When pilots and flight enthusiasts talk about the de Havilland Beaver, the word that inevitably comes up is “workhorse.” For more than 50 years this sturdy radial-engined aircraft has gotten people into and out of remote locations, aided by its power, all-metal ruggedness, and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability.
Whether fitted with wheels, skis, or pontoons, the Beaver is a can-do airplane. Often referred to as a “flying half-ton truck,” the Beaver is more versatile-and probably tougher-than any light truck. The Beaver’s immediate acceptance and long-term success owe a lot to the fact that it was designed from the beginning to meet the needs of Canadian bush pilots.; after World War II, de Havilland Aircraft of Canada polled pilots to learn what their ideal aircraft for rugged duty would be like. The DHC-2 Beaver was the result.
Almost 2,000 Beavers were manufactured between 1947 and 1967, and refurbished or remanufactured examples remain among the most sought-after aircraft for pilots and businesses that take people to remote destinations. No better plane for the purpose has come along, because the aircraft qualities bush pilots asked for in the ’40s are what they still need today: sturdy construction, wide stance, the ability to haul heavy loads, short takeoff and landing capability, excellent reliability, and simple maintenance.
The Beaver’s design was so successful that almost half of the entire production was purchased by the U.S. armed forces for liaison, light transport, and ambulance duties, under the designation L-20 (later U-6). This unusual purchase by the U.S. government of foreign-built aircraft underlines the superiority of de Havilland’s design. Many of these military Beavers survived their service to lead a second, equally active civilian life, some as remanufactured aircraft. These newly-minted versions carry on the Beaver’s long tradition as the thoroughbred of workhorse aircraft.
|Maximum Speed||163 mph||262 km/h|
|Cruise Speed||143 mph||230 km/h|
|Engine||One Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 radial, 450 hp|
|Propeller||Hartzell three-blade constant speed|
|Maximum Range||395 nm||732 km|
|Service Ceiling||18,000 feet||5,486 meters|
|Fuel Capacity||95 gallons||360 liters|
|Empty Weight||2,850 pounds||1,295 kilograms|
|Maximum Gross Weight||5,100 pounds||2,318 kilograms|
|Length||30 feet, 3 inches||9.2 meters|
|Wingspan||48 feet||14.61 meters|
|Height||9 feet||2.7 meters|
|Useful Load||1,874 pounds||852 kilograms|
Many factors affect flight planning and aircraft operation, including aircraft weight, weather, and runway surface. The recommended flight parameters listed below are intended to give approximations for flights at maximum takeoff or landing weight on a day with International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) conditions.
Important: These instructions are intended for use with Flight Simulator only and are no substitute for using the actual aircraft manual for real-world flight.
Note: As with all of the Flight Simulator aircraft, the V-speeds and checklists are located on the Kneeboard. To access the Kneeboard while flying, press SHIFT+F10, or on the Aircraft menu, click Kneeboard.
Note: All speeds provided in the Flight Notes are indicated airspeeds. If you’re using these speeds as reference, be sure that you select “Display Indicated Airspeed” in the Realism Settings dialog box. Speeds listed in the specifications table are shown as true airspeeds.
By default, this aircraft has full fuel and payload. Depending on atmospheric conditions, altitude, and other factors, you will not get the same performance at gross weight that you would with a lighter load.
Required runway length
Takeoff: 1,200 feet (366 meters) no flaps
Landing: 1,300 feet (396 meters) approach flaps fully extended to FULL
The length required for both takeoff and landing is a result of a number of factors such as aircraft weight, altitude, headwind, use of flaps, and ambient temperature. The figures here are conservative and assume:
Weight: 5,100 pounds (2,313 kilograms)
Altitude: Sea level
Wind: No headwind
Runway: Hard surface
Lower weights and temperatures result in better performance, as does having a headwind component. Higher altitudes and temperatures will degrade performance.
The engines are running by default when you begin a flight. If you shut the engines down, it is possible to initiate an auto-startup sequence by pressing CTRL+E on your keyboard. If you want to do the startup procedures manually, follow the checklist procedures on the Kneeboard.
- The throttle lever on the Beaver controls engine power, from idle to takeoff power. Moving the throttles forward increases engine power.
- The propeller lever is operated forward and aft for setting the required revolutions per minute (rpm) for various phases of flight. The normal range is from 1,600 to 2,150 RPM.
