RCU Review: Model Rectifier Corporation Reflex XTR Flight Simulator


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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: January 2007 | Views: 195795 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Mike Parsons- email me

    Model Rectifier Corporation
    80 Newfield Avenue
    Edison, NJ 08837

    Fax: 732-225-0091

    Website: www.modelrectifier.com


    Packaging
    Flight physics
    Installation
    Editing aircraft
    Features
    Price
    Manual


    Flight Simulators have become a staple in today's RC market. They are indispensable when it comes to training hobby newcomers or letting seasoned pilots practice and try maneuvers prior to taking them to the field.

    Reflex XTR Flight Simulator was developed by Reflex in Germany. Reflex has been a growing and developing product since 1992.  The newest version released from REFLEX and distributed by Model Rectifier Corporation in the States is Reflex XTR.

    Reflex XTR uses actual photo scenery and the aircraft interact with the terrain around them. This is realism at its finest.


    Minimum Requirements:

    • PC Pentium 4 1200 MHz
    • 256 MB RAM
    • 1 GB available hard disk
    • DirectX 8.1-capable 3D hardware accelerated video card with at least 32 MB video ram - AGP2x or better. Shared RAM and 3D software emulation is not supported.
    • CD drive
    • USB port
    • R/C transmitter with student or DSC socket of at least 4 channels, PPM mode. Most PCM radios can be switched to PPM mode. PCM transmitters without PPM support are not supported.
    • Operating system Windows 98/98SE/ME/2000 and XP


    Reflex XTR is packaged in a very eye catching box. The contents contain the installation CD, USB security Dongle and cable that is specific to the brand of Radio that will be used.

    In the photo to the left shows the JR cable which plugs into the Buddy Box port on the rear of my 9303.

    The version of Reflex XTR that was shipped for review was 5.02.01. There are two additional versions available at the time of this review which are 5.02.02 and 5.03.0. With each updated version release Reflex brings new features to the table. Additional sceneries, enhanced program applications and new tweaks the end user can control over aircraft are all part of the updates. And the best part about the updates is they are free and ready for download.

    The install went off without a hitch. Simply popping in the disk into the CD drive and four clicks gets through the prompts and the program installing. Once it is complete, a folder will be placed in your start up folder as well as a shortcut icon on your desktop. Double clicking on the desktop icon will start the program.

    Before taking off into the wild blue yonder a couple of things have to take place. Upon startup, a window will pop up requesting that you center all of the sticks for calibration. After this is complete, the program will be ready to run. However, you will need to assign channel inputs. This is done from the options menu. The setup will be different depending on the brand of Radio being used. This did take some trial and error to get the channels mapped correctly. If a control input is not working correctly the first try, simply open the assignment menu and change that variable.

    An HTML help menu is available from the menu system that is easy to navigate and can be printed should you want a hard copy to refer too. It is always a good idea to read through it when you have some time. But if you are like me, you want to get in the air as quick as possible.

    Whatever your pleasure, Reflex has it. From Giant Scale to indoor to slope soaring, it's there. The planes are either modeled from full scale aircraft or exact replicas of models both past and present. There really is something for everyone. Above are a few photos of the heli's and planes available. This is in no way a complete representation as there are many more than what I have shown.

    The model physics look incredible There are a few planes within the simulator that I have personally owned. Going over the physical representation of them, they are dead ringers. And why wouldn't they be, since many of them are modeled from actual photographs of the planes that they represent.

    Such attention to detail has been put into the modeling of the aircraft and how that model represents itself to the surroundings. In some planes, you can see the electronics through the translucent canopy. Also the aircrafts shadow conforms to the surrounding terrain. And the terrain interacts with the model as well, such as the suns reflection on the aircraft at the appropriate angle. And get this, as certain planes roll across the runway, the gear flex under the weight of the aircraft. This is realism at its best!

    The flight characteristics are fantastic. High winged planes self-correct and certain planes even slightly tuck in knife edge flight like most of my models before tweaking occurs. I don't get a sense of perfection or canned physics from flying the aircraft. This creates a real world feel and benefits the end user into knowing exactly what to expect from a trainer, inside foamy to Giant Scale aircraft.

    Aircraft damage is also present. The plane does not break apart, but reflects damage to the area impacted. Hit a wing and the wing appears to be crushed. While aircraft damage is not a pleasant sight, Reflex repairs the effected areas with the click of a button. I wish I had that feature in real life!

    The flying fields are modeled from actual photographs in the same manner as the aircraft. The fields are comprised of 8130x3060 panoramic images that provide a 360 degree visual and surround the user in amazing dynamic eye candy.

    Reflex XTR installs with numerous flying fields to choose from. From the 3D masters field to the Rotes Cliff which gives you full soaring ability over a beach at sunset. The scenery is truly stunning.

    But the terrains are not just appealing to look at. They also contain physical interactions that any aircraft reacts too. When the pilot steers an airplane from short grass to tall grass for example, the plane reacts and it requires more throttle to clear the rough. Even causing a nose over in some instances. Not limited to ground terrain, hit a tree or bush on final and expect the aircraft to stop in its tracks. The best example of the 3D terrain has to be the indoor facility (Sporthalle Roedinghausen). While one can expect that the walls will cause a physical reaction to the aircraft, the fact that the plane can be hovered on the second floor, flown behind support polls and dipped behind a basketball goal, really gives an unlimited realistic appearance.

    Another neat feature is sun glare. Flying your plane in to the sun creates a realistic blinding scenario. I found myself actually squinting needlessly. I had to laugh just a bit at the automatic reflex to squint.

