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Aircraft Review : Aviat Husky A-1C from STMA

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Aircraft Review : Aviat Husky A-1C from Shade Tree Micro Aviation

 

Flying in its purest form is a personal journey. Just yourself and the machine in perfect harmony, moving through the air in a momentum of power, noise and being completely free with the elements...  It is a glorious thing.

 

You are certainly close to the elements in an Aviat Husky A-1C, there is no doubt about that. This utility aircraft is a strong structure of steel tube frames with a Dacron (known as Terylene in the UK) which is a hard plastic that is covering over all but the rear of the fuselage of this aircraft and metal leading edges of the high-set monoplane wings. Noisy power is provided by a Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 of 200 hp (149 kW). The 200 version has a gross weight of 2,200 lb (998 kg).

 

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Outwardly you would think the Husky design is far older than the aircraft actually is, more 60's than 1980's. For design work by Christen Industries began in 1985. The aircraft is one of the few in its class designed with the benefit for at that time the newly-fangled CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. The Husky prototype first flew in 1986, and the aircraft's certification was awarded the following year.

 

Performance - Maximum speed: 145 mph (233 km/h; 126 kn) - Cruise speed: 140 mph (122 kn; 225 km/h) - Stall speed: 53 mph (46 kn; 85 km/h) flaps down, power off - Range: 800 mi (695 nmi; 1,287 km) at 55% power - Service ceiling: 20,000 ft (6,096 m) - Rate of climb: 1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s)

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I am flying this Husky from the Miami Seaplane base (X44) in Florida, right down the keys to KEYW (Key West). A delivery flight, but an enjoyable one at that. Just me, flying and taking in the scenery, and note that this aircraft package is the A1-C version and not the earlier STMA A1-A aircraft that has been released for a few years now.

 

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There is no doubt it is spartan in here. You sit in the frame with your rudder pedals, long stick and frame mounted one piece instrument panel. Your seat is basic and the seat in the rear is not there but instead what you have is simply just empty space, but the controls for a rear pilot are present, and you can carry 880 lb (399 kg) in this empty space if you require it.  

 

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The aircraft is used for a multiple of roles in bush piloting, observation duties, fisheries patrol, pipeline inspection, glider towing, border patrol and other utility missions. Notable users include the US Department of the Interior and Agriculture.

 

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Instruments are basic, but with surprisingly powerful tools for such a bush utility aircraft. Centre panel is dominated by the standard six set of instruments that are large and clear with the Airspeed Indicator, attitude indicator (also known as an artificial horizon), altimeter, heading and Vertical speed indicator (VSI), the missing large instrument is the turn indicator, but that is built into the lower part of the artificial horizon. Instead in its place is the bearing indicator for VOR(2) and ADF bearings.

Left is a large digital engine instrument panel known as the "JPI EDM 930 Engine Monitor" that is very powerful for such a small aircraft. It covers in rotary dials: RPM and Manifold Pressure. EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and CHT (Cylinder Head Temperature). Three levels of strip gauges cover top to bottom Oil Temperature and Oil, Fuel Pressures. Middle layer is the electrical outputs in Volts, Amps and Carb-T (Carburettor Temperature). Lower line is Fuel in fuel pressure and left and right wing tank levels. Besides the two panel fuel indicators, there is a unique fuel gauge system noted directly on each of the wing tanks high above your head.

 

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How simple and easy is that, great idea.

 

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Right panel has a Garmin GMA 340 comm unit and a large Garmin GNS530 gps (standard X-plane) that pops out. Highlights here are the four Becker radio tuners in VOR 2 and ADF top, and a COMM 2 with a transponder tuner lower. (VOR 1 and COMM 1 is on the GNS530).

 

Across the bottom of the panel is a row of power and lighting switches and on this float version of the aircraft, there are two levers for the (inside float) undercarriage up/down position lever and another lever to high/lower the rear float rudders. Left bottom panel is a (standard) chronometer.

Two push/pull knobs cover your propeller (blue) and mixture (red) settings, throttle lever is high and to your left with a large "Elevator" trim wheel on the left side panel.

