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.
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.
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.