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Real Flight Expansion Pack 4 Review

The fourth Expansion Pack for Real Flight G3.5 is now available and it continues the tradition of supplying a regular diet of new planes and helicopters for those who like to simulate their passion for radio control flying.

Splash

Introduction

Wouldn't it be grand if you could stop down at your local hobby shop this weekend and buy, oh, say a dozen or so new planes to fly?

"Yes sir, I'll take that B25 twin and a couple of those gas engines to put on it! And please, may I also have the Mig 15 turbine combo and the 40% Python biplane with the multi-cylinder engine? Oh, and wait, you better throw in that new little electric helicopter and that snappy looking Great Planes Revolver sitting over there while you're at it!"

And just when you were sure your day couldn't possibly get any better, it does! Amazingly enough, on the way home from your shopping spree at the hobby shop, you find not one or two, but FOUR new flying fields where you can go to fly your newly acquired fleet!

That will probably only ever happen in our dreams, but Great Planes has the next best thing available... the Real Flight Expansion Pack 4. For a couple of the lesser Presidents, you can bring home a whole box full of new airplanes to fly and even a couple of new flying fields too.

The variety in the box is quite impressive and there are sure to be one or two planes that will be your favorites. The Expansion Packs are wonderful, breathing new life into the simulator and keeping pace with the new and exciting planes introduced to the market. How many of us will honestly ever get to fly a Monster Python biplane or a Heavy Metal Twin B25? The next best thing awaits you and I inside the Expansion Pack 4 box!

(Note: Take a look at fellow reviewer extraordinaire Michael Heer’s comprehensive coverage of the features of Real Flight G3.5 here on Ezone.)


Software:One CD in jewel case, serial number on the back
New Planes:12
New Helicopters:3
New Flying Fields:4
Manufacturer:RealFlight
Available From: Great Planes distributors
Price:$39.99

System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements:

  • RealFlight Generation 3 or above software
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Intel Pentium 1.0GHz or equivalent
  • DirectX 9 (or above) feature-compatible video and sound card
  • 3D accelerated video card with 32 MB (or more) RAM
  • 256 MB Ram

Optimum System Requirements:

  • Intel Pentium 3.0GHz or equivalent
  • 3D accelerated video card with 128 MB (or more) RAM
  • 1 GB RAM

Reviewers System:

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4600+ @ 2.52 GHZ
  • XFX GeForce 7800GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Video card
  • Dell WFP2407 24" LCD Monitor
  • 1 GB RAM

Expansion Pack 4 Features

New Fields

Now, I don't know about you but I have always wanted to fly my radio control planes and helicopters at a real airport. With yards and yards of concrete and the typically inspiring backdrop of real airplanes and helicopters it is the perfect place. As you look at the list of Expansion Pack 4 flying sites below, do you notice a little something called "tarmac"? Hallelujah! And it is a photorealistic field to boot.

I find myself immensely enjoying the Kemp RC Aerodrome. It has all the warmth of a local neighborhood RC club site. The nice folks that manage this RC field apparently allow overnight camping and a catering truck is available to make sure you are well fed and watered.

The real attraction of this site for me is that beautiful multistory water tower. As you will notice in the highlight video below, I just cannot seem to stay away from it, no matter what I am flying!

Two of the new flying sites in Expansion Pack 4 are nighttime excursions. Obstacle Course 5 is beautiful at night, with each and every one of the moving rings and squares glowing like carnival rides.

Kemp RC Aerodrome is open 24 hours a day, for your flying enjoyment on those nights when you just can't sleep. Try THAT at your local club field.

New Aircraft

If it is true that variety is the spice of life, then Expansion Pack 4 serves up a spicy blend of RC simulator goodness.

A grand total of 16 (17 if you count both versions of the Great Planes Spitfire) additional planes and helicopters, including a turbine powered jet, a powered glider, a twin rotor helicopter and a monster biplane.

The New Flying Machines in Expansion Pack 4

Pitts Python

If you like them big, you will love the Python biplane in Expansion Pack 4. It claims the title of the biggest plane in the box. This simulator version of it "feels" quite easy to fly. It comes equipped with an awesome smoke system too, so flip that smoke system on, stand her on her tail, and make her disappear!

