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Aircraft Review : Avro Vulcan B Mk.2, K.2 and MRR by JustFlight


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Aircraft Review : Avro Vulcan B Mk.2, K.2 and MRR by JustFlight

 

The Avro Vulcan (officially Hawker Siddeley Vulcan from July 1963), is a four-engined jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1956 until 1984. The Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956; deliveries of the improved Vulcan B.2 started in 1960. The B.2 featured more powerful engines, a larger wing, an improved electrical system and electronic countermeasures (ECM); many were modified to accept the Blue Steel missile. As a part of the V-force, the Vulcan was the backbone of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War. Although the Vulcan was typically armed with nuclear weapons, it was capable of conventional bombing missions, a capability which was used in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982. 

 

Aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe and Company (Avro) designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46. Of the three V bombers produced, the Vulcan was considered the most technically advanced and hence the riskiest option. Several reduced-scale aircraft, designated the Avro 707, were produced to test and refine the delta wing design principles. The other V Bombers were the Vickers Valiant and the Handley Page Victor.

 

The aircraft produced here also includes Avro Vulcan B Mk2 modeled on XH558 "The Spirit of Great Britain". Which is the last flying Vulcan that is flown by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust and the aircraft XH558 and is currently based at EGCN - Doncaster/Sheffield of which X-PlaneReviews covered in a review just earlier this year.

 

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The project here is a collaboration between JustFlight and Thranda Design, JustFlight with the initial modeling and design, and Thranda with the excellent X-Plane conversion, sounds, flight dynamics and systems. This is not the First Avro Vulcan however for X-Plane, there is an old FlightSim version that was converted to X-Plane and released as freeware back in 2014; Freeware Release : Avro Vulcan BMk2 by Daniel G and for the time period this Vulcan version was pretty good, but In reality you can't compare that aircraft to this ground up built X-Plane version, certainly not in the high detail.

 

There are three variants of the Vulkan covered here, in the Mk.2, K.2 and the MRR

 

Mk.2

Standard Vulcan in Mk.2 guise.

 

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K.2: Six B.2s were converted for air-to-air refuelling with the Mark 17 Hose Drum Unit (HDU) mounted semi-recessed in tail cone. The TFR was deleted.

 

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The Three tanks are positioned in the bomb bay giving the K.2 a fuel capacity of almost 100,000 lb (45,000 kg). The six aircraft were converted to used as an aerial bridge to the Falkland Islands after the War, as the Victors had by that date had more limited capacity and airframe (old) limitations.

 

MRR: Nine B.2s were converted to the Maritime Radar Reconnaissance role, these aircraft came with the underwing MRR - (sniffer) Pods for taking samples of the upper air for scientific analysis and nose blade aerials.

 

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There are also seven individual optional equipment choices (done from the livery/‘config.json’ file) that includes: Inflight Refueling probe, Both 201 and 301 Rolls Royce Olympus engines (201 - 17,000 lbf (76 kN) thrust) - (301 - 20,000 lbf (89 kN) thrust), TFR Dome (Terrain-Following Radar ), Modern Aerials, ECM (Electronic Counter-Measure) tail cone, K.2 Drum Kit and the MRR air sampling pods and nose blade aerials.

 

Detail

In this price range you do expect great modeling detail. In fact JustFlight set themselves a very high level with their excellent BAe Systems Hawk T1/A, and a supreme high-quality machine that was...  But they have done just as well here also with the Vulcan Mk2. This is respectfully a far a harder aircraft to get detail into, because basically the Vulcan is all wing, and not much aircraft per se...

 

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...  that full wing shape also created inadvertently a large advantage in that it also had a very small radar signature, In being a cold-war bomber that is certainly a bonus in warfare and the start of the race to create very low radar signatures on most current designs, with the F-17 Nighthawk being the most extreme example. 

 

The JustFlight modeling team had full access to Vulcan M655 based at Wellesbourne Mountford and is the default livery of the series, and that intimate detail is certainly shown here, but the aircraft noted is in it's current restoration state, and that is good in creating the right feel we would want from these old cold-war birds.

 

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So note the worn window surrounds and tired glass, this is not a new aircraft but a very authentic reproduction of XH588. It is all very well done. Gear detail is the same in aged, slightly corroded, but highly realistic.

 

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Internal wheel wells are filled out with great detail, so nothing is hidden here or missed.

 

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Complex, but original...  the gear construction is first rate (so are the animations) with all struts and supports well modeled, and note the huge wheel well box sizes.

 

That wing leading edge is complex with a big C from a modellers perspective. So it is very easy to take the easy way out and just do the straight wing, but here it is all the complex curves interacting with each other and the work is extremely well done.

 

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Wingtips are really art in the way they are created with such smoothness...  impressive.

 

Lovely bulbous tailcone is really again well modeled, note the engine exhausts that are neatly set into the wing, small details abound to again create that authentic feel, the Olympus engines are buried within the wings, sadly, but their internal shapes are well seen...

