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Everything posted by HolidayTheLeek

  1. rapier engines/whiplash engines are far more effective at supersonic speeds than panther engines - especially in cruise
  2. Don't worry about the maths! That's why we have a discord after all - you can always ask for help
  3. in my experience, its always the writing. Most of the statistics from flying can be found by plugging numbers into an equation. Don't worry about being slow, everyone has a different speed of writing - I'm not too swift myself. I've sent you an invite to the judging discord where we organise who judges what
  4. Hello Everyone! As you may be able to tell, we are somewhat backed up when it comes to judging and there is something you can do! A few of our judges have unfortunately pulled out of the challenge so we would really appreciate more people taking part in the judging process. You do not need to be a permanent judge - even helping out with just a single aircraft is great. Thankfully, I've got a fresh install of KSP again so I can get to judging again. Contact me on discord (Holiday#0321) if you are interested. The more judges we get, the better
  5. Yeah, thats the opinion of a lot of people though its needed for a lot of the detail-heavy builds. Most people use it to just make longer/specially shaped fairings tbh
  6. CFE is Craft File Editing - this is where you go into the craft file and change some text to either increase or decrease some values. Editing engine thrust is not allowed, though, you are allowed to make parts lighter by editing them (within reason). As for clipping, a lot of wing clipping is okay as I'm expecting some more aesthetic oriented builds. Clipping of engines and fuel tanks with like 50 fuel tanks/engines in the space of one is what I'd consider excessive. Keep in mind doing this will increase maintenance costs.
  7. Test Pilot Review: @KestrelAerospace's Exmouth Class Flying Boat (Flying Boat... duh) Figures as Tested: Price: 136,242,000 Fuel: 2925 units (capacity for 12350 units, though, only up to 5288 has been tested) Cruising speed: 124.5m/s (110m/s w/ extra fuel) Cruising altitude: 4.8km Fuel burn rate: 0.37 (0.64 full throttle) Passengers Carried: 48 Range: 971km (1427km) Review Notes: Have we gone back further in time? We got sent a few 1940s era aircraft and now we're back to the 30s? Nevertheless, under some closer inspection, it was found this aircraft was not a vintage 1930s flying boat (the advertising certainly made it seem that way) but indeed, new. The Exmouth was powered with modern turboprops rather than the radials of the past and overall, the aircraft looks to be well designed with aesthetics being a priority. Passenger comfort is at a premium with the deluxe mk3 cabins being used. Wide, tricycle landing gear was available for operations on land-based airfields giving the aircraft extra flexibility. Unlike every other propeller driven submission so far, the Exmouth is the first to be powered by conventional turboprops rather than electric motors and fuel cells. While fuel consumption is much higher, maintenance is much lower as existing aircraft technicians can be employed rather than the expensive specialists required to maintain fuelcell-electric aircraft. Aside from the slightly tedious process of having propeller pitch bound to a different throttle, the aircraft proved to be extremely responsive and easy to fly. Takeoff and landing on land was short and landing in the water was also quite easy. Unfortunately, the aircraft required a long takeoff run in water, though, we suspect this is due to the lack of wing incidence on the aircraft. The Exmouth was beautiful to fly. Control in every axis (especially pitch) were almost fighter-like which, was surprising for an aircraft of this size. High-speed handling was also surprisingly good. In emergencies, the Exmouth can just about sustain level flight with two engines missing. As the aircraft has excellent control authority, the inbalanced thrust from having engines only on one side was mostly a non-issue. The sturdy mk3 cabins also helped ensue safety in the event of an emergency. Range was lower than expected at 971km though, the top cruising speed achieved was roughly what was advertised. As the aircraft had capacity for more fuel, more was added to see if range could be increased. Fuel load went from 2925 units to 5288. The aircraft retained its excellent flight characteristics even with almost double the fuel load. Cruising speed suffered slightly and was reduced to 110m/s and the aircraft could no longer takeoff from water though we suspect this could be fixed with the addition of some wing incidence. The prescribed cruising altitude of 4.8km didn't really prove too much of an improvement from cruising at a lower altitude. Cruising at a lower altitude would typically be more efficient as well as the aircraft is short range and spends less time climbing. Overall, the Exmouth is an excellent aircraft though, a bit on the steep side when it comes to cost. The Verdict: The Exmouth is safe, comfortable and easy to fly. Aside from initial cost and fuel consumption, the Exmouth is simple to maintain due to it being powered by conventional turboprops. The Exmouth is flexible being able to land from runways and on the water but is constrained by its limited range. We advise TKA to buy at least three for use on island hopper routes. We see the potential for a larger, longer range variant (at least 3200km).
