World War II led to the development of so many legendary aircraft. Names like Mustang, Spitfire and Messerschmitt produce an instant mental image in every aviation geek’s mind. Forever recognizable at airshows and always the star in our favorite wartime movies. However, some planes from the past tend to make you do a double take and leave you asking, “what is that?” That’s where the Messerschmitt Bf-108 Taifun (Typhoon) comes into play.
This is a four-seat recreational/sport plane that was also used as a personnel liaison transport by the Luftwaffe. Striking a similar resemblance to its big brother, the Bf-109, this much lesser-known aircraft did star in some movies as well. An extensive and exhaustive research (quick Google search) revealed that this plane has appeared in famous movies such as Von Ryan’s Express, The Longest Day and Mosquito Squadron just to name a few. Sometimes the Bf-108 was being used to portray the Bf-109. But now, it’s been given a leading role in Microsoft Flight Simulator thanks to the good folks at Inibuilds.
Installation is easy with the use of their IniManager program which can be downloaded from their homepage. Once in the aircraft selection part of the sim you’ll be pleasantly surprised that there are eleven different liveries to choose from. Some examples are Lufthansa, Swiss, RAF, and of course the Luftwaffe.
After your sim has loaded up you are presented with a cold and dark Bf-108 sitting calmly on the tarmac with, get this, folded back wings! I’m sorry, but that is so cool and something I didn’t expect. That’s like having a sports car with those popup headlights back in the 80s. You’ll also notice that the canopy has a camouflage cover on which can be customized from inside the cockpit. The exterior model looks great with its reflections, rivets, and even some slight weathering features on the paint job.
My first time in the cockpit I quickly realized something wasn’t quite right. That’s because all the instruments were in German. Thankfully, Inibuilds has included a GPS computer called the IniEFB directly in front of the pilot where you can change these settings. This is also where you can unfold the wings, add/remove chocks, and uncover the canopy. For added realism, this computer can tell you mechanical status of your aircraft with options to fix whatever needs fixin.
Starting the Bf-108 is a bit tricky if you do not look at the checklist. I had the hardest time trying to figure out why my engine would not stay on after the initial start. After some trial and error, I discovered that there was a step missing in the checklist. There is a fuel cock lever on the far-left side of the instrument panel that needs to be engaged. Aside from that, all switches and levers are easy to find once you study the layout of the cockpit.
Taxiing is pretty easy considering this plane is a tail dragger. However, takeoff can be a handful at times depending on the weather. I found out windy conditions and this aircraft don’t like each other. Of course, that could have been due to my piloting skills. Climb out performance is really good and once you get her trimmed out, she cruises like a dream. Optional is an autopilot that’s as simple as they come and works as expected as well as radio controls on the upper right side of the instrument panel.
Descent and approach can be tricky with in the Bf-108 in terms of airspeed. You need to think ahead before landing because this plane takes a while to bleed off its airspeed. You sometimes get the feeling that the throttle might even be stuck. In other words, you can’t just quickly decide to cut the
throttle, go on final, and land normally. This plane requires you to think ahead sometimes. Landing requires a bit more attention as well, but I think that’s typical for most tail dragger aircraft.
After checking out the Bf-108 I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it. This aircraft is fun to fly but also gives you just a little bit of a challenge here and there. I also like the fact that Inibuilds decided to make an aircraft that is outside the norm of what’s usually offered for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I can’t wait to see what they develop next.
Written by: JT