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Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design


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Aircraft Release Review : DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design


In aviation folklore, there are machines that have created an impact by their design alone, but a few have gone even higher into a sort of immortal status, Say Spitfire or DC-3, Concorde and even the Boeing 707. One other aircraft can also join this upper echelons of achievement, and that is the de Havilland Canada Type 2... also known as the "Beaver". Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947.


The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada in 1946, and is known as a bush plane, in fact one of the most highly regarded bush aircraft ever created. There was 1,657 Beavers built between 1947–1967 and half are actually still flying and working hard. In fact you can currently buy a zero-time frame and just rebuild your current aircraft and keep the machine flying as long as you can service the radial engine and afford the new airframes...


de Havilland Canada hired Punch Dickins, a famous bush pilot, as Director of Sales who began an extensive program of collecting requests from other pilots and to understand what they needed in a new type of aircraft. Almost without variation, the pilots asked for tremendous extra power and STOL performance, in a design that could be easily fitted with wheels, skis or floats. When de Havilland engineers noted that this would result in poor cruise performance, one pilot replied "You only have to be faster than a dog sled". Other suggestions that seemingly sound mundane but important in the bush plane world; full-sized doors were installed on both sides of the aircraft so it could be easily loaded no matter which side of a dock it tied up on. The large doors (known as Alaska doors) were also made wide enough to allow for a 45 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled directly up and into the aircraft.
On September 17, 1946, de Havilland officially put together a design team consisting of Fred Buller, Dick Hiscocks, Jim Houston and W. Jakimiuk, led by Phil Garratt. The new aircraft was designed to be all-metal in using "steel from the engine to the firewall, heavy aluminum truss frames with panels and doors throughout the front seat area, lighter trusses toward the rear and all monocoque construction aft". At the time de Havilland Canada was still a British-owned company and there were plans to fit the evolving design with a British engine. This limited power, so the wing area was greatly increased in order to maintain STOL performance. When Pratt & Whitney Canada offered to supply war-surplus 450 hp (340 kW) Wasp Jr engines at a low price, the aircraft ended up with extra power as well as the original long wing. The result was unbeatable STOL performance for an aircraft of its size.
it was decided that the new bush plane was much like the hard-working beaver and so as many aircraft at the time were named after animals, the aircraft was designated after this industrious animal. The first flight of the DHC-2 Beaver was in Downsview, Ontario by Second World War flying ace Russell Bannock on August 16, 1947. The first production aircraft was delivered to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, a design partner, in April 1948.
The Beaver was designed for flight in rugged and remote areas of the world. Its short takeoff and landing capability made it ideal for areas normally only accessible only by canoe or foot. Because it often flies to remote locations, often in cold climates, its oil reservoir filler is located in the cockpit and the oil can be filled in flight. A series of upgrades to the basic design were incorporated. One major customer introduced the use of flat steps replacing the earlier tubes, a feature that is now almost universal. In 1987, the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board named the DHC-2 one of the top ten Canadian engineering achievements of the 20th century.
The current ownership of the certificates and tooling gives Viking Air of Victoria, Canada the exclusive right to manufacture new Beavers. Viking now sells a remanufactured and rebuilt DHC-2T Turbo Beaver upgraded with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 680 hp (507 kW) turboprop engine. With a maximum gross takeoff weight increased to 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) it can carry 2,450 lb (1,110 kg) of freight. However, Viking Turbo Beavers are only rebuilt from existing air frames, and are not new-builds, unlike Viking's own DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter, which is manufactured from a completely new airframe. (wikipeida)

Performance - Maximum speed: 158 mph (255 km/h) - Cruise speed: 143 mph (230 km/h) - Range: 455 miles (732 km) - Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,486 m) - Rate of climb: 1,020 ft/min (5.2 m/s)


Thranda Design

This is the second Beaver for X-Plane by Thranda Design, their first release was the X-Plane 11 version released in November 2020, and this is the totally revised aircraft for X-Plane 12. Current users of the earlier Thranda XP11 Beaver can also get 30% off this new XP12 version of the DHC-2 Beaver. The older XP11 version is still also currently available, if you want to fly the aircraft in X-Plane 11


This version is the Beaver that incorporates the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs engine forward by almost 10 inches. This modification then moves the center of gravity of the plane forward, and in then allowing additional loads to be carried in the back without exceeding the aft CG limit.


First impressions are quite impressive. This is now also X-Plane 12, so you also get that huge photographic realism from the aircraft as well with the X-Plane 12 lighting and effects.


