By 1950, the success of the DHC-2 Beaver was well established. In the chase of larger markets, however, it became apparent that there were certain potential customers that loved the idea of the Beaver - the STOL capabilities, the dependable performance, the utility-friendly design - but simply needed something bigger than what the Beaver could offer
The initial design was referred to as the 'King Beaver'. The key characteristics of the Beaver were retained: The high lift wings, the side door loading, the belly location of the fuel tanks. Although the load capacity didn't quite reach double the Beaver as originally intended, it did come close, with a 3500+ lb useful load capacity versus 2100 lbs on the smaller Beaver. Of course, the bigger aircraft with a larger load to haul needed a larger powerplant, and a geared version of the R-1340 Wasp radial engine was selected.
The result was a qualified success, with the aircraft carrying on the tradition of being named after Canadian wildlife and being renamed to the 'Otter'. Finding its own niche in the world of aviation, 466 Otters were manufactured from 1952 until production was wound down in 1967. By that time, Otters had travelled the air above every continent, finding service with numerous military forces, bush operators, governments, and civilian airlines.
"Our simulation of the renowned Otter is designed to deliver a realistic and immersive experience, allowing everyone to enjoy the characteristics that brought the real Otter a popularity that continues to this day".
Original text by Milviz
The Milviz DHC-3 Otter is currently available direct from Milviz and other 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 normally priced at US$39.99, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 626MB and it requires 4.5GB of HDD/SSD 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. Loadouts and some of the visual aspects can be changed in-flight via a bespoke item in the Add-on menu. MVAMS will also check if there is a more up to date version of the software available and you can download and install it right there.
The major model features of the Milviz DHC-3 Otter include:Four Body Configurations;
General Overview. The DHC-3 Otter, or "King Beaver" being the larger brother to the DHC-2 Beaver, has a far more imposing presence. The design and lines of its older stablemate are clearly evident with the large radial engine, high mounted wing, cockpit area, and enlarged cabin. The DHC-3 Otter was designed for rugged country bush flying and taking one look at the model you can see the ruggedness in its design. It has earnt its moniker "one ton truck" by the fact that the Beaver was the "half-ton-truck" and had the same overall configuration. The contemporary design incorporates a longer fuselage, greater-span wings, a cruciform tail, and is much heavier. Seating in the main cabin is for 10 or 11, whereas the Beaver can seat six. The modelling by Milviz is exemplary and totally captures the design and purpose of the aircraft.
Exterior. Each of this aircraft's four models share the same fuselage features, with the large round engine cowling housing those big nine cylinders of the R-1340 Wasp radial engine, the high mounted wings have (when deployed) large flaps which get more "barn door" like inward of the strut mounting location on the wing. The tail plane, like the wings is huge, but unlike the wings is not squared off but is formed by a long upswept leading edge which is quite unique to the Beaver and the Otter. The cockpit is perched out front and is accessed by two 180° opening doors which show the padded lining on the inside. To the rear of the fuselage on the starboard side is a single door used mostly in the passenger versions, and opposite, on the port side are a set of double doors giving easy access for cargo or medivac.
After admiring the overall form of the aircraft, I zero in on all those minute details which are the icing on the cake. Milviz's attention to detail is second to none, from very fine radio aerial wires to the flap actuators, panel rivets, door hinges, oil stains, heat tainted exhaust augmentor tubes, they are all modelled to the finest degree whilst at the same time showing the wear and weathering you would expect from a bush plane. To top things off, both pilots and the passengers are animated so enhance the feeling of realism.
The aircraft has two fit outs, passenger only or a passenger/cargo mix, when the cargo option is selected one of the loading stations allows a 17 ft canoe to be fitted to carrying gear fitted between the cabin and the floats without impeding access to either. These options can only be chosen in the MVAMS program before starting the simulator, thereafter the variations of standard landplane, seaplane with straight floats, amphibious seaplane, and combination of wheel/skies can be chosen in the vehicle selection screen of P3D. Each variation's modelling of the undercarriage is as exacting as the fuselage. The two float versions have shared elements such as the well-worn ladders struts and floats and on the cargo version, a canoe. The base version has solid looking shock struts which, when on rough ground, can be seen flexing to absorb the bumps. The wheel/ski version which has the same suspension struts and tyres with as the landplane with the addition of retractable skis.
