Orbx Victa Airtourer
[Reviewed By: Mike Cameron] The information below was gathered from the product page, the User Guide and the Orbx Victa Airtourer Pilots Operating Handbook. The Victa Airtourer was an award winning design in the 1953 Royal Aircraft Club light aircraft competition. Designed by Henry Millicer, the all wood prototype was built during the late 1950’s in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown and the first flight was in 1959 registered as VH-FMM. While demonstrating this aircraft at flying clubs and schools, great interest was generated in the prototype that ultimately attracted interest of Mervyn Victor Richardson, Chairman of Victa Ltd. This company was better known for manufacturing lawn mowers, Victa agreed to put the Airtourer into production as long as it could be manufactured as an all metal aircraft. This first all metal prototype was powered by a 100hp engine, first flew on 12th December 1961 and had a registration of VH-MVA. In 1962 it became the first Australian light aircraft to be given type approval. Production of Airtourer 100 and the more powerful 115 began in June, 1962 and became an immediate success with around 168 being built.
Unfortunately, this success was also noticed by the United States where manufacturers started cutting prices of their imported aircraft. Victa Ltd applied and failed for protection from the Australian Government against this tactic and in 1966, production ceased with tooling and rights for the Airtourer design being sold to the New Zealand Company, Aero Engine Services Ltd (AESL). AESL continued development of the Airtourer and by the time they ceased production in 1971, another 80 aircraft in a number of variants including the original Victa 100 & 115, as well as the AESL Model 150 with fixed and constant speed propeller options. The total amount of aircraft manufactured was 250 in both civilian and military variants. Despite its sometimes problematic production history, the Airtourer remains a popular training and touring aircraft. The +6 to -3 G-force limits and endurance of this aircraft makes it a very versatile training, aerobatic and touring aircraft. The model that Orbx has based this product on is the 160hp Airtourer VH-ECI that is owned and operated by the Lilydale Flying School which is located at Lilydale Airport, Victoria Australia. Orbx has recreated the real world aircraft’s systems, avionics &layout and paint scheme. Besides this aircraft, Orbx has also included other exterior paint jobs for the simulator enthusiast to enjoy.
Specifications & Performance
General Description: Low wing monoplane with fixed tricycle landing gear, single engine with constant speed propeller and two seats.
Engine & Propeller: Four cylinders Textron Lycoming 0-320 engine rated at 160 BHP. The propeller is a Hartzell two blade constant speed propeller.
Seating Capacity: Two
Length: 22 feet
Height: 7 feet
Wing Span: 26 feet
Total Fuel Capacity: 29 Imperial Gallons
Usable Fuel Capacity: 28.7 Imperial Gallons
Maximum Takeoff Weight (Normal Category): 1900 pounds
Maximum Aerobatic Weight: 1800 pounds
Maximum Baggage Weight: 100 pounds
Takeoff Flap Setting: 8 degrees (two notches)
Maximum Flap Setting (Landing): 15 degrees
Normal Cruise: 120 KIAS
Maximum Range Speed: 110 KIAS
Maximum Endurance Speed: 95 KIAS
Fuel Consumption: 22.7 to 51.2 Liters per Hour
If you have installed other Orbx products purchased from the FlightSimStore, the installation procedure will be similar. After purchase you will be emailed a download link to your FSS account along with your Order Date, Order Number and a Registration Key. Unpack and run the FSS “Wrapper”, select Online Activation, enter your registration details from the email and “Next” to unpack the setup file. Read the important information, agree to the License Agreement then select the simulator that you would like the Victa Airtourer installed to. This aircraft includes a triple installer with FSX, P3Dv1 and P3Dv2 options without having to purchase a separate license if you own both FSX and P3D. Just before I started this review, I had a major system crash (my power supply failed along with the motherboard and my installed hard drives), so I am in the long process of reinstalling all of my important flight simulator add-on products. I decided that this would be a good time to purchase and install FSX Steam Edition. I am still not ready to try Prepar3D, maybe after the P3D updates settle down.
