Chuck Yeager is a big man among big men. The USA respects success, and no-one has been more successful at flying American aircraft than him. From his incredible performance in World War II to pioneering the supersonic rocket series, he’s sought to be the best. So there’s no-one more qualified to train you in advanced flight.
As Chuck can fly anything with wings, then so can you. The aircraft selection is huge (see below). But the cockpit displays are standardised to prevent mind-numbing disorientation when you swap from a Spad to a Shuttle. Each plane handles much as you’d expect, however.
Fly by night
Chuck Yeager’s AFT is divided up into lessons which can be tried in any order. They consist of such delights as formation flying, landing, navigation, night flying or even zipping down a canyon at low level. There are about 10 such scenarios, scientifically designed to teach you varying flight skills.
Emphasis is placed on your (hopefully developing) flying skills throughout the program. This is admirable but it means that all the planes are very sensitive and finicky to fly. They tend to lurch around drunkenly if you’re not incredibly gentle. If you’re used to a game like F19 you will either see this as a realistic challenge or a huge annoyance.
During the game you are instructed by Chuck. His teachings consist of an audio cassette to play, and a series of laconic comments about "drilling yourself to China" being printed on screen during times of crisis. Other aids, such as targets to aim at in the sky, appear with the intention of teaching you indelible lessons.
Buy the farm
There isn’t any combat involved, but if you get lonely in your cold blue heaven you can try formation flying. This can be done at any level up to the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels, flying F16s or F18s respectively. It’s not easy and Chuck’s comments get more caustic as his patience is tested.
Unfortunately, whilst the controls are sensitive and "lifelike", the graphics don’t update quickly, leading to the off-putting impression that you’re just wallowing around in a very jerky sky. It’s a pity because the graphics would otherwise be acceptable. Some of the outside views are nice but occasionally hiccup, showing you disconnected polygons.
Combine this with the slow speed, and the program doesn’t really come up to the slick level set by most Amiga flight sims today. The lack of any particularly exciting things to do means that long-term gameplay suffers.
If you like general aviation rather than combat, and fancy trying your hand as a formation pilot, you might find AFT reaches your itch. But sadly for most, the program doesn’t quite come up to scratch.