SimCoders, a development group standing behind well-known add-ons like HeadShake or Reality Expansion Pack, provided us with their Reality Expansion Pack, also known as REP, for the X-Plane 11 default Cessna 172. Although we received a review copy, don’t worry about the review honesty.
What does it do?
You probably heard about the add-on, but you don’t know what it actually does, or how many features it has. If that is your case, this section is for you, if not – feel free to skip it. Probably the most known feature is the walkaround ability, I would personally consider that as an interesting one, but not the biggest one. SimCoders totally reworked the flight dynamics of the aircraft, added more failures, included 3D sounds, and I could continue writing all the features and things, that SimCoders have done, but this is just a short intro. I will describe the features throughout the review.
I’ll start with the feature you’re probably the most interested in knowing more about – the walkaround feature. As you might know, the X-Plane 11 does not feature any kind of walkaround feature, but the Reality Expansion Pack is adding one. The goal of the feature is to let you check if everything in, and out of the aircraft if it’s ready to go. I need to say, that it’s really well done and easy to use. I would also consider this feature as a very good way of training for your pilot license exams in real life since the procedures are very accurate to the ones in real life.
One of the features not many people are aware of, but is very important part of the plugin, are the sounds. SimCoders did an amazing job totally reworking the default sounds, and I need to say, that they sound amazing and very realistic. It’s amazing, that every kind of event you do in the cockpit has its own reworked sound.
Ground & Flight Dynamics
SimCoders mentions in the feature list, that they have redone the flight model to a more realistic one. I am not a C172SP pilot, so I can’t really review how accurate it is, but I can for sure say, that the aircraft behaves differently with the REP installed in comparison with not having REP installed, and I would say, that it has a more realistic feeling.
The user interface is really well done, you basically control everything through six icons which can be seen in the left part of the simulator. By simply hovering on the left side of the simulator, six icons will appear and by clicking on them you can open the designated section – Kneeboard, Mass & Balance, Tow, Maintenance Report, Checklists, and Walkaround.
Kneeboard consists of checklists, emergency procedures, and references for the aircraft.
I really like the option to tow your aircraft around the airport. After making sure, that you do not have a parking brake set, by clicking on “Tow” you will enter a mode in which you can move your aircraft around the airport without the engine started.
The maintenance report is a great thing for those who want to make the sim feel more realistic. It has all the needed information you need to check before flying in real life. Does your aircraft have all filters clean? Are the pumps okay? The maintenance report will give you the answers before taking off.
I really find the plugin interesting and worth trying out. There is no FPS impact with the plugin, and if you want to move your Cessna 172 experience to a new level, the Reality Expansion Pack is a great choice for you.
There is also an option to connect the aircraft with FSEconomy, but I am not an FSEconomy user, so I can’t really review that.