“Climbed like a monkey, maneuvered like the devil.” – Manfred Von Richtofen
That’s irony for you. This FSX aircraft was not created for Microsoft Flight Simulator at all, but for another, WWI combat sim called Knights Of The Sky, which is currently in the making. As the project advances, the developers thought they would give, as an end-of-2007 present to the flight simulation community, a free FSX rendition of their Fokker Dr.I (Dreidecker – Triplane). And what a gift it is! I just can’t get my hands off it, and I am delighted every time a developer pushes the envelope and demonstrates what can be done through craftsmanship, willpower, and lots of sweat.
The modeling and the hyper-detailed textures are not outstanding, they are freaking sublime. It’s such a small model and yet you keep finding surprising details while revolving around it. While in the VC (thank you, TIR!) you’ll find yourself frantically looking for the trigger in those Spandaus LMGs machine guns, because they ARE real, you can touch them, where is the darn trigger! With this type of rotary engine, the entire cylinder block rotates around the crankshaft, and it gives you goose-bumps seeing how uncannily this effect has been recreated. What about that pilot! Someone has spent a serious amount of time modeling Hans here. While I was screenshooting him, I was sure he was about to speak and say “cut ze crap already or I shall shoot you!”.
Manfred von Richthofen is credited with saying of the Dr.I that “it climbed like a monkey and maneuvered like the devil”. As I am currently flying the Piper Cub and becoming familiar with its rudimentary flight model, I can gladly begin to understand the similarities. The Cub might be old, but this one is older. Heck, there’s no trim! It’s like trimming for 60 miles and leave it at that the whole time: add power and it climbs, reduce power and it will come down. And it’s a tail-dragger with the most elementary of landing gears, forget hydraulic suspension. I made the mistake of trying to land on a small airfield, dirt runway. With snow. With a strong crosswind. I crabbed ok, but lost control and crashed when the rudder lost authority and the small, wooden pseudo-third-wheel contacted the ground. I tried again, putting my Cub training to use. I kept the crosswind under control with the ailerons, and kept it aligned with elevator when the tail came down, and got it right. Mein Liebe!
Check out what this Russian team is up to, and don’t forget to get this beauty before they change their minds and make you pay for it. Handsomely. Get it HERE.
NOTE: For the introductory picture of this article I couldn’t resist and gave Hans’ nose a free plastic surgery to get it perfect. I had to! I ain’t sorry!