This is my first official review and I will try to review this aircraft as objectively as I can.
My name is Morten and Ive been flying on flight sim for the better part of a decade, next to my job as a helicopter engineer and a helicopter pilot.
Im going to divide this review into several logical sections and finalize my conclusion in the end. NB I am type rated on the dauphin family as an engineer but not as a rotary pilot.
The AS365N3 is in the Airbus helicopters Dauphin family and is a twin engine medium helicopter powered by 2 Arriel 2C1 Engines with FADEC control and Manual emergency backup. Range is stated as 498NM with optional tanks and Vne is 150kts.
I purchased this on Simmarket.com for 25.99Eur and it can be found under Cera SimAircraft.
Purchase on simmarket is as always very easy and intuitive and gives you a download link and license key immediately upon received payment.
The download package is a single file download of only 156.8Mb
Make sure you download the correct file for your respective platform.
Currently supported are FSX with SP2, FSX SE and P3Dv2 ( I installed this in P3Dv3.4 and haven’t found any issues as of yet )
The download package contains a single install file and is very straight forward, it does give you the option of installing the aircraft outside P3D which is what Lockheed Martin recommends.
Once installed the package takes up just around 600mb total in various folders.
The package contains:
- A User guide, which contains explanations on panel layout and basic function description.
- A Normal procedures checklist which mimics the layout of original Airbus Helicopter Flight Manuals.
- A Paintkit in photoshop file format.
The Airframe looks nice from a far but close up the resolution of the textures clearly shows. And it’s refreshing that they chose the new NHV logo as opposed to the old naval flag one.
The paint scheme from the exterior side, is very average and lacks the clear lines that separates the various panels. And the resolution on various decals could be better so text can be read.
The details around the static ports are in the lower end and almost disappear in this NVH paint scheme and the floats looks very flat and boring. I do like the attention to various rivet lines on the aircraft as that is one of the characteristics about this aircraft type.
The aircraft can easily be configured between the SAR version and the PAX carrying version, unfortunately this conversion does not remove the winch, but hopefully this will be added in future versions.
The Following panels are animated:
- Steps ( from cockpit switch )
- Nose cowling
- Crew doors
- Fdw Pax doors
- Aft Sliding doors
- Engine cowlings
The cockpit looks very authentic compared to the real world aircraft, instrument layout is in the classical AH style and follows a normal instrument scan for IFR flying.
Textures in the cockpit are good and instruments are easy to read. However having tried this aircraft in VR, I will say that the resolution is not good enough for VR, once you are intimate with switch locations though it is a treat to fly.
Additionally they have left the needle of the Radio Alt off, and you only get the audio warning and the light when reaching you DH.
Cera Sim has paid much attention to the systems modelling of the 365, the usual things such as a full radio stack is modelled from the Collins Radio control heads, but for some reason they’ve decided not to model the transponder in Collins as well and you are stuck with an older system
The following systems have been represented in the model:
- Hydraulic system in, incl emergency pump, hyd cut off, Hyd Aux system and main servo test.
- Fuel system, incl fuel test, fuel transfer, and each individual fuel pump. And includes the simulation of the additional fuel tank
- Electrical system. The electrical system has been modelled very well for its level of complexity, and by that I mean that each individual electrical components have been modelled but unfortunately it does come with a few bugs such as the inverters needs to be switched on for the radios to work, in real life you will have comm 2 on the hot battery bus, to ensure that even with a complete electrical failure you have at least one radio working.
- The GPS is the standard Garmin 500 from FSX and P3D, Im not sure if it will support the Flight1 Garmin GNS 530/430 or GTN 750/650.
- A/P system ( Still officially in beta at the time of this review )
The Autopilot system has been attempted on this aircraft, the basic functions of the AFCDs system works fairly well however the aircraft doesn’t bank when turning on the autopilot.
The BIT test of the Autopilot lanes has also been simulated which is a very cool feature. The following modes have been included in the AP system
The Autopilot generally works ok but it is having a very hard time intercepting LOC and VOR, while the Autopilot on the real aircraft is notoriously bad, this is a little over the top. Hopefully this is one of the items being addressed in future updates.
Flying the Dauphin
Following the checklist will get you going in no time, and one of the things that signify the Dauphin family is the ease of start up. The aircraft is equipped with dual FADECS which will monitor the start up for you. If you have a Fadec failure, there is a manual backup with the yellow handles in the ceiling.
The start up speed is very fast on the engines and super fast on the main rotor, I would be commendable if Cera sim adjusted this in the future. Normal startup speed would be around 60-70 sec per engine from off to FLT.
With the aircraft up and running, increase the collective slightly and apply forward cyclic to start moving, turning the aircraft is done with either pedals or a light tap on the brakes. I prefer to use both depending on the turn ahead.
Turning the aircraft you will notice from the exterior view that the nose wheel does not turn, which they will hopefully address as well.
Lining up on the runway increase the collective and lift it in to a IGE hover. Lifting up into the hover you will notice that there hardly is any need to apply right pedal, or any pedal in fact. This is due to the auto rudder trim which cera sim has put on as default, I haven’t come across a way to disable it as of yet. While it makes it easier to fly it is hardly realistic and I would like to see it as an option either upon installation or from the animation panel.
Lower the nose 3-5 degrees and pick up speed, and counteract the slight drop in altitude by adding in a little collective. Once around 50-55kts reduce the forward pressure on the cyclic and climb away while still increasing your speed.
The aircraft hand flies well and feels as a Dauphin should.
Coming into land the aircraft feels as slippery as a dauphin as you lower the collective make sure you put a slight back pressure on the cyclic to bleed the speed off on a nice smooth descent.
I cannot fault the flight model, as we all know helicopters in FSX and P3D has great room for improvement and as such its hard to really get an in depth feel for the characteristics.
The Sound package included in the addon is fairly good, I miss the low tone in the engine startup when it changes from the idle area to the flight regime, but the sound is believable and gives a good ambiance in the aircraft.
Most people would think that it is missing the houling noice which is signatory to the older N2 versions with the 11 blade tail rotor, but the new 10 blade tail rotor is much quieter and easier to maintain.
Pros : Great attention to system details, easy mission equipment change, Auto pilot, Flight model, price, zero impact on FPS and very light on VAS usage.
Cons : Missing animations ( nosewheel turning ), Mission equipment change ( cant remove Winch ), only 5 paint schemes. Autopilot bugs, No banking on AP turns, low resolution textures
So should you run out and buy this Add on ? Yes, if you enjoy helicopter flying and would like to do some long mission legs without hand flying for a long duration. The Aircraft is a very good representation of the dauphin and once the few bugs and kinks have been sorted out then this will be a great aircraft for any helicopter operation. And for just under €26 it is certainly worth the money.
Thank you for reading
Cera Simaircraft Aérospatiale AS365 Dauphin€ + local tax25,99
Value for money9/10
- Great attention to system details
- easy missions equipment change
- Auto pilot
- Flight model
- Zero impact on FPS, light on VAS
- Missing animations
- Cannot remove winch
- only 5 paint schemes
- Autopilot bugs
- low resolution textures