Robinson R22

I think the reason that the Robinson R22 is my favorite helicopter of the four new ones in Expansion Pack 4 is because I already own one. No, really , I do!

In any event, I like the stability of the R22 in the Expansion Pack. Two of the other three helicopters are single rotor electrics and quite a bit smaller than the Robinson. The small electric helicopters are immensely popular right now and thanks to Expansion Pack 4, you can fly either the Heli-Max MX450XS or the Thunder Tiger Mini Titan.

CH-46 Sea Knight

In real life, the CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem rotor assault helicopter, used by the United States Marine Corps. It is a big, manly looking helicopter. In Expansion Pack 4, it is a just a wee bit smaller but its size lets you explore every nook and cranny of the flying sites.

I really enjoyed sneaking under the tables and going in and out of any building where someone forgot to close the door. Several twin rotor helicopter RC models (like this CH-46) do indeed exist, and they are a technological marvel. You and I get to fly one without the high costs associated with building such a cutting edge model. It is a little tricky to fly due to its unconventional twin rotor design, but getting the hang of it will only enhance your helicopter flying thumbs.

Stits Sky Baby

With a wing span of just over seven feet and a length of just less than ten feet, in real life this tiny biplane stands barely five feet tall. Built back in 1952, it hit speeds in excess of 200 MPH during its demonstration flights. In Expansion pack 4, its legacy lives on. It is a zippy little guy.

Mig 15

I have a special fondness for the Mig 15 in Expansion Pack 4, as I recently completed my own Mig. Though mine is a jet, the one in the simulator is twice as fast as mine.

When you tire of practicing real world maneuvers, don't forget that there is a lot of new territory to explore in the new flying sites. The Mig 15 is the quickest platform to use when you head out on an exploratory sortie. I had a lot of fun blasting in and out of the valleys of the foothills, using the plentiful tall trees as racing pylons. The turbine powered planes are especially valuable for practicing your long distance orientation. They get small very quickly and getting one of them that has gotten just a little too far out back into comfortable viewing range can be a real challenge. Slowing it down for a landing can be tough, just like my EDF version. Don't forget to activate your air brakes and flaps!

B25 Medium Bomber and Mosquito Fighter/Bomber

Expansion Pack 4 serves up a double dip of warbird twins in the Mitchell B25 and the DeHavilland Mosquito. It will take a skilled hand to fly these two, and finesse is in order when it comes to landing them. But where else can you fly two large, twin nitro-powered warbirds back-to-back? I like the working bomb bay doors on the B25. The look of the doors opening as you come thundering by on a high speed low altitude pass is so cool!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Some folks like to curl up in front of a fire with a good book when the winter weather arrives. Here in NorCal, the weather is getting chilly but I am thrilled to huddle here in front of my computer with all of the goodness of Real Flight Expansion Pack 4. Anyone who follows the continual release of great new RC airplanes and helicopters will know what a difficult task it must be to select just a dozen or so to include in one of these Expansion add-ons, and Expansion Pack 4 comes equipped with a very well rounded mix of flying machines to suit all abilities and it covers almost all mainstream genres of radio control interests.

Pluses:

  • Nice variety of new planes and helicopters to fly
  • The night lighting is gorgeous
  • Sure to help develop your flying skills.
  • When you tire of actually honing your RC skills, you can explore the remote areas of the flying fields
  • Did I mention how much I love the huge Python biplane?
  • No need to wipe the exhaust oil off of the nitro powered planes at the end of each flying session
  • Crashing does not require a broom, trash bag and crying towel. Instead, just push the red button and be happy!

Minuses

  • May lead you to spend money to buy the full size plane(s) or helicopter(s).
  • Leads to chronic just-one-more-flight disease

I am a firm believer that any time spent with a simulator will only improve your thumb skills with a real model. Expansion Pack 4 has given me a good taste of what it must be like to fly a 40-50% biplane and a turbine powered Mig, two models that I may never in reality get to fly. And when I grow a little tired of practicing for real life flying, I like switching the camera view to "chase" or "cockpit" and heading out on an exploratory mission.

