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Review: Just Flight - Piper Arrow For MSFS 2020

Piper Arrow

Publisher: Just Flight

Review Author:
Joshua Moore

Suggested Price:


Introduction And History

The Piper Arrow is a single engine, fourseat aircraft derived from the well known and loved Piper PA-28Cherokee line. In the 1960s, Piper Aircraft wanted to design aretractable gear aircraft to compete with Mooney, who was dominatingthe market in the complex single market. Piper assumed, and rightlyso, that their customer base for the new aircraft would be atransition market. They based the new Piper arrow off the existingCherokee airframe, and in 1967, the new PA-28R Arrow was born.

The Arrow was targeted to pilots looking to move into a morecomplex aircraft but who did not have much experience in theseaircraft. For this reason, Piper added one of the best safety featuresfound on the aircraft, this being an automatic landing gear system,also featured in the Just Flight Arrow. It will retract and extend ata certain threshold to prevent gear up landings. It hasn't workedperfectly, and Piper offered a kit to disable the system, but mostpilots have left it as is.

The Just Flight rendition of the Piper Arrow III is modeled afterG-BGKU, a 1978 Arrow III with a 200 HP Lycoming IO-360-C1C6 normallyaspirated engine, with the turbocharged variant coming as a paidaddition sometime in the near future. I have never had the chance tofly this aircraft in real life, though our airport has a 1972 PiperArrow with a G430 and that same red interior as seen in the JustFlight version. The only thing preventing me from flying it to get acomparison was its price tag, $120 an hour dry, plus $50 of fuel and$35 for an instructor (I'm not checked out in it). It would cost me$205 for an hour of flight time, something which I'm not keen on withless expensive options. As such, I will just have to base my opinionsoff of my current real-world flight experiences, and wait until 2022to fly the Arrow for my commercial certificate. With that said, let'sfind out what $45 gets us in terms of simulated aircraft, and is itworth the cost!

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Documentation And First Impressions

For anyone transitioning to a new GA aircraft, having a good readthrough the POH is always a good idea. Familiarizing yourself with theairspeeds, limitations, performance charts and systems is crucial tomaking a successful flight. The same can be said for a flightsimulator, and while there is no POH, Just Flight did provide much ofthe necessary information needed for the flight, including normal andemergency procedures, systems walkthroughs, and all the performancecharts for each phase of the flight.

Having now had a look at the documentation, I loaded a flight withmy favorite livery included in the install, N4131C. I am met in thesim by a gorgeous representation straight from 1978, a welcomeaddition to the endless glass cockpits found in many of the defaultMSFS 2020 aircraft. Looking around, the model is incredibly detailed,and the texture work is simply fabulous, giving the aircraft a wornand lived in appearance. The exterior model is equally weathered anddetailed. Without saying too much more, let's dive into each of theaspects of the PA-28R Arrow!

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Just Flight includes a very nice tablet in the cockpit that can betoggled on and off, a feature I really like! It is the customizationtool for the Arrow and gives you the options for some of theinstrument panel. These include the HSI or Heading Indicator, and theGPS selection. I will go through this in more depth in the avionicssection. It also gives you a couple of realism options, as well assome info for the flight such as GS, TAS, Altitude, and other relevantinfo. It also gives the option for opening the doors which I quitelike, though I wish the baggage door could be opened via a click spotas well, like the main door for enhanced realism. All in all, thetablet covers most items, but there are a couple of things that wouldbe nice to see implemented like a charts function if you have aNavigraph subscription.


Exterior Model And Texturing

The Piper Arrow has a certain presence on any airport ramp, andpersonally I love the look of the aircraft and seeing them fly at theairport. Just Flight has done an excellent job capturing its sleeklines and quirks. They added many subtle details that can bediscovered in the preflight walk-around, including the mesh over theair inlets on the wings being slightly pushed in, lights, and smallbumps and imperfections on the fuselage.

The texturing on the external model however is what really makesthis aircraft pop, as it's not clean. It shows signs of use in manyareas, and the textures really capture what the real aircraft lookslike. The landing gear for example has dirt and grime on the struts,doors, wheel wells, and tires. The underside of the fuselage has dirtand oil cast on it as well, just like the real aircraft I lookedat. Just Flight has done an amazing job with the exterior modeling ofthe airplane, so let's check out the interior.

