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PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader

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PZL M18B Dromader
M18B Dromader 01.png
Type Agricultural aircraft
Configuration Low wing aircraft
Propulsion Propeller aircraft
Manufacturer PZL-Mielec
Author(s)
  • Pavel Cueto
  • Fernando Espinosa
FDM JSBSim
--aircraft= M18B_Dromader
Status Beta
Download Download the PZL M18B Dromader aircraft package for the current stable release (2018.3).
Forum 'PZL M18B Dromader' topic on the FlightGear forum.

The M18B Dromader is a popular AG plane, developed in middle 70's in Polland by PZL. Dromaders are capable to make crop dusting and firefighting operations, carrying chemicals or water in a big frontal hopper.

The current version is oriented to test aircraft behavior carrying hard water loads, and it's has a basic water-oriented particle system for now. However, users who wants to try their cropdusting may edit the M18B_Dromader.xml file to get it. All instruments, sounds, fuselage texts and more details have been taken from a real CONAF's (National Forest Corporation, Chile) firefigther Dromader (CC-PZJ).


Aircraft help

Engine start (temporal)

  • Press { three times for turn on magnetos
  • Press s for starter

Takeoff

  • Flaps 15º
  • Mixture rich
  • Propeller coarse
  • Full throttle
  • Takeoff length and speed varies according to aircraft weight.

Landing

  • Flaps 30º
  • Propeller coarse
  • Touchdown with the main gear, and let tail wheel touch when the aircraft slows down the speed.

Aircraft limits

  • VNE: 148 KIAS (Never exceed speed)
  • VNO: 121 KIAS (Max. speed for normal operations)
  • VA: 120 KIAS (Design maneuvering speed)
  • VFE: 104 KIAS (Max. flap extended speed)
  • Cruise speed: 90-103 KIAS
  • Stall speed: 60 KIAS
  • Max G load factor: +3.4G; -1.4G
  • Max takeoff weight (MTOW): 11904 lbs. (5400 kg)
  • Max landing weight: 9200 lbs. (4200 kg)

Special keys

  • e - Water drop/Pesticide dust
  • d - Open/Close Left-front door
  • Shift+D - Open/Close right-front door
  • Ctrl+D - Open/Close rear door

In-flight considerations

With full payload, a Dromader can grow his total weight in more than 50%: so, it's neccesary to adjust the aileron trim carefully to fly properly. Pilots may consider to make firefighter water drops with flaps down at 15º, when plane flies with full water cargo at front. In the same way, a loaded Dromader is less maneuverable than empty ones, having more stall risk. Take attention of the lift while you do firefighter water dropping, due to fast aircraft weight loss.


Development status

The current Dromader cockpit, with a panoramic view of the controls and instruments.
Red firefighter livery
CONAF livery
  • Detailed 3D model & textures
  • Detailed, semi-realistic cockpit
  • Custom instruments (with some little exceptions, just temporal) based on real ones
  • Exterior and interior animations
  • Custom sounds, most taken from real Dromaders
  • Improved FDM
  • Basic weight & load control
  • 3 HQ liveries
  • Cockpit & instrument lights
  • Immatriculation
  • Help menu
  • Advisor of VNE and G limits exceed
  • Shaders for GIT: NormalMap & Reflect
  • Basic particle systems: water drop, pesticide & motor smoke
  • In-built cropdusting pipes (basic model, hidden for now, but editable on xml files)


ToDo

  • Fix some engine Tº issues
  • Improved fuel, hydraulic and electrical systems
  • Nasal-based instrumentation, where default property-tree has no items
  • More realistic startup procedure
  • Realistic cropdusting and firefighting systems, nasal-based


Airplane of the Week/Month

The Dromader was reviewed as 'Airplane of the Week/Month' on August 15, 2011 as follows:


Model

The Dromader is one of the models whose visuals simply look stunning. It seems incredible to see a plane rendered in detail down to single screws in real time - and yet there it is (although one needs a fairly powerful system).

The Dromader isn't a very complex plane, and so the cockpit is comparatively simple, and yet created with a lot of detail. It also illustrates nicely the principle that empty surfaces textured to look like some material give a far better overall impression than surfaces textured with a pure color. Not all of the switches in the cockpit are functional, but those that are are linked to animations of exterior lights for instance.

Dromader-cockpit.jpg

If anything, the exterior model is even nicer than the cockpit. Especially the wings and the engine look quite spectacular.

Dromader-model.jpg

The plane also comes with a nice animation for the release of pesticide, as well as opening of various doors.


Flight characteristics

The Dromader is a crop-duster, and the JSBSim FDM reflects that quite well. When empty, the engine is fairly powerful, so the plane can operate from a very short field and climb quite rapidly, making it ideal for outback flying. With full payload, the flight characteristics is significantly changed, the plane accelerates and climbs noticeably slower. Neither configuration is suitable for aerobatics or rapid turns, the structural limits of the airframe are reached quite soon (they are implemented as on-screen printed warnings rather than as actual failures of the plane).

The plane is not difficult to fly - it has fairly mild stall characteristics and handles well. It is a taildragger, but compared with WW II warbirds the problems associated with the sudden lift of the tail during takeoff are mild, so it is a good plane to get familiar with the concept.


My personal wishlist

Procedures are currently very simple - a more realistic startup for instance would be nice. I also found that the animation of pesticide release even works if the tank is empty - a couple of small things like this would improve the plane a bit.

Things to experience

Do the obvious - take a full tank of pesticide, find a nice field somewhere close and drop it - watch the plane suddenly shoot up into the air as the load is released. It's fun.


External links