T-38A Talon Redux
The following is a direct quote from Wikipedia:
The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine, supersonic jettrainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also themost produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2020 in several airforces.
The United States Air Force (USAF) operates the most T-38s. Inaddition to training USAF pilots, the T-38 is used by NASA. TheU.S. Naval Test Pilot School is the principal US Navy operator (otherT-38s were previously used as USN for dissimilar air combat traininguntil replaced by the similar Northrop F-5 Tiger II). Pilots of otherNATO nations fly the T-38 in joint training programs with USAFpilots.
As of 2019, the T-38 has been in service for over 50 years with itsoriginal operator, the United States Air Force.
- Maximum speed: 746 kn (858 mph, 1,382 km/h)
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.3
- Range: 991 nm (1,140 mi, 1,835 km)
- Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
- Rate of climb: 33,600 ft/min (171 m/s)
- Wing loading: 69.53 lb/sq ft (339.5 kg/m2)
- Thrust/weight: 0.65
- Crew: 2
- Prepar3D version 22.214.171.124293
- Intel i5 or AMD equivalent 2.6 GHz or higher
- 8 GB RAM
- DirectXÂ®11 compliant video card 4 GB video RAM or higher
- Windows 10 / 7
- 2 GB available space
- P3D v4.5
- Intel Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz (Coffee Lake) Socket LGA1151 Processor
- Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2x16 GB) DDR4 PC4-25600C16 3200 MHz
- Asus GeForce RTX 2080 Dual OC 8192 MB GDDR6 PCI-Express Graphics Card
- Microsoft Windows 10 Home Advanced
- Samsung 1 TB 860 EVO SSD 2.5" SATA 6 Gbps 64 Layer 3D V-NAND Solid State Drive
Cost And Installation
At the time of writing this review the aircraft was priced at areasonable $59.99 (£47.74). The download size wasn't too bigcoming in at 344.2 MB. The download from the FlightSim.Com Storewas quick and painless with only a few clicks of the mouserequired.
Installation wasn't too tricky. You are required to register theproduct upon installation. Also MVAMs is installed which I will talkabout later. There is only the option to install the product into P3Dv4.5
The aircraft comes with a pretty comprehensive manual spread over56 pages. The areas covered are as follows:
- In-Game Menus
- Cockpit Layout
- Normal Procedures
No failure procedures are included with the aircraft which issurprising since a full failure system is modelled. There is also noin-game checklist which could have been handy, particularly for VRusers. Within the manual, certain parts seem to refer to the T-38Cwhich is a little confusing at times but not a massive issue.
MVAMs (Milviz Add-on Management System) is a very nice little tooloutside of the sim. This tool allows you to select key bindings forcertain functions such as engine ignition, battery switch and soon. This is very useful as it allows these functions to be assigned toyour H.O.T.A.S. setup through the tool rather than through somethinglike FSUIPC. Pre-sets are also able to be set within the tool, forexample you can choose whether you want to have the aircraft in a"cold and dark" state or "ready to fly".
MVAMs also allows for product updates to be installed directly fromMilviz rather than having to re-download and install the productagain. I noticed this feature as soon as I installed the product, Iran the tool and was greeted with a message saying that there was anupdate ready to be installed. In essence this means that you willnever have an out of date version of the product.
Let's get one thing cleared up straight away, this is a"study-level" simulation and should be treated as such. The aircraftwas designed in the 1950's and the cockpit reflects this having steamgauges. Every instrument is modelled to a high level of detail,smooth animations of these can also be observed. The texturing (whichincludes PBR materials) is amazing, there seems to be a nice level ofa "worn" feel to the environment that you will be sitting in. All ofthis greatly adds to the immersion of the aircraft. The cockpit seemsto be quite spacious and an excellent view can be seen out into theworld. The rear cockpit is also fully modelled and fully functioningwhich I can only imagine would be great if you can do some sharedcockpit flying.
The cockpit is pretty simple with the majority of instrumentspresent on the main panel in front of you, meaning that you don'tnecessarily need to fly with a "heads in" approach as most of theprimary flying instruments can be comfortably seen with yourperipheral vision. The side consoles are basic, the right hand sidecontains the "warning panel", IFF and lights selection. The left handside is pretty bare, the throttle controls dominate this panel with afew switches behind them such as "take-off trim" and "yaw damper".
Everything in the cockpit is fully functioning as you would expectfrom a Milviz "study-level" simulation, this isn't just an aircraftthat you can jump in and fly, you have to monitor everythingparticularly if you have the failure settings to "Realistic". True tolife engines startup sequence and realistic electric system includingindividual AC/DC/Battery buses modelling means that the old Ctrl+Emethod won't work with this bird. A "Huffer" or a "Puffer" isrequired, all of which is covered in the manual under "NormalProcedures".
