Commercial Aircraft Review
SMS DHC-2: A Beaver with a Soul
|Add-on:||Realistic presentation of DeHavilland Beaver DHC-2|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Aerosoft | Soulmade|
|Description:||Accurate Reproduction of the DeHavilland Beaver DHC-2|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / approximately 381MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||April 22nd 2015|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013|
|- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode|
|- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB|
|- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3|
|- 1 internal 1TB SSD (El Capitan 10.11.4)|
|- 3 external 1TB SSDs|
|- Saitek Pro Flight System|
|Software specifications:||- El Capitan (10.11.4) | Yosemite (10.10.5) | Mavericks (10.9.5)|
|- Windows 10 Professional|
|- X-Plane 10.45c | X-Plane 10.45m|
I expect you are wondering what the abbreviation SMS means? In fact, it is a company name that reflects passion, and one which has produced an aircraft, in this case the DHC-2 Beaver, that has a soul, combined with some interesting little quirks. The developer’s name is SoulMade Simulations and this is their very first X-Plane aircraft, the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.
Ever wanted to fly a high quality, well-developed and realistic looking de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver? Oh yes, I think many of us have always wanted to fly this aircraft in X-Plane 10 and until now there has not been a well modelled Beaver, but with the release of the SoulMade Simulations, or in short SMS, all this has changed.
What do you get?
The SMS DHC-2 comes in three variants: landplane, bush and amphibious. Since we’re dealing with an old-fashioned modelled DHC-2, the cockpit is portrayed as it was with the original instruments. No fancy EFIS, ECAM, EICAS or FMS, just traditional instruments. This also means that flying the DHC-2, and in particular navigating on your route, has to be done with the help of VOR and NBD beacons. Looking at the complete package, you’re faced with many challenges, but that is what makes this aircraft such fun to fly.
To get a proper appreciation of this DHC-2, you’ll need to locate the Acrobat ‘documents’ folder which can be found in the main aircraft folder. For those who hoped to find a tutorial there, sorry, this is not included. On the other hand, the normal and emergency procedures document gives you a good idea how to handle this DHC-2 and, although a tutorial would be welcome for some simmers, it isn’t a complex aircraft to control and fly. Because the SMS DHC-2 has an Auto Pilot (AP) included, there’s also a separate 2D popup window and a dedicated STEC50 AP manual. As well as the ‘Limitation operation and performance’ and ‘copyright license’ manuals there is a ‘pilots note’ manual. This document has 30 pages of useful information showing what to find where, how to control and monitor the instruments, how to show and control the 2D popup windows and, of course, some aircraft systems background information.
I think it’s worth saying a little more about the popup windows. In the left hand corner you’ll find three white icons with the letters ‘V’,’O’ and ‘A’. The V stands for ‘View Control’ and this menu controls the different pre-programmed internal and external views. The O stands for Options and allows you to control the doors, the type of cabin you want and the tyre type, i.e. whether or not you want to have regular or tundra wheels. And finally, the A is the 2D popup window of the previously mentioned AP panel.
Although quite easy, how does the SMS DHC-2 install in X-Plane?
That’s simple and straightforward. Unzip the package, and copy and paste the complete contents in a sub folder of the Aircraft folder. You can paste the package in the General Aviation folder or you make a subfolder named SoulMade Simulations or just SMS and paste it in there. It is up to you.
I nearly forgot to mention the liveries that are included. Tyre livery versions that are featured are ‘Alaska Forestry’, ‘Civil Air Patrol’,’N295B white brown’, and ‘N323KT red-white’. In addition, there are two amphibious liveries, namely ‘EPOCH Alaska Air’ and ‘N963DH green-white’. There is of course the default grey livery that’s included in the package. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any additional SMS DHC-2 liveries on X-Plane.Org, but found one in the Aerosoft download section. This is the D-FDHB package (http://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/files/file/3505-livery-d-fdhb-for-sms-dhc-2-beaver/).