Do you have your eye on one of the models included in this Expansion Pack as it hangs there on the wall or in the box at your local hobby shop? Do you wonder how it flies? Are you looking for a new project for the upcoming winter season and don’t know what you want to build next? In either case, head down to your local hobby shop, and buy a dozen or so planes, all packed into the small box labeled "Real Flight Expansion Pack 4". Take it home and be prepared for hours and hours of excellent fun on your Real Flight G3.5 simulator!

Last edited by Angela H; Nov 24, 2007 at 05:44 AM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 28, 2007, 12:12 AM
Purples a fruit
punkrockd's Avatar
Walnut Creek
Joined Aug 2006
1,279 Posts
good review jon. I'll have to pick up this expansion pack. i'm eying the mig, sky baby mosquito, and that sea knight looks pretty cool !!
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Old Nov 28, 2007, 12:24 AM
iumop ap!sdn w,I
G.P.'s Avatar
Joined May 2005
6,428 Posts
Nice review!!! I don't think the Python is the highest thrust to weight biplane anymore though......this is:
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Last edited by G.P.; Sep 01, 2012 at 09:03 PM.
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Old Nov 28, 2007, 01:14 AM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
central PA.
Joined Sep 2004
20,158 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by G.P.
Nice review!!! I don't think the Python is the highest thrust to weight biplane anymore though......this is:
dammit, I was gonna make that comment.
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Old Nov 28, 2007, 08:02 AM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,599 Posts
You both just did!

My bad, I have been reading about the other one a little ...it all just keeps getting better!

Tnx for the correction folks!
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Old Dec 06, 2007, 03:15 PM
Cessna Skyhawk Pilot
Casa de Aero Airpark, Hampshire, IL
Joined Aug 2007
173 Posts
Hi,

With all due respect, I wish you had said a bit more in your review with respect to system requirements. I’m sure with your level of computer expertise you are well aware of the factors involved.

How many potential upgraders will grasp the significance of the dual processors, or for that matter, system requirements in general?

I submit that virtually all potential upgraders would be terribly disappointed in the performance of the application if run with Minimum System Requirements. Moreover, the application really runs best with dual processors, like you used in your review. All the Real Flight simulator kiosks at hobby shops across the US had to be updated to dual processors for the release of Flight Pack 4 because, quite honestly, that’s what it takes to run this powerful new release with optimum performance. I was going to upgrade to 4 but my hobby shop computer geeks quite honestly told me that without dual processors I’d be disappointed. They tried it without and were disappointed.

I understand the pressure, be it self-inflicted or contractually implied, that many “reviewers” are under to write non-critical reviews for their clients. I only wish that reviewers had the liberty to tell us up front what the downsides of a product were.

Dennis
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Old Dec 06, 2007, 03:26 PM
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jbourke's Avatar
United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Nov 1998
5,381 Posts
Dennis, I think you are talking about RealFlight G4, whereas the review is about RealFlight Expansion Pack 4. They aren't the same thing.

The system requirements are not affected by Expansion Pack 4.

Jim
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Old Dec 06, 2007, 03:40 PM
Cessna Skyhawk Pilot
Casa de Aero Airpark, Hampshire, IL
Joined Aug 2007
173 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbourke
Dennis, I think you are talking about RealFlight G4, whereas the review is about RealFlight Expansion Pack 4. They aren't the same thing.

The system requirements are not affected by Expansion Pack 4.

Jim
OOPS! Sorry! You are right! How does that go -- be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger (and slow to send that email!) ???

However, a friend of mine, not so computer savvy, recently purchased 3.5 and found to his dismay, that his video board was not up to snuff. He can’t return the software (usual “you open it -- you bought it”). And he’s not clear under the license agreement if he can even legally sell it.

How many of you know if your computer has “DirectX 9 (or above) compatible video and sound card 3D accelerated video card”?

I have 3.5 and one expansion pack and it has helped me immeasurably in re-learning how to fly RC. I only wish my computer could handle 4.0

My apologies to all for confusing the Flight Pack 4with the new release 4.0. I could blame it on a senior moment, but I was just plain careless.


