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Morane Saulnier MS893A for X-Plane Quirky looking but a great little flyer Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Stevo 

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 07:50 AM

Morane Saulnier MS893A Rallye from from those Gallic X-Plane afficionados at XPFR. It's for 8.60 but I found it worked perfectly on 9.50b2.

This is a model of a real aircraft first designed in the late '50s and developed over a period of about 15-20 years. Read up on their history at wikipedia. This aircraft, F-BOTB, is used for towing gliders around Limoges in France. Here's a shot of the real thing at Airliners.net.

And here's our model.
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Preflight
The visual model is very well done although I think the canopy is slightly out of shape. It appears too high and the front windshield doesn't appear to be raked enough. It also seems a little shorter than the real thing, particularly forward of the cockpit. I think this makes it look a little more quirky than it might do in real life. The attention to detail is excellent for a freeware model. Check out these internal textures when you lower the flaps. This model has fairings around the two mainwheels whereas the actual aircraft doesn't.
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Slip inside the cockpit and you notice it's at the higher end of freeware quality. Again, the proportions seem slightly out, this time perhaps a little too narrow, but the detail is great. Love the wear marks around the electrical switches. The cockpit canopy is opened and closed by clicking on the locking handle and is nicely animated. The edges of the aircraft object are finished nicely. On many models the window frame is just a block but a nice frame texture is included here. The panel itself has a nice, bumpy fibreglass look. The ASI is in kilometres per hour (km/h) rather than knots which might take some getting used to. Also there's no manifold pressure, something I rely on when flying complex aircraft (variable pitch prop) like this one. I haven't identified what the instrument below the clock is on the right hand side yet though. It might be MP in metric? The external visibility is excellent.
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Start-up
Starting up is pretty normal but you'll need to guess at the switches (unless you find the handy key diagram in the aircraft directory!). Custom sounds are included and they are excellent. I think I'll copy them across to some of my other aircraft. They have a nice throaty tone and you can hear the odd rattle as you sit at idle.

Taxi
Taxiing is nice and steady. If you turn the nosewheel too far you tend to come to a stop though. It has an odd nosewheel that leans from side to side rather than turning around an axis. It rolls along nicely without too much power once you get going and I found that using prop pitch was quite handy at controlling speed around corners and before coming to a stop. Note how the pilot model turns his head in the direction of yaw. You don't see that every day on freeware.
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Take-off
The Type Certificate Data Sheet and a pdf checklist are included in the package. The checklist is in French but you should be able to work it out easy enough. Rotation should be around 90km/h with one notch of flap. All set, let's go. Yep, came unstuck at 90 after what seemed like a very short roll and climbed out at about 110km/h. Flap up at 300'AGL.
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Cruise
Very quick to get into a nice stable cruise of about 220km/h with not much fiddling with the trim wheel. This is an aircraft you can fly without looking constantly at the instruments. Keep the nose on the horizon in turns and keep an ear out for changes in pitch in the engine noise and you'll maintain straight and level easy enough. I used about a 60% throttle setting and 2350 prop RPM, leaned slightly at 1,500'.

I use Sandy Barbour's Pilot View plugin. It works particularly well with this aircraft and gives it a nice realistic feel as you buffet around and quite a realistic panel vibration too.
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Landing
Let's have a look at that checklist… 2000RPM, first notch of flaps at <140km/h, then back up to 2200RPM. Tried that but I had to drop to 1800RPM to slow down enough. 2nd notch of flaps gives a big kick of lift so be ready for it.
The rest of the approach was done at about 1600RPM, -300fpm and 105km/h. It was rock solid and quite easily the most stable aircraft I've landed in X-Plane so far. On the piano keys every time! (I fly real world weather all the time and the flight conditions were pretty good. Haven't experienced a crosswind yet in this aircraft)
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Conclusion
As payware I would have scored this aircraft a solid 3/5 and would have been satisfied had I paid about $10-12. As freeware, it is hard to give this anything less than 4/5. It might not have a perfect visual model but it is good if you like light GA singles. The sound and the flight characteristics make this one of the most enjoyable aircraft I've flown in X-Plane. Highly recommended for a trainer and introduction to variable speed prop, or for a spot of sightseeing around your favourite scenery package.

For the jet freaks I also recommend their Alpha Jet - stunning freeware. I'll definitely be paying XPFR's download page another visit.

Merci bien les gars! :thumbup:



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