• Review: Just Flight - Stinson L-5

    Instrument Panel

    As in the real aircraft, the glare shield obscures forward visibility making it a necessity to weave when taxiing - this helps to see where one is going.

    The instrument panel is simple with only the bare necessities required for flight.

    Just Flight Stinson L5     Just Flight Stinson L5

    All the instruments have been well modelled and are beautifully clear and well placarded; the needles of some of these vibrate realistically when the engine is at idle. Another concession to modern day pilots is the addition of navigation instruments. What few switches and knobs there are work well and do their job correctly (complete with correct sounds). There is also a cold and dark mode available using a switch beside the pilot.

    Flight Dynamics

    I have used the many versions of Microsoft's Flight Simulator for much longer than I care to admit, and have seen it slowly improving - however, in my opinion, it has always been lacking when it comes to providing realistic flight dynamics.

    Before trying to fly any new aeroplane, one should always read the pilot operating handbook; however the manual supplied with the L5 is missing a few important figures, i.e. stall speed and flap extension speed. There are a few helping phrases such as "best approach speed will be 56 mph", but in the next sentence you get "maintain an approach speed of 67 mph", which is not a great deal of help. So the only solution was to go and fly the aircraft and see at what speeds, and with what flap settings the plane fell out of the sky with. In the course of ascertaining these figures, I had a eureka moment - this plane can be side slipped quite well! It is something I have tried to do on numerous occasions with quite a few aircraft over the years but had always failed miserably (something I had always put down to the way FSX works); however, this little fellow side slips like it is going out of style - well done Aeroplane Heaven!

    Just Flight Stinson L5     Just Flight Stinson L5

    Having climbed up to 2000 feet, I set about discovering the stall speed: the break with full flaps and droops was 49 mph, retracting the droops (ailerons) made no difference at all. A flapless stall occurred at around 55mph - the stall was benign with a gentle up and down head shake and no wing drop. I then set about finding maximum speed and this was 160 mph, with the maximum speed warning coming up a few knots later. These figures compare very well with those from the Stinson factory which are: a stall speed of 42 mph and VNE of 163 mph, so again, well done Aeroplane Heaven. The Stinson required very little rudder input to keep it on the runway, both with taking off and with landing, which is a trifle unrealistic, but I am willing to cut these guys a bit of slack as the rest of it works well.

    Hints On How To Fly

    Once in the air the Stinson flies like any other light aircraft, it is the departure and arrival phases that make taildraggers more involving.

    Just Flight Stinson L5     Just Flight Stinson L5

    Taxiing (at walking pace) requires lots of weaving and head bending, so as to see around the glareshield and engine compartment. This aids in avoiding/running over the clubhouse's pet dog, or running into another taildragger coming the opposite way. Once lined up on the runway, one pushes the stick fully forward and opens the throttle smoothly, whilst keeping the plot in the middle of the runway by "dancing" on the rudder pedals. As the tail rises you reduce the forward push on the stick, and by the time you get it centralised, it will be time to pull back and climb away.

    Landings again are different - descend until the wheels are a foot or so over the runway and cut the power, whilst all the time pulling the stick further and further back as speed bleeds off, and the nose rises, blocking out the view. If you get it right, all three wheels hit the ground at the same time, which can be quite satisfying, leaving you the job of gently bringing things to a halt with the brakes.

    Summary

    I am a reasonably new convert to Just Flight's models, and whilst this aircraft is not as visually detailed as their recent Arrow 3 and 4 series, it is very nicely presented all the same. It is both fun to fly, and challenging to get right, and will give hours of enjoyment... and at $24.95 it is not a piggy bank breaker. It will be a very nice hangar addition, especially if you use some of the small atmospheric airports, such as those in the PNW by Orbx.

    Just Flight - Stinson L-5

    I thoroughly recommend it!

    Nigel Porter

    Purchase Just Flight - Stinson L-5 Sentinel


    2 Comments
    1. jamminjames's Avatar
      jamminjames -
      One of the best out there right now. Looks and flies great. Lots of details. A must have for the low and slow crowd!
    1. TomCharles's Avatar
      TomCharles -
      Purchased form Just Flight. Great little aircraft I needed for Orbx Papua, PagoPago etc - low and slow VFR.
      Running P3D v4.2...nVidea 1060 Gb MSX GPU..etc. AS16 and ASCA, Rex Textures for water, Traffic 360, Fly Tampa EHAM. All sliders set to max. Every other aircraft add-on works great.

      After take off, using - key to zoom out - everything disappears except the two pilots and the metal lower frame!

      Contacted Just Flight with screen shots. They will look into it but gave full refund....a pity.
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