Jump to content

  • Lancair Legacy


    Publisher: Real Air Simulations
    Format: Download (178MB)
    Simulator: FSX
    Reviewed by: Ray Marshall

    When it rains it pours is a well known adage and sometimes we get a downpour or, as they say back home, a gully washer. What I am trying to say is in the flight simulator community we never seem to know what is about to be released for our enjoyment and by whom. We go through these long, dry spells, and then they come at us from all sides. Case in point, we didn’t have any really nice, affordable, realistic Boeing 737s for FSX for quite some time, although the 737 series is by far the most popular real world airliner of all time. Then within a matter of months, it seems almost everyone has a new high end 737 model waiting for our online order.

    Then we didn’t have any high performance general aviation kit planes for FSX for years, then within a matter of months we have a VANs RV-7 and RV-8 and now RealAir Simulations has just released their Lancair Legacy. This comes on the heels of their Turbine Duke, the award winning corporate screamer.

    Posted Image

    Did I read Kit Plane, as in homebuilt? You did indeed.

    Let’s start at the beginning of the story. It seems a young boy who was exposed to high performance flying machines while visiting his uncle got lots of passenger time in a Meyer 200, a very advanced Navion looking aircraft. Twenty years later and now a graduate graphic artist, Lance Neibauer was looking for a used personal airplane. Finding nothing to his liking or thin pocketbook, he joined the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to design his own.

    He had become captivated with the possibilities of using composite materials - fiberglass (later Kevlar) or carbon fiber held together with epoxy -to revolutionize homebuilt aircraft design.

    Neibauer made a very extensive survey of fellow builders asking what features they were seeking in a homebuilt design then started work on a new design. Looking for high performance and the latest possible features, he selected a new NASA Natural Laminar Flow airfoil. After a overcoming few obstacles, and doing some re-shaping and minor changes, the Lancer 200 was shown at Oshkosh ’85. This first design was equipped with a used 100 hp Cessna 150 engine but easily out flew anything powered by the same engine. A naming conflict was resolved by Lancer quickly becoming Lancair (pronounced "Lance air").

    Neibauer loved flying, but existing production designs didn’t interest him. He felt most production airplanes were boring, me-too machines. “That was my primary motivation for starting on the Lancair 200 in the first place,” he says, “to build what I hoped would be an aesthetically more pleasing design with better performance and handling.”

    Posted Image

    Using his natural talent for lines and symmetry, Neibauer conceived a two-seat, composite airplane that was as wide as a Bonanza and almost as fast—on nearly 200 less horsepower. The first Lancair 200 was a lightweight work of art with a gross weight of only 1,275 pounds. It featured a DuPont NOMEX honeycomb structure with epoxy-impregnated glass cloth covering.

    “That first airplane was intended as a one-off machine, and I never assumed I could build a business around it. To start the process, I bought a Cessna 150, gutted it, sold the airframe and kept the engine, instruments and avionics. I wanted to see how much performance I could wring from the little 100 hp Continental O-200 engine by using an extremely light, low-drag airframe and wing.”

    The 200 was soon replaced by the Lancair 235, equipped with the slightly more powerful Lycoming O-235. Re-engineered versions quickly followed; the Lancair 320 with the 150 hp Lycoming O-320, and the Lancair 360 with the 180 hp Lycoming O-360. These designs provided the highest performance in the single-engine GA class, and as the kit-build market was dominated by pilots looking to outperform existing "off-the-shelf" designs, the Lancair's kits sold well. By the end of 1990 they had sold over 600 kits for the various two-seat models, giving them what Neibauer claimed was 30% of the kit-built market.

    Posted Image

    After some very successful 4 seat designs, starting and selling a few new companies, he collected a double handful of new speed records. Lance then returned to his roots and came up with a back-to-basics, fixed gear Legacy ES.

    15 years after the Lancair revolution began; the Legacy represents the culmination of more than a decade of research, testing and invaluable input from Lancair builders and fliers. Redesigned from the tail to the nose, it’s bigger, faster and easier to build.

    This latest version, and the one we are most interested in, the Lancair Legacy, offers increased interior size and even higher performance. Fitted with the 310 hp Continental IO-550-N six cylinder, four stroke engine, and a 3-bladed propeller, this low-wing retractable-gear composite monoplane is a true personal rocket. The byline on the Legacy brochure is ‘The heart of a sports plane, the soul of a rocket’.

    Posted Image

    With the 310 h.p. Continental 1O-550, the Legacy achieves stellar performance, by cruising 280 m.p.h. at 10,000 ft. The Legacy’s climb rate of +2200 Fpm will amaze you.


    RealAir Simulations have been creating quality flight simulation software since 2001. They have developed a reputation for creating some of the finest quality and most innovative add-on simulation software in the industry. Their releases have received the highest awards available in the flight simulation world.

    They introduced the first aircraft with accurate stall and spin behavior; the first aircraft with realistic side-slip behavior; their ‘Smooth Gauge Technology’ adds smoothness and clarity to virtual cockpit gauges; their exclusive ‘RealView’ system simulates the forces experienced by a pilot in flight as well as simulating the buffeting felt during a stall; realistically simulated engine failures; user-configurable VC panel layouts, and much more.

    Sean Moloney was a student pilot when he first teamed up with Rob Young to design the Citabria for Fly. He is currently living in Brisbane, Australia. Sean designs all the graphics, gauges and 3d models for RealAir.

    Rob Young has designed flight aerodynamics for many of the major flight simulator developers. He designed flight models for Fly! II and since changing his focus to Microsoft Flight Simulator has designed the aerodynamics for a diverse group of developers including Lago, Just Flight, Eaglesoftdg, feelThere, and MAAM-Sim, picking up awards for nearly every aircraft he has co-designed.

    OK, enough background, let’s see some details about the Lancair Legacy for FSX.

    The Legacy is a drop-dead gorgeous, fast, fully IFR equipped touring plane that is also capable of light aerobatics. Yes, all you Reality XP owners can swap out the GPS in a matter of minutes, and yes, the Legacy has those new custom 3D landing lights that actually illuminate the ground.

    Posted Image

    Here are a few paragraphs taken directly from the RealAir Simulations website:

    Flight Modeling

    Our aircraft have always been known for having the best flight modeling in the business and the Legacy is no exception. This would have to be one of the most enjoyable FSX aircraft available. It’s not just a pretty face; there is a depth of detail that will keep you coming back again and again, for years to come. Of course our trademark best in the business spins and side slips are present but every detail of the modeling will impress you – from the fluid, lively yet smooth way it responds to the controls, to the beautifully controlled pitch when approaching and flying through the stall, or while flaring for that perfect touchdown.


    We pride ourselves on making cockpits that have that special something. We don’t just create graphics that look like the real thing; we take a serious approach to user interface design in order to create the most enjoyable, intuitive and life-like experience possible. All of the gauges and switches are functional and intuitive to use. The graphics are crystal clear and remain well lit in all lighting conditions. All gauges move with infinite smoothness and thanks to the clarity of the textures IFR flight can be flown while zoomed right in to the gauges for complete control. The lighting works in both the day and the night, and complete, detailed night lighting has been included. The spinning propeller is not just a flat disc – it is three dimensional – you can actually see the twist in the spinning blades from the sides as well as the front. The main exterior and VC textures are high definition 2048 pixel textures providing crystal clear jaggy free graphics even when zoomed right in. The 3D shapes are smooth and flowing, there is no evidence of jagged polygons.

    The exterior has been modeled in its entirety in VC view, meaning TrackIR users can pop their heads outside the cockpit, or walk around the entire aircraft. Likewise in exterior view, the entire cockpit has been modeled so you can look into the cockpit from outside and see every gauge working as it should. There is an option to use simpler, lower polygon exterior models if desired to improve multiplayer performance.

    The legacy has been designed with multiplayer-friendly coding and multi-LOD exterior models to provide good performance during multiplayer sessions.

    Sounds and Animations

    New for us in this release are detailed custom sounds and camera effects designed to increase the feeling of immersion even further. All switches and knobs have audible sounds but on top of that we’ve added many new atmospheric sounds to the mix. When you open the spoilers you don’t only hear the spoiler actuation sounds but you also hear wind roar and you can see the airframe visibly buffeting from the turbulent air generated by the spoilers. If you open the canopy in flight the force of the wind will only allow it to open slightly, it swings open or shut slightly in response to g force and you can hear the wind as it blows through the opening. Yawing the aircraft produces an audible wind noise as the laminar airflow separates and becomes turbulent on its path along the fuselage. When you lower the landing gear you don’t just hear the motor and gear locks, you also hear the wind as it blows through the extended gear. While lowering or raising the gear you can see and hear the clunks as the gear and doors lock into place. When you brake after touchdown you can hear the brakes as they work to bring the Legacy to a halt.

    If you exceed VNE the whole airframe will vibrate, and you’ll see and hear aileron flutter, both on the ailerons themselves and on the control stick. We have included a touchdown thump camera effect that simulates the impact of hitting the ground on landing. The thump realistically reflects the quality of your landing – if you do a greaser you see almost nothing at all. If you thump it down one wing low and crabbing the cockpit will pitch, roll and yaw to drive home just how rough your landing was.

