Beech D17 “Staggerwing”

‘Afternoon my good simmers. The “Maddog” here again with a little eye
opening review for you. One of the things I like about Flight Simulator, is it’s versatility. You have youngsters from the early ages to the oldest of whom can barely see the screen. I know one simmer that is almost 90 years old. Now that’s real enthusiasm. In this day and age of changing technologies, you experience something new almost daily, of which you hardly have time to get used to it before it’s obsolete. My goodness think what it would be like if we were using a hundred percent of the brain’s capabilities.

When I first got Flight Simulator in 1994 I think it was, it had just evolved from FS4 to FS5.0 and that was a big change for the graphics
and a totally new engine based on the latest computer technology at
that time but it was significant. And of course I like everyone else
was all enthused about seeing the latest modern aircraft. And as time
went on Jet Fighters and a variety of aircraft was starting to become
an addon reality. Back in those days, you had to really search for
a new FS related site. Anyway only a few “older” style aircraft seemed
to creep into the FS scene and didn’t seem all that popular at the time. But as time went on, you had designers like Terry Hill, and Mike
Hill, Tom Eads, Dennis Simanatis and others start to bring the old
“antiques” to life. One of the most popular today as you know is Bill
Lyons whom I’ve done several reviews on his wonderful creations. He is
even making a couple of dollars on his designs now. So finally as we
roll around to 2003 and a new version on the horizon we have come full
circle in the exploration of flight. The newest Flight Simulator will even have a theme of the Golden Age of flight which brings me to the
subject of my review. A Beechcraft D17 Staggerwing.

A favorite aircraft of mine that I had acquired from my FS 5.0 days was
a little BIP called a Beechraft D17 “Staggerwing”. To my recollection there have only been about four designed from FS5 to present day. Brian Gladden updated a version by Paul Clawson to FS2002 not too long ago that you can visit and acquire at his site. It comes in two flavors, a land version and a seaplane version.

The one we’re going to review today is one by a fellow from the other side of the world. Andrey Tsvirenko has created a wonderful Staggerwing that will make any bush pilot proud, or any other pilot as far as that goes. The first time I ever saw a Staggerwing up close and personal was at Oshkosh in 1997. And I must say, Andrey has captured the very essence and beauty of the D17 in two models. One a land version and of course a seaplane version. The first thing you notice about the aircraft is the graceful lines which in my book makes this one of the most beautiful bi-planes of all time.

Andrey has of course added all of the features of an FS2002 model, opening doors including a cargo door plus a cargo flap, and an opening cowling which shows off the beautiful engine work.

The undercarriage and landing gear has plenty of detail for you to see and nicely animated suspension and rolling wheels along with all control surfaces and for the seaplane version Andrey included water rudders. Of course it has fS2002 style night lighting.

One of the sore spots in designing for Flight Simulator in my book has
been with the number of “Triggers” that you can use to simulate the
animation of parts. Through the years you have seen some very unique applications of spoiler switch, landing gear, lights including strobes
flaps, speed and even engine on/off to trigger visual “effects” and in
FS2002 even more with folded wings, tail-hook, cowling and others. You would think by now Microsoft would just include say fifty (50) triggers you could assign for any effect you want to create.

Well Andrey has implemented some pretty amazing effects of his own
using what he had to work with. When you first load the aircraft, if
from a “paused” mode and a new airport you will see the plane showing
the cowling cover in the upright position and of course your first
glimpse of the detailed engine (shown above). The aircraft also has a pretty well thought out virtual interior.

Of course the choke and yoke are animated but you don’t see “adjustable
seats” very often. And Andrey has used a couple of unique triggers to
accomplish this little visual treat. He uses the “parking brakes” and
“wing fold” triggers to move the seats forward and back.

And if that’s not enough, on the seaplane version Andrey uses the landing gear “g” key to raise and lower the Pilot’s window. By the way is a differently styled pilot from the Land version. A BUSH pilot as it appears to me and in the Land version a Military styled pilot.
We’ve seen pilot’s heads turning from left to right but not often do
we see the pilots leaning forward and backward. This one does and at
the same time moving the yoke from left to right. Like he’s intensely reading
his gauges in foul weather or something.

It’s the little details that seperates us from the mediocre at times.

Through transparent windows you can see a lot of the interior from the
“spot plane” mode and there is plenty to see. Including an authentic
panel with plenty of gauges to monitor most of the engines’ functions.
I personally did however add the cowling gauge from the Cessna 182 to
the panel for my own personal visual experience.

Yes, Andrey has sure created a masterful feast for our enjoyment that we don’t find often except in payware versions and unfortunately this is
no exception. But you can rest asured for a mere $10 you are surely getting more than your moneys worth with this little jewel.

 



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