• Perfect Flight Lockheed L-1011 Tristar

    Perfect Flight Lockheed L-1011 Tristar For FSX

    By Bill Otten (19 June 2007)

    If I were to characterize myself in terms of what I like to fly I might simply say I am a VFR - low and slow type of flyer. I'm a sightseer, plain and simple, and during my long experience with flight simulation (since at least FS3 days...I know I was designing scenery for FS4), I've flown around the world a few times. Yep, I did Lindbergh's flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, did Amelia Earhart's flight in her fuel laden plane, did a cross country in the J-3 Cub to recreate Rinker Buck and his brother's cross country as young teens in the J-3 they restored (see: "Flight of Passage", Hyperion Publishing). So to completely switch to 'heavy metal' in the guise of the lumbering Lockheed L-1011 Tristar was a major change for me. Yet, whenever I saw or flew those three engined beauties while traveling on business, I was intrigued. Big, powerful, and reassuring in redundant systems, the L-1011 soon became one of my favorites. So when the Perfect Flight Lockheed L-1011 Tristar package came out I had to earn my wings with the heavyweights.

    The package was an easy instant download from FlightSim's Pilot Shop. 49 megs in size, within a few minutes I had the entire package. A few more minutes with the simple setup program and the install into FSX was complete. I fired up FSX and the aircraft menu came alive with 96(!) liveries of the huge jet. Definitely something for anyone here. But I was far over my head in terms of cockpit familiarity with this plane so...I went off to Read The Flippin' Manual. Got to earn the wings on this plane. After some familiarity with the 22 page user guide I took my spot in the left seat. The user guide as it is isn't very strong, only pages 6-11 are devoted to 'controlling the aircraft' or navigating the panel pop-ups. Oddly, from pages 12 to 22 there are two histories of the aircraft with much repetition between them. From the aircraft though, the kneeboard contains a wealth of information in getting this plane up, flying, and back down easily.

    Perfect Flight's Lockheed L-1011 Tristar was developed by:

    • Marco Martini (missions)
    • Tolga Piskin (aircraft and panel)
    • Osvaldo Braca (sounds and effects)
    • Chip Barber (voices)
    • Jeff Hayes (voices)

    The Gmax outside visual model is well done, with nice reflective highlights on outside views and great paint jobs. The cockpit 2D panel I'd rate 'good', with signs of use evident although it doesn't have that 'impact' or 'pop' I've seen in some panels. The virtual cockpit panel is a bit better, and glancing around the cabin you can glimpse at the flight engineer's desk (not as detailed as it could be) and across the cabin to the copilot's chair. I suppose with many panels nowadays using photorealism this is one area where I thought the plane was lacking just a bit. Don't get me wrong, the panel(s) work, they look good, just not 'as real as it gets'. Popup panels are easily controlled with the function keys and cycling using the A key. Sounds are very good, and within the cockpit hearing the sounds of the three Rolls Royce RB-211-524B's spool up was pretty impressive.

    Flying the L-1011 was easier than anticipated and fun, although it is definitely busier than my 'low and slow' typical flights. You'll definitely feel like you're flying a massive jet, it doesn't respond like the Extra 300. Experienced 'commercial' or 'big iron' fliers will probably find the flight dynamics just about right and compared to the FSX big birds I found that the 'feel' of the L-1011 was in the same realm. Big, heavy, and the turns take a while.

    Besides the amazing 96 liveries, the Perfect Flight Lockheed L-1011 Tristar package also includes eight missions. Missions have always been emphasized in Perfect Flight products and this one is no exception. Missions challenge you in a different way (roger, that!) and they also have sounds and events that are triggered during flight to add more realism.

    Missions feature:

    • Complete AI/ATC interaction (this was pretty cool)
    • AI traffic available during the adventure
    • Complete cabin announcements; gear, flaps, parking brakes, speed restriction
    • Checklists (pre-start, taxi, before t/o, after t/o, descend, landing, parking). These were triggered at appropriate times, i.e., the before t/o while on runway holding.
    • Speed calls: 80 kt, V1, Vr, V2, flaps, gear GPWS
    • Radar altimeter, flight briefings and more.

    Voices for the missions were clear and distinct and added to the overall enjoyment of the missions.

    Select A Mission

    1) From The FS Menu select Missions

    2) Choose the Category - L-1011 Tristar - then choose the mission you want to fly. Once you have loaded an IFR Flight mission you will hear the adventure welcome message.

    3) Now you can prepare the cockpit, then set the parking brakes on to start the mission! The before start check list will be played.

    4) Start the engines and activate the ATC windows.

    My first mission was to try the Chicago to Los Angeles flight. I hit the ATC button to activate ATC and although the ATC window opened, selecting to contact Chicago ground did nothing. Hmmm.

    Well, it was my goof because if the jet hasn't been started, the avionics won't work, the radio stack doesn't work, etc. I was getting a full lesson in realism. Once that hurtle was passed, the radios came to life and the mission was underway. I must have missed that in the flying guide.

    Missions Included In The Package

    • Port of Spain Approach - Approach to Port of Spain Piarco International Airport at dawn using a BWIA L-1011. Estimated time to complete: 35 minutes
    • IFR Flight from Chicago to Los Angeles - A charter flight covered by ATA to transport passengers from Chicago to Los Angeles where they will pass the Christmas holidays. Estimated time to complete: 3 hours and 30 minutes. My favorite mission. Snowy in Chicago naturally.
    • Approach to Barbados - Approach to Barbados Grantley Adams International using a TWA L-1011. Flight to Barbados takes you to the eastern Caribbean tropical paradise. Estimated time to complete: 40 minutes
    • Approach to Palm Beach - Approach to Palm Beach International in bad weather using an Air American L-1011. Can you get it on the runway? (uh...) Estimated time to complete: 35 minutes
    • Approach to Palmdale - Palmdale Regional Airport is located in the Antelope Valley, California. It is generally considered one of the largest civilian airports in the world. Mountains around offer a very challenging approach. Estimated time to complete: 35 minutes
    • IFR Flight from New York to Indianapolis - IFR flight from Kennedy International to Indianapolis International in an Eastern Airlines L-1011. Time to complete: 1 hour and 15 minutes
    • IFR Flight from Charlotte to Atlanta - IFR flight from Charlotte Douglas International to Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International. You need to reposition a Delta Tristar from Charlotte Douglas Airport to Atlanta Hartsfield in a summer dusk. Estimated time to complete: 40 minutes
    • IFR Flight from Toronto to Montreal - IFR flight from Toronto Pearson International to Montreal Mirabe International. A scheduled flight covered by Air Canada at night. Estimated time to complete: 40 minutes

    In summary: great value, huge number of liveries, a good solid model with the right 'feel' and flight model for a heavy jet. Great visuals on the outside, at average on the panels, above average on the sounds and with the added missions, a very recommendable add-on.

    I did a lot of flying with this package and really enjoyed the missions included. (My condolences and apologies to the sim-flyers on my botched approach into Palm Beach International during that foul weather!).

    Bill Otten
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here

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