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Aircraft Review : DHC-2 Beaver by SoulMade Simulations


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Aircraft Review : DHC-2 Beaver by SoulMade Simulations
Different aspects of areas around the world need specialised aircraft to perform in them. And in rugged remote terrain a simple aircraft can be the only connection between you and the rest of the world. Enter the DHC-2 Beaver which is single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada in 1946, and is known as a bush plane. There was 1,657 Beavers built between 1947–1967 and half are still flying and working hard. In fact you can buy a zero-time frame and just rebuild your aircraft and keep flying as long as you can afford 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, 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 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 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 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 ownership of the certificates and tooling gives  Viking Air of Victoria, Cana,da 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)

DHC-2 Beaver by SoulMade Simulations
Labours of love are known for creating aircraft of where certain aircraft would never exist. As so it is for Peter Krause for SoulMade Simulations, just building a DC-2 Beaver had to be more than just be a Beaver...  It had to be the very best Beaver that could be created, and creating the "very best" can take time (in this case over two years) or even take over you life. Building any aircraft for X-Plane is a huge project, and many fall away after years of toiling away for nothing. But devotion and skill can see a project through and if you achieve your goals and do indeed create that "very best" design then both the developer and the community of online flying can both benefit... but the Beaver has another hurdle to climb over than just being an another aircraft to flying around in your simulator....  Bush Pilots.
These guys are very different fliers than your standard heavy haulers like me. The aircraft has to perform to very different aspects of flying and do it well. Slow is not the word, but to get an aircraft that delivers the right feeling and flying characteristics is very important to their whole experience, I can't deliver a verdict on that, as these guys look at an aircraft in a totally different aspect than I would. As I can only evaluate the Beaver on its standards in X-Plane, overall only they can give the aircraft the final summation and approval.







My DHC-2 Beaver was parked up at Stewart, British Columbia in Canada. Which is perfect Beaver country, that means it is remote, a rough airstrip in the middle of nowhere and the Beaver is really your only quick option of getting in or out of there. Beavers don't look new either but weathered, but they are easy to maintain and keep in a good flying condition as our is. SoulMade Simulations have certainly created an excellent Beaver, exceptional in fact. The standard today for X-Plane (aircraft) aircraft is very high, and the design and modeling is simply first rate. There are two main aircraft versions in "Regular" and "Amphibian", but the regular is in standard wheels and "Tundra" wheel variants, but there is no "Ski" version at this point.
The Beaver is an all metal construction and the panel work and fit is very good with the sections of rivets perfectly aligned, certainly the engine cowling housing the 9 cylinder Pratt & Whitney radial engine is the highlight which is very hard to replicate really well in 3d. The wing is basically a very clean STOL high-lift wing with its entire trailing edge hinged, hydraulically operated flaps and slotted ailerons. The wing is in construction a one piece assembly. The tailplane (elevator) is beautifully done with the lovely metal airflow serrated moving panel and fences. There is no doubt the aircraft has a sturdy look about it, and it feels well built and strong. The DHC-2 is a taildragger so it sits nose high almost purposeful.




On the lower left of your screen are three menu tabs, V-View, O-Options and A-Autopilot. First we will look at the O-Options panel and you have "Pre-Flight Elements" that provide chocks and tiedowns. You can choose your "Regular" or "Tundra" tyre options here as well. It is very clever in the way the tiedowns adjust for the different tyre sizes.




You can open or close all the doors, via the menu or manually.





Step up on the right side wheel support and have a look inside (we had to turn the aircraft around into the light)



Bush aircraft very basic, there are no frills or wood paneling in here, and the DHC-2 is an old classic aircraft by today's standards as well. Standout visually is the aircraft's panel, but also the yoke and its thick support column. The floors are all metal, detailing is excellent, with panels, pouches and labels all perfectly replicated. Looking along the aircraft's fuselage the windows are bubbled and have great reflections.





