This new MSFS aircraft comes with no cockpit

One of the great things about Microsoft Flight Simulator has been the accessibility of the sim to literally thousands of pieces of new content from developers all across the industry. The downside to that is that some of that content may not be up to the standards that some or even many simmers have come to expect. In this one case I have to report on a buyer beware moment as a payware aircraft has emerged that comes lacking a key piece of the experience – there is no cockpit! Here’s what you need to know.

There’s no cockpit?!

Launched yesterday and picking up considerable community attention, Captain Sim’s new C-130E Hercules features and exterior model with advertised 4K textures, six liveries, animated cargo door and “No virtual cockpit, exterior model only.” That’s a direct quote from the product page. For all of those features, you pay $15 USD on the Captain Sim website.

I think most of my readers are going to come into this with some level of incredulity. I know I did. Nonetheless, it is true that it really doesn’t come with a cockpit. Twenty or thirty years ago, flight simulation was a very different experience and so having a basic 2D cockpit was to be expected. We are a long way from that now with virtually every virtual aircraft that I’ve come into contact with in the last couple of decades coming with a 3D cockpit of varying quality and capability. One thing has been true that all of them still came with this as a feature.

Is it a scam?

Many have been quick to suggest this is a scam. My opinion is that it is not a scam as the feature list clearly marks what is and is not coming with the $15 purchase. There’s no deception that you would see with a scam. The name of the aircraft on the Captain Sim website is even “C-130 Exterior.”

What it is, however, is so far below minimum expectations that I can understand why people might want to call it that. It’s been a long time now where flight sim modules across a wide cross section of sims where you assume that a 3D cockpit is just part of what you expect to see.

The lack of a cockpit might escape the buying process if someone were to quickly scan the feature list.

Buyer beware

I’ve really tried to see a silver lining to this. I can see this partially from the point of view that there is a market for simpler aircraft that appeal to more casual flyers. To that point, MSFS has an extremely wide user base that includes the discerning airliner pilot that wants to program custom and accurately modeled flight computers, do their RNAV and ILS approaches, and can tell when a screw is out of place. It also includes the very casual pilot who just wants to fly with their Xbox controller from their couch and marvel at the scenery as it passes by.

Both extremes and everyone in between are represented in the sim and so I’ve tried to see this C-130 from that more casual extreme. Does this C-130 fit into that casual experience? Is there a place for other basic aircraft in MSFS that fits that very casual experience? If you’re only flying from the exterior then maybe not having a cockpit doesn’t matter very much. I’m curious to know the answer from that perspective but I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a reach.

From the more serious simmer perspective an aircraft module having no cockpit at all does seem like a missed opportunity and that’s probably putting it very lightly. Several very good freeware experiences come with a cockpit and offer a more well rounded experience. From that perspective I do think your $15 may be better spent on other more full featured aircraft but only you can make that decision. If it is what you want, the Captain Sim C-130E can be purchased here on their website.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    It’s completely ridiculous, little more than a cash grab.

    I bought some Captain Sim stuff in the past, including the old C-130, and it was great. But this is just a bad joke.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I have heard that back in the day Captain Sim products were well regarded.

      This does seem expensive for what it is.

      Like

      1. CanadaOne says:

        The CS C-130 for FSX was fantastic! All kinds of liveries and options, including skis and floats, and a great 3D cockpit. It was a ton of fun, easily one of my favourite FSX planes.. Why they are not recreating it is beyond me.

        Like

  2. harryvoyager says:

    Probably will depend on just how good the exterior model really is if it’s actually worth $15.

    If it’s the sort of exterior you could host an FPS on and still look good, I could see it. If the license allows it to be used in Machinima, I could also see a use case for it as well.

    Still, we’re definitely not the core demographic for this thing…

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’d be a narrow market demographic to be sure. But an interesting take on it!

      No I don’t think you or I are in the core demographic for this product.

      Like

    2. CanadaOne says:

      What I watch for in MSFS is the quality of the cockpit model. Sometimes you see these great exteriors and the cockpits look like a 1980s cartoon. And the ones to really watch out for are the devs who put out lots and lots of fancy exterior shots but only give you a sideways glance at the interior. That a big red flag for me.

      At least Captain Sim is being honest about it. But they should make it even clearer on their website.

      Like

  3. STEPHEN PARKER says:

    I trained on E models and flew USCG H model 1710 series. I’d love a 130H simulator. This exterior model might tempt me if I could throttle it up just to listen.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Beware, the sounds are also MSFS defaults so it probably won’t give you the C-130 nostalgia you’re hoping for.

      DCS World has a free C-130 mod that is very well regarded. That may be worth a look!

      Like

  4. Novice-Flyer says:

    Two years ago I discovered Birds of Steel on my Xbox 360, but one pet peeve I have (other than I can’t hook up my Joystick) is that you can fly the Lancaster, PBY, H6K, G4M, B-17, etc., but there is no cockpit view just a Bombardier and Arcade Gunner view. I don’t really play Birds of Steel very often.
    What a disappointment for any game that gives you an aircraft which you can ‘fly’ but can only fly from the exterior view.

    Like

  5. Firdimigdi says:

    What a weird choice. Who would want to fly a hulking big bird like that with exterior view? I can maybe understand some smaller plane perhaps, something maybe to plonk on a couch and zip around while controlling it with a gamepad. Not my cup of coffee but I could wrap my head around it. But a C130?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah, I was struggling too. At the very least, anyone who does buy will hopefully know exactly what they are and are not getting.

      Like

  6. kosmos224 says:

    Well I just hope the community responds appropriately by not buying this crap. Why if it starts selling well just for the eye candy it won’t be long until everyone starts selling spectacular exterior models without a virtual cockpit.

    Like

    1. CanadaOne says:

      It really is a bad joke. I hope others don’t follow.

      Did you fly the CS C-130 for FSX? It was incredibly good. I can’t understand why they would go from that to this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ShamrockOneFive says:

        I have heard comments on previous MSFS releases by Captain Sim that their older work was very good back in the FSX days but they don’t seem to have kept the magic from those days up to now.

        Like

      2. kosmos224 says:

        Yes, I flew the CS C-130 since the old days of FS2004 and also flew the FSX version. The truth is that it is a very well done add-on, so what they have done with this release of MSFS is incomprehensible.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Skycat says:

    My assumption is they had a modeler working on it but now they don’t. So, instead of scrapping the whole project they’re recouping on their investment and selling what they have. Topic on the Captain Sim forum: https://www.captainsim.org/forum/csf.pl?num=1649697371

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Skycat says:

      “Based in Canada, Russia and Ukraine, Captain Sim’s staff comprises some 12 people including programmers, digital artists, marketing and sales experts. All founders are former professional jet pilots. Sergey is current Boeing 767 captain for a major transatlantic airline.” https://msfsx.fandom.com/wiki/Captain_Sim

      Like

      1. CanadaOne says:

        Based in Canada?

        I guess I should be proud that the biggest MSFS joke so far comes from my country. 🙂

        Like

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks for digging that up. The comments section there seems equally incredulous. Definitely an odd thing to see happen…

      Like

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