircraft into the simulator. The first time that you load the aircraft in FSX, you will be asked by the Microsoft Security System if you want to run the MilvizC310.gau file, select “Run” then “Yes” to accept that file as trusted.
Five PDF documents are included with the aircraft. A Quick-Start Guide, which is also available before purchase on the aircraft web page, the Garmin GNS430, 530 & GTX 330 manuals and the S-TEC Twenty/Thirty/Thirty AIT Pilots operating handbook. I love when a company includes documentation even for an aircraft priced under $20.00.
One document that is missing that would have been nice to have is some form of operating manual. The Quick Start Guide explains how to start the engines but not how to operate the aircraft after the engines are started.
If you like fancy interiors in your flight simulator aircraft, then the Milviz P-38 Redbull Redux is the wrong aircraft for you. This is an accurate reproduction of a restored single seat World War II fighter/bomber.
The interior color textures are white and light grey which is a little bright for my liking but I can live with it because this is what the real aircraft interior looks like. The various controls, the flight yoke and the base of the yoke stand are different colors and provide a nice contrast to the white and light grey textures.
As with all quality flight simulator aircraft, all of the interior details are three dimensional and labeling is clear and easy to read. I like that the pilot seat also has three dimensional features including the individual stitches on the seat cover. When changing your eye-point for close ups of the details on the right and left side of the aircraft, even the small lettering is readable. The clear canopy provides a nice 360 degree view though you are seated right in the middle of the wings so your left and right views are obstructed.
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This package only includes one aircraft, the Red Bull Redux paint job. A paint kit is available and when I last checked there were three repaints already available on the Milviz forum and others may be available from other web sites. I love how the sun reflects off of the shiny aluminum exterior. The exterior details are outstanding with several alternate views to be able to see these details up close.
Everything is three dimensional including the small details, labeling and the Red Bull logo also look great. It is nice to see the detailed instrument panel from the exterior view. A realistic feature that I like about this aircraft is that the pilot is only visible when the engine is running. I have started seeing this in other aircraft and I hope other developers start doing this with their aircraft.
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Panel & Systems
Because this is a single seat aircraft, the instrument panel is directly in front of you. I like that the instruments are large enough to be easily readable from the default virtual cockpit view and you can also adjust your eye-point view if you need a closer view.
The GPS units and avionics are positioned on the left side of the panel and for me this makes it easier to control the avionics. These GPS units use the default FSX navigation database and have the basic functionality of the FSX default GPS. I do not have a problem with this because I am going to replace the GNS 530 GPS with my Reality XP GNS 530 GPS unit. No instructions or support are provided for installing and using the Reality XP units. I will comment about my experience with installation later in this section but am not going to provide instructions. I will leave that up to the user to research on how to do this.
There are several alternate VC views so that you can get a close up view of the radio stack, left side panel and the right side panel. The radio stack view is the first view after the default and the first thing I would do was to adjust zoom level and the eye-point view so that I could easily control the GPS then quickly back to the default view. There is a switch on the lower left side of panel below the fuel gauge to hide the yoke for an unobstructed view of the panel. There is also a switch near the GPS units to switch to the alternate radio stack with 2D knobs and the default autopilot is added to this radio stack. I think this was the radio stack that was supposed to be used for the RXP GPS installation but I did not like how this radio stack looked even with the default GPS units. With this radio stack, the GNS 430 is partially hidden by the ADF radio and because I am not experienced enough at editing the panel.cfg to properly align these avionics, I decided not to use the alternate radio stack.
