Flight Sim World: Early Access Review

A review of the Early Access Flight Sim World, by Dovetail Games

Rumours of a new Flight Simulator from Dovetail Games has been circulating now for a while and they finally came good, releasing the early access version of Flight Sim World on 18th May 2017.  Having been caught up with other things for the last few days, I only found my first opportunity to take to the skies today and see if FSW manages to match the hype around it.


First Impressions
Once the software had completed it’s first load/setup, I was pleased by the improvements to the home screen GUI over that of Flight Simulator X.  The various menu screens are well laid out and are easy to navigate.  Something new that FSW has is a ‘Pilot Profile’.  At first glance, this would seem to be an improvement over the flight log recording of FSX, one aspect that was always a little hit-and-miss.  FSW appears to have some structure to it, with 2 different ‘licences’ available to train towards at present.


In addition to the above training, there are missions and the all important ‘Free Flight’ modes, which will be familiar to FSX pilots.  Oh, and Dovetail have thrown in some 61 achievements to try for as well if that’s something that has an appeal for you.

First Flight
I took a few seconds to consider where I’d like to start off in FSW, and quickly decided to head straight into a free flight.  At this stage, there aren’t too many aircraft to choose from, but I understand that’s because the software is in it’s early access stage and that a wider variety will become available in time.  Otherwise though, the initial flight planning seems simple and for the maiden voyage, I opted to fly out from London City (EGLC) to land at Southend International (EGMC), a route that will take me along the River Thames and past the Queen Victoria Bridge.

Loading times for flights seem a little slower than that of other flight sims. Long enough, in fact, for me to have just about written the above paragraph before the aircraft was ready on the runway.

If you’re familiar with Flight Simulator X, then you’ll not find too much difference when it comes to getting airborne in FSW.  Controls seem largely the same (although after just  a couple of flights, it’s entirely possible I’ll still find some that are different).


And here’s where I found the first real negative.  The framerate in FSW really isn’t too good.  It isn’t completely horrendous for me, but bad enough to make landing more of a challenge than it should be.  The rig I’m running is mid-range, all purpose and old enough to be in need of an upgrade, so at first I considered that this may be part of the problem.

However, on taking a look at some of the reviews and comments posted on Steam, I discovered that others are having similar problems, in some cases badly enough to make FSW unplayable.  Additionally, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between how comprehensive the computer systems are and how bad the fps is.  In some cases, users with high end machines are experiencing worse FPS than I have done.


On the whole, I think FSW has quite a bit of potential as Dovetail continue to develop it.  It does have more of a ‘game’ feel than that of a simulator, and it really does feel like an ‘Early Access’ piece of software, just as it claims to be, but I do rather like the look and feel of the whole thing, even at this early stage.

Graphics on both aircraft and terrain are better than that of FSX, but that does seem to be causing a variable hit on framerates, depending on what you’re running, but I’m hopeful that Dovetail will get to the bottom of this and rectify it in due course.


As to whether you should purchase FSW in it’s current rendition.  If you’re looking for a nice polished game/simulator with no bugs, then I’d strongly suggest leaving it for the time being to see how it goes.  Dovetail have announced the release of a patch for it later this week, so that might iron out and improve some things already.

On the other hand, if (like me) you’re curious enough to want to follow the software through it’s journey to shiny polished, then the price tag isn’t too much of a hit to take.  If Dovetail do manage to fix the FPS issues, then I can see myself having a few happy hours here and there, finding my way around it.

I won’t, however, be ditching FSX anytime soon.


Star Wars Incom T-65 X-Wing (Freeware/FSX)

A quick look at an X-Wing Fighter to celebrate Star Wars Day (May 4th) 2017

As it’s International Star Wars Day today, I couldn’t help but have a bit of a dig around to see if I could locate something related that I could throw about in FSX late this evening.

And behold, I found an X-Wing!

Download Link

The Incom T-65 X-Wing (FlyAwaySimulation.com)

If I’m honest, when I first booted the model up into FSX, I wasn’t really expecting an awful lot.  The X-Wing was originally built for FS2004 and ported over to FSX, a process that can have varying results.  Additionally, texturing and rendering have improved significantly since the days of FS2004 and this means that some earlier models can look like they might have been built from cereal cartons and sticky tape.


