Editor’s Note: This review is based on the Pilot Experience Sim (PESIM) Maule M7-235 V1.0.2
Pilot Experience Sim recently launched its first aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator, the Maule M7-235. This aircraft is based on the original M-4 model, and offers the excellent blend of utility, durability, and short-field performance that pilots have come to expect from the Maule name.
In this review, we will guide you through the intricacies of the PESIM Maule M7’s integration into Microsoft Flight Simulator, exploring the aircraft’s external and internal modeling, sound features, and special options that cater to a wide range of preferences. Additionally, we will delve into the M7’s flight capabilities, comparing the simulation experience to real-world expectations and highlighting the aircraft’s STOL capabilities. Join us as we examine the Maule M7 in detail and see if it’s worthy of your investment!
Maule Air Inc. was founded in 1941 and has since solidified the company’s reputation in the short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft market. Maule is based in Moultrie, Georgia, US. The single-engine aircraft we know today originated from the design made by Belford D. Maule (1911-1995). The first design of the Maule with STOL features appeared in 1956 and was designated the M-4. M-4 testing began in 1957 and received FAA certification in 1961. Maule aircraft have spread to every continent of the globe. The welded 4130 chromoly steel-tube fuselage Maules are built by hand! With continued refinement of the original model, features of utility, value, durability, and short-field capability place the Maule as one of the most versatile STOL aircraft in the world. Based on the Maule M-4, the M-7-235 is a high-wing, strut-braced aircraft.
The installation was completed without problems. For Non-Marketplace users, the downloaded zip file (2.02 GB) expands to 3 files – Locator , Model install and a PESIM Central file to handle the updates. The Locater must be run first to detect the correct MSFS2020 file location. Documentation includes a User Manual and a Flight Manual similar to a POH. Three versions of the M7 include the basic tire model, a tundra tireand a float version. There are 6 liveries included for each model version. According to the User Manual, a version on skis will be forthcoming.
For this review, I completed a full flight in the tundra tire version from Forks, Washington to the Windy Arm region of the Elwha River in Olympic National Park Maule M-7 6,000′ Descent Landing into Olympic National Park – Full VFR ForeFlight Flight Plan – 4K.
The external PBR texturing is exceptional. The model is really showcased on the exterior views. Detailing of the exterior components such as landing gear, tailwheel, antennae, pitot tube, gas caps etc. are all very refined. I did notice that the side profile of the aircraft does not match the aircraft contour viewed in real world photos. In particular, the windshield appears too large when compared to the fuselage. Fewer scuff marks on the side windows would be desirable. The marks are distracting for the side views sight lines.
Sounds and Special Features
Switches and controls for the electrical and fuel systems have realistic sounds when activated. Circuit breakers are all modeled. The engine sounds are not outstanding as a default sound package is used.
A clipboard permits you to install the default Garmin 530 and 430, the TDS GTNXi or the PMS50 GTN750. Additional options include placement of wheel chocks, visualization of the co-pilot, luggage, and Amazon cardboard boxes in the rear seat! The grammar used for the labels on the clipboard could be improved to denote what is intended when clicking the selection.
Attention to the interior texturing slips in comparison to the external model. There is room for improvement to the panel appearance. Some texturing detail could be applied to the interface of the controls meeting the panel surface. A little wear and tear to a bush plane would also add to the realism factor. Fewer scuff marks on the side windows would be desirable. The marks are distracting for the side view sight lines.
Ground handling is typical for a tailwheel airplane. Be aware of any crosswind and get on the rudder pedals with authority! Considerable trim was dialed in after takeoff to achieve the desired climb rate. I was able to trim the M-7 for a hands-off desired climb of 500 fpm and hence giving me time to enjoy the sights with different camera views.
While I have never flown a Maule, I have flown in enough high wing airplanes to say that the simulation of the aircraft response to control inputs is very good! The response to aileron (roll), pitch (elevator) and yaw (rudder) is very fluid and smooth with no surprises. Concerns to pitch sensitivity in the initial release have been addressed.
I compared real world engine values when cruising at 4,000’ MSL. With the LycomingIO-540 engine at 2500 RPM and 25 inches of manifold pressure the airspeed showed 125 KIAS. Identical values for the real deal and this sim aircraft!
The M-7 has a negative seven degrees flap position that Maule has termed the ‘reflex position”. This position offers a few extra knots of airspeed during cruise when the aircraft is properly trimmed. The high drag flaps allow for a steep descent and provide rapid deceleration. Flight response to activation of the flap position was very realistic giving a momentary nose up attitude.
Summary and Wish List
The PESIM version of the Maule M7 is fun to fly. Excellent simulated STOL characteristics will allow you to operate out of rugged and unimproved airfields. The aircraft trims out nicely with no bad habits. Attention to the external modeling adds to the quality of this aircraft. A version to remove the doors akin to the real-world aircraft would be welcome for the avid back country pilot. A more robust Lycoming engine sound package would also enhance the realism of this model.
- Realistic flight dynamics
- External detailing is excellent
- Good model value
- 3D external fuselage modeling is off
- Panel texturing could be better
- Engines sounds are default