Lockheed L-188 Electra Lives Again!

For me, the Lockheed P-3 Orion is one of the best looking aircraft ever made.  Not only does it have classic lines, but it is an important part of America’s homeland security.  Perhaps my view of the bird is romantic, but it still has an important place in my hangar.  When I heard that Team FS KBT released their Lockheed L-188 Electra for Flight Simulator X, I got really excited. The L-188 Electra is the civilian version of the P-3 Orion, which they released for FS2004.

L-188 Electra leaving Victorville

L-188 Electra leaving Victorville

Despite the shear size of the download, topping 107 megabytes, installation of this model is quite easy.  Simply extract that zip file to a temporary directory, copy the two aircraft folders (pax and cargo) to the FSX airplane directory.  That’s it; no complicated copying of gauges, sound files, or effects.  This is an indication of great things.

Great things there are with this model. Firing up FSX, we get to choose between the cargo and passenger model, each with a handful of liveries, including the awesome Eastern livery above.   Starting a flight for the first time, brings shearing pleasure. The virtual cockpit is on par with many of the other fine aircraft available for FSX.  Panning around and you see that this is an advanced turboprop airliner, nothing like the old DC-4’s of yesteryear. Switch and lever animation is top-notch and seem to have a realism that I haven’t experienced before.  Such great stuff and we aren’t even off the ground yet!

The virtual cockpit is a great place to command ship.

The virtual cockpit is a great place to command ship.

Moving the throttles forward, the Allison turboprops roar to life and the Electra begins to move down the runway with the agility of a tiger.   Rotation is smooth and the thump shakes the floor as the landing gear retracks.  Upon initial climb out, I realize just how powerful those turboprops are, propelling us to 250+ knots at a climb rate of 2200+fpm.   For some reason,  I wasn’t expecting such power from a late-1950’s airliner.  Once I throttled back and smoothed out the climb to a more reasonable 1200fpm and slowed to 240knots, I began to appreciate the responsiveness of the controls.  The weather around Victorville was quite choppy and we were getting tossed around quite a bit, requiring minute adjustments to keep course.  Climbing out of 6,000 I set the autopilot with a course to Santa Barbara Municipal (KSBA).   Just a short hop across the mountains for its initial flight.

Along the way, I spent a lot of time in chase plane mode, admiring the sleek beauty of this bird.  As I mentioned before, I think this is really a classic airliner.  From the stubby nose, along the round hot dog like fuselage, to the large tail, one can appreciate its design.  Unfortunately, the flight was rather short, so my appreciation came to an end when it was time to descend into the greater Santa Barbara airspace.  The shear speed of this bird meant that I decided to make a wider approach than normal to give my self time to burn off some the energy.  I think in future flights, this won’t be a problem.  Landing this bird is a real treat with no surprises.   Just go in slow, flare, and drop the wheels onto the runway, engage reverse thrust and then taxi to the gate.  It was almost too smooth.

L-188 Electra at Santa Barbara waiting for passengers.

L-188 Electra at Santa Barbara waiting for passengers.

Shutting down the engines at the gate allowed me to what kind of eye candy the model has.  Not only is there a full virtual cockpit, but also a virtual cabin, which you can see in the screenshot above (the kitchen area is visible through the rear door).  The stairs are animated appropriately and also have a nice detail with detailed hinge bolts (below) and articulation. In addition, the landing gear has the same level of detail as the rest of the aircraft, stunning.  What isn’t there to like about this model?  Really not much and to say that the window reflections and curtain placements seem a little odd, is really being nit picky. The overall execution of the model is simply impeccable.

Exterior model detail

Exterior model detail

So, how do I conclude a post about such a remarkable model?  Simply by saying, don’t let the 100+ megabyte download scare you and download this model NOW and start appreciating the virtual beauty that the Lockheed L-188 Electra is and the wonderful job that Team KBT has done modeling it for us.  In my mind, this is definitely in the top 5 freeware downloads for FSX, if not number one.

