• Review: Fokker 60 By PAOB

    Review: Fokker 60 By PAOB

    By Bill Stack
    December 27, 2011


    Screen shots by Precision Aerobus




    The Fokker 60 is a lengthened cargo version of the Fokker 50 passenger airliner. It is 5.3 feet (1.62 meters) longer than the 50 model, and it has a cargo door just behind the cockpit on the right side. It is generally comparable to the De Havilland Dash 8, which is also a high-wing, twin-turboprop aircraft. The Fokker 60 is longer and heavier than some Dash 8 models and shorter and lighter than other models. Ditto their ceilings and ranges.

    Only four model 60s were built because Fokker went bankrupt shortly after production started in 1994. They were bought by the Royal Netherlands Air Force and were parked at the Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands. Different websites attribute different dispositions for those four aircraft. Wikipedia says they were sold to the Peruvian Naval Aviation. Worldwide Military Com says they were used by the Coast Guards of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Airliners Net says they are used for drug enforcement in the Caribbean Sea. Prorating development costs funded by the Netherlands Government over the four aircraft make each of them the most expensive aircraft in the country's fleet, which the government always remembered.

    Precision Aerobus' Renditions

    Five models for Microsoft Flight Simulator X ® are offered by Precision Aerobus (PAOB). Three are painted in camouflage, one is depicted as a cargo aircraft for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and one is depicted as a passenger airliner for KLM. They are called Medical Evacuation, Utility Parachute, Utility Alternate, KLM Cargo, and KLM General. The primary difference between the two KLM aircraft is the right-side cargo door on the cargo version. Precision Aerobus says its depictions are based on real-world Fokker 50s and 60s.




    SAMPLING OF MODELS
    Selection Menu Utility Parachute
    Medical Evacuation Utility Alternate
    KLM General KLM Cargo
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Visual Features

    Precision Aerobus' renditions of these Fokker 60s are mostly accurate compared with photos I found on the Internet. Overall dimensions and shapes are accurate, and I found real-world photos of gray camouflage liveries. But there are no KLM models at all because the Fokker 60s were developed as cargo aircraft for the Netherlands military, and I was unable to find any photos resembling the yellow/black "Alternate" livery. Precision Aerobus says a commercial version for 60 passengers is being studied.

    Fokker 60 In Flight
    Medical Evacuation Parachute
    Alternate General
    Cargo Medical Evacuation

    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Fokker 60 Interiors

    Cockpits are exactly the same for all five models. This makes sense since only four aircraft were built, but military aircraft usually have different cockpits than their civilian counterparts of similar models. There being no real-world civilian model of this aircraft answers that question.

    Four cabin interiors are offered: The Medical model has typical cots attached to the interior sidewalls. The KLM cargo model has several large wood crates down the middle. The KLM passenger model has forward-facing seating typical of commercial airliners. The fourth model is empty. Whether these are realistic is difficult to verify, but they seem realistic enough for the depicted aircraft. The PAOB website shows a fifth cabin with bench-style seating, but I did not see that in any of the five models I reviewed. In response to my question, PAOB said this seating depiction should be seen in the Parachute model and the error would be corrected "at once."

    Fokker 60 Interiors
    Left Seat Right Seat
    Center View Right Seat Backward View
    KLM Cargo Bay KLM General Cabin
    Medical Evacuation Cabin Alternate Cabin
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Fokker 60 Instruments

    All five models use the same instrument panel. This makes sense since only four aircraft were built and there were no civilian airliner models in the real world. This panel is very typical, using layout and instruments that are commonly found among military and civilian aircraft. Precision Aerobus' rendition of this panel appears realistic compared with real-world photos I found on the Internet.

    Electronics are turned off by default. This is true even when an aircraft model is changed from one to another. The glass instruments (Primary Flight Display and Navigation Display) are turned on with buttons in the Overhead Panel. The radios are turned on with buttons on the center console, or "pedestal" as PAOB calls it. Each radio &#8212 communication, navigation, direction finder, and omnibearing indicator &#8212 has its own on/off knob and must be activated separately. The PAOB documents recommend going through the Prestart Checklist for activating these devices.

    The PFD (Primary Flight Display) is unlike most others I have seen because it has no sliding tapes showing altitude or airspeed. With regard to airspeed indicator and altimeter, the manual refers only to the mechanical instruments to the left and right of the PFD. Digital readouts are displayed only when the autopilot is engaged. The PAOB manual calls this instrument a PFD and an EADI (Enhanced Attitude Director Indicator).

    Most switches, knobs, handles, and similar controls can be worked with mouse clicks. Some are decorative. They do nothing but look nice, which is common in simulation cockpits.

    Popup windows show the Overhead Panel, the Pedestal (center console), the CAP (Central Annunciator Unit), the Garmin 500 GPS, a Door Selection panel and an Options Panel. The CAP shows three alert levels for 16 functions such as electrical, air conditioning, fuel, and hydraulics. The Options Panel enables users to select or deselect four simulator functions.

    All gauges and controls are fairly clear and easy to read. Some require zooming in because of their sizes and clarity, which is common among simulation panels.

