Stephen

Aircraft Release Review : Quest kodiak by Dan Klaue

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Aircraft Release Review : Quest Kodiak by Dan Klaue

 

Quest Kodiak? never heard of it? Well if you think Cessna Caravan 200B then you would be certainly on the right track. From a distance and even when you get quite close to the Kodiak it does look like a 200B Caravan and is powered by the similar engine in the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 750 hp were as the Caravan uses the PT6A-140 868 hp (647 kW). There is a feeling here that the Quest people just grabbed a tape measure and and took to the Caravan with gusto to make their own version of that very successful utility aircraft. And no doubt that they have succeeded, but the aircraft was built to a cost and is about US$300.000 cheaper than the Cessna version and the sales and was aimed and designed for use by Mission Societies, so the days of Christian ministries riding around on donkeys looks like to have gone long ago.

 

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Dan Klaue

Now if you have been around X-Plane for a few years then the name of Dan Klaue would be quite familiar. The Canadian was very proficient in developing aircraft and is known mostly for his Embraer ERJ 140 Regional Jet of a few years ago now. But Dan never left X-Plane but is in fact mostly covert in his work in developing features and ideas and on the side advises Carenado in all aspects of X-Plane development. In fact there is always a good chance that every day you will unknowingly use one of Dan's great ideas or features,. There is also the odd development going on in aircraft that Dan creates but none actually reached the customer, but then right of nowhere comes this excellent Quest Kodiak, and it certainly wouldn't be a Dan Klaue aircraft if it didn't have a few great surprises and some really clever and interesting features.

 

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Utility aircraft are not supposed to be pretty, but I always liked the Caravan in design and the Kodiak is not a bad looking machine either. Certainly with the extra luggage pod fastened on below the fuselage it makes it a little frumpy, but I rarely used the pod on the Caravan either.

 

Note the discontinuous leading edge (also known as a leading edge cuff) on the outboard parts of the wing, it is there to improve the stall and spin characteristics of the aircraft. It is that at high angles of attack the cuff discontinuity generates a vortex that acts as a fence, preventing the separated flow from progressing outboard. The lift slope has a flatter top and the stall angle is delayed to a higher angle. To reach high angles of attack, the outboard airfoil has to be drooped, some experiments investigating "exaggerated" drooped leading edges. The physical reason for the cuff effect is not actually clearly explained.

 

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But the design on the Quest is excellent here and the shapes are highlighted by a very glossy coat. All the rage this year has been glossy aircraft and in parts the Kodiak is quite shiny and Dan notes he may later put in a slider so you set your own shiny level to what you want. But it does bring the aircraft alive and highlight all the excellent detail work, in paneling, rivets and that wing is beautifully conceived.

 

Menu

The menu is situated by an arrow tab on the left lower part of your screen.

 

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It is quite a big sized menu, but it can be easily moved around the screen and you can resize it via the right lower black box.

 

It has Five menus in General, Livery, Weight/Bal (Balance), Camera, Flight Data and MIsc.

 

General: The main menu covers all the general items on the aircraft and Realistic mode, Electric tug, reflections on/off and scroll (mouse) visualization on/off. Lower selections cover the Cargo pod on/off, wheel fairings on/ff, chocks on/off and brakes on/off

 

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Hit the three "All" buttons in Covers, Tie-Downs and Doors...  and the Kodiak nearly explodes in items and things opening.

 

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You can select the individual items on the aircraft layout itself, and you get most things like engine, prop, exhaust covers, (remove) tags under "Covers". Again you can have the individual Tie-Downs or all. And finally the five doors.

 

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Two forward opening panels reveal a fully replicated Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34, that is a work of art. Forward doors hinge right back but reveal the cockpit...  note the lower pod locker doors.

 

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Main rear left passenger/freight door is two stage and it is a big hole in the side of the aircraft when the two doors are open.

 

There is an electric tug to move the aircraft around if the engine is off, simple to use in moving your joystick in the direction you want and then pushing or pulling the stick for forward or rear movements and different speeds.

