PC Pilot - January / February 2005

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NEWS -

Another FS first is on the way from FSWidgets in the shape of their cockpit Terrain Awareness and Warning System and FSquality are set to add improved roads to the whole of Europe in a new scenery expansion. Elite's new pedals look like a treat for the sim pilot with a few bob to spare and online resources we've come across recently include a website offering free FS charts and one which offers information on pretty much everything aviation-related!

A new keyboard might be just the thing for the accident-prone simmer; Cloud 9 announce their Caravelle and there's even a new auction site where you can offload all those spare FS items you've accumulated over the years. The Glacier Girl P-38 gets an update for FS2004 and flight simmers once again play their part in helping keep a real-world classic airborne.

REVIEWS -

WWII combat aficionados are in for a treat with the release of the latest sim from Oleg Maddox's team. The action has now shifted to the Pacific Theatre and there's plenty more to enjoy than just new aircraft carriers and spectacular water effects. Closer to home, RealAir's eagerly awaited Spitfire finally takes to the air and performs every bit as well as we were hoping it would.

A trio of Socatas provide an entertaining alternative to the traditional Cessna stable and we forego the delights of Boeing and Airbus for a trip in a less familiar passenger transport; Samdim's fine Tupolev Tu-114 proves to be something of a freeware Cold War classic.

The FS Global 2005 mesh expansion package has arrived a little later than the recent deluge of similar mesh add-ons, but provides by far the largest coverage available in one single package. The UK and Ireland get the FSRoads treatment and the package proves to be an effective upgrade for anyone whose PC is a bit long in the tooth to run the UK VFR Photographic Scenery satisfactorily.

FS Flight Ventures has us embarking on all sorts of adventures and provides a little light relief .Detail is the name of the game in a new Lancaster CD-ROM which explores this WWII bomber down to every last rivet - a wonderful resource.

FEATURES -

Historical freeware plays a large part in two of this issue's features. We scour the Net for freeware FS aircraft from the world's aerobatic display teams and are surprised by just how much there is out there. Hawks, Hunters, Hornets and more remind us that there was plenty of aerobatic activity around the world before the Red Arrows came along. We salute those lucky pilots who had the chance to perform aerobatics in a Lightning.and sympathise with the US team who had to hand in their Phantoms for T-38 Talons!

The Schneider Trophy races were one of aviation's great contests during the first quarter of the last century. They've been brought to freeware FS life by the Virtual Schneider team - in particular the 1929 races over the Solent - and we enjoy flying a selection of powerful floatplanes which were built for raw speed rather than handling. Flying skill, political skulduggery, tragedy and heroism - it's all here!

Just what is it that separates the good fight model from the bad in the simulated world - a simple matter of numbers or something harder to pin down? Robert Young takes a further look at the one area of flight simulation which has inspired more debate than any other.

We've heard reports that the console gamer now has a good selection of aviation-themed games to choose from. Intrigued, we thought we'd take a look - if they help to promote flight simulation to the next generation, we're all for it.

TUTORIAL -

This time we head up to Alaska for a three-leg trip involving a variety of approaches. Flights under both VFR and IFR are scheduled and each leg should take around an hour from start-up to shutdown.