Specially selected freeware and videos of flight sims reviewed in the September-October 2019 issue.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Perhaps the biggest story for many flight simmers this year is the return of Microsoft to the flight sim industry. Microsoft accompanied its announcement with the release of a breathtaking in-sim trailer, which showcased many of the features already in place. These included beautiful cloudscapes and vistas, photorealistic aircraft, detailed cities, flying flamingoes, moving people and traffic and more. Read our full report starting on page 12.
Falcon BMS 4.34
Featured in our piece on the Falcon series, starting on page 52, this ‘Teaser’ highlights many of the new and updated elements in Falcon BMS version 4.34. There are too many to mention but highlights include: updated cockpits and start-up procedures, new campaigns, revised ATC, new and updated ground vehicles, 3D soldiers, increased cities, improved naval operations, enhanced communication and much more.
DCS: F-14 Tomcat
Reviewed on pages 20-23, this stunning video has it all: dramatic music, atmosphere, excitement, turning and swirling dogfights, carrier take-offs, explosions, air-to-air refuelling, close-up details, plus F-14s in dramatic formation on a collision course with Russian fighters and bombers; it will leave you breathless!
X-Crafts’ ERJ Family
This trailer showcases the many features and details of this superb package. Among other things, you will see a flight deck start-up, cabin and external views, as well as undercarriage and engine details. Our review starts on page 36.
Showcased in this video of this iconic aircraft are the model’s fine surface detail, various animations and the fully detailed cockpit and engineer’s positions. External views also show off how well the developer has captured the beautiful lines of this exciting aircraft. Our full review starts on page 28.
Agusta Bell 412 Flight Adventure
In our Flight Adventure this issue, we fly one of the most enduring workhorses in military and civilian aviation, the Agusta Bell 412 helicopter. The Pilot’s Notes for this Flight Adventure contains links to some useful websites and tutorials that will help the novice rotary pilot come to grips with this totally absorbing way to fly. As usual, some additional optional scenarios in Bella Coola are also included.
Once again we have a collection of high-quality freeware files for you to enjoy. These aircraft, scenery and utilities easily compare with many commercial products but don’t forget, if you’ve enjoyed a particular file please let the author know, it’s their only payback. By the same token we’re always interested to hear from you if you’ve downloaded or designed a file that you think is worth sharing.
By Joe Lavery
Although the authors of these files have very kindly given us their permission to include them on our website, they still remain the property and copyright of the authors. You are free to enjoy them for your own use but they must not in any circumstances be distributed, copied, uploaded to any other websites or disassembled in any way whatsoever.
Most X-plane users will already know that many freeware airport designers make use of the freeware library files to enhance their creations. Consequently, it’s important to read the documentation within each file to find out which libraries have been used. These library files need to be installed in order to experience these airports as the authors intended.
We feature hundreds of freeware aircraft each year but not many of them are produced to the professional level of this latest release from Exploration Out Industries (EOI) and The JSF Development Team.
It depicts one of the most expensive projects ever undertaken by the US military, the Lockheed Martin F-35A. At that time it became the subject of much criticism because Lockheed was allowed to design, test and produce the F-35 all at the same time. Nevertheless it’s now in service with many NATO countries including Australia, Italy, Norway, UK and Turkey.
This package includes a range of different liveries and a superb fully illustrated and highly detailed manual. The developers said: “The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) model produced by Exploration Out Industries (EOI) is not an accurate study level depiction of real the F-35. A leading factor for the difference is that this model operates with basic stock systems provided by X-Plane 11 that were not intended to reproduce fifth-generation combat aircraft. It is with great hope that more accurate avionics will be included in the future for a better representation of the real F-35A.”
The group has done a fine job with the tools available to them, as I’m sure you’ll see when you fly the aircraft yourself; it looks fabulous and handles beautifully. We have also included a promo video of the aircraft below:
Star Performers from the Internet
Vernon Regional Airport CYVK
This small non-towered airport is located 1.8 nautical southwest of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. It’s set in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and has been reproduced in great detail here by Charles Macelli.
Author: Charles Macelli Platform: X-Plane 11
Heinkel He177 A5/R2 Hs293
The Heinkel He 177 was the only operational long-range heavy bomber available to the Luftwaffe during World War Two. This particular aircraft was fitted with two Hs293 anti-ship missiles. It’s another fine aircraft from the team led by Chris Lampard and Mark Shelley.
Authors: Chris Lampard, Mark Shelley and Shessi
North American FJ-3 Fury
North American began work on an uprated version of the Fury, with a Wright J65-W-2 Sapphire engine. It was enthusiastically accepted by the US Navy as a replacement for the F-86E Sabre. This model was superbly designed by AF Scrub.
Author: A.F. Scrub.
