The SIAI-Marchetti SF260 is an old Italian plane often used by Italian Air force as a basic trainer. As far as we know it’s still used today with this purpose. The SF260 was originally designed and produced for General Aviation use and is powered by an Avcro Lycoming 0-540-E4A5 of 260hp.
As the engine configuration suggests this plane is incredibly fast and can reach speeds higher than 200kts. The SimCoders rendition is equipped with a GNS430 (supports both the GNS430 and the GTN650 by RXP), a secondary radio, an ADF, an HSI and an incredibly useful GTX330 transponder. It’s easy to understand, from the equipment, that this aircraft is IFR capable and certified and that is perfect for basic IFR training. But don’t worry this is not only a training plane, as you will see there is a lot more you can enjoy.
Let’s start talking more in-depth of the rendition brought us by JRollon and the SimCoders team.
Flight model and aircraft behavior.
When you fly this aircraft you’ll get for sure one of the most accurate and realistic feeling. As you know I regularly fly with real world GA aircrafts and even if during my reviews I’ve found a lot of fantastic and very good product none of them gave me the immersion that this SIAI did. There is not a right way to explain how this aircraft flies and the only thing that I can think right now is that is flies just as it should be. I’ve not flown on the real aircraft (even if I’ve flown in a SIAI-Marchetti 205R and I’ve found so many similarities with this rendition) so I can’t say that it’s 100% realistic in the way it response but I can say that this is exactly what a real world pilot would expect from his aircraft. Of course I’ve tried a lot of real world maneuvers that were executed without any problem and gave the expected behavior. Something I can tell you for sure is the this is one of the aircrafts that I’ve been enjoying more during the test flights that brought me from Catania to Lugano with several stops and in several days, but it all was a real pleasure.
Flight model and aircraft behavior sections gets a 9.5/10 mark for me.
Sounds and cockpit immersion.
Part of the pleasure I’ve had during my testing tour was of course given by the sounds of this aircraft and by the cockpit immersion. First of all let’s clarify that reviewing sounds of an aircraft is not easy and it’s not a matter of how realistic they are, but how they make you feel. Sincerely it’s not easy to identify the exact sound of an aircraft and so telling you that they match the real one would not be sincere, as I can’t determine that. But I can tell you that they are realistic for this kind of aircraft and that they were fine tuned in volumes so that they almost perfectly match what you will be actually able to hear in a real GA aircraft. Moreover they will give you an impressive cockpit immersion that will play its role in your overall experience.
Speaking about cockpit immersion it’s impressive and you won’t regret using the aircraft. It’s very important to underline an exclusive feature of this aircraft that will contribute massively to the cockpit immersion. I’m talking about the simulation of the seat belts via their freeware Head Shake plugin that will simulate head moving and with this aircraft will also simulate the effect of the seat belts under G-Force load, so during maneuvers.
Sounds and cockpit immersion succeeded to get an 8.5/10
3D Modelling and Textures
Exterior modeling is not something that I usually look for with particular interest or something that excites me. Well, for the first time this happened. I truly got excited when I deeply observed the details of the exterior modeling and texturing work that works together to give an awesome overall impression. I got amazed when I spotted a lot of details that I also spotted when doing the walk around of my aircraft. I know it’s something hard to explain, but I will try to clarify what I think with an easy example. When I looked at the wing and saw the details of the rivets and of the black contour of the wing attachment I instantly thought that the real thing looked exactly the same way and it was just like looking at the real aircraft! It was so amazing! Anyway the overall modeling and texturing is amazing also in the cockpit where you will see some extremely good looking seats and fuselage interiors. Also the cockpit panel looks very well made, but it may result a little bit too dark in it’s black configuration, however this is personal and just a feeling the panel gave me.
3D Modelling and Textures really amazed me and get a 10/10 mark.
Systems and REP (Plugins)
If you have a look at the systems of this aircraft you will find that literally everything was made very carefully and that everything is working as it should and in a real effective way, not with some “trick” to get the desired effect without a real system development behind the scenes. You will understand this also when you start looking at the REP. This amazing plugin will let you control almost each component fo your plane, including oil, and you will also have the possibility to change some of them to customize your plane. It’s just like having a real maintenance hangar right at your finger. In this plugin you’ll also find the status of each component of your aircraft and you’ll have the possibility to repair the broken ones. Yes, you’ve correctly understood, your aircraft will break down and deteriorate as time goes by (especially if you don’t fly it in the right way, pithing the correct limits and following the right procedures) and you will need to repair the faulty items. But it’s not all. An old aircraft won’t be perfect in the real world, and with this add-on your virtual one won’t be too. If your SIAI is old some instruments will loose their precision due to continuous vibrations and will start oscillating in the exact same way you will experience in a real one. Let me say that is is way more than exciting. Congratulations to the development team, it’s all I can say, really. But it’s not finished yet. With the version 4 of REP, available right now for download (free update of your aircraft), you will get also the new economy part, that if enabled will simulate the expenses of maintaining your aircraft, associating money to the existing features of the REP plugin, but will give you v-money for your flying time and your landings. Isn’t it amazing?
Aircraft Systems and REP plugin are at their best in this aircraft and get a 10/10 mark.
The aircraft comes with a very detailed manual, that contains literally every information needed and also performance tables, but it’s not the real one and data aren’t official as far as I’ve understood.
Finding a real manual for this exact plane version doesn’t seem like an easy task, but I’m more than happy with the documentation provided that also includes some datas such as characteristic vspeeds that are what a real (but also sim) pilot will first look for and they quickly available.
Documents are complete and informations are easily available even if not official. This is an 8/10.
As I’ve already said I deeply enjoyed this aircraft during the test flight and I’m pretty sure that this is not the last time we will talk about this product on this blog. As always I would like to personally thank SimCoders, and especially Claudio, for both the hard work to bring us such a beautiful aircraft and also for providing us with not only the press copy but also with a fantastic support during the whole test. Anyway, as always, we’ve not been influenced by this and we tried to give you an objective review of the product.
Anyway it’s time for us to give a final mark to this product that scores an amazing 9,5/10.
Blog post initially written by : T.Felici, an aviation passionate