The Chipmunk Trainer by Khamsin Studios
It all started with ….
Indeed, it all started with the establishment of the Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. It was actually a sales outlet, assembly plant, and maintenance facility for aircraft of the British parent company’s design and manufacture. During the time period 1939-1945, the company built over 3,000 Mosquito bombers, Tiger Moths, and Anson trainers In 1946, the British-designed Fox Moth was manufactured at Downsview, as the Canadian division prepared to launch its own design, the DHC-1 Chipmunk trainer. That was followed by the DHC-2 Beaver, which was designed for northern Canadian bush operations and found a home in civil and military roles worldwide.
And that brings me to the renewed, updated and/or modified Khamsin Studio DHC-1 Chipmunk for X-Plane 11.50+. Most aircraft have nicknames as well as this Chipmunk which was also known as Chippie! Yes, you’re right.
The current released – October 2020 – Khamsin DHC-1 is version 2 which suggests that there was also a version 1.0. As far as I can recall, version 1.x was intended for X-Plane 10 and as we now know already for a while, not all X-Plane 10 models didn’t do well on the latest X-Plane 11.50+. And therefore, Khamsin released this brand new DHC-1 Chippie. Up to your personal reporter Angelique van Campen to check it out and see what you go, right?
Ready to start?
I am, and so I hope you too, but first … installation and documentation.
The installation is straight forward. Unzip the downloaded package from X-Plane.Org and copy and paste the Chipmunk folder in your Aircraft folder. You can if you prefer, create first a dedicated Khamsin Studio folder under Aircraft and then paste this unzipped folder into it or place the folder in the root of the Aircraft folder without any subfolder.
Some words about the included liveries. While searching the Internet for DHC-1 information, I noticed that the Chipmunk has and still is flown/flying in many countries. That said, I had hoped that either via Khamsin Studio or via user made liveries a bunch of liveries for the DHC-1 where available, but that’s not yet the case. The Khamsin package comes with 4 UK liveries and one Royal Canadian Air Force livery. A white paint kit and metal livery are available via a dedicated Gumroad Khamsin website.
That’s it! And no, no serial number is needed.
Next the documentation. Although it’s a basic trainer or basic GA aircraft, a manual would be welcome, right? That said, the aircraft comes with a comprehensive manual that covers some background information, the included liveries, the aircraft system explanations without pictures, switches, indicator, handles, knobs and their system relation, and handling the aircraft split into different sections like for general, engine start, taxi, take-off, flight, and emergency.
At the end of the manual you can find some operational data and copyright information. The modeled DHC-1 doesn’t come with any navigation means which is good news. Perhaps current airworthy Chipmunks need to have a navigation onboard like from Garmin, but the modeled one doesn’t have and that’s in my humble opinion good news.
A couple of notes about the manual and then in particular certain sentences or paragraphs. At the end of page 6 under “Installation” is written that the AviTab is optional and required. That’s a bit confusing since the aircraft comes with a AviTab although it is one with limited functions and it also confuses me to read “optional” and “required”. That said, I hope with the following paragraph to explain this a bit.
When you download the AviTab package from the link as provided in the manual, and install the whole package under the Khamsin Chipmunk plugins folder thus NOT in the Resources/plugins folder! After you’ve done this, startup your Chipmunk – and logically the Khamsin modified AviTab is in view – you “toggle the AviTab” button or in the manual page 11 item 26, it will load the AviTab contents. The brightness/dim buttons don’t work with the default Khamsin AviTab page, but they do work with the AviTab original contents. Just as an example, via the MAP button on the AviTab we now have the option to show the map so you know where you are.
Time to move on. Time for a quick free flight (impression).
But first …. Walk-Around Check
Before jumping in the DHC-1, I’d need to do a walk-around check first. Although I know this model from the past, it’s awesome to see that it’s back in the Store, and ready for an X-Plane 11.50 flight, but first some maintenance activities to perform.
