Review by: Daniel Faas
The Pilatus PC-6 can trace its lineage all the way back to 1959 when it was first flown by the Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus. Known from the beginning as a STOL aircraft the piston powered Porters were further strengthened by the addition of turbine engines. Beginning in the late 1990s Pilatus began to outfit their Porters with PT6A engines which is the version we have to review here today from Milviz.
With over 600 aircraft delivered since it entered service unfortunately Pilatus has ended production. However we have the opportunity to fly this bird as if it were new off the assembly room floor. With operators such as the CIA and Austrian air force, all the way down to bush pilots flying to Mt. Everest this aircraft is very capable and good at what it does.
Download and Installation:
Milviz has done a great job streamlining the process of installing and configuring aircraft within their vast lineup. A single installer makes sure all of the per-requisite software is installed prior to installing the aircraft itself.
On top of the aircraft, the MVAMs program (Milviz Aircraft Manager) which serves as an all-in-one configuration tool for all aircraft Milviz currently has. This is a great tool which eliminates the need for a configuration tool for each aircraft and also serves as an update tool for the aircraft as well.
The team at Milviz did a wonderful job modeling the exterior of this rugged bush aircraft. The shape of the PC-6 is definitely unique and the modeling was done perfectly. This aircraft definitely passes the initial “wow” test, and upon closer inspection also stands up to the more rigorous of sim pilots who desire a spot on aircraft model.
If the exterior sets the standard, the interior of this aircraft really goes above and beyond. Every switch, gauge, and dial is in the appropriate place and does what it is supposed to. The textures are crisp and easy to read. There are two schools of thought when it comes to doing texturing, photoreal and a more “drawn look” and the photoreal textures in this aircraft seem amazing. If anything they may be a bit on the “clean” side for an aircraft like the PC-6 but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the cockpit. Perhaps one of the nicest additions is “trueglass” which provides realistic rain effects for the cockpit glass during rainy weather.
The documentation for this aircraft is so-so. On the Milviz website there is a 44 page “user manual” which includes the install guide, and some basic operating information. Included is a cockpit familiarization, annunicator overview, and basic operating checklists. It could be better but it is certainly enough to fly this aircraft effectively.
One nice addition is a separate manual on how to operate the KAP-140 autopilot which does take a bit of getting used to when compared with the more basic default P3D autopilot.
The lighting in the PC-6 falls short of what Milviz normally puts out in my opinion. You can see below but it just isn’t what I’ve come to expect from them. That isn’t to say, however, that it is bad, just not as good as it could be.
The PC-6 is not an aircraft which one would consider to be systematically complex. With that said if the real PC-6 can do it, so can the Milviz PC-6, and Milviz have gone to exceeding lengths to get this turboprop simulation “right”.
According to the website the aircraft simulations all of the following engine behavior:
- Totally realistic.
- Spool up rates depending on different variable (fuel, temperature, altitude, battery power,etc).
In-Flight different start procedures included:
- Starter assisted
- No Starter/Windmilling (depending on conditions)
- Hot starts simulated due to different conditions (fuel too soon, low battery, etc)
- P3D custom AutoStart included (CTRL-E)
Custom specific sounds for entire startup/shutdown sequence, both external and internal.
Sound volume is user configurable with MVAMS.
Realistic propeller rotation at engine startup & shutdown.
Engine Performance modeled following real engine data from different tables.
Emergency Power System fully operational.
Engine failures because of limits exceeded (random)
Cold & Hot weather operations realistically simulated, including:
- Oil pressure variable upon oil temp conditions
- Oil temp variable upon OAT conditions
- Combustion delays at low temperatures
Fuel System totally simulated, including:
- External tank(s) configuration for certain variants
- External to Main fuel transfers
Custom Electrical System, including:
- 1 x 24V 34 Ah NiCad Battery.
Battery damage due to overheating is simulated and will cause failures if starter time limits are not respected.
This is a lot to say that the engine behaves as a turboprop should, and the careless sim pilot can and will break this engine. This aircraft does not respond well to having the throttles firewalled and on my first few familiarization flights, I did ruin a few PT-6 engines, much to the maintenance staff’s chagrin.
Flight Dynamics and Test Flight:
To be fair I have never flown a PC-6 Porter and likely never will but to stretch the legs of the Porter I did my typical test flight from KLSE La Crosse Regional to KMSN Dane County Regional in Madison Wi., a total flight of just short of 100nm. The ground handling of the PC-6 seems true. Being a tail dragger provides a challenging taxi but it is always controllable. The only caveat is that the tail wheel will free swing after about 35 degrees so sharp corners can be hard. The aircraft is somewhat easy to keep straight down the runway and the aircraft lifts off easily and climbs very quickly at take off power. Care needs to be taken however to coax the turboprop to takeoff power without overstressing the engine lest it break (which is fully modeled). Once at cruise this aircraft is pleasant if a bit slow, but that is Pilatus’ design not the issue of the simulation. Cruise is about 120 to 130 kts which makes for a nice low and slow style of flying. Descent was uneventful with the aircraft having more enough drag to slow itself as it descended. On approach it was easy to control whether under autopilot or hand flying and the flaps made this aircraft almost float down to the runway. Landing was accomplished at a crazy slow 70kts and with a bit of a flare and cut of the throttle the aircraft settled nicely.
The team at Milviz have done a great job simulating a tough, utilitarian bush plane. There were a few spots where I felt like the aircraft could have been better, notably in the “clean” appearance inside and the night lighting. I have fairly high standards when it comes to system simulations and this aircraft was great when it came to engine simulations, performance didn’t show any large variances from the norm for me, however it is noted by Milviz that the TrueGlass can affect lower end machines. I really enjoyed learning to fly this unique aircraft. If you are into bush aircraft or turboprops this would be a great choice for any P3d user out there. You can find the Milviz PC-6 at the Milviz.com store for $39.99 USD.