Because I did not have FSX installed, I selected FSX and the setup program automatically found the location of my FSX Steam Edition. After verifying that the install details are correct, select “Next” to install the Victa Airtourer on to your hard drive and “Finish” to complete the installation. Orbx knows how to create documentation for their aircraft, two documents are included, first there is a full color User Manual that provides details on the aircraft instrumentation and a basic flying guide. The second document is the more detailed Pilot’s Operating Handbook that provides even more detail about the Airtourer systems and operation. These are also available on the product page to download before purchase which is a wonderful customer service feature that lets potential customers read and decide if this is the right aircraft for them. This aircraft also includes a Control Panel similar to the Orbx scenery products that allows you to select a male or female pilot and if you would like a clear windscreen or one that displays reflections. The first time that you load one of the Victa Airtourer aircraft into FSX you may be asked to allow Orbxsound.dll as trusted software. This procedure is not required if you have other Orbx aircraft installed. Orbx has released an update for the Airtourer so as with all add-on products, visit the support pages to download and install the updates for the aircraft.
First time Orbx aircraft developer Paul van Est has done a fantastic job with the interior textures and features of the Victa Airtourer. This is a two seat aircraft so there are only two interior views, the default left seat VC view and the right seat passenger view. The third alternate view is of the full instrument panel. Sitting in the left seat and without adjusting the zoom and eye point positions, I look over at the passenger seat and see a nice looking cloth seats along with three dimensional seat belt and harness. Also from this view I get to see some of the “wear” textures that are included with this aircraft. Looking at the center control stick, I love that there are some scratches and other marks that indicate that this aircraft has been operated and also indicate that the Victa has been out of production for several years. The Victa Airtourer uses an unusual elevator trim control, instead of a wheel that is commonly used on many aircraft, the trim control on the Victa Airtourer is a center mounted lever below the control stick that looks more like a throttle lever.
I decided to adjust the zoom level so that I could see more of the right side of the aircraft. First, this aircraft does not have doors, it utilizes a canopy and you have to climb into and out of the cockpit. From this view I can also see some of the wonderful small three dimensional details such as the small fastener that holds the vinyl covering in place. I also like that this vinyl displays signs of an aircraft that has been operated. Other nice interior features visible from the left seat are the books in the right side pocket and the three dimensional cable that connects the seat harness to the rear of the aircraft. The storage area behind the seats is just as impressive with plenty of three dimensional features and clear & easy to read signage. The rear of the canopy has the cockpit speaker and the cabin lighting. All lighting is controlled from the instrument panel. Some of the included aircraft have clear canopies that provide a wonderful 360 degree field of view. I prefer the clear canopies to the aircraft with the covered rear canopy.
Again, I am very impressed with the included small details that are included with the Victa Airtourer. Such as the wire at the top of the canopy that is realistically routed to the rear of the aircraft which is something that would be easy for a developer to not include but with this small detail greatly adds to a realistic simulated experience. The handle for the canopy is placed right above the cockpit and even after it is opened; it looks like it would be within reach to pull closed from either of the seats without issue. The animation and sound effect of the canopy operation is excellent. The interior placards are very clear and easy to read even when I zoomed in close. I especially like the large operating limits signage on the left side of the instrument panel. The left side of the aircraft is also very detailed and I like that Orbx has included the three dimensional seat belt and harness for the left seat. This small but very important feature is sometimes not included by premium aircraft developers and when it is missing, the interior just not look right to me. The final screen grab is of the impressive interior lighting with the flood lights also turned on.
