My first review, so go easy on me :unsure:
Originally I was saving for the Majestic Dash 8 Q400, but being only a few pounds short and with payday a long way away, I picked up the 146 from Flight1, knowing their returns policy. After a bemusing purchasing system involving multiple online activations and many codes, I eventually got the order approved and installed the aircraft. In an effort to keep the file size down they only supplied the Quality Wings 'house colours', with many more available for download, a neat idea so as not to clutter the aircraft selection menu with unwanted liveries. The pack includes the Avro RJ-70, -85 and the -100 series aircraft, with the BAe 146-100, -200 and the -300 series being released later this year.
After installing some liveries that looked rather nice, I decided to take her for a flight. This being my first airliner of any type, the flight deck was rather bemusing, after me being used to vintage birds. I spent a good half an hour fiddling with switches and knobs which all had a satisfying 'click' to them, rather nice. I was then searching for some sort of control panel, hitting as many keys as I could think of to no avail, then, accidentally, I clicked on a black lever to the far left of the panel, this brought up the control panel, hallelujah!! Opening up the main door and extending the air-stairs, all lavished with smooth animations, I selected 'QWPAS' having absolutely no clue as to what it does, suddenly, I can hear the passenger announcements!! A very slick and immersive feature if I say so :lol:
After the short and logical start procedure, I decided to venture onto the taxiway, holding this beast on the centre line is a challenge in itself, having fixed the ground friction bug, she freely rolls of her own accord, some getting used to! Eventually, after extensive wondering left and right of the centre line, I managed to stumble across the active, setting the flaps with the rotation wheel on my X-52, I discovered my first bug, any movement of the axis activates the noise that should be for when the flap lever is moved position, so it creates a rapid clicking that is really quite annoying, but can be countered with some slight of hand when selecting the flaps. 18* down was the first selection, through to 33*, understandable once we consider the STOL capabilities of the 146, with the short Southampton INTL runway, MTOP was selected and I ran the engines up whilst holding the breaks. Whilst doing this I began to realize how spectacular the sound set is on this aircraft, truly something!
Having only skim-read the manual, with a false belief in my own flying ability, I released the brakes and accelerated down the runway, around 110kts I rotated, only to almost stall in the heavy aircraft, as with the real 146, the QW 146 requires liberal amounts of forward trim to keep flying on the straight and level, something that is learned rather quickly with this aircraft.
After a quick flight to Jersey, with a cruise at 20,000ft I decided to venture into the autopilot systems. Now, with this being my first modern 'tube-liner' the autopilot was quite puzzling to begin with, but actually turned out to be quite logical, and a very capable system when combined with the FMC. Whilst the FMC has nothing on the 737NGX, it is capable non-the-less, at that point not knowing too much about the operations, I selected the very useful feature that allows you to input the flight plan created by FSX's native flight planner, into the FMC. A rather clever and extremely useful system for us newbies :blush:
VNAV and LNAV work as advertised, although altitude hold is utilized more often than VNAV for sheer ease of use.
On the second flight I departed Boston to fly to Dulles, Washington. It was on this flight I attempted to use the ILS system. Having only vague guidance from the manual, as I neared I input the frequency into both VHF Nav radios as per the instruction from the manual, followed the default ATCs haphazard instructions and finally established on the localiser. Then hitting APP on the autopilot panel it proceeded to fly an automated, if a little low, approach into runway 19L. Then it stalled out. Unfortunately due to a combo of my incompetence and the less than ideal manual, I had failed to select auto-throttle and we stalled and crashed. Not my finest moment :unsure:
A thoroughly enjoyable aircraft that has its own quirks, but once you know them, you can really fall in love. Whilst not having the complexity of Majestic software or PMDG, she has enough to be immersive and still feel like a full simulation. A versatile aircraft within FSX and in real life, she is a real treat to fly, and the enjoyment will increase with the addition of the BAe models, with older technology to make things a bit more challenging.
-Fantastic sound set
-Good flight model
-Good balance of simplicity and realism to cater for all
-Ideal starting platform for aspiring virtual airline pilots
-Good range of liveries available for download
-Good pricing for what you get
-Immersive passenger announcements
-Buggy flap lever sounds (can get quite annoying)
-Not as complex as you would like in some areas
-Can be a bit of a frame killer
Price: $47.99 £31.57 (from Flight1.com)
Get it here: http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=qw146