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Current state of Majestic Dash-8 Q400 simulation

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Hi.

 

I consider buying this turboprop now but after reading many opinions all over the Internet I have mixed feelings. It seems this plane is on par with PMDG products but in the same time it has some annoying bugs as a brand-new design. Therefore I'd like to clarify several things before purchase:

 

- How does installation process look like? What about patch installation? Is complete reinstall always necessary? Do I also need to install DirectX every time? How does activation process look like?

 

- What about several top issues: torque effect causing bouncing starts and landings, inability to catch ILS in stable way, advancing throttle power during landings etc.

 

- What is AIRAC support for this plane? Is its FMS fairly complete or some functions are absent/simplified versus real thing? Are there any problems with vertical speed management,  flight parameters predictions etc.?

 

- Does MJ Dash-8 Q400 have comprehensive manual, let's say comparable with PMDG 737NGX, or new user has to search the Internet to find more detailed informations he needs to flight this plane?

 

Thanks in advance for all your replies.


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- How does installation process look like? What about patch installation? Is complete reinstall always necessary? Do I also need to install DirectX every time? How does activation process look like?

• Buy product • Download .exe file • Run .exe file • Press "Next" and "OK" lots. • That's it.

 

When they patch it, you:

• Download .exe file • Run .exe file • Press "Next" and "OK" lots. • (Then growl that you forgot to back up your repaints that you now have to install again lol).

 

I don't think I even looked at DirectX once in that time.

 

- What about several top issues: torque effect causing bouncing starts and landings, inability to catch ILS in stable way, advancing throttle power during landings etc.

• Torque effect is modeled. This makes landing 'different' to other aircraft. This is true of the real Q400 too.

• "bouncing" on landing... I'm not convinced it isn't operator error. I bounced my first few landings on this plane too. Don't anymore.

• Bounce on start may happen. I sometimes have it load up with the 'gear up' which can cause some bouncing. Quickly pressing "y" on keyboard to enter slew, then coming out of slew a second later stops any movement and puts the gear down properly. I havn't seen big bounces, more just a kind of slide and wallow. Maybe slow PC's with bad FPS may have worse reaction. Not a show stopper by any means.

- What is AIRAC support for this plane? Is its FMS fairly complete or some functions are absent/simplified versus real thing? Are there any problems with vertical speed management, flight parameters predictions etc.?

• FMS functions like the real one. There are some systems not there relating to maintenence functions (that pilots should never see anyway) and there was once a problem with the hold function that has since been fixed in the current version. Some people think VNAV isn't implimented right. These people need to read the manual, because it is. Predicted time To-Waypoint has been pretty spot on, but (like the real one) may not predict large speed changes.

 

There is no Autothrottle on the Q400 or any other Dash-8. In real life.

 

I'v heard user defined waypoints may not exist in this thing (yet?), but I havn't had any need to use it because the AIRAC data is up to date, thorough, and I havn't seen any missing procedures yet... (though I have only flown it in Australia so far and havn't even come across the need to add a place/bearing/distance and havn't tried that yet.)

 

- Does MJ Dash-8 Q400 have comprehensive manual, let's say comparable with PMDG 737NGX, or new user has to search the Internet to find more detailed informations he needs to flight this plane?

It's got plenty of manual. It doesn't however shout "THIS IS NOT LIKE FLYING A JET IN ANY WAY' all the time, which it perhaps should :P The FMS is also different to any of the things you might find on a Boeing or Airbus, or even Embraier. There is no Autothrottle, so the VNAV is less .. capable? but again, real one seems to be like this too. Plenty in the manual tells you what it can do. Don't think "Boeing aircraft can do X, so the Q400 probably does it too, I wonder why the manual doesn't tell me how to do it?" - The manual doesn't tell you what it can't do. Just how to do the things it can do.

 

I have never flown in a Q400, don't know any Q400 pilots, havn't been in a Dash-8 sim, but I'm operating it in what I would like to consider a competent fasion using nothing but the included manuals, and a few youtube comments here and there responding to my own videos.

 

 

Things I don't like mostly relate to what I like about the 737NGX. The options menu being a standalone program for one. I like hitting up the PMDG NGX's FMS and telling it how many passengers and cargo and fuel I want. No multiple screens, windows, alt-tabbing etc. Q400 has a program to edit things like kg/lbs weight display, weight and passenger distribution, fuel, customer cockpit options etc. I'd rather it stayed in-sim as a 2d popup or something so you don't have to leave the sim to edit stuff.

