Ray’s Review of the new Just Flight Hawk T1/A Advanced Trainer. I watched and waited with baited breath for the SP1 to be released. This happened in early September, 2016 about 2 months after what amounted to a pre-release of sorts. If you read the fixes in the SP1 you might wonder how the original ever Hawk got out the door to start with.
What’s new in this release?
· Brand new flight model
· Option to enable nosewheel steering added to configuration tool
· Interactive checklist added
· Hydraulic system draining during flight maneuvers – fixed
· Some ordinance not showing in VC – fixed
· Stall horn removed and replaced with buffer rumble noise
· Default sim batter will automatically be turned on to prevent engine start problems
· Text overlap on radio unit – fixed
· Joysticks with multiple throttle levers not working – fixed
· P3D preview window issue fixed
This is one of those in-house designs by the Just Flight team with some assistance with the FDE, sound package, and modeling. The mainstays that I know – Martyn and Richard assisted by Mark and Fink with a ton of liveries by our old friend David Sweetman. The sound is by Military Sound Studios and the Flight dynamics fine-tuned by Paul Frimston. The beta testers number almost 20 and the only one I have had any dealing with is Paul Golding who is still posting tips in the JF forums.
I am writing this review from the other side of the big pond where a cock is a valve and brake pressure is measured in PSI and most of us who fly jets monitor the fuel flow in PPH but we do know the purpose of a windscreen and what the UC means in the cockpit. We don’t worry about whether a word is spelled correctly or incorrectly by the use of an S or a Z, we can interpret either way. Sometimes we are a bit disappointed that such a well written manual has so little useful information to the flight simmer.
This is one of those cases that should one ask what is the expected fuel flow of the Hawk or the endurance or range, and the answer is ‘read the manual’, you would still not know the expected fuel flow, endurance or range.
There is certainly a lot of information about the fuel system – tank capacities, transfer from tank to tank and to collector tanks, and pressurization, LP cocks and the GTS (whatever that may be), bypass valve, low level warnings and indicators and failures, but nary a word about KG/hour or how long or how far one can expect to fly given the only known number – the fuel quantity in the tanks.
For conversions we use the old ‘close is good enough’ until the tanks run dry, then we figure we were shorted on the last top off. For instance KG /2 is good enough for pounds (round up), and Litres x 4 is good enough for gallons (round down), knowing neither is not nearly exact, but close enough.
I naively started this review thinking it would be a slam dunk knowing that PC Pilot Magazine gave the JF Hawk T1/A their Platinum Award, and this had to be based on the initial released version (Prior to the SP1 that I am using). Then the highly regarded Mutley’s Hangar team came in with an Outstanding Award, 9.9 out of a possible 10.0. That folks is some heady stuff and here I am still looking for the LP Fuel Cock on step 2. Thanks to the DCS manual that I mooched online it clearly shows that if it were a snake it would have chewed my left elbow down to the bone already.
Sometimes folks have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. After fumbling around trying to get a good ground start and failing every time, I found a nifty one-page Engine Quick Start Guide available for download at the JF support desk. I wonder why no one thought to add it to the installer download. Duh.
The 80 page pdf Operations Manual does a good job of describing the aircraft and the simulated systems but does not have a single 1. 2. 3. or a single ‘How-to’ anyplace in those 80 pages. I am talking about the simple stuff, like how to start the engine, how to taxi, etc.
I kept looking for some sort of abbreviated Quick Start Manual or guide but I am still looking. Sorry Martyn.
As far as I can tell, if you were not on the design team, or one of the almost 20 beta testers or just recently retired from the RAF Red Arrows, you are on your own to get it fired up, get it lined up and get to go up high and fly fast.
I do agree with the PC Pilot Magazine review that there is a lot of detail, and some outstanding texturing, but at the end of the day, it is still a vintage 1974 military trainer that has had practically no upgrades for over 40 years. Well, maybe that is a bit harsh, when did that Skymap II GPS come out? 1995, more than 20 years ago. I’m sure there were some other minor tweaks but, nothing to write home about.
