Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight

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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight

Developer:Microsoft Genre:Simulation Release Date: Download Games Free Now!

About The Game

Drawing on 20 years of experience developing award-winning software, the Microsoft Flight Simulator team commemorates both the centennial and its own aviation milestone with the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight Review

By Laurel Delude |

Before I dive into this review let me start by saying, damn you Microsoft. I went over to their booth at E3 and spent some quality time playing a beta build of FS 2004. I was so impressed with it I ran out and bought a fully souped up Dell XPS in anticipation of this game's release. Boy was it worth it... but damn you Microsoft for costing me more than $3,500 just so I could play FS2004 with all the graphics maxed out.

Sorry I digress... onto the review....

Microsoft is back with their latest edition in their long running series of Flight Simulator titles. There is much to enjoy in A Century of Flight, from piloting the Wright Brothers' Wright Flyer to taking a Boeing 777-400 to London, FS 2004 is sure to please most armchair pilots.

When you start up FS 2004 you'll immediately notice the menus are the same as before, which means they are simple and easy to navigate. There are more missions and options to try out than ever previously offered in Flight Simulator. You can choose to take an old school plane for a spin such as the Wright Flyer (which goes about 40 yards) to a modern Boeing 777. I chose to go with a Boeing 737 taking off at dusk from Dallas Fort Worth.

After FS loads, you will first notice how greatly the graphics have improved. On my honking PC they were jaw dropping. The lighting, textures, and level of detail shown was amazing. Taxi way lights, markers, and jet bridges got my engines going.

To make my flight more realistic I chose to download the latest weather data, just like in FS 2002. When you get to the 'weather' page a cool new feature appears - weather can automatically update as you fly. No longer must you go to the menu and update it manually (though you can still do this... for those with dialup -- hee hee). Armchair pilots can also choose one of many pre-set weather scenarios. Severe thunderstorms, blizzards, or fair weather can be chosen for your flight. I went with the real world weather with auto update.

I climbed into the cockpit... looking around I note that it looks the same as in FS 2002. But when I clicked on the GPS button I got a pleasant surprise -- the addition of Garmin GPS. Microsoft this time around actually put in a real GPS computer. Nice if you're flying a King Air 350, but a 737? I don't think so. I gritted my teeth and wished for a FMC (Flight Management Computer) which is what real commercial aircraft use to navigate. But alas this is a consumer game.

The Garmin GPS has some nice features, terrain maps, airports closest to your location with detailed information, and lots more. I chose a GPS route from DFW to Oklahoma City (OKC). A nice, short 45 minute flight.

Of course, just like in FS 2002, you can also choose to plan a flight using the pull down menu and have the option of GPS or VOR to VOR navigation. Nothing changed there...

Before I booted up FS 2004, I looked on the Internet at the real world weather observation from DFW. Winds that evening were from the south (180 degrees) at 10 knots. I downloaded the current conditions into FS and the "Current Weather Conditions" menu also said winds were 180 at 10. So far, so good. My 737 then pushed back from the gate.

Now for a quick lesson in flying. When a plane takes off or lands it does this against the surface winds. Why? Without going into detail, taking off and landing against the wind is the real world way of flying. If you want to know the whole explanation FS has an entire lesson on this. Moving on...

Proceeding to taxi to the north for a south takeoff I watched as CPU controlled planes began taking off in a north bound direction. Huh? I downloaded the current conditions again thinking maybe a wind shift occurred (no weather fronts around though). Sure enough the winds showed 180 degrees. So, I guess I found a bug. I turned around and followed the CPU controlled planes to runway 35 L. This was a letdown for me. For all the impressive things in FS 2004, this hurt the realism effect.

I switched from cockpit view to virtual cockpit. The next cool addition to Flight Simulator 2004 emerges -- switches and controls you can actually play with. Yes kids, you will feel like you're the Captain with all autopilot, flaps, and radio controls clickable with your mouse. Only problem is you cannot view the FMC... I mean GPS in virtual pilot mode. Look for the nice big black hole next to the radios. And where the hell is the "No Smoking" or "Fasten Seat Belts" button? Oh well.

