Aircraft maker Big Radials was nice enough to send me the latest version of their P-40B Tomahawk for Microsoft Flight Simulator and I just did my first complete flight in the aircraft. I thought I’d share a few first impressions in advance of a more full featured review. Plus lots of screenshots!
Big Radial’s… big inline!
The P-40 is not a small aircraft by WWII standards and its relatively powerful Allison engine was, at the time of the fighters inception, in vogue with aircraft makers that had switched from radial engines to inline engines. It is therefore a bit ironic that Big Radial, a Flight Simulator aircraft developer aimed at historical aircraft, to release their first aircraft with an inline engine. Despite that, the spirit of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s aircraft is very much here and I’m excited about what Big Radial will be doing in the future. For now, however, let’s have a look at the P-40B!
Classic aircraft in a historic location
One of the P-40’s first actions of World War II was flying in defense of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Japanese planners made Wheeler Army Airfield a primary target and indeed the field was attacked on December 7. Large numbers of P-36 and P-40 aircraft were destroyed but several from the 15th Pursuit Group were able to get airborne and score the first official kills of the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII.
My short flight took me over Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and on to the modern day Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay which was another location that became infamous during the start of WWII in the Pacific.
A real historical bird
The P-40 is an aircraft with a substantial history and the B model was among the first to see combat. It’s a classic aircraft with classic lines and one of those aircraft that has an iconic presence. In use, the P-40 struggled to keep up with its contemporaries, but it was an aircraft that was available when others were still on the drawing boards.
Starting this aircraft up for the first time, I appreciate that Big Radial has managed to capture some classic sounds and that really helps this aircraft come to life. Takeoff was a bit hairy but once up I was cruising around and doing rolls, combat turns and even a loop just to get a feel for the aircraft.
Over Pearl Harbor I of course stopped to admire the scenery of the area. I will definitely be doing some more Hawaii flying in Flight Simulator in the future.
Then it was up over the tropical rain-forests of O’ahu’s mountains, the city of Kaneohe and Kaneohe Bay before I conducted a three point landing at MCAS Kaneohe Bay.
More detailed thoughts for now but at the moment I’m just enjoying the aircraft and the view! Want to know more about Big Radials and their P-40B for Microsoft Flight Simulator? Check out their website.