  8. I'm pretty sure we're all playing on 1.9+ so I don't see why not. Though, I'm not sure why you would use drain valves in the first place
  9. Test Pilot Review: @KingDominoIII's C6-168-S “TRIAD” JUMBO JET from Royal (Low Capacity Medium Range) Figures as Tested: Price: 64,016,000 Fuel: 5160 units Cruising speed: 348m/s Cruising altitude: 4-5km Fuel burn rate: 0.84 k/s Passengers Carried: 84 Range: 2137km Review Notes: It's a weird aircraft with two cockpits, four engines (but two different types), cabins arranged like pencils grouped together and bodywork like scales(?). It's also called a 'jumbo jet' for some reason yet is comparatively tiny... Admittedly, we weren't expecting much from this design but it proved to be full of surprises. For one, we were surprised by the lack of steering on the main gear. Taxiing was rather difficult, though, toggling the engines manually helped it turn. Takeoff was surprisingly long and high speed, though, once it got into the air, it practically rocketed to its cruising altitude of 4km. With a cruising speed of 348m/s (mach 1.02), the Triad actually qualifies as a supersonic jet - albeit a slow one. Cruise speed was attained quite quickly and the aircraft was fairly pleasant to fly despite its looks. Landing proved fairly easy with the strong landing gear and powerful engines allowing for good control over speed for landing. The high speed combined with the comparatively low cost (compared to other supersonics anyway) made the aircraft seem attractive at first, however, maintenance costs looked to be quite high with two different types of engines needing to be maintained (four in total). The engines being high-bypass turbofans were optimised for low speeds, meaning that continuous flight at supersonic speeds (even if the aircraft is perfectly capable) could damage engines severely in the long run. The aircraft also had a fairly short range for how much fuel it carries. The Verdict: While cheap to buy, the aircraft looks to be a maintenance hog as its supersonic but its engines were clearly designed NOT to be supersonic. It is inefficient compared even compared to other supersonic aircraft and the slight increase in speed doesn't really set it too far apart from far more efficient subsonic airliners. It's an odd aircraft designed for an odd role with a few design flaws. We advise TKA not to order any.
  10. Test Pilot Review: @MR_somebody's Class 47 Ekranoplan (Flying Boat) Figures as Tested: Price: 139,684,000 Fuel: 2960 units Cruising speed: 153m/s Cruising altitude: 100m Fuel burn rate: 0.73 k/s Passengers Carried: 72 Range: 620km Review Notes: The Class 47 Ekranoplan is an oddity in that it's not an aeroplane but a ground-effect vehicle. This means that unlike regular aircraft that can fly on wing lift alone, it relies on the cushion of air formed when flying at low altitudes to lift off the ground, which, explains the disproportionately small wings relative to the size of the craft. The aircraft also has engines mounted above the wings to help keep them out of the water. The aircraft has a few more design oddities in that it utilised a dual-cockpit layout typically found in fighter-jet trainers and enough struts on its elevators to make the P-26 proud. Instead of draggy pontoons or more complex retractable pontoons, the Ekranoplan's wings doubled as flotation devices. The wings were also thick enough to carry some fuel, though, the majority was stored in the fuselage. The Ekranoplan could also land and takeoff both from land and water increasing its somewhat limited role. The Class 47 Ekranoplan taxied easily both in water and out of water and was just as easy to takeoff in both. The Ekranoplan could also reach cruise speed relatively quickly, though could not reach the advertised 166m/s but was not much slower at 153m/s. Climb performance is irrelevant as it pretty much flies straight as soon as it takes off. The Ekranoplan surprisingly glided well and could land both at high and low speeds on water. Thrust reversers were especially useful on landing approach as it helped slow the aircraft down in water. With four engines and ample rudder, the Ekranoplan responded well to engine outages. As a craft capable of landing on water, it was much safer than conventional airliners when it came to emergency ditching. Unfortunately, the engines mounted above the wings could be heard very clearly in the passenger cabins which, severely reduced passenger comfort. Maintenance was high due to fact there were four engines and that they were mounted very close to the water. Flexibility was also an issue as the Ekranoplan was limited to only seafaring routes and could not flying over rough oceans or bad weather. The low cruising altitude also proved problematic when it came to noise as four turbofans were at full blast flying at only 20-100m. The Ekranoplan was also unusually expensive costing more than most top-of-the-line supersonic airliners. The Verdict: The aircraft is extremely expensive and has the problem of being inflexible limiting it to only a few select routes. Both range and speed aren't good either despite having four turbofans running at full blast. Unfortunately, the Class 47 Ekranoplan is simply too expensive and limited to be of use to TKA. We suggest TKA doesn't order any at all.