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In features and detail, there is is not that much difference outward between the two XP12 and XP11 versions, on the surface they are quite the same aircraft package. It is in the hidden areas, like textures (more soon), lighting, aircraft dynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft flight models is in were they differ. One significant difference is that the extra Floats and Amphibious floats variant is already included in this XP12 package, were as with the original version release they came a short few months awhile after, you also get a canoe as well!


Thranda quality is extreme in detail and fittings. As noted the new XP12 Beaver comes with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the DHC-2 will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in only the one texture sheet, rather than the load of old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets.


As a classic Beaver, you won't get any better in modeling and design than this one, there was the original X-Plane Beaver from SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 version a few years back, that aircraft is a pure DHC-2, but without any updates, certainly no upgrade to X-Plane 12, the SMS DHC-2 is now quite dated and in the past. 


The detailing is exceptional, the mapping of the precision of the rivets are simply excellent, and I love the gap in the cowling, actually done twice with the Holmes extended engine mount if you look closely. The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, is rated at 450 BHP at sea level. This is an air-cooled, carburetted, 9-Cylinder radial engine, incorporating dual magnetos and an engine-driven single-stage supercharger. And the engine detail really jumps out at you with the coloured inner components, that aspect should not work on such an old aircraft, but it simply looks brilliant here...


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Undercarriage is basic, but again very well done in total authentic detail, the DHC-2 is a taildragger, so there is only a small loose swivel wheel at the rear.


Notable in the detail are the excellent double metal plate reinforce plates, they are all over the fuselage and they all make the aircraft very authentic.


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They are beautifully done, and shows the high craftmanship of the aircraft. Rear Rudder, Elevator control surfaces reinforce work is also top notch.


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Wing shape and camber is perfect, again you have a highly realistic wing, realistically modeled and designed with all the correct rivets.


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Oddly the aileron goes only about 3º up, but 8º down, note the full barn door flap deflection of 58º, mostly used for slow water landings.


There is the debate if X-Plane 12 surfaces are too "shiny, shiny". The X-Plane 11 surfaces were certainly in the opposite of being very flat, but it also bought out the intimate detail, here, or for all current Thranda Aircraft, is that every surface is shiny, reflective....  I'm not sure if I am a total fan of this look. In one aspect aircraft certainly looks realistic in X-Plane 12, but in other ways they just don't, as the shininess can hide a lot of the wear detail that presented well on the older XP11 version of Thranda's Beaver.


Glass is superb, thick where it counts (windscreen), with a mottled/scratch wear in the glass. All glass is a heavy green tint, and "Bubble" windows is an option on the passenger doors. Reflections can also be turned off.


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There are four forward doors, Two for the pilots, and two behind for the front row passengers (note the right side door has no external handle, and can only be opened outside via a hotspot). Rear are two separate large upward opening "Alaska" doors. Space inside was created to be wide enough to allow for a 44 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled up into the aircraft.


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There are four passenger seats, and one large rear bench seat in the rear, all seats are beautifully done in blue canvas, with metal legs and rear plate supports. All of the five Passenger seats backs can be folded forward.


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You can take one or all five seats out, to create a huge cargo space. This space can then be filled with cargo, including cases, crates and (small oil drums), cargo is also put in the small baggage area behind the restriction net (bench seat if installed). You can of course also mix the passengers with cargo...


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You sit up there very high at the front of the machine...   Both the pilot seats are amazing, with their metal clamshell bucket rear design, and hardwearing blue patterned levi Jean look cushions.


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Both pilots windows can be opened, or positioned in any place, up or down... you can play with the small window air-vent as well.


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The Thranda Beaver cockpit is not like the antique cream version like on the SoulMade Solutions DHC-2, that is very much beloved by me as to it's reference to an early Beaver. But this version is very much a more relative version to most of the working Beavers out there and it is extremely well done. The SMS version had a single left side Yoke, but here you get the TwinBar Y double version that disappears if you press the base. The logo we all admire...  all in it's chrome and black plate glory "De Havilland" and in the right lighting conditions it just glows and shines like it has just been lovingly and newly polished. The cosmetic detail here is excellent, and you simply can't believe the intimate authentic detail all around you here.


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There are two choices of the famous throttle quadrant, the older original classic version with the Throttle Lever left, with in order Propeller lever and Mixture right...  or the more modern squared off version with the Throttle now centre, Prop left and Mixture right.


