Head-2-Head Feature X: Premier vs Robert
By Ron Blehm
In February 2012 this Head-2-Head feature pitted a Premier Aircraft Designs plane against an AI Aardvark model. In the end I preferred to fly the AI model stating that the Premier model drove more like my uncle's 1969 Chrysler.
Today we'll use another Premier Aircraft Design model and fly that head-to-head against a model by Robert Versluys - and I'll try and give you real numbers this time.
Our featured aircraft today is the Dornier Do-328. I have flown Bob's model for some time, in fact this is the same Do-328 that had the fastest time in our second official head-to-head challenge around St. Bart's in the Caribbean. While the model is known to be fast, it also burned more gas so I tweaked the aircraft.CFG file for a bit greater efficiency. It also holds its speed on final so I changed the induced drag setting for the flaps.
After publishing that feature someone out there suggested that I try the Premier Aircraft Design model as he really loved it. This then is that comparison - about a year later.
You all have been asking for more details so I will tell you that both CFG files list the max weight about the same as the manufacturer so that is accurate. The PAD model lists the empty weight a bit lighter but the numbers on Bob's model are nearly exact; and I've told you about the fact that I changed the fuel flow and induced drag.
What I thought we could do is to challenge each aircraft to a high-altitude departure and climb. We set up in the Brahmaputra River valley in Tibet at the Lhasa Gongga Airport (11,700 feet ASL) Then we'll cruise a few hundred miles and to a stress-free landing in Myanmar.
First up is the Versluys' model. With full fuel tanks and zero load I begin my take-off roll at 11:50 and 23,415 pounds. I was airborne before the first buildings and as able to climb at 200 knots and 3,000 fpm! I had climbed 8,000 feet up to FL 200 in 3 minutes 10 seconds. This thing is a rocket! Final cruise is FL 250. Cruising with torque at 65% I was making 220 knots. I descended into the Myanmar valley, got lined up and trimmed out (there are some trees near the runway) landed smoothly as always and stopped safely before the end of the runway.
The PAD model took a bit longer to get airborne but I could still climb at 3,000 fpm and I made FL 200 in 3 minutes flat at 240 knots! It took a lot more throttle to hold 65% torque but I was still holding 240 IAS. I LOVE IT! I descended into the Myanmar valley, got lined up and TRIED to get trimmed out. Again, I was able to land and stop safely before the end of the runway.
First, lets look at the numbers:
- The Versluys model, oddly, arrived first; by 24 seconds
- The Premier Design model burned less gas; by 84 pounds
- Both models then are accurate for a range around 1,000 miles as published
- When we figure time plus fuel burn for efficiency the Premier Design model wins by a very slim margin
As you may know, the flightsim experience is more than numbers and computer code written into the models; there is, still, a certain bit of "feel" to the flying experience, even on the sim.
As I leveled out the PAD at 3,000 feet some 10 miles from the airport I kept rolling in more and more trim but was descending at 1,200 fpm. Finally the trim wheel maxed out and I was still dropping so my only choice was to throttle up. I could hold altitude only at 160 knots - too fast for final in this small of an aircraft. I was able to drop over the trees and descend smoothly at 140 knots but a 747 lands at about 145 so this seemed really off. Also the PAD model is extremely "twitchy". I've been simming for awhile now and generally have a pretty steady hand on the yoke but when I reviewed my black box I was pulling near 2Gs chasing the nose up and down and when I throttled back (slowing to a landing speed appropriate for a DC-10) I dropped like a rock hitting the ground at 1,004 fpm (the gear breaks around 1,100 somewhere) so I'm sure I would have had some passengers in hospital. While I preferred the outside look to this one it was miserable to land and once again, I was disappointed in the Premier Design aircraft and once again I found myself deleting it from my FS hangar.