Flutterbugs (aka helicopters, or death-traps…depending on your point of view) are a unique niche in the aviation world. Most fix-wing drivers look upon ‘rotor heads’ with frank suspicion – like they’re a seriously mentally deranged sub-species of aviator. And I suspect there’s some truth to that, but there’s just one thing you have to cast aside before you can adopt that point of view. And that is, simply…helicopters are fun, especially if you know how to fly one. Even if you don’t, they’re still kind of fun – at least in X-plane.
And…I suspect most people who drift in and out of X-plane never take one up, even the default S-76, and while that’s understandable it’s also unfortunate. Why? Because, again, flutterbugs are seriously fun, and there’s nothing impossible about learning to fly one – in X-plane, anyway.
The best helicopters in X-plane have been made by Dreamfoil, and his Bell 407 for Xp11 – with SAS (or Stability Augmentation System) is indeed an irresistible combination of thrill ride AND serious learning tool. Still, you could say that the SAS system deadens the feel TOO much, and so, perhaps, makes the learning experience TOO easy.
So, along comes V Sky Labs and their Guimbal Cabri G2 project, and reading between the lines it appears that this aircraft file may be well positioned to become the best training helicopter around, either in Xp or out there in the world. Curious how this might play out, to say the least, I saw this one release this morning and jumped right on the bandwagon, and after about half a day puttering around in this one I’m convinced these guys are onto something.
So, get your coffee ready then buckle up. Let’s go flyin’…
First, the file is available at the Org Store and directly from V SKY LABS, and the price is right. The cabin is certainly well crafted, and the exterior model is as well. What might not come through in these images is size, because this machine is really quite small. Look over the manufacturers web-site to get an idea of these parameters, and the scope of missions this bug is created to handle before you go much further, because this is a fascinating creature. And yes, the biggest purchasers so far have been flight schools! Ooh, sign me up!!!
Consider too that while this file costs about 30USD, the real deal will set you back about 400,000 buckeroos, so this is a comparative bargain…
Now, a few images of the real deal:
And note the different avionics package on this model:
And here’s something worth taking a look at too.
Now, take a look at this link from the Org:
Okay, got that?
So, let’s go take a look at the file for X-plane 11:
These images were snapped at LSZH Zurich, and aeroSoft’s v2 of this file has a plug-in driven hanger door at the Rega Helicopters hanger, as well as a heliport. Below, we’ll take off from a pad on the GA ramp at LEVC Valencia, then putter down to the docks…
So, first impressions?
First, this puppy is EASY to fly. It IS a helicopter and does all the unpredictable things helicopters like to do, but it just feels easy to get out of trouble without the need for an SAS-type system onboard. Next, this bug is seriously maneuverable, so I can see this file becoming über popular with the rotor head crowd, especially those demented souls that enjoy landing on a pad that’s about the same size as a medium pepperoni pizza.
Faults? Panel lighting is adjustable – but not enough – and I’d prefer to see the Aspen 1000 unit being shipped on current models than this hodge-podge of steam gauges.
This helicopter is slow (it’s not a JetRanger, but I guess you figured that out already), so don’t even think of this as a cross-country voyager. This is a trainer and, perhaps, a downtown commuter (assuming your office building has a pad handy). Cruising at 100 kias takes effort, and 80 feels better. Again, the bird handles like a dream going low and slow.
This version is not really IFR equipped, so better to not even go there. There’s enough stuff on the panel to get you out of deep do-do, assuming you know how to use it, anyway, but again, this model isn’t really aimed at IFR pilots.
So, who might want to get this file and tinker around with it?
First, anyone thinking of buying the real aircraft should consider this a fun first step in the process. Next, anyone attending a ‘Flutterbug Flight School near you’ might want to play with this when not actually crashing at school. Fidelity to the actual aircraft seems good enough to warrant consideration as such, and perhaps even flight schools might want to evaluate this model for suitability in their curriculum. Next, rotor heads in X-plane in dire need of something new might get out of their 412s or 407s – just for a change of pace, for crying out loud….
But the last group I’d recommend this to might want to listen up here.
This model is just about perfect for anyone terrified of flying a helicopter in X-plane, but who, even so, remains curious what it might be like to at least try. And I reckon there are a bunch of people out there who fall into this category, too.
Again, flying a flutterbug is fun. If you’ve always wanted to try but the default S-76 just seemed like too much…well…give this a try before you give up for good. In the end, think of this helicopter as something akin to a Piper Cub, only a cub that can land on a pepperoni pizza – with room to spare.
As such, this is a 10/10 Must Have file and, before I forget, you can get the POH from the manufacturer after registering…and here’s that great looking UK Jack livery, complete with gray interior:
Adios for now. Seeya next time –