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Centre top are the magnificently large DHC-2 iconic Manifold Pressure and RPM gauges, and the mid-screen mounted whiskey compass.


The pilot gets all the flying instruments in the form of the six standard flight instruments in the Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Turn/Slip Indicator, Heading Indicator and the Vertical Speed, left is the main fuel tank selector It has positions of OFF, FRONT, CENTRE, REAR.


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Top panel is the (very) hard too find "Avionics" switch, and the metal plate flaps indicator is a work of art.


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There is a sensational JOS. POLLACK CORP Ignition switch, ELT and the logo plated MaxDim panel lighting knobs lower left panel, the metal plate storage box opens as well, to revel the three faces of the Thranda Design team.


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Right side panel has the avionics and electrical panel...   There is an altitude selector top, then an S-Tec Fifty-Five x Autopilot, KX 155 NAV/COMM Radio (NAV 1/COM 1), Garmin GMA 340 Comm radio, and a Garmin GTX 325 Transponder lower...  it is to be noted that these items are the default set of avionics, but as we shall see, you can use more different units if you want to. To the far right is an OBS Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) - VOR NAV 2.


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Lower right panel is a fully active (Fuse) Circuit Breaker panel, with the relevant electrical switches set below for power and lighting (Avionics power switch is as noted is high up on the left side panel facia). Next to the Fuses is the AMP's gauge, and Suction Gauge, and below is a lovely PS radio volume panel.


Like with the XP11 Thranda Beaver there are still the two basic panel selections, the iconic version we know so well, but also a flat metal grey facia version, with the fancy LED lights under the glareshield.


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Centre panel is a default X-Plane GNS 530, but it can be replaced with a Reality XP GTN 750 if you own the extra feature. Mid-Panel are the engine gauges, with the Oil temperature shown on the top of the gauge, oil pressure on the left, and fuel pressure on the right. Next right is the sublime gauges to indicate the quantity of fuel remaining in the three primary internal fuel tanks. From left to right these gauges indicate the Front tank, Rear tank, and Middle tank, and below is a CYL. (Cylinder) Temperature gauge, with a Hobbs hour meter.


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Three lower levers cover (LtoR) the carburetor heat control lever, the famous Fuel Wobble Pump Lever and the Fuel and Oil Emergency Shutoff Lever. To the right is the internal Oil filler (yellow cap). Detail again comes to the fore with the Manufacture's and Aircraft registration plates. The authenticity is simply mind-blowing and it keeps on coming with the ratcheting carb heat lever, the manually pumped flap system (with direction valve), and the primer system that are all faithfully modeled for maximum immersion.


The fuel system is complicated, with three internal tanks Front (35 GAL/132 Lts), Centre (35 GAL/132 lts) and Rear (25 GAL/95 lts), two wing tanks (21.6 GAL/85 Lts each) and an optional Belly Fuel Tank (43.1 GAL/163 Lts)...  for a total of 181 GAL/685 Lts of fuel.


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The main internal tanks are controlled via the red switch upper left panel, the wing tip tanks via a red switch upper door left, and the belly tank via a handle under the instrument panel (Vacuum air pressure is required). On the roof are the manual Rudder and Elevator trim wheels and indicators. Lighting is two side spot lights and ceiling LED lights, note the roof mounted temperature gauge, both (green) blinds twist and turn into place.


There are loads of pumps and levers on the Beaver, one is the pump handle for the flaps, down right of the pilot's seat and another is the engine primer pump on the left of the pilot's seat, the actions of both are really well done and authentic.


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You are probably now thinking "This Beaver is exactly the same as the X-Plane 11 version?". It is, nothing at all is different in here except for the Thranda team image in the storage box. But there is a difference though...  in the look and feel. Oddly it feels different in here with the X-Plane 12 lighting, far more grey and dark metal. The centre quadrant(s) are now all black, not the steel metal grey of before, so the aircraft feels more modern now than aged, it has also lost something from the organic feel of a Traditional Beaver in the process.


Cabin Lighting

You still get the post style instrument lighting, but the brightness (even when adjusted to full), is nothing as bright as the X-Plane 11 panel lighting? And the Avionics are too bright for the main instruments, thankfully you can tone them down a little.


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The grey metal panel facia, has those lovely LED lights, but the instrument lighting can barely be seen?


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A switch on the lighting panel (arrowed) will turn on all four forward cabin overhead lights...


