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Thread: VFR Reviews - Aerosoft’s DHC-6 Twin Otter X

  1. #1
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    VFR Reviews - Aerosoft’s DHC-6 Twin Otter X



    VFR Reviews
    Aerosoft’s – DHC-6 Twin Otter X
    By Ashton Lawson

    Here’s another review brought to you by the VFR Reviews team with thanks to Aerosoft for providing the aircraft in which I now fly fairly often.

    As with most addons the process begins with a download, and in this case the download comes in at around 125 megabytes and after installation, which is very simple as are most payware installations, the manual says that you would’ve lost a total of around 600MB of hard drive space. I’m not completely sure about this, since it’s never occurred to me to actually monitor disk space to find out, but I suppose I better start doing that in the future.

    The download itself comes down relatively quickly, and I’m in Thailand, so I imagine the majority of you who live in the more internet-friendly regions of our slowly toasting planet will have no trouble in acquiring this fine addon.

    Now, it’s slowly become apparent to me that in reviewing items of the payware variety, it’s imperative that you read the manual. I still, however, don’t do this much. Instead I just jump right in, fool about, and once I’ve got first impressions done and over-with, I’ll then read the manual.

    The first thing I noticed in this aircraft, and indeed the first thing I notice with most aircraft is the sound, typically because Flight Simulator, after having loaded to 100%, tends to play sounds, briefly pause, and then begin rendering the simulation. So, I make this statement: This aircraft is considerably loud.



    It’s one of the greater things about this aircraft though, since the sound quality is very good, the way sounds blend in with each other is pretty awesome, and the overall feeling of the environment around the aircraft becomes quite immersive. I suppose one can liken it to typical first-person shooters, in the sense that whilst the game can be very realistic, the sounds of the gunshots are actually quite quiet. If you’ve heard a real gunshot, its intensity is quite remarkable, and thus most shooters don’t really capture that, and the same can be said for most of the default aircraft in Flight Simulator.

    This is why I find the sound to be one of the finer points of this aircraft. You can imagine the start up sounds of classic aircraft like spitfires or mustangs as those sounds have as much to do with what the aircraft is and what it represents as its airframe or paint scheme. A quick search on YouT[s][/s]ube for the ‘Twotter’, as it’s affectionately known, and you’ll see that the sounds are indeed quite accurate, and I don’t really find much fault in that area.

    Moving on though, the things that most people want to read about are visuals. So, how does it look?

    It looks spectacular, from the outside. Inside isn’t as impressive, but we’ll get to that later. Outside the aircraft is of seriously good quality, and has all of the features that Flight Simulator’s graphics engine allows for, including self-shadowing, bump-mapping, light-bloom, everything. Even the texture detail is very nice, but we do have a few issues with those, since there are a few noticeable areas where the textures don’t appear to line up correctly. They’re not blatantly obvious, and most people wouldn’t notice them, but if you do look closely they’re there. Another thing which I found quite funny is the fact that the tyres reflect the world like the rest of the aircraft. Perhaps that’s to simulate very shiny tyres which are very polished, I don’t know, but these are just silly things I’m picking on now. Finally, the textures, in certain areas can get a little blurry, but overall still good quality for payware.



    Moving on, we also have five variants of the aircraft including a wheeled version, the same wheeled version only with more modern equipment like GPS, a wheeled version with retractable skids, a skidded version, and finally one with floats. Not only that, but we have a total of fifteen paint jobs, one scheme for the skid version, one scheme for the wheel and skid version, two for the floats version, seven for the regular, and a final four for the ones with more modern-day systems.



    What kinds of details do we expect from this aircraft though? Most of you probably wouldn’t be into examining every single detail, but I am, and I’m quite pleased with the results. In fact, there’s something I’d like to point out.

    In the manual, the front page shows the title of the aircraft obviously, and then shows a picture, a picture of the DHC-6-100 Kenn Borek Air Ltd. version. The notable thing about this is the fact that it has landing skids, not gear, nor skids with gear. And the image itself is of the leading skid. Nothing else. A rather odd choice, but it becomes apparent that they want to let people know how detailed the thing is, because looking at it we see each individual metal strip that make up the suspension’s construction.



    The thought that comes to mind when seeing this (for me anyway) is ‘pre-rendered’. So, I started up FS for the twenty-eighth time for this review, loaded a flight with the subject of the screenie, and examined all three legs.

    Sure enough, there they are, the metal suspension strips, each one modelled quite nicely, very visible, and of course, very impressive.



    One has to ask though, if they’ve put this kind of detail into the thing, surely the frame hit must be considerable. Well nope, it isn’t. When compared to similar aircraft in size or function, such as the Grand Caravan or Maule, the Twotter gets roughly the same frame rate, so we’re getting great quality, plenty of detail, and at little cost, performance-wise.