The heart of this aircraft is its main instrument panel. A few years ago I did a review comment and noted that the future of X-Plane design was now becoming a completely different level in realism and quality, and my main image (or defense) of this future quality was this panel in its early conception. Now with the whole aircraft built around it, it has lost nothing of its quality, detail and excellent feel for a period of 50's aircraft design. Close up it is an astounding piece of reproduction with perfect curves, panels and even chrome fittings. And its colouring of a worn creme beige gives it authenticity and age. It is overwhelmingly beautiful if you like this sort of work and you have to admire the skill here in creating it at all. It is so real you just want to reach out and touch it, feel it and use it.





The panel is extremely simple to look at and to use. The pilot gets all the flying instrument in the six standard flight instruments in the Artificial Horizon, Heading Indicator and the Airspeed, Altitude, Vertical Speed and RMI or automatic direction finder ADF, Course Deviation and Glideslope Indicator. Also there is a bank indicator, suction (vacuum) dial and clock. Above the (beautiful) three levers for Throttle, Propeller and Mixture are two engine dials for Manifold Pressure and RPM and with a mid- screen mounted compass. Mid-Panel are two gauges that cover (left) Oil Temperature Indicator, Oil Pressure Indicator and Fuel Pressure Indicator, (right) Fuels tanks Left - Middle - Right which are situated under the cabin floor. Two more gauges are set out below in Carburetor Inlet Temperature and Cylinder Head Temperature, both which are important on these piston aircraft.




On the Co-Pilot's side you have a Bendix King KX 1708 COMM and NAV Radio with a ADF Receiver selector. KT96A Transponder and two dials that control the single Cabin Light and Instrument Lights. there is a separate panel for the six System Circuit Breakers and two dial cover the Voltmeter and Ammeter, there is also an Alternator Warning Light. On the Amphibious version there is a Landing Gear Control Handle sited here to upper or lower the wheels into the floats.
They are hard to see (you can hide that bulky yoke by a switch in the upper panel) but on the lower switch panel on the lower left is all your lighting and electrical switches and Master Battery/Alternator switches. Fuel Tank Selector (red - three way), Magneto Switch and the STEC-50 Autopilot.



The rudder pedals are beautifully carved and you can almost feel the metal plates and foot guides. Lower on the centre panel are three levers that cover the Carburetor Heat Control Handle , Fuel Wobble Pump Lever and the Fuel and Oil Emergency Shut-Off
Lever. The Carburetor Heat Controls are very important in this aircraft. A park pull brake handle is on the left, but you have to admire the exquisite de Havilland aircraft production label. Great attention to detail. The important Oil filler cap and tube is angled out of the lower right panel.


On the roof is  an Outside Air Temperature Indicator gauge, Rudder Trim Control and Indicator and Elevator Trim Control and Indicator. You can't trim the here as SoulMade Solutions notes that it is very hard to operate them in a simulator, so you will have to set up keyboard commands to do so.
Flap lever and pump lever is down on the floor by the pilot's seat. (You do a lot of pumping in this aircraft!)




The seats (chairs) are again beautifully created with metal piping and leather covers. In the rear via the O-Options menu you have three rear layout choices in a full passenger cabin, a passenger/cargo mix or full cargo cabin. Cargo areas are covered with a net. Internal cabin detailing is excellent and authentic.
There are six liveries. A basic grey as default, Green-White, K2, Brown-White, EPOCH Alaska Air and Alaska Forestry. Green-White and Alaska are noted as "ampib" and the rest as "tire", but I found they all worked on the tire version. The liveries are very well detailed and large at (4096x4096), but I found them a little dull and slightly too dark






Amphibious version
The Amphibious version is very well done, many developers put floats on as an afterthought and don't do them up to the standard of the main wheeled version...  but that is not the case here. It is perfectly strutted and the floats are well shaped, the main and front support wheels drop down (and up) into the floats, and the rudders will actually turn the aircraft (with a little power) but don't drop right down into the water.




There is a "Docking" tool found on the O-Options menu that allows you to moor the aircraft and once activated you can use the yaw, pitch and roll axis to move the aircraft around. My first try was a bit of a disaster...  but you have to engage at under 5knts (or better still not really moving at all) or it doesn't engage. In my defense I didn't have the manual at the time to understand how it works, it does...  and it is a great feature.