In the case of this marvellous little freeware though, I was very pleasantly surprised.  Yes, the model does look a little dated compared to some of the newer aircraft that we’re able to pick up for our sims now but it still looks plenty good enough to make me feel like I’m 7 years old again.

It also has some really epic features that only served to further enhance my regression to early childhood.  Things like the top of R2-D2 turning left and right in line with any rudder inputs and the ability to change the wing formation from flat into that legendary “X” shape from which it derives it’s name, just about busted my ‘coolometer’.


Ohh, and in terms of flight dynamics, Holy Hell!

It’s so fast that I kept looking for the ‘Ludicrous Speed’ throttle setting (bonus points if you get that pop-culture reference) and so agile it’ll make Lord Vader’s helmet spin.  Not only that, but the flap settings have been cleverly designed so that it’s possible to fly at a shade over 10 knots.  Meaning that you can just about grab a Banther Burger & Salamander Stick from the local Intergalactic Fly-Thru on your way home. (What?  Bringing the Empire to it’s knees is hungry work!)


All in all, despite being an older-generation flight sim craft, it’s bloody brilliant!  If you’re one of the wonderful ‘Generation-X’ kids (as I am), then I’m pretty certain that you’ll get some real pleasure in taking the X-wing out every so often.


Now I just need a Death Star to blow up and my night will be complete.


Flight Simulator Freeware

Aircraft, scenery and other items to download for your flight simulator, totally free of charge.

Fly Away Simulation

– One of the biggest and most well organized file libraries there is. The library covers aircraft addons and scenery expansions, including mods and downloads for Microsoft FSX, Microsoft FS 2004, X-Plane and many earlier versions.


– Download for free hundreds of best quality add-ons for your favorite flight simulators (FSX, P3D & FS2004).

Aeroplane Heaven’s Spitfire Mk IV (Payware/FSX)

A good look at the wonderful Spitfire MkIV from Aeroplane Heaven and justflight.com

As a youngster I was almost permanently fascinated by the Spitfire, possibly the best known of all the aircraft used by Great Britain in WWII.  Graceful, elegant and yet deadly against it’s foes,  it will always be one of the most legendary aircraft ever to have graced our skies.

Continue reading “Aeroplane Heaven’s Spitfire Mk IV (Payware/FSX)”

Airshow Pilot (Payware/FSX)

A review of the Airshow Pilot addon payware for FSX

Airshow Pilot is, more or less, exactly what it says on the tin. All about flying aerobatic (or non-aerobatic, if you want a real challenge) aircraft through a variety of different and challenging maneuvers.  If you’ve never tried aerobatics before, not to worry, the program comes complete with an entire range of figures to learn as you go.

Airshow Pilot is all about accurate, precision flying at air shows, whether you’re in an aerobatic Extra, a passenger airliner or a Hawk fast jet trainer – or any aircraft that you have installed in FSX!

source: JustFlight.com

The software itself works with FSX, unobtrusively loading additional information into the base software when you click to load your flight up or, if you’ve loaded Airshow Pilot up first, the software automatically loads FSX when you click to start a flight. Once you have your flight loaded into FSX and you’re on the ground, Airshow Pilot provides messages at the top of the screen to let you know where you need to place your aircraft to start the routine and continues to provide instructions to start the figures as you fly.

Once completed, it’ll be time to return to the ground.  Once you’ve landed, FSX has to be closed so that the software can take the ‘in flight data’  and calculate the results.  This is one of the few things that I don’t like about the program as it results in gaps in between each practice/competition attempt.  When you’re flying a single maneuver in training, it can become a bit slow going.

At an Airshow Pilot event with the crowds, balloons and (most importantly) fast food vendors for after your flight!

Additionally, in training and practice, the moves required are marked in the sky with small paper aeroplanes, placed in between ‘gates’, giving you a visual impression of what’s needed. Also, in regards to training, every different aerobatic maneuver can practiced individually, helping to hone those skills to perfection. Alternatively, you can choose the next event in the calender and practice the associated string of moves in one programme.