 

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....  again the tired worn glass of XH588 is seen on the tail, but this is a beautifully rendered tail, lots of shape and highly realistic. So the modelling overall is excellent and a great representation of this great old (cold) warbird.

 

Note if the power is selected off and the parking brake is on then the Vulcan displays the static elements. They include engine inlet and exhaust covers, chocks, flags and the two pilots disappear in the cockpit (hard to see).

 

Menu

The JustFlight menu is to the left of the screen, the arrow tab can be hidden via a scrolling your mouse over the tab.

 

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There are 18 selections including the 2D pop-up panels: Checklist, Flight computer, Payload menu, Alternator control panel Secondary supplies panel/AAPP control panel and Autopilot control panel.

 

And button selections for: Toggle cold and dark, or engines running (WARNING - Also totally resets the flight), Air refuelling hose (K.2 variant only), Pilot’s helmet sun visor, RAT deployment, (show/hide) ground equipment, (show/hide) control sticks, Deploy drag parachute, Instrument reflections, Window reflections, Show/hide the co-pilot, (open/close) Bomb bay doors and (open/close) Crew access door

 

Checklist, Flight computer: Here you have a 16 page checklist that covers most aspects of starting up and shutting down the Vulcan. Second is a Flight Computer display that covers: Outside air temperature (OAT) – Celsius and Fahrenheit, Groundspeed (GS) – nautical miles per hour, statute miles per hour and kilometres per hour, Endurance – hours and minutes, Range – nautical miles, statute miles, kilometres, Nautical miles per gallon and statute miles per gallon, Density altitude and pressure altitude (feet), True airspeed (knots), track (degrees) and drift (degrees), Fuel flow – gallons and litres, Fuel used – total fuel burn (gallons), Crosswind component (knots), Headwind/tailwind component (knots) and the total fuel burn can be reset by clicking on the lower RESET FUEL BURN button.

 

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Payload menu: Next is an excellent Payload menu for easily setting up the aircraft of what type or combination of weapons and equipment you require for the mission. It is extremely easy to use (the menu looks nice as well) you can set your loads to match your mission. Choices are:

 

Blue Steel...

 

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The Avro Blue Steel was a British air-launched, rocket-propelled nuclear armed standoff missile, it was built to arm the V bomber force. It allowed the bomber to launch the missile against its target while still outside the range of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The missile proceeded to the target at speeds up to Mach 3, and would trigger within 100 m of the pre-defined target point, it was a forerunner of the current Cruise Missiles.

 

MK13 bombs: Three racks of Mk13 bombs. The Mark 13 is a nuclear bomb and its variant, the W-13 nuclear warhead.

Mark 13 design used a 92-point nuclear implosion system (see Nuclear weapon design). It is a similar 92-point system was used in later variants of the Mark 6 weapon and the Mark 13 nuclear bomb design was tested at least once, in the Operation Upshot–Knothole Harry test shot conducted on May 19, 1953. The estimated yield of this test was 32 kilotons.

 

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WE.-177: The WE.177, originally styled as WE 177, and sometimes simply as WE177, was a series of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons equipping the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Air Force (RAF). WE.177A weighed 272 kilograms (600 lb), and had a variable yield of 10 kt (42 TJ) or 0.5 kt (2 TJ) and WE.177B weighed 457 kilograms (1,008 lb), with a fixed yield of 450 kt (1900 TJ). Both WE.177 A/B were flown on the Vulcan. With the JustFlight Vulcan you get two WE.177 nuclear bombs to play with.

 

MRR-PODS: As seen in the MRR version above. The K.2 or MRR version is required for this option.

 

Saddle Tanks and Cylinder Fuel Tanks: There are two 5,000 lbs of fuel Saddle Tanks available, these compare to the 8,000 lbs Cylinder Tanks used for refueling, but both sets can be carried.

 

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Other visual Menu items include:

 

Alternator control panel Secondary supplies panel/AAPP control panel and Autopilot control panel.

The alternator control panel features the following controls and indicators:

  • Voltmeter and frequency meter for the selected incoming alternator.
  • RAT and AAPP test push-buttons, used to obtain the readings for these supplies on the meters.
  • Alternator selector switch, incorporating a push-button to facilitate synchronisation of alternators. Use the mouse scroll wheel to rotate it and left-click to push in on the centre push-button.
  • EXTRA SUPPLIES TRIP push-button, used to trip any extra supply (RAT, AAPP, 200-volt ground supply) from the synchronising busbar.
  • Mimic diagram of the 200-volt system. The diagram incorporates a voltmeter and a frequency meter to show supplies at the synchronising busbar, magnetic indicators which show continuity when an S breaker is closed and amber lights to show when an alternator is not connected to its own busbar.
  • Magnetic indicators for the RAT and AAPP show continuity when they are connected to the synchronising busbar.
  • Centrally positioned red alternator failure warning light (duplicated on the centre instrument panel) which illuminates steadily if one alternator fails and flashes if two or more fail.
  • AAPP ON push-button.
  • Beside each S breaker indicator is an alternator ISOLATE button.
  • Beside each amber light is an alternator RESET button.
  • NON-ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES TRIP/RESET switch, spring-loaded to the central (guarded) position. This switch can be used to trip non-essential supplies without releasing the RAT and to reset non-essential supplies once power has been restored. Left-click the switch to move it up to TRIP; right-click to move it down to RESET.
  • Four KW/KVAR meters, one for each alternator; normally read KW with a centrally positioned button labelled PUSH FOR KVAR to read KVAR.
  • Four ON/OFF switches, one for each alternator.