  11. Test Pilot Review: @NightshineRecorralis's Saturn SST from Habu Industries (Long Range Medium Capacity) (Saturn SST in flight approaching 1200m/s) Figures as Tested: Price: 107,642,000 Fuel: 3420 units Cruising speed: 1229.3m/s (1164 at 22km) Cruising altitude: 21-22km Fuel burn rate: 0.66 kal/s (0.48 at 22km) Passengers Carried: 112 Range: 4071km (5578km at 22km at speed of 1164m/s) Review Notes: The Saturn SST was a rapid departure from the previously vintage airliners UCA was contracted to test. Sporting large, forward swept wings and four turbo-ramjet engines, this aircraft looked more at home in a sci-fi movie than an airline. The Saturn SST also boasted 112 passenger seats - while not as large as existing airliners like the Firebird (160) - was still fairly impressive. Unusually, instead of a singular cabin, the Saturn SST opted to seat economy passengers were in cabins bundled in groups of two and four like a double-bubble fuselage but sideways. Business passengers were placed both at the front and at the back of the aircraft though, there were some noise concerns regarding the engine placement right behind the business cabins. Landing gear was fairly standard with its tricycle layout allowing for easy taxiing on the runway. The Saturn SST boasted takeoff performance rivalling subsonic airliners and some turboprops with a takeoff speed at roughly 62m/s. This was possible owing to the aircraft's large wings and powerful flaps. Low speed handling was excellent with a stall speed lower than 46m/s. The aircraft climbed well only requiring just over three minutes to reach cruising altitude of 21km though, accelerated slower when reaching cruising speed. While it took longer than expected to reach cruise speed, the aircraft was still easy to control at high speeds. The aircraft was technically capable of a higher top speed, though, this was not tested as temperature warnings began to appear when the aircraft was pushed to go faster. Calculated range was found to be 4071km. It was found, though, that range could be significantly increased when cruised at a slower speed of roughly 1164m/s at a slightly higher altitude (22km). Flying this way increased range from 4071km to an impressive 5578km. Engine-out tests were conducted and it was found that the aircraft was capable of flying and taking off with two engines missing. Strong yaw control allowed the aircraft to fly well even with engines knocked out in an asymmetrical layout (for example, only engines on the right-hand side working). The aircraft's extremely low stall speed allows it to perform ditches in water with relative ease. Landing was also incredibly easy owing to its powerful flaps and low stall speed. However, the aircraft had some issues regarding comfort with its rear business class seats. As engines were bolted on to a fuselage piece directly behind the business class cabins, vibrations were severe and the cabin was loud. The engines in the centre of the plane were fed by intakes that were extremely far forward relative to the engines themselves. They required long intake ducts bypassing through passenger cabins to function - this increased maintenance costs substantially. Furthermore, the quad-passenger cabins for the economy class proved difficult to maintain due to structural complexity. The Verdict: The Saturn SST looked to be competing with TKA's existing fleet of TACo Firebirds roughly matching it both in speed and capacity. The Saturn SST, however is much faster (1164m/s vs 1080m/s), had a longer range (5578km vs 2590km) but carried fewer passengers (112 vs 160). Maintenance for both types is projected to be around the same as both employed similarly long intake ducts and had the same amount and type of engines. The Saturn SST also cost around the same only being ever so slightly cheaper than the Firebird. Despite similarities in role and overall costs, the Saturn SST performed much better and was proven to be much safer than the competing Firebird. We advise TKA to retire their fleet of Firebirds in exchange for eight Saturn SSTs for use in long-range supersonic routes.
