• Review: IndiaFoxtEcho - F35 Lightning II for MSFS 2020

    F-35 Lightning II

    Publisher: IndiaFoxtEcho

    Review Author:
    Dale Ashcroft

    Suggested Price:
    $28.49

    Buy Here

    IndiaFoxtEcho - F35 Lightning II for MSFS 2020

    Aircraft Overview

    The following is an extract from Wikipedia:

    The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole combat aircraft that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. It is also able to provide electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. Lockheed Martin is the prime F-35 contractor, with principal partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The aircraft has three main variants: the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A, the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35B, and the carrier-based (CV/CATOBAR) F-35C.

    The aircraft descends from the Lockheed Martin X-35, which in 2001 beat the Boeing X-32 to win the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Its development is principally funded by the United States, with additional funding from program partner countries from NATO and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and formerly Turkey. Several other countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the aircraft.

    The F-35B entered service with the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015, followed by the U.S. Air Force F-35A in August 2016 and the U.S. Navy F-35C in February 2019. The F-35 was first used in combat in 2018 by the Israeli Air Force. The U.S. plans to buy 2,456 F-35s through 2044, which will represent the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps for several decades. The aircraft is projected to operate until 2070.

    Purchasing

    At the time of this review, the aircraft is priced at a very reasonable $28.49 which is great as you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one. The purchase of the product was quick and painless from the FlightSim.Com Store and with a download size of around 2.2 GB.

    Install

    One thing that I have come to love of the new MSFS is the quick way of manually installing a product, no more needing to run through an auto installer that sends the files to the correct location such as a folder for the aircraft, gauges, etc. Simply drag and drop into the community folder and off you go. So easy, even my two-year-old could do it (most probably).

    Documentation

    The product comes with a 53-page document that includes:

    • Change log for each update
    • Welcome section
    • Minimum hardware requirements
    • Installation
    • Credits
    • External Loads
    • Brief overview of the aircraft
    • Performance information
    • Sensors and avionics (Note that Sensors are not operational within MSFS as of yet)
    • Cockpit orientation
    • Details of each display page (HUD included)
    • Operating information for the three different types (CTOL/STOVL/Carrier Ops)

    Overall, a pretty comprehensive document which tells you all you need to know.

    Cockpit

    Throughout the development of aircraft, cockpits have become less, and less cluttered with dials and switches, and are now very clean looking. The F-35 is a very minimalistic cockpit with very few switches and no dials. Instead, all the information is presented on a huge wide screen, that is broken up into four sections that can be manipulated to display whatever you wish. Think of it like a huge tablet. The shear amount of information that can be displayed is astonishing. All three variants have exactly the same cockpit layout, the only minor difference is to do with the avionics. For example, there is the option on the screen to fold the wings on the C model.

    IndiaFoxtEcho - F35 Lightning II for MSFS 2020

    There are some drawbacks to this rendition of the F-35 however. Not all pages are available in the aircraft though, such as the TFLIR, this is because (from what I understand at least) MSFS has not provided the means to be able to model several of the omitted functions. I had this aircraft when it was available for another platform, and the developer did have every page available, which was great. Knowing the developer, I do believe that once the functions are made available by Asobo/Microsoft, they will implement them so they can provide an even better experience for the user. The HMD is also not true to life. In the real world the HMD information is injected into the pilots helmet, which means no matter where you look, your information is always present. In the current build, the HMD is more of a HUD, static in its positioning in front of the pilot - again, a limitation of MSFS rather than a limitation of the developer.

    Visibility out of the cockpit is pretty spot on too, so much of the world available for you to observe as you thrash around at low level or simply cruising around taking in all the sights that MSFS has to offer. Having said that, the rear visibility isn't that of an F-16, but there is always a trade off with aircraft design in favor of performance, etc.


    2 Comments
    1. chausler49's Avatar
      chausler49 -
      Dale, outstanding review of this aircraft and "sublime" fits well. I purchased the F35 via the marketplace and can not for the life of me locate the flight manual you speak of. Any ideas where I might find this? Carl
    1. valero's Avatar
      valero -
      I wish I had seen this review months ago so I would have bought it sooner. I took the plunge 3 days ago and I'm very happy with this stellar plane, although it took me a while to set it up to properly hover. During my times in FSX I used Vought Ryan LTV as my VTOL plane and although it was hard to master, it was my main plane and I had it 'mod' to fly at Mach 2.5 and landed with VTOL at 0 knots. Now with the F-35b I have speed and SVTOL to my heart's content!!
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