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    REVIEW - DH.104 Dove&Devon by JustFlight for FSX/P3D


    WR269

     

    Review

    by Mike Cameron

     

    Introduction

    The de Havilland 104 Dove and Devon package for FSX and P3D was developed by Aeroplane Heaven and distributed by Just Flight Software.  The DH.104 Dove is a direct descendent of the famous ‘Wooden Wonder’, de Havilland’s Mosquito fighter/bomber, the Dove was developed by the same designer, R.E. Bishop, who also designed the DH Comet racer and the Comet jet airliner.  The Dove was Britain’s first successful post-war civilian aircraft and is one of the few successful Brabazon Committee projects.  The Brabazon Committee was established during World War II to define requirements for British post war civilian aircraft.  The Dove was developed in response to a requirement for a small feeder airliner for U.K. and Commonwealth domestic services.  The resulting aircraft featured new versions of the Gypsy Queen engine, a raised flight deck with separate passenger cabin and all metal construction.  The first flight of the Dove was on September 25, 1945.  The DH.104 was an immediate success with steady sales as a regional airliner and corporate transport (particularly in the United States), and was also boosted by significant military orders (RAF versions were known as Devon & Royal Navy as Sea Devon’s).  The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated a modified Devon version for many years and they were used for training purposes until the 1970’s.  Many airlines both large and small have operated Dove’s on short-haul routes and as executive transport aircraft with many transferring to new owners and operating into the late 1990’s.  Restored aircraft make popular tourist attractions for air show rides and several are travelling around the world today as flying museum pieces.  The DH.104 Dove remained in production until the middle 1960’s with a total of 544 Dove’s built including 200 for military operators.   Several variants of the Dove & Devon were manufactured including:

    DH.104 Dove Mk.2: Fitted with a clear Perspex roof cockpit and clear Perspex ‘Cock’s Comb’ aerial, a characteristic of the early Dove’s & Devon’s.

    DH.104 Dove Mk.5/6: Cockpit now had a solid plastic/fiber roof which was painted.  Many of these variants were continuously upgraded in service and went on to operate with private companies as air taxi and executive transports.  The product includes two Mk.6 models one with the classic analog avionics and one with modern avionics.

    DH.104 Dove Mk.8: The last of the Gypsy Queen powered Doves and was built primarily for the United States market.  This model featured a lengthened cockpit roof and roof aerials were removed in favor of more modern types.

    DH Devon C Mk.1 and Sea Devon C Mk.20: These were operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.  These aircraft had the military specification cockpits, designed for a single pilot and navigator/engineer seats. The copilot had a large Deccalog analog flight recorder with moving pen and a complex system of dials and controls to plot the flight.

    DH Devon C20 RNZAF: A unique variant of the Devon, built specifically for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  It is fitted with a large navigation dome on top of the fuselage and a big viewing bubble on the forward starboard window.  The wings are dominated by two – three mast aerial arrays mounted on the top wing surfaces and below the nose is a long tube which houses the ‘Long Wire’ antenna, a navigation aid.

     

     

    Specifications:

    Seating Capacity: Crew of two and seating capacity in passenger cabin of eight with maximum seating of eleven with a modified seating arrangement.

    Wingspan: 57 feet

    Length: 39 feet, 3 inches

    Height: 13 feet, 4 inches

    Empty Weight: 6325 pounds from manual, 5725 pounds from included Quick Reference file

    Maximum Take-off Weight: 8950 pounds from manual, 8800 pounds from Reference file

    Powerplant: Two de Havilland Gypsy Queen 70-3 series air cooled engines.

    Propellers: 3-blade de Havilland constant speed feathering propellers

    Fuel Capacity (Mk.6): 168 imperial gallons, with auxiliary tank increased capacity of another 52 imperial gallons.