Personally I would love to see the liveries from the Harbor Air (Canadian based) and Westcoast Air (also Canadian and Victoria based) although the latter actually does not have a DHC-2.
It’s always a challenge to look at how an aircraft is modelled; for example, does the DHC-2 meet your expectations, does it have a weathered look, is the interior cabin modelled, are the aircraft dimensions ok, and so on? One thing I can tell you is that the modelled SMS DHC-2 won’t disappoint you. Although the original layout is simple, the cockpit panel and instruments reflect this, but are so realistic. The panel is really great, at least, when you prefer a weathered look with scratches, dirt etc. I think a weathered look belongs to this type of aircraft. The DHC-2 is an old aircraft and there is little chance of coming across an example with a brand new instrument panel with clean interior. Of course, if a DHC-2 has had a complete overhaul, then you may find a repainted and brand new looking instrument panel with clean interior and new fabrics on the seats, but I personally like the way the SMS Beaver is modelled.
To give the exterior a 3D effect, the objects folder also includes a NML (Normal Mapping) file (10_external_norm.png). In my view the 3D effects of the rivets, skin plates etc. are simulated in a subtle way. Not too much, not too little. Normal mapping files could also have been included for the instrument panel; however, that’s not the case with the DHC-2.
As mentioned before, the cockpit looks highly realistic which is partly due to the weathered look, the instruments, and the panel modelling, but also because the indicator dial plates are razor sharp, panel text wherever applicable is very legible, as well as the center throttle console. The controls are ‘as real as it gets’ as well as the different cabin interiors. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. You can actually choose between three different cabin layouts on the fly: passenger, passenger/cargo and full cargo.
Quick External Check
Doing an external check and finding out how the Beaver is modelled and painted, is an enjoyable experience. As mentioned, the external skin comes with a NML (Normal Mapping) file included, so you can see the 3D effect of the skin plates, rivets etc. However, you can only see this simulated 3D effect under the right lighting conditions. I didn’t check every inch of the modelled Beaver against the real Beaver dimensions, but the overall impression is that Pete Krause, the team leader and lead developer, did a great and accurate job on the Beaver. I also checked some of the liveries and, although they look fine I noticed that the correct font is not always used, but to be fair the real livery has different configurations sometimes and in those cases Pete has had to go for just one example. I also spotted in the case of the yellow/blue Alaska Forestry that the real Beavers have three cabin/cargo windows where the modelled Beaver has two. Also it would be good to see the tail logo readjusted to a slightly smaller size as well as the text.
Besides these minor differences with the real Beaver, the other liveries reflect very accurate representations of how they are in real life.
While doing my external check, you can see weathered spots in several places on the aircraft. Not too much, but just enough to show how close to reality the SMS Beaver is. Although the Beaver is used in tough conditions, the real ones still look very well painted and maintained to keep them looking very new. While altering the external lighting conditions and also the time of the day, you can clearly see the effect of the NML file, which is well done and subtle. Looking at the bottom side of the wing, I’m impressed by the accurate presentation of the weathered aileron external weight (horn) assembly as well as the external hinge constructions of the ailerons and flaps. Before I forget to mention it and yes, it is worth pointing this out, although not easy to see it and even more difficult to make a screenshot of it – take a look at the skin structure of the main gear struts. It’s very difficult to describe, but the skin you see isn’t new, but instead has small scratches, which is typical of an aluminum skin. Super realistic! And it turns out that this real looking aluminum skin, which is never as flat as a porcelain plate, can be found everywhere on the fuselage, although not easy to spot.
A very nice detail is the tail gear assembly. It’s not just a tyre, bracket and strut that links it all together to the fuselage. No, instead you see a very detailed turning bracket mounted to the fuselage, springs, control rods and the assembly that holds the wheel. Nicely modelled and many polygons are used to give it a realistic look.
Turning to frame rates, they are really excellent, at least on my iMac, but I think even on less powerful computers you will also have acceptable frame rates.
