Most people have never heard of the Fokker 60, a stretched version of the Fokker 50 turboprop. That’s because it was a casualty of the 1996 bankruptcy. PAOB (Precision Aerobus) has developed a version of this aircraft for FSX that is impressive.
The F60 did get into production and four of them were made with another sixty or so left unfinished on in various stages of production. None of those completed were passenger variants though and it wasn’t the original intent of the design. However, PAOB included it in their package along with cargo, para, and medical versions. This product is for FSX only which is unfortunate for FS2004 users.
Installation is very easy. Download the file, point to your FSX folder, and it does the rest. It installs all variants and the manuals. No shortcuts are created to the manuals so you have to locate them yourself within the FK60_VX1 folder.
You’ll see two folders within the FK60_VX1 folder which contain manuals. One is for Important Reminders and Tips and the other contains the Manuals and Speed Reference charts. They’ve included a nice intro flight section so you can learn how to fly the F60 properly. Throughout the manuals you’ll see it’s referenced to the F50. They do assure us on their website that the flight dynamics are for an F60. The Intro Flight is really helpful and advised reading. If you’re anxious to get going you can read the manual on How to Quick Start the Engines and figure the rest out for yourself.
The manuals are well written and informative. There’s enough here to be proficient in flying the F60 but not so much that it’s intimidating. They’ve included a speed and performance chart but it’s in Excel so if you don’t have Excel or the OpenOffice package (which is free anyhow) you won’t be able to set up the V speeds properly. PDF versions would have been nice so that everyone can use them.
The site doesn’t have much support for the F60 and there is no forum to ask questions to the developer or other users. You must ask your questions to the developer directly. There is a promise of more liveries coming soon and hopefully that includes a support forum. There are sections there for tips that relate to the F50 but can be applied to the F60.
The external view of the F60 is quite nice. They’ve included dirt and smoke spots to make it look more realistic. The reflections are not overdone as I’ve seen on some planes and appropriate. The tires look really good, too. They look like a fresh new set with a few landings on them and looks like rubber. The best tires I’ve seen in FSX. The windows are done properly and you can see through to the other side at the correct angles.
Here are some shots of the entire aircraft.
… and here are some close up shots.
The control surfaces move smoothly. The doors open and close smoothly, too. You are limited to KLM for PAX versions and military type for the other variants but they are promising more paint schemes soon. The animated parts are well done. The wings flex but a little too much in my opinion but the rest of the aircraft animates nicely.
Stepping inside we see that the VC textures look somewhat plain while the 2D panel looks a little more textured. The Yoke in the VC moves smoothly. The annunciator panel works properly with many levels of failures capable of being indicated. The panel is well replicated and is almost completely functional. Some of the overhead switches don’t work but these are only ones that are rarely used or very difficult to simulate so you’re not missing anything. The reflections of the cockpit on the windows is a nice touch.
The Cabin views are quite nice and there are five of them. My favourite view is always the wing view. I like to land and then reply the landing as a passenger looking at the props. They’ve done a nice job with this view. With the wings on the top you get a full view of the engine and blades as they spin. They’ve added some additional outside views, too.
Flying the F60
To find the aircraft in your aircraft list look under “Fokker” in the manufacturer section. There is no autoloading or configuration program with the F60. You’ll have to make the calculations and entries yourself.
The overhead and pedestal panels are a real treat. They are almost completely functional and making a mistake will result in a warning or something not working as you expect. I miss an FMC but then again there’s no need for one as they have included an engine rating computer and the autopilot works with the default GPS. Look on the bright side… you don’t have to key in all those waypoints
They have included checklists that you can cycle through by clicking shift-5 or a button on the checklist. I wish all aircraft had this rather than relying on the FSX checklist or having them outside of the sim altogether. One little annoyance is while not in FSX I found that my keystrokes, say bidding on a VA flight on the net (or typing comments for this review), were duplicated in FSX and the checklists scrolled through even though I wasn’t in FSX. The FO will read the checklists out too if you add the sound files mentioned in one of the manuals. Cool. The checklists are good up until you are sitting at the holding point. After that they are a little vague but getting into the air is the hardest part. You will land one way or the other but I’d still like to see a more complete checklist as a future download.
Setting up the panel’s heading and course selectors are too sensitive for my liking. I found myself going back and forth with the knob to get the right heading or course even if I use single mouse clicks instead of the mouse wheel. Oh, if you try to switch the backup Nav frequency to the active one in the VC you’ll have problems. It only works in the 2D panel.
OK, so now we’re set up let’s go for a flight. I am pleased to say that taxiing, climbing, cruising, and landing are very smooth and the flight dynamics feel right. It’s one of the better aircraft I’ve flown in terms of dynamics. Nothing is exaggerated, such as excessive climb rates or impossible speed reduction, as I’ve seen in some turboprop aircraft add-ons. This is accomplished by utilizing the Engine Rating computer they’ve included. Engaging the AP is smooth and not jerky when first engaged.
The sounds are actually both pleasing and realistic. I have a KLM CityHopper DVD and I’ve listened to the engines on the F50 and this is reflected in the sim. I don’t think it would be possible to get the engine sounds for the F60 because of the limited number produced so we have to give them a break here.
How about the CPU hit? The framerate dropped 10 fps when I loaded the F60 in VC view. This isn’t a crazy drop as I’ve seen much worst in other payware add-ons but it is substantial. Switching to the 2D view did not raise the rates either. This was at a busy airport with detailed add-on scenery (SBSP to be precise). At a default airport this drop was bigger, nearly 30fps. The comparison is with the default Air Creation Strike which uses very minimal CPU power. At the busy airport, SBSP, I was getting an average of 26 fps while at SBSV I was getting 35 fps. These framerates are more than acceptable to fly with plus I have AI Traffic set at 40% using Ultimate Traffic 2 which does eat some framerates.
When I do a review I usually type it up and then sit on it for a week or so and use the product more. This way I am sure my review is complete and I’ve said everything I wanted to say. The more I used the F60 the more I liked it. It’s really nice to fly once you get used to it.
Is it worth the 34 Euros (~$47 US/Canada) pricetag? There are not many turboprops to compare it with on the market. If we compare it to aircraft of equal price I think it’s a little overpriced. They didn’t include an FMS and the panel textures are below the quality of others in this category. It’s really in between a fully modelled version and a “Lite” version.
If you’re looking for a turboprop and the pricetag is not high for you, then I strongly recommend this one.
Developer: Precision Aerobus
Download size: 69 mb
Where to buy: Simmarket
Price: 34 Euros (~$47 US/Canada)