    If you drop the flaps above their maximum rated airspeed you’ll see and hear the flaps flutter violently. If you ignore these warning signs and continue to keep the flaps down above their maximum speed the flaps will eventually fail catastrophically – the actuation mechanisms will fail (loudly!) and the flaps will flutter in the breeze and no longer function.

    When you startup the Legacy, the prop thumps to life as the starter fights against cylinder compression. The whole cockpit shudders in reaction to cylinder compression on startup and shutdown. On the ground the airframe and instrument needles shudder and vibrate from engine vibration. As you roll across the ground on takeoff or landing the cockpit and needles also shudder. This aircraft is alive – on the ground it vibrates and shudders like you’d expect from such a small plane with a 9L internal combustion engine crammed into the nose, but once you’re in the air everything smoothes out and you can concentrate on the job at hand.

    The control surfaces and control sticks in this aircraft move realistically with trim changes. When the trim tabs move, the control surfaces also move as they do on the real aircraft. When you apply up trim for example you will actually see the elevators move upwards, and the control stick will move backwards. This is visible when you manually trim or when the autopilot is controlling the aircraft.

    All of the custom camera and needle effects can be set just as you like thanks to the detailed controls in the Legacy Config Panel. All of these effects will work in conjunction with third party camera effect addons such as EZDok or Accu-Feel. You also can disable the Legacy’s custom effects and use only your favoured third party camera effects if that is what you prefer.

    Feature List

    • Best-of-business flight modeling with improved spins, sideslips, aerobatics and superb handling, as well as extremely stable autopilot control.
    • Beautifully designed interiors with smooth lines, crystal clear gauges, subtle reflections and all controls animated.
    • Exterior and interior models now integrated for best experience with camera add-ons and track IR.
    • High resolution multi-LOD exterior 3D models with optional frame rate friendly versions for multiplayer sessions.
    • Optional RXP GNS WAAS gauge integration (RXP gauges are a separate purchase from Reality XP).
    • RXP configurations include: 1 x GNS530, 1 x GNS430 + 1 x GNS530. If you have the RXP Unlimited pack you can also choose 2 x GNS530, 2 x GNS430 or 1 x GNS530 + 1 x GNS430, all with crossfill.
    • Airframe vibrates in reaction to engine rpm changes, gear and spoiler deployment, runway surfaces, engine startup/shutdown and mishandling.
    • Gauge needles that vibrate on the ground in response to engine and ground roll vibrations.
    • Nearly 100 Custom sounds, including all cockpit switches, G effects, canopy-open windblast, gear, aileron flutter, doppler fly-by etc.
    • Flap Failure mode with custom animations and sound effects.
    • Belly landing capability for gear up landings.
    • Grass or concrete touchdown sounds option.
    • Full multiplayer support with low latency and efficient coding for multiplayer sessions.
    • Yaw and out-of-balance yaw sound effects.
    • Carefully implemented start up and shutdown animations and sounds.
    • Full IFR capability - or fly by the seat of your pants!
    • Custom 3D landing lights, navigation lights and strobe lights.
    • Dozens of custom animations including a canopy that realistically responds to wind force.
    • Control sticks and control surfaces that move in response to trim changes.
    • High detail skinned-mesh pilot.
    • Spoilers with custom wind sound effects and cockpit buffet effect.
    • Aileron flutter when flying above VNE with accompanying custom sounds.
    • Fully functioning cockpit when viewed from exterior view, plus the option of a less highly detailed model for multiplayer.
    • Multiple options for many of the above features.
    • 3D blurred propeller effect with custom animation that includes simulated cylinder compression of startup and shutdown.
    • 2048 "High Definition" VC and exterior textures.
    • Five unique liveries all with uniquely colored virtual cockpits.

    Posted Image

    I can’t believe an airplane of this size can go so fast. My qualifying speeds at Reno in the Legacy were greater than the speeds I saw from my Bearcat the first year I raced.

    —Darryl Greenmeyer
    Multiple Gold Race Champion

    Comprehensive Documentation

    RealAir calls their primary user guide a “Flying Guide” and it is indeed just that. This is by far the most detailed, most accurate, and therefore, most useful document I have ever seen in FSX. They don’t just tell you how to do something, they take the time to explain the why and why nots. You can learn more about how to get the most out of FSX by reading this guide, even if you never load up the add-on. It really is packed with innumerable interesting tidbits along with the necessary instructions specific to the Legacy.

    The Flying Guide is a 52 page pdf file in full color with lots of charts and illustrations on how to tune your system to your new Legacy. RealAir has introduced so many new and previously unheard of animations and features that you really do need to spend some serious time reading how they intend them to be enjoyed.

    The Lancair Legacy is a kit plane and is usually built in a garage or rental hanger space so it is up to the individual builder to assemble the Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH). This is because no two homebuilt aircraft are exactly alike although they may appear identical. RealAir states that the Legacy for FSX does not and will not have a POH as such. What it does have is this Flying Guide which for the most part actually gives us more useful information than many Pilot’s Handbooks. About the only thing I see different is a POH usually has more performance charts for climb and cruise conditions and a weight & balance section.

    One of the links in the guide is to a CAFE report on a very similar Legacy – the 310 hp N199L. This is a comprehensive series of flight tests sponsored by the EAA and published by the chief pilot of the foundation. Using the CAFE report and the Flying Guide as reference we have far more real world data than any comparable Cessna or Piper type aircraft.

    Posted Image

    The CAFE Foundation, Inc.- Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency is a non-profit, all volunteer educational organization sponsored and funded by the Experimental Aircraft Association. In their 14 page report we find the following: ‘. . . the Legacy’s performance impressed all of us at the CAFE Foundation, even more remarkable was the nifty elegance evident in every feature of its design. No aircraft ever tested by CAFE has scored such high marks in all areas.’ ‘This aircraft calls to all who pass to take a second look and at each fuel stop attracts people to come closer to admire and comment.’ ‘Awesome performance!’ ‘It has superior performance and handling qualities.’

    I did not find a single thing that I didn’t like about it. It was with great reluctance that I delivered this airplane back to the factory when our testing was complete.

    C.J.Stephens, Chief Test Pilot, CAFE Foundation

    N199L and the RealAir Legacy for FSX are exceptionally similar, the only item I see, is N199L does not have spoilers. A few of the speeds are slightly different, but, mostly more favorable for the FSX version.

    Here are the performance results from CAFE for comparison.


    First Look

    For those of you who have some real world experience as a pilot or student pilot you are in for a treat. This is truly the one we have been waiting for. From the very first view looking out over the nose from the VC with the engine running, you will gasp as you recognize the realism of the shaking or vibrating airframe that increases or decreases with the amount to power delivered to the propeller. The 100 or so custom sounds aren’t just sounds; they are what you would expect to hear at that time and place and adds tremendously to the immersion.

    Several factors go into what makes some airplanes easier to learn to land than other designs. These factors include its approach speed, rate of deceleration, field of view, sitting height on the ground (due to gear length), control feel and sensitivity.

    Because the Legacy balances all of these factors so as to readily put pilots in the comfort zone, it will undoubtedly gain a reputation as an airplane with nice landing characteristics.

    C.J.Stephens, Chief Test Pilot, CAFÉ Foundation

    Those of us that have become accustomed to having Accu-Sim running will still be impressed. Like all really complete and well designed products, you have full control over how much and how often you will use these nifty new features. The Legacy is light years ahead of your typical FSX add-on aircraft. Not only are you introduced to more than a dozen totally new and previously unseen aerodynamic actions but you instantly know they look correct, feel correct, and sound correct. What is most impressive to me is how Rob and Sean were able to put this all together and get it working so smoothly in FSX.

    I was flying late last night in South Florida and just casually practicing some basic commercial pilot maneuvers – chandelles, lazy eights, accelerated stalls – and I got so excited because it was so realistic. Not just how the aircraft handled, which is absolutely marvelous, but the smoothness of the motion, the spot on sounds of the interrupted air, the propeller pitch changes with attitude, the creaks and groans, the shakes and vibrations at just the right instance. All together, the Legacy must be the most advanced and most realistic flight simulator package available for a desktop.

    The Everglades is a great place to fly in FSX as there is almost nothing to drain any FPS away from the simulation. Try KTNT, a large boondoggle of an airport, in the middle of nowhere.

    Getting Started

    The Flying Guide recommends we start with most of the default settings and then revisit our choices. I suspect this is because RealAir has introduced so many new choices that it is hard for us to comprehend what we are selecting or deselecting. I suggest you at least look at the myriad of choices and selections just to see what you have in store on that first flight. The Legacy is nothing like that simple little Cessna 172 that you love so much.


    I realize that practically no one is going to take my recommendation here, but, I really do think you would enjoy your first flight more if you read the entire Flying Guide prior to starting up the Legacy. At least flip over to the last few pages and read the specifications, which includes a lot of critical speeds, and the abbreviated checklists. The full checklists are a separate 8 page pdf found in the FSX/RealAir/legacyfsx/ AutoPlay/Docs folder. There is a ten page section entitled Flying the Legacy starting on page 32. This walks you through all the phases of Start-up, taxi, Take-off and climb, General handling, Cruise, Descent and landing, Navigation, with the balance about acrobatic maneuvers.

