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Updated Aircraft Review : DHC-2 Beaver - DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Design Mention the word "Beaver" and "de-Havilland" and any pilot will go misty eyed, and gaze at you blindly lost in cloud of personal memories, it is an emotive aircraft. The DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft that was developed by de Havilland Canada in 1946, and is known as a bush plane, in fact one of the most highly regarded bush aircraft ever created. There was 1,657 Beavers built between 1947–1967 and half are actually still flying and working hard. In fact you can currently buy a zero-time frame and just rebuild your current aircraft and keep the machine flying as long as you can afford the new airframes... so why replace perfection. History 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 and 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 large doors (known as Alaska 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 only 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 the 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 current ownership of the certificates and tooling gives Viking Air of Victoria, Canada 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 - DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Thranda Design seem to want to develop, strong rugged utility aircraft, first was the Caravan like Quest Kodiak, then the excellent Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter and now the greatest of them all in the DHC-2 Beaver. This version is the Beaver that incorporates the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs engine forward by almost 10 inches. This modification then moves the center of gravity of the plane forward, and in then allowing additional loads to be carried in the back without exceeding the aft CG limit. Comparisons are going to be made with the original X-Plane Beaver from SoulMade Simulations DHC-2 version a few years back, that aircraft is a pure DHC-2, were as this version is a more slightly modernised version, the SMS version is also now slightly older with only a few updates, were as this version is all completely wizz-bang and up to the current state of X-Plane dynamic standards. This is an updated version of the release review, and the update v1.1 comes with the promised Seaplane version, both with amphibious (landing gear) and standard floats... see Seaplane section below. A first look at the aircraft reveals a very nice and very authentic feeling aircraft, you know that this DHC-2 is going to be really good... even when covered over to protect the aircraft from the elements, that rugged engine/window cover is a brilliant start. Those first impressions are highly important, you know that certainly the Thranda Design ethics are always going to be some of the very best in X-Plane, that is always a religious known, but that extremely high standard we always expect from Thranda does not come easy either... but there is always value and quality abound, and again here you feel every aspect of that as well as see it. Time to pull the cover off, and see the aircraft below... That is better, "Magnificent" isn't it! The detailing is exceptional, the mapping of the precision of the rivets are simply excellent, and I love the gap in the cowling, actually done twice with the extended engine mount if you look closely. The Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine, is rated at 450 BHP at sea level. This is an air-cooled, carburetted, 9-Cylinder radial engine, incorporating dual magnetos and an engine-driven single-stage supercharger. And the engine detail really jumps out at you with the coloured inner components, that aspect should not work on such an old aircraft, but it looks simply brilliant here... ... note the chrome valve guides and oil circulation, insanely good, and detail to die for. The Wasp Jr is connected to a single 3-bladed constant speed propeller mounted at the front. The aircraft will easily support the most discerning eye, the detail is so, so good, note the upper engine vents, exhaust, and the excellent landing gear support detailing as it is mounted on the fuselage. You can look at the landing gear assemblies is absolute detail, because the quality will support your critical eye, note the lovely disk brake assembly and it's attachments. Your paying for minute detail and you are certainly getting your money's worth here. Cast your eyes over the rear, the elevator detail is excellent with great mapping detail and note the fine elements of only a few simple metal rods (arrowed) that control the vertical aerodynamic surfaces... these rods are all there is between you and certain death. The rear tailwheel is also highly detailed with excellent control cable animations for realism. Tailwheel can be either free castoring or locked to the rudder. There is a complete lovely raw roughness and wear to all the surfaces with again that excellent rivet mapping that gives you such a heightened realism... lovely stuff. One of the requirements was that the DHC-2 had great STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) performance, the depth of drop of the flaps at a 58º degree show this performance, again the