Eleven exterior paints are included for several countries but I am going to use registration VH-ECI because that is the aircraft that Orbx based this product on. Also when needed I am going to adjust the zoom level in order to get a better view of the various exterior aircraft views and to do my best to hide the other static aircraft. Orbx has included a wonderful in-game Control Panel that allows you to enable/disable exterior view options. Besides the cold and dark aircraft ground static objects, (tie downs, wheel chocks and the Pitot cover), this Control Panel allows you to remove the pilot from the external view. I like that the pilot can be removed from the external views because I think the pilot should be outside of the aircraft when it is in the parked cold and dark configuration. This small but I consider important feature is sometimes overlooked by developers, they will include the ground objects but the pilot will always be visible which is not realistic to me. You can also enable the panel mounted GPS from the Control Panel and I like that it is visible from the external views which is another realistic feature. As mentioned in the installation section the Windows desktop Control Panel allows you to select between a male or female pilot. I love the amount of options that are included with the Orbx Victa Airtourer.
There are several alternate angle views that are nice for simulating the exterior preflight inspections but also allow me to review the exterior features. Similar to the interior, the exterior of the Victa Airtourer has very good textures and features. All of the exterior features both large and small are three dimensional and even though this aircraft does not have a lot of exterior labeling or signage, what it does have looks great. I decided to capture a screen grab of registration number ZKCSU because this model included several logos on the exterior of the aircraft and it was nice that I could read the lettering on them.
The exterior angle view of the rear of the left wing provides a good view of the unusual flap system that is installed on the Airtourer. This aircraft has what is called flaperons, which if I understand this correctly, the flaps and the aileron are connected together instead of being separate control surfaces. So when operating your ailerons, the whole component moves and when you raise or lower the flaps, the aileron also partially raises and lowers. According to the User Guide, flaperons provide much more roll control at lower speeds. This system also provides an air brake under the fuselage which provides lift at lower flap settings and increased drag at higher flap settings and can also be used as an aid for short field landings. Exterior lighting is excellent and the Victa Airtourer is equipped with dual landing lights that are controlled from the instrument panel. The second to last screen grab is with one landing light turned on and the last is with both on.
First, I love the textures of the instrument panel. It is nice to see that Paul continued with the “well used” texture theme with the instrument panel. On many aircraft, developers will include interior “wear” textures but the instrument panel will look brand new. I forgot to comment about this during the interior portion of the review but the area below the instrument panel, (fire wall, rudder pedals & carpeting) also look like they have been well used. I almost hate to say it but it is almost too much and looks like the Airtourer is in need of some care. This is also a good time to display the window reflection options that can be selected on the Control Panel. I captured a screen grab with window reflections and one with clear textures. Normally I prefer the clear textures, but the reflective textures on the Victa Airtourer are very nice and are not too distracting to me, so I probably will leave this option enabled. I am going to divide the instrument panel into three sections to review, left, center and the right side. The default zoom level of .69 is perfect for me because all of the instruments are close enough to be easy to read. The default height is also very good; I like to be able to see over the engine cowling without having to adjust the eye point views. The nice thing about the flight simulator is that it is very adjustable if you would like to adjust the zoom level and viewing position.
The top left area of the instrument panel contains your primary flight instruments, VOR, Vacuum Pressure gauge, Assigned Altitude, instrument panel light brightness control and a G meter because the Airtourer is certified for aerobatic maneuvers. All of the instruments have fluid movement and instrument panel signage & labeling are clear and easy to read. The only minor issue that I had was with the Assigned Altitude selector, the click spots were too far to the right instead of directly in the center of each of the rotation knobs. This aircraft does not have an autopilot so this is only used as a reminder of your ATC assigned altitude, I had trouble dialing in the various numbers one handed while in flight. I usually fly VFR so I would only use this to enter my planned cruising altitude and maybe the pattern altitude at my destination. The Airtourer has a side throttle control instead of being mounted next to the propeller and mixture controls on the panel so I recommend some form of hardware throttle control.
