SwissMilSim is out with another piece of Swiss aviation history for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The de Haviland Vampire DH-100, an early military jet fighter originally developed in the UK, is the second MSFS aircraft from the team, which is devoted to bringing the most iconic Swiss military airplanes to the virtual skies.
If you’ve been following SwissMilSim’s efforts for MSFS, you’re certainly familiar with the Morane D-3801, an early fighter in the Swiss Air Force that was the first aircraft developed by SwissMilSim to MSFS. It was an interesting effort, to say the least, even if it clearly showed the signs of being a port over from an older simulator. We’re happy to report that the Vampire is a significant improvement over the Morane on nearly all fronts!
SwissMilSim positions itself as a sort of a digital preserver of historic Swiss airplanes, intending to recreate old aircraft in a realistic and interactive way. Somewhat like a museum, but more “lively”. The team is comprised of former military pilots and aviation enthusiasts, with close proximity to other people that are familiar with the subjects at hand. This teamwork has resulted in a few airplanes for FSX and P3D over the years, and now also for MSFS, first with the Morane and now with the Vampire.
The Vampire arrives to MSFS with a fairly detailed and realistic external and internal model. The cockpit, in particular, is quite well represented, even if SwissMilSim continues to use photorealistic flat textures in some areas. These do look nice, but the lack of 3D dimensions quickly conveys a feeling that is not quite up to par in terms of MSFS standards. Still, it’s a minor shortcoming, because the overall ambiance in the cockpit feels rather authentic.
Obviously, in terms of authenticity, sounds play a key role in any airplane. Fortunately, the Vampire features good sounds overall, especially when sitting in the cockpit. The way some sounds are mixed doesn’t quite feel right at times (during the engine startup, for example), but they sound unique and realistic. We can’t say the same with the external sounds, which sound very flat and muffled. It’s something that, hopefully, SwissMilSim can improve with time.
Where the Vampire shines is in the simulation of its overall behavior and operation. SwissMilSim has that on point, not only in terms of the actual functionality included in the product, but also in the way the aircraft flies.
The Vampire is powered by an early jet engine, the Goblin, which was known for being somewhat underpowered – after all, the technology was still in its early days. SwissMilSim attempted to recreate the peculiar characteristics of this engine, and we believe they largely succeeded: care must be taken to keep the Vampire’s heart alive!
Despite being a jet-powered airplane, don’t expect to take off nearly vertically. In fact, the Vampire takes its time to get aloft… and once you’re in the air, it’s recommended to fly mostly horizontally until the recommended climb speed is achieved. This must be done while carefully handling the engine! Power must be carefully and slowly applied, or the engine may start to rumble or even catch on fire and quit! This is a realistic behavior in this reactor and has been simulated to great precision on the SwissMilSim Vampire.
SwissMilSim includes a handy user manual with the package that helps simmers understand these and other product characteristics. There are a few things to keep in mind in terms of realism and authenticity, such as the aforementioned engine behavior, but also the fuel system, which is sensitive to inverted flight: if you dare fly upside down for more than 10 seconds, the engine will stop getting fuel and quit…
The Vampire has a sensitive engine that needs to be handled carefully at all times.
As you can see, SwissMilSim implemented a few cool features in the Vampire, which help significantly in making this product feel like a good effort for MSFS. The cherry on top of the cake is the way it flies: the flight model feels excellent and real. It’s challenging but fun, and it’s clear that the developers attempted to follow the real numbers. Approaches must be carefully planned because the Vampire will happily hold a high speed when going down. Prepare to use the speed breaks frequently to manage approach speed. You’re in for a treat flying this thing!
In the end, we were overall pretty happy with the quality of this new airplane from SwissMilSim. As a small team with a very clear focus, their efforts to preserve the history of Swiss military aviation are laudable, and they seem to get better with each new product. We are now looking forward to the next one: the Venom, the successor to the Vampire, is now well into development and should be the next one from SwissMilSim for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The de Havilland Vampire DH-100 is available now for MSFS, priced at 23.49€ through Simmarket.