    First things first

    The download is straightforward, assuming that you have an account with RealAir. Otherwise, you are required to register and confirm you are indeed the bone fide owner of the software. The install is pretty much automatic, if you pay attention to the quirks of Win7 and ‘run as administrator’ and check that the installer did indeed select the proper FSX location. You will have a unique key code that must match your email address when you purchased the Legacy. All total, the install should take less than 5 minutes.

    Lots and lots of choices – 5 Exterior textures, 5 Panel colors, 5 Cabin colors. N1BR, BluRay is my personal paint.


    Config Panel

    Here is where you need to slow down and pay attention to a few details. Practically all configuration problems can be traced to the user either not following the Win7 ‘run as administrator’ rules or simply not clicking the SAVE button at the bottom of the page prior to moving on. If the Save button is not grayed out, then click on it once you complete your configuration choices for each tab.

    This is where you should start to appreciate just how much futuristic and previously unavailable features have been designed into the Legacy for FSX. Some are relatively minor but most are ground breaking new additions to FSX. Things like choice of tarmac or grass for suspension settings, catastrophic flap failure, spoiler sounds, etc.

    You will want to spend a little extra time with the Realview tab. This is the ‘Oh, I can’t believe this is possible’ section or for me, the ‘wet your pants’ tab. You use sliders to set the amount of bumps, thumps and chunks that you hear and feel as you move around the tarmac and takeoff and fine tune the sights, sounds and feel of that realistic stall buffeting. You can even adjust the engine and ground roll vibration or the amount of engine torque at startup.

    You can even change these configuration settings on the fly. Details are in the Flying Guide.

    Posted Image

    “I can’t believe an airplane of this size can go so fast. My qualifying speeds at Reno in the Legacy were greater than the speeds I saw from my Bearcat the first year I raced. ”

    Darryl Greenmeyer, Multiple Gold Race Champion

    FSX Settings

    The optimum slider settings are discussed with specific recommendations for scenery, traffic and weather. The target FPS is 30 and should be achievable on a mid level PC like mine – i7 – 8 GB RAM, reasonably current graphics card (GTX-460/1 GB) - and 40 FPS on a higher spec computer.

    The Flying Guide devotes a section to getting the most out of what you have available for running FSX. Many recent add-ons with HD textures have offered additional Lite textures for those with marginal PCs. This one offers options for 3 exterior models - the very detailed HD model that you see in these screenshots, a medium detail and a low detail exterior model.

    There is a section on setting up your yoke or joystick with specific recommendation and the reasoning for the settings. The Realism settings are rather interesting. The General slider absolutely must be set full right at 100% at all times. The recommended Crash tolerance setting is full left at Zero so we can experience the teeth gnashing sounds and feelings of a gear up landing. Sure am glad we can just reload in FSX!

    There is a page or two on recommended calibration settings for joysticks and yokes and for setting and adjusting the sounds in FSX. These calibration settings work just fine for my Saitek Cessna Yoke.



    There is a nice section on the new sounds and how they interact with FSX. This makes for some good reading. Some of these sounds will make you a better pilot. Just let that little ball in the Turn and Bank instrument slip out to either side and you will hear some new FSX sounds for sure. There are lots of new custom sounds to do with the retractable landing gear, flaps, spoilers and canopy. By the way, I read someplace that the totally unobstructed view from the Legacy cabin is better than the view from the cockpit of the F-16.

    The custom sound effects are controlled through a special gauge and they are not affected by the standard FSX sound control menu. To balance these additional sounds with the standard ones, you change the relative volumes within the FSX sound control menu, but also balancing these against the custom sounds by reducing or increasing the standard sound volumes as a whole, then adjusting your speakers or headphones for overall volume. RealAir has developed additional special sound effects which radically improve the atmosphere and immersion you will feel in operating the Legacy, and these extra sounds work in concert with the many visual special effects.

    In all there are nearly one hundred separate sounds accompanying this package and almost two hundred multiple instances of these sounds available depending on your speed, attitude, location and maneuvers. So, if you don’t have a good sound system, now might be a good time to go shopping.
    Here are some of the special sound effects that are not part of the standard sounds that we hear in FSX:
    • All panel switches, fuel control, alternate air, parking brake, spoilers and fuel pump
    • Landing Gear custom sounds in concert with airframe reaction to doors and actuators
    • Landing gear wind with the gear down
    • Flap vibration and flap failure at speeds higher than flap limits
    • Side-slipping wind or when turning slowly with insufficient rudder
    • Canopy open wind blast
    • High G overstress sounds
    • Wheel braking sounds after landing
    • Spoiler wind and rumble effects
    • Aileron flutter and wing vibration effects when flying overspeed
    • Wheel disc braking squeaks and binding sounds
    • Stall turn and spinning sound effects
    Visual Special Effects

    The sound effects just described are linked to a suite of special custom visual effects so that the two work together. Almost every custom sound effect is linked in some way to an accompanying visual effect, sometimes obvious and other times subtle. Each effect has been carefully designed to offer the maximum immersion factor when flying. From the engine start up and shutdown effects which match the sound exactly, to the movement of the propellers, to the airframe vibration and shaking effects which work in tandem with the landing gear, flaps, spoilers, almost every aspect of the Legacy’s flying and ground handling has associated visual and sound effects working together. This is really something to behold. Absolutely amazing!

    Posted Image

    Here is a summary of the visual effects.

    • Airframe vibration in concert with propeller movement and engine rpm
    • Pitch and roll movement when taxiing, taking off and landing over various surfaces
    • Thumps and thuds when raising or lowering the landing gear
    • Wing and airframe vibration when spoilers are deployed
    • Flap vibration when selecting full flaps
    • Stronger flap vibration and flap failure when exceeding flap speed limits
    • Aileron flutter, wing and joystick vibration when exceeding VNE
    • Buffeting effects when close to the stall
    • Airframe and cockpit shaking when executing rough landings
    • Canopy movement when open in response to speed and pitching moment
    Here are a couple of examples of how these designs work in the simulator. If you open the canopy when on the ground it will open fully if you are not moving, with suitable accompanying wind, engine and propeller noise if the engine is on. If you taxi fast or begin your take-off run with the canopy still open, the increasing speed of the airstream will try to gradually close the canopy. The faster you go the more the noise increases and the more the canopy will want to close. Eventually the canopy will settle near the latch/close point but remain partially open. If you are flying slowly and push the stick forward, the canopy will react by trying to open more. If you pull back on the stick the canopy will try to close. The faster you go the greater the wind blast noise.

    And the second example, the flap speed limit is 122 knots. If you select full flap at speeds greater than this limit, the flaps will begin to vibrate with more intensity than the “normal” vibration seen with full flap selected within the speed limit. If you select only one or two notches of flap, the vibration will be less severe. If you continue to increase your airspeed with any stage of flap deployed, they will eventually fail. The more flap you extend, the quicker the failure will occur. Before the catastrophic failure you will be warned to select flaps up by not only the vibration but also the accompanying noise.

    At speeds greater than 160 knots, the flaps will fail very quickly. At that point you will hear a loud bang and the whole aircraft will briefly lurch sideways since one flap usually fails slightly before the other. The flaps will now hang down and continue to vibrate. Any attempt to raise them at this point will not be possible and you will hear the broken flap motor failing to drive the actuators. To restore the flaps to working condition, reload the Legacy using the “reload aircraft” key which can be assigned to any button or key you wish using the FSX control/assignment menu.

    Link to hear sounds and see panel

    This is a short video that captures the excellent sounds inside and out. Only 2:26. Also hear a takeoff run and gear retraction and see a just a touch of the visual special effects. Airport is Coffs Harbour (YCFS) Orbx. Thanks steadyflyer for the video and link.

    The Panel

    The panel layout is a pilot’s dream delivered. There are several design decisions that I personally think border on the best of the best. I am here to tell you that RealAir has fixed all those problems for me and solved a few that I didn’t even know that I had. Moving around the VC is an absolute pleasure due to some real ingenious click spots.

    Posted Image

    An item that always bugs me is the non-standard placement of instruments by the various manufactures and therefore the developers. These are usually innocent enough looking designs but really distracts from enjoying a nice day of flying. I hate to have to look around a panel to find the altimeter. Other examples are the flap actuator switch hidden behind the mixture levers and the Gear Up/down knob placed near your knee along with the 3 green lights totally out of view when descending or on approach. The Avionics Master switch placed in the middle of the switch panel along with the light switches or down by your ankle. Another is the engine monitoring gauges and instruments strewn all over the panel with the manifold pressure gauge not adjacent to the tachometer. My last complaint is the game they play where you try to find where the Nav/GPS switch is hidden. Whew, got that off my chest.

    It is like Sean took my list from above and one by one checked off each one just to make sure I got a perfect panel layout.

