Another Saab to Fly!

Some of you may remember when Brent Henderson released his FSX Saab 340 earlier this year.  Well, there is another 340 available for you to choose from.  Both are excellent models.

The FSX model on the tarmac at KSBA.

The FSX model on the tarmac at KSBA.

The second generation Saab 340B is available for download from Premier Aircraft Design (PAD).   Compatible with FS2004/FS9 and FSX, it is currently available in two liveries, Provincial Airlines & FlyBE.  Look for more liveries in PAD’s “repaint corner” in the future. I am hoping for an American Eagle repaint.  How about you?

The model includes a great virtual cockpit and a fully modeled interior.

More to come after I put it through its paces!

Happy Saabing!

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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.

Shorts 360 Now Available for Flight Simulator

The hard working crew at Premier Aircraft Design (PAD) has released another stunning example of their talent, the Shorts SD3-60 regional airliner.  Popular on regional flights, the 36-seat aircraft first flew in June 1981.  While not the fastest turboprop available, the 360 offered a great value for its price and performance.

shorts360_pad

PAD’s model is highly detailed with a fully modeled interior cabin, virtual cockpit and engine nacelles that look too real to be in a simulator.  The model handles predictably and I found it to be a joy to fly from the virtual cockpit.  In addition to the detailed model, a custom soundset brings a new sense of realism to the experience.   The model is available for FS9 and FSX from the PAD website.

shorts360_pad2

Look for a more detailed review soon!

shorts360_pad3

Cheers!

Marquise, Japanese Style in FSX

I just had a brief chance to take PAD’s MU-2 “Marquise” out for a few touch and goes.   I am really impressed with PAD’s model and FDE.   Compared to the Solitaire, the Marquise looks a little more like an airplane and less like an egg.

Marquise taxiing to the active at SBA.

Marquise taxiing to the active at SBA.

Climbing out of SBA for a touch and go.

Climbing out of SBA for a touch and go.

I am really impressed with the enormous power and decent handling characterstics.  I found that approaches required a bit more finess than I am used to in a C172, but it is quite easy to adjust to.

Cheers!

Mitsubishi MU-2 for FSX and FS9!

Many have been awaiting for this release since development screenshots appeared on the web a few months back. Earlier this week, the hard-working designers at Premier Aircraft Design (PAD) released their Mitsubishi MU-2 “Solitaire” model for both FS9 and FSX (it is not a true FSX model, but FSX compatible). This is yet another impressive release from this extraordinary team. For more information, please visit the PAD site.

The Solitaire circles to coarse over Kerrville, Texas.

The Solitaire circles to coarse over Kerrville, Texas.

This American made (yep, production facility was in San Angelo, Texas from 1965 to 1986), Japanese designed aircraft uses two Garret turboprop engines and features a pressurized cabin capable of reaching 33,000 feet. The MU-2 proved to be fast and capable which made it a popular business aircraft and a good choice for search and rescue.

Cruising over central Texas bound for Scottsdale, Arizona.

Cruising over central Texas bound for Scottsdale, Arizona.

What is this model really like? Does it meet expectations? It is a wonderful advanced FS9 model and it does meet my expectations. For the sake of this post, I took the FSX version out for a brief flight around Texas. I found this model to be a delight to fly. It has tons of power and can climb up to altitude very quickly. Maneuvering is docile and predictable. I actually thought I was flying a much smaller aircraft.

The visual model is spot on. The real world Solitaire has a bit of a proportion problem, in my opinion, and this model matches it perfectly. Stubby and fat come to mind as adjectives. The rounded fuselage, engine nacelles, and tip tanks are just about right. One of the features that really stood out were the animated pilots with panning heads. I found myself taking a screenshot to notice the pilot staring right at me. This shocked me for a second as I wasn’t expecting the pilot to be looking right at me. Eek.

This model features a virtual cockpit with older style analogue gauges. Glass cockpits certainly bring a video game type feel to aircraft, but there is nothing like flying by the old analogue dials. The layout is clean, with needed information available at a glance. The FSX default GPS is available for those that wish to navigate via more modern methods.

The virtual cockpit is pleasant place to watch the sunset.

The virtual cockpit is pleasant place to watch the sunset.

One downside of the virtual cockpit is that some of the buttons are not clickable until you open them in the pop-up window. I found myself trying to click the landing lights off by panning the view up to the overhead, but found that the switches were not active. Panning back down and clicking the overhead panel icon revealed a panel with clickable buttons. While the virtual cockpit is a pleasant place to spend time during your flight, it has some limitations that can easily be overocome.

Overall, PAD’s MU-2 Solitaire has a happy home in my hangar. I am looking forward to spending many more hours behind its yoke, exploring the world of FSX scenery. The visual model is spot on, the animated pilots are humorous and the FDE is well done.

Cheers!

edit 11dec08 – PAD released the larger “Marquise” version, which is a 7-9 seat stretch of the Solitaire.

Dornier Do228 Coming Soon

Hi All,

On the heels of their MD-11 surprise, Premier Aircraft Design (PAD) posted a screenshot of an upcoming release, the Dornier Do228. The Do228 is a German twin turboprop utility aircraft with exceptional short-field performance. Manufactured between 1981 and 1998, it proved popular with airlines in the Caribbean and Africa, where short-field operations and conditions call for a rugged aircraft.

Check out their website for its release. Given their usual attention to detail and slight creative twist, this is going to be a hot download for flight simulator! There are no release dates set, so expect it sometime between now and later.

Cheers!

arealityofmyown

 

01sept08 – This has been released, so go grab it at the link above! 

More Reasons to Love FSX

The more I fly in FSX, the more I love it.  The honest truth is I was one of those who saw FSX as a video game version of FS9.  The missions, the eye candy, and the graphics seemed to Xbox for me.  But then I started to find more add-ons for FSX that really took FS9 to another level for me.  You see, flight simulator is a very individualized.  I have my favorite aircraft and my settings just right, which varies from how my friends have their flight simulator setup.  After loading an off the shelf version of FSX, I really wasn’t that impressed because I didn’t take the time to wait for some of my favorite FS9 add-ons to port over to FSX.

Case in point…  Posky’s B747-400 in British Airways colors.  This is the classic 747 in my mind.  Now that I took the time to load it up in FSX and found that it works pretty good (although the ground handling stinks).  Below is one of those memorable shots of pushing back from the gate at Dublin in the early, early morning light prior to departure for Heathrow.

In addition, PAD’s EMB-190LR is another favorite that I loved in FS9.  While PAD had an FSX version available, I never took the time to load it since I wasn’t that big on FSX.  Now, needless to say, I installed it and I love it! Below is a shot ascending from Dublin enroute to Schipol.

Both of these pics have very dramatic lighting and look very realistic.  While FS9 could acheive near the same level of realism, the more advanced graphic rendering engine in FSX shines hands down.  The other thing I really like is how the eye sight moves as the aircraft banks, climbs, descends, etc.  Firewall the throttles and you literally get the feeling of being pushed back in your seat.

Cheers!