AVSIM Commercial FSX Aircraft Review

Curtiss P-36 Hawk

Product Information

Publishers:  Vertigo Studios

Description: P-36 Hawk add on aircraft.

Download Size:
84 MB

Simulation Type:
Reviewed by: Aidan Sandri AVSIM Staff Reviewer - July 22, 2010


The (Curtiss) P-36 Hawk - otherwise known as Curtiss Hawk Model 75, was a US fighter model built in the 1930s and 1940s and it was one of a new generation of fighter aircraft. The aircraft only had limited use with the US Air Force but was used extensively by the French Air Force, British Commonwealth and Chinese Air Units.

The P-36 Hawk is a sleek monoplane making extensive use of metal in its construction and is powered by a powerful piston engine. The Hawk offered some breakthrough features for its time including an all-enclosed cockpit canopy and a powered retractable undercarriage system. It had a range of 830 miles and a cruise speed of 250mph. Now let's see what Vertigo Studios have included into their model of the P-36 Hawk:

• 3D ‘Sound Cone’ Technology.
• Fully customized lighting control system implementation, including individually created night-lighting effects.
• Eight high-resolution and detailed paint schemes.
• The famously rugged 1,000 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830-13 engine
• Designed and built by the book.
• Lights (built directly into the model) with an under-wing landing light.
• True 3D Instrumentation for an ultimate smooth flying experience.
• Sound engineered from authentic Pratt & Whitney R-1830 recordings.
• Simulated Fuel delivery system.
• True 3D gauge lighting.
• Self-shadowing Virtual Cockpit and external model.
• High-resolution textures throughout.
• Canopy open and close animations.
• Engine start-up and shut down procedure.
• Light bloom on glass and shiny materials.
• Full lighting management.

Installation and Documentation

Installing the P-36 Hawk is very simple. You download the 84mb file which will arrive in an .exe zip file. Simply extract it to a temporary folder (I used my desktop) and install it, you will then be required to enter your Name, Company and Serial Code but don't worry about the company - you can leave that blank. You will then be asked where you wish to install the aircraft. I noticed by default it was Program Files > Microsoft Games. If you have x86 Program Files it won't select that, you will have to manually select that by the browse button.

Vertigo Studios has included a 20-page manual with the Hawk. The manual is 20 pages, although this seems quite light, there is a lot of detail included. On pages 19 and 20 there is a guide on starting up to shutting down procedures from the aircraft, it would seem that the material has been photocopied and is quite difficult to read.


Vertigo Studio's have raised the bar once again with this highly detailed model that they have designed. If you have not tried any of their other products then you are definitely in for a treat. The Cowl Flaps are modeled; the flaps and gear are uniquely animated in a 'twist' movement (as the real aircraft is), with many more animations included.

This aircraft features 8 repaints, which are all of the highest quality possible, and to quote Vertigo Studios: "It is gorgeously constructed, inside and out, down to the last rivet."

I could not agree more with what Vertigo Studios have said about this model, with a lot of companies this seems to be limited, but Vertigo are definitely a winner with this and other companies can learn from them on what they have done with this aircraft.


The Hawk has one Pratt & Whitney R-1830-13 Twin Wasp air-cooled engine, which produces 1,050 horsepower. Vertigo Studios have magically remade this engine’s sound, using their 3D ‘Sound Cone’ Technology. This to me says that in every angle of the aircraft you will hear the engines come to life, and I can assure you that this is very true!

Many simmers go on and say how good an aircraft is in terms of modeling and in depth systems, but normally overlook the basics like the sounds that the actual aircraft produces. My hat goes off to Vertigo Studios for a fantastic effort with these 3D sounds.

However, there is one negative. If you turn the cowl flaps to on/off, or turn the lights on there will be no sounds made with this "click." I found this very disappointing as other developers (Captain Sim, A2A) do include these noises and this adds a fair bit to the realism. This is not a major issue, and most simmers will not mind if a simple thing like this is not included into the package.

Flight Deck

This aircraft has a fantastic flight deck. If you mainly fly in the virtual cockpit then you will absolutely fall in love with this aircraft, of all the FSX add-ons I have, this one is by far the best in terms of detail. Some cockpit simulations have the writing blurred, which simmers will struggle to read, but that isn't the case here (refer to pictures below).

A large majority of switches and handles are clickable - such as the landing lights, Pitot tube heat, landing gear lever, throttle and many more. However some were not, such as the manifold pressure gauge and vacuum suction. For those that love the reflections of the inside of the cockpit on the windows, then you are in for a treat.

Simmers that use the 2D Cockpit will be disappointed, as this is not included in this aircraft, but it is much easier to read the instrument gauges.

Flying Dynamics

I have never seen a P-36 Hawk, neither have I flown one in real life as I've only ever flown a Piper Tomahawk. The Hawk will fly nice and steady but will not operate, as it should, in a stall or a dive. I also found that the Hawk will not fly the same way at times, an example of this is when flying an approach at 90 knots and turning slightly to line up with the runway; the aircraft tends to exaggerate the turns requiring greater control of the aircraft.

I have put the aircraft through a series of flight tests and rather than bore you with the details of each and every performance number recorded, the flying dynamics of this aircraft are for the casual flyer and not the "hard core" simmer group. Don't get me wrong though, I do have to say that this aircraft is very fun to fly if you just want to "roll around" and do some flips.

Test System

Intel i5 750 2.66GHz
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Nvidia 9800GT 1024Mb
Logitech 3D Extreme Joystick

Flying Time:
40 hours


Vertigo Studios has made a great effort in keeping this aircraft at a safe FPS level. On my i5 750 system (specs in the yellow box) in the Virtual Cockpit I was getting frames from 27-32 (while locked at 32) and on the exterior I was getting 30-32.

Unlike some other developers, this company has done a fantastic effort in keeping the detail at a high end, but keeping FPS at a fair level.

Closing Comments

Vertigo Studio's have done a great job with their Curtiss P-36 Hawk. Though this aircraft is not perfect, it indeed is a fantastic aircraft and if a few improvements were made, I can see no reason why this aircraft could not be nominated to receive an AVSIM Gold Star Award.

The Price of this aircraft £19.99 or $28.99 (US), which is a fantastic offer considering how detailed this actual aircraft is in terms of modeling, sounds and performance. This is the most expensive aircraft Vertigo has released to date, with the others being released at £14.99, but still this aircraft seems to be in the reach of the average person’s financial availability.


What I Like About The P-36 Hawk

  • Modeling is FANTASTIC!
  • Virtual Cockpit is also very detailed.
  • Price.
  • Performance in the Aircraft
  • In my opinion, the sounds are of excellent quality.


What I Don't Like About The P-36 Hawk

  • In my opinion the flying dynamics in this aircraft, as I have explained, do not seem correct.



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Curtiss P-36 Hawk

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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