Whether on the water or on land, the Beaver amphibian has good visibility over the nose because the pilot’s seat is up high. The normal power setting for taxiing is between 800-1,000 rpm (press F2 on the keyboard or drag the power lever).
On the Beaver, available flap settings are Climb, Takeoff, Landing, and Full. The flaps cannot be stopped at an intermediate point between these positions. See the Kneeboard for the flap operating speeds.
Run through the Before Takeoff checklist found on the Kneeboard. With the aircraft aligned with the runway centerline, check that the propeller levers are full forward, and the tailwheel is locked. Directional control is maintained by use of the rudder pedals (twist the joystick, use rudder pedals, or press 0 (left) or ENTER (right) on the numeric keypad). Takeoff power is 32″ Hg and 2100 rpm at sea level in standard atmosphere.
- V1, approximately 80 mph (70 knots), is decision speed. Gently pull back on the joystick or yoke to take off. Hold this speed until you achieve a positive rate of climb.
As soon as the aircraft is showing a positive rate of climb on liftoff (both vertical speed and altitude are increasing), retract the landing gear (press G or drag the landing gear lever) and allow the speed to increase.
At 92 mph (80 knots), reduce power to 28″ Hg manifold pressure and reduce props to 2,000 rpm. (Press F2, use the throttle control on your joystick, or drag the throttle levers to set the manifold pressure. Press CTRL+F2 or drag the propeller levers to set the rpm.) Raise the flaps and maintain this speed while climbing to your cruising altitude.
The optimum Beaver climb speed is 92 mph (80 knots). Adjust the mixture and throttle settings as you climb to maintain the best rate of climb.
Cruise altitude would normally be determined by winds, weather, and other factors. You might want to use these factors in your flight planning if you have weather systems along your route. Optimum altitude is the altitude that gives the best fuel economy for a given configuration and gross weight. A complete discussion about choosing altitudes is beyond the scope of this section.
Let’s say you’ve filed a flight plan for 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Approaching your cruising altitude, begin leveling off at about 50 feet (15 meters) below your target altitude.
A typical cruise power setting in the Beaver is 21″ Hg manifold pressure and 1,700 rpm. That will give you an indicated airspeed of around 110 mph and a fuel burn of approximately 15 gallons per hour.
Remember that true airspeed is actually higher than indicated airspeed in thin, cold air. Experiment with power settings to find the setting that maintains the cruise speed and fuel consumption you want at the altitude that you choose.
A good descent profile includes knowing where to start down from cruise altitude and planning ahead for the approach. Normal descent is done with no less than 20″ of manifold pressure and 2,050 rpm. A good rule for determining when to start your descent is the 3-to-1 rule (three miles distance per thousand feet in altitude). Take your altitude in feet, drop the last three zeros, and multiply by 3.
For example, to descend from a cruise altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) to sea level:
10,000 minus the last three zeros is 10.
This means you should begin your descent 30 nautical miles from your destination, maintaining a speed of 135 mph (103 knots; it may not indicate this high until you descend into denser air) and a descent rate of 500 feet per minute. Add two extra miles for every 10 knots of tailwind.
In the Beaver, adjust thrust during descent to maintain 135 mph (use the joystick throttle or press F2 to decrease thrust, or press F3 to increase thrust). The propeller lever should remain at 1,900 rpm.
As you near the approach phase of flight, bring the power back to 15″ and fly at 70 mph on downwind. When you intercept the glide slope or enter the downwind, set the flaps to Landing (press F6 or click the flap lever) and put the landing gear down (press G or click the landing gear lever) if landing on a hard-surface runway. If the landing gear malfunctions, press CTRL+G repeatedly to manually lower the gear.
Turning base, go to full flaps. Over the fence you should reduce speed to 70 mph. In the full-flaps, high-drag configuration, you may need to use more power to maintain speed.
If landing on the water, make sure the landing gear are UP. If landing on a hard surface, make sure the landing gear are DOWN.
As you cross the threshold at around 50 feet (15 meters) AGL, the power should be as required and the prop should be full forward.
Raise the nose slightly to flare and slow the descent rate. Bring the power back to idle and hold some back pressure on the controls (hold the joystick aft or press the DOWN ARROW) key.
Once all of the wheels are on the runway (hard surface), apply the brakes (press the PERIOD key) to slow to taxi speed, exit the runway, and taxi to parking.
Once down on a water runway, lower the water rudders (press the CTRL+W) to taxi.