Technically it’s the Asobo TBM 930, and the Black Square TBM 850. For the latter, the link below has some good videos showcasing the cool features in the 850. I honestly haven’t flown the Asobo since I got the BKSQ, but maybe tonight I’ll take the Asobo on a flight to refresh.
Correct, the A2A Comanche is not ice-worthy. But I did have my first carburetor icing the other day…manifold pressure dropped very low, and fired up the carb heat to clear it out.
Bearing in mind that anything that was not available for the full year or not available on XBOX is at a disadvantage. Also the lack of default airliners is probably the reason so many airliners dominate, even dodgy ones.
A lot of the GA you would expect are in there, JF Warrior, JF Arrows, 310, 414, Wilga, Kodiak, Vision jet and pretty much every Carenado GA offering.
The Black Square and A2A products are probably just too new to have an impact yet.
After several months, it’s time to update my list for the 2024 ranking! I’m using the same methodology as in my last ranking (quoted above). I’ve purchased several planes over the last several months, and the ranking has reshuffled:
A2A Simulations Comanche: I have a contrarian streak, and I find myself hesitating to put this plane at #1 because so many other lists have it there. Using my rating system, it is tied with the Blackbird 310R for a perfect score. But between those two, I have to give the #1 spot to the Comanche. It’s such a fantastic plane. The flight model has a sense of inertia to it that is so missing from a lot of other GA planes in MSFS. The systems depth (especially the piston engine simulation) is also top-notch. This is what gives it the edge over the 310R for me. The 310R has a few engine quirks that I’m skeptical about, but the Comanche behaves very believably.
Blackbird Simulations 310R: This is one of my most-flown airplanes in the sim. For me, the flight model is the standout feature of this plane. There’s an intangible feel about it that makes it feel like it’s actually flying. The sound is amazing also. The systems depth and failure simulation is also impressive, but I quibble with a few things: pushing the prop levers full forward on final approach causes the CHT to shoot into the stratosphere, even though the manifold pressure is low. And the engine will wear out very quickly if you climb at wide open throttle (even with mixture full rich). This is a common recommendation from the likes of Mike Busch and George Braly. I doubt the cylinders would be ready to be replaced after 50 flight hours when following their advice. Nonetheless, with a few adjustments to technique, both of these quirks can be avoided, and the plane’s virtues more than outweigh the minor annoyance of those details for me.
Just Flight BAe-146: I’ve loved the looks of this plane ever since I was a kid, and the experience of flying it in MSFS is also really enjoyable. It takes practice to manage all the systems well, and it’s so satisfying to get it right. The sound is also top-notch.
Flysimware 414AW Chancellor: This remains one of my favorites, even though I don’t fly it often. The flight model has a great feel to it. The way the ailerons induce adverse yaw feels believable, and it has that intangible sense of flying. Sounds are really well done, and the pressurization system makes this plane versatile and adds another system that must be managed well for a smooth flight.
The remaining airplanes are tied in my rating system. They all received the same score (17 out of 20 points), but I’ve ordered them based on how much I feel like flying them at the time of this ranking:
PMDG 737-700 (and 900): I can’t say it better than what I wrote in my last ranking: “This is such a complete package. Systems depth is incredible. Sounds are good. I fly GA more often than airliners in the sim, but this is my go-to for modern airliner flights. The extra touches like custom baggage carts, pushback, generator and air carts, etc are fun to have. I can’t quite explain why I like this plane so much better than the FBW A32NX. The A32NX has better sound, an EFB, etc. But I always choose the 737 over the A32NX when I want to fly.”
Simworks PC-12: The flight model is the standout feature of this plane that makes me want to fly it. I was surprised by its behavior in yaw at first, and it sounds like the developer is still fine-tuning that. But after practicing with the plane further, I’ve learned how to fly it better and no longer find the yaw behavior a major distraction. On the positive side, the flight model is SO STABLE and has so much inertia. In a sim where so many small airplanes are thrown around constantly by ubiquitous wind gusts, this plane is a breath of fresh air. It cuts through turbulence in a way that few planes do in MSFS. It’s just so smooth! Sounds and systems modeling are also good. This is not my most-flown airplane, but I enjoy it every time I decide to pull it out of the hangar.
Black Square TBM 850: Lots of systems depth, and the analog systems require practice to manage smoothly and well (similar to the BAe-146 and the Chancellor). The flight model is enjoyable enough, and crucially, it actually requires rudder trim to counteract the engine torque and p-factor (unlike the stock TBM 930). It’s fast and satisfying to fly. The cockpit preparation checklist is so involved that I sometimes don’t feel like spending the time to set it up.
