Successful training aircraft of all types share one very critical feature - realistic flight dynamics. The instructor should be able to easily demonstrate key handling and aerodynamic characteristics so that the student is able to readily see the effects on the aircraft. RealAir excels in this area which makes its Scout an ideal training aircraft. While the American Champion Scout is a relatively modern aircraft with production starting in 1974, it is part of a family of models whose origins can be traced back to the 1920s. It is a l80hp, two-seat tandem, tail dragger aircraft which is equally at home as a trainer or flying loads of supplies into back country airstrips. It is also capable of being fitted with full IFR instrumentation and tundra tyres or floats - making it extremely versatile indeed! That versatility is enhanced even further as RealAir has chosen to release both FS2004 and FSX Scout packages which also include the Scout stable mates, the 160hp Citabria trainer and the 180hp Decathlon aerobatics trainer, making the pack extremely good value. Couple these additional models with landing gear, livery and flight instrument choices; you are able to select from more than 50 different variations.
The PMDG Boeing 747-400 has become a legend in simulation circles, offering a nearly perfect replica of the real aircraft. Such is the reputation of the 747-400 that the next release from PMDG had to be very special indeed just to maintain the current standard, let alone improve on what had gone before. After five years of painstaking development, the team at PMDG unveiled its follow-up, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Often regarded as the finest airliner simulation ever created for the desktop, the PMDG MD-11 thoroughly deserves its star billing in our overview of modern airliners. This release was a surprise to many, because when one thinks of long-haul aircraft it is probably fair to say that the MD-11 may not even be on most people's list. One tends to think of aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777 and the Airbus A330/340 fleet. Yet, PMDG had not idly chosen to develop the MD-11. Firstly, there has never previously been a commercially available hi-fidelity simulation of the MD-11 for any version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator. Secondly, the MD-11 is an extremely advanced automated aircraft bristling with technology that often leaves the Boeing and Airbus fleets in the shade.
The Saab 340B is a very popular twin turbo aircraft made in Sweden and used by many regional carriers. It is also popular with passengers because the B variant was one of the first aircraft to be fitted with "active noise and vibration control", which is essentially a sophisticated system that drastically reduces the engine noise in the cabin. Saab produced a number of military variants of the 340, mainly used in the airborne early warning role. Production of the 340 ended in 1999 and Saab dropped out of civil aircraft production altogether in 2005. The aircraft featured on this issue's CD is from another prolific group of designers known as Premier Aircraft Design, including Barry Blaisdell, Jean-Pierre Brisard, Bob May and Kevin Pardy. We've featured their work many times before on our cover CD, but this time they get the top spot with this superb rendition of the Saab 340B. The aircraft is beautifully crafted with all the embellishments we've come to expect from FSX models and a few more added by the group. They include dynamic shine to the exterior paintwork, moving stairs, animated forward and rear doors, animated pilots and a virtual cockpit.
The Gama Goat was a six-wheel-drive semi-amphibious off-road vehicle originally developed for use by the US Military in the Vietnam War. The Goat used an articulated chassis, so that from distance it appears to be a four-wheel drive vehicle pulling a two-wheel trailer, but it is a single six-wheel vehicle with a four-wheel steering arrangement with the front and rear wheels turning in opposite directions. It was famous for its ability to travel over exceptionally rough and muddy terrain. The vehicle's nickname came from two sources; "Gama" from the name of the inventor of its powered articulated joint, Roger Gamount, and "Goat" for its mountain goat-like off-road ability. Its military designation was M561, 6x6 tactical 1-1/4-ton truck. Tamiya will be releasing an all-new 1:35 scale Gama Goat. The model will be 170mm in length and 62mm wide. Options will include a front windshield and a front winch. The complex six-wheel drive suspension has been engineered as a single part, easing assembly but retaining plenty of detail. The model will include a seated driver figure and three marking options. Also coming soon from Tamiya is a detailed kit in 1:48 scale of the Russian BA-64B armoured car. The kit includes a half figure of the commander and decals for one version.
Oliver Begom discovered his Canadian-built Ford F60T, of which only 3000 were manufactured during 1943-44, in 1999 stored in a garage in Bethune, Northern France, where it had languished since 1946. There was no trailer with it but the vehicle was complete and still wearing its original wartime markings. Since Oliver didn't have the wherewithal to purchase the vehicle, friends he was with pooled their cash and enough was raised to complete the deal and allow them to take the Ford away. It was in remarkably good condition although the engine required a little work. While repainting the truck Oliver has been careful to retain all the old markings which relate to the 5th Regiment Automobile, a unit formed after the Normandy landings from ex-members of the French Resistance. Apparently it operated a Red Ball Express-type supply route out of Normandy but little seems to be known about the operation. The trailer attached to the F60T is a relatively modern unit that has been modified to represent the wartime type. Interestingly, when first built, the F60T's semi-trailer was non-detachable and was connected via a large ball and socket arrangement.
The Raupenschlepper Ost (RSO) was a lightweight artillery tractor, conceived in response to the savage Eastern Front conditions and performance of German half-tracked vehicles in dealing with it. Introduced in 1942, the RSO was initially designed to perform a prime mover and artillery tractor role, though in reality served many wide and varied roles, simply because it traversed the landscape better than most other light vehicles on offer. Looking past the instructions that in my opinion appear a little light on detail, (unusual for Dragon) the Raupenschlepper Ost (RSOJ/01 from Dragon (item 6691) is a really enjoyable kit to build. The model utilises parts from previously released variants of the vehicle, some parts such as roadwheels and drive sprockets are starting showing their age now compared to recent releases. The pressed steel cab denotes the initial RSO/01 variant. Models to follow this were much simpler in construction including armour plating, rear mounted PaK 40 and later in the war, even a variant made from wood (Einheits). The rear deck of the vehicle offers plenty of stowage opportunity, and this is what I am going to explore in this build.
Lockheed Galaxy C-5A 69-0014 has landed for the final time at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, US, where it will become part of the Air Mobility Command Museum's collection of historic aircraft. Once it is in place, the C-5 will be the only Galaxy open to the public in a museum anywhere in the world. "Preparing a massive aircraft for retirement in a museum presents some unique challenges," museum director Mike Leister told FlyPast. "For instance, what to do about the need for 80,000lbs of concrete that would need to sit in the cargo compartment just to give the plane enough stability so winds will not break her tie-down chains. The answer will be to conceal it behind walls that will also serve as a backdrop for photographs and text panels relating the history of the C-5. "The story will run from its early days as a maintenance headache to the current updated versions of these mammoth airlifters that virtually leap into the air. Gone are the screaming sounds of the old TF-39 engines straining to lift a heavily-laden Galaxy. The new-generation engines are so quiet you can miss a C-5 when they are making a touch-and-go landing on a runway several hundred yards away.