 

The AAPP - Airborne Auxiliary Power Plant consists of a gas turbine driving a 40 KVA alternator in a bay aft of the starboard wheel bay. It can provide a 200-volt supply for use in emergency or for use on the ground when an external power unit is not available. On the ground it can provide bleed air to the cabin conditioning and air-ventilated suits.

 

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A Mk.10 autopilot is installed as part of the Military Flight System. The autopilot uses 115-volt AC and 28-volt DC. Power to the autopilot is controlled by a switch on the right console. It is a relatively basic autopilot, but missing on this panel are the direction controls in lateral direction and pitch.

 

RAT deployment: The Vulcan is fitted with a Ram Air Turbine (RAT) under the left wing, that will drop down to give the aircraft power.

 

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Refueling Hose and Drag Parachute: Both the Refueling hose (K.2 Version required) and the drag parachute can be applied from the menu, both items are far more easier to activate than trying to find the switches in the cockpit.

 

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Ground Equipment:The Houchin ground power unit (GPU) can be used to provide electrical 28-volt ground supply power to the aircraft whilst on the ground. The GPU is parked underneath the port wing and is plugged into the aircraft just aft of the bomb bay. Also there is a Palouste compressor which is used to provide compressed air to the engine air starter motors, facilitating engine start whilst on the ground. The Palouste is parked underneath the starboard wing and the air supply hose is connected to the aircraft just aft of the starboard landing gear.

 

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Bomb bay doors and Crew access door: Both the Bomb Bay Doors and the forward Crew access (Hatch) Door can be operated from the menu.

 

There are a few other menu items but we will look at them whist in the cockpit.

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Cockpit

The underbelly hatch is the access up to the cockpit...

 

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....  it is quite a climb all the way up there, or a long fall way back down if you slip! It is quite dark and foreboding in here, but eventually you see the twin huge Martin-Baker ejection seats. In the prototype they wanted an escape pod, a la the F-111, but that was seen as too costly and too heavy.

 

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Only the cockpit is modeled? The rear crew area is not in here, and so you are missing the other rear facing ejection seats and the pull-down 5th crew member seat, There are five member Vulcan crews including; Pilot, Co-Pilot, AEO - Air Electronics Officer, Navigator Radar and Navigator Plotter, and their rear area installed and their stations would have certainly added in a another dimension to the aircraft. But finally you are up here and into the cockpit...

 

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....  and how impossibly small it all is, on how everything is crammed into this small space and it is simply an ergonomic nightmare!

 

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But you have to admit is is a reproduction marvel, you can almost smell the musty tired leather of an old aircraft, lovely reflections come off the authentic gauges (did I mention the access to XH558, well that aspect is certainly on show here).

 

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One of the most interesting aspects is that once you have manoeuvred yourself into your seat, you can then pull back (pull up) the centre console with the fuel and autopilot panels attached by the rear handle.

 

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If we are in need to see anything inside this cockpit then we will need the power connected and switched on...

 

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Instrument Panels

Obviously there will be a need to study the instrument layouts on the Vulcan Mk 2. JustFlight (thankfully) provide a very comprehensive manual, listing all the instruments and systems, so it is well worth your time in studying the manual and all the related details to the aircraft. Systems like Fuel, Electrical and Hydraulics are simplistic in a complicated layout, if you sort of know what I mean... so there is a need to work them out and of which button does what...  this Vulcan is not your common Boeing 737, and throw in a military layout known as the MFS (Military Flight System) as well and so there is a lot to learn.

 

Pilots main Flying instruments are quite standard, Centre line has the excellent Artificial Horizon (Director Horizon) centre, Beam Compass (heading) below and a Mach meter above. Left instruments are Speed (kts) and Altitude. Right instruments are Radio Altitude, VSI - Vertical Speed Indicator and lower a standby Artificial Horizon and slip indicator.

 

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Co-Pilot right hand side has the same MFS layout but with some additional instruments...  these include (left) a ADF indicator, (right) a Fuel Flow Indicator, Total Fuel Flow (with reset switch) and Oxygen Flow Indicator.

 

Middle panel is for the four engine instruments, which have that lovely post-war clockwork dial system.

