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Rockliffe

Help with Q400

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Hmm, I'm getting really frustrated with myself, as I'm sure it's down to my own 'finger trouble.' I loooove the Q400, everything about it sits really well with me, and the wonderful sound set when the engines roll to life is awesome! Anyway, I find the aircraft really difficult to hand fly and I'm unsure whether it is down to the weight/fuel/load distribution or if in fact it is characteristic of the aircraft. I always feel like the aircraft is on a water bed! She floats upwards and downwards like a bowl of jelly.Trying to trim her into level flight and adjust the throttle always seems to be a hard task for me. I find the whole affair of manual flying her a real task. Does anyone else share this frustration or is it just me? Is this pertinent to the specific FDE of this aircraft? Is there anything I can tweak that could help alleviate this effect, I'm thinking of perhaps a heavier load?? Anyway, some input would be appreciated. Thanks fellas.

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Howard, she's got masses of excess power (just like the real aircraft) and I found (and still find) levelling off smoothly at the target altitude after climb-out is challenging without using the automation. Manual approaches however have always felt fine provided the aircraft is trimmed properly and I keep an eye on the speed. (Gentle touchdowns however are another challenge - again just the real thing!)

 

One foible of the Dash 8 is that the aircraft requires not only elevator trim, but also rudder trim with power adjustments.

 

Not sure if this helps much, but hopefully someone better qualified than me will be able to provide some pointers.

 

Cheers,

Nick

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Howard, she's got masses of excess power (just like the real aircraft) and I found (and still find) levelling off smoothly at the target altitude after climb-out is challenging without using the automation. Manual approaches however have always felt fine provided the aircraft is trimmed properly and I keep an eye on the speed. (Gentle touchdowns however are another challenge - again just the real thing!)

 

One foible of the Dash 8 is that the aircraft requires not only elevator trim, but also rudder trim with power adjustments.

 

Not sure if this helps much, but hopefully someone better qualified than me will be able to provide some pointers.

 

Cheers,

Nick

 

Thanks Nick for your input. She certainly is a handful!

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Make sure when your landing to keep the power on or  else you find yourself in trouble

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Make sure when your landing to keep the power on or  else you find yourself in trouble

 

Hi Pete, sure, I discovered that at my expense on several occasions :lol:

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Mine is a joy to fly, i always use the Majestic loading application and attempt to get the balance about right.  Speed control is difficult, unlike the NGX 800 the aircraft will slow down well but occasionally the speed can get away from me, both too fast and too slow.  At altitude it runs slanted to the right unless you use about 6 right rudder trim.  The Airline-2-Sim training course helped me.

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My Nephew is a Dash-8 Pilot/Instructor with one of the Majors and they do the initial climb out by hand but will use the automation to maintain altitude and to handle both climbs and descents.

It's quite interesting watching some in-cockpit footage of Takeoff's/Landings and the most common call-out is "Alt Sel"  as each new Altitude setting is dialled in and then again as the 1000 to go alert sounds.

He also described the Dash-8 as "it lands like a shopping trolley" but only in the Dry! when the runway is wet landings are much smoother.

They also lower the gear at the same time as they dial in the first level of flaps on landing because the dash has no speed breaks sticking a ton of steel and rubber out into the wind help to keep the speed in check. :) 

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I've started with the Q400 recently and I can confirm she's indeed a handfull, with a lot of power. The nickname Crash8 has it's reasons. :P

I'm following the Airline2sim videos and there they also advise to put in some load. Empty with just enough fuel for short hauls she's very jumpy, adding weight does make it a little better. But keep in mind, it's is an aircraft with a lot of automation and it's build to use that.

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Howard,

 

Check this out:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZHYO3E1Jo0

 

The real thing moves around quite a bit. There are a number of factors to consider. It's not a heavy plane like the airliners, and more vulnerable to winds. It's got a giant rudder that acts as a sail for crosswinds. It has a high wing with tons of lift. It's got giant flaps and landing gear with tons of drag. And it's got giant turboprop engines with tons of thrust, prop wash, torque, and p factor. This all makes for a squirrely affair on takeoff/landing. To counter the props, I use 15 ticks of right rudder trim on takeoff and 5-10 for landing depending on conditions. Even aileron trim can be necessary in this thing to counter- balance the rise of the left wing caused by all that rudder trim. I recommend setting trim buttons on the keyboard for easy access... and, of course, be ready to work the yoke or stick... often, like a mad man.

