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The Old Fashioned Piper Cub

Introduction

Flying GA aircraft is most of the time not difficult. The instrumentation is basic, perhaps some Garmin equipment installed, but that’s it. That’s also the case with the Piper Cub. By default a very simple aircraft, just the basic instruments, but with a tail wheel. Oh oh, there starts the problem. And when this Piper Cub has also an slightly upgraded cockpit, then there’s a bit more to study.

Welcome in the world of the AeroSim Development Group Piper Cub Collection.
A paid add-on aircraft like the Piper Cub is something I can hardly imagine, but when this Piper Cub looks realistic and to bring the basic aircraft to a higher level with SimCoders, then it could become an interesting GA aircraft although very old-fashioned. But old-fashioned doesn’t mean less interesting to fly with. When you don’t like complex instruments, when you don’t like DU’s (Display Units), when you don’t like too many preparations to do, then this is perhaps one of those GA aircraft that is great to jump in, start the engine and fly away!

Ok, I wrote Piper Cub Collection, right?
You got the 150HP and 180HP model as well as the amphib configuration. The package comes with some manuals, but no instruction how to fly this aircraft. Sounds weird .. how to fly this aircraft … or not entirely. It’s a tail dragger and those models need a bit more attention when doing an engine test or when you taxi or when you suddenly need to brake and then I’m not even talking about the takeoff run or landing.


From top to bottom; regular wheels, tundra wheels and amphib

Tail draggers have the disadvantage that when on the ground, your tail is down logically, but the nose and thus your cockpit external view is limited. Seeing the runway as you have with for example a Cessna 150/152 is much more difficult. Such a manual would be welcome in my humble opinion.

First Impressions

My rented Piper Cub 150HP model is parked at the ramp of CYBD from Beti-X.

From the main entrance I walk to the ramp, to find my Piper. From a distance I can already see that it’s not a new aircraft, it’s weathered. You like this or you don’t. For such an old aircraft, it’s great to see that the weatering gives the model a realistch look and feel. I think that the way they look, is the way they are in real. Everywhere scratches, dents, dirt, weathered paint and so on. Overall look and feel … very well done!

Since there’s no general manual included, the only animated part I could find is the right-hand fusealge located door/window.

There’s one thing I need to bring to your attention and that are the almost brand new propellor blades. That’s a bit weird since the whole aircraft is perfectly weathered. OK, I know what you want to say … the propellor blades and spinner are just replaced for inspection. Ok, for the moment I can life with that.

I’m aware it’s a small aircraft – fuselage texture file is 4K – and due to this, the 3D developer had the option to give the model an as real as possible look and feel. Tiny details are included like for example the cable with connections in-between the vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer. The aileron control cable, yes, even this is simulated. Not simulated in the way that there’s a cable, no, the cable moves when you move the ailerons. And so I can continue with all those tiny details. Have a look to the following screenshots. They will speak for themselves, right?

Looking into the cockpit I could, no, I would say that this is of more or less the same quality as what I’ve seen on the outside. Lots of tiny details and sharp textures, but a critical person would say … Come on, it’s a small aircraft, standard instruments and that all packed in a model. I think that’s not really the case. Yes, it’s basic, but the original piper Cub was basic too, even more basic then this model. That Aviation Regulations require these days Garmin nav equipment, a ATC transponder and perhaps more. That’s something that has nothing to do with the developer. He/she has tried to create an as real as it gets cockpit and I think they succeeded in this goal.

Ok, the price that has to be paid for this product has also to do with the fact that SimCoders.Com is included. A basic Piper Cub shouldn’t cost too much. I’m not so sure about the in-house created instruments and Garmin equipment. I tried to contact AeroSim in several ways, but till now no feedback. The moment they reply, I’ll add their comment in this review, section Summary.

I noticed also something else. Left of the turn coordinator are two pushbuttons, but when I click on them, mouse pointer changes into a hand, it looks like that they don’t do anything so I’m not sure if this is simulated. There’s also a ALT HOLD puhbutton, but when I press that one, the button moves so that seems to be working. That the AeroSim Piper Cub has an Auto Pilot switch on the instrument panel, even though it’s a basic AP switch function, could be. I’m not sure, I’ve downloaded somewhere a Piper Cub manual, but I can imagine that this is build in and not officially a standard part of the Cub equipment.

Something funny, but on the other hand I like it too. At the back in the passenger area I found the stainless steel aircraft ID plate (EXPERIMENTAL AMATEUR-BUILT AIRCRAFT). Amazing, even when zoomed in, it sharp however, there are no aircraft details at all. So my rented Piper Cub is a mystery model?

Did I miss something in the cockpit?
I could point out the realistic looking cockpit flood light units, old, dirty, used and whatever is thru for these lamp units. On the right-hand side at the end on the wing structure a small switching panel. Very promising, well modeled switches, readable text, but no manual. Yes, I know, I say it again. It offers enough manuals, but the moment you start with the checklist, you have no idea where to find something. And yes, I know, there’s not so much to look for, but it would be welcome if a small manual was included.