  12. The requirements are moreso suggestions rather than strict requirements. If your cruising speed is lower than expected, it will still fit in long-haul because of range. --- Also, on another note: lads, apologies for letting the backlog grow! A lot of us (most of us aren't from the U.S) are on exams right now and would appreciate it if submissions are kept to a minimum while we're busy so it's not as much of a pain to clear up the backlog. Thanks for understanding! (some more coming from me later today or tomorrow)
  13. Yeah, thats fine - planes need to accelerate (even if it takes 3 minutes) and we'll take that into account when testing. I'm sure there's plenty of ways to get a good flight profile (even with fluctuating speeds) without autopilot.
  14. We don't use any autopilots for cruising purposes as the judges are mostly stock players. Cruise speed is whatever you feel the aircraft works best at - if it's found that cruise speed is higher or lower than expected, it will be stated in the review. EDIT: There is no limit to submissions, however, it's best if you restrict them to your best ones only. Less is more
  15. Test Pilot Review: @mrdanger2007's Model 308 'Altoliner' by Kerlington (Short Haul, Low Capacity) Figures as Tested: Price: 82,682,000 Fuel: 360 LF, 440 Ox Cruising speed: 195m/s Cruising altitude: 2800 - 3000 Fuel burn rate: 0.08k/s Passengers Carried: 40 Range: 1170km Review Notes: "Woah, are those radial engines? I thought they stopped using those like, fifty years ago" - One of our test pilots. Unfortunately, one of our partnered companies - Phantom Aerospace, had decided to cancel their judging contracts and as such, they were delivered to us at UCA (Uncle Carlos Aerospace). Our first thoughts on the Altoliner were that this aircraft had been in storage for so long because of how long our judging queue was - fortunately, upon closer inspection, the aircraft was indeed new and the engines were electric and only stylized as radials. According to the company, the 1950s aesthetic was deliberate and was supposed to "illicit memories of the golden age of aviation in everyone who looks at it.". They definitely weren't wrong. Aside from looking like it was designed fifty years ago, the aircraft had a very modern propulsion system composed of electric motors and fuel cells generating electricity. The rest of the aircraft remained fairly conventional with the exception of the triple tail and smaller-than-average wings. The tried-and-tested tricycle landing gear made taxiing the Altoliner a breeze, though the ground clearance of the propellers was found to be a little bit too low. The cockpit design also allowed for extremely good pilot visibility, though, the size of the windows also raised some structural safety concerns in the event of a crash. Finally, after the pre-flight checks were over, our pilots were allowed to fly the aircraft. The Altoliner required a surprisingly high speed of roughly 74m/s to takeoff, but the Altoliner's extremely powerful engines allowed for a short takeoff run. The aircraft was sluggish to maneuver, wasn't as stable as expected and had a large turning radius. The aircraft naturally wanted to pitch down and pilots reported having to 'fight' the aircraft at low-medium speeds. The Altoliner also tended to roll slightly to the left when pitching up for some reason. Despite this, pilots appreciated the control of propeller pitch being bound to throttle. This made things a lot easier for pilots as they did not have to worry about adjusting propeller pitch while flying - unlike some other propeller driven aircraft. Acceleration at all speeds was also good. The Altoliner only able to reach the advertised 200m/s cruise speed when slightly losing altitude and on average, the aircraft had a cruise speed of roughly 195m/s. Range was marginally better than what was advertised at 1170km instead of 1094. Passenger comfort was deemed average - if a bit noisy due to the proximity of a few huge propellers next to the cabin. The aircraft had a fairly high stall of roughly 80-90m/s and had poor gliding ability which, made landing difficult. Additionally, the front landing gear was also a bit flimsy occasionally collapsing or popping tires on landing. In emergencies, the aircraft performed poorly in ditch tests. Despite being able to float, the high speed