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Piper Archer - Flight Simulator Reviews

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Reviews Date of last review
5 Tue, July 26, 2005
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $19.95 9.6




Description: Features:

Four different aircraft configurations: Each showing a different pilot / passenger configuration. You will have a choice of pilot-only, pilot and front seat passenger. Pilot, front seat passenger and one rear seat passenger, or pilot and front seat passenger, plus two rear seat passengers. Weights for all, plus baggage can be set using "Config-O-matic".

Virtual Cockpit & Cabin: Nicely detailed and with working gauges, and moving throttles, control wheels, etc. You can fly from the virtual cockpit, or from our complete 2D cockpit and interior (see below).

Complete Moving Parts: Ailerons, rudder, stabilator, rudder, and flaps all move. Gear struts compress upon landing, and both cabin door and baggage door open and close.

Removable Engine Cowling: That's right, with just a press on a key, you can remove the engine cowling and see the 180 hp Lycoming 0-360 engine that lives inside.

Visible Interior and Passengers: This, of course, should be expected, and the interior visible from the outside of the aircraft is highly detailed, and includes passengers in the seats (see below for more information about our passengers).

Fuselage and Lighting Reflections: The same as found on the default FS2004 aircraft, there's even reflection on the aircraft windows.

Even More Details!: From tie down eyelets, to door hinges, to even some of the screws are 3D. You'll even see the moving control arm that actuates the stabilator, the "petcock" valves used to drain fuel, and an authentic Piper pitot tube under the left wing.
Product Link: http://flight1.com/esd-products.asp?product=archer01

Review Date: Thu, April 8, 2004 Recommended: Yes | Price paid: $19.95 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Let me count the ways...
Cons: The default livery is a bit boring...but easily changed!

The Piper Archer II from Flight One/Dreamfleet is one of my favorite add-on planes for fs2004.

In five words..."this plane has it all!".

Hmmm...though perhaps comprehensive in its own peculiar way, that wasn't a very detailed review. I'll try again...

Before I get into this review, I should mention my credentials...or lack thereof:

I'm not a real pilot (yet!), and I've only been using fs2004 for a few months (though you wouldn't believe the hours of "flying" I've crammed into these past four months!). In spite of my lack of experience with real planes, I do read everything I can find about the real planes depicted in my fs2004 (default planes as well as add-ons), and I also read and listen to the comments of real pilots...especially when it comes to the planes I really like to fly in the simulator. Before I get into my own "non-real-pilot review", I will say that real pilots I've been in contact with are just as happy with the Dreamfleet Piper Archer II as I am. This may not be an absolutely comprehensive review, because there's so much to discover once you're flying your own Archer II. That said, here we go...

I currently own five planes from Flight One and Flight One/Dreamfleet, and each in their own way, is wonderful. The Piper Archer II is certainly one of my favorites.

Now...it's perfectly natural to install a new plane and want to jump into the cockpit without any delay, and just fly. This is exactly what I did when I first got my Archer II, and it was wonderful. I would, however, recommend also reading very carefully the comprehensive documentation that comes with the plane, because you'll get much more out of flying it with a bit more knowledge about this particular model. Also, with certain add-on planes, some keyboard shortcuts invoke different things than the same default fs2004 keyboard combinations do. These differences can be found in the documentation.

Also...regarding one's first flight with their shiny new Archer II...Dreamfleet recommends the following procedure:

After you first install the Archer II (or any add-on plane for that matter), it's a good idea to have the fs2004 "default flight" in the "create a flight" window before switching to the new add-on for the first time. The default flight for fs2004 seems to be the default Cessna 172 "Skyhawk" at KSEA (Seattle-Tacoma International), with fair weather, and current time. Once you select your new add-on plane, you can change any of the other parameters as well.

One more thing before I finally launch into my glowing review of the plane itself. To get the most out of flying a plane like this in the sim, I do recommend using a yoke and pedals instead of a joystick.

The plane itself...

