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Reviews (by Denny)

VIRTAVIA - HP HAMPDEN FOR MSFS

VIRTAVIA - HP HAMPDEN FOR MSFS

The Hampden sets a new standard for Virtavia's MSFS aircraft. Really happy with it across the board. The exterior model has enhanced detail over versions for earlier sims, and there's an all-new cockpit with detail and texturing that's fully up to the demanding standards of MSFS users. System detail isn't study-level, but it's plenty for folks who want to experience what it would be like to fly a plane like the Hampden. There's a simple autopilot, you can toggle on modern radios, and all the primary/fuel controls work as expected. Unused switches let you toggle weapon and pilot visibility, open the gunner window, etc. Audio is by far the best yet from a Virtavia plane, with full Wwise sound that feels authentic from idle through firewalled throttles. Most important to me, the flight model feels right. Handling is good on the ground and the air, and roll, turn, and climb/descent rates feel right for a plane it is performance class. Speeds match up well with the published numbers. Too often MSFS reviews focus on the visuals, and to me, the best part of flying classic planes like this is the flying experience. Virtavia's flight model captures this well. Lots of other small detail presents, such as antenna and slat differences between indivual aircraft, and both torpedo and bomb loads. VR support is great, and it properly replicates the feel of the cramped cockpit in the "flying suitcase." Really, it's a bargain for $20. I'm a big fan of Virtavia's planes, and I'll settle for a little bit of reduced detail just because they model awesome historical aircraft other publishers haven't touched. But with the Hampden, I don't feel like I've compromised at all. It takes Virtavia's quality up a notch, and it makes me really excited to see what else is coming down the pike. (Really hoping for the F7U, F4D, and F3H!)

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VIRTAVIA - B-1B LANCER FOR MSFS

VIRTAVIA - B-1B LANCER FOR MSFS

With the first update to add supersonic flight it's solid! There's only one external livery but the textures look great. The internal model isn't super-detailed, alas, but the proper displays and functionality are there. I'm more obsessed with the "experience" letting me feel like I'm flying this type of aircraft than picking apart textures, and the flight model and performance feels authentic. I'd love to see more liveries, and some GPS functionality. But overall, it's a super-fun experience at a really low price! No regrets at all in my purchase!

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VIRTAVIA - F7F-3 TIGERCAT FOR MSFS

VIRTAVIA - F7F-3 TIGERCAT FOR MSFS

Really nice to see Virtavia doing classic military planes, and the visuals here are top-notch both in and out of the cockpit. Some nice details and animations, including folding wings, the tail hook, stepladder, etc. Flies well, with performance in line with the F7F's specs. Roll rate is good, but it does feel like you should be able to pull a tighter turn. Still, overall the flight model feels convincing. (Given there are few folks around actually flying Tigercats nowadays!) The one area I hope Virtavia can tweak is the sound. I don't have an issue with the sound samples or mix in general, but when you throttle back in the v1.0 release, the sounds is like what you hear when a radial engine is idling on the ground. Totally appropriate for taxiing, but not when you're in the air just slowing down. Hopefully this can be tweaked so that the lower-power settings feel more appropriate for sound in the air. The air racer variation with the spinners is nice, as well as the armed versions. Overall, a nice addition for aviation history fans! Would love to see the audio improved, and some glossier repaints from the community, but no regrets for the very reasonable price.

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FSXCENERY - KSAV SAVANNAH-HILTON INTL AIRPORT MSFS

FSXCENERY - KSAV SAVANNAH-HILTON INTL AIRPORT MSFS

Bought this a while back but waited until I flew into KSAV last week before leaving the review. This is a really disappointing package, lacking all sorts of detail, and with lots of inaccuracies. The rental cart lots, for instance, are pictured as elevated structures (with sunken cars) when in fact they're at ground level. Buildings are super-simple with no interiors at all. AI parking is wonky. The roofs are a crazy bright green lo-res repeating texture, where they're a very dark green in reality. The terminal windows bear no resemblance to reality, in addition to not being transparent. The buildings are shockingly low-poly. (It's not hyperbole to wonder if this was originally developed for FS8 or FS9.) It's better than the generic AI-generated default included with MSFS, for sure. But this feels like a straight port-over from FSX (FS9?) and the lack of detail in the structures and textures is really distracting at ground level. I appreciate the aptly named FSXENERY building airports for the sim that wouldn't exist otherwise. But they really need to up their game to make customers buy more of their products. I replaced their KBTV with a freeware alternative that was more accurate and detailed, and after the disappointment of KSAV it's likely the last product I'll buy from them unless they start bringing their airports up to FS2020 specs.

