Carly’s PC-6 STOL Airplane

If you are looking for a great versatile bush plane that can handles passengers and cargo as well as handle runways with short and difficult approaches, the PC-6 by Carly (carollynn85) is your answer. Released on December 26, this plane is a refreshing addition to the flying community.

First, a little history of the PC-6. The real world PC-6 is, as far as I can determine, the only commercial grade taildragger still in production. The plane has become quite an icon thanks to a popular series called Worst Place to be a Pilot found on Youtube. This series features pilots flying for Susi Air in Indonesia, often to places and strips that have no business being called “runways”. The series features the two primary aircraft flown by Susi Air, the PC-6 and the Cessna Grand Caravan.  The most dangerous and difficult airstrips are places where only the PC-6 can get to.  In these types of landing areas, a tail dragger simply outperforms the conventional tricycle gear configuration in both durability and STOL (Short Take Off and Landing).


One word of caution:  Once you look at this plane both the RL and SL version, you will realize you are not looking at a plane that was designed to be sleek and pretty. The PC-6 is a workhorse. It looks like one in the real world. Carly’s implementation of this plane is very accurate to the true form of the airplane.

PC6 Dashboard_002

This photo is the airline configured PC-6 using generic blue colors. As delivered, you get several livery options:

  • Air America
  • US Army
  • RAAF
  • Generic

The generic version has nine different color options.  As of this writing, the PSD files for designing your own liveries have not yet been released. Carly’s business partner, Vetron, has indicated that the PSD’s will be available soon. The plane has a land impact of 86 for the airline configuration.

The airframe of this plane is also fully modifiable. As one of the more recent entrants into the plane building community, Carly understands the importance of making a plane that customers can adapt to their needs. This is even more important for the cargo version of the aircraft because it means you can attach cargo to the plane rather than be stuck with “wearable cargo” as you are forced to do with no-modify cargo planes incapable of actually carrying cargo not provided by the builder.

What You Get

The PC-6 package includes five different plane configurations:

  1. Airline configuration. Six forward facing passenger seats with relatively decent cushions, designed for as close to economy passenger comfort as a PC-6 can get.
  2. Charter configuration. Nine forward facing passenger seats. Designed to carry a larger load trading off some comfort to allow for larger groups.
  3. Executive configuration. Four passenger seats, two forward facing and two rear facing, with a small carry on cargo compartment in the back for small personal carry on bags.
  4. Cargo configuration. No passenger seating. Open back for cargo.
  5. Medevac.  One attendant seat and two bunk style patient beds.

 

Features

Pilots that prefer flying in mouselook will appreciate the fully working and mostly readable gauges. Larger avatars however may find the fuel guage blocked by their hand while in mouselook.

PC6 Dashboard_001

In addition to the usual gauges is a GPS that provides a real time map of the current sim the plane is flying in. While this feature is starting to become more commonplace, it is still not universal, so it adds a very nice touch to the dashboard.

Seasoned pilots (and most European pilots) may not be comfortable with the speed being reported in scaled miles per hour instead of knots (real or scaled). This, however, is as much preference as anything else. Some are likely to prefer this. At the end of this article I’ll present a chart that gives approximate figures for the key values of the plane (scale mps) as stated in the documentation, real m/ps (approximated from information in document) and knots (also approximated). If the mph and/or m/ps reporting is uncomfortable, you might consider a generic hud that reports speed in knots.

HUD

While most SL aircraft provide huds intended to emulate dashboard instruments, the hud provided with the PC-6 is designed more for conservation of space. It is totally digital and takes up a very small space at the bottom of the screen. This will be preferred by some pilots, disliked by others. It is a matter of preference. Vetron HUD

Unfortunately the HUD shares the same issue that almost all airplane huds in SL have in that it is connected with the avatar camera rather than the aircraft. The heading, pitch and roll information respond to the direction you are looking in rather than the orientation of the aircraft.

The airplane also has a simple fuel system. It is not tied to any of the specific fuel systems in SL. Typing “refuel” will replenish the fuel supply.

 

Flight Controls

Pilots accustomed to DSA planes will have an easy time adapting to the flight controls of the PC-6. The base commands are very similar with regard to lighting, flaps and engine controls. If you have gestures set up for DSA’s planes, most will work with the PC-6.

A couple of things to highlight on this plane:

1. The plane as delivered does not whisper the throttle settings. If you use the hud, it is reported on the hud. If you choose to use alternate huds, you will want to use the “chat” command to activate the chatted throttle speed. This command will stick, so if you prefer to keep it this way, you’ll want to take the plane back into inventory after typing it.

