Simflight3D 1947' Cessna C140 - FS2004

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Postby gojozoom » Fri May 28, 2010 11:47 am

Hi all,

As I promised, I wrote a review for this aircraft I purchased recently.

Let's start it at the beginning

When SF3D released their C140 for FSX, I was really hoping for an FS2004 version. Why? Because there wasn't any decent Cessna tail-dragger available for FS2004. By decent, I mean detailed textures and modeling, photoreal VC, nice stereo sound, etc. Carenado released their Skywagon for FSX, but again, no FS2004 version. (In the meantime they did release the FS2004 version....)
There was a freeware C140 available, with a FS2002-ish cockpit. For me as a VFR flyer, the look of the exterior and the VC is as important as the scenery around it. So, I was delighted to find that SF3D came out with the FS2004 version. I had a look attheir website and fell in love with the plane at the first sight. The old-school yoke, the sheet metal cockpit and the nice and shiny aluminum reflections on the interior....that's exactly what I wanted. It's very similar to one of Bill Lyons beautiful creatures, the Luscombe 8A (you can find both FSX and FS2004 versions on Flightsim.com) but this is a CESSNA.

So, the decision was made, and I used that extremely helpful plastic card to pay 32 NZD. The next day I found an email from them with the download link (the delay is caused by the time-zone difference). The installer is only about 9MB, so it was less the 2 minutes to download it with a decent broadband connection. The installation was easy as. Double-click on the exe file, confirm the path to the root FS2004 directory, the end.

Documentation

The documentation (if you can call 3 text files documentation) is extremely simple. No fancy pdf files with pictures. Reference and checklist, end of story. But I actually like it. It contains all the information I need and it also reflects the simplistic old-school style of the aircraft.

First look

The exterior is a real strength of this payware add-on. The reflections are well designed and look real, the details are spectacular. However, please don't forget, this is still FS2004 on a low-end computer.





The brake system:



Don't forget to check the oil before every flight:



All the 'usual' animations are smooth and visible (rudder, elevator, aileron, flaps etc). So, IMHB :

EXTERIOR : 10/10 (for FS2004)

What's inside?

In terms of the textures, the quality is just as superb as we saw it on the exterior.

I've never seen such a beautiful leader upholstery on an FS2004 aircraft yet



The elevator trim and the fuel selector are clickable/movable too, and the VC also has hotspots for the map and ATC windows, and also for opening the windows/doors.



Nice and realistic overall look inside






...BUT! Yes unfortunately, there is a but. When it comes to the panel, the delicious old-school taste gets a bit sour.... SF3D used the default Cessna gauges, instead of 'proper' custom ones and some of the gauges are extremely low resolution.

Can you read the switch titles?



It first, I thought, the oil gauges were inactive. They aren't, but they still look like a picture taken with an old cellphone



The 2D panel has the same gauges, but at least the titles are readable here



Yes, we all know the workaround... Let's grab those gauges from another nice payware or freeware Cessna or buy the Reality XP gauges if you don't have them already and install them...Easy enough, but hey, I paid for this, and expect a certain level of quality. It's probably just me being too picky....anyway:

INTERIOR 7/10 (because of the panel....)

Start the engine...

...and you'll hear the boring sound of the default FS2004 Cessna 172. And please don't tell me that a 120 HP Lycoming sounds exactly like a 80HP Continental... Another area, where manual input is necessary - if you want to make it realistic. Copy the sound of a J3 Cub, Aeronca Champion or a Cessna 150. These are a lot closer to the real thing.

