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Aircraft Review - Piper PA28 -161 Warrior II by AeroSphere Simulations

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Aircraft Review - Piper PA28-161 Warrior II by AeroSphere Simulations

 

The Piper Cherokee family is a large one with variants including the Archer, Arrow, Dakota and Pathfinder. The first variant however next in line after the initial Cherokee release in 1973 was the PA-28-151 Warrior. The difference between the original Cherokee and the Warrior is small, in just a new tapered wing and the stretched Archer fuselage, and the Warrior II that came along three years later had then only a uprated Lycoming O-320-D3G or O-320-D2A engine of 160 hp (119 kW) from the earlier 150 hp (112 kW) but the overall gross weight stayed the same at  2,325 lb (1,055 kg).

 

It is this Warrior II variant that is the focus of AeroSphere Simulation's new aircraft for release in the X-Plane11 simulator.

 

Make no mistake, these early Cherokee family aircraft were very basic machines, they seated four passengers and are quite slow with only a top Speed of 126 kts, and a Cruise Speed of 118 kts with a Range of 525nm. But they are neat solid and reliable aircraft.

 

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In the General Aviation segment in X-Plane you are up against some really tough competition. First off there is the Carenado/Alabeo combo, then vFlyteAir, AirfoilLabs and some Aerobask aircraft. The quality and feature count is high, but let us not forget the main reason most X-Planers purchase these sort of aircraft. These machines are usually for first time learners or for training on a particular type of aircraft and that is why there is a wide variety of small light aircraft to fill out the large wide range of scale with the many GA aircraft in service.

 

So in reality the aircraft have to yes be nice to look at and have a certain quality, but overall a big feature list and a lot of "nice to haves" is not as important as the basic handling and feel of that GA aircraft to replicate the machine for its intended audience.

 

It is in this context you have to assess the latest aircraft from AeroSphere who are capturing a market for small but reliable no frills General Aviation aircraft. Their latest release is the Piper Warrior II, which is a mainstay aircraft of training clubs and a great introduction aircraft for learners to understand the basics of general flight.

 

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The Warrior II build quality is very good, certainly not in the high class of minute design, but it does capture the skin and detailing of the aircraft very well. The wings are highly detailed and have a lovely glossy painted glow in X-Plane11 which adds to the realism and the glass has the same realistic effect. The fixed Tri-gear is also well done as are the good animation movements when in ground use. As the aircraft is basic, it doesn't have a lot of aerials (two actually in one above and one below) or many external fittings, but what is required is well recreated like the static wicks (but not animated) and the flap guides.

 

Let us get to my main beef. There a lot of good work on this fine little aircraft but the propeller in flight however is not one of them. In flight it looks like a throwback to the X-Plane6 prop flat card design, and you have to fly the aircraft through the hole in the darker centre area, it is distracting and looks horrible on the external (and internal) view, the point is also the painted prop area is only on the front of the propeller and not on the rear? but you still have a ring of colour in every point of view, an all black prop would take away the poor look it gives this otherwise nice aircraft...  in other words it dates the aircraft to an earlier design in X-Plane, it is worse at night.

 

Internal

The aircraft is nicely designed inside, not gritty or worn out though...  just fitted out to specification.

 

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Minor detail is good, with the flap lever and fire extinguisher between the seats and the complex roof mounted air-vent system well done above your head. The built in blue and overhead light is however weak in the daytime. The seatbelts also look a little stiff and do not fall naturally, and yes X-Plane now lives in the world of extreme real world design and detail, that seemless look and feel is the high quality of the game now.

 

Instrument panel

The business end in the instrument panel is excellent and of high quality. You can almost feel the mid-70's molding beneath you fingertips and it looks excellent in X-Plane11's lovely light.

 

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Instruments and avionics provided are very good for an aircraft of this size, the Warrior here is not a basic, basic style of trainer design.

 

All the instruments are focused on the left flying pilot's side with the avionics on the right.

