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Classic Aircraft Review - DHC-2T Beaver Turbo by Shade Tree Micro Aviation

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Classic Aircraft Review - DHC-2T Beaver Turbo by Shade Tree Micro Aviation

 

The classic DHC-2 Beaver is seemingly everywhere, but its claim to fame is as the "workhorse of the north", Alaska north that is. But when production stopped in 1967 when the original line was shut down, there had only been 1657 aircraft built. But as the Beaver's reputation grew the de Havilland aircraft company of Canada had no choice but to put the aircraft back into production. It is one of those aircraft that should have been long out of production since its first flight August 16, 1947. But the DHC-2 solders on in not only are there hundreds still flying, but many have been totally upgraded and converted to modern powerplants from the original Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr. radial engine, with 450 hp (336 kW) to this modified version created by Viking Air of the versatile Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 680 hp (507 kW) turboprop engine.
Viking became the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of de Havilland spare parts for the DHC-2 Beaver in 1983 when they acquired all the original jigs, drawings and Type Certificate (STC) for the aircraft from de Havilland Canada.


Performance : Cruise speed (km/h) 250 - Maximum speed (km/h) 280 - Range with max payload (km)  960 - Maximum operating altitude 15,0260ft (4580m) - Rate of Climb: 1,425fpm (feet per minute)

 

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Shade Tree Micro Aviation

A motley crew of six talented individuals (Jim McNeill, Kerry Cross, Bob Feaver, Mark Roberts, Todd Denning and Benjamin Whitehead) make up Shade Tree Micro Aviation (STMA) and between them they have being creating great X-Plane aircraft since the early days. Mostly STMA design mostly small rugged bush aircraft like the Beaver Turbo here, but also the original Beaver and Sherpa K650T Turbine Bush Plane (Review - Sherpa K650T) and the Pilatus PC-12/47G (Review - Pilatus PC-12/47G), good solid flyable aircraft, and this Beaver Turbo is right there in the same context and design.

 

DHC-2T Beaver Turbo

The aircraft comes in various versions and variants, in this package you have three choices for different roles.

 

Bush Tundra

 

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The "Tundra" is the wheeled version of the aircraft. "Tundra" is a noted reference to those huge balloon tyres that are created to land on subsoil that is permafrost, or permanently frozen soil which is abundant in these northern climes.  There is no standard wheeled version.

 

Float

 

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The float variant comes with a set of Wipaire 6100 Amphib Floats, worn and extremely well done. The wheels are retractable and so are the rudders which can be lifted out of the water to lessen the drag for takeoff.

 

Ski

 

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The Ski variant has two large plates on the front undercarriage struts and and a smaller plate on the tail wheel. They can be raised or lowered above or below the wheels.

 

DHC-2T Beaver Turbo Exterior

 

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A bush plane is a workhorse, nothing more and nothing less, So these rugged aircraft have big job to do and their appearance can sometimes mask their abilities. STMA have done a great job in creating an authentic workhorse in design, and in someways the longer turbo nose of the aircraft is quite different from the original stubby faced Beaver that we all know and love.

 

You are not short of options here. There is a menu panel that slips out of the lower left of your screen that covers a lot of good options when setting up the aircraft to the way you want to fly it. There is a coloured code to check what is active and what is not in Yellow just text, Red not active and Green for selected. First four options are for in the cockpit in: PFD (Primary Flight Display) Zoomed or MFD (Main Flight Display) Normal. You can also choose if to hide or show both or either of the Pilot's and co-pilot's yokes.

 

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There are five doors on the aircraft: pilot's, co-pilot's, rear passenger door left, rear passenger door right and an Alaska door or large cargo door. All can be opened and closed on the menu. And there is a large cargo pod on the bottom of the aircraft that can be installed or removed.

Other menu features include wheel chocks and flags, controls (yoke) locked and aircraft tie-downs. Noted is that for the some menu items to work you have to install a plugin (HangarOps) in your Resources/Plugins folder this does include the "tiedown" feature.

 

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The "HangarOps" plugin is also required for the "Tug", a hug block like vehicle to move the aircraft around. You can control (steer) the tug either from the tab menu or the remote control inside the aircraft. It is straight forward in either: front, back or left and right, but it goes too fast in forward/reverse modes to look realistic.

 

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You can have the choice of two interiors in: "passenger interior" and "Cargo Interior", you get four seats and a cargo net with the "passenger" version and what looks like metal bars to strap cargo too in the "Cargo" version, but I think that actual cargo (boxes or crates) would have been more pleasing).

 

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The last menu item actions you can do is to lower the rear seat backs, blue colour notes down position and green notes up.

The aircraft panels are engraved on the fuselage, which gives the aircraft its shape, but the rivet's are flat (painted) and not raised making the panels slightly flat in appearance, but overall the external design is good and well made, highlighted by the corrugations on the flaps and rudder.