Dennis
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Old Dec 06, 2007, 03:55 PM
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United States, OR, Corvallis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N9DP
However, a friend of mine, not so computer savvy, recently purchased 3.5 and found to his dismay, that his video board was not up to snuff. He can’t return the software (usual “you open it -- you bought it”). And he’s not clear under the license agreement if he can even legally sell it.
He can definitely sell it.

Quote:
How many of you know if your computer has “DirectX 9 (or above) compatible video and sound card 3D accelerated video card”?
There are three resources to help you with that question. The first is the demo, which is available for a free download. The second is the video card compatibility chart which is at knifeedge.com. The third is a call to the tech support line.

Quote:
I have 3.5 and one expansion pack and it has helped me immeasurably in re-learning how to fly RC. I only wish my computer could handle 4.0
G4 supports almost every card that G3.5 supports and should give pretty much equal performance as long as you are doing the same thing you did with G3.5. Once you step into the new features (like water) you'll probably want a better card. But there is a time-limited rebate available now that might not be available after you choose to upgrade your card, so you might want to get the new version now.

Jim
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Old Dec 06, 2007, 04:32 PM
KK6MQJ
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I am working on a review of Real Flight G4 right now. I do not consider my computer system to be "state of the art", as far as systems go. I built it back in the fall of 2005. I just now added another gig of ram, to take my total to 2 gigs of memory. I DID NOT do it expressly for any other reason than the relatively inexpensive price of memory. Perhaps as I go thru the gathering of info for my G4 review, I'll pull the new stick and see how it runs on both 1 gig and 2 gig of ram. My video card, a 7800GT, is long in the tooth to me. I have a 8800GT on order but it's arrival is still a way off. I hope to compare how G4 runs on both cards?

Computer processor prices are dirt cheap right now. My system is not at all a powerhouse system. I am also an avid PC gamer (although my current family responsibilities and my passion for RC leave little to no time to really get engaged into any of the awesome titles out right now...COD4, Crysis, etc. I try to keep my system fairly up to date hardware wise? But I am a little behind right now. My point is that it is not fair to wag a finger at the software developers because their product may require more of a computer system than some have? It is a delicate balancing act to try to make a piece of graphics oriented software run on "older" hardware, so as to not alienate those with slower systems and at the same time, to continue improving it to take full advantage of the tremendous improvements in graphics engines that occur thanks primarily to awesome new games that get developed. IMO, it is the games that really drive the need for the hardware companies to continue to improve their products. Flight Simulator X, with all it's options cranked up, will right now bring the fastest PC to its knees frame rate wise!? I.E. There is not a powerful enough system currently available (at least at a price that anybody any where near average could afford!) To run it at an acceptable frame rate with all options cranked up!? I for one am glad that the sim developers keep taking advantage of the huge advances in rendering and graphics. I am blown away by G4!! The water and the overall apperance of the graphics are quite impressive to me, a user of G3.5 for some time. I am very impressed.

And also, as a friendly FYI, I am completely free to report anything I choose to about both Expansion Pack 4, G4 and any other product I review here. Will you and everybody else agree with MY opinion? Some will, some won't. But please do not insinuate that any of us that do reviews here are "in somebodies pocket" and thus not free to be completely honest, albeit tactfully so, in our appraisals. The Authors group here is a very diverse and passionate group of enthusiasts, which is why most of us do this to begin with? We are not compensated for the many, many hours we put into generating an online review. And if you want to count the receiving of the review product at no cost as a huge monetary incentive, take the cost of it and divide it by the number of hours invested and you get an hourly rate with no digits to the left of the decimal point! <G> But, we LOVE doing it! It is our passion and we hope all of the readers here enjoy the fruits of our labor.

The bottom line is that to stay anywhere current as far as PCs go, you have to upgrade your system periodically. If you do not, you will get left behind. But it is the same with much of the things in our life: cars, TVs, appliances, etc

It so happens that my PC is very important to me and I am committed to pumping cash into it when I need to. Others may not choose to do that. I don't own a TV. Others own some amazingly wonderful units. Its all what we give priority too.

( Stepping off the soapbox now)

Tnx for your comments BTW. I'll try to do better in my next review. <G>
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