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henrimarch

PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster x-plane test

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Question for PMDG:

 

This aircraft was a test case for development in x-plane.

Is there any verdict yet as in succeeded and yes we are going to do more or is the jury still out.

Perhaps it's already answered somewhere else but I haven't seen it, so sorry if I am asking again.


Forgive my blindsight, I just read it in another post .....

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I read in a forum and correct me if i am wrong. This was a test base as you said and its success has no bearing on whether or not they release more XP products. The plan is to bring the other PMDG products to XP soon!

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Well Pete, I do hope so, because I find there products top notch in every department, manuals, flight model and support.

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Yes this product is a test base for doing an aircraft from scratch and going from that X-Plane product to push it to FSX/P3D. Then they need to do the other way. Make a product for FSX/P3D and turn it into an X-Plane product.

 

I think you might want to read this very interesting answer from Robert which is a bit more detailed than my very simple summary ;) 

http://www.avsim.com/topic/489428-what-have-we-learned/

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As a reconstruction of a particular modernized DC-6 for X-plane, it does the job well. It's right up there at the top of the X-plane payware list because IMO many of its competitors' products (IXEG 737, RotateSim MD-80) are still unfinished, with a lot of stuff missing. However the product is also quite different because its complexity is mainly derived from engine management, not complex FMS calculations or the drawing of splines on the EHSI. Still chances are you'll spend most of your time flying with the X-plane Garmin 430 GPS, rather than relying on the sextant, the four-course radio range, and LORAN/CONSOL - as they're not implemented.

 

The biggest problem I find is the documentation. There's very little information on real world DC-6 operations, which is sorely needed because they're very hard to find on the internet. The 2 tutorial flights are IMO poorly written, and focus on short hops. I hope there will be additional, more detailed tutorials focusing on Transatlantic, Transcon (Especially eastbound as the DC-6's RoC near MTOW is truly pitiful, like 200fpm) and Hawaiian (Max range) operations. Another major problem is fuel management - the chart doesn't state the recommended fuel level at each tank before switching. So if you burn too much fuel in the main tanks you might run out of fuel on landing, if you follow the chart settings. Finally there are a few wording issues - the documents refer to the supercharger as the 'blower', which some people might not understand.

 

Also the AFE is a bit quirky. It's similar to FS2CREW but unlike the NGX/777 PMDG didn't include any copilot callouts. On takeoff you'll hear the AFE talking about power settings but you'll never hear the V-speed callouts. There's a few other problems as well, such as the AFE cruise power settings. It seems like the AFE defaults to 1200bhp cruise which burns far too much fuel for long range operations. The intro document states that you can change the AFE cruise power settings, but I can't find the settings. Also the AFE doesn't seem to switch tanks so you cannot be away from the keyboard for any extended period of time, as you need to switch tanks 3 times during the cruise.

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The biggest problem I find is the documentation.

 

Interesting, the POH is for the most part original Douglas.  You can find the AF C-118 "dash one" on line, I believe it's already been referenced in another thread.

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As a reconstruction of a particular modernized DC-6 for X-plane, it does the job well. It's right up there at the top of the X-plane payware list because IMO many of its competitors' products (IXEG 737, RotateSim MD-80) are still unfinished

 

Felis Tu-154 is, IMO, of similar complexity, and also finished.

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Interesting, the POH is for the most part original Douglas.  You can find the AF C-118 "dash one" on line, I believe it's already been referenced in another thread.

 

The POH systems description is indeed sufficient, but what most people need is how Pan Am, United, American etc. operate these machines in real life, and a typical flight profile. I'm talking about SOPs, flight plans, vintage IFR enroute charts and approach plates, notes from pilots on handling and systems etc. IMO good, well written tutorial flights similar to the old SSTSIM Concorde will do wonders for this product.

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but what most people need is how Pan Am, United, American etc. operate these machines in real life

 

Timetables.com

 

 

 


and a typical flight profile

 

In the POH

 

 

 


I'm talking about SOPs, flight plans, vintage IFR enroute charts and approach plates, notes from pilots on handling and systems etc.

 

Flight plans would be largely irrelevant. since a lot of the NDBs in various areas have died off (though they're still going pretty strong in a lot of Canada and other parts of the world), in addition to the LFRRs (though, for the DC-6, these would be less relevant, depending on equipage). If you had vintage enroute charts, then you would be able to re-create a lot of the routes of the past with a little planning of your own, but do keep in mind that a lot of these past items didn't have the opportunity to exist in the digital age, and charts by their very nature expire - what do you do with your charts when they expire now? Same goes for the pilots of that time as well.

 

I was able to pick up a couple vintage charts from, oddly enough, etsy: https://www.etsy.com/search/vintage?q=aeronautical+charts

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IMHO this product was developed as a current-day DC-6, based on actual flying aircraft, and not as a restoration of a museum piece.

