Commercial FSX Aircraft Review
RealAir Turbine Duke Version 1.2
|Description:||RealAir Turbine Duke Twin Engine GA Airplane|
|Reviewed by:||Julio Monsalve|
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
- FSX Pro with Acceleration
Duke: Nobility title, the highest rank below the monarch, isn’t it?
Introduction, Installation and Manual
Real Air Simulations brought us what is today one of the finest addons for FSX, the Beechcraft B60 Duke. So what a nice surprise when I read that the Turbine version was in development, my expectations were high, and they didn’t disappoint me!
The Beechcraft Duke is a classic airplane in GA aviation, coming from an era where competition (almost war) between Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft was the driver behind the creation of many well known and classic modern planes (C340 and Seneca to mention just two FSX addons). It used to be a piston twin with excellent performance, comfortable, executive style, until someone got the idea to add a touch of power in the form of two P&W PT6 turbines (550 shp, and then was transformed forever into a GA rocket!
The Turbine Duke is 165MB size file full of features from 6 highly detailed textures to a failure module that will spice your flights. It also has highly detailed interior, very nice instrumentation and gauges that transport you to the cyber space. Its manual, in simple words, describes everything you need. How to setup your plane, fly it and different technicalities to be aware of when flying a TurboProp (they even included the limitation that the creators needed to juggle in order to overcome FSX limitations) And if you need it, Real Air support is excellent, available to answer even the most basic questions.
Before you open FSX, Real Air has added a Configuration Panel, very similar to the original Duke, which will guide you on those customizable features like Realism, Panel Instruments and Graphics, in order to suit your tastes and systems. One key feature to highlight is the engine failure module, which, by analysing the way you fly, can trigger unexpected engine failures that will test your flying skills. If you don’t feel comfortable having failures, then it is easy to disable them on the configuration panel.
After the compulsory but short read of the manual and using the Configuration Panel, I’ve launched FSX and its flight planner to build a relaxing flight around Norway and Denmark.
A nice chilly morning was the perfect environment for some screenshots. The Duke exterior is just fine-looking. Every rivet, bump mapping and panel, is the best visual that FSX can show. However from my point of view there is something missing. I love to take pictures of my flights and share them on a couple of forums, and one way or another I realise that I’m missing some animations like chokes, pitot cover, no pilot, engine covers, etc. that are key for those introductory screenshots before taking her to fly.
But wait a minute! The Duke is not only to admire, but to fly her!
The Cold & Dark feature is an excellent function for those who like to follow starting procedures (like me), so with the manual and check list in hands I started to get ready to turn it on! The reflections on the panel are very clear, the sound of almost every switch is there. What a piece of software! And I haven’t even started the engines!
Prop Clear! The starting of the engines is just a powerful, full 3D sound, and at this point you will realise that there is something special, and is called raw power!
Avionics on! Panel, Radios, GPS come to life, and light reflection also are evident. A touch of use here and there, and the quality of each gauge is a step further from the original Duke.
Another interesting feature is the Cabin Pressurization System, which simulates the artificial pressure inside the cabin so there is no need for auxiliary oxygen if you are planning to fly higher than 10,000ft. It is a great touch of realism, and something to be aware of. Sadly it is not part of the failure module.
Returning to my flight experience, after the compulsory loading of my flight plan, GPS, engine gauges check, fuel quantity, cabin pressure set to cruise altitude, trim for takeoff, and flaps set, I realise that I’m ready for Taxi.
Once again, with notes on my hand with some useful engine limits, I aligned the plane to the active runway, and I’m looking forward to managing the engines so they won’t catch me on the departure… this is a serious addon! The failure module is on!
Beech Duke Uniform Charley clear for takeoff! And this is the moment for Full throttle! The amazing sound of the engines is just music to my ears, keeping it in the central line is easy. Eyes on engine gauges. It’s easy to see how great the acceleration is. Eyes on the horizon. Great sim, liftoff!! But nothing prepares you to 4000 ft/min climb rate! This is awesome, ohh yes!! The GA rocket has come to life!
The climbing is great, the nice feeling and the balance of the flight dynamics are just first-class, very believable, and for me there is no point to turn the autopilot on, so I’ll do a pure and old fashion manual flight! What a way to virtual fly.
Leveling off at 20K ft, the Duke is very responsive, so with small corrections, it’s easy to trim. Just follow the flight director and the flight dynamics are very believable. After almost an hour, my peacefully journey was then broken by a complete loose of power on the port engine. Yes I’m in an emergency! Black smoke (animated), prop feathered, throttle off, fuel cut.
It’s time to land this plane (Let’s face it, putting a very high probability of failure, that was not a gamble, but now a fact!).
After an emergency descent, the single engine approach was a tough balance between rudder control and engine power, and once again the flight dynamics are very believable. So with a rough touch down, my flight test was a success.
On my system the aircraft didn’t have any impact in terms of FPS, but because is a highly detailed plane you might expect small performance drops on urban areas.
The Turbine Duke will persuade you to use some good practices, such as taking proper control of your engine management, being aware of cabin pressure, great flight dynamic to avoid the use of the autopilot, etc. These features will open opportunities to explore phases of flight that in reality are not possible.
Duke: the finest way to touch the sky!
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.