The point it, we are given this beautiful, high performance jet trainer that will climb at 9,000 FPM and fly at FL450 at something North of Mach 0.80 but it is full of round dials, antiquated comm gear, no flight tutorial, not even instructions on how to start the engine. Maybe everyone but me was born with this unique knowledge, or possibly I just expect too much.
Time for a good positive thought. The Just Flight Hawk comes ready to install in your choice of flight sim: FSX, FSX-Steam, and 3 versions of P3D. Just pick the one you have. Kudos.
Once I did manage to get the engines fired up and stable, I was left again to figure out why I couldn’t turn the nose wheel to make it go to the end of the runway for me.
I’m not sure who the intended market for the JF Hawk is. There are a lot of failure mode choices, not that I need any of them. I can fail on my own. But seriously, the JF Hawk come with its own Failures Configurator that is a lot easier to operate than the initial start and taxi was for me. Some things you just have to know, like to press the No. 2 Hydraulics pump/ram air turbine (RAT) reset button in order to complete the engine start. BTW, this is not anywhere in the 80 pages of the Operations Manual that I could find.
Keep an eye on that RAT though. I leveled off at an intermediate altitude and clicked on an exterior view and that RAT was spinning away on top of the fuselage just forward of the vertical stabilizer. Now, what did I do. Ah, you have to monitor the pressure in BARs (let me see now, what is a bar and what is the conversion to PSI?) and make sure it doesn’t get too low, otherwise the RAT jumps out and starts spinning – automatically.
At this point I decided to reread the 9.9/10 review again to see if I could glean some insight into how to actually fly the Hawk. To my surprise this is what I found and I quote. I also have not used anything out of context. This is the entire flight review evaluation and conclusion:
How does the Just Flight Hawk T.1/A Advanced Trainer fly? The big question.
I set up the aircraft to be as realistic as possible, both in terms of FSX and using the Hawk's own configurable realism settings. With flaps half down, I was airborne at 130 KIAS, around about the right number, although this figure is hard to be exact about as it will depend on weight, etc.. Initial rate of climb was good and close to what you might expect, curving off as height is gained. At 1,000 feet, the aircraft was able to do a little over 550 KIAS which is on the button for the Hawk, and when at altitude, about Mach 0.8, again very realistic. Stall speed is about 115 KIAS clean and 105 with full flaps, again, exactly what you might expect. I took the aircraft up to 40,000 ft, at which point it had some climb left in it and probably could have climbed up to the Hawk's service ceiling, albeit it very slowly.
Dragon in the Valleys
From the above, I can conclude that the Just Flight Hawk T.1/A Advanced Trainer has a very well modelled flight envelope.
Now, I must admit I do not know the author of that review and I am not being critical. Heck, he could be a real world test pilot for BAe as far as I know, and that brief flight is all he needed to confirm his conclusions.
I did indeed discover that I need to find the Nose Wheel Configuration Tool and choose my choice of differential braking or some other means of moving the nose wheel for my choice of movement.
So, I think it should be crystal clear that one needs to either already be intimately familiar with this first edition or variant of the BAe Hawk T1 and/or spend the necessary time reading other company’s manuals, flipping the switches and turning the knobs prior to attempting to fly high and fast as I did.
I really don’t feel the need to repeat all the excellent screenshots and text descriptions in the Mutley Hangar review of the JF Hawk T1. I’m sure I could not even approach that level of professionalism. So if I were you would, I would jump over to http://www.mutleyshangar.com/reviews.htm and find the excellent Hawk review and feast on the eye candy, where you can read all the neat things that are available for you to do in and around the aircraft.
The Hawk may warm up to me or vice versa, but at the moment it is not my cup of tea. Not that my short sightedness should in any way stop anyone that expresses an interest in the RAF National Trainer of choice for the last 42 years. There must be an entire generation or two that has watched those fabulous Red Arrows perform year after year with the patriotic red, white and blue smoke trails. You can do the same, with some limitations; with your JF Hawk add on.