I can tell you right now that the external Khamsin Chipmunk is very well modeled with lots of details and eye for perfection. That’s good news isn’t it? When you look for example to the main gear struts, the Goodyear tires, the brake unit which is unfortunately as clean as new, the torque links and the strut cover. It’s modeled with great precision although I had hoped for a bit more weathering, but besides that small thought, it’s all very well done. The tail wheel is a bit more basic but after checking this with real photos, it’s modeled as the real device.
Before I forget it, I’m impressed by the razor sharp decals or text on the fuselage, wing and tail. I can imagine that current flyable DCH-1 aircraft are privately owned and therefore the owners do everything to keep their Chipmunk as new as possible. That said, this is the case with all the included liveries. None of them have any weathered spots on the outside and worth to highlight this too, the model doesn’t have any animated panels or other features like a simulated fuel cap and filling feature.
It sounds that I’m a bit disappointed about these missing “weathered” features, but that’s not the case. I need to mention them in case you’re interest in buying this DHC-1, but what is worth at the same time is the modeled FUEL QTY indicators on top of each wing. These are razor sharp and a pleasure to see.
Overall, the 3D modeled Khamsin Chipmunk is very nice done. By the way, when the engine isn’t running, ground equipment like wheel shocks and pitot covers are automatically put in place. No, you’re right, there’s no option to select this manually. Hopefully when Khamsin updates this aircraft, it get’s an option on the included AviTab (EFB tablet or Electronic Flight Bag tablet) where you can select the ground equipment ON/OFF.
By the way, the included AviTab that looks slightly different than the one from Folke, is actually the a modified look and feel of Folke’s AviTab. You can check out more about Folke’s AviTab via this URL. I did discuss this AviTab integration already in a previous section.
Lets slide the canopy open and see how it’s inside. When you’ve started the DHC-1 with or without engine running, you’ll notice on your right-hand side the presence of the slightly modified AviTab. As mentioned before, it doesn’t offer the same as we know from Folke’s AviTab, but enough for this model. For those who are new to X-Plane or who haven’t heard anything of the AviTab from Folke. AviTab is a plugin for the X-Plane flight simulator. It displays a tablet with a few apps in the cockpit. It is mainly used for flying in virtual reality.
After climbing on the wing, opened the canopy, the first thing I noticed is a clean, no weathering at all cockpit, so it almost looks and feels like a brand new cockpit. If this is as real as you want to see, is up to you. Some like this refreshing non weathering new look, others had hoped for a bit more weathering. On the other hand, the instruments are again – we saw it also with the TANK FUEL QTY indicator on the wing top surface – razor sharp. Awesome!
The same applies for any text that’s printed on the panels. Knobs, switches, indicators, selectors, cables, connecting, handles, spotlights and so I can continue, it’s all well-modeled and looks very realistic. The instrument panel in front of the pilot contains no scratches, no dents nor weathered spots. Hopefully painters who like the Khamsin Chipmunk can add more dents, scratches and/or weathering to it.
Below the instrument panel you find – I really miss for example a Garmin GNS 430 – on the left a default X-Plane ATC transponder and on the right the default COM panel. This means that these are the only communication and navigation panels on board. The instrument panel has no NAV or AP which is for such an aircraft normal. The original DHC-1 didn’t has all that stuff. I started this paragraph with the Garmin GNS 430 which I think is mandatory these days to fly such an old aircraft. Perhaps this option of adding a floating Garmin GNS will be at a later time implemented via the AviTab by Khamsin himself.
Anyway, it’s a double seat trainer which is extremely accurate modeled and has beautiful modeled steel seats. Ok, the metal seats are perhaps brand new, but it looks gorgeous and thus well modeled. The second seat and its belonging instrument panel are a copy of the front, so you as co-pilot has full control over the aircraft. Full control means everything; flaps, trim, flight stick, engine controls and so on. The only thing you don’t have in the second seat position are the switches and start button and not to forget the ATS transponder and COM panel. That’s only for the first seat. And this is also confirmed in the manual that when you fly alone, you need to sit in the front seat.