Perhaps Pete can have a look to the propeller blade vendor placards. When I zoom in on the propeller blades, I find it barely possible to read the blade manufacturer on this Beaver. I could guess (Hartzell), but sorry, I can’t really make it out. On the other hand, the blade has minor weathered spots which help to make it close to reality. To complete the 3D model, Pete added the option to open and close both pilot and passenger doors. In addition, you can add pre-flight elements and engine pre-heat. As mentioned before, you can even change the cabin interior, but not yet the livery, as can be seen with the latest Carenado/Alabeo aircraft. And, if there’s a requirement to do so, you can replace the regular size wheels with tundra wheels on the fly.
When the engine is not running, it’s a pleasure to see how the radial engine is constructed and you can see quite clearly the cylinders, igniter leads and pushrods to control the inlet and exhaust valves. And finally, the propeller cone looks like glossy aluminum or is it stainless steel? I believe may well be the latter. Most important overall, it looks great! With the pilot doors opened, I think it’s time to check out how this Beaver flies. I’m curious, you too?
But first … Capturing its soul!
I found the following passage in the ‘pilots notes’ manual and think it is well worthwhile bringing this to your attention since helps to explain why this Beaver is so special and why it does have a ‘soul’.
‘To properly model aircraft’s systems, handling, performance and how it looks in a simulator requires a multitude of disciplines. To bring this aircraft to a level of detail that allows simulation and not just emulation, one could hope for an aeronautical engineer for systems and performance design and matching with the built-in computer code of the simulator.
A programmer that can address variances in the flight model, handling, engine and avionics management as well as cosmetic considerations like doors that open and plausible sounds. A test team that is comprised of both real world pilots and experienced simulator pilots; at least one from each category with experience in the exact aircraft being modelled. An artist or team that can replicate the precise look of the craft, inside and out, and match colours, shades and shadows effectively when the craft is active in the running simulator software. This team then could be expected to bring forward an accurate and enjoyable simulated model to be used for whatever purposes it was designed and purchased to meet.
There is an opportunity however to go one step further. The designer can, with great care and extraordinary motivation, breathe ‘life’ into the simulated aircraft – give it ‘soul’. The Beaver, like many other aircraft of its day, had interesting little quirks in the way it handled both in the air and on the ground. Takeoff power is a good example. The Wasp Junior provides, according to spec, about 450 bhp (brake horse power) at 2,300 rpm and about 320 bhp at 30-20 (30″ manifold and 2,000 rpm). A little different than other engines for certain!
Takeoffs and landings are yet another. The Beaver is not all that happy with zero flap in these conditions, as it was built to advantage itself of the single-slotted flap, drooping aileron configuration. No fuel boost pump; that’s what the wobble pump was for. Leaning the engine’s fuel/air mixture was as much an art as a science and the pilot who was stingy with fuel burn would be spending far more in engine overhauls than the one who didn’t mind running a bit rich, especially during climb-out.
As far as flight idiosyncrasies the Beaver has a few that surely don’t come ‘standard’ utilizing the aircraft building tools supplied for the developer. The Beaver did not have a tendency to fall over on a wing at high angles of attack and its stall characteristics were rather docile compared to other similarly weighted and powered aircraft. Also, unlike many tail wheel aircraft of the day, it was not particularly prone to ground looping.
But one of the most intriguing traits, and probably the hardest one to model in a simulated Beaver, is the ability to ‘feel’ small changes in wind and lift even as they were just ‘coming on’. This is mostly due to the size (square area) of the wings and control surfaces. A whisper of ridge lift would bump the craft slightly even before anything registered on the gauges. The onset of a small mass of descending air could be felt in the way that the trim responded. Even the sound of the propeller would clue the savvy pilot in to a change – one that may still have been several seconds yet in the making.
So many engineering features needed to bring the Beaver to life in the X-Plane simulator. Many adjustments and a lot of testing is done to ensure that the aircraft had the muscles of the Beaver and the heart of a machine that has withstood the test of time and utility, in spades.’
Although the above section isn’t mine, it gives a good idea what and how Pete managed to create a real looking Beaver. Now it’s up to me, as far as possible of course, to see, feel and smell the soul of Pete’s Beaver.
