A Review By AVSIM Contributing Reviewer Ray Marshall. This airplane is considered by most to be the finest “bush” plane ever built. The DHC-2 Beaver was designed with input from many of Canada’s and Alaska’s great bush pilots, resulting in a sturdy and reliable aircraft that can carry up to 1,200 lbs on floats, and take off and land in surprisingly little room. Ask any pilot you know about the Beaver, and watch their eyes light up as they try to explain the unique engine sounds of the 450 hp Wasp radial engine. Better yet, watch the envy on their face when you tell them you are going to take a ride in one on your Alaskan adventure!
All models of the Beaver have the same Wasp radial engine. This Wasp Jr. is one of the most successful reciprocating engines ever built. Pratt & Whitney introduced it as a complement to the highly successful Wasp and Hornet families of engines in 1930. The Wasp Jr. was essentially a Wasp of reduced dimensions. Pratt & Whitney and its licensees manufactured over 39,000 versions of the R-985 until 1953 for a wide variety of military and commercial aircraft, including light transports, trainers, sport aircraft, and helicopters.
The de Havilland Aircraft Company was a British aviation manufacturer founded in 1920 of which Geoffrey de Havilland had been chief designer. He proposed continuing to name the DHC line of aircraft after Canadian mammals.
In September, 1946, de Havilland put together a design team. The new aircraft was specifically designed to be all-metal, unlike older designs like the famous Noorduyn Norseman. He used steel from the engine to the firewall, heavy aluminum truss frames with panels and doors throughout the front seat area, lighter trusses toward the rear and all monocoque construction aft.
At the time de Havilland Canada was still a British company and there were plans to fit the evolving design with a British engine. This limited power, so the wing area was greatly increased in order to maintain STOL performance. When Pratt & Whitney Canada found they could buy the war-surplus 450 hp (340 kW) Wasp Jr. engine at an attractively low price, the aircraft ended up with both extra power as well as the oversized wing. The result was unbeatable STOL performance for an aircraft of its size.
The DHC-2 Beaver was without question the birth of the modern bush plane.
A Real Workhorse
In the immediate post-war era, de Havilland Canada management turned to the civilian market for continued work, aware that military contracts were unlikely to guarantee business. The company began an extensive program of collecting requests from bush pilots in order to understand what they needed in a new aircraft. Almost without variation, the pilots asked for tremendous extra power and STOL performance in a design that could be easily fitted with wheels, skis, or floats. Poor cruise performance seemed not to be an issue.
Other suggestions were seemingly mundane but important in the bush plane world – full-sized doors were installed on both sides of the aircraft so it could be easily loaded no matter which side of a dock it tied up on. The doors were also made wide enough to allow for a 170 liter (45 gallon) drum to be rolled up into the aircraft. NOTE: I have always assumed the drum was the standard 55 Gallon drum, I have never actually seen a 45 gallon drum.
The oil tank is located aft of the fire-wall and is serviced from inside the cockpit through a filler (yellow cap) at the base of the pedestal. The oil capacity is 6 gallons, or 5 ¼ imperial gallons. That is a lot of oil to heat up and get moving throughout the engine.
Fuel is contained in three tanks under the cabin floor which are used separately. They are serviced through three filler necks in a filler compartment protected by a hinged door on the forward left-hand side of the fuselage, adjacent to the cockpit door. Fuel from these tanks is gravity fed to the front tank. 35 gal, 35 gal, and 25 gal = 95 gallons total fuel.
In 1947, the de Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada introduced the DHC-2 Beaver. They produced 1,657 over a two-decades before ceasing production in 1967. Known as the “workhorse of the north”, the Beaver has been instrumental in the development of many frontiers all over the world. It is also the first single-engine utility aircraft to be turbine powered with de Havilland producing over 60 Turbo units before production ceased.
Viking became the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of de Havilland spare parts for the DHC-2 Beaver in 1983 and acquired the original jigs and drawings for the aircraft from de Havilland Canada. Viking owns the Type Certificate for the DHC-2 Beaver and provides parts and support services to the fleet worldwide.
Namesake on Display at Canada Aviation Museum, at Ottawa-Rockcliff Airport.
De Havailland DHC-2 CF-GHB of Norcanair.
The DHC-2 prototype, construction number 1, at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.
The prototype was test flown in 1947 and given the registration CF-FHB in honor of Frederick H. Buller who was the designer of the aircraft.
CF-FHB worked for 32 years in coastal and northern regions with operators such as; – Central B.C., Pacific Western, Northward Aviation and B&B Aviation. FHB was handed over to the museum in 1980 and wears the colors of its final operator, Norcanair of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Real vs. Simulated
There are many unique features that de Havilland designed into the DHC-2 Beaver and all are present in the MilViz edition. Things like the wobble pump to get the fuel pressure ready and the hydraulic flaps and the placement of the trim handles, etc.
The unique design with the ailerons linked to the initial flap deployment was one of the earliest concepts for modifying the wing shape for STOL takeoffs and landings. This is fully modelled in the MilViz Beaver.
The design team had this to say about the electrical system:
We fully modelled the electrical system to the last watt and used the system to control multiple aspects of the behavior of startup and operation, sounds of a dying battery cranking cold included .
The end result is a remarkably sophisticated simulation of a somewhat simple aircraft. Designing the electrical system to reflect the impact of cold weather and varying usage conditions has to be a first for FSX/P3D. Even the amperage is limited by the cold. Brrrr. The viscosity of the oil is simulated so the cold cover is needed to heat the engine for starting and then a longer than usual warm-up period is needed prior to takeoff. All those bouncing needles and vibrating levers are not just for show, they are reacting to the conditions.
I asked about the icing effects mentioned in the Product Manual. The team replied:
The icing effects on the airframe are represented in drag and performance, an assortment of failures follow in the cockpit with the vacuum system driven gauges becoming unusable, carb icing and engine issues eventually leading to a forced landing with or without deliberation depending on the correct procedures in the particular circumstance.
The sound package introduces us to a whole new level of simulated reality. Many of the sounds are still being finalized and will arrive with future updates. But, the water effects, wave actions with the splash sounds should be totally immersive, so to speak. You can now hear the difference when you change from the two-bladed propeller to the optional three-bladed. I wonder if the shiny new pointy spinner will make a smoother sound than the older stubby one.
All of the new futuristic effects come from code written way outside the box, so those precious xml files are required so do pay attention to the installation procedures. I asked the team leader for a statement about the xml coding and all I got was “It is so secret we only whisper it in reverse Polish notation between each other, Yoda Speak, just in case someone is listening.” I wrote back that “I knew the destruct codes for missiles fired from our nuclear subs and we used “gray code with negative two complement”
That fell on deaf ears so I have nothing more to report other than we are entering a new era with our flight simulator add ons. Stay tuned. All the included models in the package are included for each of the simulators – FSX, FSX:SE and P3Dv2, 3, and 4.
This is a large and heavy tail-wheeled airplane with standard tires, large tundra tires, amphibious floats, and skis. Of course, the amphibious floats model appears to have tricycle landing gear when landing on runways.
Although this Beaver may have been built prior to 1950, the avionics available in our simulator versions are totally up-to-date with a selection of GPS, GNS, and Weather Radar for a full panel with your choice of equipment. A KAP-140 dual axis autopilot is included with nice bright and easy display. It features ALT preselect and the aural notification for ALT works.
https://youtu.be/tYhPumJzKoQ MilViz Promotional Video 4:33 Pre-release
The traditional chronic complainers are going to have to dig really deep to present their case for this new MilViz Beaver. But, for those that do decide it is not quite good enough for them, they can download the image at the beginning of the review and color it until they are content. I like to say, “May those that don’t want any, have fond memories of not getting any”.
Origins and History of the Beaver
While production of the DHC-2 has long since ceased, the aircraft line is still in active service throughout the world today with no sign of its end coming soon.
The de Havilland Beaver is probably to most recognizable single engine bush plane in existence. Any time you are around a body or water, on a snow covered mountain or practically anywhere close to bush country, you will see Beavers at work. Most of those land based Beavers will be fitted with the oversized tundra tires, those on the water with floats and those on the ice and snow with skis. Some will have the full windows for the passenger seats others will be the cargo version with less windows.
One thing every standard Beaver has is that big 9-cyclinder Wasp radial engine up front. Some have the standard 2-blade propeller, but most have a more modern 3-bladed prop.
The DHC-2 was developed along the lines of a utility-minded platform with inherent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. This meant a lightweight overall design with good power stemming from a single engine and a shoulder-mounted wing structure to maximize lift and agility. First flight of a prototype was on August 16th, 1947 with service introduction arriving in 1948.
Immediately following the end of World War 2 in mid-1945 the world aircraft market saw a dramatic shift away from military platforms to civilian-market types and de Havilland – makers of the famous wartime twin-engined DH.98 “Mosquito” series – followed suit. Research centered on delivering a new aircraft to “bush” pilots – one of rugged, sound and reliable design.