    Performance (taken from manual and reference file):

    Rotate Speed: 85 MPH or 75 Knots from Quick Reference

    T/O Safety Speed: 95 MPH or 82 Knots from Quick Reference

    Stall Speed Clean: 75 MPH or 65 Knots from Quick Reference

    Stall Speed Approach Configuration: 63 MPH or 55 Knots from Quick Reference

     

    Maximum Speed: 230 MPH (200 Knots) manual, 237 MPH (206 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Max Cruising Speed: 187 MPH (163 Knots) from manual, 184 MPH (160 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Normal Climb Speed: 104 MPH (91 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Turbulence Speed: 145-155 MPH (126-135 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Max Landing Gear Operating: 125 MPH (109 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Max Landing Gear Locked Down: 125 MPH (109 Knots) from Quick Reference

    Max Flaps Operating Speeds:

    20 Degrees: 150 MPH (130 Knots) from Quick Reference

    60 Degrees: 125 MPH (109 Knots)

     

    Approach Speeds

    60 Degrees Flaps: 87 MPH (76 Knots) from Quick Reference

    20 Degrees Flaps: 93 MPH (81 Knots)

     

     

    All performance amounts below from manual.

    Range: 880 Miles (765 NM, 1145 kilometers)

    Service Ceiling: 21700 Feet

    Rate of Climb: 1135 ft. /min

     

     

    Product Features:

    Base Pack: Six Liveries

    BOAC – Dove Mk.6 Early

    LTU – Dove Mk.8 fitted with modern avionics

    Royal Air Force Transport Command – Devon C Mk.1

    Royal Navy – Sea Devon C Mk.20

    Royal New Zealand Air Force – Devon C20

    South Australian Air Taxi – Dove Mk.6B, package includes two variants of this aircraft one with analog avionics and one with modern avionics.

    Livery Pack: Four Liveries, Two from the UK, One from Holland and One from South Africa

    Air Lynx: G-BBYA

    Fair Flight: G-AZPG

    Martin’s Air Charter: PH-MAD

    South African Airways: ZS-BCCS

    Three types of virtual cockpits are included with this package. A civilian aircraft with period analog avionics, a civilian model with modern avionics and the military Devon and sea Devon models with military cockpits.

     

    The modern avionics package features:

    KAP 140 Autopilot

    GNS 430 GPS

    SL30 Communication Radio

    Bendix/King KR87 Transponder

    GTX 328 Flight Computer

    GNC 255 NAV radio

    GMA 340 Audio Panel

    All aircraft also include finely tuned flight dynamics and authentic sound set to enhance period flying.

     

     

    Installation

    Both the base package and the Livery Pack require an active internet connection for activation.  This process is very easy and fast.  Double-click on the downloaded file to start the unlocking process.  This will open the activation page, simply enter your Just Flight account credentials and select “Login”.  Your purchase will be confirmed and the install process will start automatically.  The rest of the installation process is self-explanatory but I want to say that Just Flight includes a multiple installer for those that have both the FSX series and the Lockheed Martin P3D series simulators, no additional purchase required.  I appreciate when the simulator add-on companies provide this wonderful feature.  Once activated and installed, Just Flight products can be removed and reinstalled on the same hard drive as many times as needed.  If you replace the hard drive or purchase a new system, simply download again and repeat the above procedure to unlock again.  A nice Pilot’s Guide is included describing the cockpit layout in detail along with a tutorial flight.  A tutorial flight file is also included for both FSX and P3D.  Lastly, the latest full version available which I am reviewing includes a FDE Switcher so that you can choose which flight dynamics model that you would like to use.  The three options are “Original” which was originally supplied with the first release of the package, “Standard” the updated FDE to address reports of poor takeoff performance, climb rate & trim authority which is now the default FDE option.  The last FDE option is “Alternative” which is the Standard FDE but with increased aircraft performance and handling characteristics.  I will be using the Standard FDE for the review which according to the website is the most realistic but I like Just Flight is providing options.  

     

     

    Virtual Cockpits

    Normally I start the review with the interior model but Aeroplane Heaven and Just Flight did not develop the interior to view from the inside for the Dove & Devon.  As mentioned in the introduction, this package includes three instrument panels, two civilian models (one early analog avionics and one with modern avionics) and a military specification cockpit in the Devon and Sea Devon.  To compare the early DH.104 Doves with the aircraft with a modern avionics instrument panel, I am going to load the South Australian Air Taxi livery which has two aircraft in the package, one with early avionics and one with modern avionics.  This particular aircraft is a Dove Mk.6 variant.  Sitting in the pilot seat looking at the right side of the cockpit, I am immediately impressed with the textures.  I like the “wear” textures on the arm rests, control stick and the yoke.  I also like that this feature is not overdone meaning where you would think there should be some signs of wear there is which greatly adds to the realistic look of the cockpit.  Signage and switch & other labeling also have excellent looking textures and are clear and easy to read.  The interior shading in Prepar3D is also very good.  This view also provides an excellent example of the cramped but very functional cockpit.  For example, the Generator 2 and Auxiliary Fuel tank control is behind the co-pilot seat.  The Generator 1 switch and the two fuel control switches are behind the pilot seat and in the real world the pilot could probably reach these controls from their seat but in the simulator it is easier to use the ‘Right Seat’ view.  While I am in the right seat I zoom in on one of the outstanding labels on the left side of the cockpit.  The only minor issue that I have so far is that even though some of the various switches are animated, there is not an associated sound effect which I miss.

