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Aircraft Release : Pilatus PC-12/47G by Shade Tree Micro Aviation

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Aircraft Release : Pilatus PC-12/47G by Shade Tree Micro Aviation

 

There has been a significant upgrade to the current X-Plane 10.30 specifications to the Shade Tree Micro Aviation, Pilatus PC12/47G which is noted as a new release, but is based on the original STMA PC-12/47G aircraft. Which is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft that is manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland. This is the 12/47G version that was certified in 2007 with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67B engine (1272 eshp and 1200 shp), and the maximum takeoff weight was increased to 4,740 kg (10,450 lb). The development of the PC-12 was announced at the annual convention of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in October 1989. And the two prototypes were completed on 1 May 1991, with the first flight taking place on May 31, 1991. But there was a redesign of the wings required (increase of wing span and addition of winglets to ensure performance guarantees were met) and the Swiss certification finally took place on 30 March 1994, with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval following on 15 July 1994. There is a PC-12 variant for the United States Air Force called the U-28A for intra-theater support of special operations forces. And is stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida at the headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) base.

 

Most PC-12s are used as corporate transports, but recent regulatory changes in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States have cleared the way single engine turboprops such as the PC-12 for regional passenger transport operations in those countries. This now opens a new market for the PC-12 as a regional airliner that would make the PC-12 an ideal replacement of older twin-piston-engined aircraft. 1,300 versions of the PC-12 have been built to date at a cost of $4.6 million each.

 

Performance : Cruise speed: 500 km/h (312.5 mph/270 KTAS) : Stall speed: 120 km/h (74.8 mph/ 65 KCAS) : Service ceiling: 9,150 m (30,000 ft) : Rate of climb: 512 m/min at sea level (1,680 ft/min) : Power/mass: 3.7 kg/shp (8.2 lb/shp)

Range 0 passengers: 3,389 km (1,830 nm) - Range 9 passengers: 2,804 km (1,753 mi) (1,513 nm)

 

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On first glance the PC-12 looks like a High T-Tail General Aviation aircraft that has been photoshopped by stretching the fuselage long ways and then the pulling out of the wings long and thin in the other direction. But its looks make it very efficient. The PC-12's direct competitor is the 9 seat single-engined Cessna 208 Caravan, but the 208 Caravan is far slower (197 mph (171 kn; 317 km/h) and more suited to rugged terrain than this faster point to point utility passenger or light cargo aircraft.

 

Shade Tree Micro Aviation (STMA) have done a good job in modeling the PC-12/47G, and it looks very good in the flesh. No doubt the aircraft has come along a long way since its initial release in October 2010 to this newer re-release here. And the aircraft has had a few updates along the way that has been included with this the latest release and for the inclusion of X-Plane's 10.30 features. Outside the texture resolution is very good and far better since the original release version (texture resolution is set at "high") and the aircraft is quite shiny from some aspects. But the detailing is very good with good "draw per pixel lighting" providing good out and in lines to make the aircraft realistic.  shape and design are very good and you won't be disappointed by the way it stands on the ground or in the air.

 

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There is a slide-out "Menu" system on the left lower part of your screen with some great features. Top of the menu is a set of pop-out panels in "Zoom Instruments" that covers - ASI - RADIO - EFIS - EFIS CONTROL - OVERHEAD PANEL and CAWS (Central Advisory and Warning System).

 

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These options will put large panels in front of your face, of which I found a bit silly and as they block out and all the other views and you can move them around of course... but they are a bit too big to be really useable. These panels are also comprised because the distance between the Pilot(s) seats and the panel is very tight? You can't zoom backwards to far unless the seat blocks out your view, In most cases you fly the PC-12 a little from above and down to get the right perspective, but then again I do like a slight zoom backwards than being pressed up against the panel. Here though you are certainly compromised in being pressed up against the panel. You can adjust the seats via cursors, but the movement also moves your POV (Point of View).

