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amalishkin

Flying Dash feels like balancing a brick on pin head of a needle

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I have a question to all there who fly this thing on daily basis, i really enjoy aircraft, but just was curious if this thing as busy hands on flying in sim as in real life, specially when coming for approaches, seems like it takes so much hands on flying to bring this bird into smooth landing, constant trim and constant adjustments, it just wants to get away from you, doesnt  feel like solid when like flying 737 for example.   for those who will say check ur balance weight etc, yes all within paramenters i checked that first just feels i am trying to balance a rock on a pinhead of needle.

 

 

i do love the aircraft and just want to know if this is something normal or maybe my ini needs to be adjusted.

 

 

 

thanks. all

 

 

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Like any advanced aircraft, the Dash 8 can fly coupled approaches all the way down to decision height so use the autopilot if you need it.  There is no autothrottle on this bird so you need to be precise and delicate with the throttle.  Don't make large power changes and don't reduce the throttle to idle when flaring as this plane drops like a rock.

 

I can't say enough about the Airline2Sim videos for the Q400.  It really shows you how to fly this bird well and the planning that needs to go into executing a successful flight.  I also use FS2Crew as well which helps keep my workload down on approach.  This is one of the best payware add-on aircraft ever made for FSX/P3D but it takes many hours to master it.  

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Yea it's a chore for me too it feels very unstable in the roll department to me.

 

Don't pull your power to idle till your on the ground some planes need power till touch down.

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It's not unstable as long as you are within CG and weight limits. It's just a little `trim happy`.

 

What you DON'T do is chase power settings. Not ever. Every power setting change triggers pitch change and also yaw/roll coupling. 5,000 shp a side will ruin your entire day if you let it get ahead of you. Set power, then adjust trim to suit, then fly the profile dictated by the settings. Mode settings can be your friend, reducing Np after takeoff likewise.

 

If you minimise hand flying, allow the electrickery and the me-can-icals to do their thing, this is a high performance turboprop without equal. The real thing is renowned as being a handful, especially in the aproach phase, and you don't use full flap unless you have to - we really need more idea on what you are doing to tell you what you should, or oughtn't be doing. 

 

Hand flying a stabilised approach is actually quite easy. But only IF you have the settings right. Spool times for those turboprops is slow at low power settings, but the flaps and gear provide plenty of drag to enable a stabilised approach without ANY setting adjustment until touchdown.

 

If you are making constant changes to the power levers then you are doing something wrong, and predicating those trim changes and instability.

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It's not unstable as long as you are within CG and weight limits. It's just a little `trim happy`.

 

What you DON'T do is chase power settings. Not ever. Every power setting change triggers pitch change and also yaw/roll coupling. 5,000 shp a side will ruin your entire day if you let it get ahead of you. Set power, then adjust trim to suit, then fly the profile dictated by the settings. Mode settings can be your friend, reducing Np after takeoff likewise.

 

<snip>

 

If you are making constant changes to the power levers then you are doing something wrong, and predicating those trim changes and instability.

 

 

This.  It's not an unmanageable aircraft, but you have to be several steps further ahead of it than you have to be for the NGX.  Plan well ahead, use smooth and measured control inputs, give it time to settle before seeing if further adjustment is needed.  Chase the numbers aggressively and it will get away from you very quickly.

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If memory serves, the actual Dash 8 Pilot in the Airline2Sim course (awesome) said that the landing behavior is the source of the "Crash-8" nickname.  I have similar trouble on approach with this machine, and I'm an instrument pilot IRL.  I'm getting better with practice.

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i have no problem getting it down, and yes i double check my approach speeds and weight and balance prior to take off.  i do run throttles down to ground, i figured this bird doesn't like to have its power messed with during its approach and pretty much keep my throttles up to touchdown, as i came across few references that you don't cut power as u would on jets.  and most my landing are smooth are about -20 -50 fpm  so i think i got that nailed. but just as one of u above said its trim happy and it feels like it if u snooze just for a sec u will quickly start loosing it.  so sounds like i am not alone it is bit hands on then a320 or 737/777.

 

thanks for replies.  

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This a/c needs to be FLOWN down to the ground. It flares like a grand piano. As someone mentioned, you have to be further ahead of this a/c than others. If you let it get ahead of you , you are in trouble. More than other a/c, get it set up properly for the approach and use MINOR pitch and power adjustments to maintain your approach profile and then just fly it down to the ground.

