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Aircraft Update Review: AOA F-22 Raptor for X-Plane 12

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Aircraft Update Review: AOA F-22 Raptor for X-Plane 12 


By Alan Ashforth


Aircraft Review/Tutorial: Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor Version 1.0 by AOA Simulations

Hello and welcome to my flight review/tutorial of the AOA F-22A Version 1.0 for X-Plane 12.06. I previously reviewed this aircraft for X-Plane 11, and in this article, you’ll discover how it has been enhanced for X-Plane 12. For a comprehensive overview and initial impressions of the F-22A, I recommend checking out Stephen Dutton's excellent write-up, which can be found here. In this review, I'll approach the model from a general user's perspective, covering both start-up options: engines running and "cold and dark."

The F-22 Raptor officially joined the USAF fleet in December 2005 as the F-22A. The programme produced 187 operational aircraft, with the last F-22 being delivered in 2012.



As of writing, the current X-Plane 12 model of the F-22A by AOA is Version 1.0. Below is a list of improvements AOA have implemented for this version:

  • New X-Plane 12 compatible flight model.
  • Custom fly-by-wire flight control system.
  • Revised X-Plane 12 engine operating model.
  • Redesigned, user-friendly communications/navigation/GPS (CNI) display.
  • Custom GPS database integrated into the CNI system.
  • Revamped cockpit multi-function and autopilot displays that are easier to understand and use.
  • All navigation sources now integrated into the HUD and MFD map displays.
  • A new 40-page User Guide, supplementary materials, and checklists.


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Three Versions of the Raptor Are Available:

  • A2A (Air-to-Air), equipped with an M61 gun, 500 rounds, six AIM-120Ds, and two AIM-9Xs.
  • DEMO (Clean), equipped with an M61 gun and 500 rounds.
  • EFT (External Fuel Tanks), equipped with an M61 gun, 500 rounds, two 4000-lb drop tanks, two GBU-32s, two AIM-120Ds, and two AIM-9Xs.

The installed file size is 460MB, and the package includes an excellent 44-page User Guide, a three-page "Get Me Started" guide, an eight-page Weapons Supplement, a kneeboard checklist, and two images—one featuring US bases and another for joystick sensitivity settings. The download includes only the default livery, but an additional fifteen are available on the X-Plane.org forum.

External & Internal Appearance
The external body of the F-22 is impressively realistic and does justice to this magnificent stealth fighter. It features many small details for you to appreciate, such as the red external covers with wind-billowing streamers when in "cold and dark," front and rear engine covers, and a boarding ladder. Additional features like the Luneburg lens that appears beneath the fuselage when IFF is activated, and the APU cooling doors all add to the realism. Even the pilot’s name can be faintly seen on the front wheel door. The canopy boasts a cool reflective gold hue, which looks spectacular.


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Internally, the F-22's cockpit is visually faithful to the real thing. The pilot’s seat has textured ripples and comes with an accompanying safety harness, vents, fire extinguisher, and more. Light weathering is visible on the side panels. All switches and screens are easily visible and operable from the pilot's position, marking this as a premium product from the get-go.


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Engines Running Start
If you're keen to jump into the cockpit and experience this jet fighter immediately, you may want to first glance over the three-page "Get Me Started" PDF. Diving into the detailed manual can come later, allowing you to understand the aircraft's systems and fly it as AOA intended.

So, assuming you're familiar with how to set up an "engines running" start in X-Plane, let's get going.

Tip: To refuel the tanks, engage the parking brake, located next to the eject seat handle in front of you (move your view forward to see it). Then, flip the IFR switch on the right-hand panel.

The F-22 is capable of Mach 2 performance, with approach speeds of 200/250 knots and a landing speed around 160 knots when full flaps are deployed. When flying under 250 knots, gentle stick inputs are advisable. The F-22's flaps are infinitely adjustable—simply hold down your default flaps key. Unlike some other aircraft, there's no cockpit handle for the flaps; they adjust automatically, just like in the real aircraft.

If you have prior experience flying modern jet fighters, you should have no trouble understanding the basics of the HUD, as well as operating the autopilot, radios, and Sat-Nav. X-Plane 12 has made TACAN, radios, and GPS simpler and more intuitive than before—a significant improvement that I personally appreciate. The GPS features sixty airbases from around the world that can accommodate the F-22, all easily selectable by rotating the dial.

