For FSX/P3D/P3DV2 Published by Just Flight
Reviewed by John Guest
Just Flight's 'Canberra' PR.9 has been on my radar for almost a
year. It is a release which went to the top of my wish list as soon
as I got wind of its development and I was further tantalised at
Cosford 2013. There, at a stall set out to show it off, I saw the
progress made at that time. Christmas came and went with no PR.9
from Santa and 2014 started slowly as the agonising wait continued.
January ground into February before at last the great day of its
release came. Quick as I could, I had myself a copy of the download
version. But would it live up to my expectations?
Read on to find out, but first, a bit about the aircraft itself.
In 1944, the Air Ministry drew up a requirement for a successor to
the de Havilland DH.98 'Mosquito'. The requirement was for a high
speed, high altitude, bomber with no defensive armament. Amongst the
short-listed companies bidding for this contract was English
Electric, an established manufacturing company with little aircraft
design experience, although, they had experience building the
Handley Page 'Hampden' and 'Halifax' under licence. English Electric
continued to develop their design through 1945 and in 1946 they were
awarded a contract to produce four prototype aircraft. The first of
these prototypes flew in May 1949, by which time the Air Ministry
had ordered 132 production aircraft.
The 'Canberra' B Mk.2, or simply the B2, first flew in April 1950
and entered service with the RAF in 1951. When taken up by the RAF,
the aircraft was an instant success. With its standard service
ceiling of 48,000 ft, it could fly higher than any other aircraft at
the time of its service entry, and, with its nuclear capability,
gave the UK a major advantage at the start of the Cold War.
The 'Canberra' was the first bomber capable of performing acrobatics
and it set many post war records including:
21 January 1951 – first non-stop unrefuelled transatlantic
crossing by a jet;
26 August 1952 - the prototype B5 made the first double
transatlantic crossing by a jet with a total time of 10 hrs 3 mins;
4 May 1953 – the 'Canberra' B2 (WD952), fitted with Rolls-Royce
'Olympus' engines, set a world altitude record, flying at 63,668 ft
29 August 1955 – new altitude record, 65,889 ft (20,083 m); and
28 August 1957 – new altitude record, 70,310 ft (21,430 m), set by
a 'Canberra' B2 (WK163), fitted with a Napier 'Double Scorpion'
This hugely successful aircraft sold worldwide to Britain's allies.
Production demand could not be met by English Electric alone and
therefore the aircraft was built under licence by Handley Page and
Short Brothers in the UK, by the Government Aircraft Factory in
Australia, and by Martin in the USA, where it was designated the
'Canberras' from the RAAF, RAF, and RNZAF saw action in the Malayan
Emergency and the RAF deployed them again during the Suez Crisis. In
the latter, it was responsible for destroying most of the Egyptian
Air Force on the ground. During the Vietnam War, RAAF 'Canberras'
and USAF B-57s saw action in various operational roles and Pakistan
Air Force 'Canberras' saw action in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
Later, in 1982, the 'Canberra' saw action in the Falklands War, but
this time with Britain's enemy of the time, Argentina.
The 'Canberra' was produced in many variants and was used in many
roles including, bomber, radio countermeasures, ground attack, pilot
trainer, electronic warfare trainer, target drone, experimental
aircraft, and photo-reconnaissance variants, the latter of which
included the PR.9. Many of these variants served in a variety of
roles in the RAF until the last PR.9s were finally withdrawn from
service in 2006.
'Canberra' PR.9 (XH134) the Real Aircraft Modelled in
The 'Canberra' PR Mk.9 was a photo-reconnaissance version based on
'Canberra' B(I) Mk.8 (B(I)8) with a fuselage stretched to 68 ft
(27.72 m). Its wingspan was increased by 4 ft (1.22 m) and 'Avon'
R.A.27 ('Avon' 206) engines with 10,030 lbf (44.6 kN) of thrust were
fitted. It had the offset canopy of the B(I)8 with a hinged nose to
allow fitment of an ejection seat for the navigator. This offset
canopy was known as the ‘fighter’ canopy, whereas the original
bubble canopy was known as the ‘bomber’ canopy. A total of 23 of
this version were built by Short Brothers & Harland with three
transferred to Chile after the Falklands War.
