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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On a Long, Grounded Journey…

PA321_Taca_FS9

Life is one long journey.  At time we are in the skies, below the water and, most often, on the ground.  Regardless of your life purpose, there are times we all must focus our energy on other things, letting some of the things we love fall through the cracks.

Such is the case with A Reality of My Own.  I started this blog so many years ago to document my experiences, flights, and favorite add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator.  I am always flattered when I look back on the history of this blog and the visits it receives on a daily basis.  I never had any other goal for A Reality of My Own than to combine my love for the hobby of flight simulation with my passion for writing.  Since more than one of you look at this blog on a regular basis, the success makes me realize I am not alone.

The past few years have seen the demise of Microsoft’s control of flight simulator, larger, bigger screened iPhones/Androids, and even the appearance of self-driving cars on our streets.  Like the world around us, flight simulator has changed.   The new players are Laminar Research’s X-Plane (9 & 10) and Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D (their interpretation of the MS franchise).   While I personally never got into Prepar3D after their 2.0 release, I have fallen in love with X-Plane.

So, let’s begin a new chapter of the A Reality of my Own journey and explore the world of X-Plane together.  In fact, we might even explore the World of Tanks (WoT) a bit too.  War Gaming’s phenomenal MMO is a love or hate it experience, but I have found some tidbits the greater community might find interesting and they fit in well with the A Reality of My Own journey. Hope you don’t mind.

Over the coming weeks, I will work on updating the look and feel of this blog and also start tracking down broken links.  There is a lot to do and a lot to share.

 

A Smaller Side of Aviation

As an Analyst, I spend a lot of time paying attention to outliers in data sets.  Outliers are the odd balls that typically sit at one end of the spectrum or the other, separate from the population group.  Light sport aircraft (LSA) definitely fits into the outlier category of aviation.  This growing segment of ultra-small aircraft provide a restricted, but easy access to the friendly skies for those who may not become full private pilots in larger aircraft.   

One of the best LSA aircraft for X-Plane 9 and 10 is the Tecnam P2004 Bravo by TexasRanger.  Available for download from the .org file library, this great little aircraft is great to spend a few hours in shooting touch and goes and exploring more detailed scenery that screams for a low and slow experience. 

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I spent about an hour conducting touch and goes at Santa Barbara Municipal (KSBA) in this tiny bird and have to say that I appreciate the light feel and nimble characteristics.  The Italian made competitor to the Cessna 152 trainer, the P2004 does not try to be anything more than basic airborne transportation.  Even though it is relatively forgiving to fly, it is easy to over control the aircraft and end up in trouble. 

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Jumping back into Carenado’s Cessna C172N for a quick trip down to Camarillo, the 172 felt heavy, almost as if I was flying a Cadillac.  The Tecnam was surprisingly agile which gives the small-ish 172 a much heavier feel.  However, the 172 did feel much more in control when I let go of the controls.  Both aircraft are a lot of fun to fly, but I really look forward to spending more time in the Tecnam, especially in X-Plane 10. 

Download: < .org Tecnam Bravo P2004

Weather, Fog and a Cool View

 

Sometimes, the less than ideal weather that causes that voice in the back of your brain to scream, “don’t fly! don’t fly!”, really is the best weather to fly in.  Not only for entertainment purposes, but also because it can make you a better pilot.

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I recently took the SSG 747-8f out for a spin around the Seattle area.  The Cargolux beast took to the air from Everett/Paine Field and quickly became consumed in fog.  Flying IFR was great on the ascent, but changed to chase view in X-Plane to capture the above image.  Sorta of reminds me of jaws coming out of the deep blue sea.  Without the tail, the sexy, curvaceous fuselage really pops.

Happy Flying!

 

A Cessna 182RG Turbo for X-Plane

Surprises are always great unless they involve death or car crashes.  Luckily for the X-Plane community, this post doesn’t have anything to do with death or car crashes.  That means good news for the general aviation crowd running X-Plane (9 or 10 works).

The great news is the .Org (X-Plane.org) purchased from Shade Tree Micro Aviation (STMA, checkout their awesome DHC-3 Otter!) their Cessna Skylane Turbo RG model and have made it free to their members.  Whenever a former payware aircraft goes freeware, you have to take a step back and bring your expectations down a level.   In this case, they don’t have to come down too far.

STMA’s Cessna SkyLane 182RG for X-Plane

 

I took the Skylane out for a test flight from Three Forks, MT to Bozeman, MT and have to say my expectations were beyond met.  Granted this is an older model and you can tell it is more of X-Plane 8.6 refinement, but the panel, virtual cockpit, flight dynamics, and overall package are superb.   While perhaps lower in quality compared to Carenado’s payware, the overall package delivered here for free sets it apart.

The modeled interior is a welcoming place to spend a few hours.  While the refinement will likely be hard for some to get over, the fact is that the interior is there.  Seating for four, door handles, and yokes have been fully modeled.  While I was a bit disappointed with the 2D-like panel in the virtual cockpit, you have to remind yourself that everything you need is there; light switches, HSI, altimeter, throttles, etc.

Hey, it has a back seat!

The Skylane Turbo packs a bunch with over 200-hp and a cruise speed of 150+ knots.  The retractable gear is also fully animated and its just cool to watch it fold back into the stowed position with this model.    The flight dynamics are “reactive” yet forgiving.  True to the X-Plane feel, you have to fly this plane or set the auto pilot.

Power and speed in a compact package, the SkyLane Turbo is a great companion.

Perhaps one of the best features is the return you get in frame rates.  Running this model on X-Plane 9.70 on my old 2007 iMac with settings cranked fairly high, I was able to get 45+ fps, easy.  That means more processor power for the world around you.

< Cessna SkyLane Turbo 182RG for X-Plane  >

So, if you haven’t already skipped to this part (who reads these posts anyway?), you can download the model over at the .Org.  Just make sure to say a thank you to Shade Tree Micro Aviation and the .Org while you are over there.

 

Carenado’s Cessna 337H

Carenado sneaks up on you at times and just screams in your ear, scaring you half to death.  Well, not quite, but seeing the release of their Cessna C337H for X-Plane was a big surprise.   Now this means that I have yet another awesome aircraft to buy…   Who knew running a flight simulator blog could get so expensive??

< Carenado’s Cessna C337H page >

Anyway, you X-Plane Cessna fanatics better get over to their store and buy it.

Poll: Which Flight Simulator Do You Fly Most?

With an upcoming series of posts that touch on multiple flight simulator products, please share which flight simulator that you fly the most?

Poll closes Friday, November 2nd at Noon PST!