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Gift Guide: Just Flight - PA28-181 Archer TX/LX

Archer TX/LX

Publisher: Just Flight

Review Author:
Jennifer Kimball

Suggested Price:


Hello! Today's review will bring us aboard Just Flight's PiperPA-28 Archer TX/LX G1000 for X-Plane 11.


Part of Piper's well known Cherokee series, the Piper Archer is oneof the most recognizable general aviation aircraft in the world.Rugged, elegant, reliable, and comfortable, the Archer is an excellentaircraft for a variety of missions. Strong enough to withstand studentpilot abuse, big enough to carry a family of four, and just fastenough to be a solid cross country machine, the Archer is all around agreat airplane to own, rent, or learn to fly in.

The Piper Archer line began its life in 1974. In its early days,Archers featured the classic "hershey bar" wing, a standard steamgauge panel, and a larger cabin than the Piper Warrior. The Archer gotits tapered wing design in 1976, along with a 200 lb gross weightincrease and was then marketed as the Archer II.

The newest version of the Archer is the Archer LX which isoutfitted with state-of-the-art glass panel G1000 NXi avionics and astylish, well-appointed interior. The LX is powered by Lycoming O-360A4M engine (180 hp), and has a maximum cruise speed of about 128 knotsat 75% power, and a range of 522 nautical miles. The TX model is muchlike the LX, including the G1000, but is optimized for flight trainingoperations.

So, now that we know what we're getting into, let's go flying!


Just Flight did a fantastic job modeling this aircraft. They usedtons of photographs and real-world plans for the actual Archer,resulting in stunningly realistic visuals. On the ramp, the Archer istied down and ready for the pilot to open the doors, do a walk around,and get ready to fly. There's a neat pop-up menu that can be accessedby clicking the arrow on the left side of the screen, in which you cantoggle a variety of options, including the addition/removal of wheelpants, toggling the automatic fuel switch, removing the groundelements (including the tie downs), and much more which we willexplore further along this review flight.


On that same menu, among other things, there's a nifty option toopen the doors in one click as well, including the baggagedoor. There's also a weight and balance sheet, fuel sheet, interactivechecklist, and a general "on" button that fires up the engine andavionics at the same time, which gets you ready to fly right away ifthat's what you want.


The modeling is highly accurate, detailed, and strikingly beautifulboth inside and out. Climbing in, I'm greeted by a plush and stylishinterior, just like in a real Archer. This Archer clearly lives in ahangar, and has a very proud owner who takes good care of theiraircraft, but it has just enough wear and tear to let you know it'sflown regularly. The door animations are highly detailed; in fact, theyactually respond to force and wind. Just Flight's attention to detailreally shines with this model. Other detailed animations include butare not limited to sun visors and a movable pilot window vent. Thetextures are also beautifully done, featuring highly detailed normalmaps and PBR effects, making this model a real treat to look at.


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I fired it up following the checklist and the Lycoming O-360 runssmoothly, and the engine sounds are dynamic and realistic. I verify onmy G1000 MFD that the databases are current and nothing is expired, andthankfully, everything is current. I press the key and get the MFDgoing; the moving map, nav and engine info are just like the realG1000. I set my standby and backup frequencies, plug in a direct route(using the "direct" key) to my destination and get on with theflight. The panel also features the Garmin EFD 1000, optional GFC 700autopilot controls, and all of this is fully functional as well as allof the switches and breakers in the cockpit.

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The Archer feels just like the real deal while taxiing. I holdshort of the runway and perform an engine run up/magneto check, beforetakeoff checklist, and double check my navigational equipment andfrequencies before calling the tower for takeoff clearance. I rolledout onto the runway and eased the throttle forward bringing 180 horsesof Lycoming power to life. The Archer accelerated well but, like thereal thing, takes a few moments to get airborne. The sounds arerealistic and the handling feels correct. It's just like a realArcher!

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I've spent a lot of time in various PA-28 aircraft and some G1000s,and the experience models the real thing as well as I could ever askfor. I don't have any particular complaints about the avionics or theflight model. Leveling out at about 2500 feet for a short cruise, I noticethat the Archer trims out very nicely and has no problems maintainingaltitude. I have to hold a healthy amount of right rudder in theclimb, and a little bit less in cruise. Maybe just a little more thanI remember having to use in the real thing, but it's good practice toget used to paying attention to your rudder pedals, and referencingthe turn coordinator (which, on the G1000, is very easy to read). Iwouldn't change a thing.


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As far as landings go, it lands like the real thing. It takes agood amount of back pressure but not too much in the flare, andholding airspeed in the pattern is straightforward andeasy. Stabilized on final, it's easy to adjust the airspeed and sinkrate with power and pitch as it is in a real Cherokee type airplane,and the response to control inputs is, in my view, accuratelyrealistic. Overall a very well done flight model, I exited theairplane feeling thoroughly impressed on my first flight with it. Myonly major gripe is that the fuel selector can be difficult to clickover from the left to the right tank (I found myself accidentallymoving it to the "off" position on the first two tries), so I suggestyou practice operating it on the ground before moving it inflight. Other than that, all of the switches function well and theanimations are wonderfully smooth.