    The Flight Management Computer and the GPS device mounted in the center console are decorative. Neither responds to any mouse clicks, their displays never change, the GPS screen bears no resemblance to anything on the GPS in the separate popup window, and they don't appear in the Pedestal popup window.

    Fokker 60 Instruments
    2D Main Panel Overhead Panel
    Pedestal Panel Central Annunciator Unit

    Electronic Checklists
    Options Panel
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Night Effects

    Lighting effects inside and outside at dawn, dusk, and night are typical. Light casts, shadows, and backlights are realistic. I saw nothing to criticize about PAOB's night effects.

    Night Effects

    Cockpit Left Seat

    Cockpit Center

    KLM General

    Parachute
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Animations

    Four doors open and close: Passenger door, large cargo door, service door, and multipurpose door. The large cargo door is not on the KLM passenger model. A door-opening panel available through the popup windows has click buttons for each of these four doors.

    Animations

    Main Cabin Door

    Large Cargo Door

    Multipurpose Door

    Service Door
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Performance Specifications

    Precision Aerobus says flight modeling for its Fokker 60 is based on "real data input and consulting the real pilot for the flight dynamic test." The description in the aircraft-selection menu refers to a Series 100 and a Series 300. In response to my question, PAOB clarified that its model is the 300 Series.

    Fokker 60 Performance Specifications1
    Item Spec
    Occupants 50
    Engine Power1 2,619 HP
    Empty Weight 27,884 LBS
    Useful Load2 27,111 LBS
    Max Weight 50,595 LBS
    Range 1,110 NM
    Ceiling 20,000 FT
    Endurance3 3.91 HRS
    Maximum Speed 284 KTS
    Cruising Speed 284 KTS
    Stall Speed NA
    Notes:
    1. Source: PAOB
    2. Pratt & Whitney PW127B turboprop engines
    3. Calculated from other data
    4. NA means "not available"
    5. Some characteristics vary with conditions

    Fokker 60 Performance

    For my flight tests, I used Eindhoven Air Base (EHEH) in Eindhoven, Netherlands. This is where the four Fokker 60 aircraft were originally stationed after production. Elevation is 74 feet (23 meters). Runway 04/22 is 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) long. I used clear weather with standard atmosphere (59F, 29.92 inches). And I used PAOB's default gross weight of 50,579 pounds (22,942 kilograms). This is barely under the aircraft's maximum gross take-off weight of 50,595 pounds (22,949 kilograms) because it's full of fuel, passengers, and cargo. All five models have the same performance characteristics.

    Starting: Engines are running when the aircraft models are loaded in the simulator, so I shut them down and followed the entire startup sequence described on several checklists such as "Prestart," "Crew at Stations," and "After Start." Even though engines are already running when the aircraft are loaded, glass instruments and avionics have to be turned on every time a model is changed, which I found a bit annoying.

    Taxiing: I had no problem taxiing in this aircraft. It isn't difficult to handle on the ground, but attention to speed and turn radius is required because this is a stretched aircraft.

    Taking Off: The documents are not clear on use of flaps for taking off. The checklists say nothing. The reference sheet merely says "Approach 175" and "Full Extension 155." A table in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet shows various "abnormal flap settings," but I didn't see anything abnormal about these flights. I assumed that these documents imply no flaps are needed for taking off, but I took off first flaps not deflected then later with flaps deflected.

    Neither the reference sheet nor checklists specify power levels for taking off. These levels usually differ for turbine engines depending on weight, elevation, and atmospheric conditions. In lieu of any guidance, I advanced the throttle to just below the engine-gauge red lines. With throttles full up, the engine gauges read as follows: NP 91.1, TRQ 99.9, ITT 799, NH 100.1.

    The reference sheet specifies rotation speed (VR) of 92 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) to 104 KIAS depending on weight and take-off safety speed (V2) of 96 KIAS to 104 KIAS. Because I tested with the almost maximum weight, the higher speeds applied. Indeed, the aircraft rotated just above 100 KIAS and lifted off between 105 KIAS and 110 KIAS without flaps.

    Climbing Out: The reference sheet shows that climbing airspeed between sea level and 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) above mean sea level (MSL) should be 160 KIAS. Attaining and sustaining this speed is easy with a few pitch adjustments. At a 10-degree pitch during initial climb, the airspeed increased smoothly (not too fast or too slowly) to 150 KIAS. Vertical speed was 2,000 feet per minute. I reduced pitch to five degrees, and the airspeed increased to 170 KIAS with 2,000-FPM vertical speed. Seven to eight degrees pitch at full power held the specified 160 KIAS while vertical speed remained at 2,000 FPM.

    Between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, climbing airspeed should be 150 KIAS. Between 15,000 and 20,000 feet, 140 KIAS. Between 20,000 and 25,000 feet, 130 KIAS. At these altitudes, these indicated airspeeds roughly calculate to 170-180 true airspeed. None of these airspeeds was difficult in this aircraft.

