We wait years for a good quality BAe-146 add-on
for FSX and then two come along at once! We’ve already reviewed
the Quality Wings version, here I will take a look at Just
Flight’s much simpler offering, but don’t let the ‘simple’ deter
The BAe-146 was produced in the UK from 1983-2002 and nearly 400 were built during this time. The aircraft is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with a T-Tail and four turbofan engines, but even though there are four of them the engines are very quiet. These quiet engines helped earn the BAe-146 the nickname ‘Whisperjet’, they also lead to it being referred to as a ‘Jumboliner’ by some people.
The aircraft was aimed at the regional market with city hopping in mind and was loved by European airlines. It is one of the few jet aircraft certified to land at London City airport as it meets both the strict noise levels and can handle the steep descent down the ILS. I recently saw a BAe-146 landing at London City and the angle on approach is crazy.
Just Flight’s Model
This model has been designed exclusively for FSX and has a long list of features, some of which are:
● Highly detailed exterior model
● High quality photorealistic 3d cockpit
● 21 liveries
● High quality sound set
● Accurate flight dynamics
● Custom lighting
● Electrical and hydraulic systems
● Smiths SEP 10 Autopilot
The 466mb file can be downloaded directly from the Just Flight website for the price of £24.99. Download and installation is very easy and I would be surprised if anyone has any problems getting up and running.
You'll spend a lot of time in spot view!
You can also purchase several add-on packs which add more liveries, an FMC and a cargo version of the BAe-146 should you want to. These are priced at £4.99 for the liveries to £7.99 for the cargo model.
External & Internal Model
In my opinion this is very much a Jekyll and Hyde area for this add-on. As you will no doubt be able to tell from the accompanying screenshots, the external model is absolutely gorgeous. This aircraft has been developed by Commercial Level Simulations and I’ve yet to see one of their aircraft with a poor external model. Every nut, bolt, rivet, animation and texture looks perfect – it’s been hard deciding which screenshots to leave out.
Moving into the virtual cockpit and the high quality remains. The visibility is great and it is very easy to conduct a full flight from the VC, although with a few limitations. Some of the readouts on the gauges can be hard to read. Whilst you can get a general idea what the readout is thanks to the needle working it’s way around the dial, the exact number can be tricky to read. This can be solved by using one of the many 2D pop-up panels. The amount of dials and gauges in the cockpit is authentic, but it leaves the cockpit looking a little cramped on a PC screen (although that’s not the fault of the developer).
2D Pop-Up Panels Anyone?
The 2D cockpit however is a totally different affair. Unlike the VC the gauges are very easy to read, but the visibility over the top of the panel is very poor, and the panel quality itself isn’t that good. Whilst more and more aircraft add-ons include only a VC it’s nice to see a 2D panel included, but if it’s going to be included it may as well be done to the same high quality as the rest of the aircraft.
2D Panel Needs Some Work
I’ve never been in one of these aircraft so cannot say how accurate the sound-set is but what I can say is that it sounds like I would imagine it should, which is very quiet. From inside the cockpit there is only a faint hum as the 4 engines power you across the skies. Externally the sound isn’t much louder either, giving the BAe-146 a soundset to live up to it’s name as the ‘Whisperjet’.
Inside the cockpit all the buttons turn, twist and click with good sounds giving a very authentic feel. What is annoying are the speed call outs from the virtual officer. It’s good that he calls out ‘vee-one’ and ‘rotate’ on the take-off roll, but not when I am cruising at 25,000 feet. It seemed that the random call outs were made when the indicated airspeed fluctuated with wind-shift.
Flying the BAe-146
Whilst the sounds and sights being excellent is great, the proof of the pudding is in the eating (as they say). The best way to get to grips with this add-on is to fly the tutorial flight included in the comprehensive manual (more on that later). The quickest way to get going is to use the ‘Auto Start’ button which fully configures the aircraft for take-off, however if you want to work through the checklists you’ll get the same end result. The initial release of the BAe-146 was beset by problems, once of which was that I was only able to configure the aircraft from a cold and dark situation in the tutorial flight (auto start worked no matter where the flight departed from). Thankfully the recent service pack has fixed the worst of the bugs.
One Of The Many Liveries
The aircraft seems to fly by the published numbers, but there is a large margin for error. Over stressing the engines does little more than cause an audible alert which can be cancelled by clicking the button or reducing power. But this is a simple aircraft so I didn’t expect anything else.
Approach and landing will be tricky at first because this aircraft doesn’t have an auto-throttle. During the descent and approach you must carefully monitor your airspeed to prevent a stall during the turns, or arriving way too fast. You can use the autopilot to manage the altitude, but you’ll need to keep an eye on that speed.
For those familiar with the likes of Boeing and Airbus add-ons the auto-pilot here will take some getting used to. Whilst it is basic in it’s operation you will need to study the manual in order to use it correctly. For example on approach you need to arm the VOR/LOC button first, then when you are lined up with the runway arm the GSL (glideslope) button to capture the glideslope. I forgot this on a few of my first flights and was left wondering why I was flying straight over the airport.
Climbing out also requires a bit more attention and thought than normal, you type in the altitude you want to fly at, press ALT ARM then IAS. The aircraft will maintain whatever indicated airspeed you are flying at when you press IAS until you level off. I found it easiest to wait until the speed had increased to around 230 knots before arming the autopilot, this helped prevent some very rapid climbouts! Oddly though, pressing the AP button on the panel doesn’t engage the autopilot, instead you need to activate it on one of the pop up pedestal panels.
Hand flying this aircraft is a lot of fun and it feels like I would expect it to. Not as nimble as a fighter but not as sluggish as something like a 747. The responses to control inputs are more or less instant but not so dramatic that your passengers will be reaching for the sick bags. Keep your inputs steady and smooth and the aircraft will pay you back.
This Approach Angle is Fairly Tame
Just Flight cannot be accused of cutting corners here; the manual is 60 pages long and includes a comprehensive tutorial and lots of annotated pictures to help you learn what and where everything is in this crowded cockpit.
The tutorial is fantastic and walks you through everything from cockpit configuration at Brussels to closing down the aircraft one hour later in Manchester. In truth the tutorial will take you a lot longer because of the sheer volume of information you’ll need to process for this first flight. I’d recommend setting aside at least 3 hours to complete it. Once you’ve run through the checklists and/or tutorial a few times you’ll be up and away in no time.
Whilst only a ‘lite’ aircraft add-on the BAe-146 comes with lots of features to keep you entertained. If what you want is a great looking model that’s low on complexity then look no further. There are a few niggles and drawbacks but these do not detract from the enjoyment you’ll get from making a short flight from a cold and dark cockpit. The BAe-146 is very easy on frame rates and perfect for short flights into busy airports. If you don’t intend purchasing the add-on packs the price for the base model is very good, but if you want to buy the blot-ons the price rises to £60 which is very high. I’ve enjoyed flying this aircraft and will continue to do so.
• External Model:
• Internal Model :
• Flight Characteristics:
• Flight Dynamics:
• Value for Money:
The Just Flight 146-200/300 Jetliner earns itself a Mutley's Hangar score of 8.0/10, well done!
Review machine Spec: Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium