The Bell 206 sits comfortably in its position as one of the most widely used helicopters in the world. With a maximum speed of only 122 Knots, and a low surface ceiling of 13,500ft, the 206 doesn't sound like the most exciting aircraft ever designed. However, it's ability to operate out of rugged, uneven and dangerous terrain using the extensive range of skids available make it a very worthwhile choice for airlines, ambulances and flight-training schools.
The 206 has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,450Kg, meaning it can be used to carry small cargo loads as well as passengers.
To this day, around 8,460 Bell 206's have been manufactured by the parent company Bell Helicopter Textron. This means that the helicopter is so popular it even has a larger network than the extremely popular Cessna 206 range of light prop-aircraft.
The team is also backed up by many supporters and Beta Testers.
Many of these supporters reside over at the Hover Control
forums, which is where DodoSim have housed their official
support forums for their Bell 206 products.
DodoSim currently sell only two helicopter add-ons for MSFS, namely the “Advanced 206” for FS2004, and the “FSX 206” for FSX.
A Huey UH-1H is also in development for FSX which looks like it will see release within the next year or so.
Purchasing & Installation
The DodoSim 206 can be purchased as either a Download product from Flight1 or DodoSim’s own store, or for a slight price premium, a boxed product through Flight1 Publishing. The boxed version is priced at £36.00, which is a small increase in price over the average add-on, although the fee definitely suits the features advertised (this is a first-of-a-kind product!).
After choosing your preferred method of installation, you will be presented with a very easy-to-use interface to land the DodoSim 206 on your system (pun intended!). A very large PDF File with a plethora of useful information will also be installed on your system.
If you chose the boxed version of the DodoSim 206, then the installation CD also comes with a few extras, such as Flight1 promotional videos for other products.
Once the installer has been run, no further efforts are required apart from accepting the FSX security request, which is prompted whenever a new add-on is installed.
The external model also boasts an improvement over the default
FSX 206. Exhausts, rotors, skids and much more have all been
re-vamped into a much more impressive model.
The flight dynamics have also been totally reworked by DodoSim. The very easy to fly default FSX 206 is no more – to enter a hover you must now apply appropriate cyclic and torque pedal inputs all around the task. It is unlikely that your 206 will ever stay still in the air as torque induced yaw, transverse flow effect, translating tendency and much more play havoc with your concentration skills.
A custom failure GUI Interface has been developed which can be accessed during flight. Through this pop-up interface, failures can be programmed to execute at random or at pre-determined timed intervals.
Failures are also activated if you do not pay attention to correct procedures. Named “Procedure Adherence” by DodoSim, this impressive native feature forces you to stick to the operating handbook if you do not want an engine fire or similar problem on your hands.
Five levels of difficulty mean that Helicopter pilots of any ability level can fly the DodoSim 206. The difficulty level, which can freely be chosen in FSX real time, allows the pilot to enjoy a fully automated tutorial start up if they are less experienced, whilst a more knowledgeable user may wish to fly in the highest difficulty level allowing all the flight dynamics, failures and systems to be activated.
A comprehensive 76-page PDF manual is provided with every install, whether it is a download or boxed product. The boxed version, however, is shipped with an 80 page detailed printed manual, two quick-procedure reference cards, and a small quick start manual.
I am largely impressed with the cockpit rendering provided by DodoSim. One thing I look for in payware products is 3-D modelling, as I can’t stand 2D textures being used in the virtual cockpit. Luckily, the DodoSim 206 has 3D textures built into its blood.
The aft overhead panel, containing the cockpit’s circuit breakers, is almost always displayed 2D by all default aircraft. Even a large proportion of payware developers don’t see the need for visual or system appeal in the form of the aft overhead panel. It’s nice to see that DodoSim have applied 3D textures to the entire aft overhead panel. The circuit breakers that reside in the panel also feature very clear numerical and alphabetical labels, again a feature absent in most payware products.
The forward overhead panel is equally impressive. Lights switches, a rotary heater knob, further circuit breakers and other switches are outstanding in crisp 3D. Everything that is present in the real aircraft has been modelled in the DodoSim forward and aft panels.
