Commercial FSX Aircraft Review



Flight1 / Quality Wings Ultimate 146 Collection


Publisher / Developer: Flight1 / Quality Wings
Description: Representation of the BAe 146
Software Source / Size: Download / 260MB
Flight Simulator: FSX
Reviewed by: Richard Lincoln
Published: November 3rd, 2012


Computer / Software Specifications
Computer System: - Intel i7-2600K CPU
- Asus P8H61 USB 3.0 Mainboard
- Asus GTX 560 Direct CU 1 GB
- G SKILL DDR3 12800 8GB KITS RAM
Software: - Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
- Flight Simulator X
























The King of the Steep Approach

The Hawker Siddeley HS 146 evolved from a forty seat jetliner which was initially proposed in the 1960s and it morphed into a four engine short range jet-liner available in two versions, the 80 seat 100 and 100 seat 200. After a string of financial problems the Hawker Siddeley 146 emerged under the ownership of British Aerospace, The first BAe146 flew at Hatfield, the original Hawker Siddeley manufacturing site, in September, 1981. There were some changes from the original design with the implementation of four super quiet Honeywell LF 507 geared turbofan power plants. Other features included clamshell air brakes (since the aircraft had no reverse thrust capabilities) and a twin wheeled tricycle undercarriage retracting into the fuselage. The 146 broke some major ground that was ultimately featured on other jets.

It was very quiet compared to other jets and due to its steep approach abilities, gained the right to be the first jet liner allowed to land at London City airport and other similarly sensitive areas. In the early 1990s, the 146 was given another redesign that resulted in the RJ series, these revisions would include a digital flight deck and an improvement in range and performance. The 146-100 became the RJ70, the 146-200 became the RJ85 and the 146-300 became the RJ -100. The first RJ flew in 1992 and production was then moved to Manchester instead of Woodford UK. Production of the aircraft ended in late 2002 with the final four delivered in October/November 2003..


What do you get?

The installation of the Quality Wings BAe 146 download was obtained through the Flight 1 web page, and I will say it's a very easy and painless exercise. All you need is a Flight 1 account, which with a valid email address is almost instant. The next step is, of course, payment. At $47.99 USD or £36.85 as this is written, what's included within the package is nothing short of a bargain. It's also worth mentioning that Flight 1 has a download tool available free through their website which can also be a handy addition to any download product they sell. The Quality Wings BAe 146 product can be installed on either Microsoft flight Simulator X with SP2 or Acceleration or Lockheed Martin Prepar3D. For the purpose of this review I've installed the download into the Flight Simulator X Gold Edition. After you've made your purchase, it's time to run the installer. The installer does everything for you, apart from deciding into which folder you wish to install the product. You don't have to break a sweat as everything gets put into the right place, ready to fly. The minimum system requirements are as follows:
- Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (64-bit Windows are not necessary but highly recommended)
- Processor-2.8 GHz
- Memory-4 GB RAM
- hard drive-1.1Gb plus approximately 160Mb per installed livery
- Video Card-Direct X 9 compatible with at least 512Mb.


Initially there are three variants to choose from in the installation, British Aerospace Avro RJ70, British Aerospace Avro RJ85 and British Aerospace Avro RJ100 plus the Quality Wings Dispatcher, Quick Start Manual, Users Manual, and one of my favourites, the Control Panel that’s inside the aircraft. Even if that was all you receive I'd still be happy. But no! The team at Quality Wings are a generous bunch and extra three models will be available as a free update towards the end of 2012. They will be the British Aerospace BAe146-100, British Aerospace Bae146-200 and the British Aerospace BAe146-300, although they state “this time estimate may vary” but now QW is estimating early 2013. Oh and let’s not forget the free liveries from the Quality Wings web site. So, value for money=100%.


Manual

The User Manuel comes in two parts, the 53 page Quick Start Manual and the 325 page in depth Users Manual, a very well arranged layout with everything included to get you flying whether you're a beginning, medium or advanced pilot. First, I'll overview the Quick Start Manual and then on to the Users Manual. I'd like to mention that if you wish, you can open up Flight Simulator X and fly to your heart’s content, but believe me, with all the effort and quality the developers at Quality Wings have made with this rendition, if you don't “dig in” to the systems it, will not give you the same satisfaction. The Quick Start Manual is laid out perfectly and demonstrates the basics of creating an accurate flight. A step-by-step approach is used and even gives tips on cfg.file additions. By blending the written format with easy to understand pictures that also include arrows, you'll find the manual very easy to follow. The Quick Start Manual follows these steps: Cold &Dark Start-up Procedure, Pre-Flight, Engine start and Taxi, Take Off and Early Climb, Climb, Cruise and Descent, Approach and Landing, After Landing / Parking, and shutdown procedure.

Also included is the guide for the Dispatcher, control panel and also a section on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which can be quite handy if you get stuck with anything. The User’s Manual is a very detailed document and goes into detail of every aspect of the 146’s systems. This manual also has very detailed pictures to help guide you through the plethora of systems that are installed. Basically, everything you need to know in full is available and there is nothing it doesn't cover.


