*Please note that these my opinions and viewpoints based on my personal experiences and possible ignorance. Also, at this stage my FSX is nor running at its full capacity.IRIS PLATINUM SERIES - C-27J SPARTAN
The most impressive aircraft at AAD 2010 for me was the Lockheed Martin Alenia C-27J Spartan. Simply because it did things not expected from such a type aircraft.
At that stage there was no model for FSX, but recently IRIS Simulations released a C-27J. However, costing US$ 46.47, it is not cheap. http://secure.simmarket.com/iris-platinum-series-c-27j-spartan.phtml
Following is my experience with this aircraft:Installation:
After purchase the file is available for download, about 200Mb. Its a .exe installer, it will locate FSX and install the files. No hassles, pretty much what one would expect. In addition to the aircraft files there is also a paintkit, a manual and 16-bit textures should you need it.
You will find the aircraft in the main menu under IRIS PLATINUM SERIES.Running the aircraft:
Once selected a very annoying sound starts to play, while you are still in the menu. This should be fixed by the next update though. You will find only one model with several different paints. More paints are already available for download.
Now, if you are like me and would like to quickly take the aircraft for a quick spin, you are in for a surprise. Once FSX has loaded, the aircraft will switch off and will be in a cold status. But before you groan, if you don't want to push all the buttons for start up yourself, the helpful co-pilot will do it for you.
Like most FSX aircraft there is no 2D panel, everything runs in the Virtual panel. There are not any instrument windows to select, you will have to press each button and view each gauge at its location. A bit annoying, but actually not a major problem. It takes time to learn the cockpit though, there are no cockpit help in terms of telling you what the switch is for. You nwill have to go through the manual to see where everything is, some buttons is located at strange places.
When you pull the Gust Lock Lever, a clipboard appears. There you can add, the pilot and co-pilot, remove sensors and fuel-probe, open doors, select the HUD and use it to instruct the co-pilot to start the aircraft. He will switch everything on, you only have to start the two engines. However, the Gust Lock Lever will interfere with the throttle, you will have to reset the lever which means that after the aircraft is started you cannot make any changes.
The glass cockpit features displays where all the info is available. However, these do appear a bit fuzzy, not a crisp as other glass cockpits. It might be my PC though. A HUD is present, remember to pull it down. Not the best cockpit I have seen, but it gets the job done.
The engines start very quickly and is ready in record time. Once the engines are running you can taxi for take-off. I struggled a bit here, the throttle seems to be overly sensitive. I had to play a lot with the throttle to prevent the aircraft form racing down the taxiway. Can once again be my system though. Taxi is smooth, in fact almost too smooth, it feels like the aircraft is floating. Maybe I am just used to different aircraft though.
Take-off is fast, it almost seem unrealistic. No matter what the payload the aircraft sprints down the runway. However, the C-27J is very powerful, I remember at AAD it managed to go into an almost vertical climb straight out of take-off.
The co-pilot will inform you of your speed, at 120 Knots he will inform to rotate, no matter what the conditions. However, I have taken off in a 30 knot headwind with full load and at 120 the aircraft simply lifted in the air.
Flying is smooth, the aircraft is fast and the responsive. All the little computers do their job controlling the aircraft, you are actually simply there to ensure its flying. Landing was also not a problem.
While in flight and having to look around the cockpit for the switches can be a problem. Some are at such angles that its difficult to set it and see the changes. Also using the joysticks HAT switch to look around can lead to you accidentally interfere with the aircraft's flying. However after a few flights I managed to do it without much problems.Conclusion:
The aircraft is suppose to be aimed at the more serious simmer, but come across as an in between. You can't program your flight plan, it will automatically load from the FSX plan. Each person should make up their own minds on how they feel about this.
The model looks nice from the outside, although I have some problems with the shadows, but it might be my system again.
The cockpit's displays are not crisp, sometimes you struggle to read the settings. The layout is funny and takes time to get used to where the different switches are. It would have been nice to have instrument windows, to use on my second screen in order to prevent me from having to search for everything, but its actually not such a big problem for me anymore.
Other than that the aircraft flies nice, and despite the complaints about the engines that start up too fast and are too powerful, I actually think it is accurate enough. I have seen this aircraft do aerobatics , so it tells me there are a lot of power available.
I have not noticed any frame drops with this aircraft.Verdict:
It is the most expensive model I have bought for FSX, I paid R355 for it, more than I paid for my FSX Gold Edition. And while I paid almost the same for the Lotus L-39C and can recommend the L-39C to everyone without hesitation, I cannot do the same with this model.
It seems more like a light version of the aircraft. The graphics could have been better, in fact the Lionheart Quest Kodiak have better looking cockpit and was less than half the price.
The sound is not special, in fact nothing particular stands out from this aircraft.
However, I am based my opinion on the price to quality. If you don't have to worry about the price, are looking for nice medium lift transport aircraft, don't worry about not having to spent a hour to program the aircraft before start-up, then this will do very nicely.
It is a capable sim and hopefully with a few patches will be a great aircraft. As it is, it found a place in my virtual fleet, now I just need a loan to buy it for my Air Hauler company
Test Machine :
AMD Phenom 945
Geforce GTS 250 1Gb
4Gb DDR-3 1333