RAZBAM includes a 45-page manual in portable document format (PDF), which is readable with Adobe or similar programs. More than half its pages explain the cockpit arrangement, instrument panel, and instruments using numerous screen shots and diagrams. There are no kneeboard checklists or reference sheets. The manual contains some performance data such as a few V speeds, but no procedures are shown for any flight phase. I was unable to capture any pages of this manual because its authors had blocked screen capturing.
In response to my request for sample pages of this manual, the developer sent a different manual for its T-2 Buckeye. It has 50 pages and more information, such as operational checklists. When I asked for samples of the manual contained in the package, they said it would be replaced with this new manual.
Performance of RAZBAM's T-2 Buckeye
For my flight tests, I used Port Columbus International (KCMH) near Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A., where North American manufactured its T-2 Buckeyes. This airport is 815 feet (249 meters) elevation, and its two parallel runways are 7,989 feet (2,437 meters) and 10,286 feet (3,137 meters) long. As always, I used the developer's default weight, which in this aircraft is 12,036 pounds, consisting of 3,721 pounds of fuel and 200 pounds identified as "payload." I also used standard atmosphere (29.92 inches and 59 degrees Fahrenheit).
Without prescribed procedures, V-speeds, or flaps settings; and without color coding or warning marks on instruments, all my flights were based on experience and experimentation.
Starting: CTRL/E starts the engines quickly. When throttles were at zero, engine power was 65 percent on the N2 gauges.
Taxiing: The aircraft begins taxiing, albeit slowly, with a slight power increase. It accelerated up to 40 KIAS with power at 70 percent N2. It rounded corners widely, even at slow speeds. Differential braking was necessary to stay on the pavement during these turns.
Taking Off: With throttle advanced slowly to 95 percent N2, and with no flaps, the aircraft gained take-off speed quickly and lifted off at 85 KIAS. It appeared to have used about one-fourth of KCMH's 10,286-foot runway, which would be about 2,575 feet. Later I took off with flaps in the first position, and the aircraft lifted off at about 80 KIAS.
Climbing: The T-2 Buckeye climbed handily at 3,500 feet per minute, 150 KIAS, and 20 degrees pitch. With pitch lowered to 10 degrees, the T-2 Buckeye accelerated to 250 KIAS and climbed at 3,000 feet per minute. With pitch lowered to 5 degrees, the aircraft accelerated to 325 KIAS and climbed at 2,500 feet per minute.
Cruising: After I leveled off at 10,000 feet, the aircraft accelerated to 375 KIAS. At this altitude, that airpseed computes to approximately 395 knots true airspeed. At 15,000 feet level flight, indicated airspeed was 275, which computes to approximately to 305 true airspeed. The airspeed indicator showed a maximum allowable speed of 475 KIAS at this altitude. After a minute or so, I raised pitch to 5 degrees and climbed to 20,000 feet. At this level, indicated airspeed was 264 knots, which is about 304 knots true airspeed. This aircraft maxed at 26,000 feet, where its indicated airspeed was 200 knots, and true airspeed calculated to approximately 253 knots. Specified cruising altitude is 44,000 feet according to the Wikipedia.
Turning: This aircraft banks so easily at any altitude that rolling over and overcorrecting are real risks. It barrel rolls very easily. Returning it to level flight requires precise control. Once the aircraft is in a desirable bank, such as 20 or 30 degrees, it holds onto it. Fast banking is a minor problem at high altitude but a significant problem at low altitudes such as airport circuits and instrument approaches. Holding a runway centerline on final approach is a challenge in crosswinds.
Descending: Reduction of power to between 70 percent and 80 percent N2 induces a smooth glide. Too much power reduction induces a controllable dive.
Approaching: The T-2 Buckeye approached at 150 KIAS with no flaps. To reduce its speed, I deflected flaps one position. The manual says 165 KIAS is the maximum permissible airspeed for flaps and gear operations. The aircraft then approached smoothly at 120 KIAS. Too much power reduction causes the aircraft to sink faster than a normal glide slope.
Landing: The aircraft touched down at 100 KIAS with full flaps. Airspeed soon fell to around 70 knots, and wheel brakes brought it to a stop. This landing used about one-third of the 10,000-foot runway, which would be about 3,300 feet.
Overall: Without operational guidance, I don't know whether I was handling this aircraft correctly. What I describe is what I observed in several flight tests. It might approach and land more slowly with more flaps or with less power and no flaps. I'm not sure when this aircraft's speed brake should be applied -- during flight to reduce speed aloft, or during landing roll to reduce speed on the runway, or both. I will guess that with enough practice a sim pilot could land this aircraft on a very short field or even on a carrier with arresting cables. It topped out at 26,000 feet although ceiling is said to be 44,000 feet.
Having never flown any real-world T-2 Buckeyes, I cannot personally attest to how closely RAZBAM's modeling resembles the real-world aircraft's performance. Neither can I say how it compares to other such aircraft that might be available for home flight simulation.