For now, just sit back and enjoy the F-22's jaw-dropping performance and flight dynamics. For instance, try putting the aircraft into a slow, flat spin. Then, utilising the considerable rudder authority at your disposal, regain control by applying opposite rudder and increasing thrust. As you manoeuvre, relish the auditory experience provided by the superb FMOD sound samples. The mighty Pratt & Whitney F119 engines can propel you to altitudes exceeding 70,000 feet, providing an exhilarating flight experience.


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Cold & Dark Start
After having a bit of basic fun with the F-22, it's time to delve deeper into the comprehensive features that AOA Simulations has introduced in the new X-Plane 12 version. Let's commence with a 'Cold & Dark' start, meaning with the engines off.

On the Up-Front Control Panel (UFCP), locate and press the 'CHK LST' button. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the pages. What's nifty here is that the instructions are not only displayed but also audibly spoken. The volume of these spoken instructions can be adjusted via X-Plane's sound/radio slider, as can the pilot's audible breathing and grunting when pulling more than 4 G's.


To maximize your mission, fully load the F-22's fuel tanks to 18,500 lb. Add External Fuel Tanks, and you can tote an extra 8,000 lb, bringing the total to 26,500 lb. Keep your landing weight around 50,000 to 55,000 lb; a handy fuel dump feature helps you lighten up if necessary.


All credit to AOA for three innovative fuelling options, complete with a customisable LUA script for starting fuel. While a shortcut would've been handy, creating one is simple.


Stationary Refuelling: Engage the parking brake and flip the IFR switch to open the hatch and start fuelling.


In-Flight 'Virtual' Refuelling: No tanker required. Just reach either 20,000 ft or 30,000 ft, cruise at 300 knots, and open the IFF switch to refuel.


Realistic In-Flight Refuelling: This takes skill. I recommend a modded KC-10 tanker from XP11. Ensure it's the first AI aircraft and set as non-combatant. Position yourself 150-400 ft behind it and activate the IFR and 'TRG TRK' radar for distance data.

Monitor your fuel levels on the primary MFD gauge at the cockpit's top right. It's colour-coded: blue till 4,000 lb, yellow until 2,000 lb, and red thereafter.

The following pictures show the fuel gauge in blue, then yellow at 4,000 lb, and finally red at 2,000 lb. In the EFT model, the external fuel tanks can be jettisoned. Additionally, all models feature a fuel release mechanism under the left wing for weight adjustment prior to landing. I tested this feature in-air at 20,000 ft and 300 knots by opening the IFR.


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Engine Start
Starting the engine is a multi-step process, enhanced by the level of detail AOA Simulations has implemented. The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) start dial is one among many in the cockpit that can be turned using your mouse wheel. Initiating the APU produces a distinctive howl and the fuselage vents open, releasing hot air in an immersive effect. Wait for the APU to reach 100% operational speed before activating its generator.

Once the battery is more than 95% charged, you're cleared to start Engine 1. Hold the starter down until the N2 reading on the lower central Multi-Function Display (MFD) reaches a minimum of 30%. Turn on Engine 1's generator (which will disengage the APU's generator), and initiate fuel supply to Engine 2. Start Engine 2 following the same procedure, and only then shut off the APU. Next, proceed through the 'CHK LST' and input your destination into the Sat-Nav centre via the G1000 unit.

Here's where XP12 shines: you have 60 preset airbases to choose from for the F-22. To access them, turn the dial for the Left Nav display, set it to GPS, and scroll through the options. Further details on these airbases are available in the User Guide appendix.

Navigation and Communication
The TACAN, NAV, and Com functionalities have been significantly improved, making navigation a breeze. A new addition is the GCU popup that lets you manually input a flight plan into the G1000. This has become a feature I particularly enjoy using.


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Night Lighting
The cockpit's adjustable flood and panel lights cater to your preference for brightness, ensuring clear visibility for night flights. If the glass reflections prove distracting, an FX button is conveniently located on the top row to alleviate the issue.

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Additional Tips

  • Even if taking off and landing at the same airbase, input it into the Sat-Nav; it will display on the HUD with directional cues.
  • If flying with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) loaded in Nav1, expect IM/MM or OM warnings when crossing runway markers.
  • For taxiing below 50 knots, the stick brake option allows for precise control. However, deactivate it during landings to avoid inadvertent nosedives when using the default brake commands.

