Benjamin J

How realistic is the Aerosoft Twin Otter Extended?

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Hey all,

I've recently gone one a bit of buying spree of caribbean airports when TropicalSim had their 40% off sale going on. Thus I have MDPC, MBPV, TAPA, TNCA and TNCC waiting for my virtual presence. This in addition to FT's nice TNCM, which I've had for a long time now. Airports that I got are served by a variety of operators, but I made a point of buying airports that are served by at least one or two aircraft that currently exist for P3Dv4. One very popular aircraft model is the DHC6 Twin Otter, for which Aerosoft has created a rather well-known rendition. From looking at reviews and Youtube videos, the aircraft appears fairly realistic, and incorporates checklists that can be followed to the T. On the flipside, engine start itself appears to be just the default-like FSX/P3D piston engine startup, with temps and all increasing wildly and then going down again - which seems wildly inaccurate to me after watching some real-world DHC6 engine starts on Youtube. Such videos are not 100% reliable, but what they clearly show is that the engine doesn't surge and then idle. Rather, values increase and stabilize - as any engine typically does.

Currently there's a sale going on for the Aerosoft Twin Otter Extended, and I find myself torn on whether to get it or not. On the one hand this is the plane that primarily serves many Caribbean islands. On the other hand I'm a little disappointed by the lack of a proper engine start simulation.

I realize I could of course just take my A2A C172 and fly to any of these Caribbean destinations, but I tend to like passenger operations and use the planes that are actually used. Hence my interest in the Twotter.

Any recommendations and opinions would be welcome!

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I’m interested in this too.

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The Twotter Extended would get a "B" from me...nothing so bad that it utterly destroys the experience, but there are some nagging issues like the start, as you mentioned.  The sound is a bit tinny and flat, and the only way to integrate the various Garmin GNS/GTN units (e.g. Flight1 or RealityXP) for navigation is to add them as pop-up panels, as the developer flat-out refused to consider upgrading the panel to accomodate them, which would have been a real step up.

If you want a good turboprop suitable for Caribbean island-hopping, I'd instead recommend the Majestic Q400 (Dash-8), which is, IMHO, the best medium turboprop for FSX/P3D3/P3D4 by any measure.

Cheers

 

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24 minutes ago, w6kd said:

The Twotter Extended would get a "B" from me...nothing so bad that it utterly destroys the experience, but there are some nagging issues like the start, as you mentioned.  The sound is a bit tinny and flat, and the only way to integrate the various Garmin GNS/GTN units (e.g. Flight1 or RealityXP) for navigation is to add them as pop-up panels, as the developer flat-out refused to consider upgrading the panel to accomodate them, which would have been a real step up.

If you want a good turboprop suitable for Caribbean island-hopping, I'd instead recommend the Majestic Q400 (Dash-8), which is, IMHO, the best medium turboprop for FSX/P3D3/P3D4 by any measure.

Cheers

 

Thanks for your impression Bob, this is what I feared...

As for the Majestic Dash 8, I have this bird but it's rarely if ever used around the Caribbean. I'm looking for aircraft that is used by the actual operators in this region, and it seems the Twotter is pretty much the only one. I do know of the Flysimware C402 having some limited routes, and since I already have the C208B from Carenado, I guess I could also do FedEx runs from TJSJ, if all else fails...

I will add that Virtualcol is right out, as I do want some system depth in my addon aircraft. In addition, I would consider the Carenado Saab 340, but it'd have to go on sale. It seems to me that for the price of the Carenado Saab, I might as well get the cheaper and better simulated Twotter?

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Posted (edited)

w6kd gives a fair assessment of the Twin Otter. In my opinion, the Q400 and AS aircraft are not in the same category with the Q400 a much superior option. 

AS has hinted that the Twotter a/c will be updated...in which decade, remains a mystery. With an add-on GPS, the aircraft is a lot of fun to fly. There's nothing like taking this plane into Saba airport!

I wouldn't discourage a "sale price" buy of this aircraft...although dated, it is great for Caribbean short hauls as well as coastal BC/Alaskan bush flying!

Edited by rmeier

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Benjamin J said:

Any recommendations and opinions would be welcome!

The Twin Otter Extended is an okay aircraft that is easy-ish to fly, though difficult to fly well, especially by hand. It models a number of systems, although the value of this is limited as very few systems ever fail. This renders the entire checklist, complete though it appears, as basically pointless. It's also tedious to do the whole way through and you probably won't do it more than a couple of times! The engine start is simplified for sure, at least in how much attention you need to give it. Whether it's realistic in terms of how the engines spool up seems moot unless there is some decision-making you need to do based on how they behave. In practice the only variable you need to pay attention to on engine start is the n1 RPM, and it's a simple either/or whether you get a successful start or an engine fire.

