• Review: Lionheart Creations - Piper PA20 Pacer

    Piper PA-20 Pacer

    Publisher: Lionheart Creations

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $29.95

    Buy Here

    The Lionheart Creations series of products has been recently added into the FS Pilot Shop. (Well it was recent when this review was written). Longtime fans of Lionheart Creations products may be disappointed with perhaps the lack of the "Ultra-packs" from Lionheart Creations, but there are definitely some great selections, including the Diamond Star which I reviewed previously and tons of other quality add-ons, such as the Fairchild 24 and the Robin DR400, to name a few.

    Today's review will be based upon the Piper Pacer from Lionheart Creations, which looks great even just by looking at the product page screen shots. Before we delve into the simulated Pacer, let's take a look at where it all began...

    It all started back in the 1949, when aircraft manufacturer Piper found some success with the J-3 "Cub" aircraft. It was widely used as an observer aircraft during World War 2, and has seen great action as a civilian trainer for pilots.

    Initial production variants had a tail dragger landing gear configuration, but about 9000 of the 10,000 Pacers produced had a tricycle landing gear configuration. Later on, many pilots even reverted their "Tri-Pacers", names given to the Pacers with a tricycle landing gear configuration, to the old tail dragger configuration. The flaps were also modified by many pilots to have three Notches, from the default two from Piper's factories. Production of the aircraft ceased at around the year 1954.

    Lionheart Creations has done a wonderful job replicating this aircraft, and they have done such a great job that I was completely engrossed with the add-on, finding myself always scrolling to it before starting a flight. Well then, that was the overview, now we get down to business with the details.

    Virtual Cockpit

    The Piper Pacer was a highly rugged aircraft that has seen great use in the wilderness of the Alaskan region, and numerous of these planes have been refitted with a modern cockpit to continue life as a bush plane.

    Whilst testing this aircraft, I embarked on numerous "Fspassengers" flights, ferrying people around the west coast of the United States.

    Well, the virtual cockpit is definitely a plus at first glance. The textures are crisp, the modelling is accurate, and what really makes it for me is the choice you have, varying from the old classic panel with no in-built GPS to the modern bush panel, complete with modern instruments and a carbon fiber backing.

           

    There are three types of panels available to the user from the package, a classic panel, a "new" panel, and the most modern of the trio, the bush panel. I personally like the bush panel the most, although much of my time on this add-on is spent in the classic panel. Here's a breakdown of the panels:

    Classic: This panel is the oldest looking among the trio of panels, and the layout of the panel in the virtual cockpit is quite different than perhaps general aviation aircraft nowadays. The left of the cockpit is actually the radio stack (removable) and the flight gauges are spread throughout the panel towards the right. This may be a slightly different experience, especially to those accustomed to the modern panels today. However, it is quite easy to get used to this panel layout, though it would require you to trust your senses slightly more, as the gauges would be minimally visible when your view is centered towards the front on landing. More advanced gauges, such as the autopilot and GPS, can be accessed through key combinations, suggesting hand-held versions of these gauges, although the autopilot is probably included to aid in flying the aircraft over longer distances, I mean, yes we try to achieve realism, but for a quick flight on a weekday night, I say that the autopilot's help if time acceleration is used is definitely invaluable.

    New: "New" is in quotes since the panel is not exactly new looking. It is reminiscent of the old propeller airliners and general aviation aircraft back in the 1950-1960s, with the attitude indicator still adopting the old style of a line to indicate attitude, instead of the blue and brown areas on today's indicators. There is a GPS mounted onto the panel in the virtual cockpit, suggesting some modernization has been done to the plane since it left the factory. This configuration is found on the Tri-Pacers in this package, but the configuration files of the aircraft can be tweaked to install this option on either the normal or bush variants as well.

    Bush: The bush panel is probably the most modern of the three, and is (no prize for guessing this one) found on the bush variant of the aircraft. I find this panel the easiest to start with if you are transitioning from a modern prop. This panel is found on one paint, the Red Bullet custom I believe, for the Tri-Pacer, which I really appreciate, as the Tri-Pacer is probably my favorite out of all the variants, and an upgraded panel for one of the paint schemes is definitely a plus for Tri-Pacer lovers.

       

    All the panels come with 2D panels and relevant documentation is provided in the aircraft folder. More information on the documentation will be covered later.


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