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Great Planes® RealFlight® Expansion Pack 5 Review

RealFlight has again come up with a perfect mix of new aircraft to help keep your thumbs in tip-top flying shape. Plug your G4 Simulator in and prepare to have some fun with Expansion Pack Five!

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Introduction

RealFlight Expansion Pack Five

Media:One CDRom
Manufacturer:Knife Edge Software
Available From:Great Planes distributors or your local hobby shop
Price:$35.99

It is now December, and in many parts of the country radio control pilots are settling in for the long winter. Short days, snow and cold temperatures will confine many pilots to the indoors for the months to come. This time of year is a great time to undertake those build projects you may not have been able to find time to start, but it is also a excellent time to set goals for the next flying season. Instead of letting the winter doldrums overwhelm you, why not make a commitment to spend a little time each week on your RealFlight G4 Simulator? The latest Expansion Pack from RealFlight comes packed with enough variety to keep your thumbs warm and well exercised all winter long.

NOTE: ONE graphic in this review is NOT a screen capture from within Expansion Pack Five but an actual photo of the real version of one of the planes. For a little challenge, see if you can find it!

Package Contents

RealFlight has carefully selected the models in Expansion Pack Five, and they have succeeded in representing just about every genre of radio controlled flight: A total of 13 new airplanes, four new rotary wings and 1 flying hydroplane come crammed inside the small box. Additionally, the box contains three new flying sites: Two are 3D and fully explorable and the other is a photorealistic site.

System Requirements

Expansion Pack 5 is compatible only with Great Planes RealFlight G4 or above.

Minimum Requirements† Suggestions for Optimum Performance‡ Reviewers System
CPU Intel® Pentium® 1.0 GHz or equivalent Intel Pentium 3.0 GHz or equivalent AMD Athlon® 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4600+ (2.52 GHz)
Memory 256 MB RAM 1 GB RAM 3.25 GB RAM
Video Card 3D accelerated video card with 32 MB (or more) RAM 3D accelerated video card with 128 MB (or more) RAM Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT Video Card with 512 MB RAM

The following are also required:

  • Great Planes® RealFlight G4 R/C Flight Simulator
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • DirectX 9 (or above) feature-compatible video and sound card

† (Allows minimal simulator functionality)

‡ (Enables complete simulator functionality)

Installation

Installation is very straightforward. Pop the CD into your drive, and wait for the installation dialog box to appear. Give it a few clicks with your mouse, and it will ferret out the directory in which your RealFlight G4 is installed and add the necessary files there. The aircraft and flying fields that are in this expansion pack are conveniently grouped in their own folders within the G4 program, making it quite easy to select just the aircraft or fields contained in this Expansion Pack.

New Flying Fields

  • Obstacle Course 6 - 3D (AKA Curriculum Obstaculum VI)
  • Sub Base - 3D
  • Superstition Airpark - PhotoField

The massive stone figure straddling the bridge over the waterway is more than an impressive sculpture, it’s part and parcel of a “noble Roman” obstacle course. You can take off from the bay or from the flagstone runway up the hill. Floating stone rings in the sky provide a test of skill matched only by carved (and partially submerged) rings in the water. Flying the obstacle course is an easy way to find out just how good a pilot you really are!

For some reason, the "Big Man" straddling the river seems to have an almost magnetic pull when flying at this site. You may notice many of the screen captures and videos in this review featuring this handsome giant. He seems to be quite the ham!

Giant steel “Czech hedgehogs” along the shoreline and the squat, massive concrete pillboxes and piers suggest a long-deserted WWII sub pen. Of course that’s before you notice that smoke is still rising from a gun emplacement on the hill and the half-sunken sub in the middle of the channel. Taking off from the runway on the rear shore should be safe. But float planes, take care: hitting one of the 55-gallon fuel drums bobbing in the channel can ruin an otherwise perfect takeoff!

The Dornier Do-24ATT and Apache AH64 are my two vehicles of choice when flying at this site. They both just seem to fit the theme of this site so well.

Superstition Airpark looks like it's smack dab in the middle of a hundred square miles of dry desert, sagebrush, sand and cactus, but it's actually located just a few minutes outside of Apache Junction, Arizona. There's plenty of parking, shaded workplaces for pilots, big, wide runways and nothing but wide open spaces to explore.

