After JustFlight's extremely successful X-Plane debut with their Piper Arrow product line and the TB-10 and 20, they have released their Junior-Year product: the Cessna 152. JustFlight has modelled this aircraft after G-BGAE, a real Cessna 152 based in the UK. In my own flying career, I have logged about 2 hours in a Cessna 152, and a bit more time in a Cessna 172. This gives me a perspective that most users may not have when reviewing the aircraft because I know what it feels like to be at the controls of one in the real world.
JustFlight has done an outstanding job on the visuals of the Cessna 152. They have really encapsulated the feeling of being in one of these airplanes. In the real world, the airplane is tight and squished, and there is a bit of a claustrophobic feeling. JustFlight’s careful modeling of the cockpit adds these feelings of claustrophobia into the sim, adding a great deal of immersion to the aircraft. Those who have ever flown a C152 in the real world would know exactly what I’m talking about; the tight cabin is certainly the most memorable characteristic of the airplane. The texture work is no different.
The JustFlight team has used high resolution textures and normal maps to accurately simulate wear and tear in the cockpit, after all, the newest 152 was built in 1985! They have also taken full advantage of physically based rendering for reflections, and used X-Plane’s dynamic lighting system for cockpit lighting. Highlights include:
Overall, JustFlight, and their wonderful attention to detail, has done an amazing job with the interior of the Cessna 152, capturing the feelings that you get in the real airplane. As a result, the interior modeling and texture work has scored five out of five possible points.
Next is the exterior modeling and texture work. The exterior is almost modeled to the same level of detail as the interior, scoring three out of five possible points. I marked two points off of the exterior due to some errors in the ambient occlusion bake and lack of detail in the normal maps. When viewed up close it can seem unnatural but in the grand scheme of things it is just a minor error. Some features to note:
Altogether, JustFlight has done a really good job on the exterior. It lacks a few features that I would have liked to have seen, but they are certainly minute details that don’t make too much of a difference. In my opinion, the interior is much more important than the exterior since you spend the most time looking at it (or you should). I think that JustFlight had the same view on this because they seem to have pushed more resources to the interior. Personally, I think that this was a good decision, but this could be different for other users that enjoy the exterior view more than I.
JustFlight has done some great work on the 3D modeling and texture work of their Cessna 152. It is definitely towards the top of the X-Plane general aviation aircraft market. JustFlight’s 3D modeling scores 15 out of 15 possible points. Their texture work, scores 8 out of 10 possible points, losing points for lack of detail on the exterior.
JustFlight’s animations are on par with most other aircraft of this price point. In my opinion, all of the exterior animations are close to perfect, but their interior animations are a bit too abrupt and snappy. When clicking on a switch it instantly changes with no animated transition. Because of the poor switch, button, and circuit breaker animations, I knocked three points off because it takes a lot away from the aircraft’s immersion. In the end, JustFlight scored 7/10 on animations. Highlights include:
JustFlight has included 11 liveries with the C152. All of these liveries are beautiful and fit the aircraft’s shape very nicely. The aircraft also includes a very nice paint kit, making it easy for painters to develop their own liveries. In the end, the C152 scores 5 out of 5 possible points for liveries.
JustFlight’s included sounds are pretty good, but there are some issues that need to be dealt with. Unfortunately, these issues again involve the switches and buttons… When you click a switch or button, any switch or button, the sound is the same no matter no matter the kind or function of the switch or button. The sound is also very loud and not of the highest quality, making it quite annoying to listen to. On top of this, the circuit breakers use the same sound just pitched down. There are other issues too. For example, the tire screeching is very loud and, also, the yoke makes a sound during turns that is unrealistic and also quite annoying. Negatives aside, overall, the sounds are quite good. JustFlight has taken full advantage of fmod, making the engine sounds very immersive and positional. The engine sound itself is also extremely realistic and immersive. It sounds just like the real airplane does and changes to engine settings are also audible. The flap motor also sounds very good and realistic. In conclusion, because of the overall good quality sounds with a few issues, JustFlight scored 7 out of 10 points on sounds.
The flight model, another incredibly important feature of an addon, really shines on the C152. Starting with the ground handling, JustFlight seems to have used a custom model as the airplane doesn’t skid as much as a default model would. This adds a lot to the immersion of this aircraft, especially on long taxis. In theory, the default model should be more realistic since it is physically-based but, something is not right (as we all know), and it causes a lot of skidding and unwanted behavior on the ground. The issue has been acknowledged by Laminar and they are working to fix it, but in the meantime it is good for developers to override the default ground handling.
The airplane also performs just as well, if not better, in the air. Having recently flown the aircraft in the real world, I can say that JustFlight’s model flies and handles like the real airplane. The real airplane is fairly responsive, but the controls can be a bit kinky at times. JustFlight has nailed this feeling in the sim too (one thing to note: I have yoke not a joystick, this may also contribute to the immersiveness of the flight model that I experienced). JustFlight also has done an outstanding job with the stall characteristics. For example, when you put the airplane into a controlled stall, wings level, the right wing will drop due to the clockwise rotation of the propeller. Also, spin behavior is very realistic. I used the real world controlled spin procedures, Carb heat warm, throttle 1500 rpm, wings level, and the airplane reacted as it should. I also compared the spin behavior side by side with a video to further confirm that this was correct. The engine model should not be underestimated either. The RPM is always accurate and so are the other engine properties. The engine also always takes its time to get to the throttle setting that you set just like it does in the real world. Overall, the C152’s flight model scored 10 out of 10 as it is one of the best flight models I have seen in X-Plane.
The systems in the Cessna 152 are great for an aircraft of this type. Though the aircraft is quite simple as it has no gps, nor anything digital, the systems that it does have are very good. Of all of the systems, I was most impressed with the fully functional circuit breakers. They really take the aircraft to the next level as most aircraft do not have this feature. Other features include:
The other features that impressed me a lot were the accurate models of the instrument panels (KMA20, KX175B, RT-359A, and ADF300). They are simple panels but JustFlight made sure that they are accurate which is a great feature to have in any light aircraft, real or in sim, since it allows and enables IFR flight, a huge selling point for pilots that want to keep up their instrument skills, or for pilots that just want to fly in bad weather. Overall, JustFlight scores 15 out of 15 possible points on systems. It should be noted that I couldn’t find anything negative in this section partially because of the simplicity of the systems.
The C152 lacks some ‘extra’ features that other GA aircraft in X-Plane have that we consider to be necessary for a ‘perfect’ aircraft, including a walk-around feature, a failures feature, etc. Because of this, the C152 scores 9 out of 10 possible points in this category. It earned points for VR compatibility, an in-sim checklist and its handy load management feature. The C152 also ships with one very solid piece of documentation in the form of a manual which includes everything from performance charts to system descriptions. Overall, the documentation is solid and scores 4 out of 5 possible points. The only thing that the documentation lacked was a tutorial.
In conclusion, JustFlight has done a very nice job with this addon and has scored 89 out of 100 possible points, an excellent score. Overall, I think that this aircraft is worthy of it’s 41.99 dollar price (earning nine out of ten points available for value) as it brings the feeling of flying a real 152 into the sim. I took off one point due to its relatively high price and relatively niche audience. I think that people who are doing real flight training or who fly a C152 regularly will benefit most from this aircraft because of its accuracy. That’s definitely not to say that your average simmer shouldn’t buy this but, I think the price is a bit high especially when you could get another aircraft that is just as good for less like the DA62. As I said above, I think that this aircraft will appeal the most to people that fly in the real world because of the price point. Overall, the aircraft is very solid and I would definitely highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about buying it.