By – Stephen Todd

Area 51 B2

The B-2 Spirit revolutionized modern combat with the deployment of Low-Observable Technology. It was the first strategic, intercontinental bomber to use Radar Absorbing Material, or RAM, to evade enemy radar. It’s “flying wing” shape gives it a ghostly appearance, hence the name “Spirit”. Originally designed to fly deep into the former Soviet Union and deliver a nuclear payload, it has been adapted to fit today’s mission.  Today, I am reviewing the newly released Area 51 B-2 Spirit, otherwise known as “The Stealth Bomber.”  After downloading, I easily installed this aircraft via the install tool. My first flight was from Nellis AFB, Nevada to Hill AFB, Utah. I planned the route to take me up to Mormon Mesa (MMM), North to Milford (MLF) and Delta (DTA), and then over the Tooele Valley, before descending into Ogden for my landing at Hill AFB.

Unfortunately, planning this flight ended up being the best part of it. You see, I had the misfortune of having the virtual cockpit show up when I loaded the flight, and I nearly shut the simulator off at that point. All I could see were instruments that were partly blurry, warning lights that were unreadable, a few scattered switches (most of them don’t work), an autopilot, radio stack, and a few other things such as APU, et al.   True, there were a few buttons on the avionics that switched between the EGT, fuel systems and radio. I could read the actual instrument, but that’s about it. This is freeware quality work. In fact, I have a freeware B-2 that I downloaded from Flightsim.com, which similar in quality.  “I’ve had about enough of this.”, I thought. “I need to see the external model.”

blurrys

I clicked the button on my controller that brought me to the spot view. To my utter, total, and complete surprise, I was looking at a beautiful B-2! The high definition textures glistened in the simulated sun; even the tires look realistic. The pilots looked human and you could tell they were wearing Gentex HGU-55/P helmets, MBU-12 masks, survival gear and were sitting on Aces II ejection seats. The glass looked incredible and so did the aircraft lights when I switched them on.  What a delight! What a treat! What a 180 degree turn from the interior! All of this while being serenaded by – the default 737 sounds?

And back to earth I came.

Ground handling was just fine, being about the same as a 737. The take off was nothing special; just like the default 737. Flaps sounds – default.  I hand flew the plane up to a cruising altitude, then switched on the autopilot and clicked back to the spot view. About twenty-five minutes into the flight, something very strange happened. I started getting Morse Code from a nav radio. I changed the frequencies on the nav and com radios, swapped them around, and did everything I could think of to get it to stop. This persisted the entire flight.

The landing and subsequent taxi to the gate was exactly the same experience as the- you guessed it- default 737.  Just to be thorough, I parked and checked the 2D cockpit. I wish I could say I was surprised when one didn’t show up, but I wasn’t. It made me feel as if they worked on the modeling and textures, then got bored and decided to slap low quality assets inside, alias the flight dynamics and sounds to the default 737 in hopes of making some money.

Area 51 B2

Thank you for the evaluation copy, but I think you can do better. Push yourself. If you take pride in this product, then shame on you. Your exterior model is fabulous, but the interior and systems complexity is utterly useless. Your C-17 is fantastic. I think it’s your pinnacle, really, but it was released years ago. You produce aircraft that nobody else does and they sell because of the rarity.

I’ve slammed you pretty good in this review, but I want you to understand that this is not a personal attack.  With this review, I was aiming to be the voice that rallies both your company and your customers. We, as consumers, have to send a strong message that we won’t buy substandard work at any price, let alone a premium one.  However, you need to be motivated to put out high quality add-on’s.  Collaborate, hire, fire, research, something -  but please don’t put out products like this and expect us to pay for it.  In doing so, you short change both your customers and yourself.  You have the potential to truly compete with the big names developers; I beg you to live up to it!  The market will respond.

Area 51 B2

Conclusion – Is It Worth The Money?

$29.99 for all this? We have a large selection of planes out there that are far superior in quality for about the same price. So, $30 for something I could replace with freeware?  No.

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