    The layout has the “standard six” gauges directly in front of the pilot within the normal view in an array that is easy to see with the ever useful VOR2 head mounted down and to the left of the ‘six’. On the lower left of the panel are the switches for battery, lights, pitot heat, fuel pump and spoilers with the Avionics Master directly to the right of the Master switch. At the lower center are the throttle, prop and mixture controls in the standard horizontal single engine arrangement with the fuel selector and the aileron and rudder trims slightly lower. These trims are easy to use by clicking the left and right portions of the switches with the left mouse buttons, and a right click anywhere on these switches will return the trims to zero. The no-brainer fuel tank selector position is easy to check with a quick glance and super simple to operate.

    Finally someone gives us a real TAS band on the Airspeed Indicator. I don’t know why it has taken so long for the developers to get around to adding this really nice feature. This is only the 2nd one that I have seen, Baytower Studio’s VAN’s RV-7 also has a working TAS feature.


    You get the accurate Outside Air Temperature, OAT, from the engine gauge cluster and using the black knob at 5 o’clock rotate the dial to align the OAT with the altitude. This example shows the white card at the top set to an altitude of “8”, meaning 8,000 feet, lined up with the scale above for 0 deg C. The needle now points to an indicated speed of 220 knots while the white outer ring shows a true airspeed of 245 knots. You can also hover the mouse pointer over the airspeed indicator and the tool tip will read TAS.

    Engine and Electrical gauges

    The big green square just to the right of the radio and avionics bay is the Vision Microsystems VM1000C digital engine and electrical monitor. Everything we need is there in the box. You can actually adjust manifold pressure to the ‘tenth’ of an inch.


    Manifold Pressure: In the top left you’ll see a manifold pressure indicator. This includes a bar graph for quick scans and a digital readout for setting the exact manifold pressure (in. Hg).

    RPM: In the top right you’ll see the RPM indicator. Like the manifold pressure it includes a digital readout and a bar graph to aid quick scanning.

    EGT: On the second row down on the left is the Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) readout. It includes a bar graph for each cylinder as well as a digital readout of the hottest cylinder’s EGT in degrees Fahrenheit. This readout is useful when leaning the engine at altitude.

    Oil Temperature and Pressure: On the second row in the middle you’ll find oil temperature and pressure with both bar graphs and digital readouts.

    Electrical System: On the second row on the right you’ll find a display showing the electrical system’s voltage and amperage.

    CHT: In the bottom left you’ll find the Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT) display. This includes a bar graph for each cylinder as well as a digital readout showing the hottest cylinder’s temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

    When one of the engine or electrical system readings goes outside safe limits “WARN” flashes at the top of the VM1000C display and the master warning annunciator on the main panel will also start flashing.


    Radio, GPS, and communications bay

    This may be my only disappointment with the Legacy, and it is easily corrected. For such an advanced simulation I would not expect to see the default Garmin 500 as the primary navigational device. I suppose the inclusion of a premium GPS would have driven the price point way too high. Of course, should you already own or elect to purchase one of the outstanding Reality XP WAAS enabled GPS’ for FSX you are only a click or two from total transformation. More on this a little later.

    Posted Image

    Starting at the top, the audio panel is a Garmin KMA 28 audio panel with the default GPS500 with a new RealAir black dress, then dual Bendix/King KX-155A transceivers, with the KFC-225 Autopilot completing the center stack. To the right of the radios is the KR-87 ADF and mounted below the ADF is a KT-70 transponder. Plenty of avionics here.

    Above the audio panel is an annunciator/status light panel. This is a very nice addition to a general aviation type add on. The button at the center bottom is the lamp test. You will get use to glancing up to see if the nav lights are on and the parking brake is off as you add power for takeoff.


    A new gauge that is usually only seen in high performance military panels has found a new home in the Legacy panel. This is the Angle of Attack (AoA) gauge located between the Airspeed indicator and the pitch trim indicator and has three color coded regions: Green, Yellow and Red. This gauge is extremely useful and is a handy addition to the traditional way of assessing how near to the stall you are by reference to the airspeed indicator. The problem with just using the airspeed gauge in this way is that airspeed is not always a good indicator of how near the wings are to stalling. The Angle of Attack indicator gives instant information about how much lift there is available whatever your speed.

    When there is a danger of stalling the Legacy, either through flying “low and slow” or during more aggressive maneuvers like high speed tight turns, the AoA gauge lets you know when to ease the stick forward to avoid a stall or spin. The gauge is calibrated so that when approaching maximum Angle of Attack, the green and yellow display disappears and then begins to show only red, until that band of color also disappears, at which point you are stalled.

    Panel Lighting

    The Legacy has panel lighting that is calibrated to show the gauges clearly in most FSX lighting conditions. FSX tends to exaggerate the brightness of panels in daylight with the sun behind the aircraft, and somewhat under light the panel with the sun in front. The panel lighting can compensate for this when used even in daylight conditions, and includes a subtle gauge backlighting effect.

    Posted Image

    As I get older, I have learned to be a little more cautious in my expectations as the innovation curve for FSX has been on a very steep incline for the last 2 years. Things that I thought were only dreamland stuff are now being routinely introduced by several developers.


    Both kinds of lighting are operated by a single switch on the lower part of the panel. In the Config Panel there are options for lighting, including a setting for users who have a high gamma setting in their display properties, and there is also an option to enable or disable the reflections in the gauge backgrounds.

    VC Views - Navigating your way around the panel

    RealAir Simulations has been a champion of 3D panels for many years. Their gauges and displays are so clear and sharp that they no longer see the necessity for 2D panels. As a means of replacing the 2D popup panels, RealAir and a few others provide very ingenious view systems which enables you to instantly zoom in on any portion of the panel. And importantly enough, to also zoom back to the default view.

    This ‘click to view’ was introduced to me with the RealAir piston Duke a few years ago and I thought it couldn’t get any better.

    After loading up the long awaited PMDG 737NGX I thought I may give up general aviation and fly airliners for enjoyment, then I wrote the Avsim review for the Carenado Cessna 337H Skymaster and the flying qualities and generally outstanding textures and sounds brought me back. Then out of nowhere I was asked to write the Avsim review for the Milviz F-15E Strike Eagle and started dreaming about air combat and blowing up bridges and power plants. Then RealAir released this RealAir Legacy and now I fly faster by far than the Cessna Twin, and at times think I’m in some kind of rocket ship. It shouldn’t be long until someone uploads a military paint scheme for the Legacy. A couple of foreign countries are already using similar Lancair models as high performance military trainers.

    Oops, I kind of wandered off the reservation there for a minute, OK, back to the VC view system.

    What I really like about the RealAir method is the simplicity of one properly placed left click gets me where I want to be looking, and one right click gets me back from any of those areas to the pilots standard view. It was really good a few years ago, but now it is great. Sometime after the piston Duke was marketed, TrackIR got really popular and those folks want everything perfect, as well they should. So here we are, TrackIR users are getting snapped around a bit, so Ron goes back to the drawing boards and comes up with the new and improved, hybrid system. Now the traditional user and the TrackIR users can co-exist and both be happy as the hot spots are now more restricted but not really, more like enhanced. Let’s take a look at the new improved system.

    A left click on the selected colored area and you are instantly viewing that section of the VC. A right click from any of these areas and you are instantly back at the left seat pilots view looking straight ahead.

    If you are a TrackIR user or prefer not to have this feature, it can be disabled via the Legacy’s Config panel. To do this open the Config Panel, go to the “Graphics Options” page and select “Disable VC-view click-spots.

    To make navigating the extra VC camera views even easier, you can assign keyboard shortcuts within FSX. By default two key commands are already set, they are as follows: F9: Jump to the main VC view. F10: Jump to the ‘IFR Main Instruments’ view.


    "The Realair Lancair Legacy is truly a work of art inside and out. The feel of real flight with great sound effects, crisp beautiful VC, and simulation smoothness beyond expectations. The best GA ever made for FSX."

    DJJose, CFII

    A natural thing to do is to assign keyboard shortcuts to move between these VC views. Using the standard FSX Buttons/keys tab users with joysticks and yokes will want to assign these to one of the hat keys or other switches or buttons. The Flying Guide has specific instructions on how to do this and the standard caution that view assignments are global across all aircraft so keep that in mind. You can always cycle through all views using the keyboard ‘A’ key.

    The bottom line is this is the best method I have seen for moving around the VC.

    Operating the Radios and Gauges

    Using tooltips

    If you have “tooltips” enabled in FSX then almost all of the Legacy’s gauges will show relevant and useful information relating to the gauge when you hold your mouse pointer over it. For example if you hover your mouse over the aileron trim gauge located near the fuel selector, a tooltip will pop up giving you the exact percentage of trim.
    You can choose your personal method - Click/drag or left-click, right-click and don’t forget to use the scroll wheel.

    RealAir is a big fan of the click and drag method for rotating a knob or increasing or decreasing a value. The Flying Guide has a detailed section where they present their case for using this method. The good news is you can try it and if you like it fine, if not you can elect to use the old school left click, right click method. Both work, and like Lexus and Mercedes, one or the other will appeal to you.

    Standard GPS

    Hidden behind the new black case and the nifty RealAir backlit 3D knobs you will find the FSX default Garmin GPS500. Functionally it is exactly the same as the 2D FSX GPS500, which is to say it has a lot of limitations but when compared to VOR and ADF it is a marvelous navigational device. A new click area has been added to the left of the right rotary knobs.

    I was a little disappointed that when you use the GPS popup feature the old faded gold case with the arrows on the rotary knob is what you are greeted with. Fortunately, the Pop-ups of the optional Reality XP GNS units are crystal clear and re-sizable when using the FSX undock window feature. I move a window over to my second monitor and enlarge it and it works great while in the ‘windowed’ mode,

    The necessary Nav/GPS switch when using the default GPS500 is located in the upper left of the main panel directly above the airspeed indicator.

    But, the black redress and lighted 3D knobs is a great improvement as this side view shows and will serve the basic user well.


    Reality XP GNS WAAS 530/430 Integration

    If you own the Reality XP GNS WAAS 530 or GNS WAAS 430, you will, of course, choose to use these units in place of the standard FSX GPS 500. Integration of the Reality XP units is pre-engineered and expertly handled by the Legacy’s Config Panel. This has to be the simplest and most professional 3rd party installation of any FSX product. Seriously, one click on the proper radio button and another click to save the configuration tab and that is all that the user has to do. Crossfill is available with the Unlimited pack.

    The end result is an absolutely perfect fit for several combinations of Reality XP WAAS 530 and 430 GNS units. No matter what combination of 530/430 or 430/430 or my favorite the 530/530 they are custom fit exactly with all the 3d knobs working as designed. This is another one of those firsts for RealAir. This one deserves a very high level ‘attaboy’.


    If you don’t already own one or more of the RealityXP WAAS GNS units, you are depriving yourself of an almost essential part of the true flight simulator experience. The Reality XP units are practically the real world equivalent in the flight simulator realm. This is one of those, ’I can’t believe I waited so long to do this’ kind of experiences. The Reality XP units have a much newer database, full RNAV approach capability and a long list of other features like superior graphics and the ability to add replacement units throughout your hangar inventory with the ‘Unlimited’ pack.

    Posted Image

    In practice, it is just like having the same Garmin unit in your flight simulator that you may have in your own aircraft. When you are seeking a tutorial book or CD, you can use the exact one that real world pilots use for training. Here are the combinations available in the Legacy, provided you have separately purchased the necessary units from Reality XP. Notice how each one is a totally seamless and perfect fit. Even the Nav/GPS switch is removed for RXP installations as the units have built-in VLOC/GPS switches (CDI). Amazing.


    Here is a great screenshot showing off the panel in dark grey with the optional Reality XP 530W/430W combo. Some of the reasons for getting the Reality XP Unlimited Pack for your FSX hangar inventory:


    ‘You can't help noticing the excellent integration RealAir is doing, not only in the form of the 3D modeling of the GNS WAAS and properly sized knobs, bezel and buttons, but also in the integration of the two products as if it was one.

    With the two combined, you really do get one notch closer to suspension of disbelief!’


    Fly WAAS Approaches

    Like its real world counterpart, the GNS 530W XP comes with built-in WAAS navigation capabilities, and is capable to fly LPV “glide slope” approaches without reference to ground-based navaids of any kind.

    Put It on Autopilot

    Working in tandem with the FSX autopilot with a proprietary roll-steering command interface, GNS 530W XP behaves like a high-end flight management system (FMS) and can automatically fly your aircraft through holding patterns, procedure turns and other position-critical IFR flight procedures

    Enhance Situational Awareness

    GNS 530W XP seamlessly integrates built-in terrain and navigation databases, providing a clear, concise picture of where you are and where you’re heading, using the Garmin Ltd. Trainer huge Jeppesen® database containing location reference for all airports, VORs, NDBs, Intersections, Flight Service Stations, published approaches, SIDs/STARs, Special Use Airspace and geopolitical boundaries. A detailed base map clearly shows airports, cities, highways, railroads, rivers, lakes, coastlines and more. Using information from the built-in terrain and U.S. obstacles databases, the 530W XP displays color coding to graphically alert you when proximity conflicts loom ahead.

    Integrated Navigation and Communication

    GNS 530W XP includes an integrated NAV/COM unit interfacing with Flight Simulator radios. The provision of the integrated communication and navigation radios in the unit gives the extra capabilities of auto tuning and pre-fetching your navigation and approaches frequencies. Flying has never been easier!

    Flight Planning

    GNS 530W XP is a complete IFR enroute and approach GPS. It recreates the pilot's environment and interface. Its authentic autopilot roll-command guides the aircraft whether you follow a flight plan, a Direct TO vector, or a DME arc: the simulation will precisely drives the autopilot NAV mode to the intended location.

    A complete set of gauges

    The optional GNS 530W XP includes a complete set of gauges simulating the finest Garmin GNS 530W avionics:
    • GNS 530W GPS.
    • GTX 327 Transponder.
    • GMA 340 Audio Panel.
    • Support for any third-party aircraft lighting system both in the 2D panel and the virtual cockpit.
    • Dimmable gauges with the adjustable dimmer gauge.
    • High resolution Photo-realistic gauges bitmaps.

    I just recently added the Unlimited Pack to my Reality XP 530W unit and I discover new and enhanced features every time I go flying. You can bet the RXP430W unit is on my wish list. Maybe Father’s Day.


    All Reality XP gauges can be installed in any aircraft, in any panel, and perform as fast and as fluid in both the 2D panels and the Virtual Cockpit.

    All these Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges require either FSX SP2 or FSX Acceleration to be installed to work properly with the Legacy. Older builds will require upgrading to the new WAAS models.

    Landing Lights

    A first for RealAir are custom 3D modeled landing lights that actually light the terrain rather than cover the terrain in a white wash (as the default landing lights do). This method of creating landing lights was pioneered by Mike Johnson of Lotus Sim in his wonderful L39 and has since been used by many other developers.

    The nature of these lights means they will look brighter or darker depending on the lightness or darkness of the surface they are shining on. On very dark grey runways they will look quite dim but on lighter grey runways they will look nice and bright. If you use a product like REX to set your runway textures they recommend setting the runways to one of the lighter grey options to really bring out the best in the Legacy’s landing lights.


    With these landing lights it is possible to produce much better and more atmospheric landing lights overall, but there are some limitations that cannot be avoided. The biggest limitation occurs when the edges of the textures that produce the landing light become visible when they should be invisible. RealAir says that this is a problem that is present in all aircraft with this method of lighting, and it appears to be an insurmountable limitation of this form of landing light. They have been able to reduce the severity of this problem and believe they have the best compromise possible given the limitations of FSX. All the details are in the Flight Manual. Bottom line is these 3D lights are far superior to the default lights and only slightly less than satisfactory in low visibility like early dusk and late dawn.

    Flying the Legacy - Finally

    The Lancair Legacy has a very powerful engine with correspondingly high power to weight ratio, together with a very low drag airframe and wings. This means that in level flight speed will build very quickly and be quite hard to bleed off when approaching for a landing. To help slow her down, the Legacy is fitted with powerful spoilers to aid deceleration. They are deployed by using the white spoiler switch on the panel. Use this switch for them to work correctly – it is all or nothing – no intermediate settings. You can try a few approaches without the spoiler to experience the slippery nature of the Legacy’s airframe. This should encourage you to plan well ahead when approaching an airport.

    The following sections on operation of the Legacy are general guidelines. There is a separate reference for specifications and detailed checklists. As with most airplanes, there is no one way to fly it, it all depends on how much time and effort you are willing to devote to learn the subtle nuances and get the feel of the plane. It can be very rewarding. Let’s go through the basics.



    I wish I had a remote control fob on my keychain that would open the canopy of the Legacy. Meanwhile I use Shift+E to open and close the canopy


    To start the Legacy, first set the parking brake on. Switch on the master battery and then switch on the fuel pump on for a few seconds, then turn it back off to silence the loud pump noise. Check that the mixture control is full rich, the prop control is fully forward and the throttle set to idle. Rotate the ignition switch through the three magneto positions, the starter will engage at the full right position. Make sure you have your speaker system volume cranked up a little because this is one of those ‘ah ha’ moments.

    The Legacy does not always start first time, just as in the real aircraft. You may have to give it a couple of tries before the engine fires, especially if it is cold. If you are starting from a high elevation airport you may have to lean the mixture a little. Again, just like in the real world.

    If you are in a hurry to get going, you can always use the default Ctrl+E key sequence. Now, I close the canopy, but, due to our high Summer temperatures I like to leave it a couple of inches from full down as I taxi. I have to imagine this part, one of the features of flying a simulator. I’m still looking for the Canopy Open/close handle; meanwhile I use Shift+E. Oops, found the lever. If it was a snake it would have bit me on my Right elbow. You can’t see out front to taxi with the canopy open due to the bottom frame blocking your view.


    I have the excellent Saitek Combat Rudder Pedals correctly set with differential brakes so turning and stopping is a pleasure. Should you not have rudder pedals and are using a joystick with the twist for rudders function you will want to select the ‘Conventional FSX rudder’ option in the Config panel.