detail is very good. Thranda pioneered great glass and reflections in X-Plane, and that same skill is on show here. Main windshield is a work of art, but so are the amazing bubble windows in shape, and wear (note the excellent glass streaks). You also have the option of either bubble or flat side windows. DHC-2 Internal Looking up into the cockpit and you know this is going to be good, and the detail even from seen down here is excellent. On the left side there are four opening doors, cockpit, underwing side door and a twin set of "Alaska" doors that are made wide enough to allow for a 44 Imperial gallon drum to be rolled up and inserted into the aircraft. On the right side is the Co-Pilot front door, and another underwing door. All doors can be opened via the internal latches, or from the menu. Cabin is in a dark grey, and highlighted by some nice chrome support rings. Seats are basic but beautifully modeled in detail, all seats have metal plate cushion supports. There are four forward seats and a twin-bench seat rear, the cabin fit-out is a bit drab, but very authentic to the period... .... note the very large rear and curved side (bath) metal construction of the Pilot and Co-Pilot seats, the metal construction and floor supports is simply extremely well done, with even with wear and tear on the metal surfaces. Note the nice individual door trim screws. Up onto the foot support and a look into that iconic cockpit... and wow! The Thranda Beaver cockpit is not like the antique cream version like on the SoulMade Solutions DHC-2, that is very much beloved by me as to it's reference to an early Beaver. But this version is very much a more relative version to most of the working Beavers out there and it is extremely well done. The SMS version had a single left side Yoke, but here you get the TwinBar Y double version that disappears if you press the base, so well done. Roof trim and blinds and under seat (metal seat bucket frame is also insanely great) detail is excellent. The famous name plate says it all. There is a leather surround with the internal metal facias. The polished metal reproduction is simply extraordinary, just outstanding... and in the right lighting conditions it just glows and shines like it has just been lovingly and newly polished. There is real craftmanship here, You wonder if ever you would get aircraft detail like this to fly in Microsoft FlightSim, if aircraft detail is what you want, you could never get this extreme quality over there, but you can access it in X-Plane. There are two choices of the famous throttle quadrant, the older original classic version with the Throttle Lever left, with in order Propeller lever and Mixture right... or the more modern squared off version with the Throttle centre, Prop left and Mixture right. Cenrte top are the magnificent large DHC-2 iconic Manifold Pressure and RPM gauges and the mid-screen mounted whiskey compass. The pilot gets all the flying instruments in the form of the six standard flight instruments in the Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altitude, Turn/Slip Indicator, Heading Indicator and the Vertical Speed, left is the main fuel tank selector It has positions of OFF, FRONT, CENTRE, REAR. Cosmetic detail is astounding, metal flaps indicator is a work of art, and you can't believe in intimate authentic detail here, like the ACK ELT and the logos MaxDim panel lighting knobs lower left panel, the metal plate storage box opens as well. Right side panel has the avionics and electrical panel... There is an altitude selector top, then an S-Tec Fifty-Five x Autopilot, KX 155 NAV/COMM Radio (NAV 1/COM 1), Garmin GMA 340 Comm radio, and a Garmin GTX 325 Transponder lower... it is to be noted that these items are the default set of avionics, but as we shall see, you can use more different units if you want to. To the far right is an OBS Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) - VOR NAV 2. Lower right panel is an active (Fuse) Circuit Breaker panel, with the relevant electrical switches set below for power and lighting (Avionics power switch is high up on the left side panel facia). Next to the Fuses is the AMPs gauge, and Suction Gauge, and below is a lovely PS radio volume panel. Centre panel is a default X-Plane GNS 530, but it can be replaced with a Reality XP GTN 750 if you own the extra feature. Mid-Panel are the engine gauges, with the Oil temperature shown on the top of the gauge, oil pressure on the left, and fuel pressure on the right. Next right is the sublime gauges to indicate the quantity of fuel remaining in the three primary internal fuel tanks. From left to right these gauges indicate the Front tank, Rear tank, and Middle tank, and below is a CYL. (Cylinder) Temperature gauge, with a Hobbs hour meter. Three lower levers cover (LtoR) the carburetor heat control lever, the famous Fuel Wobble Pump Lever and the Fuel and Oil Emergency Shutoff Lever. To the right is the internal Oil filler (yellow cap). Detail again comes to the fore with the Manufacture's and Aircraft registration plates. The authenticity is simply mind-blowing and it keeps on coming with the ratcheting carb heat lever, the manually pumped flap system (with direction valve), and the primer system that are all faithfully