Review: FSX Freeware L.A.K. Genesis 2 (and “Aerotow”)

yifl_bushhawk_7I had to look at my calendar and check the date first. But then – the author of this freeware Glider is known for his “short” Gliders. Does David Rowberry have something against elegant tailbooms perhaps? Rewind… I was browsing through Avsim recently and discovered another freeware glider by David Rowberry. If you have not heard of this gent and you are a glider fan and you are flying FSX, then you are missing a delightful experience. David has made a niche for himself as a maker of “flying wings”.

yifl_6L.A.K. is the acronym for Lithuanian Aircraft Constructors (in that language of course) and the Genesis 2 is a competition class glider that can hold it’s own. Certainly you won’t see that many around, but you will see one or two if you are lucky.

After releasing his other gliders (Akaflieg, Aeriane, Swift et al), David now gives us another unusual “Manx” glider. What can I say – it’s perfect. Five freeware stars all the way for flying, handling, looks…

Download and Installation

yifl_bushhawk_1Go to the Avsim website and then to the library and search for “David Rowberry” – that way you’ll find all his gliders too (hint). If you’re not a registered user on Avsim, you’ll have to go through a short and simple registration process. Once you have found the Genesis 2, simply click on the download link and in seconds, you’ll have a little over 13 MB on your hard drive. Unzip the zip-file to a “safe place” and the package expands to around 29 MB. You will now see a typical aircraft folder containing the usual assortment of sub directories and files. You will also see a directory called “Aerotow Programme” – more on this in a bit.

yifl_bushhawk_3Installing the Genesis couldn’t be simpler. Copy the whole Genesis-2 folder into your SimObjects / Airplanes folder and go flying. The Genesis will launch any way you want – whether you choose to slew up to 2000 feet or whether you use the FSX aerotow method. This glider will then keep you in the air for quite some time – as far as I can see, it has a glide angle of 1 in 43, so if you took off at Booker Air Park (just North of London Heathrow) you could annoy the London Air traffic controllers  and fly into Heathrow without needing any thermals to help you.

The Model

yifl_bushhawk_4How can I say this without abusing my stock in superlatives? Ah yes – Some payware developers should take heed of David’s modelling and texturing talents! His VC skills are simply the best. You will be hard pushed to find an equally detailed VC in the payware scene. Why do I say that? Well for a start, the “fabric texture” he has applied to the seat is really well drawn and mapped. OK, it sounds a bit odd, but the first thing I was reminded of was that carpet-like fabric you often find on public transport seats.

yifl_bushhawk_6As for the rest of the cockpit, David’s attention to detail is equally good. The composite material of the fuselage Looks so real you want to feel it, all the iconic labels for canopy jettison, flaps, spoilers, wheel retract… Why, he’s even got a map, a camera and a pack of doublemint in the side pocket! Seriously – some payware authors need to look at this and weep.

At the business end of the cockpit you can find a standard modern glider instrument panel with electric vario, flight computer and, most important of all to glider pilots, the bit of red wool  on the canopy. Isn’t it strange? Despite all the inventions and innovations that have made flying safer over the years, the “Bit of wool” has been the single most useful instrument in many a pilot’s life. It actually points at the pedal you need to press to be in balanced flight.

detaildetail2detail3

Outside we have an equally satisfying model. The pilot figure is new to “Rowberry fans”. Gone is the chap in the chequered shirts, this new pilot is wearing cool yellow anti-glare shades. Even the slimline parachute is well modelled. The glider itself is as clean and polished as any real world glider – any bit of dirt can spoil the flight characteristics. All the controll surfaces move smoothly and the detail given to items like flaps and wheels is certainly on par with the rest of the glider – just take a look at the grot inside the wheel wells and you’ll begin to understand how David ticks.

Handling

Flight and handling can be summed up in one word – excellent. David has done a good job on the dynamics and created a good flyer here. It looks like a glider, it handles like a glider, it even flies like a glider – I really don’t need to add any more.

The Manual

Well, not so much a manual, but a folder full of the necessary pictures and a couple of documents (David even includes the polar coordinates for the wings – now that is something!) to point out where what is and what it is called… Not that gliding is as simple as the “manuals” would have you believe, but David has managed to prepare “intuitive documentation” to cover all that you need to operate this aircraft.

yifl_bushhawk_2

In the readme.txt file that comes with the Genesis, you can read about who helped David with this model – read the readme and spare a thought for the people involved – and while you do, you will also notice another hint that David drops into your laps: another programme called “Sim Probe”. Sim Probe is a programme which will give you ridge lift. Thank you David for that hint too.

The added Extra – “Aerotow”

David has included a copy of Finnish programmer Paavo Pihelgas’   “Aerotow” program. Whilst it might not work on all computers, it certainly did on my PC.

This program is so simple and yet so incredibly useful to use passionate glider pilots, that it really does deserve a mention. Aren’t you ever fed up with following that white Maule into the sky – why, the Maule Pilot can’t even fly round corners! Well Paavo Pihelgas has developed this little addon to let you choose your tow plane and even get it to fly in circles (well – ovals) as you climb. This little programme really made my day today – I hooked up behind a Bushhawk and actually had te remember my real world flying lessons again…

“Aerotow” Installation and use

aerotowsetup aerotow

If you follow the simple readme, you’ll have a new folder in your main FSX folder called “Aerotow”. Before you leave the flight setup menu and go flying, simple browse your way to this folder and double click the “Aerotow.exe” programme. a small window opens in which you can choose your tow plane (an F18 is NOT a tow plane, even if it does have a hook at the end!) and set up the flight pattern appropriate to the airfield you are flying from. Make your selection and save the changes – that’s it.

Now press the “fly now” button back in FSX and you have your chosen tow plane right there in front of you. I haven’t tried any “silly” combinations yet, so if anyone wants to do so and comment – feel free to do so.

Summary

For Against
Free

Excellent Glider

Handles well

Looks

With the “aerotow” in use – great fun!

Nothing

Verdict: If you are into gliders, then you really must ‘buy’ this one! It certainly could pass as payware.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

The Test System

PC:

AMD FX62 based
Foxconn AM2 Motherboard
3GB Corsair RAM
nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics, 512 MB VRAM
Realtek onboard 8:1 sound
three x 250 GB SATA2 Hard drives

OS:

Windows Vista Home Premium, 64 bit


About the author

maninplaneChris ‘Eagleskinner’ Brisland is an aircraft engineer with flight experience. He was knitted over half a century ago and at his current age has collected quite a few books, videos and T-shirts. A simmer since the very early days of “PC Flight”, he has a broad knowledge of flying around bedrooms, studies and home-offices. You will often find him at his desk thinking up new paint schemes for sim-planes — “finger painting without the mess”. Find him online at the simFlight Forums and many of the other places flightsimmers lurk.

He’s still not come unravelled by the way, so don’t pick at any loose ends you might find…

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Eagleskinner
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 16:20

I have just found out…

London Transport stood model for the seat cushions. Thank you David.