Superstition Airpark is the club field for the Arizona Model Aviators, an AMA sanctioned club. This club holds several notable events each year, including the Arizona Electric Festival and Wings over Arizona. The former is a four day electric only event and the latter, a giant scale fly-in.

(The majority of the screen captures and videos in this review are of the new fields, although I did use a few of the G4 fields when generating media for the Marauder and RF-97 Sailplane.)

New Aircraft

Fixed Wing

  • deHavilland Beaver
  • Dornier Do-24ATT
  • Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
  • ElectriFly™ E-Performance Series Reactor™ Bipe
  • ElectriFly Pluma™ 3D Biplane
  • Great Planes® 25% Performance Series Sukhoi SU-31 GP/EP
  • Great Planes 38% Extra 330S
  • Great Planes P-40 Warhawk GP/EP
  • Krill 39% Katana
  • RealFlight Airliner
  • Republic RC-3 SeaBee
  • RF-97 Sailplane
  • Top Flite® P-51 Mustang .60

The Dornier Do-24ATT, Republic RC-3 SeaBee and even the deHavilland Beaver are equally at home in the water or on land. The Dornier and Seabee have floats and retractable wheels. Though the Beaver's floats do not have retractable wheels, there is enough horsepower inside the cowl to pull this mighty sport utility aircraft off the ground should you wish to fly from the soil. I really like flying the Dornier. It is a large aircraft, and its three wing-mounted engines are loud and belch a lot of smoke.

Do you like flying large scale aerobatic and 3D airplanes? RealFlight has generously included not one or two but THREE excellent models! The newly released Great Planes 38% Extra 330S, the Great Planes 25% Performance Series Sukhoi SU-31 and the Krill 39% Katana will keep you happy all winter. I have yet to own a plane of this size but I find myself spending a lot of time flying these three planes. The larger they are, the better they fly. Someday I hope to find out just how true this is by actually getting some stick time on a real version of any of these three planes. Thanks to Expansion Pack Five, I think I'll be good and ready when that day arrives.

I HAVE actually flown three of the planes represented in this Expansion Pack: the ElectriFly™ E-Performance Series Reactor™ Bipe, ElectriFly Pluma™ 3D Biplane and the Great Planes P-40 Warhawk GP/EP. I had the privilege of reviewing the Reactor Bipe and Pluma here on RCGroups, and they are both currently in my hangar and are flown regularly. In fact, the Reactor Bipe is one of the few planes I own that should anything happen to destroy it, I would head straight to my local hobby shop and immediately purchase another! And yes, RealFlight has captured the essence and flight characteristics of both the Reactor Bipe and the Pluma. I have logged many hours flying the real versions of both airframes, and I am thrilled to have both of them to fly on the simulator now. I also have flown the little Great Planes P40 Warhawk. Fellow author Albert Wahrhaftig reviewed the Great Planes P-40 Warhawk, and I had the pleasure of getting some stick time on it. It is a fairly small airplane but it is very quick and lands fast.

Rotary Wings

  • AH-64 Apache Helicopter
  • Align T-Rex 500 EP Helicopter
  • Maelstrom Marauder Autogyro
  • Synergy N9 Helicopter

There is something for every helicopter interest in Expansion Pack Five. The nitro powered Synergy N9 is a 60-90 size helicopter designed by several notable 3D heli pilots. It is a high end, high tech bird but now thanks to RealFlight, all of us can spend some time flying it. The Trex 500 is a very popular electric helicopter. I personally own the smaller Trex 450SA, so I really enjoy flying this slightly larger family member. Scale helicopter enthusiasts will be attracted to the Apache with its four blade scale head. In my opinion, the most challenging of the four rotary winged aircraft is the Marauder Autogyro. Its is very detailed and available in two different color schemes. I was unable to locate any information online about a full size Marauder which led me to conclude this one exists only within the simulator.

Amphibious Aircraft

  • Death Foil (flying hydroplane)

This little hydroboat, er plane, is also capable of flying from water or land. I did own an electric hydroboat a few years ago, and the flying characteristics of the the Death Foil take me back to the fun I had flying mine.