Crew: 2 or 3 depending on variant - PR.9 crew of 2;
Length: 65 ft 6 in (19.96 m) – PR.9 68 ft (27.72 m);
Wingspan: 64 ft 0 in (19.51 m) – PR.9 68 ft (27.72 m);
Height: 15 ft 8 in (4.77 m);
Wing Area: 960 ft² (89.19 m²);
Empty Weight: 21,650 lb (9,820 kg);
Loaded Weight: 46,000 lb (20,865 kg);
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 55,000 lb (24,948 kg); and
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce 'Avon' turbojets.
Maximum Speed: Mach 0.88 (580 mph, 933 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,192
Combat Radius: 810 mi (700 nm, 1,300 km);
Ferry Range: 3,380 mi (2,940 nm, 5,440 km);
Service Ceiling: 48,000 ft (15,000 m) – although variants reached
over 70,000 feet;
Rate of Climb: 3,400 ft/min (17 m/s);
Wing Loading: 48 lb/ft² (234 kg/m²); and
Availability and Installation
For downloads, the installation is very easy. After your purchase is
completed, you may download the file from your Just Flight account.
You then run the downloaded program file and, when prompted, enter
your Just Flight sign-in details (e-mail username and account
password.) The product unlocks and you may go ahead with your
installation. The install allows you to choose from an FSX, P3D v1 or
P3D v2 install.
I only had the download version and there is no reason to believe
the install method for the DVD version would be anything different
from any other Just Flight DVD product.
Just Flight support is just as good with this product as any other
of their products, indeed, at the time of writing this review, there
is an update (Service Pack 1 for early download purchases) which can
be downloaded from the Just Flight website. It is actually a
complete replacement and can be found in your account downloads.
Also available free of charge from the Just Flight Support web site
is a paint kit and the manual documentation.
Model features include:
accurately modelled using real-world aircraft plans;
numerous animations, including canopy, navigator hatch, pilot
ladder, ground power units, chocks and retractable landing light;
accurately animated control surfaces, including ailerons, flaps,
tail-plane, elevators and three-position airbrakes;
2048 x 2048 textures are used to produce the highest possible
functioning flare bay doors;
accurately modelled Rolls-Royce 'Avon' Mk 206 engines, including
inlet guide vanes (IGVs);
bump and specular mapping use throughout the aircraft to produce a
truly 3D feel; and
signature landing gear configuration with low position nose-gear
is faithfully modelled and animated using real-world
Cockpit features include:
a truly 3D virtual cockpit right down to the cables and piping -
every instrument is fully constructed in 3D with smooth animations;
every switch, knob and gauge is functional;
cockpit textures feature wear and tear based on reference photos
taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment;
highly detailed ejection seat;
comprehensive and fully functioning communications and navigation
- GMA340, COM/NAV audio control unit with test mode and functioning
- SL30, COM2/NAV2 radio unit with functioning menu system and the
ability to save/recall commonly used frequencies;
- GTN650, touchscreen GPS unit which can also be used to set
aircraft fuel levels and control COM1/NAV1;
- modern horizontal situation indicator (HSI); and
- 2 GI-206, VOR gauges.
authentic autopilot with track, glide, altitude, pitch and bank
functioning oxygen regulator panel;
interactive checklists for every stage of the flight;
aircraft configuration system lets you choose between 'cold &
dark', or 'ready for takeoff';
accurately modelled and animated canopy with locking pins and
fully functioning magnetic indicators, warning lights and
over twelve 2D pop-up panels are included to provide easy access
to cockpit controls and instruments, all accessible from an
when resuming a saved flight, your previous panel state will be
click spots for enabling useful functions, such as automatic fuel
management, auto throttle and trim reset; and
no detail is too small – even the option to revert to the back-up
gear indicator lights is functional!
Four authentic RAF colour schemes, covering 13 Squadron, 39 Squadron
and 58 Squadron, are included:
green / grey;
hemp (two schemes); and
Modelled systems include:
Realistic engine start simulation with accurate spool-up times.
