VSKYLABS Douglas DC-3/C-47 - Genesis:
The Genesis of the VSKYLABS Douglas DC-3/C-47 project:
Almost 20 years ago, I've went through transition and flown the DC-3, actually it was a C-47 version (it was for an extremely short period of time though...). For many years I wanted to create it for X-Plane, but only in the recent year the project "came to life" in my mind. I wanted to get back to the challenge of handling a DC-3!
The project's "spirit":
A real DC-3 should always be operated with great respect. Every process, checklist, maneuver, handle movement...should be performed with the right "touch" and specific intent. Further more, the pilot who teaches you how to fly a DC-3 is a kind of a Jedi master...teaching you the use of the 'Force': "This aircraft with great respect, you shell treat!" LOL.... When I'm flying the aircraft in X-Plane, there is that strange feeling that was probably imprinted in me back then when I was a young pilot, learning the use of the DC-3 "Force". If you will not pay attention, the aircraft will resist you. This is exactly what I was aiming for in this project!
There are so many aspects to cover when flying a DC-3, and also when creating one as a flight simulator project. The VSKYLABS Douglas DC-3/C-47 is all about "Flying the aircraft": Aircraft handling and performance, single engine operations, damaged aircraft operations, weather flying, fuel planning, mission considerations and old school navigation.
There are almost endless cockpit configurations for the real plane (It is flying now for more the Eighty years...). Straight away I knew that I wanted it to be a classic, old-school DC-3, with cockpit configuration similar to the one that is described in the AAF Manual Pilot Training Manual for C-47 Skytrain. I also wanted the model to be accessible and educational to the novice pilots (after a short familiarization process), so it features a straight forward cockpit environment, with a reasonable amount of "distractions". Flying the VSKYLABS Douglas DC-3/C-47 will be challenging in terms of aircraft handling and piloting skills, but operating the plane won't be a total "headache" and will not require you to be a flight engineer, or to graduate a long ground school process.
Flying the VSKYLABS Douglas DC-3/C-47:
Easy to fly...it isn't! The flight dynamics model is built, setup and tuned to be as authentic as possible, demonstrating how complicated is the use of the DC-3 "Force":
- The aircraft is requiring the correct use of all pilot inputs, including differential power, one of the most important aspect of taxiing the DC-3.
- Performance and handling are 'on the numbers': the aircraft was designed to perform as close as possible to the real thing, and extensive test flights and calibrations using the real aircraft performance charts were made.
- Single engine operations are authentic. You will not be able to sustain a climb rate unless flying in the proper configuration, and you will have to plan ahead your "moves" in case of an engine failure, exactly as it is done with the real DC-3. Actually, you will have to plan ahead every piloting "move", even with two engines running, exactly as it is done with the real DC-3...
- Lots of effort was made to make the aircraft landing gears to "feel" as it should be when interacting with the ground, and it will bounce realistically on rough terrain operations and will demonstrate a realistic touchdown behavior and ground handling qualities.
- It is a blast to fly!