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Thread: Piper Dakota - Some Questions

  1. #1

    Default Piper Dakota - Some Questions

    Hi guys!

    I'm new to this forum, and I purchased the Dakota last night, which is my first Dreamfleet aircraft. I am very impressed I must say. I love GA aircraft and I found with flight sim addons developers put a lot of hard work into detailed airliner addons with complex FMCs and what not, and it's nice to see that Dreamfleet are putting the same level of detail into the model, and Reality-XP are putting the same level of detail into their instruments and particularly the GNS430.

    I am not unfamiliar with the PA28 - I am currently training in Warriors at my home airport - but the Dakota is my first "complex single", meaning it has a constant speed prop, flies faster etc. I ask for some advice on how to fly the Dakota realistically as it should be flown (I'm one of those that likes to use FS as I would fly in real life - a procedure simmer!).

    I found the table in the manual that shows about setting cruise power but didn't understand about the percentages and different horse-power settings etc. Basically I am feeling a little lost with a manifold pressure gauge and an extra lever on my throttle quadrant I'm not used to using!

    Also I find in a Warrior, to keep her in level flight, generally down trim is needed, however with my little trial flight in the Dakota last night, I found the opposite - up trim is needed. In addition, with a Warrior you get a balloon effect when lowering flaps and need to hold the controls forward, but I didn't notice this in the Dakota. Is this realistic - even though it is generally the same shape, does it handle any differently to its less powerful brother?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    98

    Default

    Hi Tom,

    I can share some of my experiences with you. Yes, The DF Dakota is among the best, if not THE best GA aircraft available for FS.

    The difference between a fixed pitch and constant speed prop is pretty simple really. A fixed pitch is just that, fixed. It never changes. Most light, fixed pitch singles have a prop pitch angle set somewhere between optimum for climb and optimum for cruise. It is also connected directly to the crankshaft. This is why you only have the throttle and a tachometer to control power in the Warrior. A constant speed prop allows you to change its' blade angle to maintain a set RPM, thereby allowing you to operate the prop more efficiently in different phases of flight. The benefit to a CS prop is that when you pull the prop control back (high blade angle, lower RPM), the prop can take a bigger bite of the air. This means you can travel at higher speeds with less power (and fuel). On takeoff and climbout, you want a low blade angle and higher RPM to have maximum thrust. Think of it like a manual transmission in a car. When you start out you're in a low gear, as you accelerate you shift up until at cruise speed, where you're in high gear. The CS prop is not directly connected to the crankshaft. It's connected to a governor that changes the pitch by use of high pressure oil. That's a very basic explanation.

    As it pertains to the Dakota, after takeoff and at a safe altitude, I pull the throttle back to 25" MP and leave the prop set at 2400 RPM. Keep in mind that as you gain altitude the MP will decrease so, you have to adjust the throttle to keep it at the 25" of MP. When you reach your cruise altitude, use the power settings in the POH to set power according to what specific performance you wish to achieve. The percentages you see are the percentage of Bhp relative to maximum engine output. The higher the percentage the faster you go, and the more fuel you burn. One thing to keep in mind with a CS prop. When you are reducing power, you pull the throttle (manifold pressure) back and then the prop (RPM). When increasing power, it's just the opposit. Push the prop forward first, then the throttle. If you do this backwards, you could either overboost the engine or overspeed the prop. Neither of which is a good thing. Not a big deal in FS but, it can be a bit expensive in the RW .

    Now, I know that training in the Warrior, the standard practice is basically push the throttle to the wall and fly so, this will take some time to get comfortable with. I would definitely, whole heartedly recommend that you grab DF's Archer if you want to fly something a little closer to that Warrior of yours. It is also top of the line for FS GA AC. It has 180HP vs 160, and it's a bit slicker, aerodynamically speaking, than the Warrior you're flying but, it's a great trainer nonetheless.
    As for the handling in FS, I can tell you that with my setup, the Dakota performs realistically. It needs a little nosedown trim in cruise, and it does balloon a bit with flap extension and all. I say with my setup because I've seen some posts here that suggest that it has trim issues and it's too nose heavy and all that. All I can say is that with a properly configured controller it should perform pretty close to the real thing. This is MY experience. My controllers are set up through FSUIPC (registered), with normal to high sensitivity (slope) and no null zone.