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...    oddly there is STILL no lighting in the cabin? But you can turn the roof LEDs right backwards to give some illumination, but a few rear lights in the cabin would be nice. Overall the lighting although the same, is actually worse?


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External lighting is also worse than in X-Plane 11. Basic lights and the landing lights have no flare or floor shine? Beacon on the roof and tail light. Navigation and a very bright strobe on the wings.


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Floats and Amphibious floats 

In the X-Plane 12 package, the earlier extra Floats and Amphibious floats version are now included. Both variants can be found in the X-Plane "Configuration Menu", The Seaplane version is shown twice, under "General Aviation" and "Seaplane".


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Both the land (Amphibious) and standard Float design is excellent, all the usual Thranda Design quality detail, both the forward wheels, and rear rudder system, the four float supports are well intergrated into the Beaver fuselage, detail is first rate as well.


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Both Amphibious and Standard Floats are really well shaped and perform nicely on the water, and with the right amount of drag in the air.


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The wheeled floats do create more drag than the cleaner "Float", and it is noticeable (slightly) from the cockpit.


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Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.


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As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the standard Thranda default menu.


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Menu - General

The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive.


General menu selections cover; Engine Mode (Simplified/Realistic), Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off (sets aircraft to full running mode), External Belly Tank, Chocks and Brakes on/off, Steering (Simplified/Realistic).


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Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit doors and the right side luggage door. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights. And finally "Radial Engine Animation". Static Items include Wheel chocks, wing pitot cover and that rugged heavy duty engine cover over the nose. The Engine cover can only be seen/hidden via the forward selection on the General-Menu page (arrowed).


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Engine Mode - Toggles the engine realism between "Realistic" and "Simplified". When this is set to "Realistic", the engine will require the correct amount of priming for it to start, depending on the engine's temperature. When the Engine Mode is set to "Simplified", it makes starting easier.


Electric Tug can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your Throttle (Forwards/Backwards) and Rudder Yaw (Left/Right), brakes can be used as well.


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Startup Running on/off this switch will re-load the plane either cold and dark or with the engine running.


EXT Belly Tank is really well done (note the filler pipe), too much weight? then remove it, but I like the extra range it adds.


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Steering Toggles between "Realistic" and "Simplified". In Simplified mode the tail wheel steers directly with the rudder, through a range of +- 30 degrees. In Realistic mode it functions as in the real aircraft, becoming free-castoring past +- 25 degrees of deflection.


There is an exciting separate animated pop-up window that shows details of the Beaver's engine in operation.

At the top of this pop-up is a graph that indicates whether the engine is properly primed for starting. A small indicator line moves horizontally along the bottom of the graph to indicate the current conditions. This graph is only active if the Engine Mode is set to Realistic.


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There are no pop-up checklists for the Beaver, usually set on the General page, but there is a basic set of checklists in the provided POH Documents.


Menu - Liveries

Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 10 liveries and one blank (DynamicLiveryResource) overall Eleven designs, and all the liveries are of extremely high quality and have creative flare with the package. I will note that seven liveries only loaded after I ran the Skunkscrafts Updater to v1.0.1.


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The X-Plane 11 Beaver is supplied with fourteen liveries, but there is now only eleven on the XP12 aircraft? with the DynamicLiveryResources being the currently selected "Dynamic" livery.


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Dynamic Liveries

Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own!  With their earlier release of their Kodiak then Thranda also introduced a clever feature to design your own livery.This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top. I created this orange, black and grey for this review... 


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You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want, and then adjust the RGB colours for that area, it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes...


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You can also change the aircraft's registration number, or have original de Havilland logo on the tail.


There are also four effects you can apply. The said "Dirt" and "Scratches", and also "Metal" and "Rough(ness)" this gives the aircraft a dirty rough appearance. So applying these Dirt and scratches on the airplane will make the surfaces rougher, this is giving you the full PBR control in creating stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look, and these aspects will also slightly affect the Beaver's drag, and therefore it's cruise speeds. With full dirt and scratches you can expect a loss of 2 to 3 mph of cruise speed. Cleaning the plane by setting both values back to 0 will give you a smoother and slightly faster plane.


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...  when done you can then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. It was all quite easy to do.  Then the aircraft goes through a sort of transmogrifying process that takes around a minute and a half....


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...   you can "SAVE" the livery, in that then the custom livery becomes the "DynamicLiveryResources" livery in the "Painted Liveries" selection. Altogether there are 29 optional Dynamic Liveries to change or use. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic"....  and of course personal taste is optional!


