• Review: Discover Great Britain

    Discover Great Britain

    Publisher: First Class Simulations

    Review Author:
    Bill Stack

    Suggested Price:
    $29.00

    Buy Here
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations

    Screen Shot by First Class Simulations

    Discover Great Britain from First Class Simulations is a collection of 66 flights covering more than 3,000 miles around England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Every flight has a filed flight plan. A vintage aircraft in several liveries is included.

    Each flight leads to the next flight. The first flight goes from Jersey to Guernsey, the second from Guernsey to Alderney, the third from Alderney to Plymouth, and so forth. All flight plans are described in the Navigation Log and shown on the GPS unit. The image below from First Class Simulations shows the routing of all 66 flights. All the flights that I viewed use First Class Simulations' green-and-white Auster Autocrat with "Discover UK" on its wings. Users can change aircraft to any of the other Autocrat models, or to any other aircraft of their choice.

    THE AIRCRAFT
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations
    Route Map
    Image by First Class Simulations
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations
    Flight Selections
    Image by Bill Stack

    The Aircraft

    The Auster Autocrat J/1 made by First Class Simulations and included with the package is the default aircraft for all 66 flights. Maximum speed stated in First Class Simulations' aircraft description is 120 miles per hour (104 knots). Its maximum gross weight is 1,850 pounds (841 kilograms). Length is 24 feet (7 meters), and wingspan is 36 feet (11 meters). Service ceiling is 14,000 feet (4,270 meters). The cockpit is two cushioned seats side by side with a third hard seat behind. Each pilot position has a stick instead of a yoke. These performance and physical characteristics make it faster, heavier, and larger than the Piper Cub that comes with Microsoft Flight Simulator®. This aircraft is provided in five liveries, all of which I display in my various screen shots.

    The cockpit controls and instruments are elementary. Most of the instruments are familiar to modern aviators and flight simmers, with a few nuances however. The airspeed indicator shows miles per hour instead of knots, which was common in the 1930s. It has no attitude indicator, and the heading indicator's position on the far right of the instrument panel forces the pilot to look far to the right for heading information instead of straight ahead. The hand-held Garmin 295 GPS unit is handy to have and is appropriate for this vintage airplane. Without an autopilot, this is a hands-on aircraft.

    This Auster Autocrat is an easy aircraft to learn. I used the default gross weight of 1,497 pounds (679 kilograms), which is 20 percent under its maximum, and I used standard atmosphere. Full throttle on take-off pushed the tachometer to 2,200 RPMs. The tail lifted off the runway at 55 miles per hour (48 KTS), and the entire aircraft lifted off at 75 miles per hour (65 KTS) with a little back pressure on the stick. It climbed out from the airfield at 90 MPH (78 KTS), and its tachometer rose to 2,500 RPMs. It handled turns with ease. On short flights that do not require much altitude, I leveled off at 5,500 feet (1,678 meters) and 6,500 feet (1,983 meters) depending on heading. The Auster accelerated to 140 MPH (122 KTS) while flying level, so I reduced power to stay within the 120-MPH maximum airspeed.

    The Auster glided toward the runway smoothly at 90 MPH (78 KTS). But it stalled short of the runway at 70 MPH (61 KTS) with flaps deflected, which surprised me, so I tried again. The second time, I made final approach at 80 to 85 MPH (70 to 74 KTS) and set down on the runway at 75 MPH (65 KTS).

    Overall, I found the Auster Autocrat easy to fly. Part of the enjoyment of these flights is learning how to fly this vintage aircraft. But all significant airspeeds that I experienced during several flights (rotation, liftoff, climbout, cruise, approach, landing, and stall) were higher than specified in First Class Simulations' checklists and manuals.

    THE AIRCRAFT
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations
    Aircraft Selection Menu
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations
    G-AUST "Discover UK"
    Discover Great Britain by First Class Simulations
    EI-AUM
    Screen Shots by Bill Stack

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