During the dusk/dawn/night the cockpit can be illuminated with anice red glow from the instruments and what can be a subtle white glowfrom the flood lights. The cockpit lighting is controlled by usingthree dials on the right hand console, they control how bright thecockpit can be rather than having a simple on or off effect, I reallylike this even though its a simple feature, it allows the user to setthe brightness to his/her preference, many developers neglect this andonly provide a simple on/off effect. I did find that if the brightnesswas turned all the way up that the cockpit became so bright that itwas unusable, however, I am putting this down to the lighting settingsthat I have set in my sim.
There is only one pop-up panel with this aircraft which allows youto select certain options, such as whether to have one or two pilots,chocks, ladders, two different ground starter units called "huffer" or"puffer" and finally a slider to adjust the fuel contents.
Overall the cockpit is highly detailed, you could quite easily bemistaken for sitting in an actual T-38, that is how well the interioris modelled.
Viewed externally, this aircraft looks sleek and quite aggressive,one could almost mistake this for a fighter rather than a jettrainer. Without even getting up close and personal you can see thatshe is highly detailed and that plenty of attention has been given tomake sure that she looks right. Given how she looks and the detailincluded, I almost want to do a full walk around inspection before Istrap in and fly to make sure that everything is correct.
The product page states that the aircraft ships with ten highlydetailed liveries, however I counted 13 included. I'm not going tocomplain about getting more than what's advertised. There are a fewstandard squadron liveries and then the complete Thunderbirds displayteam. As with the internal model, the external also features full PBRmaterials and bump mapping; the results of this are quite exceptionalwhen the light hits the aircraft. It's when the light hits theaircraft from certain angles that you can see the level of detail goneinto the textures. You can see that these aren't brand spanking newaircraft straight from the production line, they have seen someservice. Wear and tear on the paint can be observed, there is a depthto the panel lines, it seems that you could run your fingers over theskin and feel them. This of course all adds to the immersion thatcomes with this aircraft.
As mentioned above with the pop-up panel, external equipment can beselected. You could argue that some of these don't necessarily need tobe modelled such as the ladders since they have no actual use in thesim, but I like that the attention to detail of including them, itadds to the experience of loading up the aircraft in a cold and darkstate and seeing all the equipment around the aircraft. There arehowever no bungs and blanks modelled, again you could argue that theyaren't necessary but it would have been nice to complete the groundequipment of the aircraft.
Inside the cockpit the sounds of this aircraft have been capturedwell, all the switches and dials make a noise, and to me sound as youwould expect them to sound. A nice feature that often gets overlookedby developers is the difference in sound when the canopy isopen/closed. Not by Milviz however, they have modelled this and itadds a really nice sense of realism to the aircraft. It does becomeparticularly noisy when the Huffer or Puffer is connected too. Onething that I really liked to hear was the subtle sound of the pilotbreathing oxygen when switched on, an often overlooked feature, butagain it's a nice little addition that adds to the experience.
When failures occur, you can also hear them happening, such as whena compressor stall happens, you can hear the bangs and then the gentlewind down of the engine, or the scraping of the aircraft if you haveto land with no landing gear.
Viewing the jet from outside the noise is amplified as one wouldexpect, a nice howl can be heard from the front of the aircraft andbecomes a deeper hum as you move towards the rear. The noise generatedby the reheat (afterburner) is also very nice, it is clear and obviousthat Milviz has hit the nail on the head with the quality of the soundrecordings. I almost feel the tremble of those engines cutting throughyou as the throttles are advanced.
The MilViz T-38A Talon Redux is built upon their highly successfulADV platform. This provides a completely custom-coded flight dynamicsengine that operates outside of the traditional flight simulatorconfines. It also provides the T-38A with advanced aerodynamicsmeaning that the aircraft does not fly "on the rails" like mostaircraft in P3D. It is important to try and remember some figures forflying the aircraft such as rotate/landing speeds and AOA's(particularly for VR users). It will just help the user in the longrun.
When it comes to getting off the chocks, not much power is requiredto start moving, she's quite the little pocket rocket. Taxiing theaircraft is relatively straight forward, engaging the nose wheelsteering helps greatly. It is also worth noting that if you have afailure system active you should follow the guidelines for taxiingsuch as reducing power during steering overwise you could get a tireblow-out.
The take-off role is straightforward also, however caution shouldbe taken when advancing the throttles forward as compressor stalls canbe induced. However should everything go smoothly the aircraft willgently leave the earth behind you at around 140 kts. Not a great dealof effort is required either, she seems to want to fly. If you aren'tcareful you will soon be doing over 400 kts if the reheat (orafterburner) is left engaged.
