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Aircraft Update Review - DC-3/C47 v2.1 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project


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 Aircraft Update Review - DC-3/C47 v2.1 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project


Only weeks ago, 22nd July 2017 actually I did a full new release review of VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project's DC3/C47. At X-PlaneReviews we do have a lot of new releases and with this year's new X-Plane11 revolution there is a full roll-out of aircraft and scenery that is being updated to the new format as well, so it has all been very busy. In reviews we do the review and unless there is a significant update and then we move on to the next release.


I really loved VSkyLabs project of the DC3/C47, and noted so in the review. But there was at the time a few reservations of the current status of the project. It was really, really great, but and then there was that...   but.

In a few areas there was a feeling that it could have better in its release form, I thought about this for some time as the hardest points in any new release is the objectivity of a reviewer, over harsh and the developer can lose sales, but too lenient and the punter who is putting down the cash will not be impressed...  so it is a very fine line. You do as a reviewer have more background evidence and your extensive knowledge to make the right call. The case for the VSkyLabs DC3 was correct for the time as was a cheaper entry price of US$19.95, which was the right price at the time as well.


But two things unusually happened with this aircraft. One, I found myself in my spare time flying the DC3 extensively, even getting lost over the North Sea and nearly running out of fuel...  I will come back to that one later. Two, was VSkyLabs hammered out updates like chickens pops out eggs. The result was this very quick update to v2.1 and for one of the most already wanted and in demand, loved aircraft in X-Plane this year.


VSkyLabs Douglas DC3/C47 v2.1

My very first initial view of the release VSkyLabs DC3 was actually a groan...  This is 2017 and the aircraft looked like it was from the X-Plane9 dark ages. Normal mapping creates that raised surfaces or 3d look on the aircraft's surfaces and here there was none. So the very first priority was to fix the aircraft's maps. This was done by Oleg Tronov who has also created an official paint kit for the DC3. The results are well...   spectacular!


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Rivet...  Rivet...  Rivet, you feel like a beaver creating bodywork going at it full thrust, but just look at all those amazing rivets, panel lines and saw edges...  you have gotta love it. Now that is a 2017 X-Plane11 looking DC3.


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The other poor performance on the release version was the liveries, but that has also changed now big buckets as well and mostly thanks to Arcticpilot and his great work... (Metallic VskyLab's is now the new default livery)


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The older "Flightgear Liveries" don't work anymore with the new metallic base and mapping, but I have persevered with the lovely Air Atlantique livery as it looks excellent and it is a more modern livery, but sorry I don't have permission to distribute it and it is still a work in progress, but you can have a go on the original if you want to from flightgear.


FMOD Sounds

Sounds originally included were not actually not that bad, but that has all been swept away with the intergration of the FMOD sound engine, and all round the sounds are now excellent. New 3d directional sounds include:


  • Engines and Props with multiple layers for various rpm and distance from the engines.
  • Engine startup and post startup low rpm sounds.
  • Switches and knobs.
  • Gyro instruments, Booster pumps.
  • Gears, Flaps.
  • Ambiance (wind) and turbulence during normal flight.
  • Ground roll, tire screech.
  • Vocal Annunciation for mixture control (auto rich, auto lean).
  • Vocal Annunciation for tail wheel (locked, unlocked).
  • Vocal Annunciation for autopilot (engaged/disengaged).
  • Overhead Electric fans.


Good? no brilliant, it shows with just the addition of 3d sounds on how quickly you can elevate an aircraft to excellent from just the very good. More sounds are promised but a few areas are counteracted by the XPRealistic plugin I am running here (Highly recommended for this aircraft).


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In the cockpit there has been a lot of changes. The basics in the instrument panel though are all the same, but there are a lot of very nice new additions and fixes.

The pop up GNS GPS unit has been upgraded to the GNS530 up from the GNS 430 for a bigger screen to use, the popup is still activated by pressing the centre of the VOR pointer dial. 


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The centre mounted magnetic compass has also been mounted on rubber-wires, it does also move around and looks excellent, but the idea is not finished yet as the way the animation works is that the connection ends move as well? But VskyLab's have noted this will be worked on more to get a better result.


