Boom, Boom, Boom….On a dark desert Highway, Cool wind in my hair, Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light……
The sound of “The Eagles” and a big rotary engine purring away hard in front of me, it is still in the early morning light and to my right Seattle glides slowly past….
Heaven X-Plane style, well close to it…
I’m in the “Shade Tree Micro Aviation’s” updated DHC3 Otter and that big engined upsized Beaver aircraft.
This is an update as Chip mentioned, and you get a lot of a lot in this completely revised update of the original “Shade Tree Otter” and a rework of the piston otter is a that combination of Shade Tree’s original Otter and Mike Wilson’s version.
We all took a pick of the straws and I got the Float versions to which was a challenge as I have never flown a floatie before – but it was not totally wasted because I can now help you along if you are new to Floats also.
But first let us see what we have in the package…
There is three versions of the Twin Otter:
Original de Havilland DHC-3 (military U-1A) Otter. (Standard Piston)
Turbine Otter with the Pratt & Whitney PT6-135 split-shaft turbine engine. (Turbine)
The Super Otter with the Garrett TPE-331 fixed-shaft turbine engine (Super)
All the versions then come in three types:
That is nine versions altogether and that can get confusing as the labeling is like this “dhc3tv10floats” and this is the Turbine Floats version.
So lets first go through all the versions and liveries:
DHC-3 (military U-1A) Otter:
This is the original radial piston aircraft…
Canadian Armed Forces
And Finally the Sea Airmotive Inc.
Only one Livery here… Harbour Air
There are 5 liveries with the Super Otter
Then in every version above we have the different types…
With the different versions there are three different Panels….
Standard DHC-3 Otter analog.
And the Super with some great centre digital dials.
Nightlighting is good, with overhead lights which are “on” here…
And “off” here – you can also adjust the panel lighting by a big rotary knob (Above the Garmin)
The Radio tuning is on the roof with the Rudder Trim.
The main trim wheel is down by the Pilot’s seat with the Flap pump handle.
The Trim wheel is great fun to wind up or down.
rear lighting panel and circuit breaker panel on the floor behind the Co-Pilots seat.
Inside the cabin It is relatively sparse.
All three Aircraft come with a “Menu” on the left side of your window – Here it is showing the Auto Pilot.
Overhead Radio Panel:
(FOV) for easy operation of the controls.
Autopilot: A click slides the autopilot and flight director switch,
GPS: Garmin 430 GPS.
Control Locks: Click to install or store the control yoke and rudder pedal locks.
Remote and Tug:
Pilots Yoke Option: Hides Pilot yoke
Co-pilots Yoke Option: Hides the Co-pilots yoke
The Menu Is very handy without being intrusive.
A look around the Aircraft now and starting with the Floats…
The Floats are extremely well made and look original – the wheels will raise into the floats by using the standard gear lever and in this case a switch.
Float rudders work with the tail Rudder and they also can be lifted out of the water, The switch was hard to find but was below the gear switch on the panel.
This is the Ski’s “down” position – they are raised by a pump handle in the cockpit..
To the “Up” Position.
Flaps and Ailerons work well, but very clean for a working aircraft – And I do really like the click, click, click when the Flaps drop down.
Tail detail is very good as well.
And “Bob” the Pilot says “hello” – He moves backwards and forwards and his hands do all the hard work.
The front wheels are very sturdy and well made.
On the overall look of the Aircraft it is very well done, however I needed the “Very High” render setting to get the best out of it, but I had to go a notch lower to “High” to use it.
It is also very clean with no exhaust smoke soot markings or wear and tear on the panel or the fuselage and that made me at first go and think it looked quite average, but the detail is in there and it is very good as well and in many areas excellent.
The panel can be hard to read with the texture setting down in “high” as well (I couldn’t find a few of the switches without going to the manual)
Some 3d work are straight lines instead of curves, like around the doors, but this is nitpicking really as overall the 3d work is excellent.
But there has been a lot of work and effort put into this series, Kerry Cross gets a lot credit for all the graphics and liveries and also for Bob Feaver and Ben Whitehead for all of their hard work on the plugins.
