Stephen Posted September 3, 2020 Report Share Posted September 3, 2020 Aircraft Review : Lockheed P-38L Lightning by Flying Iron Simulations Known by it's nickname the "Fork-tailed devil" or in German "der Gabelschwanz-Teufel" , the Lockheed P-38 Lighting is a twin-engined - twin boomed tail World War II era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. The main aircraft's role was as a general fighter, the P-38 was also highly utilized in various other aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter-bomber, a night fighter and as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks. The P-38 was also used as a bomber-pathfinder, guiding streams of medium and heavy bombers and even other P-38s equipped with bombs to their targets. But the role the P-38 was most effective in was the aerial reconnaissance role, as the P-38 accounted for 90 percent of the aerial film captured over Europe. Post war it's aerial survey work was well known as it was also it's appearances as popular contenders in the air races from 1946 through to 1949, with brightly colored Lightnings making screaming turns around the pylons at Reno and Cleveland (think of Star Wars, and the air races). Flying Iron Simulations are back doing what they do best in creating WW2 era aircraft. First up it was the beastly Republic P-47N Thunderbolt, then the sublime Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc... then oddly a glider called the Glob? This however is another wartime classic from the Flying Iron crew in the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and everything is alright with the world again. And a magnificent looking aircraft it is... First impressions are excellent, panel detail is simply overwhelming, but the Lightning looks like it was carved from metal, it wasn't of course but the metal reflections and mapping here is really, really good.... that is really good. You think you have seen it all, and nothing could be better... but here it is again at a higher refinement again, another step on the realism ladder, so all you can do is totally admire the detail and skill in doing work like this for us to enjoy. The P-38's exhausts were muffled by the turbo-superchargers, making the P-38's operation relatively a quiet aircraft. The two turbo-superchargers also provided the P-38 with good high-altitude performance, making it one of the earliest Allied fighters capable of performing at such altitudes as with a service ceiling of 44,000 ft (13,000 m)... this is a WW2 aircraft remember. The turbo-supercharger and exhaust system is very well modeled here. Looking at details it is important to note the aircraft's quite complicated aerodynamic history. The P-38 from early test flights revealed problems initially believed to be tail flutter. During high-speed flight approaching Mach 0.68, especially during dives, the aircraft's tail would begin to shake violently and the nose would tuck under (called Mach tuck) and steepening the dive. Once caught in this dive, the fighter would enter a high-speed compressibility stall and the controls would lock up, and the results usually was death. In 1941 flutter was a familiar engineering problem related to mostly a too-flexible tail, but the P-38's empennage was completely skinned in aluminum rather than fabric and was already quite rigid. At no time did the P-38 suffer from true flutter. But a lot of work, trial and error (mostly error) was required in fixes to stop the P-38's compressibility stalls... several ideas are shown on the rear elevators, and one idea was to place mass balances above and below the elevator, of which the weights are well represented here. Another trial was that another way of bypassing compressibility lockup, was riding it out using elevator trim, so a smaller and a quite powerful insert trim was inserted into the rear edge of the main elevator... The P-38's dive problem was finally revealed to be in the center of pressure moving back toward the tail when in high-speed airflow. The solution was to change the geometry of the wing's lower surface when diving in order to keep lift within the bounds of the top of the wing. In February 1943, quick-acting dive flaps were tried and proven by Lockheed test pilots. The dive flaps are installed outboard of the engine nacelles and in action they extended downward 35° in 1.5 seconds. The flaps did not act as a speed brake; they just affected the pressure distribution in a way that retained the wing's lift. They are operated here via the speedbrake lever, but they are as noted dive flaps not speedbrakes. Buffeting was another early aerodynamic problem. It was difficult to distinguish from