modelled for maximum immersion. The fuel system is complicated, with three internal tanks Front (35 GAL/132 Lts), Centre (35 GAL/132 lts) and Rear (25 GAL/95 lts), two wing tanks (21.6 GAL/85 Lts each) and an optional Belly Fuel Tank (43.1 GAL/163 Lts)... for a total of 181 GAL/685 Lts of fuel. The main internal tanks are controlled via the red switch left panel, the wing tip tanks via a red switch upper door left, and the belly tank via a handle under the instrument panel (Vacuum air pressure is required). Another notable feature in the cockpit is that you can open or lower both front door windows, and into any position you like... ... and the forward window air vent can also be rotated. There are loads of pumps and levers on the Beaver, one is the pump handle for the flaps, down right of the pilot's seat and another is the engine primer pump on the left of the pilot's seat, the actions of both are really well done and authentic. Internal Lighting Turn on the power and adjust the instrument lighting and it is.... "oh WOW, WOW!" "Totally stunning" is the one set of words you can find, "blown away" is another, the panel lighting is simply gorgeous, as there is a real depth to the lighting and in the detail. Overhead lighting is provided by two fixed side spot lights... and two highly adjustable LED roof mounted lights... ... oddly there is no lighting in the cabin? But you can turn the roof LEDs right backwards to give some illumination, but a few rear lights in the cabin would be nice, it is just a little too dark back there. Customising If you have the Thranda PC-6 Porter, then you will be aware of the instrument panel customising feature to suit your own tastes. So in reality there is no default instrument setup... and that same system is available also here in the Beaver and it is called DGS or "Dynamic Generation Series". Menu is selected via an arrow tab left screen (it can be scrolled clear), on the menu is the "PANEL" selection. This brings up the dynamic panel options... There are two basic panel selections, the iconic version we know so well, but also a flat metal grey facia version. Panel choices become endless, angled avionics, better fuel switch positions, and both either the GNS 430 or GNS 530 can be used... .... and the grey flat panel is far better with the more modern squared off throttle quadrant to which gives you even more layout variations... Optional Items include; Aspen EFD 1000, S-Tec 55x autopilot, RealityXP GTN 750/650 Touch 3D bezels (these are optional addons) and a lovely Collins 614-12 ADF... There are over 50 instruments to select from or to rearrange around on the panel facias... .... basically you can even start with a completely blank panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout... and have up to or you can save 14 different layouts and there are five defaults to get you started... for absolute layout choice it is simply crazy! Menus The menu is selected via the arrow (the arrow can be scrolled translucent) on the left side of your screen... ... and there are seven tab selections; General, Livery, Camera, Audio/Slew, Panel and Misc. The menu PANEL selection has already been covered above, the rest of the selections are covered below. Menu - General The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive. Three selections cover group items but any one separate item via "Click Spots" can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select the huge engine canvas cover and pitot cover, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for propeller and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both cockpit doors, both cabin underwing and twin "Alaska" doors. The Engine can be set into two modes... SIMPLIFIED or REALISTIC In Simplified mode the engine will be automatically limited the engine and engine start up is instant start. In Realistic mode it will be up to the pilot to avoid exceeding the engine limitations, and go through the full procedure of starting the Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine, which means a lot of lever and knob setting and a lot of hand pumping. Other General menu selections cover Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off, Use the External Fuel Tank, Chocks and brakes on/off. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can ALL INT - Internal lights. The lights activation can also be accessed on the aircraft graphic and finally the "Radial Engine Animation" of which we will look at soon. The Electric Tug is attached to the rear tailwheel, that is controlled via your joystick (for motion forward or backwards), with the yaw turning the rear tailwheel and the attached tug. There are an fully animated pilot (actually Dan Klaue) and his lady friend (actually his wife) as a Co-Pilot, both will disappear if the power is off and the wheel chocks are set, if you don't select a Co-Pilot, then Dan flies alone. Menu - Liveries Second Menu option is liveries, there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 14 liveries or one blank and thirteen designs, and all are of extremely high quality and creative flare. One is a ZZTEMP that is just totally clear (not shown). Note the Dirt and Scratches (arrowed) numbers, as they are important later. Dynamic