Wow, this was an awesome experience. Oh yeah, by the way, the model isn’t equipped with any kind of updater like those from Skunkcraft or STMA. This means that in case Khamsin comes up with an update, these are only available by downloaded the package again via your Org account. I’ll show you more when we make the first flight. Are you ready?
This section is a combination of several flight impressions made in the United Kingdom. Some from turf runways, some from paved runways. I noticed one thing and that is the missing ground rolling sound during taxi/take-offs although I had the idea I heard something when taxiing on tarmac but on grass I didn’t hear anything. It’s a bit weird that you hear nothing besides the environmental and aircraft, engine sounds.
Taxiing goes well keeping in mind that you’re steering/controlling a tail dragger. I always find every take-off with a tail dragger a bit complicated and weird. During the acceleration there’s a moment that the tail is lifted up due to the airflow around the stabiliser and while I’m accelerating the aircraft, I also need to prevent the nose tipping forward or down. But lucky there’s not much needed to lift the aircraft, try to do it gentle and climbing out to a nice practical altitude of roughly 3000 feet. While in the middle of England, I use for the landscape the Orbx TrueEarth GB Central ground ortho textures. Yes yes, I know, the review deals with the Khamsin DHC-1, but it’s fun when viewing the external aircraft to have a realistic landscape around me down there.
Climbing out goes well although I found that it’s not easy to keep the aircraft stable. It looks like or it is just me that the modeled DHC-1 is a bit over controllable or a bit nervous in the pitch channel. This “nervous” pitch behaviour becomes less when speed increases. But it could be also my Saitek joystick that’s not so sensitive anymore, so it’s also a good idea to use my other flight equipment. After reaching my cruising altitude of 3000 feet it’s time to get the right feeling. I’ve got no idea how real it flies since I have never flown this DHC model, but since it’s a trainer aircraft, I assume as with most trainer models that it flies stable under most flight conditions. And yes, I can confirm this after several flights that it flies great. Almost a pleasure for any free VFR flight!
It’s time to do some special flight attitudes, right?
Time to perform some steep turns, some slow flights with and without flaps extended and some spins. It all works out as expected but I don’t hear or see any visual/aural stall warning whenever applicable for that particular flight test which could mean that the DHC-1 doesn’t have it or it’s not activated/modeled. We’ll check that out for you and report later.
As I mentioned before, the DHC-1 doesn’t have much navigation equipment on board except for the ATC transponder. There’s no OBS or Garmin installed or any navigation equipment which means that adding a flight plan isn’t something that belongs to our options nor that we can tune for a VOR/DME station and follow that. So as far as I can see, it’s just a VFR trainer. Hopefully somebody or Khamsin will over an update that you can “clip” a Garmin GNS at the AviTab location to do some IFR flights too.
UPDATE: As written before, and after reading the original DHC-1 manual, the DHC-1 doesn’t has aural stall warning or any other visual indication. That doesn’t mean there are no DHC-1 aircraft flying around who have it, but I may assume that Khamsin modeled the aircraft based on a “DHC-1 config” and worth to bring to your attention that when you’ve installed Folke’s AviTab, you do have a MAP and other options that help you with navigation.
I have the luck that I still own the previous Khamsin Chipmunk X-Plane 10 model and my goodness, that’s a totally different old fashioned modeled aircraft. Then I can confirm that this X-Plane 11.50+ model is not just a remodelling of the old model. No, I can confirm that many things have had a remake with the end result a refreshing, good looking and realistic DHC-1 Chipmunk.
Anyway, back to my flight.
Due to the absence of any navigation equipment, it’s only flying under VFR conditions and using landmarks which are suddenly very important to pinpoint your position. That said, when you want to fly back to your airport or when you fly to another nearby airport/airfield, that you need to remember that you use ground obstacles to follow your flight path like using rivers, road, highways, industrial areas or other typical landmarks to identify where you fly unless you’ve installed the AviTab plugin.