The electrical system is modelled comprehensively, which means you can simulate failing bits of it. The pneumatic system is modelled, so you can use de-icing measure somewhat realistically, although you really need an addon (icev10 and my own icev10a) for this to be of much use. Engine fires and ice flame-outs are modelled, so you do need to look after the engines and use the intake anti-ice measures. Performance is very sensitive to density altitude, though whether the numbers are strictly realistic is disputed. The autopilot is idiosyncratic but is modelled almost completely (linear deviation from a VORTAC is missing), which is an interesting thing in itself and adds value. There is a FD with steering bars on the ADI so hand-flying with steering prompts is an option. You have two NAV instruments with glide-slope and localiser, plus a ADF and DME so can fly IFR with some flexibility. If you get a proper GNS530 (RXP) it adds a lot to the package, although as others have said, you will need to use it as a popup. The built-in GPS is basically a slightly-enhanced default G500.

Flying precisely is kind of hard due to the long spool-up/down of the engines, which is a P3D feature. There pitch changes under power are also not what you would expect, and there is some consensus that it is not accurate. But it is predictable and again, it makes the aircraft idiosyncratic. Auto-feather is modelled but pointless as P3D doesn't to my knowledge really model feathering or prop drag effects. You can fly it on floats and there is some slight concession to water ops (start locks on the props), although it makes little difference.

On balance I think it's a good aircraft, although I've stuck with it mainly because I built a cockpit around it. It probably doesn't compare with A2A as a deep simulation but I'd recommend it, especially if it's on sale.

Edited by MarkDH
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Aerosofts turbine engine modeling needs improvement.  The Otter and CRJ are horrible in this regard.  This was acceptable ten years ago but not now.  I know there is limitations in the simulation but most everyone else has been able to work around it.  IMO Aerosoft aircraft are one small step above  Carenado.  

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As an alternative you could consider Carenado's Do228 or Flight1 BN-2 Islander (there is even a freeware mod for this to simulate spark plug fouling etc)

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3 hours ago, w6kd said:

the Majestic Q400 (Dash-8), which is, IMHO, the best medium turboprop for FSX/P3D3/P3D4 by any measure.

Took the words right out of my mouth Bob. ever since I got the full set of the Airline2sim videos, been flying it non-stop last few days.

I have eh Twotter but only ever used it very rarely in FSX to replicate Loganair flights to the Outer Hebrides where I used to see them every day

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Posted (edited)

As for the GPS, you CAN install the latest RXP GNS530 into the panel.

Since the RXP GNS V2 has the option of a "no-bezel" install, it does go in cleanly and works well.  :smile:

You need to complement that with a little xml gauge that translates a few missing GPS button codes, but it is all do-able.. and worth it, if you would like to fly this airplane with IFR capability.

Edited by Bert Pieke

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Until just a few years ago the Caribbean used to be full of dash 8s , now they’ve all gone to the ATR which would mean waiting for Milviz I guess.

There’s a couple of charter jet stream 31 aircraft knocking around between the islands.

At the other end of the scale I used to operate the (RW) 747-400 between Antigua - Barbados, Grenada -Barbados, and St Lucia-Barbados  during extended layovers in the Caribbean which was amazing flying, taking a big jet into small islands. Sadly that work is now done by airbus 330 aircraft.

Historically LIAT used to have a fleet of HS748s so there’s the Just flight version available, but that’s probably less realistic than the aerosoft twin otter to be honest.

 

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How about the Milviz Turbo Otter. I realize it is not a twin, but wondering if its turbine engine modelling superior to that of the Aerosoft Twin Otter?

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Okay, thanks all for the comments! I think I know all I need. I think  might just go ahead and get it.

The fact is I'd like to see where Milviz is heading with their ATR, but seeing how some of their other products went down, development-wise, I'm not going to hold my breath. No idea how long it may take for their ATR to land, even if the modeling seems to be coming along very well. It's sad, because the ATR seems to be the plane aorund the Caribbean these days, in favor of the Dash 8, as jon b also commented. Anybody any idea how come? Is this related to the French origin of the ATR, and the fact that many Caribbean islands are French or ex-French (in other words: political reasons)?

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3 hours ago, AviatorMan said:

How about the Milviz Turbo Otter. I realize it is not a twin, but wondering if its turbine engine modelling superior to that of the Aerosoft Twin Otter?

No doubt, since from Milviz's description they actually model the PT-6 themselves. As far as I know Aerosoft's is built on the standard P3D turboprop model.

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16 hours ago, MarkDH said:

No doubt, since from Milviz's description they actually model the PT-6 themselves. As far as I know Aerosoft's is built on the standard P3D turboprop model.

I had some performance problems wit AS Twinotter at certain situations (e.g. Nanaimo SPB). On approach (P3D4.4, FTX PNW + FTX CAC8) I had serious stutters with the AS Twinotter. With Milviz Turbo TO the same approach was very smooth. This was reproducable at various daytime and weather conditions. The only disadvantage of the Milviz Twinotter is the lack of available liveries.

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21 hours ago, AviatorMan said:

How about the Milviz Turbo Otter. I realize it is not a twin, but wondering if its turbine engine modelling superior to that of the Aerosoft Twin Otter?