Standard Six instruments are centred in line of sight of the flying pilot with the Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row and the  Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. Left of the six pack is a clock and on the right is a Garmin OBS VOR indicator with a Bendix/King ADF indicator is set out below.

 

The very nice yokes can be hidden to reveal behind four gauges that cover (L to R) Fuel tank Left, Oil Temp, Fuel Pressure psi, Oil Pressure psi and Fuel Tank Right. Kneeboard has two dials for EGT and RPM (100's) with aircraft hour rate. Far left is the S-Tec altitude setting panel and engine starter switch.

 

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Instrument Panel side right has the avionics with both an X-Plane default Garmin GNS530 top and a GNS430 (both pop-out) below. Standard Garmin GMA 340 radio is right top, with an S-Tec Fifty Five X (now Genesys Aerosystems) autopilot below. Your ADF radio is a Bendix/King KR 85 but the panel is a little poor resolution wise? A Garmin CTX330 is the transponder unit.

 

A Gyro Suction gauge and Honeywell hobbs (hour) meter is right. Centre panel is a set of rocker switches for (L to R) Power (two) for Alt and Bat, Fuel pump, Landing Light, Anti-Collision Lights, Navigation Lights and Pitot Heat. Either end of the switch panel are two scroll wheels for Avionic brightness and instrument brightness. Below the switch panel is a Carb Heat slider and a ALT Amp gauge. A flat fuse panel is to the right.

 

 Tiny centre panel set of throttle and mixture levers is cute, but the mixture lever is tricky to use from some angles...

 

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...  fuel tank selector switch is buried in the left footwell and quite hard to reach if flying manually, note the nice steel heal plate.

 

Flying the Warrior II

 

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If you going for a flight in a Warrior then pack a suitcase. Even a short flight is going to take you some time to get there and you might want to stay overnight before coming back the next day. 120knts is well slow...   a good car is faster from point A to point B.

 

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In training and learning modes then the Warrior is fine for local flying. Sounds are quite good with a nice startup and deep bass thrum on takeoff, but it does become a little droney as you hit the higher revolutions of power and it sounds as if you have someone in the rear hitting a big base drum softly to the beat. 

 

Taking off needs a little skill in using the throttle slowly to build the speed up. If not you will get the wobbles and the aircraft can start to wander off the centre line. If you are used to the same with Carenado takeoffs then the same skills are required to be transferred to the Warrior.

 

You can be airborne around 70kts-80kts and the little plane will easily climb at around 400fpm without trading your speed. It handles nicely, but is quite fine on stick adjustments so you need just limited adjustments to move around or you will find direction changes are a little brisk, so smooth movements are a way to go. With a nervous trainee pupil behind the controls they will have to learn to not over react to fly the aircraft smoothly in turns or direction changes. But you do find your rhythm in here at the controls very quickly and settle into the aircraft.

 

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The S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilot is basic but good. You switch it on via the switch centre panel (arrow left image) and just select your required axis in heading, altitude or vertical speed, which can be a little notchy to use as trying to adjust the far away vertical speed knob can also activate the altitude hold constantly at the same time. Sadly the S-Tec panel does not pop-out which would have helped the case instead of it being on the far side of the instrument panel. In fact no instrument panels pop-out except the default Garmin GNS530/430 units.

 

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Landing speed is slow at around 50kts and so you will you need to get the speed down to almost that to drop the flaps without the barn door effect of a slam of speed and a lift of the aircraft. Once set you can then almost hover as you approach over the runway.

 

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The Warrior is a little jiggly under the stick at this speed zone of between 50kt to 60kts, so smooth inputs are a must, even slight crosswind will test your nerves, stall is around 40kts and so you can only go so slow.

 

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Once you touch down the Warrior will squirm under you, so you need a firm but light hand to keep it totally straight and on the centre line while rubbing off the speed, in most cases you should be used to these movements if you do a lot of light aircraft flying, but the Warrior is more of squirmer than most that I can remember.

