Lynn & Bill Lyons once again offer up a classic period package!
It was only a couple of months ago that Bill & Lynn Lyons released their outstanding Classic XIII Golden Hawaii package based on the Sikorsky S-43. Now they have released their Classic IX package which is based on the Grumman G21 Goose and the TV show “Tales of the Golden Monkey”.
This time the Lyons’ classic package is a little bit different and I believe that many of you that remember the short-lived television show, “Tales of the Golden Monkey”, will absolutely love this package.
Inspired by the Saturday afternoon serials, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Frank Marshall produced and directed the very successful blockbuster movie, “Raiders of the Lost Arc”, released in 1981 and starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones character was a gun and whip-carrying anthropologist of whom seemed to always be caught up into trouble at every turn, usually at the hand of some unscrupulous pre-WWII Nazi. So popular was the movie (two sequels would follow as well a TV series titled “The Young Indiana Jones” some years later), that in 1982 ABC introduced a television series called “Tales of the Golden Monkey”, starring Stephan Collins (as the main character hero, Jake Cutter) and his female attraction Sarah White (played by Caitlin O’Heaney). The centerpiece of the show was of course “Cutter’s Goose”, a red on white Grumman G21 Goose that Jake Cutter used to fly cargo and/or passengers based out the pre-world war II fictitious South Seas island of Boragora. Our blond haired, blue-eyed hero Jake Cutter was listed as an American Pilot-Soldier of Fortune and his main squeeze (quasi girlfriend would probably be a better description), Sarah White worked as a singer in the Monkey Bar but was also an American spy! Jake’s sidekick was Corkey (his last name was never known) an alcoholic mechanic/co-pilot (this character was played by Jeff MacKay). Other show characters included; the suave and sophisticated (though a bit shifty) Bon Chance Louie (played by Roddy McDowall), Princess Koji (Marta DeBois), Todo (John Fujioka as the ultimate samurai warrior), the Rev. Willie Tenboom (John Calvin as a Dutch priest and German spy) and of course Jack, the one-eyed multi-lingual terrier. The dog (Jack) always wore a patch over his lost eye, but it was always said that Jack had a glass eye made from an opal with a sapphire center. In addition Jack could “speak” English, Japanese, and Spanish and would answer “no” by barking once and “yes” by barking twice (the dog “Jack”, in Bill Lyons’ Goose, also does this). The story line was that Jack (the dog) lost his eye while being tortured by an evil Nazi attempting to gain information.
Only 21 episodes of the “Tales of the Golden Monkey” aired between 1982 and 1983 and then ABC cancelled the series, which ironically was the same as the short-lived Battlestar Galactica, another ABC television show that not only was an obvious takeoff from another George Lucas produced movie (Star Wars in this case), but also featured the same series producer and director.
Regardless of its short TV history, “Tales of the Golden Monkey” endures on DVD and in our memories only, but the Grumman Goose, even nearly 70 years after the last Goose was built has several examples still flying today not to mention the flyable examples that are currently located in museums around the world.
Above is the original ad and TV Guide for the premiere of “Tales of the Golden Monkey and a couple of photos from the set of the show. One showing Jake Cutter, Corky, and Sarah White, the other shows Jake starring down Jack, the one-eyed dog (just about the coolest dog in television history).
In the past, the Bill & Lynn Classic packages have been centered around a real-world aircraft set and have included an additional aircraft or two, a motor vehicle of some type, some period scenery, and recently (with the release of Classic XIII) have even included a way to completely convert the Hawaiian Islands into how they looked in the late 1930s. With this Classic IX release, as for additional aircraft or drivable vehicles, there are none included as this package is really centered around the Goose and it is the included adventures that really sets this package apart from anything else I’ve seen for FS2004.
The real Grumman Goose was only manufactured between 1937 and 1945 with several doing duty during the war and later most serving as amphibious passenger carriers throughout North America. Powered by twin Pratt & Whitney “Wasp” engines each having 450 hp available. The Goose was not only roomy, but surprisingly fast in its day. Originally selling for much less than $50,000, a fully restored Goose today can easily bring $1,000,000 or more on the used aircraft market, although I have seen some offered for less.
With the release of Classic IX, this latest package from the Lyons now combines an aircraft with the real world, mysterious legends, and the fantasy world of television! So, read on an enjoy!
