• Review: Alabeo PA38 Tomahawk For X-Plane

    Piper PA38 Tomahawk X-Plane

    Publisher: Alabeo

    Review Author:
    Mark A. Stevenson

    Suggested Price:
    $22.95

    Buy Here

           

    I first came into contact with Alabeo when I was off to find an inexpensive payware plane for X-Plane. I was immediately impressed with the really high quality at a reasonable price. Well Alabeo has done it again kicking off the New Year with the 2014 Piper Tomahawk II for FSX and X-Plane (my sim of choice)

    I downloaded the file (228.2 MB), opened it, and much to my delight I was greeted with an absolutely beautiful rendition of the Piper Tomahawk II. A "walk around" reveals gleaming paint with incredible detail to textures, landing gear, the pilot and co-pilot. No detail has been missed. Inside the cockpit one is treated with a very real looking dash with the normal compliment of working instruments (no autopilot) and camera menus that allow one to dial up different views (view from rear, main view, co-pilot view, tail cam, wing cam, belly cam, throttles, radio, fuel select) along with an option menu where a transparent windshield, instrument reflections and the ability to open the pilot and co-pilot doors are all available by clicking them on and off as desired. The interior of the plane is true to reality and is very nicely done revealing the 360 degree view one can access in this plane.

           

    Upon starting the engine a very realistic pleasant rumbling noise fills the air which changes upon one or both doors being opened--nice effect!

    The Piper Tomahawk II was released by Piper in 1982 with an uprated engine, and immediately became famous among flight instructors prompting many to say "It is the best GA training aircraft ever built!" With that in mind I would definitely recommend this aircraft to anyone who wants to get a feel of what it would be like to get a flight lesson in this bird; or anyone who wants a great little "day tripper" (range 539 miles with a ceiling of 13,000 feet).

    Before I cover the flight model I would like to mention what one gets and the spec requirements. The plane requires a Pentium 2 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 512 MB VRAM, 219 MB hard disk space.

    The downloaded package comes with five HD liveries (simmers are already making more "skins" for this plane) one blank texture and docs (Emergency PDF, Normal PDF, and a quick reference PDF). The pilot's visor also has quick reference specs posted on it.

           

    For my test flight I chose a flight from PAGS Gustaves to PAJN Juneau, Alaska, a very scenic 36 nm trip at 115 mph. My frame rate was 50 at takeoff over the airport and quickly climbed to 58 using the 2D panel view and 45 using the full 3D panel. All of the aforementioned was done on a 27" iMac i5 with 16 GB of memory running X-Plane at 64 bit rendering. At 115 mph the scenery doesn't go rushing by, a good thing when you fly in beautiful Alaska.

    The flight model is very true to the real plane which has a 112 hp engine @ 2600 rpm and a top speed of 126 mph (cruse speed of 115 mph, stall speed of 56.5 mph). The plane will land in 635 feet.

    Flying the plane in X-Plane revealed that I could not use my "Rudder Hat Switch" on my CH Fighterstick as it really played havoc with the steering when taxiing. I don't know if rudder pedals will have the same problem or if this is a minor bug in the Tomahawk or a bug with X-Plane. Works fine if I remember to steer with just the stick.

           

    The plane is a joy to fly as it is very agile and can genteelly land at 60 mph with flaps down. The only quirk I found in the model was that it is hard to keep the nose down; when flying at full speed the plane just wants to keep climbing. This may be an X-Plane thing or a minor issue that needs to be addressed by making the pitch control more effective in the model and perhaps addressed in a future update.

    It is a joy in this plane to be able to take in the view (360 degrees) and fly slowly without falling out of the sky! It is no wonder so many people rave about this plane in the real world and soon will be in the sim world.

    If you are looking for a plane to learn how to fly really well in a sim you will not find another at the price Alabeo is offering. The same holds true if you want to fly something as graceful as a bird and really take in your surroundings!

           

    Sim on my friends!

    Buy Here

    Mark A. Stevenson

    Learn More Here


    1 Comment
    1. 50sqnwopag's Avatar
      50sqnwopag -
      It's an ok bird unless you somehow get it into a spin(spin recovery practicals weren't part of the syllabus), apparently it has a tendancy for the tail to come off or not be able to recover from a spin going by what my instructors said, hence its nickname 'TerrorHawk', well that's what it was called when I was getting my ppl. Also the flaps had a tendancy to self retract when buffeted about alot either on the ground or when airborne but maybe that was just the tired/knackered out old crate I learnt on?
      Having said all that I still think it's a better training a/c than the C152 I later got my license on.
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