A super quality product for free! Experience the spirit of vintage flight with amazing visuals, authentic sounds and realistic aircraft flight characteristics
With the proliferation of add-on software for Microsoft’s flight simulator, users can fly almost any aircraft, in any country, with scenery customised to match their local area. The majority of this software is free, and is of quality matched only by the biggest commercial developers. The second part in this series of reviews looks at a De Havilland Tiger Moth model, released earlier this month as a freeware add-on for Flight Simulator – A Century of Flight (FS2004).
D.H.82A Tiger Moth
The file is packaged in WinZip format. This compresses all the elements needed to use the program with Flight Sim 2004 into one single file – an 8.7mb download. Users will need to download the WinZip program to decompress the files, which then need to be copied over into the Flight Sim file structure. The lack of an automatic install routine is the downside to freeware releases.
Developed during the early 1930s as a military trainer, the Tiger Moth later became the most important elementary trainer for the RAF and many other Air forces. Most pilots considered it easy to fly and instructors described the aircraft as “forgiving”. This virtual recreation is just that – forgiving. A hard landing in anything else would invoke a crash, but the venerable old Tiger just takes the punishment. Available in a selection of colours, by far the most impressive being the RAF silver post-war scheme with yellow bands. An authentic cockpit with just the very basic of instrumentation and a sound set that recreates the famous Rolls Royce Gypsy engine. On selection of the aircraft, the engines are running, the cowling is open but the pilot is missing! Pressing Shift+E adds a pilot and Shift+E+2 will close the engine cowling. The pilot comes complete with goggles and even his scarf blows in the slipstream.
Externally, the visuals are impressive. Wing struts and wire braces between the wings, even the fittings holding them in place are there. Every significant detail is rendered including engine parts. The tyres have a shine to them and a reflection in the nose cone indicates the author of this program has created an add-on of extraordinary quality.
Flying the aircraft, users can expect a smooth and stable flight. Handling characteristics seem to pass as authentic according to a real Tiger Moth pilot. Designed primarily for grass runways, this virtual model will simulate rough ground by bouncing during the takeoff run, eventually launching skyward. Overall, this download deserves 10/10. The entertainment value will last a while, as every landing is a challenge, especially in a crosswind!
Get WinZip here