    On a personal note, I was looking through my logbook from when I was first training at KBVY. I was reminded of a flight in a Warrior II, N2159H. Turning base to final, my trim cable broke. The trim wheel still felt like it was connected but had, in fact, snapped. I called the tower for a wind check on short final figuring that the wind had suddenly shifted to a strong gusting tailwind. The tower controller must have thought I was nuts. I heard giggling as he responded "59H uh... wind still calm". "Beverly 59H, I think we'll make this one a full stop". I had some great hours in that Warrior. Thanks for the memories Tom.
    I hope this helps a bit.
    Best Regards,
    Jeff
    Last edited by Jhew; 09-04-2008 at 07:14 AM.
    My Flight Sim System: WinXP Home SP2 PAE * INTEL Core™ 2 Duo E8400 * ASUS Maximus Formula Intel X38 * BFG TECH GeForce™ 8800 GTS 512MB * X-Fi™ XtremeGamer Fatal1ty™ Pro Series * WESTERN DIGITAL 150GB WD Raptor® * SEAGATE 500GB Barracuda 7200.11 SATA NCQ * SILVERSTONE Temjin TJ09 * SAMSUNG SyncMaster™ 245BW LCD Monitor

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi Jeff,

    Many thanks for your reply and all the useful information. I did a flight in the Dakota last night which I enjoyed. I flew her at 8000ft and found as I climbed the MP decreased quite considerably. Using the included tables in the manual I set 20"MP and prop at 2300RPM and got about 120kt IAS. I noticed that sometimes you can cruise at FT (full throttle) and full RPM - isn't this straining on the engine? Also if you wouldn't mind could you tell me how I go about leaning the mixture to get the optimum performance and efficiency from the engine?

    Thanks a lot.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    98

    Default

    Sure Tom. Real quick (I've got to catch some sleep), yes the MP will decrease quite a bit as you climb. At high density altitudes (pressure altitude corrected for non-standard temps) air is thinner so you just can't develop the same power as at sea level. In the Dakota you can cruise at full throttle and 2400 RPM if you want to. Your fuel burn will be pretty high though. Particularly down low. At about 5000 msl, you'll see 24"-25"MP. Up around 9000 it will be closer to 20". As long as you use the POH to set power, you'll be fine. I limit myself down low to 25" or less.
    When you lean the mixture, look down at the EGT (Exhaust Gas Temp) gauge on the lower left panel. Pull the mixture lever back and watch the temp. It will increase to a certain point and then start to decrease again. The highest number is called peak EGT. If I remember right (I don't have the POH in front of me), peak EGT is the best economy cruise setting on the Dakota. For the best power setting, when you reach peak EGT enrich the mixture (push the mixture lever forward again) to where the EGT indicates 50dg rich of peak. This gives a little more fuel and a little cooler operation. For example at 7500MSL, peak EGT or best economy is at roughly 1170F and best power would be 50dg richer or 1120F. Make sense?
    Feel free to ask if you have more questions. I'll stop back later today.
    Have fun.

    Regards,
    Jeff
    Last edited by Jhew; 09-04-2008 at 08:13 AM.
    My Flight Sim System: WinXP Home SP2 PAE * INTEL Core™ 2 Duo E8400 * ASUS Maximus Formula Intel X38 * BFG TECH GeForce™ 8800 GTS 512MB * X-Fi™ XtremeGamer Fatal1ty™ Pro Series * WESTERN DIGITAL 150GB WD Raptor® * SEAGATE 500GB Barracuda 7200.11 SATA NCQ * SILVERSTONE Temjin TJ09 * SAMSUNG SyncMaster™ 245BW LCD Monitor

  5. #5

    Default

    Jeff,

    Thanks so much for your help. Certainly makes flying this lovely aircraft a lot clearer. Much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Tom

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