• Review: Virtualcol - Embraer 190-195 Regional Jets

    Embraer E-190 / E-195

    Publisher: Virtualcol

    Review Author:
    Ron Blehm

    Suggested Price:
    $11.95

    Buy Here

    Test System Details

    I am a sim pilot. I am not an actual pilot. I am also not a computer programmer. In fact, I really don't know too much about computers at all. I do know that my system is pretty moderate:

    • An HP desktop running Windows 7 Premium with Service Pack 1
    • 4 GB of RAM (whatever that means)
    • An AMD Athlon IIx4 video with 2.8 GHz processor speed
    • FSX Pre-Release Beta version 3

    Introduction

    I am not an experienced product reviewer; in fact, this is only my second "professional" review. Back in 2007 Virtualcol asked me to review their "Colombia Virtual Pro" scenery package for FS2004 which I enjoyed very much (Read the review here). I kept using that scenery for over three years until I moved on to FSX. So, just to let you know, this group has been producing quality products for a while now.

    History

    After years of simming I finally found my niche: regional commuter jets. (Read my article here.) On more than one occasion I've written pieces for this web site basically calling myself an "expert" on the Embraer E-jet family. (I checked the log and have about 1,200 hours on the type with just over 1,500 "cycles"; see picture below, not from this package). So I guess it's no surprise that Virtual Colombia invited me back to write a review of their April 1st release of the EMB-190/195 package for FSX/Prepar3D.

    Since 2012 I have been flying (almost) exclusively in E-jets. As I've stated in the past, I want my aircraft to look like the real thing but frame rates are far more important to me than eye-candy! Therefore, I have all four versions of the E-jet family from AI Aardvark which I have extensively tweaked and worked and massaged into fine-flying, validated, accurate sim aircraft. Performance in the cockpit is far more important to me than a realistic or detailed cockpit. For this reason I have only used a 2D cockpit but I have added in a functional mini-panel for those hand-flown final approaches. Additionally I have done many of my own repaints and if I really must confess, I have nearly 300 total Embraer aircraft in my hangar! Needless to say, I've put in a lot of hours and work and passion and commitment over two-plus years so according to my own perspective, I had no reason to want any more EMB-190s.

    What You Get

    This package contains two separate models of Embraer's E-jet family, the E-190 and the larger E-195. (Please see Bill Stack's review of the E-170/175 package.)

                           

    What is amazing to me is that for only twelve bucks (USD) you get nearly 30 liveries of the E-190 and more than seven repaints of the E-195 (see pictures above for some examples). Other payware packages may only feature one or two variations of the same aircraft (cargo vs passenger for example) and a very few liveries. $25 or $30 for a single aircraft with two or three repaints is not unheard of in the world of FS payware. So the price is right for sure.

           

    Additionally there is a custom-built panel/cockpit with both 2D and 3D renderings (see pictures above). Additionally there are ground services (picture below, left). Additionally there is a custom sound package. Additionally there is a 32-page PDF User Manual. Additionally there are fifteen checklists covering every phase of flying from pre-start to pushback to cruise and shut-down. Seriously? All this for $12? YES! If you like commercial jets, or at least regional jets ... if you like FMCs ... if you like Embraers ... if you like glass cockpits ... if you like routes that are less than 1800 miles ... there is no reason not to buy this product! Heck, $24 bucks (for both of Virtualcol's packages) and I may never need another product for flight simming ever again!

       


    15 Comments
    1. vflight2's Avatar
      vflight2 -
      Great review, and so far my experience with these aircraft has been just plain fun, not a burp or a hiccup yet. A small diamond among many more costly, bigger hyped add on aircraft. Sorry gotta get back to my 190 flight to Sunport! Thanks Ron.
    1. Sascha66's Avatar
      Sascha66 -
      Looking at the images provided the VC is very simply modelled: https://www.flightsim.com/images/rev...rtualCol08.jpg. No window frames, square struts, clunky yoke).

      I bought the Virtualcol Fokker 50 and never fly it because of the VC.

      VC is very important for me, so how does it make out in the 190? I would appreciate a couple of comments on the visuals.
    1. jamminjames's Avatar
      jamminjames -
      Much better than the Fokker. Not up to say just flight's standards but you get a lot of bang for the buck!
    1. BobK's Avatar
      BobK -
      VirtualCol's planes are generally very nice; systems simulation in particular generally being top notch. Having said that, though, their weak spot is in the VC. But for the price! You can't touch anything of comparable overall quality for less than double the price from anybody else. Better yet, they're often on sale; I paid $7.35 for my 190-195.
    1. swanny's Avatar
      swanny -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sascha66 View Post
      Looking at the images provided the VC is very simply modelled: https://www.flightsim.com/images/rev...rtualCol08.jpg. No window frames, square struts, clunky yoke). I bought the Virtualcol Fokker 50 and never fly it because of the VC. VC is very important for me, so how does it make out in the 190? I would appreciate a couple of comments on the visuals.
      Sascha66, Thanks for pointing out that what is important to you may not bother the rest of us. It is still very important if it's what you need. As stated in the review, I'm an old timer and haven't gotten too much into 3D cockpits. I acknowledge that it does add a layer of realism to your flying that could be valuable. Other than not being used to VCs I have always found them (any that I have tried) to indeed be a bit "clunky", that seems a good term. Beyond that, this one seems a bit shiny to me (maybe it's my settings?). So, you may be able to do better but I don't think the better VC will be for the E-jets and as another poster commented, you'll CERTAINLY not find anything better for the price! Yes, I have purchased the E-170/175 package and am just taking it for a flight now.

