Led Zeppelin, Queen, hippies, Sesame street, you’ve guessed it right: the 70’s are here with the marvelous DC10!
After downloading a 374MB installer, you execute it and follow the steps displayed on the screen. After clicking on ‘next’ after the introduction screen you just need to select your simulator version (FSX, FSX:SE or P3D v1/2) and click on next again, check your simulator entries and click on next again and there you go, it starts installing!
I must admit, I was a bit scared launching FSX:SE for the first time as I had never flown such an old jet before. The oldest type of jet that I’ve flown is the DC10’s successor: the MD11! Although it’s (technically) still flown, flying it nowadays is probably not comparable with flying it back in the 70’s and 80’s as the DC10’s still flown today (mostly operated by freight airlines, the last passenger flight was on 8/01/2007) are called the MD10’s an upgraded DC10. The MD10’s have glass cockpits making a flight engineer unnecessary and as it’s a glass cockpit the displays are LCD screens in the place of analog gauges and dials and an FMC instead of an INS navigation system.
I’m used to analog gauges and dials as I love to fly small prop planes too, but it’s the first time that I fly fulfilling the role of a pilot and a flight engineer! Due the fear of failing everything on the first flight, I did something that I’d elsewise never do: I opened up the manual and searched for a tutorial flight. Luckily Justflight didn’t deceive me and included a tutorial flight in a DC-10-40 (JAL livery) from Penang (WMKP) to Singapore Changi (WSSS). I was really thankful for this tutorial as it covered everything into detail. After switching on the battery, starting up the APU, configuring the bus tie switches and fuel pumps and turning on the avionic busses, I was ready for the FMC (I was a bit deceived not to have an INS) and to my deception I remembered this was an F-lite series aircraft. Don’t get me wrong I think that the F-lite series is a great initiative for pilots whom are willing to upgrade from default aircraft to more, let us say, demanding aircrafts.
So back to the FMC: I remarked that the flightplan was already in there (you can only get a flightplan into the FMC by using the default simulator’s flight planner) the only thing I had to do was go to the TOFF APP button and click on CALC/SET TO V-SPEEDS. After that I continued setting up the aircraft and before I knew it, I was ready to start the engines. I started pushing back and followed the manual’s instructions , I was quite surprised that I was able to turn on the fuel-cutoff switches a few seconds after igniting the engine, but after all it is an F-lite aircraft. After turning all three engines on and configuring the hydraulics, yaw dampers, window heat and elevator trim, I was ready for taxi.
And there I was taxiing for the runway with my flaps set to 15. And there I was on the runway pushing my throttles forward whilst accelerating to 154 knots and before I realized, I was up in the sky flying the DC10! Due to printing costs, I’ll jump directly to the approach phase. After slowing down to 230 knots I started deploying the flaps and continued to slow down and descend until I reached 2000ft and was at my approach speed with gear down and flaps set to 50°. Then I armed the ILS mode and got the LOC and GS signal. Reaching the MDA (240ft) I disconnected the autopilot and autothrottle.
It gave me an adrenaline rush to know I have full control of this magnificent aircraft and at about 50ft I flared and touched down very smoothly but hard enough for the spoilers to deploy. And as I vacated the runway I had the feeling that every pilot has after completing a flight successfully.
This aircraft is an F-lite aircraft meaning that you don’t have to do everything perfectly right to be able to fly this aircraft, however everything is modeled in great detail making it 100% possible to fly following the correct procedures. Perhaps what can be deceiving is e.g. the yaw damper has 4 switches however you only need to click on 1 of them for all 4 to be turned on (or off) making it quite difficult to simulate a failure of some sort.
Most buttons are clickable, but not all, however on the engineer’s panel everything is clickable. Also everything is also available as a 2D-panel so if you don’t have an ultra-fast PC with lots of RAM, it’s not a big problem, the aircraft is perfectly flyable in 2D “mode”. The cockpit is enormously detailed and is modeled in very high quality.
This package contains six different variants of the DC10: the -10, -30, -40, -10F, -30F and -40F ach come with a HD livery and Justflight never deceives me in the amount of detail it gives on their exterior models (the first thought I had when seeing the exterior view of the aircraft was “ooo shiny”).
What comes with it
As mentioned before, there is a manual in which the download and installation process is described , a very detailed description of all the (available) systems and how to use them. And last but not least a very detailed tutorial which is a great help! You also receive a paint-kit in case you want to make a livery for your VA or simply want to make a livery that is not included in the package. A fuel planner would come in handy, unfortunately you have to guess a bit how much fuel you’ll use on a flight.
The Justflight’s DC10-collection is a great add-on for people who are looking for a step up from default FSX aircraft or from GA aircraft and for people who want to experience flying with the point of view of a flight engineer, however for experienced flight simmers I would not recommend this aircraft due to its lack of FMC/INS. Just Flight has done a terrific job on modeling the aircraft into the smallest details.