Commercial FSX Aircraft Review
Feelthere Embraer Phenom 100
|Description:||Real presentation of the Embraer Phenom 100|
|Reviewed by:||Julio Monsalve|
|Published:||June 3rd, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- Asus P5Q Pro with Intel E8500 OC 4.2 GHz
- 4 GB Kingston HyperX 1066
- GIGABYTE Nvidia 460 GTX + O
- SB X-Fi Xtreme Music
|Software:||- Windows 7 x64
- Flight Simulator X with Acceleration
- Active Sky 2012 (Weather Engine)
- REX (Textures)
Introduction … The Feelthere Embraer Phenom 100: A Very Light Jet
As a private pilot, you feel comfortable with vibrations, noise, smells, lack of luggage, slow speed, and freedom of flying. Well, in other words, everything far from what an airline carrier can offer you. But for some of us, there is always that small thought that makes us ask, why I can’t go a step further!
Well, essentially, it’s just one word: money, money, money! So the industry came up with this idea called VLJ (very light jet), which is a section of the aviation market that is trying to close the gap between jets and pistons.
As a result, Cessna and Embraer are producing some of the best-known aircraft in this segment: the Cessna Citation Mustang and the Embraer Phenom 100. To the untrained eye, these two aircraft can be twins with both having very similar exteriors, G1000, single pilot, 4 passengers, etc. But the difference is far from close. For example, one is Carioca (the Embraer) and the other American! (the Cessna).
Some differences are more evident than others. One is more powerful, it has a functional toilet (private enough!) and is more appropriate for the small business “air taxi” type airline. It’s faster, goes higher and retired airline pilots tend to enjoy it more. Well, can you guess which aircraft it is? Yes, of course, it’s the Carioca, the Embraer Phenom 100. This review is going to show you the details behind the Feelthere Embraer Phenom 100(FSX version).
For me, Feelthere is a new company and actually this is the first addon that I’ve had the pleasure to use with FSX. Being a fan of GA planes, the VLJ section is too similar to miss Feelthere has designed this add-on as a LE aircraft, which is intended for new virtual pilots or those who only want to take off as quickly as they can. In order to achieve this, some systems are modelled but not all, and for me, as long as it has decent fly dynamics, I’m a happy flyer.
The version that I have tested is the one available for download. The Phenom will require minimum computer power, which, if you are an FSX user, you’ll be very happy.
The installation is a straightforward process, and as a result, the time between the download and opening FSX is just minimum. Your only responsibility is to approve all the Feelthere gauges and you’re ready to fly.
The manual contains enough information to enjoy this aircraft and it’s best feature is the tutorial flight, which from my point of view, is the best way to learn about its systems, cockpit features and general handling.
For those with no flight experience, this information is very valuable and will make the process of familiarisation with the systems very easy.
Just before you open FSX, you’ll see that the aircraft comes with a powerful and useful configuration utility that will help you set important configuration settings, such as performance tweaks, load manager and other important features, including a steering lock for your front wheel which is going to be shown to be relevant later.
The 3D cockpit is nice, well-defined and the click spots are easy to find and use. I like the way it looks. It has very nice details, and I’m definitely going to have a good time flying this jet. For one moment I thought that someone was looking at me.
Well, it turns out to be my virtual reflection on the plexiglass! I didn’t like that at all and if you don’t like them, the guys on Feelthere’s forum have a solution. All you need is to go to their forum and follow their simple steps which will eliminate this peculiar feature.
I love to explore all the hidden spots. Other developers use click spots to zoom to important gauges and reach places that are hidden from the normal eye view. Multiple views can be accessed just by clicking “A”.
To my surprise, there are no easy shortcuts to explore the cockpit or to access to the passenger area. In order to do this, you need to use the old-fashioned views edit keys, so you can move your eye point across the plane. I rarely use 2D panels, but for those who like them, this addon has an adequate one for you! Each switch is very detailed, clickable and readable and perfect for those with multi-monitors, or touch screens!
By the way, for those who like to fly during the night, the cockpit illumination is excellent!
To my delight, the exterior is just the opposite of the internal views. It’s a real gem! It’s perfect for screen shots and it has all those details that you’d expect. Great animations, natural shine and small details such as the GPU door that’s open when you’re parked and cold & dark.
As you can see on the screen shots, I find the details outstanding and I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
My Flight Experience
As I indicated, my first flight was going to follow the tutorial steps and from a cold & dark start. Every step was clear, every click has decent sounds, so even for those who like to follow complete procedures, this addon can provide you with enough immersion. One very clever animation was the G1000’s start.
Although it’s an enhanced version of the default, it has some additional features on the FMD, such as adding every V speed so the co-pilot can make each call. What an interesting feature for an entry level addon! Start-up sounds are very clever and you can almost feel all the vibrations! Taxiing, the plane behaves very nicely and it’s stable and easy to control. The take-off is the moment of truth.
Once you set the TOGA mode (again, an interesting characteristic for an entry level) the acceleration is perfect, so your only responsibility is to keep your plane on the centre line! In practice, this turns out to be a kind of a challenge. The reason is the front steering wheel lock. It locks the whole steering mechanism! Although I don’t have any experience on this type of plane in real life, this locking mechanism exists but it doesn’t make the plane non steerable.
After you reach a certain speed, the aerodynamics take control of the airplane, so even by using the rudder you are able to control your airplane during the takeoff run even under cross wind conditions.
In order to avoid this erratic and a bit unreal behaviour, the configuration utility has a click box called “control steering unable”. Please be sure you click it as this will avoid the problem of keeping your plane on the centre line by using the differential brake (increasing your take-off distance, by a lot!) If there is anything that I enjoyed about this piece of software more than the exterior, it’s the flying characteristics.
From the moment you pass Vr, I was surprised at the actual process of taking it to the air. I just loved it. The initial seconds are almost like I imagine they would be on real life. Slowly you raise the nose, then the main gear and you start to fly in a very graceful way. Gear up! Great acceleration, just as the manual says. Flaps up and this add-on is just a pleasure to fly. It was so great that initially I didn’t activate the autopilot.
I just waited until reaching Fl180. So following the tutorial flight plan was a piece of cake. This is what make this add-on such an interesting one and suitable. I love the way it flies. It was very stable on every test that I did, from slow flying to stalls. In other words perfect! The autopilot also has great features. Almost every button works like a real one and I was able to follow ILS, VORs, descent, flight plan, etc. without any inconvenience.
The tutorial flight is excellent and if you are a novice, you will learn new definitions. For those with some knowledge, cabin familiarisation is the key! When it was time to land, no problems. I managed to bring it back to earth in a very soft and gentle way.
It’s very stable and that’s what flight dynamics are there for. A true value for a nice add-on. After taxiing, I didn’t experience any issues with the shutdown procedure. At this point I’ve forgotten all about the interior. I truly like this little jet!
Flight 1 Cessna Citation Mustang vs. Feelthere Embraer Phenom 100
One of the luxuries of the simulation world is that you can easily afford to own, fly as you please, and then you can compare like to like. Today I am going to compare two big products, the Cessna Citation Mustang and the Embraer Phenom 100.
I would like to use four categories: Eye Candy, Flight Dynamics, G1000 and how versatile they are.
- Eye candy: Exterior: Both are amazing.
- Interior: Citation Mustang
- Flight Dynamics: Both are excellent
- G1000: Phenom great animations and features. Citation Mustang: the best G1000 on FSX but it comes with high PC performance drop
- Versatile: Phenom: fast, stable, perfect for entry level. Citation Mustang: Valuable for those who are looking for real IFR
This addon is very versatile, a real gem when it comes to FSX performance, flight dynamics, and immersion, thanks to nicely done manual, smart virtual cockpit, excellent exterior and animations, which will provide any pilot with a great time.
After spending almost 50 hours of my FSX time during the past month, which is a great achievement in itself, I highly recommend this nice add-on of software!
More information of the feelThere Embraer Phenom 100 can be found at the dedicated web pages of Wilco Publishing and within the eShop of Aerosoft.
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.