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Aircraft Review/Tutorial: Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor Version 1.3 by AOA Simulations


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Aircraft Review/Tutorial: Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor Version 1.3 by AOA Simulations

 

Hello and welcome to my flight review/tutorial of the AOA F-22A Version 1.3 for X-Plane 11.55. 


For an overall view and first look of the F-22A, please check out Stephen Dutton’s excellent write-up found here. In this article, I will be looking at the model from a general user perspective, covering both start options, from engines running and from “cold and dark”.


The F-22 Raptor entered service with the USAF in December 2005 as the F-22A, with the program producing 187 operational production aircraft, the last F-22 being delivered in 2012.


The current X-Plane 11 model by AOA of the F-22A at the time of writing, is version 1.3. 


Three versions of the Raptor are available, and these are as follows: 

 

  • A2A (air to air) equipped with 6 AMRAAM’s, and two Sidewinders.
  • A2G (air to ground) equipped with 6 JDAM’s (1000lb bombs) 2 AMRAAM’s and 2 Sidewinders. 
  • EFT (external fuel tanks) equipped with 2x 4000lb drop tanks, 6 AMRAAM’s and 2 sidewinders.

 

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The installed file size is 405MB and comes with an excellent 93-page manual and the 1.3 update notes. Only the default livery comes in the download, which reduces its size, but a further thirteen are available on the X-Plane.org forum.

 

External & Internal Appearance
The external body is very realistic, and really does justice to this fantastic stealth fighter, and has many small details for you to enjoy, for instance in cold and dark, the external red covers with streamers that blow in the wind (a lovely touch), the engine covers front and rear, the ladder, the small Luneburg lens that appears below the fuselage when IFF is set to on, the two APU cooling doors which open and close, even the pilot’s name is faintly visible on the front wheel door. Just like the real aircraft, the canopy is coloured in a cool reflective gold and looks great.

 

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In addition, there is the IFR (refuelling) port at the top centre of the fuselage, the gun port on the top right, plus the two fuselage side doors, which open to release the chaff and flares countermeasures.

 

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Internally, the modelling of the F22 follows a similar vein in terms of visual fidelity. Looking around the cockpit you’ll find the pilot’s seat complete with rippled textures, along with the associated safety harness, vents, fire extinguisher etc, plus light weathering on the side panels. All the switches and screens are clear to see and use from the pilot’s position, and from the very first moment you lay eyes on it, you can tell it’s a premium product.


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Engines Running Start
Many of you will probably want to try out this Jet fighter straight away, and only later begin studying the manual in which to learn its systems, and to fly it properly as AOA intended.


So, let’s start with engines running, (I’ll assume you know how to set this up in X-Plane). To begin with, you’ll find all the assists are “On” by default, these being auto flaps, auto gear, ground collision protection, auto air brakes and auto afterburner, and here we need to turn them all off! Why? Because they will trip you up until you know exactly what they do. 


Also, located in the centre of the dash, the upfront control panel, turn off R2C (Roll to See) as this will control where you look (very useful later on when you want to see where the enemy or tanker is), and switch off the stick braking because it will keep turning off your normal brakes. Its best use is below 50kts and is very useful for gently taxying from the stand to the runway.

 

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Now that the aircraft is completely in your hands, you’ll get a far better understanding and feeling of its flight characteristics. 
Tip: To fill the fuel tanks, apply the parking brake, next to the eject seat handle in front of you, (move forward to see), then throw the IFR switch on the right panel.


You’ll find the F22 has Mach 2 performance, an approach speed of 200/250kts and a landing speed of about 160kts with full flaps. When flying under 250kts, be gentle on the stick, as the aircraft can lack directional stability. However, this can be corrected with a little rudder input. The F22’s flaps are infinitely adjustable, so simply hold your default flaps key down. No cockpit handle is present to adjust the flaps, as the real aircraft adjusts these automatically.

 
Hopefully, if you’ve flown modern fighters before, you’ll be able to understand the basics of the HUD, plus operate the autopilot, radios, and Sat-Nav.


For now, simply enjoy the incredible performance and flight dynamics of the F-22. For example, try putting the model into a slow flat spin, then with the massive rudder authority on offer, come out of it in full control, with opposite rudder and increase thrust. As you do, just listen, and take in the wonderful FMOD sound samples as the mighty Pratt & Whitney F119 engines propel you up to 70,000+ feet. 


Cold & Dark Start
Having enjoyed the F-22 in a fun, yet basic way, now let’s start to enjoy all the features that AOA have implemented in Version 1.3. 
Start the F-22 with engines off.


On the upfront control panel is the CHK LST button, press and use its arrow keys to move to each new page. As you do, you’ll notice the words are both written and spoken, with their volume being adjusted in X-Plane’s sound/radio slider, along with the pilot’s breathing and grunting when pulling more than 4G’s.


Tip: The F-22’s parking brake is hard to spot, so move your view forward and look left of the eject seat pull. Right, let’s talk about fuel (and not the price of it). 


Generally speaking, you should fill the tanks to the 18,500lb maximum, but with EFT’s you get an extra 8,000lb, for a total of 26,500lb of fuel. The F-22 has a normal all-up weight of 64,000lb for takeoff, but you want a landing weight of 50,000 to 55,000lb, and so if needed, a fuel dump button will slowly reduce fuel to 4,000lb, which is released from under the left wing (try not to drop flares at this point!).


F22 16 fuel dump.jpg


AOA, to their credit, have gone to great lengths and provided three different methods in which to fill up with fuel. They have even supplied an adjustable starting fuel LUA script (found in F-22/plugins/ F-22/ data/ modules/custom module/start fuel). It would have been handy to have a shortcut for this, but it’s a simple task to make one yourself. There’s also a FOV script there too, which allows you to change the field of view of each camera. 