compressibility as both were reported by test pilots as "tail shake". Buffeting came about from airflow disturbances ahead of the tail; the airplane would shake heavily at high speed.The problem was traced to a 40% increase in air speed at the wing-fuselage junction where the thickness/chord ratio was highest. An airspeed of 500 mph (800 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,600 m) could push airflow at the wing-fuselage junction close to the speed of sound. Filleting solved the buffeting problem for the P-38E on and for later models. So the P-38 was quite a hard aircraft to sort out aerodynamically, but all the additions just made it a more formidable aircraft. Unlike most WW2 aircraft the P-38 is not a taildragger (yeah!), as it has a retractable tri-cycle undercarriage. Gear detail is very good, but these gear assembles were not overly complicated and quite simple in design. The modeling here though is very good and very authentic... ... you just have to love these cross-treaded Goodyear main gear tyres, as they look so real, but the wheel bay looks too small for the gear? It is not but the thick piping in there does get in the way of the retracting tyres? The Lighting comes with 1× Hispano M2(C) 20 mm cannon with 150 rounds, 4× M2 Browning machine gun 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns with 500 rpg, up to 4000lb of bombs and carries 2 x Drop Tanks. It is a shame the nose panels don't come off as the magazines are quite spectacular in design. Cockpit glass is very well done (nice reflections), but a bit too clear and clean for me on a 80 year old aircraft? The surrounding metal work is however exceptional detailing. Cockpit The cockpit canopy is quite basic in a flip up top, and then you wind down each side window, so there is no rearward moving canopy... .... this means you can't have the canopy open while taxiing, and a lot of pilots hated it because it got very hot inside, they also hated the cockpit being cold as well, because when the P-38 flew up to those extreme high altitudes it got very cold and a heat suit was thus created to keep them warm, in which was the forerunner of the today's G-Suit. Cockpit's detailing is totally overwhelming. You are used now to these exceptionally well created cockpit environments, in fact you demand this sort of authenticity in the extreme detail (certainly at thisprice level), but that you can't take away the skills on delivering the wartime detail in such a comprehensive way, it is all VR (Virtual Reality) ready as well to heighten the experience, realism 101. Side winders will open the top canopy and roll down the side windows. I like the way each window does not go downwards evenly... note the lovely well done canvas seat, and quality seatbelt detail. No stick here but a grabbable chunky yoke that is a side right pylon arrangement (the yoke can be hidden by clicking on it). Instrument Panel The instrument panel layout is a bit of an ergonomic nightmare, it is worse in the air as we will see. Top left and standing out is the Standby Magnetic Compass, and set besides is the Suction Gauge and Clock. There is another compass in the Remote Indicating Compass set just below the whiskey compass. Next to that is the Directional Gyro. Below is a row of five dials, they cover from left to right: Front (Reserve) Fuel Tank Quantity Gauge, Altimeter, Airspeed Indicator, Bank & Turn Indicator and the Rate of Climb Indicator, of which you could say were your primary instruments. Two dials lower left cover: Rear (Main) Fuel Tanks Quantity Gauge and Hydraulic Pressure Gauge... the Landing Gear Warning Panel. Gyro Horizon or Artificial Horizon to you and me can be Caged or Uncaged via the lower knob (arrowed). Right panel has top row: Manifold Pressure (Left & Right Needles), RPM (Left & Right Needles), then far right the Coolant Temperature Gauge. Engine Gauges (Oil Temp & Pressure, Fuel Pressure) are on the second row with the Carburetor Air Temperature Gauge below the Coolant dial. Twin Ammeters and below are the main Generator Switches (in red) Shelf switch panel is quite comprehensive. Far left are three circuit breakers followed by the Oxygen Cylinder Pressure Gauge then the Magnetos Master Switch and Magnetos (Left and Right). Oil Dilution & Engine Primer Switches and Starter/Engage Switches L&R with the lighting array of switches that covers: Wing & Tail Position Light, Landing Light Switch, Gun Heater Switch, Compass Switch and the big knob is the Instrument Light Rheostat, finally far right is the Voltmeter. Set out front lower are the Prop Feathering Lights and Prop Feathering Switches, Oil Cooler Flap Switch (Left) and