This aircraft also has an unusual braking system, instead of toe-brakes on the rudder pedals, the Victa Airtourer has a brake handle to the left of the lights and Pitot Heat switches on the pilot side and to the right of the circuit breakers on the passenger side. Pressing your assigned brake hardware control of the brake function on your rudder pedals will pull these handles out. The switches are self-explanatory and have very easy to read labeling which is wonderful. According to the checklist there is supposed to be an anti-collision light but I could not find this switch so I used the Navigation light as a replacement. To the right is the non-simulated Cabin Heat switch, the engine primer and the very functional Carb Heat switch. I love that the last switch is included and simulated instead of having to rely on a keyboard shortcut for the carb heat function. Instrument panel lighting is very good and Orbx has included a few controls to customize the lighting effect. The first screen grab of this group is of just the instrument panel lighting turned on.
There is also a dimmer control and the first screen is also at the lowest dimmest setting. The next screen grab is at the brightest setting. The dimmer knob also has an off position even though the light switch is turned on. The final lighting screen grab is with a combination of the instrument panel light, cockpit light and the overhead flood light turned on. I could not see very much difference between the dimmest and the brightest setting; I personally preferred the effect of having all three lights turned on. I also liked to have the flood light turned on when using the GPS because it was easier for me to see the GPS details. It is nice that the virtual pilot has options for controlling the instrument panel lighting instead of just being on or off.
Starting at the top of the center portion of the instrument panel is where the GPS 295 would be mounted and is not installed by default. This fully functional GPS is enabled with the in simulator Airtourer Control Panel. The default VC view is close enough to read and operate the GPS but I adjusted the Passenger view to get a much closer look. I will go into much more detail about the GPS in the next section. The radios are mounted in the center of the instrument panel and will also go into more detail about them later in this section. Below the radios are the propeller and mixture controls. Mounted between the seats is the center pedestal which contains the Master Battery, Alternator & Avionics switches, power-on lights for the Master Avionics & Alternator switches, Magneto/Starter, Fuel Pump switch, Fuel Pressure & Quantity gauges, the fuel selector and the Voltmeter & Ammeter gauge.
The Victa Airtourer has an unusual parking brake system, instead of the usual push/pull lever that is usually mounted near the instrument panel, this one has an up/down lever system mounted below the Fuel Quantity gauge. Orbx has simulated the battery and alternator with this aircraft, another very realistic feature. On one of my flights, the radios suddenly turned off and sure enough I had forgotten to turn on the Alternator. If I would have looked at the Ammeter, I would also have noticed the negative reading on this instrument. I am now going to start the engine so that I can review the avionics without draining the electrical system. Now that the engine has started and I have turned on the Alternator, the ammeter is now displaying a very realistic positive or charging reading. If you would like the ultimate realistic experience, you can enable electrical system failures in the FSX Failure Settings window.
I am going to comment about the avionics and the right side of the instrument panel from the Passenger view. I am also going to adjust the zoom level. The last alternate panel view is Full Panel and is self-explanatory and would be a good view for IFR practice. At the top of the avionics stack is the NARCO CP 135 TSO audio switch panel and I love the large buttons for switching between the two communications and navigation radio audio sources. Next is the NARCO MK 12D TSO and is a basic and very easy to use communication/navigation radio. The only comment that I want to make about this radio is the wonderful navigation IDENT audio knob. Turn on the NAV1 audio button on the CP 135 TSO, dial the VOR frequency, pull this knob and if in range, the VOR will become active and you will hear the audible code for that station.
On my system only the audio switch button needed to be on to hear the tone but if you want to practice with the most realism, then also pull the IDENT knob. Again, I love the large buttons on the audio switch panel because it is easy to turn off the tone after it is verified. This is something that I sometimes have trouble with other aircraft because these buttons are very small. Below this radio is the NARCO AT 150 TSO Mode C Transponder and its functions are similar to other aircraft transponder radios but if you would like to learn more about this unit, download and read the User Guide. At the bottom of the avionics stack is the Bendix/King KY 97A TSO secondary communications radio. I really like when a secondary COM radio is included with aircraft because it allows be to dial the ATIS enroute, allowing me to keep COM1 tuned to ATC. I am always disappointed when premium aircraft developers decide that they should not include a secondary radio. The basic functionality is similar to the NARCO MK 12D but this unit also features the ability to store frequencies in memory.