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Timetables.com

 

I'm talking more about SOPs and general operating notes in that context, not timetables. For example should you drop the gear down early (say 8,000ft) and use it as a speedbrake as long as you're below Vle? With the DC-7 you can drop only the main gear and use it as a speedbrake. Another example is the use of powerback - AFAIK there's no inbuilt pushback function in the DC-6, although the tug and the towbar can be triggered as 3D objects.

 

 

In the POH

 

The POH expanded checklist focuses on engine start and run-up, and text for the in-flight sections are rather sparse. For example the descent section (pg. 209) only tells you that you need to observe the maximum gliding and diving speeds according to the chart (the chart itself doesn't exist in section VIII) and Do not exceed the maximu.ni “AUTO LEAN” powers. (sic) - I have no idea what this means. This wouldn't be much of a problem if the tutorial flight documents are well written, but they're not. Finally some additional info with regards to icing conditions would be nice, such as how PMDG implements icing in the DC-6, a discussion with regards to X-plane icing limitations, and what to look out for in each phase of flight. The PMDG J41 has a detailed icing model and IIRC the documentation for that product is easy to understand.

 

 

Flight plans would be largely irrelevant. since a lot of the NDBs in various areas have died off (though they're still going pretty strong in a lot of Canada and other parts of the world), in addition to the LFRRs (though, for the DC-6, these would be less relevant, depending on equipage). If you had vintage enroute charts, then you would be able to re-create a lot of the routes of the past with a little planning of your own, but do keep in mind that a lot of these past items didn't have the opportunity to exist in the digital age, and charts by their very nature expire - what do you do with your charts when they expire now? Same goes for the pilots of that time as well.

 

IMO the biggest point of simulating a classic aircraft is to simulate classic airline operations, not to simulate the Red Bull DC-6. NDBs that no longer exist can be added as custom scenery (I have no idea how in XP10, but I have added navaids before in FSX with ADE9X) and it's not new for a payware aircraft to include some additional supporting scenery. I was hoping that the documentation, especially the tutorial flights, would include resources from books, official documents and perhaps interviews from retired airmen, so we as customers don't have to dig through those books ourselves and learn about classic airline operations the hard way. Calclassic does this well, they have the aircraft, the scenery and a quite a bit of supporting documentation. Like this pic of the US continental LF radio range network.

 

Have a look at Flightsimlabs' tutorial flight documentation, which is available for free (login required) on its website. (Revised link) It's around 150 pages and the text is dense. It has a good intro, it has the correct period-specific charts, it has step-by-step checklist items, with tons of pictures, pictorials, tips, 'simmerisms', detailed explanations etc. IMO previously PMDG could get away with less detailed tutorials because many customers already know how to operate modern jets in a basic manner, and information is readily available on the internet. The DC-6 is very different, and for many simmers it's about as exotic as the Concorde or the Tupolev 154, and detailed tutorials are required.

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This wouldn't be much of a problem if the tutorial flight documents are well written, but they're not.

 

Mind clarifying this point?


 

 


IMO the biggest point of simulating a classic aircraft is to simulate classic airline operations, not to simulate the Red Bull DC-6. NDBs that no longer exist can be added as custom scenery (I have no idea how in XP10, but I have added navaids before in FSX with ADE9X) and it's not new for a payware aircraft to include some additional supporting scenery. I was hoping that the documentation, especially the tutorial flights, would include resources from books, official documents and perhaps interviews from retired airmen, so we as customers don't have to dig through those books ourselves and learn about classic airline operations the hard way. Calclassic does this well, they have the aircraft, the scenery and a quite a bit of supporting documentation. Like this pic of the US continental LF radio range network.

 

Yeah, this is all well and good, but there's no support for LRFF built into any sim platform. Moreover, that pic is nice, but it shows neither the specific locations (cities are rather large), the actual courses, or the frequencies. As far as I've been able to see, there aren't any good sites for location data, and even if there were, there aren't any good charts for people to use to navigate them.

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A tutorial flight without the AFE would be helpfull. The usage of the powercharts, the difference between high and low blower settings, when to change could be part of that tutorial and make things easier to understand.

 

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Mind clarifying this point?

 

Have a look at the Flightsimlabs Concorde tutorial flight document (revised link above) which is about 150 pages. I find the 2 DC-6 tutorials to be comparatively sparse in terms of detail, because they both rely on the AFE to do much of the work.

 

At least one of the tutorials should have the AFE completely disabled, because on my first flight I had to turn off the AFE as it wouldn't set 1000bhp cruise. Contrary to documentation I cannot change the AFE settings.

