After the Second World War, de Havilland of Canada was looking for a good, general-purpose "utility transport" that could work across the vast and rugged Canadian countryside. The first DHC-2 Beaver, which rolled off the de Havilland production line in Toronto on August 16, 1947, with the registration designation CF-FHB, went into service with Central B.C. Airways on Jan. 6, 1948. As well as its powerful Pratt & Whitney 450-horsepower Wasp engine, the Beaver had extra wide doors so it could be loaded and unloaded easily. It also boasted an accessible oil reservoir that could be refilled in flight. Although the Beaver was specially made for rugged conditions, initial sales were slow until the United States Army adopted the Beaver as its post-war utility aircraft. Many were used during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
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 60 countries, and some Beavers are still flying around the world today, as civilian and military utility aircraft and as private planes. The DHC-2 Beaver is the quintessential bush plane but just like its mammalian namesake, the Beaver is most at home on the water, and you are most likely to come across it in its float variation.
The Milviz DHC-2 Beaver is currently available direct from Milviz and Milviz resellers as a download only product (some resellers also offer a master back-up CD / DVD service for a minor additional cost). It is priced at $39.99 USD, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 532MB and it requires 2-3GB of HDD space for installation.
The installation process also involves the installation of XMLtools for many of the gauges, this is carried out automatically and the xml.dll is updated in the process. Besides the aircraft, unless you already have a recent Milviz product, you will also see installed the Milviz Addon Management System, or MVAMS as they like to call it. Within the MVAMS you set the basic cargo or passenger model (the basic model cannot be changed within the simulator), radios, start-up state (cold and dark, ready to start, or ready to taxi), and certain visual aspects. Load-outs and some of the visual aspects can be changed in-flight via a bespoke item in the Add-on menu.
The most notable model features of the DHC-2 Beaver include:Four body configurations - standard wheels, amphibious floats, skis, and tundra tyres;
General Exterior and Interior. The DHC-2 Beaver aircraft is an all-metal, high winged design of the post war era, and having a stocky fuselage, with the Pratt & Whitney nine cylinder radial engine upfront, it exudes an almost indestructible aura. The fixed landing gear may be replaced by a twin-float installation or retractable wheel-skis. There are options from within the cockpit via the Add-ons menu to display chocks/anchors/concrete blocks, prop cover, and winter cover. The latest technologies such as bump and specular mapping are used to give a certain depth to the livery, whilst extra shading gives the impression of a well used aircraft.
Internally, the cockpit has a practical, no nonsense layout. The passenger version has two seats behind the pilot and co-pilot and a bench seat behind that. The cargo version has wooden packing crates and cargo nets in place all of which are of very high quality, even the webbing composition of the cargo nets can be seen. However, there were many inconsistencies with the visual representations when changing the cargo configuration, more of that later. The panel is of a standard steam gauge type design. The gauges are very clear, but not 3D models so tend to look a bit flat close up. The panels, doors, floors and flight controls have all been given a good roughing up so they look well used and believable.
Flight Instruments and Systems. The cockpit of the DHC-2 Beaver represents the typical layout for the aircraft and the production period. The standard analogue flight instruments are typical of the model range and consistent with an aircraft of this category and age. There are plenty of options when it comes radios and GPS, via the MVAMS program you can opt for no GPS, in which case you get a standard radio and auto pilot package. You can choose the Milviz 530/430 GPS and Milviz weather radar (not presently for P3Dv4) which are both included, or if you have any of the following, they can be included too (subject to sim compatibility) Flight 1 650/750, Mindstar 530/430 and RXP 530/430.
Unfortunately, I came across a few bugs in the standard layout configuration, the comms frequencies had an extra half digit at the end making it look like there was a "C" at the end of the frequency. The autopilot has an altitude setting showing when the unit was not active and more annoyingly, the ALT hold does not work when trying to switch from VS mode. Also, the Milviz GNS530/430 option had no way to input VNAV as the rotary switch to control the cursor was inactive, this may be because it is not modelled, but the manual does not have a section on the default avionics to check with.
Animation, lighting, and Sounds. The animations of the primary and secondary control surfaces and other moving elements on the DHC-2 Beaver are all modelled faithfully and include: primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator, and rudder. secondary control surfaces - flaps, and others - throw-over ability on control column, elevator and rudder trim tabs, cabin door, co-pilot and passenger doors, avionics bay door, and cockpit windows, water rudder,and various static elements.
The lighting and lighting effects on the DHC-2 Beaver are excellent and are a realistic representation of the real world aircraft. The internal lighting has many options to help achieve your favourite light level with backlights on the gauges also included. Exterior lights look both accurate and realistic with the landing lights giving a good throw of light. The engine sounds give a very good representation, from cranking the engine, to delivering the beautiful growl of a radial engine, and all with good stereo separation when panning around. The switches give a nice click, the wobble pump sound is a bit weak and the doors give a nice clank and thump as the open and close.
Models and Liveries. The DHC-2 Beaver is provided with two body styles, a passenger version with enlarged rear windows, and a cargo version with the original round rear windows and cargo with selectable visibility. The four body configurations (standard wheels, amphibious floats, skis, tundra tyres) are selectable with up to six liveries. All display high quality, surface textures, reflections, and shadings, along with additional scuff marks, scrape effects, dirt, oil, and grease stains, give each aircraft a realistic appearance.
