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REVIEW: FlySimServer 1986 Old School Skylane 182K FSX

The Fly Sim Server version of a 1966 (Old School) Cessna 182 K is unique it sounds and looks like it is just about to fall apart or once airborne make contact with the ground multo-rapido!  It looks old and battered, but flies very well and it has its own sounds which were made for this plane.  I have never experienced the sound effects we have here and will discuss these later in the review, suffice to say that they help with the simming experience.

It cruises well at around 120 KIAS ( i preferred around 110 KIAS) and if you take a ‘portaloo’ with you it’s good for a range of about 700 nmi or over 5 hours flying.  In general terms the instruments were reasonable, being 3D models specially developed for the C182K and they are functional and accurate during flight with just a few minor niggles.  In terms of performance, size and design you would have to compare the FSSOSS C182K to the Carenado® 182Q or 182RG, but you need to take into account that the C182K model is a simulation of a workhorse that has been used and abused and being venerable gives it an edge in this niche market.

From what I can gather this was a model primarily developed for FS2004 or using FS2004 tools and then ‘modified’ for use in FSX SP1 and FSX SP2 and it shows in the fact that the Interior looks a little flat and “jaggy”, I wanted to see more smoothness and detail in the seating and interior in general.  Mark Taylor the developer makes this point:” “This C182K model is custom made to work on all FS versions. The FSX model will have no bump, global reflection or dds textures on the aircraft and glass. This aircraft was tested on FS9, FS9 sp1, FSX, FSX SP1, FSX sp2, FSX acceleration.”  This is the first GA plane developed by Fly Sim Server (ably captained by Mark Taylor better known as the “Delivery Guy”, with more in the works.

A Traditional or ‘They don’t make ‘em like that anymore (Thank God) Review

Figure 2 Real World Cessna 182K Courtesy BMG Aviation

Figure 3 Figure 3 Old School Cessna Compared

Background: (Courtesy of Wikipedia & Cessna Aircraft):
This is based on a Cessna 182K model built in 1966 and allowed to slowly rot away being ‘parked’ by the sea.  The FSS 1966 OS CESSNA SKYLANE 182K is a single engine, high-wing fixed-wing aircraft four-seat l monoplane with fixed Tri-cyclic landing gear.  The engine for this model was a Lycoming powered by a 230 hp (172 kW) Continental O-470-R piston engine slurping gas at a rate of ≈60L/Hr.  The propeller is usually a two-bladed metal propeller.

In the Sim:
Installation was painless with a self extracting “exe” file which you need to point to the correct FSX location.

Settings:
On my system in the Select aircraft menu in FSX under “Publisher” I was presented with the tab for “Delivery Guy” and this allows the choice of the single model.  My flight control settings are full right — as realistic as you can get.  I did not experience any significant effects on my frame rates.

The Guide:
There is a leaflet of 5 pages, which really doesn’t explain very much at all.  Again, unfortunately, there is very little interesting background information on the C182K or its aviation history.  For example there is a GPSMap 496 installed but there is very little information as to what it does or any links to the web as to where you can obtain more information.

Bonus Features:
N/A

The Visual Aspect:
Outside the planes appear quite realistic (see comparison with a real life variant — Figures 2 and 3) and the whole package looks authentic with the plane showing its age and storage conditions since new.  I have to admit that the Interior looked a little Spartan and flat and jaggy to me, and I would have liked to see more detail in the seating, and interior. There is only one variant but the interior can be changed from a 4-seat passenger craft to a single seat, no door, standing room only sky-diver variant.

