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    Aerofly FS review

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    britfrog

    Posts : 716
    Join date : 2015-09-15
    Location : In the Pyrenees

    Aerofly FS review

    Post by britfrog on Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:31 pm

    Commercial Flight Simulation / Game
    Aerofly FS

    Publisher / Developer: Ikarus ,Aerofly FS
    Description: An aviation Simulation/Game
    Software Source / Size: [Download of approx 15gb cost :€39.99 add-ons €14.99 0r €12.99
    Flight Simulator: Aerofly FS
    Flight /Ground Test Time: 25 hours
    Reviewed by: Nigel Porter
    Published: Entered by Chief Editor

    Computer / Software Specifications
    Computer System: Self made I7 2600k oc to 4800mhz
    16gb of corsair vengeance 16000mhz RAM
    MSI GTX 660 TI , 3gb gddr3
    5 hard drives
    Thrustmaster flight stick X
    Software: [- Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
    [- MS Flight Simulator X with sp2 and L.M. P3D
    Rex 4, PMDG NGX, Aerosoft Airbus extended, Quality sSm 146



    Introduction
    I have been using a computer based flight simulator since around 1981, in those early days the graphics left a great deal to the imagination, but the main thing for me, was that the instruments worked correctly, and I could use it as a procedural trainer at home, to sharpen myself up before going for check ride or recency check, for my flying licence. That flight simulator has evolved over the years into something that users in the early days would not recognise, this is due also in some part, to the evolution of our computers as well. However there are some basic niggles that have remained , and the fight dynamics are not as good as they could be, nor are the graphics , hardly surprising as there has been no development of the core product for over 8 years, and it is still hamstrung by being a 32 bit program which limits the amount of memory it can utilise instead of being a 64 bit program.

    I have known about the Aerofly FS sim for some time now, it was originally brought to my attention by a friend Andreas Paschen who made a Vimeo video with it. Andreas had been previously known for making the best videos ever made, for M.S. FSX using the Orbx scenery , and this new video of Aerofly was equally as good. So my curiosity had been awakened. Andreas's Video showed me an extremely well detailed model of a Pitts aerobatic aircraft which had much better external detail than we were currently used to in FSX, and the scenery also seemed to have a quality to it, that surpassed existing products, so it was inevitable that I was going to have to get Aerofly FS to see just how good it is.
    Well nearly two years went by, before I did manage to finally get my hands on the simulation and much has happened to it since those early days.
    Aerofly FS is available to be played on a P.C., Mac or even an iPhone or iPad it also supports head tracking systems like TrackIR , one can vary the difficulty of the simulation from beginner to expert. There are currently nearly half a dozen more aircraft, on top of those initially supplied, that one can buy, these include a chance Vought F4U , an Aermacchi MB339, and a Beech Duchess.
    Aerofly FS is produced by Ikarus a German company better known for making a very good RC model simulator, it is owned by Norbert Gruntjens and lead by Doctors Torsten Hans and Marc Borchers all of whom have their flying licences. They had the idea to try to make the best performing flight simulation, taking into consideration the graphic performance of modern day computers. Having proven that they could do this, they are now working on adding new features and aircraft.
    It would appear from the information that I have received that they have gone about creating their aircraft in an all together new way, different from that of FSX, in as much that the planes are not controlled by protocols or scripts. All data is in real time and takes into consideration, amongst other things, the aerodynamic forces, prop torque, lift from flaps, aerodynamic forces, etc. Winds, thermals and turbulence have their own independent simulation which then reacts with the 3D landscape, so that for example if you fly a glider close to a slope, you will feel it lift. The current, very enthusiastic, team at Ikarus is a reasonable size, and are quite fastidious at making things properly; for example if they decide they need to add a fuel tank in an aircraft, that is easy, but all the aircraft physics need to be recalculated, as the weight is changing, centre of gravity, etc., and that all takes time to make sure the physics are again correct..

    INSTALLATION:
    Aerofly FS is available either as a download or a DVD, as I wanted to get it installed as quickly as possible I chose the download option, but be warned, if you have a slow internet connection it may be prudent to buy the DVD as the download file size is in excess of 15Gb !! Aerofly FS self installs without any fuss and all you have to do is add the product keys. I also chose to obtain their Piper Archer add on a/c at the same time , and this installed very easily.
    Manual:
    In the download version there is no manual supplied, however this is readily available on their website. The comprehensive manual once downloaded is well written and easy to understand and goes over all the pertinent points to help you get your set-up ready to fly. The manual is full of information on all the aircraft supplied, as well as informing you how to make the most of your P.C.