The main panel also contains many 3D surprises too. All of the
gauges have accurately placed 3D bezels wrung around them, which
I find really adds to the feel of a three-dimensional
experience. Even the small TOT (Turbine-Over-Temp) push switch
and annunciator test switch have been built in 3D. Whilst most
of these features are present in default and other developers’
aircrafts, often they are blurred or only slightly outcropped in
Panning around the rest of the cockpit will reveal a few more unique modelled features. Between both pilots’ seats a fire bottle provides a little eye candy, although the writing on this is rather blurred. A small manual has been placed below the fire bottle, tattooed with the DodoSim logo. Again, this is slightly blurred, but I don’t think it is necessary to add crisp, FPS-hogging textures on items which bear no use in FSX.
Fortunately, with the exception of the fire bottle and the manual, I didn’t find any blurred textures at all within the DodoSim 206 cockpit. Slightly bland textures are used infrequently throughout the cockpit, but these textures are unnoticeable in normal flight and require a bit of work to find. As a whole, the cockpit is very clear, crisp and provides a good sense of depth. Furthermore, it is very easy to read the writing that is present on, in and around the aircraft’s instruments without the need to zoom in or out.
Although not the most pretty or detailed cockpit available on the market, the DodoSim cockpit more than achieves its goal of providing a realistic 3D environment. The textures used seem to be very crisp, right down to very small warning and information messages.
DodoSim have promised in their 206 a completely new graphical model. This means that an original external model has been built up from scratch, taking over a year according to DodoSim documentation sources.
This work seems to have paid off. The 206 has been given a very sleek, defined appearance that looks nice when viewed at any angle or distance.
Details right down to the rivets joining the individual plates
of metal, and air vents adorning the top of the aircraft can be
The curved glass fronts in front of the cockpit, however, look a little bland. This is also the case for the rest of the windows around the fuselage; all seven windows are just grey transparent faces. Maybe a little blue tint present in the real aircraft or some nice curved vision effects on the windows would have been nice. It’s all a matter of preference though, as extra detail will impact FPS rates, and the current windows do a satisfactory job anyway.
DodoSim has provided several liveries with every installation of the 206 product. These liveries decorate the 206 is several different colours, and some liveries even include stripes or other patterns along the sides.
The liveries included are excellent. Whilst they may not be all-too-exciting, they do seem to have a superb finish to them, and the liveries shine with a strong metallic sheen in sunny conditions, which looks wonderful on screenshots.
However, I am disappointed in the lack of liveries provided by DodoSim. Only these few different designs are included and whilst repaints can be downloaded off the Internet, not much choice is given for users who are not familiar with third-party flight simulator sites.
Fortunately, there is a paint kit, which can be downloaded directly off DodoSim’s official forums. Since I don’t personally design liveries, I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of this kit, but from the user-designed liveries I have seen, it works very well. (See BananaBob's repaint below)
The external night lighting is a little less pleasing. Sections
of the aircraft's structure located near to the lights are
visible, but, the rest of the aircraft is again completely
blackened to he human eye.
DodoSim have designed a custom aircraft sound set exclusively for the Bell 206. A unique new feature for the 206 is the added sound effects for blade slap and rotor rumble, which actually vary according to air buffeting and the strength of aggressive manoeuvres rather than being triggered by a specific event.
Blade slap is, as the name suggests, a “slapping” sound that can be heard when sharp banks or pitches are performed in the Helicopter. The more aggressive the manoeuvre, the louder and more prominent the blade slap. DodoSim have mastered the slapping sounds into the 206 product with great skill. It is easy to notice how different the blade slap sounds at varying levels of sharp movement. Gentle movements result in a quiet background echo from the rotor blades, whilst hard turns supply the opposite; a very loud grinding that overrides all other cockpit sounds.
Rotor rumble is simply the noise of the air buffeting against the main rotor in flight. This vibrating sound becomes more evident at higher speeds, and, much like the blade slap effects works very well in the 206 package.
A complete internal audio environment operates in full swing, with virtual cockpit sounds for everything from switches to idle release latch clicks. Annunciator warning horns can be heard coupled with their relevant warning message.
Failures such as engine fires produce sounds that can be heard either from within the cockpit or from the outside of the aircraft.
All switches within the virtual cockpit of the DodoSim 206 are animated, along with the collective lever, rotor brake, twist throttle and many other details.
Animated opening doors can be observed from both inside and outside the aircraft.
The spooling effects on both the main and rear rotor blades are quite impressive; there is no stuttering whatsoever and the speeds of the blades tie in with the RPM gauges flawlessly.
Whenever the cyclic stick is adjusted from within the cockpit, the main rotor tilts forward, back, left or right depending on what inputs have been made by the pilot. This animation is very precise and is hard to notice unless viewed from the tail view (facing forwards).
The main focus of the DodoSim 206 product is without a doubt the totally reworked flight dynamics. Practically all other helicopter add-ons and all default aircraft do not feature even a fraction of the flight dynamics the DodoSim 206 does.
DodoSim have stated that they have stretched the FSX engine “to do things that it was probably never intended to do”. This means that DodoSim could not produce a realistic enough flight environment using the default dynamics, so they decide to design an entirely new physics system especially for the 206.
It is important to remember that all of the flight dynamics listed below are completely new to FSX; they have never before been seen in any default or add-on aircraft. Everything below is a result of DodoSim’s own efforts.
Torque Induced Yaw, or the tendency for the aircraft to turn opposite to the main rotor blade, is possibly the most obvious and most powerful new flight dynamic DodoSim have introduced. Since the 206’s rotor blades spin anticlockwise, the helicopter’s fuselage moves in opposition to the right. To counter this effect, the pilot must apply leftward pressure on the Torque Pedals. This effect has been excellently represented in the DodoSim 206, and what’s even better is that DodoSim’s Torque Induced Yaw has variable intensity at different speeds, meaning that much more Torque Pedal must be applied at lower speeds than at higher speeds. At and above 40 Knots, Torque Induced Yaw is rendered ineffective.
Translating Tendency forces the helicopter to slide to the right at low speeds. This is a further brand new flight dynamic introduced by DodoSim to the FSX world. Left cyclic (“joystick”) input must be applied to fight this force. Along with Torque Induced Yaw, this feature is another strong, obvious yet surprising movement for people new to realistic helicopter add-ons.
Flight dynamics that affect stability include: Flap Back, where the Helicopter starts to pitch upwards at higher speeds; “Pendulum” Tendency, when cyclic input at low speeds gives very weighted bank movements; Horizontal Stabilizer Lift, in which the rear Stabilizer lifts upwards at low speeds in windy conditions; and many more.
If the VNE (never-exceed) speed is bypassed, the helicopter’s retreating rotor blade will stall, resulting in a very nasty pitch and roll reaction, which is hard to recover from. Much like the rest of DodoSim’s custom flight dynamics, you’d never see anything like this in any other helicopter add-ons.
RPM Modulation is a unique and very interesting feature introduced by DodoSim. The RPM (Revolutions-Per-Minute) actually adjusts depending on the angle and strength of the airflow passing around the main rotor blade. This effect is much more subtle than the other flight dynamics in the 206 package, however it is noticeable in the form of slight sound and RPM Gauge fluctuation.
The most devastating and difficult to recover from error is it should be made is that of forming a Vortex Ring State. If the pilot exceeds a 500 feet-per-minute rate of decent whilst flying at less than 30Knots, an extremely violent downward spiral takes hold of the aircraft. The only way to recover is to reduce power whilst holding the cyclic stick forward to bring the airspeed above 30Knots. Entering a VRS in the DodoSim 206 requires a very high amount of skill to recover from.
Cockpit Gauges, Panels and Collective
The DodoSim 206 includes a fully functioning cockpit that is modelled in almost exacting detail to its real-world counterpart. All gauges present in the real 206 are present in the DodoSim 206. The same applies for the cockpit panels – the aft and forward overhead panels, along with the collective lever and floor-mounted centre pedestal switch panel are all mostly functional. A radio stack has also been included in the 206 cockpits.
The main instrument panel stack, clearly visible in the centre of the 206’s cockpit, houses all of the helicopter’s engine, battery, airspeed, altitude and navigation gauges. All seventeen gauges are fully working and are, much like the overhead panels, very easy to read information from without the need to zoom in or out.
However, despite the fact that all the gauges are functional and that they work very well, I was disappointed that quite a few default gauges have been used. The default HSI, ADF, attitude indicator, clock, and some other instruments have been utilized in the DodoSim 206. Don’t get me wrong, the gauges are still adequate and it looks as if some sort of modification has been applied to make them clearer, but I would’ve liked a bit more customization of the cockpit gauges.