I replaced the default GNS 530 GPS in the default radio stack with my RXP GNS 530 and because of the 3D knobs on this stack, they look kind of funny but I prefer this look to having the GNS 430 partially hidden on the alternate radio stack. There is also a 2D popup window of the radio stack and I also replaced the default GNS 530 with my Reality XP one. I do not own the RealityXP GNS WAAS Unlimited Expansion Pack for the cross fill capability but do have the “LinkGPS=on” entry in the rxpgns.ini file and placed this file in the aircraft folder. Even though this does not copy the flight plan to the second GPS like cross fill, it does display the current waypoint information on the default GNS 430.Milviz also provides entry’s in the panel.cfg for the RealityXP GNS 430 & 530 WAAS – RXP Config Tools and the Reality XP Drop Stack as pop-up windows if you would like to use these. I did not enable them because I decided to manually add the RXP GNS 530 to the Milviz radio stack window.
The most interesting avionic on the panel is the S-TEC Twenty/Thirty/Thirty AIT autopilot. The Pilots Operating Handbook covers all three versions and I do not know which one is installed on this aircraft. Basically, the small dial on the upper left hand side of the unit controls the various functions and small lights on the unit are illuminated to indicate which autopilot mode the unit currently is in. The right mouse button turns on the autopilot & controls altitude hold, pushing the mouse wheel activates heading & altitude hold or if you have your GPS set to GPS mode, it will follow the GPS flight plan, adjusting the mouse wheel sets the autopilot heading and pressing the left mouse button turns off the unit. The unit also serves as your turn coordinator.
I used my Saitek Multi-Panel to control the autopilot and could see the corresponding mode on the S-TEC unit. The unit is easy to use and works well but if you still would like to use the traditional autopilot, then select the alternate radio stack.
Sound, Animation and Lighting Effects
The Milviz P-38 has excellent sounds and animations. Engine sound effects were recorded from a real P-38 which I always like with a premium aircraft. I have to admit that I expected the engines to be louder and closing the canopy mutes the sound even further. I love that the tone changes when you adjust the propeller controls.
All operable dials and switches have an associated sound effect and these sound very realistic without being too loud. I love the sound that the canopy makes when it is opening and closing and this is also my favorite animation. The flaps & gear operations also sound very good. I love the small animations that are included with this product. Turning the dials for the interior lighting controls produces a realistic turning effect and I love the audible clicks that occur when turning the dials. The animation of the gear operation is also very good. The P-38 also has very good lighting effects, both interior and exterior.
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If you follow the quick start guide it is very easy to start the two engines even if you perform a manual start procedure. I just wish Milviz would have included some form of operating manual for after you start the engines. I printed the checklist so I had a rough idea on what to do next.
The hardest thing for me to do after engine start was taxi operations. Even though the P-38 has a nose wheel, just don’t expect it to behave like Cessna 172 nose wheel steering. The P-38 has a free castoring nose wheel so you will have to use a combination of left/right throttle and brakes to steer. I hope I am explaining this right because I am using trial and error to taxi. Because of the lack of documentation, I had to learn about the free castoring nose wheel on the support forum. If you do not have dual throttle controls and rudder pedals you may wish to turn down the realism settings in order to avoid some frustration when taxiing.
I own the CH Throttle Quadrant but do not own rudder pedals so I was able to make do, it just was not a very efficient taxi process. I had trouble controlling the speed and having the aircraft move straight after completing a turn. I did a lot of starts and stops but was eventually able to get to the active runway.
Takeoff, climb and cruise were uneventful and this aircraft performs wonderfully. This is a very fast aircraft and can cruise at high altitudes. I love using the automatic propeller controls so once I have this activated I just need to monitor them to make sure they operating correctly. The throttle and mixture controls operate manually but work as they should. I do not think system failures are built in with this aircraft but I would always monitor the systems for proper operation. This is a high performance aircraft that will use a lot of gas and all flight simulator aircraft can run out of gas so remember to monitor your fuel on those long cross country flights.
