Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A Review
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'Electra' Model 10A
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Just Flight
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
December 2015

Introduction

Lockheed needs no introduction, having been one of the iconic commercial and military aircraft. The Model 10 'Electra' competed against the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2 in the commercial airline market, was popular as a private aircraft with royalty and the rich and famous, and also saw service in the military. Most famously, it was a highly modified Model 10 'Electra', the Model 10E which was flown by Amelia Earhart on her ill-fated around the world expedition in 1937.

Just Flight have published a wide range of aircraft over the years and provided the flight simulator community with great choice and enjoyment in the pursuit of our hobby, and sometimes obsession for some. The Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A was developed by Aeroplane Heaven, an aircraft developer who also needs no introduction. So, let's take a look at this wonderful classic aircraft.

History

The Lockheed Model 10 'Electra' is a twin engine, all metal monoplane airliner and it was Lockheed's first all metal and twin engine design. It is powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney R-985 'Wasp Junior SB' radial engines, producing 450 hp (340 kW) each. The Model 10 'Electra' has seating for 10 passengers and was used for passenger, cargo, and military purposes.

The prototype made its first flight on February 23, 1934 and after October 1934, when the US government banned single engine aircraft for use in carrying passengers or in night flying, Lockheed was perfectly placed in the market with the new Model 10 'Electra'. With a production run across four main variants and limited experimental and proposed variants, a total of 149 aircraft were produced.

Availability and Installation

The Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is currently available direct from Just Flight as a 'download only' product. It is priced at £14.99, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 307MB and it requires 1GB of HDD space for installation. During installation you are required to log in to your Just Flight account to validate the installation and the installation process is intuitive and seamless.

Model Features

The model features listed by Just Flight for the 'Electra' Model 10A include:
        • built over the most accurate plans available;
        • authentic animations include realistic flap and aileron operation, gear retraction, and opening passenger door and boarding steps;
        • Art Deco interior visible on the exterior model;
        • animated and skinned pilots react to throttle and flight control movements;
        • rivets, dents, and modelled panel mismatches bring out the subtle nuances of the Art Deco style construction and finish;
        • detailed radial engines with vibrating exhausts;
        • two distinct models with metallic or matte finishes;
        • authentic radial sound pack;
        • high fidelity interior virtual cockpit with many unique animations and functions;
        • all instrumentation, switches and controls are modelled in 3D;
        • 13 authentic liveries;
        • easy-to-use pro quality paint kit (201MB) available; and
        • easy-to-use Collins-based radio stack.

Visual Appearance

General. The visual modelling of the 'Electra' Model 10A is excellent and is a wonderful representation of this aircraft.

Exterior. The exterior modelling captures the distinctive beauty of this gorgeous aircraft and the high definition textures definitely bring it to life. Such is the quality of the textures and detail, you can virtually see imperfections in the smoothness of various fuselage panels and the finish on the various liveries display effects to portray reasonably real and lifelike representations of this aircraft.


General View


Nose View


Pratt & Whitney R-985 'Wasp Junior SB'


Side View

Interior. The interior is modelled on a standard passenger configuration for the variant with a 10 seat configuration arrangement and representing the typical Art Deco style of the period. The quality of the textures display a reasonable representation of the aircraft's interior and include scratches and evidence of wear and tear to give the cockpit a less than pristine appearance. No internal cabin views are provided.


Cockpit

Flight Instruments and Systems. The cockpit of the 'Electra' Model 10A is typical of the aircraft and reasonably reflective of the era. The cockpit represents the typical layout for the 'Electra' and the standard analogue flight instruments are typical of the model range and consistent with an aircraft of this category and age, albeit they are supplemented with some more modern instrumentation and a Collins radio stack. All elements of the cockpit are nicely detailed, and are clear and easy to read, with various alternative cockpit camera views available to provide more detailed clarity.


Pilot Position


View from the Copilot's Seat


View from the Copilot's Seat


Throttle Quadrant

Models and Liveries. The Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is provided in a single model with 13 individual liveries (a selection only shown below). A paint kit for aircraft painting enthusiasts is available from the Just Flight web site. The liveries display quality consistent with the rest of the model with surface textures, reflections, and shadings giving the aircraft a reasonably realistic appearance. 


Casablanca


Mid-Continent Airlines


Romanian Air Force


Union Airways

Animations, Lighting and Sounds

The typical range of animations for the primary and secondary control surfaces and other moving elements on the 'Electra' Model 10A are modelled and include:
        • primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator, and rudder;
        • secondary control surfaces – flaps; and
        • others – retractable gear, rolling wheels, elevator trim tab, cockpit window open / close, cabin door and boarding steps.


Cabin Door & Boarding Steps

The lighting and lighting effects, and sounds on the 'Electra' Model 10A are good and are representative of the real world aircraft. The engine sounds in the Virtual Cockpit View, particularly, produce a throaty reverberating sound consistent with what you would expect from the Pratt and Whitney R-985 'Wasp Junior SB' radial engines.