The TOT gauge, or Turbine Out Temperature gauge, is an
instrument that provides live accurate readings of the turbine
exhaust temperatures. However, this gauge is special as it is
not just limited to analogue needle movement; a small red light
embedded into the gauge illuminates if the temperature should
exceed certain limits. This light can be tested using a small
momentary push button positioned to the left of the MIP. If this
light should be lit up for any reason other than testing (i.e.
during a hot start), then it will stay illuminated until you
call an engineer to inspect your aircraft through the special
DodoSim interface (see “Maintenance and Repairs” section of
Most of the cockpit’s circuit breakers (small latching push-buttons that make or break circuit contact) are located in the aft overhead panel. The DodoSim 206 comes with a mixture of functioning and dummy circuit breakers. Whilst all of the circuit breakers have been modelled, only the two fuel pumps and caution switches can be depressed. These circuit breakers function in real time with the rest of the cockpit, and certain systems will not work without them. From what I have experienced, DodoSim are one of the only developers that include functional circuit breakers. I certainly don’t have any other add-ons that allow these switches to be used.
The Forward Overhead Panel, located just above and in front of the pilot’s head, is a small panel that mounts the lighting switches, heating knob, two generator circuit breakers, electrical system controls, and one directional gyro switch.
Unlike the aft overhead panel, the forward overhead is completely functional. The directional gyro system will not work until the correct switch has been turned on, the battery cannot generate electricity unless the generator has been swapped from Start to Gen mode; even the heating knob has been given a use as a difficulty level selector (purpose explained later in this review)!
Throttle and torque control on a Helicopter is controlled via the use of the collective lever. This is a device located below and between the two pilots, protruding from the central column.
To adjust throttle input, the pilot must twist the collective lever. However, throttle movement is limited to 94% of the full capability unless the Idle Release Latch has been depressed.
The idle release latch is a small switch that can be found directly in front of the throttle. The switch’s sole purpose is to prevent the pilot from inadvertently closing the engine throttle in flight. If the switch is released, the throttle cannot move below the 6% mark. To fully close the throttle the pilot must twist the collective all the way to the right, before depressing the idle release latch to bring the throttle to 0%. The idle release latch has been designed by DodoSim to function exactly like the real 206 throttle system does.
Torque and actual thrust is controlled through use of collective
movement through a vertical axis. Raising the collective lever
increases power, whilst returning the collective lever reduces
All collective torque and throttle movements are completely animated. The auxiliary collective lever on the far left hand side of the cockpit is also completely animated, but not functional. The collective lever also holds the starter push button and the logo lights switch for the Bell 206 aircraft.
A rotor brake has been modelled and can be used either through the default FSX key mapping or by clicking and dragging the lever located directly above the Pilot’s head.
Communication and navigational frequencies can be tuned by use of the radio stack just below the main instrument panel. Radios for NAV1/2, COM1/2, transponder and ADF can all be accessed and appropriately tuned. The frequency tuned affects the partnered instruments such as the HSI VOR indicator. However, I was a little disappointed, as much like some of the MIP gauges, the default radio stack has been used. The only difference is that the DodoSim 206 has a 3D radio stack in the virtual cockpit, whilst the default 206 does not – otherwise they are still exactly the same panel.
Annunciator Light Panel
A completely functional twenty-strong annunciator panel is mounted just above the MIP. This panel provides constant readings in the form of illuminated warning messages giving complete supervision control to the pilot.
Pressure, electrical, engine, fuel starvation and damage warnings will appear in either amber or red upon this annunciator panel. Every single annunciator has been modelled and all are completely functional.
If you are attending to the correct procedures then you will need to refer to this panel quite often. It is an invaluable source of information.
DodoSim have also implemented one very special annunciator. This warning light, which illuminates as “SC FAIL”, is a unique warning due to the fact that it is not related to the helicopter’s status whatsoever.
SC FAIL is in fact a reference to SimConnect fail. SimConnect is an interim application within FSX that many aircraft, weather, environment and other add-ons connect to in order to function with Flight Simulator. Sometimes, this connection is broken and often the add-on will not function correctly. When this happens, certain switches may not move, sounds may not work, and users are often wondering what has happened. Thankfully, DodoSim have implemented this simple annunciator warning which tucks neatly into the panel and illuminates if this SimConnect connection has failed. If this light is turned on, the user will know that he has a problem and may have to re-start FSX to rectify it.
The annunciator panel is possibly my favourite feature of the DodoSim 206. It is realistic, fully functional, and is very easy to understand and analyze the information supplied through its twenty warning lights.