    Ease in just enough throttle to get slowly moving then use a combination of rudder and brakes for steering. I like to set the parking brake while performing my run-up and engine checks prior to takeoff. This is where that nifty new backlit status panel at the top center will probably be first noticed. ‘Park Brake’ will be illuminated in Yellow.

    I use either one or two notches of flaps for takeoff, and set my takeoff elevator trim to about 30%. You can hover the mouse over the elevator trim gauge to check your exact setting. This hover feature works for most of the gauges. I am usually alone with 50% fuel and no baggage just in case I get wild and decide to do some acrobatics. Should you have passenger, full fuel, and some baggage, your settings will be different. Spins seem to be better at closer to max gross weight.

    Takeoff and climb out

    When I taxi onto the active runway I am always ready for takeoff. I am not fan of applying full power with the brakes on and making every takeoff a STOL encounter. I like to gradually, really gradually, add power until I have full power and keep an eye on the manifold pressure gauge and engine monitoring instruments. This one is so real, that you can get some warnings on a hot day that says you have exceeded max fuel flow or max manifold pressure, if so, just slightly reduce power to cool the oil. Amazing.

    The takeoff roll is rather short due to the super smooth airframe and big engine so be ready for early rotation around 70 knots. It is easy to rotate too early and the stall warning horn blasts your ears as the nose comes up. This doesn’t look good for your flying skills, especially when your envious buddies are watching your takeoff. I like to do that easy application of full power and apply just enough back pressure on the yoke to bring the nose gear off the surface and then hold that attitude and let the plane fly when it is ready. This technique makes for an exhilarating takeoff in the Legacy with the full package of visual and aural cues. Be ready for some great, never before seen, airframe shakes, rattles, and vibrations. The bouncing of the instrument needles is so very realistic and the wind sounds during acceleration and rotation are just like the real thing.

    When I am sure I am over the end of the runway, I retract the landing gear. Be ready for some new thumps, clunks, and sounds in the Legacy. When I am firmly set on my climb profile, I retract the flaps. Be ready for some new readings on the VSI gauge. 2,000 FPM climb is pretty normal for my load and my home airport at near sea level.

    I reduce power slightly to around 24 inches, and then reduce the prop speed usually to match, say 2,400 rpm. If I am going to altitude I start leaning the mixture as I notice any reduction in MP. Again, be ready for some great sounds and sensations as you reduce power or prop – very realistic.

    General Comment

    The RealAir Lancair Legacy for FSX is no doubt the most advanced, most realistic, and most fun to fly of any general aviation add-on available today. The awesome combination of the many new visual effects and animations with their accompanying sounds are absolutely astonishing. My MadCatz Saitek hardware’s byline is ‘closer to reality’ and combined with the RealAir Legacy, my flight simulation immersion factor is certainly closer to reality and is actually peaked out. I hesitate to state that it doesn’t get any better than this, but if there is a better combination for flight simulation available out there someplace it is indeed truly exceptional. (Watch for a new Avsim review of the MadCatz Saitek Cockpit coming soon where I test the compatibility with some of the top tier twin-engine add-ons in FSX – in Corfu and Innsbruck no less)

    Posted Image

    “I have flown dozens of general aviation planes in real life, and the Lancair is the best I've ever flown in the simulator. The flight modelling honours the real model exactly, and the graphics and effects are first class. Wonderful add on!”

    Aleksi Linden, Finland


    The Legacy is capable of phenomenal cruise speeds for its class. Typically you will see 240 knots true airspeed or more at 8,000 feet when properly leaned for full cruise power. Even though we only use virtual fuel, the fuel flow at this speed is also remarkably low. As stated earlier, the RealAir Legacy does not come with a POH, so we don’t have all the cruise tables of a typical production model aircraft. That is mostly an afterthought for me as I am clipping along at 4 nautical miles a minute.


    The RealAir Legacy is fully equipped to fly on autopilot under Instrument Flight Rules, IFR. In addition to the multiple navigation radios and the VOR1 and VOR2 heads which enable you to tune and track to two VOR stations, and the primary Horizontal Situation Indicator, HIS, having a standard course selector and Heading Bug, it also includes an ADF receiver and indicator. The Legacy comes with an adapted version of the default Garmin 500 GPS. Many users will, of course, elect to install the optional Reality XP GNS units. Also included is the KFC-225 autopilot and KT-70 transponder.

    With the above extensive list of equipment available you can navigate anywhere in the world, fly a flight plan on full autopilot, and make all VOR, LOC, ADF, and ILS approaches. You can also fly the lateral part of RNAV approaches and use the KFC autopilot VS feature to control the glide slope.

    For those users with the optional Reality XP GNS units installed, you can, of course, do all of the above, plus a whole lot more including full RNAV approaches including the vertical component with a more up-to-date database.

    I asked Bert Pieke, a colleague and Reviewer for Avsim, if he would contribute a section of the review that deals with flying the RNAV approach in the Lancair Legacy with the optional Reality XP WAAS GNS. This not only illustrates the capabilities if the navigational system but can be used as a tutorial for approaches in general.

    Bert’s Review Input

    When Ray asked me to write a section dealing with my experience with Reality XP GNS gauges in the Lancair, I immediately thought of the lovely flight from Bend, Oregon to KPDX Portland International, featured in the Flight Video Productions video of the Columbia 400. This instructional video can be found at: www.flightvideoproductions.com/columbia_400.htm and, if you are at all serious about flying the Lancair and Garmin avionics, I highly recommend spending the $18 and getting a copy.

    Now, you might say, is that not a Columbia aircraft? What does that have to do with Lancair? Well, as it turns out, Lancair was the parent company of both the kit-plane aircraft division that we know as Lancair, and the certified aircraft division that got branded as Columbia (and is now owned by Cessna).

    The video shows in great detail, a flight from the original Columbia factory in Bend, Oregon, via the DSD Deschutes VOR to a landing at KPDX, using Garmin G1000 avionics for navigation. It is great fun to fly the same flight in the Lancair, using the a set of GNS 530 / 430W to guide us all the way to a Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance, LPV landing.

    LPV is the GPS equivalent of an ILS approach, but without a requirement for any expensive equipment on the ground. All the navigational guidance comes via satellite.

    Here, in pictures, is the flight. First we enter the flight plan: DSD, KPDX, and initially set the autopilot to HDG mode following the runway direction. We take off and start a 1200 ft/min climb to our target altitude of 10,000 feet. After retracting gear and flaps, we switch the autopilot to NAV mode and let it take us to the DSD VOR, and then north towards Mt Jefferson. Here, the GNS Terrain page comes in handy as a crosscheck, to verify that we are safe to fly by this volcanic peak, which at 10,500 feet is higher than our cruising altitude.

    Now, we select our approach into PDX: an RNAV R10L approach via the initial approach fix of BUXOM. We see the city of Portland off our left wing as we descend, first to 6,000 feet and then, to 2,400 feet, using the speed brakes to slow us down for a teardrop hold entry to our final landing approach. Unlike an ILS approach, there is no need to switch to VLOC - we switch the autopilot to APR mode, and stay with GPS guidance all the way down to the decision altitude of 400 feet – at which point we hand fly the Lancair to touchdown.

    As you can see from the screenshots, the Reality XP gauges give us a clear picture all the way: Map, Terrain, Flight plan, all within easy reach. Having two units in the panel, gives us the ability to track several views concurrently, which assists greatly with situational awareness.

    As Ray said, this is truly “as real as it gets” – and with the Orbx PNW scenery down below, it looks exactly like the Flight Productions video!

    As you can tell, I really like this airplane, it feels so real, it is hard to believe I am actually sitting in my office – instead of “up there” flying the real airplane. But that is pretty much what FSX is all about, as far as I am concerned!

    Bert Pieke

    Climb to DSD
    Mt Jefferson
    Select Approach
    Approach Loaded
    City of Portland
    Teardrop hold
    Final leg
    On the runway
    End of flight


    While we are up here at 5,000 feet let’s perform some of what I call Sunday afternoon acrobatics. A good warm up is some basic stalls and spins. The Legacy does not give much notice of an impending stall. The stall warning horn, and the ultra realistic pre-stall buffeting, kicks in a couple of knots before a full stall. Just as you hear and feel the impending stall, kick in full right or left rudder and enjoy one of the more realistic spins in FSX. Try for 3 full turns and recovery on the same heading that you entered the spin just for fun. Ok, let’s climb back up to at starting altitude and try a couple of barrel rolls. The Legacy roll rate is so good that you have already completed your first roll before I remind you to add just a touch of forward elevator while inverted.

    Posted Image

    But, just for a different view, how about a half roll, and hold that inverted position for a little while, now you need to add some forward pressure on the stick to stay level.

    How to spin the Legacy

    Let’s go through how I do spins in the Legacy. First, always start with sufficient altitude for acrobatics – say a minimum of 5,000 feet AGL with full fuel and near full gross weight. Set all trim settings to neutral to assist in recovery. Everything is always smooth and gradual, no jerking around in my airplane.

    Smoothly reduce power to idle, hold a constant heading and ease the yoke back and hold it full back, just as a wing appears to start dropping due to the loss of lift at the high AoA, press full rudder of your choice. The Aircraft should make a smooth transition into a spin in the direction of your choice of rudders. The Legacy may at times roll over on its back briefly as it enters the spin. You can relax the rudder pressure and just hold full aft stick and enjoy the ride or add a little rudder to increase the intensity of the spin.