Oil Cooler Flap Switch (Right), main Battery Switch, Pitot Heat Switch, Coolant Flap Override Switches, Intercooler Flap Switches and the final knob right is the Cockpit Light Rheostat. Left side lever panel is excellent, but slightly complex to use... there are some very good guidelines in the manual on how to get the best out of the operating conditions of the Allison V-1710-113 V-12 liquid-cooled turbo-supercharged piston engine, 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) WEP at 60 inHg (2.032 bar) and 3,000 rpm (the Right-hand rotation is fitted to the starboard engine). The red levers are obviously the twin Throttles, set next to them are the Propeller Governor levers and the Propeller Selector Switches are set centre panel. Top panel left are the twin Mixture levers and an Air Filter Control. There are four modes for mixture: Idle Cut-off, Auto Lean, Auto Rich and Emergency Rich.... The engines each drive a Curtiss Electric, constant speed propeller. The desired prop RPM is selected by the pilot via the Prop Levers, and a governor adjusts the pitch of the propeller blades in order to achieve the desired RPM.... On the side is a very nice Elevator Trim Tab Wheel. Armament panel covers the Bomb-drop Tank Master Switch, Bomb-drop Tank Selector and Arming Switches. Noted to right (arrowed) is the Landing Gear Control Handle. Buried deep down the left side of the seat is the Fuel panel. The P-38L aircraft is equipped with 2 Main tanks, (93 Gal Each) 2 Reserve Tanks (60 Gal Each), 2 Outer Wing Tanks (55 Gal Each) and can carry up to 2 Drop Tanks (165 Gal Each). And all are controlled via these two Fuel Tank Selectors, fuel needs to be pumped and those Fuel Pump Selectors are positioned below the tank selectors. There are five pumping options: Drop Tanks (if no drop tanks installed, this will also shutoff fuel flow), Outer Wing Tanks, Main Tanks, Cross Suction (Crossfeed – draws fuel from the opposite side) and Reserve Tanks. On the floor is the; Oxygen Flow Indicator and Oxygen Knob. The yellow indicator is the Rudder Trim Tab Control... .... on the yoke are three items, one is the (red) Dive Flap Control, and set behind on the arm are two switches (arrowed) that cover the Bomb/Rocket Selector Switch and the Gun/Camera Selector Switch. On the right is the Flap Lever Control, Bendix/King KT76 Transponder and ICOM IC-A210E Radio, deep down the right side of the seat is a Aileron Boost Control Lever (non-working). Menus The menus are accessed via pressing the centre of the yoke, this brings up an iPhone style interface and menu selection. it is called the "FlyingIron UI Tablet" There are eleven selections. First one left is AVITAB, the Avitab plugin is built into the aircraft plugins folder so you don't need to download the plugin separately. Second tab is CHECKLISTS, which is pretty basic, next is FLIGHT SETUP which is basically a ‘Weight & Balance’ page. It can be used to set fuel loads, check the aircraft weights & distribution, adjust & reference the CG Position & change various Aircraft configuration settings. External Tanks can be set and toggled ON/OFF here also. Fourth tab top row is the (default) GARMIN530 GPS. This selection will install the GNS530 on the lower part of the main instrument panel, and of course the pop-up panel is also available... The first two selections on the second row are noted as MAPS (but it is the X-plane Map screen as a Popup window) and IOS STATION which again just opens the default Instructor Operation Station (IOS) window. Third tab second row is the GROUND SERVICES which allows for configuring Static elements on/off as well as replacing the X-plane default Ground Services window. (Static Elements... Chocks, Tie-Downs and GPU are not yet available). Fourth tab is the EFIS which features additional digital Flight Instruments for reference in flight, two Forward looking cameras, as well as an Autopilot Control Panel (functional). Some user note that the P-38 didn't have an autopilot, well the last versions for aerial survey work did, but not like here in a S-Tec Fifty Five? (a lot of the functions on the S-Tec don't actually yet work, the heading for instance) There is a COMMS tab, but it doesn't work either (will be a pop-up Radio panel) and an AIRSHOW FX? selection that is also still underdevelopment. There is another separate menu in the SETTINGS PAGE, this is accessed via the gear icon bottom right. Currently it only shows the option to turn engine damage off or on. Flying the P-38L Lighting You sit extremely close to those propellers, and the engines are also set close either side of you.... Engine start-up is different everytime as one or