Installation & Documentation
After having sent in your $12.50USD (by PayPal) to Lynn & Bill Lyons at their Golden Eagle Squadron website, Bill will send you an email with your download address and password.
At 27.4MBs, it does take a few minutes to download and then I highly recommend reading through all the provided documentation before installing this package.
Bill Lyons has never really included an extensive list of documentation other than a general readme file in notepad, but like with their Classic VIII a few weeks ago, Lynn and Bill continue to improve on that. The readme file provided is now in html format, which includes a short history of the Grumman G21 Goose, specifically the actual Goose used in the TV show. In addition, the documents include additional help in locating the special (click-able) points around the virtual cockpit and the handling of the extra features (additional add-on files for water textures, highway & road textures, and a brighter sun). Other included docs are the checklists and reference files (html) for each aircraft (accessible from your clipboard) which are very well done.
This time Bill & Lynn Lyons have included only a single aircraft the Grumman G21 “Goose”, of which the package includes the Goose in 8 different liveries (actually only 7, but with the Cutter’s Goose livery you have the choice of either Corky or Sarah as your co-pilot). Also included with the Classic IX package are a number of AI aircraft (SNBs, Japanese Betty, a Navy blimp, Boeing B314 Clipper, Waco biplane, Lockheed Electra, Grumman Avenger, AI Goose, A6M Zero, Piper Cub, Douglas DC-3 & DC-4 and even a dynamic Nazi submarine!)
Four of the liveries included follow the real world history for the actual Goose used in the television show. This Goose (N327) was originally built in 1938 for the Peruvian Air Force, then did a stint with Southeast Skyways (Juneau, Alaska), and is now located in Seattle, Washington and painted in Chrysler Air colors (dark blue and yellow).
In addition to the 4 liveries of N327 (Peruvian Air Force, Cutter’s Goose, Southeast Skyways, and Chrysler Air), you have two versions in US Navy colors and the Air Avalon livery. No matter which livery you choose, this is a very authentically designed Grumman Goose and has all those little special effects I like including extra smoke on startup, exhaust flames, and fully animated parts (including the unique motion of the Grumman landing gear).
Overall these are nice choices of liveries with each paint being typically well done and having realistic reflective qualities. I also noticed that the windshields reflect light in a very realistic way. As is the norm for Bill Lyons, he scores another direct hit for authoring a golden era classic, this time with an airplane that is easily my all time favorite aircraft, new or old!
Bill Lyons is practically the inventor of the DVC (Dynamic Virtual Cockpit), so it goes without saying that his latest release the Classic IX, depends on the DVC as your main panel to use. The 2D panel is a “lite” version only and is quite limited on its functions (except for what you get with the pop-up windows).
The DVC for the Classic IX Goose is just detailed enough to give an air of authenticity, yet designed to have little or no impact on frame rates.
Something new for a Bill Lyons design are the several “hot-spots” you can click with your mouse to bring up the default “map”, the area map for the adventure you may be using, the ability to increase or decrease the rain effects on the windscreen, or you can even remove your co-pilot if you wish. Even the dog (Jack) has click-able “hot-spots” (his eyes) so that you can have him bark! Once for no or twice for yes depending upon which eye you click on.
In what has to be an FS first, Bill has designed the Goose so that the windshield wipers not only function, but they can be used to actually clean the water and dirt off as well. The level of water and dirt is under your control by clicking on the “rain effects” hot-spot (located top center of the overhead engine gauges). In cold conditions, ice build up on the windscreen will also become a problem, requiring you turn on the de-icers.
The panel for the original Grumman Goose was not a complicated feature as it was designed to provide the necessary (minimum) functions required of the pilot during the golden age of aviation (1930s). Because aircraft of this era depended upon the pilot to be a “pilot”, many of the modern gauges and/or computerized instruments that we’ve all grown accustom to, are simply not there. Bill has compromised by adding the default GPS and Cessna radio stack (as most restored versions of this aircraft currently have) making this an FS aircraft that all purchasers can enjoy or use.
Classic IX Adventures:
In addition to the Grumman Goose aircraft, Bill & Lynn have also included an extensive list of adventures (25 in total) where you can experience some real world like adventures or you can experience some adventures based on the ABC TV show Tales of the Golden Monkey. The adventures are designed so that some are simple or easy to complete where others are more difficult and of the more difficult adventures, i’ve not been able to successfully complete a couple of them as of yet, but the fun is in the attempt.