Liveries Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own! With their earlier release of their Kodiak then Thranda also introduced a clever feature to design your own livery.This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top. You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the RGB colours for that area, it looks hard but you can easily design a very nice livery in about twenty minutes... ... when done you can "save" the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. It was quite easy, but I found the dash symbol - couldn't be inserted in the registration except for the lower case version? So I had to take it out. This is why there is an transparent aircraft in the liveries? There are also four effects you can apply. The said "Dirt" and "Scratches", and also "Metal" and "Rough(ness)" this gives the aircraft a dirty rough appearance. So applying these Dirt and scratches on the airplane will make the surfaces rougher, this is giving you the full PBR control in creating stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look, and these aspects will also slightly affect the Beaver's drag, and therefore it's cruise speeds. With full dirt and scratches you can expect a loss of 2 to 3 mph of cruise speed. Cleaning the plane by setting both values back to 0 will give you a smoother and slightly faster plane. Two extras can also be added with DH logo which is very nice and the said registration number, the final result is excellent. Menu - Weight/Bal The DHC-2 has a great Weight and Balance menu. Both Lbs and Kgs weights are shown... Fill one wingtip tank full and the Beaver will seriously lean, and so will the other tank... this shows how sensitive you are going to have to be to balance out the aircraft. .... Fuel can be added to all the tanks in the three internal, twin-wingtips and the Aux external tank and they are all shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above). Pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are also all shown on a graph, when done you can save the configuration and reload it. Working out that right CofG balance is critical, setting just inside the parameters is just not really good enough, you need for the aircraft to be balanced in it's fuel and load weights, or you will have difficulty flying the aircraft, put too much (cargo) weight aft and you are tail heavy. Note in that taking out the Co-Pilot here will make her disappear in the cockpit, but pilot Dan stays. Menu - Camera There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. To the right is the internal default views to be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the view. The FOV or Field of View is adjustable via a slider. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. Menu - Audio/Slew Sound can be adjusted via the sound menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface... press the Audio slot and you get a audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is excellent. Slew mode Slew mode is experimental, but allows you to manually move the aircraft around in X-Plane. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the plane, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy! In reality you don't use "Slew Mode" on the ground, it is mostly for manoeuvrability on water and for docking... If you want to see this in action then check out the PC-6 Adventure pack review and the Seaplane flying section below. Menu - MISC The Misc page covers options on the Beaver, and there are four options; Skis, Tyres, Windows, and Throttle Quadrant. We have seen the Bubble Windows and Throttle Quadrant options above in either "Flat" or "Bubble Windows", and the "Old" or "New" quadrants. Skis Ski quality and design is again exceptional, with no ordinary straight planks here, they are all highly realistic and the same as on the PC-6. Bush (Tundra) Tyres and Mud Flaps Another option is for the larger Bush tyres or "Tundra" tyres, the over-sized wheels also come with another option of having "Mud Flaps" attached (The mud flaps can be used on both the Normal and Tundra tyre options). Seaplane The Seaplane feature is now also available in v1.1 and also part of the aircraft package, and not as an extra addon cost. The float pack comes with both the amphibious (with landing gear) and standard floats options. The full v1.1 changelog is attached below. You have to do a full download and reload of the updated v1.1 aircraft, there is no merge function or addon pack. Once loaded and authorised you now get two aircraft to choose from on the Flight Configuration page with a wheeled version and a float version. If you are familiar with the PC-6 "Adventrure Pack" version of the floats, then there are the same similarities in design here with the Beaver, but adjusted to fit the bulkier DHC-2 aircraft fuselage. Float shape is again highly authentic, lower and upper sections, and the retractable wheels are also again beautifully designed and modeled as is the strut assembly, front support struts and wheels will bear out any inspection, and you get the ladder and paddle attached as well, but there are no wing ladders, unlike on the PC-6. On the Seaplane variant the MISC section of the Menu is different to reflect the aircraft. Top upper left is the same choice of