For my approach and landing I decide to go back to my Orbx airport and see how it goes. I can tell you that the Chipmunk is really easy to handle during approaches. Since – as I mentioned before – the Chipmunk has no navigation equipment, we use for the approach/landing PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator). Reducing power, slowly entering the traffic pattern, set flaps and aming for my landing spot. It feels good. The Chipmunk is even at low speeds stable and easy to roll for small corrections. During my approaches and landings I used mostly real weather and during one of these landings I had windy conditions. That said, I did feel that the Chipmunk was a bit more nervous but still easy to fly, easy to maintain on the track or heading and easy to control for pitch and roll. At the end, none of the landings where difficult to perform.
What you perhaps didn’t know unless you own the Chipmunk from X-Plane 10, the Chipmunk is not just a trainer aircraft. It does a bit more. Actually, it can also be used for limited aerobatic flights. What interest me more is the ability to do spinning up to 8 turns. Wow, let’s try that out. You can read all about that and how to simulate it in the user manual.
When following the manual how to start a spin and how to continue till 8 turns, it’s time to found that out. Oops, I’m making a mistake. The current Khamsin DHC-1 hardly speaks about how to perform a spin while in the old version 1.0 manual it was. Since I couldn’t find anything on the Web, I’ve scanned some of the pages related to a spin.
The following paragraph explains all about how to perform a spin.
Entry into the spin
Close the throttle and, at 50 knots, apply full rudder in the intended direction of spin and move the control column fully back. The aircraft may be reluctant to enter a spin, especially to the left and at forward CG. A spiral dive may develop instead, particularly if the control column is not kept fully back. The spiral can be recognized by an increase in-the control column forces a fairly rapid rise in airspeed during the first two turns.
If the control column is not moved fully back until after the spin has been entered, manoeuvre similar to a spin may be encountered. The speed remains stable at around 70 knots and normal recovery action is immediately effective.
A more positive spin entry can usually be achieved by applying aileron opposite to the direction of the intended spin, in addition to the normal entry control movements.
Characteristics of the spin
After a half roll in the direction of spin, the nose drops sharply as rotation continues. Slight pitching is apparent at this stage. The spin stabilises in two to five turns with the nose about 30 degrees below the horizon. The rate of rotation is slightly lower than in the initial stage and the airspeed is low and steady.
Spin recovery action
– Close the throttle, if not already closed
– Check ailerons neutral
– Check direction of yaw as indicated by the turn needle
– Apply and maintain full rudder to oppose the direction of yaw
– After a brief pause move the control column firmly and progressively forward until the spin stops.
– Centralize the rudder immediately, but not before, the spin stops.
– Level the wings and ease out of the dive.
After prolonged spinning (six to eight turns), a heavier push-force may be necessary to effect recovery. In a stable spin, particularly when the rear seat is occupied, the aircraft may continue rotating for up to three turns after taking recovery action. During this period, the rate of rotation increases and the angle steepens before the spin stops.
Ok, now that you and I know this, it’s time to practice a bit. I’m also not sure how X-Plane deals with spins and how aircraft react on this. We’ll see. I take off and climb out for this to approximately 6000 feet. Climb to the previous 3000 feet is in my humble opinion a bit low. Trying to make 6 to 8 pins will result in a too low altitude to level off. So when leveling off at 6000 feet it’s time to follow the instructions and the DHC-1 does the job but I’ve got no idea if this is as real as it gets. Perhaps it’s me that I don’t do it correctly but it goes much easier then expected.
It seems all very easy while I know and can remember from the past that a spin recovery wasn’t so easy and the right steps have to be followed as also indicated in the above “recovery section”. Although I’m not sure if it does the spin job as real as it gets, it’s fun to see and how to recover.