Aeroporto Telemarco Borba SBTL
Aeroporto Telemarco Borba, also known as Monte Alegre Airport, is located in a municipality within the state of Paraná in the southern region of Brazil. Yet another highly detailed airport from Otavio Bonomi. Author: Otavio Bonomi Platform: X-Plane 11
EVO Embraer Phenom 100EV
Camil Valiquette is well known for his large passenger aircraft, yet on this occasion he has stepped into the world of corporate jets with the stunning EVO Embraer Phenom 100EV. A stylish luxury four seater produced in Brazil by Embraer.
Author: Camil Valiquette
Cairns Airport YBCS
Cairns Airport is located in the town of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, set between Mount Whitfield to the west and Trinity Bay to the east. Stefan Lorenz has done a superb job with this highly detailed recreation for X-Plane.
Author: Stefan Lorenz
Platform: X-Plane 11
Comalapa International Airport
Here we have the Comalapa International Airport in El Salvador. It includes the terminal maintenance hangars, American airbase, animated jetways, 3D PAPI lights and more. Development and donated as freeware by Virtualcol FS Software.
Author: Virtualcol FS Software
Marina Municipal Airport (KOAR)
KOAR is located in California, USA and is a publicly owned facility established as Fritzsche Army Air Field in 1960. It was designed by Fred Zealor who has used many freeware libraries in its construction, so please check the text file before installing.
Author: Fred Zealor
Reviews - Screenshot Galleries
To help give our readers a better appreciation of the products reviewed in this issue, we have compiled the screenshots accompanying some of the articles into a series of galleries.
Microsoft Flight Simulator - The software giant is back!
Microsoft surprised everyone within the flight simulation industry at this year’s E3 event with the announcement that it was working on the next generation of its longest-running software franchise - Microsoft Flight Simulator - to be released in 2020. The company stated that the next generation of its longest-running franchise would initially be launched for Windows 10 and for Xbox One at a later date. We take a look its stunning trailer, shot in 4K resolution, which showcased many of the features already in place.
In the meantime, here are a few screenshots we captured from the trailer.
Heatblur’s DCS: F-14 Tomcat - Is this the best module ever produced for DCS World?
PC Pilot Verdict
At a Glance: An extremely well-detailed simulation of the F-14 Tomcat with unprecedented attention to systems functionality, graphics, sensors and weapons functionality. Arguably the most realistic module created for DCS World to date.
Developer: Heatblur Simulations
Download Price: $79.99 (£64 approx)
Flight Model: Excellent
PC Pilot Score: 97%
Orbx’s Australia V2 - Orbx returns home
PC Pilot Verdict
At a glance: With this product Orbx has transformed Australia to an unprecedented scale - it’s just superb!
Developers: Orbx Simulations
Price: Download via Orbx FTX Central £29.93
3D Modelling: Very good
Documentation: Very good
Performance: Very good but as always this is hardware-dependant
PC Pilot Score: 95%
Colimata’s Concorde - The supersonic icon for X-Plane 11
PC Pilot Verdict
At a Glance: The current release is a joy to fly and even educational. Future updates will lift it to a higher level again. If you can’t wait, Early Access might be for you.
Price: US$59.69 (£48 approx)
Documentation: Awaiting completion
Flight Model: Excellent
Systems: Very Good – updates coming
PC Pilot Score: 85%
X-Crafts’ ERJ Family - The workhorse of the US regional jet market
PC Pilot Verdict
At a glance: Stunning visuals, sound systems simulation and a great flight model combine to create an excellent simulation of the ERJ regional jet.
Price: $89.95 (£72 approx). Individual variants in the Family pack can be purchased separately for $49.95 (£40 approx).
Flight Model: Authentic handling characteristics
Graphics: Excellent both inside and out.
Documentation: Excellent - combined with detailed video tutorials
PC Pilot Score: 90%
xEnviro - An environmental game-changer
PC Pilot Verdict
At a Glance: A sim-changing experience that doesn’t quite hit all its marks yet. Still a great investment for the future.
Price: $69.90 (£63 approx)
PC Pilot Score: 90%
Just Flight’s 747 Classic
After more than a year in development, the highly anticipated Just Flight 747 Classic is nearing completion. We caught up with Richard Slater and Martyn Northall to get a behind-the-scenes look at what Just Flight claims is its “largest and most complex aircraft to date.”
PC Pilot Index
Looking for a review on a particular product, feature or tutorial? Then look no further. Our regularly updated PC Pilot Index includes references (with accompanying issue and page numbers) to all our past reviews of software and hardware as well as features, tutorials and more. Now you can find that elusive article you’ve been looking for.
We have some interesting newcomers to our virtual airline and flying club listing for you. Take a look to see if there is one to suit your taste. The experience and fun of being part of a virtual club or airline are second to none.