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.
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