The Environment option "Wave Limit" on the O-Options menu (Amphib) gives you option control about the maximum wave height to the user. If selected, the maximum wave height is 0.3 ft. and saves you going and adjusting it in the X-Plane Environment menu.

Flying the Beaver
The best way to explain the Beaver is to say it can be a little temperamental, not in a faulty bad design way but in a behavioural way, it is an old temperamental aircraft and you have to be aware of that aspect, certainly when trying to start the thing If from cold.




Turn on all the electrics by their (Main) power switches and magneto switch to on. The top levers have to be set to Mixture - Full Rich and Propeller - High Pitch. If very cold you can use the O menu option "Engine Pre-Heat" to heat up the cylinders as noted the "Temp Cº" gauge, or check if the 9 cylinders are warm enough. Then you need to pump the Wobble Pump Lever to build fuel pressure to around 5psi. Then you have to prime the engine by pulling on the small pump handle down on the left of the pilot's seat, 4 pumps (or strokes) above 0º degrees or 8 if colder. then push up the starter/boost coil switches...  The engine will crank, but you will need to up the throttle a little till the engine fires, if not you have to start again and repump and reprime the carb's. If the engine catches then adjust the throttle to get it running smoother and once it is clean running then you can reduce the throttle to idle and the red oil pressure light goes out, So I left it a little on the throttle till some heat came into the gauges and then pulled it back to idle.
Easy, with practise yes...  but it can have you priming and pumping a few times if you don't get it right. You certainly know it you are running or not because the noise is deafening, and the aircraft is slightly shaking, best of all the throttle lever is vibrating to the noise. GREAT, YES.... LOVE IT, BUT IT IS NOISY, VERY VERY NOISY.
Sounds are recorded from a real DHC-2 and run in the DreamEngine with Sonic Solutions and SoulMade Simulations tweeked for maximum effect, you can hear almost every piston firing (in idle), I have a Bose system so my house was vibrating even at idle, if you have some fine china then you better put it away! Wearing real headphone helps with the effect, but a few hours of this and your family will have your skin for breakfast...  at least it is very authentic. YES IT IS VERY AUTHENTIC!




Make sure the "Carb Heat" lever is set down to "Heat", I didn't on my first flight (missing manual again) and I found myself saying to myself "Ohhh I am going swimming", and I did. Taildraggers can be hard to taxi if you don't know how to turn them, I found the DC-2 easier to turn than taildraggers I have flown in the past, and even turning around at the end of the runway was actually quite easy and the view out is not as bad as you would think it would be.




The flap indicator is directly ahead of you on the panel, It is not noted as degreesº of flap but as Climb/Cruise - Take-off - Landing - Full Flap. If you use the Take-off position you will find yourself with the STOL airborne almost as soon as the tail lifts off the ground. I found it better with less flap and you can have a better run down the runway and feel the aircraft into the air. The panel lighting is indirect lighting, but very good and adjustable by the big rotary dial on the Co-Pilot's panel.


A lot of heart and soul has gone into making the DHC-2 Beaver as close to the real aircraft as possible and you can use the as noted 450 bhp at 2,300 rpm and about 320 bhp at 30-20 (30" manifold and 2,000rpm), and you feel that power as much as you possibly could on a computer. It rattles, it shakes, it bounces...  and it flies.




The Beaver more rattles through the air than flies in the air, but that is part of its charm. You usually turn around and give a thumbs up to the terrified passengers in the rear, but all is well. In fact all is very well as the aircraft is very nice to fly manually and it is very docile but given to feel the wind in small lifts or (I had 7knts headon) twitches. You feel very safe in strange terrifying slow way, but you can feel why pilots love the old bucket. It is very easy to go past the green zone 145knts and turns are very nicely handled as the wing is rock solid in the air. 
You have the STEC-50 Autopilot as a popup menu option and it is quite a simply really a heading and hold altitude gadget. Turn it on and select heading (HDG) by pressing the centre of the knob and you can change your heading via the knob on the panel heading Indicator, or you can press the centre knob and go into STB mode and use the knob to turn to a L - R bank. Climb or descend via yoke pitch and when at the correct height then just press ALT to hold it and the aircraft will trim itself automatically. It has APP, NAV and REV buttons but you can't use them.