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-----------------------------------
Flight Simulator 2004
-----------------------------------
A Century of Flight
-----------------------------------
By Jeff Arons
----------------------------------
tubintornadoes97@yahoo.com
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1. Table of Contents (#TAB)
-----------------------------------
1. Table of Contents and Disclaimer (#TAB)
2. Version Info and History (#VER)
3. Introduction to FS2004 (#INT)
4. How To Fly (#HOW)
5. Planes (#PLA)
6. Airports (#AIR)
7. Advanced Features (#ADV)
8. Tips (#TIP)
9. Credits (#CRE)

This guide may not be reproduced in any way. It is only for GameFaqs, unless 
I make a change in this disclaimer. All the information here is by me, and 
me only, unless noted in the credits section. If the credits section is not 
completed yet, then no one has helped me with any information. Heh, heh.
-----------------------------------
2. Version Info and History (#VER)
-----------------------------------
8/10/2004: Version 0.1: The first version. Includes all of Chapters 1-4, and 6 
historical planes in Chapter 5. It is extremely short, but it is well 
needed. Don't worry, the complete version will be longer.

8/11/2004: Version 0.2: 6 more planes. I'm planning on hitting the airports
at version 0.5.
-----------------------------------
3. Introduction to FS2004 (#INT)
-----------------------------------
It all started on a windy day at Kitty Hawk. Orville and Wilbur Wright 
brought out their Wright Flyer, and tried to make American History. They 
started the engine, and prayed that their contraption would work. It did. 
The Wright brothers were the first to fly.

Of course, almost no one alive today was alive when this feat happened, and 
no one else would ever be able to experience the nostalgia of first flight. 
It's a feeling that many would like to feel.

In Flight Simulator 2004 (known as FS04 or FS2004 from here on), you can 
replay the nostalgia of the Wright brothers' flight, and many other flights, 
including Charles Lindbergh's New York - Paris flight, and Amelia 
Earnheart'stransatlantic crossing in her prized Vickers Vimy. 22 planes 
(9 historical) and 2 helicopters are provided, ranging from old-timers, 
to seaplanes, to floatplanes, to jumbo jets, and back again. The realism 
that you feel is incredible.

A lot of people who bought FS2004 have used other versions of FS, 
because normally, a casual computer player looking for a cheap flight 
simulation game wouldn't spend $55 on their first game. But, in case 
there are any new players out there, I've decided to provide a newbie's 
guide within this.

If you want to jump to chapters, press Control + F (on Windows) and type 
in the number sign (#) and the first three letters of a chapter. If the 
chapter was called "Greg's Case of Homosexuality", you would type #GRE.
(Hey, I have to think creative here.)

Anyway, what are you waiting for? Get started today!
----------------------------------
4. How to Fly (#HOW)
----------------------------------
I'm assuming that you've installed the game and have a joystick. If you 
don't, you will have to look up the equivalents of the joystick moves on 
the kneeboard.

If you don't have a joystick, I suggest getting the Top Gun Afterburner 
II. It doesn't have force feedback, but it comes with a long USB cord, a 
comfortable stick, and a good throttle. This was built for flight games. 
Say goodbye to those switches for a throttle. This is actually a padded 
shaft that you move forward and back, and it even has rudder controls on 
it, plus other buttons! It's a great buy. And, no offense to Microsoft, 
but their joysticks are made uncomfortable. The buttons feel awkward, and 
they are tough to reach. The Top Gun Afterburner II has buttons that 
feel good and are easy to reach.

Enough about joysticks. I'll start with what I call a basic plane, the 
Boeing 737. This is the plane that you should learn in. FS2004 suggests 
the Cessna Skylane or Skyhawk, but its features are a bit hard to learn. 
The Boeing 737 has well-rounded features. Although the more technical 
stuff will be explained later, this section will teach how to get the 
plane up in the air.

First, set the controls to a good level. You don't want to have crashes 
and damage on as a newbie, otherwise you'll never get to learn.

Before you can change the options, you have to choose a flight. On the 
startup screen, press Create-A-Flight. Click the "Change" button under 
where it says "Selected Aircraft". You'll see some confusing dropdown menus. 
First things first, who made the plane? Boeing. Click the first menu, and 
choose Boeing. Second, what is the plane? It's the 737-400. That should 
be the selected choice under Boeing, so you don't need to do anything. 
Third, what airline or color scheme do I want? Because this is a passenger 
jet, you get airlines instead of color variations, but on smaller planes, 
you get color variations, and you can get both in special cases. Choose 
one that you like. I personally like Pacifica, so let's choose it. There 
will be a combo of numbers and letters under it. This is called the tail 
number; it shows up on the airplane's tail. You can change it and other 
things if you want.

