Iron Horse

Douglas DC-4E

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I am searching for a Douglas DC-4E. It has a triple tail similar to the Constellation. I would like one for both FS9 and FSX, but I will take what I can get. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would consider paying for one to be built if that is the option that is available. I am going to have it painted, so no livery is necessary.

Thank you, 

Jon 

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Bit of a tall order, although it you can find someone with a fairly decent source model of a DC-3 it probably wouldn't take a vast amount of effort to use that as the basis for modeling one since it was very similar to the DC-3 on the front end, so modeling it, at least externally would probably not be too hard if one didn't have to make it completely from scratch; there are a few schematic drawings kicking around for the DC-4E.

The wing shape was very similar to the DC-3 too, although the engines wouldn't be the right type; the DC-4E had somewhat obscure 14 cylinder Pratt and Whitney Twin Hornet engines, but to be fair, that is broadly similar to the Twin Wasp found on many military and later civilian variants of the DC-3. The engine arrangement is a bit odd on the DC-4E though if you look at the thrust line of the outer engines, so that might make flight modeling a bit of a challenge.

Systems-wise it's a bit trickier however, the DC-4E was abandoned in favour of the simpler DC-4A because the DC-4E prototypes had a lot of fancy systems (for the period) including an advanced auxiliary power unit, powered flight controls, fancy electrics etc, etc, and those were going to make it expensive in real life and would make it tricky to model for FS too if you wanted a functional VC. It was planned to make production versions of the DC-4E pressurised, but I'm pretty sure the single prototype which they built wasn't.

So with regard to being willing to pay for someone to do it, that'd probably be quite an expensive proposition. A lot of the time when people make payware stuff, the cost to the end user is based on multiple sales allowing the time and money for that time to be divided amongst many, unless they are doing it freeware as  more of a labour of love. With an obscure aeroplane such as the DC-4E which never went into production at all, it's not really going to have the potential to sell to many people, which is of course why payware developers go for Boeing 737s, A320s and Cessna 172s etc.

To give you an idea of the practicalities of costs, a popular FS add-on can easily sell five or six thousand copies, which at something like 20 quid a pop, means a turnover of 120 grand; that's not all profit of course, with taxes, promotional costs etc, it's going to be maybe around half that number, which, if you spend maybe six months working on something, is a fairly okay rate of pay, but it's hardly practical for one person to fund it, so you'd be better off either finding someone who is willing to do it as a labour of love, which is probably unlikely, or, you could have a go at it yourself, which is usually how those labour of love projects find a patron. Now you may not have thought that would be possible, but if you used Flight Simulator Design Studio to do so, then it most certainly would be, so long as you were prepared to spend a few days learning how to use the program (trust me, it has good tutorials in it which will have you making stuff for flight simulator within an hour or so of installing the thing. And really, that is all it would take, maybe a week or so of playing around with it to get to grips with creating your own aeroplanes in it. After that, it'd be down to you, but I can assure you that you can do it, pretty much everyone else who makes stuff started out like that too and it would mean you'd get your DC-4E for about 30 quid (the cost of FSDS), plus your time of course.

If none of that suits, it'd be easier to do what Pan Am and TWA did; go for another aeroplane type, namely the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, of which there certainly is one for FSX and FS2004. Or, you could go for the Flight Replicas North Star/Argonaut if you wanted an unusual DC-4/DC-6 derivative, or the Just Flight C-46 which is sort of similar looking to the Stratoliner although the Boeing 307 was basically a Boeing B-17C with a pressurised cabin so it has four engines as opposed to the twin engines of the Commando, be aware too that JF C-46 is in need of a (apparently forthcoming very soon) patch. Another good alternative would be the A2A Boeing Stratocruiser. If you have to have a tri-tail, there's the Just Flight and A2A Constellations too of course, which would be other suitable alternatives, the JF one also being a default aeroplane in P3D V4 these days.

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Thank you Chock for the information, I have sadly discovered that I will probably not get that plane. I have not the time to devote to building it from scratch, even with the excellent program you mentioned. I thank you for taking the time for such a detailed response. I will continue plodding along with my modified DC-3. 

Many thanks to all who responded.

Jon

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