Each engine start will even drain power from the starter batteries!
Custom coded fuel system – belly tank, rear tank, top tanks and
wing tanks are all simulated with functioning fuel pumps and
2D pop-up panel provides an overview of the fuel
Custom coded hydraulics system with functioning pumps and
accumulators. Functional hand pump for use in the event of hydraulic
Custom coded electrical system with engine driven generators, six
inverters and three battery systems simulated (including emergency
battery / avionics system).
Fire detection and extinguisher system.
Two different aileron input sensitivity levels for use at high and
Functioning jet pipe temperature limiters with MAX and CRZ
Other features include:
stereo cockpit sounds;
flight monitoring system lets you review parameters from your
flight, including G-Force, fuel consumption, distance travelled, and
frame rate friendly; and
comprehensive 170 page colour PDF manual with panel guide.
Does it meet these claims?.....Let’s see.
Documentation is provided in two PDF format files, a comprehensive
manual (including covers, etc.) which details everything you need to
know about the Just Flight 'Canberra', and an Operating Data Manual
which supplies a lot of graphed data on the flight envelope
parameters. The main manual provides checklists, an overview of the
aircraft, a key to all the pilot's panels, with detailed views and
instructions where applicable, and the virtual cockpit has a whole
chapter to itself. The rest of the manual is taken up with a good
description of all of the aircraft’s main systems, aircraft
limitations, and engine details. In short, an extremely
comprehensive documentation set. So full marks so far.
You can read the manual at
Having provided an overview of the documentation, let’s have a
closer look. First make yourself a cup of tea and get comfortable in
your favourite chair. Why, because at 174 pages it has a lot of
information. Indeed, so much that the manual index alone runs to
four pages. I have seen payware which provided a manual that did not
run to four pages in its entirety. So what did it tell me? Was it to
be 170 pages of “interesting facts” and “how wonderful the product
was” with four pages at the end on how to get the best out of your
purchase? Not a bit of it! There actually was a section on
pertinent, interesting facts which provided a very good insight into
the development, operational career, and specifications of the
aircraft, as well as a section on the specific aircraft presented in
the simulation. However, that is only a mere six pages, it then
contains a good balance of interesting information without droning
on and on. The rest is all about what you have purchased, and, oh
boy, have you got a lot for your hard earned cash.
The manual is well laid out and easy to read or to use as a
reference document. As well as the introduction and the installation
sections, the manual contains a panel guide, information on the
Interactive checklists, the virtual cockpit, the electrical system,
the fuel system and engine systems, the aircraft controls, and the
autopilot. It also covers the flight Instruments, lighting, radio
equipment, air conditioning, oxygen system, as well as the canopy
and flare doors. It does not stop there though. Next, there are
sections on aircraft limitations, flight preparation and handling,
and general flying notes. Then it has data about the aircraft with a
flight analysis tool, a full set of checklists, and other pertinent
aircraft data. Everything you need to know and more besides.
Installation instructions are next in the manual. I have covered
this aspect above so I will move swiftly on, but not before I add
there is an installation problem solving FAQ (always a sign of
extensive software testing), Technical Support details, uninstalling
instructions, and information about web site based updates.
The manual is not all you get in the way of documentation. There is
also an Operating Data Manual. This is packed full of details of the
aircraft’s flight envelope, from takeoff to landing, and flight
characteristics at various flight levels up to 50,000 ft. There are
33 pages of information and graphs to enlighten you as what you
should expect of the aircraft at all the stages of its flight, on
both engines, or just one.
I have to put my hand up to being a 3D panel flyer and do not
usually pay much heed to 2D panels, other than the GPS, outside a
review. This aircraft is different. It has the 3D main cockpit
panel, which you would expect, however, there is no 2D main panel.
This is no loss in my view, but I guess some may miss it. There are,
however, several pull out 2D panels of note. Well actually, twelve
to be exact, and they are there to help you access the controls
available in the 3D panel. They are reproductions of the sections of
the 3D cockpit they are 'pulled' from and all work in the same way
as the 3D cockpit controls. Now, to think, “How can I manage all
those panels, this is way over the top?”, would be a mistake. This
is because there is a single window called the 'Panel Selector"
which controls them all and a little bit more.
