MiGMan’s Flight Sim Museum

MiGMan’s Flight Sim Museum

Avro Vulcan for CFS2

MiGMan’s Combat Diary | 2000

After an easy, menu driven installation into Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 I entered the Free Flight menu to browse the Avro Vulcan collection. Alas the whole PC locked up!
Hmmm... reboot... take 2... and amidst much gnashing of teeth, the host sim locked up again.
The third time I played it safe and selected Black Buck 1 - the Vulcan which flew the first raid against Port Stanley airfield on May 1, 1982. There were no dedicated airfields nor any missions or campaign apparent so I quickly exited the sim again and did a quick install of Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which adds RAF Coningsby and Harrier Jump Jet 2002 which adds the Falklands Scenery.
Into the sim again and this time Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 locked up as I browsed the first Vulcan variant. The desire to fly in 50's mode was strong so I pressed on. This time I resisted the temptation to scroll through the variants and carefully selected just one - Black Buck 1. Whew! No crashes and I selected Coningsby as a base.
The Vulcan landed on the tarmac with a crunch. I'll have to have a word to the ground crew about that! This may be something to do with our using add-on runways.
The first walkaround didn't really impress. The level of detail in the modelling and the surface textures is about what I had expected and been quite happy with around 1999 - 2001, but for payware in 2003 ? The 2D instrument panel gauges are quite small - and while that may perhaps be realistic it's not terribly effective on a 17" monitor.
A little artistic license can add a lot to playability, or flyability.
There are the usual array of extra panels which fit nicely onto a second monitor:
These panels are selectable by the cockpit panel switches we have come to know and love in contemporary Microsoft Flight Sim aircraft.
The virtual cockpit gauges function, as I expect them to in 2003, but they are rather blurry and the clarity doesn't improve on zooming in.


OK, enough for the visual inspection - how does it fly?
For Engine Start I referred to the readme.txt - this being the only technical documentation with the product and this led to a familiar complaint of mine.
It's all very well to write a casual, conversational, checklist for a pilot who already knows his GPU from his franistazzit, let alone his Vulcanised franistazzit, but I really feel what's needed is a step by step list, in fact an idiot proof list of operations. (Somewhat like a real pilot checklist?)
I was however quite determined to start the plane manually - it all adds to the atmosphere, so I persisted. After faffing about for half an hour and trying every conceivable combination of switches I had worked out that Battery ON powered the system because every time I flicked it up the voltmeter rose to 17 volts (I am easily amused).
Eventually giving up I exited and restarted the flight. This time the Vulcan started at a few thousand feet above the field and only quick application of "Slew mode" saved me from Vulcan pancake.
Happily esconced on the runway I opened the engine panel and tried again. Hallelujah! This time the panel started to light up as I flicked the fuel pump and generator switches... perhaps I had a flat battery last time?
Undercarriage and wheels are nicely detailed and the turbine inlets spin, although there are no exhaust effects (in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2.)
Landing was fairly uneventful with the general drill being gear down, airbrakes extended, land at 140 knots and the brake parachute deploys automatically.
There are about a dozen variants of the Vulcan - although to all but the cognescenti there are effectively two variations - one in green / grey camo and one in off-white.
So what's there to do in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2?
The answer, is sadly, for a Vulcan.... not much. Take off, climb very fast, turn around, land if you can find the base again. Take off, turn around, land.


I hesitate to criticise a product which has probabably been a labour of love for the developers, and am are especially loath to discourage work on the classic '50's jets, but once a product starts competing for your sim-allowance then it has to measure up.
With no missions, dedicated bases, radio communications or working navaids the Vulcan seems very lonely in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2.
This is a plane which spent most of its life flying from A to B, dropping a bomb once and then retiring. The Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 version would at least offer a rich environment to fly in. With the radio and air activity in that sim you could at least imagine you were on a Cold War mission of utmost gravity.
Unfortunately in Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 the Vulcan seems a fish out of water.

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