I did a Flight Review of the Christen Eagle II

I wanted to put my take on the CE2. Without getting into the whole argument of whether or not it should be in a combat sim, I wanted to see if it was a worthwhile module or not. The tl;dw is - it is. The flight model is pretty damn good and I was even able to compare it to some old gopro footage I had when doing some spins in an Extra 300 - the way it reacts is remarkably close, so hats off to Mag3 for doing such a great job.

It’s going to be a good module for those days where you don’t really feel like blowing anything up, or sick of getting surprise-amraam-sexed on the 104th, and want to work on basic stick and rudder skills. Further, since their stated goal was to use this as a technology demonstrator for their Corsair module, I don’t blame them for wanting to make a few $$ off it. I hope you enjoy my take and hope to do more similar reviews in the future!


Great review @Sport!

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How do you feel about the amount of propeller torque you get on it?

I think it needs a little work, but remember its only a 200hp Lycoming pushing a fairly small propeller… I’m not expecting to need a boot-full like the Mustang, or even a Pitts. I think people have overreacted a bit to how much they think it should need. The Eagle was designed to be for “gentlemen aerobatic pilots”, so consider it like a Porsche 911 4S versus a GT3RS


Nicely done review.

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Dang, I know what I’m going to be doing tonight after the kids go to bed. CE2 + Samsung Odyssey + Creature Comforts Tropicalia :metal:


And now Wheels starts looking for his wallet and CC…


I’ve just spent the last couple of glorious hours exploring Normandy at low level in the CE2, using the free flight solo quick start mission. The same T.A.R.G.E.T. profile that I made for the Yak worked fine after I did the usual clearing and assigning axis to applicable control.

Beginning with the few aerobatics that I know, I entertained myself for about 30 mins performing a somewhat blasphemous Sean Tucker impersonation, then got down low to explore the hedge rows, farms, beaches, and villages that make up Normandy. It was pretty awesome.

Having only a few hours in a Decathlon doing basic aerobatic training and tailwheel sign-off doesn’t really qualify me to be a judge of of the flight modeling, but if this is accurate the CE2 makes you feel like you are a better pilot than you probably are. A 15% 100% curve for both pitch and roll axis on the Warthog felt comfortable, and I left the yaw alone. The little airplane pretty much stays planted where you put it and you don’t really need to pay much attention to manifold and prop settings once you get things dialed in.

If I have any criticism of the flight modeling, perhaps more of a question, do aircraft of this type really have so little inertia that the plane stops a maximum rate roll instantaneously? I know that these things are razor sharp, but it felt like there should be a little more inertia along all axis.

Happily skimming the treetops and buzzing windmills through the French countryside in VR made me yearn for a real life Carbon Cub more than anything. When dad climbed out of the Phantom for the last time, I asked him if he’d ever like to own a plane. His answer if so, it would only be a Pitts. We were going to go look at one that was for sale, but mom intervened because the money would be better spent putting my brothers and me through college. Uncle Sam ended up footing the bill for mine anyway as payback for a couple of years of active duty USAR, so opportunity squandered IMO. We would have had the education of a lifetime.


Excellent review @Sport and nice flying as well. I give your laydown Cuban an 8.5! I agree that the model is one that has every reason to exist. I agree also that it will continue to improve.

For torque and p-factor to be pronounced does not require swinging a 200 pound prop. They only require that the disk mass and moment be high enough relative to the mass of the machine itself. The Eagle is a lightweight and short-coupled jewel of a flying machine. She is no beast as Frank designed away many of the Pitts’ quirkier habits. But you do need every bit as much boot as a Mustang—maybe even more. The P-51 behaves more like a Citabria by most accounts. (Citabria being the benchmark as one of the most docile handling tailwheel airplanes ever produced.) Because it is longer with a longer stance on the ground, the Extra is also relatively docile despite the bigger motor. I agree also that the spin modes do look real. The change in airflow as the flight path approaches vertical (the reason turn-one looks different than turn-two) seems to be modeled. But I have my doubts because the snap also looks good AND looks the same in almost any entry mode. This is a terrible accusation but here-goes: post-stall, the CE feels “scripted” to me. A clean snap in a real competition mount requires the perfect timing of a quick jolt of aft stick (full being way too much), full boot and a fistful of throttle, all within a quarter of a second. Timing it wrong or heaving the elevator will “bury” the snap and result in a lumbering rotation, if you even get one at all. The DCS CE snaps way more freely and recovers more instantaneously. The differences between left and right seem suspiciously large given the lack of left-turning-tendencies demonstrated elsewhere in the model. The rotation is actually pretty much symmetrical in the real thing where the only noticeable difference between left and right is the requirement to recover about an 1/8th-1/4r roll earlier when snapping left. Back to the spin. I haven’t tried this because I forgot: But a good test is to let the spin develope and add full outside aileron. This will nearly DOUBLE the rotation rate in the real thing. Do another left spin and after one turn slowly add full throttle while keeping other inputs pro-spin. This should flatten the spin dramatically. Do yet another spin. This time, instead of keeping full aft stick, let it neutralize but keep the rudder in. The rotation should again accelerate quite noticeably. In the real thing doing these things together (fwd stick, outside aileron and gobs of power) will make for a VERY wild ride and are the secret to a good airshow spin. I am curious if the DCS CE matches reality. If it does I will need to readdress my harsh feelings for it.