    (photos 1-4)

    First Impression
    The current scenery offering is based on the whole of Switzerland and comes with the choice of 8 aircraft including a motor glider already installed. But nothing could prepare me for what I saw when I first started Aerofly FS, the scenery was stunning as was the detail of the cockpit of the aircraft supplied. The initial airport that I started from was Birrfeld and the C172 was lined up at the end of the runway with the engine running. I spent a few minutes setting up my joystick to work roughly how I am used to and there was nothing left to do but see how things worked.
    Before continuing , I have to say in 25 odd years I have seen many things in my simulator that made me go WOW! In recent years scenery developers have really pushed the envelope and made some incredible sceneries, and to be fair the odd aircraft creator has also done likewise , but in the main, sadly, all aircraft handle and feel the same, due I suppose to the limitations of the original M.S. Flight Simulator engine.
    The moment I started rolling down the runway I realised that Aerofly had something the others did not, the plane moved more realistically, and responded more realistically, by the time I was airborne I had said WOW! quite a few times and this reaction continued for some minutes because the plane felt more like a real plane than anything else I had flown in my computer. It isn't something you can easily explain, but it flew in a manner I had not experienced before in other simulations.
    Aircraft
    I practised a stall in the Cessna 172 and the behaviour was very good if you tried to hold it in a stall it could flick roll and enter a spin, impressive ! Just as it should do! And the stall warning started working before the plane stalled as it should do.
    Having got over the initial impression I decided to try another a/c , The F18 , like the c172 was very well detailed , and was great fun to fly, charging down the valleys at enormous speed the animation of the undercarriage and flaps very well done,as is the cockpit layout.. Likewise the Extra 330, now I am no aerobatic specialist but quickly realised that I could do manoeuvres with this plane that are impossible in any other p.c. simulator that I have come across, another thing that is nigh on impossible in other simulations is a proper side slip on approach to lose height, this is easily carried out Aerofly FS. I found I could carry out gentle aerobatics in the Cessna and like the real aircraft it would fall out of a slow roll before it was completed. Hammer head stalls , could if mishandled, end up in a spin , the flight dynamics are really much better than what we are accustomed to . Likewise the Robin DR400 was a pleasure to fly I have spent quite a few hours in these planes some 30 odd years ago and it felt right, it did not fly like a low wing Cessna , it flew like a Robin, much more responsive on the controls, and it goes without saying that DR400 flew gentle aerobatics in a manner totally different to the other aircraft.

    (photos 5-Cool

    The discus glider was another example of what could be achieved in realism, the way the wings flex in turbulence and the way they bend upwards when pulling high “G” turns or aerobatics was very impressive.
    The Sopwith Camel made me very glad I did not fly planes back then , with its sputtering engine , I felt that it could give up at any moment so never strayed far from an airport and being so short it was very easy to ground loop. I should imagine it would take for ever to get to its service ceiling of 19,000 feet!
    All the aircraft are equipped with a rudimentary moving map display which does aid to some degree navigation in the mountains but it is pretty basic. There is also a basic autopilot which gives you the chance to let go of the controls and look at the outside world, which comes in handy.
    Scenery
    The scenery, whilst currently restricted to Switzerland, is apparently the standard 1metre definition, but it appears to be of higher definition than that available currently for FSX . It is clear that the photo scenery utilised comes from the same source, but what is interesting is the way it stays in focus unless up very very close. The mountains do not blur or lose definition as they get further away so you get much more depth of vision,and in turn much more realism.
    The Forest representation is 3D and the way they have created the trees is very pleasantly different; again they look more realistic to what I am used to. The shading as well is very well done, it makes the mountains and valleys appear to have more relief and shape.
    I have mixed opinions on what one might term autogen buildings, if they are not placed correctly or are not the right design, they detract from the enjoyment however in the main those that are modelled in Aerofly FS are quite well done.


    (photos 9-12)

