With the engine up and running, the generators and avionics on, the cockpit of the PC-12 comes to life. The large Electronic Attitude Direction Indicator (EADI) and Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) dominate the instrument stack and it is immediately apparent that this is a modern avionics suite.
The panel sports a Bendix/King KLN 90B GPS although it isn’t completely modeled. For instance, it will load flight plans created from the Flight Simulator flight planner, but if you want to modify the flight plan enroute you can only proceed direct to individual waypoints. The concession in realism is acceptable to me since creating a perfect replica of a GPS or FMS is in itself a monumental task (as evidenced by companies that only develop realistic avionics for Flight Simulator). Our first waypoint entered is direct to Vancouver VOR (YVR) 103 miles distant.
With our itinerary set and our cargo loaded we close up the doors and taxi out to the active runway at Seattle. Ground handling for FS2004 aircraft has always been a bit quirky in that nosewheel tracking across the ground and modeling of friction isn’t done very well (as compared to X-Plane for instance). This behavior can be seen on the PC-12 as the nosewheel tends to slide forward even when it is cocked to the side. A touch of differential braking helps enormously but the feeling that you are on an icy ramp prevails.
Into position at the end of the runway we run the power forward and I’m happy to see that Flight1 modeled the ability to over torque and over temp the engine, so you can’t just jam the throttle all the way forward and achieve the proper takeoff power setting. The engine spools up nicely and soon we are heading down the runway. At around 80 knots a positive rotation pulls the nose up to approximately 10 degrees. As one would expect there is a bit of torque and P-factor from such a powerful single engine aircraft, requiring a bit of right rudder to counter.
The external 3D model, as I’ve already mentioned, is just superb. I can pan around the PC-12 for hours and not get tired of looking at its lines. The gear and flap retraction animations are superb with very good attention to detail.