 

The sounds are awesome and run even when the flightsim window isn't the focus window. I wish other planes could do this! It makes creating videos just that extra bit nicer.


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Trent Hopkinson, 2015 Crewmember of www.mangrove.com.au WorldFlight sim

          Youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/musicalaviator

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• Buy product • Download .exe file • Run .exe file • Press "Next" and "OK" lots. • That's it.

 

When they patch it, you:

• Download .exe file • Run .exe file • Press "Next" and "OK" lots. • (Then growl that you forgot to back up your repaints that you now have to install again lol).

 

I don't think I even looked at DirectX once in that time.

 

• Torque effect is modeled. This makes landing 'different' to other aircraft. This is true of the real Q400 too.

• "bouncing" on landing... I'm not convinced it isn't operator error. I bounced my first few landings on this plane too. Don't anymore.

• Bounce on start may happen. I sometimes have it load up with the 'gear up' which can cause some bouncing. Quickly pressing "y" on keyboard to enter slew, then coming out of slew a second later stops any movement and puts the gear down properly. I havn't seen big bounces, more just a kind of slide and wallow. Maybe slow PC's with bad FPS may have worse reaction. Not a show stopper by any means.

• FMS functions like the real one. There are some systems not there relating to maintenence functions (that pilots should never see anyway) and there was once a problem with the hold function that has since been fixed in the current version. Some people think VNAV isn't implimented right. These people need to read the manual, because it is. Predicted time To-Waypoint has been pretty spot on, but (like the real one) may not predict large speed changes.

 

There is no Autothrottle on the Q400 or any other Dash-8. In real life.

 

I'v heard user defined waypoints may not exist in this thing (yet?), but I havn't had any need to use it because the AIRAC data is up to date, thorough, and I havn't seen any missing procedures yet... (though I have only flown it in Australia so far and havn't even come across the need to add a place/bearing/distance and havn't tried that yet.)

 

It's got plenty of manual. It doesn't however shout "THIS IS NOT LIKE FLYING A JET IN ANY WAY' all the time, which it perhaps should :P The FMS is also different to any of the things you might find on a Boeing or Airbus, or even Embraier. There is no Autothrottle, so the VNAV is less .. capable? but again, real one seems to be like this too. Plenty in the manual tells you what it can do. Don't think "Boeing aircraft can do X, so the Q400 probably does it too, I wonder why the manual doesn't tell me how to do it?" - The manual doesn't tell you what it can't do. Just how to do the things it can do.

 

I have never flown in a Q400, don't know any Q400 pilots, havn't been in a Dash-8 sim, but I'm operating it in what I would like to consider a competent fasion using nothing but the included manuals, and a few youtube comments here and there responding to my own videos.

 

 

Things I don't like mostly relate to what I like about the 737NGX. The options menu being a standalone program for one. I like hitting up the PMDG NGX's FMS and telling it how many passengers and cargo and fuel I want. No multiple screens, windows, alt-tabbing etc. Q400 has a program to edit things like kg/lbs weight display, weight and passenger distribution, fuel, customer cockpit options etc. I'd rather it stayed in-sim as a 2d popup or something so you don't have to leave the sim to edit stuff.

 

The sounds are awesome and run even when the flightsim window isn't the focus window. I wish other planes could do this! It makes creating videos just that extra bit nicer.

 

 

The fmc is pretty complete except user defined waypoints.  

 

I always run the latest Airac but user defined waypoitns has nothing to do with how recent your navdata is.  It is used so the pilot can create a spot to use a nav reference for example if you want to fly 13 miles out from the PVD vor on the 220 radial on the real dash UNS-1 you can enter pvd01 and since the FMC knows this is not a real waypoint it will bring up a screen where you can define that waypoint and then you can plug it in the flight plan. 

 

Comes in very handy, especially when trying to fly online and a controller throws a place bearing distance at you.  


Mike Avallone

9900k@5.0,Corsair H115i cooler,ASUS 2080TI,GSkill 32GB pc3600 ram, 2 WD black NVME ssd drives, ASUS maximus hero MB

 

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The fmc is pretty complete except user defined waypoints.  

