Alphasim Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

This is the best SR-71 Blackbird add-on for FSX that I have ever owned. I felt like I was a military pilot flying it for a top-secret mission. In the video I am flying in the desert, I took off from Groom Lake a.k.a. Area 51. I thought that this would be an appropriate place to take off from, those are the shots in the desert. For the landing I did it at London Heathrow Airport landing on runway 27R. There was just enough space to land. Now, the main review, you can make your mind up on most things just by watching the video, but in this I will cover the points that you can’t get from watching the video, and briefly touch on those points in the video. As you can see at the start, there are great graphics on the ground, with the stairs and trucks, this is enjoyable to watch and pretend you are flying, but the simple fact is, that it doesn’t make it worth it to buy it, but it is still a nice touch. The engines are very realistic and make a fantastic sound, on the ground, in the air and on landing. In fact this aircraft has one of the best sound sets that I have ever heard from a FSX aircraft, regardless of cost. The flight controls have a great balance of being heavy when you want it, and lighter when you want it, without you having to do anything. One problem with the flight controls, that you can’t see in the video, is that it pulls to the right on approach. I can’t say that this is realistic as I have never flown an SR-71, but it can get frustrating. I found this aircraft to run fairly smoothly on my PC, and if you have read other reviews, then you will know that it is a standard PC being used, not a $2000 monster. When flying in the 3D cockpit, it is very detailed; not all buttons work, but do they ever? The key buttons do work, such as the button to pull the chute. It has a reasonable array of panels: fuel pumps, GPS, electronics etc. The 2D panel is good for the instruments, which a beautiful in both 3D cockpit and 2D, but the buttons in 2D is a bit disappointing, so are the design of the rudder pedals. The exterior detail is brilliant in my opinion. It is no Wilco a380 (review at bottom of page), but it is good enough. One feature that I am a huge fan of is the wing cameras; these are shown in the video. They are cameras mounted on the left and right wings; they also have a black strip at the bottom of the screen showing all flight parameters. This aircraft also has autopilot so you can take it on long, fast flights. This aircraft is designed to go fast, it does, but one effect of this is that it has a high approach speed. But then how do you slow down fast enough? The answer is very simple and that is a chute. This chute works nicely, it is again shown in the video, I’m not too keen on the retraction of the chute, but it does its job and reduces speed insanely fast. However, as you do need it, it is hard to press the button with the mouse as soon as the wheels hit the ground, there is no ‘arm’ button, this can be hard if not experienced as there is a lot to do during landing. I fixed this by assigning a keyboard button using FSUIPC.

So what are my overall opinions? I am a big fan of the exterior, 3D cockpit, sounds and effects. I don’t like the fact that it pulls to the right during approach and the sometimes inconvenience of having to pull the chute on the landing. Despite this, this is a beautiful aircraft and is a very reasonable price.