     

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    I switch back to the default VC view so that I can capture the entire instrument panel on both the early and modern instrument panels.  The first picture is the default view when you first load one of these aircraft.  As you can see from the first screen grab below, the pilot is seated pretty high and can only see the top right of the instrument panel.  For my everyday flying I am going to keep this eye-point position because when I pan down I am close enough to read all of the critical instruments and the avionics easily.  The default zoom level is .80 but I am going to reduce this to .60 so that I can see the entire instrument panel.  Even with this zoom level, the instruments are still close enough to be easy to read.  There are a lot of instruments but they are organized in a very logical way that the pilot can easily see and control most everything from his seat.  I will comment more about this during the flight model review.  The Pilot’s Guide does a nice job describing the instrument panel layout so I am not going to repeat it here.  Unlike the side panel switches, the instrument panel switches are animated and also have a nice sound effect.  Other than the modern avionics, the rest of the instrument panel is the same on all civilian variants.  Before capturing screen grabs of the various alternate views I am going to load one of the Devon aircraft to display what these cockpits look like in the simulator.  As you can see the Devon cockpit and instrument panel is quite a bit different but according to the Pilot’s Guide, the basic instrumentation is the same as the civilian models so the simulator pilot should be able to operate either the civilian or military models without too much difficulty.  The primary difference is the large Deccalog analog flight recorder that is operated by the co-pilot or flight engineer to plot the flight.  Obviously this is not simulated but it would have been nice if Aeroplane Heaven would have included a click spot here to open the simulator map or flight planner so that it would have some usability besides taking up a lot of panel real estate.  Also the left side wall has some type of cartridges and the right side wall has some additional controls.

     

    The Pilot’s Guide only provides detail about the civilian model.  Now I am going to start the engines so that I can see how the instruments and avionics are simulated.  Before continuing I want to note an oddity with the analog radios.  Without the Battery, Generators and Master Avionics switches powered on, the radios do not tune, the knobs move but the frequency digits remain stationary which is strange because these are analog radios so even without electrical power, you should still be able to dial the frequencies.  The exterior lighting, fuel pumps, pitot heat switches and the Transponder are located in the lower left portion of the instrument panel and are partially hid by the yoke.  There are a few ways to access them with the easiest to just hide the yoke which is the space below the gear indicator lights.  While on the ground with the parking brake set is to pull the yoke out of the way.  There is not an alternate view looking at this area of the panel but you can see them from the right seat (tool tips help from this view), the pedestal view works for operating the Transponder but you need to zoom in close.  The center pedestal looks very nice with clear easy to read labeling and just the right amount of “wear” textures.  Lastly, you can adjust your eye point but I do not usually use this option because I have to readjust right away to fly the Dove.  I usually like to operate my simulated aircraft as realistically as possible but with the Dove/Devon, I probably will just hide the yoke unless I am on the ground.  The switch labels are very legible which is wonderful.  Another unusual feature about this aircraft but maybe a real world label, the on position for the taxi light is labeled “TAXY”.  At the rear of the cockpit above the cabin door are the No Smoking and Fasten Seat Belt switches and when switched on, they each have illuminated red indicator lights.

     

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    The engine priming controls are located on the lower right side of the instrument panel and depending on your eye position may be partially hidden so adjustments may be required. The needles on all of the instruments are realistically animated.  The Dove & Devon is definitely a two pilot aircraft because as mentioned previously some controls and instruments can only be operated or viewed from the right seat.  Another example of this is the Oil Temperature & Pressure gauges are obstructed from the default view but can be seen from the right seat but may still require some eye position or zoom adjustments. 

