Accu-Sim Cherokee 180
For FSX/P3D/P3DV2 Published by
Reviewed by Joe Lawford
The A2A Accu-Sim Cherokee 180 is the latest release in
A2A's ever increasing range of Accu-Sim aircraft. The
Cherokee 180 is a low wing trainer as opposed to their previous
release, the Cessna 172 trainer, being a high wing
configuration. Most real world pilots at sometime in their
careers have flown or have given lessons in either of them.
The PA28 Cherokee first received its type certificate from the
FAA in 1960, and the series still remains in production to this
day. Karl Bergey, Fred Weick and John Thorp designed the
Cherokee as a less expensive alternative to the Comanche, with
lower manufacturing and parts costs to compete with the Cessna
172, it also competes with the Grumman American AA-5 series, and
the Beechcraft Musketeer.
The original Cherokees were the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee 160
(PA-28-150 and PA-28-160), which started production in 1961. In
1962, Piper added the Cherokee 180 (PA-28-180) powered by a
180-horsepower (134-kW) Lycoming O-360 engine that we are flying
here. The extra power
made it practical to fly with all four seats filled (depending
on passenger weight and fuel loading).
Current models are the Arrow and Archer TX and LX.
Availability and Installation
The Accu-Sim Cherokee 180 is available directly the
some other on-line resellers such as Just Flight. Interestingly,
you have to make a decision if you are going to be purchasing
the aircraft for use in FSX, Prepar3D V2 or both, as the
licensing is different.
Here are the options and the pricing options in US Dollars:
● Cherokee 180 (FSX) $49.99;
● Cherokee 180 (P3D + FSX) Academic Bundle $69.99;
● Cherokee 180 (P3D + FSX) Professional Bundle $99.99;
● Cherokee 180 (P3D) Academic $49.99;
● Cherokee 180 (P3D) Commercial $199.99 + $99 per yr; and
● Cherokee 180 (P3D) Professional $79.99.
The download sizes are approximately 330MB for the FSX version
and 358MB for the P3Dv2 version. The disc cost for the FSX version
is approximately 521MB and this review is based on the FSX version.
The installation is fully automatic, accurate and fast, as it
should be. Your FSX location is found from the registry and used
in the browse screen so all you have to to do is keep clickling
next until you receive the completed installation message.
The pilot's manual is an impressive 104 page document. It is very
well written and really helps to make the product feel complete.
You can read of the proud history of the PA-28, along with
performance and normal procedures and notes on the basics of flying,
much in the way you would in a flying school. The manual passes
on all the required
knowledge, both basic and advanced. Being inquisitive, I
downloaded the original manufacturers document which
consequently I found to
be the resource used to compile the A2A manual and it was, in
many areas, word for word the same so that assures me the A2A
information is accurate.
I have read the manual several times
and feel quite at home with the Cherokee now but still refer
back to it every now and again. Some of the avionics are not
covered in the manual but links to the manufacturers pdf manuals
are included and I recommend you download them to get the best
from the sim.
Here's where I let the developer blow their own trumpet! Taken
from the manual
● A true propeller simulation;
● Interactive pre-flight inspection system;
● Gorgeously constructed aircraft, inside and out, down to
the last rivet;
● Physics-driven sound environment;
● Complete maintenance hangar internal systems and detailed
engine tests including compression checks;
● Visual Real-Time Load Manager;
● Piston combustion engine modeling. Air comes in, it mixes
with fuel and ignites, parts move, heat up, and all work in
harmony to produce the
wonderful sound of a Lycoming 360 engine.
Now the gauges look beneath the skin of your aircraft and show
you what Accu-Sim is all about;
● Bendix King Avionics stack with authentic period LED’s.