Static Model Gallery

In Flight Photo Gallery

Video Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Most of us do not especially like this time of year because it usually means much fewer opportunities to get out and do what we all love... FLY!! RealFlight has our backs; they have delivered an Expansion Pack which contains enough variety to keep just about everybody interested all Winter! Instead of grumbling about the bad weather, grab the simulator and get busy. Practice makes perfect, and I for one want to make a commitment to myself to add slow rolls and torque rolls to my repertoire. The trio of big aerobats, the Reactor Bipe and the Pluma will keep me busy for a long time. From the big Top Flite Mustang to the turbine powered A4 Skyhawk to the Trex 500, there is just so much fun waiting to be had in this Expansion Pack. The models are exquisitely detailed right down to the servo horns and radio leads. Though not 100% like flying the real thing, the simulator models seem quite accurate and will undoubtedly provide tangible benefits for the time invested in flying them.

Spend enough time practicing on the simulator and developing your flying skills through the dark and cold months of this winter and your fellow pilots may think you wintered in Florida or Arizona!

Pluses:

  • A perfect variety of aircraft, all in one box
  • Stunning graphics and highly detailed models
  • Allows you to fly models that in real life cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars

Minuses:

  • The sound of the EDFs on the airliner needs improvement

Did you find the real photo?!

Last edited by Angela H; Dec 15, 2008 at 04:25 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 11, 2008, 02:38 PM
WAA-08 THANK FRANK!
JimNM's Avatar
Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States
Joined Jun 2002
7,118 Posts
The real Slim Shady, er photo, is the Reactor Bipe on the left (of the three in a row at the bottom of the review.) I had to go to the close-up of the photo to check it out. Really, this release has some impressive graphics.

JimNM
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Old Dec 11, 2008, 02:47 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,616 Posts
Ding ding ding ding!

Not that hard to find it really BUT I agree, the graphics are impressive. BTW, that is G4.5 you are looking at too.
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 08:00 PM
TDI Abuser
flyinghigh's Avatar
Joined Sep 2002
4,125 Posts
The graphics remind me of my Joint Operations Typhoon Rising days of years ago .
Great write up!
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 09:03 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,616 Posts
I found myself REALLY wanting to indulge in a little PC Gaming myself after working up this review!

Something to do with the great looking graphics I am sure!?
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Old Dec 15, 2008, 10:01 AM
Oh no...hot glue is gone again
catman529's Avatar
Tennessee
Joined Feb 2007
922 Posts
RFEXP5_ReactorBipe00.jpg is the picture of the actual model. I picked it out easily because the sky was different from that in the two adjacent pictures..or, screenshots... of the same model.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 10:47 AM
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GaryB's Avatar
Topeka Billard, Kansas, United States
Joined Feb 2001
596 Posts
...so will this Espansion Pack 5 work with my RealFlight 3.5?...
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 10:57 AM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,616 Posts
Not according to this, from Knife Edge's website.
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 01:23 PM
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GaryB's Avatar
Topeka Billard, Kansas, United States
Joined Feb 2001
596 Posts
...thanks for the reply...the first 4 expansion packs are compatible with both...guess they figured out a way to rip people off for some more money...

...i guess i'll make do with 3.5 for now...until i decide i can't live without the Trex 500 on the new expansion pack! (i just got my Trex 500 going about 6 weeks ago)...

Update: i just found out that the Trex 500 is available as a download from Knife Edge Software for G 3.5 users...
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Last edited by GaryB; Dec 18, 2008 at 01:50 PM.
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Old Dec 22, 2008, 11:58 AM
hmph!
ASB32's Avatar
United States, UT, Logan
Joined Dec 2008
822 Posts
Can't wait to try it. I am glad the statue is wearing a towl though.
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Old Dec 25, 2008, 07:50 AM
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Joined Mar 2007
39 Posts
Wow the graphics are amazing looks good but can u actually fly the planes and land them
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Old May 27, 2009, 02:25 AM
just Some Useless Geek
Chicagoland
Joined Oct 2008
2,538 Posts
Has anybody figured out how to active the brakes on the airliner yet? You can't stop this POS (pile of scrap) from rolling halfway around the world after touching down.

Later...

Okay, now I've got it. You gotta add a brake servo, then add a phunky activation by attaching it to something else like the elevator, then add a complex curve by having the brake come on as the elevator stick goes forward. Silly, but there you have it.
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