AeroSim Piper Cub Icons

On the left-hand half way side of your screen you see slightly retracted, the AeroSim icons. The moment you move the mouse to these retracted icons, they come into view. From the top to the bottom you have the following icons:
- Kneeboard
– Mass and Balance
– Walkaround
– Tow
– Maintenance Report
– Automatic Engine Start

The kneeboard icon is a part of the SimCoders.Com Reality Expansion Pack (REP). It offers three tabs with normal procedures, emergency and references. Via the left and right-hand lower corners you can scroll thrue the pages.

The mass and balance icon is also a part of the SimCoders.Com REP. It allows you to change weights/mass, fuel, flight time asnd cruise fuel flow per hour. The popup window also allows you to change the units, but hold on, when you click the “Change Units” button, this popup closes and a new popup appears. This new REP settings popup closes the previous one and allows you to change many general REP settings, but it should be noted that there’s no seperate icon to access this popup window. Hold on, this “settings” popup window is also accessible via the X-Plane menu Plugins – SimCoders.com-REP – Settings. Additionally, vua the same SimCoders.com menu you’ll also find the REP version number.

The moment you click the walkaround icon, you’re positioned in the cockpit and a REP walkaround popup show you several options. By clicking on the next button, you’re making virtually a walkaround check. At every step or position, the popup window shows you what to inspect. I noticed two things that are in my humble opinion not correct. I saw that the Piper Cub is moving forward which is weird since the engine is off. The other thing I noticed with this version 1.1.3 is that the whole image is shaking although when donig this another time, is wasn’t. Perhaps a small bug?

Another item I want to bring forward is that when you’ve finished your walkaround inspection thus by clicking the next button for the last time, the popup window disappears in a sudden. He, hold on … that’s not what I want. The popup window still has two other option to look for namely “Light Check” and “Postflight”. I got the idea that the postflight is doing a tire check and changes into preflight. Without a further explanation a bit odd, right? When you click the Lights Check”, your view is moved to the circuit breakers and light panel.

The tow icon moves your view to the tail of the aircraft and a command line on the top of the screen you can read that “use the pitch and roll axis of your joystick to move the airplane around.” Also applicable for the tow icon is that this is a part of the SimCoders.Com REP.

The maintenance report icon is brought to you by REP and shows you on a couple of pages the status of the aicraft as well as that it allows you to do quick repairs. These repairs can be done via the Action column.

When you prefer not to start the engine yourself or you’re not able to start the engine, then you can always use this automatic engine start icon. Tips about the engine starting process are shown on the top of your screen. This is also a function of the integrated SimCoders.Com REP.

And finally, to know a bit more about the Titan engines that are fitted in the 150 and 180 HP Piper Cubs, you can click the red Titan icon on the lower left-hand side of the screen, but this popup window is not resizable and with my screen resolution of 2560x1440, I honestly can’t read anything. The text is way too small! Either I suggest that the developer makes it resizable or add a seperate Acrobat document in the package.

Other Items

A bit weird title for a new section, but I felt there’s a need to highlight a couple of things I found in the aircraft folder. I noticed the presence of RealityXP.GNS and GNT ini files. I assume that when you have RealityXP software, it’s automatically implements this in the aircraft. A small description would be welcome or ….? I can imagine that this could be also applicable for the X-Plane Settings – keyboard popup where I see “simcoders” and “Plugin Provided” asdg. You can do something with these, but that’s something for a manual!

The aircraft folder comes with a “documents and instructions” sub-folder that offers for every Piper Cub several files (Acrobat documents) like speed references, short field speed references, checklists and the amphib water landing chart.

As mentioned before and integrated in the aircraft folder, the presence of SimCoders.Com Reality Expansion Pack (REP). According to SimCoders.Com “The Reality Expansion Pack for X‑Plane 11 and 10 is an add-on that replaces some internal parts of the sim with custom ones, greatly enhancing the realism.
It replaces and enhances the flight & ground dynamics, the default piston engine, the electrical system, the landing gear and many other aspects of the airplane, adding things such  real world physics, new stereo sounds and extra 3D elements. REP also provides a damages system, a maintenance hangar and the interactive ground checks.

You learn how o use it and become a better pilot thanks to the in-flight tips: a simple and not invasive way to let you know when you’re doing something wrong to the airplane and how to fix the problem.”

Time to Fly

My rented Piper Cub 150HP model with French registration HHMB is parked at the ramp of Millau Larzac (LFCM). This is a freeware scenery offered by XPFR. Although the scenery is offically for X-Plane 10, I couldn’t find any problems with it. Further on, for my VFR flight, I used photoreal ground textures from Zone Photo. All that together with real weather implemented, it must lead to a succesfull flight with the AeroSim or ASDG Piper Cub.

I think it’s time to make a flight and see how the Piper Cub is doing. As I indicated before, I go for the 150 HP model with regular wheels. I tried both the automatic start function and the manual start with the kneeboard. no strange things noted. Taxxing is a challenge, but that’s mainly because you don’t see so much due to the tail dragger. Keep in mind that when you taxi, that you don’t brake to hard. Before you know the nose hits the ground, which feels that this goes a bit too easy.