 

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The Trio Avionics Pro Pilot autopilot is not a standard issue on the Husky, but it is installed here. Basically it is a simple autopilot that allows you to hold a heading, hold an altitude and change altitudes by a set vertical speed (V/S) to a designated set altitude. The Pro Pilot will also lock into a planned route on the GNS530 gps and that makes it versatile tool. But is quite tricky to use. The main knob has two sets of manipulators both sides of the knob for each adjustment of the side of the instrument you want to adjust.

The left is the HDG (heading), NAV (GNS530), VOR LOC and the right side is IAS, V/S, ALT (Altitude) and ALT SEL (Altitude Select) and ALT HLD (Altitude Hold). You change the selection modes by the buttons on the lower corners H MODE left and V MODE right. Activation is via the selection on the top two corners in H NAV and V NAV. The small lights in yellow for in progress and green for active (or locked in).

 

Overall it is a simple system but complicated until you get familiar with it, once you work it out then it works fine, but the manipulators are difficult to use, in that when selected usually you click on the mouse button to change the numbers (say V/S) but here you have to hold the mouse down for it to work, and (laboriously) slow it is at the start, once moving it gets faster the longer you hold the manipulator down, but you miss that one click change for fine quick adjustment. But as with anything you get used to it but it is ponderous if you have a lot changes in heading, altitude or V/S speed changes to do. You can adjust the heading on the Pro Pilot or on the heading dial which is quicker to use.

 

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Quality and modeling is a good notch above STMA's range of aircraft. All the panel's text is clear, sharp and intelligible even at lower texture setting, unlike the fuzzy STMA text of the past and that gives the aircraft a more pro modern look than the others. Aircraft construction and detailing is good as well. The riveting could have been more pronounced than coloured dots, but overall it is very good from any angle.

 

The Husky is called a utility aircraft for a reason, it is a very basic but flexible aircraft, sort of small van for the air. If either using the Pro Pilot which is great over longer distances like the Key's, manual Stick and Rudder flying is great fun. It is a nervy light aircraft so inputs have to be Mr Smooth, no over corrections or sharp movements as the aircraft will move quickly and some times mildly violently in the air and certainly at slow speeds. Fly too fast at around 135 MPH and the nose will dig in and pitch downwards and so you are using too much power (and fuel) to go at a slightly higher speed, Drop the speed to around 128 MPH and the aircraft will actually be more efficient through the air, and you lose nothing in time in the long run. There is push/pull knob on the left side of the panel to adjust the underside cooling vent, push it in for better airflow and pull it out when the oil and engine temperatures go skyhigh, as this knob is a management tool to be used wisely.

 

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I got permission to fly over the NAS Boca Chica Field, Key West Naval Station. It must have been a quiet day for operations because they were all smiles and waves as I flew over the airfield, you don't get this close without getting shot down usually.

 

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KEYW (Key West Intl) came in to view on my left. There is a small strip of water behind the airport that is my destination and landing point.

 

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It was an extremely tight approach and I kept the aircraft at full flap (a pump affair on the left side floor) and flaps are noted with 4 settings – faired (up), 10 degrees, 20, 30 and 40 degrees and I hovered the speed around just under 60MPH. It worked but only just in fact I cleared the beach with only meters to spare, but the aircraft washed off the speed quickly once in the water. I set the wave limit height to a low 0.5, but the A1-C still bounced around like a jack-in-a-box on steroids at this low setting... you would tip over on anything more than 1.0 meters, STMA notes to start at 1.0 meter but I think that is too high.

 

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I use an old trick to get on to the high terra firma. Stick right back and a fist full of high throttle and you clear the water and drop the throttle down to settle on the grass, then it a quick taxi over to the ramp.

 

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There is a split door on the pilot's right that is opened from the inside. But otherwise there are no menus or external features. You can use the supplied STMA Hangar's feature (open and close the hangar doors) and the plugin and notes are provided.

Besides the "Float" version above there are two other Husky variants provided.

 

Tundra

 

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The "Tundra" variant has those huge balloon tyres that allow you to land on wet swampy land. These are huge oversized tyres, that here look a little to large although modeled on the 28” AK Bush wheels. There is also provided an under-fuselage “lookie-loo” baggage container.