required to land and tendency to pitch-down made trying to land softly difficult. The aircraft could handle up to two engine failures and still be able to takeoff and maintain flight. However, if the two engines that failed were on one side, takeoff was near-impossible and maintaining flight required full rudder. Landing with any number of engines failed was significantly more difficult as the aircraft had far less power to be able to land at such high speeds. With a fuel consumption of 0.08k/s, it was good compared to jetliners but not compared to other propeller aircraft of its class. In comparison, both the similarly sized JA-42 and K-400 had a fuel consumption of only 0.02k/s. Having four engines opposed to only two also made maintenance slightly more expensive. The Verdict: Whilst the cost of buying the aircraft was relatively low, cost long-term in terms of maintenance proved to be a concern. The aircraft also had some safety issues regarding landing gear design, high takeoff/landing speeds and difficulty to fly. We appreciate the attention to detail with aesthetics, though, in the aircraft's current state, competing designs in the same class like the JA-42 and K-400 prove to be much better at their jobs than the Altoliner. Unless some issues are fixed, we advise TKA to not order any for regular passenger service. However, we encourage TKA to purchase at least one to be used jointly with the Kerbal Air Museum for accurate historical flights.
  16. Test Pilot Review: @AVeryNiceSpacePenguin's Doug-Glass SBD Dauntless (NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT AEROPLANES LIKE THIS. THIS WAS ONLY REVIEWED BECAUSE I KNOW THIS GUY ON DISCORD. FUTURE AIRCRAFT THAT DO NOT FIT INTO THE CHALLENGE IN ANY WAY WILL BE IGNORED IN FUTURE) Figures as Tested: Price: 752,146,000 Fuel: None Cruising speed: 45m/s Cruising altitude: It doesn't climb well - our pilots got bored Fuel burn rate: 50 units of LF, 400 EC (we're not sure if the fuel actually gets used) Passengers Carried: 2 Range: Unknown Review Notes: We're not sure why we got sent a war bird... we think it got sent to the wrong address? Shouldn't this thing be in a museum? Surely, this must be a mistake... though, the information we got given makes it very clear Doug-Glass intended this thing to be used as an airliner... somehow. First of all, the plane has an absolutely monstrous cost of 752,146,000 which means, it would never ever be able to make a profit. Secondly, the passengers are in an (understandably) cramped 'cabin' and the passenger in the rear isn't even enclosed under a roof. The aircraft has an extremely dated design with a taildragger landing gear configuration and a 9 cylinder radial engine and for some reason it's coated in gold. We're not even sure if we can get parts for this plane anymore, making maintenance very difficult. The aircraft also came with a lot of action groups which, were fairly confusing and poorly laid out. How the aircraft was powered was also a mystery, having a radial engine but being electrically powered. None of our test pilots had flown an actual warbird before so they were excited to get into this thing. The taildragger layout meant that the pilot had to stick their head out of the cockpit to taxi - this was deemed unacceptable for any modern aircraft (we're aware it isn't). The solid gold coating the aircraft weighed down the aircraft considerably and negatively impacted control in all areas. The engine struggled to lift the aircraft off the ground - let alone perform well in flight. We were able to get the aircraft to roughly 50m/s, though it sat at 45m/s for most of the flight - very close to its own stall speed and the stalling speeds of most other submissions. The machine gun in the rear posed a significant safety risk as passengers could shoot off the plane's own tail with relatively ease, - we appreciated the free bottle of whiskey in the passenger compartment, though. The aircraft glided like a solid gold brick (probably because it literally is one) and with the SBD only having a singular engine from like eighty years ago, reliability and safety regarding ditching the aircraft did not meet the airline's expectations. Actually, the aircraft wasn't fit to be an airliner at all... why is it here? The Verdict: We're not buying it. The aircraft belongs in a museum... not an airline..