the other the other Allison V-1710-113 V-12 won’t always catch straight away, so you make take multiple attempts to fire them up, again there is a lot of help in the manual. it is noted "custom starter system to more realistically recreate the difficulties of starting up a massive engine like the Alison V-1710. Therefore, please pay careful attention to the checklist and ensure all steps are completed in order, otherwise you may have a difficult time starting the engines." Flying Iron have gone out of their way to capture real FMOD Sounds designed and built from professional recordings of a real P-38 and Allison V-1710 aero engines, they certainly feel (even in their bass movement) very realistic in the cockpit. What I am not crazy about is the sometimes static animation of the propellers in an attempt to create a slight engine hesitation at idle speeds, it doesn't work and looks crappy.... it is not really needed either? A bit of power and your away, you can use the throttle of the left or right engine to help in turns, the P-38L feels very nice on the move... the two main wheels are equipped with differential toe brakes, as well as a free- castoring nosewheel. The nosewheel is easily steered either by using rudder inputs for slight turns, or by using differential braking to pull the nosewheel into a sharper angle and that allows for a sharp turn. .... you sit high, very high and even feel a little exposed (to being shot at) and at the same time it feels very closed in, but without the taildown feel and the level taxi view the P-38L feels more like a modern jet fighter than a WW2 relic... There is a very nice pilot figure in full WW2 flying gear, but he is not animated. Almost immediately you are faced with a dilemma, the Altitude instrument is buried behind the left yoke handle and the Airspeed Indicator is barely visible either? and all the primary instruments are all very badly placed.... your choice is hard, in being authentic or hide the yoke? you really have no choice. You put the twin-throttles up and they don't seem to cut the air... then they catch in with huge thump as you are suddenly propelled forward. To note that the main gear is slightly floating above the ground, were as the nose wheel is correct, giving the aircraft a sort of slight nose down feel on the ground. You simply shoot like a bullet down the runway, the aircraft is amazingly fast, it will stay completely straight as well because there is no single propeller asymmetric blade effect on the P-38L, the counter-rotating blades work to eliminate out those usual yaw tendencies, but you still sort of hang on hard and a bit like being a bareback rodeo rider on the back of a bull in trying to control all that power and speed via gripping the yoke with absolute gutso. The Lighting takes or gulps up a lot of runway before gripping the air around 150 MPH, but once it takes hold.... ... you can then use all of that famous available climb rate to it's best advantage. Officially it is a Rate of climb: 4,750 ft/min (24.1 m/s), or nearly 5,000 fpm, and you feel it and love it. For an eighty year old aircraft the performance in the P-38L is simply phenomenal, with a top speed of 414 mph (666 km/h, 360 kn) on Military Power: 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) at 54 inHg (1.829 bar), 3,000 rpm and 25,000 ft (7,620 m) or a cruise 275 mph (443 km/h, 239 kn) it is almost early jet fighter performance... .... but you can't push your luck too far either with an 80 year old aircraft. Keep the power on hard and climb too steeply and the Allison V-1710 engines will revolt with streams of black smoke and a loss of top end power, this was an earlier flight! You can turn off the "Damage/Wear" setting but it is very good here, a note is that you have to comfort the aircraft to get the best performance out of it. There are a lot of details for the best "Engine Management" via the Supercharger, Manifold regulators and the Intercoolers, Temperature & Fluids need a careful eye as well. So there is a lot of depth from Flying Iron in the way you manage these decades old systems. 