The Biggest of the Big!

Tom Ruth amazed us all with his Antonov AN-124 model for FSX, and he just upped the ante a bit more.  The Antonov AN-225 Mriya (means “dream”), is the largest fixed wing aircraft to ever be built.  In fact only one was built and is still flying today, while a second airframe was started, but never finished.  Originally designed as the main transporter for the Soviet Buran Shuttle, the Mriya currently hauls extremely large, heavy and oversize loads around the world for Antonov Airlines.

Antonov AN-225 Mriya - largest fixed wing ever built

Antonov AN-225 Mriya - largest fixed wing ever built

Flying this bird is like flying a large brick.  You sit so high up and you look over such a large nose, that one can’t help but wonder if you stepped aboard the Star-ship Enterprise. The detailed virtual cockpit puts flight controls where they need to be, with that bit of strange Soviet feel.  However, the Mriya doesn’t fly like a brick, but not exactly like a Cessna either, perhaps more like a heavy 747.   Getting off the ground takes patience and a long runway.  Once airborne, though, the behemoth is much more docile with responsive handling and decent climb rates. Those six engines and large wings really help move the shear size of this beast through the air.   Overall, I was quite surprised at how well it flew.

The bowing Mriya swollows cargo from the front.

The bowing Mriya swallows cargo from the front.

Back on the ground, there is plenty of eye candy to please the gaming enthusiasts.   The opening doors and animated cargo door, ramp and front gear are all wonderful surprises in freeware.  Each of these functions are controlled by clickable buttons on the center panel.   It is part of the experience to sit in the virtual cockpit, throw the cargo door switch and watch your view be consumed by the massive nose of the aircraft as it opens.  One can see the detailed underside including support struts as it opens in front of the windshield.  Then, throw the front gear switch and change views to outside to watch these behemoth squat.  Then back to the virtual cockpit to throw the ramp switch, change to outside view to watch the ramp unfold.   The experience of opening the cargo bay is worth the download alone.  If you ever find yourself in need of counting something, try counting the tires on the main gear, that will keep you busy for awhile.    There is even a second model available with a Soviet Buran Shuttle mounted on the back of this big guy.   Talk about a “large” model.  The exterior and interior model on Ruth’s latest FSX model is outstanding.

Overall, this is quite a surprise from a talented freeware modeler.  Not only has Ruth recreated the largest aircraft in the skies, but he has done it to new standards and upped the ante for flight simulator experiences.  I can’t wait to spend more time behind the yoke of this bird.

Author: Tom Ruth
Filename:  tom225x.zip
File Size: 29.2mb

Some Great Paper Model Ships

I have been a fan of paper models for a long time. My mom’s influence was paper model ships. While I really don’t like being on ships in the real world, I do enjoy building them from paper. Being on a tight budget, whenever a new free model is available, I get excited.  This is why having a directory of models is important.

I recently came across an awesome directory of paper model ships; Boats, Ships and Subs Paper Models.  Included are sites that feature some dioramas, including the Titanic and a houseboat.

The first link, Asuka Cruise Liner has a broken link, but you can find both models of the cruise ship here.

True FSX Antonov AN-124

Tom Ruth has been a very active flight simulator modeler, releasing many wonderful aircraft for FSX.   One of the largest releases to date by size is the Antonov AN-124 Ruslan.  Designed as a much larger Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, the AN-124 is a true cargo workhorse, hauling everything from tanks and troops, to locomotives and fuselages.  In fact, it is capable of hauling 508,000 pounds over a range of 2,900 nm.  Impressive.

 

Tom Ruth's Antonov AN-124 descending over Munich

Tom Ruth's Antonov AN-124 descending over Munich

The model is available in two liveries, Volga-Dnepr and white (paint kit).  One of the most impressive parts is the fully modeled cabin/cargo area and virtual cockpit with fully clickable switches. In addition to the main panel, the flight engineers’ section is also modeled, giving a total of six seats in this cockpit. It is great to “turn around” and see the detail of the virtual cockpit.  Another bonus is that while the switch labels have the look and feel of Russian, the words are actually English with a stylized font to appear more Russian. I won’t tell you what is inside the cargo area, but it is pretty cool.

 

Details of the model: full VC with engineers' station, exterior model with eye candy.

Details of the model: full VC with engineers' station, exterior model with eye candy.