 

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Non-Engine related instruments include: Accelerometer (G-meter - top left),  Control surfaces position indicator (centre) and TACAN indicator (shows bearing to NAV 1 VOR). Note the MFS selector Panel (top right). This navigational selector has five positions:

 

  • BOMB – non-functional
  • REMOTE – the heading information is controlled by the default GPS
  • Central (normal) – all heading indications by the heading pointer are magnetic
  • LOC – ILS localiser beam or NAV 1 signals are fed into the system. The BEAM flag on the director horizon shows and the beam bar on the beam compasses indicates the aircraft position relative to the beam.
  • GP – both localiser and glidepath signals are fed into the system. Both the BEAM and the GP flag show on the director horizons and the glidepath pointer moves relative to the centre dot to show the relative position of the glidepath to the aircraft.

 

Top panel is: RAT release handle and the Engine fire warning lights and extinguisher buttons...  below are the four main fuel cocks.

 

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Under are twelve warning indicator lights and doors (Canopy, Bomb and Entrance) unlocked warnings.

 

Fuel in the Vulcan is carried in fourteen pressurised tanks, five in each wing and four in the fuselage, above and to the rear of the nose-wheel bay. The tanks are divided into four groups, each group normally feeding its own engine. A cross- feed system enables the various groups to be interconnected. Automatic fuel proportioning is normally used to control the fuel CG position. The Fuel contents gauges, one for each tank group, are situated on a panel forward of the throttle levers. The fuel switchgear is set just below on the retractable centre console, Cross-feed cocks and indicators are usable.

 

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The Bomb Bay Auxiliary tanks are controlled via a panel below the main Fuel Panel, and remember these tanks are also used in the air-to-air refueling system, so they have twin uses. Lower is the Autopilot Panel (Pop-up available via the Menu)...

 

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...  but these AP switches are used in conjunction with the actual direction controls in lateral direction and pitch that are situated directly under the throttles on the retractable console.

 

Throttle Quadrant

The four throttle levers are a work of art, as is the whole quadrant... note the built in engine relight buttons that actually work. To shutdown the Olympus engines the levers are pulled out and then pulled down to the shut-off position....

 

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...  lower is the Airbrake selector switch, note the missing flap lever, as the delta wing does not require such flying surfaces. The really nice Control Sticks have four switches; Nose-wheel steering engage button, Elevator and aileron feel relief switch, Aileron and elevator trim switch and a Press-to-transmit switch, both Control Sticks disappear together either by selection or by the menu.

 

Pilot's left side panels consist of (right to left): Oxygen Regulator, Radio altimeter controller, Store safety-lock and warning lights, Bomb doors control, RT2 tone switch, ILS/TACAN/ADF audio switch and TFR controller....

 

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...  Audio warning isolation and audio warning test button,  RT1 tone switch, V/UHF radio and the engine start buttons with Rapid start, Normal start selector, ignition switch, Air cross-feed indicator, Start master switch and finally the air-ventilated suits temperature controls. Lower panel are switches for; PFC and artificial feel start buttons (x3), Yaw Damper, PFC stop buttons, Mach Trimmer and Artificial feel warning and lock switches.

 

On the Co-Pilot's right side (left to right): Oxygen Regulator, Temperature switches for Cabin, Cabin Control, Cold air unit, Ram air, Ram air Valve, AAPP air bleed, Cabin AAPP indicator, Abandon aircraft switch and Air-to-Air refueling panel...

 

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....   far right is the Anti-icing temperature gauges and Engine anti-icing switches. Lower panel are the pitot and external lighting switches - Lighting Master switch, Identification/Morse switch, Landing/Taxi Lights and Navigation Steady/Flash switch.

 

As there is no rear compartment with an engineers station, the Electrical Panels are both pop-up: Noted both as ACP (Alternator Control Panel) and A.A.P.P. (Airborne Auxiliary Power Plant) which is an onboard Auxiliary Power Unit or APU. The lower section of the AAPP is a "Secondary Supplies Panel" or a continuation of the main electrical board.

 

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Other cockpit notes include...  The Co-Pilot's station box (Radio) is right lower panel, and you have two very nice E2B compasses on each central window frame. The Wiper controls are hard to find, but they are high each side of the main instrument panel and are speed reversed, in faster first then slower in the third bottom position. Left switch is Pilot and central window, Right switch is Co-Pilot only.

 

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You have to remove the Martin Baker ejector seat pins before any flight (and yes the ejector seats actually work, so don't pull the handle?) The pins are positioned high on the side of the seats, and when selected they move to the side of each pilot on to the "Safety Pin Stowages" hooks panel.

 

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One option you don't have on a commercial airliner are "Flash Shields" or Nuclear FLASH shields. These are two sets of blinds set above the pilots and each can be separately pulled down to cover over the large circular side windows to provide protection from nuclear weapon flashes and radiation...

 

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....   the outer metallic one is still semi-visible, but the inner (heavy one) completely covers and blacks out the window, very handy to have when you need it.

