Just Flight Fokker F27-100/200/300 Friendship – a Dutch success story
In May 2015 Just Flight released another fine classic airliner, the turbo prop Fokker F27. A nice variety in a time where most major studios just attend the modern airliners of our time.
The Fokker F27 “Friendship” was developed by leading Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker as a replacement for the ageing DC-3s and had its first flight back in 1955. It was driven by two Rolls-Royce Dart Mk 528 turbo prop engines and could accommodate 44 passengers in the initial -100 version. In 1956 a deal was signed which allowed Fairchild to license build the F27 as the Fairchild F-27 in the United States.
The Fokker F27 proved very successful on the international market, which resulted in a total number of 586 Fokker F27s and 206 Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild-Hiller FH-227 built till 1987, when the production line was closed in favor of the new Fokker F50. Several dozen F27s are still in service worldwide today.
The Just Flight add-on depicts the Fokker F27-100, -200 and -300 series. The -200 and -300 series were equipped with the more powerful Dart Mk 532 engine with the -200 being externally identical to the -100. The F27-300 was a combi version with a large cargo door at the front which was also evolved into the Fokker F27-300M “Troopship”, a medium transport aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
As the Fairchild F-27, F-27A and F-27B are almost identical to the original Fokkers, this add-on offers a lot of diversity for sim-flyers on all 5 continents.
The Fokker is available as a download version and comes together with a detailed manual including a tutorial flight. A paint kit in layered PSD format is available for download on the Just Flight support forum. Even though the paint kit is not as easy to use as those by other developers, the Fokker F27 has received great attention by the repainter community with many repaints being available on the common file libraries. No less than 12 liveries are already included in the add-on.
The Friendship is fully compatible with FSX, FSX Steam Edition and P3D v2.x and the installation works fine. You will need a total of 1.2GB disk space for the complete installation.
In the sim
Looking at the outside model of the Fokker, one can only say that Aeroplane Heaven did a great job here. The aircraft is well detailed and the textures with their bump and spec maps are up to the top standards of today. The virtual cockpit looks a bit too graphical for my personal liking, Razbam or Milviz are a little ahead with their cockpit designs in this field.
The cockpit comes with all relevant systems functional and all switches and knobs are easily reachable from the pilot’s seat. On social media I was often asked “how are the systems?”, my standard answer being “what systems?” No, Just Flight or Aeroplane Heaven respectively did not chose the easy way here, the Fokkers simply had hardly any systems as we know them from modern day Airbus or Boeing airliners. The only major system being the autopilot which proved to pose a little challenge to new users of this aircraft. It only has very basic functionality, such as HDG HOLD, NAV, ALT HOLD or Glideslope. But do not expect them to work like in your well known 737 NGX. For the lateral control the aircraft has to be pointed in the approximate heading you want to fly, before the autopilot is engaged, otherwise it might result in very sharp turns. Altitude hold only roughly holds the desired altitude, in fact your Fokker will be in a shallow descend at roughly -50 feet per minute. This is not a bug, former Fokker technicians confirmed on a forum that this was an actual behavior of the real thing. No wonder that most airlines did not permit to use the autopilot below 5000 feet or that many Fokkers and Fairchilds even flew with their autopilot units being completely removed. Long story short – yes it has an autopilot, but most of the flight will be actual hand flying by the pilot.
The F27 does not feature anything like GPS, INS or even a FMC. Navigation has to be performed the traditional way by tracking VORs and NDBs with the use of RMI and HSI. On all my flights this worked nicely without any flaws. Be aware however, that the NAV mode of the autopilot can only track VORs and not NDBs.
The flight model was tested by several former F27 pilots, though most add-ons state this, the Just Flight Fokker F27 feels like I would expect such a plane to behave in reality. The handling is pretty straight forward and should pose no problem to less experienced simmers.
One of the biggest highlights of this add-on certainly is Aaron Swindle’s formidable sound suite. The whine of the Rolls-Royce Dart engines is no less than amazing and the sound alone is a reason to buy this aircraft. After starting the engines for the first time, seeing the puffs of smoke coming from the exhaust and the whine of the revving up Dart engine getting louder and more intense, you will fall in love with this bird – promised!
A nice feature that Aeroplane Heaven included are the ground vehicles. Three switches in the cockpit are used to attach chocks, airstairs, APU and baggage carts to the aircraft. One is thus largely independent from third party add-ons like AES or GSX. I tested the F27 together with GSX though and it works fine. Only the conveyor belts look largely oversized given the dimensions of this plane.
Though nicely detailed and using 4096px texture sets, the Fokker F27 is very easy on the framerates. Even with heavy ai traffic and at major airports I never had a notable drop of fps. Out-of-Memory was not an issue either, even when flying from one heavy scenery to another.
This is not the typical modern “set autopilot and forget” plane, the Fokker wants to be flown by the pilot. If you know how to set up a flight plan, navigate by means of classical navaids, calculate your descend yourself and if you are willing to keep your hands on the controls during the whole flight (or most of it), then this add-on is a must have. The Fokker looks great, feels great in the air and sounds great. What could one whish more for? Thanks to the large amount of repaints available, every simmer should find a suitable airline for the route he wants to fly.
Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7 CPU 4790k @ 4.6 GHz
Memory (RAM): 16 GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
System type: 64-bit operating system
Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium
Primary monitor resolution: 1920×1080