10,000ft was super easy at a cruisy 200 MPH and 2500 fpm climb rate, at 175 MPH you can climb slightly harder and faster, but you have to look around the yoke to see the Altitude dial all the time or shift your view left and stay there. When climbing however above 10,000ft, the electric fuel booster pumps must be set to ON & to EMERGENCY MODE, otherwise the engines will not receive sufficient fuel pressure. .... trimming and finding that aircraft balance is super easy, the P-38L will sit there with minimum input and just cruise, in reality the autopilot is not required (the heading adjustment doesn't work anyway). So slight adjustments are all that is required to the Elevator Trim to find that sweet spot. The P-38 was well renowned for it's very easy flying capabilities that sort of coaxed pilots into a false sense of security, it may have been those none pressuring counter-rotating propellers, combined with a natural nice balance of the airframe that made this aircraft extremely easy to fly and for long distances of a combat range of 1,300 mi (2,100 km, 1,100 nmi), of which was the P-38s forte (A ferry range with external tanks was an exceptional 3,300 mi (5,300 km, 2,900 nmi). This benign characteristic only obviously compounded the dangers of the compressibility stalls. I like the way the V-1710 engines don't run perfectly performance wise aligned, to do that you have to adjust the throttle levers, keep them together and they feel quite different in their different power outputs. If flying really high then oxygen to the pilot can be switched on the via the red shutoff valve, the valve located on the floor aft of the control column and the movement of the blinker indicates oxygen is flowing to the pilot. Lighting The P-38s lightning is pretty basic overall, just two adjustments covers the instrument background lighting, and a side frame mounted spot light facing the instrument panel, but be warned in taking the spotlight too low in that it is very hard to re-find the knob... ... but it is a nice cockpit to be in at night. External lighting is also basic, Navigation lights, Position (tail) lights and one left wing landing light covers it. KRAL Landing The zone between flying and having a serious stall is quite small on the P-38L, your goal is an approach speed of 150 MPH, but that is easier to say than done, the aircraft just wants to stall at that critical point, total stall is noted at 105 mph (169 km/h, 91 kn), but here it feels far higher than that... ... put the gear down and the drag makes it even worse, so the Lightning is quite a handful in this slow gear down configuration. Set the flaps to full down and the loss of power will suddenly stall you, so your aim is 150 MPH with the flaps down and to do that action beforehand at height as yes the drag here is so significant, and if you are at a low height you could simply stall yourself into to ground. Approach height is also significant, you can't be too high or too low, you sort of have to perfectly angle yourself in at just below that 150 MPH speed limit, your aim is for a slope or glideslope of around 120 MPH to 130 MPH... ... it is extremely hard to get right as all that is screaming loud in your head is "STALL, STALL, STALL"... so you need nerves of steel to hold it right. Your aim is for a final over fence of around 100 MPH, and then a slight flare to settle you down onto the runway... that is the general idea, but translating it into real flying is something quite different... ... so the landing phase requires a lot of practise and notably hitting the speed and altitude marks perfectly, and the P-38L is absolutely totally unforgiving if you get it wrong, in that aspect it is a very hard aircraft to land and requires a lot of practise to get it absolutely perfectly right... the landing aspect in the P-38 is very demanding and requires skill. Liveries There are nine liveries and all are very authentic to the period. There are some famous P-38 aircraft in there as well including the Yippee, Marge, California cutie, Isty Bitsy, The Flying Dutchman, Wishful Thinking and the default is Down Beat. Summary This is Flying Iron's fourth aircraft for the X-Plane simulator after the Republic P-47N Thunderbolt, Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc then a glider called the Glob, in the Lockheed P-38L Lightning. This is the Twin-Engined-Twin Boom tailed aircraft that was one of the most significant aircraft in the Second World War Pacific Theatre, the P-38 it was also highly accountable over Europe as well for it's high altitude long-range escort fighter and aerial reconnaissance roles. Flying Iron focus on these excellent warbirds, and the Classic P-38L is very well recreated here. Modeling and period detail is simply extraordinary, their metal and mapping skills are very, very good, this is certainly a very good Lightning aircraft. There are no areas to fault in the extensive cockpit detailing, as the authenticity is spot on and you feel the P-38L in all it's magnificence, sounds are of the real Allison V-1710 aero engines and sound excellent, most of the aircraft's systems are in depth with great wear and tear features to give the aircraft an aging feel. You also have to manage this