Bendix and Ceco Fuel Systems
DodoSim have added even further functionality in their 206 with the option to use either a Bendix or Ceco fuel system. Like in the real thing, the 206 aircraft were regularly manufactured using one of either two fuel control systems designed by Avionics companies Bendix or Ceco.
Whilst these two FCU systems are largely the same, and will certainly not make the cockpit look any different, there are a few fundamental differences that the pilot may wish to consider before choosing which fuel system he/she may wish to use.
The Bendix system is generally “safer” to use and provides less chance of a hot start or engine meltdown. However, the Ceco system allows for much more control EGT temperature during start up and shutdown procedures, at a price of being more tricky and complex to use.
Each fuel system definitely provides differing results. I could easily notice the difference in values such as exhaust gas temperature. Throttle inputs also played a big part in distinguishing each system. The Bendix system appeared to produce higher and unmanageable temperatures during start up, whilst the Ceco system seemed a little cooler when fuel was introduced to ignite the engine and provided much better manual override of the temperatures.
The user can tell which fuel system he\she is using by looking on the small metal plaque located on the left hand side of the MIP.
As a whole, I felt more comfortable using the Ceco fuel system rather than the Bendix. It is, however, a matter of choice. One thing that is clear is that DodoSim have definitely designed individual fuel systems that behave very differently.
DodoSim have clearly considered at some stage in their development process that not all their customers will be advanced helicopter users. So, they have decided to implement a very clever and interactive “Difficulty Level” system that can be changed according to the pilot’s tastes.
Whilst DodoSim have worked quite a bit of magic into the 206 product, they didn’t quite manage to figure out how to get the 206’s heater knob to adjust the real-world temperature in your room. Nonetheless, they have found another use for the knob. Instead of just rendering this otherwise useless rotary switch a dummy unit, they have utilized the knob for another, fantastic purpose…
Using the heating knob located on the forward overhead panel, the user can select a difficulty level numbered 1-5. Level 1 is the user-friendliest setting, implemented for beginners, whilst level 5 offers the most advanced flight dynamics and failure options.
Level 1 difficulty includes nearly no advanced flight dynamics with the exception of ‘Enhanced Low Speed Behaviour”. The easiest setting also offers a completely automated engine start procedure, where just holding CTRL + E will prep the Helicopter ready for flight in a few seconds.
Level 2 difficulty offers a similar experience, except with slightly more advanced flight dynamics and instead of an automated engine start procedure, on screen prompts will point you in the right direction to get your 206 in the air. Level 2 is definitely the most influential mode for training, as you can really get a feel of what to do and why to do it.
The manual procedures available only in Level 2 difficulty are projected onto your screen in the form of bright yellow arrows and diagrams. These prompts will appear on the Overhead Panels, Pedestal, Collective, and many other places too.
Level 3 difficulty is identical to Level 2, except with the inclusion of much more advanced flight dynamics.
Levels 4 and 5 are the most advanced difficulty settings, designed either for real-world helicopter students wanting to practice on their home simulator, or for the casual Simmer ready to experience the most difficult and most complex helicopter flight dynamics available on the market today.
Level 5 requires you to pay exact attention to the operating procedures provided by DodoSim. If you stray away from the book, you may have a hefty repair bill on your hands For further information regarding this wonderful interactive feature provided by DodoSim, please look at the tables below:
The DodoSim 206 add-on has been released with a full set of failures that can be activated or disabled at the pilot’s discretion. Failures for the engine, fuel system, hydraulic system, and electrical system have all been built into this 206 package.
The failures interface, which can be accessed through the ALT menu, allows the user to set either timed or immediate failures for the 206 they are currently flying. This is a very friendly and easy-to-use interface – just set the failures you’d like to happen and they will be activated according to your instructions.
However, some failures cannot be set or disabled through this interface. If correct procedure is not adhered to, then engine flameouts, hot starts, over-torquing, and exceeding operating limits will cause damage.
This damage will be executed in the form of cumulative wear. Cumulative wear is an optional setting in the DodoSim 206, where damage to a certain system does not result in immediate failure, but, slowly depletes the reliability of the relevant system over time before giving way to a serious failure which may require inspection or even complete replacement.
