The Microjet comes of age.
One of the
latest buzz words in the aviation industry is VLJ or
Very Light Jet. This refers to a small jet
aircraft approved for single pilot operation that is
generally under 10,000lb (4,540Kg) in weight and only
requires 3,000ft (900m) of runway to operate.
are stated to provide twice the cruise speed (around 350
kt) and twice the cruise altitude (41,000 ft) of their
piston-powered brethren. VLJ
incorporates the very latest avionics, it has a
two-spool engine with around 950 lbf of thrust each, controlled by a dual FADEC (Full
Authority Digital Engine Control) to increase response
and fuel efficiency and provide protection to the
engine, all while reducing pilot workload with a truly
advanced glass cockpit.
players with aircraft to offer are Eclipse, Cessna and
Hondajet, we can also expect models from Diamond,
Embraer, Diamond and Spectrum shortly.
only natural for flight sim enthusiasts to want to get a
slice of the action. One of the latest offerings is
from Just Flight called, quite simply, VLJ Business jet.
PICTURE FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
Down to Business.
Business Jet is the latest in what is becoming an
impressive line up of offerings from Just Flight and
their development partner CLS's joint venture in the F-Lite
range. The F-Lite range is designed for simmers who just
want to get on with it, plenty of features and good
looks included but less demanding than complex
The ground crew refuel, here we can see the
package comprises of versions for FS 2004 and FSX,
included is a detailed installation and key command guide, an
easy to follow tutorial and paint kit templates for experienced
re-painters. Not bad for
£16.99 GBP for either download or dvd version. (Don't forget those
reward points if purchasing from JF!)
office, here in the glass cockpit we get two main displays, the primary
Flight Display (PFD) with a duplicated captain and first
Officer version, here you will find NAV 1/2 and GPS
navigation. A fully functional attitude indicator with
rolling numbers also showing Indicated Air Speed (IAS),
Altitude and turn trend indictors amongst others.
Multi-Function Display (MFD) is one of the best I've
seen on this type of aircraft, it hosts a multitude of other
features namely the G500 GPS, Comms, flight plan,
excellent radar TCAS
system, miniature PFD, engine systems, fuel usage. You
get the idea, not all the information is on the screen
at the same time, you only need to display what you
require at that point in your flight. The flight
planning takes it's details, SID & STARS etc from
the flight planner within flight simulator so you should
be very familiar with this. Thankfully the
supplied tutorial takes you through
a flight that uses a lot of these features so you soon
get accustomed to them.
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
uncluttered 3d cockpit.
with the other panels shown.
the usual shortcuts to the other flight controls and
panels that produce a pop up window. These show auto pilot
controls, lower panel, engine ECU etc and a larger version of the PFD
and MFD gauges, my only wish would be that these PFD &
MFD screens would
enlarge/shrink by mouse click on the gauge rather than
by searching for the short cut as with my eyesight I found
it difficult to see what I was setting. With these
expanded views, things like the standby radio & nav
frequencies and VSI settings were perfectly clear.
FSX version you do get far more choice of preset cockpit
views. The 2d panel was clearer to use when setting
the auto pilot but the 3d cockpit gave more presence to
the manual flying aspect. The range of internal 3d views
cycles through virtual Cockpit left and right seat, left
and right wing view, centre pedestal (Although they call
it Center Pedistal!) there's even a laptop cabin view
and there's nothing to stop you moving around the
cockpit to a passenger seat.
certainly does! The power to weight ratio is phenomenal,
even fully loaded with passengers and fuel at a high
altitude runway you will really need to de-rate the take
off thrust to about 75% otherwise you're going to need a
G suit as you will be climbing like a fighter!
Even when you de-rate, when you lift off the toe
brakes be prepared to be pushed back in your seat, the
VC head latency effect really kicks in! All
this power is actually very useful, it means you can get
up to the airways with the minimum of fuss.
auto pilot calling the shots the aircraft feels very
smooth and comfortable in it's operation without excessive
over compensation on turns and altitude changes.
top cruise speed of M.67 your going to be up there with
the big boys (737's and the like), any destination
within 1400 nm you going to want to take this baby
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
off, pitch 10%
Manoeuvrability is the game.
Up where I
about those finishing touches? The small
VLJ is well endowed in this department, there is
an impressive line up of features that you would
normally expect from payware aircraft twice the price,
pushback tractor, fuel truck, nose wheel chocks and
plenty of animations too including moving windscreen
wipers, opening engines and wing tips in maintenance
mode, you will even get a hostess and red carpet to
welcome you aboard
the FSX and FS2004
versions of the aircraft, there are 13
different liveries available in both VC and non VC
version. There's nothing to stop you creating your
own custom design with the paint kit supplied and a
little repainting knowledge.
PICTURES FOR FULL SIZE VIEW
Ready for push
would say the exterior details from the pre-set aircraft
views are very good and I am very picky in this
department, the shape is good, you get dynamic shine and
see-through windows that you can view pilot animation
There is an opening passenger door, spinning engine fans
and wheel compression when the aircraft is on the
ground, nice touch.
you have it, the VLJ, often referred to as a SUV with
wings, quite rightly so, the millionaires play toy
available for a fraction of the price. Hopefully
my review will help to dispel some of the
myths of VLJ and make you want to explore this very exciting
aircraft. There's something for everyone, advanced
avionics, performance, single pilot operation and fun!
Go get it!
Mutley's slide show, click on the images for a
full size view.
Fully modelled controls.
Spooling up, ready for off.
||The office 2d
Larger view of the PFD...
...and the MFD
Push back truck is included.
Overhead the airport.
Heading for high altitude airways
Always have your laptop with you
My review machine
MSI Intel 975X
PCI Express Motherboard
Intel E6600 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo
4x 512Mb DDR2 667Mhz PC5400
Nvidia 7900GTX 512Mb DDR3 PCI-E
Windows XP Pro SP2
FSX with Photoscenery Fix
VLJ Product page
CLS Web site