      Cheers, RB
    1. dandathec's Avatar
      dandathec -
      It's totally unreal, if you compare this model with Wilco... I think if you want pay for a FS model it needs to be realistic but this NOT.
    1. ftldave's Avatar
      ftldave -
      Quote Originally Posted by dandathec View Post
      It's totally unreal, if you compare this model with Wilco... I think if you want pay for a FS model it needs to be realistic but this NOT.
      And Wilco's Embraer models cost FIVE TIMES more than Virtualcol's E-Jets, so that's a meaningless comparison.
    1. danielgonzalez's Avatar
      danielgonzalez -
      Quote Originally Posted by dandathec View Post
      It's totally unreal, if you compare this model with Wilco... I think if you want pay for a FS model it needs to be realistic but this NOT.
      I have both models, but wilco exterior and FDE is bad for me and no more repaints. However if you want realism, see this video, it help me to get a better ejets:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5KGTMczdRM
    1. spyvik's Avatar
      spyvik -
      Quote Originally Posted by ftldave View Post
      And Wilco's Embraer models cost FIVE TIMES more than Virtualcol's E-Jets, so that's a meaningless comparison.
      I don't accept this justification
      And if you search in the freeware area you may find a freeware E190 having the default 737 cockpit, and it is absolutely free. When you enter the procedure to buy a payware aircraft, you search at least to be "as real as it gets"
      I, personally have personal experience with Virtual Col F50 which was very poor, (a mixture of freeware cockpit with GPS!!), PMDG1900D for FS9 where wou were paying only for the model because the cockpit was in fact the default cockpit of beeachcraft 350.

      It is totally different for a product not to be expensive and about a cheap construction.
    1. swanny's Avatar
      swanny -
      "It is totally different for a product not to be expensive and about a cheap construction."

      I appreciate SPYVIK's comment above. I agree that a $12 vs $50 comparison may, in fact be valid - like comparing my Ford (which was given to us) with a $250,000 sports car! Some people are into price, some people are into looks, some people are into ... whatever. If you want something cheap, my car wins. If you want something that can beat a Yaris off the line you better spend more.

      For me (IMHO) I've been flying tweaked AI aircraft with a highly redone CRJ panel for years. To have more detailed models and an "actual" EMB cockpit is fantastic! And with the donated E-190s and on sale E-170s I've spent less than $10. (I was on the FSX-Beta Test Team so my FSX was free too!) Spending $10 on simming over the last 5 years is pretty good!! If you CAN afford $50 for Wilco's package (and the better PC to run it) more power to you!!! If you CAN'T afford that or don't know if you WANT to spend that much, VirtualCol has given us something better than freeware for a great price. If you want to do BOTH packages (DANIELGONZALEZ video link above) that's great too.

      For me (and again, my priorities may not match yours) I'm working two jobs and driving a cheap car so that the kids can be in Private School; therefore VirtualCol's E-jets are awesome. It's okay if they aren't awesome for you, I was just hoping to offer a review of a basically good and very affordable product.

      Cheers,
      RB
    1. danielgonzalez's Avatar
      danielgonzalez -
      Quote Originally Posted by spyvik View Post
      I don't accept this justification
      And if you search in the freeware area you may find a freeware E190 having the default 737 cockpit, and it is absolutely free. When you enter the procedure to buy a payware aircraft, you search at least to be "as real as it gets"
      I, personally have personal experience with Virtual Col F50 which was very poor, (a mixture of freeware cockpit with GPS!!), PMDG1900D for FS9 where wou were paying only for the model because the cockpit was in fact the default cockpit of beeachcraft 350.

      It is totally different for a product not to be expensive and about a cheap construction.
      Hey friend, if somebody likes SODA and you likes WINE what is the problem? In the market exist multiple options for multiple users. Some people prefer start engines with CNTRL+E and ready to fly, other people prefer follow a checklist for 30 minutes before to fly... all people have same right to maintain their preferences. The B737 free in FS in fact has a beauty cockpit, but no all buttons work... then why to prefer a beauty picture without functions while this product works all systems and isn't so bad?
    1. addman's Avatar
      addman -
      Quote Originally Posted by danielgonzalez View Post
      Hey friend, if somebody likes SODA and you likes WINE what is the problem? In the market exist multiple options for multiple users. Some people prefer start engines with CNTRL+E and ready to fly, other people prefer follow a checklist for 30 minutes before to fly... all people have same right to maintain their preferences. The B737 free in FS in fact has a beauty cockpit, but no all buttons work... then why to prefer a beauty picture without functions while this product works all systems and isn't so bad?
      Totally agree! Be happy with what you like and RESPECT what others like, everyone's happy!
    1. Charl's Avatar
      Charl -
      My first exposure to something bigger than a 172, and it suits me fine for learning purposes.Just dont know how to access the checklists in the kneeboard?
    1. devilsdale's Avatar
      devilsdale -
      Quote Originally Posted by ftldave View Post
      And Wilco's Embraer models cost FIVE TIMES more than Virtualcol's E-Jets, so that's a meaningless comparison.
      this simulation is totally pants. I have it and wish I could get the $10 back, the autopilot has a mind of its own and this thing accelerates like an F16 so totally not flyable in a semi realistic flight setting like Vatsim.
    1. mebaril's Avatar
      mebaril -
      looks nice will certainly buy it
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