The airline call sign is for passenger jets only. Pacifica should be 
chosen, because that's the airline that you chose. It would show up like 
this: "Pacifica 1123". If you don't want one, you can scroll to the top 
and choose "None". Next is the flight number. Every plane has this, even 
if it's a private bush plane. I like the flight number 37B. Each letter has 
an equivalent as a word. A is Alfa, B is Bravo, C is Charlie, D is Delta, 
etc. You can see a full list under the ATC section of "Getting Started". 

*Trivia: For a funny flight number, type five N's. It translates to 
"November November November November November", and it's hilarious to 
hear ATC announce your flight number like that.*

Next is something that we already touched on, the tail number. You 
shouldn't hear this used, so it's not really necessary to change. On 
the side, you will see a checkbox saying "Apphend 'Heavy' to call sign". 
This is used for a jumbo jet, such as the Boeing 747. If you want it used, 
check it. Below it is "Show tail number". This just shows the tail number 
on the tail. I don't really mind it, so leave it on. It adds another dab 
of realism.

Press "OK", and "OK" again.

The next place says "Selected Location". This is the airline that you are 
taking off from. The default is Seattle - Tacoma International (I've been 
there in real life before). Let's change it to my favorite airport, Ft. 
Lauderdale - Hollywood International.

Click "Change" and type "Ft Lauderdale". You don't want Fort Lauderdale 
Excecutive, so click the one below it. Press "OK".

The third box is "Selected Weather". It currently is going to be a partly 
cloudy day with high visibility, but since this is your first flight, 
change it to "Clear Skies" and slide the Rate of Change meter all the 
way to the left, so it says "None". Press okay. The last box is 
"Selected time and season". It should show your computer's date, and 
a time that could be the same or different. Don't bother with the time, 
unless you want it to be daytime. Change the hour to 10. Press "OK".

Keep the box "Start flight with ATC window open" checked. You need ATC 
to takeoff, otherwise you will get yelled at. "Pacifica 37B, you do not 
have clearance to take off!" I'll tell you what to do later.

Do not press Save Flight, as this is just a training flight for right now.

In fact, you don't need to click anything else except for Flight Planner. 
You can fly without a flight plan, which is useful if doing a police 
helicopter chase (heh, heh) or using a stunt plane, or if you are flying 
to nowhere specific at all. However, we want to fly to Tampa (it's a 
short flight, but you get time to learn some things), so press it.

Press the first Select button, where it says something about departure 
(I'm getting too lazy to quote it). Just press okay. You could choose
a runway, or choose a gate, or even a parking spot, but that involves 
reversing, and some other non-beginner moves. Just leave it on active runway.

Under the second box, where it says something about a destination 
(again, too lazy to quote), press Select. The Airport Name field 
should already be highlighted; just type in Tampa. Again, we don't 
want an executive airport, they usually don't accommodate 737's. Click 
the second option available, and press okay. Don't bother changing to 
an IFR flight plan, that should only be used under bad weather, and even 
then, I still don't use it. Don't change the routing, either. Just 
click "Find Route". It should display a route to Tampa from Ft. Lauderdale. 
Just press Save. You should save all flight plans, because you never know 
when you might fly them again. Press OK on the save box that comes up, 
and then press OK again. Now press "Fly Now"!

This should put you right on the runway, ready to take off. But we're 
not ready! We have to change the options. Press Aircraft, and then Realism 
Settings. Set all the sliders to Easy, make sure that the gyro drift and 
aircraft lights checkboxes are unchecked, and select "Display True 
Airspeed". Select "Display Flying Tips", and then choose the most important 
option. Click on "Ignore crashes and damage". This way, you can go through 
scenery, and you can't crash into anything else. When you do, the flight 
will restart from somewhere around the crash area. Make sure that "Enable 
automixture" and "Unlimited fuel" are checked, also. Uncheck G-effects, 
because that should only be used for stunt planes. (What it does is black 
out or red out the screen if you would have a blackout or redout in real 
life.) And then, make sure that autorudder is checked. Press okay.

