That is the age old problem that is facing us today. Krzysk has been burning the midnight oil for about a month now to bring his vast FS1 hangar fleet up to FS2 standards. None are easy, but some are harder than others, and some are not even practical at this time.
The current count is in the low 30s for attempts to get the planes flying without crashing the system with about a 1/3 of those at the public level. Meaning you can go to GitHub, (no you do not have to join) and select an airplane name, find the green button and download it to your pc. You can then be flying this new airplane in your AFS2 in a matter of minutes.
Some of the airplanes are more detailed than others. This depends on the original source files and the detail usually cannot be improved upon during the conversion or porting efforts. Some of the planes come with excellent exterior modeling but do not have any VC at all, while others have a somewhat fuzzy or bright VC with a few instruments working or maybe some not working. Windshield, windows, and instrument or gauge reflections seems to be a initial problem on practically every model. This is the overcooked, or overbaked reflections that vary with the sun angle and time of day. Krzysk is getting better and better at toning this down and improving the cockpit views.
So how do we know the real good ones from the so-so ones? At this point in time, you have to load the planes of choice into AFS2 and go flying for yourself. It all depends on your expectations and desires. For instance, I have been eager to see some float planes flying in AFS2 since day one. We now have several, including some outstanding amphibians. Others, including me, were seeking tail wheelers and backcountry planes to explore some of our personal scenery.
Some users are not interested in any anything with the word Freeware attached, others want the super detailed cockpits and panels for flying in VR, while others are just not interested at all. I am in the other camp, and I am excited to see most anything introduced as an airplane, at any level. It is my choice whether to keep it in my virtual hangar, or not, and to choose to fly it, or not.
AFAIK, Krzysk plans to continue with his generous donations and can be somewhat influenced in which models to spend his valuable time fine-tuning or introducing new and different models. It all comes down to how much time is available to do these things. Like many of the AFS2 users, he has a full-time job and family so we should respect that and thread lightly with our requests and suggestions.
I am sure he has his own favorite models that he would like to see flying in AFS2 as well.
Some of the apparent limitations of the porting process is not obvious at all. What might look like a piece of code is missing and the landing gear will not retract may or maybe be only landing gear related. It could be a more global AFS2 code problem that requires a total rewrite of the dynamic model starting with all mass, surfaces, propulsion, one or more of the many rigidbody sections, sounds, cameras or more in the tmd files. In this case, the judicial use of time comes into play and it must be decided to spend days troubleshooting the one plane with a landing gear retraction problem or moving on to adding more planes to the flying skies of AFS2.
The source model is the key to the details. An example is the beautiful, or gosh ugly, depending on your point of view, J2F-6 Grumman Duck. This one has a great exterior model, with highly detailed fit and finish, however, it is totally void of a vc panel for flying VR or IFR. For those of us that tend to fly from outside the cockpit, we love it. For those of you that prefer to keep your head down and in the cockpit, it will not make your top 10 for sure and you may never fly it.
Some models have more animations than others. The passenger door and windows open and close in the Pipercub. The Cub can be set for cold and dark and started up by hand turning the wooden prop for those that seek that sort of simulation. The big yard-wide door will open and close in the Cessna 337 Skymaster, the canopy will open and close on several models, like the Chipmunk, long-EZ, and Socata Rallye. Some have an open canopy all the time, like the Ercoupe. We have lots of bi-planes, planes with floats and skis, racing and acrobatic models, transports, commuter airliners, basic trainers, gliders, weird and one-off models, and more. There should be something or everyone if you look around.
My personal favorite is the Boeing Stearman 75, except when I am flying the Piper Cub, or Grumman Duck, or Cessna 170b, or Ercoupe or the . . .
Some have good manners, good looks, good sounds and a few special touches for added enjoyment. This would be the Piper Cub Special, the Stearman 75, the Socata Rallye, and a couple more. Others are more like late Alpha or early Beta models. I never know what is being worked on overnight, but I check my beta test inbox every morning. Sometimes the magnetos and starter has been added to the Stearman, sometimes the landing gear retraction or canopy slide has been added to any given plane. Many of the early released models are getting updates to add rudder and aileron trim. Sometimes a new model that is totally foreign to me is waiting to be downloaded.
AFS2 is not very friendly to variants of the models. For instance, the Pipercub comes in 2 models - Standard wheels and floats. The Ercoupe comes in 3 models, wheels, skis, and floats. This could be minimized with some IPACS standards for transparent switching of tmd files within a model family. I have requested tundra tire models for the Pipercub and Cessna 170b, and although this is possible, it will require an additional model for each plane due to the existing tmd file structure for models.
All of these new freeware models have arrived in such a flurry that February just seems a blur. When I open up the flight sim in the mornings, I now have a huge choice of models to choose from. Some I just skip over or pass by, while others may seem more intriguing. Some days I spend hours and hours researching and reading about previously unknown aircraft. Especially, some of the Russian and Eastern Bloc models. Other days I go back to adding scenery so I can have a dirt or grass runway for the tail wheelers.
For the repainters, many of these models come with a basic paint kit. Others come with a full half dozen liveries from around the world. Some come with just one paint, but more may be in work.
But, no matter which of the new models I choose, Krzysk's freeware models have added a ton of unexpected enjoyment to my flight sim world.
I have no idea where this may end, but it is a fun ride for me.