Ground Collision Avoidance System (GCAS)
One of the many system highlights is the GCAS. Two arrows—originating from left and right—indicate impending ground collision, prompting GCAS to take over control. When the arrows meet, autopilot activates, levelling the aircraft and maintaining the selected heading, provided the descent rate is under 18,000 ft/min.

Weapons & Combat
The AOA F-22 is equipped for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, offering a range of capabilities to engage various targets.

Air to Air
To get a feel for its air-to-air capabilities, I pitted the F-22 against an AI-controlled MiG-21. As soon as you lift off, the enemy aircraft will detect and engage you—stealth isn't implemented yet in X-Plane 12. By using the keyboard command to switch targets, I highlighted the MiG-21 and toggled through weapon options. When I reached the "Air-to-Air" setting and the MiG was within 50 miles, I launched two AMRAAM missiles. The first one did its job splendidly, turning the enemy aircraft into a fireball plummeting from the sky. Virtual combat has never felt so satisfying.


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Air to Ground
For the ground attack test, I chose the F-22 EFT variant, loaded with two JDAM bombs. A word of caution: don't drop these 1,000lb munitions below 2,000 feet, or you risk being caught in the blast. A helpful "2000" indicator appears on the HUD when you select the bombs. X-Plane 12 somewhat limits the JDAM's capabilities—it’s essentially an unguided bomb for hitting large stationary targets. Nevertheless, it's a visually satisfying experience, enhanced by the new aiming box on the HUD, which gives you an approximate landing spot for the bombs.


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A MiG Encounter
During a test run, I almost forgot about the lurking AI MiG-21. While refuelling, I switched my right lower MFD from "Target Track" to "RDR." This revealed the enemy was just half a mile behind me! I immediately launched countermeasures. Despite my readiness with guns, the enemy applied air brakes to remain in my blind spot. So, our duel remains unresolved—for now.


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Final Thoughts
The AOA F-22 is an exhilarating addition to my X-Plane hangar. It offers high performance, agile manoeuvrability thanks to its vectoring nozzles, and an array of innovative features. The learning curve is steep, but take your time, and refer to the 44-page manual—it's your bible for unlocking the F-22’s full potential.

My verdict? Still every bit as wonderful as before!





The Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor by AOA is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:


Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor

Priced at $40.00



  • High quality 3D model
  • for both X-Plane 12 and X-Plane 11
  • 3 models: Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground and EFT (External Fuel Tanks)
  • Highly accurate 3D exterior model
  • Every door and control surface animated
  • All F-22 unique flight control actions accurately reproduced
  • Every switch and control in the detailed 3D cockpit works
  • Ground equipment
  • 4K PBR textures
  • Beautiful 4K liveries out of the box
  • Smooth and VR-friendly cockpit control manipulators

High quality sounds

  • Professional FMOD sound package by SimAcoustics
  • Audible high lift wing rumble and pilot anti G strain sounds when pulling G's
  • Accurate doppler, distance attenuation and flyby effects
  • Active Noise Canceling feature for pilot's helmet

Flight model

  • Extremely maneuverable
  • Pitch vectoring engine nozzles
  • Carefree handling to any AOA (Angle Of Attack)
  • Super cruise to Mach 1.8+ without afterburner

AOA Simulations “standard” features

  • SASL plug in controls all cockpit displays and aircraft systems
  • Ground, "virtual" and "AI" in-flight refueling capability without having to use drop down menus, load special situations or interrupt your current flight
  • "Roll-to-see" dynamic pilot head camera plug-in
  • "Target Track" plug-in locks pilot camera on AI planes for easy formation flying
  • Functioning Auto GCAS (Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System)
  • Approach Power Compensation autopilot auto-throttle mode
  • All automatic aircraft systems can be disabled with cockpit switches
  • Basic Helmet Mounted Target displays in addition to the F-22 Raptor HUD


  • Audible engine start checklist
  • Automated in-flight engine re-start checklist
  • AviTab tablet compatibility
  • 90+ pages flight manual


X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11
4 GB VRAM Video Card Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 413 MB
Current version: 12 (August 1st, 2023) 


Review by Alan Ashforth

8th September 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications: 

Windows 11, Intel i7 Processor, 32GB RAM, 2TB SSD, GeForce RTX™ 2070


(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) All Rights Reserved




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