Next, click options, hover over settings, and press general. The four 
checkboxes should be alternating in checks and no checks, with no checks 
being first. Cockpit Tool Tips and Prompt on Exit should be checked. 
But, just for this flight, check the third one, "pause on task switch". I 
never switch tasks while I'm not in autopilot, and autopilot obviously 
won't crash your plane, so that's why I usually have it unchecked. Press 
OK. Then choose ATC. Make sure that all 3 boxes are checked, and you can 
choose the voice that you want. Then go to traffic. Have everything checked, 
and slide the Traffic Density slider up to 100%. It makes the experience 
more fun and realistic. Besides, no one ever crashes into you, and I've 
logged thousands of hours on FS2004. Press okay.

First off, before you do anything, test the engines. Slide the throttle 
up to about 15%, and make sure that you hear the engines fire up. Slide 
it back, and wait for the engine noise to die down.

Next up, click World, and click Map. Examine which way you are facing. 
It should be facing right along the pink flight path. Press OK.

*Trivia: The map can be used to move the airplane anywhere you want! If 
you want a trip around the world to end quicker, just drag the airplane 
to the end of the route.*

Now that you know the engines are working, and that you are facing your 
destination, make sure that the ATC window is open. If not, press the 
apostrophe button, but the one that has the tilde over it. (A tilde is a ~.) 
That opens and closes the ATC window. Press 1, as that will tune into Ft. 
Lauderdale Ground. Press 2, which is requesting a taxi in pattern. 
(Basically, just asking for takeoff clearance that should face you towards 
your target.)

It tells you to contact Ft. Lauderdale Tower when ready. Do that. But 
first, press 1 when there is no one else speaking. If there is, you will 
here a beep noise. 1 acknowledges the takeoff clearance. If you don't know 
which way to go (this should only be used at parking or at a gate), press 
3 to turn on progressive taxi. This puts a pink line on the ground, leading 
you to the right runway.

Press 1 to tune Ft. Lauderdale Tower. Then press 3 to ask for takeoff 
clearance. Once they give it to you, press period (.) to remove the brakes.

What I got, though, was a message to hold short, because a Boeing-MD is 
on the runway. Of course, you won't hit it, and even if you do, you won't 
crash, but this is good training for later, where you will crash if you 
hit it, and besides, ATC gets pissed off at you if you do takeoff. Wait 
until they let you take off if you didn't get clearance. If you did, then 
do press period to remove the brakes.

In the meantime, while waiting, let's learn how to operate the cameras. 
Your view is cockpit view, and shows the full control panel. Keep it on 
for the beginning of takeoff. Once you start getting into the air, press 
W. This takes a lot of the control panel away, and only shows you necessary 
controls. After you'd set autopilot, you'd press W until the control panel 
didn't show at all.

To look to your left or right, press Numpad 4 or Numpad 6, but make sure 
that Numlock is on.

S will change views. You will go to Virtual Cockpit. Use the Top Hat Button 
(it looks like a cone on the Afterburner II) to look around. This is a 
3D cockpit, and you still see updated controls and views. The next view 
is Tower. This shows you the view of your airplane from the airport's 
tower. And the other view is Spot Plane. This shows a close up view of your 
plane from the outside. Use the Top Hat Button to look around. Then press 
S again to get back to cockpit. While waiting for takeoff, experiment with 
the views.

*Trivia: You can use the top hat in Cockpit to look to the sides. In fact, 
the only view that you can't use the Top Hat Button in would be Tower.*

Anyway, while looking at the Boeing-MD that was getting ready for takeoff 
through spot plane, I saw it go away, and then got clearance for takeoff. 
So let's start!

If you didn't get clearance for takeoff, and then did, then press period 
to release the brakes. But you can't do that without pressing 1, to 
acknowledge takeoff clearance.

You'll see text that says "Altitude" and then five zeroes on the control 
panel. Set that to 15,000.

Put the throttle all the way up. No matter what anyone says, you need the 
throttle all the way up.

