Hello campers. I’ve been kinda busy this summer, and haven’t posted as often as I’d like. When I do post, some people have complained that all I talk about are payware addons. For sure, most of the products that catch my eye do tend to be of the pay-for-it variety, mostly because I like a lot of eye candy and advanced modeling, and those are difficult things to just give away. However, now and then I run across something that has the rare combination of being both ultra-high-quality and free. When that happens, it’s worth talking about.
A Pilatus from His Porkly Majesty
Maybe this is just a Sim-Outhouse phenomenon, but over on their forums Tim “Piglet” Conrad has achieved legendary status. Tim has an eye for the unusual, some mad modeling skills, and turns out FS aircraft lickety-split. Best of all, he makes his work freely available to the public. His latest is the Pilatus PC-7 trainer, a two-seater turboprop with some of the sleekest lines around.
In fact, there’s something really familiar in the shape of the PC-7. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but then it hit me: it looks a bit like a P-51D, minus the belly scoop. And of course, in place of the RR Merlin up front, the long nose is built to hold a P&W PT6A-20 turbine. Tim did his usual bang-up job on the exterior, and this version (2.0) also takes advantage of larger 2048-square texture sheets, giving it a much sharper look.
The interior is well turned-out, too. I’ve seen some shots of the cockpits of the real thing, and he reproduced the look admirably in the sim version. Performance is excellent–this is definitely the plane you want if you need to get someplace fast. It’ll cruise at 200KIAS easily. In fact, the only real problem I’ve encountered is getting it to slow down, which often requires slipping to get it down to flaps extension speed. Once even a notch of flaps are down, it becomes fairly docile and easy to land.
I really enjoy shooting across the PNW in this baby. In fact, I like it so much that I’ve already done a repaint for it in a snazzy checkerboard scheme. You can get the repaint from the freeware section of this site. To download the plane, go to Sim-Outhouse. I found it on page 5 of the “What’s New” section of their Warbirds Library. It will get progressively farther back in the rankings once more files are added, but keep at it until you find it. This plane is worth the search.
New Ways to Crash a Chopper
The other add-on that I’m in intrigued with is called “Helicopter Total Realism” (HTR). As the name indicates, it’s designed to add increased realism to helo flying. That’s probably a good thing if you’re a rotorhead. If, like me, you’re not well versed in flying choppers, this add-on provides a whole slew of new ways and reasons to come crashing to earth.
This isn’t a helicopter, it’s a bolt-on physics engine to give your existing helicopters more realistic behavior. To use it, you download the engine and install it, then hook up your existing choppers to use it by creating an HTR config file for the specific model. HTR comes with configs for the default Bell 206, Robinson R-22, and Augusta Westland ships, with others available for download.
I downloaded a config for my Cera Bell 412 to try it out. Right away, I noticed that it handled differently in flight. I was cruising above Emma Field X, minding my own business and doing some surveying, when the chopper began to pitch up. A warning dialog flashed on screen, telling me that I was experiencing a retreating blade stall. Like I said, I know doodly squat about chopper physics, so I wasn’t entirely sure of how to escape the situation. I ended up asking Wikipedia about it so I could educate myself, and now I have a better idea of what happened and how to avoid it in the future.
So if you’re looking to add some challenge to your eggbeater flying, and maybe learn a thing or two, I highly recommend giving HTR a shot.
Hello campers. I've been kinda busy this summer, and haven't posted as often as I'd like. When I do post, some people have complained that all I talk about are payware addons. For sure, most of the products that catch my eye do tend to be of the pay-for-it variety, mostly because I like a [...]