• Review: Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8

    Douglas DC-8

    Publisher: Aerosoft

    Review Author:
    Michael Hayward

    Suggested Price:
    $42.99

    Buy Here

    The DC-8 series was a first generation jetliner developed and built by Douglas in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. It competed directly with Boeing and their 707 series in the early days of the Jet Age.

    Today we take a look at Aerosoft's rendition of the Douglas DC-8-50 developed by Michael Cependa, and see if it's worthy of a place in your virtual jet hangar!

    Aircraft Specification

    • Crew: 3
    • Length: 150.7 ft (45.9m)
    • Height: 42.4 ft (12.92m)
    • Wingspan: 142.4 ft (43.4m)
    • Empty Weight: 124,800 lb (56.6t)
    • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 315,000 lb (142.9t)
    • Powerplant: 2x P&W JT3D-3B
    • Aircraft Performance:
      • Range: 5,855 nmi (10,843km)
      • Service Ceiling: 42,000ft (12,802m)
      • Max Cruising Speed: Mach 0.82 (483kn, 895km/h)

    Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8     Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8

    Two installers are provided with the product; one for 32-bit simulators and another for 64-bit. Select your chosen simulator, input your activation key, and the rest of the installation is automated.

    In the root directory of the DC-8 folder, you will find six PDF documents, covering the tutorial, checklists and CIVA for the aircraft, as well as a support folder for XML animations that the aircraft uses.

    As with all Aerosoft tutorials, each one is checked and signed off by Cependa himself, giving you his assurance of quality. The tutorial of the DC-8 in particular is 33 pages long and covers absolutely everything, from starting cold and dark, right up to securing the aircraft after landing.

    Exterior Model

    The exterior model of the aircraft is modelled on the DC-8-50 variant, and its likeness to the real thing is fantastic.

    Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8     Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8

    Details such as panels and textures, have been defined through bump mapping, as well as an additional 200 or so small textures carefully defined and placed up and down the body of the aircraft. These can be seen especially when looking up close at the model, where these details are crisp and clear - text and decals can be read without any issue.

    As is the norm with most modern add-ons nowadays, the cabin interior has also been modelled in 3D, and is visible from the outside of the aircraft. This not only gives the DC-8 a real sense of depth, but also provides an additional element of eye-candy (always appreciated).

    The grey smoke emanating from the P&W JT3D engines when on full throttle, is also a nice touch and helps ensure that the DC-8's nickname of 'cigarette jet', remains intact! Small attention to details such as this, really help bring the spirit of the DC-8 to life in the simulator.

    When flying at night, the exterior of the aircraft lights up to match that of the interior, with the same being true for the cockpit. Anti-collision lights also reach out across the front of the wings, and help give the aircraft a more dynamic look (despite these lights being baked into the wing).

    Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8     Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8

    One issue I did run into though, and I'm not sure if this is down to my FSX install, or if the textures failed to load properly, but the strobe lights appeared to have small red boxes surrounding them. I believe it may be down to the fact that P3D v4 has HDR lighting, and so the boxes remain hidden, but for me at least, they don't appear as they should across multiple flights.

    On a positive, the model is really light on system resources, and provides excellent frame rates. During testing, I managed up to 60 fps in unpopulated areas, and this was when using the external camera. Performance like this is highly reassuring, and means (hopefully) you won't be dealing with too many lagging issues when flying from various camera positions.

    There are seven liveries included with the aircraft and these are as follows:

    • N8035U United Airlines
    • PH-DCT KLM
    • EC-ARC Iberia
    • CF-CPM CP Air
    • N8008D Lufthansa
    • N820D Delta Airlines
    • LN-MOH Scanair/Scandinavian

    Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8     Aerosoft - Douglas DC-8

    All of the above have been textured in full 4K resolution, meaning that every livery looks almost life-like.

    Main textures are also separate and have their own files of various sizes (over 600). While most add-ons use a texture sheet and reference each texture based on coordinates, the DC-8 instead has a folder filled with each individual texture. An example being warning lights, flip guards, etc. This is not a method used in too many ESP-based simulators due to the heavy loading times and negative VAS usage, but in this instance, it is well-managed and adds to the experience, rather than taking away from it.

    In all, it's clear that both the modelling and texturing of the aircraft are phenomenal, and are up there with the very best of what's available on the platform!


    5 Comments
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Well done Michael; a highly informative review of an old classic!

      Thank you for making time in your busy schedule to write this one up, it's very much appreciated, and I hope you receive plenty of feedback regarding your findings.

      Dominic
    1. Metthos's Avatar
      Metthos -
      Thank you for this interesting review. I prefer modern jets but your evaluation makes me curious to try an old bird.
    1. AlyMac's Avatar
      AlyMac -
      Great review. The 8 was always one of my favourites.
    1. mscoull's Avatar
      mscoull -
      Would anyone know how this compares to the Just Flight DC8.They have a nice aircraft but the fuel system seems to play up when you get to about 50%..Hard to understand the cross fuel system..
    1. tailspin45's Avatar
      tailspin45 -
      DC-8 went supersonic in 1961 (on purpose) and also set an altitude record at just over 50,000 feet.

      Douglas press release and test pilot notes here.
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