warbird well to get the maximum performance and durability out of the airframe, it is also easy to fly and then damn hard to land, the famous compressibility stalls are well replicated here as is the working dive flaps to get you out of trouble. The aircraft is also totally VR - Virtual Reality ready. Overall the aircraft is sensational, but there is a lack of final finish in the final details and bugs. Menu's are not completed (static elements, missing apps), annoying propeller static animations (seriously annoying) and even the manual if even already comprehensive is still missing vital areas, main gear wheels are also not in touch of the ground... again the aircraft is just one of those projects that needed an extra month to wrap up the details and no doubt a few updates will cover the missing or buggy items quickly, but for the price you could expect the P-38L to be more finalised as it is worthy of the price, an update Skunkcrafts application is however included with the package. Flying Iron do turn out exceptional warbirds and this P-38L Lightning is certainly worthy of joining that already established stable of classic aircraft for X-Plane. Brilliant and terrifying to fly in the same breath it is a very demanding but a thoroughly satisfying aircraft to fly, the performance aspects alone are incredible for an aircraft created 80 years ago, and you see the linage back then to the modern fighter aircraft of today, the P-38 was a forerunner of the platform of the many roles that modern fighter/bomber aircraft perform in perspective. Incredibly well done, the P-38L is certainly worthy of your fighter line up, if you also love old these warbirds then it is simply a must have aircraft. ______________________________________________ The Lockheed P-38L Lightning by Flying Iron Studios is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : P-38L Lightning Your Price: $40.00 Key Features High-quality, extensively detailed and accurate 3D Model Ultra-realistic, high-res Texture work (built with the aid of photogrammetry) Immersive FMOD Sound design built from professional recordings of a real P-38 and Allison V-1710 9 included liveries, including Richard Bong’s iconic livery. Professional quality nose art included in many liveries. Detailed & Extensive simulations of the Lightnings core systems, including accurate, code-driven replications of the Lightnings Fuel, Hydraulic, Propeller, Cooling and Electrical Systems. All systems are programmed to function virtually identically to the real-world P-38 Systems. Almost all default X-plane systems have been overridden and/or enhanced significantly. Incredibly realistic Flight Model made possible with carefully data-matched simulations of the NACA 23016 & NACA 4412 Airfoils. Flight performance has been verified against real-world Performance & handling tests to ensure extensive realism. We’ve gone so far as to model the drag from individual coolant flaps! Custom heat & thermodynamics modelling, extensive engine management simulation Realistic Engine Start-up modelling (don’t forget your checklists!) Realistic External Tanks Integration Custom damage modelling & failures, including heat damage & operating limits Fitted with 4 x .50 Cal Nose guns and a 20mm Nose Gun by default, and also compatible with X-planes weapons systems (bombs). 3D Garmin 530 GPS fully integrated into the cockpit (optional) Modern Radio / Transponder Unit AviTab Integration Inclusion of FlyingIrons UI Tablet (optional). The tablet incorporates many useful GUI features and puts them in an easily accessible and realistic in-cockpit Touchscreen Tablet. Included in the tablet is: Settings Page / Config Flight Setup / Weight & Balance Page (Custom – Graphical) AviTab GPS & Radio toggles X-plane Map & IOS apps Ground Services app VR Ready Custom Particle FX Detailed User Manual & Checklists Requirements X-Plane 11- VR Ready Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB VRAM Recommended Current and Review version: 1.0 (August 26th 2020) Download Size: 1.9 Gb : Install Size 2.65Gb Documentation : includes an extensive 43 page manual... P38-User-Manual _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 5th September 2020 Copyright©2020 : 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) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 (Tested in v11.50RC2-fine) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini/Yamaha Speakers Plugins: : XPRealistic Pro v2 effects US$19.95 (highly recommended with the P38L) Scenery or Aircraft - KRAL - Riverside Municipal by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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