Flying the Beaver
Let me say straightaway: if the modelled Beaver flies as real as it gets, that’s something I can’t really confirm in detail because I don’t have a real DHC-2 Beaver license, only a frozen FAA PPL with C152 and C172 endorsements. However, from what I understood from Pete, the flight dynamics have been checked by real Beaver pilots, so on that basis let’s see how it feels, flies and smells.
I hope you’ve taken the time to read the ‘capturing its soul’ section above since it will help you understand the Beaver. At the same time I have to say that the Beaver is an easy to control aircraft, but it flies and handles like an elderly person. Is that a problem? Not at all! Just don’t expect acrobatic flight dynamics, but more a stable and easy to fly aircraft. I point this out now, well in advance: monitor the carburetor icing conditions during your flight and take corrective action before it’s too late! Check on a regular basis the fuel quantity indicators against your fuel selector, and, when using the Auto Pilot, make sure you know how to control and monitor the AP panel. Although there’s a separate AP manual included (AutopilotSTEC50), the AP control panel is what I call a basic AP. However, it must be admitted that the panel does come with the following modes: HDG/STB, ALT, NAV, VOR/LOC (APR) and REV (BACK BEAM), so much more than a really basic AP. The STB (stabilizer mode) is the first active mode when the AP is switched ON and allows you to control the aircraft’s roll with the selector knob.
Moving on, the Beaver has elevator (PITCH) and rudder (YAW) trim. I advise you to set elevator and rudder trim via the X-Plane menu to experience the real available trim in the Beaver.
Anything else you should know in advance or any other preparations to carry out?
Since there’s no tutorial included, I suggest you use the Normal and Emergency Procedures manual as a guideline. You can opt for starting the Beaver with engines running, but please, don’t! Just figure it out yourself. It’s so much more fun to fire it up yourself and not much work to be done in advance. Depending where you fly from, you need to tune into a VOR or NDB station and don’t forget to enter the ATC squawk code. If you want to enjoy the modelled cockpit and cabin during flight, it would be a good idea to switch ON the AP in ALT and HDG or NAV mode. With the AP flying the aircraft, it gives you time to check out how the Beaver is made.
Ground Operation, Taxiing and Takeoff
As mentioned before, using and following the steps in the Normal and Emergency Procedures manual does replace a tutorial. When you’ve decided to start the engine yourself, then please – it’s simulated – warm-up the engine properly. Give it time and monitor the engine parameters like cylinder head temperature. In this manual there’s a special note related to the warm-up procedure of the radial engine: ‘Never rush engine warm up. In very cold conditions, engine warm up to 40 degrees C can take over 10 minutes. Engine pre-heat can be used via the Options menu, before engine start. This will bring engine temperature and cylinder head temperatures to an operating level, before engine start and will heavily reduce the warm-up time.’
Taxiing the Beaver is not complicated, but bear in mind that having the tail wheel limits your forward view as long as the tail wheel is on the ground and you’re controlling the Beaver from the 3D cockpit. When you use external views via ‘Cltr+4’ or ‘Ctrl+6’, then taxiing becomes much easier. Try to taxi slowly and make sure you are not a Speedy Gonzales on the taxiway. The slower you taxi, the better you can stay at the taxi centerline and thus the simpler you can control YAW.
Although it depends a little on what type of runway you choose (paved or grass) and which wheels you’re using (normal or tundra) there’s not really a requirement to select flaps for takeoff. On a grass strip with tundra wheels, which means more rolling resistance, you can always select the first or second flap position. There is also the option to remove the control yoke (click on the large screw above the altimeter) in order to give you a better view of your instrument panel. Apply power, try keeping the Beaver on the runway centerline or in the middle of the grass strip, and the moment you feel and see the Beaver’s tail moving up, you’re close to lift off and, believe me, that goes smoothly. Once in the air, don’t forget to retract the flaps if you had extended them.
