Feelthere Embraer Regional Jets
By Gustavo Mercado (15 May 2010)
If memory serves me right it was about six years ago that Feelthere first came out with the first version of the ERJ145. I still remember like it was yesterday the very first time I saw it on the Wilco webpage and thought my prayers had been answered. If anybody ever read my review on the Ejets (ERJ190) package you will remember my admiration and pride for Embraer. First of all because it's the only competitor in the airliner industry from Latin America, and second of all because simply they just make beautiful airplanes. So when I saw that Wilco had released a second standalone version of this bird I jumped at the chance of writing about it so here we are.
The ERJ 145 is a very important product for Embraer for a number of reasons. The airplane basically saved Embraer financially, and it proved that private hands were better than government at managing an airplane manufacturer. It was one of the first aircraft ever to be designed almost entirely by computers, and last but not least it changed the regional aircraft market forever. Never again was the regional commuter routes mastered by turboprop aircraft. Embraer brought the turbofan jet airliner to the commuter market, and did it with style providing one of the most beautiful airplanes both inside and out, to take to the skies.
The second offering of this product is a definite improvement from the first. It uses the latest technology available for modeling and sound, and it also brings a couple of extra goodies such as a heads up display for landings in harsh weather, and the Call add on which brings a FO and a checklist manager to enhance the flight experience. I will say this is probably one of the most complete packages for FSX at a modest (not too pricey but not too cheap) price.
The download package for this aircraft comes in a 335.3 MB zip file which you can download directly from the Pilot Shop. Before the file is downloaded the system automatically sends you the license key, and any info you might need to install. After a couple of minutes you should have the plane automatically installed, you will need to manually enter the license key and the installation is a breeze.
It is necessary to have all service packs for FSX installed, and is always a good idea to have the latest FSUIPC version installed, as well as all your display drivers up to date. Once installed the airplanes will show up under the Embraer / Feelthere category. The software comes with an 81 page manual and pilots reference guide, which includes all information needed to fly the plane and all checklists. The software also includes an external configuration manager which permits you to choose a list of parameters before flight, such as panel state when starting a flight, weights, fuel load, units of measure selection, TOD pause, and other options to fly the airplane in the way most comfortable for the user.
The exterior model of the airplane is beautiful. It does not take the Captain Sim philosophy of showing you the normal wear and tear of the airplane as it looks in real life. The ERJ looks slick, shiny, and spotless like it just came out of the production line. If you have seen this airplane in real life the virtual representation of it is flawless. It looks as pretty and slick as it looks in real life. The package includes the three variants of the 145 which are the 135LR, 145LR, and 145XR, the three are basically the same on the outside apart from the XR is a little longer than the other two, and some variations have winglets. Liveries include almost 15 different companies from the US and Europe.
Animations include windshield wipers, hydraulic suspension, flaps, spoilers, ailerons, speed brakes, thrust reversers, landing gear, passenger and cargo doors, hatches and stairs. All animations have a natural feel to them and happen at the right times. Attention to detail is self evident in all the animations. For example when the door opens the stairs slide out naturally as the door comes down, and all the nuts and bolts are visible on the door and fuselage. The pilots look decent from the outside, this is one I still have not seen anybody do a great job on, but I'm sure there is something out there.
I have no complaints with the exterior model, the latest technology was used to model the airplane and it is a treat to watch it on the tarmac and in the air. The wheels have a great visual detail once the airplane is moving, and the effects on takeoff and flying are great. The liveries look great and give the visual model a great look. The only negative I was able to see was on the wing views where you can't see the spoilers deployed.
I am very happy to announce that after a fierce inner war which lasted for a couple of years I am now a virtual cockpit pilot, matter of fact I cannot fly any other way. I guess it's a good thing I came around when I did because 3D cockpits get better every time a new airplane comes out in the market. This offering of the ERJ is no exception. You can access all of the cockpit systems from the 3D view no problem. The displays are clear and crisp, knobs turn easily, and buttons get pushed when you click on them. As far as I could see there are no dead knobs.
The interior model of the plane as a whole is a beauty. Wing views from the inside windows are awesome and the 3D walkthrough is of the highest standards. The initial feel of the 3D cockpit is of being right in front of the left side with the seat way ahead. The panel gives you a feel of being high and your seat seems to be a bit low relative to the panel but a little playing around with the zoom, and orientation and you get a great view of the outside, as well as of the controls.
Now it is the other way around, I did not even bother to play around with the 2D display, but the little I saw of it is also good. Very similar to the Ejets ERJ190 package and I have the same critique for this one as the 190... the 2D panel is way too small, doesn't even feel like you are on a plane, you have to drag the end to increase to the size to feel like you are actually sitting inside a plane. Other than that I have to say I did not even try one flight in 2D. It's truly remarkable how our species tend to accept and embrace change.