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Great aircraft, but some questions.


Hugh Grotius
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I love the new DC-3, but I have a couple questions.

1. I can get Nav1 and an NDB on the leftmost nav gauge. Where does Nav2 appear? Only on the copilot gauge? That's okay with me, I just want to make sure I understand how the gauges work.

2. I know the DC-3 appeared before the advent of VORs. Is that why I can't find an OBS knob anywhere? Or is there one and I'm just missing it? (By the way, thank you for not including a GPS. Much more immersive this way.)

3. What's the expected cruising speed of the plane?

4. Any general advice on how to manage throttle/prop/mixture? All three full on takeoff seems to work, but shortly after takeoff, I get engine warnings unless I reduce power or prop or both. In general, do we fly this like we'd fly smaller two-engine piston aircraft, like the Baron 58? "Prop on top", etc.?

5. Also, should I be opening cowl flaps on takeoff and on steep descents?

6. I'm nervous about turning her into a true tail-dragger. Maybe fly a bit this way first? Any advice on that?

Thanks!

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Hi, Hugh,

Have you read the included manuals to understand as much as you can, as well as see all of the instruments included in this aircraft? The manual covers every instrument and its location (useful for finding things such as whether an OBS is present of not). The checklists define when cowl flaps should be open or closed. These are included in the Documentation folder within the DC-3 aircraft folder.

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Well, doh! I didn't even know there was a manual! (blush) My excuse is that the default X-Plane aircraft don't come with manuals, so I didn't look. It's wonderfully done, and it answered most of my questions.

I searched for any info on an OBS knob, and I couldn't find any. I wouldn't be shocked if there's no OBS feature on this aircraft, but I'm still curious whether I'm missing something.

Also, I didn't find much advice on how to land the plane. I am not used to landing a tail-dragger. I keep bouncing! I survive, but it's ugly. Any general advice on this would be appreciated.

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Hi Hugh

Correct, there is no OBS knob. Navigation is done using a very basic RMI. The larger needle on the left side is linked to NAV 1 and the smaller needle is linked to ADF 1. There is an identical RMI on the right side, except those needles are linked to NAV 2 and ADF 2. Each RMI has a DG which tells you what heading you're flying and the needles point to the navaid (if tuned).

To land a tail dragger takes a bit of practise. Approach the runway like any other aircraft, but once you touch down, or maybe even shortly prior, deploy full flaps (for increased drag...but be careful not to pull the control column back too far as the extra lift will cause the aircraft to keep "floating"). DO NOT apply the brakes as soon as you touch down. You will forward-flip the aircraft. It has to slow down on it's own. Add as much drag as possible as it slows down by gradually pulling the control column full back, but only when the tail wheel settles down onto the runway. When you are below rotate speed, you can apply the brakes.

It does take quite a bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it.

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Thanks, Goran. I did figure out that the copilot has Nav 2 and ADF 2. That's helpful. But yikes, I'm going to have to work on my navigation skills to find airports that don't have NDBs or VORs sitting right in the middle of the airfield. E.g., right now I'm flying to Tampa at night. I'm "aiming" between the St Pete VOR and the VOR to the east, heh. The DME will help, and I hope I'll get good at figuring out which radials intersect where. I love it. I just switched Nav2 to the Tampa ILS, and the receiver found it, of course without any glide-slope info. :)

I'm still wondering about cruise settings. I found the cruise chart in the manual, and it seems to suggest 27.5 inches MAP, 2050 prop RPM at my current altitude/temperature (just 1000 feet MSL right now, as I'm approaching the airfield). I've only been making 120-25 knots or so. I had the impression the DC-3 cruised faster than that. I'm carrying a half-tank of fuel, playing Flight Sim Economy, with 13 passengers. I don't know if FSE transmits passenger/cargo info to the aircraft, but it does transmit fuel load info.

Also, I sure spend a lot of time eyeing the cylinder-head temperature, and opening/closing cowl flaps accordingly. I open/close them 3-4 times during an hour-long cruise, as temp climbs or falls. Normal?

Edit: Also, the checklist says to wait for CYL-head temp to come down to 175 degrees before shutting down. That takes a long time for me, even with cowl flaps wide open, RPM 1000, low manifold pressure. Should I vent oil too, or something? I just now shut down at 200 degrees cylinder head temp, and the plane didn't explode; what's the risk of premature shutdown?

Sorry for all the questions, but I do love this aircraft. You've done a marvelous job.

Edited by Hugh Grotius
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Welcome to the world of "real" flying. Where navigation is actually a challenge.

;)

I'll have a look at the cruise setting with the fuel and payload weight you specified and double check.. At first glance, it seems like the figures and airspeed are correct for an approach, but definitely not for a cruise setting. Could you double check your configuration (Landing Gear up or down, Flaps up or down, etc...)

With regards to the cowl flaps, you don't have to keep them all the way open or all the way closed. They can be adjusted somewhere inside the open/close range and then left at that position for however long is necessary. The same can be said of the oil cooler vents.

IIRC, Cowl flaps should remain open on the ground and closed in flight.

With regards to the Cylinder Head temps, the 175° mark is more of a guideline than a rule. In the real world, if you shut down an engine while it was running hot and it cooled too quickly, there could be a risk of cylinder head damage in one or both engines.

For the purposes of the X Plane version, we didn't model an engine failure based on excessive shutdown CHT's.

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Thanks. I'm now doing more than 150 knots, just using higher settings for manifold pressure and prop RPM, but not so high as to push any of the oil or heat gauges into the red. Seems to be working well.

Hehe, I love the "real" navigation. I just flew from Kona to Honolulu in the dark, using only the direction arrow from the Honolulu VOR. It got me there. Of course, PHNL is a giant airport, hard to miss. :)

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Well, I take it back: in that flight when I exceeded 150 knots, one of the engines died, for reasons I still can't figure out. Maybe I need to stick with the relatively low Manifold Pressure and RPM settings mentioned in the cruise chart in the manual, but doing that gets me only 125 knots or so, although I am flying at low altitude in Hawaii; maybe the plane is faster higher up?

Edit: This time I flew from Kona to Honolulu, staying at the recommended settings, which got me about 125-30 knots -- but AGAIN an engine died, this time right at Honolulu, and I crashed. Why is this happening? I monitor the engine gauges closely, and they all (including CHT) were in the green.

Further edit: I think maybe I was running out of fuel in the right fuel tank? The engine didn't smoke, and I did start my flight with only 50% fuel. It didn't occur to me to try switching to the right aux tank. I just did a successful flight of about the same length, with 75% fuel, so maybe that was it. I'll try to stop spamming you!

Edited by Hugh Grotius
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Hi Hugh

Engines spontaneously dying is a very unusual thing to happen. It should only happen under certain conditions.

One thing to note, if the engine instruments are all in the green, you can still have an engine failure if your MP and/or RPM is too high.

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  • 1 year later...

Maybe I need to stick with the relatively low Manifold Pressure and RPM settings mentioned in the cruise chart in the manual, but doing that gets me only 125 knots or so, although I am flying at low altitude in Hawaii; maybe the plane is faster higher up?

I have the same problem. In cruise flight, I do not get to more than about 125kts. At least if I use the settings from the manual.

I have read that for cruise 30 inches MP and 2050 RPM is a good setting.

Is this okay for the engines on an longer flight?

How high and fast you are in cruise?

Greets,

Rhino

Edited by Rhinozherous
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