P-51D Mustang
Developer: Aeroplane Heaven
Publisher: Flight One
Release Date: Out Now
Players: One
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Whilst the default aircraft supplied with FSX are perfectly okay, its obvious that the flight models are considerably dumbed down to make them easy for most users to fly around and have fun without getting too frustrated. Whilst fun for a while the bland feel of the default aircraft is unchallenging, which is ultimately an important factor in the long-term appeal of the product. Fortunately, add-on publishers such as Flight 1 are able to provide a series of extra aircraft which closely model the real world flying qualities of the aircraft concerned, and present more of a skill challenge than you can shake a (joy)stick at!

The latest plane out of Flight 1s stable is the P-51 Mustang, a WW2 fighter-bomber aircraft which anyone with even a passing interest in classic aircraft will surely be familiar with. In brief the P-51 Mustang was one of the most versatile and successful aircraft of WW2. Combining American airframe technology with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine made famous by the Spitfire, this airplane was used in both the fighter, escort and ground attack role and is still used today, albeit heavily modified, in air racing.

So, you would reasonably expect such a plane to be a bit of a handful? Perhaps a little harder to fly than your average Cessna? Good, because this aircraft is incredibly tough to master and fly well in FSX. For starters, ramming the throttle open on takeoff in casual flight sim style will have you veering off the runway in a shower of sparks as the torque tries to turn the plane around its own propeller. Landing is equally tricky with the long nose obscuring the view ahead and the narrow undercarriage making it easy to flip over and ground loop. Once in the air you can have some fun, flipping it around like a demented pancake, but too heavy a touch on the controls will send it into an uncontrollable spin, almost impossible to recover from (and no bailout option!)

My first few flights with the P-51 were incredibly frustrating to the point where I almost gave up, but gradually, perseverance paid off and I began to appreciate the finer points of flying the aircraft. Developers Aeroplane Heaven have done a fine job in capturing the looks and sounds of the Mustang, and it comes with a wide variety of paint schemes, from standard camouflage to the late war weve got such total goddam air superiority were going to paint our planes silver and bright yellow so you can see us coming!. The cockpit is highly detailed with nearly all systems modeled. If you want to go for total realism you can go through the full start up procedure from scratch using real world checklists provided with the package.

Overall this is a well-produced and presented package with no faults that I could find and effectively brings the P-51 to life in FSX. Experienced virtual warbird fliers should have no trouble getting to grips with this aircraft, but casual simmers should beware as mastering this plane presents a real challenge.

Finally, flying these combat aircraft in real life must have been terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure, and P-51D Mustang does a good job in giving a small insight into the challenges faced by the pilots who flew them, giving us a chance to experience a slice of aviation history.

Best Bits

- A detailed rendition of a classic aircraft
- A must for lovers of classic flying metal
Worst Bits

- A tough, steep learning curve, probably like it was in real life.

by: Captain Magenta

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