There is no standard wheeled version which I would use more than the "Tundra" variant.

 

Ski

 

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There is a "Ski" variant based on the Rossi Fernandez 8001 skis that are used on the real Huskys, they are well done and work well.

Liveries

 

There is a large selection of ten liveries in various styles, and a plain Black & White that could be used as a paint version. A paintkit is available on request. I liked the above Blue N7ZR cover and it looks great on the aircraft.

 

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Nightlighting

 

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Panel lighting is adjustable and it is nice, clear and easy to read. There is an above cabin lighting that is fine, but there are two spot lights on the frame with switches that don't work or spotlight areas below. The lighting switch panel is high on the upper right.

 

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External lighting is fine but they haven't yet been adjusted (to date) to the X-Plane 10.45 lighting specs, so they are big and blobby. There is a rogue strobe on the right wing that stays on (flashing) unless you kill all the power.

 

Summary

STMA (Shade Tree Micro Aviation) have a huge built in X-Plane fan club, and they won't be disappointed with the A1-C Husky. It is a utility aircraft or if you like a bare-bones machine that is what it is, and there is a lot to like there...  a free flying personal aircraft that like its real world counterpart is a real winner and well liked.

 

There are a few niggles that need cleaning up, like I had to create a key to start the aircraft as the panel key didn't work, but STMA are usually very good and quickly rectify those items within a few updates.

 

For STMA the design and quality is up a notch here, but there is still a few items that are bare 3-D design and are not textured (mostly struts and internal bracing) but are not overly noticeable in this case and in fact work for the utility viewpoint.

 

For a basic machine the instrumentation and flying tools provided are above the standard. You don't have to hang on to the stick for hours if you have to do a ferry flight or like in this case fly right down the Florida Keys, the Pro Pilot autopilot is good, but tricky to use.

 

If you love your bush planes or simply love flying alone and with skill then the Husky A1-C is right in your hangar. You will love it and find many roles to use it for. But overall this is a simple aircraft flying on a mission that can give you your flight of freedom and the love of what real flying is all about, just you, a machine and being in the air.

 

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Yes! the A1-C Husky by Shade Tree Micro Aviation is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Husky A1-C

 

Price is US$24.95

 

Features

Full featured VFR and IFR flight and navigation suite
  • 3D cockpit with 3D instruments using day and night textures
  • Laminar G530 GPS
  • Dual VOR/ADF RMI
  • HSI
  • Dual COM/NAV
  • Garmin Interphone panel
  • Becker Radios (Light weight soaring favorites)
  • Custom simulation of the Trio Pro Pilot autopilot system
  • JPI EDM 930 Engine monitor
  • Custom All-Season Gear and Flap indicator
 
All Season Undercarriage options
  • Oversize tundra tires
  • Amphibious floats
  • RF 8001 retractable ski package
  • Cargo pod under belly
 
Accurate Modeling throughout
  • Detailed exterior model includes fabric textures 
  • Liveries match the best of Aviat paint scheme options
  • Painted or polished spinner option selection in all liveries
  • Animations on all internal and external equipment 
  • Paint kit available for your custom design
Custom sounds
  • Engine and prop sounds created from actual Husky operations

 

 

Installation :   Download file size is 58.40mb to your X-Plane - Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 97.60mb

Documents : Huge amount of documents and manuals provided with Owners Manual, Water Takeoff Techniques, Checklist and O-360 Engine performance table.

 

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Requirements :
X-Plane 10.40+ (Any edition)
Windows 7+, Mac 10.6+ or Linux
512Mb VRAM Video Card minimum - 1Gb VRAM Recommended
The aircraft is very light and performance enhanced on frame-rate. No issues reported
Current version: 1.2 (Last updated February 12th 2016)

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STMA Developer Support : STMA Hangar and repair shop .Org

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Review by Stephen Dutton

19th February 2016

Copyright©2016: 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)

 

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 10.45

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

Scenery or Aircraft

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

- KNQX - Naval Air Station Key West 3.0 by Nicolas (X-Plane.Org) - Free (Note this scenery is part of the NAPS Freddy-de-Pues scenery packages)

 

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