• Review: Robert Richardson Freeware Jets

    Robert Richardson Freeware Focus

    By Dominic Smith

    Unlike today where aviation advancements seem few and far between, the 1950s were full of them. Not a day, it seemed, went by without some incredible new feat being accomplished. For aviation manufacturers, resting on your laurels was not something you could afford to do. To prove this point, one must only look at some of the short service lives of aircraft built during this decade. What was cutting edge one moment, soon became old hat the next.

    In this mini review I will be looking at three British aircraft built during the 1950s, all created by Robert Richardson and designed to work with both FSX/P3D.

    Robert is one of my all time favorite aircraft designers as he excels at creating British aircraft from this period of aviation.

    Gloster Meteor     Gloster Meteor

    Gloster Meteor

    The first of Robert's aircraft is the famous Gloster Meteor.

    The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the 'Allies' only operational jet aircraft during the Second World War. The Meteor first flew in 1943 but its military career did not begin until 27 July 1944, when it started flying with No. 616 Squadron RAF. Nicknamed the 'Meatbox', the Meteor was not a sophisticated aircraft in terms of aerodynamics, but proved to be a successful combat fighter.

    However, by the 1950s, the Meteor had become increasingly obsolete as more nations had, by that time, introduced jet fighters to their military. Many of these new aircraft adopted a swept wing design instead of the Meteor's conventional straight wing, which gave these newcomers a definite edge during combat. Because of these advancements, the Meteor (in RAF service) was replaced by newer types such as the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin.

    During its operational lifetime, thousands of Meteors were built to fly with the RAF and other air forces around the world. It remained in use for several decades to come, with one of its final duties being that of a target tug during the 1970s.

    Gloster Meteor     Gloster Meteor

    FSX/P3D Gloster Meteor

    Robert's rendition of the Meteor, is a Meteor T.7 with an F.8 tail fitted. Several of these variants saw service in the UK, with the Belgian SABCA company converting seven (T.7) for the Belgian Air Force. Four or five of these Belgian aircraft were then sold to Israel.

    Flying the Meteor is an absolute blast. She takes a while to get rolling but when she does, it seems that nothing will stop her. In the air she behaves as you would expect an aircraft of this type to perform, with barrel rolls and high speed turns all achievable. She's also a very forgiving aircraft to fly, especially on landings (complete opposite of the MiG-15).

    She looks as good as she flies too, with eight paint schemes included in the download. These highly detailed liveries were painted by Peter Watkins and are a work of art. Animations are plentiful with all control surfaces showing freedom of movement. A nice touch is that the pilot will disappear and wheel chocks materialise when the engine is shut down. A virtual cockpit is included, as is a 2D panel. The sounds for the Meteor are taken from the Vampire, and whilst not 100% authentic, are definitely pleasing to the ear and suitable to the period!

    1. comet4's Avatar
      comet4 -
      I have all three of these aircraft plus others from this publisher, they really are brilliant and can put many payware models to shame. If you love early jets then these tree aircraft are a must have in your virtual hangar.
    1. widowmaker320's Avatar
      widowmaker320 -
      Beautiful. Not my type of flying personally, but I know a great piece of work when I see it..and freeware too?..wonderful
    1. halmorris's Avatar
      halmorris -
      As an Ex Royal Navy Attacker driver I can say that this aircraft was a hand-full after the Fairey Firefly Mk6
      but it did have a great failing.......... the engine ingested the burned gasses when the guns were fired.
      A pilot had to hope he had enough altitude for re-start....
    1. halmorris's Avatar
      halmorris -
      As a long retired Royal Navy pilot I found the Supermarine Attacker to be a hand-full after three years
      with the Fairey Firefly Mk6 ... but the main reason she did not see combat, (we were engaged in the
      Egyptian Crisis at the time) was that when the guns were fired the engine ingested the burnt gasses.
      we lost four aircraft before we found the cause. The following aircraft was the Hawker Sea Hawk.. this was an Aircraft!
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