Climb and Cruise
During the climb you can decide to select the ‘A’ icon on the screen to popup the AP panel or use the 3D cockpit AP panel. Switch the AP ON and you’ll notice the STB indication in the window. The heading is now set and can be changed by using the rotary knob on the AP panel and the pitch is maintained too. In this case I was climbing with a vertical speed of approximately 800-900 feet per minute. I decided to level off at 4000 feet. The moment I reached 4000 feet, I clicked the ALT button and the AP gently levelled off the vertical speed to 0 feet per minute. This resulted in a cruise altitude of approximately 4000 feet, plus or minus a few feet. You never get it exactly right because you can’t preselect 4000 feet in advance. Additionally, I clicked the rotary knob and added to the AP modes HDG. When you want to change your heading, simple rotate the heading knob on the directional gyro (instrument).
When you prefer to fly towards your destination using VOR or NDB stations, check out their frequencies and enter them one by one. One by one means that the Beaver has only one VOR and one ADF transceiver. By the way, switching between the different cockpit views can be done easily with the help of the ‘V’ icon on your screen. Many predefined previews are set, so it’s much quicker and easier to use this handy ‘V’ popup window than to try to set the views yourself. While cruising, I tried to find a far away VORTAC beacon and yes, I got one; VORTAC PXT (Patuxent) with the frequency 117.60. Oops, almost forgotten. I departed for this cross-country flight from the awesome KFYJ WestPoint airport from Marc Leydecker. I took off from runway 28 and flew in a NNW direction. With the AP flying the Beaver, I’ve got some time to relax and see how this cockpit is made.
Cockpit and cabin impressions
As mentioned before the cockpit doesn’t look new; on the contrary, it looks weathered, but that makes it so realistic, at least, that’s how I feel about it. Some developers don’t like weathered panels, but an old aircraft like the Beaver shouldn’t be brand new.
Regarding the weathered look, the panel has many small scratches, missing paint, some dirt and even the FUEL SELECTOR back plate looks old. To complement this, I would have loved to have seen the AP front panel a little more weathered than it is now. Here it looks brand new. Different from modern aircraft, all the instruments/indicators are positioned behind the front panel. This means that you won’t see any 3D effect of the indicators protruding, since they are recessed behind the panel. Of course, the instrument lighting units, knobs etc. help to give the 3D effect. The Beaver is normally flown from the left-hand pilot seat because only the left-hand instrument panel offers all the flight instruments. The right-hand instrument panel has the radio panel, two light rheostats, functional circuit breakers and an amp and voltmeter. Hopefully you understand that flying from the right-hand seat isn’t a good idea since there are no flight instruments!!
The mid panel section with the engine controls stretches from let’s say the glareshield to the floor. From top to bottom you’ll find engine indicators, engine controls, lever friction knobs (not modelled), engine- and fuel indicators and near the floor control levers, oil filling cap and cabin heat.
The above levers and indicators are functional, so there’s a lot to check out during your cruise. And I must remember to mention the Whiskey compass mounted at the mid window strut.
From the 3D cockpit it’s time to have a quick look at the cabin, cabin/cargo or completely cargo areas. When you look to the modelled seats in the passenger configuration, they seem very basic, but believe me, this is how the real original Beaver seats are. It’s a kind of brown leather and maybe photo real material was obtained but it wouldn’t surprise me if Photoshop was used to get that leather look. One thing is for certain, the walls and ceiling are handmade and there’s no sign of photo-real material there. It looks good to be honest. It’s always a matter of what’s available: high quality photo-real material or just making it yourself. When I change the Beaver to a cargo interior, a good-looking floor becomes visible. Again, no idea if photo-real material is used for this, but the overall look is quite realistic.
Back in the cockpit area, this is a good moment to check out the panel lighting. I can’t say anything else other than it is a very subtle instrument lighting system. Of course, HDR should be used, and as long as your PC can handle this, the instrument lighting is gorgeous. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only instruments that appear to have integral lighting are the engine manifold pressure, the engine PRM indicator, AMPS and VOLT indicators, clock, suction indicator and finally the Whiskey compass. If you’re not happy with this limited lighting, you can always use the MAP lighting. And of course, our passenger also needs some light to read on their trip, and for that reason you can use the CABIN light switch that operates one large light unit in the cabin ceiling.