  17. Test Pilot Review: @keptin's Valara Centurion (Medium-Haul, Low Capacity) Figures as Tested: Price: 32,334,000 Fuel: 1600 units Cruising speed: 295m/s Cruising altitude: 9500m Fuel burn rate: 0.20 Passengers Carried: 40 Range: 2212km Review Notes: After some positive reviews from our other test pilots, we were delighted to have a Valara aeroplane in hangar to test. The aircraft was fairly conventional aside from the extremely tall landing gear, the twin-fin setup and its usage of struts. Our engineers were unsure why the aircraft did not make use of newer autostrut technologies but this was deemed a non issue; just an oddity in its design. The aircraft carried 1200 units of fuel in the wings and a further 400 more in its engine nacelles. The tall landing gear could also prove somewhat problematic at some airports, though, we suspect this was a measure to keep engines safe from FOD (foreign object damage). One particular area of concern was the engine placement, which were situated very close to the passenger cabins. The wing-mounted engines were not situated under the wing but instead, in the centre. This meant the engine exhaust was fairly close to the passenger cabins, raising some noise concerns. The rearmost engine was attached directly to the passenger cabin at the back which could be another potential source of noise. Minor comfort problems aside, the aircraft looked good from the pilots' point of view being easy to taxi and having ample power with its tri-jet configuration on a relatively small and light airframe. While three engines on a type this small could pose some maintenance issues, the engines were simple enough (J-33 Wheesleys) and weren't in particularly challenging locations. Our test pilot Valentina was given the aircraft to test after pre-flight checks were complete. The aircraft accelerated well on the runway and had a relatively low takeoff speed at around 55m/s. Climb was extremely good with the aircraft reaching the target altitude (9500m) in only three minutes. The aircraft only required minor trim to fly straight and maintain altitude. A low fuel burn rate was maintained at 0.20 kal/s. The aircraft was calculated to have an impressive 2212km of range - an amazing feat considering the fuel load of only 1600 units. The Centurion's big, thick wings gave the aircraft low wing loading which, reduced stall speeds, decreased turn radius and put less Gs on the passengers. Unfortunately, that's where the passenger comfort ends. Whilst passengers situated in cabins fore of the engines had a relatively smooth ride - passengers aft of the engines experienced the unending racket of three fully throttled jets right next to their cabins (Valentina was instructed to fly the aircraft at full throttle even during cruise). The aircraft landed well with flaps and airbrakes deployed on the landing gear action group. Combined with the reverse thrust action group set to 'brakes', the aircraft could land on extremely short airfields. The aircraft could also perform on unpaved runways due to the large landing gear keeping engines away from ingesting debris on the ground. The Centurion was also very easily flown with a single engine (from anywhere on the aircraft) and could still maintain fully controlled flight making it very safe in the event of an engine failure. The big wings also proved useful as flotation devices in the event of an emergency water landing. Overall, the aircraft works well in its intended purpose as a medium range, low capacity airliner. Aside from some passenger comfort issues in the rear cabins, the aircraft is cheap to buy at only 33 million and has low estimated maintenance costs. The Verdict: The Centurion is a very effective aircraft for its role and price of only 33 million. You get a lot of bang for your buck considering the low cost - the Centurion has all the bells and whistles of any other aircraft, too. Despite low passenger comfort in the rear cabins, the aircraft's superb performance and cost override these smaller issues. TKA will consider buying 15 of them for use in its longer regional routes.
