Review: Twin Otter X Mission Pack
By Ricky Petersen
April 29, 2012
Do you ever feel a little bored flying from one big airport to the other in the big jets? How about some real flying for a change? Sounds good? Then you should check out this mission pack for one of the toughest aircraft out there: the De Havilland Canada (DHC-6) Twin Otter. Combat Planes created this mission pack that takes you to the wilderness of Alaska to fly this bird like you never thought you could.
What Do You Get?
From the 78 MB download you will get ten missions (two missions have to be unlocked) with sound effects and voice files. Additional scenery has been added to match the missions, with English or German text available. Full details of the missions are in the briefing files and finally Aerosoft included five new Twin Otter liveries.
Once installed the missions will be available in the mission menu inside FSX.
The Twin Otter
The Twin Otter is built by the Canadian aircraft manufactor De Havilland Canada.
It is still Canada's most successful commercial aircraft program with more than 800 built. The DHC-6 Twin Otter is one of the most versatile aircraft ever designed - the true off-roader of the airplanes.
Twin Otters remains popular for their rugged construction and useful STOL performance. STOL means that it can take off and land on very short runways. And it can land almost anywhere and it doesn't really matter if there is a runway or not. If you can handle this aircraft well, you should be able to put it down on any surface that you can find. Due to its great flexibility the DHC-6 can use wheels, skis and floats and land on any kind of surface: concrete, grass, gravel strip, water or snow. More is that you can actually use reverse thrust in the air to help you slow down before landing on the short runway.
You will start out with eight missions at different levels in the Mission menu. The first couple of missions are basically delivery quests of different kinds. As you work your way through the missions, you will find yourselves in many sorts of dilemmas. With your piloting skills and good judgment, you need to get the airplane and its cargo safely to the ground. Mostly you need to pick up some cargo or passengers and take them to their desired location, sometimes with bumps on the way.
The unique flexibility of the Twin Otter makes it possible to vary the locations where you depart from. Sometimes you will start in the water on floats, sometimes in an airport on wheels with skies, because you are going to land in the mountains. Combat Planes has used the Twin Otter potential in the missions and it gives you a good idea why this aircraft is so popular in remote areas.
Flying the Twin Otter with floats is especially challenging, because it is very difficult to control in the water, if you don't have a separate throttle control for each engine. Then you need to use the throttle control with the mouse inside the virtual cockpit. The mission objectives vary from search and rescue, transport, homeland security, ferrying cargo and passengers and government surveillance.
You have a co-pilot with you to handle the radio and brief you on the way. You also have custom made ATC, which helps to give a sensation of you actually flying for real. A compass and marker will assist you finding your way, but as you go more advanced you will be more on your own.
One of the things this mission pack can do is to make you discover an environment that you might not consider in the flight simulator. Just like me. Normally I like flying in Europe and Asia, but this mission pack opened my eyes to the stunning environment Alaska has to offer - especially from in an airplane. The morning takeoff from a Skagway is absolutely beautiful with the river and mountain scenery.
New scenery has been added to the locations you visit in the missions. They are all nicely done and work well to add to the experience. After completing a couple of missions, sitting in the cockpit of the Twin Otter flying the missions, gave me another strange feeling. Loneliness! Like I was flying in the middle of the ocean. Even from above there is a huge distance between the villages.
Alaska is an extreme remote part of the world and you are pretty much on your own out here, if something goes wrong. Usually you will meet some other aviation traffic now and then, but after completing most of the missions I only saw three other aircraft. That makes you feel alone.
The mission is in general about flying the aircraft from one location to another in different weather conditions. There isn't that much about the airplane itself. I know that not all systems are simulated on the Twin Otter, but personally I would have liked more missions with attention to the handling of the aircraft.
I'm a big fan of airliners, but the DHC-6 Twin Otter is one of my favorite aircraft. These missions take you, and the airplane, out where it actually belongs - in the bush.
I enjoyed completing the missions and I believe Combat Planes made a nice variety of missions for anyone who likes flying props. Taking this challenge will give you some pleasant hours of bush flying in some spectacular environment and it will make it clear to any sim-pilot that the Twin Otter indeed is the off-roader of the airplanes. It definitely will keep you occupied for many hours in the Alaska wilderness.