Review: the Rans S6S is an excellent debut from newcomer developer FlyBoy Simulations
FlyBoy Simulations recently made its debut in Microsoft Flight Simulator with the launch of the Rans S6S Coyote II. By all accounts, it’s the first rendition for MSFS of an airplane from Rans Designs, an American aircraft and bicycle manufacturer whose S6S Coyote II proved to be a popular choice for pilots looking for an affordable kit and LSA aircraft.
Those familiar with the Rans S6S now have the option to fly a pretty great representation of the aircraft in MSFS, thanks to FlyBoy Simulations’ impressive first product. MSFS may have a number of good aircraft options in this category, but the S6S manages to position itself up there near the best thanks to a combination of key features. Want to know more? I’ve been flying this little airplane for a few days and have some thoughts to share!
First, a small overview of this airplane and FlyBoy’s rendition for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The Rans S6S was designed by Randy Schlitter and it’s a single-engine, two-seat high-wing monoplane. It’s available as a kit aircraft or as a finished light sport aircraft. It comes in both tail wheel and tricycle versions, both of which are included in this package from FlyBoy Simulations.
The Rans S6S is FlyBoy Simulations’ first add-on. I had the chance to talk a bit about this project with the developer, who told me the history and motivation behind it. Starting off a year ago with no prior experience in 3D modeling or coding, the developer relied on his PPL license and real-life flying experience, as well as his 20-year experience in simulating games and working as a 2D artist in the gaming industry. As a fan of bush airplanes, the developer decided to create the Rans S6S by thoroughly researching materials about the aircraft, despite having never seen it in the real life.
The process of creating the Rans S6S involved learning 3D modeling and coding, which the developer had no prior experience in. However, he found the Rans to be a good starting point, as it was a relatively simple aircraft to model. Notably, the Rans S6S had never been made for MSFS or any other sim before, making the project even more interesting.
The FlyBoy Simulations Rans S6S Coyote II features a straightforward design that prioritizes 3D modeling accuracy and the flight model of the aircraft. The developer focused on creating a realistic feel and experience while flying the plane. The airplane is highly interactive for the most part, and some small niceties like a checklist in the pilot door or the functional and animated sun curtains offer some charm and uniqueness to this little airplane.
The developer emphasizes that this project is a passion project for him and a tribute to the community that has supported him over the years. “I put a lot of effort into delivering high-quality textures for the airplane, so that it would look and feel as realistic as possible“, he told us. “There are many small details that have been included, such as imperfections on the control panel, scratches, and little chips on the airplane cage and airframe. I have also made sure to fully animate the systems, such as the rudder pedals animation with pistons that are fully working and moving, and even the front wheel disconnect mechanism in the cockpit. Even though these details may not be noticed by most players, I still wanted to include them to make the simulation feel more authentic. Additionally, the suspension has been tuned so that the airplane feels properly grounded, with the ability to feel small bumps and imperfections, even upon landing. It is worth noting that the bushwheels were initially based on 26-inch Goodyear tires, but due to brand restrictions, they have been changed to ‘Good Beer’ instead.” A fun little easter egg.
FlyBoy Simulations is offering a pretty complete package with the Rans S6S for MSFS. Two variants are included, with taildragger and tricycle landing gear systems, along with 7 real-world liveries. One of the first things that you’ll notice when flying the Rans S6S is the impressive attention to detail in the aircraft’s visual design. The exterior design is sleek and streamlined, with good modeling and texturing. There are a few areas where the visuals definitely stand out, such as soldering in the metal rods above the cockpit, which look extremely realistic, or the landing gear and wheels models and textures.
Inside the cockpit, the attention to detail is also appreciable. The seats appear comfortable, with visible stitching and textures that give them a realistic look and feel. The instrument panel is also detailed, with clear and easy-to-read gauges and buttons that respond realistically to user input, although some textures could probably be a little less “flat”.
The Rans S6S uses the same sound package that powers the default Asobo Savage Cub. FlyBoy Simulations has acknowledged that this is something that can be improved, but since he didn’t have access to a real-life Rans S6S to record accurate sounds, he opted to use the default Savage Cub sounds, as the two aircraft share the same engine and have similar builds.
Despite the lack of utmost realism in the sound department, the Rans S6S still provides an immersive experience for the user. The sounds from the Savage Cub are not unpleasant to the ear, and they do provide a general idea of what the aircraft should sound like.
Thankfully, the developer has plans to update the sounds in the future. He hopes to include external sounds like open door sounds and other details that will help to enhance the overall experience of flying the Rans S6S in MSFS.
As a light sport aircraft, the Rans S6S is designed to be simple and easy to operate. This simplicity extends to its instrumentation and systems, which are straightforward and easy to understand.
The instrumentation in the Rans S6S is basic but effective. The instrument panel is well laid out and easy to read, with clear and concise gauges that provide essential information. The Rans S6S comes equipped with the default MSFS Area avionics, which is a nice bonus over the standard analog steam gauges.
This is a no-frills aircraft that is easy to operate, even for pilots with minimal experience. There’s no detailed engine simulation or anything like that. It’s just a basic little airplane with basic systems that work. A checklist in virtual paper is included, which is a cool immersive feature, but we hoped to see a native MSFS checklist as well. The developer told us he had some difficulties implementing that but will continue to work on that particular feature ahead of the planned release in the Marketplace. A user manual is also coming up shortly with a forthcoming update.
One of the standout features of the Rans S6S for Microsoft Flight Simulator is its highly realistic flight model. This LSA is a low and slow flier and the flight model in Microsoft Flight Simulator does an excellent job of capturing this aspect of the aircraft’s design.
When flying the Rans S6S, you’ll notice that it’s responsive and nimble, with a quick roll rate and good low-speed handling characteristics. This makes it an excellent aircraft for performing tight maneuvers and short takeoff and landing operations. While not exactly a STOL powerhouse like the KitFox or the Wilga, the light characteristics of the Rans, especially coupled with the large bush wheels, can make for some pretty fun landings and takeoffs on very short airfields! The flight model is also very accurate when it comes to simulating the aircraft’s stall characteristics, making it important for pilots to be aware of the airspeed and angle of attack when flying.
Visibility is excellent from the cockpit, thanks to the high-wing design and unobstructed view to either side of the aircraft. It’s a very fun little aircraft to go for a Sunday stroll around the countryside, enjoying the views. There’s a GoPro camera mounted behind the seats that you can use to switch to a wide-angle view from that viewpoint. A very neat feature! You will also find a flashlight mounted nearby that can be rotated to turn on the light, illuminating the instrument panel with varying degrees of intensity.
In the end, FlyBoy Simulations makes an impressive debut as an aircraft developer for MSFS with the Rans S6S Coyote II. It’s a detailed and immersive LSA with several positive features. As the first Rans aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator, it is especially appealing to those who are familiar with this airplane in the real world.
There’s little to fault in this package and the developer promises to bring regular updates that will add further functionality (new variants with floats and skis are in the plans, for example). At just around $14, this is an easy recommendation for anyone with an interest in this particular aircraft or for LSAs in general. With its realistic flight model, detailed graphics and textures, and easy-to-use systems and instrumentation, it’s a great choice for pilots of all skill levels.
The Rans S6S Coyote II from FlyBoy Simulations is out now at Simmarket.
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