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Night flying is great in the Archer. The lights look great from theoutside, and even in the dark, the textures reflect light in arealistic way. The cockpit lighting is beautifully modeled, and can betoggled through the pop up menu. The screen shots show the differencewith the cabin lights off vs on.

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The Archer comes with six great liveries to choose from, plus aplain white livery. I believe the airplane is well worth the price($41.99 USD). You get a realistic, accurate, and fun to fly PiperArcher that will be ready to take you all over the simulated world. Asa real pilot, I can say that this aircraft is a good representation ofoperating and flying a real G1000 equipped aircraft, and would be afun training supplement for pilots learning to fly in similarreal-world airplanes. From Just Flight's web site, here is acomprehensive list of features:


  • Accurately modelled PA-28-181 Archer TX/LX, built using real-world aircraft plans and comprehensive photography of the real aircraft
  • Numerous animations including multi-animation passenger door that, when open, responds to G-forces and air resistance, baggage door, cockpit window and sun visors
  • Ground equipment including chocks and tie-downs
  • HD textures are used to produce the highest possible texture clarity
  • PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials with real-time environment reflections for superb quality and realism
  • Detailed normal mapping for down-to-the-rivet precision of aircraft features
  • Support for rain (requires free Librain plugin)


  • Fully functional G1000 PFD and MFD, and EFD 1000
  • Optional GFC 700 autopilot controls
  • Realistic aircraft and engine systems indications
  • A truly 3D virtual cockpit right down to accurately modelled seat belts and screw heads - every instrument is constructed fully in 3D with smooth animations
  • Cockpit textures feature wear and tear based on reference photos taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment
  • Interactive engine start checklist that responds to user inputs and sim variables
  • Interactive checklists for every stage of flight
  • Aircraft configuration system that will allow you to choose between 'cold & dark' or 'ready for take-off' (if aircraft is stationary on the ground)
  • Interactive logbook panel for logging your flight details (X-Plane native)
  • Flight computer panel with useful information such as fuel burn, endurance, speed and wind speed/direction
  • GoodWay compatible
  • Option to activate flashlight from within pop-up window, to aid in those pitch-black cold and dark starts at night
  • Option to remove window and instrument reflection effects
  • Animated toe brakes
  • Functional throttle quadrant tensioning system
  • Radio knob animations routed through plugin logic, for optimum movement fidelity and sound synchronisation
  • Optional G1000 synthetic vision


Aircraft Systems

  • Custom-coded fuel system, including the option of automatic fuel tank switching for use on those long distance cross-country flights (this option is remembered for future flights)
  • Custom-coded electrical system with functional circuit breakers, avionics power circuit and secondary power system. Circuit breaker logic is linked to X-Plane's internal failure logic, so if the plane is set to fail a certain electrical component after a certain number of hours, the circuit breaker for that element will pop out.
  • Realistic landing gear with slow/fast tyre rotation animation (blurry when rotating fast), precise shock absorber animation and wheel chocks and tie-downs
  • Dedicated interactive engine pop-up window displaying values such as fuel tank weights and imbalance, fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, battery charge (with quick charge option), and information about spark plug fouling and vapour lock condition
  • Simulated vapour lock condition, with warning pop-up and suggested actions
  • Simulated spark plug fouling condition, with indication of percentage of fouling
  • Lighting system includes separate lighting control for gauges (via rheostat)
  • Simulated fan and vent system with realistic blower sounds (linked to circuit breaker logic and electrical system for realism)
  • Custom external light logic with custom strobe light pattern and custom light halos for added realism

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The Archer TX is supplied with six liveries:

  • G-IBEA (UK)
  • N752ND (USA)
  • N280HG (USA)
  • N667LB (USA)
  • D-EKKP (Germany)
  • ZK-LJX (New Zealand)

Other Features

  • Realistic and accurate flight dynamics based on real-world performance and handling data, and input from PA28 pilots
  • Authentic sound set, generated using X-Plane's state-of-the-art FMOD sound system
  • Custom sounds for switches, doors, warnings and more, featuring accurate location placement of sounds in the stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill in when window or door(s) are opened, different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle etc.
  • Comprehensive manual with panel guide and performance data
  • PSD Paint Kit included so you can create your own paint schemes
  • Dedicated pop-up window for sound mixing, allowing for individual adjustment of the volume of exterior sounds, in-cockpit sounds and various effects
  • Custom weight and balance manager window

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Overall, Just Flight has a real winner with this Archer. If you'relooking for a comfortable, realistic airplane for general aviationflights, sight seeing, and even IFR, it's worth buying and flying thisexcellent addition to your x-plane hangar.


Jennifer Kimball


Purchase Just Flight PA-28-181 Archer TX/LX for X-Plane 11

Also available: Just Flight Archer III for X-Plane 11

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