Engine fires happen mostly during start up. If fuel is introduced to the engine too quickly, the EGT temperatures will skyrocket, most likely causing an engine fire. These fires are represented in graphical form both internally and externally. On the outside, flames can be seen appearing near engine exhausts, whilst the inside of the cockpit is completely illuminated by a strong bright fire. It isn’t very often that developers choose to have natural cockpit lighting affected by things such as engine fires.
In the event of a mid-flight engine failure or fire, the engine
must be shut down and the auto-rotation procedure can be adopted
in order to land the aircraft safely back on the ground. This is
where the updrafts of air through the rotor blades are enough to
turn them and provide some thrust, preventing the aircraft from
entering an un-recoverable dive. I regularly enjoy training
myself with this procedure on the DodoSim 206.
DodoSim have written in their documentation procedures for various failures, which really help in nasty situations. If you wish to practice auto-rotation without the need to fail the engine, DodoSim have provided an alternative realistic procedure that involves cycling back the throttle input enough to simulate an auto-rotation environment.
If you should damage the aircraft, whether it be “over-temping” the engine, not following correct procedure, Over-torquing the aircraft, messages will appear along the top of the screen telling you that the 206 is “Accruing wear” for whatever reason.
Failures can even occur in the fuel system, where contaminated fuel may be being burnt in the engine. This usually happens if the helicopter is continually run with low amounts of fuel in the tanks. If this is the case, a “FUEL FILTER” annunciator light will illuminated on the annunciator panel.
If annunciator lights such as “TRANS CHIP” are illuminated, these points towards cumulative wear in a mechanical system. “CHIP” means particles of metal have been detected in the magnetic trap of the relevant system. An immediate service or inspection will be required (see below).
Maintenance and Repairs
Through use of the ALT menu, the maintenance and repairs servicing dialogue can be opened. Through this menu, repairs can be fixed, engineers called to inspect the aircraft, or, if you wish, the helicopter can be completely overhauled.
There are three possible systems to repair: Engine, Main Transmission and Tail Transmission. These systems can be repaired in three different ways: Inspection, Service and Rebuild.
A system inspection will not necessarily repair anything, although the engineer will alert you in the form of an on-screen text message if anything needs servicing/repairing.
A service will keep the relevant system in good condition, or maybe restore it back to tip-top condition if the engineer has inspected small amounts of wear and damage.
A rebuild will completely replace the system in question. A rebuild will only be required if the helicopter has been repeatedly abused, whether it be through constant damage to the aircraft or lack of good servicing.
A final option to overhaul the entire aircraft is also available. This option will reset all failures and wear the Helicopter might have accrued.
“DodoSim Dollars” are charged every time an inspection, service, rebuild or overhaul is performed. The charge varies according to what system has been damaged and what sort of work is required. An overhaul of the helicopter costs the most money, but restores the aircraft to a completely fresh state.
Whenever fuel is loaded into the aircraft, you will also be charged a certain amount of DodoSim Dollars. The fuel is charged according to a Dollar per gallon ratio.
|3rd party livery, Australian Army by BananaBob|
A very large amount of documentation has been supplied with the DodoSim 206, in order to support the very realistic and complex features of the aircraft.
Both download and boxed versions offer the same, 76 page PDF manual. This manual has clearly been written to an extremely high standard.
Diagrams, tutorials, explanations, procedures and much more all come in spades with the 206 manuals. It is easy to understand the information included, and comes with very interesting side-points, which, although don’t contain knowledge directly for the DodoSim 206, reference to real world procedure and explain WHY certain steps must be taken when carrying out certain tasks.
The brilliant PDF manual should certainly wrap-up any questions you may have regarding the aircraft. Should you need even more information, DodoSim are usually very quick at answering any queries you may have.
The boxed version offers additional documentation alongside the PDF manual. A very detailed printed manual, quick start guide, and two quick-reference cards are included within the box.
The printed manual is similar to the PDF document and will answer any questions you have in detail.
The quick start guide is useful for pilots who wish to “Install and Go” (if that even is possible with this software!). It includes essential information such as joystick key mapping, simple procedures, basic introductions to certain elements of the 206, etc.
Last but certainly not least are the two quick-reference cards. These two cards provide realistic checklist style procedures at the blink of an eye for both Bendix and Ceco FCUs. Using these cards, one can follow start up, pre-takeoff, approach and shutdown procedures quickly and efficiently. The cards are well presented, and have been finished with a professional gloss. They also smell nice =).
