A Classic DC-3 For X-Plane 10/11

XPlane DC3 by Vskylabs

VSkyLabs Douglas DC-3 for X-Plane 11

Every aviation enthusiast has an appreciation for the Douglas DC-3.  It may not get your adrenaline pumping as much as a high speed pass by a P-51 Mustang or Spitfire, but the venerable DC-3 has a remarkable history everyone must appreciate.  From revolutionizing airline travel to carrying paratroopers into France to hauling cargo around the frozen north of Canada and Alaska, the DC-3 is an accomplished design.

Now you can fly the DC-3 in X-Plane 10 and 11.  The quality add-on by vSkyLabs focuses less on eye candy and shifts toward realism.  If you are used to the point and fly dynamics of FSX, then this isn’t the aircraft for you. But, if you want to try your hand at operating this workhorse, then grab the model.  Heck, if you want have a bit of aviation nostalgia in your virtual hangar, then grab the model.   But, read the instructions first!

The visual model is a little dated, but still relevant.  It is a model from an older version updated and ported to work with XP10 and XP11.  While a little rough around the edges, you can appreciate the classic DC-3 nose, square side windows and the unique tail section.  To me, the protruding landing gear behind the oil coolers is really what makes this a DC-3!

The cockpit of the VSKYLABS DC-3 SeattleOn the inside, using Shift-9, you can fly the aircraft from the Virtual Cockpit view.  Holding a right click on the mouse allows you to pan around the 3D model of the cockpit and cabin.  Plenty of switches, nobs and levers to keep your inner pilot giddy for hours.

This model truly shines from when you start the takeoff roll, or even before if you start the sim cold and dark.  This model behaves like a real DC-3.  Locking the tail wheel is a must!  Proper trim, power setting, and finesse of the controls is the name of the game.  Abuse this plane and it will result in virtual personal injury.  You truly have to be aware of what the aircraft is doing and don’t over correct or over control the aircraft.  The DC-3 is a gem to fly, if you work with her, not against her.

For $19.95, this is a great deal.  While the visual model might not be the best thing out there, it does not matter since the flying dynamics and realism are what counts in this purchase.  I highly recommend this purchase for all serious simmers.

Purchase From X-Plane.org

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New X-Plane Directory Published

The MS Flight Simulator Directory I created to help virtual pilots find some of the more popular aircraft for FS9/FSX was such a hit, I decided to compile one for X-Plane. (You can my gibberish below and go right to the directory here if you must.)

X-Plane, like FS9/FSX, represents a blank canvas for virtual pilots to create their own reality (hence: A Reality of My Own).  Unfortunately, out of the box, X-Plane doesn’t offer much in the way of scenic eye candy while on approach to the runways.

Even with a host of included aircraft, X-Plane doesn’t have an all inclusive virtual hangar.  With talented designers out there that recreate their favorite aircraft in great detail, there is always something new to load, fly, and explore.

< Click here to visit the X-Plane Directory >

So, head on over and take a look at some of my favorites.  If you have any suggestions for the content of the page, please leave a comment or send me a tweet (@MyFlightSim).

Cheers! Happy Flying!

AROMO!

A New Boeing 727 For FSX

Thomas Ruth is most well known for his Airbus line of models for FSX.  The A340, A330, A310 and A300 come to mind and are constantly in the “Top Files” charts at avsim.com. His models are a great compromise between detail, frame rates and realism.  In addition, Thomas’s consistency across all of his models is exemplary.

Taxi for takeoff at KVCV

He must have run out of Airbus inspiration as he recently released a really cool Boeing 727 package for FSX.  Included are the -100 and -200 models with a few liveries to match.   Included is a detailed virtual cockpit, wing views, and enough eye candy to satisfy any flight sim enthusiast.  My favorite feature is the virtual cockpit as they always a sense of realism to the model.  I don’t care how great the exterior model is, a 2-d panel just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I am a virtual pilot seeking realism and Thomas Ruth delivers!

Gear retraction in early morning sunrise.