 

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Liveries: Selecting the livery button gives you a selection of five "PAINTED" liveries for you to select from.

 

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All liveries are top notch and varied, but what if you don't still like any of them?

 

Well why not create your own!

 

Dynamic Liveries

There is with the Kodiak a built in feature called "Dynamic Liveries" were you can change the various areas of the aircraft to a different colour shade. Clever yes...  It is a bit tricky to work the three RGB coordinates that changes the colours but you will soon understand and easily use the idea to create your own personal masterpiece and then you can add in the aircraft's Rego No., Quest logo, Kodiak Logo and Manufacturer name as you wish. My effort was... "A bit average" but when you look at your finished handiwork close up it was very nice. And you can save your work and "Apply" the livery now or later if you like it.  There are 28 different styles you can do (to date) but I see more choices than that... very clever and it works.

 

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Weights & Balances : "WEIGHT/BAL" tab allows you to set the aircraft weight (lbs) in fuel, passenger (weight) and cargo weight in the rear or with the cargo in the under fuselage Pod.

 

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Easy to use and you get a great graph on how the different weight changes affects the CoG (Centre of Gravity) and on the actual position of the CoG on the aircraft of which you can also adjust.

 

Camera : The camera button covers two set of views with one the external (walkaround) views via a set of red dots, and two a set of ten default (X-Plane) views as noted via the keypad or selecting one from the list.

 

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Audio/Slew

The Audio/Slew panel allows you to adjust the master volume or switch the sound on or off, more slider relating to the sounds are to be added in later.

 

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The "Slew" Feature is still under development, so it is not totally perfected yet. But the idea is to allows you to place the aircraft at an new altitude or turn it around to a new heading very quickly and without going to the X-Plane Local to do the same thing but without that bump as X-Plane kicks back in. I turned the aircraft's heading on the ground and in the air easily, but the altitude change at this point crashes the sim.

 

On my version there are no items of note or features for the Misc tab of the menu. But my guess is that under MISC there will be a Float version and under consideration is an Executive and cargo versions of the Kodiak.

 

Internal Cockpit and Cabin

 

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The cockpit is overwhelmingly black, but you soon get used to it, but it does feel unusual for a while until you do.

 

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Cabin comes with eight seats + two for the pilots. All are very well modeled and there is an executive and cargo versions coming. Cargo net spacer hides a wooden box and bag in the rear cargo compartment.

 

Panel

Although the blackness dominates everything in the cockpit the detailing is excellent.

 

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And not just the up front details like the lovely yokes or magnificent pedestal with its huge trim wheel, it is also down and deep in the footwells and behind the panel that is also very heavily detailed and extremely realistic. This aircraft is a workhorse after all and it more relates to your working truck than your Ferrari car.

 

Garmin G1000

The Kodiak comes with a full G1000 avionics suite with a three panel display and you can pop-out all three but only two of them at one time.

Displays are resizable as well.

 

This is a version of the G1000 suite in Carenado aircraft and you will be required to have installed the Carenado data pack or download the pack to run these panels. As with the Carenado units they do pause a little at the aircraft's loading stage to load in the data, but that time is now very short.

 

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The G1000 system comes with all these advanced features...

 

  • Terrain Awareness map mode 
  • Different declutter levels
  • Advance menus and cursor with scroll wheel, click/hold or /drag
  • Aux- Trip Planning Window
  • Checklist mode
  • Crisp, vector-based water data
  • Pop-up windows can be resized and moved around the screen
  • Pristine scroll wheel support
  • FPS-friendly terrain map

 

 

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One great feature is moving eye air vents on the panel and on the roof.

 

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    Not only can you move the direction of the vent, but the internal airflow cover as well. There are four vents on the panel and the two vents overhead.

     

    Other panel items are three backup dials left panel for Speed, Artificial Horizon and Altitude.

     

    Lower panel left is the power (rocker) and starter switches, lighting switches and Ice protection. Two Hobbs meters covers flight and engine running times. Oxygen capacity indicator is clever and to the right panel there is a small AC display that covers Cabin Temp, and fan controls that all work and if you increase the fan speed you should be able to hear the fan noise in the background...