When done properly, it is sweet! :smile:

 

Vic

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I'm going to respectfully point you in a slightly different direction.

 

The Dash 8 uses an external Flight Dynamics Engine (developed by NASA), which allows it to fly like the actual Dash 8 and far more like a real aircraft than any aircraft that uses the ESP (FSX) flight dynamics.

 

Because of the External Flight Dynamics Engine, weight and balance in the Majestic Dash 8 are just as crucial as it is with any real aircraft, and this is where people often have a lot of trouble.

 

Below is the Weight & Balance that I've been using with the Majestic Dash 8 Q400 Professional Version for the past 5 years.  Please give it a try and see if you have a different experience. Of course the fuel is up to you.

 

Dash%208%20Recommended%20Load%20Out%20Sm

 

 

I hope this helps!

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Just remember that there is no specific trim setting for takeoff- just within the white band on the indicator, if you are within limits. I never knew if our CG was aft or forward, but could eyeball it based on the passenger and baggage spread. If it was aft, I might scooch the trim up a bit to the upper third of the white arc. It doesn't matter though- you'll be retrimming almost immediately after takeoff anyway. 

 

I find the computer Q400 more challenging to fly than the real one, not because the FSX model is innaccurate- not in the least! But my power quadrant is much smaller than its real counterpart, and thus small movements create larger power changes. Also, control loading is not there- in the real plane, small movements of the yoke created normal turns and climbs (unless at flaps 35 landing, then you thank the spoilers for working to aid in roll control!)

 

What I suggest everyone tries is the "wiggle." Don't simply move you arm/hand forwards and backwards on the power levers, but wiggle your wrist, and minutely creep the power to the desired setting. Your control will be much more precise, and this is a technique I taught to new FOs on the aircraft.  

 

Oh, and get stabilized early. You can't really "dog it" like in the real world, because of the lack of force feel, peripheral vision, sounds, visual cues, inertial feel. Give yourself more distance on approach to get to an appropriate speed. 

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Thanks Brendan!  Great advice from a real Dash 8 type rated and experienced pilot.

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I second Brendan, bigtime. I have no RW Dash experience, just RW GA experience and I can tell you that lack of control feel and control-travel is the biggie. There's neither control loading nor does your yoke or joystick correspond in the least when it comes to command inputs versus control outputs.

 

Of course getting power right makes a big difference. So does staying more active on the trim than you likely would in real life.

 

I can certainly recommend buying MFG Crosswind pedals and the best and longest-travel yoke you can find, if you've got money to spend. Then I'd spend time (perhaps a lot) trying to tweak sensitivities so that the control inputs correlate as closely as possible with real roll-, pitch-, and yaw-rates.

 

Ideally, a control-loading yoke would be nice as well--except that you'd be hard-pressed to find one that's both properly supported by the sim and manufactured by a non-flaky company.

 

That said, a nice Thrustmaster, MFGs and half-decent throttle quad will get you most of the way there. You just have to work around the limitation and, for instance, learn to trim by eye and hand-travel, instead of by removing forces.

 

Best,

 

Marshall 

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We had similar discussion here maybe a year ago. One solution is to adjust the cfg to get it more realistic, check the previous discussion.

As I said before, if this plane would fly like this, it would have been grounded by CAA and ICAO. Planes are built to fly straight, you don´t actually steer them but just help them a little to get them into direction you want.


I´d like to add that nowadays we have a wide selection of turboprops in sim of which none behaves not even close as this DASH. Maybe some of you remember the once "ultra-realistic" Flight1 ATR72? Flies like a kitten. In FSX we can choose from small executive turboprops to feeder size Metros, Jetstreams and now Fokker F.27. Maybe even a C-130 could be mentioned and a very nice freeware DASH-7 is available. They all are quite manageable in the air.


Maybe it is the sim world that fools us here. Maybe some simmers take it more realistic the harder the simplane is to handle?

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Well, for the record, I don't think it's such a handful. Neither do the many RW Dash pilots who fly it or have contributed to the modeling of it.

 

What I primarily had in mind is generically why no sim flies like the real thing and that, IMO, comes down to lack of feel/feedback and lousy controls.

 

The Dash simply exposes the problem more because it is not designed to fly "on rails." that and the RW plane is, in fact, sensitive to power inputs.