 

I always run the latest Airac but user defined waypoitns has nothing to do with how recent your navdata is.  It is used so the pilot can create a spot to use a nav reference for example if you want to fly 13 miles out from the PVD vor on the 220 radial on the real dash UNS-1 you can enter pvd01 and since the FMC knows this is not a real waypoint it will bring up a screen where you can define that waypoint and then you can plug it in the flight plan. 

 

Comes in very handy, especially when trying to fly online and a controller throws a place bearing distance at you.  

 

Yep, I know what a P/B/D waypoint is, and how to use them on the Boeing FMS (And even MD11). Even raw co-ordinate waypoints that aren't a whole degree. (ie S6120.4E13244.1 = S61°20.4', E132°44.1' for example).


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Trent Hopkinson, 2015 Crewmember of www.mangrove.com.au WorldFlight sim

          Youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/musicalaviator

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Yep, I know what a P/B/D waypoint is, and how to use them on the Boeing FMS (And even MD11). Even raw co-ordinate waypoints that aren't a whole degree. (ie S6120.4E13244.1 = S61°20.4', E132°44.1' for example).

 

Oh I went back and reread your post.  I thought you said you don't need it since your airac is up to date. I hope they add that functionality into the pro version. 


Mike Avallone

9900k@5.0,Corsair H115i cooler,ASUS 2080TI,GSkill 32GB pc3600 ram, 2 WD black NVME ssd drives, ASUS maximus hero MB

 

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Oh I went back and reread your post.  I thought you said you don't need it since your airac is up to date. I hope they add that functionality into the pro version. 

 

Yea, I just tend to fly the Q400 in Australia on the real Qantaslink routes. Most of those depart capital city airports with all the Rnav and what have you SID/STAR structures, out to uncontrolled CTAF airports in rural regional and remote locations which only have VOR, NDB or even no ground based aids, and no ATC. So I'm generally using pre-programmed SID/STAR routes, Pre-Programmed RNAV routes, Pre-Programmed LNAV tracks based on VOR/DME entry stuff, or raw data navaids.

 

I do know other parts of the world may be very different to this kind of flying, with ATC issuing radar vectors then asking traffic to track to, for instance "Direct to location 30DME on the 153 degree radial outbound from the HAR VOR thence HALOL as filed."

 

I just havn't had the need to in the current flying I'v been doing on Vatsim. (I'v had a few 'join x radial outbound' in Class D airspace, but I'v been lucky enough to be able to just use the VOR itself, or even use the LNAV intercept because the outbound radial was the one I planned on the flightplan anyway!)


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Trent Hopkinson, 2015 Crewmember of www.mangrove.com.au WorldFlight sim

          Youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/musicalaviator

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How about importing a flight plan?. will it take a FSX flight plan or one from Flight Sim Commander or even Plan-G? texerrn


Lee Stubblefield

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How about importing a flight plan?. will it take a FSX flight plan or one from Flight Sim Commander or even Plan-G? texerrn

 

To the best of my knowledge, the FMS accepts loading of saved routes but not sure in what format, so I wouldn't bank on any of those addons being able to export to it.


ckyliu, proud supporter of ViaIntercity.com. Find my spec and settings in "About me" on my profile.

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Hi,

 

First off, let me start by saying that I know I'm a Beta Tester, but I wouldn't be if I didn't love this product.

 

 


- How does installation process look like? What about patch installation? Is complete reinstall always necessary? Do I also need to install DirectX every time? How does activation process look like?

Activation is straight-forward. It is no more intrusive than for other products.

 

 

 

- What about several top issues: torque effect causing bouncing starts and landings, inability to catch ILS in stable way, advancing throttle power during landings etc.

 

This is a matter of pilot technique. The Dash 8 uses a truly external flight model, totally independent of FSX. As a result, the flight physics are far superior to anything you might have experienced before on a desktop computer. The aircraft handles very close to the real thing, and as a result, requires the same care in handling that the real thing requires.

 

Due to the location of the engines/propellers, a large amount of lift is generated by the flow over the wing from the props, thus, if you pull the power back to idle during landing, the aircraft will fall out of the sky and give a very harsh landing, as you just removed a lot of lift that was keeping it flying. The technique is pull the power off very slightly (not very much, and certainly not all the way), whilst hardly flaring at all. This will result in nice touchdowns without bounce, and will help avoid a tail strike (which is **VERY** easy to do in this aircraft).