 

Flying the Vulcan Mk.2

It is known as the "Vulcan howl" which is a distinctive sound made by the engines are at approximately 90 percent power, due to the arrangement of the air intakes. It is a misconception is the fact that although the Vulcan shares the same name as the Concorde Olympus engines the versions are quite different, here we have the Olympus 301 were as the Concorde has the Olympus 593 with afterburner (or reheat), the only commonality is the two-spool axial-flow turbojet core... but it is known that the Olympus 593 did fly on a Vulcan airframe as a test bed for the engine (but not actually for Concorde but for the abandoned TR.2 Fighter).

 

You get that lovely familiar whine as you sit ready to go, strangely there is not a lot of settings to set, no flap position, speed selection or altitude. But there is a lot of selection of switches to set like the ENGINE AIR and CABIN AIR switches, which you tend to change quite frequently...   all selections are covered in the tutorial part of the provided manual.

 

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The Vulcan is quite a powerful aircraft (for the period). So depending on your mission weight it will taxi quite easily. Being in the cockpit though is bit like trying to fly from inside a post box and looking through the slot? It is dark in here and tight, it feels far more tighter than a fighter which will have that open glass canopy around you, but in here you do feel restricted as most Vulcan pilot's note...  try this with a flying helmet on as well and then hope you are not the screaming claustrophobic personality type.

 

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The Beam Compass (heading) needs to be set...  pull the knob (arrowed) out to turn the outer heading ring to your current heading. (note this ring will not turn as the aircraft changes direction, so you fly to the heading on the ring), push the knob in again to set the autopilot heading pointer. It takes some getting used to if you fly modern aircraft.

 

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You can move/hide the lovely armrests as they get in the way of the side panels, then check if there is oxygen flow...

 

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The VOR radio is on the left panel, you set it via the knobs and a very modern looking frequency, that disappears quickly. Time to fly, but the Vulcan is a past era dirty mongrel.

 

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The aircraft will gain speed very quickly and even with a heavy fuel and weapon load, rotate is around 155 kts at a pitch of 45º angle which can be maintained all the way up to the flight level....

 

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....   and you really feel the huge lift from this flying wing, it will lift off anyway but you need to keep in control via holding the stick forward. Pitch is extremely pivotal, it is like the you are balancing the aircraft directly in the center with a very light nose and tail.... so you need to control the pitch movements with very small inputs and with smooth pitch changes, a few flights and you are usually ready next time, but it doesn't get any easier.

 

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Gear animations are excellent and cleaning up the underbody airflow helps with the handling and noise factors.

 

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The aircraft is surprisingly very nice under manual control, setting the trim is required, but it can upset the autopilot (AP) when switched on, so you have a choice...  trim and fly manually or leave the trim alone if you are going straight to the autopilot. You can set the Autopilot ready via the switch on the Co-Pilot console and then pulling out the "power" switch on the AP panel, the white light comes on to show you the AP is active and ready.

 

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Level off and then "ENGAGE" then select TRACK to follow the set heading. You can select climb via IAS or hold the ALT (recommended). The forward panel then controls your lateral direction and pitch directions, remember this is a very basic 2-Axis system.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 20.jpg

 

The lower AP control are out of sight and too a point out of reach, it would have been nice to have had them on the pop-up panel with the rest of the AP controls, press the centre of the knob to lock in the trim...   up or down is in 1000 fpm selections which are big movements in pitch.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 21.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 22.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 23.jpg

 

Specifications are impressive...    Cruising speed is Mach 0.86 indicated and Max is Mach 0.93 (301 Engines), to note the early straight wing Mk 1 version was faster at Mach 0.95 indicated. Ceiling is 45,000 to 56,000 ft (14,000 to 17,000 m) which is high, but this is a nuclear bomber...  Range is 1,500 nautical miles (1,700 mi; 2,800 km), but you do have the extra tankage available and that extends the range out to 4,603 mi (4,000 nmi / 7,408 km) or allow you to stay on station for hours.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 24.jpg

 

Getting up to 45,000ft is the easy part, then you have to come down again....  and it is a long way down without a decent Vertical Speed tool...

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 25.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 26.jpg

 

...  helpful are the twin upper and single lower (originally double both upper and lower) airbrakes which are highly effective.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 27.jpg

 

Do you cheat by using a moving map to locate your position or try to do it the authentic navigation way, remember these aircraft had a dedicated Navigation Crew Member to do just that specific job.