Due to the environments that the new aircraft would operate, a floatplane and wheeled undercarriage was developed to suit customer needs. Large side doors, on both sides of the fuselage, was another notable requirement the bush pilots made. There are actually two entry/cargo doors on either side, a narrow door for the pilot and copilot entry and exit and the larger doors for passengers and cargo area.
Pratt & Whitney and its licensees manufactured over 39,000 versions of the R-985 until 1953 for a wide variety of military and commercial aircraft, including light transports, trainers, sport aircraft, and helicopters.
The DHC-2 was not an outright commercial success. But, slowly-but-surely, its capabilities became known within certain flight circles. It was not until its major endorsement arrived by way of the United States Army selection as its next general purpose utility transport that raised the export profile of the DHC-2 considerably. The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force used the aircraft to replace an aging stock of old Cessna aircraft in the utility transport role.
These early models had brakes only on the left side for the pilot, but rudder pedals for both pilot and copilot seats with a shared flip-over single yoke. (Modeled correctly in the MilViz models)
I’m always interested in the makeup of the design team when one of these long- awaited classics show up as an add on for FSX/P3D. When I asked, the reply was:
• The main designers, code wise, are Chuck Jodry and Tomas Aguilo.
• The initial model was Peter Krause of Soulmade but was nearly totally redone by 3DReach.
• The plane we did was built in 1947 but we modded it heavily so it would fit the gtn and nav units.
• The aircraft in question is at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum located in Ottawa.
• It is the same location as the Otter that is next in our bush series.
• Tom Falley did the FDE. He is our real life pilot, with considerable experience with the various Beaver permutations. Lots of real-world radial experience. Actually lots of real Beaver experience in Alaska.
Screenshots of Beavers at Work and Play
I am not going to include a ton of images in this review. Mainly because most everyone already knows what the DHC-2 Beaver looks like and there are very few modifications to the exterior. Most popular mods are STOL kits that add some wing droop and new wing tips and a pointy spinner up front.
I found this web site that states they are closing in on 12,000 images of Beavers. Why in the world should I go looking elsewhere for more?
www.DHC-2.com a dedicated Beaver website. Individual histories of the Beaver and home of 11,946 images. A total of 1,692 Beavers have been identified and with photos of all but 403.
Some of the worst flying conditions found anywhere in the world exist over the densely forested terrain of the Canadian North Woods. In addition to being subjected to long, blizzard-filled winters, the millions of square miles that stretch between the Labrador Sea and the North Pacific Ocean above the 50th parallel are sparsely populated, and modern airfields are few and far between. In fact, were it not for the uncounted thousands of lakes that dot the Canadian North, air travel within that vast region would be all but impossible, for there is nowhere else to land.
It takes an exceptionally rugged aircraft to operate safely and reliably in the Canadian bush. One such airplane is the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, a single-engine high-wing monoplane.
The versatile all-metal Beaver made its inaugural flight in August of 1947 and since that time more than 1,650 have been constructed. Nearly 1,000 of these were sent to the United States for the use by military services.
The Beaver, which was designed only after consultation with some 80 veteran Canadian bush pilots, is a true STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft. It features a high-lift wing with its entire trailing edge hinged, hydraulically operated flaps and slotted ailerons. These special features permit the aircraft to take off and land in extremely short distances.
Another outstanding advantage of the Beaver is its ability to operate equally well on wheels, skis, floats or as an amphibian. Thus, the plane has the capability of flying anywhere there is smooth land, water, snow or ice.
The Beaver can carry a crew of two, plus six passengers or more than 1,500 pounds of cargo. Powered by a 450-horsepower, nine-cylinder air-cooled radial Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, the Beaver has a maximum speed of 180 miles per hour as a landplane and 155 miles per hour as a seaplane. The plane has a wingspan of 48 feet and measures just over 30 feet in length. Its maximum range is 800 miles.
Aviation experts consider the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver to be one of the most perfectly designed small utility aircraft ever built, and a great number of them remain in service today in many parts of the world.
The de Havilland Beaver has become one of the most successful and long-lived designs in aviation history. The Beaver was conceived as a “half-ton flying pickup truck” capable of setting down on land, water, and snow.
Since its conception the Beaver has been adopted worldwide, becoming the floatplane of choice for island-hopping along the Pacific Northwest, flying into the Arctic, transporting missionaries and doctors into remote spots in Africa, and serving as a support aircraft in Antarctic expeditions.
The Beaver also became “the generals’ Jeep” during the Korean War — and the generals favorite transport to fishing spots in peacetime
Books and Coins and Other Accolades
With time on their hands during the long winters of the far North and the popularity of the home grown Beaver, I am not surprised at the number of books and magazine articles printed over the last 70 years. Some of the most interesting books are not just about the de Havilland Beaver, but some illustrate how the Beaver impacted families and shaped the growth of startup companies. I thoroughly enjoyed reading For the Love of Flying, the story of the Laurentian Air Services. This is the tale of sixty years of bush flying adventures with lots about the Beaver.
In 2008, the Royal Canadian Mint issued a special gold coin honoring the DHC-2 Beaver. This mint also issued a special “DHC-2 Beaver” quarter, part of the millennium series in 1999.
You can find many Beaver collectible sporting pictures of the Beaver from stamps to gold coins, to jigsaw puzzles, coffee cups, mahogany desk models, t shirts, wall posters, flying RC and rubberband powered models, etc.
A 2011, historical movie entitled “The Immortal Beaver” follows the resurrection of a Beaver named “Olivia, a shell of a plane, found in the dusty Arizona desert near the infamous bone-yard outside Tucson. This HD DVD documentary follows the rescue, restoration and remarkable return to the air.
Narrated by Russ Bannock, a Canadian war hero and test pilot for the prototype Beaver, the one used as inspiration by MilViz for our simulator add on, tells the story while using historical footage from the de Havilland archives. I was able to buy a practically new copy, sold as a used DVD, from Amazon prime for less than $9 delivered.
Because I have always favored straight Floats vs Amphibious Floats (you seem to always choose those airplanes that you flew when learning to fly or for adding that coveted Single-Engine Sea rating to your pilot’s license). I think this is great reading, but you may skip over it and pick up at the next section. I recommend you come back one day and read it.
Straight Floats vs. Amphibious Floats (An Essay)
The following appeared in the COPA “Canadian Owners & Pilots Association” magazine, written by M. Jorma Kivilahti.
A while back, I was asked if I would give a client a “check-out” on amphibious floats. The client, standing next to grizzled Abe deJager at the Chilliwack airport asked Abe, “What’s it like to land an amphib on the runway?” Now, Abe has landed just about everything from a Beaver to a 25 lb. trout and as a big toothy grin emerged, he uttered, “Why it’s just like landing a shopping cart!” And you know, he’s got it about right.
Quite often pilots think that the best of both worlds is having a float plane that can land on the water as well as on the tarmac. Well, the truth of it is that a straight float plane is the best of both worlds in terms of performance and maintenance but as it becomes more difficult to find fuel on the lakes, amphib floats begin to make more sense as you can just slip into your local airport and fuel ‘er up.
Or do they? , so let’s have a quick look at the pro’s and cons, as one of my clients just did when they purchased a new aircraft on amphibs, because the cost of their insurance climbed quite quickly with amphibious float operations. Counter that with if you are new to amphibs, the cost can climb even significantly higher. Insurance companies have taken note that aircraft with amphibious floats have a higher number of mishaps ( read that as being accidents ) than those with straight floats and there are a number of reasons why. In reality, it is not the aircraft that has the higher number of accidents, it is the amphib pilot that does.
The most common accident on amphibs is either landing “wheels up” on the tarmac, which of course makes taxiing extremely difficult, or landing wheels down on the water, which makes taxiing impossible. The configuration of an amphib float is such that if you touch down on the water with the wheels extended, the rear wheels immediately give the plane a forward, nose down momentum, like a real swift kick in the pants. Then the front wheels, like those of the grocery cart which extend below the floats, catch the water, and in a flash you find yourself upside down like a stranded turtle.
Check out this “YouTube ” video, for an example of a wheels down landing ” FOUR GREEN ” in any body of water. Just be sure to get back here to read the rest of the article.
If you survived the capsizing, then your problems have just started. You must egress the inverted aircraft whilst possibly being disorientated and still strapped in your seat. During my last experience with the owners of a recently acquired amphibious aircraft, that had just been imported from the United States and that with very minimal gear. I immediately suggested that they go out and purchase four top quality lifejackets that they could don while flying.