 

Also, as mentioned before, making sure the payload distribution is correct using the bundled MJ application is literally pivotal to the balance of the aircraft.

 

If you are absolutely hating the experience, you can find the mjq400 ini file and set propwash=0 or .5, it is currently 1. This should settle down atleast one aspect of the fde. You would be removing one of the main characteristics of this plane, however, and cutting short the amazing complexity of the dynamics engine.

 

Edit: come to think of it, that prop wash value in the ini file might be binary, and require a 0 or 1. I'm not sure, maybe others could clarify this.

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Hi Howard,

I think this is a different aircraft to all others. Where I hand fly a NGX/777 close to cruise the Q400 is different. PFPX has a profile for it and I set up a flight of around 70%-98% full PAX and some cargo. 

 

Take off is always is way more challenging to a NGX etc because of the toque for one think, you need to rudder trim and need to keep an eye on it, because reduceing toque/power like when you level off  you need to re do your rudder trim. When you take off look how much your slipping and rudder trim it out. Also trimming for VS before AP helps.

 

Take off V2+ 

AP ON

IAS On and set to 185

once at 185 flaps up

IAS 210

 

You do need to use AP with the Q400, Approach and landing, I must be lucky I find it to be a joy to hand fly approachers and landing as long as you know your Vref and land at that speed with power still on grease landing I find easy. I reduce power at touch down never before.

 

I have a new Q400 flow list Howard, if you would like it drop me a email mate, always happy to help.

 

Kind regards

Dave.

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I would set the Q400's turbulence scalar to something under .5.  I don't remember what I set it at, but I tuned it in coordination with various conditions in Active Sky based on what I would expect to see, which is quite subjective.  I think at the default value the plane is overly sensitive to choppy air, and so do many others, which is why they gave you the ability to change it.

 

Set the power and leave it.  The plane is sooooo sensitive to power changes.  It helps immensely to have accurate throttles, and if your quadrants are the least bit noisy than that can be a problem.  I checked your profile PC specs (Rockliffe) and you have a Warthog throttle, so setting the power very precisely ought to be easy for you.  On approach, set that torque at 18%, and only nudge it from there, in the smallest possible increments your throttles will allow, or else you'll be all over the place.  The only reason the Q400 has wings is to mount the engines on.

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Thanks for all the feedback fellas, very much appreciated.

 

 

If you are absolutely hating the experience, you can find the mjq400 ini file and set propwash=0 or .5, it is currently 1.

 

Yup, done this and while I agree it has changed the FD somewhat, I certainly feel it is more manageable. Thanks

 

I have a new Q400 flow list Howard, if you would like it drop me a email mate, always happy to help.

 

 

Dave, you sent me the flow chart some time ago, thanks.

 

I would set the Q400's turbulence scalar to something under .5.  I don't remember what I set it at, but I tuned it in coordination with various conditions in Active Sky based on what I would expect to see, which is quite subjective.  I think at the default value the plane is overly sensitive to choppy air, and so do many others, which is why they gave you the ability to change it.

 

 

I'll try that, it sounds very interesting, thanks.

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Not the same one, don't mess with the Q400 :(

 

Ah OK. I've sent you a PM with my email address. Cheers mate.

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I would set the Q400's turbulence scalar to something under .5.

 

They changed the response to Turbulence in V1.10 i think.  Before that it was pretty awful, mild turbulence felt like extreme turbulence.

 

Like David said, i wouldn't mess with the Q400 config, once you get used to it's quirks it's actually quite pleasant to fly. 

 

Rudder trim is the way to go, not sure if it's the right way of dealing with it, but on take-off i apply 3 trim units on the right, on climb, usually needs about 6, in cruise back to 3.

 

The other major point is power management, it's better at speed control than the NGX 800-WL, that aircraft just won't slow down; but it does tend to speed up and slow down quickly.