     

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    Both Yokes can be hidden, but that is only to get at the switches easier, in flight they don't really get in the way.

     

    Flying The Kodiak

     

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    Let us get straight to the chase on flying the Quest Kodiak. It is different, very realistic and to a point you work in there flying this machine. If you have a yoke or like me a joystick then your movements are very much more moveable and you have to adapt your style a little to fly the aircraft in a more athletic way. I don't mean in a vigorous hard way but a more of having to control the aircraft through the air way.

     

    Ignition on, and starter switch up (condition lever to the panel) and the turbine start whine comes from the front of the aircraft. Open the small window for the full effects of the engine sounds which are excellent. And if you are of keen hearing then you should note also the friction sounds on the yoke and throttle lever as you move them, as well as independent sounds for brakes, oxygen hissing and electrical inverter buzzing sounds.

     

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    Once running then you pull the condition lever back to idle and feather it a little as this turbine engine is powerful.

     

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    The 3d surround sounds are simply excellent, with far more of a range than even in the Carenados. Move yourself around the aircraft and you can hear the various differences from high to lower sounds and a new side prop sound is highly noticeable, more so from the ground as the plane flies over you. But get the start wrong and you get a wholly different sound, and it doesn't look good either when the turbine blows.

     

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    You need the condition lever at idle to taxi, but it is still a bit to strong and the aircraft will quickly gather speed if you don't keep it in check with the brakes, okay at the start, but you get tired of the gathering speed all the time with the constant clicking of the brakes, Dan Klaue says it is correct...
     Just remember to reposition the condition lever back to high idle to takeoff.

     

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    The aircraft will quickly move and gather speed once you let it go, but keep the power and speed down as you track at first and then gradually add in more as the speed rises, unless the aircraft will start to be a bit unwieldy and you could find yourself swinging too much. The feel is really good as the speed gathers and you have to work to keep the track correct and on the centreline, I rotated around 105knts, fast but you feel the speed and the aircraft through your yoke movements... certainly here there is a higher level of feel to X-Plane flying, and it is very good.

     

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    Pitch and bank is very nice and you can easily turn away from the airport and gather height.

     

    You can use the Emergency (EMER PWR) lever for more power if you need it, but sparingly as it can blow your motor to kingdom come...

     

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           .... as a precaution there is a "Overspeed" governor on the left of the panel to regulate the power.

     

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    You have a S-Tec Fifty Five X Autopilot that can pop-out from the panel, a basic system but it works fine for the sort regional work the Kodiak flies.

     

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    Here is something you always wanted...  Yoke controls that work!  You can disconnect the Autopilot via the red button just like on a real one, and adjust the trim from the yoke as well. The trim flutters when the aircraft autopilot is in control adjusting the trim, very authentic.

     

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    The Kodiak is quite sensitive to higher speeds. This is not an aircraft to set the Autopilot and the throttle and then just have a nap, because you will find if it goes a little too fast it will start to pitch and even if the autopilot trim is trying (hard) to compensate for this unseen barrier. So it is the awareness of this speed sensitive area in that it is you that has to find that sweet spot between the best cruise speed and the start of the boundary of the aircraft's aerodynamics.

     

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    Lighting

    The lighting system on the Kodiak is really in two areas...  one for the panel and two for the spot overhead lighting.

     

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    The panel has two knobs with three adjustments. Outer left knob is the Instrument panel itself, but there is a mostly hidden inner knob that lights the LED lights under the glareshield and this is the one you use the most. The second right knob lights the switchgear.

     

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    There are two spots overhead and they are fully adjustable to put the spots right where you want them.

     

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    There are eight spot lights in the rear that are again fully adjustable, and all interior lighting can be turned on or off via one switch in the General menu, you can switch off/on the external lighting the same way.

     

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    Each outer wing has a taxi and landing light, a beacon strobe on the roof and navigation lights. Interior looks good from the external view.

     

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    Front window blinds not only drop down but slide sideways as well.