I beta tested the Milviz Turbo Otter and I have the Aerosoft Twin Otter. The turbine simulation in the Milviz Turbo Otter is vastly superior to Aerosoft Twin Otter which uses the default turboprop simulation. You can easily control the power settings in the Milviz Turbo Otter.

Greg

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Benjamin J said:

because the ATR seems to be the plane aorund the Caribbean these days, in favor of the Dash 8, as jon b also commented. Anybody any idea how come? Is this related to the French origin of the ATR, and the fact that many Caribbean islands are French or ex-French (in other words: political reasons)?

Politics could play a part but there's a much more obvious reason - there are no alternatives in production. The smaller Dash 8 Q200 & Q300 models were discontinued in 2008; the 50 seat ATR42 is the only Western aircraft produced at that size for over a decade. Used Fokker 50 and Saab 2000 are also very rare. Xian MA60 is not certified in the West. So ATR42 wins by default.

At the 70-80 seat size you have the Q400 against the ATR72-600. The Q400 is lot faster and more comfortable but on short island hoping you don't gain much benefit from that, so it's not worth the extra purchase price, fuel consumption and higher maintenance costs. So ATR72 wins unless you want an Illyuishin Il-114 or a 20+ year old BAe ATP/J61 (and I think most of those are with West Air Sweden as freighters now).

The smaller Q200 is a sub-40 seater and again, there's nothing in production in the West at that size. You've just got used Do328, Saab 340, EMB-120 and J41 which will all be at least 20 years old now. So operators buy second hand the easiest to maintain they can find, or they size up to an ATR42.

 

Edited by ckyliu
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Posted (edited)

I like the Twotter, but then I spent a lot of time flying it when it came out, back in the FSX days when really stellar payware was hard to find. I got used to its quirks. I think Aerosoft may have gone downhill since they made it - I found the L1011 (both standard and pro variants) to be exceedingly underwhelming, so I might be looking at the Twotter with rose-tinted glasses. But I still fly it some today and enjoy it when I do.

The Dash 8 is good, but it doesn't scratch quite the same itch. You won't be doing bush flying with a Q400, whereas the Twotter is quite good at it.

Edited by eslader
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3 hours ago, ckyliu said:

Politics could play a part but there's a much more obvious reason - there are no alternatives in production. The smaller Dash 8 Q200 & Q300 models were discontinued in 2008; the 50 seat ATR42 is the only Western aircraft produced at that size for over a decade. Used Fokker 50 and Saab 2000 are also very rare. Xian MA60 is not certified in the West. So ATR42 wins by default.

At the 70-80 seat size you have the Q400 against the ATR72-600. The Q400 is lot faster and more comfortable but on short island hoping you don't gain much benefit from that, so it's not worth the extra purchase price, fuel consumption and higher maintenance costs. So ATR72 wins unless you want an Illyuishin Il-114 or a 20+ year old BAe ATP/J61 (and I think most of those are with West Air Sweden as freighters now).

The smaller Q200 is a sub-40 seater and again, there's nothing in production in the West at that size. You've just got used Do328, Saab 340, EMB-120 and J41 which will all be at least 20 years old now. So operators buy second hand the easiest to maintain they can find, or they size up to an ATR42.

Interesting, thanks for sharing!

Also, I should confess to something rather embarrassing. I was on the way to check out in the Aerosoft store, when I noticed the 'upgrade service' button. I had purchases the original Twotter many years ago, so I decided I might look to see if the upgrade would be cheaper than the sale that was going on. As I went to find my old key... it turns out I already bought the Extended version many, many years ago! I guess when you've been buying addons for a decade or so, you start to forget what you have... With the release of 64bit P3Dv4, I assumed none of my purchased aircraft addons would work, but as it turns out, some of those purchases were upgraded to work, and the Twotter was one of them. In the meantime, i forgot I ever bought it. Glad I looked!

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I rember   jump seating on the flight deck of a LIAT dash 8 a few years ago when they were about to renew the fleet. The guys told me the pilots were keen on getting the Q400 but management wanted the ATR, presumably due to the cost.

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21 hours ago, eslader said:

The Dash 8 is good, but it doesn't scratch quite the same itch. You won't be doing bush flying with a Q400, whereas the Twotter is quite good at it.

Agreed. I don't get the responses saying the Q400 (of which I'm a big fan) is suitable alternative for the Twin Otter (of which I'm also a big fan), just because it's a twin-engined turboprop. If you're flying into small and/or rough strips, the Q400 isn't going to cut it as a replacement.  Similarly If someone is recreating short regional airline flights then the Twin Otter probably isn't the best aircraft to be looking at in the first place. They're different horse for very different courses. 

For bush flying and small strips the alternative I'd be looking a would be a King Air or B1900. Or an An-2 or BN-2, but they have piston engines and are sloooow....

 

 

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I've been doing some bush flying in that freeware Osprey on Rikoooo, but I think that's kinda cheating. 😉

 

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