The manual does an excellent job explaining this feature so I am not going to detail it here. A big issue that I have with this radio is that I could not dial the numbers to the right of the decimal point. The inner knob turns but the frequency does not change, I had to use the FSX ATC window to dial which defeats the purpose. Thankfully, I did not have this issue with the NARCO radio.
As you can see from my screen grab of the right side of the instrument panel, there are no flight instruments. The Victa Airtourer was designed to be piloted from the left side only. The next realistic feature that is included on the right side is two simulated HOBBS meters. This is another one of those features that I expect in premium aircraft but is sometimes not simulated. The aircraft that do have a working HOBBS meter usually only have one but the Victa includes two, one as part of the Tachometer, which counts time as soon as the engine starts, and the more traditional HOBBS meter that counts time as soon as the Master Battery switch is turned on.
All of the other instruments on the right side are simulated which is great. Starting at the top is the Cylinder Head Temperature selector and next to it the CHT gauge. The CHT needle does move slightly when moving the selector switch to check each cylinder head sensor. Below these are the Tachometer, Manifold Pressure and Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) gauges. Below the Tachometer is the Oil Pressure/Temperature gauge and to the right of this is Carburetor Temp gauge which allows the pilot to monitor for potential icing conditions. Pulling the Carb Heat knob will display that heat is being applied according to this instrument. Next to the Carb Heat gauge is the non-functional but animated intercom switch and mounted on the right side of the cockpit is outside air temp thermometer.
The Orbx GPS 296
Most GPS units included with aircraft are usually just slightly modified upgrades of the default FSX GPS units and lack realistic features. These units also usually accept default simulator flight plans and lack the ability to edit the flight plan. Most of the time this is not an issue because most serious simulator pilots usually will buy other premium GPS units to replace the default GPS or use a flight planner that uses a newer navigation database and other advanced features. Orbx has included a fully functional handheld Garmin GPS 296 system that is mounted on the instrument panel with the in-sim Control Panel. I am going to use the 2D GPS window to have a better view for capturing screen grabs. The manual does an excellent job explaining the features so I am not going to repeat everything here other than the functions that I will use the most. I am still going to provide screen grabs of all of the various GPS pages and will comment if needed.
The Garmin 296 is a portable unit and has its own battery for power so it is not dependent on the aircraft’s electrical system. The unit is powered on & off by pressing the small red button at the bottom of the unit and after the Garmin title screen is displayed, the VFR use warning message will be displayed. Before pressing the “Enter” button to agree to the warning message, I want to comment about the navigation data cycle that is displayed at the bottom of this message. It displays “Australian Aviation Data Cycle 0509, effective from the 1st of August, 2013 to 31st August, 2013”, which is a much newer database than the default FSX one. The Australian Terrain database is also dated 2013. The two questions that I have, is this just for information only and when flight planning is the GPS still using the old FSX database. The second question is, if the GPS is using the more modern database, does it cover the whole world or just Australia. I will let others answer these questions; I will just enjoy having a more functional GPS. After accepting the warning message, the next screen to display will be the GPS locations along with your current location coordinates, local date and time. Simply press the “Quit” button to open the first of the primary GPS pages, the Map page. The Map page is probably the one I will use the most and has a nice simple layout.
Two thirds of the GPS unit is composed of the display screen and the large function buttons are on the right side of the GPS. The buttons and labeling are large enough to be able to clearly read and use from the default VC view which is great. Similar to other GPS displays, the four data items that are displayed on the map view are Ground Speed, Aircraft Track Heading, Altitude above MSL and Distance to Next Waypoint & ETE to that waypoint. Pressing “Page” cycles between the five pages. The second page is the Terrain page and displays a topographical map along with the same information from the Map page. The third page is Panel and is a digital display of your primary flight and navigation instruments. This obviously is for simulator use only because this is a portable GPS that is not connected to the aircraft systems. The fourth page is the Active Route page and is used for flight planning which I will go into more detail later. Other than the map page, this will be my second most used GPS page.