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MOKUI - PASI SITKA AIRPORT - MSFS

MOKUI - PASI SITKA AIRPORT - MSFS

Wonderful add-on! I visited Sitka (by boat) a few years ago and this really enhances the area. The airport looks great, and the bridge and harbor models really flesh out the town. Would be cool to see a few of the local landmark buildings and park details added just to flesh out an already awesome package, but there's way more than enough here to justify the price now! Highly recommended for Alaska fliers.

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FLIGHT REPLICAS - L-4 GRASSHOPPER MSFS

FLIGHT REPLICAS - L-4 GRASSHOPPER MSFS

Beautiful visual modeling of this simple plane, with excellent animations (like the control cables in the cockpit). If you're looking for a plane that flies like a Piper Cub, rather than like a modernized, souped-up Cub, this is your ride! It's the flight model that makes this. The low-speed handling, especially, feels really authentic. Don't let yourself get too slow (which is pretty darn slow in an L-4!) on approach or you'll see just how well stalls are modeled. Only real downside is the sound, which is aliased to the stock Savage Cub, which uses a Rotax engine that doesn't sound like the period engine in a real Grasshopper/Cub. Aliasing it to the C152 sounds a lot more like it should but hopefully Flight Replicas will find a better default sound package for future updates.

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BIJAN HABASHI - PROJECT: ISLANDS, SUNKEN BOATS, - MSFS

BIJAN HABASHI - PROJECT: ISLANDS, SUNKEN BOATS, - MSFS

As this review is written, this product has just launched, and it makes (wonderful) improvements to just a few areas around the world. However, I've never in the history of software development seen a designer so responsive to their customers, so frequent with requested updates and fixes, as I have with Bijan's Four Seasons Pack. This is a good indication that this package is going to have tweaks all around the world before long. Some of these are minor, such as the trees in the LA area parks, while others are awesome, such as the rework of "James Bond Island." The vast majority of those are likely to be missed, of course, if you don't use Bijan's POI markers to seek them out. But that's where the awesome personal aspect comes in: If you buy this, you can ask Bijan to tweak an area, getting rid of photogrammetry trees, adding boats to a sunken marina, etc. So if there's somewhere you want to fly and you have a reasonable request for a tweak (I asked for sunken marina fixes around Lake Chelan, WA, for instance), eventually that personal tweak is going to show up. Though if you all listen to my five-star review and buy this, poor Bijan will likely be so busy that it might be a while before he can get to you! :)

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BLUEMESH - CAUDRON RAFALE 430 MSFS

BLUEMESH - CAUDRON RAFALE 430 MSFS

Absolutely stunning for the price! The model detail and polygon count are of the class of a product costing 4x as much. Flies well, ground handling is good, and it feels authentic for a plane of that period. Flying from the back of this thing makes landing an exciting challenge! You'll definitely want to approach the runway from an angle. I'd love to see some documentation added with the history of this plane, as well as a breakdown of the instruments and procedures. That's my only real complaint here, and hopefully BlueMesh can add that in an update or make it available online. After seeing so many recent MSFS releases that were just purchased 3D models with adapted flight models, it's great to see a plane this good at such a bargain price. And it's awesome to see someone recreate such an unusual plane from the early era of aviation! If you like aviation history, classic aircraft, or just want to fly something that's very different from a Cessna or Piper, this is a heck of a deal for less than the price of a cheeseburger in Seattle.

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SOUTH OAK CO - HANA AIRPORT HAWAII MSFS

SOUTH OAK CO - HANA AIRPORT HAWAII MSFS

Wonderful add-on at a great price! Like the other South Oak Co Hawaii airports I've purchased, the layout is 100% accurate to the real airports, and the detail is fantastic. The terminal has all kinds of great interior touches -- make sure to fly the drone inside and look around -- and the vehicles, people, etc. around the airport are all well-done. They've also done fantastic work on the shoreline around the airport. The rocks and other details really make everything feel real as you fly the downwind on approach. Highly recommended as a base for Maui exploration!

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