Airliners Env 2004 Review
Platform: Flight Simulator 2004
By Chip Barber (4 May 2005)
What can you say about an "Environment" program? Well, perhaps if I were to rephrase that and say, "another Environment" program. Getting the picture? Lemme spell it out. There's a lot of them. I'd start listing them, but can't decide on alphabetical, size, or order of preference. See, I've gotten quite a few over the years. Remember ProFlight?
So, with this in mind, I set about loading up Airliners Env. Very
simple installation. Nicely done manuals. And, modules. That's
right, modules. Caught my interest on that one. Author Hendrik
Kupfernagel may be on to something here, I'm thinking.
Let's face it. We all fly pretty much alone. Look to the right, and sure enough, your First Officer is STILL in the head. Told him not to drink the water on that last stopover. Flight Attendants? Puh-lease. They're all in the back, um, attending. So here we are, flying alone. Enter "Environment" programs. For those of us who really permit ourselves to get involved in the whole sim flight thing, these are wonderful additions to our fantasy-world. Those who really don't get involved are all over on the shoot-em-up sites anyway, so to them this is all academic anyway. So now we've got a crew, many of whom (depending on the add-on) will actually lend a hand by flipping switches, tuning radios and generally keeping us company. Enter Hendrik.
Airliners Env is simply what it appears to be. Here is what it will
not do: It will not click, tune, navigate or otherwise interject on
your flight. You are still the PIC. If you are looking for a First
Officer, I'm afraid he's still busy in the you-know-where. You
will perform your flights as you always have. But this time,
you've got ambience. At the gate, you've got gate
announcements. You've got flight announcements, including
buckle-up and the
“OK to roam around the cabin”
cruise (and about 318 more, 518 with the Flight Attendant Expansion
Pack). There are snack and meal announcements, and a couple of
really cool innovations. You are able to add movie sounds from your
favorite flick, assuming you have the wav files. My personal
favorite is the screaming passengers. LOTS of sounds playing at
various times. Now, these may not be in the forefront of your
flight, but they're not supposed to be. Remember the movie
"The Exorcist" with those cool subliminal cuts? You didn't
really see them, but you knew they were there. They definitely added
to the experience. Same thing here.
There are a couple of unique features that I'm looking forward to using. In the event of an emergency, the last thing you want to do is land with a belly full of fuel. Now, you have the ability to dump fuel, right there in the menu selections. You can refuel, too, if you are flying legs.
One module I find particularly pleasing is the Cabin Music Pro 2.1.
I'm something of a music freak, and happily listen for hours to
just about anything. This module is free for download in its basic
mode, and will give you music effects during taxi. The Pro module
provides taxi music and allows you to set up a music box for your
listening pleasure during the flight. And, it is music of your
choice. It will play in order or randomly. The selection is small,
and I'm hoping Hendrik will be able to expand the number of tunes
that the music box will hold.
I don't think Delta offers in-flight Pink Floyd for your
The Commercial Flight module adds terminal, flight attendant and cockpit announcements in English, Spanish and French (German and Italian are available). The announcements are customized based on the airline and departure airport, including a limited selection of Carrier types.
Choosing one of the variables, Delta Airlines.
The Engine Failure module is good for some angst, if you are into that sort of thing. The frequency and degree of failure is customizable, including a pre-warning of failure and the ability to tap on the panel hoping it is just the light, and not the engine, that is misbehaving.
Tapping the panel, hoping it’s a bad bulb rather than a bad engine…
There are other modules in the works, including one called “Vacation.” There is a rather nifty feature from the Start menu which will automatically search for updates, per module. The developer, Hendrik Kupfernagel, responds quickly to emails. He patiently responded to my questions without once suggesting that I RTM!
I spend a fair amount of time tooling around the skies. I’ve got
several “Environment” add-ons, none of which I use
consistently. Airliner Env, however, is one that I keep in the
flight bag. It is a “set and forget” type of add-on, which
places no additional demands on the pilot. It is described in the
manuals as “A program which will extend – and enhance your
enjoyment of – Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004.” It does just
ADDON GAMEPLAY: 4.5/5
ADDON FEATURES: 4.5/5
ADDON INTERFACE: 5/5
AIRCRAFT ENVIRONMENT: 5/5
ADDON SOUNDS: 5/5
FINAL MARK: 5/5
Review & Screenshots by Chip Barber
- PIV 3 GhZ
- 512MB RAM BUS - 800mhz
- ASUS ATI AX850XT 256MB DDR with last drivrers
- Audigy 4
- HARD DISK WD 160GB Serial ATA
- Windows XP PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PACK 1
- Flight Simulator 2004
Fly time: ~12 hours
Comments by Harrier Panels, Inc.:
Airliners Env 2004 is no doubt a good addon that can create much excitement for FS2004 although it does not include a co-pilot. As Hendrik told us he is currently working on another Airliners Env Product called Airliners
Env - Destination. It provides upon airport arrival a list of new
destination airports with ratings of the flight route and the difficulty to
land at the airport. A release date is not out yet but might be spring time
next year. This program will run as stand alone or in conjunction of the other
Airliners Env Products. At the moment Airliners Env 2004 includes:
Commercial Flight 6.1
Cabin Music 2.1
Engine Failure 1.1