I received a call back and he said, “Do you know the price of those life jackets? They’re really expensive.” A quick reply was all it took. “How much is your life worth?” If you are flying a certified aircraft, the rear passengers have the real problem. Forget the gear? “It won’t happen to me,” you say. Well it keeps on happening each and every year. Example; the pilot that I was asked to do the check out with, Spinnerin Chilliwack, promised me faithfully that he would use the check list whenever he landed and I took him at his word. Two months later, there was a “wheels up” on Runway 26. Must have overlooked his checklist?
Amphibs always require much more maintenance. Keep a grease gun handy and pump the wheel bearings full of grease each time you finish a flying session, not that they may require greasing, but just that the new grease tends to push out any water in the bearings. I have found over the years, especially when we we’re flying in salt water, that sea water or any kind of water does not increase the reliability of your brakes or wheel bearings. In fact, try not to depend on your brakes too much for you could find that as you try to either slow down or turn, the plane does not respond well because of corrosion.
One brake that works, and one that does not, can introduce your plane to do a new style of Square Dance. Many an amphib has ended up in a small crushed ball of Aluminum at the end of the runway, for just this reason. Plan your landings on the runway so that you can let the plane roll to a lower speed without the use of any brakes. If you have the older type of Edo’s with electrical contacts, big trouble looms ahead for you. The same with any floats having gear doors. Lots of inspections and maintenance are needed for amphibs.
Carry a can of WD 40 in your back pocket. Contrary to what you may think, WD 40 is not a lubricant but it is a wonderful liquid for displacing water. I spray everything that looks like a screw, nut, bolt, or washer before any flight into the water. In fact, if you want to waterproof your flying boots, just give them a shot of the old WD also.
A flying grocery cart is not a well-mannered aircraft on landing, and can be as naughty as a three year old brat. It does not like landing from a crabbed position, or from a drifting position, nor the use of any excess in regards to the brakes. These things all spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E in capital letters. Peek under your floats and have a good look because you are going to see a very minimal amount ( if any at all ) of shock absorbers, and small rusty brake discs, intended to stop a very heavy , and hurtling amphibious aircraft, touching down at 60 miles per or so. Squint your eyes a bit and you will also notice small ” Tonka Truck ” sized tires, not tundra type, but small little-bitty Goodyears, that were designed to squeeze into the float wells. Think about it, no shocks, poor brakes, small tires. Add all of them up, and they do not spell a happy flyer.
If you are new to amphib floats, one lesson you quickly learn is that amphibs have very poor, or no crosswind capability when landing on pavement. Why? The answer is easy. The heavier amphib floats on an aircraft, reduce its roll responsiveness because the floats act like a pendulum underneath the airplane. The high center of gravity of a floatplane also increases its susceptibility to ground mishaps in windy conditions. Add on the extra side profile and the crosswind component, really starts to take effect.
So as you ” wheels down ” on your favorite strip, with a 36 knot wind at 20 degrees from your nose, the aircraft is bucking like a mare in heat, the plane starts to drift and you are a mere 15 feet above the tarmac. The Univac in your cranium quickly calculates that the amphib floats cannot stand a lot of sideways component and you also recall that landing while crabbing is also no-no. What do you do, well some try ” Help Mom “, but take my word for it, that is not going to do you any good.
While amphibious floats give great versatility to an airplane as far as landing options, there is also a significant trade-off. The added weight of the wheels and associated hardware, means the plane is definitely going to carry less. Performance of the aircraft will be affected, and the price and maintenance of wheel floats is significant, but the trade-off is that you can obtain fuel from any airport.
Amphibious aircraft are becoming more common these days and can be safe if you follow the rules. The things to remember when flying amphibs are that FOUR GREEN means you are landing at the airport, FOUR BLUE indicates that you are landing on the water, and when all else fails, the words that will help you the most are, “Help Mom!”
Beavers Aren’t the Only Bush Planes, Just The Most Outstanding.
Just to be fair to all the non-Beaver loving bush pilots that fly the Cubs, Super Cubs, Beech, Pipers, s and such, I do agree they can be very practical and fun loving, just at a different level than the Beaver we are discussing here.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many absolutely wonderful Cessna and Piper built bush planes that I give my eye tooth to have for my own. Most are much smaller and more suited to a pilot and a single passenger or sometimes two with very limited baggage.
In contrast, you can load four 200 pound-passengers with full hunting, fishing, and drinking gear along with waders, rods and reels, guns, ammo, each with a large ice-chest full of ice, food for all, and still add full fuel and takeoff for a week for the back country in the Beaver. Coming back you will have room for a few trophy fish or wild game and even be able to strap a bear or moose onto one of the floats, if needed.
It is not uncommon to see a canoe or even a 4-wheeler strapped to one of the floats on a Beaver when traveling in the back country. We have the option to add a Canoe to our MilViz DHC-2 Beaver. (Installation is not easy to find, but it is there)
How de Havilland of Canada Came Up With the Priority List for the Design Criteria in 1946.
According to Doug Pickering, the Laurentian Air Services’ Operation manager and pilot, he was one of the 80 or so asked to complete the de Havilland questionnaire about the wishes and desires for their new bush plane being designed specifically for the rugged Canada backcountry.
A March 1945 article in the Canadian Aviation magazine stated the current choice of aircraft’s main drawback was “their performance on floats was pathetic”. What bush fliers really needed, R.F. Corless Jr. declared in the article, was a truly useful aircraft that performed well on floats, could carry a fair load, have a high ceiling, a good range, a good rate of climb to be able to get on and off small lakes and streams. He also noted that it would have to be a fairly small airplane with a high wing and a payload of about 600 pounds with full tanks and equipment to be economical.
Since it would be competing with dog teams, boats, cars, and trains, it did not need a cruising speed much above 90 mph. Above all, the airplane had to be equipped for Canadian winters and have the minimum number of “gadgets”.
Within two years, Corless would have his perfect “northern work horse.” De Havilland Canada (DHC) general manager Phil Garratt happened to be contemplating “a new Canadian bush plane” to build immediately after the war. By September 1946 DHC had authorized “preliminary engineering studies” for what would soon be christened the DHC-2 Beaver. Two months later, DHC sent a detailed questionnaire to a list of 80 handpicked bush pilots and operators. The respondents overwhelmingly ranked short take-off as their number one concern, with payload, economy, range and cruise following in that order.
Interestingly, not far down the list was having ‘the necessary insulation, ash trays, etc, to make smoking by passengers permissible.
As Pickering’s son Dick, remembers, one thing his father was adamant about was that the design of the rear cargo door allowed an operator to roll a gas drum in sideways. Practically every single respondent backed Pratt and Whitney’s R-985 engines over the Gipsy Queen 50 engines which most did not think could withstand Canada’s cold winters – among other problems.
Barnet Maclaren had suggested a belly tank that could be easily filled while the aircraft was on floats – and did not require using a hand pail, like his Wacos.
DHC took these concerns to heart when designing the Beaver, and in June 1947, approved a limited production of 15 Beavers. These airplanes, as Fred Hotson noted, “had a functional, rugged look with a square-sided fuselage and sturdy undercarriage legs. The strut-braced wing was of constant chord with a large-span, and slotted flaps. It had two doors in the cargo/passenger area. There was accommodation for six and the pilot: three on a hammock seat across the back, two on single seats and one beside the pilot”.
Dick Septer noted in an article celebrating the Beaver’s 50th anniversary that it had a 450 hp engine for speedy take-off, was entirely made of metal, had “an average cruise speed of 110 mph” and a range of about 400 miles. It also carried a good payload, was still fairly economical to maintain, and was able to haul external loads like a canoe.
Six Orders Come in for the Beaver the Day of the First Prototype Flight.
This was precisely the sort of aircraft Laurentian was looking for to expend its bush operations in the post-war years. On August 16, 1947, when DHC’s chief pilot, Russ Bannock, took the prototype Beaver, CF-FHB-X, on its first flight, a group of Laurentian employees was there as witnesses. On that humid afternoon at DHC’s Downsview plant near Toronto, Doug Pickering and others watched as Bannock took the Beaver up for two flights. They were impressed with what they saw, and quickly ordered one complete with wheels, skis, and floats for about $30,000. On May 21, 1948, Beaver no 6, CF-GIB, was delivered to Laurentian.
Serial Number 1 was delivered to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests about 8 months after the first flights.
As an early short take-off and landing (STOL) type aircraft, the Beaver could get in and out of small lakes and rivers, even when they were “lined with trees and exposed to winds that blew in the wrong direction”. In fact, when Ronald Keith, Canadian Aviation’s editor, did a ride-along in the Beaver in 1948, he reported that “under these conditions we found the Beaver to be next-of-kin to the helicopter”.
Laurentian Air Services eventually went on to purchase a total of 5 Beavers taking delivery of the 2nd one almost exactly one year after no 6, CF-GIB.