    To recover press the opposite rudder to the direction of rotation and relax the back pressure of the stick. For quicker recovery you can use full opposite rudder and forward stick pressure. Now that you are in a diving spiral rather than a spin, just hesitate and let some airspeed build up then gently ease the nose up and wings back to level flight. The sounds or lack of sounds and the positive aerodynamic responses in the RealAir Legacy enhances the thrill of doing spins in FSX.

    Steep Turns

    To get familiar with the feel of a couple of ‘g’s pulling on you and the aircraft, try to hold a constant altitude and roll into a 60 degree bank, make two full turns without losing or gaining more than say 50 feet while you are learning, 20 feet after you are good at it. Roll directly from that turn to a 60 degree banked turn in the opposite direction and make two full turns and recover within 10 degrees of your starting heading. You may want to use cardinal headings just to make it a little easier to nail the recovery. Now try the same 60 degree bank at a constant altitude and firmly pull back on the yoke or stick for an accelerated stall. Be ready to go on your back and into an aggressive spin. You already know the recovery technique. My local rule is if a student or passenger throws up in my airplane they get to clean it until I can’t smell anything foul. This is a good way to keep the carpet clean.

    You learn to recognize a spin and the proper recovery technique first because when practicing acrobatics a lot of maneuvers end up in unintentional spins. Altitude is your friend, the ground is your enemy.

    Posted Image

    Hammerheads and Tail Slides

    Accelerate to about 200 knots in a slight nose down attitude and pull up into a full power climb that is perfectly vertical. Use your peripheral vision to help with your alignment. Add full power during the vertical climb. As airspeed bleeds down, reduce power, and when you are at or below 50 knots, apply full left rudder. You can delay the rudder application as long as you are vertical and at times come to an almost full stop before the layover. You need to freeze your flight attitude with constant corrections of all three flight controls to hold the vertical line until the airspeed has decreased to a few knots above zero. Just before reaching zero airspeed, kick in full left rudder (slight right aileron and forward stick are required as well to correct for torque and gyroscopic effect) to cause the nose of the aircraft to go from pointing straight up to straight down.

    The recovery involves applying right rudder to stop the yawing motion of the nose as it approaches the vertical down position, neutralizing the yoke or stick to allow the aircraft to accelerate to approximately 150 knots prior to initiating the 4-G recovery to level flight. Ideally, the aircraft should recover to the same altitude and same airspeed but pointing 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the entry heading. At these really slow speeds you will need a burst of power to get the air flowing over the rudder.

    Special consideration was given to the Legacy design to assist in this maneuver. It gets deathly quiet at the top of this one. This is the ultimate turn around. That new AoA gauge should be very useful in monitoring your Angle of Attack and warning of an impending stall condition. You normally shouldn’t lose any altitude doing a hammerhead. You can gain more than a 1,000 feet in the pull up and should recover at or slightly above your starting altitude

    The tail slide is the same procedure, just use the rudders to maintain your near vertical attitude and let gravity do its thing. Eventually, the nose and tail will change places and you should be headed toward earth at a 90 degree angle. This is the ultimate slow flight.

    Inside Loops

    Inside Loops are best performed with reduced fuel in the tanks to lower the gross weight (increasing the power to weight ratio) for the defying gravity side of the circle. Start with a shallow dive and at 160 knots, apply full power and ease the yoke or stick back in a fairly aggressive fashion. Glance over at the AoA and look for an initial climb of about 4 ‘g’s. As the airspeed bleeds off, slightly reduce the back pressure on the yoke or stick to avoid a stall. You will be upside down far longer than you think should be possible then you will eventually see the horizon come into view, of course it is upside down so be looking up for it to come into view. Just let the nose drop and then gently pull out of the dive. Adjust your power setting for level flight.

    Try this looking at a cloud or mountain or some distant object to help keep your heading constant starting and completing the loop. Should you exceed the 4.4 G Utility Category limit you will hear the airframe talking to you with moans and groans. The difficult part of this one is staying on your heading by keeping the wings level throughout the maneuver. The Legacy has plenty of power to do loops. To get good at this one you will need to correct for constantly changing torque, rate vs. radius, pitch variations and minor errors in roll.

    Cuban Eight

    The Cuban Eight combines the inside loop and the aileron roll together to do some skywriting. Start at the same speed and procedure as the Loop above but on the back side of the loop at about 25% way down the back side of the Loop roll over so the ground is in the proper view (down) and continue at this 45 degree angle until you reach your starting altitude and then start the second half of the maneuver. Continue to perform a standard inside loop but on the downward side roll over and hold the 45 degree descent. The standard exit is to fly out straight and level after one, two, or three loops. This is a great coordination exercise. You should be right side up with wings level at the X in the diagram in both directions.

    Posted Image

    Commercial Practice Maneuvers

    Chandelles and Lazy Eights are some of my favorite coordination exercises and are delightful to fly in the Legacy. The aerodynamics are so accurate that after a while you tend to forget you are not out in the real sky in a real airplane. The constantly changing speeds and angle of attack keeps the new sounds busy keeping up with Legacy.

    The Side-slip

    Side slipping is not really an acrobatic maneuver. It’s more of an unusual attitude but very useful when you need to lose a bit of altitude in a hurry. Like when you approach a landing and misjudge your speed or distance in a new plane like the Legacy. This is simply a cross-control maneuver and it’s practical and a lot of fun. As long as you maintain proper flying speed you can see just how sideways you can get in the Legacy. You need to be aware that you need to reserve enough altitude and sufficient time to get back to runway alignment to avoid twisting the landing gear or doing a ground loop in a severely misaligned touch down.

    All you do is decide if you are going to right slip or left slip, and the Legacy could care less. It can do either just perfectly. Let’s say you decide on a right slip. Press the right rudder and counteract the yawing motion with left aileron. Depending on the severity of the slip you are seeking, just keeping adding more right rudder and more counteracting left aileron. Keep your forward motion aligned with the runway centerline at all times.

    RealAir pioneered the side-slip in FSX and have been constantly refining the maneuver with each new successive aircraft release. The Legacy’s side slipping ability has the full RealAir history built in and is refined to near perfection. You will notice a marked increase in the wind noise as you are in effect flying sideways, well partially sideways and losing altitude like crazy.

    Whew! I guess I kind of got carried away a bit on the acrobatics, but now back to flying the Legacy.

    Posted Image

    Descent and Landing

    The Legacy is very a low-drag design which contributes to its high cruise speed, but this also means that it is reluctant to lose speed even at idle throttle, especially when descending. Add to this the necessity to prevent shock cooling of the engine as you descend by avoiding idle power, and it can be quite difficult to descend steeply without the airspeed increasing to unwanted levels. You will think you will never get slow enough to extend the landing gear and add flaps for landing.

    This combination requires advance planning for practically all descents. Fortunately, the Legacy has a fairly uncommon addition to alleviate some of our short sighted planning. This is the spoilers/air brakes that pop up from the top center of each wing. FSX wants spoilers to be all or nothing so only use the panel mounted spoiler On switch or the ‘/’ keyboard. Do not use any sort of partial deployment by using a slider or lever.

    A typical approach to an airport should go something like this: Extend the landing gear as soon as you get the indicated airspeed down to 132 knots. This newly added drag will aid in reducing airspeed until you can get to the top of the white band on the airspeed indicator and add one notch of flaps then a 2nd notch until the speed drops to 100 – 110 knots.

    A good target with gear down and full flaps deployed is a 500 – 600 FPM descent rate with the throttle set at 12 – 15 Inches of manifold pressure and properly trimmed. This gives you a nice attitude to be able to see traffic and fly your close-in approach. Final approach should be full flaps and 90 knots. As you cross the fence make a slow transition to touch down attitude and while easing off any remaining power. The Legacy will decelerate rather quickly so be ready to grease her on with a gentle kiss of the concrete. And, should you land hard, you will most definitely hear a loud clunk that lets you know that you need a little more touchdown practice.


    RealAir Lancair Legacy - Specifications

    Engine: Continental. IO-550-N
    Horsepower: 310 hp @ 2700 rpm
    Propeller: 3 blade, constant speed

    Length: 22 ft.
    Wingspan: 25.5 ft.
    Wing Area: 82.5 sq. ft.
    Wing Loading: 3 lbs/sq. ft.
    Aspect Ratio: 7.95:1
    Max G Loading: +4.4, -2.2

    Empty Weight: 1,400 lbs
    Gross Weight: 2,200 lbs
    Fuel Capacity: 66 gal
    Useful Load: 800 lbs

    Max Cruise: 245 knots TAS @ 8,000 ft

    Stall Speed Clean: 75 Knots
    Stall Speed Flaps: 65 Knots

    Service Ceiling: 18,000 ft.