straight or bubble side windows, upper right is the the switch to raise or lower the rudders... ... lower left will select the amphibious (with landing gear) or floats option, and the option of showing the rear Ventral Fin... we will look at the lower right panel "SLEW" later on the water. The solution to raising or lowering the rudders on the floats is quite bare-bones, in a cable and hoop on the lower left side of the pilot! You have to make sure you get the right selection zone as otherwise you will open the left front door, as the two active zones are situated quite close together. The Seaplane liveries are really well done to match the upper fuselage, and are all the same as the wheeled version designs, not just a set of floats thrown on here, as they are all designed to match in together. __________________________ Flying the DHC-2 Beaver There are two options to starting the DHC-2, the (very) easy way via the option in the Menu/General panel... and the long winded way. The full engine start up procedure is in the manual. Did you always want to look inside your engine? Well now you can and the idea is to see how the engine is primed to start... Dan Klaue genius strikes again! There is the option via a menu selection "Radial Engine Animation" that brings up an animated Wasp Radial engine, you can PreHeat and Prime your Wasp ready for start, but you have to be careful not to "OverPrime" the Cylinders. The starter switch can be hard to find because it is not labeled, but it is under the left red switch cover, if primed correctly then switch on the starter (no more than 15secs a try) until the Wasp finally coughs and powers up, the animation can give you exciting feedback on what is going on in the ignition phase of the engine, and then when it runs it is another "Wow" moment... yes. Pistons are exploding, and the animation is amazing beyond belief, adjust the throttle for a some serious movement, but the animation will also react to the adjustment of not only the throttle inputs, but the fuel mixture from "Rich" to 'Lean" adjustments as well. These movements and the running of the DHC-2 also compliment the amazing sound range as well, there is a consistent adjustment of the excellent engine sounds to the condition of the running of the engine, that is the "Ugh, Ugh" of low lean to the high power "roar" of the full throttle. The sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood as is for the shear band of extensive sound patterns available here that show no gaps or same patterns that just gets you all tinkly down your back... it is highly, highly aurally realistic... well like a full throated real 450 hp Wasp Jr engine sounds like, and the hope that your neighbour and you are on (very) good terms. So yes the sounds are good, or totally excellent. A note that with v1.1 that the exhaust will now puff, puff smoke on the startup procedure! External lighting is very good, but on an aircraft like the Beaver quite limited to the basics, there is a nice red beacon top fuselage, and the navigation lights are nice and pert as is the tiny wing strobe lights. Main landing lights are both LED, and very good in the distance, but can't be seen close up on the wing? As noted you can have a freewheeling rear or locked to the rudder yaw, You really need a set of rudder pedals with built in toe brakes to use the freewheeling option, which I don't have, so I have to use the yaw option. Your have to find a nice balance with the mixture and throttle levers so there is a need to experiment to find that right balance... but it is there to be found and highly realistic, and the feel is excellent. So a bit of throttle and you are moving, the Beaver is excellent on the ground as taildraggers can be twitchy, but you can actually feel the weight and the aircraft is quite smooth in it's movements. You sit high, and the view out is quite good for a taildragger, but a slight glance to the left will align you up with the runway... flaps set (to Takeoff) and your ready to go. Speed builds gradually then suddenly the tail unstick's and you need a kick-full of right rudder to maintain the straight ahead line... ... but don't get me wrong, the aircraft is not twiddly in this phase but beautifully controlled as it is all very easy tail up to steer directly on the centreline, most taildraggers are nasty and nervy at this point, but not the DHC-2... Takeoff is around 90 knts, but you don't need to pull back the stick as the Beaver just glides into the air on lift alone, to climb only requires a little pitch to meet the 600 fpm climb you need. You can climbout at a 1,000 fpm, but the 600 fpm is perfect, the one thing that should be highly noted is the aircraft's weight feel, this is a huge bonus in me holding that centreline, but also when you lift you really feeeel that WEIGHT of the aircraft, and that is rare in X-Plane, it is so very, very good is this DHC-2. Unlike other aircraft you can use the flaps and even in level flight, most aircraft need the flaps in and clean as soon as possible, but not the Beaver, as if you have a slightly uneven balance (front to rear) in the aircraft you can use the flaps to even out the balance without touching the trim, it is a tool every Beaver pilot's use. Obviously you don't go very