 

3,000ft approach and the lights of EGCN - Doncaster are in the postbox slot... eh windows.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 28.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 29.jpg

 

Approach speed is around 170 kts but there is the known factor of a Pre-Stall buffet between 160 kts to 180 kts and that requires more rudder input in turns, but you still have to keep that tight, and remember the huge amount of lift this aircraft's wing can generate and with that also comes the huge ground effect reflection as you get down closer to the runway.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 30.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 31.jpg

 

Slowly you reduce your speed to around 150 knts over the threshold, but it is a fine line between going too fast and stalling...  Vulcan's don't naturally stall in the slight nose up position, the ground effect gets too strong and they tend to seriously wobble on the large cushion of air then simply fall out of the sky as noted in a few Vulcan accidents, but touch down is around 140 kts.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 32.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 33.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 34.jpg

 

RAF Finningley (at EGCN-Doncaster) has a long 2,893m (9,491ft) runways as did all nuclear bomber airports, it is required as even at 140 kts as you fight the aircraft to slow it down. The manually operated airbrakes do help, but even then the parachute is still required to run off the excess speed.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 35.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 36.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Flying 37.jpg

 

Overall the Vulcan is a terribly interesting aircraft to fly, and in many way quite different from your average commercial airliner... you must approach the Vulcan this way and expect time to understand and even plan each mission when you fly the aircraft, it will take time and study but in that aspect the Vulcan really delivers, it is certainly not a jump in and do a circuit sort of aircraft...  it is a full mission aircraft with areas like said planned and be detailed ready from the start.

 

Lighting

UPDATED : this section of the review is updated to v1.1 that now includes large changes to the Vulcan's internal lighting. Before the Internal lighting was quite simple, one switch to light up the instrument panel and the side panels....

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 1.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 2.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 3.jpg

 

In v1.1 the side lighting knobs which were static before now work...   The four lighting knobs are now active (orange arrows), but so also now is the functional swivel lights between the knobs, the swivel light illumination is controlled by the lower knob (yellow arrow)

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 3.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 4.jpg

 

The same panel light knobs are on the Co-Pilot's side as well as is the same functional swivel light. Changed also is the main instrument panel lights which are now split for each side of the panel, the Co-Pilot's panel switch is on the panel far right (arrowed).

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 1.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 2.jpg

 

The rotating knobs now give you two options, the original WHITE lighting or the very Cold War RED hue, it is very realistic...

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 5.jpg

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 6.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 7.jpg

 

....   Main panels (separate) both side panels and the centre console are all fully adjustable individually, just like with the white hue.

 

The functional swivel lights are very good as well, totally adjustable and not only for illumination, but also for compete axis movement...  you can illuminate any part of the cockpit you desire....

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 8.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 11.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 9.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting Update 10.jpg

 

....   turn the swivel light to light up the other side of the cockpit and it is highly effective, with almost daylight illumination.

 

Externally there are options for ID Lights in STDY (Steady) and MORSE (Flashing) and Navigation lighting in ST/DY and FLASH. Three red beacons flash on the top of the aircraft or a steady in one single red beacon on the belly...  navigation is wing and twin lower tail, strobes in the wings, in reality you don't want your nuclear bomber light up like a fairground do you, so it is very good...

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 4.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 5.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Lighting 6.jpg

 

....  twin Landing/Taxi lights are build into the end of each wing and they are both retractable and have also been updated with refined functionality in v1.1

 

Liveries

The scale of the liveries is quite impressive at seventeen, but many a registration are doubled for both Mk.2 standard and K.2 Tanker or MRR. USA and KIwi (New Zealand) and White Flash white nuclear test aircraft XL361 and XL426 are all represented as is XL426 in it's usual Camo livery...  XM655 is default.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM655.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM634.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM634 MMR.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XH538.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XH558.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XH558 K2.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XH560 MMR.jpg

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XH562.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XJ825K2.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XL 361.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XL 426.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XL 426 CAMO.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XL 445 K2.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XL 571 K2.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM 600.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM 607BB.jpgAvro_Vulcan_JF_Livery XM 607RF.jpg

 

Operation Black Buck had seven operations...

 

During the 1982 Falklands War, Operations Black Buck 1 to Black Buck 7 were a series of seven extremely long-range ground attack missions by Royal Air Force (RAF) Vulcan bombers of the RAF Waddington Wing, comprising aircraft from Nos. 44, 50 and 101 Squadrons against Argentine positions in the Falkland Islands, of which five missions completed attacks. The objective of the missions was to attack Port Stanley Airport and its associated defences. The raids, at almost 6,600 nautical miles (12,200 km) and 16 hours for the return journey, were the longest-ranged bombing raids in history at that time.

The Operation Black Buck raids were staged from RAF Ascension Island, close to the Equator. The Vulcan was designed for medium-range missions in Europe and lacked the range to fly to the Falklands without refuelling several times. The RAF's tanker planes were mostly converted Handley Page Victor bombers with similar range, so they too had to be refuelled in the air. A total of eleven tankers were required for two Vulcans (one primary and one reserve), a daunting logistical effort as all aircraft had to use the same runway. The Vulcans carried either twenty-one 1,000-pound (450 kg) bombs internally or two or four Shrike anti-radar missiles externally. Of the five Black Buck raids flown to completion, three were against Stanley Airfield's runway and operational facilities, while the other two were anti-radar missions using Shrike missiles against a Westinghouse AN/TPS-43 long-range 3D radar in the Port Stanley area. Shrikes hit two of the less valuable and rapidly replaced secondary fire control radars, causing some casualties among the Argentine crews. One Vulcan was nearly lost when a fuel shortage forced it to land in Brazil.

