Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series has a history of trouble with modeling supersonic flight. Often times, aircraft would just become uncontrollable and wobble to an extent that would crack the spine of any normal human being. With FS9 and FSX, however, this has been largely remedied. This now paves the way for some great jet fighters to be played in the sim. However, Microsoft never seems to add a supersonic fighter to their stock aircraft stable, so it is up to third-party developers to create some for us. Developers like X1 Software.
X1 Software’s Eurofighter 2000 for FSX and FS9 adds the titular aircraft (actually a few variations) to the two most recent versions of Microsoft’s Flight Simulators. We played it out on Microsoft’s latest offering, Flight Simulator X. After installing the add-on, we read through the instructions. There are optimum realism slider settings to achieve the proper flight modeling, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Also a good read through is the cockpit guide, but more on that later.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the world’s most aesthetically striking aircraft, with a canard design featuring foreplanes, flaperons, and leading-edge slats along the wings. All of which, and more, are included with this add-on. From the outside, the EF2000 looks incredible and just like its real-world counterpart. There is a two-seater training variant of the aircraft as well as single-seater to play with, so have fun. Especially since with the two-seater you can have someone else be in the opposing seat via LAN or IP.
From the virtual cockpit, we are treated to a very realistically placed array of displays, sliders, knobs, etc – most of which are completely functional. You are even able to fire off your wing-mounted missiles for a cool effect (they don’t really blow anything up though). X1 has even modeled a working radar system into the plane which is a treat to use. When the ATC asks you if you see a plane off your nose at some range, you can very confidently say ‘yes’, even if it is BVR thanks to that baby.
Take a look at this comparison image of the in-game and real-life cockpits of the Eurofighter:
We got the base model Eurofighter on the runway at Nellis AFB, just Northeast of Las Vegas, NV. The foreplans on the bird actually swivel when the brake is engaged just like on the actual aircraft (for a second we thought it was a modeling error before it clicked in our heads). Engaging flaps was smooth and, in fact, every animated surface on the airframe moves very fluidly and realistically. Getting clearance to take off, we moved the throttle slowly to max power and let off the brake. I can only imagine what happened to our virtual pilot that moment but I assume he needed to change his huggies after that takeoff. The amount of acceleration is incredible and you reach your T.O. roll speed almost too quickly. I am unsure how this compares to the real aircraft, but its in-game acceleration is the only thing I was skeptical about while flying around with regards to the flight model.
Racing to a cruising altitude of ten thousand feet AGL (above ground level), the Eurofighter still reacted swiftly and with great agility. I was able to get the aircraft to roughly 1,300 knots (about mach 2) which fits with the Wikipedia spec of the plane’s max speed with afterburner. Super-cruising (supersonic flight without using reheat) is possible and almost feels unreal as it is something you normally do not see in flight simulator aircraft. When making our rounds across the Nevada skies, I noticed that the plane likes to continue rolling quite a bit. I would have to apply opposite stick pressure in order to stop the roll. This inertial effect was quite cool and, even though I do not know how the real aircraft handles, it ‘felt’ realistic.
Landing in the Eurofighter is actually much easier than I thought, as the cockpit heads-up display gives important info like altitude, speed, and a neat little flight path vector indicator. Also, the foreplane braking is all I needed to stop myself once touching down, unlike many aircraft where I have to slam on the parking brake too. Just in case you run out of runway (Nellis has a very large runway), X1 Software has modeled the drogue chute on the Eurofighter as well, which should help slow you down quite a bit.
Also in this add-on are some new missions to fly with your Eurofighter as well as some new European air bases to fly in and out of. The liveries of Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Austria are represented with a few squadrons to select from each nation.
Overall, X1 Software’s Eurofighter add-on gets a big GamingShogun seal of approval (if we had one that is) for its high-grade realism and quality. Available now at various online retailers for roughly $38 dollars, the Eurofighter 2000 is a no-brainer if you are looking for a supersonic fighter in FSX or FS9.