For my inaugural flight in a 727-100C wearing UPS colors, I flew an early morning flight from Victorville (KVCV) to San Luis Opisbo (KSBP) to see how she flies and how the frame rates handle this large metal bird.   As I pushed the throttles forward, the 727 very reluctantly started to move.  In fact, my reaction turned to wondering whether or not this thing will ever get up enough speed to take flight.  Since this was a new aircraft and the older jetliners weren’t as responsive as today’s jets, I sat back and watched the needle slowly move around the circle. Eventually, and with room to spare, this UPS 727 took flight!

Turning to course for San Luis Opisbo.

With gear retracted, we made a left turn toward to a heading that would take us to SLO.  The flight was relatively short, with only a few hundred nautical miles separating the two airports.  While in the real world, this would have been costly and there must have be good financial reason for making such a flight, the short distance lets me spend time behind the yoke and get an impression of this awesome bird.  After all, this is A Reality of My Own.

To save you the time, I will simply say this bird cruises well.  The autopilot functioned as it should and the virtual cockpit was an excellent place to monitor traffic, gauges, and the view outside. With fully clickable buttons and good quality gauges, the realism is what we have come to expect from an FSX model.  The engine sound is spot on and you can almost smell the stale coffee brewing in the galley.

Turning to final

Clicking off the autopilot and “stick” flying this bird to landing gave me a chance to feel how this bird really handles.  With just a banking turn after take off and a few minutes of flat and level flying during cruise, I really didn’t have the opportunity to put it through its pace, until now.  I am happy to say that there are no surprises, other than it handles like an older jetliner should.  When you start to bank, it feels sluggish and resists the change in motion.  Bank too much and the nose drops very quickly.   Maneuvering to short final reinforced this as I came in off center and too high initially.

Slammin' down on the pavement

With a little finessing and careful use of the throttles, flaps, and speed brakes, I was able to align with the runway and slow the bird down.  Unfortunately, that day there was a stiff cross wind and I ended landing off center. Initially I was disappointed with myself, but a commercial pilot I know said that they do land off center as the ride is typically a bit smoother. So, maybe I knew what I was doing, but I was surprised how hard I hit the runway.  This was one “hot” landing.  Engaging the reverse thrusters and slowing down was not an issue and I was happy to feel how composed the 727 was despite the harsh landing.

Whew! Made it to the ramp!

Taxiing to the gate proved to be simple, with a straight line shot from the runway turnoff to the ramp.  The 727 turns as expected and it has that jet handling, sluggish to get started, but then speeds up quickly as friction is overcome, forcing one to throttle back to keep the speed down.   Arriving at the gate, it was time to shut down the engines and take another look at the exterior model.  With fully animated doors and operating rear stairs give this three holer more of a sense of realism parked at the gate.  One problem though, is the UPS freighter livery does not have an opening cargo door.  This is likely because the model is a passenger version wearing a freighter livery.  Perhaps a true 727-100F/200F will be released at some point.

Overall, Ruth’s Boeing 727 for FSX hits the mark and is a great addition to my virtual hanger.  Like the Airbus models released before it, this 727 has a great virtual cockpit, enough eye candy to please the gamers and is easy enough on the frame rates that it does not choke our video cards.   Go get it if you haven’t already!

Author: Thomas Ruth
Filename: tom7271.zip (fix: tom72fix.zip)
Download: tom7271.zip on Avsim (fix download)

Update: Thomas Ruth also released the Boeing 727-200 Advanced model.  Follow this link to grab it from Avsim.

Anyone For A Vintage Swallow?

In the past few posts, the focus has been on jets and larger aircraft such as the C-17 cargo jet.  Well, maybe it is time to take a look at something a little slower… and a little smaller.

BA Swallow over Long Beach

The Swallow takes to the skies over Long Beach

Over at Classic British Files, there is a new release that caught my eye, the British Aircraft Co. Swallow modeled by Paul Gausden and Doug Kightley for FSX.

This 1930’s popular aircraft proved to be very robust and safe, which gave it a home with both the Royal Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Its 85 hp radial engine propels the aircraft to a top speed of 90 knots.  Not fast, but then in 1930, getting off the ground was considered to be a delight.

Head on over to Classic British Files, download this beauty and give her a spin around the virtual world.  <direct download>

Cheers!

(wikipedia reference)