RAF Tornado

An add-on for Flight Simulator 2002/2004 and Combat Flight Simulator 3. By Derek Davis

The Panavia Tornado is one of the most exciting military aircraft flying today and the release of Just Flight’s add-on, RAF Tornado, will help to satisfy the thirst of many Tornado aficionados.

RAF Tornado production values are high throughout and this reviewer was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of detail and the innovative features. The external modeling of the Tornado is stunning, with the aircraft exhibiting a photo-realistic finish. RAF Tornado also provides a multitude of camouflage and markings representing various nationalities and theatres of operation including RAF Desert Storm, the Italian Tiger Meet and the German Luftwaffe.

Moving to the interior, we find an authentic-looking cockpit furnished with many interactive switches and instrumentation. These include a suite of working autopilot modes — two of the most notable include an Altitude holding and terrain following Radar mode. It should be noted that only the pilot’s cockpit is modeled. Both 2D and 3D cockpits are provided, and although the 3D version is of a good standard, the 2D version has more functionality.

The developers of this sim have managed to replicate many of the functions and features present in the real aircraft. As such we have the Tornado’s distinctive Thrust Reverse Buckets, which move into the engine exhaust to help reduce the forward velocity of the aircraft on landing. The airbrakes and spoilers present on the Tornado’s wings also deploy and are accurate representations of their real-life counterparts. The trademark swing-wing configuration, designed to deploy at various angles, in concert with changes in the aircraft’s speed, is also well implemented. A nice additional touch is the removal of the pilots’ masks when the canopy is opened!

RAF Tornado’s level of sophistication is further revealed with the inclusion of a series of event-triggered synthetic voices. Reminiscent of the synthetic voices found in such venerable flight sims such as Falcon 4.0, these warnings alert the pilot to potential danger. So, for example, «Bingo-Bingo» will be heard if your fuel is getting low, or a determined «Pull-up!…Pull-up!» will bellow from your speakers if terra firma is getting just a little too close!

However, of all the features included in this package, the one that stands out the most has to be the in-flight refueling mode. Additionally included in the package is a KC-10 with a refueling boom, a KC-10 with a hose/drogue system and a VC-10 with a hose/drogue.

The process of refueling itself is fairly detailed and is accompanied by audio instruction from the tanker. The procedure is a difficult one to successfully accomplish. As in reality the difficulty lies with attaining the correct speed and height in order to accurately position your aircraft behind the tanker. But that’s what makes this package so challenging and ultimately such a rewarding experience.

Although this add-on supports CFS 3, this support is limited, and many of the features present in the civil version are missing from the military one. These include the HUD, navigation systems, some of the external animations and the in-flight-refueling mode.

In conclusion, although RAF Tornado lacks some of the features of a dedicated simulation, the developers have been shrewd in overcoming the inherent limitations of the host software and have produced a feature-rich product that should be in any flight sim enthusiast’s collection!


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