    Cruising: "Maximum operating altitude" is specified as 25,000 feet MSL. Although the aircraft struggled to climb more than a few hundred feet per minute above this level, it did reach 26,500 feet after several minutes. After I leveled off at 25,000 feet, the airspeed increased to 160 KIAS, which calculates roughly to 210 TAS.

    Turning: Turning is easy in this aircraft. It banks and returns to level with little effort, even at high speeds and altitudes. It also held a 30-degree bank with hands off the controls.

    Descending: Pulling the throttle levers back about half way reduced power substantially and induced a smooth descent of 1,800 feet per minute and 180 KIAS. The aircraft descended gracefully at these levels from 25,000 feet to 5,000 feet.

    Approaching: "Landing Approach" speeds are specified between 100 KIAS and 110 KIAS, but this aircraft sank too quickly at these speeds when fully loaded in the specified landing configuration. I found that approach was best around 110 to 120 KIAS under those conditions. A lighter aircraft, which I didn't test, might have approached at slower speeds.

    Landing: The aircraft touched down gently at 100 KIAS and stopped well within Eindhoven's runways with reverse thrusters and wheel brakes.

    Overall: Generally, I found this aircraft handling very easily for its size and weight, almost too easily. Precision Aerobus said its performance modeling is based on real-world data and pilot consultations. Having never flown any real-world Fokker 50 or 60 aircraft, I cannot personally attest to how closely PAOB's rendition resembles the real-world aircraft's performance. Neither can I say how it compares to other Fokker 50s or 60s that might be available for MSFS.

    The Documents

    An assortment of documents in several formats accompanies this aircraft. Several folders and archives contain files in Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, HTML, ordinary text, and various images (GIF, BMP, JPG). I counted 34 separate data files in these various formats. The more significant documents are described as follows:

    • Checklists: Checklists are available in the kneeboard and through a device called "Electronic Keyboard." The kneeboard checklist explains engine start procedure and lists keyboard commands for popup windows, but nothing about any other flight phase. The Electronic Keyboard appears through an instrument-panel popup window. Pilots cycle through pages and items with mouse clicks, and they can move forward and backward through the checklists. Although it covers most flight phases, it has no guidance for taking off or landing, which are crucial flight phases.


    • Reference Sheet: The reference sheet in HTML format is readable through the kneeboard, and it provides data about V speeds and flaps settings.


    • Manuals: Several manuals in Adobe Acrobat format (PFD) describe just about everything needed for realistically simulating flight in this aircraft, such as flight data, navigation methods, engines, and panels. These include an 80-page basic manual plus manuals for "Flight Controls," "Landing Gear," and "Power Plant."


    • Images: Aircraft diagrams presumably scanned from official manuals describe dimensions, cabin layout, weights, and performance features. They are contained in numerous files in various formats such as BMP, GIF, and JPG.


    Manual (Page 9)

    Take-Off and Landing Speeds

    Torque Table

    Utility Overview
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Technical Matters

    Precision Aerobus' Fokker 60 is for FSX only.

    In the Aircraft Selection menu, the Fokker 60 is listed under Fokker (manufacturer) and Precision Aerobus (publisher).

    Frame rates are good. There's no video stuttering from any of the models.

    The Sounds folder contains 72 unique sound files. The developer's website says engine sound effects are recorded from a real Fokker 50.

    These aircraft can be uninstalled if desired through the Windows Add/Remove Programs feature or the Windows Explorer.

    Technical support is through an email address provided by PAOB. They responded quickly and courteously to my requests for information for this review.

    Readers with technical questions not answered in this review should ask the developer, who is in the best position to answer such questions. Using the links below, go to the Pilot Shop page where the product is listed and described, then click on "Manufacturer Tech Support" in the right column.

    TECHNICAL & PURCHASE FEATURES

    MSFS Version

    FSX

    Instant download from the Pilot Shop

    Yes

    Installation program

    Yes

    License key required

    No

    Copyright acknowledgment required

    Yes

    Manual included

    Yes

    Uninstall program included

    No

    Frame Rates

    Good

    Price

    $43.00 US

    More Information

    More information about the real-world Fokker 60 is available from Wikipedia and Dutch Aviation. Several other websites have some data about the Fokker 60, but they duplicate Wikipedia, and some of those websites are amateurish.

    REAL-WORLD IMAGES


    World Wide Military

    Dutch Aviation

    The Developer

    Precision Aerobus is a software publishing developer for flight-sim addons. It delivers "sophisticated aircraft model to your flight-sim needs," according to its website. Established 2005, PAOB's first product was the Jetstream 41 for FSX for FS2004 and FSX, released in 2007. Another product is the Fokker 50 for FSX.

    Overall

    This is an impressive rendition of a rare aircraft. Although based on a commonly flown aircraft, only four Fokker 60 models were ever produced. Visuals are realistic and accurate inside and out. Flight modeling seems too easy, but the developer says modeling is based on real-data input and pilot consultation. Supporting documents are copious. Tech support is prompt and courteous.

    Bill Stack
    billstack@flightsim.com


    Learn more about the Fokker 60 for FSX by PAOB.


    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com

    Tags: fokker 60, paob