• Review: A1R Design - Ryan ST-A Special

    Ryan ST-A Special

    Publisher: A1R Design

    Review Author:
    Kenneth J. Kerr

    Suggested Price:
    $20.20

    Buy Here

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A

    Introduction

    Greetings folks, I trust you are all well, enjoying summer, and exploring the planet in MSFS. Today I want to take a first look at a new aircraft for MSFS, and once again I stress that what you read is but my opinion, my personal perspective, my KerrSpective.

    The aircraft is the Ryan ST-A Special, and it comes from A1R Design Bureau. For many people, both the aircraft and the designer may be unfamiliar, so it’s worth giving some context here.

    Let’s start off with A1R Design Bureau. The Ryan is their first product for MSFS, but it is not their first product for the overall Microsoft ecosystem. Taking a look in the FlightSim.Com Store you will see there are earlier products for FSX and P3D. These include the Yak-12A, Yak-55, CP-80 Racer, and the A-15 glider.

    Although I have never tried any of their previous products, I must say that they’ve made an incredible first impression on me with their new Ryan. I picked it up about four hours ago, and after flying three flights, putting it through its paces with numerous test regimes, I am suitably impressed. So before going into the sim, let’s talk about the real Ryan company.

    In 1922, T. Claude Ryan opened up Ryan Airlines on the west coast of the USA. Initially he converted war surplus aircraft into passenger transports, and then he designed his first original aircraft with the Ryan M-1. It was a braced high-wing monoplane, making its maiden flight in early 1926. During an era in which biplanes still abounded, Ryan was already showing himself to be a design pioneer. The M-2 and B.1 followed as variations on his original theme, but his name came to fame with the Ryan NYP, better known as “Spirit of St. Louis,” the aircraft Charles Lindbergh used when he flew across the Atlantic.

    After selling his original company, Ryan re-entered aircraft design in the early 1930’s, and the result was the Ryan S-T (Sport Trainer) of which five examples were built. As the design evolved, it became the Ryan S-T-A of which 71 were built. Then the A-T-A came out (11 examples), and this was followed by the S-T-M, a fighter aircraft that was exported mostly to South America. In 1939 the US military evaluated the Ryan, and this led to the YPT-16, and the numerous PT-20 and PT-22 models that followed. During this product evolution the ST-A Special surfaced, complete with a 150HP supercharged engine. The company continued to operate, designing numerous research aircraft, until being acquired by Teledyne in the late 1960’s.

    And that brings us to MSFS, and A1R’s “artistic rendition” of the aforementioned ST-A Special.

    I picked this aircraft up from the FlightSim.Com Store, and it was delivered as a zip file. After decompressing it, a single .exe was revealed. I ran it, and after accepting the EULA and pointing to my community folder, the installation continued, and in no time the aircraft was ready for flight.

    Before the first flight however, I checked out the three PDF documents. To be honest, they are somewhat sparse (my first criticism of the product). There’s a single page copyright/EULA, a single page flight performance sheet (airspeed limitations mostly), and a six-page mini-manual to provide “Normal procedures.” The last of these really needs a significant revision, as even adding some cockpit diagrams would help. In fact it was so sparse that I didn’t even read it before my first flight, and that was a mistake.

    First Impressions

    Knowing that I was going to write this review, I had a pen and paper beside me as I first viewed, and then flew the Ryan in MSFS. Everything that follows is based on my cryptic, hastily-written scrawl.

    The first thing to notice is that the Ryan comes in three color schemes. There’s a drop-dead gorgeous glossy metal example, then a US Army one, and a sporty red and silver job. The all-silver one is the pick of the bunch for me as it looks fantastic from every angle. That’s not saying the other two fall down in any immediate way, just personal preference I guess.

    The next point worth mentioning is the ubiquitous “CG out of limit” message in the weight and balance section of the menu. This message appears all-too-often, even in some of the default Asobo aircraft, and it is annoying. Sometimes you have to manually change settings just to get an aircraft to fly correctly. In the case of the Ryan I left it where it was for my test flights.

    I decided to launch the sim at CYBR, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. In real life the airfield is about 90-minutes drive from my home, and there’s a good aircraft museum there too. It is also an area of mostly prairie, so there’s little to have an impact on MSFS performance. So I dropped the Ryan into one of the parking spots there, and started to check it out.

    And WOW. That really was my first impression and expression. “WOW.”

    The real Ryan would still look good today, and the A1R Design Bureau version certainly captures the timeless lines that must have seemed so futuristic “back in the day.” The model is beautifully-detailed, and the texture quality (admittedly I do not use 4K), to my eyes is superb. Just look at the following screenshots. This thing begs to be flown!

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A

    A1R Design - Ryan ST-A


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