Just Flight are a long-standing flight sim publisher and developer for both the ESP platform and X-Plane products, with their X-Plane products generally being made in partnership with Thranda Design. Their PA-28R Turbo Arrow III/IV is a welcomed addition to their extensive fleet and – more importantly – our hangars. This aircraft comfortably compliments their previous release of the PA-28R Arrow III. The Piper Turbo Arrow, is a member of the Cherokee PA-28 family of Piper aircraft, with both models making use of the 200 horsepower Continental TSIO-360-F Turbocharged engine, and retractable gear for faster cruising speeds. The IV model included in this package also sports the T-tail model.
When the user loads an aircraft for the first time, they are always planted right where the magic happens… in the cockpit. Sticking with their high-quality assurance from other aircraft, it is clear to see that not a penny went to waste when modelling an accurate rendition of the Piper Turbo Arrow’s cockpit, which was made using plans from the real world counterpart! A high polygon count ensures that this aircraft is modelled down to the T(-tail), without sacrificing performance. This great detail on the 3d aspect of the aircraft allows the texturing to really shine, with 4k textures inside and out, no less. In comparison to other models I have tried in x-plane, I can definitely confirm that high-resolution textures add to the immersion and make this model stand out. I also feel that the different colours available for the cockpit make the experience feel much more personal.
X-Plane 11’s PBR system is also used to its full potential in this stunning artwork, we are able to view the fabrics and leathers of the interior in great detail, see dirt where the workhorse scars and let the aircraft shine, where it really shines.
The Turbo Arrow III is supplied in the following five paint schemes:
- N48427 (USA)
- D-ERMT (Germany)
- G-OBAK (UK)
- HB-PMB (Switzerland)
- VH-LLA (Australia)
The Turbo Arrow IV is supplied in the following five paint schemes:
- D-EAIV (Germany)
- G-BOGM (UK)
- OE-KFT (Italy)
- OK-MAN (Czech Republic)
- N3023K (USA)
Of course, all of these paints are 4K and look absolutely beautiful, with my personal favourites being G-OBAK and G-BOGM (Being a Briton, I think it’s only fair). JustFlight has also included 2 paint kits with the package – 1 for the III and 1 for the IV model – which are easy to use and have a UV layer option for easier replication of real-world paints. I believe these paint kits to be much easier to use than others that I’ve experienced as the whole model is in one document, with the fuselage intact (Others I’ve seen split up the fuselage across multiple files).
Accurate animations on the aircraft are also expertly modelled:- Doors can be opened and will proceed to shake depending on airspeed and/or engine power; realistic prop movement on start-up and asymmetric gear retraction as per the real Turbo Arrow. Once again, I love the immersion the top-quality exterior model brings; it’s consistently smooth, with a high polygon count, and even the rivets are modelled which are enhanced by the superb PBR work. I think that this quality of modelling is unmatched in any G/A aircraft available for the sim.
As is with most of Just Flight’s products, users often find that they are never short of features/ in-sim gadgets to further improve the realism of their operations. With their X-Plane products, JF and Thranda tend to use clickable widgets and 2D pop-ups. The Turbo Arrow III/IV employs such a feature.
This easy to understand pop-up is utilised by the user to carry out all sorts of tasks and view all manners of information about the situation of the aircraft. A few examples include: Toggle reflections, push/ pull the aircraft, view checklist, view flight computer and open weight and balance page. My experience was greatly enhanced by this feature, as it gives the pilot the ability to easily change anything about the aircraft, without needing to manually go through X-Plane’s menu to change fuel or change position via the map, for example. I was ecstatic to see yet another X-Plane aircraft get the manual push/ pull treatment, as there’s just something about being able to pull the aircraft out of a hangar early in the morning that gives me goosebumps.
There is also a volume control option, which can be used on-the-fly to change the in-sim sounds without needing to enter X-Plane’s settings. It’s clear that Just Flight kept our online experience in mind; there’s nothing worse than calling up the tower on the downwind, only to have the whole reply drowned out by a 200 horsepower, turbocharged noise machine.
Furthermore, the Piper Turbo Arrow III/IV is IFR capable, whether the pilot chooses to fly via VORs and NDBs, or use the built-in GPS, this bird can handle it. Some may have noticed the somewhat primitive autopilot panel included, and thought ‘Where’s the altitude control?’… My exact thoughts too, surely JF and Thranda wouldn’t force simmers to control the altitude manually using the yoke or trim throughout the entire flight, would they? Of course not! Like I said, they have kept our lives in mind and have a click-spot on the ‘PIPER‘ title which activates an altitude hold, making the Turbo Arrow III/IV much more accessible to the masses.
In addition to this, Just Flight has also given users the ability to use the Reality XP GTN 750 within their aircraft, giving it just that little more of a personality.
Once again, FMOD is behind the fantastic sound modelling of this aircraft. Users can experience 3D stereo effects when they move around the aircraft; adaptive Doppler effects; exterior sound spill upon opening a window or door and atmospheric effects. I was particularly pleased with the engine sounds (especially hearing the turbo kick in), as it just helped me learn the engine’s limits much quicker, without staring at the gauges all of the time. One of the best experiences with this aircraft, I found, can be had by simply cruising about, and opening that tiny window… You can hear the wind rush in and cool you down on a hot day!
The flight model is what sets this model apart from any other aircraft I have experienced. Users who have flown Turbo Arrows will know how difficult they are to land, as power management is key, given the delayed turbocharger. After hours of flying, I’m still yet to master it. Of course, this is down to the superb flight model generated by X-Plane and Just Flight themselves. With input from real-world pilots, JF and Thranda have nailed this key aspect of the Turbo Arrow III/IV, making a dream to fly and a challenge to put down.
Despite the extensive modelling and texture work that the developers have put into this masterpiece, I have found no drop in frame rate whatsoever. Of course, every computer is different and everyone’s experience can vary, but note that my Mid-Range PC can maintain a high frame rate in LA with the Turbo Arrow and Orthophoto scenery on Medium-High settings.
£27.99 is all this bird (these birds…) costs. Personally, I feel that this price is more than reasonable, given the extreme quality of the aircraft and negligible performance impact. It would be safe to say that if this attention to detail was brought to a bigger aircraft, like an airliner, for example, I would expect the price to be much higher. Included with the 2 aircraft are a plethora of documentation to get to grips with this powerful bird.