    The two ammeters are located on the lower right portion of the instrument panel and it is nice to see that they are simulated.  Below the ammeters are the aircraft circuit breakers.  The other alternate views that are available for you to use is Autopilot (more about this during flight model section), Center Panel and the Compass view overhead above the windshield.  Navigation radio 2 is also located with the compass.  The Pilot’s Guide does a good job explaining about the F8 compass operation but after reading it several times, I am still not sure how it operates.  There is a traditional compass mounted between the left and right windshields.  Before moving to the exterior model I turn on the cockpit lighting which is simulated very nice.  I am also going to capture a screen grab of the modern cockpit with the avionics turned on.  As you can see from my screen grab of the modern avionics, I could not turn on some of the avionics.  The Pilot’s Guide said to rotate the power knob to the right to power on these units but when I tried with the mouse wheel or right clicking, nothing happened.  I sent in a support ticket and Just Flight support responded right away.  This operation requires holding down the left mouse button and manually rotating the knob.  This works but I prefer using the mouse wheel because it is easier for me but thankfully you will not have to operate the power controls in flight.

     

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    Exterior Model

    I am going to start with the aircraft included with the base package and will provide exterior screen grabs of the expansion pack at the end of this section.  I am going to load the early models whether Dove or Devon first and will proceed from there.  I will also provide examples of the various external angle views which usually provide nice close up views to examine the various areas of the Dove/Devon exterior.  If needed, I will adjust the zoom amount better viewpoints.

     

    I had a difficult time finding an early model of these aircraft in the simulator because Mk.2 is not included in the simulator aircraft description and the Pilot’s Guide & product page were not that much help either.  I finally decided to load the Dove Mk.6 Early flown by British Overseas Airways Corporation.  Why did Just Flight not just describe this as an Mk.2 in the simulator?  As you can see from the first screen grab this aircraft has the clear Perspex cockpit roof and the Perspex ‘Cock’s’ Comb aerial which were characteristics of the early Dove’s & Devon’s which look very nice in the simulator.  Also, according to the product page, the Royal Air Force Transport Command aircraft is supposed to be a Devon Mk.1 but in the simulator this aircraft is described as a Dove Mk.8.  At least the Royal Navy aircraft is listed as a Devon but Sea Devon would have been more realistic.

     

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    I am now going to load the Mk.6 variant with the solid plastic roof.  Also from this spot view I can see the overall quality of the external model, with three dimensional features and no blurry textures.  The animated flight crew has realistic head movement which is nice.  For the LTU Dove Mk.8 model I am going to get a close up view of the passenger compartment door which displays some of the care and quality of the external features that Aeroplane Heaven and Just flight have included with this Dove/Devon package.  I will open this door now to get a look inside the passenger cabin and even though there is not an interior view of the cabin, it has been modeled for viewing from the various external views.

    The passenger cabin looks very nice from these views with three dimensional seats.  Another small detail that I appreciate is that the interior of this door is modeled with nice textures because it would have been all too easy to just include a plain door texture instead looking realistic.  There are three doors that can be opened using the Shift + E, 2 and 3 keyboard shortcuts.  I sometimes have trouble opening doors using this method but I did not have any trouble with this aircraft.  Another feature that I consider important with quality premium simulated aircraft are ground static features when the aircraft is parked with the engines off.  I like how this is simulated with the Just Flight Dove & Devon package.  Rather than using a menu selection, the user needs to flip the Secure Aircraft switches in the cockpit to display the passenger stairs, chocks and flags.

    These aircraft require a ground power cart for engine start and the GPU are brought to the aircraft by switching the Ground/Flight power selector in the cockpit to the Ground position and when not needed to the Flight position.  These ground static features look wonderful but I wish they would have included sound effects for the GPU!  I am going to close all of the doors and remove the ground features to look at all of the alternate views and the aircraft included with the Livery Pack.

     

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    The Royal New Zealand Airforce Devon C20 has the unique exterior features of this model, (large navigation Plexiglas dome on top of the fuselage & the big viewing bubble on the forward starboard window), built specifically for the New Zealand Air Force.  Also unique with this aircraft are the three mast aerial arrays mounted on the top surfaces of each wing.  Just like the other features these are three dimensional and look very realistic in the simulator.  The caution cone in the picture is not part of this package but is included with the FSDT Ground Services product.