    We’ve addressed the basic things that most people look for in an addon, but now we enter the realism stage, where we forget about the actress’s looks, and start getting concerned about her abilities.

    A handy thing about this day and age is that the internet provides us with many resources, and I can safely say that taking off is quite realistic, or so a video would have me believe. Can’t say much about anything else, because YouT[s][/s]ube videos and performance data will only get you so far, and I’d honestly have to track down a real Twin Otter pilot to get his certified opinion of the plane, but since I don’t really have the time, nor the resources, I will describe for you the experience instead.

    Overall, flying the aircraft is a pleasant experience, with movements being nice and smooth, and that’s one of the funny things, actually. The ailerons appear to be quite large in surface area, and not subtle in range of motion, so I find it a bit strange that rolling the aircraft is as slow as it is. The same can’t be said for pitch and yaw control, since their actions appear to be quite realistic, but really, rolling seems quite sluggish.



    Moving the flaps up and down doesn’t produce abnormal results. I notice with the default Beaver or Goose, the flaps tend to levitate the aircraft upwards fairly rapidly, and a bit unnaturally, yet don’t appear to slow down the aircraft as much as one might suppose considering their affect on altitude.

    In regards to the engines, very good, imperative that you manage engine power properly with the manoeuvres you intend to perform since they do affect the aircraft considerably, but not in a bad way. For example, since the engine’s placement in relation to its centre of gravity on the aircraft is quite high, running the engines at 100% will tend to make the aircraft want to pitch downwards, and once you’re at a comfortable altitude and wish to start cruising, leaning off the power will make the aircraft pitch up a little.



    This is one of the things I like about this plane, because whatever you do with the basic controls of elevator, ailerons, rudder, flaps and throttle, all seem to affect each other in realistic ways. If you’re a seriously serious simmer, and I know some of you could well be the over-the-top type, having trim controls as well as proper yoke will definitely make flying this aircraft a really exquisite experience.

    Whilst mentioning handy-to-have controls, it would also be good to have a throttle quadrant of some sort, with two throttle levers, two mixture levers, and two prop levers. This is mainly because it makes flying great, but the great thing about having two throttle controls is for the float version of this aircraft. It has no water rudder, so steering whilst floating is done with differential engine control, and there’s no fun in doing that with the mouse.



    There’s a loading tool provided in the start menu entries to automatically load each variation of the Twotter using a little top-down schematic of the Twotter’s cabin, where clicking a seat space will either empty the seat, or fill it with either a child, or an adult male or female. A very handy tool making each flight different more interesting in subtle ways.

    A lot of the default light aircraft appear to react in ways which seem to separate controls enough to make flying with the keyboard possible. This is another interesting point, because due to my laziness, I occasionally neglect to plug in my X52 Pro when the flight I intend to enter doesn’t involve actual flying, just clever aircraft slewing along with a photo-shoot, but occasionally I do start flying by keyboard.

    What’s it like? It’s quite nice actually. Flying by keyboard isn’t as hard as people have come to believe, but to be quite fair I think it would even be preferable to fly using a driving wheel rather than the keyboard.

    Anyway, I suppose I should move indoors, into the virtual cockpit to see just how much of this aeroplane’s systems are actually replicated. First of all though, perhaps we should care to take a look at how pretty it is. Or not, as the case may be.



    The virtual cockpit is satisfactory, but I can’t help but think that some of FS’s default cockpits are nicer. This was quite surprising to me, since the overall quality so far was quite pleasing, yet the interior appears to be a bit muddy in the textures. There’s nothing really wrong, but what I saw reminded me a little bit of the Baron 58’s VC from A Century of Flight.



    Most of the virtual cockpits in the default aircraft are quite sharp and pretty, but the Twotter’s wasn’t. How odd. I compared the default Beaver’s cockpit to this one’s, and it’s fairly apparent that the Beaver’s looks better. The quality is good, but personally I’d want a little more than the tacky textures and blurry text that I actually got. Text is still readable though. God knows what could’ve happened a week ago if the textures were really bad and I couldn’t read the engine fire instructions (random failures are fun).

    However, it’s not all about textures. The virtual cockpit is more or less about the representation of instruments in their natural habitat. One thing about the instruments in this case are the fact that since they’re not ‘gauge-based’, as in the default format for most virtual cockpit instruments, they use another format which allows them to be smooth, and operate at the same frame rate as the simulation. This is good news for people who can’t stand the older type which seemed to tick-like-a-clock into position.

    So, now we move on to operation of the aircraft. Just using the checklists that come with the aircraft, I can safely say that the aircraft was poorly designed...

