I gotta admit it, I’m a Piper guy. There is something about these airplanes that magically attracts me. Maybe it’s the outer design. Or maybe it’s because of the way Piper arranges the instruments on the panel. Maybe they simply suit my taste better than what other manufacturers do. Whatever it is though, I am glad that X-Plane pilots have a rather large number of Piper aircraft to choose from. That said, here are my thoughts on the AeroSphere Piper PA28-161 Warrior II.
In case you never read one of my reviews before please be aware that I won’t be talking about the history of the aircraft. I’m also not counting the number of bolts on the aircraft and I honestly don’t care about the actual resolution of the trim wheel texture. If you want to read about those kind of things this is probably not the right review for you. However what you can expect here is a look at the aircraft in terms of “How does it feel?”. Is it immersive and fun? Does this product give you the impression of being in an actual aircraft?
That having said, let’s start. For the purpose of this review I decided to do a short 30-40 minutes VFR flight departing from LOAN Wiener Neustadt. Our flight will lead us directly to mount “Schneeberg” (engl. snowy mountain) in the eastern alpine foothills and back to Wiener Neustadt. If you want to recreate this flight I used Ortho4XP tiles and the outstanding freeware of LOAN Wiener Neustadt by AXDG available here.
Alright, first things first, let’s begin with the walkaround. My initial impressions are good. AeroSphere did a great job on the model. There are more than enough details to see. The PBR textures are not overdone in any way. Everything looks believable to me. It is probably worth noting though that AeroSphere generally seem to use a lower polygon number on their models. However this results in great performance which I personally prefer over perfect looks. This does not mean that the model looks bad in any way (which it doesn’t), but you can certainly see some rough edges from certain angles due to the lower polygon count.
I, for myself, am excited to enter this aircraft. Inside my initial impressions are even excelled. AeroSphere are definitely stepping up their game, especially texture-wise. The textures are not yet perfect, but there are worlds apart compared to earlier models of the developer. The click spots are all assigned to areas you’d expect them to be and all work fine. No reason not to get excited I’d say.
Let’s start that thing up. This is gonna be the fun part. After all AeroSphere claims that the Warrior II was “created using the Pilot Information Manual to fully encapsulate an accurate flight model”. At this point please note that I have no real world experience in Piper aircraft. Hence I cannot really judge how “good” or “bad” the flight model of this Warrior II is. However I do have real world experience in a C172 which is roughly of similar size. Thus I will try to judge the plausibility of the flight model based upon my experience.
OK so let’s grab our checklist and start the engine. If you ever flew a Piper this is fairly easy as they all basically look the same (there are some differences to be correct, but they are all very similar, you’ll get the idea). As I hear the engine sound for the first time I get excited immediately. To me good sounds are vital for an immersive product and AeroSphere has done a great job in that respect. At this point I really can’t wait any longer and simply wanna bring that bird up into the air. I decided to fly an eastbound departure and taxi the fastest way to holding point runway 09. Last check, everything looks good. In the second I aligned the aircraft on the runway I push the throttle all the forward. The engine starts to “roar” and my sub woofer awakes. Awesome!!!
Once we are in the air we make a turn to the right and climb to 3.000 ft. This was actually easier said than done. The AeroSphere Warrior II is somewhat twitchy. The controls are pretty sensitive and I have to be careful with my control inputs. After some minutes I adjusted to this twitchiness though. The sensitivity of the controls actually makes a lot of sense. This is a small and light aircraft and I expect it to be reactive on input controls. This is not any different from a real world C172. You don’t need a lot of input to turn in real life either.
My verdict in this respect is that I like the twitchiness. It seems more real and it is actually more challenging and fun to fly than comparable aircraft add-ons by other developers. However I am pretty sure that this sensitivity was made with the user owning a yoke in mind (which I don’t, I fly using the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog flight stick). I can imagine that the sensitivity is just right for yoke owners, but maybe a tiny tad to high for flight stick owners. Anyway this is complaint at a high level. As I wrote before, the Warrior II is a joy to fly regardless of the sensitivity.
Alright, time to enjoy the scenery. Since this flight is really nothing more than a short hop we arrive at our destination mount Schneeberg (see screenshot below) after some minutes in the air. Time to head back to our airfield, but also time to test the accuracy of the flight model a bit more.
Again, I experienced no inaccuracies in respect of the flight model. The plane behaves plausible and believable. It also does not allow for too unrealistic flight maneuvers. For example if you try to fly a roll the engine sound will change from healthy to “oh boy, something is going wrong here” and you might loose engine power. I think it is safe to say that the AeroSphere Warrior II encourages you to fly right, which is a good thing. Isn’t that the point of flight simulation?
We are almost back home now. Let’s see how easy or hard it is to bring to AeroSphere Piper Warrior II safely to the ground. We approach the city of Wiener Neustadt from the west. We cross the city at its south border and turn hard left, the field is in sight (see screenshot above). To spice things up I decide to land on runway 09. At this moment xEnviro updates its weather resulting in some strong winds as I descent to runway 09. The approach is getting really challenging at this point. You can probably imagine, I am in flight sim heaven!!!
After one final right turn and a rough but safe landing we finally arrive at our home field. My hands are sweaty as I taxi to my stand but I had a blast flying this bird. I can safely say it is a great addition to my hangar and among the top Piper aircraft I own. This AeroSphere Piper Warrior II is a no-brainer and I can definitely recommend it!
The AeroSphere Piper PA28-161 Warrior II is available at the x-plane.org store here for a mere $24.95.