DHC-2T Beaver Turbo Internal

 

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There is another variant choice in the cockpit...   You can select the "Retro" version which is based on the original Beaver panel or the... "Tundra" version which is to represent the more modern (Viking) style of a flat squared off panel. Both panels are fitted with add-on instruments and GPS navigation units, which reflects the approach that most Beavers flying around today are mostly in this guise. Personally I prefer the older "Retro" version and mostly because the black panel breaks up the bright blank facia look of the "Tundra" it looks the more interesting of the two.

 

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There is another Panel variation in the works from STMA is a GLASS feature "PILOT FLIGHT DISPLAY (PFD) AND MULTIFUNCTION DISPLAY (MFD): This variant is equipped with STMA's version of a EFIS (electronic flight information system) consisting of a PFD which is the primary flight and avionics (radios, transponder, and autopilot, etc.) display, and a MFD which has an identical set of bezel mounted controls but primarily is used to display the moving map navigation display and engine controls. This will be part of the package when released which is currently noted as "soon".

 

So the combination of different variants you can choose to make up your ideal Turbo Beaver are quite numerous in "Retro" or "Tundra", "Tundra (Tyres)", "Floats" or "Ski" and finally "passenger" or "Cargo". All can be mixed to get the actual variant that you want.

 

In the panel instrument layout and switch gear they are identical, so we will follow the design of the "Retro" version.

 

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The Beaver even in this guise is still a very basic aircraft, The standard six instruments (Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator (old style) and Vertical Speed Indicator) are front and centre, but only on the pilot's side. Added to the standard six package is a fuel tank four set of indicators for left/right and two centre tanks and ADF pointer dial.

 

Below is a an "Autopilot" that is easy to use, and then at the bottom of the panel a full row of switches to cover: Ing (Ignition), Fuel boost (two), Landing lights, Strobe, BCN (Beacon), Pitot (heat), NAV (Navigation Lights), INST (Instrument lights), MAP, Gen (Generator) BAT (power - battery) and Radio. A overhead light knob is on the right of the panel. On the far left is a fuel tank transfer/switch.

There are a set of crude annunciators above the Standard six instruments and the flap setting position indicator noted as: Cruise, Climb, Take-off, Landing and Full-Flap.

 

Right panel has the X-Plane large Garmin GNS 530 GPS unit (with pop-out panel), a great vintage ADF tuner and large Volts selection and fuse popper panel.

 

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The centre panel is dominated by large dials and the two main levers for Throttle and Conditioner (there is a third back-up Throttle lever), Below the levers is a twist knob for propeller feathering called here the Propeller Vernier Control. Above the levers are the two engine dials for Torque Pressure and Turbo Inlet Pressure and with a mid- screen mounted compass. Mid-Panel are two gauges for RPM and lower two gauges that cover (left) Oil Temperature Indicator and Oil Pressure Indicator (right). Lower panel is a working Hobbs Meter and Chronometer.

 

On the roof is an outside Temperature gauge and great trim wheels, but they move quickly and with not much finesse.

 

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The rudder pedals are well done and there is the flap lever and a pump lever down on the floor by the pilot's seat, the flap lever is a pump/stroke affair to lower the flaps. Two levers on the lower part of the panel covers Shutoff (firewall) and a Cabin Heat. The park-brake is a push-pull action.

Overall the instruments are large and the Standard Six are good, but instruments and mostly on the centre section don't have great resolution, this review was conducted in the texture resolution setting of "very high" and yet still some dials are still low-res and buzzy to look at.

 

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In the rear you can feel the space of the Beaver's square shape, but the textures are a bit plain and not very hard working dirty or worn.

 

Flying the Turbo Beaver

Of all the variants you can have with the STMA Turbo Beaver the one I liked the most is the Retro-Float version, especially for flying around Anchorage or the inside passage areas of lower Alaska. Here I am flying from Lake Hood, central of PANC (Anchorage International Airport) to Finger Lake which is slightly north-east of the city.

 

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I have become quite good at flipping float fitted aircraft in and out of X-Plane water, so this was a smooth transition from terra-firma to a liquid runway.

 

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On the float version there is an extra panel for the operation of the float undercarriage and to lower or lift the rudders out of the water (yes up for takeoff for less drag). One thing is noticeable is that the aircraft is very manoeuvrable on the water and far more than most float aircraft have been in the past, that makes it easier to set yourself up for takeoff even with a slight wind from the south.

 

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The turbine and power of this aircraft overcomes most of the Beaver's oldest liability...  power. You very easily overcome the drag and sheer long hesitant runs to struggle to get airborne like you do in the standard radial Beaver, It just flies to state a cliche.

 

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Top speed Vne is around 139kts with floats attached and the 152knts Vne is 13kts faster than the standard Beaver in wheeled trim. But it is that torque that you have that is more usable, and the engine is more smoother and flexible. Overall you cruise at around 145kts, so no Beaver is going to break the sound barrier is it.