The final page is the Position Data Page which provides the data from the previous screens without the map but also provides other useful information such as local sunrise & sunset as well as the Critical Battery Level. The batter level has the same display at all times so this appears not to be simulated. Another screen that can be displayed is the nearest waypoints to your current position and is opened by pressing the “NRST” button. To move up/down/left/right on the NRST page you use the four rocker arrows on the right hand side of the GPS. This page is self-explanatory and will comment more about it during my flight planning review. When you are done with the NRST page, press “Quit” to return to the Map page. The other GPS buttons can be used with the two map pages. Zoom In/Out is self-explanatory and the other map function is de-cluttering which is controlled by pressing the “Enter” button. There are four levels of de-clutter from displaying everything on the map to the last level which only displays the airports only.
There are three options for creating and displaying a flight plan on the GPS 296. First is to open a FSX created flight plan. The second method and the easiest to use the Nearest page and the third are to manually create a flight plan on the Active Waypoint page. The Victa Airtourer that this product is developed from was based at Lilydale (YLIL) Airport located in Lilydale, Australia. One of the Orbx free Australian airports is Lilydale so I thought this would be a perfect location for reviewing the flight planning functions and the Flight model of the Victa Airtourer. The Nearest display is extremely easy to use for planning direct-to flights. Highlighting the Airport tab at the top displays all of the airports that are near YLIL with the closest being YMMB; use the rocker down arrow to highlight this airport and this page will display some basic information about this airport. While this airport code is highlighted, press the “Enter” button to load more detailed information about the Moorabbin Airport including fuel available, airport name and the tower frequency.
There is also a small map of the airport on this screen and if you select the “Show Map” button, the larger version of this map will be displayed. Across the top of the nearest detail page are four tabs, the current one is “Airport”, the others are “Comm”, “Runway “and “Approach” which allows you to load an airport approach into the GPS. All of the information on these pages is clear and easy to read from the default view. When flying the Airtourer, I decided to adjust the zoom level and adjust my eye point to the left to have a closer view of the GPS, which helped me greatly when creating a flight plan. There are two options for creating a simple direct to flight plan. First, if you are in the airport information page, press the down arrow until the “Go To” icon is highlighted, then press “Enter”. The Map page will open and the familiar magenta course line will display along with the waypoint data fields now displaying information. I have a hard time seeing the magenta line in both my new Passenger view and the default VC view.
Turning on the flood light helped somewhat for me. Opening the Active Route page will also display the flight plan. The other option for creating a simple direct flight plan is to press the “Direct To” button located to the right of the power button and works similar to creating a full flight plan as explained later. This method requires you to already know the waypoint identifier because you use the rocker left/right arrows to move between fields and the up/down arrows to scroll though the alphabet & numbers. This process is similar to other premium GPS units where instead of inner and outer knobs; you are using the rocker arrows. Using the same airport from earlier, YMMB, I use this method until this code is entered and the name of the airport is displayed. A minor issue that I have with this procedure is that the characters do not display correctly in their fields. The screen grab below is for Moorabbin and I have the fourth field highlighted and the “B’ is not visible. The only reason that I know that this is the correct entry is that the airport name is displayed in the lower part of the page. I can also highlight the first field and all four characters are properly displayed. Pressing “Enter” will close the data entry process and all four letters are also properly displayed. Highlight the “Go To” icon on this page and “Enter” to activate this flight plan.