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Interior Model And Texturing

The same level of detail from the exterior has been carried over tothe interior with beautiful modeling and texturing of the panel,seats, windows, and details. Starting with the panel, the gauges areall 3D models which add depth, and the text is all easily readable,though slightly lower in resolution. The wear of many years offrequent use has taken a toll on the paint on the radios and flaplever, as well as the carpet, which has been slightly matted and hasdebris scattered on it. The back seats have that very typical "Piper"feel to them, with ashtrays added to the side wall. The baggagecompartment did not see any degradation in quality from the rest ofthe interior and looks quite nice as well. One thing I would like tosee is maybe an option to add baggage to the luggage compartment forsome additional eye candy.

If you wish to have a bit less dirt on the windows and interior,Just Flight has made a version of the VC textures for a cleanercockpit, a nice addition! If you don't like the color of the interior,or would just like to see something different, then the add-oncommunity has already released different colored interiors for theairplane.

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Avionics Options

The panel of the Just Flight Arrow is one of the more customizablein the sim so far. You are given three GPS options, these being theGPS100, GTN430 and GTN530, the latter two of which are the defaultMSFS 2020 models. They are compatible with the G430/530 mod however, andit is highly recommended to get it if you don't already have it. It isfree and will drastically improve your experience.

Of the three GPS units, the GTN430 is by far my favorite, thoughmaybe I'm just being partial as I have the most experience with it inthe real world. I found the GPS100 to be hard to use and found myselfopting for one of the other options as I could not get it to type inanything, and the manual didn't really help much either. The headingindicator can also be switched out for an HSI, which I much prefer asit is coupled with the magnetic compass and does not recess. Thismakes instrument approaches much easier, removing the need to realignthe heading indicator every 10 minutes as well as giving vertical pathinformation directly to the pilot without needing to always look overat the CDI.

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Flight Characteristics And Sounds

Of all the aircraft I have flown in MSFS 2020 (the Just Flight modelbeing my first true add-on aircraft), it is safe to say that the Arrowis by far the best performing in regard to flight dynamics. It issmooth on the controls, easy to fly, easy to land, and easy tomaneuver. When performing stalls it behaves really well and feelsreally solid all around. It does have a tendency to turn if you don'twatch it closely, so don't expect to leave it straight and level, gomake a sandwich and come back to see it flying in the same way.

The basic autopilot does the job somewhat well. It can track viaNAV, HDG, or OBS, and it has the all so common quirks of basicautopilots. The 172s I flew before the G1000 had a basic autopilotwhere even in NAV mode it liked to chase the heading bug if it wasn'twithin 30 degrees. The Arrow's autopilot has some of these quirks aswell. I found a couple of them on one of my flights where it decidedto turn to the left even with the heading bug set to the right. After5 seconds or so it realized its mistake and started turningright. While some might complain about how it's just a badly doneautopilot, I would say it's not a bug it's a feature, which gives theplane character and keeps you alert.

The only downside I have found with the flight model is that youneed to turn off the ice simulation. I flew this airplane into a cloudand within a minute it turned into a stone, and as ice is not visibleon the Arrow, you don't know you have it until you can no longer holdaltitude or airspeed. This is partly Asobo's fault in its horribleicing characteristics. Other than that, it is a beautiful aircraft tofly.

The audio samples that Just Flight have managed to include in thepackage are a true testament to quality sound design. I have neverfelt more immersed in a GA aircraft than the Arrow, and it is withouta doubt one of the best I have experienced. Having heard quite a fewArrows start up and takeoff, it is pretty much spot on in the audiodepartment. The interior sound design is incredible too, with eachknob, switch, lever, and button all having their own sound. The onlyimprovement I could recommend is to have the ability to get the"headset" sound when you click on the headset plugs. This would be theicing on the cake in my opinion.

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The Just Flight Piper Arrow is to me, the first GA aircraft to cometo MSFS 2020 that really gives you a true representation of thecapabilities of the sim. It not only looks fantastic, but it also hasthe sounds, systems, options, to make a truly complete aircraftpackage. It is not just a model with sounds, it is an airplane Ireally enjoy flying. While it is certainly not the cheapest of the GAaircraft available for the sim at $45, it is certainly one of thebest. Just Flight has done an incredible job with the aircraft and itis easily the nicest GA model your money can buy at this point forMSFS.

I love flying this aircraft and I am almost positive you will too!So, if you are looking to buy a new aircraft add-on in the singleengine retractable category, I highly encourage you to choose the JustFlight model over a cheaper version. The extra money is well worthit!

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Joshua Moore


Purchase Just Flight - Piper Arrow III for MSFS 2020

Also available: Just Flight - Piper Turbo Arrow III/IV

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