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For FSX & P3D Published by Alabeo
Reviewed by John Stevens
December 2012

Originally produced between 1934-1935 by the WACO Aircraft Company of Troy, Ohio, the WACO YMF-5 has been regarded as the finest open cockpit sport biplane ever built. It features clean lines which show off its classic biplane shape and has a powerful 275 HP radial engine. The YMF of 1934, which had a modified wider and longer fuselage, was returned to production in March 1986, by WACO Classic Aircraft of Lansing, Michigan as the YMF-5. Over 100 YMF-5s have been completed by WACO Classic Aircraft and the type remained in low-rate production to customer order in 2012.

Engine Jacobs R755B2275 HP @ 2200 RPM
Cruise Speed 122 mph (105 kt)
Maximum indicated airspeed limit 214 mph (186 kt.)
Cruise speed 120 mph (104 kt.)
Stall speed Power-off 59 mph (51 kt.)
Takeoff Run Apx 500 ft (152 m)


This is probably the easy part of the review, because basically there isn't any documentation other than a very basic data sheet. This is a bit of a disappointment. For the experienced Flight sim enthusiast you can normally figure it out, but for the beginner, its not so easy.

The installation is very straightforward and the method of installation will depend on whom you purchase it from.

The package comes with 5 liveries and blank textures. Once you have loaded the aircraft into a flight you get the chance to make several changes to help with performance.

You can implement your own personal preference, by pressing shift and number two key. This will open a window that gives you options to add or take away windscreen reflections and instrument reflections, along with other options like adding a cover to the front cockpit and an open cockpit door.

The two cockpits are modelled to the usual standard that Alabeo work to, which is let's say, is pretty high. The rear cockpit being the solo pilot seat is equipped with the basic requirements for this type of aircraft, including JPI Fuel Scan 450, Bendix/King KX 165 and Garmin GTX 327. The front cockpit has the very basic instruments lay out that is required to take control of the aircraft.

The modelling and texture quality is excellent and the instruments are smooth. The mirrors situated on the wing struts do have moving images in them, but do not replicate what is to the rear of the aircraft. I found this was more of a distraction than anything. I also found that the writing on what looks like a chestnut control panel, seems to shimmer slightly. The instrument panel lights look extremely realistic though.

Cockpit Cockpit
Rear Cockpit Rear Cockpit
Rear Cockpit Front Cockpit

Looking out of the cockpits onto the aircraft, the detailed modelling and textures that can be seen really add to the pleasure of flying this aircraft. You can even see the fuel moving in the fuel gauge tube, protruding out of the upper wings. The fuel level in these tubes drops as the fuel level drops. The only criticism I have of this is that when you choose the front cockpit to be covered, which also removes the front wind shield, the textures of the cover that are visible to the pilot are not quite the same level of quality compared to the rest of the cockpit. In addition, if the aircraft lights are switched on, the lights located on the wing tip bleed through the wing. However this did not happen when FSX was put in DX10 preview mode.

Light bleeding through wing Front Cockpit cover texture
Rear Cockpit View Front Cockpit Side View


Well what can I say other than fantastic! Alabeo have produced a wonderful model combined with modelling accuracy and textures that finish this aircraft to a very high standard. The detail is brilliant, compared with the real aircraft. It is almost perfect, when combined with the pilot. Bear in mind guys I am married, but he has to be the best looking pilot in Flightsim history. The aircraft textures have got to be some of the most realistic I have seen and the reflective surfaces give the aircraft a very realistic look.

Exterior Exterior
Exterior Exterior
Exterior Exterior
Exterior Exterior


This aircraaft, being based on a 1930 design, is not difficult to fly. It has very docile movements when flown within its limits. On the ground it takes practice, as it is very sensitive on the rudder.

The following is a comment from a real pilot learning to fly the Waco "Sometimes the landing roll out goes well, but sometimes the aircraft takes me places that I never intended to go. I wish that I could say I was S-turning for better visibility. That excuse is difficult to believe though."

Alabeo have captured this description well. Whilst taking off and landing, In my opinion, the tail wheel lock needs to be used. When you leave the runway, and this is achieved at quite a low speed, you notice the stability straight away, with the take off speed being about 65mph.

The Waco is aerobatic, but it is not for the faint hearted. The aircraft needs height to generate speed. Once the aircraft goes inverted, the engine revs drop dramatically but when this happens, you get a real feeling of achievement. When entering a stall, it is very subtle and just seems to wallow into a steady nose down dive.

Due to aircraft design, the drag is more than noticeable. If you cut the throttle back, the speed bleeds off dramatically so particularly on landing approach, the throttle needs to be managed. With slow speeds, providing you manage the throttle, landings are normally a joy to do. The aircraft really does fly by the book. Set the throttle at 2000rpm and it will cruise at about 120mph just like the real aircraft.


In my opinion, the sounds are reasonably accurate. After listening to video of the real engine, it does have a sound that is very convincing and when in the cockpit I am sure at times you can hear the prop wash. I did feel like I was flying an open cockpit aircraft and the sound package goes a long way to making it a very complete and enjoyable package.


In my opinion, it would be difficult to argue that this aircraft is any other than a very enjoyable aircraft which has been represented by Alabeo in a quality that is of the highest standard.

There are a few things that I thought could have been improved, documentation is one of them, also the mirrors could have been improved.

However I do not believe these aspects overshadow the positive points. The whole package is of excellent value and more than worth what we have to pay for it. Not only is the design of this aircraft a thing of beauty, but the way that Alabeo have replicated it is of equal beauty.
* I used OpusFSX to add DHM (Dynamic Head Movement) which made this a fantastic aircraft to fly. It really did give you a feeling of flying an aircraft of vintage design.


    • External model:
    • Internal model:
    • Sounds:
    • Flight characteristics:
    • Flight dynamics:
    • Documentation:
    • Value for money:

Final Mutley's Hangar Score 8.5/10


John Stevens
Review machine Spec:
Intel i7 3.4Ghz | 16Gb DDR3 Ram |Nvidia 670 4gb |Windows 7 64bit