Summary, issues and Variations. The DHC-2 Beaver exhibits a very high level of quality, and accuracy of visual modelling, both internally and externally. Any noted visual variations are minor and are considered to be related to real world production variations or a degree of artistic licence on the part of the developer. Any noted issues and variations with cockpit functions and operation were also considered minor and / or in the interests of simplifying the function for practical flight simulator use. Unfortunately, both passenger and cargo versions have problems displaying the cargo correctly, although, (except for one configuration), the effect on the weight seemed accurate. If using the passenger version, the passengers cannot be seen from inside the cockpit, you must look in through the windows from the outside.
The general characteristics and performance specifications for the DHC-2 Beaver are provided in the table below. This is based on data from the official de Havilland Canada Pilot Operating Handbook, data provided by Milviz, and general research sources. Some of this data varies between sources and also may be an approximation due to variances in data and the specific aircraft modelled by Milviz, they state this in their manual.
A specific Test Flight was conducted to test the flight performance of Milviz's DHC-2 Beaver was conducted in clear weather with a full fuel load and the aircraft at maximum take-off weight (MTOW). A cruise altitude of 4,000 ft was adopted and the route distance was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to test the range characteristics of the DHC-2 Beaver.
Taxiing the aircraft is a bit of a chore, as with all tail draggers, the nose is in the air so a certain amount of weaving is required, especially lining up to take a corner. With flaps set to the take-off position, the aircraft flies itself off the runway at about 60 mph with the inevitable pull to the left. If flying the float version, be sure to head square on to the wind as its high sides make it sensitive to cross winds. The climb is not spectacular, at about 95 mph, RPM 2200 and manifold pressure at 33, the rate of climb was only around 600 - 700 fpm, at maximum continuous power it was more like 900 fpm. Established at cruise we settle down to 130 mph, she seems to drift to the left without any corrections or autopilot control. Despite her size she is quite nimble albeit responses back are very predictable which makes flying her, even out of a planned spin, quite easy.
Configured for landing, with full flaps, and trimmed for a descent rate of approximately 500 ft/min, the aircraft's approach speed was approximately 80 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 75 KIAS, with a landing roll out comparable with the specifications for the aircraft. As with all other stages of this flight, the landing, in decent weather conditions, was a non-event, even if you land her heavy in the bush for example, she proves she is a tough bird.
In testing the accuracy of the instruments, based on the measured Test Flight, the speed indications on the airspeed indicator, were consistent with the averages measured. Additionally, when establishing a set rate of climb on the vertical speed indicator, the respective gain in altitude on the altimeter was achieved within the measured minute, and a standard rate turn was achieved within the measured two minute period using the turn coordinator.
The performance of Milviz's DHC-2 Beaver was excellent in flight, displaying the expected general flight characteristics of this aircraft. The aircraft's handling characteristics are very good, and it exhibits the typical performance of a heavy, non-streamlined aircraft, even down to engine detonation which results in frames from the exhaust. Overall, the aircraft model displays a reasonably accurate rendition of the flight characteristics and performance expected of this type of aircraft.
There is a 65 page user manual provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the Milviz DHC-2 Beaver and a 14 page document on the operation and use of the MVAMS. The MVAMS document badly needs updating as it contains nothing specific to the DHC-2 Beaver and would better off not being included. The User Manual, however, is one of the best written I have seen. All the information I needed was there and I didn't find myself looking elsewhere for help. (except for the avionics).
At $39.99USD, the price point is right in the middle of Miviz's main competitors. I think this model offers enough features and usability to justify this, so my opinion is it is good value for money.
The aircraft model performed excellently within the existing settings I have in P3Dv4. I have most of my settings set very high and there was no need to make any adjustments. There was no discernible frame rate impact directly attributable to the Milvix DHC-2 and P3D continued to perform smoothly.
This version of the Milviz DHC-2 Beaver is for FSX / FSX SE / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
Windows Vista / 7 / 10 (32 or 64bit);
Flight Simulator X with SP1 and SP2 installed (or Acceleration Pack), FSX Steam Edition, or Lockheed Martin P3D Flight Simulator (v2,3, or 4); and
2.4GHz or similar CPU, 4GB RAM, 1024MB graphics card, and 2.5 GB available HDD space.
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
Intel i9, 7900X CPU, 10 Core, 4.3GHz;
MSI NVidia GTX1080Ti Gaming X, 11GB;
32GB Corsair Vengeance, 3200MHz, DDR4;
Windows 10, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin P3D Version 4.
Additional Major Add-ons. ASP4 (Active Sky for Prepar3D v4), FS Global Ultimate Next Gen Mesh, Orbx FTX Global BASE, Orbx FTX Global VECTOR, Orbx FTX Global openLC series, Orbx FTX region series, Orbx FTX airport series, Orbx FTX Trees HD and PTA2 shaders..
The Milviz DHC-2 Beaver really does capture the no nonsense character of this aircraft in all its many guises. The DHC-2 Beaver is the iconic bush, utility and float plane and Miviz's model faithfully reproduces the performance and feel of the aircraft. There were some niggles, some easy to reproduce and others possibly attributable to limitations in the underlying simulator code, they make it very clear on their product page these issues will not be addressed.