    The last aircraft that is included with the Base Package is the Royal Navy Sea Devon Mk.20.  I had the simulator paused when I captured the screen grab of this aircraft and it looked like the tires were sunk into the ground but when I un-paused the simulator the wheels raised to a normal level.  There are four aircraft included in the Livery Pack and there are twelve alternate views for me to get a good look at the rest of the exterior features.  I will zoom in when needed and am not going capture screen grabs of the same view from each side of the aircraft.

    Just as I have commented already, all features both small and large look great in the simulator.  I am going to turn on all of the exterior lights which also are nicely done.  There are three landing light positions, retracted, extended off and extended & on.  Most of the exterior screen grabs from this section are with retracted landing light and the two below are of the extended (off) and extended (on) positions.  Another example of a small but realistic feature included with this product.  The last four screen grabs below are of the four aircraft included with the Livery Pack.  The cockpit and exterior model look great but now it is time to review the flight model of the Just Flight Dove & Devon.

     

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    Flight Model

    Just Flight provides a tutorial flight for the Dove from Hawarden Airport (EGNR) to Biggin Hill Airport (EGKB) with a couple of waypoints enroute.  The Pilot’s Notes document provides instructions for the aircraft procedures with photos of how to operate the Dove & Devon in a very easy to understand manner.  I always appreciate when simulator aircraft developers provide expanded documentation for users with limited knowledge of their aircraft because this really helps the virtual pilot of all skill levels.  I am not an expert in flight dynamics and have never piloted one of these aircraft so I approach my aircraft reviews with how easy or hard the aircraft is to operate from a novice to intermediate skill level point of view.  I have already reviewed the preflight procedures so I am going to start after the GPU has been connected and operating.  Again, I want to comment about how useful the tutorial is explaining the startup procedures and I recommend novice virtual pilots use this as a template until they are comfortable and then procced to using the checklist.

    I am glad that several alternate views are included because there are procedures where the co-pilot would normally perform and some things cannot be performed from the default VC view.  The first example of this is when the fuel quantity of both main tanks and these instruments are located on the right side of the instrument panel.  If you adjust your view it is possible to see these instruments from the pilot position but it is probably easier to just use the ‘Right Seat’ view.  Other controls that are easier to verify/operate from the co-pilot position are the fuel control switches and the Generator 1 switch.  I also want to point out as part of my personal pre-flight procedures is that I adjust the zoom levels of all of the alternate views to make it easier for me to see and operate.  The rest of the pre-start procedures are very easy and in many ways are similar to other twin engine, retractable gear aircraft.  The Pitot Heat and lighting switches are obstructed by the yoke but since I am on the ground I simply pull the yoke out of the way to turn on the Pitot Heat and NAV light switches.

    The next procedure is something that is not on most modern twin engine aircraft, verify that the propellers are in the “Off” position and you will need to use the tool tip to verify this because these controls are not animated.  If the propellers are in the feathered position, adjust them until the tool tip changes from “Feathered” to the “Off” display.  For ultimate realism or if you do not like using the tool tip displays, simply remember the propeller position for the off position and place the controls there.  Moving down on the pedestal, verify that the fuel tank selectors are on (down) and that the Cowl Flaps are fully open, also in the full down position.  The mouse wheel works great for these procedures but click and drag also works.  According to the Pilot’s Guide it is time to setup the avionics and instruments for departure and this where it is different than an aircraft with modern avionics where you do not turn on the avionics until after the engines are running.  I have already explained the avionics operation earlier so I am not going to comment any more about this here other than to say that I did not have any issues with this procedure and I waited to perform these procedures until after the engines had started.  That is the next set of procedures that needs to be completed, engine start.

    If you have not already done so, close the doors now.  Turn around and turn on the Fasten Seatbelts and No Smoking signs, there is not a sound effect with this action but there are lights to indicate that they are turned on.  I mentioned this earlier but verify that both fuel controls are open.  Switch on the anti-collision lights and both fuel pumps.  The tutorial said to verify that both fuel pressure gauges are in the green.  The first couple of times that I tried the engine start procedures, the fuel pressure gauges did not come anywhere close to the proper setting.  The Dove & Devon does not have mixture controls but I do have hardware mixture controls and I needed to place my hardware controls into the full rich (forward) position for the needles to move on the fuel pressure gauges.  I looked on the support forums and apparently this is pretty common so if you have trouble starting the engines, move the mixture controls to full rich.