The view menu is very good, with a slight quirk. If you use the X-Plane views the pilot will stay put and you will be looking at the back of his head? So you have to use the on board V-View menu to make him disappear by putting yourself in the pilot's seat. If can move outside the aircraft this way if you don't want the pilot in the view.






The views cover Internal and External in Pilot - Co-Pilot, rear passsenger left and right, main wing left and right, tail, belly and various instrument focus points and the roof trim and floor primer.
You have a main adjustable cabin roof light, and two side mounted map lights. Overall for the aircraft's age the lighting is internally pretty good but the panel lighting is always very nice to look at. Outside there are two landing lights with one in each wing, nav lights and strobe lights with are noted as "Pulse" lights. The beacon sits up high on a small pedestal mid-aircraft just behind the main wing and looks great. The original outside lighting (textures) was not refined, but with the v2 update the problem has been fixed. The aircraft looks perfect now in low light and shadow areas.






Ketchikan, Canada
My terrified passengers were wanting to leave from Ketchikan International Airport, so it was a 8000ft feet flight from Stewart in Canada to PAKT and Alaska over the Coastal Mountains and guided by the only nav-aid out here an ADB (NICHOLS-ICK 266khz) There is a VOR (ANN) but the aircraft is not equipped for VOR2. The view was astounding with the tie-down straps flapping in the slipstream as sun grew higher and we slipped lower into Revillagigedo Channel and I almost way way slipped way to low...  Coming down to 2000ft the engine sputtered and sputtered again... "Awww no I am going swimming again!" and so were my passengers and their luggage. I looked frantically at the Carb heat and it was on "High"?  not that. Now I was starting to lose altitude and towards the cold water below "aaaggh" I was looking at everything and gave the engine a few clicks of the starter, a few pumps of fuel and still nothing but silence. Then my eye caught the fuel gauges! "ha" two tanks were filled to the brim but the left tank was empty... A twist of the red handle to right tank and a few pumps of the Wobble Pump and another click of the starter (okay I prayed...  "please god, please") and the engine roared back into life, another turn to passengers with a two thumbs up and a big grin and I was flying again...  cool, but those tanks empty quick as they don't empty together but only one at a time, note that... please.




I lined up RWY29 and slowed to 80knts and 700ft.




There is drag from the flaps but not much lift if you get the speed right, set in "Landing" and a slight headwind the aircraft is lifting with even this slight airflow, so you have to keep on top of the descent so the aircraft does keep losing altitude. Ketchikan - PAKT does have a strange runway to ramp layout as the runway sits almost out of sight and set higher than the ramp and its terminal buildings.




Over the threshold and the speed was 75kts and you could control the descent with the throttle but the aircraft will flare to the point of being almost stationary, and you can just touch those wheels down exactly where you want them. you feel like the pilot you are, all rudder, stick and throttle...  you can see why bush pilots love this machine, the Beaver is great to fly well.




