by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
The Associates design software for FS 97 and FS 98. One of their many collections, the RAF Collection comprises a total of thirty aircraft that can be flown in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The RAF Collection celebrates eighty years of flight with the Royal Air Force. In this collection you can find the following:
Good grief, that's quite a list!
Flight modeling is quite good, with a full six DOF, though not quite up to the detailing Microsoft has accorded to Combat Flight Simulator. However, you can be sure that The Associates will have an official announcement soon with regard to an add-on for Combat Flight Sim!
In the meantime, if you have FS98, you can import all these aircraft now and even import scenery to go with them. I loaded up a well known WW2 British airfield where I checked out the Hurricane and the Lancaster B.1. (Click for larger images).
Naturally, with Flight Sim '98 you can fly this collection virtually anywhere in the world. And if you have the scenery add-ons to go with them, you can fly with greater detail than you will see in the shots I've taken in FS 98. However, these are taken at 1024x768 with hardware acceleration enabled.
However, you don't necessarily have to wait to enjoy flying these aircraft in Combat Flight Sim! I imported a few to try out, including all those you see below: the Short Sunderland, the Canadair Sabre, the Lancaster B.1 as well as the Heyford. The detailing is quite acceptable, with some particularly good cockpits to boot as you can see screen left. I tried landing this Sunderland on the water, but I don't think CFS designers had quite expected my attempt... unfortunately, it can't be done.
But the real fun is putting these jets up against P38 Lightnings and German Me109s. I found that I didn't fair very well in general (at Ace level), but every aircraft you import automatically acquires guns. When Combat Flight Sim is released it will be possible to tweak the specs as much as you like. The Lancaster had two guns on each wing and cannon in the nose. Personally, I think it would fair better with four guns on each wing ;-D
Now of course at this stage its just for fun. But once the add-ons start to appear, even the serious pilots are going to have a great deal of fun with bombers in Combat Flight Sim. I expect that we will see some fantastic cockpits and also some excellent flight modeling. Look for your favorite aircraft to be available soon, very likely prior to Christmas!
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Last Updated October 6th, 1998