Although many new freeware add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator hit the Web every week, I seldom have the chance to explore the latest offerings because of how little time I have for flying these days. Occasionally, a new airplane will come to my attention that’s so detailed, so clearly a labor of love, and so downright satisfying to fly that I have to drop everything and try it out. I’m happy to say that one such shining example of virtual aircraft design is David Maltby’s new DeHavilland Comet.
I find the Comet one of the more interesting of the early jetliners. It stands at the crossroads between the old propeller-driven airliners and the modern jet age, incorporating design principles of both. The tail and wings are pure propliner, but the faired-in engine nacelles are poetry, sleek with the promise of the coming age of speed. Inside, the cockpit is not only detailed, but oozes with character. As someone on a forum message aptly put it, you can practically smell the cracked leather and stale cigar smoke.
Although it was designed for FS2004, I’ve tried it in FSX and it works quite nicely. David mentions one or two smallish compatibility problems with the new sim, but I was too blown away by the gorgeous visuals, visceral sound, and excellent flight dynamics to pay them much mind. I’m a virtual cockpit (VC) flyer, exclusively. When I loaded up the Comet, I knew David and I must be kindred spirits. Check out the pics below and you’ll see what I mean.
Bravo, David! Thank you so much for the obvious effort you put into this creation. And thank you for making it available to everyone free of charge. I only hope that the outpouring of oohs and ahhs I’ve already seen over this lovely bird will make it all worth while for you.