    Take-off Distance: 850 ft
    Landing Roll: 900 ft.
    Rate of Climb: 2,200 fpm max gross weight
    Maximum Range: 1,150 statute miles

    Fuel Consumption: 13.5-15 gph (typical)

    Cross Wind Landing: 18 knots component
    Oil Pressure: 30 - 60 PSI normal operation
    Oil Temp: min 75° F, max 240° F
    CHT: Recommended max at cruise: 420° F
    CHT: Limit: 460° F
    Speeds & Cruise Settings

    Never exceed speed - Vne: 276 knots
    Best rate of climb – Vy: 135 knots
    Best angle of climb - Vx: 100 Knots
    Full Flap extension - Vfe: 122 knots
    Landing gear Speed - Vge: 132 knots

    Typical Cruise Settings – 8,000 feet
    Power – 75%
    Manifold Pressure – 22-23 inches
    Rpm – 2400
    Fuel Flow – 13.5 GPH
    Speed – 235-240 knots TAS
    245 knots TAS @ 75% power and 2700 RPM

    Note: Power/ speeds vary with temperature.

    Known Issues

    This was taken directly from the Flying Guide.

    We have tested the Legacy extensively with a wide range of systems and are confident that the only bugs are related to problems beyond our control. Below is a list of known issues:

    Landing lights - In low visibility you can sometimes see a big square in front of the aircraft surrounding the landing light splash. This is an FSX limitation, please see the main Landing Lights section for more info on this.

    Landing Lights - Appear only at a very low altitude in low visibility. This has been done to reduce the above problem as much as possible. Please see the main Landing Lights section for more info on this.

    Missing Texture Warning - If you have FSX set to give a warning message when it finds missing textures, when you first load FSX and go to the Free Flight selection screen you will get a warning message saying “Failed to Load texture: $RASLegacy_CFG”. This is related to the way the exterior has been made with a fully functioning cockpit. The warning won’t actually show in FSX when you’re flying, it only ever shows in the selection screen because FSX isn’t properly loading the aircraft.cfg gauges when in the selection screen, that is to say there is in reality no missing texture.

    • On some systems the HSI won’t work with the Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges. To fix this you need FSX SP2 or Acceleration installed. A few years ago, some FSX SP2 installations were having problems with the HSI not communicating with the GNS WAAS gauges. The solution is to download the latest version of the Reality XP GNS WAAS gauges, or install the FSX Acceleration expansion pack. If you have an RXP GNS build later than 2010 (more than likely) this should not be an issue.

    Custom sounds stop working - It is possible for the custom sounds to stop working. The gauge that triggers the sounds has a known issue whereby if you have a long session triggering sounds over and over again then the sound gauge can stop working and the custom sounds will no longer be heard. If this happens the only solution is to restart FSX. In our experience this only ever happened when we spent long periods coding and testing the sounds. In normal flight we never experienced this particular problem.

    Closing remarks

    I probably glossed right over or totally missed something important to you and if I did, I apologize. A few things probably should get more credit and as you fly you will notice something totally new and different on each flight. It is difficult to take notes while flying upside-down.

    Posted Image

    I found a few more notes that I made while flying but the review is already long enough. Here are a few key thoughts: I TRIED TO USE A PROFANITY HERE - AREN'T I STUPID!in’ Betty works just fine, I hear a lot of ‘sink rate’ and ‘pull up’ nags, abrasions on the canopy are perfect, also the sun reflections, don’t forget to reset the g meter often. The last time up I had 8+g’s – ouch! Have you noticed the ‘black out’ when you really stress it over the limit? Neat stuff. How about those terrain warnings on the Reality XP units like Yellow and Red bands popping up.

    There are so many well done animations, effects, sounds, etc. that if you made a list it would run off the page. But, the realistic mood that you get from the very first VC view and the new high quality sounds are amazing to me as a real world pilot and avid simulator pilot. I especially like to be able to glance over at the engine quadrant and read off MP and RPM as exact numbers, and I especially like the gear handle and 3 lights up high so I can see them. The flight dynamics are spot on. Try the spins, slips, rolls – the plane was made for this stuff - and now RealAir has made the plane do this stuff for us simulator pilots.


    Well folks, it’s time to wrap this up so I can get some serious flying time in the Legacy. I tried to cover as much of the Flying Guide as I could for you because I feel if you are properly informed then you can make a proper decision. The RealAir Lancair Legacy has to be the ultimate general aviation add-on available today for FSX. I am quite sure no other add-on has as many and as varied a list of features as this one. The Legacy is loaded with innovative new designs that are being introduced for the very first time in FSX. Further, the extensive configuration tabs put the user in control of practically any and all of the new visual special effects and you can select most on the fly. Every one of these visual effects have one or more custom sounds to enhance the experience. The end result is an airplane that is exceptionally fast with a 240+ knot cruise speed, an exceptionally slow approach stall speed of 65 knots, needs less than a thousand feet for takeoff or landing, has retractable gear, climbs at 2,200+ FPM, is acrobatic and will carry you and a passenger a thousand nautical miles without refueling.

    The specifications themselves are extraordinary, but the new airframe shakes and vibrations, bouncing instrument needles, accurate wind sounds, and properly designed buffeting working in concert are almost unbelievable. “As real as it gets” is used far too often and is usually an exaggeration but, in this case it may be just be the truth.

    Then when you think it can’t possibly get any better, you see the results of adding the optional Reality XP WAAS GNS packages. These superlative near-real-world navigational devices add so very much to the flight simulator experience compared to the default GPS500 that I can say with certainty you are doing yourself a disservice by not flying with them. RealAir has boldly upped the ante and added more than a rung or two to the innovation ladder for FSX. As I see it from where I sit today RealAir is totally alone in the rare air at the pinnacle of flight simulator innovation for general aviation with the Lancair Legacy.


    Download the free pdf Legacy Flying Guide from the RealAir Simulations website. Read it cover to cover, then place your online order for the Legacy. This way you won’t be tempted to fly before reading. This is important because RealAir has packed so many new visual effects and sounds into this add on that you can’t use your experience as a guide simply because you have not witnessed these effects, animations and sounds previously.

    Should you not already own one of the Reality XP WAAS GNS instruments, do yourself a favor and purchase at least one of the units and let the RealAir panel configuration genie do the two click installation in the Legacy panel for you.

    Avsim Gold Star

    The RealAir Lancair Legacy for FSX is no doubt the most advanced, most realistic, and most fun to fly of any general aviation add-on available today. The awesome combination of many totally new visual effects and animations with their accompanying sounds are absolutely astonishing. I therefore recommend the coveted Avsim Gold Star be awarded to RealAir Simulations. I really wish there was a recognition that was even a little higher than our Gold Star, maybe a Platinum Star or a Sierra Hotel Gold Star. I would surely recommend that one also. The Legacy is that good.

    Test System
    Intel Quadcore i7- 870 2.93 GHz
    8 GB Installed Memory
    Win7 – 64 bit OS SP1
    2 TB SATA II HD, 750 GB USB HD
    nVidia GTX-460 w/1GB Graphics
    Dell 24 WS, Dell 18 LCD monitors
    Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speakers
    Realtek HD 5.1 Audio, Grado SR-60
    Newly added Saitek Cockpit items
    - Pro Flight Cessna Yoke & Trim wheel
    - Pro Flight dual Power Quadrants
    - Pro Flight Combat Rudder Pedals
    - Pro Flight TPM Panel, Switch Panel
    - Pro Flight Radio Panel (2)
    - Six Flight Instrument Panels (FIPs)

    Reviewers’ Ratings
    Commercial pilot license,
    Airplane single engine land and sea,
    Airplane multiengine land,
    Instrument airplane, DC-3 type rating
    Ground Instructor, Advanced, Instrument
    Expired Certified Flight Instructor’s licenses
    Avid Microsoft Flight Simulator user

    The Future

    A Paint Kit will be forthcoming as soon as RealAir is assured all the external textures are indeed correct. How about adding Page Numbers to the Flying Guide and Checklists for the printed copy (for those of us who like to print and bind the documentation)? Sunglasses at night needs to be revisited by the design team. While you are there, how about adding an old bald, blue eyed, pilot with a mustache (now who could that be?) as an alternate pilot figure. You could save a few polygons with the reduction of hair and sunglasses!

    I wonder if the canopy could be cracked open a couple of inches for ventilation for those long taxiways on the hot summer days? Open/Cracked Open/Closed/Locked

    Credits and links:

    RealAir Simulations for providing the evaluated download www.realairsimulations.com
    Jean-Luc at Reality XP for providing the GNS units http://www.reality-x...s530/index.html
    Bert Pieke for providing the RNAV flying section, general encouragement and other assistance
    Screenshot on Page 1 is from the cover of the Legacy brochure http://www.lancair.c...cy_brochure.pdf
    Thanks to Steadyflyer for youtube video

    The Yellow Legacy landing, DJJose, CFII, Florida screenshots
    Night landing and taxi w/ 3D lights screenshots by Aleksi Lindén, PPL&NF, Finland
    The CAFE Foundation report is available at www.lancairlegacy.com/Gallery_images/CAFE_Legacy_report.pdf
    All other screenshots are by Sean Moloney, Bert Pieke, or Ray Marshall

    My STSOAD award goes to the designer of the disappearing Nav/GPS switch when replacing the default GPS500 with the Reality XP units.


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...