    You can also actually fly a plane beyond the visual range. I took the Breitling Eagle to point of no return flying the Horizon as well as specking it out vertically. At a point the plane appears to disappear in the clouds as the model washes out. I have flown sims that felt like they had a ceiling limitation, but that feeling is not present with Reflex XTR.

    I wasn't quite sure whether to detail the no fly zone feature in training or scenery. As it really applies to both. The feature will train new pilots to get accustomed to not flying over the pits or behind them in general. When the aircraft reaches beyond a safe point behind the pilot, a no fly zone is represented by red lines. When the aircraft broaches this "safety shield", it causes the aircraft to reset. The only caveat to this and one that will allow the plane to continue to fly while the no fly zone is displayed, is when the plane is a certain height above that area.


    Reflex XTR provides training tools for users to learn and practice. For example the program can be set to start a plane at a desired altitude to allow for users just learning to recreate a field trainer situation where the training officer puts the plane in pattern and hands the controls over the student. For landing practice the user can duplicate the desired altitude and have the program create a landing approach that the pilot can follow to practice landings until they are perfected.

    Other training features are available such as torque training for airplanes and hover practice with helicopters. With torque training you can select as many or as little inputs you desire to perfect this maneuver. Each control point can be input one at a time until each one is perfected and progressed at the users comfort level. For a real challenge there is a training feature called promenade. This training sequence places the pilot walking around the aircraft and allows practicing hovering as the view points change.

    Heli training gives the user the same flexibility as torque training. Heli training can be taken to the next level with the ability to practice autoration. Engine failure and rotor failure can also be configured in to practice those less than ideal situations.


    Aircraft are completely customizable in Reflex. Anything can be changed from physical parameters to operational parameters. Changing the thrust engine or sound file happens with a click of the mouse. And just as easy is changing the smoke density, CG, weight and just about any other flight characteristic to get the plane flying the way you want it. The Model editor also lets you change the physical characteristics. Remove colors or adding them is a feature that is very user friendly.

    For the more adventurous and design savvy users, Reflex offers two editors so a user can create models as well as scenery. RSK (Reflex Scenery Construction) and RMK (Reflex Model Construction). The scenery construction editor offers features such as:

    • Real area profile like runway, obstacles, security areas..
    • Collision detection on pixel level
    • Material properties like grass, bushes, concrete, meadows..
    • Light definitions like direct light, indirect light, fog..
    • Shadow modification in sharpness and density
    • Light aperture effect
    • Wind profiles
    • The RMK can be used a stand alone model designer or in Sim by pressing the F12 key.

     

      

    While I was shipped 5.01 for review, I figured I would touch on the additions that 5.03 brought to the table. To download and upgrade from 5.01 to 5.03 took about 10 minutes. Remember that updates are free, so once you receive Reflex, go to the updates section and update it to the latest version. Here are the additions:

    • Display of preview images in the Model selection dialog.
    • Display of preview images in the Scenery selection dialog.
    • 4 new sceneries: AMA (Muncie), Hahnweide (Kirchheim/Teck), Mill Hill (Shoreham) und Propnuts Las Vegas.
    • 4 new models: BO105 from Graupner, Indian Spirit indoor and Indian Spirit outdoor from AEROart-Electric-Models plus PITTS SPECIAL from Robbe.


    Reflex XTR is a top of the line Simulator that is extremely feature rich. No matter what the expertise level of the user, this simulator offers something for everyone. Whether you are into fixed wing or heli aircraft Reflex XTR brings real world results to you from the comfort of your chair. If you are looking for a Simulator that breaths realism, look no further.

    The editors are there for those that would like to design their own aircraft. For those (like me) that enjoy the work others do, a great resource for downloading new scenes and aircraft is http://www.rc-sim.de/. There are countless additions to be downloaded there from some of the best designers available. While you must register to gain the ability to download Reflex XTR files, it is well worth it.


    Model Rectifier Corporation
    80 Newfield Avenue
    Edison, NJ 08837
    Phone: 732-225-2100

    Website: www.modelrectifier.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Model Rectifier Corporation Reflex XTR Flight Simulator

    Posted by: DuceNova on 05/24/2008
    I bought Reflex 5.04 for my Futaba transmitters (I bought the system with the square cable and a separate round cable). The good: It installs automatically. Aircraft and flying fields that came with it are very realistic. The bad: so far, I have been unable to access the english version of the manual and I don not read german. The main reason that I bought Reflex was to be able to input my own aircraft which so far I have not been able to do as I don not know how to input the paramaters (back to not having a manual manual). I wanted to install the program on my F drive but there was no obvious wasy to get it to go there so it's on my allready crowded C drive. MRC tries to answer my questions but (and I am quoting from the last replay I had from them) "We appreciate feedback on the products that we sell but unfortunately we only distribute the Reflex XTR. It is actually made by a company in Germany called Reflex." If I cannot get the directions in english (so I can learn how everything is done) then I am going to hopefully get my money back and buy Great Planes Real Flight G4 simulator software. Here is a link to a comparrison chart on there (which also points out that there is not manual with the program): http://www.emptynestgames.com/rc_sim_chart.html
    Posted by: Cdr.Instigator on 09/22/2009
    Is there an adapter for my Airtronics RD6000 Super? I'd like to know before I buy, if there is a way to connect my radio to play this simulator?
    Posted by: emilsanto on 01/11/2011
    This is the bext heli sim i have used
    Page: 1
    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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