By: Tom Hall
Click on image's to enlarge.
The Beachcraft Duke- a highly capable IFR turbo charged twin
engine aircraft which is capable of flying at 240kts at a service ceiling of
30000ft. With 596 aircraft built, this was a popular aircraft in it’s time. The
Duke has been produced by the RealAir Flight Simulator developers who have been
developing quality simulation since 2001. Let’s take a closer look at this
The Duke is available as an 80mb download from the RealAir website; it is also
available in a boxed format from flight1 and many other retailers.
Reasons for the aircraft been built is somewhat different. The market was lacking an aircraft like the Duke, in respect only Carenado make’s small aircraft of the same
quality, so thus giving RealAir the opportunity to make its name in the small
general aircraft market once and for all, the Duke born with over 2 years of building behind it’s making this aircraft could not fail could it.
The Duke is simple and only takes a few minutes, once installed the package
includes a configuration program allowing you to choose custom options to suite
your criteria, for example you can select the aircraft to be set up as ‘cold and
dark’ or ‘engines running’. A 37 page manual is also provided which includes the
necessary information, checklists and charts to successfully fly the Duke.
Clicking on ‘select aircraft’ on the FSX interface you will see that several new
Beachcraft Dukes have been installed with a variety of liveries.
The team at RealAir have done a fantastic job at recreating the
external model. With the inclusion of, bump mapping reflection and the smallest
of details, is nothing less than staggering. Moving inside, the detail
continues, however in comparison to other add-ons I feel that the cabin could
have been better modelled and more attention to detail. Despite that, it still
does include nice features such as folding tables and window blinds. Entering
the flight deck, you will notice that there are no 2D panels, however this is
not a criticism as the VC is a work of art the gauges are crystal clear to read
and resemble the real world counterpart. The Duke also comes with an accurately
modelled avionics panel which makes the aircraft fully IFR capable. A default
GPS has also been fitted to the panel which fits in seamlessly to the cockpit.
Users of the Reality XP GNS may use this instead, however this has to be
Let’s fly! The Duke follows a complex start procedure which can be followed
accurately in this simulation. You may also use the CTRL+E command if you wish
to quickly start the engines. It becomes apparent as soon as you taxi how well
this aircraft has been modelled and the sound effects are extremely realistic.
On the takeoff the aircraft handles accurately and has quite a slow acceleration
which is true to life. As soon as you push forward the throttles you will hear
the high-fidelity sound of the Duke, this is the only aircraft add-on that
individually models the sound of each engine and interior sounds. The aircraft
also includes backlighting for the gauges which make it good fun to fly at
night. The 3D knobs and switches also add to the realism of the VC. The systems
are modelled extremely well, such as the cabin pressure, which if a door is
opened in flight this will quickly depressurise the cabin.
Upon reaching 3000ft I levelled off the aircraft and decided to try out a few
basic manoeuvres. Firstly climbing and descending where the aircraft performed
well. I then stalled and the cockpit shuddered, I’ve never seen a flight
simulator aircraft perform so realistically in a stall, it is also possible to
adjust the shudder of the cockpit through the configuration panel. The aircraft
can also be accurately side slipped like all other RealAir products. As I took
her in for landing I extended the flaps and just like in real life the aircrafts
noise attitude is raised slightly so it is crucial that you re-trim in order to
maintain approach speed.
Sound onboard the Duke is that of a next to none felling in
your ears, brilliant the sound package onboard is somewhat real in quality. This
has to be the best sounds installed on a small aircraft alongside the Carenado
outfitter. So yes you can say it’s not to be missed.
To conclude this review, I have no hesitations in recommending
the Beechcraft Duke. It is a highly realistic simulation add-on which the team
at RealAir simulations have modelled extremely well.