2D Panel Control Window
The panel selector can be opened from a translucent arrow on the top
left of the 3D panel view or from the instruments menu. The panel
provides a grey representation of all of the aircrafts cockpit
panels laid out roughly where they appear in the cockpit. These mini
panels can be clicked on to bring them out for use and then the
representation of the main panel can be clicked to hide it again.
Multiple panels can be opened and the representation of the panel on
the panel selector turns red while the selected panel is open. Click
on the main panel area to close all the panels and return to the 3D
There are four additional clickable areas on the panel selector:
tick box to show the checklists;
nose cone box to open and close the navigators access point;
canopy open and close box; and
lightning bolt box.
The last of these is a short cut from cold and dark to ready to fly
if you do not want to go through the checklist start.
2D Panel Selector with Check List Selected
All of the clickable areas are toggles except the mail panel
depiction which is a close all open panel area.
2D Panel Selector with Fuel Panel Selected
As each 2D panel is a rendition of the appropriate panel in the 3D
cockpit and its function, the panel selector is a very useful and
practical tool to provide easy access to any panel detail, whenever
you need it, and no matter how awkward it is to access in the 3D
panel. I have to applaud the designers for this panel management
system as it makes the best of the 2D panel features whilst using a
main 3D cockpit as the main flight seat. Very neat, so full marks
here as well.
Pilot's Instrument Panel... It All Works!
I do not intend to go into further detail on the panels here, as to
do so would take all day. Have a look at the manual using the link
above for the full descriptions of all the panels. Suffice to say
here, they are all beautiful to the eye and provide good renditions
of the actual panel found in the aircraft. All the systems they
claim to model are there, and these are extensive. You start to get
a feel for the depth of this add-on.
There is also a flight analysis tool provided. This tool provides an
insight into the aircrafts performance by gathering data as you fly.
This feature than can be switched off if it is not required. The
tool also provides access to the aircraft configuration tool and a
function to save often used radio frequencies. The configuration
tool allows the user to change the aircraft configuration, such as,
allowing you to set the steering options, and whether the
navigator’s station is manned or ballasted. The latter of these will
impact the way the aircraft flies.
As you can no doubt see from the screen shots in this review so far,
all internal textures are very well rendered with panels and gauges
having a close to real appearance. The pictures below demonstrate
just how near to the real thing the internal representation is.
Real to Model Pilot's Cockpit Comparison
It is good to see the navigator's position is fully detailed,
something often missed in add-ons. This has the correct layout but
no working controls.
Real to Model Navigator's Nose Hatch Comparison
The checklists are comprehensive. All the checklists required for
normal operation are provided, from initial checks, right through to
the shutdown checks. In addition, there are emergency checklists for
engine mechanical failure;
single and double flame out;
fire on the ground;
emergency evacuation on the ground;
hydraulic system failure; and
You could not ask for a better set of checklists, all of which are
interactive, turning from red to green as you check them off. So
full marks for these.
To end the look at the 'innards', bespoke code has been used to make
all of the aircraft’s systems function. A failure of one of these
system will have an impact on the way the aircraft flies. It may not
be catastrophic, as the backup systems are also modelled, but there
will be an impact none the less. All systems are modelled within the
limitations of the real aircraft. So, for example, there is an
autopilot, but it functions in the way a 1950s/60s autopilot would.
One minor point. I use a commercial switch panel for lights, etc.
This will not work with this add-on. The reason for this is in order
to cram in as much of the operational aspect as possible, some areas
of the model do not rely on standard FSX functionality. However, I
will not dock marks for this as the additional functions available
as a result make the minor sacrifice worth the while. I think anyone
who has been using FSX for a while must know by now this is going to
happen when the level of detail in an add-on gets this high.
Besides, the set of 2D pull-outs more than compensates for this.
So, let’s look outside the cockpit and see what we have.
