"...I am very happy I bought the PAOB Fokker 50. It is visually impressive, and very fun to fly. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to fly turboprops. With the ISG gauge package (sold by another developer), this is a well rounded turboprop offering that will provide hours of enjoyment."
The Precision Aerobus Fokker 50 (FS9 and FSX):
I belong to Scandinavian Virtual Airline, and one of my favorite planes to fly for this VA is the Fokker 50. I used to use the Dreamwings model with the Espen Fokker 50 panel, made for FS2002 and FS2004. This was an acceptable alternative, and the panel was fairly advanced for its time. However, it had several disadvantages. The gauges were somewhat distorted in FS9, and using the night lighting on the panel caused it to crash. I therefore began looking for a payware alternative.
I found the Precision Aerobus Fokker 50, but initially, the price held me back. The FS9 version is $37 US dollars, and the FSX version is $43 US dollars. They only come with a few liveries, and to get a livery package that contained the ones I wanted (SAS), you had to pay an additional $20 for each version of the aircraft. I never did find another payware model of this great aircraft, so I decided to take the plunge and purchase the PAOB Fokker 50. I initially bought the FS9 version, and was not disappointed.
The outside of the aircraft is magnificent, with very high quality paint job, that reflects light very well. The glass is reflective, and really looks like glass. The parts, such as bay doors, were very detailed. However, there are two things about the FS9 version I did not like. This aircraft has wing flex, and the outside wing lights seemed to float in the air, not attached to the end of the wings. The developer said that is because the wing flex effect does not allow the lights to be attached visually in FS9. This is not the case in FSX. The lights were properly situated. Also, in FS9, there is no pilot or first officer in the cockpit. They are there in FSX. It just looks weird in FS9 not seeing anyone in the cockpit.
One of the things I really liked in both versions is that the propeller action is quite realistic. In most payware turboprop models, the propellers seem to start a fast spin almost as soon as you start the engines, and when you cut the engines, the propellers stop very quickly. Not so in the PAOB Fokker 50. The propellers spin slowly for several seconds before spinning faster, and when you cut the engines, the propellers slow gradually, just like I have seen in videos of the real aircraft.
The 2D panel is an upgraded version of the old Espen Fokker 50 panel project. The graphics have been improved, and all of the gauges and switches are easy to read. Almost all of the switches work. This aircraft does not come with an FMS, so I recommend the ISG Integrated Simavionics package (http://www.isgsim.com). They have a modified panel.cfg file on their site, that integrates the ISG gauges and FMS into the PAOB Fokker 50, giving it modern navigational ability that can be upgraded with Navigraph. This, of course, adds cost to the package, but it is well worth it.
The Virtual cockpit graphics are also easy to read, though not quite as detailed as some developers, such as Captain Sim products. However, the VC is very acceptable and most of the switches are clickable and functional. It is quite possible to fly this aircraft in the VC only, though I could not use the ISG gauges mentioned above in the VC, so that required me to jump between the 2D and VC panels to manage that.
One of the really cool things about this panel is the first officer voice. You can either access a readable checklist from the panel, or you can simply press the spacebar, and the first officer reads off the checklist, one item per push of the spacebar. Quite realistic. Not all items on the checklist are simulated in the PAOB Fokker 50, but they identify which ones aren’t in the tutorial flight manual. Speaking of manuals, they provide a very comprehensive pilot’s manual, that explains all of the systems and functions of this great aircraft.
The sound package contains the checklist and call out voice described above, and also includes a very realistic sound package of the engine and panel sounds. The developer says these sounds were recorded from the real aircraft. They are quite good, though the outside engine sound is a little soft. I had to increase the sound volume from MSFS to almost 90% to get the outside engine sound to where it seemed realistic. This could be improved, thought the sound did sound as accurate as described by the developer.
The flight dynamics on this aircraft are excellent. The developer says they are accurate and built from real aircraft data. I found the aircraft a joy to hand fly, and did several visual approaches and landings very smoothly. In fact, it was so enjoyable to hand fly that I rarely used instrument approaches, though it simulates those well also.
PAOB’s support is top notch. Gordon, one of the developers, answered each and every question I emailed to him in a timely manner, and was very helpful and friendly. Some developers could learn from this! Hint, Hint!
What I liked:
Visual quality, flight dynamics, sound packages, depth of the system simulation.
Despite the price, I am very happy I bought the PAOB Fokker 50. It is visually impressive, and very fun to fly. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to fly turboprops. With the ISG gauge package (sold by another developer), this is a well rounded turboprop offering that will provide hours of enjoyment.
Scandinavian Virtual Airlines SAS905