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Review of JustFlight’s DHC-1 Chipmunk (07/16/2014)

Written by on August 2, 2014

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Final Review Rating is 4 out of 5

As a long time MS Flight Simulator fan, I’ve always enjoyed the variation of the included default planes, but like most folks, eventually you find that there are plenty of freeware planes and liveries out there. I’ve seen my share. Only in the last couple of years have I been looking around at payware versions. I have a PMGD plane, some Carenado planes, a Just Flight plane and some CaptainSim planes. I’ve enjoyed all of them. When comparing payware to the simplified default planes, some are easier to learn than others, some are a bit more involved and lean more heavily towards real-life controls and procedures. That is exactly why I enjoy them so much. There is nothing better than feeling that you’re ready for any flight, any approach and any landing. In ANY aircraft.  (Ctrl + click to open pics in a new tab!)

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Have you ever had that dream where you’re trying to drive a car from the back seat? No? Well, I know some of us like to be back-seat drivers, right? See! I knew it. Well, this month’s review allows you to do just that. The recently released Just Flight DHC-1 Chipmunk and the B-2 Bubble Canopy add-on package is a very well modeled and highly detailed aircraft. While I didn’t get the chance to try it out while ‘sharing the cockpit’, I would imagine that scenario would be quite exciting. 

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The de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk is a tandem, two-seat, single-engined primary trainer aircraft which was the standard primary trainer for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Air Force and several other air forces through much of the post-Second World War years. The de Havilland Chipmunk was the first postwar aviation project of de Havilland Canada. Today, over 500 DHC-1 Chipmunk airframes remain airworthy with more being rebuilt every year. (wiki)

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The prototype first flew in Toronto, Canada, in 1946. Production continued well into the 1960s with many variants being ordered by air forces and military units from all over the globe. The RAF adopted the Chipmunk as its primary trainer in the 1950s and HRH Prince Philip took his first flying lesson in a ‘Chippie’. Versions included models with aerobatic-capable airframes and the design has been the subject of continual upgrades which have included turboprops, bubble canopies and other aerodynamic improvements. In fact the design has proved so adaptable and reliable that it continues to this day to be a highly successful aeroclub trainer, aerobatic champion, crop-sprayer, glider tug and commuter transport!  (Pg. 2-4)

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Installation was a snap and I found myself trying to choose from multiple liveries. Nine are available, including classic military and modern civilian liveries. The add-on Bubble Canopy pack includes two more. The pilots uniforms are modeled appropriately for the livery chosen. As this aircraft is metal with some fabric covered areas, the textures look fantastic as the light moves across them.

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Once in the cockpit, you will see a highly detailed interior complete with moving linkages, basic navigation equipment and the expected wear and tear. The more modern B-2 version has a few more upgrades and additional navigation aids.  The manual describes the additions as, “The B-2 has an additional electrical binnacle mounted on the forward cockpit coaming. This carries the battery master, generator, starter, landing light, navigation/fuel gauge light switches and a recognition/identification light push-button. There is also a voltmeter.” The most basic navigation equipment is the P8 Compass. 

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There are three basic parts to the P8 compass: an outer moveable bezel ring, the compass needle itself and a ‘lubber’ line running vertically across the top of the compass dial. The needle always points NORTH, so to acquire the correct heading rotate the bezel until the RED N is opposite the cross end of the needle. The number under the white tip of the lubber line will be your current heading. Adjust your gyro compass (Direction Indicator) to this value, if necessary. (Pg. 17)

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The instructor’s rear seat can add an optional standard VOR gauge with dual NAV1 and ADF pointer, which can be tuned using the radio controls to the right of the instructor’s seat. This was very helpful during my longer flights.  It has been said by trainer pilots, “They are easy to fly, but difficult to fly well.” And while it is a very forgiving airframe, it does not like heavy-handed control inputs.  Once you get cruising in trimmed out level flight, it flies steadily with minimal inputs. 

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This being a trainer, I had to put it through some maneuvers. Smoke ON! I flew a few loops, a few Immelmanns, some stall recoveries, and a wacky flat spin that the Chipmunk took in stride with my limited skills.  At the end of the day, I got down safely and logged my flight. Whew!

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The sound package isn’t extensive, but certainly fits the environment and the DH Gypsy Major engine sounds great when running up! One thing about the Bubble Canopy variant, is that it says right next to the lever, WARNING Canopy Must Be Open During Takeoff and Landing”. That certainly makes for a more exciting runway experience! The canopy will close automatically once airborne and open upon touch down.

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Once parked, you can open the engine compartment, plug into a GPU, remove the pilots and place tie-downs and chocks. The views available are mostly standard, with the exception of the external views which have 8 different preset eye points. Great for screenshots and situational awareness! Again, the high detail level of the textures makes this plane look great. The flight characteristics make it fun. When you need a highly forgiving two-seater for your adventures, you need to roll the Chipmunk out of your hangar and have a great day!

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While my earlier version had some issues, like the shift + 1 and 2 keys giving me the circle of stutter, they have been addressed with the updated download*. That was what helped me give the Just Flight DHC-1 Chipmunk a solid 4 Sock Rating. The price is nice for this Chipmunk and you can add this plane to your hangar by going to:

DHC-1 Chipmunk $21.99
http://www.justflight.com/product/dhc1-chipmunk

DHC-1B-2 Chipmunk – Bubble Canopy $8.99
http://www.justflight.com/product/dhc1b2-chipmunk-bubble-canopy

 

Here’s the information about the update:

*Service pack for the DHC-1 base pack and DHC-1B-2 Bubble Canopy pack:

This is an extensive update for the DHC-1 Chipmunk base pack and DHC-1B-2 Bubble Canopy pack. Here are some of the changes made in this new version.

•Various model improvements
•Various texture improvements
•Improved FDE
•Fuel tank selector stuck on left tank (DHC-1) – fixed
•Updated paintkit
•ADF pointer reversed – fixed
•Canopy pressure release flap wire animation issue – fixed
•Canopy pressure release flap now usable from both cockpit positions
•Turn indicator added
•Mixture control reversed – fixed
•Flashing seat textures – fixed
•Canopy frame gap – fixed

 

Bonus videos:

DHC-1 Chipmunk from Just Flight Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V7LbHztFFk

Art Scholl in his Super Chipmunk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-kHTmYjBQk&index=1&list=PL87584263BE4378CD

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If you have any comments or questions about this review e-mail vetter (at) skyblueradio.com

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My PC Specs: Intel i7 930 QuadCore 2.8GHz / 6GB Ram / Radeon HD5870 / 32″1080p Sharp Aquos / Windows7 Pro(x64) / Logitech Extreme 3D Pro / GoFlight MCP Pro and GF166 Radio Panel


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