 

Black Buck 1- Port Stanley Airport runway 30 April–1 May - XM598 (Reeve)XM607 (Withers)Performed; primary aircraft cabin failed to pressurise shortly after takeoff, replaced by reserve

Black Buck 2 - Port Stanley Airport runway 3–4 May - XM607 (Reeve) XM598 (Montgomery) Performed

Black Buck 3 - Port Stanley Airport runway 13 May - XM607XM612 - Cancelled before takeoff due to weather conditions

Black Buck 4 - Anti-aircraft radar 28 May - XM597 (McDougall) - XM598Cancelled 5 hours into flight, due to a fault in the Victor fleet

Black Buck 5 - Anti-aircraft radar 31 May - XM597 (McDougall) - XM598 (Montgomery) Performed

Black Buck 6 - Anti-aircraft radar3 June - XM597 (McDougall) - XM598 (Montgomery) Performed; primary aircraft forced to divert to Brazil due to a broken refuelling probe

Black Buck 7 - Port Stanley Airport stores and aircraft 12 June - XM607 (Withers)- XM598 (Montgomery) Performed

 

My personal experience was with Avro Vulcan XL391, that sat at Blackpool Airport for years. I saw the aircraft on a visit home, but by this time the bomber was not in a great condition. Vulcans maybe prepared for nuclear attacks, but Blackpool's corrosive sea air did a lot of more serious damage to the aircraft. One aspect is that you could get very close and even look internally and the engines were still installed, but the aircraft was certainly never going to flown again... it was scrapped quite ingloriously on the June 20th, 2013.

 

Avro_Vulcan_JF_Final.jpg

 

Summary

This is a reproduction of the Avro Vulcan Mk.2, that was a 60's Cold War Nuclear bomber from the United Kingdom. Based on the last fully operative version of the aircraft XH558 "The Spirit of Great Britain", this same aircraft was used to create a very realistic rendition of this classic airframe.

The aircraft comes in three variants with the standard Mk.2, K.2 Air to Air refueling tanker and the MRR - Maritime Radar Reconnaissance role aircraft.

 

Detail and modeling is hugely impressive, so are the complex post-war systems. And the Vulcan comes with a lot of choices and features including the choice of the different Mk.2, K.2 and MRR setups via the liveries (can also be set manually), the range also is impressive in the liveries provided for the Vulcan's different mission roles including nuclear bomb testing flash white.

 

Extensive menu is very good as is the choices of weapons (mostly nuclear with Blue Streak) and different belly fuel tank options. Sounds include the famous "Vulcan Howl" and are very immersive and 180º dynamic with 3D audio effects, atmospheric and distance effects and adaptive Doppler. Instrument panel, side panels, throttle quadrant and retractable centre console in detail is overwhelming, but missing is the rear crew cabin with stations for the other three crew members and importantly parts of the aircraft electrical systems panel, they are provided here only on pop-up panels from the menu? Internal lighting was also impressively updated in v1.1

 

In some ways the Vulcan is very easy to fly in a manual mode, and this flying wing has a huge amount of lift, but the ergonomic post-war instruments and 2-way axis Autopilot do require a lot of study and practice, so to fly the Vulcan in a serious mission role does require a lot of skill and practise on the airframe, but you don't doubt the authenticity of the Vulcan package to the high calibre and serious simulator user.

 

Overall brilliant, but for the serious fliers only.

_______________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The  Avro Vulcan B Mk.2, K.2 and MRR by JustFlight is now AVAILABLE at the X-Plane.Org Store:

 

Also available from JustFlight

 

Avro Vulcan B Mk.2, K.2 and MRR

 

Priced at US$49.99

 

Features

MODEL

  • Accurately modelled Avro Vulcan B Mk2, K.2 and MRR built using real-world aircraft plans and comprehensive photography of the real aircraft (XM655)
  • K.2 air-to-air refuelling variant with Hose Drum Unit (HDU) and animated hose
  • Maritime Radar Reconnaissance (MRR) variant with air sampling pods and nose blade aerials
  • Many detailed animations, including:
     - Crew door
     - Bomb bay doors (with realistic deployment speed)
     - Multi-position airbrakes (accurately linked to landing gear position)
     - Drogue and main brake-chutes
     - Deployable ram-air-turbine (RAT)
     - Variable-speed wipers
     - Tilting main landing gear
     - Flying controls (including elevons)
     - Animated pilots
     - Retractable taxi/landing lights (with realistic ‘blowback’ above 180 knots)
  • A range of payload options, selectable via a custom 2D panel:
     - Blue Steel nuclear stand-off missile
     - 1,000lb bombs
     - WE.177 nuclear bomb
     - Saddle bomb bay tanks
     - Cylindrical bomb bay tanks
  • Ability to configure external model options for each livery – refuelling probe, 201/301 engines, TFR dome, modern aerials and tail fin ECM, HDU, air sampling pods and aerials
  • Olympus 201 and 301 engine nozzle types
  • Ground equipment, including Houchin GPU and Palouste compressor for engine start, and engine covers and chocks
  • 4096x4096 textures are used to produce the highest possible texture clarity
  • PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials with real-time environment reflections for superb quality and realism
  • Detailed normal mapping for down-to-the-rivet precision of aircraft features

