The PZL-104 Wilga 35/80 Series for Microsoft Flight Simulator, the latest airplane from the Got Friends collective, is out now through the team’s website. If you’re looking for a masterfully executed airplane to take on backcountry adventures in MSFS, this is it. It’s that simple. The Wilga is absolutely phenomenal and, at $35.00, it’s totally worth it. That’s all you need to know, really… but keep reading to learn why!
Got Friends is offering a very comprehensive package with the Wilga’s release. There are a variety of different configurations, but they all stem from two base variants: the 35A (a Polish version) and the 80 (an American version). Based on that, Got Friends offers a few additional configurations, with different engines, wheel sizes, cockpits, and so on. A handy user manual explains all the options in great detail. We’ve had the chance to get an early look into this package for the last few days and share with you below our impressions!
There’s a lot to discover!
As said above, the Wilga comes in a variety of different configurations. That makes for a very complete package that caters to plenty of different flying styles. Looking for a purist rendition of the Wilga as it was made in Poland in 1968? It’s there. Prefer to fly an incredibly-capable and powerful version with large tundra wheels and a mighty engine? There’s one too! Maybe you just want to have a small amphibian bush plane to travel along the coast of the Pacific Northwest… and there’s a Wilga for that too. And many more!
Besides the many variants, each is highly customized and feature-rich. There are easter eggs everywhere, from fun insider jokes about the Got Friends team to unique features that will surprise you once you find them. I’ll talk about some of them below, but without too many spoilers! It’s fun to find them at your own pace!
Of course, it’s important to mention that there’s a whole custom scenery included in the package. Emerald Scenery Design has contributed to the package with a custom rendition of EGH2 Forwood Farm, a small airstrip in the UK that is home to an actual Wilga 35A, which served as a reference for the model but especially as the subject used by the team to record all the sounds.
Beautiful visuals… and superb sounds!
On an artistic level, the Wilga is top-notch. It looks exactly like the real thing and it’s made with very high levels of detail. The graphics are excellent in terms of 3D modeling and texturing. The Wilga is an old plane and this is perfectly represented in the interior and exterior textures. Expect to see plenty of scratches and signs of wear and tear, which are enough to give the Wilga a well-used look without being distracting.
The Wilga’s cockpit is quite unique, with a bunch of analog gauges and different types of levers and knobs that seem to have been put together from whatever was available at the time. It ends up being quite colourful because of that, but still highly functional. And it’s all easily readable and very clear, both during the day but also at night. The cockpit ambiance after dusk is fantastic! The instruments are illuminated with UV light, which makes for a stunning and very unique effect!
The visual rendition of the Wilga is perfectly complemented by the sound package. It was recorded from a real airplane (G-BUNC, based at Forwood Farm) and it’s an excellent work throughout. From the engine startup sounds to the clicks of the various switches and instruments, internal and external sounds are excellent. They are definitely different and unique to the Wilga (trigger the stall warning for a surprise!) and greatly enhance the immersion of flying this nifty airplane.
It’s extremely feature-rich
Everything seems to work on the Wilga. The cockpit is fully interactive and each action has a corresponding effect. The wipers actually clean the windshield, the blades in the cylinder head cooler actually move as you turn the associated knob, as does the oil cowl. Even the propeller pitch changes are visual too!
There are a bunch of avionics options that range from the old-school ADF and radio to modern options with a Garmin GPS. A basic autopilot is also available in a few configurations, but it’s really basic! Just point the aircraft to where you want to go and enable the autopilot to have is stay somewhat in line. Very useful without detracting from the overall experience.
There’s little to fault in terms of functionality in the Wilga. More likely than not, you’ll find something that works when you are not hoping it wouldn’t… sometimes in unexpected ways… like the ridiculously-fun paddle in the amphibian versions, which you can use to paddle to the shore! Or the playable guitar! It’s this level of attention that can be seen throughout the whole product that really sets this whole package apart.
Excellent flight model and realism features
Got Gravel has once again made his magic with a flight model for MSFS. The Wilga flies beautifully, just as you’d expect from a bush plane of this size, but also in a very smooth way. It’s very fun to fly low as the airfare is quite nimble, and you can even trigger a smoke trail and play around doing some aerobatics! It also feels quite realistic in the way it stalls, or how it glides like a rock, descending very quickly with no power.
If there’s one thing we wish aircraft developers would implement more in their products is realism features. What’s the point of having realistic temperature gauges if staying on the red has no impact on flight performance? There are a few exceptions, thankfully, and the Wilga is one of them! The engine will start to run rough or fail if oil, cylinder heat temperature, or carburetor temps stay high for an extended duration. This can be enabled through the included Clipboard, where users can enable/disable some features and settings of the aircraft.
What’s not so good?
Errmm… too many variants? Is that a valid complaint? Some may be overwhelmed by all the choices and a tighter package could make things easier… but that’s a stretch, really. Just pick your favourite and fly!
One slight oddity we found is that sometimes the engine sounds seem a bit out of sync with the animations. For example, the props come to a stop a bit before the sounds do, which brakes the immersion a little. Obviously, this is something that can be tweaked and we’re confident Got Friends will do just that with future updates.
The Got Friends Wilga for MSFS is a must-have for anyone with a vague interest in this kind of airplane and the kind of flying it proposes simmers to do. Even if you’d rather fly the big jets, I’m sure the Wilga will bring a massive smile to your face with its many virtues. It’s such an entertaining package, full of history, charm, and versatility! A true passion project from Got Friends with a masterful execution. Highly recommended!
The PZL-104 Wilga 35/80 Series is out now for MSFS through the Got Friends website, priced at $35. PC only for now, but a Marketplace release is imminent for both PC and Xbox with exact feature parity between the two!