Added animated fans are a welcome relief from the hot cockpit, they can be a bit distracting when the going gets tough, but a desk mounted fan is certainly advisable if you want the full wind in your face effect. Wipers are now correct in sweeping to the centre and not left-right, and FMOD wiper sounds heighten the effect for more realism.


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Wipers feel very realistic when battling low visibility on Norway's west coast!


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Emergency Escape hatch has been added to the cockpit roof, it is noted that in the future it will be functional, if you want to bail out?


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Speakers have been added into the roof on each side, which is another nice touch.


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The patterned wall cladding has been updated to a better quality feel as well, looks and feels far more realistic than the original cladding. Other fine tuning notes in the cockpit are the Seat, Yokes and Pedals have been fine-tune to fix minor alignment issues, added in a co-pilot comm box for right seat operations (I bet you didn't notice it was missing?) and the added in two radio-microphones.



Another area that was average in the release aircraft was the silly stilted thin cabin passenger seats. Again there are now more detailed and thankfully wider seats for the passengers, I still think they could be a little wider, but they are certainly a big if huge step forward.


VSL DC-3_v2.1_Cabin 1.jpgVSL DC-3_v2.1_Cabin 2.jpg


You can expect a few nice variations of the cabin as already ArcticPilot has put out a very nice Icelandair version for his Icelandair livery. I myself has adjusted the cabin for my Air Atlantique livery, with a blue seat cover from ArcticPilots version (Thanks), instead of the odd coloured Buffalo Airways coverings.


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VskyLab's has already noted there is more to come yet in the cabin in the next version. The doors however still don't open, but the fuselage has been cut, ready so expect them sometime in the future. A full and more modern FMS is promised as well, but I really love the Sperry Type A-3A autopilot already installed so I am personally not too fussed.


Flying the updated v2.1 DC3/C47

I have become a little addicted to this aircraft, as you should with any great aircraft in X-Plane. In my mind if you are always going to say "I'll give give that aircraft a go" then there is something special going on and the return of the experience from the simulation then fill's in the rest. So many things contribute to a great simulation, but aircraft feedback and the challenge of flying the machine is part of the fulfilment factor.


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The original release did feel a little unfinished, but then this is an ongoing project. This version is certainly more like what the release version should have been, and it feels far, far more complete.


VSL DC-3_v2.1_Fying 3 LG.jpg


One area to note is the fuel tanks. On the original you emptied the main tanks and then the Aux would then empty, but not by switching them over? In a quirk in X-Plane you can't do this so you drain the main and then automatically switch to the backup tanks. This caught me out while flying from ENBR - Bergen to EGCC - Manchester as I almost emptied the main tanks but just thought I could switch over to the Aux as you do...  My position was that well over the North Sea I was suddenly running out of fuel? Switching them over ran an engine dry? so I had to divert to EFPH - Edinburgh on what I thought was the last drips of fuel, but landed still with my Aux tanks brimming full. The tanks have been changed in v2.1 to drain ALL tanks at the same time, which personally I still wish we could have done a real tank to tank switch, but there you go...  Manchester thankfully will certainly be in range now.


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Tank switches are on the top of the pedestal and the tank fuel gauge can be switched on the panel lower co-pilot's side, it is a shame you can't use them.



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The old bird is tricky to fly, first this old badger is a taildragger, but the aircraft is heavy as well. Plenty of power just gets it moving and then it is going too fast once you are, so you have to find that throttle balance, instruments are old, so they can be hard to interpret sometimes and at critical times in poor weather you can lose where you are in the balance.


But poor weather condition brings the aircraft alive as well, so that is the challenge and why the DC3 is so renowned in getting in there and getting out again into areas that normal aircraft just can't fly around.


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The aircraft's wing lights in v2.1 have been adjusted and are far brighter now and more workable, they were pretty feeble in the original version.


VSL DC-3_v2.1_Flying 11.jpgVSL DC-3_v2.1_Flying 12.jpg


Approach speeds are tricky, you need a little speed, but flap use is restricted to below 115mph, so you are losing, losing speed all the time in trying to get the speed lower to get that flap lift of the use of the lower speed of 80mph. You work it out, but you work for it as well...  who said flying was easy?


