• Review: Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    Spectr-Aero SP-30

    Publisher: Mad Flight Studio

    Review Author:
    Stuart McGregor

    Suggested Price:
    $44.99

    Buy Here

    Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    The Aircraft

    As the old adage goes, never judge a book by its cover, and never a truer word was said about the Spectr-Aero SP-30. At first glance it really is not much to look at with its boxy design and stubby looking wings. But...and it's a big but... what the Mad Flight Studio team have done with the SP-30 in bringing it to X-Plane 11, really is quite remarkable.

    Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30     Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    The real-life aircraft is a single engine, 2-seater light sport and is manufactured in Russia. It comes with the Austrian built Rotax 912 ULS piston engine (73,5 kW / 100 hp) fitted with a 3-blade propeller, and is typically used for a range of services, including flight training, crop dusting and generally just pottering about in the sky on a bank holiday Monday, weather permitting of course. Based on looks alone, I would imagine that the SP-30 would not be at the top of many people's shopping list, however there is much more to this little gem than first meets the eye.

    Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30     Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    Getting Started

    I purchased my copy over at Store.FlightSim.Com where it retails at $44.99, which by anyone's estimate is pretty pricey for an light plane. However, there are hidden gems under the skin of this SP-30, and I hope this review gives you some idea of what you will get for your hard earned cash and whether the SP-30 should be the next addition to your virtual hangar.

    As with most sim store sites, there is a detailed description of the aircraft features, what is included in the package and also the minimum system requirements. It is a big old boy when it comes to download size, because when zipped, it takes up a chunky 782.5 MB which expands to a hefty 1.36 GB unzipped. This should already give you an idea that this is no ordinary light plane. To get the best out of your prospective purchase you will need a system with at least 2GB VRAM and ideally 4GB, so it is important to be aware of this before you buy. I am afraid your old Sinclair ZX Spectrum won't cut it any more...

    Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30     Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    Installation is straight forward, simply unzip the downloaded file and drag and drop it into your Aircraft folder. First time you start the SP-30, you will be required to enter a license key, however this is provided with the download and only takes a couple of minutes to enter and activate. After restarting the sim, I had no issues and off I went. From what I could gather the FlightSim.Com Store offers an unlimited numbers of downloads, which is handy in the event things get corrupted at some point along the way. In my experience, it can be a real pain when you have to ask for extra downloads from a developer, and I really don't know why some insist on doing this when you have a licensed copy.

    Anyway, a 26-page instruction manual both in English and Russian is provided, and this includes a variety of procedures, reference information, recommended switch command settings for X-Plane 11, as well as links to help pages, etc. I really liked the aged look of the manual as well as the details provided, there is even a foreword by a real SP-30 pilot which is a nice touch. There are some nice images of the various aircraft features and I found the manual to be clear and easy to follow. I would recommend that you do read it cover to cover, as there are an awful lot of detail provided with the SP-30 which at first glance may not be obvious, and you do really risk missing some of them if you just jump in and start clicking.

    Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30     Mad Flight Studio - Spectr-Aero SP-30

    For reference, my own system consists of an Intel i7 5820K 3.3 GHz CPU, a GTX1080Ti 11 GB GPU and 32 GB Kingston RAM. I also have a number of Saitek panels and three 27" screens, and my test flights were all carried out in and around WBSB International in Brunei, a far cry from the cold in northern Russia or Europe. All tests were carried out using X-Plane 11.31.

    One point to note about my Saitek panels: although some of the light indicators would register various lights such as nav, and if the landing lights were on or off, the various switches did not work out of the box. However, I really did not find this to be too much of a distraction and was able to manipulate the various features with my mouse. A set of command functions are provided in the manual which allows these commands to be bound to various joystick buttons or keys on your keyboard if you would prefer to go that way. I tried out a few and found them to work well. However, I did create a saitekpanels.ini script to allow me to use the various switches direct from the panel, and this also worked well, and it is worth noting that the Mad Flight team were very helpful during my initial conversations on my switch issues.


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