I twist (slowly) at the end of the runway and guide the aircraft slowly by the angled taxiway down to ramp, another twist around (that power up and flip the rudder) to bring the aircraft to parking position. In a few moments my passengers are hurrying to the terminal and finally escaping this crazy noisy aircraft and its grinning pilot.
SoulMade Simulations is the right name for a developer to create an aircraft like the DHC-2 Beaver, can a aircraft have a soul? If one can then this is the one closest to it... even on a computer. A lot of love has gone into this machine, but does that still mean it is any good? In this case it is almost brilliant, but note that is my view and not of the pilots who will really have the final verdict on this DHC-2...  the bushys.
There is almost real failures and a realistic startup and operations that mimic the aircrafts classic period of aircraft, In other words you have to really kind to the aircraft.
Design wise and that instrument panel is simply sublime, it is the perfection in a reproduction of a classic piece of aircraft. The menus and features are very good as well, on both variants with the tyre (normal and tundra) variant and the float variant. different cabin arrangements are well done as well, but a bit of cargo would be nice.
Negatives are few, but the liveries are a bit dullish with no sparkle, they are good, but flat, V2 saw the update of outside textures at night so that issue has been resolved. The trim knobs can't be adjusted by hand and only from the keyboard. The yoke can be made to disappear but can't be swapped over to Co-Pilots side like you can in a real Beaver and VOR2 is missing.
Sounds are excellent and at full volume your family will move out and leave you sitting there grinning with your headphones on. Over a long trip they can give you a slight headache, but so would a real DHC-2 give you a headache anyway? Startup and shutdown sounds are excellent and so is the stuttering out of fuel or with frozen carb's...  is that realistic, oh yes, definitely realistic and so is your horror.
The Beaver was introduced in 1948 and is known as the ultimate bush plane. And this is the ultimate X-Plane bush plane and is certainly the best aircraft in its category, lovingly created and will be loved and flown for years as it is a great quality aircraft and great investment if you love this sort of rugged design and bush flying. As a pilot you will absolutely love it, but your passengers will think you are totally mad, It is that sort of aircraft.


X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg
The DHC-2 Beaver by SoulMade Simulations is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


DHC-2 Beaver


and is priced at only US$29.95


Special Features:
    Very realistic flight model.
    Flight tested by real former DHC-2 Beaver pilots.
    Realistic sound environment provided by DreamEngine, Sonic Solutions and SoulMade Simulations.
    Awesome and extremely accurate modeling of the DHC-2 Beaver cockpit, interior and exterior.
    Fully animated and realistic 3D cockpit. Every switch and control can be operated.
    Realistic cockpit instrument and cabin lighting for dusk/dawn and night flying activities.
    Detailed animations for the interior and exterior model.
    Many different pre-set views for the cockpit, cabin and exterior can be selected via a 2D pop-up menu.
    Options menu to easily change wheel configurations, cabin configurations, pre-flight parts and other things without re-loading the aircraft.
    2D pop-up window for the STEC-50 autopilot to allow an easy operation when there is no time to look down in the cockpit.
    SASL plug-in enhanced flight model and systems, where many systems have been coded to replicate the behavior of the real DHC-2 Beaver, like:
    Flight Model
    Engine and Engine Systems
    Electrical System
    Fuel and Oil System
    Carburetor Heating
    STEC-50 Autopilot
    SoulMade Simulations floatplane docking feature (first in X-Plane) to realistically tie down your aircraft and move it around on water naturally.
    STEC-50 Autopilot coded from scratch to re-plicate real behavior and functionality
    Plug-in enhanced ground model to improve ground handling in cross-wind conditions
    Realistic failures in case the engine is overly abused during operation.
Designed by Pete @ Soul Made Simulations
Support forum for the DHC-2


Windows XP, MAC, Linux
X-Plane 10.35+ . 32 and 64bit compatible
Pentium 3 GHz+  1Gb VRAM Recommended
(Current version: 2.0 (Last updated June 15th 2015)


Installation : Download is 261.60mb that is unzipped to 380.70mb to your X-Plane - "General Aviation" Folder. V2... Note that you download v2 in that it fixes the nightlighting "white" texture issues and the brakes which were 100% and not regular at 50%
Documents :  Pilot Notes / Reference Document, Normal and Emergency Procedures Limits, Operations and Performance Data, STEC-50 Operations Manual and a genuine POH is available for download.




Review by Stephen Dutton
5th June 2015
 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews
Review System Specifications:
Computer System:     
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb

- Seagate 512gb SSD 
- Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final)
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- Bose - Soundlink Mini
- CZST - Stewart by beti-x (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.80 ( X-Plane Reviews Scenery Review: CZST - Stewart by beti-x )

- PAKT - Final Frontier v10 by XPlaneScenery (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.95 ( X-Plane Reviews Scenery Review Final Frontier by Tom Curtis )

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