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Douglas O-35/B7 (Dougb7.zip)

Model by Paul Clawson Found in the FS2004 prop section, I wonder if it would be better suited to go in the vintage section. The external model is probably the best feature about this download. The smooth but simple shape really impresses me. The wing design has a really cool ?gull wing? bend to it. There are a great deal of struts and all that good stuff too. I would give it. I would have to give the visual model a 10/10. While not everyone appreciates a cool looking vintage plane when they see one, I really enjoyed it.

The Flight Tests

Because I can not vouch for the accuracy in most planes, other than a 172, I will grade each plane on overall pleasure and easy of flying. The take off roll is easy, needing no rudder input. Nearly immediately I reach 40 knots and push forward on the stick. The tail comes up and for the first time I can see the runway. I pull back and the plane rises at 60knts. The gear are up and the plane is trimmed for a 90kts, 3500 initial fpm climb. Passing through 9,000 feet, the climb has slowed to about 1,500 fpm, which is still excellent. By 11,000 feet, the climb was about 500 and by 11,300 the climbing had largely stopped. I decided to descend down to 5,000 so I could test the stalls and slow flight characteristics of the plane. The stalls come about 45, after which you should lower the nose and apply full power. Or you could keep pulling back; the nose will continue to rise and you will fly backwards. Even this is not too bad. The wings will remain level though most of the maneuver. Slow flight is pretty docile, at 50 knots the plane flew vary well. The plane could still climb at that speed too, thanks to the powerful engines. For cruising, the plane will have no trouble exceeding 150 knots, and its max is over 170. It will get you to a place in a hurry. Though the props are constant speed, there are no engine controls other than the throttle; keyboard commands must be used to reduce the prop pitch. The pitch should be reduced to about 20-22 fairly soon after take off, or else the engine temperature will reach the max (212) fairly soon. There is no fuel gauge, but the fuel seems to run out fairly quickly. Cheating a bit, I saw that the fuel was down 15% in what I thought was a short time; I was having too much fun to check my watch before take off. I decided to land and get some fuel, then fly from KSEA to KOLM to get an idea of range and speed over a bit of a distance.

Once again, with full fuel and the default payload (zero, by the way) the plane rocketed of the 34L, and began to climb, this time at 2,000 fpm and 130 knots. Once at 5,000 I turned towards KOLM and reduced my joystick?s throttle to ? power with 2,000 rpm?s on the props. 151 knots for airspeed. While the plane has no GPS, ?true airspeed? was about 159 ish. Not too bad. Now that I am on my way to Olympia, I will write about the rest of the plane.

One of the biggest issues I have with the model is the Virtual Cockpit, or rather, the lack of one. I think half the fun of flying is being able to look around in all directions and see the controls moving, the view over the nose, and the scenery disappear under the wing. In this model, the one and only view you could use was straight ahead. Looking to the side, with nothing in view but the horizon was very bad. Landing a tail dragger requires looking to the side, but this plane had nothing to show. Score: 0/20

While still on the cockpit, I did think the 2D was ok. Simple and too the point. The gauges were left much to be desired. Some of the gauges were custom built. However, Mr. Clawson should have taken it a step further. The Turn coordinator was decidedly out of place; a better choice would have been a ?needle and ball.? Some of the gauges were a bit small, but I would give it a 7/8 on the cockpit and 3/7 on the gauge choice. I think Mr. Clawson could have found a few more gauges and made a better cockpit for the effort.

Animations were pretty good. The gear, arguably a complex piece to animate, were slightly faulted in that one of the struts went through the gear bays like a cheese slicer through cheese. Not to shabby though. All the usual stuff. I consider the lack of animations in the cockpit to be part of the Virtual cockpit, so the lack of a VC does not affect this score. 9/10

About 12 miles out, I begin my descent. For landing, its best to come in fast (85-95) so that you can see over the nose, then slow down over the runway. For this plane, use the brakes only over 25 knots and use a good amount of up elevator. Under 25 knots, it is best to just tap the brakes. Careless lead foots will discover that the plane wants to nose over with brake application. Taxing in this plane is difficult, as the nose is too high up, and the turning qualities are poor. Heavy use of differential braking, and skill full use of the throttle are required. It would be most likely that you should have your buddies drag you in, as Olympia tower is still yelling at me to get it under control. The fuel burn for my 20 minute flight was about 144 lbs, or 24 gallons. Happy flying.

Overall Score:
2D cockpit- 7/8 Not bad
Virtual Cockpit- 0/20 No VC
Animations- 9/10 Minor problem with the landing gear animations
External Model-10/10 Very pleasing to my eye
Textures-10/10
Gauges-3/7 Poor choice of several gauges, otherwise nothing special
Flight model, (points awarded for):
Stalls-5/5 Docile and easy
Slow flight-5/5 No surprises
Smoothness of controls 7/10 Minor issues with rudder not being effective enough
Performance-10/10 Superb climbing abilities
Ease of landing/ taxing/ take off-4/5 Brakes made stopping a challenge, poor turning abilities.

For a total of: 70/100

Overall, a really great piece of work from Paul Clawson, though it would be superb if it had a VC.

Here is the link for the download. Due to my scroll mouse, I rated the download a 6, rather than a 7. This was a mistake and I apologize for this. The rating should have been a 7.

Added: March 29th 2004
Score:
Related Link: Download this aircraft
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