This plane is a joy to fly! It's not the fastest single engine prop plane in the world, but it's a very comfortable and "predictable" plane to fly in the sim. Both the 2D and Virtual Cockpit (aka "VC") are very well detailed, and based on photographs of an actual PA-28. Though I've made a small tweak to the VC "zoom" setting to achieve what I feel is a more realistic and comfortable "pilot's eye view", flying with the default view in VC is also quite nice. Most of the essential gauges in the VC are "clickable" but a few switches and such must be manually manipulated in the 2D panel view (which, by the way, is one of the most "3D looking" 2D panels I've seen in any sim plane). Keyboard shortcuts can also be used for many panel manipulations, but I prefer manual manipulations when possible.

The view out the window(s) in the VC (and also in the 2D panel's "landing" configuration) feels quite open, so this plane is wonderful for VFR sightseeing flights. Read about the 2D panel "landing view" in the documentation (basically, it gives you about the same view over the panel as in the VC).

Regarding sightseeing flights with the Archer II:

This plane feels a bit heavy compared to some other small GA prop planes I've flown in the sim, but this also contributes to its comfortable handling predictability. It doesn't climb as steeply or as quickly as some others, so if you're a "simulated bush pilot" like me, you'll want to take this into consideration...especially if you're going to be flying around in steep and/or high mountains. Do be very aware of the need to lean the fuel mixture accordingly as you climb above 3000 feet (and progressively adjust it as you fly higher).

Because of its nice handling, the Archer II is a joy to not only fly, but to land as well. As a "simulated bush pilot", I love planes that I can land nicely in just about any situation, and this is one such plane.

The sound of the Archer's Lycoming engine is impressive, and as with all other planes I fly in the sim, the sound tells me a lot about how the plane is flying, so that I can make adjustments to controls as needed.

All my Flight One/Dreamfleet planes come with the possibility to easily change and create new liveries with the included "text-o-matic" program. Personally, I find the default livery a bit boring, so I've taken full advantage of the many Dreamfleet Archer II liveries available for download (I think I got most of my additional Archer II liveries from flightsim.com, though there may be others available from other download sites as well).

Also, the Archer II comes with a "config-o-matic" options module, where you can change default load and visual characteristics.

On a scale of 1-10, I give the Dreamfleet Archer II a very happy 10.

Now...on to a wonderful bonus for Dreamfleet Archer II owners...Peter McLeland's "Bandit Kit", just released today (I was a beta tester for this kit, and I'm very impressed!)...

Peter is an experienced pilot, and the Archer II has been a favorite of his for a long time. He has created a freeware "Bandit Kit of Parts" that makes it possible for you to create your own "Archer II on steroids", based on the Dreamfleet Archer II. With its much more powerful engine, "Bandit" is capable of aerobatic maneuvers that the default Archer II from Dreamfleet couldn't even dream of. Bandit also has extra fuel tanks fitted into the rear passenger seats for use on extended flights (though it is recommended to fly with much less fuel when performing aerobatics).

I always recommend flying any plane in the simulator with the "realism" setting on "hard", with "crash detection" and "stress damage" both enabled. Even though the "Bandit" version of this plane can perform nice aerobatic maneuvers, just like any other plane, it can be over stressed. As a beta tester of the Bandit, I felt it was my duty to push the envelope a wee bit, so I did find ways to over stress the aircraft during certain aerobatic maneuvers. ;-)

Here's Peter's announcement of the "Bandit Kit" release:


"Bandit Kit" can be downloaded from Peter's site (click on the "Links" button):


The Bandit Kit is freeware, but it requires that one already have the payware Dreamfleet Archer II. "Bandit" makes the already very reasonable price of the Archer II even more of a great deal! :-)
Review Date: Sat, April 10, 2004 Recommended: Yes | Price paid: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good model, VC, cockpit, physics
Cons: None

Excellent plane, good frame rates and load times (No grey model like some planes...) a joy to fly.
In a private plane environment, this would have to be one of the nicer planes Wink
Review Date: Sun, June 13, 2004 Recommended: Yes | Price paid: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great all Round, has EVERYTHING
Cons: Textures Low detail?!?!? (may be my computer)

Review Date: Sun, May 15, 2005 Recommended: Yes | Price paid: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything!

Excellent aircraft, 1 of the better GA planes out there, nothin bad bout it, and its grand fun to fly at places like Emma Field (Lago scenery) I totally recommend!
Review Date: Tue, July 26, 2005 Recommended: Yes | Price paid: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Nicely modeled and made.
Cons: N/A

A very good addon.

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