Obviously, there must be a group of flight simmers that enjoy being surprised by a sudden loss of hydraulic pressure or the failure of an inverter and its backup or a sudden flame-out of your only good engine. If you are one of those, then this could be the perfect add on for you.
I would like to express my pleasure at the numerous choices of liveries that JF has made available for this new JF Hawk T1/A Advanced Trainer. Not only the 12 that come with the initial download, but there are already 3 additional bonus packs, each with another 12 liveries. Surely this covers the global presence of the Hawk. Well almost.
I would love to have seen one look alike of the US Navy T-45 which is from the exterior view nothing more than a T-60 variant with a dual nose wheel, dual side mounted air brakes and a tail hook for carrier operations. NAS Meridian has a squadron or two based about 3 minutes flight time from my backyard. I am actually in the pattern (circuit) for the John Williams NOLF offsite practice runway for the T-45s.
I used some real world data from the US Navy T-45C pilots in training to make my own speed and performance tables. I have no idea how close it is or isn’t to the JF Hawk, but it worked for me.
This is just how similar the T-45C that flies over my house looks when compared to the JF model. I am only looking at the exterior view from a distance so I really don’t care to compare the panel and other differences.
I just heard from the JF Hawk Support team that SP2 is in work. (mid October 2016) I didn’t even bother to ask when it might be released. I think I will send them a quick email and ask if they would consider hooking up the wing mounted drop tanks to the fuel system to increase the range for ferry flights. That would be a nice addition. (I did not get a response of any kind – big waste having fuel tanks that you can’t use)
A quick review of my notes for the morning as I am still practicing a very light, more like a feather touch of the brakes for directional control when taxiing.
Just a note of caution, also apply brakes for stopping very gradually. I accidently pressed the parking brakes instead of the wheel brakes and the front oleo took an exaggerated dive and bottomed out the strut. Good thing the Hawk doesn’t have a prop up front or it would have probably chewed into the concrete. Interesting coding.
A cross country trip to check speed, fuel flows, endurance etc. I was looking for a route of around 1,200 nm so I chose KNMM Meridian NAS to Bangor, ME – KBGR. This came out at 1,187 nm in almost a straight line with a VOR or intersection every 100 miles or so. I chose to cruise at FL300 for no reason other than it is a typical military altitude and I avoid most of the airliner traffic and almost all the business jet traffic.
Leaving Meridian with full tanks – 355 gallons/2,378 pounds of jet fuel in the 3 tanks. I chose to climb along my route of travel and setup 250 kts until I reached 10,000 MSL then I eased the nose down a bit and climbing to FL300 at 300 knots. Taking off at 11:03 local time, I was level at cruise altitude 9 minutes later and 40 nm closer to my destination. Using full power for the climb, I noticed a fuel burn of 225 g/h on my Flight1 GTN750. (NOTE: Flight1 GTN 750 added to the VC by author).
After a few minutes with a cruise setting of 90% RPM, the FF was down to 133 g/h and the TAS was knocking on the door of the 500 Knots mark.
My first checkpoint for all measurements was the Chattanooga VOR, aptly name Choo Choo where I was stable at 502 KTAS. Fuel burn from startup to Choo Choo was 675 Pounds for the first 30 minutes including climbout. This left me with 1,703 pounds remaining (28.5% used) and 222 nm from Meridian.
Thirty minutes later I updated my checks for the first hour of flight. Near drooge intersection, I was 464 nm from Meridian and 16 nm short of BKW VOR. The first full hour of flight consumed 1,104 pounds of fuel, leaving 1,274 pounds for the remainder of the flight. Holding a steady 502 KTAS I decided to reduce my thrust setting to 87.5% and see the affects on speed and fuel flow. TAS dropped 22 kts to an even 480 kts and fuel flow from 133 g/h to 122 g/h. My Fuel Planning calculator said I just gained an additional 40 nm range. (You can do these type of calculations with an up to date GTN750 installed)
The aircraft is nice and stable at FL300 at these settings. Nothing out of the ordinary happening that I have noticed.