*Trivia: You can press Y to get in the air faster, and move a lot faster. 
It is called Slew Control. Slew will be explained later.*

Right after you put the throttle up, push the switch that says "F/D On Off".
Again, more on that will be explained later.

Once you get near the end of the runway, gently pull the joystick back to 
make the plane go up! Examine the Altitude Indicator (it should have a pink 
plus sign if you clicked on F/D On Off) and make sure that the black dot is 
between 10 and 20. Examine the altimeter, on the right of the Altitude 
Indicator. Once it gets to 2,000, press G to put the landing gear up. Once 
you get to 15,000, level the plane, and click the following switches:

A/P CMD CFF
NAV GPS

And click the following buttons:

NAV
ALT

More will be explained later.

Examine the plane until you are sure that it is staying at 15,000 feet 
and not curving. Put the throttle to half-speed. Press F7 twice. (F7 is 
the flaps.) Now, sit back, and relax. Answer any ATC transmissions, and 
press Shift + 3 to have GPS open. You need it.

NOTE: It's natural for autopilot to go up and down for a bit. Your plane 
is not malfunctioning, and it will not stall. However, keep an eye on it 
during this stage, as sometimes (very rarely), you will have set it wrong, 
and it won't work. Once, I forgot to put autopilot on, and my plane stalled. 
In fact, your plane is supposed to be at a bit of a slope upwards. If you 
look, the plane actually increases speed, but very slowly, and only by a 
small bit. However, it should be set to a good altitude if you press F7 
twice, like I told you to.

If you pressed Shift + 3, GPS should be open. Look in the bottom right hand 
corner where it says ETE, and then a number. That's the estimated time of 
arrival. There should be something in the upper right hand corner that says 
a number and then NM. The number should go down at about 1 NM per 8 seconds, 
but it can change.

When the NM box gets down to 20, take the plane off of autopilot by pressing 
the A/P CMD CFF switch. That's the autopilot master switch, and removes the 
functions of those other buttons that you pressed. When you start getting to 
5,000 feet altitude, turn the throttle off, and press G to bring the landing 
gear down. Constantly check on how far away you are from the airport, and if 
you need to, turn the throttle up to you can regain speed, or get closer. 
Once you have your landing setup ready, cut the throttle, and start 
descending even more. Once at a very low altitude (about 200 feet), level 
out the plane some more, so it only comes down at a very low angle, once 
you have touchdown, press Control + Period (the parking breaks), and then 
look for a white knob with the content of "Auto, 1, 2, 3, etc." Keep 
clicking so it goes to Max. Then just work on steering the plane to safety. 
If you have the Afterburner II, use the switch on the back of the throttle 
to steer. You might not end up on the runway (it can be tough, even for me), 
but since you have crashes turned off, you can go right through objects 
until you land. Once you are stopped, breath a sign of relief at your first 
flight, and press Control + E to open the door. End of mission.
----------------------------------
5.0: Planes (#PLA)
----------------------------------
There's a huge selection, and you just can't make up your mind. Which plane 
should I fly? Well, I can't tell you which one you should, but I can give 
you a rundown on all of them, starting with the historical planes first.
----------------------------------
5.1: Wright Flyer
----------------------------------
This was the first airplane ever. Its first flight only lasted for a 
quarter of a minute, but it got off of the ground. The Wright Brothers 
made history when they flew this, and you can recreate their flight, with 
the same plane!

Click Century of Flight at the Startup screen, and choose Wright Flyer. 
Click on its bigger image to start it up. Press Fly This Flight, or whatever 
it is, and then click First flight at Kitty Hawk.

To start, move the throttle up. Watch the speedometer on the right side. 
Once it hits 20 MPH, pull down on the joystick gently. Then push up to 
prevent a stall. Continue doing this. The flyer doesn't really do well with 
curves.

What else can I say? It's very simple, but very hard. On my first flight, 
I stalled it, but after about 10 minutes of fooling around, I got it to fly 
way past the fourth stone. (There are 4 stones on the ground signaling the 
distance of both flights.)
----------------------------------
5.2: Curtiss JN "Jenny"
----------------------------------
This historical plane was used for three flights. Select the first one, 
which was a mail carrier that got lost. Don't bother listening to the 
flight route, just fly it.