Three in-sim avionics configurations including no GPS, GPS 295,
or the GNS 400. Built-in,
automatic support for 3rd party GNS 430 and
● STEC-30 Autopilot built by the book;
● Electric starter with accurate cranking power;
● Dynamic ground physics including both hard pavement and
soft grass modeling;
● Primer-only starts;
● Persistent airplane even when the computer is off;
● Four naturally animated passengers which can sit in any
● 3D Lights 'M' (built directly into the model);
● Pure3D Instrumentation;
● In cockpit pilot's map;
● Authentic fuel delivery includes priming and proper mixture
behavior. Mixture can be tuned by the book using the EGT or by
ear. It’s your choice.
● A2A specialized materials with authentic metals, plastics,
● Oil pressure system is affected by oil viscosity (oil
thickness). Oil viscosity is affected by oil temperature. Now
when you start the engine, you need
to be careful to give the engine time to
● Much more...
A total of seven paint schemes are included and are shown
below. For keen re-painters, a Photoshop template of the
textures can be downloaded from the A2A forums.
(Showing tie downs, pitot cover, chocks, wing root and
wheel fairings )
Exterior - The A2A Simulations Cherokee has a polished external
appearance. When looking to the texture files we can see that
they have supplied the textures in 4096 * 4096 DXT5 .dds format
so you wouldn't get any better. From a distance the low wing
dihedral is very noticeable, at 7° it is twice that of a high
wing aircraft such as the C172.
Note the upward slope to the wings, this gives extra
stability and ground clearance.
The accuracy of all the external features are near perfect. The rudder has
deep furrows and aerials which can clearly be seen below and note the
all in one 'stabilator' at full deflection with the trailing edge
automatically moving to compensate.
and horizontal 'stabilator'
The Walk Around - As part of preparing to fly,
you perform the walk around - this ensures that all the external
devices such has pitot covers tie downs and chocks have been removed
along with checking the condition of hinges a and links. This gives
you more evidence of how the externals look close up.
Checking for security and condition
Examine tyre tread depth and wear
Visual check for desired fuel level
Check the engine oil
Check the tail
- The interior
appearance is of a very high quality. It is easy to see that
a lot of care has been taken in the finish and operation of
very switch and gauge. The yokes can be individually hidden
to gain easier access to the switches behind them. Around
some of the switches, the starter button, as you would
expect, for example show
wear and tear. The panel itself is a
little scuffed but generally in much better than any real world
cockpit I have been in.
VC - General view
VC - A real 3D feel
- Notice reflection of the yoke shaft in heading gauge
- Yoke shaft reflection gone
- The cabin is pretty much as you
would expect it to be, a bench seat with stowage behind, on
the ceiling is the dome light and animated cabin ventilation
From the rear
- Internally, the gauges have two
levels of brightness and off, they can also be externally
illuminated by a red spotlight, the dome light or both. The Bendix King
avionics stack has
authentic period LEDs with each having a different delay
when illuminating after the avionics master switch is turned
On the exterior, the 3D navigation lights are superbly
presented with the landing light having that A2A proprietary
glow that looks so good.
Sounds and Animations
Various levels of cockpit lighting
The sound system with the A2A Cherokee 180 is one of the most
complete I have experienced. Every switch has an eager click
sound, even when opening the circuit breakers you get a sound. The VC also has many animations
that are synchronised to the sounds. I have taken a short video of
some of the VC sounds and and animations below.
One feature I really like in the VC is plugging in the headphones.
If like me, you use VoxATC or an on-line resource for your traffic control, then plugging
in the headphones in the VC reduces the sound of the engines
through your headphones (if you are wearing them). This
communicating with the controller is so much easier. If you are
not wearing headphones then the action of plugging them in merely
reduces the engine sound on your speakers. This is a far handier way to
control the cockpit sounds.
Externally, the sound effects are fairly standard albeit with enhanced
engine sounds. On touch down you will get tyre screech and brake
squeal depending on how hard you
press the brake pedals. The control surface animations look fairly
standard but on closer view of the moving parts you will notice
how smooth and accurate they are, even the pitot cover swings in the wind
when cold and dark.
