The Skymaster has a comprehensive set of working instruments fitted inside the cockpit. There is no laggy hud, no amateurish floating text, and no fake ‘looky-likey-but-do-nothing’ plastic imitation-effect instrument textures. What you see is real and functional.
The instrument panel is laid out as follows…
Row of indicator lamps at the top, with rectangular alarm display below.
Row of three digital readouts: Airspeed (with throttle indicator above), Rate of Climb, Altitude.
Below these is the gimbal-mounted compass.
When lit, left to right, the indicator lamps tell you…
Red – smoke trails are on
Green – navigation lamps are on
Magenta – yoke is controlled by mouse when you are in mouselook
Below the lamps is a dark rectangular panel – this is the alarm display. The last thing you want your plane to do is go into ‘GIM’ – ‘Ground Impact Mode’. As any SL pilot knows, this can be messy and embarrasing. If your latest daring maneuvre has left you too low and losing altitude quckly, the Skymaster’s GIM alarm will start flashing red and giving an audible warning – giving you the chance to avoid that encounter with the bumpy stuff.
The airpseed and throttle indicator are on the left of the row of digital readouts. The throttle indicator is a narrow horizontal bar above the airspeed readout. Your current throttle setting is shown by a red bar that starts from the left end of the indicator – increase throttle and the red bar gets longer. The airspeed readout provides additional warnings by changing colour at high speeds. Normally, it’s white. At about 70 knots, it changes to orange to tell you that you’re pushing it. At 100 knots, the numbers change to red to tell you that you’re being silly.
Yes, you read that right – the Zamani P110 Skymaster will top 100 genuine nautical miles per hour. That’s one sim every five seconds – but take care on a slow grid day! You have been warned – and the plane will warn you if you forget.
The RoC (rate of climb) readout is in the middle – it’s vital to know where you are going with respect to the water or ground. When your RoC is zero (level flight) the numbers are white. If you are climbing, the numbers change to green. If you are descending, they change to red. A high number in red means you are dropping like a stone, and should probably try to get the plane flying level.
The altimeter is to the right. The altitude it gives you is the height in metres above the water or land, not the ‘absolute’ altitude from somewhere below the sea that some planes give – what use is 50m when you fly into the side of an 80m mountain?. If you’re flying 10m above the footlhills, 10m is the altitude the Skymaster will display. Like the other readouts, the altimeter changes colour to give additional warning information. In this case, it warns you when you approach the SL vehicle ceiling of 4000m. This is important for the real high flyers – if you hit the 4000m ceiling, your plane will vapourise instantly. At 3500m the altimeter changes to orange. At 3800m, it changes to red. If you see a red altimeter, get the nose pointing downwards!
To further enhance the realistic feel of flying the Skymaster, it’s fitted with a fully functional gimbal-mounted compass. This smooth instrument doesn’t simply point north, it also stays perfectly level, no matter what direction the plane is pointing in. The gimbal mounting means that it’s a true artificial horizon as well as a compass. It’s perfect for those moments when you don’t know which way is up – thanks to the Flightmaster Avionics, you do! Always!