The takoff needs a lot of experience to get and keep it on the centerline. No idea why this is! I checked several YouTube Piper Cub takeoffs and even a first solo flight, but I didn’t see that those pilots had so many problems keeping the aircraft on the centerline during the takeoff run. I even did the takeoffs under CAVOK conditions, but then still, before you know, the Piper Cub moves in a sudden to the right. In other worfds, yaw control is very difficult to keep within limits. You could ask yourself … can Angelique fly the Piper Cub? Yes, that’s indeed a good question and although I know that a tail dragger isn’t an easy aircraft during ground movements, it behaves weird in my humble opinion.

While waiting for AeroSim to reply, I did many takeoff runs, braked, and started again with an simulated takeoff run thus I was practising aborded takeoffs. After a while I felt it goes better, but better the moment the tail wheel is no longer on the ground. It makes sense that the tail wheel could influence my extreme yaw movements. So the moment the tail is off the ground, it’s still not easy since the rudder easily influences my yaw, but it better then before.

Personally I prefer to have the tail wheel locked on my command, but not sure if this is realistic. I tried to lock the tail wheel but that turned out in a disaster, so I unlocked it again. At the end of all my grouns taxi and takeoff practises, I was able to make takeoffs, but my advice, get the tail wheel of the floor … ops, of the ground.

Once in the air, it’s not a problem anymore. It’s not Speedy Gonzales, and although it has only a PITCH trim, it flies and does what I expected. I tried to use the Auto Pilot switch, but whatever I do, the ALT HOLD switch seems not to do what I expected and yes, the AP switch right underneath it, is in the ON position (pressed in). Since there’s no document, it makes it a bit difficult. You could also say … why using the Auto Pilot? You’re right with that. I’m already surprised that an autopilot is installed and I’m also not sure if this Auto Pilot is using the default X-Plane 11 AP functions. Personally I think that the default X-Plane Auto Pilot software is used.

That said, I leave the AP OFF and fly a bit around the city of Millau and the fampous bridge nearby. At the same moment I’m also curious about the other additional navigation equipment; the default X-Plane 11 Garmin GNS 430 weith its popup window, a Garmin GTX 330 (ATC transponder) and the Bendix/King KR 87 TSO (ADF transceiver). The GNS 430 is known, but I’m wondering if I do something wrong since the OFF switch on the Garmin GTX 330 ATC transponder should switch OFF the unit or not? I also find the text in the display a bit blurry.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve got the idea that the OFF switch doens’t do what I expected. I noticed the same, sorry, with the ADF transceiver. The STBY/TIME switch is standard in VOL and you should be able to switch it to OFF. Although the mouse pointer changes into a hand, I can’t move the switch to OFF thus I’m not able to switch OFF the unit. These small issues or perhaps these are no issues, not sure yet. Not sure yet since I tried via X-Plane.Org to contact AeroSim and via their own ticketing system, but no reply. Hopefully I get this later and if so, I let you know.

After a while I found it for this flight enough and decided to fly back. Together with the GNS 430 it’s then suddenly much easier and else, when you don’t use it, you just follow the VFR rules or landmarks and in this case the highway to/from the Millau bridge. I feel that the Piper Cub is a bit nerveous while flying and that under CAVOK conditions. No idea who’s responsible for these flight dynamics; AeroSim or SimCoders.Com and no idea if the Piper Cub is a stable or just as unstable as it behaves during flight?

This nerveous behavior is clearly noticeable during approach and I could ask myself the question …. is it possible to make a landing? The answer is yes, but you need to be concentrated while doing the approach and landing. I think there’s still some work to do, and I’m not sure how accurate the ground and flight dynamics are. What said before, even on the ground during taxxing, I find the modeled Cub a bit nervous. Of course, it all depends on your taxi speed and the steering commands you’re given. When you keep these within normal limits, it should work out fine.

Although I own a PPL for the C152 and C172 which are also GA aircraft, but with a nose landing gear, which feels to me a much easier aircraft to control on the ground, but that’s just my feeling. There’s no need to talk about the actual frame rates. That’s without doubt not really an issue.

Summary

With a package price of 42.95 USD as of this writing April 2018, not a sheap product at all, but I think this is partly because of the implemented SimCoders.Com REP software. Is it worth it … it’s a lot of money!

I think a couple of things need to be checked and a basic manual would be provided too. Yes, I’m aware it’s a basic non complex GA aircraft, but do you need to make any adjustments, do you need to know more about the AP function and what you can do with it as well as the parts that belong to the REP pack and above all, some suggestions for taxiing, takeoffs and approaches would be welcome to.

For more information about the ASDG Piper Cub, you should have a look at the dedicated X-Plane.Org store page. As far as I’ve seen, AeroSim has/uses an own forum which can be found via this link.

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Payware ASDG Piper Cub
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | AeroSim Gaming
Description: Realistic rendition of Piper Cub
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 3.3GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: April 11th 2018
Hardware specifications: - iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (High Sierra 10.13.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
Software specifications: - High Sierra (10.13.4)
- X-Plane 11.11r2

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