Move the throttle to half speed and use the rudder control (back of 
throttle) to curve the plane to the right, and around the building. 
What realism, there are Cessna Skylanes there. Whateva. Move the throttle
to full, and take your Curtiss JN into the air at 3,000 ft. If you can't 
get up there, I suggest slewing. Read more about it in a later section. 
But for now, press Y to go into slew mode, F4 to raise altitude, and F2 
to stop when you get to 3,000 ft. Then press Y again. There's no autopilot, 
so you have to fly manually.

You can see the Washington Memorial from where you are after takeoff, if 
you took off right. There's not really a catch to the Curtiss JN Jenny. To 
see, though, you need to hit W, especially during taxiing.

Landing is pretty easy. Once you get down low, just cut the throttle. The 
plane has big wheels, allowing you to bounce easier before touching down. 
However, there are no brakes, but it slows down quickly.
----------------------------------
5.3: Vickers Vimy
----------------------------------
The Vickers Vimy was the first plane to cross the Atlantic, and it's a 
tough plane to fly. It can easily stall off. This looks like a better-flying 
version of the Wright Flyer, and it probably is. This was one of the 
earliest aircrafts. It has no trim, which makes for a tough flight.

This is another plane that is tough to look over the control panel, so hit 
W to get a clear view of the runway.

One of the Vimy's disadvantages is that it curves when you taxi down the 
runway. Use the rudder control to curve back into place, although it will 
slow down the plane a bit. For a straight takeoff, hold the rudder down 
halfway to the right.

How the Vickers Vimy gets off the ground is a wonder to me. It doesn't 
really pitch up or down, but it sort of floats up. I like this feature, 
but it doesn't really help you with those small altitude changes, because 
the Vimy is extremely sensitive, and takes a lot of work to tweak the 
altitude to perfection.

Landing is a bit tougher than the Curtiss, but still simple enough.
----------------------------------
5.4: Ryan NYP "Spirit of St. Louis"
----------------------------------
This is definitely the worst handling plane ever. Charles Lindbergh asked 
for the plane to be made unstable so he would stay awake. No pilot in his 
or her right mind would ever want a plane made like this. It's complete and 
utter crap. (I like using that phrase.) It's almost impossible that 
Lindbergh made it, and yet, he did.

You cannot see where you are going unless you hit W. Look at the plane's 
terrible inside, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I repeatedly heard myself shouting, "Take off, you stupid plane!" at the 
computer, as when you pull up on the joystick, it doesn't always take off. 
How Lindbergh did it is a wonder.

And if you think that is hard, landing is even worse. You cut down the 
throttle, and you have touchdown. But then the plane starts to dip down, 
up and to the side. You crash. This isn't even funny.
----------------------------------
5.5: Ford Tri-Motor
----------------------------------
The Tri-Motor was called "elegant", "luxurious", and even "sleek". Sleek, 
my ass. This thing looks like a bunch of junk put together, which got the 
nickname "Tin Goose". Luxurious, my ass. There's a picture of the interior. 
The seats look like they are made of METAL.

This is the first plane that has a parking brake, and it goes to good use. 
Just hit period, and move the throttle up, steering yourself to the runway.

This could be my favorite historical plane in the game. Despite its ugly 
look, it handles a lot better than anything else in the game. This passenger 
plane's takeoffs are smooth, and for once, the frame rate stays steady.

Landing is a cinch. The plane slows down very quickly, unlike the 737, 
which almost guarantees you to run off the runway. This gave me lots of 
time to spare.
----------------------------------
5.6: Vega
----------------------------------
Perhaps the sleekest historical airplane in the game, the single propeller 
Vega propelled many famous flights, such as a flight around the world, 
Amelia Earnheart's transatlantic crossing, and others. The Vega is the first 
plane in the game to have autopilot, and it serves you well.

I just love the sleek feel of the Vega as you take off from your destination. 
Yet, the cockpit is a pain to look over, so this is another plane that 
requires the W button to see where the hell you're going.

The one problem with the Vega is that it is extremely stubborn at 1,000 
feet. It refuses to go up, and starts curving at weird angles. Maybe this 
is a bug, or maybe the Vega was built this way. We'll never know, but it 
sure is damn annoying!

