I’ve been searching for a nice version of the Grumman Ag-Cat aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator for a very very very long time. There’s a post here on my blog where I first mentioned it back in January 2006, and another one where I mentioned it again in 2007. And even before that, I was searching for this aircraft for older versions of Flight Simulator. But every time I would search on the Internet, I would end up disappointed because of not finding anything, or, because of finding something that tried to resemble an Ag-Cat but wasn’t quite finished.
By the end of 2009 I thought of searching for the aircraft again on various websites related to Flight Simulator, and you’ll never be able to imagine how excited I got when I found a very nicely done model by Marcel du Plessis from South Africa. The original version that I found was done for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, but I was using what is now the latest version, Flight Simulator X. So I downloaded the aircraft and installed it and was happy to see that most of it worked quite well in the newer version of Flight Simulator even though it was designed for the older version. There were however quite a few things that didn’t function correctly. I sent an email to Marcel asking about his plans for an update for Flight Simulator X, and he basically said that he had no plans to update the aircraft. So I asked if I could have the source files so I could try to update it myself, but unfortunately due to bad experiences in the past he didn’t feel like giving me those files. However, he did give me permission to modify the aircraft as much as I could, and fix it as much as possible with just the files I already had.
So I went ahead and tried to fix as much of the issues as possible. Below is a list of things I had to fix:
- Entries in the aircraft configuration files, coordinates and other data.
- The spray effects needed tweaking to work correctly.
- The panel configuration had to change due to missing gauges. All gauges have been replaced except for the stall light warning which won’t work on Flight Simulator X.
- The Boom Pressure gauge needed tweaking to work in Flight Simulator X.
In addition to this, I’ve also created new sounds for the model that sound more realistic. I used the sounds from the Goose G21A aircraft from Flight Simulator X and modified and remixed them for the Ag-Cat. The new sounds come very very close to what an actual Ag-Cat sounds like! 😉
I’ve also added 5 new repaints for the aircraft, two of them are new and one is a modified version of the original texture by Marcel du Plessis. The repaints and registrations on the aircrafts are from actual aircrafts here in Suriname. You can see the repaints in the pictures below:
Some of the things I could not fix (because I did not have the source files):
- I could not add new functionality to the aircraft for Flight Simulator X, such as the aircraft casting shadows on itself, etc.
- The glass on the cockpit has a minor rendering issue: dynamic scenery (houses, trees etc.) isn’t visible through it when viewed from the outside.
To download the aircraft simply click on the following link: AgCat.zip. Please note that this file has been updated on July 14th, 2010. In case you downloaded it prior to this date, download it again. Two additional repaints (the green ones seen above) were added.
After downloading the zip file, extract all files into the main Flight Simulator X folder. If you use Winzip or a similar program and choose to extract the files with the directory structure, then all files will be placed in the right folders. After doing this, you can start Flight Simulator X and you should be able to see the 3 versions of the Ag-Cat when selecting an aircraft. Don’t forget to read the original Ag-Cat Quick Guide PDF document for instructions on how to operate the aircraft, how to activate the spray system and how to make the pilot visible among other things.
If you like the aircraft, please take the time to send an email to Marcel du Plessis and thank him for his incredible work in making such a detailed model for the Ag-Cat. Maybe if he gets enough comments he’ll be motivated to do an update :). Also don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know any feedback you may have.
Below are some more screenshots of the Ag-Cat in Flight Simulator X.