 

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There are no menus or external features with the aircraft...

 

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...  the passenger door opens, but not the baggage door. But behind the rear seats is some oil if you need it and a set of engine covers and tow handle.

 

Lighting

All the lighting is mostly standard, the usual strobe, navigation and anti-collision lights on the outside. 

 

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But the lighting has not been adjusted here and so the taxi and landing lights are quite large for the aircraft. Internally...

 

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The front facing roof mounted blue light does all the work in creating overhead lighting over the instrument panel and can be adjusted (but awkwardly) to give a dark or lit panel, it looks good but it is not in blue? in which the light colour is? If the right colour had been used then the panel would have had a more realistic tone, so a missed opportunity. Instrument lighting is not bright, but fine.

 

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There is a switchable  light over the door for entry and exit and with door light and the Blue (sic) overhead light the cabin can be quite bright.

 

Liveries

There are two blank liveries with one with a registration number (all aircraft have the same N8675U rego?). There are four coloured liveries but none are really outstanding except the Green/Brown stripe version used in the review.

 

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Summary

Overall the Piper Warrior II from AeroSphere is what it is in a basic trainer and a learn to fly in aircraft. But it does have a nice fit-out in avionics if you want to take a few trips away. As noted it may take you actually a far while to get there, but then that is all part of the fun.

 

For a trainee aircraft though it does need a little skill and a light but firm hand at the controls. Takeoffs and landings can be a bit squirmy if you don't hold it solid, but overall it is a good training aircraft with its low landing speeds.

 

Build quality overall is very good, not perfect or in the Carenado zone of quality, but then nothing else is either, but it is well done with a very nice instrument panel to look at.

 

In the area of looking at things then the propeller in flight is not too my taste, in fact I didn't like it at all, and it is ten times worse in the dark as it blocks your view... a quick fix is required here because it is a distraction on this an otherwise well turned out aircraft. The none blue, blue light is a missed chance but then again none of the lighting has been adjusted to the aircraft.

 

It should be noted that this Warrior is released only for X-Plane11, which is good as it looks really good in the X-Plane11 feature lighting

 

The Warrior II is a basic aircraft in design, features and usability, but it is a very good one in the face of such big General Aviation competition. This is worthwhile GA that can get under your skin and is an interesting machine to fly and use, certainly very good and the best in X-Plane if you are requiring a Warrior for a reason like you own one or are wanting to train on the aircraft, so overall a nice tight little aircraft.

 

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Positives: Overall good design and nice quality look and feel, tricky but rewarding to fly. Nice avionics for the type of basic trainer aircraft.

Negatives: That propeller, its worse at night. Internal blue lighting that is not blue, external lighting not adjusted or needs more. Not many external features, pop-up panels or menus.

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The Piper Warrior II by AeroSphere Simulations is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Piper PA28-161 Warrior II

 

Your Price: $24.95

 

Features:
  • 4 HD (4096 x 4096) liveries with a plain white texture that can be used for custom paint schemes.
  • Steam gauge trainer cockpit model to help pilots in the training environment with required instruments for IFR.
  • Garmin 530 & 430
  • All gauges are 3D
  • Detailed flight model and interactive 3D virtual cockpit with animated knobs, buttons etc. cabin door, storm window and rear baggage compartment door.
  • Toggle button to remove/display yoke
  • Compatible with HDR and normal lighting effects
  • Many textures taken from the actual aircraft 

 

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11+ 

Window, Mac or Linux - 64bit Operating Systems
2Gb VRAM Minimum
Current Version: 1.0 (May 11th 2017)

 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Piper Warrior II is 141.40.mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 155.70mb.

 

Documents: Include a basic three page "Read Me"

 

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Review by Stephen Dutton
29th May 2017
Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.02

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90

 

Scenery or Aircraft

- KFMY - Page Field, Fort Myers, Florida 1.0 by timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org) - Free

 

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