Aerofly FS 2 – VR Review – Is This The Future Of Flight Simulation?

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Introduction

In this review, we will be talking about the recently released ‘Aerofly FS 2’ from IPACS, published by Aerosoft. This review, however, will be focusing on the VR aspects of Aerofly FS 2, as it is an increasingly popular aspect of flight sim, with other sims such as P3D and X-Plane already having support or it being implemented

The Review was run on the following specs with the oculus rift…

i5 6600K @ 4.5 GHZ CPU

GTX 1060 6GB GPU

16GB DDR4 RAM

Performance

Performance is a very strong point of Aerofly FS 2, as it is using the latest development processes and techniques, and is not held back by an old rendering engine. This is great for VR as you are constantly getting 90+ fps on max settings, for VR purposes, this means that you won’t feel nauseous from the sim, as the fps is constant and smooth. unlike other sims which in tests have dropped to 40 fps in VR, which sounds like a high number, but in VR this leads to stuttering and you feeling very nauseous afterwards – meaning you cant fly very long in other sims without lowering your settings

loading times are also amazing! the sim can load in the scenery and the aircraft in under 30 seconds in most situations, meaning you can get straight into a flight in no time

User Interface

The UI is where Aerofly FS 2 falls short in desktop mode, the UI is still very mobile-orientated, as Aerofly started out as a mobile app, the UI has not changed in the PC port, and looks a bit odd, however, in VR the big slider buttons are great! while in the sim, pressing the ‘esc’ button will bring you to the main menu, it is presented to you in a window directly in front, and you use the mouse to navigate through the menus, much like you would with your standard monitor, it’s very comfortable to get around and easy to find what your looking for, even the navigation map, where you select your airport, is great in VR, it’s just like having a massive monitor in front of you

Visuals

all of the aircraft in aerofly are pretty well detailed, some aircraft struggle on their exterior model, the 747 for example, the textures in some areas look very outdated, especially when you get up close to them. But in the cockpit, all the aircraft perform exceptionally well, the textures are crisp, and the screens are clear

aerofly also supports PBR on all aircraft, some aircraft show this better than others, the Q400 I found to show it best, it looks great and doesn’t affect the smooth 90 fps I got in the sim. The clouds in the sim look pretty good but they aren’t anything to blow you away, even in overcast conditions they aren’t anything comparable to P3D with active sky, it would be great to see some more work done here, such as cloud motion effects on the cockpit and more cloud types, it would also be great to see some car traffic on roads to really bring the sim alive

when using the sim, the render scale factor is set at 1.00, pushing this up to 2.00 doubles the quality and sharpness of the sim in VR, this improves the appearance of the aircraft and surround scenery greatly, reducing aliasing and improving the image clarity, be careful with this slider though, as some PC’s cant handle this and your fps and smoothness will suffer! But it’s great that the devs included this slider in the sim, as with some other simulators you have to use 3rd party tools to increase this, which is quite a pain

Sound

the sounds that come with the aircraft unfortunately aren’t very impressive, some of the aircrafts such as the 737 and a320 share the same sound sets, which was disappointing but understandable as the sound is not everyone’s top priority, and some users may not notice it at all. when sitting at the stand starting up the Q400’s engines, I didn’t feel very immersed at all, compared to the majestic Q400’s sound set which provides a loud steady rumble when starting up the PW150A’s, the sounds were still accurate but didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor, with a little tweaking on the volume and bass side of things, the sounds could be greatly improved

Scenery

Aerofly FS 2 is currently not a global sim, meaning you cant for example, fly from Heathrow to new york, as the UK does not exist, it’s just a big ocean. but for aerofly, this is totally fine, when purchasing the sim, you get the USA Colorado, USA Utah and the southwestern USA regions, with fully detailed airports (not as detailed as 3rd parties but still amazing for coming free with the sim). with these regions you get plenty of fun, sometimes you don’t want to sit in a cockpit for 8 hrs crossing the pond, you just want to jump into a takeoff or landing situation, and this is what aerofly does best.

satellite imagery is used throughout the sim for ground mesh, which looks more than great! autogen is currently not implemented into aerofly as of yet, so some areas look bleak if there is no hand placed buildings, ORBX airports do not have this problem as ORBX have covered quite a large area in scenery such as Innsbruck with their hand placed buildings. another problem this causes is night lighting, without hand placed scenery, your left with a darkened ground image as seen in the screenshots below, so when flying at night its best to stay at regions with hand placed buildings (near airports and ORBX regions)

 

Realism

when testing out the aircrafts, I found the most functional to be the Q400, most of the switches had an effect and you could start and shut down the engines, unlike the 737 and a320. a lot of the systems aren’t modelled, however, to some people this means nothing as they just want to fly and have fun, which is what aerofly is all about. But to those who want some depth and realism with the aircraft systems, unfortunately, your out of luck right now with the current selection of aircraft, as you can see below, all the gen switches are off, as well as the batteries, yet the whole aircraft still appears to be powered

as of now, a pushback or any ground service system is yet to be implemented, this means when wanting to start your taxi from the stand, your going to have to use your reversers, the same is to be said about the FMC, there is currently no functionality, you can, however, use the flight planning feature found in the main menu. The flight dynamics found in the aircrafts are basic but work well, the 747 is much slower and banking as you would expect, and you can really feel the heaviness when in control, but the flying remains smooth, the fly by wire in the a320 is there but its quite subtle

Features

one of my favourite features in aerofly is the ability to jump straight into an approach, with the aircraft fully configured for you, I have not had any problems with this system at all and it works really well, you can also change the time on the fly similar to X-Plane, all the lighting loads instantly with the time change, and there is also no performance impact at all. the interactive map for selecting your airport is also great, you can find the airport you want to fly in or out of really quickly, even if you don’t know what airport you want to try out, the map has you covered with all the airports right in front of you, when clicking on an airport you can then select which runway you want to be stationed at, or which stand on the ground

one feature that was missing from the desktop version, is the replay feature, the devs have mentioned that they are looking for ways to implement this system into the VR mode, but it is yet to make an appearance, which is quite sad because it is a really fun feature of the simulator, and it would be great to watch your landing from the passanger view or from the ground

Immersion

in VR mode you have the option of using your touch controllers or your joystick / yoke, trying to use both just doesn’t work as you have to keep trying to find your touch controllers when you want to flick a switch, so I stuck to using the joystick and mouse, which is surprisingly easier, as using the touch controllers, I found myself having to move back from the monitor and recentering my view to give me enough space to reach all the switches and buttons, so using the mouse was more convenient

when changing views in aerofly, you are given a set of views to choose from using the number buttons on your keyboard, it would be great if we could make custom views, much like you can in P3D and X-Plane, positioning different views around the cabin for example, to get a great view when on approach into the airport

Value

for a price of £45, I would definitely recommend aerofly FS 2, Prepar3D is around the same price for the academic license, the 2 products cant really be compared as P3D is for more serious users, whereas aerofly is all about the fun aspects of flying. the VR in aerofly is one of the most immersive ever in a simulator, and I would recommend it over other simulators for VR, with its stunning ground scenery and wide range of airports built in, aerofly is very impressive. if you choose not to buy it now, I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on it, as it receives more features in future updates and more add-ons from 3rd parties

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Performance
10
User interface
7
Visuals
9
Sound
6
Scenery
8
Realism
7
Features
9
Immersion
8
Value
8
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The lad behind FSN, an avid fan of flight simulation, currently studying aviation operations at my local airport and reporting news on the side :)

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