Kodiak instability - approaches and level flight

I am using an Xbox series X, specifically to fly the Kodiak in MSFS.

I have flown, off and on, in the flight simulator, on a PC, for several years.

To refresh my memory and skills, I started with the Cessna 152, then the Cessna 172, then G1000 training, then finally the Kodiak 100.

I have the flight model set to realistic, and the AI assists turned off.

I’m flying in South Florida, in the summer, so I expect higher landing speeds.

I find that it’s incredibly difficult to make a standard approach and landing with the Kodiak. It’s very hard to maintain the glide slope, especially down at the speeds specified for the Kodiak.

I started landing using the autopilot, with a GPS visual approach. Now I could just adjust the power lever to maintain speed, and observe the autopilot controlling the elevator trim to keep the plane on the glide path.

With the autopilot controlling the approach, keeping the plane on the glide path, it’s almost impossible to keep the Kodiak at a specific velocity. It either starts bleeding off speed or it starts speeding up.

This instability also shows up in straight and level flight without any autopilot. With the plane trimmed out, it will occasionally just go into a dive, acting as if the CG is way too far forward. I’m not loading up the plane, so it’s just me and the co-pilot.

Today, for the first time, I flew the TBM 930. I used the autopilot to put me on approach, and then took over, for the last few hundred feet, and made a near-perfect landing. This fast turbo prop should have been much more difficult for me to fly and land.

Something inherently wrong in the flight model for the Kodiak 100.

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Paging AlpineBravo…

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Lol! Aka 'The Kodiak whisper ’

@HelkarsCrest The Kodiak is a tricky plane to fly. How you calibrate your controllers is very important as well as trim, balance and power control especially if you are using an Xbox controller. It can frustrate even experienced SIM pilots at first.

As for the flight model, no it’s not broken - just different and with a lot more prop drag and sensitivity.

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Although I do agree that this needs some work by SWS. It does seem to bleed speed with the flaps down and not stabilise at a trimmed speed easily. However it will hold trim/speed when in a cruise & climb

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If you use the AOA gauge on top of the dashboard I find it’s not very difficult to land even in very short strips. Trim for AOA then use throttle for glideslope control.

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Your tutorials, are very helpful. please go on

Thanks! Just planning the next one. Anything in particular you would like to see?

This is the way

I find it talks to me for whatever reason I just find it cake to fly.

Maybe a full flight follwing the checklists and procedures

After hundreds of hours flying many different planes, stock and 3rd party “high fidelity”, I still think the Kodiak is the most difficult plane to fly in the sim by far. It’s hard to believe it mimics the real world behaviour, especially considering the mission profile it’s designed for, and it certainly doesn’t look very hard in the YouTube videos (Ryan’s channel). I’ve never seen a Kodiak for real, let alone set my foot inside one, so what do I know. But it is very hard compared to most other planes in the sim.

Maybe check out some of the live streams I’ve left up as VOD. That’s pretty much what I do in those.

I fully agree, it’s too nervous. I’m hoping for an “improvment mod” or a fix from SWS

I find using way less negative trim on takeoff if flying it lightly loaded, maybe-17% or so works well and adding a decent amount of negative sensitivity on the pitch trim(if using a wheel trim with an axis like the TBV1) makes for much finer adjustment. TBH not sure why it ever asks for -40 trim, that’s a lot to unwind within seconds of takeoff. At less than -12% or so it will make squeaky tire noises at 70 and want to takeoff by itself. I never use rudder trim and just fly it off the runway with pedal input, I don’t consider it taking very much to keep centerline, it sure isn’t the WACO. I think I average roughly +10% trim on most short landings Riding the hill down at St Barth before a fairly hefty flare and hold throwing down to full flaps just as I’m clearing the hill I usually end up about 50-80’ past the turnoff, and that’s greased in no bouncing or slamming down on the runway. Reverse thrust within a couple seconds of touchdown of course. Sometimes make the turnoff if the wind is higher and in a friendly direction. It does take a lot of throttle control and anticipation of the TP delay to the input.

In the BN2 I can always make the taxiway entrance and approach at all kinds of angles and speeds and still get there. Come in many times thinking oops way too high/low, but nope, got it right in there again. It is WAY easier to fly than the Kodiak. The Kodiak does need a diligent routine to get it in there. It’s much easier to land the TBM there.