    Poorly designed by de Havilland, that is. Nope, Aerosoft have done a fine job replicating the cockpit, but seriously, it’s easier to find the necessary switches and levers to start up a Baron 58 or Cessna 172, but this thing’s a nightmare. The number of things that you are required to do is quite small, but the major task is finding the switches.



    What made it easier for me, though, are the multiple views, accessible by pressing the ‘A’ key. We have the pilot and co-pilot’s view, the view of the main engine-monitoring instruments, then the overhead prop, mixture, and throttle controls along with various other switches (like the windscreen wiper, which actually works), and finally another view for the other further-back overhead switches.

    It doesn’t stop there though, since we get two more views, one viewing the cabin from the cockpit, and one viewing the entire cabin with the cockpit in front. And get this, there’s one final view which is a showcase image, like an ad for the views that are available.



    While we’re on the topic of views though, we also have the exterior aircraft views, and they’re not really special, but rather average considering what you get with default aircraft, but they’re still nice to be able to switch to.

    So, what’s the overall experience really like? All I can say is that it feels brilliant, looks brilliant, it’s interesting to fly, it’s a pleasure to fly, and it’s fun.



    As a verdict, I’d say if you like prop aircraft, you can’t really go wrong with Aerosoft’s DHC-6 Twin Otter. The number of variations you get, the quality of each one, the flight dynamics, the beautiful (but loud) sounds, and of course the lovely exterior model make this twin-engine prop aircraft, a must-fly.

  2. #2
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    Ashton - great review of a great plane!
    "What do you hear?" "Nothing but the rain!" "Then grab your gun and bring the cat in!" "Boom, boom, boom!"

  3. #3
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    :friday:
    Oh give me a DHC 6
    With ailerons rudder and sticks
    A Lear jet is a master but this gets off faster
    Oh give me a DHC6.

    Great review Ashton.
    Gary -

    Goundcrew Member - Warbirds of Delaware KILG - Member 7G Club
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    Mid Atlantic Air Museum Reading, PA.

  4. #4
    It´s not worth the price!!!...the sound is out of wack!!!, they fly over my house every morning going to the Isands and the sound is totally different than this....there are better sounding freeware models......down yourself a free one!!!!...

  5. #5
    gajit
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    Quote Originally Posted by gera View Post
    It´s not worth the price!!!...the sound is out of wack!!!, they fly over my house every morning going to the Isands and the sound is totally different than this....there are better sounding freeware models......down yourself a free one!!!!...

    I quite agree - I think this version is very disappointing.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the comments guys

    As soon as Ashton sees this, I'll post his comments

    Kevin

  7. #7
    Charter Member 2014 jankees's Avatar
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    I've been thinking of buying this, but it seems the jury is completely divided....any other ideas/comments?
    buy / no buy??
    Time flies like an arrow
    fruit flies like a banana

  8. #8
    Interesting that some think the sound is off... especially considering it was recorded from a real Twin Otter.

    The Twin Otter is in my opinion the definitive Twin Otter made for FSX. I was also part of the beta and created the official video for it. Let me say that up front.

    The model was created with the idea of giving the best possible framerates, even better than the default aircraft. Some see this as a negative, but for all intensive purposes this was also how it was marketed. Because of this, the VC is not modeled in "extreme" detail and offers a wide array of functionality rather than offering lots of widgets that have little to no value for those who want a smooth running simulation.

    If you keep that in mind then you will find this aircraft a VERY worthwhile simulation indeed. The amount of repaints alone should give great impression that generally speaking the public enjoys the product.

    Don't let someone with a subjective opinion tell you otherwise. I wouldn't have put my mark on the product if I didn't think it carried merit.

  9. #9
    Didn't quite escape.
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    Here's my take on it, jankees...

    http://www.screenshotartist.co.uk/ae...ter_review.htm

    As I said on another thread, it's either second or third on my most flown aircraft list (it alternates between that and the C-130X) behind the A2A B377.

    Ian P.

  10. #10
    Totally OT, but Ian... I am so glad you are finally getting to experience the 377 and am enjoying it.

  11. #11

    Lightbulb

    You be the judge of the sound

    [youtube]Y_Wx0VshofE[/youtube]

  12. #12
    I dunno, sound is a pretty subjective thing.

    I've got a couple thousand hours in them and I think the sound is about as good as it can be. Particularly when you come up with the power at the beginning of the takeoff roll, it IS a Twin Otter. I actually use the Aerosoft Twin Otter sound in the Cheyenne as well.

    The thing that's important to me for sound on a PT-6A powered plane is that I be able to hear the engine and hear the prop and hear the changes I do to both with power and prop levers. To me, it's spot on.