The cargo version of the Electra.

The cargo version of the Electra.

Cheers!

Author: Team KBT
Filename: electrax.zip (simviation)
Filesize: 107 megabytes

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20 thoughts on “Lockheed L-188 Electra Lives Again!

  1. You enjoy by Electra, it praises, and our thanks do not discontinue.

    Produced pains are healed.

    I am drinking delicious sake while seeing your blog now.

    Team

  2. I agree with everything written on the L-188 Electra.

    It is by far my favourite aircraft of all time.

    However I notice in your article the air stairs in the photos actually work.

    No matter what I’ve tried as far as key-strokes are concerned I can’t get them to work.

    Any hints?

    Regards Paul Dubois

    • Thank you Paul! Appreciate your comments.

      The stairs are activated by a combination of Shift+E+2, I believe. However, I was just in FSX to confirm and I couldn’t get the stairs to come down either. No matter what number I pressed, it just toggled the exit opened and closed.

      This might be a bug with aircraft designed in FSDS. I will have to research more to confirm, but it is interesting that it worked fine for me for a while.

  3. Thank you or your quick reply.

    Will await the results of your research.

    Further to my earlier comments…I was fortunate enough to fly on the last ever Ansett Air Freight flight from Launceston Tasmania to Melbourne in an Electra L-188 freighter, before the airline retired them fand replaced them with a converted 7-2-7 freighter.

    Of course Ansett Airlines folded in 2001, just after September 11.

    Regards Paul.

  4. Let me second Paul’s endorsement as the L-188 is also my favorite of all time. I have also had the problem the stairs – supposedly Shift+E+2 works but it just opens and closes the main exist. A query on all the of the major flight sim forums on fixes or ideas did not turn up anything.

    I talked to Bill Schulz who was one of th beta testers and he said this was a problem during beta “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t” and apparently it never got fully fixed by Team KBT.

    I will be very interested to see if there is a fix because this is the one flaw in an otherwise outstanding release.

    I’m also kind of surprised at the lack of repaints – only a couple since the release.

    Best regards

    Bill

    Best regards

    Bill

    • Thank you, Bill!

      I was thinking the issue was with the program used to build the model. My understanding was that FSDS models had issues with Shift+E+2, whereas GMAX models were fine. The L-188 is a GMAX model.

      I am in the process of changing jobs, so I have limited amount of time to troubleshoot this. I was trying to replicate the conditions that it does/does not work under. Last time I loaded FSX, the stairs functioned normally. Closing and opening FSX caused it to malfunction again. I’ll keep looking.

      Cheers!

      -Aric

  5. I had the same problem with the the stairs and finally found a solution: One should tipe SHIT+E and release, while the door is opening, press 3 and the stairs will graciously deploy. I am in the process of making a video with the Electra, should post in my blog soon.
    Hope my info helps more people.
    Rgds

    Lito

    • Lito:

      Thanks – tried this and unfortunately it does not work for me. Only the exit opens and closes – stairs do not deploy. I’ve tried every combination of keys I can think of and nothing works. It seems from the forums many people have this problem. It is surprising That team KBT has not addressed this.

      Thanks for your info

      Bill

      • Lito’s suggestion didn’t work for me either. It is amazingly frustrating since it worked so well the first few times.

        I realized the Project Opensky has an XML panel add-on to their panels that control the animations and eye-candy such as exits, gate trucks, and cargo doors. I wonder if they had this same problem and that was their work around. I wonder how hard it is port their add-on to the L-188? I might have to experiment.

        Thank you everyone for your comments. I know there is an answer out there and we will find it!

  6. First of all thank you for all your suggestions, and as Gomer Pyle would say SURPRISE SURPRISE.

    I finally managed to get the stairs to work using Lito’s suggestion.

    I tried his suggestion a few times and it didn’t work, however I use Pro Flight 2000 Emulator Air Traffic Control add-on.