Descent, approach and landing
One thing is for sure, without Garmin GNS equipment, you need to plan your flight ahead unless you go for a cross-country flight. If that’s the case you will still need to check your route against the map and make a note of what landmarks you can expect and where you’re allowed to fly and where you are not. If you decide to use VOR and/or NDB beacons, then it’s always a good idea make a plan ahead of the flight.
For my arrival airport I use, while still at cruising altitude, the necessary VOR and NDB beacons that lead me to the airport or those beacons situated near the airport. For the rest, just a visual approach unless you’re in IFR conditions. Tuning VOR or NDB frequencies is easy, followed by reading out the instruments and then watching the needle unless you’re using the AP. Descending the Beaver to approach your intended airport can be done by hand. Monitor your vertical speed and follow the ADF or VOR needle. Reduce the throttle and don’t forget to return the lever back to RICH MIXTURE. When you fly under VFR conditions you should really use the VRF approach pattern, but a straight in approach is also OK, at least, that’s how I feel about it. You’re most likely still alone in the air, so you won’t bother any other pilots. If you opt for an instrument approach, it would make sense to print out the relevant approach chart. You can choose what you like but personally I go for a visual approach because believe it or not, our Beaver is such an easy aircraft.
Turning in for final, using PAPI whenever available, you need to keep the Beaver in the middle of the imaginary runway. Select some flaps – full flaps aren’t really needed for a long runway, otherwise it is the best option – and remember to flare a little bit before touchdown. You can switch, if you find that easier, to external view to have a better look at how the Beaver lands. When the main wheels touch down , it’s normal that the tail stays parallel to the runway and thus the tail wheel remains in the air. No worries … reduce the throttle at this point and while the Beaver is slowing down, the tail will gradually drop and the tail wheel will touch the ground. Bear in mind that abrupt braking actions during roll out with the tail still floating in the air could result in a nose down effect resulting in damage to the propeller blades.
And, was it a successful test flight?
I enjoyed every minute of it. Mainly because all was working as expected. And I achieved great frame rates and OK I’m aware I do have a powerful iMac, but even with lower specs the SMS Beaver will perform very well, I’m sure about that. I’m happy that Pete didn’t install the default Garmin GNS because the Beaver never had this. On the other hand, I expect, but I’m not sure, that current aviation regulations require having a Garmin GNS installed. But remember here you are back in time and need to use dead reckoning to get safely to your destination.
Just a reminder about what dead reckoning means?
Taken from Wikipedia ‘Dead reckoning is on the curriculum for VFR (visual flight rules – or basic level) pilots worldwide. It is taught regardless of whether the aircraft has navigation aids such as GPS, ADF and VOR and is an ICAO Requirement. Many flying training schools will prevent a student from using electronic aids until they have mastered dead reckoning.’ You can read the whole article via this URL. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_reckoning)
The Amphibious Beaver
Yes, this is ideal for those who prefer water takeoffs and landings. The current model does have wheels in the floats, but Pete is working on an update with a pure float model. Anyway, I did check the floats with wheels and have to come to the same conclusion, after seeing many real photos, Pete has done it again! All the tiny details as incorporated on the normal model are again seen on these floats. The nose wheel assembly as well as the main wheel and rudder and not to forget the wooden pedals, are all included and modelled with great attention to detail. The rudder at the end of the float is connected to cables and even the springs are included. The same for the nose wheel assembly. Nothing seems to have been forgotten.
And there’s more when you switch to the amphibious model. The Beaver has a dorsal fin; normally that’s on top of the fuselage in front of the vertical stabilizer, now the fin is mounted on the underside of the fuselage to offer more yaw stability. Underneath the wing, you’ll find very detailed ropes which belong to the amphibious docking option that can be found in the Options popup window. And I must not overlook the gear handle with indicator lights in the cockpit, right-hand panel side.