 

I have found the autopilot to behave very well in all flight regimes.

 

 

- What is AIRAC support for this plane? Is its FMS fairly complete or some functions are absent/simplified versus real thing? Are there any problems with vertical speed management,  flight parameters predictions etc.?

Nothing is simplified - it is as per the real thing. There are time predictions, distance calculations, etc.. but vertical planning is up to the pilot. The VNAV will calculate a top of descent, but it will not fly the aircraft for you. You need to tell it the crossing restrictions, and manually program the VNAV function (which is a descent-only mode by the way!).

 

Speed management is entirely manual, so you must be aware of when you climb/descend, and manage the power correctly.

 

 

 

- Does MJ Dash-8 Q400 have comprehensive manual, let's say comparable with PMDG 737NGX, or new user has to search the Internet to find more detailed informations he needs to flight this plane?

The manuals provided with the product are sufficient, but as always, you can find more information on the internet. This is true of any product.

 

 

 

Thanks in advance for all your replies.

You're welcome!

 

Best regards,

Robin.

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I just bought it, and altough I haven't had time to fly that much, I really do like it! Performance is amazing, better than the ngx, that a huge bonus for me since I have kinda of an old machine now...

I tested some BASIC autopilot functions and they all work as expected, the IAS capture works very precisely. Tiller steering is a nice touch, and I just love the control one has while taxiing with the use of beta, very smooth, I love it!

At first glance it seams a solid product.

I'm glad I got this instead of something else! Money well spent...

 

 

David


David

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It is a very good simulations, but I was disappointed that this plane (and the real one) does not have an auto-throttle, and therefore does not support autoland. You can siulate autoland pretty well if you slow down just enough so that the nose raises a bit (not enough to hit the tail), while being careful not to stall (when this plane starts to stall while landing, you are dead!).

 

Henri


Henri Arsenault

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It is a very good simulations, but I was disappointed that this plane (and the real one) does not have an auto-throttle, and therefore does not support autoland. You can siulate autoland pretty well if you slow down just enough so that the nose raises a bit (not enough to hit the tail), while being careful not to stall (when this plane starts to stall while landing, you are dead!).

 

Henri

No turboprop I know has autothrottle (and I mean in real life), it's a jet gizmo as far as I am aware of


Ed Ocampo
Staff Reviewer
AVSIM Online
eocampo@avsim.com

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Fly DC Jets

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I will buy this plane when the Pro version comes around.  No sense in being an early adopter.  I held off because of some of the thing related to the interaction with other programs, but it appears that they are addressing these things.  I look forward to using this aircraft in my future sim, P3Dv2.

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Guest JustanotherPilot

I've owned the Q400 since day one of release and generally speaking I'm happy with it. The FMS/Nav system needs a complete rethink on logic and usage compared to the NGX, LEVEL D and Airbus XeX, particularly VNAV. If this based on the real aircraft then pilots warrant a pay rise to try and use it operationally. When viewing the aircraft in flight from an outside camera view, it appears to be too stable and not subject to any wind or turbulence (no rolling or pitching), this detracts from the realism but something you can live with. The painkit is one of the easiest of all the 'high end' aircraft addons. The TCAS works sometimes but not always as does the ALT SEL. In any updated version I would like to see.

 

Pause at TOD

Cold and Dark or pre-configured cockpit scenarios

Ability to import flighplans from 3rd party programs

Autopilot selections on the FMS to highlight when engaged

Better load manager with the ability to save pre-configured loads.

 

My observations for what their worth.

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The biggest issue I've had is the ILS landings.  When I'm on the glidescope, I will continually be dropped out and have to re-engage.  It happens about 4 times per landing.  This has been documented in the forums (as I know you've read by your post).   I haven't had the "bouncing" issues others have.  I have had issues with the "beta" range and I have to brake a lot to keep from running away at taxi.   It is a nice plane and I don't regret buying it.  I am disappointed they haven't had an update to address these issues that are pretty well documented on their forum. Maybe one is coming...I check their forum on a regular basis hoping for some news!

 

-Don


Don Polidori

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