Figure 4 Old School C182K Front View

Figure 5 Interior showing Pilot and Seating

Figure 6 Interior no pilot showing 4 seats

Figure 7 SKY DIVER Varaiant one seat no doors

As in other planes that I have reviewed, none of the gauges “pop-up” or increase in size when clicked (neither do they in real-life), so a TrackIR would represent a good investment. Shift + 1 pulls up the standard FSX GPS295 gauge.  There is no 2D panel and in 2D mode pressing “W” repeatedly displays the standard FSX mini-gauges.  I did not use “DX10 Preview” in the sim, as it is not stated that it would work with this model.  The, handles, buttons, gauges, levers, lights and wheels are a little jagged but they still all look realistic and are quite clear.  The gauges were interesting in the fact they were clearer than the surrounding apertures that they were installed in.  It’s as though they were added later and that would fit in with the age of the plane, and a replacement of gauges at a later date as you would expect the gauges to have had to be replaced at some stage. Again probably due to the fact that this is not a native FSX model in some lights the gauges on the radio stack are quite difficult to read becoming almost transparent.

Figure 8 Interior view of Instruments

Figure 9 Close up of Instruments showing clear gauges against the background

Figure 10 Instrument View right side

I did observe one problem that the developer was unable to fix was that when I was panning around the plane from the outside, if there were any trees or darker landscape in the background the windows became transparent and looked as though they had disappeared or someone had punched a hole through them.  The developer told me it was something to do with alpha channels and the use of gMax 2004, and although I was emailed a possible solution, unfortunately it did not work.  It was quite a disconcerting effect and I hope that the developer can fix this for when the plane is flown in FSX SP2.

Figure 11 Old School Cessna Transparent Windows

Figure 12  Where’s my back window gone?

There are two doors, i.e. the front access door opens, and a port-side door which is removable along with the seats at the click of a button. See pictures above.

Figure 13 Old School Cessna Sky Diver Mode from Outside

Range:
The tank (as per Fuel/Payload in FSX) holds around 52 US gallons (real life approx 84 US Gallons) and on *normal fuel usage (approx 16 US gallons/hr) you should be able to fly for around 5hours, i.e. around 700 nm, (*engine setting of 75% and a 45 minute reserve).

The Payload:
These are set within the Sim ie using the FSX Payload feature: There 3 passengers and a pilot plus baggage loaded by default give a payload 720 lb.  Removing the passengers and baggage makes the plane a lot more sprightly.  The pilot can be removed using a scatologically named handle.

Figure 14 Old School Cessna Fuel Payload

I did not see any significant drop in performance (frame rates) in FSX in this plane.

Instruments in the Interior:
There is only one cockpit layout for the single model.  This layout See pictures above) depicts the usual avionics/navigation instruments that would have been installed in a 1966 plane plus a Garmin GPSMap 496 which is unique to the C182K.  The gauges are clear and readable but you do have to magnify the VC panel in order to read and interpret an individual gauge ie change values, and that can be tricky, particularly at low-level flying.  As per usual I found the easiest way in flight was to pause the sim, make the changes and resume flying.  A TrackIR would be an asset.

The GPSMap496 has about the same functions as the default GPS295, unfortunately there is very little information given about the gauge in the accompanying documentation, and so without a lot of research you have no idea how it compares to a real world GPSMAP 496.  So here goes, these are my observations: To my untrained eye it bears only a passing resemblance to a real Garmin 496 with the actual switches and layout seemingly taken from the default GPS295 (Confirmed by Delivery Guy).  In fact it looks like a default 295 that has been re-shaped as it displays on the left the information from the 295 that is not seen in the real world version and the labelling and layout from the knobs on the right are different to a real G496.  The gauge itself is reasonably clear but it still has a lot of jagged blocky edges that I am sure will be upgraded as the plane develops.  The unit should have an antenna that can be stowed but this does not appear to have been modelled in this case.  The Garmin version has a WX function and an On/Off switch but these appear to be missing from the 1966 FSSOSC C182K.  This is the first time that I have seen a 496 in an FSX plane and it is a great pity that it does not resemble more closely its real world variant.

Figure 15 Old School Cessna GPSMap 495 (GPS295 reshaped)

The instruments look fine at night with clear illumination and adequate lighting.  The lights are controlled by rotary knobs (instrument panel and recognition), and a switch (instrument panel lights) on the main panel plus two knobs on the ceiling controlling the “recognition” lights.  The developer warned about using any of the default key strokes, ie “L” except to use it to turn off all lights.  There also rocker switches on the VC for the Rotating Beacon, Landing Lights, Taxi Lights and navigation lights.  The lighting was good once you coordinate which switches you turn on for the time of day and flight condition.

Figure 16 Old School Cessna Instrument lighting  GPSMap 496 removed

Figure 17 Old School Cessna  Landing Lights

In the air:
The engines can be started manually, or Ctrl + E will also work, there is no “cold and dark” method of starting outlined in the manual.  However, if you are used to GA planes it is a relatively easy procedure to follow without specific instructions.  I set all my controls in FSX to realistic ie to the far right.  On the ground, the plane handles very well with excellent handling characteristics and great noises (more anon) .

For take-off I followed a checklist which is included in a file installed in the Cessna 182K folder brakes hold, flaps at zero or 10°, elevator trim for T/O, throttles at idle, check manifold pressure, check gauges, release brakes, mixture rich, push throttles to full lift nose at 55 KIAS, and rotate at around 70 – 80 KIAS (There was little or no noticeable torque effect on take-off). I climbed at around 60KIAS @ 2400 rpm, retracted flaps at 500’, adjusted the trim for best climb at a the speed of around 70 – 85 KIAS at max power.  With these settings I was climbing at around 900 – 1,000’ ft/min, quite useful!  You need to adjust the mixture for best EGT (above 3,000’) for the plane to run smoothly.  The gear is fixed and does not retract.

Figure 18 Old School Cessna Flaps Set

The ceiling of this plane is around 18,000’ and I got there in around 25 – 30 minutes or thereabouts depending on load, etc.  It cruises effortlessly at 120 – 130 KIAS with a prop setting between 2100 and 2700 rpm at around 75% engine power.  It is quite easy to maintain level flight and a cruise speed by judicious use of the trim and throttle controls.

In terms of the four fundamental basic flight manoeuvres, straight-and-level flight, turns, climbs, and descents these are all performed very well by the FSSOSC  C182K,  in fact this is one of the better features of this plane, ie it lovely to fly.  It is responsive to the controls and feels great through my Saitek X52 joystick.

Figure 19 Old School Cessna  Full Flight

Stalls:
As I have reported in previous reviews, inducing a stall was according to the “book”, i.e. above 3000’, no flaps, reducing the power to idle and trying to maintain level flight.  In the sim the stall occurs at around 60 — 65 KIAS (real-life is around 50KIAS) the plane becomes very heavy, shakes a lot and wants to descend rapidly i.e. almost uncontrollable.  Recovery was also by the “book”, i.e. decreasing the angle of attack and advancing the throttle to full power, until I had full control back again.  I thought that stalls were very well modelled in this plane.

Landing:
As always (I’m predictable), I set up my approach at around 5 — 7 nm out by setting a rich mixture, and the prop at full rpm and setting the throttle to reduce speed and stabilising to around 95 – 110 KIAS, (with flaps set to 10° and using the elevator to maintain descent and speed).  I try to descend at approximately 500’/min and the plane was very responsive and easy to control at these settings.  By the time that I had reached the threshold I had reduced speed to around 70 – 75 KIAS, finally settling on the tarmac at around 65 — 75 KIAS.  I attempted a couple of glide landings ie no power and this was quite easy to achieve with this plane which is very well balanced.  I particularly liked the way the undercarriage flexed on landing.   In a couple of cross wind landings using a crosswind at around 15 KIAS I found that the plane was reasonably easy to land using standard procedures.  My opinion – this plane has excellent handling characteristics in all situations.  IFR flights using the G496 were accurate and it was quite easy to complete a journey in poor visibility all the way to finally break through the clouds and see the runway dead ahead, (even if it was the wrong one!!)

Sounds
Another great feature this plane has unique sound animations with a total of 39 different sounds.  In essence this means that every time you clicked a switch, changed direction up/down/left right, opened a window, stressed the airframe you heard an appropriate noise.  In my opinion the FSSOSC  C182K has one of best and realistic sound sets that I have ever reviewed.  One caveat during a long flight in cruise mode, I did start to hear some ‘looping’ and repetition from the sound set, but this is a minor criticism.

Support:
This was by email and was excellent and timely.  However, because I only communicate in English, I may not have explained some of the issues that well to the developer and vice versa I found it difficult to interpret some of his responses.  It is still one of the best support programs that I have experienced.

Upgrades:
The developer seems to have an ongoing upgrade process and I’m sure that the deficiencies that I have listed here will be fixed in the future.

Summing Up:
A nice first effort from FLY SIM SERVER and it is a unique plane with its sounds and its rough and ready, well worn appearance.  The plane handles impeccably and externally it looks very good.  It has a few niggles which are relatively minor but do need fixing, such as “smoothing” the interior and fixing the window transparency, etc.  The developer known colloquially as the ‘Delivery Guy’ has a very positive attitude, so I’m sure most of these will be fixed in the future.  I thought that the manual was inadequate needing a lot more input (including better images) to describe the basic functions of the plane.  I would like to definitely see an upgrade to the GPSMAP 496 which I feel is little more that a cosmetic variant of the default GPS295.

Yet again it is disappointing to report that there is no facility for maintenance or repairs and you have to use the inbuilt payload function of FSX when it would have been good to see a dedicated load/repair manager.  I did get the feeling (perhaps incorrectly) that this plane was primarily developed with FS2004 in mind and then upgraded so that it could be used in FSX.  Had it been a “true” FSX SP2 model it would in my opinion have a much better visual appearance particularly in the interior.

This is not to decry the achievements of the developer who took 6 months and 1200 hours to develop the model and thoroughly tested it in FS2004, FSX SP1 and FSX SP2.  On the positive side, externally it looks great, it handled superbly and the flight characteristics seemed realistic, being easy to fly with no vices.  With a couple of enhancements, it could well be another good (rusty, well worn) basic GA plane to park in your virtual hangar (not outside for the next 20 years).

WOW Factor: 7⅝/10

Peter Hayes, Australia, November, 2010.

A few Pictures of the plane:

Figure 20 Old School Cessna Out of Bella Coola

Figure 21 Old School Cessna in the mountains

Figure 22 Old School Cessna Flaps deployed

Figure 23 Old School Cessna Top view

Figure 24 Old School Cessna 182K in Flight

Figure 25 Old School Cessna 182K in Flight FRONT View

Figure 26 Old School Cessna 182K Pilots Handbook

Figure 27 Old School Cessna 182K tied down plus coat

Figure 28 A real world Garmin GPSMap 496 (Courtesy Wikipedia)

The Important Bits:

  • Publisher:                                       Flysimware
  • Supplier: http://secure.simmarket.com/fly-sim-server-1966-old-school-skylane-cessna-182k-fsx.phtml
  • Download File Size: 34 MB (exe file)
  • Installation File Size: ≈90 MB
  • Simulator Requirement: FSX SP1 SP2 (or Acceleration/Gold) (other variants for FSX SP1 and FS2004 available)
    Note: DX10 Preview mode not mentioned — not tested);
  • OS Requirements: Win XP, Vista and/or Win 7;
  • Variants: N/A
  • Paint Schemes One basic rusty model
  • Cockpit 3D (VC) only
  • Supplementary: N/A
  • Testing System: Intel i7 860, 4GB DDR 1600 RAM, Windows 7, nVidia GTX460 1GB, 260.99 Driver, nVidia Inspector 1.94; 
    FSX SP1 + SP2; 120GB SATA II OCZ Colossus SSD; Saitek X52 + Pro Pedals,
    No Tweaks all standard and no over-clocking.
  • Scenery: FSX standard, FTX Aus, GEXn, UTX Can, USA, Alaska, FSGenesis LC/Mesh;  X-Graphics;
    FTX PNW, NA Blue Pacific Fjords
  • Installation: Installation is simplicity itself being automatic via a self extracting exe file.  
    Should be installed with Admin rights — VISTA/Win 7 right click “Run as administrator”.
  • Manuals A five page leaflet
  • Support: delivery_guy_1970@yahoo.com
  • Paint Kits Nil
  • Forum: N/A
  • Updates N/A
  • Un-installation No Instructions

 


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