2. When the engine is running, the tail displays floating text to show airspeed and throttle. Use “text” command if you wish to turn this off. This preference does not stick so you will need to use this command each time the engine is started.

For new pilots, or pilots using other craft, the package includes a set of function key based gestures to help you get started. The function keys will control all the most critical flight systems.

The PC-6 has two features rare in Second Life aircraft:

  • Independent Rudder option
  • Trim

I do not use the independent rudder but pilots that prefer a more realistic experience will likely appreciate this feature.

Trim control does not appear in most SL airplanes because it is not required based on their scripting. In the next section on flight dynamics, you will see that it is definitely needed in the PC-6.

The plane includes independent navigation lights, strobes, beacon, cabin lighting and landing light. No taxi light.

The throttle control is a bit unusual. It does not operate in a fixed increment. When increasing the throttle, the steps seem to rotate between two and three steps for awhile but then at 18% the steps change. I was originally also going to comment negatively on the small increments of the throttle as I’ve heard some feedback from pilots uncomfortable with this. However, after some experimenting with this plane, the reason becomes clear. As a bush plane, it is subject to fly into some very tight spots.  A more fine tuned throttle can be invaluable in this situation.

One other distinction of this plane is the prop pitch reverser. While other planes actually use the throttle for this, dropping to zero then into the negatives, the PC-6 requires you to use a separate control to reverse direction with prop pitch. This distinction might seem confusing but it is realistic. Engines don’t go backwards. Control surfaces are used to reverse airplanes that are capable of backing up. The PC-6 does this correctly. This also prevents you from accidentally going into reverse.

Flight Dynamics

This is the area where the PC-6 leaves every other plane I’ve flown in SL behind. There is simply no comparison. This is where the propeller meets the sky.

Though not part of flight, I’ll start with taxi. The plane is a bit touchy on the ground and may be tricky getting straight on center lines. However, it may be realistic. I’ve been told that this is a characteristic of tail draggers.

The first thing you will notice is on your takeoff roll. The tail wheel will very quickly lift off the ground as expected. The plane shortly thereafter will want to lift off the ground and a quick tap on the down arrow and up you go. The plane performs as a tail dragger is expected to perform.

Where you are in for your first surprise is when you start your first turn. Most SL airplanes will hold altitude during a turn. The PC-6 will not. A turn causes reduced lift, so the PC-6,as it should be, will lose altitude unless you also pull back on the stick when turning.

The second surprise you will find, is that the airplane will probably be wobbling a little as it flies. That is not SL Lag, your machine acting funny, or the Long Island Ice Tea you drank before takeoff. Yes, the plane is emulating turbulence. Your course will remain fairly steady, but the wobble is a design of realism.

The third surprise has already been spoiled above. The airplane has a trim control. And you will find that you need to use it. Depending on the speed you are flying, the plane will want to nose or nose up.  Trim will need to be applied to keep from having to continue tapping the up or down arrow and maintain a smooth straight and level flight.

The plane has a very low vertical attraction time. This means it will bank steeper than most SL passenger planes, and will not right itself as quickly. You will need to react quicker and do most of the return to level control yourself. Again, this is also as a real plane would function.

Finally as the saying goes, take off is optional, landing is mandatory. The PC-6 both in the real world and in SL, is a true bush plane. In the real world, the tail dragger design with extra reinforced gear struts, allows the plane to handle some very rough runways and landing conditions. In both worlds, the plane is a true STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) craft. As an example you can land this plane at St Martin field with runway to spare by using the prop pitch reverser on touchdown. The Corsica continent has several airfields that have been built as particularly challenging airstrips, specifically meant for STOL aircraft.

Summary

The PC-6 by Carly gets thumbs up for form, realism and performance. Here, summarized is my list of pros and cons:

Likes Dislikes
Modifiable Airframe Scaled MPH speed reporting
Excellent Flight Dynamics
Multiple Configurations in single package
Independent Rudder Option
Trim Control

The plane is not currently available on the Marketplace. You can purchase one at Yeager Field.

Speed Conversion Table

Value MPH* m/ps knots
Top speed 150 21 41
Cruise Speed 115 18 35
Takeoff speed no flaps 59 9 17
Takeoff speed 10% flaps 48 8 15
Stall speed no flaps 59 9 17
Stall Speed full flaps 45 7 13

* Scaled speed

4 thoughts on “Carly’s PC-6 STOL Airplane

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