There are a total of five liveries included in the package. All are
highly detailed, high definition renditions of the aircraft as it
was seen at stages of its deployment as a frontline aircraft.
'Canberra' PR.9, XH134, as seen in the photograph at the start of
this review is modelled and can be seen in the screen shot below.
There are four additional liveries.
Green Grey (1970s
And the PR.9's Final Operational Colour... Grey (2000's)
Exterior features and animations include:
nose cone opening;
authentic sound set;
rudder and aileron movement (they will not move when hydraulic
pressure has decreased);
all other control surfaces move;
opening photo flash doors; and
Photo Flash Doors Open
Night Flare Launch - Note the Red Lighting of the
The external model is one of the best I have ever seen. Textures are
of the highest quality, with fantastic detail, animations are
excellent, and movements are smooth with the movement time seeming
to be very realistic. Jet exhaust is present when the engines are
working hard. It is very hard to fault the external appearance in
any way. All the correct textures are there with the correct sheen
of a metallic surface, the fuselage panelling is detailed, and, as
you can see from the screen shots, all the correct markings and
signage are in place.
Quality Paint Work
The degree of shine on the surface not only changes in accordance
with the material which the surface would be made of, but also, is
different according to the paint applied to the surface. For
example, the hemp painted aircraft are more matt than the green /
Climbing Over North Wales
There is a full set of sounds included in the package which must
have been recorded from the real aircraft, such is the quality. It
is stunning from start up to shut down. The sounds are well
implemented with nice little details that add to the realism of the
sim. An example of such detail is the distinctive tinkling sound
which comes from a spooling down jet engine as the centrifugal force
exerted on the turbine blades decreases to a point where they are
free to move around slightly in their mountings. As you pan around
the aircraft, the sound changes from a throaty roar at the rear to a
turbine whine in front, and the sound of the undercarriage provides
you with a satisfying clunk as the wheels lock home. Throttle back
in flight and the sound of the engine delicately changes from roar
to a whistling hiss as the power dies away. Absolute music.
When the 'Canberra' entered service in 1951, it was truly a
revolutionary aircraft. Britain’s adversaries were very concerned
about the introduction of the 'Canberra' as Britain had a nuclear
capable bomber which could fly at 50,000 ft and was as fast and as
manoeuvrable as a fighter of the day. However, no fighter could fly
at 50,000 ft at the time. Britain had a way of delivering an atomic
weapon which nobody could challenge.
The question is, "Could this live up to this?".
XH134 at 48,000 ft... It Feels Like the
Edge of Space
The short answer is, "Yes it can.".
I took the aircraft to Boscombe Down and prepared her for flight.
Checklists complete, I taxied out to the runway and took off. The
climb to 30,000 ft is straight forward enough as a steady 20 degree
climb can be maintained with relatively little loss of airspeed. As
you approach 35,000 ft, the climb angle starts to drop slowly to 15
degrees, but upward momentum is still good and speed is undiminished
in the gentle climb. As you pass 40,000 ft, the VSI starts to drop
and the climb angle drops to 10 degrees. I topped out the climb at
48,000 ft with an angle of 10 degrees and very little indicating on
the VSI. The aircraft could have been coaxed higher perhaps, but
after about 40,000 ft, lateral stability was diminished and clearly
the handling was in decline. At this height in the 1950s I would be
safely out of reach of missile or man.
The celling, I found, was Just Flight’s quoted maximum for the PR.9
and I managed to match exactly that figure. There have been reports
of real world PR.9s reaching as high as 60,000 ft, and the altitude
record for a rocket assisted 'Canberra' is over 70,000 ft - not a
At Altitude... Clearly Visible is the Contrail of an
Airliner Far Below
Aerobatics are true to the real aircrafts capabilities. Remembering
no bomber before had been able to do more than a hard bank, the
'Canberra’s' ability to role and climb almost vertically was truly
ground breaking at the time. She is not as responsive as a modern
military aircraft but she will role, climb at 80 degrees, although
this is not sustainable, and with enough height, she will loop at
the end of a power dive.