Cockpit Lighting


Landing & Taxi Lights

Flight Performance

During flight testing, the Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A was easy to taxi, aircraft rotation occurred at approximately 70 kts, and the climb out was consistent with the expected performance for the aircraft.


Landing Gear Retracting


Climbing to Cruise

The 'Electra' Model 10A can be a bit of a handful at times, particularly at lower speeds, and care must be taken. However, once established at cruise, and trimmed accordingly, the aircraft handles very nicely indeed. A point to note though, this is a hands on flying aircraft, so forget about your fancy, full control autopilot and GPS navigation here.

Configured for landing, with full flaps (40°), and trimmed for a descent rate of approximately 500 ft/min, the aircraft’s approach speed was approximately 80 kts and it touched down at approximately 70 kts, with a landing roll out comparable with the specifications for the aircraft.


Beautiful Lines


On Final Approach

The 'Electra' Model 10A is a reasonably large aircraft, and whilst it is responsive, you do get the sense of the aircraft wallowing around during turns. Nonetheless, the aircraft handles beautifully and is a delight to fly. Overall, the aircraft model displays a reasonably accurate rendition of the expected flight characteristics and performance of the real world aircraft.

 Documentation

A 25 page manual is provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the 'Electra' Model 10A and it provides all the basic information necessary to familiarise yourself with, and operate the aircraft.

The Disappointment

I will start this by simply saying, Aeroplane Heaven! Their company motto is, "You're virtually there", and that is exactly how I felt about the 'Electra' Model 10A, virtually there, but not quite.

Aeroplane Heaven have "...been developing software for flight simulation for 14 years...", and yet, they are still getting some of the absolute fundamental elements blatantly wrong. This begs serious questions about quality control and the alpha / beta testing regime they employ. After having, "...produced nearly 60 different commercial releases...", as a flight simulator enthusiast, you expect a developer with this production experience to get the fundamentals correct. Whilst I credit them with producing a model which is visually aesthetic and of a reasonable quality, it is another example of the disappointing quality in other areas which we have somewhat come to expect from products developed by Aeroplane Heaven.

To my point above, two major service packs have been issued for this aircraft since its release in early September 2015 and whilst they correct major issues with propeller pitch inversion, instrumentation, and lighting, including taxi lights, some problems still exist. Of particular note, and from everything I could research, the operation and throttle quadrant labelling for the fuel mixture control lever, appears inverted. Additionally, the engine sounds when viewing the aircraft from the Outside View were so subtle to the point of nearly being non-existent, and certainly not what you would expect for a pair of radial engines.

Value for Money

On a value for money assessment, the Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is considered good. The identified quality issues impact this assessment, even though some of them have been addressed in service packs.

Simulator Performance

The aircraft model performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I have most of my settings set very high and there was no need to make any adjustments. There was no discernible frame rate impact directly attributable to the Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A and FSX continued to perform smoothly.

Technical Requirements

This version of the Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is for FSX / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
         • Windows XP (with SP3 installed), Vista, or Windows 7 (32 or 64bit);
         • Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX (Acceleration, Gold, Steam Edition, or Service Pack 2) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3D Flight Simulator
            (v1/v2/v3); and
         • 2GHz or any Dual Core CPU or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and 1GB available HDD space.

Review Computer Specifications

The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
        • Intel i7 990X Extreme 3.46GHz;
        • NVidia GTX980 G1 Gaming, 4GB, 1228/1329MHz;
        • 12GB, Kingston DDR3, 2000MHz, XMP T1 CL9 HyperX;
        • Windows 7, (64bit);
        • Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
        • additional major add-ons include: Active Sky Next, REX Essential Plus Overdrive; Ultimate Traffic 2; Orbx FTX Global BASE;
           Orbx FTX Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC EU; Orbx FTX Global openLC Alaska/Canada; Orbx FTX Trees HD; Orbx FTX region series;
           and Orbx FTX airport series.

Conclusion

Even with the identified shortcomings, the Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is still a beautiful aircraft. Whilst the apparent production quality control issues produce (the somewhat expected) disappointing results, some of these have been addressed in the issued service packs and hopefully further fixes will be issued.

The ease of handling and the overall performance characteristics of the 'Electra' Model 10A make this classic aircraft a pleasure to fly and one which will provide hours of enjoyable flying for enthusiasts of classic aircraft.


A Lockheed Classic

Verdict

A good product which displays a very good level of visual quality and detail and represents good overall value for money.

Pros:
High quality textures detail.
Very good documentation.
Good value for money.

Cons:
Engine sounds in the Outside View are virtually non-existent.
Incorrect (apparent) fuel mixture control operation.

Scores:
   ● External Model: 9.0/10
   ● Internal Model: 8.5/10
   ● Sounds: 8.5/10
   ● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers): 9.0/10
   ● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like): 9.0/10
   ● Documentation: 9.5/10
   ● Value for Money: 8.5/10

The Just Flight 'Electra' Model 10A is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 8.9/10, with an "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.

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