What makes the Orbx GPS 296 different from other premium aircraft GPS units is that you can manually enter a flight plan. This process is similar to entering a manual direct to flight using the “Direct To” button but is created on the Active Route page of the GPS. User the rocker down arrow to highlight the first waypoint field and the first thing that I notice is that my departure airport is not displayed; it is just using the current aircraft location. Looking at the map I notice that Moorabbin Airport has an NDB near the airport (MB) so I want to enter this as a waypoint between the departure and destination airports. With this field highlighted, press the “Menu” button and at this time the only option available is “Add Waypoint”. Press “Enter” to display the Find page and use the rocker arrows to enter the waypoint identifiers and when the correct name is displayed, press “Enter” again to accept this entry. Entering the “MB” identifier produces an incorrect waypoint, in this case it is in Canada, the manual does not explain this but while this waypoint is highlighted, press “Enter” and a new menu will open where you will select the proper waypoint from the list. Because of the size of this GPS, there is not a lot of detail so you may need to research the location two letter code or you may create a flight to some far off location. In this case it was the last entry on this menu.
Now that the proper NDB is displayed on the Find page, move down and highlight the “OK” field then press “Enter” to add this waypoint to your flight plan. According to the User Guide, the process for adding other waypoints is the same but here is where I ran into another issue. I want to create a waypoint for my destination airport of Moorabbin and could enter it and add it to the flight plan without issue. The problem that I had is that the flight planning function added it on top of my NDB waypoint instead of below as per the instructions in the manual. The GPS also adds a WPT1 waypoint at the top of the flight plan and this is obviously my departure airport. To solve this issue I highlighted the WPT1 Field and selected “Add Waypoint” from the menu list and entered the Moorabbin NDB again and it is now placed correctly on my flight plan. At this point I found another GPS feature that is sometimes not included with premium aircraft GPS units, the ability to delete a waypoint. In this case, I highlight the original NDB waypoint; press “Menu” to bring up the flight plan options and highlight and press “Delete Waypoint” to delete this waypoint from the flight plan. This would have been so much easier if WPT1 would be displayed automatically when highlighting the first field. Long story short, for short flight plans, I recommend entering the destination first, then highlighting the first field (should display WPT1), then add your other waypoint.
I do not know if I would want to enter a long flight plan this way but at least it is simulated. The GPS also includes the ability to enter an approach so that you can manually fly an instrument approach at your destination. This is a very easy task to perform, simply highlight the destination airport on the flight plan, press “Menu” and highlight “Select Approach” from the flight plan options list. A new list will open with the available approaches for that airport; select one and then the first waypoint of the approach or “Vectors” from the next menu. Two recommendations, first I would have approach plates available on your computer, phone or tablet because this is a list only without a map so you need to decide ahead of time which is the best one to use. Second, once you load the approach, the GPS creates a direct to flight plan to the destination with this approach so I recommend performing this action after passing your intermediate waypoint. Luckily, when you load an approach it does not delete your original flight plan, simply use the “Remove Approach” option from the flight plan options menu and your original flight plan will be restored. To quickly summarize, it is wonderful to have a functional GPS unit included with the Orbx Victa Airtourer and despite some minor issues it is an excellent added feature for this aircraft.
Whenever I install a new aircraft I like to follow the checklist which allows me to get to know the accuracy of the aircraft procedures. The checklists are included as part of the Pilot’s Operating Handbook and I used these in conjunction with the Flying Guide section of the User Guide. The before engine start procedures are pretty typical for a single engine piston aircraft and is self-explanatory. Starting the engine is also very similar to other single engine constant speed propeller aircraft and I was able to quickly memorize these procedures. I already commented about the lack of an anti-collision light but the checklist and Flying Guide also have a different procedure. The Airtourer instrument panel has a primer lever and the Flying Guide says to pump this three times before engine start and the checklist says to cycle the throttle two full strokes before starting a cold engine. Both procedures work so use whichever one you would like. The After Start checklist is also self-explanatory and very easy to memorize.
The engine instruments operate as they are supposed to but they are hard to see from the default VC view. While still parked waiting for the engine to warm up, now is a good time to power on and enter a flight plan in the GPS. I adjusted the Passenger Seat view for easier flight plan programming and this adjusted view also allowed me to see the right side instruments easier. This is the next view after the default view so it is easy for me to quickly return to the VC view. The Airtourer has a tricycle landing gear system so it is a very easy aircraft to taxi. The engine run-up worked as expected with proper RPM drops included the Carb Heat check which is great. The sound effects of the engine and propeller are excellent. I increased the Engine sound slider in FSX to the maximum setting to get the full effect. I like the tonal change when exercising the propeller control, it is not extreme but you can still hear it. It is also nice to be able to hear the switch and flap lever operations over the engine sounds; they have a nice “click” sound effect. The actual flap movement does not appear to have an associated sound effect. If this is how it is on the real aircraft, wonderful! Take-off performed just as the documentation described, slightly pull back on the elevator at 45-50 KIAS and the Airtourer lifted off the ground right at 70 KIAS. This aircraft requires two notches of flaps (50%, 8 degrees) for all take-offs. The Airtourer responds nicely to my control movements and after retracting the flaps, it was very easy to trim for the climb speed of 80KIAS at 25” MP and 2500 RPM.
It was equally responsive setting the aircraft up for cruise, just do not expect to get anywhere fast. The normal cruise speed is 110-115 KIAS at 24” MP and 2400 RPM. On this flight to Moorabbin with light winds at 3500 feet, I was able to cruise at 110 Knots. On other flights I was able to cruise between 110 – 120 Knots so the Victa Airtourer is a wonderful flightseeing aircraft for short to medium flights, at least for me. If you like to manually fly your simulated aircraft you are going to love the Orbx Victa Airtourer. This aircraft is not equipped with an autopilot and it is a real pleasure to hand fly. The Victa Airtourer is capable of Aerobatic maneuvers but I did not try any of them during this review. I did practice some stalls and a power off stall without flaps produced the easiest and smoothest stall for me.
The stall horn and buffet effects are excellent. This is a wonderful slow flight aircraft because the Airtourer still wanted to fly when I was attempting a power on or off stall with full flaps. I received a buffet and the horn sounded but I had to really pull back on the elevator to get it to stall. Also, as per the documentation, the wing did want to drop during a power on stall. I was able to descend without issue but could not seem to slow the aircraft to the powered approach speed of 70 Knots. The User Guide recommends reducing the RPM to 1400 for approach and this does help. For some reason I also had a tendency to be too high on my approaches, so fast and high is not good for quality landings. I usually would be able to land but would need more runway length then I would like. That is why it is good to practice plenty of touch and goes to work on my technique. The more I flew the Airtourer the better at landings I became. The After Landing and Shutdown checklists were self-explanatory and I did have any issues.
Intel Desktop Computer
Intel i5 4670K 3.4Ghz Non OC Processor
8GB DDR3 1833 Memory
2TB SATA HD (7200 RPM)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX970 Video Card with 4 GB GDDR5 Memory
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
FSX Steam Edition, Windows 7 – 64 Bit
REX 4 Texture Direct with Soft Clouds
DX10 Scenery Fixer
FSX Fair Weather Theme
Flight Test Time:
The Victa Airtourer is another wonderful aircraft developed by Orbx. The interior & exterior textures are outstanding and I love the well-used look of the interior. Sound and animation effects are equally impressive. If you only fly fast aircraft with modern avionics then you may want to look elsewhere because the Airtourer only has a modest cruising speed of 110-120 Knots but is perfect for those short flights. It is a real joy to hand fly and if you are looking for an aircraft capable of performing aerobatics, then the Airtourer is for you.
This aircraft does not have an autopilot but Orbx has included a very functional GPS 296 display which is wonderful. I would have to say that this is one of the best GPS units included with a premium aircraft. Normally I am quick to install another premium GPS display to replace the included GPS unit but I will not be doing that with the Orbx Victa Airtourer. Despite some issues that I had with the Bendix/King KY 97A TSO radio and the GPS, I still highly recommend the Victa Airtourer for addition to your virtual hangar.
For more details about this aircraft please visit the product page located here: https://www.fullterrain.com/product/victaairtourer and to purchase from the FlightSimStore by clicking on the “Buy Now!” button on the product page.