I think the TBV1’s trim on an axis being neutered makes it much easier to fly, I can see it being trouble if it’s click-based though, it’s ■■■■ sensitive at default/linear. I also ‘wake’ the trim wheel with a slight nudge before disengaging AP(with every plane), it might jump around a bunch using some other peripheral.

• Comparing the Pilatus Porter to the Kodiak •

After several frustrating attempts to land the Kodiak at a West Palm Beach airport, today I decided to try flying the Pilatus Porter turboprop, over the same short South Florida route I have been using for the Kodiak.

As with the Kodiak, I had the plane empty, with no additional passengers or cargo. I left the fuel settings, and CG, at the default.

Since setting up my Xbox with Flight Simulator, I have always been using custom weather, with light clouds and a 5 mph wind, slightly offset from the Southeast, to give me a very light crosswind. I find that if I use totally calm weather, then I don’t get any random buffeting.

After looking up a few specs on the Pilatus, I took off and headed south. After pulling back on the torque, the plane was stable in level flight. When I approached my destination airport I began a descent, which was also very stable and predictable. With slight adjustments on the power lever, I could easily control the descent rate. At 88°, with the flaps partially extended, I landed at about 66 mph and the plane was nice and stable, as I flared and touched down.

Comparing the Pilatus with the Kodiak, the Pilatus flies like an STOL plane SHOULD fly. The Kodiak flight model is VERY UNSTABLE AND UNPREDICTABLE.

It is time to call out SimWorks Studios on the Kodiak’s flight characteristics.

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I flew the Kodiak yesterday after a long hiatus and found it flew like a very different beast to the last time. Was very unstable on approach and even level flight was a struggle. I hope SWS iron out these issues soon.

Flew it again today, definitely think it’s the trim

Sorry to here you are having a bad experience but I have to disagree with this based on my experiences with this wonderful aircraft. Every sim aircraft has something about it that can’t please everyone. I absolutely love the Kodiak and have no trouble flying it. I’ve seen a few folks complain about how it’s unstable but I just don’t get that. I’m on PC with a high quality long travel yoke so perhaps that’s why. As far as I’m concerned SWS has done a good job with this so far.

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I would say, more than most, this is a get your head out of the cockpit plane. It flies straight and level and does approaches fine if you set up for level flight or appropriate descent and then transfer that AoA outside to the horizon or relevant terrain features and fly by the outside view.

The Kodiak does not like angles of attack greater than 10 at low speed and take off (Just like in many real world planes, it is a matter of easing off the ground and immediately levelling to pick up speed before eventually climbing .

Also with a 800 HP PT6 the torque can get away from you so go easy on the throttle. Note take-off torque is NOT maximum torque and by the book, actually reduces with airfield elevation.

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Completely agree with you - I also had the problem with the Kodiak and sometimes with other aircraft that they flew somewhat unstable. Then I installed “DXTweak 2” to check all axes. And lo and behold, the yaw axis on the HC Alpha Bravo Yoke was not properly centered. 511 is the value for where the axis should be centered. If I just lightly tapped or pulled the yaw axis, it often got stuck at a value of around 519. After I solved the problem (GOLD 2000 - Contact) all aircraft, including the Kodiak, fly much more stable. It’s certainly the case that many people complain but the problem actually lies with their hardware. :wink:

Sorry, one more question: “which long range yoke” do you use? :beers:

The V1 does this too. It can hold as much as 4% of back elevator when you release it slowly, then eventually centers. You can see it in the sensitivity screen. I have a 5% dead zone all from center-to-back elevator to make sure it’s not at -~3%, set AP or trim then breathe on it and it bumps to true zero. You can’t feel the dead zone in use, even with jets.

I never found stability issues with it, I manhandle the trim wheel like the price is right and do near full rudder stomps to swing out of tight spaces on takeoff, land on the various carriers/LHA’s out there, no issues. And have no idea why someone would trim the rudder on takeoff just work it out on the roll. Think I drop down the hill at St Bart’s at about 68 KT all hung out and stop before the taxiway entrance, crabbed power on if I have too. I’ve landed the Flotiak at Seven Seas Lagoon to bring my family to Magic Kingdom… Pretty much if I spot something interesting at 4000’ I’ll be there with the doors open in a 5 or so minutes, hey is that a horse racing track? Practice landing 12 at SABA. Although the TBM can nearly match it for STOL and the Islander will make it blush.