No Money Mondays: Zlin Z-142
November 8, 2021
For today’s edition of No Money Monday we take a look at one of the underdogs of the X-Plane freeware market, the Zlin Z-142. The aircraft provides users with the looks and feel of a high-end payware aircraft, and will do every task you give it wonderfully without any issues. The add-on is the result of a collaboration between NHAdrian (a familiar name in recent weeks) and PWDT (Pannon Wings Design Team) - a team from the “other side” of flight simulation: FSX. Some of the key features implemented in the aircraft include pre-configured Librain effects, highly detailed 4K PBR textures and a fully custom FMOD soundset. Notable is that the add-on isn’t developed from the ground up, but rather is a conversion from an old Flight Simulator X model, the fruit of the collaboration between the aforementioned.
The real aircraft took to the skies for the first time in October 1967 in the form of the Zlin Z-42 and was developed by Moravan Aviation as a replacement for the popular Zlin Trener series of aerobatic aircraft. The aircraft saw many revisions under many different names, eventually ending up with the Zlin Z-142, which featured a larger airframe based off of the Z-42 model, and a more powerful Walter M337 six cylinder, supercharged engine, producing 157kw(210HP) ensuring maximum performance at all altitudes.
PWDT & NHAdrian have done a beautiful job at converting the aircraft to X-Plane, implementing various improvements over the original model along the way. Its extensive feature list makes it sit comfortably close to the level of some of the most popular payware developers such as JustFlight, Carenado and Aerobask. The aircraft comes with a beautifully done visual model, utilizing 4K PBR textures covering the entire aircraft, leaving little to be desired on the visual side of things. In addition to the visual model, the aircraft comes with a highly realistic flight model, providing for many hours of fun to be had. The same level of detail has gone into the sound package, featuring fully custom FMOD sounds recorded from a real M-337AK engine.
The full feature list can be found here:
- Highly optimized 3D model
- 4K high detailed PBR textures
- Realistic flight model - tested by real Zlin pilots
- Realistic custom FMOD sounds - recorded from real M-337AK engine
- Custom animations
- Full 3D virtual cockpit
- Full 3D instruments
- Built-in Librain effect
- RealityXP support
- iPad with AviTab
- Special 3D cabin lights
- Setup Sheet for aircraft configuring (Payloads, weights, etc.)
- Two panel layout (Eastern and Western style)
From personal experience with this aircraft, it is worth mentioning how the add-on really has a distinct feel to it, setting it apart from all other general aviation aircraft within X-Plane. Moreover, once the engine is fired up, the FMOD sounds really do make you feel immersed in the simulator, making it an even more enjoyable experience taking the aircraft into the air. Combine this with the previously mentioned flight model, and you are met with a truly accurate rendition of the Zlin Z-142. However, the fact remains that the aircraft is a freeware product; even though it is incredibly fun to fly, and the flight model does really have a unique feel to it, the aircraft does feel a bit lackluster in some aspects. But considering it is a freeware product you have nothing to lose, and my only recommendation would be to give the aircraft a shot.
Despite the fact that the aircraft has not seen any updates for over a year, it remains one of the best freeware general aviation aircraft and can be downloaded from the X-Plane forums.
Threshold previously covered the release of the Zlin Z-142 more than a year ago.
Threshold encourages informed discussion and debate - though this can only happen if all commenters remain civil when voicing their opinions.