    Before I connected it tonight I tried Shift+E and then 3 and it worked.

    However when I connected PFE I couldn’t get the stairs to close.

    Then I realised PFE uses the 3 key for various commands, and when I disconnected the program, the stairs went back up.

    So maybe if you’re using third party software, it may be clashing with the 3 key.

    I have since got around this problem by allocating the 3 key to one of the buttons on my Saitek Pro-Flight control column and the stairs work fine.

    Just a final note … you must press Shift+E, and when the door is fully open press the 3 key.

    Hope this helps…Regards Paul.

  7. Paul:

    Thanks for this update – glad things worked for you – still doesn’t work for me – I also have PFE but I rarely use it and it is not connected when the stair problem occurs. I’ve checked key assignments and nothing else is assigned to the 3 key so this is very frustrating.

    It’s surprising that Team KBT has not addressed this issue since I have seen a number of complaints about this on the major flight sim forums and KBT is usually so detail oriented. As I think I mentioned one of the beta testers said this was a continuing issue during development and was never satisfactorily resolved. Even so – this is a brilliant release and I can live with the stairs not working.

    Thanks again for all your help

    Bill

  8. Bill:

    I may have spoken too soon…last night the stairs were working fine, however this morning NOTHING.

    But I did a flight from Washington DC to La Guardia…NO steps before take-off…however when I arrived at La Guardia…STEPS.

    Seems to be an itermittent problem within the software… as you commented very frustrating.

    I too can live with the stairs not working…but it’s so much better when they do.

    Regards

    Paul

  9. Bill:

    Further to my earlier comments…I have completed three more flights today in the L-188, and although I couldn’t get the stairs down before the flight…Every time I pressed Shift+E and then 3 the steps came down every time…strange.

    Regards Paul.

  10. Paul:

    Very strange indeed – I have not recently flown a completed flight in the L-188 (engine start, take off, land, engine shutdown) – so will have to try that and see what happens. I’ll let you know. I seem to remember a post on one of the discussion forums speculating about conflicting commands being sent having to do with engine startup and the stairs but nothing to specifically act on.

    Up to now the stairs have never worked for me under any circumstances – I’ve reinstalled the original package, tried installing the 2 fixes etc – nothing seems to work. On the KBT P3 model the “\ “key raise and lowers the stairs no problem 😦

    Thanks for the follow up

    Bill

  11. Hi everyone…still working on the steps…I noticed tonight that if the High RPM is set (red flap down on the 2D Panel), and if you open the door Shift+E and then close the door about a quarter of the way down and reopen it then press 3 and the stairs deploy.

    After landing I shut down engines 2 and 3, which sets the rpm high and the red flap comes down…so when I park everytime I press Shift+E ans then 3 the stairs deploy. However if I set the propellers to low rpm and the flap is up…no stairs.

    Hope this may be of some help, and I’d sure like to know if this works for anyone else.

    Regards Paul.

  12. This is the best version of the L188 I have come across and am really enjoying flying it.
    However, I am having problems with the ALT mode of the AP …
    whenever I select it the aircraft descends and I cannot get it to fly at the selected altitude. I assume you select altitude by moving the bug on the altimeter but whatever you do it always descends and never climbs..
    Anyone out there help me with this one

    Regards Kurt

  13. Have worked out the problem with setting the altimeter and VS so is all good in that respect and I seem to be having luck with the airstairs as they are deploying and retracting every time.

    I have found the ideal situation is firstly shutting down the engines and when they have almost spooled down, hit SHIFT + E and when the door is three quarters up hit 3 and then 2 for the rear door to open.

    When retracting the stairs hit 3 and when they’re almost in hit SHIFT + E for the door to close.

    Cheers Kurt

  14. Hi, does anybody know where you can get a diecast model of the Electra like the Eastern Airlines one pictured on this site?…..Thanks!

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