In the Float/Amphibian menu, you can also colour in the float design to your own preferences, or to match the floats in with the same aircraft fuselage design, all the same livery options (29) are available here also.


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Menu - Weight/Bal

The Beaver also has a great Weight and Balance menu.


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Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle...  Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue.


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There is the weight selection of all the seats. The X option on each seat will toggle the seat off/on, or go from a Passenger to Cargo layout.


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Fuel (including the EXT Tank) can be added in and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all are selected via a scrollwheel...  and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on two graphs, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add back in the set weights.


Working out that right CofG balance here is critical, setting just inside the parameters is just not really good enough, as you need for the aircraft to be balanced in it's fuel and load weights, or you will have difficulty in flying the aircraft. So put too much (cargo) weight aft and you are tail heavy and unbalanced in the TakeOff, and in Flight.


Menu - Camera


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View.jpg


There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot for the external viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the internal viewpoints. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 2.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 3.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 4.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 5.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu View 6.jpg


Menu - Audio/Slew

Sound can be adjusted via the Audio menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel...  As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Sound.jpg


Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Slew 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Slew 2.jpg


Menu - PANEL

The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel.jpg


Scroll the "PANEL BACKGROUND" number to see all the four background preset layouts.


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Scroll the "Panel Preset" number to see all the five preset layouts. The layouts can include both GNS 430/530 and the Aspen EFD. Even the The Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch can also be installed if you have that external option, as the 3d bezels are provided.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 5.jpg

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Aspen EFD is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated...  all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 10.jpg


Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 54 individual instruments and avionic units...  There some great options including the Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on...


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 11.jpg


For those that find instruments are not to their liking, in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust and move that particular instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have added in a Reality XP GTN 650 Touch instrument on the right lower panel...  You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 12.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 13.jpg


When you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /6). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience...  and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying.


Panel features include; S-Tec Fifty Five autopilot and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units. Both GNS units also require their own installation area. Note that the "Gear Advisory" Panel for the Amphibious/Float version can also be added to the custom panel.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 15.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu Panel 14.jpg


The DGS system is certainly very clever and versatile, but a small annoyance is that to get your custom livery or panel, you have to reset everything, every time you fly? Yes the custom SAVES are all there ready for you, but not when you start/load the aircraft.


Menu - MISC

The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover External; Skis, Wheels; Tires and Mud Flaps.  Internal; Windows options and Throttle Quadrant options. Notably missing here is the usual "DynaFeel" Feature.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC.jpg


High quality designed "Skis" are available for the Beaver...  


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 2.jpg


Tyres can be changed from "Regular" size, to the larger "Tundra" style. The larger tundra tyres however won't work with the skis...


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 3.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 4.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 5.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 6.jpg


On the rear you can have "Mud Flaps", and here they work with either the regular or tundra tyre options.


Rear Door windows can be "Flat" or "Bubble"...


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 7.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 8.jpg


Throttle Quadrant options include; OLD (classic) or NEW...


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 9.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 10.jpg


On most Thranda Design aircraft they have a "Pilot" option in that the pilots can be changed around from Male to Female. There is no Female pilot with the Beaver, but only the Male "Beaver Dan"...   he is also fully animated in the arms, legs and head movements.


DHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 11.jpgDHC2_Beaver - XP12_Menu MISC 12.jpg


The Float/Amphibian MISC Menu is different. You still have the earlier Throttle Quadrant (Old/New)/Window options (Flat/Bubble).


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC.jpg


Yes, you get a canoe!


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 3.jpg


Amphibian or Float option...


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 2.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 2.jpg


There is a Ventral Fin, that is an option under the tail...


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 4.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 5.jpg


You can Retract or Extend the rudders from the MISC Panel


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 6.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 7.jpg


There are another two options to raise and lower the rudders, One is a handle and cord in the cockpit, left floor...  another (the most simple) is to use the Keyboard command "Toggle Water Rudder".


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 8.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane MISC 9.jpg



Flying the DHC-2 Beaver

There are two options to starting the DHC-2, the (very) easy way via the Simplified "Engine Mode" option in the Menu/General panel...  and the long winded "Realistic" way. With the full engine start up procedure as is explained in the manual.