At the 2nd full hour checkpoint I am at swobs intersection with 240 nm remaining to the destination airport. Fuel flow for the 2nd hour, all at cruise setting and at a somewhat reduced power setting yielded 818 pounds of fuel consumption. I have now used 1,274 pounds leaving 456 pounds in the center tank – both wing tanks are dry.
I’m not exactly sure when the FUEL light came on, but I noticed it with 160 nm remaining to KBGR. I did a quick in-head calculation for my start of let down and came up with an even 100 nm before my FAF for Rwy 33. The closest intersection to this point along my route was label so I started my letdown set for 2,000 fpm with whatever power setting I needed to hold my last cruise speed.
BTW that calculation was that I needed to lose 30,000 feet at a rate of 2,000 fpm which I computed to be 15 minutes flying time. Covering an average of 6 – 7 miles a minute for 15 minutes should put me in the neighborhood of 95 nm closer to KBGR and close to the 2,333 feet MSL needed at the FAF. Any adjustment to the descent rate, speed, or power setting would be made as needed to conserve fuel.
Fortunately, the fuel flow dropped to an outstanding and easy to monitor 50 gal/hour with a reduced thrust setting of around 75%. The kept me on track with my target descent rate and yielded 450 KTAS.
It appeared that I may be coming down a little fast so I eased up and slowly reduced power to arrive at 10,000 feet at 250 knots. I didn’t hit it on the mark but was close enough for military work.
I was on the ramp at KBGR in 2 hours and 40 minutes after takeoff, covering 1,187 nm using practically all the fuel available – I had 11 gal remaining in the center tank. Plenty enough to taxi to the ramp and call the fuel truck. Actually with the 50 g/h burn rate during descent, I could have flown another 92 nm in that descent configuration. Naturally you would want to have an alternate or two close by when flying on fumes but it is nice to know the real world endurance of the JF Hawk T.1.
This flight came out with a block time of 160 minutes covering almost 1,200 nm at an average speed of 450 kts. These are good numbers in anyone’s book, especially when the taxpayers are picking up the fuel tab.
Of course, if one chose to climb at a reduced thrust setting and cruise at a more leisurely speed of say 450 kts then one could probably feel safe taking off for an airport 1,000 nm away knowing they should have sufficient fuel to fly to an alternate and still have 45 minutes flying time remaining.
When an add on comes with absolutely no data to use for flight planning purposes like expected fuel flows at various altitudes and RPM/thrust settings or expected climb and descent profiles with suggested speeds and fuel flows then it is up to the community to post their experiences and go from there.
I suppose one could say this is a military trainer and it is not intended to be used for cross country flying. True, but, I wonder how the Red Arrows manage to get to some of the far out airports to perform their air shows.
These cutaways are not the JF Hawk model, or the T-45C that I discussed but do show some similarities.
I have never seen a Red Arrows flying routine, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to fly some of the expected maneuvers in the JF Hawk. Aileron rolls are as easy as moving the stick in the direction of your intended roll. The hard part is not getting started, or rolling, it is completing the number of expected rolls gracefully, on your target heading, at your target altitude and with you wings level. A little practice and you should be doing rolls on takeoff and split S descent with an overhead approach to a dead stick landing in no time. If it doesn’t work out, reload and try again. Nothing gets bent or burns up in the flight simulator.
Cuban eights are an easy warmup to get the feel of the rate of roll and the look and feel of increasing and decreasing speeds while turning. Chandelles and Immelmann’s take a little more planning and practice to complete properly but are rewarding exercises.
Standard Loops require practice but barrel rolls are super easy – combining a loop and a roll. I first learned to do barrel rolls in my Cessna 150 trainer.
The late Bob Hoover was probably to best acrobatics pilot performing in standard, readily available aircraft at airshows. He always said it was nothing more than proper energy management of the aircraft. He must have been correct, as he died a natural death earlier this year at the age of 94 after starting at 16 years of age in a Piper Cub.