Apart from the flying high and aerobatics, I also performed some
stall tests. Stall speed in a clean configuration is 96 knots, and
with gear and flaps down, this reduces to 83 knots. It is not easy
to stall this aircraft in level flight, but in a steep climb is it
easy. Just prior to a stall, one wing will drop. The first time this
happened to me I went into a flat spin, not good, it took me almost
3,000 ft to recover. If the aircraft does not spin, then recovery is
easy in 1500 ft. This behaviour all seems in keeping with the real
aircraft. There are some interesting little touches the PR.9 model
has that are matched to its real world counterpart. When the flaps
are lowered, the nose of the aircraft pitches up strongly, and when
the flaps are raised the opposite happens. There are similar but
less pronounced movements when the flare doors are opened and a nose
up movement when the gear is lowered. It is these small details
which make the sim experience so much more believable. Clearly, a
lot of work has gone into building the flight dynamics into the
For me, this aircraft add-on is, in terms of military aircraft, a
game changer. I have been used to reviewing what I would call,
‘good’ military aircraft, until now. My scale of reckoning for
considering each aircraft I come across has been blown away. Just
Flight’s 'Canberra' PR.9 is more than a great add-on for FSX / P3D.
Indeed, it is hard to put into words just how good it is. Just
Flight’s PR.9 is more than a great experience aircraft add-on for
your flight simulator.
Apart from the beautiful exterior, the fantastically detailed
virtual cockpit, the great flight model, the innovative approach to
panel use, and the ability (just like all the rest) to jump in and
fly, this package also allows you to be that RAF 'Canberra' pilot.
It lets you climb into the cockpit, to go through the checklist,
fully prepping the aircraft for flight, go through the full starting
procedures, feel the aircraft come alive around you, and at the end
of a great flight, when you have finished the last checklist and
when everything is shut down safely, to feel like you have at least
a taste of what it must be like to do it for real. For me, that is
what it is all about.
Inside the Offset PR.9 Cockpit
Just Flight's 'Canberra' PR.9 is for FSX / P3D only. Other specified
technical requirements are as follows:
Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64bit);
Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration
Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator installed; and
Pentium V, 2GHz or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and
960MB available HDD space.
Note: This product is not compatible with FSX multiplayer mode.
I have an average system and have previously found complex add-ons
to be fairly hard on my frame rates. There is none of that with the
PR.9, my frame rates were not impacted. Given the complexity of the
PR.9, I was pleasantly surprised. So performance is very good
Value for Money
At the time of writing, the PR.9 costs £29.99 for the download or
DVD versions. I have the download version, as I could not wait to
get my hands on this beauty. The price puts it at the high end of
Just Flight's offerings. However, in my view, for what you get, and
for the work put into this add-on, it is worth it. No, I will go
further, it is well worth it, and it is a bargain at the price.
Review Computer Specifications
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted
are as follows:
NVidia 2GB graphics;
Windows 7, (64bit); and
Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration.
The Just Flight 'Canberra' PR.9 is a superb product. The flight
characteristics of the aircraft are very well modelled indeed and
the exterior and interior visual models are first class. The issue I
reported with my switch panel is not worth a quibble, in fact, it is
expected with a product of this depth, and the amazing functionality
means you do not need the switch panels - a bonus if you do not have
This PR.9 is designed to be flown from the virtual cockpit. For this
reason, there is no main 2D cockpit, but rather, there is a full set
of pull out 2D panels. The neat panel control device makes them very
easy to use. Performance is excellent, something that has to be
right for a VC only model, and the detail which has gone into the
flight model, the systems modelling, and the visible parts, is
second to none.
It is a truly great add-on. As I said at the beginning of the
review, I have been waiting for this to be released for a while. The
wait was worth it.
Too many to list really. Refer to the manual and start reading. It
is all good, I just cannot fault it.
Umm.....I will get back to you on that.
● External Model: ||10/10
Internal Model: ||10/10
● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers):
● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like): ||10/10
● Documentation: ||10/10
● Value for Money:
The Just Flight 'Canberra' PR.9 is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 10/10, with an "Exceptional"
and the Mutley's Hangar Award for Excellence.