Did you always want to look actually inside your engine?   Well now you can and the idea is to see how the engine is primed to start...  here Dan Klaue's genius strikes again!   There is the option via a menu selection "Radial Engine Animation" that brings up an animated Wasp Radial engine, you can also "PreHeat" and "Prime" your Wasp ready for start, but you have to be careful not to "OverPrime" the Cylinders.


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 2.jpg


You can also prime the engine via the hand pump, deep left of the pilot's seat, switch the large ignition switch on (Fuel on as well of course)...  setting the Mixture to almost full RICH lever and a slight 5th throttle... then flick the left switch under the red cover to start the Wasp....  get the procedure right and the Beaver's prop will rotate then fire into action...  and also the Radial Engine Animation" will erupt into activity.


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 3.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 4.jpg


On the Animation the pistons are exploding, and the animation is amazing beyond belief, adjust the throttle for a some serious movement, but the animation will also react to the adjustment of not only the throttle inputs, but with the fuel mixture from "Rich" to 'Lean" adjustments as well. Just move the mixture lever (not fully back) and see changes and the weakness in the sparks.


These movements and the running of the DHC-2 also compliment the amazing sound range as well, there is a consistent adjustment of the excellent engine sounds to the condition of the running of the engine, that is the "Ugh, Ugh" of low lean to the high power "roar" of the full throttle. Also no two starts will sound alike, as there is coughing, sputtering, and the clanking of valves that all contribute the full aural experience, it's clever and highly realistic as well.


 DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 5.jpg


The sounds actually also give you clues as to what's happening under the hood as is for the shear band of extensive sound patterns available here that show no gaps or the same patterns that just gets you all tinkly down your back...  it is highly, highly aurally realistic...  well like a full throated real 450 hp Wasp Jr engine sounds like.


As noted you can have a freewheeling rear or locked to the rudder yaw, You really need a set of rudder pedals for the Thranda Beaver with built in toe brakes to use the freewheeling option, that aspect takes a little skill to get right. Taildraggers are a feel thing, and thankfully the Beaver is one of the better taildraggers. Of course experiment with the load and trim until you get that feeling the DHC-2 is rightly balanced.


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 6.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 7.jpg


Thankfully the DHC-2 Beaver is one of the easiest taildraggers to taxi, keeping the right speed though is important, otherwise it's just easy to track straight. Thank God, because you can't see anything (sh**) with the nose high profile of the aircraft, so a slight hunch up out of the seat left is needed to follow the runway.


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 8.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 9.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 10.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 11.jpg


I have also become quite adept at twisting the Beaver 180º to takeoff, right speed, then a touch more throttle, and then the full yaw tight turn, then quickly off the throttle again...


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 12.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 13.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Start 14.jpg


You sit high, and the view out is quite good for a taildragger, but a slight glance to the left will align you up with the runway...  flaps are set to "Takeoff" which feels extreme here, in a very high degree setting. But the Beaver has a very wide flight dynamic in that the flaps can be set to extreme positions, but still be well within the aircraft's STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) performance envelope.


  DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Takeoff 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Takeoff 2.jpg


Speed builds gradually then suddenly the tail unstick's, and you need a kick of full of right rudder to maintain the straight ahead line...

 ...   another tool is to lightly touch the right toe-brake slightly to maintain the correct aligned course, between the two movements you can keep the Beaver straight. Takeoff is usually around 90 knts, but you don't need to pull back the stick as the Beaver just glides into the air on lift alone (the heavy set flaps), and to climb, it then only requires a little pitch to meet the 600 fpm climb-out you need.


DHC2_Beaver_Seaplane Takeoff 3.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Takeoff 4.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Takeoff 5.jpg


You can climb-out to the extreme of  1,000 fpm, but the 600 fpm angle is perfect, the one thing that should be highly noted is the aircraft's weight and feel, it is excellent. Now a slight adjustment to 800 fpm, which is perfect with still no loss of speed, also the Flaps are now at the "Climb" marker, as I need to climb up to 6,000 ft...  high? not really as the Beaver can do a ceiling of 18,000 ft (5,486 m)...  impressive.


DHC2_Beaver_ Takeoff 6.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Takeoff 7.jpg


Unlike other aircraft you can consistently use the flaps and even in level flight, most aircraft need the flaps in and clean as soon as possible, but not the Beaver, as if you have a slightly uneven balance (front to rear) in the aircraft you can use the flaps to even out the balance without touching the trim, it is a tool every Beaver pilot's use.