But the de Havilland Canada received a massive boost when, at the outbreak of the Korean War, the US Army selected the DHC-2 as its future light transport and ordered large numbers of L-20s. Soon the Beaver could be seen seen all over the non-communist world. Even the British Army ordered them!
Of the 1,690 Beavers produced, the USA military purchased 968 which they called the L-20 and I have no doubt that they were, at times, flown at greater weights than 5,100 lbs.
The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver – The Greatest Single-Engine Bush Aircraft Ever!
I found this description of the Beaver online, written by Mike Feeney several years ago. As an ag pilot in Hamilton, New Zealand, he is intimately familiar with the Beaver and speaks from experience. Edited down a bit.
The Powerplant is the well-proven Pratt & Whitney nine-cylinder air-cooled, direct-drive radial R-985 Wasp Junior of 450 bhp. The motor has a General Electric, single-stage, gear-driven centrifugal supercharger rotating at ten times crankshaft speed which increases take-off manifold pressure to 36.5″ or more, depending on pressure altitude. The bore and stroke of 5 & 3/16″ (132mm) results in a capacity of 985 cubic inches. This is 16.14 litres which is equal to eight typical four-cylinder car motors. With a compression ratio of only 6.00:1 and a red-line rpm of a modest 2,300, the 985 is a low-stressed engine. Its dry weight is 640 lb (290 kg); about one-eighth of the Beaver’s normal take-off weight…pretty good for the period.
The valve-gear is simple; just two overhead operated by enclosed pushrods. Take-off power is 450 at 2,300 rpm with max. continuous being 400 at 2,200 rpm. This can be maintained up to 5,000 feet. I used to use a Climb power of 30″ manifold pressure and 2,000 rpm which, from memory, produces about 320 bhp
The airframe: The fuselage is a robust conventional semi-monocoque stressed skin square box-section structure, tapering aft of the cabin, and can be readily fitted with floats, skis or wheels to suit seasonal and locality requirements. The 48 foot wing span, high aspect ratio wing’s area is quite small at 250 square feet, but it is fitted with excellent slotted flaps to enhance short landing and take-off performance and to provide a stall speed of just under 50 knots in the landing configuration at max. weight (I am a tad hazy about that figure). The ailerons droop as flap is manually pumped down to a ratio of 1:3 and to a max. deflection of 15 deg.
Fuel is carried in three fuselage tanks installed below the cabin which greatly facilitates refueling into the left lower fuselage fillers which are covered by a flap. No clambering up onto the wing in sub-zero conditions! The Front and Centre tanks each hold 29 Imp. gallons and the Rear 19. The 5.2 gallon oil-tank filler is located inside the cockpit on the passenger’s side; a real boon in cold weather.
Below the centre instrument panel is a largish handle which works the wobble fuel pump. Yes, the wobble fuel pump. This manual low-pressure pump is used to provide pressure for starting, when changing tanks and, in the event of an engine-driven pump failure, will provide pressure to keep the engine running.
The cockpit: Let’s now take a look at the cockpit and discuss some of its salient points. Step carefully onto the mainwheel (they can be rather slippery as I discovered just the once!) and climb the two steps to the small door which is fitted with an up/down sliding window. Slide onto the seat and use the adjusting crank to raise it so you can see over the left of the large cowl in the landing attitude. When I first went onto the Beaver, I was delighted at how comfortable and wide it was.
Reach down to the inside door sill and you will find a priming pump. When starting, you use the wobble pump to raise pressure to 3 or 4 PSI, turn the handle of the priming pump to unlock it and, depending on engine temperature, give it several strokes; five or six on a cold morning. The starter and booster-coil switches are below the rotary magneto switch
You will note the throttle on the left of the quadrant, the prop control in the centre and the mixture to its right. Out of sight below is a large up/down lever which controls carburetor heat.
One of the many aspects I like about the Beaver is that most of the important controls are rugged and big. You can work things wearing gloves which I often did on frosty mornings.
To the far left is the fuel tank selector which is in an ideal location to use in a hurry. Its positions are Front, Centre, Rear and Off. Easy and positive to use which is good as, for example, if you allow the rear tank to exhaust it may take up to 13 seconds to get fuel to the carb by means of the wobble pump. Very serious at lower altitude. If pressure falls to 3 PSI, a red bezel light on the panel lights.
At the top of the panel you will see the flap position indicator. The Beaver is somewhat unusual in that the mainplanes are rigged at zero degrees of incidence. This makes the proper use of flap rather critical. If you move your right hand to the right of the seat, you will find a handle. This directly works the hydraulic flap pump.
Just beside it, at floor level, is a two-position selector lever for Up or Down. One has to loosen the right shoulder harness in order to lean down to use the selector.
It never bothered me much due to my Neanderthal-like arms but, you simply work the pump lever to-and- fro and watch the flap position indicator move laterally. The first setting is about 10 deg. and is termed Climb. It is particularly useful at high weights and best Rate of Climb speed as it reduces the fuselage “deck” angle, enhances over-the-nose visibility and makes the aircraft feel less “squashy/mushy”; particularly during heavy turns. The next setting is Take-off; about 20 deg. Then we have the Landing mark at 40 deg. (I think?) and finally Full which I think is 47 deg. I only used Full on the shortest of strips and/or when landing downwind on a really tight airstrip. But the flap settings are infinitely variable so, one tends to rely on feel and performance rather than sticking rigidly to the indicator settings.
One Short Story – “Beavers Hate Trees”
Ronny learned the limits of the Beaver early in his career when departing Busted Lake on a hot and humid day. A 40-knot gust drove him dangerously close to the trees and provided a dose of humility that transformed the young airman into a pilot. Ronny later said it was the only time in his career that he was not in control of his aircraft.
The experience made him acutely aware of the moving media in which an airplane travels and a keen observer of nature’s indicators, such as watching eagles locate rising air on the windward side of a hill. His pursuit of free lift created some wide-eyed moments for passengers unschooled in the finer points of pilotage, but in Ronny’s experienced hands, orthographic lift was a standard tool for prying Beavers out of short lakes. As he says, “Beavers hate trees.
The airplane will languish in the water like a kid on a hot summer day, but show it some trees and you’re flying.” When leaving Da Swisha on hot afternoons, the breeze moving up the hills to the northeast was a regular contributor to the circuit departure, saving time and fuel on the 2,000-foot climb out to west Quebec.
In a story that has been told and retold countless times in the taverns of the upper Ottawa Valley, the members of the Aberford Sporting Club got a first-hand demonstration of the STOL capabilities of a Beaver in the hands of a master pilot. Eighty-five-year-old Jack Watts fell and broke his hip at Buchholz Lake Lodge.
This tiny lake requires good eyesight to even locate on a map; it’s inaccessibility made it an ideal location to stock trout and paddle a canoe. Jack was frail and his injury unstable enough that members believed the three-hour truck ride over nearly impassable trails might be life threatening. Two volunteers were sent to Ronny’s cabin by truck to arrange for a medical evacuation by helicopter from CFB Petawawa.
On arrival, Ronny advised them that a helicopter would have difficulty getting under the tree canopy to the lodge, and old Jack would likely be scared to death being winched up through the trees in a basket to a hovering helicopter. Instead, Ronny offered to fetch him with the Beaver. The volunteers were aghast at the idea, as no aircraft had ever flown into Buchholz Lake. Of course, Ronny said that was only because no one had ever asked him to before.
Before departure, the plane was stripped bare and fuel reduced. Arriving at Buchholz, Ronny slipped the Beaver down a creek and glided into the tiny lake like a duck onto a pond.
Jack’s condition had deteriorated to the point that moving him from his rocking chair to the stretcher proved impossible. Ever resourceful, Ronny restrained old Jack to the rocking chair, securing them both in the Beaver. In a testament to the de Havilland engineers and the skill of Ronny Bowes, they departed the tiny lake with room to spare and headed for the hospital in Deep River.
Ever Wonder About That DHC-2 Designation?
There was the original British de Havilland company in London at Hatfield, that built the Moths and Hounds and Dragons and eventually built the Doves, Comets, DH-125, Vampires, and Sea Vixens and many others famous airplanes, then there was the de Havilland Canada company, based in Toronto, Ontario, that we are interested in for this Beaver review. The Canadian company was created in 1928 to build the bi-wing Tiger Moth training aircraft during the 1930s. During World War II DHC built the “Wooden Wonder” Mosquito, one of the fastest airplanes of the war, reaching 425 mph at FL300.
Immediately after the war, the all-metal Primary Trainer DHC-1 Chipmunk was built as a replacement for the Tiger Moth. Then came the post-war designs, the DHC-2 Beaver in 1947 and the now famous -3 Otter, -4 Caribou, -5 Buffalo, -6 Twin Otter, -7 Dash 7 and -8 Dash 8 (as in the now famous Bombardier Dash 8 Q400)
In all, 1,657 Beavers were built by the time de Havilland ended production in 1967 — a record for a plane manufactured in Canada. Eventually, Beavers were registered in 100 countries, and many are still flying today, as civilian and military utility aircraft and as private planes.