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Have a look at the Flightsimlabs Concorde tutorial flight document (revised link above) which is about 150 pages. I find the 2 DC-6 tutorials to be comparatively sparse in terms of detail, because they both rely on the AFE to do much of the work.

 

I've seen them. I've had their Concorde product since the day it came out. Instead of some vague assignment to go read something, what - specifically - do you desire in a tutorial?

 

 

 


Contrary to documentation I cannot change the AFE settings.

 

Where in the documentation does it mention being able to change AFE settings?

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I've seen them. I've had their Concorde product since the day it came out. Instead of some vague assignment to go read something, what - specifically - do you desire in a tutorial?

 

 

Maybe a couple more tutorial flights from different eras, for example the first tutorial may be from the perspective of a current DC-6 operator, like Everts. The route could be from Anchorage to Barrow. Talk about cold weather operations, cargo ops, GPS/RNAV, AFE, fuel planning, top-of-descent planning, icing etc. Also talk about features/limitations of XP10 as well as any tips.

 

The second tutorial may focus on classic airline operations at a specific point in time e.g. 1952. The route may be an eastbound leg of a transcontinental service, a Hawaiian run, or transatlantic flight. Talk about more detailed procedures without the AFE, climb performance near MTOW (Especially for the eastbound transcon due to the Sierra Nevada mountains), power settings and fuel tank management for max range, vintage navigation methods (for information only) and airline operations trivia. The tutorial may split into 2 ways by intentionally failing an engine near the mountains, or at equi-time point in an ocean crossing. Start talking about OEI cruise/driftdown, and correct power/fuel management.

 

You can add some scenery for the missing navaids, and if you're doing the transcon maybe you can build a classic airport as well, like Denver Stapleton. XP10 has a very nice Lego-style scenery builder.

 

 

Where in the documentation does it mention being able to change AFE settings?

 

Introduction, pg.13.

 

 

There are many different possible cruise configurations in the POH, so we picked a good, all-round middle-range cruise configuration. If you prefer a different cruise setup, open the AFE panel, click Abort and set it to your preferred setting.
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Maybe a couple more tutorial flights from different eras, for example the first tutorial may be from the perspective of a current DC-6 operator, like Everts. The route could be from Anchorage to Barrow. Talk about cold weather operations, cargo ops, GPS/RNAV, AFE, fuel planning, top-of-descent planning, icing etc. Also talk about features/limitations of XP10 as well as any tips.
 
The second tutorial may focus on classic airline operations at a specific point in time e.g. 1952. The route may be an eastbound leg of a transcontinental service, a Hawaiian run, or transatlantic flight. Talk about more detailed procedures without the AFE, climb performance near MTOW (Especially for the eastbound transcon due to the Sierra Nevada mountains), power settings and fuel tank management for max range, vintage navigation methods (for information only) and airline operations trivia. The tutorial may split into 2 ways by intentionally failing an engine near the mountains, or at equi-time point in an ocean crossing. Start talking about OEI cruise/driftdown, and correct power/fuel management.
 
You can add some scenery for the missing navaids, and if you're doing the transcon maybe you can build a classic airport as well, like Denver Stapleton. XP10 has a very nice Lego-style scenery builder.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

 

 


Introduction, pg.13.

 

That's not what it's saying. It's saying "turn the AFE off and set the throttles and RPM on your own."

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That's not what it's saying. It's saying "turn the AFE off and set the throttles and RPM on your own."

 

OK, I must have read it wrong as I thought there were different AFE cruise setups.

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Just to chime in here:

The aim of the tutorials was to get the end-user up-and-running in the shortest possible time and also pointing out the various features of the aircraft from a PMDG perspective.

A lot of new users bought X-Plane just to get this product, and it's a gentle introduction to both X-Plane and the DC-6

 

The last thing you want to do is discourage users from getting started on this file aeroplane,and feel that they have wasted their money. I'm all for this approach, and it works well for this product.

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The last thing you want to do is discourage users from getting started on this file aeroplane,and feel that they have wasted their money. I'm all for this approach, and it works well for this product.

 

Yeah, that's our aim, and has been for our other aircraft tutorials, too.

 

Now...Tutorial #3 on the other hand... :ph34r:

 

I'm hoping people have fun with it when it's ready.

(For those who didn't catch that "when it's ready" and ran off to the docs folder...it's not ready yet)

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The POH systems description is indeed sufficient, but what most people need is how Pan Am, United, American etc. operate these machines in real life, and a typical flight profile. I'm talking about SOPs, flight plans, vintage IFR enroute charts and approach plates, notes from pilots on handling and systems etc. IMO good, well written tutorial flights similar to the old SSTSIM Concorde will do wonders for this product.

I'm going to hazard a guess that there isn't anyone at any of the airlines you mentioned that could tell you how this aircraft was operated. Those folks retired long ago.

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