The first fuelling method is when stationary on the ground, and with the parking brake on, just throw the IFR switch (which opens the refuelling hatch on top of the fuselage), and your tanks start to fill. 


The second method is inflight, called the virtual method, because no tanker is actually used. Here it’s just a simple case of flying level at either 20,000ft or 30,000ft and at 300kts, throw open the IFF, and you’ll take on fuel.


The third method is the most realistic and can use any aircraft as a tanker, (I use a modded KC-10 tanker to reduce height, speed and vortex, available here. Set it as the first AI aircraft and make it non-combatant (the manual wrongly states to make it friendly, but it won’t work if you do). When done and the sim is loaded, attempt to fly between 150 and 400ft to its rear.  Doing this is not easy, so don’t be surprised if you happen to need a bit of practice.  


Open the IFR and set radar mode to TRG TRK. This will provide you with an accurate distance reading which is just what you need. These three pictures show each of these methods in action.

 

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There are many fuel gauges in the cockpit, but the main one is on the top right MFD, which is a blue bar until you’re down to 4,000lb of fuel, at which point it turns yellow, and then red when it goes down to 2,000lb.


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The APU start dial, like almost all the dials in the cockpit, can be turned with the mouse wheel. The APU will start with a howl, and the fuselage vents will open, letting out shafts of hot air, which is a really cool effect. Wait for it to spool up to 100% speed before switching on its generator.


With the battery charging up, engine one can be started as long as the battery power is more than 95%. Hold the starter down until N2 on the lower central MFD is showing at least 54%. Next, put engine one generator on (this switches the APU gen off) and switch on fuel two. Start engine two in the same way and switch its generator on. Only now can you turn off the APU, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to start engine two. Continue following the CHK LST, and then load your destination into the Sat-Nav centre G1000 unit. This is easy to do as it can pop out, or perhaps even simpler, download the freeware GpsFPLInput plug-in (Windows only) found at the Org by Gtagentleman. This allows you to just type in the airport code, enter it into the GPS, and bingo, it’s now your destination. 


If you’re taking off and landing at the same airbase, still load it into the Sat-Nav, because it will show on the HUD, with distance and direction on the tadpole. By doing this, you’ll know where your home base is at all times. Also, when flying with an ILS loaded in Nav1, you might get an IM/MM or OM warning as you fly over the runway markers, they stand for inner, middle, and outer markers, and most runways just have one or two. These pictures show some of the additional info on the HUD.

 

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If taxiing to the runway from a stand, use the stick brake option, it works great below 50kts and allows for fine control. I would however turn it off for landings as I find that if you leave it on and use the B or C commands (default brake and max brakes), they keep getting turned off, and if you use the stick break over 50kts, the aircraft will nosedive.


Takeoff with full thrust, rotate above 120kts and let the auto gear and auto flaps do their thing. If you read the manual, it has a couple of extra things for you to try. One is the in-flight engine shutdown and restart, which has its own checklist when it detects an engine has stopped, and the other is the Auto GCAS flight test.


The Ground Collision Avoidance System is just one of the many highlights of the systems offered by AOA. In this case, two arrows merge from left and right to warn you that an impact is near and that GCAS will have to take control of the aircraft. When the two arrows meet in the middle, the AP is activated and levels the aircraft, as well as maintaining the heading shown on the bug (as long as the descent is less than 18,000ft per minute).


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This happened to me during one of my first ever flights with the F-22, as I was fighting the AP which kept turning the heading bug, and again shows why you must read and learn from the supplied manual. 


Weapons & Combat
I’m pleased to say the AA radar and missiles work fantastically well, combined with the R2C (which turns your head to look at the target) and the 2D panel switch (default XP ALT+W), which brings your view forward to the panel/HUD.


To test this, I had my tanker KC-10 in AI Aircraft slot one, and an enemy MiG-23 in slot three. The MiG will detect you as soon as you takeoff and turn towards you, there’s no stealth yet in X-Plane 11. I changed the target (keyboard command) to highlight the MiG, and changed the radar from Nav, down to gun, and down again to track the target which provided me with his altitude and closing speed. Finally, I changed radar down once more, to the A2A setting, and once the target was within 50 miles, launched an AMRAAM, and then another for good measure. The first missile hit and sent the MiG down in flames, fun virtual combat.


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For the next test, I set up a flight with the F22-A2G, armed with 6 JDAM bombs. These 1,000lb bombs will take you out if dropped below about 1,500 to 2,000ft. The JDAM is a satellite-guided bomb, and totally stealthy, but the limited combat in X-Plane 11 means it’s really just an unguided bomb to drop on large static ground targets. Still fun though and looks pretty cool.

 

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Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, a short guide on how to get the best out of the AOA F-22. In all, I have found the model to be a wonderful addition to my hangar as it has everything I enjoy in a modern fighter jet; high performance, manoeuvrability with its vectoring nozzles, and some very innovative ideas from the AOA team, which altogether, provides a thrilling and full experience of an F-22 in X-Plane. With its many systems, it is a complicated aircraft to learn, so give yourself time, and learn at your own pace, as reading the 93-page manual is vital for you to get the most enjoyment from this aircraft.

 

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My verdict? Absolutely wonderful! 

 

_______________________________

 

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

 

Lockheed Martin F22A Raptor

Price is $40.00

 

Requirements
X-Plane 11
4 GB VRAM Video Card Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 350 MB
Current version: v1.3 (May 22nd 2022) 

 

Review by Alan Ashforth

7th July 2022

Copyright©2022: 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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