Flying the MilViz Beaver
First, I would like to state that I am indeed a real world pilot with a Single Engine Sea rating attached to my Commercial License. I have zero logged hours in a Beaver, but I do have quality time in a J-3 on Floats, and a few hours as PIC of a new Piper Cherokee Six on floats so you can take my flight related comments with a grain of salt.
The Cherokee 6 was to be a single-pilot delivery of a new Piper on Edo floats straight from Vero Beach factory to someplace in Alaska. The FAA rejected the additional fuel kludge in the cabin which probably saved my life.
I graduated from Jack Brown’s Seaplane school near Orlando, Florida so long ago that Jack was my instructor. We lost Jack several years back in a tragic accident when he crashed while delivering an old Seabee for a friend. He had accumulated more logged hours than any man that I personally knew. He was a longtime airline pilot, loved flying anything and everything, and was also an FAA examiner. His sons now run the seaplane school.
Nitpicking a brand new iconic flight simulator add on like the MilViz DHC-2 Beaver is not one of my favorite things, but I am going to get the negative stuff out of the way up front to make room for all the accolades that will come a little later.
A quick scan of the forums related to the MilViz Beaver finds the wish list for a very vocal few folks. This is basically 3 items.
A straight float version (without any retractable wheels) for only in-the-water use.
A more pointy chromed spinner up front
A STOL Kit. Short Takeoffs and Landings from rough backcountry strips and river beds.
First, I wish MilViz had gone the extra mile and included a straight float version in addition to the more utilitarian amphibious float model. While I do agree having an amphibious float model might be more practical in that it can land on both land and water, they are seldom seen in photos and videos of the many working Beavers as bush planes in the backcountry.
There is just something about the 90% or more videos and photos of the pure straight float equipped Beavers working the back country day in and day out. Seldom do I see one with the Amphibious floats. But, on the other hand, I also seldom see one of the newer pointy spinners so what does that tell me?
So, even if we never see any of these 3 items on the wish list, we still have a wonderful new addition for our virtual flying in our flight simulators.
I’m kinda neutral on having the more modern pointy spinner, but I am firmly in the camp with those wishing for the optional STOL kit or maybe just an improvement of STOL performance.
Short takeoffs just seem natural, or maybe expected, with that huge radial engine spinning a 3-bladed prop with the oversized wing with drooped ailerons and those large flaps hanging down. Even though the flight dynamics may be spot-on with this MilViz design, the perceived long, tail low takeoff roll just seems long to me.
One would think that a 450 hp radial turning a 3-bladed prop on the over-built Beaver that we would be satisfied using a postage stamp for a runway but I guess we are asking for the STOL kit so we can take off like an elevator or maybe take off on a 3 cents stamp. (really small strip)
I read in some of the background information the designed STOL performance allowed a wheeled Beaver with full-flaps to takeoff in 504 feet in still air and reach a height of 50 feet in a total of 1,250 feet. And we are asking for better performance than this? Huh?
Making a water takeoff is the same. It just seems to take more distance than expected. The same original de Havilland Beaver achieved a water takeoff run of 795 feet and a height of 50 feet in a total of 1,610 feet with 40 degrees flaps. It did not specify standard floats or amphib floats, but I suspect this Beaver was using standard floats.
When I was working on my SES rating in a lowly Piper J-3 Cub, I made the comment to Jack Brown that I was surprised the 65 hp engine would actually pull those large floats out of the water. He cooked my goose. For the next, I don’t remember how many takeoffs, he would restrain the throttle (from the backseat) so I could only develop about 2/3 power. The only way to get airborne was to pull one float out of the water, build up some speed, then roll to the other side and pull the remaining float out of the water. When he finally turned loose of the throttle, it almost seemed like the little J-3’s 65 horses were excessive.
The lesson learned was two-fold. Don’t badmouth someone’s personal airplane, especially your flight instructor and examiner’s float plane, and two, the one-float then the other-float technique may be the only method of getting an overloaded float plane airborne, no matter how many horses are pulling it.
All my comments are based on the initial installer for the MilViz DHC-2 Beaver, v1.170526 dated May 27, 2017. I fully expect most of the fixes and updates to arrive with an updated installer just about the time you are reading this review.
As I try to fly using a different setup and a different simulator in a different location as much as possible when gathering information for these reviews, sometime I am having so much fun that I forget to take proper notes.
I noticed that I was about 50 feet from the water with my landing gear extended when flying the Amphib in Biloxi Bay. I quickly raised the gear which moves extremely quickly and proceeded to make a greaser water landing. The thought hit me – what if I had failed to notice the gear down and went ahead and landed, would the forward gear have tripped the Beaver and I would have flipped or cartwheeled and dunked the nose into the water? Hmmm.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-48V1m_MZxE&feature=related 0:12 Real world water landing with gear down.
So I made a series of landing with the improper configuration of landing in the water with the gear down and failed to flip the Beaver even once. Try as I might, that exposed forward landing gear just did not dig into the water as I suspect it does in the real world. Is this good or bad? I’m not sure.
I do agree the initial FDE is tail heavy and feels somewhat sluggish on the takeoff roll using regular or Tundra tires. With flaps set for Takeoff, holding the brakes and bringing the big 985 up to takeoff power, when I first start moving it feels like I am dragging an anchor for the first few hundred feet. As speed builds up to 60 mph or so, the controls feel a little lighter to me and I am able to use forward elevator pressure to bring the tail up to level or neutral and fly off the runway as speed builds. Not that this is not fun, it just seems to use more runway than I am expecting.
I decided I could make better takeoffs and wheel landings with the CG moved forward. This is easily accomplished by emptying the rear fuel tank and removing any passengers near the back of the cabin. Watch that the default startup is with the Rear Fuel tank selected. Fortunately, you can’t easily select the OFF position with the Fuel Selector handle when changing tanks, you need to use the center button or wheel on the mouse for these positions.
If you do set the fuel to zero in the rear tank, also make sure you change the fuel selector to one of the center tanks. You will have trouble keeping the engine running with no fuel in the rear tank if you don’t.
Lining up and adding full power and taking off in a 3-point configuration at the proper fly away speed is a slam dunk, but where is the fun in that? With the proper trim settings I can make this takeoff with nothing more than the necessary right rudder to keep the plane aligned with the center line. Again, this may be spot-on rigging and meet all the specs but it just feels sluggish to me.
Do pay attention that the Beaver is intended to use FLAPS for all takeoffs and landings. No such thing as a no-flap takeoff or landing in the Beaver. And I mean lots of flaps. The manual and instructions do not specify notches or degrees of flap extension – you are to use the Flap Indicator directly in front of your nose that is labeled Climb Cruise, Take-Off, Landing, and Full Flap. I think the Take-Off setting is actually 20 degrees. Amazing.
I also have heard that you never use the Full Flap setting for any reason, although I read this setting is reserved for emergency landings and really rough seas.
Knots vs MPH – pay attention to this. This Beaver was built firmly in the miles-per-hour days so you probably will not see many mods to replace the airspeed indicator with the dual bands for reading either Knots or MPH. It is not a big thing, just don’t get hung up on specific numbers. If you do, you are probably holding on a little too tight.
Remember, this is a big airplane. Take a look at the sheer size when on floats or tundra tires. Once in the air the Beaver is surprisingly light on the controls and doesn’t feel like a large plane. It is a real joy to fly. But first you have to step on the left tire or onto the left float, then climb up two steps and squeeze in the relatively narrow door.
There are certainly enough real-world Beaver pilots dropping in on the forum from time-to-time to add their thoughts. There is no doubt that every one of them will be flying this new MilViz Beaver. I hope they tell how they fly the Beaver.
FUEL, FLAPS, Fuel, Flaps, fuel & flaps, fuel and flaps
It doesn’t take much time in the pilot’s seat for this to ring true. I had always read and heard CFIs say the only thing you have to remember when flying the Beaver is Fuel and Flaps, teach to student to keep saying Fuel and Flaps.
It comes down to these two primary items that will get you into trouble or maybe get you out of trouble when flying a Beaver. Not just flaps, but the proper use of flaps, which is most of the time the Beaver is in the air, ready to get in the air or just coming down from being in the air.
This flap design along with the drooping ailerons, now called flaperons, makes the use of flaps much more complicated than the Cessna way of thinking, a little flap for soft field takeoffs and full flaps for short field landings. Nope, this does not apply to Beavers. You takeoff with lots of flaps, climb with flaps, and even cruise with a little flap for better attitude and visibility. You land with LOTS of flaps. Flaps, Flaps, Flaps.