Overall I must say that the flights I did gave me a good feeling and an easy aircraft to fly. Again, how real this is I don’t know, but checking several movies learns me that the Chipmunk was and still is an easy aircraft to fly for both students as for advanced pilots.
Oh yeah, one more thing to check; can you open the canopy during flight and is the modeled Chipmunk equipped with the emergency left-hand side window release system. I can confirm that the canopy can be opened during flight which is something I’ve read, but the release system of the left-hand windows for both seat positions isn’t simulated. All handles that deal with this re modeled but they are not functional.
Sounds and FPS
Let me first start with the frame rates. Of course, the amount of frame rates mainly depends on your PC or Mac hardware, your monitor resolution and the X-Plane Rendering Settings and last but not least, the complexity of the aircraft and its simulated systems and the scenery you’re using or the ground textures you use when flying. That combination gives you in my humble opinion on my iMac high frame rates. And yes, I only tested the Chipmunk on macOS X-Plane but the performances I see are most likely also applicable for Windows and I assume for Linux. The manual only speaks about hardware recommendation, not about which OS so I may assume it’s available for all three known OS.
So frame rates are good, no, excellent. No doubts about that!
The sounds are a bit complicated since the DHC-1 “sounds” folder has only one sound file which is “rain.wav”. I’m not sure if it takes other sound files from another location or just from the default X-Plane sounds folder. So the issue is if the sound of the modeled DHC-1 is realistic, right? To check this out I would like to show you and listen to a real DHC-1 approach and then in particular the cockpit, engine and environmental sound.
I did find many DHC-1 YouTube movies and many recorded from within. the cockpit during a takeoff, climb, cruise and approach with landings, but all had included music to it and that means, I can’t show you since it’s all about the produced engine cockpit sound. So back the to Khamsin DHC-1 sounds. For this I did several flights to figure out it it is perhaps similar to what I’ve seen in the movie. What can I say? Well, I used the above YouTube movie as a reference and check the “kind of DHC-1” sound in the simulator. The engine sound is not the same but that can have many “speaker related”reasons. But I can say that I had the idea that the real sound is different but not in a way that the Khamsin DHC-1 is far from it. Still I’ve got no idea where the sound files have their origin, but more important that it’s a little bit less rough then the real one.
Although Khamsin did model the DHC-1 Chipmunk for X-Plane 10, it must be said that the X-Plane 11 model is not just an updated old model. As far as I can see and as far as my knowledge reaches, lots of things in respect to the 3D aircraft model and the 3D cockpit are completely overhauled with the result a refreshing DHC-1. For those with not that fast PCs or Macs, you have as we see with others the possibility to remove the cockpit glass reflection and instrument reflection. On the other hand, it’s already a frame rate friendly aircraft so I don’t think it’s needed, but just im case.
That said, it has good FPS, it flies great and it comes by default with a Khamsin colored version of AviTab and yes, when you want the full functionality of Folke’s AviTab, then you can install that plugin and enjoy the other functions too.
I’m aware that this is already the summary of the review, but while doing some additional Chipmunk searching, I found the following old historical movie for the Canadian Chipmunk pilots. Check it out!
As usual you can ask me if I covered everything of this nicely modeled Chipmunk? I think I did but there’s always something that I could have missed. In case you have any questions or own experience, feel free to contact us.
More information about the Khamsin DHC-1 can be found at the Khamsin website and don’t forget to check his livery site at this URL. X-Plained reviewer Angelique got her copy via X-Plane.Org. When I’ve triggered your DHC-1 feelings, go visit the dedicated X-Plane.Org Chipmunk X-Plane 11 store page.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Khamsin Studios DHC-1 Chipmunk|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Khamsin Studios|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of the "The Havilland" DHC-1 Chipmunk|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 337MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||October 31st 2020|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro|
|- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz|
|- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB|
|- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4|
|- 1 internal 1TB SSD (Catalina 10.15.x)|
|- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino|
|Software specifications:||- Catalina (10.15.x)|
|- X-Plane 11.50r3|