It is to be noted that all the Aircraft are X-Plane10 compliant and still work fine in X-plane9, in this review I had no issues in X-Plane10 except for the Laminar bugs like the lighting coming through the cabin and so on.
To see what the Aircraft was like I flew it early in the morning from KRNT (Renton) to CYWH (Victoria International) and with that my first taste of Floats….
My first foray into the water turned quickly into a something scary.
It bounced around something sick and then topped itself! (The lines are X-Planes paths feature)
The reason is that if you use X-Plane10 default wave setting it is something like 2 – 3 feet so you have to go to X-Planes menu (Environment ->Weather ->Water)
and turn it down to around 0.5 – With that I could finally stand on my floats.
Then getting off the ramp or in this case the beach proved to be a test of nerves as well.
Go slow and this happens!
So how do you do it?
You are sitting on the ramp (Or beach) with the brakes on, then give the Big Otter full throttle, a bit of down stick and then let the brakes go – And you fly simply into the water, then you stop by closing the throttle quickly and breathing in.
To go up on the ramp you just do it in reverse, full throttle, slight stick down and when on the ramp (or beach) kill the power and hit the brakes – easy-peasy.
Taking off from KRNT also proved a bit of a challenge.
Lake Washington is quite big but try as i might I couldn’t take-off, I powered across the lake at full throttle and barely lifted a float and then I came right back across the lake and I was still stuck firm in the water….
On my fourth try I found that if you could start upwards by bouncing the aircraft and with a big bounce I found some flight and took to the air…but that was not the way to do it.
The reason was (I couldn’t find the switches) the wheels were down under the floats and so were the rudders, once the wheels and rudders were up and with a one flap setting I was soon skywards.
I will note that the Standard Piston still needs a fair run to get airborne and a little wind in the face helps the cause as well…
But it does prove something else.
X-Plane has really got it right in the drag of water, I doubt MSFS would do this, the difference between the wheels down and the wheels up was significant and so you have to thank Austin for getting that part right – It feels real and that is what simulation is all about.
That done I set the A/P and drifted away across towards Seattle at 1500ft and soon was enjoying the ride.
Lovely radial engine…
The sounds on the Super and Turbine are quite average – but I do like the Standard version.
Puget Sound drifted away below…
Welcome to the Hotel California, a Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face, Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year), You can find it here….
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends, She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat, Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.
Victoria International, but the Seaplane dock is at the rear.
Slow and easy…
That is a good a landing – Yes barely a ripple.
How good is that!
The Passengers are happy and so am I….
Of all of the variants I liked the Canadian Armed Forces the best, the DHC3 Otter looked great in that colouring.
So to sum-up, At first I thought “hmmm” a “not up with the best”, but after using it and looking at it far closer I really, really like my Big Otter…It brings a smile to your face and for anyone that loves this Inside Passage and similar scenic areas it is just simply a wonderful aircraft to lake-hop, but the work is in there as well, the detail in some areas is simply excellent (like the Yokes) and all the switches and dials do their job and do flicker as real – and you get a lot for your money as this is a huge 506.80mb download that expands out to a whopping 718.30mb.
The final point is you enjoy these aircraft because they are fun and slow and versatile, and the Floats (Ski’s) versions bring a whole new direction of enjoyment.
Last thing I remember, I was – Running for the door
I had to find the passage back, To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave! “
de-Havilland DHC-3 OTTER -> US $29.95
You can buy the DHC-3 Otter here at the ORGStore -> STMA DHC-3 Otter
There is an offer of a Father’s Day Weekend discount of $5.00 to all Otter purchases made during that Period (Friday morning through Sunday night).
And all current users will be able to upgrade with a discount.
Review By Flightime56
“Hotel California” by The Eagles Copyright©1976 : Writer(s) Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley )
An add-on free with the DHC3 Otter series is the STMA Hangar package.
With this you get Four Buildings:
There is Full instructions on how to place the Buildings in your scenery and how they work.
You can operate the doors from “opening” to “close” from within the Otter via the side menu.