Stewart River is a 533-kilometre tributary of Yukon River. And heading up river towards Hecate Strait. But I am also not going all the way to the Strait either, just far enough to climb up high to turn west, but with the high mountains surrounding me, it means a climb of at least 6,000 ft, maybe more.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 1.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 2.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 3.jpg


Obviously you don't go very fast...   158 mph (255 km/h) or 140 knts is max and your cruise speed is only 143 mph (230 km/h) or 125 knts, but you don't really care about that factor, as this DHC aircraft is an absolute dream to fly.


You can see why tourists love this lower Alaskan part of the world, the views are amazing, even X-Plane 12 amazing...


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 4.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 5.jpg


I'm now at 6,000 ft, but it's still not enough, so another 2,000 ft to go up to 8,000 ft.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 6.jpg


Now higher I finally see a gap in the mountains and head west...


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 8.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 9.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 10.jpg


Trimming the DHC-2 out is easy, the trims are set up up on the roof (But I use keyboard commands), and the Beaver trims out the pitch beautifully, now just small stick and rudder inputs keeps DHC straight, but better still yet is if you trim out the rudder as well, and now you can take both hands and feet off the controls and the Beaver will still fly like a dream straight and level.... this is one amazing simulation of a real aircraft.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 24.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 25.jpg


Fuel management is critical...  Six tanks altogether, but basically you switch between three, Front - Middle - Rear, via the big knob, far left panel. The three tanks are shown on the lower console. The Wing tanks are selected via another large knob on the left side above the door.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 15.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 16.jpg


Select Left or Right Tanks or BOTH, and all selections feed to the Front main tank, usually you would leave it on BOTH, for an even balance... 


The EXT (external) Tank also feeds into another tank, the Middle one. There is a lever under the pilot's instrument panel to turn on the EXT tank flow, this then moves the ancillary fuel into the Middle tank, obviously it is good idea to select the middle tank to use all the extra fuel in there...


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 11.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 12.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 13.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 14.jpg


The EXT tank lever is moved vertical (down) to access the fuel, when done then shut it off by moving the lever left. it will fill up the Middle tank quite quickly.


I know why I love the Beaver, as you just purr along doing the job. The Beaver is like a light truck of the aircraft world, it shifts people and cargo with a ruggedness into a wilderness. Your sitting up there high, in charge, master of your own little universe, just shuttling along... heaven is a Beaver in flight, you can easily see why any pilot loves the DHC-2 so much.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 17.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 18.jpg


Ketchikan is rear to my left, Clarence Strait is to my immediate left...


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 20.jpg


...  soon the Stikine Strait comes into view on my right, a glance down and I'm horrified on how much fuel, including the extra top up amount has been used from the middle tank, I switch again to the rear tank, supping more fuel from that one instead, the whole trip distance is only 177 nm, but I'm also using a lot of fuel with that powerful Wasp.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 21.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 19.jpg


Time to turn into the Strait...  I have already lost 4,000 ft as I enter, but it was a slow descent.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 22.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 23.jpg


At first the Beaver dropped altitude, then crawled to a stop? the only way to continue the descent was to pull half back on the throttle, then you were moving downwards again. As we already know, the Beaver is known as a "flap-happy" aircraft and you can see and feel that aspect of why here...   That is the "Landing" setting, but you can go even slower if you go deeper with more flap and into the red zone to the full 58º degrees... Usually you would never use 58º, that aspect just gives you too much drag, but it is useful for the water landings, as it gives you a far lower speed and more lift at those almost static water approaches.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 26.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 27.jpg


Wrangell pops up now on my right. I'm down to 800 ft, and ready for the approach into PAWG Rwy 10 (6000 ft). Approach speed is around 70 knts, here your altitude is controlled only via your throttle, more power to go up and less power to go down, but even the mixture adjustments can even have an effect, so be aware if you are leaning out the engine more while reducing power.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 28.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 29.jpg


One note I will say is that the touchdown speed is still around 70 knts, dropping to 60 knts on the runway, and that feels a tad fast at full flap? but the speed does still give you full aerodynamic control on the landing and you can finely follow the centreline as good as when you took off...


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 30.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 31.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 32.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 33.jpg


The landing bit is quite easy, the tricky bit is lowering the tail and keeping tracking directly straight, master that and you master the DHC-2. Part of the trick is to use the toe-brakes, but lightly and the rudder (stabs) and find that straight line... I'm not saying it is easy because it isn't, but it comes to you with practise.


DHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 34.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 36.jpgDHC2_Beaver_ Cruise 35.jpg


But let us be thankful, this is an amazing experience of an aircraft, and now the Beaver is available to fly in X-Plane 12.



Often referred to as the “best bush plane ever built”, the DHC-2 has been instrumental in developing and servicing far-reaching frontiers since it was first introduced in 1947. The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada. This version has the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs Wasp Jr engine forward by almost 10 inches for a better rear load balance (Centre of Gravity).


Any aircraft coming from Thranda Design is usually full of amazing features and outstanding quality design, and certainly you are not disappointed here. In the design aspect the aircraft is extremely the best yet from Thranda, the quality is overwhelming to the point of ridiculous...  the DHC has full hi-res PBR realistic effects, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision, not to mention the high quality materials internally and externally. Detailing and the modeling is absolutely first rate, this is an outstanding Beaver.


Not only is the instrument Panel one of the best yet in X-Plane, it is also fully customised via the "Dynamic Generation Series" in not only giving you your own control over the way the instruments are laid out, but to swap and change other instruments as well including; Aspen EFD 1000, S-Tec 55x autopilot, RealityXP GTN 750 (these are optional addons) and a Collins 614-12 ADF. Eleven liveries are provided, but also again you can create and design your own liveries with the DGS system. Options include, Skis, mud flaps, Old and New quadrants and bubble windows, and the Amphibious/Float version is now part of the X-Plane 12 package.


Sounds are outstanding, with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth transitions and amazing atmospheric effects, 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to propeller, start up and engine mixture variance is also highly realistic.


Menus are also extensive, with sound adjustments, weight and balance manager with visual chart, lighting, doors, views, reflections and an amazing radial engine visualisation in a pop-up window, which showcases the inner workings of the engine.


Yes a lot in this review is very much like the X-Plane 11 original version, as most in the design features and menus are the same, but a lot of the hidden areas, including the flight dynamics and performance related to X-Plane 12 have all been revised. Also the textures all now 8K, up from two 4K textures for better fidelity, the Skunkcrafts Updater is also now used for direct updates. All earlier purchasers of the Thranda X-Plane 11 DHC-2 can upgrade for 30% off with the new XP12 model. This aircraft is X-Plane 12 only, but the XP11 version is available.


But a few things have been affected in the transition with the Beaver. Debatable is the "Shiny, shiny feel" of XP12, although overall the aircraft looks extremely better than XP11. Lighting has lost a lot of it's shine (pun intended) Instruments are hard to read and external lighting is virtually not visible, but to note a lot of X-Plane 12 aircraft are like this, we feel that lighting needs a lot more adjustment from Laminar Research. Thranda Aircraft also extremely dark, hard to see inside and use, but that also may improve over the X-Plane 12 changes.


This is the iconic de Havilland Canada Beaver as in depth simulation, with as much quality and it comes with the sheer force of ideas available here, and in reality isn't that is what simulation is really all about, brilliant aircraft with exceptional quality and flying dynamics and a huge feature list. So really want the very best then here it is....  


Highly, Hugely Recommended.



Yes! the DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12 by Thranda Design is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : 


DHC-2 Beaver DGS Series XP12

Price is US$34.95



X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)
Windows, Mac or Linux
8 GB VRAM Minimum.
Download Size: 1.2 GB
Current version  1.0.1 (October 16th 2023)
The plane comes with the Skunkcraft auto-updater
Owners of the Thranda DHC-2 XP11 can get this new XP12 model for 30% off. Please find the coupon code in your original DHC-2 XP11 Invoice.



Installation and documents: Download is 1.66Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.

Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file.


Full installation is 3.27GB


Documents supplied are:

  • Changelog.txt
  • Thranda Beaver Documentation XP12 v1.0.pdf
  • X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf
  • X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf


Checklists and loads of Performance graphs are provided in the extensive manual.


Review System Specifications

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.07r1 (This is a release candidate review).

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Skunkcrafts Updater

Scenery or Aircraft

- CZST - Stewart - XPORG (formally Beti-x) (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.00

- PAWG - Wrangell Airport, Alaska by NorthernSky Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$16.95




News by Stephen Dutton

20th October 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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Thanks for the review. That was interesting to read. It's a really great plane.

"The X-Plane 11 Beaver is supplied with fourteen liveries, but there is now only eleven on the XP12 aircraft?"
You can download more liveries after buying the plane using the SkunkCrafts updater. I believe Thranda chose this way to do it because of the size of the files.

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