Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Incredible Freeware Cessna 150

OK, call me a hypocrite if you like. After my little sermon on resisting the twin evils of tweak-itis and download-itis, I go ahead and recommend a scenery tweak, and now I'm going to recommend a download. But didn't I admit I was preaching to myself?

Also, in my defense, the FlightGear ship traffic tweak was really simple--you could do it in ten minutes or less, then get back to flying. As for today's post, the download I am recommending here is extraordinary.

This Cessna 150 model has created a minor buzz on my favorite screenshot sharing forum, and is easily the best freeware airplane I have yet seen. This is high praise, considering I have downloaded and enjoyed the excellent work by such freeware developers as Milton Shupe, Dave Eckert, and Kevin Lemanski (a.k.a Long Island Classics).

To be honest, I have had trouble enjoying FS9 because the FSX default planes have spoiled me. Going back to the default the FS9 Cessnas is a real let down. I have better addons in FS9, but I always find myself wanting to fly the workhorse Cessnas. With this addon, I can see myself spending a lot more time in FS9 world, especially where I can enjoy FlightScenery's excellent RI scenery package.

You may recall a while back I discussed the problem with contrast between the view inside the cockpit versus the view out the window in this post. I don't know if addressing this problem was a conscious objective of the developers, but I think they've made a great progress in this respect. The gauges are darker than in typical FS models. To me this is more convincing, because if your eyes are adapted to view out the window, the interior will appear relatively dark. Additionally, the window interior window reflections and aged glass effect serve to wash out the external view a bit.
Before I go on, I have to say I've only flown with this model for about an hour, last night. I reserve the right to retract some of this enthusiasm in a later post, if I find any glaring bugs. But I really don't expect to, because the thing looks and feels so well crafted.

As you can tell by these shots, the interior is amazingly well detailed. All of the gauges are built from scratch--no recycled bits here. There are some neat touches in the interior, such as a fully functioning E6B computer that pops up when you click on the one in the passenger seat. Another nice touch is the checklist that comes up with one of the shift-number combinations is a facsimile of an old reference sheet.

The exterior model is very nice, but I must admit I spent so much time inside the cabin that I didn't check the exterior out too much. But you can see from these shots that they've given it a convincing aged look. One minor quibble: in the exterior view you can see the passenger (instructor?) waving a chart around and then putting it away. It's a neat little animation, but after a few repetitions is starts to be distracting.

The sounds are aliased from the default 172. One can't complain about this, given that it is freeware, but I hope some other contributor can come up with a replacement sound set because it almost breaks the spell. However, they did replace the default stall horn with one that has a more warbly sound. Not being a pilot, I can't say for sure this is how it should sound, but it seems more convincing.

In addition to the basic 150, they've included the Aerobat model. I only had a few minutes with it last night, but it looks like it will be a lot of fun.

I'm planning on spending most of tonight (Wednesday night is flying night!)taking this plane for an extending Rhode Island tour.

You can get it here.
When you go to that site, note the bit about the password on the left hand side. You'll need to use the one they give you.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Chris, I downloaded that nifty 150 and didn't find a 2D cockpit at all, nor did I find any of the other accessories in your review. I installed using the auto installer right from the French web site.
I must be missing some pieces here?

Runnerdad said...

I don't think it has a 2D cockpit! I can't say for sure, because I never use a 2D pit.
As for the other accessories, they should work if you use the hot spots on the right seat. Did you try that?

thanks for reading the Glog!