Simworks Kodiak 100: A good complete package. Excellent sounds, good flight model, good custom systems. It gets thrown around by turbulence more than I like, so I find it frustrating to hand-fly without turning turbulence to low or medium. But in smooth air, it’s very enjoyable.
COWS DA42: This is brand-new, but it already makes the top 10 in my rating system after a couple of flights. The sounds are very well done. The systems are excellent (engine logic and custom systems logic). The flight model is also enjoyable. I’m partial to modern GA aircraft with glass cockpits, and Diamond aircraft are so compelling. They’re one of the only GA manufacturers pushing the envelope with new engine technology (as opposed to the traditional air-cooled piston engines that haven’t changed much since…the 1970s).
Black Square Analog Bonanza: I especially enjoy the turbo variant. Just like with all Black Square planes, the systems depth is impressive. I also think the engine management is quite good here. It responds quite well to Mike Busch and George Braly’s recommendations, and it doesn’t have the quirky CHT or engine damage behavior that I mentioned with the 310R. The flight model is fine, and the sounds are good (some additional sounds that aren’t in the stock G36 Bonanza).
I’ve been waiting for a DA42 for what feels like forever, but the Comanche just came out on XBOX last Friday and essentially ruined all of my other add-ons for me. As someone who owns both and seems to pay close attention to these things, would you say the COWS flight model is similar to the Comanche’s? Does it feel like it’s in a fluid or does it feel more on rails? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
I need to fly the DA42 for a while longer to make a really confident comparison, but here are some first impressions:
It definitely doesn’t feel “on rails.” I’d say the Comanche feels closer to being on rails than the DA42. The DA42 has a tendency to yaw around with wind gusts. I suspect that could be accurate, given how large the vertical stabilizer is:
I’m still learning how to land the DA42. It loses lift really quickly if you cut power early and try to flare with the engines idle. It takes some finesse to reduce power while flaring and touch down smoothly. Based on the comments I’ve read, this is apparently true to life.
A2A Simulations Comanche - This plane is the real deal in my book, wow, it feels different than any other plane i’ve flown in the sim and thats a good thing. Plus all the “ownership” features added to the experience makes this my new number 1.
Flysimware 414AW Chancellor - Was my number 1 for quite a long time but has moved to #2 for now. Still love this twin and its my go to for this type of flying.
Big Radials JRF6 Goose - Still love firing up these big ol radial engines and listening to them chug along. My go to water plane.
Blackbox Shorts SD30 series - I like this twin turbo quite a bit so it gets added to my list. I keep calling it a “flying Manatee” Big, ugly, plodding but in a friendly way.
Blackbox BN2 Islander - My Caribbean go to , I still enjoy getting this gal up in the air for short hops.
Got Friends Wilga\Wilma - The bush flying master in my book. Great feels, looks and sounds.
PMDG DC-6 - 4 massive radials pounding in your ears, plus it keeps you busy in the cockpit, whats not to love.
Carenado 207 - Fun bird to take up some skydivers and kick them out over shark and or gator infested areas
Blackbox L-19 Bird Dog - Simple but I like flying this old gal, something about her…
Asobo Cessna Longitude - My go to when I need to travel fast and up at altitude.
If I am flying at all, my daily ride is usually the A2A Comanche.
However the 310 (along with the Wilga, TBM850 and Tigermoth) definitely gets regular use.
I do own the c414 and Analogue Baron but the 310 is still my preferred twin. I just purchased the Golden Age Stearman and it seems pretty good, but so far it has not displaced the Tigermoth as my preferred biplane.
(1) Fenix A320. Still my number one favourite aircraft and soon™ to get even better!
(NE) A2A Piper Comanche. Incredible amount of realism and attention to detail. Always concerned how I might forget to do something or mistreat it in some way to either cause damage to or crash it!
(NE) HPG H145. Who knew heli ops could be so much fun? Using the Action Pack Expansion gives meaning to every flight.
(3) PMDG 737-600. Allows me to get my 737 fix from time-to-time.
(4) Cessna 152 (JPL/WBSim freeware mod). Now overshadowed by the A2A Comanche, yet still has great improvements to make the default C-152 much more immersive than a lot of comparible single engine GA aircraft.
(2) FFX HondaJet. *Engine sound is annoying (like its real-world counterpart). Feels a little like a partner who you once found interesting, but since discovered you don’t have the same likes and the noise they make when breathing irritates you…
(5) FSReborn Sting S4. *Had issues with how it originally responded to MSFS turbulence. Lost interest when other single engine GA performed better and were more enjoyable to fly.
(NE) JustFlight Hawk T1/A Advanced Trainer. *Disappointing. Handling at speed feels wrong for a manoeuvrable jet and significant issues with the throttle.
(NE) Asobo ATR 42/72. *The less said about this the better. Nothing ‘expert’ about it in its broken state despite the recent update.