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Crosswinds cause you havoc, if you are not using a lot of full rudder then you will not fly a DC3 correctly, trimming the tail straight before dropping down on to the tail-wheel is an art form you have to master.


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So flying this bird is going to test your skills, but that is the idea right, fly hard and get the job done.


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You can sit for hours just looking at it...



The obvious question comes up here in that was this DC3/C47 by VskyLabs released before it should have been. It is a fair point and in a way the answer is yes as my original review reflected, an ongoing project is still an an ongoing project, but this is 2017 and the entry standard into X-Plane lately is now high.


Certainly the special early release price of US$19.95 is going to have a lot of the early punters smiling with this significant update. The aircraft was saved overall because the earlier basics are so good, but now you are still getting a real absolute bargain even at the new US$24.95 price so five dollars here and there is only a decent cup of coffee.


But that $5 is getting you a far, far better and more rounded aircraft. The changes here with that excellent normal mapping, far better quality liveries and better cabin seating are well worth the extra admission price alone....  and we are not finished yet here either, as VskyLabs has a list as long as your arm in coming features and detailing and the announced Freight/Cargo version.


Another significant point is the response time in getting the aircraft to v2.1. The sign of a good if great developer is to listen to feedback and delivers, and here VskyLabs certainly delivered and quickly and you can't fault that, you certainly can't expect the rollout and changes to keep coming at this pace either because that is not realistic, but you can be confident that this DC3/C47 is already going to be one of the really must haves in X-Plane, it is an exciting project that continues...  but for now with this excellent v2.1 update of the aircraft is already right now a great aircraft to totally enjoy in flying one of the really great classic airlines of aviation history....  a must have!



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


The DC-3/C47 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

VSKYLABS DC-3/C-47 Flying Lab Project


Your Price: $24.95
  • Two packages included: X-Plane 11 + X-Plane 10.51
  • Highly Realistic Flight Performance DC-3/C-47 Simulation: Highly accurate performance and handling simulation of the DC-3/C-47. Aircraft performance and handling qualities were designed and tested in a "Research level" approach and went through a validation process of more than 200 hours of flight testing and evaluation, made by real world C-47 pilot and aircraft performance expert. This model is stretching X-Plane to its limits in terms of delivering the authentic flying characteristics of the DC-3/C-47
  • Fully equipped with Radio and Navigation aids: along with a full set of traditional/old school navigation and autopilot systems, it is also equipped with a pop-up G430
  • Workhorse for practicing DC-3/C-47 pilot skills: Experience authentic flight performance and handling practices (takeoff, landing, single engine operations, flight planning, long range flights and old school navigation). It is a perfect platform to recreate and fly historic routes using authentic performance simulation
  • Unique look and feel: The VSKYLABS DC-3/C-47 is a mixture of a simplified yet very engaging design and “feel” of the DC-3/C-47
  • Systems - easy to operate by beginners: All relevant systems are simulated but with the focus on getting the “Flying Lab” airborne without the need to go through a long “ground school”
  • FPS friendly
  • Designed to utilize the “out of the box” features of X-Plane
Additional Features:
  • Highly responsive support system/forum.
  • The VSKYLABS DC-3/C-47 Flying Lab is a project under constant development. All updates are free.



Minimum System Specifications:
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU with 2 or more cores, or AMD equivalent.
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Video Card: a DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 1 GB VRAM
Recommended Hardware Requirements:
CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5 ghz or faster
Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more
Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD).
Current version: v001.1 (Last updated July 24th 2017)


Installation and documents:

Download for the DC-3/C47 by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is 180.40mg and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Heavy Metal" X-Plane folder with two version for both X-Plane10 and X-Plane11


V10.51 VSL DC-3 C-47 Flying Lab v002.1 (253.40mb)

V11 VSL DC-3 C-47 Flying Lab v002.1 (253.40mb)




Update Review by Stephen Dutton
5th September 2017
Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
(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: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.02

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 2.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- ENGM - Oslo Gardermoen by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.95

- ENBR - Bergen Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$21.59


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