  18. Multiple submissions are okay as long as they're not just haphazardly made and not spammy. Submit as much as you want - just don't expect them to be reviewed instantly as a result. As for the hangar screenshots that's actually a good idea. It might be done as an end of month thing for the best aircraft we got submitted
  19. Hi everyone, myself and a few other judges have decided to change up how aircraft are categorised as we felt the current system is a little restrictive. Instead of having set categories for each kind of plane, there are now two different categories for both size and range that you can select. The only categories left unchanged are the Cargo/Combi category and Flying Boat category. This change was done as in real life, not every long range aircraft is a large aircraft and vice versa. If you have built an aircraft to the old requirements and it has not been judged yet, the judges will match the aircraft to the closest range and passenger capacity requirement according to the new system. The revised categories are in the spoiler below: Happy building, and any suggestions to this new system will be considered
  20. Test Pilot Review: @Klapaucius's Squire Submarine Plane by K.R.A.S.S.H The submarine plane working in its secondary purpose - submarining! Figures as Tested: Price: 44,654,000 Fuel: 1272 units Cruising speed: 1300m/s (top speed) 940m/s (economical cruise) Cruising altitude: 18km Fuel burn rate: 0.42 - 0.72 (economic cruise) Range: 2223km (economic cruise) Review Notes: APOLOGIES FOR LATE REVIEW! This aircraft is truly an oddity. It resembles a pod racer more than a plane and according to K.R.A.S.S.H, the plane should be capable of supersonic flight, water landings and, submarine capability. That's a lot of stuff for one plane to do and, as a result, our test pilots were eager to test. The aircraft featured a myriad of design oddities like double canards, an extremely forward swept main wing and dual cockpit. For a supersonic aircraft, the aircraft also lacked airbrakes - though we suspect this would be fixed in production models. Design oddities aside, the aircraft looked functional enough to test so it was taxied onto the runway. The odd gear configuration resembled a cross between tricycle and taildragger landing gear though was surprisingly easy to taxi. The aircraft was cleared for takeoff and the four engines rapidly accelerated the aircraft. The aircraft's power-to-weight ratio allowed for a short takeoff despite high speeds required due to the landing gear configuration. The aircraft reached cruise altitude easily and achieved the advertised top speed of 1300m/s. Interestingly, at high altitudes, the front two engines shut off, leaving only the rear two engines for cruising. TKA was not given an instruction handbook on how to reach optimum cruise, so our test pilots made up one. At half throttle at 18km, the aircraft had a burn rate of 0.42 - 0.72 units/sec and a cruise speed of 940m/s. Range was estimated at 2223km. The aircraft handled surprisingly well and had fairly decent low speed handling. Landing both on land and in water proved a breeze. Takeoff was just as easy with the high thrust-to-weight ratio. One slight complaint was the slight instability in handling when rolling at low speed. The submarine capability was also a success utilising the afterburners of the front two engines. We're not really sure where this would come in handy, but it's nice to have at least. The aircraft is well prepared in emergencies with water landing capability and multiple engines. Afterburner was useful for compensating the loss of engines. Maintenance-wise, the aeroplane is a tad problematic. With two different types of engines and four engines in total on a relatively small plane, the aircraft is costly to maintain. That, combined with the engines ingesting water due to where they're located means even more maintenance is required. Passenger capacity is also a fairly lacking at 16 passengers, though, the extra cockpits could be repurposed to fit more passengers. Overall, the aircraft is relatively cheap to buy and comes with very few inherent flaws with maintenance and a lack of airbrakes being the only concerns. The Verdict: The aircraft is cheap, easy to fly and fast. In its current state, TKA will order 11 for use in undeveloped areas where only ocean or lake landings are possible. If maintenance costs and passengers are reduced, TKA will consider buying another 6.