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Rockliffe, don't change the Propwash to 0, you're gutting the essence of the airplane when you do that!  Just my strong opinion :lol:

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One thing I haven't seen mentioned thus far:   Null zones, particularly on the rudder axis, make the Q400 almost impossible to control.  I got rid of the null zones on all my surface controls and it helped immensely.

 

It's an absolute must, in my opinion, to have all of the trim commands mapped to a control on your joystick, especially the rudder trim as you have to use it in every phase of the flight.  But even when you've got it trimmed out, this bird is a handful.  I don't even try to hand fly during cruise, and I'm only starting to master the climb without the autopilot.

 

I mention these last two only because I'm famous for forgetting them myself:  Make sure your fuel's not off balance and that you're not icing up.

 

[Edit:  My 100th post!!]

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The "post-hype" thread down at the unofficial majestic forum is good reading concerning the FDE. All opinions are represented.

 

Scaling down the turbulence effect makes the plane much more plausible. My point at that above mentioned discussion was that one should ask if the modern airlines and airline pilots would fly such a beast that cannot fly straight without a fight? Nobody would have bought it and nobody would travel in it.

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Having a few thousand hours in the real bird, she is a handful to fly- but a lot easier when you're operating a control column that has weight, and rudder pedals that have true feel. In FSX, this Q400 is spot on- but it sometimes takes a bit of tweaking to get that "feel" translated into  our sims. As suggested above, try reducing the turbulence effect. You WILL still need to trim quite a bit when level, both rudder and elevator- as the plane speeds up the effect of torque lessens due to the airstream flow. And keep some basic numbers in mind- they're slightly higher in the sim Q400 than my experience but provide for the correct pitch attitude: 15-20% TQ for a flaps 15 landing will give you a good Vapp+10, 25% TQ when you're flaps 35. If you let the speed die down you'll be on the reverse side of the power curve and will sink. 

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My Nephew is a Dash-8 Pilot/Instructor with one of the Majors and they do the initial climb out by hand but will use the automation to maintain altitude and to handle both climbs and descents.

It's quite interesting watching some in-cockpit footage of Takeoff's/Landings and the most common call-out is "Alt Sel"  as each new Altitude setting is dialled in and then again as the 1000 to go alert sounds.

He also described the Dash-8 as "it lands like a shopping trolley" but only in the Dry! when the runway is wet landings are much smoother.

They also lower the gear at the same time as they dial in the first level of flaps on landing because the dash has no speed breaks sticking a ton of steel and rubber out into the wind help to keep the speed in check. :) 

 

No major flies the Q400. I think you mean a regional airline.

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No major flies the Q400. I think you mean a regional airline.

Thanks for the contribution

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Here's an interesting story...

Recently, at EGBB, a one armed Q400 pilot had a rather embarrassing incident. During the flare, his artificial arm became detached. So there he was, with one arm on the yoke and no way to power back. [thought that might surprise you] The aircraft floated, bounced, followed by a very heavy landing. The incident was attributed to the inability to reduce power for the landing.

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/pilot-lost-control-flight-birmingham-7610562
 

The report went on: “He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily.”

 
The above, sort of brings into question the notion of power on for landing the Dash. However, there are one or two Q400 videos on YouTube where the pilot can be seen powering back slightly prior to touch down.
 
So it's seems it's not always full power left on for landing the Dash, a slight reduction in power is commonplace. Not much though, with those huge props blowing air directly over the wings, any power changes will directly effect sink rate.
 
For those having difficulty with the propwash effect, it can be disabled in the ini file. I fly this way, it's far easier when using a joystick. Not as realistic of course, but sometimes we have to make allowances for our personal sim setups.

 

I'm using a turbulence scalar of 0.75 which I find acceptable with ASN.


 

They also lower the gear at the same time as they dial in the first level of flaps on landing because the dash has no speed breaks sticking a ton of steel and rubber out into the wind help to keep the speed in check. :)

 

 

 

That surprises me given the impressive deceleration rate when the power is brought back to idle, as a result of the considerable drag from those huge prop discs.

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