This is a much longer review than planned but there is a lot to cover. At the time of writing, Pete is already busy with an update and one of the enhancements in this new version is a ‘pure’ float model. As mentioned before, the current SMS Beaver does have a float aircraft but with wheels and thus a landing gear that needs to be retracted when you want to land on water. The pure float model is specially designed for takeoffs and landing on water.
Frame rates are great, and the modelled Beaver is very complex and highly detailed including the 3D cockpit. The cockpit is kept as original as possible and therefore no default X-Plane Garmin GNS equipment is included. Looking at some real Beaver cockpit photos, you’ll notice that many cockpit layouts are possible. Some Beavers are left in their original state, others are modified to meet aviation requirements or to match individual pilot’s preferences. I pointed out earlier that some liveries do not fully reflect the real painting scheme, like the Alaska Forestry. Also this DHC-2 has additional windows on each side but that doesn’t really bother me, plus the tail painting and Alaska logo are not quite the same as on the real Beaver.
The Beaver comes with three popup windows which allow you to control views, options and the Auto Pilot panel. I would love to be able, if possible, to select another livery on the fly. Perhaps via a new popup window, it would be useful to select the number of passengers, if applicable, or amount freight or fuel. Another item could be a C.G. graph presentation. I appreciate that you can do this via the X-Plane menu ‘Aircraft – Weight and Fuel’, but it would be great if Pete could implement this on his Beaver. And perhaps Pete could also have a look to see if he’s able to produce crisper propeller blade manufacture decals since the current decals aren’t legible to me.
When writing this review, I never intended to compare it with other DHC-2 aircraft or similar models. STMA has a Beaver for X-Plane 10 and not long ago RWDesigns released their DHC-6. I think it isn’t fair to compare the STMA DHC-2 with this brand new great looking SMS DHC-2. All new X-Plane features are included (sorry if I’ve forgotten some,) and it looks gorgeous, being modelled with great precision. The RWDesigns DHC-6 isn’t the same aircraft, but from the same De Havilland company and of course the DHC-6 is much bigger and not really a bush aircraft. I think this SMS Beaver 3D model is much more accurate and although the 3D cockpit is easier, it offers great frame rates and that’s not really the case with the RWDesigns DHC-6. While writing this, I contemplate the possibility in the future of a ‘skies’ version. I’ve seen photos at Airliners.Net, so perhaps Pete will also offer a ‘skies’ version soon in a future update.
Did I forgot something?
Perhaps I should cover the DreamEngine Sound registration. By the way, DreamEngine is a product from DreamFoil Creations. Anyway, DreamEngine brings to X-Plane the capability of simulating better sounds, and gives a greater control over sounds and how they should behave. It´s very customizable for developers, and they can do a variety of different sounds and it is simple to attach a sound to a dataref and the dataref output values. When you mention DreamEngine, you think of 3D positional sounds, 3D coning, layered sounds, headphone simulation, Doppler effect, low pass filtering and +128 sound sources. Want to know more about DreamEngine? Check it out at the dedicated DreamFoil page.
I expect I have missed something, but I have tried to cover most of the aircraft systems and of course you still need to read the manuals provided.
Pete, you did a great job!
You can grab the SoulMade Simulations de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver via the dedicated Aerosoft eShop web page. (http://en.shop.aerosoft.com/eshop.php?action=article_detail&s_supplier_aid=13589&s_design=DEFAULT&shopfilter_category=Flight%20Simulation&s_language=english)
For this review, I used as well as the payware Soulmade Simulations DHC-2 Beaver, the following payware and freeware add-on products:
Freeware | 19AK Icy Bay Airport
Freeware | PATK Talkeetna Airport
Freeware | PAWD Seward Airport
Freeware | RD Library
Freeware | KFYJ West Point from Marc Leydecker aka Belga12345
Payware | SkyMAXX Pro 2.11
Angelique van Campen