• Review: ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Flight Model

    Now that I had conducted some of the "business" end of things with the sights and sounds of the ASDG Super Cub, I was finally ready to take my inaugural flight out of KMYL. Releasing the parking brake I began taxiing from my spot on the ramp toward runway 34. Taxiing proved to be quite easy, though limited visibility over the nose requires some s-turns as is common with any tail dragger. When I looked left or right I could hear the big bush wheels as they rolled over the pavement and it almost made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Pressing on the brakes produces a satisfying squeaking sound and further lends some audio authenticity to the file.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Once I was lined up on the runway, I set takeoff flaps, switched on the fuel pump and landing light and slowly started to advance the throttle. This would prove to be the last thing I did correctly for my first takeoff in the ASDG Super Cub. Advancing the throttle to full power produced a tremendous amount of acceleration combined with an equally tremendous amount of torque. I was already loosing directional control of the airplane when I realized that I ought to have been standing on the right rudder pedal instead of gently pressing on it as if the darn thing were a Skyhawk. It was too late, however, and the aircraft careened off the runway and into the grass.

    More than a little ashamed of myself, I steered the Super Cub back onto the runway and wondered if perhaps taking the 150 hp model would have been a more prudent course of action for my first flight. Stubborn determination quickly put those thoughts out of mind as I once again poured on the coals and was at least able to keep the airplane on the runway this time. In seconds, the tail came up and a slight amount of backpressure sent the lightly loaded Super Cub hurtling into the air, even at such a high altitude airfield. Aviation journalists often describe bush planes and other light aircraft with high power-to-weight ratios as "rocket ships" for their impressive climb performance. This sort of language is well recognized for its extremely cliche nature, but that was exactly what I was thinking as I climbed out in the ASDG Super Cub. It was downright startling to be climbing at over 2000 fpm while still accelerating!

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Once I had composed myself, I decided to get to business and set my mind to flying the pattern. I pulled back the prop lever for 2500 RPM (the 180 hp models have a constant speed prop) and reduced power dramatically for level flight. With only a little bit of elevator trim juggling, I flew a fairly stable approach and was impressed with how quickly the aircraft slowed down with power reduction and the large two position flaps. This is an extremely draggy airplane when you need it to be which is helpful for dropping the airplane into tight backcountry airfields. With 6,108 feet of runway ahead of me, however, I knew that getting the Super Cub onto the ground shouldn't be a problem. I was correct and my first attempt at three-pointing a landing in the airplane resulted in a bit of a bounce but ultimately made up for my abysmal takeoff. I conducted several more takeoffs and landings and was eventually able to clean up my poor technique so that I was actually starting to get "good" with the airplane.

    The next flight I took in the ASDG Super Cub was also launched out of McCall Municipal, but this time I was bound for 3U2 Johnson Creek, one of Idaho's most popular backcountry airstrips 26 nautical miles to the east. This would give me a great opportunity to test the autopilot and cruise performance.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    With standard day, no wind conditions plugged into X-Plane 11, I climbed to 8,900 feet once I was airborne and on course, and set the autopilot. This took a little bit of guesswork, as I was unable to find any specific documentation regarding the use of the autopilot. Eventually I managed to figure it out, and completely guessed on the cruise power settings, of which the provided documentation is also lacking. My guess is that the folks at ASDG were unable to find specific performance numbers for a Titan X-340 equipped PA-18 because they simply don't exist. I set power for 17.52" of manifold pressure, 2400 RPM and leaned the mixture. Cruise speed with this power setting, tundra tires, and a cargo pod seemed very respectable at around 119 KTAS. Unfortunately, there is no way to concretely compare these numbers with an identically configured aircraft.

    My landing at Johnson Creek was a really good one and it was obvious that all the trial and error practicing back at McCall had paid off. I have found that flying the aircraft close to Vso on short final produced the best three pointers, and once I established some good visual references within the cockpit I was able to consistently land this airplane well.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    I have since tested other regimes of flight to include steep turns and stalls and overall I found the flight model to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of this aircraft. I tested the 150 hp models both with conventional gear and bush wheels, and definitely found the climb performance to be a bit anemic at higher altitudes. The simplicity of the 150 hp model is nice without the extra control for the constant speed prop, but for serious bush and mountain flying I highly recommend the 180 hp model. It is a "go anywhere" type of airplane.

    I flew the 180 hp amphibian out for a test flight out of S10 Lake Chelan Airport in Washington State and landed it on the lake. Even lightly loaded with only a single pilot, the Mass and Balance menu indicated that the airplane was outside of CG. I took off in the aircraft regardless, but eventually ran out of elevator trim just trying to keep the plane level. I was able to successfully land ASDG's amphibian variant on the lake, but, honestly, float flying in X-Plane just isn't my thing and I didn't explore the apparent weight and balance issue any further.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Graphical Performance

    Testing the graphical performance of a file is always a difficult task as there are so many variables involved. Everyone has a different computer and everyone runs their graphics settings differently. I have a decent mid range iMac with a 3.6 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a Radeon Pro 560 4096 MB graphics card. I run my X-Plane 11 graphics at what I would consider medium-high settings so that I get good looking scenery combined with good airplane performance. Configured thus, I found the ASDG Super Cub to be a little heavy on the frame rates from the cockpit, especially when compared with some other high quality aircraft from well-known development teams. My frames were in the low 20's in the cockpit but improved to the low 30's outside of the aircraft, all with clear weather selected. So far, the ASDG Super Cub is the most resource demanding aircraft I have yet to review for X-Plane 11.

