• Percival Mew Gull

    Percival Mew Gull

    By Emil Weyand (2 February 2000)

    BRIEF INTRODUCTION

    The original Percival K.1 Gull first flew in 1932. Its great success in racing circles lead to a demand, and, consequently, 24 aircraft were built. The series was improved upon for quite a while. The final versions were the K.4 Vega Gull and the Mew Gull, both of which were powered by the 208 hp D.H Gypsy engine. Both also had flaps and 3-axis controls, which were quite unusual for the time. The Mew Gull, which is the subject of my review, was drawn for racing, a field in which it proved very successful.

    So, I scooted over to Shuttleworth Trust and pushed the Gull out of their hangar, flew it to my place, and scanned it onto the hard disk. Then I copied the file into FS98, and took the aircraft up for a spin. Well, I didn't really like it, many of the qualities had been lost during the scan. This would have been a problem, had it not been for Pegasus Aviation Design. They are so kind, they even have their Gull posted at FlightSim.Com. I had to download it! This was a quick operation, as it is a relatively small file. And, when I had it in FS, it looked even better than my scan of the plane. How do they do it?

    FLYING

    The first flight took place at Meigs. Not very creative, I know, but it is still my startup situation, and I couldn't wait to fly the Gull. So I opened my aircraft selection menu, and chose Percival Mew Gull. I was on the runway and ready to go in this plane before I could blink. But, as I opened the throttle, I realized that it may be a good idea to get used to the aircraft while taxiing first. So I started feeding it some left rudder. Nothing happened! Even with full throw, it would not turn! So, I applied some left brakes, and used the throttle in bursts. Finally, it faced the taxiway.

    After having done one "pattern" on the Meigs taxiways, I felt ready to give flying a go. Once on the runway, I applied full throttle, and fought the G-force. Very powerful, this Gypsy. After about half the runway length, I pulled back, and off she went into her element. I had initially planned to do a pattern, and then land, but flying was so simple and straightforward, that I chased it around the pattern several times, lower and faster than the Air Marshals and controllers like you to...

    So I was feeling ready to fly in Reno, where the races where held back in the 30's. Therefore, I went in for a landing at Meigs. Smooth as silk, by the way. With flaps and about 1/3 to 1/2 throttle, you can really grease landings with this plane. Also, you can use full brakes when stopping, so runway length is not a problem.

    The race course, RENO2.ZIP, is not a marvel of modern design technology, but it is nevertheless well rendered and quite sufficient for my purpose.

    After having done 5 laps, and winning the race (of course), I left the course through the gate. By this time, my heart had gotten rid of all the blood and was pumping pure adrenaline from flying so quickly, so close to the ground making such tight turns. I just HAD to pull it up into a looping. So, full throttle, dive to gather speed, and pull up... and stall. Try again; gain speed, pull up... This plane won't do a loop! This made me want to try some other aerobatics. The victorious roll passes without probs. Anything vertical won't work. Not that the aircraft was designed for it, but still...

    I also have problems making it spin. Good thing for a race plane; you DO NOT want to enter a spin while making a race turn at 100 feet AGL. But the excitement of aerobatics is totally lost. But then, I guess the rush you get from racing with this plane is more than you get from spinning from high altitudes with a Raven or a Cap.

    QUALITY

    As many of the other aircraft from Pegasus, the flight and visual models are very good. However, there were two things in this file which I was not too happy about, but which can be more than excused by the small file size. The first is the panel. It is a mixture of photorealistic and hand drawn. Unfortunately, the photos aren't of a high quality, and this shows. What is more, the gauges are most certainly not contemporary, as they are identical to the ones found in the default Cessna. The advantage is obviously that they are easy to read and to understand, but this really decreases overall realism. I do not feel right when I am behind this panel.

    The other thing is the sounds. I know that many people don't really care about sounds, but in this case, I really miss them. The real DH Gypsy sounds very powerful and mighty, and it is unfortunate that this is not reproduced by this package. Once you have heard a Gypsy roaring at full throttle, you will never forget it.

    Things which have my full respect include the flight and aircraft models. I don't know what it is like to fly a real Percival Gull, but I imagine that this gives you a very good idea of the feeling that people like Alex Henshaw must have had when they flew this plane.

    The plane looks very good from spot plane view. It is smooth, sleek and the classical part of it is very well reproduced. One detail here is that the plane has quite few textures. Don't get me wrong, here, I still love it, but things like oil stains etc. are missing. I am one of those, yes...

    CONCLUSION

    Overall, I give this aircraft 93%. It would have scored higher had I discovered it earlier, and if the sounds and the panel had been better. However, this aircraft is really worth downloading. Now, if you will excuse me, I believe my Gull has just been filled up. I'll see you at the finish line...
    NOTE: For this test I used a PII 90, 64 MB RAM system equipped with a Voodoo3 3000 AGP graphics card. This system yields 30-60 frames in FS98 with all complexity settings turned to Very Dense.
    Emil Weyand
    far_too_cool@hotmail.com

    Download the Percival Mew Gull