Flying the DHC Dash7 in FSX

Years ago, Milton Shupe and the rest of the Flightsimonline development team released a stunning de Havilland Canada Dash-7 for FS2002/FS2004.  This aircraft became a remarkable workhorse in my virtual hanger.  A four engined turboprop with STOL capabilities clearly is a very capable aircraft that earns its respect.

Sadly, when FSX debuted, the Dash-7 was left behind.  While it did sorta work in FSX, the usual bugs such as disappearing propellers and strange flight dynamics made this aircraft far from a joy to fly.  Lucky for FSX users, Shupe and team ported the recently updated FS2004 version to FSX.  I am happy to say that my workhorse is back for another beating in the FSX virtual hanger.

At dusk, the Dash-7 sits on the ramp at KSBA in FSX

At dusk, the Dash-7 sits on the ramp at KSBA in FSX

I flew it on a two test flights between KSBA and KONT and couldn’t have been happier.  The sounds, the virtual cockpit and cabin/cargo, the flight dynamics and the sexy fuselage all live up the expectation of its original release.  We are indebted to Shupe, Flightsimonline, and the rest of the team for bringing this update to our hangers.

< Visit the DHC Dash-7 Homepage >

Now go do some intense bush flying with tons of cargo!

Another X-Plane Release: Carenado’s F33A

Just announced is the release of Carenado’s Beechcraft Bonanza F33A.  We’ve been seeing the previews for weeks now and we finally get to load the model up in X-Plane and take her out for a orientation flight.  Does Carenado’s latest live up to the hype?

< Carenado’s F33A Bonanza >

After taking the F33A Bonanza out for a short flight around Moab, UT, I am quite pleased with my $26.95 purchase.  While I need a lot more time behind the yoke, I can tell you this:  The F33A is worth every penny and will make a great cross country cruiser.

One thing I noticed immediately was how long it took the power to come up and get the plane moving.  Granted I was taking off from 5,400 feet in elevation on a gravel runway, so this issue might be limited to my choice of orientation flights. (Update: Flew from Camarillo, CA and the power came up quickly and smoothly. Elevation has a lot to do with engine performance and that is definitely modeled well here.)

Once airborne though, it handled like a dream.  Throwing the yoke left to right and feeling the nimble reaction of the aircraft, reminded me greatly of the performance Mooney models (the M20J is also available from Carenado).  With entertaining handling and relatively fast cruise speed, I really can’t wait to take this baby out on a longer flight!

On this inside, there are plenty of things to click that also have automation.  On this orientation flight, I started the F33A cold and dark, so flicking the switches, setting mixture and throttle, and turning the key were superbly modeled and really made me believe I was a real pilot sitting in a real Beechcraft.  All I missed was that strange aviation smell.

Like the Cessna 172N, the interior includes a pop-up from the brim of the dash cover that gives quick access to panels like switches and the fuel lever.  There is even a rear seat view, but it is not as cool as that included in the 172N. Why? Because the view is from the luggage deck, so a large portion of the screen is useless compared to the full cinematic view of the 172N.

The sound of the virtual Continental engine is spot on.  I always thought these engines sounded like they were over revved up all the time and this feeling came through in this package.  Even subtle changes to the throttle position produces variations in pitch (and you can almost feel the vibration) of the engine.  While not as entertaining or throaty as the Lycoming engines, this one still provides an authentic experience for the ears.

Even still, the overall package of the Beechcraft F33A is superb.  While I am critical of the chosen rear seat view, I am quite happy to report that the Beechcraft does live up to the hype we’ve been seeing on Carenado’s Facebook page for the past few months.  The only thing better would be the V-tail model (which my grandfather was part of the engineering team that designed it), which shares the same fuselage, but uses the distinctive V-tail design.

< for other reviews of Carenado models click here >

So, if you haven’t already, buy this thing…  the virtual pilot inside you will thank you later!