Thranda PC-6 Turbo Porter

Moments after downloading the Turbo Porter from the .Org Store I jumped into reading the manual. The first sentence reading “The Pilatus PC-6 Porter is a high-wing turboprop utility aircraft with a tailwheel configuration, designed to be able to operate comfortably from rough rudimentary landing surfaces.”

“Excellent” I thought, “Turbo, Rough and Rudimentary are some of our favorite things in Scotland, this will be just the thing for me!” So down went the manual as I loaded Xplane 11 and hopped into the last airport to have been loaded, in this case Carlisle EGNC.

Having already watched the tutorial videos offered on Joseph Noe’s channel while contemplating the purchase I fluidly and efficiently got her started up and ready for taxi having remembered prior, to walk around and remove all the tie downs and covers while marveling at the modelling and texturing work that has gone into this aircraft. This, as it happened, would be only the beginning of my marveling.

Pre-Flight

Ready for taxi, I set off. Delaying turns where possible allowing me to experience the free castoring tailwheel when beyond +-25 degrees. Sliding around the taxiway like I was out doing the weekly grocery shop at the local supermarket.

Lining her up on the runway I start to raise the torque. XPRealisticV2 came into it’s own at this point as the entire air-frame began to judder and shake around me. Just like that I am now IN the cockpit. No VR required. Completely captivated. “My god this thing is a beast, what have you got yourself into now” I think to myself.

Releasing the brakes I begin to roll sharply off the line before finding myself in a similar situation as I have in the past with most tail draggers. Left-Right-Left a bit more-Jeez just pull the stick back and hope for the best….airborne! Phew!

Had I have read the manual fully or even stopped, in my excitement, to remember the fundamentals of flying a prop i would have realized that i had not set any rudder trim which in the case of the PC-6 is displayed prominently and clearly on the instrument panel with handy green markers so you really can’t guess wrong about how much to apply.

Climbing out of Benbecula EGPL

Once i was in the climb and had set trims correctly I had more of a chance to take in the ambiance. The instrument panel is fairly tall and in your face which initially found me craning my neck to admire the views before i turned my head to the left and was struck with a sudden and worsening sensation of vertigo as i stared down at the wheel and the rapidly receding ground below. This i like, a lot. The transparent panels are well simulated in this aircraft and the windshield has some stunning reflective qualities when making turns which further adds to the immersion.

A short while later – “Now for the fun part” The Landing…

I made my way around and made my approach, nothing textbook about it. I was fairly high and had no clue about flaps speed restrictions. Airspeed around 100 I decide to drop them as nothing I do is slowing this beast down. It works, the speed starts bleeding off sharply. Keeping her lined up i get down onto glide slope and hold it there but we are speeding up slightly. I add another stage of flaps and my speed plummets, the ground is coming up to meet me fast…three reds…four reds…power…come on, too much power…knock it off a bit…CRUNCH! I slam into the runway, the plane is swaying all over the place. By some miracle (or rather the large, flexing shock absorbent landing gear) I manage to keep her on the tarmac in one piece and taxi off. “Well that was different” I say to myself.

Aside from the intricate modelling and texturing, clever new features such as a fully user configurable front panel, interactive weight/balance set up, dynamic livery editor adjustable cabin layout with removable/movable seating and peripherals such as GPU etc. (not to mention the hilarious Easter eggs!) the Thranda PC-6 Turbo Porter is at it’s core an exceptionally well made simulation of what is clearly a very interesting, robust aircraft which requires attention from the pilot and many hours practice to master.

There is even talk of an expansion coming which may or may not include fully controllable sky divers with a basic flight model based on Xplane weapons! This could give us the chance to practice our Beta dives such as this real world example featuring some insanely competent people.

This XPlane 11 payware aircraft, for me at least, ranks up there next to the likes of the HotStart TBM 900 for it’s depth and modelling. The extremely reasonable price tag scores it extra points. I can only imagine what would become if Thranda and HotStart ever teamed up. We can only dream.

If you or a friend are looking for another GA aircraft to add to the hangar i urge you invest your money in Thranda. These guys know what they are doing and deserve some serious socially distanced high-fives for their effort! Well done Thranda, more of the same please.

Wait…what do you mean simple engine mode?

There’s a realistic mode?!……..

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