    I'm only talking about the sound from the cockpit. Can't compare that to sound of the plane flying overhead.

    Of all the planes in FSX that I've flown in real life (and there are quite a few), the Aerosoft Twin Otter comes the closest to the real thing for me.

    Just my opinion. :ernae:

    cheers,
    steve

  13. #13
    Its a GREAT plane to fly especially with the missions from Aeosoft. Well worth the price.

    Bill

  14. #14

    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by flewpastu View Post
    Its a GREAT plane to fly especially with the missions from Aeosoft. Well worth the price.

    Bill
    It's one of my favorite civvies too...:mixedsmi:

  15. #15
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    I love this DHC-6. I too grew up with these planes. There used to be an outfit called “Executive Airlines” up in the Northeast. They flew in and out of Augusta State Airport (KAUG) all the time. I got to ride in them many times while flying to and from my hometown on leave. Haven’t seen a real one in some time. Can’t say how out of wack the sound is on this model, but 1), I thought it was fine, and 2), sound files are easily removed and replaced with ones you like better. I actually like the sound set for the Eric Dantes DHC-6 a bit better than this one. If I get so inclined I’ll swap ‘em. In all other respects, this Twin Otter is great. I just wish somebody would properly duplicate the awesome sound of these planes (and all turbo-props) as they go into “beta” while taxiing. “Whine, whine, whine, whine, … grrrrrooooowwwwlllll … whine, whine, whine.” Love that! :d
    - Paul



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  16. #16
    SOH-CM-2014
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    This is a plane that I hear about daily. One day doesnt go by that I dont hear about it, and I have never heard bad things about it until now.

    The screenshots look brilliant, and that panel looks very well done. The model mesh also looks quite nice.

    I'll put this on my 'purchase soon' list.



    Bill
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  17. #17
    I do not have this aircraft but from reading the review about the VC and comparing to the pictures, I was taken aback by the negative opinions. From a modeler's perspective, that is one impressive looking VC construction and textures. Add good FPS and it gets another positive. VC's are a royal PITA to build and texture and my hat is off to the modeler here.
    Milton Shupe
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panther_99FS View Post
    You be the judge of the sound
    Yep, that is exactly it Panther. :d I worked for Air North out of Burlington, VT back in 75. They were an Allegheny Commuter and flew Twin Otters on their routes. I worked in Massena, NY and travel back and forth to Syracuse, NY for dinner with the pilots many times. Boy do I miss that aircraft. It was one of the most dependable planes I've had the pleasure to work with and fly in. I even got to fly one for 20 minutes from the right seat.
    Gary -

    Goundcrew Member - Warbirds of Delaware KILG - Member 7G Club
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    Mid Atlantic Air Museum Reading, PA.

  19. #19
    Though the sounds may not be spot on, they are very good. It has one of the nicest sound sets out there IMHO.

    The odd thing about the VC is that on my system the texture loading takes just as long as the AlphaSim T-34C, yet the T-34C looks a LOT better. However, I get great FPS with both. I wish Aerosoft would have done the Bushhawk with FPS in mind like they did with the Twin Otter.

    There's no reason people shouldn't have this one in their hangar. It is one of those must haves. FSX needs more bush planes like the Twotter.

  20. #20
    Charter Member 2014 jankees's Avatar
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    OK, you've sold me..downloading now...

    very nice!
    and my first attempt at landing was at St Barth, and succesfull too!
    Talk about STOL characteristics...
    Time flies like an arrow
    fruit flies like a banana

  21. #21
    This and the Beaver are the best payware money I've ever spent.
    --Brian

    Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by PRB View Post
    I love this DHC-6. I too grew up with these planes. There used to be an outfit called “Executive Airlines” up in the Northeast. They flew in and out of Augusta State Airport (KAUG) all the time. I got to ride in them many times while flying to and from my hometown on leave. Haven’t seen a real one in some time. Can’t say how out of wack the sound is on this model, but 1), I thought it was fine, and 2), sound files are easily removed and replaced with ones you like better. I actually like the sound set for the Eric Dantes DHC-6 a bit better than this one. If I get so inclined I’ll swap ‘em. In all other respects, this Twin Otter is great. I just wish somebody would properly duplicate the awesome sound of these planes (and all turbo-props) as they go into “beta” while taxiing. “Whine, whine, whine, whine, … grrrrrooooowwwwlllll … whine, whine, whine.” Love that! :d
    I also changed the sound........to me the sound is very important, both inside and out, luckily there are many to choose from out there.

  23. #23
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    Ian P- your review totally pwned mine

    As for everyone else, I thank them for the compliments, and that no matter what others say regarding the aircraft, I only write what I know, so if it really is one of those subjective things on sounds and stuff like that, then there's nothing I can really do about it.

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