Written by  :  piltdown_man (150045)
Written on  :  Aug 30, 2012
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
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Well presented, competently done, but a bit boring.

The Good

I've loaded a few planes into my simulator but this was the first small executive jet package I'd tried. The add-on is presented really well. The box art is high quality as are the contents.
The manual is both on the CD in pdf format and it's printed on high quality paper that has holes in it so that it can fit into a ring binder. (The box says that a 'flight binder' was included but it wasn't present in my second-hand copy, neither were the promised screen saver & desk top wallpaper.)
Also in the box are three postcards, one for each aircraft and one with just the World Aircraft Simulations logo. All together nicely a presented package.
The game is designed for Flight Simulator 2000 so it was nice to see that on the CD they'd included the first and second updates for that product, both the standard and professional versions.
The aircraft models both look OK but the cockpit views look very good. The instrument panels look just like the pictures in the manual, as it should, and there's a handy 'AUTO START' button to fire up the engines which is exactly what a muppet like me needs.
The planes seem to have been developed by Phoenix Software Simulations, I found their name while digging around in the configuration files, see below to find out why I was doing that. I've got some other craft from them and they generally seem to do a good job.
The aircraft sound is good too but as both models seem to use the sound files supplied with Microsoft's Lear jet, which I've found to be quite common in flight sim add-ons, that's a tick in the box for Microsoft not for this package - even though they claim stereo sound as a selling point on the back of the box.
I've played with the Flight Management System a bit, I'm not that good a pilot to really get the best out of these things yet, and it worked and looked fine.
I really liked the weather radar on the Hawker. I haven't tried to make use of it in flight, say to avoid a storm, but it's a bit different and it pleased me.

The Bad

There were several little things that disappointed me about this package.
Firstly you don't get a great deal in it. There are two planes which is as advertised but I've become accustomed to additional liveries being included and there are none here.
The biggest disappointment came immediately after loading it. I went straight to the 'Select Flight' menu and tried to fly one for the Cessna and it failed! The flight loaded but gave a message 'Aircraft Failed To Initialise' which was odd because when I checked the Cessna was present in the aircraft selection menu. After a bit of playing around I edited in the correct aircraft name 'PSS-Citation X' into the aircraft.cfg file and everything worked fine. I had to do the same thing with the configuration file for the Hawker 125-800 as well. First impressions count and this package had let me down.
That incident took the shine off the package a bit and I started looking at the planes more critically. I began noticing little things like
  • The wheels don't rotate when taxiing so it looks as though the plane is sliding along the ground
  • There's no virtual cockpit view, or rather there is one but it puts the player outside the aircraft on the cockpit roof
  • When loading some of the supplied flights, with default scenery, the plane was often positioned just off the runway on the grass. This may be what happens in real life but I'm not so sure. These are expensive aircraft which I would always expect to see on the tarmac, consequently such positioning felt a bit sloppy.
  • Finally, and this may be me just being a bit picky, while the cabin looks great the view backwards into the plane's interior looks looks grainy and out of character.
Apart from the issue with the configuration files none of these is a major problem and, given that this was released in 2000, is probably OK for the period.

The Bottom Line

Overall you get a glossy package, two aircraft and five preset flights per plane. On the CD you get patches for the flight simulator and AERAD charts for Dusseldorf, Heathrow, Amsterdam, and Charles de Gaulle.
Though the planes look good and flew well enough they were not good enough to make me go 'WOW!', they were just a bit dull. If I'd tried them before I bought this package I would have probably saved my money and stuck with the Lear jet that comes with the flight simulator.