 

Then we have the "DOORS" options of opening three doors in - CABIN DOOR - CARGO DOOR and ENGINE DOOR. It is great to be able just to open any door from the outside. It may be more authentic to open doors from the inside, but I like to see the operations in action.

 

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And it is also great to see an engine for a change, even if it is just a flat graphic.

 

Next Menu items are "GROUND OPERATIONS". This covers areas like flag and bras, tie downs and wheel chocks. They are stored behind the Co-Pilots seat and you can activate them there as well.  There is Yoke "Control lock" that has to be removed for flight as well.

 

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There is a "Parking Brake" release on the menu as well. But I found it confusing as I usually use the "B" key to unlock my parking brake and they counteract each other here, and that results in a powered up aircraft going nowhere?

 

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STMA do a lot of interesting features in providing you with their own hangers and hangar door opening systems that comes as part of the package. (You can place the animated hangers in your scenery for use). This gives you the option of moving the aircraft either in the menu or by a remote control on the left side of the front window support to use a (Very small) pusher/puller tug.

 

There are more "STMA Options" on the menu to change the interior. There is the choice between the "Executive" (Luxury) and "Medical" interiors, but no Cargo option which would have been a good versatile option.

 

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Other options include having the blinds random or stowed. And to attach a silver sunscreen when parked.

 

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One other option not on the slip-out menu is a well done GPU, that is activated on the overhead panel to provide power to start the aircraft on the ground.

 

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Pilatus PC-12/47G in the air

No doubt for a single engined aircraft you have a lot of power at your disposal. You feel that huge one sided asymmetrical thrust from the single-engined power house in the nose. So the PC-12 is a devil of a thing to keep straight or on any line on the runway. Once clear though and the PC-12 will climb like no tomorrow at an easy 1200ft per-minute (1600 fpm is max) and how easily it does that even in a tight turn.

 

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A 10,000ft altitude is simply no problem and it is very easy to settle out into the cruise only minutes after leaving the runway threshold.

 

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Cockpit

The Pilatus comes with a fully functional 3d or virtual cockpit.

 

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The panel is well laid out but slightly complex in operation. You get all the main owners manuals and system/radio equipment manuals in the package and you really need to study them all to get the very best out of the cockpit.

 

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You have the standard six instruments but the Artifical Horizon and the Heading Indicator are (Electronic) and part of the Benedix/King KFC 325 Digital/Electronic Flight Control System.

 

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The flight control system is a three way panel set up between the visual Artifical Horizon, Heading Indicator and the Autopilot on the glareshield. You set the altitude and V/S (vertical speed) via a small panel between them.

 

Center panel is an engine/fuel display (digital) with large digital readouts for YRQ, ITT and NG and above the panel are two Bendix/King  KR87 ADF units. And center right of the panel are two large Garmin GNS530 gps units which are fully 10.30 functional.

 

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Lower on top of the center pedestal is the large CAWS (Central Advisory and Warning System) panel that is full of alerts and items selected to manual. Lower is the Radio Navigation selection panel for the EFIS (Electronic Flight Control System)...  In other words your VOR/ADF pointers/needles on the electronic display. It all looks easy and straight forward, but it is not? and this is were you have to hit the manuals? The combinations are like opening a safe, in time you will get the right frequencies set you want. But many buttons around the panel also have a double setting and so it takes time and a note pad to work them all out? Add in the new GNS 530 route and GPS mode to lock in the autopilot and you will spend a lot of time just connecting up the GNS GPS to the EFIS and lock in on the route you want the aircraft to follow.

 

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Most users of this aircraft will roll their eyes and go "Oh that is easy" but even I found it a bit of a maze until I sorted it all out (In other words went into flying circles for 30 or so minutes trying to lock in the GNS-GPS route to the autopilot. there are to many duplicate settings and not enough workflow settings...  in other words complicated. You also set your EFIS "Course" and "Heading" with knobs from this panel as well. Lower is the KT 70 digital transponder which is very nice.