Climb rate is better as well with only 1,000fpm maximum for the standard Beaver and 1,400ft fpm available here, so can very easily climb to 5,000 - 7,000ft and quickly, even with a full load on board.

 

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If one thing that stands out is that STMA are very good at getting the flight model and performance really good. You love to fly the aircraft because it responds very well to that stick and rudder person in you, it gives the meaning "flying by the seat of your pants" a whole new meaning, because you do love flying the Beaver...  even if the aircraft's low speeds does take you some time to actually get there.

 

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I feel so comfortable with the Beaver that I can choose to land on the smaller cross section of Finger Lake, reducing the speed to around a stately 70knts with full flap and the aircraft is quite docile there in that speed range, and it is quite easy to pitch directly to the point of just popping it quietly on the water. Even a then little reverse thrust (beta) will stop you almost dead. 

 

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Lower the rudders and you can easily steer to your mooring point, flexibility is one of the Beaver's strengths. Carry anything anywhere is great fun and a lot of different scenerios with this aircraft can easily be created.

 

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No doubt the power of the Turbo-Turbine version is the aircraft's advantage, you miss the noise and rattle of the radial, but this a smoother ride with more versatility, it is the way you want your Beaver that counts here, and this is the best for the longer faster routes.

 

Liveries

The "Olivia" C-GODH is the default livery with RCMP Services, A great TurboBeaver, Epoch Air, Black Beaver and white Jet Share

 

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All liveries are available with each Tundra, Ski and Float variant.

 

Summary

Shade Tree Micro Aviation have a huge reputation in X-Plane and they rarely fail to deliver interesting and highly flyable aircraft. No doubt the Turbo Beaver is in that same category, it delivers what you expect, huge features, lots of ideas and many different aircraft fit-outs and variants, so anybody who has purchased STMA before knows what they will get and they will be more than happy with the aircraft here.

They will also overlook the low-resolution panel and instruments and interior design, they are not bad of course, but X-Plane is now getting down to very high-resolution in quality in this area, realism is very much in vogue and those annunciators are just really average today, and worse they are right in your sight line. These few items distract the aircraft from being very good to being really excellent as everything else is very good.

Overall the Turbo Beaver is great value, a great aircraft and certainly a great addition to your "bush Pilot" experience. Fly around to your heart's content and enjoy the scenery and that is the Beaver life.

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

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The DHC-2T Beaver Turbo by Shade Tree Micro Aviation is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

DHC-2T Beaver Turbo Package by Shade Tree Micro Aviation

 

And is priced at only US$25.95

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Features:

  • X-Plane's new GNS 530 approach-capable GPS with fully functional bezel in both the default panel mount view and when popped up (this is an intermediate size between the panel mount and the X-Plane pop-up).  
  • A Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI)
  • A new 2 Axis Autopilot with GPSS (GPS Steering)
  • A full-functioning ADF, which receives all 3 HF frequency bands, and includes NDB loop homing, a feature which virtually all ADF have but is unique to our ADF in X-Plane.
  • A fully animated 3D cockpit with manipulator controls.   We strongly recommend our ChaseViewDeluxe (CVD) and TrackerXP (TXP) head tracking plugins to maximize viewing both in the cockpit and in exterior views.   TXP requires only an inexpensive webcam to provide the same look-around viewing offered by other head trackers at a fraction of the cost.
  • Shade Tree Micro Aviation's Dock which provides control over functions such as the popped up GPS, opening and closing doors, and raising and lowering passenger seat backs to increase light cargo storage.
  • Both passenger and cargo interiors.
  • Detachable cargo pod.
  • Tiedown ropes.   Airplane will not move with Tiedown engaged. Tiedown works on land or water.
  • Storable remove-before-flight flags, inlet covers, pitot tube covers, and wheel chocks.
  • Our new airport tug which uses Dock commands or our STMA Remote to maneuver the airplane into and out of our STMA Hangars or into and out of parking spots on the ramp.    

 

 

Installation :   Download file size is 301.30mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 389mb

Notes: You have to install the "HangarOps" folder in your Resources/Plugins folder, and this operates the tie-down straps, Push-Back Truck and the Hangar door animation feature. There are also enclosed textures to create hangars to be placed in your X-Plane scenery (via the OverlayEditor) and when used with the aircraft you can open close the doors at your command. There is also a "deHavilland DHC2T Turbo Beaver X-Adventure" coming as part of the package.

Documents :  There are three sets of Checklists for main, Emergency and Abbreviated. Great original De Havilland performance charts and a History document of the "Beaver" and there is POH (Pilots Operational Handbook) but it is not in the "Documents" folder but in the aircraft folder under "DHC2T_Owners_Manual"

 

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Requirements : X-Plane 10.30+ - Windows , Mac or Linux - 1Gb VRAM Video card

Developer Support Site : DHC-2 Turbo

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Review by Stephen Dutton

30th September 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 

Software:   - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.40

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

Scenery or Aircraft

- PANC - Anchorage International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.Store) - US$29.95

 

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