    At this time also place the propeller controls into the max RPM or full forward position.  In the real world the starting the engines would be done from the co-pilot position because all of the controls are on this side.  On my system it was easier to start the left engine from the pilot seat and the right engine from the right seat.  Open the left primer guard & left click the primer once, place the left magnetos in the up (on) position and press the left start button which is located right below the left primer.  Close the engine start guard and the engine should start right up, just monitor the engine instruments and wait for them to stabilize.  This is pretty easy and most virtual pilots should not have any issues remembering this.

    I do not know what the real Dove sounds like but the startup sounds are pretty quiet but if this what it is supposed to sound like then good, if not, Aeroplane Heaven & Just Flight please fix.  Switch on the left generator and verify that the left ammeter is working correctly, I love that this is simulated and verify that the left generator fail light is extinguished.  Repeat for the right engine and even though the tutorial omitted this, switch on the master avionics switch.  Now that both engines are running move the ground/flight switch to the “FLT” position to remove the GPU.  The magneto check is done at this time and thankfully this realistic procedure is simulated.

    Another omission from the tutorial but is included on the checklist is to verify that the Artificial Horizon is uncaged which it is by default.  While the engines are warming up, now would be a good time to setup the radios and instruments for departure.  Place the taxi lamp to the “Taxy” position and yes that is how it is spelled and put the flaps into the 20% takeoff position.  Normally I would contact ground now but I am not going to be using ATC for this trip so that I can follow the tutorial.  Before we start to taxi we need to know where we are going so open the simulator map and zoom in so that we can see where Runway 23 is located.

    If this is your first turboprop aircraft, it may take some time to get used to the ground taxi procedure.  It takes some time before the engines have enough power to start moving the aircraft, resist the urge to keep applying power or you suddenly will be moving way to fast.  Move the power controls slowly, and when the Dove starts to move, stop increasing power and see how fast you will be moving.  If you think that you are moving too fast, reduce power and/or apply some brake.  The sound effects of using the brakes are very impressive.  Approach the hold short area and similar to other aircraft turn off the taxi light and place the landing light in the extended “on” position.  From now until we reach cruise things are going to progress rapidly so I recommend reading this part of the tutorial several times before departing or have the pause key nearby.  Basically, line up with the centerline of the runway, start with about 25% power and when the instruments stabilize, slowly increase power to maximum.  The Dove handles nicely during this phase, all that is required is small rudder movement to maintain centerline and rotate at 80 knots.

    Again, this operation is very smooth in the simulator.  After safely clearing the end of the runway, raise the gear & flaps and continue to fly the runway heading.  Part of the process of setting up your radios is to set the runway heading on the Heading Indicator so this helps to maintain the runway heading.  By this time the RMI gauge should be seeing the Honily VOR (HON) and what I love about the RMI gauge is how easy it is to use.  The VOR needle points to the station and you turn the aircraft towards that heading which on this flight is 138 degrees.  At this time you want to trim for a climb speed of 95 knots.  The Just Flight Dove is a very nice aircraft to manually fly, it is very responsive to my controls and the trim works very well for all phases of flight.  The tutorial only provides a very basic explanation of a flight from these two airports and only provides recommended airspeeds and not Manifold Pressure and RPM settings.  This should be alright for the novice pilot but if you are more experienced and would like to operate the aircraft as realistically as possible, then you should use the settings from the Quick Reference document.  I recommend printing this out and keeping it with your checklist for reference.  These settings through the climb phase of the flight are as follows, take off (3000 RPM, 45” MP for a maximum of 5 minutes), max continuous (2700 RPM, 42” MP) and normal climb (2600 RPM, 36” MP). 