I began my flight testing by climbing to 20,000 feet so I could trydoing some basic general handling and learning what she is capableof. As I began to start some manoeuvrers and stalls, I noticedthat she isn't difficult to control, the aircraft feels very light andis pretty responsive to control inputs. The speed can bleed off prettyquickly so you certainly have to be careful if high G is beingpulled. I tried a couple of stalls and what I found really nice wasthe effects that Milviz has modelled. The cockpit starts to shake anda buffeting sound is also heard which also lets you know that a stallis occurring; again this adds to the immersion. Recovery from a stallisn't tricky, pitching the nose down and applying power soon gets youback to a normal flight regime. I did try to spin the aircraft but Icouldn't induce one, whether or not the real aircraft can enter a spinI am not sure.
As I entered the low level environment and started to snake throughvalleys between mountains I found that she handles really well. Whenquick responses are required she doesn't let you down. It was so muchfun flying a few hundred feet from the ground, and really got theadrenaline pumping when I flew it in VR. Also seeing as this was theaircraft that the legendary Thunderbirds used to fly you would expectit to be quite manoeuvrable so I tried to do a few loops and rolls, aswith everything ensuring that the correct entry speeds are essentialas I found out, but otherwise there weren't any issues trying to dothem.
After you've burnt off some fuel out in the area and return to baseit's time to try and hone your skills in the pattern and doing somecircuits. This is where you now have to work hard. I've heard fromreal world fighter pilots that circuits are hard, and you really feelthis in the T-38 since Milviz have a real world FDE that works outsidethe sim. Constantly monitoring your speed so that you are withinlimits for the landing gear and flaps is key otherwise the simulation'sfailure system will kick in with structural damage much like the realthing. It's also where remembering figures comes in handy such as the6 degrees of A.O.A. on final and a landing speed of around 160 ktsthat's within limits for the tires, etc.
As I am not a real world T-38A pilot I can only guess as to how shecompares to the real thing, but to me, it's so much fun to fly,challenging at times but overall probably one of the best flightmodels I've used.
This simulation comes with an amazing failure system. This can beaccessed via the drop down menu "tools".
Within the set up of the failures you can change how realistic youwish to have them if at all. These settings will determine how muchyou have to monitor the aircraft from engine start toshut-down. Failures will occur at random times during your sortie,which I am led to believe is based on real world failure data of theT-38A, however this does not mean that you will experience failures orfaults every flight. Literally every type of failure is modelled thatyou could think of, from "bird strikes" to "landing gear failure" andeverything in between. During my testing I had the failure settingsset to "Realistic" and I incurred a few failures from an engine fireon start-up, compressor stalls during maneuvers and landing gearfailure. It's actually quite a lot of fun having to deal withemergencies during flight, something that I haven't ever done before,but something that I did enjoy.
One thing that I was slightly disappointed with was a lack offailure documentation in the form of a checklist of what to do in eachcase. I would have thought real world pilots would have to refer toduring flight and since this is a "study-level" simulation it reallyshould have been included. When I came across issues I just had toguess what to do and hope for the best.
Of course there is the option to not have failures at all shouldyou not want to have to deal with emergencies and issues, but overallI really enjoyed having to deal with them.
As I have mentioned inprevious reviews,VR takes your flight simulation experience to another level, even witha basic aircraft that has no systems. With this aircraft, you couldn'tget any more realistic other than actually flying a real T-38. Thelevel of detail that Milviz has incorporated into this bird reallycomes alive when it's all you can see in the VR headset. Probablyaround 90% of the cockpit is legible, however this is a limitation ofthe Oculus Rift and not the model. This is also where you are most letdown in terms of documentation, because no "in-game" checklist isprovided for any stage of flight (normal or emergency procedures), youreally have to try and remember everything. Not a massive issue sinceit is a relatively simple aircraft to operate but it just would havebeen nice to have.
I did most of my testing in VR and just completely love everythingabout the actual aircraft. The documentation could do with some work,particularly "in-game" but that is my opinion. She flies like a dreamand for me there is a right level of system management to master (thisis for my skill level). The aircraft looks the part and once you letthe immersion take over you, the feel of the aircraft is amazing.
This is a knock-out aircraft with a doubt, so much fun and also sochallenging. Milviz also sells this aircraft commercially and I amsure that if real world T-38A pilots flew it they would beimpressed.
For me the Milviz T-38A is a solid 9.9/10. Everything that Milvizhas claimed they have modelled is there and I can't fault it. It is astudy level aircraft and you genuinely do have to study parts of theaircraft. The 0.1 I have dropped is for the documentation and lack ofan "in-game" checklist, maybe it's personal preference but if you arein VR it would hugely help.
Don't waste any time, go and get this beauty. You'll be left with asense of really having achieved something./images/reviews/milvt38a/milviz-t38-talon.jpg
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Purchase Milvia - T-38A Talon Redux For Prepar3D
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