A2A Simulations has made it possible for all of us to have the opportunity to enjoy the unique, challenging and fascinating experience of flying the most authentic, complete and accurate simulation of the legendary B-17 ever created. The creation and application of the unique, proprietary A2A Accu-Sim system enables us to truly put you in the B-17’s cockpit in a way that only flying the real thing could match. You can almost smell the leather seats, the hot oil, and the pungent exhaust from those four Wright R-1820-97 “Cyclone” turbo-supercharged, 1,200 horsepower radial engines.
To insure the accuracy and fidelity of the simulation, A2A developers have been privileged to take flights in carefully and lovingly maintained B-17’s today with eyes and ears wide open. With multiple cameras rolling and microphones in hand, A2A developers crawled within every nook and cranny of the cockpit so that every sound and sight that a B-17 Pilot would experience is there for you, right down to the wind rushing over the airframe and the characteristic vibrations and tremors of the real aircraft.
As you have come to expect from A2A Accu-Sim aircraft, nothing has been left out that operates in the real aircraft. In fact, there are many features that are included in this simulation that have never before been modelled or included in any other aircraft simulation.
What this means is that when you are flying and operating the A2A Accu-Sim B-17G you will have the uncanny feeling that you are actually in command of a real world B-17. If the engines and the various systems of the simulated B-17 are not operated correctly and as the aircraft manual provides, the airplane will perform less than optimally, and if taken to the extreme, damage and failures will occur just as they would under similar circumstances in the real world.
Occasionally, parts of the airplane will become worn or fail from ordinary use, just as occurs in a real airplane. There is a complete and comprehensive maintenance hanger that you can take your airplane to when on the ground with engines shut down. There you will get a fully detailed, written and illustrated report about the condition of the airplane, and can then authorize recommended repairs. When in the maintenance hanger you will hear typical noises of a repair facility echoing around the vast space such as machinery running, parts and tools falling and clanging to the floor, etc. This kind of intense, authentic pilot experience helps to gives you a sense of total immersion and involvement in day to day life with such a magnificent airplane.
The electrical system seems as if it has actually been wired and hooked up and consists of the lights, landing gear retraction system, flaps, turbochargers, fuel pumps, bomb bay doors, radios and more. They are all electrically powered by the batteries, generators and even an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) which you can order one of your waist gunners to turn on and off. The voltmeters’ readings vary authentically as each item is brought on or taken off line, and as each of the three independent batteries are selected to be read. Electric motors whine with their own unique, authentic sound. You can even hear the sounds of the hydraulic pumps and fluid rushing through the pipes. Vital batteries, motors, and pumps can unexpectedly fail which will test your metal as pilot in command. As a result of this realism, you will get used to going to the maintenance hanger before each flight the see what needs to be done to keep your B-17 in safe and reliable flying condition.
Your crew is interactive and various crewmen will speak to you from time to time to remind you to do various things that you may have forgotten to so (see “THE CREW” below). The Flight Engineer watches the engines and may remind you to give the guys in the back a little heat and your Co-Pilot can even manage the engines for you. If you fly the airplane too roughly, you may get complaints from the crew. Your landings may get compliments if they are good and the reverse if they are not. Various crewmen will report to you as to the position of the landing gear and flaps when you raise or lower them. You are definitely not alone when you are the pilot in command of a capable crew.
Every aspect of the engines and the fuel system has been faithfully modelled as well. Fuel is supplied through gravity-fed tanks, through electrical booster pumps, mechanical fuel pumps, transfer pumps, to large, thirsty rumbling radial engines.
You can select the grades of the fuel and oil to be used on each flight, which will appropriately change how the engines perform. Loading the bird with fuel and feeding one tank with fuel from another in flight is fully functional and accurate in operation to the actual aircraft. You can also cross feed fuel from tanks in one wing to tanks in the other wing. You can opt to carry a centre fuselage bomb bay fuel tank for extra range, or bombs, as you choose.
The cowl flaps and inter-cooler doors are fully adjustable; and just as with the propellers, you can set them yourself, or command the Co-Pilot to do it. When you command him to monitor these functions, he will continually set them to keep the engines running cool and at their peak.
The B-17G has a unique turbocharger control — a numbered wheel for pre-setting the maximum amount of manifold pressure desired when the throttles are fully opened. In the A2A Accu-Sim B-17G you will find this turbocharger control fully and authentically modelled in every detail exactly as in the real world B-17G. You can even calibrate individual turbochargers, just like the real pilots and crew-chiefs do, so that each engine will almost purr in harmony with another.