 

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The pedestal has a throttle with Reverse thrust, Manual power overide and Condition/mixture lever. To shut down the engine you have to move a flick stop on the condition lever and then the engine will power down from idle. Far right is the flap settings of 0º - 15º - 30º - 40º.

 

Overhead panel is electrical, lighting and auto engine start push buttons (You have too wait a looong time before the engine finally winds up).

 

I flew an earlier version of the STMA PC-12 and the cockpit resolution is still the same here. I have my "texture resolution" set at "High" and most cases it gives me the best balance of framerate and quality of outside textures. The PC-12 outside is fine, but the panel in this setting is poor, or quite low in resolution. Yes to fix this and if you have the power to do so then just put your "texture res" settings up...  but that then creates a multiplying effect as all the "texture resolutions" everywhere else then goes up as well and so does your frame-rate headroom come right down. In other words the panel looks out of date at this resolution setting, it was fine for this resolution at this setting a few years ago, but now you have a quality outside design but average panel resolution design in the cockpit. It makes it hard to fly the aircraft as you can't read the slightly fuzzy writing and lables? Not all the text is fuzzy and at a low lower resolution, but the important items are like the EFIS and main (required) standard six dials are and in reality the quality should be liner, both inside and outside the aircraft.

 

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The NG display flickers on and off annoyingly as well. This display was like this on the older version and was a serious distraction, and it still does it here and so does the engine temperature gauge flicker as well. Maybe they are both to represent a real action or flickering? But I just found them seriously distracting.

 

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Lighting

Outside lighting is good, with five beams (two each wing and one (moveable) taxi light) to give a great spread of forward illumination. Wing lighting is good as well to see the ice, and so is the logo tail lighting...  only issue with the logo lighting is that it can wash out white in the daytime. Lighting is not tight into balls of light but fuzzy balls, worse in HDR mode. Nav, Beacon and Strobe lights are good. Inside the cockpit is well lit in red glow, but no spot lighting.

 

Liveries

There are fifteen liveries for the PC-12 and all are of good quality and variety "Ornge is default and is shown twice). Some are quite similar in design but are still different on a theme.

 

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Frame-rate was good in the "High" resolution setting (30fr-38fr) but on the 18fr line at any higher res setting. but the aircraft flew some strange oddities when in autopilot mode, like banking slightly side to side? (no wind), it was hard work on approach as well to keep the PC-12 on a tight straight line in with the runway. "twitchy" is the way I would describe it, constant input is needed to keep the aircraft flying smoothly, maybe the actual aircraft IS very twitchy, or maybe STMA like to fly aircraft like this. But I found the PC-12 tiring than more of a challenge to step up too and conquer, which is unusual for me as I like to try to want to fly anything always at the best of my ablities.

 

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The PC-12 has an unusual flap extentions and this is well highlighted here, animations are very well done and the drag is well proportioned and effective. Juneau Intl (PAJN) has a bit of a steep approach to RWY 08 (it is an offset approach) but the good flap control allows you to go quite low in speed to around 100knts to keep the descent in check (65 stall speed is too low?) and the aircraft can in landing quite short distances and you have that reverse thrust also at your disposal to stop in no time.

 

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Summary

The Shade Tree Micro Aviation, Pilatus PC12/47G has been around X-Plane for four years or more now, and it has had quite a few upgrades and developments. the X-Plane 10.30 features certainly again lift the aircraft up to the current standard in many areas. This release is noted as a new release, but it is still heavily based on the original design.

The aircraft is certainly full of great features and the easy to use slip-out menu system. The two GNS530 GPS systems are used though the PC-12’s Electronic Flight Control System (EFIS) and can be autopilot-coupled.  And this gives the STMA PC-12/47G the unique ability to fly complex flight plans based on VOR/LOC, ADF, or RNAV (GPS) waypoints and shoot realistic instrument approaches and have all of the information appear on the eADI (electronic attitude display indicator) and eHSI (electronic horizontal situation indicator). But it is complicated for a first time user and needs some learning (of the systems) to get the best out of them. Just aligning the GNS GPS to the EFIS is a page of notes to get it right. So time is required to get your experience up to the aircraft's complexity. There are a long list of manuals to learn from and a great set of PIM (Pilot Information Manuals) to understand the aircraft.