Interior. The cockpit of the DHC-3 feels more like the engine room, totally functional, no frills (unless you have the optional GPS installed). Well-worn and chipped paint metal components, steam gauges, metal levers, hand pumps and toggle switches are the order of the day, the Otter is the mechanic's dream rather than the electronics engineer's dream, you really do feel like a pioneer aviator in this environment. The yok is very prominent with string bound over the handles to give grip and absorb sweat, at first view it's looks like the swing over type in the Beaver, but it's not, it is fixed as the Otter, can only be flown from the left seat as there are no rudder pedals on the other side, you are only a passenger on the right.
The cabin cannot be viewed from the inside, so you have to look in from an outside view and move your view to the inside. The animated passenger and wooden cargo crates can be seen and look surprisingly good given it's not really designed to be seen this way. There are some nice little details like a pick to smash the glass in case of emergencies, spare fuse and bulb box, and a first aid.
Flight Instruments, Avionics, and Aircraft Systems. Both traditional and modern avionics can be chosen for the Milviz Otter. In the base model you get the standard Bendix King radio stack with ADF a custom coded KAP 140 two axis autopilot. If you want a GPS, then the Milviz 530/430 combination is offered. Milviz have also catered for integration with Flight1, Mindstar and RXP GPS although they are not all compatible with P3D. Finally, you can add the Milviz/ REX WX Advantage Weather Radar into the mix, however, the P3D v4 version has yet to be updated so has just a blank screen but you can de-select it in the MVAMS. So IFR navigation is possible as well as complex route planning using the GPS. Most of the aircraft systems are manually operated via the hydraulic system for the flaps, amphibian landing gear, and skis. These systems replicate the real world aircraft in that the pressure must be manually pumped into the reservoir tank for operation. Alternatively, the default keyboard commands for flaps and landing key can be used. Another excellent feature is the manual starting of the engine, which also nicely replicates the process of the real world aircraft.
Models and Liveries. The DHC-3 Otter is provided in four models, wheel, amphibian, float, and ski, with 15 individual liveries (a selection showing below) provided across the model range. There is also a PSD paint kit available via download for aircraft painting enthusiasts.
Lighting, Animations, and Sounds. The night lighting effect in the cockpit provides a fair representation of the night lighting in the real world aircraft. The DHC-3 Otter includes the typical range of animations and static elements you would expect for such an aircraft. Engine sounds, here is another example where Milviz score points over their rivals. From the cockpit, the clicks of switches, the whirring of the fuel pump and the cranking of the starter until the Wasp engine catches, and spins into life are superb. But the immersive experience doesn't stop there, the engine sounds are some of the best I have heard in the sim. With the engine at idle you get a belligerent response from the engine with an almost erratic exhaust sound as though she is gasping for air. All throughout the RPM range the huge engine clatters away booming out the sound. If and when detonation takes place it sounds like the front line at the battle with canons ablaze, the pièce de résistance is yet to come with the engine shutdown, you can sense the cylinders losing power and struggling to turn the engine until it dies with a huff. Brilliant!
Summary, Issues, and Variations. From a purely aesthetic view, Milviz have delivered a visually stunning model. The attention to detail both to the design and the high-quality textures used really shines through. Not happy with just delivering a spanking new aircraft, Milviz then go ahead and give each model a real lived in look. The sound set is awesome too, very crisp, clear and realistic. There were a few niggles for me, the old issue of the comms display frequency displaying an extra half incomplete digit is still there, from what I can read in to it, Milviz no longer supports this radio so it will probably remain unfixed. The altimeter pressure in the Kollsman window was nowhere accurate when compared to a known height and pressure, it must be about 1 inch / 600 ft out. Some of the cockpit tool tips did not work, for example, the throttle and propeller work lever indicate ok, but the mixture lever doesn't, and as in the case of the elevator trim, there was no indication of the pitch in the tool tip. Finally, there are some typos in the manual, one glaring error is where they refer to the location of the hide/unhide yoke hotspot, in the manual it says to the right of the slip indicator when it is in fact left of the slip indicator, so just lacking a bit of attention.
Before taking to the skies engine warm up is crucial, when first started the engine sounds a bit rough but as those temps and pressures rise the note smoothens, then you can think about doing the ground tests.