Flying this behemoth take a little getting used to.  Not only are you sitting really high up, but the shear size of the aircraft makes is susceptible to cross winds.  Taxiing the aircraft is quite easy thanks to the steerable main gear and double nose gear.   One thing I noticed, and this might be a bug, is that the number 3 engine kept cutting out.  On short final into Munich, this made landing on the center quite difficult. I have not had time to troubleshoot it, so I hope that this was a minor glitch and not a true bug.

Overall, the Antonov AN-124 Ruslan for flight simulator X by Tom Ruth is a must have in the virtual hangar.   Not only because of the aircraft’s rarity, but how beautiful the model really is.  Flying it will take practice, but anytime we step outside our box into something new, we grow.  This AN-124 is a true FSX experience.

 

Ruslan wearing Dnepr-Volga clothes

Ruslan wearing Volga-Dnepr clothes

The model is available at Simviation (tom124x.zip).  You can also search Simviation and Flightsim.com for his other models.

Need Some Inspiration!

Been thinking about taking the FSX Mooney Mite out for spin.  I haven’t flown it much since I reviewed the model after its release.  The M-18C Mite model for FSX is a superb, one of a kind model that I thoroughly enjoyed flying around central Texas and Mooney’s Kerrville factory.

However, I would like to engage my readers a bit more and would like you all to make suggestions on where I should the Mite next.  I will make a full report here after the flight as a Flight Report. I typically fly in the United States, but would be happy to expand my horizons to Asia, Australia, or any other part of the world.  There are really no restrictions on what I would choose other than it needs to be scenic.  Flying through the desert isn’t exciting for me.  I flew the Grand Canyon in a helicopter before and it has worn off.

So, where should I take the Mite for its next flight?

A New CRJ Is Available For Flight Simulator

Regional jets have been growing in popularity with regional airlines as they replace their aging turboprop fleet.  The CRJ-series aircraft, manufactured by Bombardier, is one of the most popular and has been continually expanded from the original 50-seat CRJ-100/200 variation to the new prototype 100-seat CRJ-1000.    For flight simulator, the CRJ-series is nothing new with groups such as Project Opensky (CRJ-100/200/700/900), Microsoft (CRJ-700) and Premier Aircraft Design (CRJ-700/900) developing models with their own skills and eye for detail.

Expanding their CRJ family of models for flight simulator, Premier Aircraft Design (PAD) released their version of the CRJ-100/200.  Built for FS2004 and ported to FSX, both models are available in Canadian Jazz livery and Spanish Air Nostrum (Iberia Regional) livery.

CRJ-100 in JAZZ livery descending into Winnipeg

CRJ-100 in JAZZ livery descending into Winnipeg

The model looks really impressive and includes a delightful virtual cockpit to enhance the virtual piloting experience.   When viewing the model on the tarmac, the stubby, needle shape of the aircraft sits as if it is squatting, a classic CRJ-100/200 characteristic.   The heavy looking air stair is also nicely modeled and appears as a slice of the fuselage is falling as it opens.

In addition, the virtual cockpit is well detailed and fully click able with a true piloting experience possible.  The autopilot is easy to use, although it requires a precise click in FSX and the glass cockpit puts essential information just a glance away.  The full cockpit has been modeled, all the way down to the warning on the cockpit door.  The No Smoking and Seat Belt switches have the typical “bing” noise when clicked.

A glimpse at PAD's CRJ virtual cockpit

A glimpse at PAD's CRJ virtual cockpit

Flying the aircraft is a joy with responsive handling, plenty of power, and forgiving dynamics.  From takeoff to short-final, this version of the CRJ will have a place in everyone’s hangar.   The model itself is on par with the normal high-quality models that we see from PAD.  The CRJ-100/200 nicely rounds out the group’s Bombardier fleet.  This model and the CRJ-700/CRJ-900 are available at PAD’s website.

ISDT KingAir B200 Turboprop Released

Just stumbled upon this release.  I haven’t checked on the modelers at the International Simulation Design Team (iSDT) in a while and I missed the initial release of their Beechcraft KingAir B200 for FSX.  Initial release includes a model with an open gear bay, but a closed gear bay model is in the works for those that don’t want to see the gear while flying. Yes, now FSX has a purpose-built turboprop to fly the friendly, virtual skies.

While I have not had a chance to experience the model for myself, I would bet that this release would not leave us disappointed. The screenshots in their preview forum support this and the model looks awesome.   Their previous releases include a sweet ATR-42/72 series and a great model of the FlySynthesis Texan 550 LSA.

The selection of liveries include both civilian and military colors.

The selection of liveries include both civilian and military colors.

More to come after a quick preview flight!