General Characteristics and Performance Specifications
Accu-Sim (My take on it) -
many times have you sat behind the yoke thinking what you are
flying has no soul? A sterile flying environment where the
numbers coming back from the dials give you the statistics, but
without feeling. How many times have you flown knowing that
there are never really any consequences from your actions? The
temperatures and pressures which you are not
running in the red zone... but you will be ok. Or maybe flying
this PA28 Cherokee is just the same as flying that PA24
Comanche? To me, that is a hollow simming experience.
the very core of this simulation beats the heart of Accu-Sim. As
the name suggests this is an abbreviation for Accurate
Simulation. The core ESP engine behind FSX and P3D has many
limitations when it comes to flight modelling and dynamics. Accu-Sim
brings a living aircraft to your ownership, how you treat the
aircraft is not forgotten as the Cherokee 180 is a persistent
model, if you left it with no oil and fouled plugs last time,
that's just how it will be when you load the aircraft next time.
Flying with Accu-sim is all about full system modelling, from
the heat of the air entering the carb, to the heat in the cockpit
causing the windshield to steam up. No two situations are the
same, take over-heating the engine for example, one time this
may result in a fire, the next time it may just run smoothly
or just quit. Even landings are monitored and you will get a
sickening metal crunching sound if you drop it on the ground.
So let's take her for a flight, assuming pre-flight checks have
been done, see below.
In Flight -
Check list and other set up
It also has a built-in map
Warming up the engine is important as the oil needs to become
less viscous. If that oil pressure gauge doesn't rise when you
start up then shut down immediately, there's nothing like metal
on metal to seize an engine (see maintenance picture above).
The gauges each have their own way of running, be it air
pressure, suction or mechanical. The rev counter my fluctuate at
certain times due to mechanical slack, needles vibrate and gyros
fluctuate when starting. Embarrassingly, I thought the ASI had
broken until I realised the pitot cover was still on! Why did
that happen? Because I didn't do a complete walk around and it
resulted in me abandoning a take off run, much to the enjoyment
of the lads in the flying club!
Happy that the T&P's (temperatures
and pressures) are acceptable we can perform our power checks on
the taxiway pointing away from the runway. Running the engine at
2000 RPM and switching the magnetos and turning the carb heat on
and off should result in a small loss of of RPM, and it does,
just like the real thing. Whilst running the engine up, the
cockpit will shake, rattle, and roll.
At sea level, the take off roll with 1 notch of flap is around
800ft, you can take 10% off that distance using full flap and maximum
effort. At just over 60kts she will ease herself off the ground,
with speed building to around 90 and flaps retracted, pulling
back on the yoke will give you tremendous lift. Maintaining at
least 75knots will give you the best angle of climb but keeping
to a speed of 85kts will give you the best rate of climb. The
figures quoted in the manual are easily achievable whilst
maintaining that bit extra in case of emergency.
Cruising and following the inbound 150 radial to GWC
Cruising is fairly non eventful, the Cherokee is an easy
aircraft to fly and engine management is fairly straight
forward. The manufacturer recommends that if you are cruising at
less than 75% of full power or greater than 5000ft then the
engine should be leaned. My preferred method for leaning the
mixture is to listen to the
engine, you can hear it becoming rough, that's your cue to
enrich the mixture slightly. Accu-Sim has the exact sound for
that rough engine, and you may even get a a splutter and a puff
The aircraft has quite a steady low roll rate
thanks to the dihedral of the wings, this means that as
one wing lowers it achieves more lift than the higher wing, so
tends to cause a self leveling effect. As you are chugging along
she is very stable, even in turbulence keeping her straight and
level was not too much a challenge. However, if you want to roll
her fast, the large ailerons will flip her around quite
rapidly. Trimming appears to be a lot
more immediate than when flying a similar aircraft. This is due
to the rear horizontal stabilizer moving in its entirety rather
than having a hinged elevator. This is what they call a stabilator again, the manual will give you a full explanation
Almost overhead Goodwood VOR
Using VoxATC to contact Shoreham
Stalling this aircraft is a strange sensation, this is mainly
down to the non-tapered 'Hersey bar' (rectangular) shape of the wing along
with a laminar flow airfoil, which causes the air to become
turbulent further back along the wing (this is explained in more
detail in the manual). The aircraft becomes very
'draggy' at low speed then the first thing you know about it is
when the stall light comes on then the aircraft shudders but the
nose doesn't plummet like it does with high-wing aircraft, it
remains flat and you tend to fall out of the sky. Stall recovery
doesn't seem to be quite so much of a panic in this aircraft.