    This may be a hardware issue on my end but when I adjusted the propellers controls for an RPM setting the needle movement on the Tachometer was very extreme and not smooth at all.  This is a good time to point out that the De Havilland Dove has a very unusual Tachometer, where the large numbers are the hundred’s digits which makes it very easy to read.  Now that we are established in the climb to our cruise altitude of 12,000, we need to trim for 100 knots and when we pass 5,000 feet, turn off the landing lights.  The Cooling Flaps should now be moved to the 25% open position but on my system there was only 22 and 30 percent so I used 22 percent.  Also turn off the non-smoking and fasten seatbelt signs at this time.  Again, not overly complicated and most experienced simulator pilots should be able to remember these procedures or just scan the checklist.  Once past 5,000 feet we can now transition to the cruise climb setting of 120 knots which is the normal climb setting on the Quick Reference.  The transition between these early climb settings is very smooth and the tonal sound changes are also very impressive.

    According to the tutorial we should reach our 12,000 foot cruise altitude at about 40 miles from the Honily VOR.  The early era avionics do not have a DME instruments so for this tutorial flight the only way to verify this is to open the 2D GPS or modern avionics windows.  Other than for this flight, I probably will only use the simulator navigation log or the simulator map.  The tutorial does a pretty good job explaining how to use navigation modes of the autopilot and both work good.  Basically, once we are lined up with the HON VOR and have this VOR dialed in the NAV 1 radio, turn on the autopilot and active NAV mode and it will fly the aircraft to that VOR.  Because this is a simulator and we have a flight plan loaded, later in the flight we can switch to GPS mode but I will probably not use this mode unless I am using the modern avionics.  For now until I reach the cruising altitude, I simply monitor the instruments and enjoy the outside scenery.

     

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    As I approach 12,000 feet, I trim for level flight and per the tutorial it is time to activate Altitude Hold mode on the autopilot to maintain the 12,000 foot cruise altitude.  I have read reports that if you adjust power while in Altitude Hold mode, the autopilot will do some strange things, which is the case so I will manually climb and descend and will only use the autopilot to hold my altitude.  This autopilot does have a Vertical Speed mode so you should be able to use this mode to adjust altitude but I could not get this function to work correctly, so I will leave this to other reviewers with more experience to comment about this.  The tutorial says to adjust power for cruise (85% power, 2400 RPM and 34” MP) after selecting Altitude Hold mode but because of these issues I recommend setting the power first then applying the autopilot mode.  This may be something on my system, so follow the tutorial and if you have issues, follow my suggestion.

    According to the cruise checklist, it says to adjust the Air Cooler flaps as required but the tutorial says to close them entirely, which is what I will do.  I wish the tutorial and checklist would provide the same information because this becomes confusing.  If you do not have a printed checklist available it is also available on this aircraft’s kneepad for reference which brings me to another minor issue.  Aeroplane Heaven or Just Flight did not name the Quick Reference document correctly in the aircraft.cfg for it to be included on the kneepad.  I want to thank Just Flight forum user Snave for pointing this error out, it should be named “DH104_Ref_2.htm” to display on the kneepad.  The fuel pumps can now be turned off for cruise and auxiliary fuel tank can also be turned on now because it is only supposed to be used during the cruise phase of flight and we will turn it off before descent.  The tutorial has us now in GPS mode following the simulator flight plan and does not provide this information but I decide to load the second VOR waypoint (Daventry DTY) into the NAV1 standby position and will switch it to active after passing over the Honily VOR to use the RMI for reference.  The autopilot automatically turns the aircraft to the next waypoint and now that I am flying direct to DTY, I switch this frequency to active and the RMI needle smoothly moves to the correct position pointing to the station, which is wonderful.  I continue flying with the autopilot until reaching Lutton where I will start the descent phase into Biggin Hill (EGKB).  I disengage ALT hold, adjust power and trim for about 800 FPM (Quick Reference values, 500 FPM, 1800 RPM and 28” MP for a descent speed of 135 knots).

    The descent procedures are essentially the reverse of the climb procedures but I use the checklist to verify but it does not tell me anything other than the propeller and throttle settings.  I wish Aeroplane Heaven and Just Flight would have been more thorough with the checklist.  I tune the Biggin Hill VOR which is located on the airport so whether using GPS or NAV mode on the autopilot, it should direct us to the airport.  After turning towards the airport, the tutorial explains that we will be landing on Runway 21 which has an ILS so I dial that frequency into the standby position on NAV1 radio and will switch when I have the airport in site.  The ILS runway heading for this runway is 208 degrees so I set this on the VOR indicator to manually fly the approach.