To taxi you must ensure the ground steering is switched on otherwise at low speed you are only going straight ahead, a light in the cockpit will confirm it is on, when lined up it needs switching off and the tail wheel locking. Activating the flaps either with the lever or the function keys on your keyboard will result in the flaps handle pumping away until the correct pitch as attained. If flying the seaplane model, the water rudder has the same effect as the ground steering, so ensure it is raised before the take-off run.
With advancing the throttle the aircraft takes longer to start moving than you expect, at maximum throttle the engine will experience engine detonation so ensuring the revs and manifold pressure are in the green will help to mitigate this effect. She rises gently off the tarmac at around the high fifties and you must ensure the pitch is not too high otherwise she struggles to gain speed. You have to be really patient in the climb, initially, with climb flaps set, at 1000 fpm it was a struggle to maintain 60 kts, reigning it back to 500 - 800 FPM seemed the better option, this is true to form, setting the flaps to cruise at a safe altitude gives another 20 kts such is the impact of those huge flaps.
When trimmed out or with the wing leveler on, 120 KIAS seems to be the sweet spot and the mixture can be leaned until the RPM indicates a loss of power. We are now best set up for the greatest range, I must admit not flying her to empty put the fuel pressure remained in the green throughout, so I am happy the aircraft is flying within the performance envelope and is manoeuvring as designed.
Most of the instruments appeared to be consistently registering the correct information (see issues below), be it speed, attitude, temperature, and pressure. The turn and bank indicator worked as expected and allowed you to practice and complete those coordinated turns to perfection. Normal flight operations worked as described in the manual with no nasty surprises. After lumbering around in this gentle giant for a while I turn for home. Descent is uneventful as you are flying at no great speed, on approach to the field with a slight nose down attitude trimmed to about 500 FPM, and speed set just under 60 KIAS it's like floating onto the runway, you can allow the speed to get down to around 55 KIAS before touching down, in the amphibious version a final descent rate of around 200 FPM is ideal.
I flew all four variations of the Otter and it was very difficult to tell much difference in the performance between the float variants, and the wheeled variants as these aircraft are not that nimble at the best of times, but when looking into the air files there are slight performance enhancements present. In comparing the dynamics of the base wheel model to say, the amphibious model, there is a 51 feet per min better climb rate and higher terminal dive velocity of 12 kts, a better glide ratio, and a difference in the balance of the aircraft's CoG. So, as you see the flight files are different, it's just difficult to appreciate the subtle differences.
The performance of the Milviz DHC-3 Otter met my expectations for this aircraft. The aircraft could be described as a lumbering behemoth, however, its general handling characteristics are gentle and excellent. Overall, the aircraft model displays an excellent rendition of the flight characteristics and performance against the aircraft performance data.
A very comprehensive manual in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) consisting of 105 pages is provided for the DHC-3 Otter and it covers all necessary aspects for the operation of the aircraft including:
Installation and Configuration,
Normal and Emergency Procedures,
Flight Characteristics, and
Only one comment, maybe the author should sort out his right from left! Also, a dedicated manual on the KAP 140 autopilot can be downloaded from the product page online at Milviz.
At US$39.99, the Milviz DHC-3 Otter is considered marginally overpriced. However, the same perceived quality of aircraft is on a par price wise with other developers in the marketplace. Consequently, the Value for Money for the Milviz is considered acceptable but wait for the sales!
This version of the Milviz DHC-3 Otter 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
2.6GHz or similar CPU, 4GB RAM, 1024MB graphics card, and 3 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;
Asus Prime X299 Deluxe;
MSI NVidia GTX1080Ti Gaming X, 11GB;
32GB Corsair Vengeance, 3200MHz, DDR4;
Windows 10, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin P3D Version 188.8.131.5241.
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, Turbulent Designs TerraFlora Trees, and PTA2 shaders.
Please note, the screenshots above include updated custom trees so may not reflect what you see in the sim as standard with this scenery.
It is not often I am left speechless about a flight sim product, but the Milviz rendition of the Otter is peerless. It's not a study level aircraft, but then again, from what I have experienced, the immersion factor is as good as it can be and exactly as advertised. The Otter is a joy to fly so long as you don't want to get anywhere quick!