The Fuel comes down to not just the 3 separate fuel tanks that must be selected individually, but the CG of that fuel, especially the aft fuel tank. So it is really Fuel Management and the management of the CG as the quantity is constantly changing. Also the fuel pressure, which is a new constant checklist item for the Cessna and Piper flyers.
So I expect to be thinking Fuel and Flaps a lot as I fly the Beaver.
The Right Way vs. The Shortcuts
The Beaver was designed in 1946 for flying in the really cold winters in the Canadian backcountry and not much has been changed from the original prototype so there are several quirky and unique things we need to do to fly the Beaver as it was intended.
These are using the Wobble pump to pressurize the gas lines, finding that odd placement of the Primer and slowly pushing down and pulling up using our left hand. Looking under the seat for the Flap direction selector for intended direction for the Flaps and then adding the necessary number of pumps to extend or retract those huge flaps using what looks like it should be an emergency brake handle.
Cranking the prop the necessary number of revolution before turning on the mags and adding just the right amount of throttle to feed those 9 cylinders without backfiring and scaring the birds and the bears is a learned technique and must be practiced.
Heck, even the real world guys that make the videos on how to start a Beaver tend to flood the engine and get frustrated. But, when it does come to life, with bellowing smoke and noise, everyone in the neighborhood knows it.
No one seems to know the proper order of the Throttle, Prop, and Mixture levers are for the Beaver so double check the placards and shape or color of the knobs before using. I like the TPM setup personally, but there are a lot of Beavers with the PTM setup.
MilViz produced a ‘Quick Start’ video to aid us in finding the location and order of these necessary items to properly startup our Beaver. https://youtu.be/-01y-Un4ioo 2:22 MilViz Quick Start Tutorial
Now this does add a lot of immersion and it enjoyable, but, if we so choose we can use the old Ctrl+E to bypass all of that or use the preselected ‘Ready to Fly’ radio button in the nifty MVAMS setup. We can also use standard or mapped key commands to raise and lower the flaps without selecting the direction and doing the pumping, but then it flies like a Cessna and not a Beaver.
The MilViz Addon Management System, MVAMS, has four areas for personalizing your addons – Load, Radios, State, and Visual. This must be done when the Simulator is not running and saves your settings across all the various configurations such as floats, tundra, skis, etc.
You will notice that not all the available configurations have the same layout and equipment list. Most every option is available if you will just look for it.
What About The Good Stuff?
The good stuff seems to all the there. It looks like a Beaver, sounds like a Beaver, has one of the earliest model panel layouts, and comes with standard tires, tundra tires, amphib floats (with retractable landing gear), and wheels/skis. It also comes with two models to choose your flights – big windowed passenger model and small round window cargo model. Load-out for both versions is selectable from within the simulator, with the cargo shown (or hidden) inside the cabin.
There are plenty of beautiful liveries available between the basic download and the extra livery packs available for free download at the MilViz.com website. A paint kit is already available so we should see an almost unlimited number of personalized Beavers in our virtual skies.
MilViz has stated that a free installer for Lockheed Martin’s P3Dv4 will be made available as soon as practical. The timing for the two introductions didn’t line up exactly. NOTE: The free P3Dv4 installed arrived in SP1 about 3 weeks after the introduction.
It is apparent the design team went to great pains to build us a realistic and practical DHC-2 Beaver. Take a look at the details of the airplane – both inside and out. Remember, the model is based on the number one prototype housed in the Canada Aviation Museum at Quebec Canada. An informative 15 page pdf by Harvey Gillespie, a museum volunteer, can be downloaded here. https://documents.techno-science.ca/documents/CASM-Aircrafthistories-deHavillandCanadaDHC-2Beaver.pdf
I did notice this first Beaver is equipped with straight or pure floats and the small circular window arrangement, along with the two-bladed propeller (that is a very big propeller).
The Extras – Avionics Galore, Including a Free WX Advantage Weather Radar
Whether you prefer your bush flying to be by the seat of your pants or fully informed, the design team has allowed for a wide choice of options for avionics and third party GPS units. Built-in configuration support from the MVAMS application is included for the following:
• Flight1 GTN 650 (Single)
• Flight1 GTN 750 (Single)
• Flight1 GTN 650 & 750 (Combo)
• Reality XP GNS 430/530W XP (Combo)
• Mindstar GNS 430/530 (Combo)
• MilViz GNS 430/530 (Combo), or,
• standard radios only!
The compatibility for these 3rd party gauges (Flight1, RealityXP & Mindstar) includes support for installation and setup only; use of any offered options requires a functional existing installation of the appropriate gauge. This means that you must own and have installed these 3rd party gauges to install them in your Beaver.
A welcomed addition is a free copy of the MilViz/REX WX Advantage weather radar. This is full working installation, if chosen, and it should be noted this free copy is restricted to just the Beaver and is not transferrable to other add-ons.
I get a popup message that the Weather Radar in not compatible with either my FSX:SE or my P3Dv2.5. Oh well, I’m sure Bill will figure it out and send out a fix soon. I already own the full retail Weather Radar anyway.
One Installer – Multiple Platforms
The MilViz DHC-2 Beaver package supports the following platforms, in a single downloadable installer:
• FSX: Acceleration
• FSX: Steam Edition
• Prepar3d v2
• Prepar3d v3
• Prepar3d v4 (recently added)
How About the Systems Depth? Yep, All There and Functional.
MilViz has stated their goal was to deliver a complete, thoroughly immersive experience with this long awaited Beaver. The various subsystems are not only extensively emulated, but they interact with each other.
Starting the engine requires fuel pressure to be built up in the lines using the wobble pump, as well as physically pumping the primer, in addition to taking into account battery voltage and engine temperature. Engine flooding conditions are able to occur, requiring the pilot to follow the instructions in the provided flight manual to clear. The electrical system is simulated, with both the ammeter and the voltmeter responding to inputs and load, as well as working circuit breakers present for key systems.
The effects of icing are also simulated, with serious consequences for disregarding potentially dangerous flight conditions. Ice accumulation can be hazardous and lead to airspeed loss and a stall; freezing rain can disrupt static instruments and cause incorrect readings.
All gauges, switches and controls are animated and usable, including a throw-over yoke. The real world Beaver only came with toe brakes on the left or pilots side but, although the flight controls were fully functional with the throw-over yoke in either position.
One properly placed drag of the left mouse button will engage the flip over control column. A single properly placed click will totally remove the yoke from sight, freeing up the view of the AP and some of the lower panel gauges, another click at the base of the yoke will return the functioning yoke to full view.
Later model Beavers were equipped with a double yoke and right hand toe brakes, mostly due to flight instructors refusing to fly without full access to the flight controls all the time and not having brakes on the right side. Probably a few student froze at the controls and the CFI was helpless to correct the situation without controls.
Also included is a hefty amount of eye-candy, such as chocks, tie-downs, cold cover and control locks. Whatever you do, do not forget to remove the pitot tube cover. I guarantee you will not enjoy a flight in the MilViz Beaver with the “remove before flight” cover on the pitot tube. I never could find out, for sure, why the DHC designed such a massive pitot tube for the Beaver. I suppose it was to withstand dragging it through some light brush. Whatever the reason, it is massive.
The Beaver is Not Normally Considered a Cross Country Airplane, but it Could Be.
You can load a person in every seat, add full fuel and still be within the Max Gross Weight limit of 5,100 pounds. The User Manual has a cruise power chart with BHP and expected fuel consumption at various altitude and power settings. One random setting would be at 5,000 feet, 1,650 RPM and 28 IN MP, developing 240 BHP and consuming 19.8 USG of fuel. A note states the simulator numbers may not match the chart – use for reference only.
I tend to be heavy footed and push my virtual airplanes quite hard. I noticed my Beaver’s fuel flow ranges from the mid 20s to the low 30s in gallon per hours of fuel. Heck fuel is free and the early overhaul also, so why not.
Do Beavers Really Carry ATVs and Generators Strapped to the Floats?
Well, the MilViz Beaver doesn’t, but probably will someday when some enterprising flight simmer uploads his freeware package with some backcountry scenery, a cabin in the woods, a dock or two, a canoe, moose, bear, and such to strap onto the floats and fly away. You can add a canoe above the right float (Cargo B) under the Load tab in MVAMS.
You can read stories and find some old photos showing most anything and everything that could possibly be loaded in or near the Beaver. I remember seeing a photo of some piece of machinery that stuck out about 4 feet on each side of the Beaver with both doors removed.
DHC-2 Performance Specs.
Just about every place I look for a Specifications and Performance table I find a slightly different version. What is really important is the MTOW is 5,100 pounds for the land versions and 5,090 pounds for the water versions. The payload and fuel numbers will be found in the drop down Fuel and Payload menu but the fuel it fixed at 95 gallons in 3 separate tanks. The critical airspeeds will be found on the Airspeed color bands. The low end has the stall speed as an incredible 45 mph with flaps down when the STOL kit is installed. Otherwise the ASI says it is 60 mph (bottom of the white arc).