fast... 158 mph (255 km/h) or 140 knts is max and your cruise speed is only 143 mph (230 km/h) or 125 knts, but you don't really care about that factor, this aircraft is an absolute dream to fly. Trimming the DHC-2 out is easy, the trims are set up up on the roof (But I use keyboard commands), and the Beaver trims out the pitch beautifully, now just small stick and rudder inputs keeps DHC straight, but better still yet is if you trim out the rudder as well, and now you can take both hands and feet off the controls and the Beaver will still fly like a dream straight and level.... this is one amazing simulation of a real aircraft. So for any novice pilot, this is a brilliant aircraft to learn to fly on, even if it is a taildragger (all the better), as it's balance is second to none, but you also feel the aircraft weight in every manoeuvre that you do, but this is not an aerobatic machine, it is a workhorse only, like a large Clydesdale horse it is heavy, slow and incredibly docile... that is the word to note here in docile, but I simply love it as the aircraft is very comforting and I have had enough nervy aircraft lately to last me a lifetime.... this is a true pilot's aircraft in every form... and I simply love it. The DHC-2 is so docile and neutral I am am not quickly reaching for the autopilot (S-Tec in this case), as the Beaver is just nicely (but noisily) cruising through the air and I certainly don't need any artificial help in flying the aircraft at all... open the side window to get the full throaty roar of the Wasp Jr, it is certainly noisy but exciting as well, I note the aircraft as docile, but that is in it's character, it is still however an immensely exciting aircraft to fly because it is "that good". Do a hard turn and the DHC-2 needs a little more power and a slight pitch back to slightly compensate for a loss of speed and altitude, but these reflexes come naturally each time you manoeuvre the aircraft in large variations. Thranda have already noted that an Amphibious version of this DHC-2 is coming and soon, maybe in the new year (2021), that will be another worthy add-on, and give the aircraft an even greater capability and versatility (if it is anything like the recent PC-6 version). Cockpit is stunning in the air. We are soon back over Bella Coola and heading back to the strip at CYBD... Interesting are the flaps... lower the flaps and you don't need to change your throttle position either, the Beaver just slows down to the lower speed of the flap position, with any or no sudden expected lift (Interesting though would be the aircraft at a very light loading weight, I didn't try that aspect out).... the Beaver is known as a "flap-happy" aircraft and you can see and feel that aspect of why here... That is the "Landing" setting, but you can go even slower if you go deeper with more flap and into the red zone to the full 58º degrees... Approach speed is around 70 knts, here your altitude is controlled only via your throttle, more power to go up and less power to go down, but even the mixture adjustments can even have an effect, so be aware if you are leaning out the engine more while reducing power. Final approach and you are under complete control of the aircraft, you and the machine are as one, even slight reductions of power and you lose height, but you also have uttermost confidence in the aircraft, in other words it is easy, but skillful in the same aspect. One note I will say is that the touchdown speed is still around 70 knts, dropping to 60 knts on the runway, and that feels a tad fast at full flap? but the speed does still give you full aerodynamic control on the landing and you can finely follow the centreline as good as when you took off, the question begs is that could a headwind change the aspects of a landing such as this... ... so the big trick is rubbing off the speed without touching the brakes, tricky, and that aspect may need a bit of practise is needed before getting it right, I would be more happy with a landing speed of around 50 knts or less in these circumstances. But let us be thankful, this is an amazing experience of an aircraft... the best aircraft of the year 2020? Seaplane The first thing you notice is the speed with the floats attached.... the attachment is far heavier and the amphibious floats are approximately 470 lbs heavier even more than the plain floats. Drag, tons of drag, so you feel the weight and the drag as you fly along, and it does make the Beaver a bit cumbersome low down, but authentic, but far better for landing slow on the water. 