The Event Calender screen of Airshow Pilot

Maneuvers are grouped into difficulty two difficulty levels, ‘Sportman’ and ‘Advanced’, enabling you to choose how challenging you want things to be. There’s also a ‘Display Flight’ category, comprising of just two fly-past figures. These two figures can be flown in absolutely any aircraft you like, the bigger the better, so if you’ve ever wanted to ‘buzz’ the tower and crowds watching the performance, now is your chance.

The Training Page with a list of the possible figures

So far, looks like fun right?

Well, that’s not all of it. The software also comes complete with a set of editors, so you can create your own, completely custom, airshows that fly out of your favorite airport/airfield. I’m sorry to say that I’ve not found the time to really play much with that side of the software yet, but I may well revisit this post with an update when I get around to it.

That said, from what I have seen of the editing side it looks reasonably straight forwards, although I had one or two false starts.  What I’ll say at this stage is that if you’re pretty much a beginner with how FSX works, it may be best to leave this for the time being and come back to it later.

One of the things I was looking forwards to trying out was the online competition part of the software.  Unfortunately, it seems that the online servers are no longer maintained as I’ve been entirely unable to get a connection, receiving a 404 (not found) response when I try.


  • Great fun
  • Good aerobatic figures selection
  • Enjoyable Competition Calender


  • Online competitions are no longer available
  • FSX has to be closed after every Airshow Pilot flight
  • Associated editor programs aren’t very intuitive

Is it worth the $18 or so? Oh yes, definitely. If you enjoy the idea of aerobatci flying and want to have a go at learning the various figures, stringing them together in order to make a routine and, perhaps, even creating your own competitions, then this is definitely worth the low price.

Download Links

Flight Simulator X

Flight Simulator X is Microsoft/Dovetail Games” latest offering in their long line of Flight Sim software.

Flight Simulator X
Flight Simulator X (more commonly known as FSX by it’s users) is Microsofts’ latest offering in their long line of Flight Sim software.  Despite it being the latest, FSX is now over ten years old with it’s original European version having been released on October 13 2006. Since it’s inception, FSX has seen two Service Pack updates (known as SP1 and SP2) and an the ‘Acceleration’ Expansion.  In 2014, Microsoft signed a licencsing deal with Dovetail Games who then took over development of the software. Continue reading “Flight Simulator X”

Alabeo’s Extra 300S (Payware/FSX & P3D)

A little write-up from my messing around in the Alabeo Extra 300S

The Extra 300S is a single seat variant of the original Extra 300 twin seat aerobatic light aircraft.  It’s one of the better known aerobatic planes and has been piloted to victory in any number of aerobatic competitions.  It’s also the craft favoured by The Blades Aerobatic Display Team, a well known team from the UK who have used the 300S for a number of years. Continue reading “Alabeo’s Extra 300S (Payware/FSX & P3D)”

What is a Flight Simulator?

In broad terms, a flight simulator is defined as;

“a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and the environment in which it flies, for pilot training, design, or other purposes. It includes replicating the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of flight controls, the effects of other aircraft systems, and how the aircraft reacts to external factors such as air density, turbulence, wind shear, cloud, precipitation, etc.”

(source: Wikipedia)

However, the types of simulator that will be mainly featured here fall into the realms of amateur flight simulators, which aren’t quite as rigidly defined.

H&S Design’s Eurocopter EC135 (Freeware/FSX)

Taking a tour around Ireland in a fun freeware helicopter

As an ex aircraft engineer who specialised in helicopters with the British Army, I’ve always retained a fondness for rotary craft.  Unfortunately, these aren’t very well represented in flight simulators with many of the freeware models I’ve come across leaving a little something to be desired.
Continue reading “H&S Design’s Eurocopter EC135 (Freeware/FSX)”

Correcting Fuel Tank Selector Issues in FSX

A fix for resetting fuel tank selector problems in FSX

The Problem
I mentioned in my March Blog News Post that I’ve begun testing on, what looks to be, a very promising freeware EC135 for FSX.  At this time, I’ve not yet managed to complete a decent test flight with it due to an issue with fuel selection, caused by a quirk in the way FSX operates.

Continue reading “Correcting Fuel Tank Selector Issues in FSX”