The Empty Weight will vary with each of the models as it should. Tires – 3,410 pounds, Tundra – 3,451, Amphib – 3,710, and Skis – 3,450. I would guess the straight float version would be a few hundred pounds less than the Amphib due to the weight savings of the wheels, retracting mechanism, and maybe the actual size of the floats themselves.
There is a 5 mph difference between IAS and CAS. Subtract 5 mph to get Calibrated airspeeds.
You will hear real world Beaver drivers say there are only two speeds for a Beaver, it is either 80 mph or 90 mph. There is a bit of truth in that statement, but, if you dig deep enough in the manual you will find the best angle of climb in indeed 80 mph and the best rate is 95 mph.
The MilViz Product Manual, which you can download prior to purchase, has not only the Vspeeds that you need to know, but also the technique and checklists. Start on Page 28 once you are ready to go flying and then read the next 10 pages or so about 10 times.
For all us Cessna pilots it is important to understand when and how to use the flaps and whatever you do don’t retract them fully on takeoff and don’t get behind the power curve unless you have room to lower the nose and let the speed buildup of or you will crash and burn.
I’m not sure what the intended cruise speed should be, but it is not very fast. I think someone on the de Havilland design team said what was really important is that this new bush plane be faster than a dog sled. I see cruise numbers around 120 – 130 mph but I haven’t been very high yet and most of my stuff reads out in knots so I tend to agree with the designers – cruise speed is not that important. It will be a little faster when the STOL kit arrives.
Fuel flow has a very large range, but gas is cheap in the simulators. Probably 20 – 28 GPH. It is more important to pay attention to how much remaining gas is in the tank you are using than how much you are burning per hour. A simple adjustment of the mixture control can make a huge difference in flow rate when cruising at altitude.
You might need to remember the best glide speed, just in case you do forget to switch fuel tanks when needed. The landplane’s best glide is 95 mph and the floatplane is 92 mph. So if you are starting with a dead engine at say 7,000 feet you can glide about 10 miles. Surely that will give you enough time to remedy the situation and get the engine running.
Range and Endurance all depends on how easy or how hard you are pushing your Beaver and how high you choose to fly. With most choices being normal you can expect something greater than 400 miles and about 4 hours flying time. The manual only uses mph so we can guess these are statute miles.
A lot of books are intended for the far North, as they say, and they tend to use Imperial Gallons rather than U.S. gallons. The conversion is they are both the same at zero, so pay attention to the needles on the fuel gauge.
All the other limiting speeds can be found on placards or in the manual. The Do Not Exceed speed is the one where the wings come off.
I use full power for my takeoffs, but reduce the manifold pressure to 33 IN and the prop to 2,200 RPM once I am firmly stable at 80 mph or higher. I seldom fly at anything near Max Gross Weight in the simulator planes. Normal for me is one passenger and about half fuel.
I recommend you climb to 5,000 feet and slow fly with and without flaps, make some turns, make some steep turns, and practice rolling out on cardinal headings. I like to do two full 360 degree turns. Start with 75 mph clean and 65 mph with flaps.
Try not to lose or gain more than 100 feet and hit your headings within 10 degrees. When you can do that try rolling from a right turn directly to a left turn and hold it for the full circle. When you can do that, ease the yoke back and see how it feels as you approach a stall. Recover and do it again and then again. Fun stuff. Have that rudder ready when needed, the ball is happiest when it is in the middle.
I remember Jack Brown asking me during my SES checkride what was the correct water taxi speed. I answered with “it depends on how hard you are willing the hit the dock”. I passed the checkride.
Special DHC-2 Features – from the MilViz website.
Downloads available at the MilViz website.
You can download the 65-page DHC-2 Pilot’s Manual which covers the installation, familiarization and operation of the Beaver prior to purchase. You can also download the free Paint Kit and extra livery packs prior to purchase.
About the DHC-2 Beaver Product Manual
I suggest you at least browse the manual and read anything and everything that looks interesting. After properly installing and checking that the Beaver is actually installed correctly, set you Realism Settings. There is an FSX and P3D example, but basically everything it full right for the sliders and most everything has a checkmark except, Autorudder, Unlimited Fuel, and Enable Automixture.
SP1 came with a slight updated Product Manual. The few omission that I had noted were all corrected. I couldn’t determine what was new or different from the previous version. I wish they would place a mark near the changed text, like real flight manuals.
Be sure to check your MVAMS screens when the Flight Simulator is not running. You can find a shortcut icon on your desktop. I suggest you look at every screen and see what may interest you for your type of flying. The basic screens are Load, Radios, State, and Visual.
Under the Load tab you can add passengers to specific seat locations, switch interior layouts between passengers and cargo which will change the outside appearance and the weight of the aircraft.
Under the Radios tab you can click on radio button for your avionics selections and the weather radar.
The State tab allows you to fix the start-up condition. You can choose Cold and Dark, Ready to Start, or Ready to Fly.
The Visual tab is where you add a checkmark to the boxes to enable ramp options like, Chocks, Reds, Cold Covers, etc. This is also where you can choose between the standard 2-bladed propeller and the 3-bladed prop. To add a prop spinner add a checkmark to Propeller Cover (strange terminology for a spinner)
You only have to Save once before exiting. Click the Save Defaults button in the lower right. The close the MVAMS application click on the x in the upper right corner.
Make note that your selections for configuration options persist across all liveries as well as all types, ie, wheels, tundra, floats, skis.
There are some limited options that can be changed while loaded in the flight simulator. Use the drop down box for Add-ons, on the top of the window, last item to the right. Be selecting DHC-2 you are able to toggle the ramp items, passenger loading and cargo/baggage by location.
Items You May Have Missed if You Did Not Read the Manual
• Use of Carburetor Heat is required for smooth engine operation.
• The 3 large black knobs below the TPM engine controls are friction locks and are not simulated.
• The seatbelt is used as a Control Lock.
• If you choose to try to start the engine without using the proper procedure, you will fail.
• If all your Avionics are dark and dead looking, you have not turned on the Battery Master and Avionics/radio switch.
• Elevator Trim setting are important (If not mapped, be sure to look on the ceiling for the trim handle)
• Wing Flaps are hydraulically operated by a hand pump lever. You must also select Up or Down for travel direction.
• The Beaver will not fly if the Flaps are not set for Take-off (or nearly so)
• You can find the Normal Procedures and checklists in Section 4, beginning on page 28.
• No steep turns at low altitude. Stall speed is 105 mph IAS with a load factor of 2.0 (Stall, Spin, Crash, Burn)
Stall speed is 60 mph IAS with load factor of 1.0. The A/S White Arc means something.
• Speeds are very similar to a Cessna 182.
• If you haven’t flown a float plane recently, the Water Rudder should only be Down after landing on the water and used for water taxi. It should be Up for Take-off and remain Up while flying.
• The Landing Gear on the Amphibian floats should remain up (retracted) except when landing on dry land and retracted after Take-Off from dry land. You should never use the landing gear for water landings.
• Be very careful landing on a runway with the Amphibian floats. Minimal flare and come down really eeeassssssyyyy.
SP1 Update for P3Dv4 Compatibility Arrives
The file update notice was in my email box on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 with the P3Dv4 installer and “adds a number of small features and improvements”. I will look for the change log for these additions and improvements.
When I unzipped the new installer, I find a single v1.1xxxx 9.exe file but no readme or instructions. This is a typically large file at 543 MB. I had read on the forum where a user was complaining about the new installer overwriting his custom repaints and such. This does happen with many developers, some move your personal files into a backup folder, others leave it up to you to protect your files when deleting or overwriting with updates.
I find it completely acceptable for me to be responible for protecting anything added by me after the installation of anyone’s add on. I can elect to copy from my backup to a new update in a matter of minutes, or not. No big deal for me. If I have some special or custom repaint, you can bet your boots I will also have a backup copy someplace safe.
Using My External Cockpit With the Beaver
I am not normally concerned about a new add on being compatible with my custom Saitek Flight Instrument Panel gauges anymore because I use a new program, SPAD.neXt to handle the coordination of the gauges and the addons. The MilViz Beaver almost ignored the normally steady and reliable Saitek Multi Panel that centers around the use of the Autopilot but was nearly 100% ready for the Switch Panel that handles the Mags, switches, and landing gear, should the gear retract.
The SP1 change log did not mention anything about Saitek or 3rd party panels but for some reason, my Saitek Multi panel is now a near mirror of the MilViz AP and I can use my Heading knob, engage the NAV mode and change ALT using my external hardware. It is not totally 100% compatible but close. A few light switches are still not in sync.