My S-1 is no Eagle. The single-hole Pitts performs better in the box and exhibits less tame handling all around. But I have flown all of the 2-place Pitts variants except for the Model 12 and S-2E. They behave better than the S-1 and are more in line with the Christen. I did fly an Eagle but that was 30 years ago and all I remember from the experience is having the acro bug so badly and permanently imbedded that it haunted me until I was finally able to do something about it 5 years ago. The DCS CE is unrecognizable as a lightweight aerobat to me. Same for its behavior on the ground. The real thing is way easier than the Pitts but still a handful. The DCS CE is anything but.

That’s my bit but it takes nothing away from yours. I gather that you are an experienced pilot with some aerobatic chops. Your impression is meaningful, thoughtful, accurate and well presented. I concede that I may well be 100% off base in my perception. And if I am, hopefully no seals got clubbed nor children made orphans.


You guys are chatting way above my understanding of aerodynamics, and I’m not trying to find problems just to hear myself blabber. But I am also curious what you think of the roll and pitch inertia? In other words if i make a full deflection aileron roll and release control input, the aircraft stops exactly where I put it. It feels like I can make 1 degree roll inputs and the aircraft will respond with that precision. Is that accurate? If so, then I need one of these :smile:

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That’s a great review from you as well. Glad to be talking to another aviator! I’ve not flown a CE or a Pitts (yet), but I have experience in a variety of other GA airplanes, so my review was based solely on that. I plan on trading rides with my buddy with a S2C and my Swift, so I’ll have a greater appreciation for it after that I’m sure. Most of my tailwheel time is in Decathlon’s and B-17s (that’s a different story for a different thread).

One of the things I was careful about saying in the review is that the module was authentic, but not realistic. Authenticity replicates the feelings and uses generalizations, while realism lends itself to facts. Sport acro birds are so complex in their ability to manipulate aerodynamics and physics, that I would imagine it would take a supercomputer to accurately calculate and replicate all the forces going on there.

That being said, I think things like engine torque, p-factor, and ESPECIALLY, accelerated slipstream need to be improved upon, but in its initial form, the flight model passed the first sniff test - it’s no Hawk (lol). I also suspect you’re right that more aggravated spins will be harder to achieve without the increase in the engine effects.


Excellent! Well your review was authentic as well. You were enthusiastic while keeping it real. I don’t recall seeing you here before. (Sorry if you are an old hat.) I hope your video is a sign of many more to come. Mudspike just got a little better.

@Chipwich. My Pitts requires about 1/2 opposite aileron to stop on point. If I were to just immediately neutralize the aileron after a thigh-slapping slow roll, I would probably roll about 30-45 degrees past the point. But that’s just a guess. I’ve never tried it. You might want to check to see if you are not naturally adding opposite stick without realizing it. Anyway, the Pitts and the Christen do actually have low roll inertia because of the very short wingspan. There are far, FAR better competition airplanes out there. But nothing flies better. I have talked to countless jet fighter-, WWII fighter-, and half-million dollar acro-pilots who almost universally agree that the little biplanes beat them all when it comes to pure flying joy. That’s why the Eagle is a pretty good choice.

Back to @Sport. Did you say you own a Swift!?!? That’s my second dream plane after the Pitts. Well done!


Yes, that’s more like what I was expecting and perhaps subconsciously adding a wee bit of opposite aileron. Regardless, it doesn’t damper my enthusiasm for the CE2 and it will be interesting to watch its development.

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Glad you guys met eachother in this huge crowd of only virtual wanabe pilots :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hm-hm… :wink:


Agreed - welcome aboard @Sport - I enjoyed the video and am really enjoying the insight from both you and @smokinhole and @chipwich. I didn’t pick the module up yet. Just a few too many projects going at the moment, but I will probably pick it up on a sale I would imagine.

I have no aerobatic experience other than some stupidly dangerous stunts in an old J-3, some light air work in a T-34B, and a few rolls in a Jet Provost. And spins in a 152 Aerobat…nothing gut churning. :face_vomiting:

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Lol. Mudspike, the only flight sim site/community where real pilots outnumber virtual pilots. I love the diversity of experience we have here too.


We also have those Navy guys lurking about in the shadows. Shady bunch that lot. Always talking in codes. :crazy_face:


Ah, so that’s where this photo came from:


That’s a good First Officer there…!