The Pilot’s and Co-Pilot’s left and right side windows can be opened to any amount desired. They will fog up if not vented properly, or if the cabin heater is incorrectly set for the outside air temperature.
From time to time, your radioman will contact you on the intercom to well you that he has picked up something that you might like to hear and that you should switch to the “liaison” channel of your com radio. When you do this, you might hear a song, a news program with a speech by Winston Churchill, a sports report, or some other radio program that would have been broadcast over the radio in Europe during WWII. These recordings are all taken from authentic 1940’s broadcasts. At first you will hear static as you approach the station, then the program will get clearer; and, as you fly away from the station, you will hear static again until the program cannot be heard anymore, as if it was really coming in on a low frequency radio band typical of those days. As you go out of range of the broadcast, the radioman will comment on that. This is a real first in flight simulation, and it adds an uncanny sense of realism, depth, time and place to your sim experience. It’s one of my favourite parts of this incredible simulation, and it is a remarkable A2A flight simulation first.
Another nice touch is the feature which allows you to open the bomb bay doors or command the bombardier to do so, and drop the bombs. From the outside, you can watch them fall away, or from inside, you can hear the latches release as your aircraft instantly becomes 6,000 pounds lighter. You can also jettison your internal bomb bay tanks if you wish, which make a characteristic ‘whoosh’ as those enormous, tall tanks fall into the airstream below.
Here’s a real treat for aviation historians and everyone who loves the B-17: A2A has modelled a fully functional, completely accurate and authentic Honeywell 1-C automatic pilot in this simulation. When you access it through 2D pop-up, you will find an exact replica of the C-1 control panel upon which every knob and switch operates and functions exactly as did the real one. Also, you can communicate through the 2D panel with your bombardier, who was a necessary team-mate when operating of this piece of equipment. While this very early auto-pilot was finicky and did not have the simplicity of operation or many of the features of the more modern auto-pilots that we have become accustomed to using, operating this C-1 simulation will let you share the experience which Pilots of the B-17 (as well Pilots of the B-24 and B-29) had when they used this historical piece of aviation equipment. A2A’s fully functioning model of the C-1 is but another of the many ground-breaking flight simulation firsts contained in A2A’s Accu-Sim B-17G simulation.
The flight model of the A2A Accu-Sim B-17G has been meticulously created to give you the true feeling of flying this heavy, four-engine bomber. Close reference to B-17 Pilot’s reports and A2A staff flights in a real B-17 have informed us to the greatest extent possible what flying this airplane feels like. That enormous fin and rudder made turns very smooth and easy. The elevators were sensitive and never lost their effect, even at slow speeds. There was power to spare in those four Wright R-1820-97, 1,200 horsepower engines. Accordingly, the “Fortress” carried herself with grace and ease at all times. Altogether, she was a majestic and gentle airplane and every B-17 pilot we have spoken to and every pilot’s report we have come across has said without reservation that she was a joy to fly.
The A2A staff has meticulously and professionally recorded every sound that is heard when operating and flying a B-17G, from the powerful engines to the smallest switch in the cockpit. The airframe groans if you strain it too hard, the wind whistles outside according to the airspeed and, if you open either or both of the cockpit windows you will hear the engines louder outside the window and hear the wind whip into the cockpit, just as with the real airplane. The brakes and tires squeal appropriately when they are pushed hard. Every control, switch, knob and device that makes a sound in the real-world B-17G has been recorded and included in this simulation in order to immerse and involve you as completely as possible. Switches and knobs click from position to position with a visceral feel that is uncanny. Everything in the cockpit moves and operates exactly as it does in the real B-17G.
All of these features and much more await you in the A2A Accu-Sim B-17. This is not a generic “B-17”, and this simulation is not like any other you have ever experienced before. Great care has been taken by A2A to replicate the actual “G” model of this airplane. It is historically accurate down to the rivets, instruments, handles, controls, cables, wires and tubes of the B-17G. Nothing has been left out and everything moves and operates authentically. A2A’s exclusive and proprietary Accu-Sim matrix provides features and controls far beyond that which the host platform normally allows. That is why A2A has been able to create the most accurate, historically correct and complete simulation of the B-17G ever offered.