Being in a tail-dragger, don't expect too much visibility from the cockpit when you taxi to the runway



You'll have to use the good old mini panel or the spot view



However I think that the default view position is a bit too low, you have to adjust it int the arcraft.cfg file. Anyway, let's get this bird up into the air! After completing the take-off checklist I applied full throttle. You obviously won't be able to see anything from the VC until the tail raises. The take off roll is as long as what you'd expect from a gutless little bird like that tongue.gif . According to the manual she's able to climb at 64-70 KTS. Yes, she certainly is, but you have to keep the climb rate under 200FPM, until the plane actually accelerates to that speed, than you can carry on raising the nose to 500-600 FPM (with full tanks and a passenger on your side). As far as I concern this is realistic enough.
The handling in general is quite good, and feels realistic, but you can easily overreact on crosswind approaches which is a typical part of a taildragger's characteristics. At 5000Ft she happily flies at 95 KTS (in low wind conditions) after leaning the mixture. You won't be able to get more than 2400RPM (actually 2399 smile.gif ) out of her up there, which is totally reasonable.

And there she goes








The visibility problem comes back on approach. Especially if you try to perform a 3 point landing. The following pictures were taken when I idled the throttle to start my gliding using the ground effect before I flare the aircraft:

Looks fine from here



Hmmmm




Hmmm, hmmmm



You have to switch to the mini panel or 'adjust your seat' in the VC for a safe landing.

I made it back safely to the parking.

OVERALL HANDLING : 8/10

And now, I try to write a conclusion which suppose to make it easier for you to decide : Buy or not to buy?

If you're a hobby simmer who expect a perfect product out of the box, then it's probably not the best deal for you.
However, if you have AVGAS running in your veins, keen to customize and tweak stuff, ready to risk your marriage than yes, buy it by all means. And I know, 90% of us is like that.
In the meantime, I'm pretty sure that the FSX version has even more stuff to offer, as a more complex and more detailed platform, so I think that with the FSX version you can't go wrong at all.

Any questions?.... I thought so.

Seriously, if you want to know even more about this "friendly grandpa of all modern GA aircraft", please let me know.

Smooth landings!
Last edited by gojozoom on Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Olderndirt » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:13 am

Your review reflected my sentiments exactly. As a previous owner of both a 140 and a 120, I was very disappointed with the panel. Nothing vintage there. I suppose, in their desire to appeal to most simmers, they went with a familiar set of modern clocks and switches. As I recall on the original, there wasn't much room for other than the standard VFR stuff and the only affordable gyro's were of the WWII big box variety. My question is, did you ever go ahead and try to modify the panel back to 'as issued' and, if so, what did you do?
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Postby gojozoom » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:08 am

Hi Olderndirt,

I actually modified everything on the aircraft. I found nice sounds, I used high resolution gauges from other aircraft, and I also tweaked the performace a bit to get closer to the real thing. The reason for all the effort? I really admire this plane and it's my real-world dream to get one. Anyway, if you send me a PM, I can email the changed config files and sounds (tweaked freeware from avsim).

Dan

PS: I'll send some screenies about the modified panel later on.
Last edited by gojozoom on Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ian Warren » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:17 am

Not much of a GA person myself Dan , but your review gives people chance to check before buying . Just recent i brought one and was very disappointed , the Short Sunderland .
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Postby deeknow » Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:09 pm

Nice coverage Dan. For an FS9 model the exterior model and textures look nice and gritty, and you can almost smell the leather in those interior shots ay? The oil checking is a nice feature, shame there arent more walkaround elements to flightsim models really
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Postby Olderndirt » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:01 pm

gojozoom wrote:
QUOTE (gojozoom @ Jan 12 2011, 12:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Olderndirt,

I actually modified everything on the aircraft. I found nice sounds, I used high resolution gauges from other aircraft, and I also tweaked the performace a bit to get closer to the real thing. The reason for all the effort? I really admire this plane and it's my real-world dream to get one. Anyway, if you send me a PM, I can email the changed config files and sounds (tweaked freeware from avsim).

Dan

PS: I'll send some screenies about the modified panel later on.
Certainly would appreciate that. Got my first 500 hours in a 1946 C140. A very forgiving plane and for only 85 HP, with the right prop, not a bad performer.
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