 

Try flying any plane, though, with a janky, noisy, over-sprung joystick or yoke and you're gonna have grief. RW planes do not have centering springs and notches. They aren't flown through 80-degree FOV windshields or on motion-free platforms.

 

So generically, having the biggest monitor and smoothest controls helps a lot. That said, specifically, the Dash, though it does have quirks, is not some uniquely volatile beast.

 

In fact, flown well, it's both capable and benign.

 

Marshall

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I agree with Marshal.  I've been flying the Professional for five years, making at least 3 to 4 full flights per week, and nothing in flight sim reminds me more of flying a real aircraft.  The two most common issues most flight sim pilots have with the Dash is the weight distribution and learning to fly something which is so different than other flight sim models, which is due in part to flying a responsive and power sensitive turbo prop but mostly because of the external flight dynamics engine.

 

There are many combinations of different variables that come together when someone perceives what they are experiencing and from that forms an impression.  All I can tell you is that according to a number of experienced Dash 8 pilots, the flight model is spot on, within the confines of course of being a desktop simulator, and that it flies more like a real aircraft on my rig than anything other desktop flight simulator I've flown over the past 30 years.

 

Best wishes and happy flights you guys!

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smooth and little to no elevator inputs. Correct glide with power. Lots of practice and it gets rather easy and enjoyable. Though, in gusting weather this aircraft makes me sweat..

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I forgot to add that for many years the pilots at OVPA use significant turbulence and up/down drafts settings in ActiveSKyNext for all our flights. It makes things a little more challenging, but helps gives us the experience of real flight.  If you watch our live streams you'll see the many of our approaches we have the yokes banging back and forth just like one sees in Aircraft Approach Videos on YouTube (if course it depends on the weather). During other phases of flight the control inputs are just want Leghorn said... smooth and steady input.

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I love the FDE of this bird.  Sure, it's very different to any other AC in FS and at first, it was flying me!! (rather than the other way around).   But with perseverence, I became very familiar with it's handling, and I can say hand on heart (and I'm not a real pilot), I can grease the 400 every time now.   I found it's all in the speed, on approach.  Too slow, and you'll be yanking on the yoke and the aircraft will feel unresponsive.  I tend to go 3-4 knots about calculated approach speeds for the best landing.  And then just be sensitive and wiggly with the controls and fly her down!

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Also, when you have "study sims" like this one, remember that the real aircraft counterpart always had two pilots. 

 

Yes, the real Q400 had quirks that were exacerbated by the fact that it is a screwed-up evolution of the Dash-8 series- many of the quirks could be solved by making the Q400 a different type rating. But because it's the same type rating as the -300/-200/-100, they had to keep certain things "the same." A big one is the yaw damper (HA!), the ALTSEL, the fact that there are condition levers when they aren't really needed... 

 

So, the aircraft needed a tiny bit of babysitting. After a while of flying this thing, that babysitting just turns into second nature. You don't have to think about using left rudder when you reduce power in a descent, your foot just goes there, and your right had (without looking) moves down to the rudder trim to make an adjustment. Meanwhile, if you don't hear an ALTSEL callout by the FO your brain sparks and you look at the PFD for the ALTSEL display. Yes, I wish it was there automatically! But the reality is that it must be pushed each time you get an altitude change: the FAA doesn't care, ATC doesn't care- but with the "DHC8" rating on your license, you'd better know how to control your bird!

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Agree 100-percent, Brendan.

 

BTW, do you fly out of KDXR? I have a buddy who's got a Decathlon there.

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all thanks for your input really appreciated. as stated multiple times all my balance and weights are spot on, and within operating envelop.  I am thinking its perception when coming from big jets to turbo, this is my first turbo prop i fly now regularly i been mostly 737 and 777 so bit different feel than this. i did have to adjust my operational settings for throttles and controls and now seems to be on mark with what i expect out of this bird, so far been most fun flying, and love the part that i get hands on flying versus button hitting only :)

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Agree 100-percent, Brendan.

 

BTW, do you fly out of KDXR? I have a buddy who's got a Decathlon there.

 

Yes, that's the airport I grew up at, cut my teeth into commercial aviation there- North American aviation, Danbury Flight School which is now Arrow Aviation. Joannie remembers me when I was 15 answering phones at the front desk. 

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