    Conclusion

    The ASDG Piper Super Cub definitely has its high points and low points. I hope that I have documented them clearly throughout this review and that any criticisms I have of the file are seen as my honest experiences and opinions based upon the knowledge and experience I have accrued over the past few years I've been doing this.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Overall, I came away not as impressed with the file as I thought I would be and it just didn't live up to the hype I had imparted on it. Another reason for my lack of enthusiasm probably has to do with the fact that I am extremely picky and want development teams to produce perfect or near perfect files. No one wants to spend their hard earned money on something they will ultimately be disappointed in and I do everyone a disservice if I am dishonest with my opinions in a review. My desire is for development teams to be the absolute best they can be and turn out highly realistic and immersive products that will be appealing to their consumer base. Those are the types of files I want to buy.

    The ASDG Super Cub is not an inexpensive add-on at $42.95 USD. Granted, the file includes essentially four different airplanes, all with different flight models, so it is undeniably a good value. I don't dislike the ASDG Super Cub; in fact, despite all its shortcomings, I still think it is one of the better bush planes currently available for X-Plane 11. It just didn't "scratch the itch" that I wanted it to for me.

    ASDG Piper Super Cub     ASDG Piper Super Cub

    Shawn Weigelt

    ASDG Web Site

    Tags: asdg, cub, piper, super cub

    9 Comments
    1. rooitou's Avatar
      rooitou -
      Thanks for the very honest review Shawn. This is the kind of aircraft that I like to fly and it did catch my eye when it was released initially. However, that high price was an instant turn-off and I'm glad to see that some of my reservation was justified. I think at half the asking price, this would be a much more appealing value proposition.
    1. lear45xr's Avatar
      lear45xr -
      Well said rootiou. When are these developers going to figure out they are pricing many out of the add-on market. I have to disagree with author "The ASDG Super Cub is not an inexpensive add-on at $42.95 USD". It's too much, even if the Cub was good. $43 is to much. Why not a market goal of selling 3 times as many for $20 as opposed to a third at $43. Price sells.

      I also appreciate the honest review by Shawn. Good to know everything doesn't automatically get an "awesome" review. Keep up the good work
    1. ryogahibiki345's Avatar
      ryogahibiki345 -
      While it might not be a Super Cub the A2A Piper Cub is light years ahead of this thing.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by ryogahibiki345 View Post
      While it might not be a Super Cub the A2A Piper Cub is light years ahead of this thing.
      I have both the A2A Cub you mentioned, and the ASDG Super Cub reviewed here, and find them equally satisfying (but different).

      I'm assuming you've based your findings on having owned both models; so if that is the case, could you tell me what you find so disappointing about the ASDG Super Cub?

      I'd be highly interested to know.
    1. ryogahibiki345's Avatar
      ryogahibiki345 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DominicS View Post
      I have both the A2A Cub you mentioned, and the ASDG Super Cub reviewed here, and find them equally satisfying (but different).

      I'm assuming you've based your findings on having owned both models; so if that is the case, could you tell me what you find so disappointing about the ASDG Super Cub?

      I'd be highly interested to know.
      Seeing as how you are trying to call me out, an irritating but truth none the less, one does not have to own a product to have tried it, so that right there is pretty blatantly a nasty way of asking what I don't like about a product. That said, I do own the A2A Cub and have for many years. The ASDG a friend has let me fly on his rig as I do not fly X-Plane often. From a real world mechanic stand point I can tell you, that the A2A has a "real" engine under its hood where as the ASDG offering is like most other aircraft out there, running on rails and living solidly with in the simulation environment, which A2A does not. A2A has its own IP module that operates outside of the simulator so that the aircraft doesn't act the same way all the time. I hope that you've found my reply to your snide comment adequate but, like my other posts, I am sure it will never see the light of day as you like to remove them.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by ryogahibiki345 View Post
      Seeing as how you are trying to call me out, an irritating but truth none the less, one does not have to own a product to have tried it, so that right there is pretty blatantly a nasty way of asking what I don't like about a product. That said, I do own the A2A Cub and have for many years. The ASDG a friend has let me fly on his rig as I do not fly X-Plane often. From a real world mechanic stand point I can tell you, that the A2A has a "real" engine under its hood where as the ASDG offering is like most other aircraft out there, running on rails and living solidly with in the simulation environment, which A2A does not. A2A has its own IP module that operates outside of the simulator so that the aircraft doesn't act the same way all the time. I hope that you've found my reply to your snide comment adequate but, like my other posts, I am sure it will never see the light of day as you like to remove them.
      'Running on rails' was a term adopted to flying certain MSFS aircraft, but with X-Plane, that term was rarely used/required (quite the opposite in fact), due to the simulators usage of blade element theory. It's well known that A2A use custom code to enhance the default MSFS flight dynamics, but again, this is due to the aforementioned 'running on rails' syndrome of the default flight dynamics.

      Many thanks for contributing!

      Dominic
    1. yubi's Avatar
      yubi -
      Nice plane, but, $43.00 US...I'm in Canada, so this is closer to $60.00 ....Not a Chance...
    1. lear45xr's Avatar
      lear45xr -
      Quote Originally Posted by yubi View Post
      Nice plane, but, $43.00 US...I'm in Canada, so this is closer to $60.00 ....Not a Chance...
      I'm with ya. Way over priced!
    1. W33's Avatar
      W33 -
      Very enjoyable, so I consider it money well spent here.

      W33
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