Quality Wings Dispatcher/Control Panel

Nice was the word that came out of my mouth when I checked out these two extras that in my mind are not only crucial, but also welcomed in their simplicity. The first one I'll discuss is the Dispatcher, a tool that with a little reading of the Quick Start Manual makes everything so easy for you in all respects. There's no need to manually install or delete repaints. It does it all for you with a button to select your aircraft type or selecting measurements in pounds or kilograms. Then you get into the nitty gritty with the fuel selection. You can choose a pre-set loading of fuel with 100%,75%,50% or 25%. You also have the opportunity to use sliders for Left Wing, Centre and Right Wing Tanks, which allows you to be specific to your particular needs of configuration. Another handy aspect is the Fuel Calculation section with Flight Distance (NM), Flight Altitude (Feet). Once you enter your distance and altitude, it will calculate the amount of fuel needed and then load that amount into the aircraft's tanks. There is also the opportunity to save those calculations for later flights. The Load Manager is also I found pertinent with sliders allowing you to adjust the number of passengers in Business Class, Economy Class and Front Cargo and Aft Cargo.

There are also another three options for Max. Load, Random Load, Empty Load and a help button that will open up a Dispatcher Help Acrobat file. I've never come across this before and I was most impressed with that option which was a massive help in showing you why your plane is overloaded among other things. After a couple of times I no longer needed the help button but when I did it was easy to access. There is also an area in the Dispatcher, which is kind of a calculator that advises you of your overall choices made in measurements and weights of passengers and fuel and will allow you to save these calculations. You also have the ability to select either widescreen or normal panel types. Now if anyone reading this review knows an Australian they may have heard the phrase I'll use to describe the Control Panel. ”It’s a little ripper”. Now we'll go through the variations you can activate through this wonderful addition.

A well-crafted push-back truck is available, all doors can be opened without using shift #, deploy and retract air stairs, a ground power unit, show or hide wheel chocks, show or hide engine covers, open and close cargo doors. There's also a selection for standard or lite panel modes and landing checklists and flight director style/single or dual. These options are fantastic and really allow you to set up and choose what style you prefer and that definitely makes options such as cargo doors more users friendly. I believe Quality Wings have perfected this style of Control Panel.


How does it Fly?

In short, very well. Even perfectly!
I was dumbfounded at the performance of the aircraft. But mind you, this is not an aircraft that you just point the nose down on final and it will behave like a default aircraft. For example, I found timing of your flap increments close to being an art form. For example, reaching 2500 and deploying full flaps will bring the nose up enough to reset yourself up for a go-around. Landing this aircraft is, I imagine, as accurately portrayed as possible. So the comment regarding default like ease is not a part of this aircraft. Respect must be given to all factors in its operation. As far as can see, since I’m not a real ATPL pilot, this aircraft seems to behave like the real thing. The systems of this aircraft are quite easy, and Quality Wings have certainly left me feeling very satisfied after each flight is complete. Everything has an authenticity about it.

For example, starting anywhere at an airport whether you have a cold and dark start-up or are ready to go, I felt very immersed with the aircraft from taxi to shut down. With the push back truck enabled and the aircraft ready to taxi, the dynamics on the ground in the aircraft's operation are well placed. It's not too touchy and has quite a nice feel. Take-off whether configured through FMC or not is a smooth experience with call outs if you enable them. Functions such as autopilot are attentive and easy to master as is setting your radio stack. Other instruments all flow very nicely.



You can choose to use a GPS unit that Quality Wings provides cfg.file lines for in the manual although I chose not to use this option. Instead, I stuck to the FMC. This little computer is a real beauty when configuring your flight and your Navigation Display (ND) panel lights up with its pre-programed path if you have the map or plan option selected. Obviously your route will not show up if you've selected the rose format. Any time you change anything flight related, the aircraft will act accordingly with a smooth transition. The 146 and Arvo RJ models are very capable of short field take-offs and landings as well as being a leader in the steep approach. I found this most handy with some Australian Airfields and also London City. This aircraft handles these situations with ease and the developer has developed this aircraft to be able to perform these tasks with ease, making your flying experience all the more enjoyable. Configuring this scenario of flight is quite fun.

The aircraft manoeuvres in the air with a sense of realism. You can’t just fling the aircraft around like an F-18. Planning is everything with your turns, ascents and descents. Which is how it should be. This rendition of the aircraft in every facet of its ability is “almost” perfect and I can't imagine somebody else would match this quality or are there?


Outside the Aircraft and Lighting

No detail has been spared in this department either and from a distance the 146 is very pleasing to the eye and the closer you get the same is apparent. A lot of time and effort has obviously been spent getting this just right. All the details are there. The fuselage is beautifully crafted, the wings and engines are well modelled. Look at the little details like the engines fans spinning when fired up and the wings look solid no matter what angle and very impressive with lights and numbers not having that pasted look to them that is apparent on other products. The wheel housing up close goes beyond acceptable with the finest detail added. I was a little surprised to see that even the compartment where the wheels recede into the fuselage has been meticulously detailed, I love that the wheels sit on the tarmac and do not sink into the ground. If you get close enough, the tires even have detail I haven't seen before. Animations of forward and aft doors come alive when opening and closing, along with cargo doors. These animations don’t just fly open.