I brought it in for an emergency landing. It's so damn stubborn, that once 
I hit the ground, it rolls off towards the ocean, and when it gets there, 
magically lifts up! What crap is that? I like the Vega, but it can get very 
irritating.
----------------------------------
5.7: de Havilland "Comet"
----------------------------------
What can I really say about this? It's a nice dual-propeller plane. But it
has won many races. It covered 11,000 miles to win 10,000 European pounds.
All these old time planes require you to hit W to see over the damn cockpit.
I hate doing that, but I guess it's all for the best.

I don't suggest taxiing with this. It seemingly curves out of control. If
you want to have a good flight, try simply starting on any active runway.

This is a dangerously unstable plane in the air. If you move the joystick
to the side during takeoff, even a tiny bit, the plane will bank off
somehwere. It's a pretty tough takeoff.

Some of these planes require precise landings. The Comet is one of them.
I really can't see anybody making a super-smooth, super-short landing
on a farm airport. It bounces up and down during landing which gets
quite annoying.
----------------------------------
5.8: Douglas DC-3
----------------------------------
In real life, this dripped very easily. In FS2004, it's a chance to
test yourself against the worst elements. The DC-3 was built to be flown
in bad weather; even rain has a minimal effect on it.

This two-propellor plane was one of the earliest planes in airline use,
so it has a good feel to it. I find that bush planes are tougher to
control and learn than passenger planes. The Douglas DC-3 is just like
that.

Takeoff has a good feel to it, and landing is even easier. The past few
planes have terrible landing capablities, but the Douglas DC-3 lands great.
You don't bounce. Although it takes a while to slow down, it's nothing
that a big runway can't handle.
----------------------------------
5.9: Piper J-3 Cub
----------------------------------
This has a good touch to it. A friend that also is a FS04 junkie told
me, "The Boeing series is traveling. A Piper Cub, now THAT's flying!"
I agree completely. The flyers of the J-3 Cub usually used a VFR,
which means that you can fly according to your view, and not according
to GPS.

The Piper has that down-home feeling to it. The simplicity of it
is beautiful. No steel-reinforced wings, just a flat strip of wood
for this single-propellor marvel.

This is the last old-time plane, so the last time you'll have to hit W to
see, and mind you, it's tough to see anyway. Takeoff is pretty easy, but
it loses speed FAST, and I mean, really fast. Don't even bother
trying to take off from a farm; you need a full runway to get enough
speed to have a decent takeoff, unless you choose to slew.

The landing can be very difficult. The Piper banks easily, so you have to
keep the plane very still during landing, and even during taxiing at
takeoff!
----------------------------------
5.10: Beechcraft Baron 58
----------------------------------
This is the first regular plane in the game. It is a small passenger
plane. If you need a few more seats than the Learjet, you can use
a Baron 58.

Beechcraft made this plane good. A twin-engine-propellor airplane, it
can't hit Supersonic speeds, but it can get you places cheaper than, say,
a Boeing. When I say cheaper, I mean that it's cheaper than a Boeing.
If you need a few of them, still cheaper than a Boeing!

Takeoff is fairly decent, although I can say that it is pretty rough.
Maybe it's the turbulence, maybe it's the frame rate, but it's very
choppy in the air.

What can I say about landing? It's extremely smooth, and brakes quickly.
----------------------------------
5.11: Beechcraft King Air
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This flies exactly like the Baron 58. There is no need for another
explanation.
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5.12: Bell 206B JetRanger
----------------------------------
This is a helicopter. It's pretty tough to teach. Anyway, here's heli-
copters at a glance:

Push the throttle all the way up to rise. Then, you basically steer it
with the stick. Obviously. Helicopters can land pretty hard, so landing
is pretty easy. What you have to be careful about is curving too
hard. It's very easy for a helicopter to go out of control. If it does,
don't panic. The first thing to do is cut the throttle. If you do this,
the helicopter will start to go down. You don't want to be soaring in
the air with a rampaging helicopter. Second, don't use the stick. To
curve when out of control, use the rudder controls on the back of
the throttle stick. If you are still out of control, try letting it continue.
Eventually, it'll stop, and you'll be back in control. If that fails also,
just hit the escape button.

That's how to fly a helicopter.

The JetRanger is the toughest of the 2 helicopters. I don't know why, but
it is.

- To be continued
 
                    

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