  21. Test Pilot Review: @chargan's Firebird Model Supersonic from TACo Firebird in flight over Kerbin's Oceans Figures as Tested: Price: 107,981 Fuel: 7320 units Cruising speed: 1030 - 1080m/s Cruising altitude: 16 - 18km Fuel burn rate: avg 2.635 Range: 2590km Review Notes: When the aircraft arrived at the TKA test-hangar, Jeb and our other test pilots were extremely excited with the appearance of a supersonic jet as the first entry. With three Whiplash engines, a sleek exterior and pointed intakes, we knew this aeroplane could do exactly what it said it could do - go fast! Of course, our test pilots were more than ready to fly the thing, but mandated pre-flight checks analyzing the design still had to be done. Aside from being aggressively pointy, the aircraft was fairly conventional in its design with only a few strange design choices inbetween. The aircraft had both canards and elevators - we suspect two engineers had a disagreement and settled on having both. The distance between the front intake and rear engine was also an oddity - we still haven't figured out how that engine gets air through all the cabins and fuel tanks. The passenger cabins were split into three different modules with the side two cabins being dedicated to economy and the centre being a more spacious, comfy cabin. In total, the aircraft could carry 160 passengers - impressive for a supersonic. Worryingly, the aircraft lacked a pair of airbrakes - though we suspect this would be fixed on production models. Finally, it was time to fly the thing... The tricycle landing gear made taxiing the aircraft onto the runway a breeze. Centred onto the runway, Jeb eagerly maxed out the throttle expecting to be pushed by the hands of God... but to Jeb's disappointment; the plane only sluggishly inched forward. The aircraft's poor acceleration made the 100m/s takeoff speed seem like it was impossible - let alone a top speed over 1000m/s. With the end of the runway approaching closer and closer, the aircraft finally struggled into the air. So far, the aircraft was heavy, slow to accelerate, struggled to gain altitude and hadn't at all lived up to the speeds implied by the aircraft's pointy aesthetic. Nevertheless, testing continued and eventually, the aircraft reached 450m/s - the speed required for it to climb to altitude. The aircraft's flight manual was deceptively simple, only having three steps: Rotate at 100m/s for takeoff Accelerate to 450m/s at low altitude Climb to 16km and cruise at full throttle. Speed will range from 1300-1380m/s depending on fuel load. This would seemingly be impossible to achieve with the Firebird struggling to climb past 8000m. Thankfully, the Firebird also came with an instructional video, which ultimately proved more helpful than the deceptively simple flight instructions. Perhaps clearer instructions could become a feature on the production models. After the third test flight, the Firebird finally reached optimum cruise speed and altitude. We found that the aircraft had already used a significant portion of its fuel during the climb. Cruise speed was lower than advertised at only 1030 - 1080m/s though, still blisteringly fast. With fluctuating fuel consumption during cruise, a conservative range of 2590km was calculated - lower than the minimum requirements for range. As for passenger comfort, the aircraft was slightly louder than the average airliner, but comfort overall during cruise was good. The aircraft had an unacceptably high wing-loading meaning that even gentle turns forced passengers to experience unexpectedly high G forces. High wing loading also meant dangerously high landing speeds and with the lack of airbrakes, the Firebird was difficult to land. The aircraft's immense weight but few wheels lead to high ground pressure. This combined with the long takeoff run, high landing speeds and lack of airbrakes limited it to long, well maintained, reinforced airfields. The Firebird was also put through simulated engine failure to test the aircraft in emergency situations. The Firebird struggled to fly even with only one engine knocked out. The small rudder only had barely enough authority and made engine failure on either the left or right side of the aircraft fairly dangerous. Fortunately, the Firebird performed well in an emergency water landing despite high stall speeds. The low drag design also helped it retain energy and glide fairly well - provided you didn't turn. TKA recommends giving the aircraft bigger wings, making it lighter or both! The Verdict: The Firebird is fairly inefficient managing only 2590km with 7320 units of fuel and expensive at 108 million. The aircraft is fairly good maintenance-wise with the only particularly difficult area being the extremely long duct between the front intake and rear engine. The Firebird's less than impressive handling makes minor corrections in flight difficult and uncomfortable. The fact that supersonic speeds are to be achieved at low altitudes means it cannot be used over populated areas - only airports near water or far away from cities. Despite the many drawbacks, the Firebird is the airline's fastest airliner so far and could provide some routes spanning across oceans. The Firebird's top speed could also warrant higher ticket prices and serve as a niche for richer customers. If the type's glaring problems are addressed, TKA will consider buying three for use in some overseas routes. --- EDIT: I'm pretty new to the whole reviewing thing. If I'm too harsh or not harsh enough let me know
  22. Add pictures using links with image hosting sites like imgur. A link like this: https://i.imgur.com/iMCOsJG.jpg should automatically embed as: If you're using imgur, be sure to use 'direct image link'
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