I put this review away at the end of October, 2016 to wait for the SP2. I decided in mid-February, 2017 that I really need to complete the review without ever receiving that imminent update.
As a parting thought, I decided to check the JF Forum to see what happened to the SP2. I still do not know the answer – There is a 2 page thread about ‘not knowing there was indeed an SP2’ but the OP was upset that the Hawk “fell out of the sky” using P3D v3.4. after he updated to SP2.
It appears to me that only two users participated in the SP2 Feedback and the moderator was a little short tempered. One asked for a refund the other ended with a post on January 2, 2017 saying he was happy to revert to SP1 because his Hawk also ‘fell out of the sky” when he installed SP2 and tried the maneuver that the OP described when he opened the thread. 5 weeks later that post has not been commented on by anyone. (btw – the Moderator could not duplicate the condition)
I think I will just close out the review now. I obviously missed something along the way that both PC Magazine and Mutely Hangar didn’t miss. Both awarded their highest awards for the Just Flight Hawk. I suggest you read either or both reviews. Based on the dates of their reviews, they had to be based on the pre-SP1 release so you can take it from there since the SP1 totally changed the FDE – i.e. the first item is the box is a “brand new flight model”. Now I am really confused.
My conclusion: The Just Flight Hawk T1/A models both look great, and will probably provide hours of flight sim entertainment, will indeed fly a thousand miles on a tank of fuel, and will most likely do every acrobatic maneuver that the Red Arrows are famous for doing in the Hawk.
I personally do not know the difference in the basic T1 and the A model and when I asked, I was told it should be obvious. I do see a very, very slight difference in the two models but I still do not know which one is the T1 and which is the A – not that it really matters at the end of the day.
I made the mistake of saying I thought the effort to have a T1 and a /A model might be a non-issue and not be worth the effort if the user could not tell the difference other than one has a slightly larger tailpipe plate. Here is the response:
The T1/T1A change is not a non-issue. It was something that was flagged up as being an important addition by the beta testers and was therefore added to the product. It’s done via the tool as duplicating all the liveries available in the select aircraft screen so there were separate T1 and T1A entries for each one would have been inefficient. You can of course load weapons to both configurations, but we would simply expect users not to do something unrealistic in the same way we wouldn’t expect them to take off with the canopy open or start cycling the payload in mid-air.
I really wanted to reply and say that I can’t tell the difference from the cockpit and I can’t very well ‘open the canopy’ in flight and go look at the tailpipe to see which model I am flying, but I didn’t. Therefore, I don’t really care to know any more about the differences, no matter how important it is to the beta testers.
My only suggestion is the manual be updated to include a startup or quick start page and maybe a few pages of flight planning data be added as tables or charts.
Maybe flying to a distant airport is not the intent at all. Maybe it is intended to be studied and looked at and walked around and pushed back into the hangar. I read the byline for the PC Pilot Magazine review that this is a “study sim” This may be where I am stuck – I don’t even know what a ‘Study Sim’ is, but, I ‘m sure someone will tell me.
Nice video of Hawks
PC Pilot Magazine, review by Derek Davis, referenced in this review. Issue number so small that I could not read it, but it has the Red JF Hawk on the cover with Smoke On GO.
Mutley’s Hangar Reviews, www. Mutleyshangar.com, John Guest author, October 2016 for quoted paragraph about How the Hawk Flies.
Flight International www.flightglobal.com for use of their T-45A cutaway drawing.
Pilot Press for use of their Hawker Siddeley Hawk T Mk 1 Cutaway Drawing Key
Unknown Artist, Unknown Company for the BAI Systems Hawk AJT cutaway color drawing used.
www.rcaircraftworld.com for use of The Full Cuban 8 illustration.
Just Flight for providing the evaluation software.
Greg Goebel at Airvectors.net for the history , background, and deployment of the Hawk.
Richard Slater at Just Flight for the hint on how to recover all the optional liveries that the Hawk Config Tool deleted when it overwrites the aircraft.cfg file. I was told this would be corrected in SP2.