 

Modeling and design is very good, but the cockpit feels squashed and you are a tight fit in there between the seats and the panel, move rearwards and the view disappears. You can adjust the seats via cursors, but so does your POV (Point of View). The panel looks like it did when the PC-12/47G was released in the 3d/virtual cockpit form and the panel texture resolution is average at a X-Plane middle texture resolution (high) setting, a higher texture resolution can fix that easily, but that comes at the cost of frame-rate unless you have a powerful computer. The odd thing is the aircraft is not a frame-rate hog, it is actually quite light, but the required internal high resolution settings make it so. The layout is actually very good and the panel is well designed and has great instrument packages, but poor panel graphic resolution simply spoil the workablity of flying the aircraft. The flichering of the digital gauges are distracting and the pop-up size of the zoom panel's is simply ludicrous for an aircraft of this quality.

 

The power of the single-propeller design can make the aircraft a handful on takeoff and it is very twitchy on approach. It is actually very good to fly in the air but I didn't like the constant slight banking both to the right or left in flight under the autopilot. So you need time and to build up experience to get the very best out of of the PC12/47G. It is not a beginners/novice aircraft.

 

Challenging would sum up the Pilatus PC12/47G. Work on it and and get the experience on the panel settings and systems through the excellent EFIS layout, and get that too work efficently with the new 10.30 GNS GPS systems and you should start to see the benefits of your investment. Overall the detailing is excellent and the aircraft is very well designed and interesting to fly right...  No doubt the STMA PC-12/47G is challenging, so are you up for it?

 

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The Pilatus PC-12/47G by Shade Tree Micro Aviation is now available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here :  Pilatus PC-12-47G and is priced at only US$26.95

 

Note: This aircraft is noted as a new release. PC-12 Owners can purchase the new model for only US$10. Please send an email to sales@x-plane.org or papamac@shadetreemicro.com to get your upgrade code.

 

Installation : Download is 169.50mb that is unzipped to 198.70mb.

 

Documents : Authentic Manuals and PIM (Pilots Information Manual)

 

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Requirements:

 

Windows XP, MAC, Linux

X-Plane 10.30+ . 32 and 64bit compatible

Pentium 3 GHz+  1Gb VRAM Recommended

updated store#

 

Features:

Fully animated 3D Model

A new fully animated exterior with animated doors, realistic lighting, and even a physical display of wing icing!

A ground power unit to provide external power to the aircraft,  and a robot tug which uses the Shade Tree Micro Aviation (STMA) Remote Control  to move the aircraft into and out of our HangarOps  animated hangars.

popup STMA dock which allows you to open and close the doors and the cabin window blinds; pop up portions of the instrument panels  to make adjusting settings more easy for aging eyes; and instantaneously swapping out the cabin between the Luxury Passenger  and Medical Evacuation.

Accurate Virtual Cockpit

A manipulator-based 3D cockpit so realistic that we use the authentic Pilatus PC-12/47 pilots information manual (PIM) to describe the functions.

Complex Custom Avionics - Developed with the assistance of a real PC-12 pilot

 

Through the use of Scriptable Avionics Simulation Library (SASL) and XAP, all of the aircraft systems and instruments work exactly as they do in the real airplane. ( Note:   the current version of SASL/XP works on Intel Macs but NOT on PPC Macs)

A Checklister (plugin) checklist is included to make configuring the model  for flight a snap.   Download Checklister from the X-Plane.org

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

 

29th January 2015

 

Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System:     

- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”

- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3

- ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb

- Seagate 256gb SSD 

Software:     

- Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1

- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.32 (final)

Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- Bose - Soundlink Mini

Scenery

- Final Frontier version 10.2 by Tom Curtis (X-Plane Store $24.95) A review of Tom Curtis's 

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