    Several of the airports are more highly detailed than others, and where they have done this the effect again is very realistic. Birrfeld for example has a hotel/bar with an exterior eating area surrounded by flower borders and underneath umbrellas , this has loads of character. The runway markings show realistic (that word again!) cracks in the tar and the runways are not all flat and level some have humps in the middle, just like the real airport. Aerofly are in the throes of adding some new countries, which will be available in the next few months apparently - the initial photographs are stunning, however which countries they are is being kept quiet for the moment.
    Performance
    In other simulations the equivalent graphic realism comes at a huge cost on performance Frame rates drop to very low levels giving rise to the jitters, lock up's, or even worse. Aerofly FS is rock solid, in-cockpit I was getting 60fps and in outside views 120fps all without any form of jitter or artifact visible, again , impressive.
    Settings
    I delved into the settings tab and found that I could easily change the weather quite reasonably. Various levels and types of cloud are available and level of haze also, which could be adjusted to give one a real pea souper of a fog, but here again I was surprised at how Aerofly FS created and flew through the fog and clouds , much better than FSX once again, very well done.
    Wind could be set as well as thermals and just in case your P.C. Is not up to it, you can vary the graphics quality to make the ,most of what you are flying with.
    Limitations
    Before we get too carried away with praise it has to be said that aerofly FS does have some limitations as well,` there are some minor issues which one can overlook as they do not reduce the enjoyment of using the simulation.

    (photos 13-16)

    For me the fact that only the master flying instruments work is not too much of a problem as you can still get around using the moving map display , but I would like to see the navigation instruments working correctly as well as the radios, the lack of working engine instruments does not bother me that much - after all, does it matter if they work or not when you are looking out of the window at great scenery most of the time? I would also like too be able to control how I start and stop the engine and have an active master switch. I would also like to start the simulation where I choose rather than on the end of a runway or on short final or where it left off when you last turned it off. This may not be important to those that enjoy flying around the mountains taking in the scenery, but it would make it more of a simulation and less of a game if these points were corrected.
    AI traffic would be nice to have, as well as other countries to fly in, presumably this will come with time.
    One can currently see a lot of similarity between Aerofly FS and M.S. Flight as that was a “slimmed down” simulation designed to be easy to operate in order( we were told) to make flight simulation more appealing to a wider audience. Like FSX they both offer challenges and give rewards, however I do wonder how many actually partake in this side of things.
    Neither Flight or Aerofly is as all encompassing as FSX or XP10, but having said that, Aerofly FS is far more enjoyable than Flight ever was, and it will sustain interest much longer, especially when other countries come on line. The development team are well aware of the current shortcomings and are addressing them as they go along , it is just a question of priorities when things get done.
    I decided to see what extra information I could find on the future of Aerofly FS ,from the internet and their online forum. Their forum certainly seems to be upbeat about the future promising correction of many of the major points that I have raised by the release of a new version. There is also a facebook page which talks of a new version which will be accompanied by the release of a whole draft of new, highly detailed large airliners, along with some pretty impressive photographs. I am lead to believe that these new aircraft will be shortly available for the new iPad version and shortly after for the P.C. Version. Whether owners of the current version will be offered discounts or a free upgrade for the new version, when it arrives, remains to be seen.
    However having had some feedback from Ikarus their attitude is that they will not release something half finished as is so often the case in the software world, they will only release it when it is properly finished.

    (photos 17-20)

    Conclusion
    When I first started this review it was hard not to make comparisons with existing simulations like FSX or P3D, however it became apparent this is not the target market of Aerofly FS.
    Having spoken to some of the Development team at Ikarus I get the impression that they see an opening for a simulation that is easy to get into , to encourage the enjoyment of flight without it being overly complex, similar in some way to “Flight”, but with more accurately flying models and proper realistic scenery; this is further borne out by the different platforms that it is being developed for.
    Aerofly FS has really surprised me, it does so much more than I expected, it has huge potential! as you have seen, the words reality and realism abound in this review and we must give credit to where it is due. Despite its current shortcomings I find it most enjoyable to use and although it is not as deeply complex, as say FSX or XP10, and probably never will be, there are many times when it is pleasant to be entertained by pottering around sightseeing, or even charging headlong down some blind valley without the distraction of a more complicated simulation, it is great fun to use without being a challenge to use..
    There is no doubt that if Ikarus can maintain or even speed up their development of Aerofly FS, it could replace FSX as the simulator for the hobbyist or casual flyer, which is an area of the market place that is not being covered by Lockheed Martin P3D.
    It is clear that Ikarus are aware that it is in their interest to get third party developers on board, and Just Flight have recently produced two new add on aircraft for them , so the more that come on board, the more we, the customers, will benefit.
    There is no doubt that this enthusiastic team have the knowledge and ability to make what they consider to be a great simulator, but Rome was not built in a day, so we must be patient. In the meantime we still have a very enjoyable flight simulator which will get regular updates as time goes by.
    I think the last word must be given to one of their development team who says “ Don't compare us to what is already on the market, we want to be different”. In my opinion Aerofly FS is certainly that.

    Since this review was published some time ago it is interesting to note that aerofly have indeed continued developing their simulation which is now available with much acclaim and is known as Aerofly FS2



      Current date/time is Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:11 am