Flight Sim add-on from AlphaSim recreating America's top WWII bomber.
October 11, 2008
“... the ultimate compliment for a simulator add-on this one – to be able to say it seems real. This one surely does.” John Allard – Mutley's Hangar
”I have to admit that I’ve been waiting for a high quality B-24 for a long time. There's just something totally captivating about this airplane... Alphasim’s B-24 Liberator is a beautiful add-on. With high quality exteriors, an excellent 2D panel and one of the most amazing default sound sets I’ve ever heard.” – Avsim.com
With its four Pratt & Whitney R-1830 turbo-supercharged radial engines, each producing 1,200hp, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was a very capable bomber. So capable in fact that it was produced in greater numbers than any other American combat aircraft of World War Two and still holds the record as the most produced U.S. military aircraft.
At the peak, a B-24 Liberator was rolling off the production line every 100 minutes, seven days a week! Put simply without the Liberty effort the allies must surely have lost.
One of the heaviest aircraft of the period, faster than the Fortress, similarly armed and with that raft of levers, the Liberator is a special aircraft.
With a range of 3,000 miles and ceiling of 28,000ft, the B-24 could fly above the weather from Gander to Prestwick without its contemporaries’ need to stop at Greenland or Iceland. Its tolerance of wartime overload confounded even its designers; a comforting fact for one vital Atlantic passenger – Winston Churchill.
The B-24’s greatest triumph was in extreme long range patrol over the oceans, closing the 'Mid-Atlantic Gap'. It was accredited with no less than 72 submarine kills. Small wonder it is recognised as a huge contributor to the death of the wolf-pack.
NO COMFY SEAT
Make no mistake though. This trans-oceanic transport is no 747 or Airbus, no idiot-proof navigation system or comfy seat - the Liberator needs to be flown.
The B-24 was a much more modern design than the better-known B-17 Flying Fortress and boasted a higher top speed and greater range yet it had a similar bomb load and defensive armament. However this came at a cost and the aircraft was difficult to fly, with heavy control forces and poor formation flying characteristics. The Liberator was also notorious among American air crews for its tendency to catch fire. The placement of fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage and its lightweight construction, designed both to increase range and optimise assembly line production, made the aircraft vulnerable to battle damage. Problems with build quality and maintenance resulted in a much higher accident rate and fatality rate than the B-17. Nevertheless the B-24 provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large payload and long range.
Despite its faults the B-24 was perhaps the ultimate 'heavy' of World War Two. Today just two B-24s are flown regularly – the Collings Foundation B-24J ‘Witchcraft’ and the Commemorative Air Force B-24A/LB-30 ‘Ol’ 927’ – both of which offer passenger flights at venues across the USA. However, you can now fly the legendary B-24 without leaving your desktop thanks to Alphasim’s critically acclaimed simulation.
INTO THE SIM
Five authentic aircraft are included the B-24J, 'Satan's Gal', B-24D, 'Hellsadroppin II', B-24G, 'The Stork', B-24D, 'Strawberry Bitch', B-24J, 'Cocktail Hour'. These depict the many liveries the B-24 bore, from bare-metal (reflective), to desert and olive drab (with nose art). For many the B-24D with its distinctive glass nose will be of special interest.
These textures are beautifully weathered and complete with the distinctive wing stains of oil venting engines. All are beautifully rendered at 2048-pixel resolution for maximum clarity, whist the inclusion of template textures allow other liveries to be painted to suit.
Externally the aircraft is virtually unique. Not only does it feature animations for bomb bay doors, gunners and pilots, cowl flaps, prop pitch, and sliding cockpit windows but also the fascinating extendable ventral ball turret.
A great joy of this aircraft is the sheer size and warbird context. Few large modern 'streamliners' can offer such wealth of texture and model detail. This is a full FSX model with all FSX features (bump mapping, self-shadowing, bloom etc) and includes self shadowing in the virtual cockpit.
FLYING THE B-24
The Visual Load Editor (VLE) makes for simple loading and optional fitments such as bombs. This is not merely visual as the aircraft will be adjusted to the extra weight. Crew figures include the toggle-able animated pilots and gunners, and even a fluttering national flag to take VIPs to those historic strategy meetings!
The VLE also includes documentation for the engine settings. And what engines! There is nothing to beat the sound of a big radial – except four big radials! Starting them up in correct sequence, smoke burst from the exhausts as they fire – the extremely high quality Turbine Studios sound-set includes FSX specific sound cones for exquisite realism – this machine has a soul.
Stepping into the cockpit is to recognise the B-24 as the perfect machine to learn the craft of flying a real aircraft. What difference does it make to fly an aircraft with wartime overload or fly transatlantic with none of today’s navigation luxuries? Get it right and truly show your mettle – get it wrong and maybe you should consider a future slung below in the ball turret?
For absolute realism this simulator even includes an Excel spreadsheet to calculate correct throttle and supercharger settings. Inside, the pilot is treated to an authentic all-xml 2D, hi-res glazed effect gauges, custom pop-ups for autopilot, electrical and fuel systems, radios, and is fully 'mousable'. Switching to the virtual cockpit is again highly authentic with many mousable controls and animations. Not least the cockpit dominating twelve-lever quadrant, comprising turbochargers, throttles and mixture levers.
A well executed flight in this amazing warbird truly rewards like few others!
THE TECHIE BIT
CONSOLIDATED B-24 LIBERATOR
Genre: Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX
Format: Boxed edition and Download
SRP: £24.99 / €34.95 / $34.95
Microsoft Flight Simulator X or 2004
Windows Windows XP or Vista
Processor Pentium IV – 2.8 GHz
Memory 512Mb RAM
Hard Drive 200Mb (estimated)
Video Card 128 Mb
Atlanta-based Flight One Software, Inc. (Flight1) is a successful and critically acclaimed developer and publisher of flight simulation technology and software.
Founded in 1997, Flight1 has released some of the best and most recognized expansions for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator franchise, including Greatest Airliners 737-300, FS Clouds, Ultimate Traffic, Flight Environment and many more, including the recently released and officially endorsed ATR72-500 and Pilatus PC12 simulations.
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