COCKPIT
  • A truly 3D virtual cockpit right down to accurately modelled ejection seats and screw heads - every instrument is constructed fully in high polygon 3D with smooth animations
  • Cockpit textures feature wear and tear, with PBR effects, based on reference photos taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment
  • Interactive engine start checklist
  • Checklists for every stage of flight
  • Panel state system which will automatically save the panel state whenever a flight is saved and reload the panel state whenever that flight is loaded
  • Aircraft configuration system that will allow you to choose between 'cold & dark' or 'ready for take-off'
  • Realistic V/UHF radio unit – save and recall commonly used frequencies
  • Fully functioning magnetic indicators, warning lights and push-to-test buttons
  • Numerous interactive animated blinds and visors
  • Realistic flight instruments, including direction horizon, beam compass, control surface and CG indicators
  • Option to activate flashlight from within pop-up window, to aid in those pitch-black cold and dark starts at night
  • Option to remove window and instrument reflection effects
  • All knob, switch and button animations routed through plugin logic, for optimum movement fidelity and sound synchronisation
  • No detail is too small – even the option to switch between day and night modes on the landing gear indicator is included!
AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
  • Numerous custom-coded systems:
     - Fuel system – fuel tank groups, transfer and cross-feed
     - Electrical system – alternators, Airbourne Auxiliary Power Plant (AAPP), Ram Air Turbine (RAT), synchroniser busbar and 2D AEO panels for controlling the AAPP, RAT and secondary supplies
     - Flying controls system – Powered Flying Controls (PFCs), Mach trimmer and auto-stabilisers
     - Engine start system – Rapid or normal engine starting, cross-bleed and Palouste external air supplies
     - Hydraulic system, including the electrically-operated hydraulic power pack unit (EHPP)
     - Oxygen system, including oxygen regulator system with realistic consumption based on altitude – watch the oxygen quantity drop with usage
     - Air conditioning system – cabin pressurisation and air conditioning, emergency depressurisation controls
     - Thermal anti-icing system, including airframe and engine anti-icing
     - Autopilot, including pitch and bank hold
  • Airbrakes, bomb doors and brake-chute can be operated using standard control assignments for ease of use

OTHER FEATURES

  • Realistic and accurate flight dynamics based on real world performance and handling data
  • Authentic sound set, generated using X-Plane's state-of-the-art FMOD sound system, including the distinctive Olympus 301 howl!
  • Custom sounds for bomb doors, airbrakes, entrance door, switches, wipers and more, featuring accurate location placement of sounds in the stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric and distance effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill in when the crew door is open, different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle etc.
  • Dedicated pop-up window for sound mixing, allowing for individual adjustment of the volume of exterior sounds, in-cockpit sounds and various effects
  • Comprehensive manual with panel guide and performance data
  • PSD Paint Kit included so you can create your own paint schemes
  • Interactive logbook panel for logging your flight details (X-Plane native)
  • Custom external light logic with custom strobe light pattern and custom light halos for added realism

Requirements

  • X-Plane 11
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5GHz or faster
  • 8GB RAM or more
  • DirectX 12-capable graphics card from nVidia, AMD or Intel with at least 4GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD)
  • Windows 10 / 7 / Vista / XP, MAC OS 10.10 (or higher) or Linux
  • 2GB hard drive space
Current and Review version: v1.1 (April 29th 2020) 

 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Avro Vulcan B Mk.2 is 2.3Gb and the unzipped file is deposited in the aircraft "Fighters" X-Plane Aircraft folder at 2.37Gb.

optional equipment choices can be done from the livery/‘config.json’ file.

Librain (rain effects) plugin is required, get it here and install in your plugins folder: Click Here

 

Documentation:

Documentation consists of a 89 page overview and tutorial for the Vulcan Bomber, details available cover most areas including the complex systems.

 

  • EULAstandardcommercialandacademic2019.pdf
  • Avro Vulcan B Mk2 X-Plane manual.pdf

________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton 

29th April 2020 (updated)

Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews 

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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)

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane  11.41 - tested v11.50.b4 (fine)

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

Plugins: Traffic Global (Just Flight) US$52.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- EGCN - Doncaster Sheffield by FlyX  (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$17.99



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