Bill (or Lynn) provide only minimal information as how to complete each adventure. I assume this is so you must figure out how to achieve success, which I believe is to maintain some mystery to the adventure. In one example, the adventure is to locate a reported Nazi submarine operating in Caribbean waters, but the directions you’re given are quite vague and you are only told to fly south/southwest! At some undisclosed point, turn toward Cuba using the provided NDB. As vague as this sounds, I located the Nazi submarine on my first attempt, so it is difficult, but not impossible.
In one of the simpler adventures, you fly out of the main base at Boragora (the fictional location depicted in Tales of the Golden Monkey) to meet the Pan-American “China” Clipper (Boeing B314 Clipper) and escort it back to a landing. You will also hear the ATC communications with the Clipper as it approaches and lands at Boragora.
There are other adventures, a few of which are shown below in screenshots, where each are fun, interesting, and they all certainly add much to your purchase of this package.
Below are a series of screenshots, each showing just a few of the unique features of the Classic IX included adventures.
Airfile & Sounds:
is no amateur when it comes to designing an airfile and in the past has
even authored authentic airfiles for aircraft types that the other
flight-modeling gurus said couldn’t be done (Bill’s hot-air balloon for
FS2002 for example). Nothing new here, as the Classic IX Grumman Goose
flies exactly as you would expect, no surprises, nor any disappointments
whatsoever. Operations on water are typical for an aircraft of this weight
and size and I particularly noted that this aircraft is easy to judge your
distance for water landings. My meaning here is that with many of the
float or amphibious FS aircraft (including the default Cessna Caravan),
the aircraft has a tendency to drift or skim further across the water’s
surface after landing, than their real world counterparts. This is simply
not so with Bill & Lynn’s Goose, as it drifts pretty much as i’ve
witnessed with real world aircraft of this type making the visual
judgment of where to contact the water much easier. Another area of note
was how the Classic IX Goose reacts in turbulence. I really liked the
feeling it generated, adding much to the emersion level of flying this
Overall, Bill gets two thumbs up from me on the Goose’s airfile, not meaning to indicate something out of the ordinary, but to state that the airfile for the Classic IX Goose is very very good!
With previous Classic releases (from Bill & Lynn), I have on occasion been somewhat critical of the included sounds (not that at any time were they unacceptable by any description mind you), but with the Classic IX Goose, I am thrilled with what Bill has provided. The harmonic sounds of these powerful wasp radial engines has been very professionally blended by Bill and the Goose’s very authentic engine sounds combined with the near perfect water sounds (splashing on the hull of the Goose) are about as good as it gets! Outstanding!
Bill Lyons and I have known each for a number of years and it has never been any secret between us that of all the classic aircraft, particularly from the Golden era of aviation, it was the Grumman Goose that most tickled my fancy! Bill had mentioned to me, almost in passing that he and Lynn were working on something involving the Goose, but the details Bill generally kept to himself.
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play with Bill & Lynn’s latest Classic release, I almost feel as if they designed this package just for me, personally! That’s the nature of both Bill & Lynn, as they’re not your normal commercial FS package authors, but they are individuals that have a real love of aviation, particularly aviation in its historical sense and each of their Classic packages exemplifies their love of aviation from the past.
Unlike their previous releases, the classic IX the Goose is one that is not totally about the aircraft, but is more about reliving the history of the Goose. In both its historical reality and in the fantasy world as well, specifically the fantasy world from the TV show “Tales of the Golden Monkey”. The combination of the many different Goose’s included and the 25 adventures (along with the custom scenery and custom AI aircraft) make for a package that will provide hours and hours of enjoyment even for the most discriminating of individuals.
Are you getting bored with flying seemly endless flights aboard your Boeing or Airbus, or are your flights in your favorite light aircraft getting tiresome? So why don’t you try something different, as the Classic IX Goose package really is wonderful, with some adventure flights that will test your piloting skills, while others offer a certain level of mystery and fantasy. I absolutely love it and at the price of only $12.50US, this has got to be the bargain FS add-on of the year!
after reading this review you feel inspired to check out the Classic IX
Tales of the Golden Monkey package for yourself, you can find the Golden
Eagle Squadron website
What I Like About The Grumman Goose
What I Don't Like About The Grumman Goose
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