This is a release I have been waiting for for my entire flight simulator career; the release of a decent quality Mooney Mite (aka M-18). While I had seen a few works in progress advertised on the world wide web, nothing was near completion. Well, until now. Tim “Piglet” Conrad brought the Mite to life for FSX-SP2 today when he released his model over at Simviation. While I am still in the process of downloading it, once I boot into Windows and capture some screenshots, I will give a more detailed review.
For now, go grab this historic flight simulator release!
Post Download Update:
This model is super simple to install, just copy the M-18C folder to the airplanes foled and place the *.cab file in the gauges folder. Fire up FSX, select the Mooney Mite and you are ready to go.
I decided to take the Mite out for a quick flight from Kerrville Municipal Airport (KERV), where the current Mooney Aircraft factory is located, to San Antonio International (KSAT). This short flight would give me plenty of opportunity to experience grounding handling and airborne flight dynamics.
The level of detail that Tim put into this model is what we would expect for the latest generation of flight simulators. From the propeller to the map/dog treat pocket in the virtual cockpit, to the Mooney logo on the tail, no detail has been spared.
Taxiing the Mite is a true joy as its responsiveness is lively and goes where you tell it to. The oversize tires and unique landing gear definitely make great contact with the ground. After looking at the Mite sitting on the ramp, I wondered if there were some balance issues as the landing gear looks too far forward. It really isn’t and the ground experience is pleasantly civil.
On the takeoff roll, the Mite came off the runway so smoothly that the only indication was the lack of tire noise. Pulling lightly back on the stick brought the nose up and a more aggressive climb. Note that I did not give the Mite full throttle, only slightly more than half and it still became airborne in a reasonable amount of runway length.
As I turned toward Comfort, Texas, I did give the Mite more throttle for a more aggressive climb to 4,000 feet. While not a stunning climber, the Mite does well for its small engine and gives the pilot a sense of stability that other small aircraft only wish they could achieve.
Cruising across the Texas hill country at slightly more than 100knts in this Mite was a real treat. The flight dynamics are stable, even with a stiff, gusting crosswind. I learned to appreciate the sensitivity to control input. Like a dog, I found out how much this Mite could be a man’s best friend!
Approaching San Antonio, I really wanted to continue flying, but it was time to see how this old friend handles descents and approaches. I purposely came in high and fast for runway 30R. I wanted to see what would happen in a rapid descent and then how quickly I could burn excess energy to cause a stall just prior to touchdown. It did pretty good and I was impress with nosing down to ten degrees and throttling back the throttle kept speed under control. At the bottom of the rapid descent, I began leveling off and found that the speed wasn’t bleeding off as quickly as I had hoped. Extending the landing gear and then the flap helped, but I still ended up landing more than halfway down the runway. I think this efficiency in maintaining speed speaks kudos to its design.
Once parked on the GA ramp at San Antonio, I took a moment to reflect on the flight. The Mooney Mite is an exceptional aircraft whose only limitation is that you can’t share its grace with anyone else (it’s a single seater). However, as a personal runabout, the Mite is fast, efficient, and stands out on the ramp. Tim’s mastery of flight simulator modeling has transformed a little known legend into a download that we can all enjoy. A big cheers goes to Al Mooney for creating the wonderful Mite in the first place and Tim “Piglet” Conrad for making this experience available to all of us!
THANK YOU, Piglet!
Author: Tim “Piglet” Conrad
Size: 9.5 Mb
Download Links: Simviation
Update files: none as of yet
05AUG2011 – Updated download links as Sim-Outhouse and FlightSim no longer host the file. Happy Mite Flying!