RCU Review: Great Planes Model Distributors RealFlight BASIC Flight Simulator

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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: February 2010 | Views: 132055 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of The RealFlight "BASIC" Simulator
    Mike Buzzeo

    Email Me

    Great Planes
    Model Distributors

    2904 Research Road
    Champaign, IL 61826

    • RealFlight Pyhsics and Graphics
    • Easy to Setup and Use
    • Flaps, Retracts, Smoke and Dual Rates available
    • Compatible with Several PC Operating Systems

    • Cannot Adjust Individual Throw Rates, Power or CG

    I started using simulators in the late 80's since the first "wire frame" sim was introduced. Its physics were revolutionary for its day, but the graphics were less than ideal. The airplanes and helicopters were displayed as a wire frame in a basic aircraft shape and the backgrounds were only a little better - but they worked! They gave the beginner a tool so they could practice flying regardless of the weather, or whether or not their instructor was available.

    In recent years, several companies have introduced a new generation of flight simulators. I remember the first time I saw one. It was a few years back, when I walked into the main floor at the Toledo show and saw a big-screen TV showing what I mistook for a video of a model airplane flying. When I realized it was a simulator, I was blown away! The graphics were amazing and the physics were so true-to-life that it's as close to the real thing as you can get.

    Since that time, there have been several upgrades, add-ons and new features added to these simulators, but I was getting a little concerned that the manufacturers were beginning to lose sight of the basic intent - to teach beginners how to fly.

    So I was thrilled when I heard that RealFlight was coming out with a BASIC version of their popular product. RealFlight BASIC is just that. It utilizes the same physics and graphics as their high-end simulator, but they have removed some of the "frills" that the rookie just doesn't need (or doesn't need to pay for).

    What it DOES have is six different flying sites (Including one indoor), forty seven different aircraft, and the ability to switch easily between them. You can also view an in-screen close up of each model, change between low and high control rates and change the speed and direction of the wind. All-in-all, it has almost everything the beginner or advanced flier needs to practice at home at a much more affordable price.

    Name: RealFlight BASIC Flight Simulator
    Price: $99.98
    Includes: Software, USB Transmitter, Setup Chart

    Inside the box are the bare esentials. You get a USB "Transmitter", the software CD, and an instruction pamphlet. The instructions are so simple that there aren't even any words, just illustrations of inserting the CD, plugging in the Tx, and which-button-does-what. I immediately loaded the software and in no time, I was "flying".

    Below is a screen shot of each of the aircraft that FealFlight Basic has to offer.

    As you can see, there are 47 different aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

    As you can see, the assortment of aircraft is wide and varied. You do not have the option of changing things like power or CG, but there is a good enough variety that most anyone can find a few aircraft they enjoy. I especially like the Ultimate Bipe and the 33% extra.

    It was difficult to capture screen shot while I was trying to fly at the same time, but here are a few. As you can see, the graphics are every bit as good as the full-version RealFlight Simulators and the planes flew amazingly like the real thing (and I couldn't fly the helicopters worth a damn, so that just goes to show how realistic it is).

    I also want to point out that the screen shots were cropped to the size we use here in the magazine. In reality, the images fill your computer screen.

    For a look at the rest of the flying sites available, I made a screen shot video of a quick "Fly-around" of the various fields. And again, a disclaimer: To keep the video file size down, I reduced the screen size. On your computer, the image will fill your screen. Furthermore, I used a screen-capture program to capture the video and the capture program couldn't keep up with the screen, so you'll see some glitches and some choppy frames in the video while in reality, the movement on the screen is very smooth.

    Great Planes RealFlight Basic

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here! (51 MB)

    RealFlight basic is an excellent way for the beginner to get a first-class simulator without having to fork out the added expense for features that won't be needed for a long time. The physics are as good as the full version of RealFlight as are the graphics.

    As I eluded to in the intro, the beginner needs to learn the basic eye-hand coordination. He (or she) doesn't need hundreds of models, the ability to "fly" with others via the internet, or many of the other features found in the more sophisticated simulators. By the same token, many experienced fliers like myself want to enjoy practicing at home without a lot of parameters to deal with.

    RealFlight basic really fits the bill - You just turn it on and start flying, and there are enough options to keep it from ever getting boring. Well done Great Planes!

    Great Planes
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Model Distributors RealFlight BASIC Flight Simulator

    Posted by: garypace on 02/21/2010
    Posted by: cobrajocky on 02/27/2010
    This review is just a little , no a LOT, too brief. No mention of the differences between it and the full versions Sim controller, or whether the owner can import models and "airports" in to the program as you can with the full version and the operational quality of the more stripped down RC controller that comes with "Basic"! How about some mention of minimum requirements of the computer you install it on? No mention if it's Windows or Mac!? Or the requirements of the display you'll need to use? How about all the important feature sets for the flyer? Can you record the flight for review later? Change wind or cloudy conditions?? No use or "feel" feedback! This is a terrible review from the standpoint of a potential buyer, you can get more info off the box! RC Universe, how about a "do over" with another reviewer that knows how to write an informative review?? (I write Tech reviews for a living, that's my perspective)
    Posted by: MrCoffeeMax on 03/01/2010
    Why would anyone buying one version of a simulator care what the controller on another version is like? Operational quality? It says, "It utilizes the same physics and graphics as their high-end simulator, but they have removed some of the "frills" that the rookie just doesn't need (or doesn't need to pay for)." If you write, I can only assume that you can read where the reviewer said, "and change the speed and direction of the wind." and "Compatible with Several "PC" Operating Systems" - No, you can not record the flight for later review - if you could, I think he would have said so. You also can not import more models, or airfields, or change any flight parameters (except wind) - If you could, the reviewer would have said so. The review seems to be focused on what you GET, not what you DON'T GET.
    Posted by: DeferredDefect on 03/21/2010
    Great review! I really like the concept for a "Basic" version. I am not willing to spend 300 dollars on an RC "game"
    Posted by: DeferredDefect on 03/21/2010
    deleted multiple post
    Posted by: DeferredDefect on 03/21/2010
    deleted multiple post
    Posted by: rattler 2day on 07/11/2010
    It says you can change wind speed and direction. I can not find these adjustments anywhere. How do I adjust these settings?
    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 07/11/2010
    On your keyboard, press "Page Up" and "Page Down" to make wind stronger or weaker and press "Home" or "End" to change direction.
    Posted by: rattler 2day on 07/11/2010
    Thanks! It works fine!
    Posted by: eriftips on 07/31/2010
    I am interested in this product but I have one question to ask? Reality do the planemaster whose graphics are well below par in my view but you can assign each control surface to each channel on the screen with this simulator thereby effectively achieving modes 3 & 4. I am told you can do the same in Realflight Basic via "The command" screen. Is this the case? I want to get to Mode 3 by buying a Mode 1 set up and swapping around the rudder and ailerons. Regards - Barry UK
    Page: 1 2 >
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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