• Review: AeroflyFS

    While reading a German Flight Simulator magazine (Flightm.Com), I came across a new flight simulator. We all know that Microsoft is building its new sim and that Austin Meyer is developing X-Plane 10 (10.03 Beta version 8 has just been published, although a boxed version is already in the shops). But nobody apparently was aware that RC simulator maker Ikarus was finalizing its first real flight simulator: AeroflyFS, for Windows and for Mac. Surprises are still possible in this day and age!

    I bought the package and will give you my first impressions.

    Those of you who still remember Flight Unlimited II and III (Electronic Arts was the publisher), know that the concept of restricting the available scenery to a limited part of the world, has its advantages. Concentration on the quality of the offered scenery area resulted in (at that time) unheard of dense and detailed scenery.

    AeroflyFS is a simulator for small aircraft. The scenery on offer is the total landmass of Switzerland, no more no less. Flyable planes include the Cessna Skyhawk, Jodel Robin DR 400, Pitts S-28, Sopwith F1 Camel, Extra 330LX, the gliders Discus bM (with engine) and Swift S1, as well as the military jet fighter of the Swiss, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

    The planes are nicely detailed, with 3D personnel on board, well detailed cockpits where all flying instruments for basic flying are available, including a moving map. Absent are all possibilities for communication and IFR flight. An autopilot of sorts is present, to keep you on a chosen course.

    However VFR is a joy. Switzerland is a beautiful country and all of its natural beauty is present in glorious detail in the simulator. The weather system can be influenced in many ways, with winds, thermal winds (depending on the topographical situation of course), clouds, sight and turbulence to be set at will, with all the consequences for your flight.

    The sound system is quite extensive; engine sounds, environmental noises, movement of flaps, warning tones etc. are all there to increase the fidelity of the simulator.

    TrackIR is recognized. Steering of the various airplanes in done with either mouse, joystick, game commander or with the keyboard (difficult).

    Many of the small aerodromes of Switzerland are available for take off and landing. Of the about 30 airports available, 15 or 16 are reasonably well detailed. The large airports of Zurich and Geneva are not simulated however, other than as landing strips. Clearly, this simulator is made for the recreational flyer, not for the professional pilots that fly the heavy stuff.

    For people like me, who live in the flat lands (Netherlands), a flight right over the Swiss Alps always has been a dream. Well, with AeroflyFS one can, at least virtually, realize that dream, quite spectacularly, as one of the pictures enclosed can show. The Extra 330 LX is a good choice to do this; its engine is stronger than the Cessna and the power and agility of the Extra 330 sometimes is needed to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way. What is very thoughtful of the makers of the sim is the possibility to blend in the names of the mountains etc. one flies past. Although I know the area quite well, with mountains so close nearby and seen from a different perspective, it makes it easier to find your way. And it adds to get really immersed in the situation.

    The documentation enclosed with the sim is in the form of a small booklet, which gives all the required information to get going and to tune the sim to your personal liking.

    My personal opinion:

    AeroflyFS is a joy to fly VFR from one little airport to another, taking in the spectacular scenery of the Swiss landscape. It is also quite nice to hone your flying skills.

    The planes are well simulated although I am no judge as to their fidelity, having never flown anything other than a Cessna. The F-18 is quite useless, it flies too easily and its speed makes you pass over the offered scenery in next to no time. The view from the cockpits is very good, with sunlight reflecting in the Perspex, the instruments that are working are reasonably well readable, the moving map can be used in flight.

    What I miss is the inclusion of traffic, the simulation of Zurich and Geneva International airports, the simulation of Sion airport (my favorite), the communication with traffic regulators and the possibility to use instruments to fly from A to B.

    Of course the fact that only Switzerland scenery is offered, is a handicap, but I understand that other scenery is an option Ikarus is working on. And, as Flight II and Flight III have shown, it is a good business option to start small and build from there.

    I have no idea if and how the flightsim community can add to the simulator as can be done with FS2004 or FSX, or even X-Plane. It certainly would add to the popularity of a sim, as history has shown.

    But the Ikarus people are to be complimented with the product they have offered. It shows courage to try and find a niche market in a flightsim market that is so dominated by one big player. But small is beautiful they say.

    Product Details:

    • Price: € 40 (equivalent of $52) excluding freight (€ 9, $12)
    • Two disks, small booklet with the necessary information.
    • Requiring 20.4 GB on your hard disk.
    • Activation: via Internet. Product key on disk front

    System Used:

    • MS Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP2
    • Intel Core2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40 GHz, 4.0 GB RAM
    • NVidia Geforce 8800GTS
    • Frame rates full screen resolution 1400 - 900 75 Hz between 15 (mountain area with names of places and scenery enabled) to > 40.


    Louis Bensdorp
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here

    Tags: aeroflyfs

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