70 knts, full landing flap and the aircraft is set up perfectly for a water landing... reduce the throttle a little and the DHC-2 will sink (in the air not in the water!), nice and slowly... ... lowering the power to around 65 knts on approach is perfect, if you feel it going down too quickly, then only a slight more power will arrest the descent, it feels very, very comfortable, and you are very much in control.... I think the X-Plane water effects are very, very good, and the Beaver thrives here... ... open the side window to hear the rush of water and feel the spray, Thranda have adjusted in v1.1 the sounds to create great water effects and water landing sounds, the sound effect and difference when close to ground and airbone are noted as well. The little air vent in the side window also makes noisy sounds, DHC-2 fliers complained a lot about this (some people are just simply too hard to please)... .... a touch of flare and less throttle and the DHC-2 will settle slowly at around 60 knts.... there is a nice water roll sound as well. Control on the water is very good with the aerodynamics still working, depending on your wave height, but over a meter, the aircraft will bob then up and down a bit too heavily. So you reach and quickly grab the rope to lower the rudders for control as the speed drops, v1.1 does also give you the ability to skim the water on tundra tires as well, as you do Power up to the wharf, but then switch on the SLEW MODE. It is on the MISC tab, but the control panel is actually on the AUDO/SLEW tab of the Menu... .... here you can position the aircraft by overriding the X-Plane controls and forces, move the large dots forwards, backwards and sideways (slowly), you can also change the heading (delta) via the dot on the slider... .... SLEW MODE is a huge amount of fun and very easy to use, externally or from the cockpit. _______________ Summary This is the third aircraft in a series of rugged utility aircraft from Thranda Design, the first being the Kodiak, then the excellent Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter and now here comes the most iconic and the most famous bush aircraft of them all in the DHC-2 Beaver. This version has the "Holmes Extended Engine Mount", which moves the 917lbs Wasp Jr engine forward by almost 10 inches for a better rear load balance (Centre of Gravity). Any aircraft coming from Thranda Design is usually full of amazing features and outstanding quality design, and certainly you are not disappointed here. In the design aspect the aircraft is extremely the best yet from Thranda, the quality is overwhelming to the point of ridiculous... the DHC has full hi-res PBR realistic effects, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision, not to mention the high quality materials internally and externally. Detailing and the modeling is absolutely first rate, this is an outstanding Beaver. Not only is the instrument Panel one of the best yet in X-Plane, it is also fully customised via the "Dynamic Generation Series" in not only giving you your own control over the way the instruments are laid out, but to swap and change other instruments as well including; Aspen EFD 1000, S-Tec 55x autopilot, RealityXP GTN 750 (these are optional addons) and a Collins 614-12 ADF. Fourteen liveries are provided, but also again you can create and design your own liveries with the DGS system. Options include, Skis, mud flaps, Old and New quadrants and bubble windows, and an amphibious version is noted as coming soon. Notable is the instrument lighting, it is simply awe-inspiring. Updated version v1.1 has both the amphibious (with landing gear) and standard floats options now included, not an extra but part of this already outstanding package, Float design and quality is also first rate and comes with the same liveries as the wheel version, but enhanced for the matching floats Sounds are outstanding, with High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth transitions and amazing atmospheric effects, 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to propeller, start up and engine mixture variance is also highly realistic. Menus are also extensive, with sound adjustments, weight and balance manager with visual chart, lighting, doors, views, reflections and an amazing radial engine visualisation in a pop-up window, which showcases the inner workings of the engine. Again like the PC-6, you would want, or like a cargo option? and there is no lighting in the rear of the cabin? Yes I have been gushing in this review, extraordinary and brilliant are full of the praise of what is delivered here from Thranda Design, not only in the options, effects and in the sheer experience available, but also in the way this Beaver flies as well... it is the full package and in my guess for the aircraft of the year in 2020. So the note here is to the converts of Microsoft's "ground breaking" new simulator, because aircraft like this coming out of X-Plane changes the dynamics of simulation. Yes MSFS may have pretty scenery, but it will never have aircraft such as this iconic Beaver as in depth, with as much quality and come with the sheer force of ideas available here, and in reality isn't that is what simulation is really all about, brilliant aircraft with exceptional quality and flying dynamics and a huge feature list, and only top level developers like Thranda Design will be in the X-Plane simulator and not the other one, so if you really want the very best then here it is.... Highly, Hugely Recommended. _______________________________ Yes! the DHC-2 Beaver-DGS Series by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : DHC-2 Beaver-DGS Series Price is US$39.95 (Currently only US$34.95) Features Special features: FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel. Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP GTN750) Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel! Comes with 6 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using simple and intuitive interface. Save your own presets, and even share them with the community! Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement. Intricate, realistic fuel tank system, featuring tip tanks and removable belly tank. Overflow logic when transferring too much fuel from other tanks to primary tanks. GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak and the Pilatus PC-6) Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds! Additional control over dirt/grime, scratches/nicks, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear. Affects airspeed. Clean plane will fly 2-3 MPH faster. Create "virtual" liveries, based on one common design layout, and assign any colour to any available paint segment. Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls. Previews now include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor! Option to include/hide manufacturer logo on tail, and control its colour. Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.) Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim! Also supports 12 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window. Uses SkunkCrafts Updater. Option to participate in Beta program, via check box in SkunkCrafts Updater. Excellent hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision. Floats and amphibious floats <-- New Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features: Realism settings for engine and tail wheel (simplified vs. realistic modes) Radial engine visualization in pop-up window, which showcases the inner workings of the engine. Real-time primer and pre-heat logic, with visualization indicating correct priming range Innovative electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, etc. Option to enable/disable Belly Tank, with realistically simulated weight, momentum, rotational inertia, and drag characteristics. Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures. Option to run engine in a simplified manner (no pre-heat, no priming, easier starts) Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via pop-up window Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration. Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks. Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments. Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play. Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics. Includes ground mode and air mode. Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments. The "Misc" page in the fly-out window contains options to customize the plane, such as: skis tundra tires mud flaps bubble windows throttle quadrant model (choose between classic and new design) Flight dynamics and systems: The Beaver has unique flight dynamics, characterized by being a "flap-happy" plane. This is faithfully reproduced in the sim version. (Can require slight flap extension during cruise, depending on conditions). The Beaver is the quintessential Canadian classic STOL workhorse, whose flight characteristics and excellent STOL capabilities are calibrated to maximum precision in the sim. Details, such as the wobble pump, the ratcheting carb heat lever, the manually pumped flap system (with direction valve), and the primer system are faithfully modelled for maximum immersion. Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds. Advanced FMOD-based sound system: Pioneer in procedural engine sounds. (No two starts sound alike: coughing, sputtering, and clanking valves all contribute to a nuanced, rich, immersive sound experience.) High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth transitions and amazing atmospheric effects. Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds) Different sounds for front of plane than for back of plane Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound. Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.10 GB Current and Review version 1.1. (16th December 2020) The aircraft comes with an auto-updater. Free auto updates for the life-cycle of X-Plane 11 (note you can't use the updater to update to the v1.1 float version, it requires a full new download of the aircraft. _______________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download is 1.10Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Installation key is required on start up and is supplied with the purchased download file. Documents supplied are: v1.1 Changelog.txt Thranda DHC-2 Beaver Joystick Settings.pdf Thranda DHC-2 Beaver Graphics Settings XP11.pdf X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf Thranda DHC-2 Beaver Documentation.pdf X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf A Blank Livery (PNG) of four files are provided for painting. Checklists and loads of Performance graphs are provided in the manual. v1.1 Changelog v1.1 Changelog.txt ______________________________________________________________________ Updated Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 16th December 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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 -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.51 Plugins: Skunkcrafts Updater Scenery or Aircraft - CYBD - Bella Coola by XPORG (formally Beti-x) (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$17.50