They have an action about them that gives the appearance of pressure, which leads me to the air stair function, which is a very excellent addition that looks and operates effectively. Other additions such as wheel chocks, engine covers, external power source and push back truck have been added to complete the realism of this package and no cut in quality was made in these visuals which are simply stunning in appearance and effect. There are a number of views on the outside and all show off the quality of detail in every view. Every panel line, rivet and bolt is well textured and really brings it all to life.



The sun goes down and you turn the various lights on and WOW, the aircraft comes alive visually once more. Every light has been accounted for and the lighting is the best I've ever seen. At night, nothing on the aircraft looks pixelated and the blinking reflections on the tarmac from your lights just blew me away. I remember wondering how did they do that? Everything from taxi, wing, tail and so on, is done as realistically as possible.


Inside The Aircraft with 2D and Virtual Cockpit

Inside the cockpit, the VC is just as it is in real life. The workmanship in the detail is astounding and no matter how close you get the detail remains superb. A real sense of immersion hits you as you pan around the cockpit. The window opening mechanism is authentic and there's nowhere in the VC that has not had a lot of work to make it as authentic as possible. The throttle control, forward panel, radio stack and overhead panel is highly detailed with every switch, button and dial well duplicated. The backing panels that instruments are attached to do not look entirely brand new, which I felt only, reinforced the age of the aircraft. Pan around the cockpit and the finish is flawless with no stutters, overlapping or blur apparent. Even the area behind the First officer's position has great detail. Whether your preference is the Captain’s chair or First officer's seat, both sides display the same level of high detail. 2D panels are abundant and the same clarity is also present.



They're well located on your screen and can be easily activated via the control panel. This brings me to the FMC. The 2D panel placement looks and functions very well and the only slight negative I have is that in the VC it looks rather flat, but from the photos I have seen, it should look as it does in real life. In my opinion though, a more 3 dimensional appearance of the FMC in VC would fix that. Whether that's possible I don’t know. As for lighting, in gets a 10/10 from me. As for lighting in the cockpit, whether VC or 2D, Quality Wings gets a 10/10 from me. The cockpit lights up just perfectly. Nothing is hard to read and all gauges, panels, buttons and switches blend in well with the rest of the cabin.


Sound

A perfect demonstration of sound of can be achieved in this area and has been accomplished. From outside the 146 you can feel the presence no matter how quickly or slowly you pan around and at what depth your view. The sound changes accordingly and even at an idle position the sound just grabs you. So throttle up and you hear the spooling of engines clearly. I also tried this very slowly on the throttle and the sound changed on its way up and down depending on thrust position. When climbing, you'll also notice the screaming of engines, and then decline just nicely into your cruise speed. Quality Wings has done a good job of applying an authentic sound set. Inside the cockpit sound is also duplicated with the quality I am becoming used to in this add-on. All buttons, switches, levers and warnings are also very well done. Through your flap increments an unmistakable howl can be heard due to the pressure on the outside of the aircraft, not to mention the clicking sound when working your flap lever. The sounds do blend and don’t override one another. My suggestion to take advantage of the what the sound set has to offer would be to start from cold and dark, turn up your speakers a little and listen to each sound come into play through the sim.


Performance

With so much detail involved in this Quality add on, I was surprised at the effect it had on my moderate system. Having my frame rates set to unlimited and sliders maxed out; I was able to achieve an average of 40fps, even with highly detailed scenery. This is a fantastic result both in and out of the aircraft. Also worth noting, with the addition of utilising the detailed Pushback Truck and retractable Air stair, which would normally result in a drop in computer performance, the frame rates were consistent, despite the use of the high definition repaints that I have obtained through the Quality Wings website.


Summary

If you haven’t noticed, I'm extremely impressed with what Quality Wings has accomplished. Except for a tiny visual issue with the FMC, this product deserves a Gold Medal. Everything about the product is stunning. The visual quality, sound quality, flight dynamics, ease of systems and a feel unmatchable in its class. The little extras and well-designed manuals, make it all the more reason to purchase and with an up and coming three extra variants on the way, how could you say no. On the Flight 1 website, you can also download a free paint kit and Quality Wings also provides the choice of many liveries, some of which are High Definition Liveries. It is very apparent that Quality Wings is looking after their clientele. The quality and value for money of this add-on is such that I'm now saving for the Ultimate 757 Collection by Quality Wings. Well done!

Also at the conclusion of this review I received an email from Corey Ford of Quality Wings that the extra variants, British Aerospace BAe146-100, British Aerospace BAe146-200, and British Aerospace BAe146-300 will be early 2013, as is the current forecast, released.

For more information about the Flight1 / Quality Wings Ultimate 146 Collection, visit Flight1's dedicated web page and have a look at the Quality Wings dedicated Ultimate 146 Collection website.

With Greetings,
Richard Lincoln


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.