     

    Landing

    As KRSW (Florida SouthWest) comes almost under the Kodiak, it is time to go east and into the circuit to land on RWY 24...

     

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    A small distance north and then a final turn back to KRSW.

     

    You have to run off a lot of speed to 80knts or so drop the flaps only one stop to 10º and even that is not enough to make the aircraft a handful, worry is that less speed than this and you are close to a stall. The flaps are marked on the speed ticker for 10º - 20º and 35º degree flap, but every degree set is like a wall hitting you, I never got it really right and smooth, but get the speeeds wrong and you are in trouble.

     

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    Designwise the flaps are beautifully made, the flaps extend and retract on runners that are worth a replay to watch.

     

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    Your speed settles down somewhere around 73knts for landing and challenging is not the right word...  maybe a handful is the right one because you are working the yoke hard in and out...  left and right..  keeping the machine on track. I have landed the Kodiak a few times now and the experience was exactly the same, hard work but extremely rewarding, you earn your wings in this aircraft, It doesn't feel much like a Carenado as you would expect but more like the AirFoillabs 172S Skyhawk...

     

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    Look at the image (left) and how far am I down the runway before I touch the concrete... a long, long way, as I inched the Kodiak down to the slight bump of a landing and you do that everytime, slowly and just minutely lowering the machine to terra firma. No doubt you would fly this differently in Alaska, but you get the idea.

     

    Stopping is tough as well. You can reverse the prop, but that will yaw you right and don't hit the brakes too early because that will wobble you around as well...  just run off the speed as much as you can...  but you can't because the aircraft is at full idle and there is still a lot of thrust coming out of that prop.

     

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    Summary

    There is something different going on here with the Quest Kodiak. It isn't like any other aircraft in X-Plane, yes it looks like any other aircraft, but has a different feel, use and a HUGE feature list and effects.

     

    You have to adjust to it, but my feeling is that in here a lot of the flying is more heightened than with your usual flying...  It is a handful, certainly on approach and landing. But that is where the fun factor kicks in, you have to step up to the aircraft and show it who the master is, and that heightened simulation is rewarding, challenging and just plain really why you fly aircraft in the real world or here in simulation.

     

    Negatives, It is a bit new, but very good out of the box. I'm not crazy about the manipulators as they can be hard to use quickly and are doubled up with two actions to do the same changes. The idle speed for me is hard work even at low idle and even with the prop feathered right back, so taxiing can be a bit too fast and with constant braking.

     

    Garmin G1000 is now more refined and worked very well in the Kodiak, but those large display turning maps do need a bit of computer grunt to process that display to get the smoothness you like.

     

    The Quest Kodiak from the maestro Dan Klaue does certainly live up to his reputation. It is innovative, clever, slightly unusual but maybe that is just turning the aircraft up a notch above from the usual fair. Finally it is great value at around US$30, so what more do you want. 

     

    One to add to the collection.

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    Yes! the Quest Kodiak by Dan Klaue is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :

     

    Quest Kodiak by Dan Klaue

     

    Price is US$33.95

     

    Features Include:

     

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    Requirements :

    X-Plane10.50 + (any edition) - 64bit mode
    Windows 7+ (64 bit) or MAC OS 10.8 (or higher) or Linux - 64bit Operating System
    3 GHz processor - 8GB RAM - 2Gb+ VRAM - 3Gb VRAM Recommended
    Windows users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed.
    Carenado navigation database installed

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    Installation : Download is 319.10 mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane Fighter folder at 448.10mb. Key authorisation is required.

    You must have the Carenado navigation database installed (840mb) in your main X-Plane root folder, download from the link.

    Documentation : includes

     

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    Review by Stephen Dutton

    30th October 2016

    Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews

     

    Review System Specifications:

    Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

    Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global v10.52

    Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

    Plugins:  Headshake by SimCoders (free)

    Scenery:

    - KEYW - Key West International Airport V1.0 by FletcherJ (X-Plane.Org) Free

    - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99

     

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    Thanks for the nice review, Stephen.

     

    Is the G1000 faster than the (last?) v3.3 evolution of the TBM 850 ?

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