One thing that does get your heart racing is the spin, when
stalling at full power, full rudder will cause her to spin. I can't say I have
ever properly experienced this in other FS aircraft but this is
very believable even making me disorientated until the opposite
rudder was applied and eventually the recovery pulling back on
the yoke, brilliant!
Recovering from stall
On final for Shoreham runway 02
On approach, the best speed to maintain is around 77kts reducing
by about 2.5 knots for every notch of flap, so if you are using
a full flap landing 70kts would be the lowest you would want to
go. The flare
was somewhat difficult to judge as the nose did not want to dip
after pulling her up a bit, she wanted to fly straight and level
which I did until the speed bleed off and she greased a landing!
So does she fly by the numbers? Yes, well within
with feeling. She looks and feels a bit cumbersome but she is
reliable, just like
the low- wing wonder I flew in the real world just a few weeks
Value For Money
Further to the pricing structure shown above, for simmers who only
want the version for their simulator type (FSX or
Academic), then the price of $49.99 is comparable with previous
Accu-Sim bundles, the P40 for example comes in at $49.98 and the
B17 II at $62.98.
If you want to be future proofed then the combined pack (FSX
P3Dv2 Academic), will cost you 20 US Dollars more at
$69.99. At for this price you get two standalone versions of the
product with their own installers and licenses.
Things get a lot more pricy for P3D Professional and Commercial
users. The price differences, they say, are due to product usage
type, the P3D Professional version will be used more frequently
than the Academic or FSX Entertainment version, but the product is
essentially the same. This is just a high-level overview from me
and I am sure there are many arguments for them adopting the
Lockheed Martin licensing/ pricing structure.
A2A Accu-Sim Cherokee 180 is for FSX / P3D only. Other
specified technical requirements are as follows:
● Windows XP with SP3 installed, Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32
or 64 bit), Windows 8 & 8.1;
● Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or
Acceleration Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator
● 2.0 GHz single core processor (3.0GHz and/or
multiple core processor or better recommended), minimum 2GB RAM (4GB recommended),
512MB graphics card, and 250MB available HDD space.
The aircraft model performed very well within the existing
settings I have in FSX. I have most of my settings set very high
and there was no need to make any adjustments. FSX continued to
perform smoothly and as it would with any default aircraft.
Review Computer Specifications
The specifications of the computer on which the review was
conducted are as follows:
● Intel i7 4770K Extreme 4.2GHz;
● NVidia GTX690, 4096MB graphics;
● 16GB Corsair DDR3 1866MHz;
● Windows 7, (64bit);
● Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
● + Additional major add-ons include Active
Sky Next, REX Textures, Orbx FTX and
Ultimate Traffic 2.
The A2A Simulations Accu-Sim Cherokee 180 is a well researched and
well developed aircraft simulation. It teaches us that you cannot
take short cuts when flying by the book otherwise there will be
Flying this aircraft is pure joy and I would heartily recommend it
to anyone interested in single engined GA aircraft training.
● High quality and attention to detail;
Excellent animations and sound effects;
Realistic modelling and performance; and
● Excellent user manual.
● Combination pack over priced.
|● External Model: ||10/10
|● Internal Model: ||10/10
|● Sounds: ||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:
|A2A Simulations' Accu-Sim
Cherokee 180 is awarded a Mutley's Hangar score of 9.9/10, "Outstanding"
and a Mutley's Hangar