Obviously the best thing about study-level airplane sims lime DCS World are absolutely fantastic when it comes to learning all of the subtle little details about airplanes you will likely never even sit in, much less fly (for me, the real-world sit-ins are the P-51, MiG 15, MiG 21, and the UH-1 Huey), but now and again I like to fly simulations of planes that I could conceivably fly myself.
Sure, there's X-plane and the antiquated FSX, but the DCS world itself is, in my opinion, the best world of the bunch. What it lacks in gobs of open, empty, procedurally generated scenery it more than makes up for in highly detailed and accurate regions. Until recently, if you wanted to fly there, it had to be in a military plane. The Yak-52 came close in that I have actually flown in one, but it is still a military airplane, albeit a trainer. Now, however, they have built one of my dream planes: the DCS Christen Eagle II.
Having built an airplane myself (a Van's RV-12), I finally managed to fulfill a life goal that I had started thinking about back in the early 1980's. That's right around the time that kit manufacturers realized that they were going to have to make the building of an airplane more accessible to "regular" people. The apple of my eye was the Eagle. I had always lusted after a Pitts Biplane, but they were tremendously difficult to build and they were designed with the single purpose of performing aerobatics. In other words, it was a one-trick pony. This was most glaringly obvious when considering that it could only carry enough fuel for an hour or so flight. The Eagle was a giant upgrade over the Pitts, and the build process set a new standard of detailed directions that changed the entire kitbuild industry.
Oh, who am I kidding? It was the amazing paint scheme that I really fell in love with!
So, here we are: a Christen Eagle II available for DCS for the somewhat attainable price of $29.99, although I'm going to wait for the next sale before grabbing one for myself.