Armchair Flying - Is It As Good As The Real Thing?


Reflex - XTR Model Flight Sim
By Steve Broughton

I've been thinking about purchasing a proper model flight simulator for ages, ever since I got the EasyFly freebie with the Ikarus Piccolo helicopter I bought in 2003. I've been using the free FMS sim for a while now, and although it is good, it doesn't quite have the REAL feel to it.

It was only recently, that I had a go on the Aerofly Pro Deluxe………and I must say, I was very impressed. As all regulars of FS know, my area of R/C flying is slope soaring. Sadly, the Aerofly currently doesn't cater for slope soaring, but the Reflex XTR does.

So, What Do You Get?
Er…not a lot!
On opening the box, you get a big shock…, as there are only three things included! A CD-Rom, an adaptor dongle, and the lead for your chosen Tx. You have to state your correct Tx make and model when ordering.

Installing the software is a doddle, as we've come to expect from the Windows operating system. My first word of warning here though, is to make sure your PC system requirements, match those of the minimum's needed to run 'XTR'. If you buy this Sim, and your system DOESN'T meet the minimum requirements………you won't get a refund (due to piracy laws).

My second word of warning, is that you will need to use an unused memory on your computer Tx, in order to fly with this sim! I tried flying the sim whilst I was still in my 'Mini Weasel' set-up but it wasn't having any of it. I expect the older, non-computerised Tx's will be fine, as long as all trims, etc are set to neutral. I myself used my current Tx, which is the Hitec Optic 6.

There is no instruction manual included with the Sim, as I assume the manufacturers expect anyone using this to have a reasonable knowledge of PC's already. All the same, an instruction manual would be nice. I'm not complaining, these are just things I feel you need to know!

Before I go any further, I want to apologise for the quality of the included photos. These are genuine shots from my PC screen, and don't really give you the impression of how good the screen graphics really are!

So What's It Like Then?
Before you attempt to fly, you'll need to calibrate your transmitter to the software. This only takes a minute or two. Once that is done, you can then choose your scenery and model. The scenery is photo-realistic, and very striking to the eye. Being German, the scenery is named in German. So it takes a little time to find the scenery you like. All the airfields included, are grass strips (apart from the slope site). The photo below, shows an Extra 320 ticking over, ready to taxi out.

The feel of the models is unbelievably realistic. The ground handling is superb, as the models bounce around as they hit undulations in the grass. If you fly too low, you can hit trees and even the fences!

In the air, the models react just like they would in real life. The only downside here is that the crashes aren't realistic, unlike the Aerofly Pro. This is the only area that lets this Sim down…. the crash performance!

Aerobatics are very crisp, as you'd expect, and some of the sounds used…really add to the illusion of being at the flying site. I do find that the 4-Stroke engine doesn't sound very realistic……….but most of the 2-Strokes do.

This photo (right), shows the Extra 320 in a dive………the scenery quality is that good, you really do forget that you are sitting at a PC! There are many variables you can alter too, including wind and flying conditions, as well as being able to alter the set-up of each model.


The scene left is the slope soaring one. The model shown is a Tragi 703vs designed for F3F (slope speed) racing, and is a free download. The feel is very realistic, and if set up correctly, will fly very fast, just like the real thing.

In the simulation menu, you can set up wind speeds, vertical wind speeds and thermal strength. This adds up to very realistic flight angles, and well as testing your skills through turbulence!



The photo right is one of the included models, a large Katana S. If you get some of the models close enough to you, you can actually see the servos and R/C gear through the canopy!

And for the electric buffs amongst us, there are numerous electric models to keep you amused. The one pictured below, is a Raven "Shockie".

As well as fixed wing models, there is also a nice selection of helicopters included too, see below

Here are just a few of the models I've been able to download.

The Pulse-jet model is fast, and like the real model………only has fuel for about 4 minutes of flying.

The Kangaroo on the other hand, is rather sluggish in flight, unlike the real thing.

The Zlin is nice to fly, and sounds awesome

The photo below, shows another Katana S…This could almost be you club site in the summer!

So To Conclude
Overall, this Sim is brilliant…and is well worth the investment. But I feel that there is still room for improvement, in particular, realism of crashes and extra scenery, but these are minor gripes.

The software is easy to use, and the quality of the flight graphics, is breath-taking to say the least.

My rating

Additional free scenery and models are available from (you need to register with this site, to download stuff, but membership is free). That said, I have found that some of the free downloads don't work…but try anyway.

The Reflex XTR is available from all good leading model shops (check websites, or the modelling press for the most up to date prices).

Minimum Requirements
Includes: USB interface unit compatible with the most popular Transmitters such as Futaba, JR, Hi-tec, Sanwa and Multiplex.
PC Pentium 4 1200 MHz 256 MB RAM
1 GB available hard disk CD drive
USB port R/C transmitter with student or DSC socket of at least 4 channels
Operating system Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000 and XP DirectX 8.1-capable 3D hardware accelerated video card with at least 32 MB video ram - AGP2x or better. Shared RAM is not supported.
Likes Dislikes
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Easy to use, and set-up
  • Excellent flight model realism
  • A great learning and teaching tool.
  • Very good value for money
  • Ideal for rainy days!
  • Crash realism needs improving
  • More standard scenery options needed

Please mention Flying Sites when contacting
your Reflex XTR Dealer




Info Panel
Reflex XTR
Model Flight Simm
Available from most good model shops.
This Sim is brilliant…and is well worth the investment. But I feel that there is still room for small improvements
Around £120
Technical Details Below