Lightman Posted March 30 Report Share Posted March 30 Aircraft Review: MLADG Messerschmitt Bf 109 Peter Allnutt Introduction The Me-109, designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser, first flew in 1935 while they were working at Bayerische Flugzeugwerke. It quickly gained recognition as one of the most advanced fighters of the time as it featured an all-metal monocoque, closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. The Me-109 remained in production throughout World War II and nearly 47,000 variants were produced. In fact, it became the second-most-produced fighter aircraft in history, second only to the Soviet Il2-Shturmovik. The Me-109, which was not the official German designation, was the name given to the aircraft by Allied aircrew. The MLADG's package includes five variants of the Messerschmitt: F4, G2, G6, G10, and K4. Purchase & Installation The Me-109, which includes five variants (for both X-Plane 11 and 12), is available for purchase at the X-Plane.org store for $19.95 (at the time of writing). Once purchased, you will receive a download link for the 315MB ZIP file. After downloading, simply extract the files and move them to your X-Plane "Aircraft" folder (no activation required). As mentioned, the download includes five variants for each X-Plane version, a Readme file, and a detailed PDF manual. When installed in X-Plane 11, you'll find five new aircraft in your hangar. In X-Plane 12, you'll have access to ten aircraft, which includes both XP11 and XP12 versions. To view only the XP12 versions, you can untick the "Show aircraft for older versions of X-Plane" checkbox on the aircraft selection screen. For the purpose of this review, we'll be focusing on the XP12 version. According to the Readme file, the planes have been optimized for the "Experimental Flight Model" in XP11. The PDF documentation provides a detailed aircraft specification sheet and screenshots of the various controls' locations. For non-German speakers like myself, the pictures in the manual are crucial because they depict everything in the cockpit in its original language. However, I greatly appreciate the authenticity of this approach, as after a few flights, everything became familiar. The manual also includes checklists, although they don't always match up perfectly with the in-cockpit checklists that can be accessed through a briefcase to the left of the pilot. Some improvements to the documentation would be helpful in this regard. Exterior Model The exterior modelling of each variant is extremely impressive, with meticulous attention to detail. Even small features, such as rivets, are sharply defined. The aircraft's surface decoration is authentically worn, giving it a natural, lived-in look. Reflections on the plane are convincingly rendered, resulting in a striking and commanding presence in the simulator. The control surfaces are equally well crafted, including animated leading-edge slats in addition to the flaps. The flap position indicator is cleverly located on the flaps themselves, requiring a quick glance over the left shoulder to read. Since the flaps are analogue, it takes several seconds to adjust them from no flaps to 20 degrees or vice versa, making accurate readings important. One neat detail worth noting is the flames which shoot out of the exhausts at near or full throttle, adding a realistic touch to the flying experience. There are six liveries included with the model, as well as a paint kit, should you wish to create your own. These six liveries are replicated across each of the five aircraft variants. Cockpit & Functionality The Me-109 cockpits are meticulously modelled, and virtually all switches and controls can be operated using click spots. Each of the five variants has its own unique cockpit design. These cockpits are typically old-school, with no glass displays or digital gauges, only traditional analogue gauges. The gauges are easy to read and respond smoothly and quickly. Hovering over the click spots will show their function, provided the option is enabled in XP, but it's not always apparent how a control operates. If you prefer to use a mouse to operate switches and controls, the cockpit layouts may not be particularly helpful. This is not a criticism of the package, as it accurately reflects the real aircraft, but it can lead to awkward operation. For example, the Auto-Prop Pitch switch is located out of sight to the left of the pilot, just below the throttle control. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't find a matching control in X-Plane 12 that I could map to a keypress or my Saitek/Logitech GA Panel. To overcome this, you may need to set up custom camera views and configure keys for some operations. The cockpit is well-lit in low-light conditions, making it suitable for night-time flying. Additionally, there is a handy briefcase located to the left of the pilot's seat that provides checklists for different phases of the aircraft's operation. Handling As someone who is not a real-world pilot, I can't comment on the authenticity of the flight model. Even if I were a pilot, I doubt I would have had the opportunity to fly a real Me-109. However, I was surprised by how the model performed in the air, as it was more sluggish than I expected and seemed impossible to stall. After doing some research, I found that the French and British reached the same conclusion when they were able to test two undamaged examples acquired during the war. On the ground, the Me-109 can be quite a handful. Its narrow tricycle undercarriage means that taxiing speeds must be kept low. The cockpit view, typical of a taildragger, is extremely limited, but the plane is responsive enough that taxiing using the old S technique works well. During takeoff, the plane becomes very lively as the speed increased, and I found it rather challenging to keep the plane heading in the right direction. Once airborne, the torque can cause the aircraft to pull to the left. Unfortunately, there is no rudder or aileron trim to counteract this, which is true of the real-world plane. Landing is just as challenging as the aircraft becomes quite sluggish at slow speeds, and once on the ground, it's easy to overcorrect and ground loop the plane. Personally, I found grass takeoffs and landings easier than tarmac ones. Sounds The sampling of the Me-109 engine has a pleasingly energetic sound, which adds to the overall experience. I didn't detect any audio looping, and opening the cockpit canopy made the engine noise clearer and louder. Most switches produce a distinct sound when operated, although there were a few that were silent. A few of the switches also sounded similar to others, but this is not uncommon in aircraft packages of this price. Overall, the sound design is good and comparable to other comparable products on the market. Performance Throughout my testing of MLADG's Me-109, I encountered no performance problems at all. Framerates were consistently high and there were no noticeable delays or fluctuations. It's worth noting that my X-Plane configuration consists of an Intel i9 10900K processor, 32GB of RAM, an Nvidia MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X graphics card, and Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - so it's quite a capable system. Conclusion Summing up, the Me109 can be a challenging aircraft, particularly during take-off and landing. However, it surprised me by being more sluggish in the air than I anticipated, and generally easy to handle. All things considered; I think the MLADG Me-109 is an excellent addition to the selection of historical military planes available for X-Plane. I appreciate that the package includes versions for both X-Plane 11 and 12, multiple variants, and all at a very reasonable price point. ________________________ The Messerschmitt Bf 109 by MLADG is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Messerschmitt Bf 109 Priced at US$19.95 Features: The model reproduces the Bf 109 G2 version: V12 DB605 engine with 1455 hp service ceiling 11600 m 685 km/h at 7400 m VFR equipped Package includes: Detailed Model of the Messerschmitt Me-109 G-2 New Me-109 G-10 variant included Fully implemented virtual cockpit with almost every switch functional Detailed outside model Custom night lighting Tropical version of the plane included Three liveries (including a paint kit) 4k textures for the outside model Requirements: X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 12 when available (in progress) Windows, Mac, or Linux 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Current version: 1.5 (October 6th, 2022) Review System Specifications Intel i9 10900K – 32GB RAM - NVidia MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit __________________________________ Aircraft Review by Peter Allnutt 30th March 2023 Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions. Kiwiflyer 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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