    The autopilot does have an Approach mode but I am not experienced at this type of approach and I am not sure accurate the simulation is for this mode so I will not be reviewing that autopilot mode.  I am descending without issue so I start to mentally prepare for the approach.  I decide to capture a screen grab as I fly over London.  Because we are descending and because it is not to be used on approach, I turn off the Auxiliary Fuel tank.  I can see the airport in the distance so I switch the ILS frequency to active, and switch back to NAV mode on the autopilot.  The autopilot automatically turns the Dove towards the ILS course.  Per the tutorial, I reduce speed to 110 knots and set 20 degrees of flaps.  I am too high so I disengage the autopilot and manually fly the approach.

    The tutorial does a good job explaining the various approach speeds but as you can see from my approach screen grab, I am going to have to practice some more or a lot.  The Dove is a wonderful aircraft to manually fly and I look forward to piloting it on many for flights.  Even though I was high on approach I was able to slow it down enough so that I did not use too much runway for landing and the brakes are very responsive.  I taxi to my parking spot and begin the shutdown procedures which are as easy as the engine start procedures.  I am not going to repeat the tutorial or checklist here other than to say is that you pull each of the fuel control switches behind the pilot seat to shut down each engine.  To summarize, the Dove or Devan is very nice aircraft to operate that should be accessible to simulator pilots of all skill levels and I look forward flying it on my regional virtual airline flights.

     

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    Conclusion

    Accessibility

       The Just Flight Dove/Devon package is very accessible because besides being sold from Just Flight it is also available from other flight simulator stores.  For me accessibility also means, how easy or hard is the aircraft to operate for simulator pilots of all skill levels.  There is a slight learning curve for novice pilots who have never operated a turboprop aircraft but considering these aircraft, even the modern avionics instrument panel, do not have overly complex systems that most virtual pilots should not have too hard of time learning to operate the Dove or Devon without issue if they follow the tutorial.

    Affordability

       At $29.99 USD the base package is not inexpensive but considering the number of different aircraft and instrument panels included, I still consider this a pretty good deal because both FSX and P3D simulators are supported without having to purchase an additional license for each simulator.  Now if you expect ultra-realistic flight models and systems then you will be disappointed but if you would like an easy to learn classic twin engine aircraft, this is the aircraft for you.

    Ease of Installation

       I cannot say how easy the package is to install if purchased from another retailer but if purchased from Just Flight, it is a very easy process.  You simply use your Just Flight account to activate and if you ever replace your hard drive or purchase a new system, simply download and activate again.  The rest of the install process is self-explanatory and I did not have any issues.

    Features & System Performance

       System performance was spectacular which is what I would expect from an instrument panel without glass panels or any form of GPS installed in the panel.  I like the variety of aircraft models and instrument panels included with the base package and if you like to have more Dove’s or Devon’s in your virtual hanger, then purchase the Livery Pack or wait for some repaints to become available.  I also like that Aeroplane Heaven and Just Flight includes ground static features which I look for with premium aircraft.

     

     

    Final Thoughts

    If you are in the market for a classic twin engine turboprop aircraft for FSX or Prepar3D than you can’t go wrong with the Just Flight DH.104 Dove & Devon package.  If you want an aircraft with a full featured autopilot with all of the bells and whistles, then this may not be the aircraft for you.  But if you like to manually fly your classic aircraft but still have a basic and functional autopilot (NAV, GPS & ALT Hold modes) then I can definitely recommend this package for you.  Did I have some issues, yes, but for the most part I consider them minor and I can work around them, plus an issue to me may not be an issue to you.  I want to thank Just Flight for providing the review copy of this package.

    Test System

    Hardware:

    Computer Specs:

    Intel Desktop Computer

    Intel i5 4670K 3.4Ghz Non OC Processor

    8GB DDR3 1833 Memory

    2TB SATA HD (7200 RPM)

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX970 Video Card with 4GB GDDR5 Memory

    Saitek Cessna Yoke and Rudder Pedals

    Software:

    Prepar3D Version 3

    Windows 7 – 64 Bit

    REX 4 Texture Direct with Soft Clouds

    Orbx HD Trees, Global, Vector, Europe Landclass & Multiple Regions

    FS Global 2010 FTX Compatible

    FSX Fair Weather Theme

    Flight Test Time: 20 hours

     



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    User Feedback


    Thank you for this review. Unfortunately, two years after the publication, all the image links are broken.

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