Users should face no problem running the DodoSim 206. It is one of the most frame-friendly products I’ve ever used. When flying at FSX default airports, I can achieve around 55+ FPS. At certain payware airports, such as Orbx’s Tamworth Product, 30-40 FPS are sustainable without any problems.
My PC’s specification, visible at the bottom of this review, is built with components found in higher-range PCs. Regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised if a computer using much lower-end specs could achieve at least 15-25FPS when flying in the 206.
Support is handled through DodoSim via email or through the Hover Control UK Forums , in which DodoSim have an official support forum.
I’m pleased to see that DodoSim are offering email support – many developers just have a support forum, which can be intimidating for users who prefer one-on-one direct email technical assistance.
I had a few questions regarding procedure in the DodoSim 206. I emailed DodoSim support and within 24 hours (on two separate occasions) I received a reply from developer Mark Adams who answered my questions perfectly.
Compatibility with Hardware Cockpit Gauges
DodoSim have dedicated a page or so of information in both the printed and PDF manuals on compatibility of their product with Hardware Cockpit Gauges, such as those of SimKits, Belgium.
DodoSim have designed a small utility that injects the 206 Gauges with information to be accessed across FSUIPC or SimConnect for SimKits Gauges. This is required as, by default, FSX may give erroneous information when using the DodoSim 206 add-on. This utility is available for free upon request from DodoSim.
I have built six Gauges by myself for use in my home-cockpit simulator setup. These Gauges consist of an Airspeed Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator, Fuel Quantity Indicator, Total Cockpit Load Amps Indicator, and two EGT Gauges. They are all driven by servomotors powered by FSUIPC, the Opencockpits USBServos card and Opencockpits’ SIOC Software. All of the Gauges work flawlessly with the DodoSim206. I only had to make one slight software modification, and this was for both EGT Gauges, as they are driven by FSUIPC EGT Offsets for standard Aircraft engines 1 and 2, and Helicopter engine values seem to be handled differently from other aircraft engine values in FSX. I did not have to contact DodoSim for their special injection utility to get my home-made gauges working.
I’m impressed that DodoSim are supporting cockpit builders through both documentation and this small software utility. Most developers that design FSX aircraft add-ons do not have cockpit builders in mind when they release their products. DodoSim however, do.
Fixes for Inherent FSX Bugs
DodoSim have implemented fixes for certain native FSX bugs which affect simulator enjoyment. FSX’s tendency to drain the battery too quickly if an aircraft is not running off its generator has been fixed.
These fixes only apply to the DodoSim 206 add-on. Default and other developers’ aircraft are not supported. I found that the battery fix works wonders. I have often been annoyed that my battery drains within about forty seconds of activation. In the 206, this problem is no more.
The fix, which deals with the windy or turbulent start-up problem generally works fine. However, I was unable to perform a good engine start in windy conditions whilst sitting on water in the amphibious variant of the 206. I contacted DodoSim support, and they confirmed that this is yet another core FSX bug. I can believe this, as I have used other products that suffer from issues in which FSX works against the developer.
The DodoSim 206 is, without a doubt, a very unique product. The custom failures and totally reworked flight dynamics mean that FSX Helicopter Pilots can now get a taste of what it really feels like to be at the hands of a 206.
With a little improvement on the cockpit gauges, addition of a few more liveries and a small bit of work on the night lighting effects I am confident this product will be the most successful Helicopter add-on ever produced for FSX.
The training modes are perfectly suited for beginners whilst the complex options available at the highest difficulty level challenge the user’s sense of concentration.
I hope that DodoSim’s next release, the infamous Huey Chopper used in the Vietnam War, contains equally realistic flight dynamics, failures and procedures as the 206 does.
-Extremely realistic Flight Dynamics never before seen in FSX
-Virtual Cockpit modelled right down to circuit breakers
-Functioning circuit breakers -Impressive sound set
-Fantastic documentation -Custom failures interface
-Maintenance and Repairs interface -2D Panels Included
-Nice external and internal modelling
-Default gauges used in parts of the cockpit
-Lack of liveries supplied with the product
-Night lighting could do with a small bit of work.
I award this a Mutley's Hangar Score of 8.5/10
Review machine Spec: Core i7 920 OC @ 3.8 Ghz | 6Gb Tri-Channel DDR3 Ram |GTX285 Graphics |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium