By Chas Pickford
Pro Deluxe (USB) R/C Flight Simulator
I have now owned Aerofly Professional Deluxe for about 3 months, and have
extensively tested (played with) it. You may not have heard of this product
before, especially if you are new to the hobby. It's a flight simulator,
specifically aimed at model aircraft. To run this on your PC you need
to have the following specification (See bottom of page) to run it, however
if you have a faster, more powerful PC you will notice the difference.
I know this because I have tried it on two different machines.
In The Box
So, what do you get in the box? In addition to the CD and Manual, which
has around 50 very concise pages, you get a USB Interface. This allows
you to connect your transmitter directly to the PC. This comes with an
adapters which allows you to connect various makes of transmitter, notably
Multiplex, Hitec and Futaba. Aerofly do a version with their own controller,
but I felt it would be more beneficial to me to use this
version. This way I'd get used to my transmitter quicker than just flying
on weekends. One thing to note however, if you have a new Futaba set with
the square connector, such as the FF9 or 6EXA you will need an additional
adapter, which you should be able to pick up for about £10.
Installing Aerofly is straightforward, as all good programmes should be.
Once installed you will need to calibrate the software so you can use
your chosen transmitter. If you get stuck the manual is useful, as is
the Aerofly website! There you can find a support section where you will
find any tips or patches you may need.
You can also use a standard PC joystick which is good if you're transmitter
is not supported, but to be honest, is unlikely. I used this mode initially
as my LMS did not have the adapter for my 6EXA in stock and I found it
fairly simple to use this way.
You can fly in different views, either standard mode (Like when you're
at the strip!) This has been very helpful to me as I am currently practising
the manoeuvres required for the BMFA 'A' Certificate. You can also fly
in follow mode, with the viewpoint place slightly behind the plane (or
helicopter) or you can fly cockpit mode with an option for a simplified
instrument display .
You get a choice of around 50 different aircraft and various different
locations. You can chose from a basic trainer, gliders, 3D aircraft, jets
and various helicopters. There are also some shock flyers included, along
with an indoor arena.
The outdoor locations vary in their detail of terrain. These are either
computer generated or adapted from photographs for that 'almost real'
effect which works very well. The detail also varies in it's complexity,
you will find some sites a lot easier
to fly from than others. There is even the option of flying from an aircraft
carrier with a Harrier Jump Jet!
All the aircraft in Aerofly Pro are customisable. You can change any
number of settings. These include wingspan, dihedral, C of G and weight.
You can alter each part of the plane (Or Heli) separately. This is an
excellent feature as you can effectively fly your own models, with your
own transmitter without the risk of crashing. The weather is also customisable,
you can set wind speed, turbulence as well as fog and cloud settings.
There are also various flying games included such as balloon bursting,
spot landing, and pylon racing amongst others. All will test and improve
your flying skills. You can also add smoke effects in any colour of your
choice! Once you feel that you are getting the hang of things you can
take screen shots (like the ones in this review) or even record the full
flight to playback later.
One particularly nice feature is the glider tow so you can have a friend
(using either a joystick or the transmitter) tow you up and then release
the glider. I found that it was best to use the joystick on the tow plane
and use the transmitter for the glider. The in-flight effects are very
accurate and you can certainly tell when you hit turbulence, or are flying
into the wind. The wind is affected by the terrain, this is especially
noticeable with slower aircraft and of course gliders.
Another option available that is useful, especially when gliding is the
option to display the Wind and Variometer. This is a graphical display
showing the attitude of the aircraft in relation to the wind, and also
if the glider is gaining or losing energy. The manual has a section that
deals specifically with gliding and explains things very well.
So, what's it like to fly I hear you ask! Well, personally I have found
it immensely helpful and fun (It's also a cheap way of flying those big
jets you see at the shows)
If you decide to get this product, I would highly recommend visiting
the website for any patches you may need. On the website you will also
find extra scenery and extra models, most of which are free to download
and simple to install.
Crash As Often As You Want!
In summary, this an excellent piece of software that many will enjoy using,
from the beginner who is just starting out to the expert pilot who can
do all those fancy tricks that you can only dream of! Personally, as a
relative newcomer to the hobby I would recommend this simulator, not only
as a fun product, but also as a training aid.
You can crash as many times as you want without ruining your model or
risk of injury. It's also something to do when the weather's rubbish outside
and you don't have anything on the building board! You can find Aerofly
Professional Deluxe in most good model shops. If not you can order it
direct from J Perkins.
GHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon Processor
1GB Free on your hard drive
CD Rom Drive
64MB Graphics Card Open GL compatible
Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP with DirectX 9.0b or higher
Free USB Port
You Can Use With
Aerofly Professional Deluxe
(FM-314, FM-414, MC10, MC12, MC14, MC15, MC16/20, MC18, MC19, MC22,
(F14, FC16, FC18, FC28)
(4YF, 6EX, 7C/FF7, 9C/FF9, 14MZ require special square adapter)
(Some JR radios require a special adapter)
(Royal Evo-7/9/12, Profi MC 3000/4000, Cockpit MM, 2020, 3030,
Lexors Nova 4 and Nova 6
Pro Deluxe (USB)
I would recommend this simulator, not only as a fun product, but also
as a training aid.
Technical Details Below