Now most of you may know that I am a modern Airliner man.... I like props as well as jets, and I'm partial to some VFR GA glying, but I'm mainly an Airliner sort of chap.
So it took some 'self-persuading' to decide to buy the DC-3 add-on that is sold direct from the "Mid-Atlantic Air Museum" over in Reading, PA, US.
I bought it two weeks ago from www.maam.org and to be honest I forgot I'd even ordered it until I got home last night (after a late night at work) and saw the package with the US customs stamp, on my door matt.
It looked rather humble inside the packaging - although the CD-ROM was printed in colour it looked a little like a "Home made" type of job... There was also no CD Cover, just a clear case.
Mmm... I'd better not expect much I told myself. So I stuck the disc in and noticed that the add-on did not have an "AutoRun".... mmm, I definately won't expect much then!
After browsing the CD-ROM, I was relieved to find that the add-ons do in fact have ".exe" files and would install without me needing to move folders around all over the place... I also noticed that as well as comprehensive, good quality colour documentation, there was also a selection of Video files..... I launched these to find that they are of a DC-3 pilot called Glen, who is sitting in a real DC-3 cockpit explaining various phases of flight, from start-up, through to Landing.... It's clear he knows his DC3s well.... The videos were really useful and impressive.
The supporting stuff with this add-on is SO comprehensive - it tells you how to best set the REALISM settings and also gives lots of options including the option to take the easy road and have Tail Wheel Steering, in addition to Differential Breaking.
You also get scenery of the MAAM museum, which is located next to Reading Airport (KRDG).
The Planes you get are 2 x DC-3 planes (civilian), R4D (Military) and an Amphibian version.
So cut to the chase... what are the planes like ?
Quite simply these are the best planes ever to grace FS2004... you need to be objective if you're not a Taildragger but everything about this add-on elevates it into a different category to any other add-ons for FS2004 - commercial or otherwise.
The exterior models will have your jaw on the floor - the attention to detail is just stunning.... The Sound set is phenominal (the manual even suggests Sound settings that are optimum for hearing the extra details)... You hear metallic clanging noises, the shaking of the cabin on take-off, everything about the Sound set really enhances the experiance, and on tak-off this felt like a different sim to the already brilliant FS2004. The Flight Dynamics just feel more real - heavy and slow but predictable and steady.... The 2D cockpit is perfect for the job and all necessary pop ups are there - EVERYTHING is photo-real and I mean photo REAL.... But the real charm when it comes to cockpit flying in this plane is the VC... it's just stunning. Could it be better? Well add the best looking Virtual CABIN that I've seen so far on FS2004 and add th fact that all this quality and you get the comparable Frame Rates as with a default plane.
I truly felt humbled while flying this plane - NOTHING feels more real in FS2004, it is a total revelation, and if you love flying you HAVE to buy this! (All proceeds go to the MAAM charity, to buy 2 new engines for their real DC-3).
Even if you like technology and jets, you will still be in awe at this old beast..... I took off, completed a 10 minute circuit and landed - contrary to what you'd expect, this plane is not hard to land... it is steady on Approach and the speed settles down nicely for a nice visual glideslope down to the threshold. I managed not to bounce and the tail settled down nicely (albeit with a gentle touch back on the yoke)... When I landed and taxi'd I realised I had sweat on my brow (it's not hot where i live!).... this felt like I had actually flew a plane and landed.
This has been a long posting but this add-on warrants it - This add-on set's new standards, I really mean that. It is awesome. It was obvious it was created by a small team who love what they are doing, love the plane, and are extremely skilled.
11 / 10 !
.... In the US, I think the MAAM DC-3 costs $34 dollars, so that's what was on the payment receipt.
Because of the great exchange rate for the £ Pound at the moment, this means lucky UK people will get this fantastic add-on for around £17.50.
Excellent post, you made my mouth water when you described the cabin sounds.
Yes that old bus is very easy to land, she just wants to sit down and rest her weary tail.
Now you have me thinking about it again, but I love my davec special.
After reading several posts I've come to the conclusion that you and I enjoy very similar styles of flying. I've tried doing many historical missions with the default DC-3, but found most of the flights to be weary and just not my cup of tea. Does this add-on really change that, and make that big of a difference in flying the DC-3 vs. microsoft's version?
Hi GPs Kid - I'm sorely tempted mainly to see if it can be edited for Radarman!! Would make a change from that crappy default he's flying about in
Might drop you an email to see if you can attach a couple of files out of the texture folders to confirm editability or not.
Yes, I've also noticed from your postings that you and I do like very similar flying - you also like you'r airliner stuff, and like me you appreciate a good Turboprop, like the Dash 8, as well as the good jets.
I guess only you can judge whether the MAAM DC-3 would keep you interested - I do like an occasional "historical" flight, maybe taking the DC-3 or the Ford Tri-Motor from London to Paris using just NDB navigation - I find this a refreshing change from the main stuff I do on the Sim but it's not my prime interest.
The MAAM DC-3 will still not be the plane I fly more than anything else in FS2004, but it is still without doubt, the best plane in my hangar from an artistic, visual, audio, frame rate, detail perspective, and it is my favourite based on these things.
I would recommend it to everyone (maybe with the exception of FEM - don't think it's his bag!), even if it's just to look at it parked up with the engines running ( ) but ultimately (and especially if pennies are tight), it's only worth buying a plane that you're gonna want to fly it.