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Flying the Lancaster in Just Flight's venerable 'Dambusters' add-on for CFS2 There can't be many missions more famous than that flown in May 1943 by RAF Bomber Command's 617 Squadron to attack dams in the Ruhr, Germany. And justly so, for the mission was a triumph of technical ingenuity and airmanship, immortalised in the film named after the Dambusters. Flown with real Lancasters, some of the most impressive footage in the film was shot in daylight and recreated the squadron's low-flying practice over Derwent reservoir, with the mighty Lancs seen from above wheeling over the water as they made their practice runs. The Just Flight CFS2 add on 'The Dam Busters' was officially licensed by the RAF and like most of the company's add-ons, comes in a nice, solid little box with a decent printed manual. It's far from a one-horse wonder. Subtitled '617 Squadron's Greatest Raids', as well as Operation Chastise, the dams mission, it provides many others, including raids on the Tirpitz, the Dortmund-Ems canal, the Bielefeld railway viaduct and the attack on Hitler's mountain-top lair at the Berchtesgaden. There's a variety of Lancaster variants, including the basic bomber and types adapted to carry the dam-busting 'Upkeep' mine and the Tallboy and ten-ton Grand Slam bombs; plus a pathfinder Mosquito, a late-model BXVI. There's even a Wellington bomber, included so you can fly one of the trial missions flown at Chesil Beach to try out the 'bouncing bomb' in daylight. I believe the add-on is still available: http://www.justflight.com/product/the-dam-busters Despite CFS2 not being built to handle bombers, the package does a rather good job, featuring such neat touches as the twin spotlights used for over-water height-finding and the 'wood and nails' rangefinder sight, both as developed for the dams raid. I believe the add-on was used as the basis for a TV documentary a few years back, which featured a crew drawn from current RAF personnel who were trained up and then attempted to re-fly the mission in a specially-made Lanc simulator. As for the real thing, while we're lucky (in the UK anyway) to be able to see (and hear!) a real Lanc flying with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, you can get no better than this documentary, which features superb authentic wartime footage in colour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqQAA2rcBno Having recently once again watched and enjoyed the Dambusters movie, I thought I'd spool up Just Flight's add-on and fly one of the training missions, followed by at least some of the others. While the Dams raid and some others are in darkness, the package lets you fly them in daylight, if you wish. As I plan on doing it in the dark, there's little point in a screenshot-illustrated mission report on the dams raid itself so I thought I'd provide this short one of the training mission, as a little taster. Here's the brief, using some of the custom screens that come with the add-on: There's also a 'recce photograph, which shows the 'scenery' Derwent Dam that comes with the package, along with various RAF bases including Scampton and Woodhall Spa. The dam is crude but effective, and is neatly dressed up to look like a real-life RAF oblique recce picture. For me, the star of this show is the Lancaster itself. The Just Flight version is nicely rendered by the standards of the time. And it has one outstanding feature - the engine sound. The roar and din of four Merlins at full throttle is an absolute joy and by far the best I've heard in any sim for any plane. And here she is, sitting at the end of the runway at RAF Scampton. She's a standard BI bomber, not the modified version cut away below to hold the drum-like dams weapon. From the caption to the first screenie, you can see another of the add-on's nice touches - the pilot's injunction to the ground crew to remove the chocks. Neither can be seen but the accompanying audio is neat. Looking right, I could see the airfield's buildings, a good selection including hangars and Nissen huts. Beside me was a tractor with some bomb tailers. Without further ado, I checked the controls, set the flaps down three notches, and started up. The engines fired up from left to right, bursting into life with a very satsfactory though muted roar. Ahead to the left you can see the controller's trailer, and beyond that a pair of parked Lancs. To the right, there's another parked aircraft, this time an RAF Dakota. Now, came the mission's highlight - opening the throttles, and soaking up the din as the Merlins responded in full song. A bit of differential braking was needed to keep her on or near the centre line as we gathered speed, the rudders seeming ineffective, possibly as they are masked by that mighty Lancaster wing. Taking off in a crosswind is an even more interesting experience! Past the parked Lancs we went. As the speed increased I got the tail up and held her there until takeoff speed was reached. A gentle tug on the stick and we were airborne. I quickly retracted the undercart - the animation is a bit fast - and we were on our way! ...to be continued!