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Fanda's Dash 8 Q-300 Freeware Review. Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   dolbinau 

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 02:34 AM

Oleksiy Frolov (AKA Fanda), many years ago, started a project, with his love of Flight Simulation, Aviation and Computer Science, to create a realistic Turboprop Aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002, he sucessfully did this, creating one of the most realisitc and advanced Flight Simulation panels to date, It is definately in the top 3 Turboprop panels, if nothing else, At the time of release, Frolov raised the bar of Turboprops in Flight Simulator, for ever.

Installation of this aircraft is relatively simple, simply auto-install into your FS9 Route directory and copy and paste some files to make it compatible with FS9.

What the aircraft comes with:

* A Basic Model.

* A Highy detailed Panel.

* A nice Soundet.

* Documentation.

* Load Manager.

* Accurate FDE, tested by realworld pilots.

The Model:

The model, is definately a weakness, While most users who fly these types of detailed aircraft, care less about the model that a 'standerd' simmer, if models are your thing, I suggest you merge it with Dreamwings excellent Freeware Dash 8 Q400 (and the rest of the series when released), Or PSS Dash 8-300 (payware), on the plus side, it features very good fps ;)

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Sound:

The sound is a pleasant suprise, and definately add to the whole experience, Unfortunately there are only 'internal' sounds included, in the exterior view, you hear the same sounds you would from the interior of the aircraft, this does not much matter though, as the model is simple, you probably won't be looking in the exterior view much, besides, since the panel is complicated, you won't have much time either ;), as this is a freeware release, I won't go into the details and let you try it for yourself.

Includes the sounds of a ground power unit, engine startup, taxi, takeoff cruise and shutdown, as well as the gear wind sound, electrical system, electrical inverters and the air condition sound.

Panel:

This is the most important part of any aircraft and definately the strength,and best part of this package. It is so complete, I won't go into details, However the Powerplants, (including Autofeather, ECU), Hydraulics, Antiice, Pneumatics, Electrics are some of them. The Autoflight system is 99% accurate and true to the real Dash 8 system, The other systems are very, very close to the real thing, The Touch Control Setting of the Dash 8 is simulated. GPWS is included, along with an accurate weather radar. Infact everything on the real dash 8, you would see here, excluding the APU, which suprisingly is the only feature not at least partially 'completely' modelled. (The only system not modelled as far as I'm aware).

The FMS, is modelled, not to its full, but a large amount, it is currently modelled on the same extent or more than Payware rivals.

Until you read the feature list included with the documentation, you won't understand the complexity and realism of this freeware aircraft. Generally everything works well with the panel, I followed a tutorial and now am competant with most systems, I have had no problems.

One downside is it is quite hard to read text on the panel, I have had to resize pop-up windows before flights, so I could read the overhead, It can be made easier, by changing lines in the panel.cfg, to make them larger on display. Increasing your resolution helps.

The Bitmap, iis of a high quality, however today's graphics have caught up, (payware anyway), Meaning it could be better, for freeware, it still is one of the best.

EFIS is simulated completely, including the correct logic and using of vector screen technology.

Some shots:

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FDE:

90-100% correctly simulated the Dash8-300 airplane performance , based on pilot operating handbook.

Fine-tuned flight model for easy �hand-flying�

Hand steering for +-60� angle nose wheel steering on the ground. (you will use your aileron control for that). Using this steering mode you may almost turn the plane around it�s center (which is useful on small airfields) . The usual +-6� steering is provided as well (using rudder pedals).

The propeller �discing� effect when Throttles are at FLT IDLE, and the differential yaw on 1 engine fail is simulated.

Stick Pusher is simulated now - for the automatic recovery from the stall. The stick pusher is capable for 3-4 applications per flight.

The FDE has been tested by real pilots, I have never flown the aircraft, but find this one very nice to fly with :).

A definate plus is ground handelling, very true to turboprop aircraft, which the default Turboprop systems fails to 'touch'.

Documentation

In a simple, HTML document, the documation gives an indication of every switch, some information on each system, and a flight tutorial, Its definately needed for this aircraft and while the documentation isn't up to today's 'payware' standards, for freeware it blows away most competition.

Some nice features like a Load Edit utility is included:


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Final Thoughts

What can I say? It was made a long time ago, yet still remains one of the best, freeware and payware wise, being freeware makes it amazing. The Panel deserves a class of its own, This is a must for all Turboprop lovers, especially for those who don't use payware aircraft, it gives a similar experience you would with PMDG or LDS aircraft, for a 'free' price tag. Other than the lacking model, and external sounds, it is..perfect. I give it 4 out of 5 stars, Once merged with Dreamwings model I wouldn't hesitate to give it 5/5.

For those interested Frolov is developing a new version, (payware), which we should look out for in the future, with FS2006 coming up, this may be the end of Frolov's loved freeware Dash 8.

Where to get:

Avsim.

dh8-1004.zip

with FS9 Update: dh831004b.zip
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#2 User is offline   Timsher 

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 08:05 AM

Wow, I'm going to download that today!
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#3 User is offline   Scott J. 

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 07:48 PM

Fanda's new payware dash will be out long before FS2006.
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#4 User is offline   dolbinau 

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 04:09 AM

What I meant is that Frolov (Assuming FS2006 if it comes out and the Freeware Dash 8 won't be compatible 100%) won't update the freeware Dash in fs2006, only focusing on his Payware version.
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#5 User is offline   Ben 

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:37 PM

Awesome review :D
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