• IRIS Premium Series BD-5 Microjet

    Review: IRIS BD-5

    By Scott Woodford
    30 November 2010

    The team at IRIS Flight Simulation Software have released their latest offering, the BD-5 in both prop-driven (BD-5G) and jet (BD-5J Microjet) versions. The cost of the package is $24.99 US. For that, you get one BD-5G, and three J model liveries. The aircraft itself is very light on "candy" and is true to life in offering pilots a no-frills single seat flying experience. Due to the simple design of the aircraft, I will take the luxury of reviewing both the prop and jet versions.

    BD-5G

    The G model is supplied with a single livery, which is a striking white, black and gold design with IRIS company logos.

       

    All control surfaces are animated and move smoothly with control inputs. The canopy is also animated. The pilot, however, is not animated and this results in a feeling of the model being unfinished and lacking that final polish and attention to detail expected of IRIS work.

    The cockpit is simple and clean. It features a standard FSX Garmin GPS, primary instruments, but lacks an Artificial Horizon which appears to be true to the real life panel design.

    Whilst the IRIS design does include indicator lamps to show the position of the undercarriage, one thing I missed was any flap position indicator. Instead, pilots are left to take a quick look out of the cockpit to confirm correct flap position which means that aircraft configuration needs to be set up well in advance to ensure your concentration is where it needs to be at vital moments like short final approach.

    The operation of the aircraft is fool proof. It starts easily with the flick of just a couple of switches. The engine is extremely responsive to throttle input, and accelerates smoothly on releasing the brakes. The aircraft taxis smoothly, but has a tendency to exceed safe taxi speeds if you don't keep a careful watch on your ASI which, incidentally, displays MPH and not the conventional KIAS.

    Flight Performance

    Once lined up, smooth application of full throttle sees you accelerate rapidly and the aircraft will start to rotate off the runway at around 50 knots with 1 notch of flaps and full elevator input. Interestingly, the aircraft does not seem willing to fly itself off the runway without some backward stick, although I did discover an unusual effect that saw the aircraft stick to the runway under full throttle through 150 knots, and then fly itself off the runway when power was cut to idle.

    Once in the air and cleaned up, the aircraft is best described as a "sports car". It has an incredible rate of roll. I had a consistent rate of climb at around the 1900 fpm mark at 70 MPH (60 KIAS). Once trimmed in level flight, the aircraft cruises comfortably at 240 knots which is well above the 173 KIAS quoted by the manufacturers of the real aircraft. This is also an extremely "slippery" aircraft, which does not slow down in a hurry, so descents need to be well planned. Having said that, I did find a suitable reduction in airspeed from drag induced by crossing the controls which is not something that is consistently modelled in FS.

    The G will stall in clean configuration at 50 MPH, and at 45 MPH when gear and flaps are lowered. However, beware! There is little to no warning of the approaching stall, and it happens very quickly with little visual indication that it has occurred. During testing, I reduced power and allowed the airspeed to decrease whilst I held the aircraft in level flight. At the stall I saw the rate of descent jump dramatically, but the aircraft retained the same attitude that I had set prior to the stall. Recovery was achieved by applying full power and lowering the nose. Each stall was recovered within 1000 feet.

    The aircraft is resistant to spinning, however it will begin to oscillate side to side like a falling leaf if it is stalled with power at idle. Recovery is again achieved by adding full power and lowering the nose.

    Landing the aircraft is simple, although as previously mentioned, the airframe is slippery so airspeed management is important to avoid landing fast (or ballooning over the runway). Once set up on your landing profile, the aircraft will behave predictably and will fly itself on to the runway with minor power adjustments. Braking is firm and smooth.

    BD-5J

    The J model "Microjet" comes with three distinctive liveries, a striking red and white IRIS "company" design with logos emblazoned on it; a white aircraft with orange/red trim; and a replica of the red, white and blue aircraft made famous in the James Bond movie, "Octopussy".

       

    The BD-5J is the same base model as the prop driven G model, so it features the same animations, or lack thereof in the case of the pilot.

    The panel is similar in design to the G model however, it is a little more advanced given the powerplant that is driving the aircraft. It features the standard FSX Garmin GPS, primary instruments, but again lacks an artificial horizon. A nice little addition is a small toggle switch for a smoke system which is handy if you want to chase your own tail through the sky!

    Flight Performance

    The J handles very much like the G, and I can't help but wonder if the same data was used in the design for each. Once lined up, smooth application of full throttle sees you accelerate rapidly and the aircraft will start to rotate off the runway at around 50 knots with 1 notch of flaps and full elevator input.

    Once in the air and cleaned up, the aircraft is best described as a "sports car". It has an incredible rate of roll. I had a consistent rate of climb at around the 2400 fpm mark at 80 MPH. Once trimmed in level flight, the aircraft cruises comfortably at 270 MPH which is consistent with the figures quoted by the manufacturers of the real aircraft. Again, this is also an extremely "slippery" aircraft, which does not slow down in a hurry, so descents need to be well planned.

    The J will stall in clean configuration at 60 MPH with around a 400 foot drop in altitude if you react quickly. A "dirty stall" occurs at 55 MPH and recovery can be made within 200'. As with the prop driven half-brother, there is little warning of an approaching stall, so you must be ever vigilant on maintaining your airspeed, particularly on approach.

    Getting this bird back to earth is a simple affair, as long as you have planned well in advance. As I have said earlier, this is a very slippery aircraft, and will not slow down easily. Once established on approach, though, it is extremely stable and will land smoothly with a minimum of control input.

    The Verdict

    This is a great little aeroplane that is a lot of fun. The team at IRIS have once again released a high quality product which will provide a great deal of enjoyment for experienced and novice pilots alike. There is little to dislike about this product, and the positives far outweigh the negatives. It is well worth the purchase price and I am happy to keep it in my virtual hangar.

    Test System

    FSX Acceleration
    AMD 64 X2 Dual Core 4600+ 2.4 GHz
    2 GB RAM
    Saitek X52 stick & throttle

    Scott Woodford
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here

    More Reviews Of IRIS Products:

    Diamond DA-42 Twin Star
    Diamond Star XLS
    Christen Eagle
    Grumman F-14 Tomcat


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