I just completed the "Reeve Aleutian Airways, 1948" flights that come with FS09, one of the Historic Flights. This is a very challenging trip.
It is flown in a DC-3, which is a fairly well-behaved old lady one she is in the air, but the instrumentation and radios leave a lot to be desired. It has NDB and VOR radios, but I never did completely figure out the VORs. For the most part, I used the NDBs whenever I could. There is a primitive autopilot which will maintain heading and attitude, but it is not linked to the NAV radios or the GPS (which is the hand-held Garmin unit). I only used the GPS at the start of each leg to set up the flight, so the course would appear on the map. After that, I didn't use it in flight.
And taxiing the DC-3 is a mystery I never did quite solve. What an ungainly beast that is on the ground!!
The course of the trip follows the Aleutian Island chain from Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska (PAMR) all the way to Casco Cove Coast Guard Station (ATU) on Atuu Island, the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands. At Atuu, you are much closer to Asia than to North American. It is a three day trip, making routine stops along the way to pick up and discharge passengers and freight. Some of the landing strips are pretty short and in close proximity to tall mountains, so there was usually one approach that was preferable, if the conditions were right. Which they seldom were.
The further west you go, the worse the weather gets. A lot of the flying is done in white-out snowstorms or blinding rain. Lots of fun with no GPS or ILS!! This is a real test of your navigation skills.
But I enjoyed every minute of it!
She is an old bird and the cockpit shows it. I have an upgrade file for the DC-3 and the flight manual in it is pretty complex. To fly it properly takes some studying.
Ground handling is typical of that kind of aircraft. First make sure the tail wheel isn't in the locked position. The rudder isn't effective for steering on the ground. Use a combination of right and left brake and if needed right or left throttle with the brake. To turn left use left brake and right throttle, just the opposite for turning right. For take off and landing put the tail wheel in the locked postition.
Sounds like a fun trip. I just made a cross country trip in the PT-13 and the weather was not that good. Lots of fun in an airplane that is strictly VFR and a challenge.
Thanks for the advice, WarHawk. I have been using the differential braking, but not the throttles. And I have been using the tail wheel lock, as you suggest. Usually what happens when I try to turn is that it takes forever to start turning, then it turns too much-- once it starts turning, there's no stopping it. It can be done, but it's frustrating.
For wide turns you shouldn't need to use the throttles, but for sharper turns you would have to. It has been my experience even with the Cessna 172 that ground handling could be improved. My problem with it is when you center the controls it still turns more before straightening out. It isn't too bad, but with a trike gear you would expect it to be more responsive than it is.
MS seems to have made ground handling harder than it should be, at least for some of the aircraft. The default J3 Cub has horrible ground handling. I have a file that not only improves the interior graphics for it but also cures the ground handling problems with the default J3.
When you can add upgrades that cures the ground handling problems it tells me it is an MS problem they have programmed into the planes.