With all of my aircraft, I like to hand fly the aircraft until I get to my cruising altitude and then engage the auto pilot. This is a very fun aircraft to hand fly, I did need to use a little bit of right rudder while climbing and does this aircraft climb fast. I was able to maintain 1500 fpm at about 160 to 165 knots. For some reason I had trouble trimming the P-38 for level flight, I would eventually be able to trim for level flight but I would usually climb through my cruise altitude before becoming level. I guess I will need to keep practicing this and start to level off well before getting to the cruise altitude. Also, when hand flying at cruise the aircraft for some reason wanted to roll to the left so I had to use more right rudder & aileron then I would like.
If this is a real characteristic of the P-38 then I could live with it. Also, this could be a joystick calibration issue so I will have to look into that. I tried adjusting the rudder trim and on my system a setting of 5% helped with the hand flying workload somewhat. The autopilot works very well and will hold your altitude and will follow the GPS course or the heading that you have set without any issues. The autopilot also allows me to catch my breath after climbing and allows me to perform the cruise checklist and continue to monitor the aircraft systems.
The P-38 has a very fast cruise speed, at 40” manifold pressure, 1700 RPM at 13,500 feet; my indicated airspeed was 200 knots. This is a wonderful aircraft for those long cross country flights, I just had to remember to start my descent and slowing the aircraft down well ahead of my destination. Until I have more time in this aircraft I am going to perform straight in arrivals when hand flying the P-38 or use the Reality XP GPS along with the autopilot for practicing approaches.
My landings were sometimes not very good as I usually approached too fast but I was usually able to land on the runway without having to perform a go around. Until you get use to the performance of the P-38, I recommend landing at airports with long runways. Landing was still a much better experience for me then trying to taxi with free castoring nose wheel.
Bottom line, if you have all of your aircraft realism settings to the max position, the Milviz P-38 Redbull Redux can be a very challenging aircraft to operate in FSX. If you take the time to learn to operate it properly you are rewarded with a very satisfying experience.
Summary / Closing Remarks
| Test System |
• Asus G72GX Laptop
• Intel Core2 Duo 2.53GHz
• 6GB DD2 Memory
• 500 GB Serial ATA HD (5400RPM)
• Nvidia GeForce 260M 1GB GDDR3
• WD VelociRaptor 10k RPM SATA 150GB
• FSX Acceleration
Screenshots enhanced with
REX, UT2, OpusFSX
Test Time: 20 hours
This is the third Milviz aircraft I have as part of my virtual hangar (Cessna 310R & Beechcraft Baron 55), and Milviz has produced another outstanding aircraft with the P-38 Redbull Redux. This aircraft is an excellent value with a retail price of $17.95 USD. Granted only the one paint scheme is included but new free paint jobs are already available on the internet.
The interior & exterior textures are great looking, sound, animation & lighting effects are outstanding and this aircraft has a very realistic flight model if you have the realism settings maxed out in FSX. If this is the first aircraft with a free castoring nose wheel that you are considering purchasing it is a very realistic and challenging aircraft to taxi.
The only minor issue that I have with this product is that I wish Milviz would have included some form of operational guide besides the Quick Start Guide and the avionics manuals. Checklists are included but I had to learn about the free castoring nose wheel from the support forum.
I highly recommend the Milviz P-38 Redbull Redux for all virtual pilots who want to fly an accurate reproduction of a civilian Lockheed P-38 Lightning. I want to thank Milviz for providing the review copy of this wonderful aircraft.
What I Like About the Milviz P-38 Redbull Redux
- Realistic Flight Model
- Excellent Interior & Exterior Textures & Features
- Wonderful Sound, Animation & Lighting Effects
- Very Easy Aircraft to Start From a Cold and Dark State
- Great Aircraft For Those Long Cross Country Flights
- Low Purchase Price
What I Don’t Like About the Milviz P-38 Redbull Redux
- No Operational Manual is Included
- Very Hard Aircraft to Taxi with Maximum Realism and No Rudder Pedals and/or Dual Throttle Controls
- GNS 430 GPS is Partially Hidden by the ADF Radio on the Alternate Radio Stack with 2D Knobs