Who doesn’t love a flying boat? If you’re like me and can’t resist a floater, there’s a new airplane for Flight Simulator that is promising (important) to be an excellent addition to your hangar: the Grumman G-44A Widgeon, now available as a beta release, created for MSFS by Flysimware.
The Widgeon is a younger brother of the Grumman Goose, which is also available for MSFS as a freeware, based on the classic FSX amphibian (it’s actually pretty great, you should definitely try it out!). First flown in 1940, it was originally designed for the civilian market, but ended up serving mostly in the US Navy in its earlier years. After the war, Grumman redesigned the aircraft to make it more suitable for civilian operations, with a new hull that improved water landings. It’s this variant, G-44A, that Flysimware is now bringing to MSFS.
The developers are releasing the Widgeon with an interesting “business” model. While it costs $30, it’s effectively a product undergoing beta-testing, so be aware of that. It’s a work in progress. Fortunately, Flysimware has a good reputation from previous projects in other simulators, and is known to issue frequent updates that fix and improve its products. It is, in fact, what we are seeing now with the Widgeon for MSFS. It was released just a week ago, and is seeing daily updates from the developer, who has been very active and responsive on several community forums such as AVSIM.
Flysimware is also known for good systems and flight characteristics, and early impressions from buyers are positive when it comes to those aspects. The Widgeon flies beautifully, even if the 3D modelling and textures are currently not as state-of-the-art as one could hope for MSFS. Obviously, as an aircraft under development, there’s plenty of room for the developer to improve all its features.
In any case, Flysimware promises to have animated parts throughout the entire model, with systems’ depth that goes down to the smallest details. There’s even an included configuration tool that works as a service hangar, with aircraft options, startup procedures and a payload manager.
In the end, if you accept what you’re getting into (a promising but still under-development product), you may find the $30 justified. If you don’t feel like being a beta-tester, check this one out later. It still a very cool airplane, which we believe will be a pleasant experience for all amphibian fans.
The Grumman G-44A Widgeon is now available from Flysimware’s online store, for the aforementioned $29.99.
Floater fans, beware! Things are starting to look interesting, not only because of the release of the Widgeon, but also the recent amphibious C172, or the upcoming Boeing 314 Clipper. Also, don’t forget about the excellent freeware Grumman Goose, a very similar aircraft to the Widgeon!