Only occasionally when I disengage the AP from my cockpit, the Beaver ignores the command. A quick look inside the VC and one click on the AP button and I am back in sync. For some reason I can dial up a new altitude, either higher or lower, but I can’t change the VS rate externally. This is not a big deal since a normal setting of 700 fpm or so works just fine most of the time.
Tom Tusi, the FSX Times guru, is a true specialist at building custom gauges for the Saitek gear. Tom was asked by one of the early adopters of the MilViz DHC-2 to build a new set of Beaver gauges.
Tom sent me a set of his early bundle for a quick beta check but he had used the default beaver gauges.
I knew immediately that we were going to need the real thing for our MilViz DHC-2 Beaver. He is now hard at work building new spittin’ images of the 3 tank fuel gauge and the other engine monitoring gauges. You can see them soon here. http://store.fsxtimes.com/index.php?s=all&sid_04=13
The Overall Package
Certain features or specific models or configurations will appeal to different folks. Some will probably only fly from the water, mountain tops in the winter and the backcountry in general. These folks may or may not opt for the optional radios and GPSs. Others will stick with the big tundra tires and spend their time splashing in the shallow waters of the rivers and streams wherever they find them or bouncing down the rough and bumpy makeshift landing strips.
Others may choose the standard wheeled version and fly cargo anywhere and everywhere, while other may use it as a weekend get away to their secluded fishing spot or family lake house or their private grass strip. And yet others may never land on the water, in the bush country or possibly even a grass runway.
Whichever model and condition appeals to you, there should be model and configuration well suited to your taste. Me, I like them all and will probably fly every one of them, many times at many places, but that is just me.
What appeals to me is the old school look with the post-war gauges and panel design and haphazard layout. I like the wobble pump, the vertical primer, the flap direction selector under the seat. Heck, I even like the oil filler inside the cockpit, not that I intend to use it in flight. But, what really blows my skirt up is the choice of avionics and the included autopilot and weather radar. I just like to know where I am most of the time and if I can have a Flight1 GTN coupled to my autopilot, all the better. Kudos to the team.
I am also excited about having some realistic icing that affects the performance. I am going to defer to the real world and dedicated backcountry flight simmers to tell us how realistic this featuure has been coded. But, just finally getting icing is a feat in itself. More kudos.
Yes, this one is a few pages shorter than usual. There are several reasons with the prime reason being the others were just too doggone long to start with. Other reasons are that I had rather be flying (saw that on a bumper sticker someplace), and we have lots of new intros just out that has my attention.
I have spent enough time in and around and researching the DHC-2 Beaver to recognize it as a step above the average new add on. Sure, there is a list of complaints and suspected bugs, but, most appear to be because the guys at home keep igoring the installation instructions. You just gotta take the time to read and listen if you expect it to fly correctly. This means pay attention to the details and don’t expect it to work in P3Dv4 without using the new installer. Geez, the support team spent a week with a few of you prior to the v4 installer before you finally admitted you were using v4.
If you are having problems with lights and gauges, check for proper Visual C++ redistributables. There are a few switch and click sounds that need attention but this doesn’t stop me from flying until they are fixed. The prop animation looks a little funny to me but, apparently those in the know, already know this. I also think the water sounds need some attention. More splashing and gurgling sounds would be nice. The big engine sounds could also stand some blending and balancing to reflect throttle and pitch changes a little better.
If your fuel efficeny doen’t match the expected be sure to check your mixture control. Leaning the fuel mixure makes a big difference at altitude, as it should.
One little thing that bugs me is why I have to figure out which of the 3 are the Front, Middle,and Rear. When I use the drop down Fuel and Payload feature and find them labeled Center, Center2, and Center3. Come on guys, how hard can it be to fix this? Hint – the smallest capacity one is the Rear.
But, these are all simply startup and growing pains. The good news is the MilViz Support team is on it and listening and commuicating day and night. The other good news is that we now have a new Beaver in town and I think it was worth the wait.
I Highly Recommend You Go Get One.
Now, that was the end of my review of the MilViz DHC-2 Beaver for FSX/P3D, but SP1 arrived just in time to heavily influence me to add even more words and my final thoughts.
First, everything and I do mean everything that I perceived as a short coming of the total package, like the missing straight float version, the STOL package, and yes, even the pointy spinner has been announced as firmly on the list for a new add on. Rather than going down the list, I have used a screen capture from the MilViz DHC-2 Beaver General Forum.
This is indeed very good news to any and all Beaver fans. Surely there are one or more items on this list to create major excitement.
More Addons for the Addon
This has to be exciting for the Beaver loving community as a whole. Just think where this can go – more versions, straight or pure floats, Crop duster with operating sprayer, STOL kit for different versions, wow.
I can see a day when someone develops a scenery package specifically for the Beavers with a cabin on a remote lake or river, a dock or two, multiple baggage items like different canoes, ATVs, moose, bear, small timbers, generators, and on and on.
The repainters will go wild with this many different version and each basically standing on its own as a specific model.
Multiple Platforms, multiple simulators, multiple avionics packages – a beta testers nightmare.
I can’t even imagine how all these different models and versions can be tested on all our different sim platforms with the versions being upgrade pratically every month and new sims being introduced. It make my head hurt just thinking about it.
I missed this post for a few days because I was reading the Support Forum and not the General Forum. So in addition to the original 3 items on the wish list, a crop duster with animated sprayer will be added and the full blown Baron STOL kit that includes some extensive wing shaping, drooped tips, and fences that lower the stall speed and enable the Beaver to make that 3 cent stamp take off.
You also have an improved level flight attitude that was only achieved in the original Beavers by flying with a small amount of flaps extended and another few knots of top end cruise speed. The new Straight Float and existing skis version will also be STOL kit equipped. The baseball hat was probably thrown in as a tie breaker for those that may be on the fence.
Because this is to be delivered in the future, I wanted to make sure the STOL kit mentioned in the forum is the same STOL kit that I had in my mind, so I asked for confirmation.
One of the advantages of using online forums for Support is that usually a response is only a matter of minutes, sometime only hours away. In this case, in less than 45 minutes I had the expected ”Correct” reply.
I have no idea, and didn’t ask how extensive this newly-announced Beaver add on may be when completed for the simulators but, here are the benefits and scope of the real world version.
I read that real world Beavers that have this STOL kit installed receive a fairly substantial reduction in insurance premiums.
The Full SP1 Update
The change log for this timely update was far more than the reported ‘few improvements’. Custom sounds were added for the float version along with better water landing and wave slap sounds. Differential brakes animations were added, and practically all the glitches with lights and lighting switches have been cured by checking that certain xml and dll tools are indeed present in the installed version. We now can choose a short or long engine exhaust, commonly called the summer and winter exhaust systems. Some 3D exterior lights were added.
Interaction between the various choices of GTN, GPS and Weather Radar has been tweaked to eliminate some early selection errors.
Of course the big one is full support for the new Lockheed Martin P3Dv4 has arrived.
Final Summary and Conclusion
Prior to receiving this SP1 service update and the posted announcement of the comprehensive future add ons that include a straight float version, STOL kits, pointy spinner, animated crop duster, and the optional baseball hat for the pilot attire, the Standard Version DHC-2 Beaver would have been “better than most” as we are accustomed to hearing but, with all of these new additions in work and on the way to us, we have a new overall evaluation and recommendation.
The MilViz DHC-2 Beaver is now firmly placed in the “Top Tier” of animated and realistic classic add ons. It is my pleasure to recommend the coveted Avsim Gold Star be awarded to the MilViz design team for their creative approach and delivery of this finest of all bush planes.
Screenshots of user repaints. MilViz has a dedicated forum for MilViz aircraft repaints grouped by aircraft. Avsim has their comprehensive Library, and many talented repainters maintain their own websites. Be sure to check out and download these free works. Many are absolutely stunning. I have a new dedicated folder just waiting for the new ones that will be arriving daily.
Oisin Little, MilViz, for providing the add ons.
Chuck Jodry, Design Team, for helping me better understand the new features.
Mike O’Malley, Tribute to Ronnie Bowes, first published 2001, CanAero.ca
Tom Tsui, FSX Times, for custom gauges for the DHC-2 Beaver (Saitek FIPs)
Some Links to the GOLDEN AGE
Short preview of PBS America – The Immortal Beaver, few minutes of great information
Starting the Beaver (real world) 2:17
If you only watch one DHC-2 Beaver video this is a good one. A working Beaver in Canada.
Simple STOL takeoff, much lighter tail than the MilViz model.
Narrated video sharp images.
Harrison Ford flying his personal Beaver. Good personal narrative of learning to fly the Beaver.
1950 s/n 86 DeHavilland Beaver Walkaround 36:32 Narrated by Russell Armstrong. March 11, 2017 Hangar walkaround by owner in Texas. 19,500 hours on a/c. 29 Inch tires w/Cleveland brakes mod.