10
$\begingroup$

As I learn more and more about aviation, I start noticing things. The image below is clipped from The Long Dark, a disaster survival game centered around powerful geomagnetic storms.

At the inciting moment in the opening sequence, we get a view of the throttle quadrant of the De Havilland Beaver being flown by one of the two playable characters. The pilot is Will MacKenzie, owner/operator of the family business: Jackrabbit Remote Transport, a single-plane bush flying concern.

The plane is airborne in a moderate-to-heavy snowstorm below overcast skies, at night, over mountainous terrain. It's an older float-equipped Beaver, with a radial engine (based on the sampled noises).

My gut says they've just passed top of descent as there is a brief moment of animation at this moment with the pilot's handing moving the throttle lever downward (or just taking his hand off of it, he's depicted as two-hands on the yoke at all other times in the scene).

The part that jumps out the most is that he's got the mixture at idle/cutoff, which I presume is because - as a solo operator - he's pinching every penny and trying to conserve as much fuel as possible.

Snip from the opening sequence of The Long Dark showing the controls of a De Havilland Beaver

Can an aircraft operate, even for just a few minutes, in this configuration? What are the concerns that the pilot should have about running the plane like this, even before everything electrical goes out?

$\endgroup$
1
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ Being in a Beaver at night in a snowstorm in mountainous terrain means you have a couple of minutes to live anyway, so you might as well have the mixture set to shut down the engine; same result lol. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 1:57

3 Answers 3

24
$\begingroup$

If the mixture control is at cutoff, then all fuel flow to the engine is... well, cut off. That means the engine is going to shut off from lack of fuel. Now, some carbureted engines can run for a few seconds on just the fuel left in the carburetor, but that's probably going to actually cost the pilot fuel, since crashing the airplane is highly likely to puncture the fuel tanks and spill the rest of the gas all over the terrain.

What's more likely is that whoever created the game just found a picture of some plane's dash, and modeled the in-game cockpit after that, without bothering to figure out the actual proper position of any controls beyond the throttle.

$\endgroup$
14
$\begingroup$

Not likely as the engine has no fuel going to it at this point with the mixture at idle cutoff. A DHC-2 Beaver is also a normally aspirated airplane so manifold pressures that high are unrealistic as well, operable engine or not. And I certainly hope that they are flying in amphibious version of the DHC-2, as opposed to only a floatplane, and they are going to make an instrument approach into a land airport. Landing in water at night is extremely difficult (thought it can be done in emergencies using parachute flares for illumination). Also, most seaplane bases do not have instrument approaches available for them, making it all the more difficult. Realistically, I think John K is right - night flying over mountainous terrain, not on an instrument flight plan in marginal weather in a snowstorm is a recipe for suicide.

A more plausible scenario: the developers and 3-D artists, who I’m going to guess are aviation illiterate, found a photo of a DHC-2 cockpit, most likely in a cold and dark setting and made a 3-D model of it without any understanding of how a pilot would actually operate the thing. The good news? 99.99% of the players won’t notice and/or care.

$\endgroup$
4
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Honestly, I'm impressed that they got the actual inside of a DHC-2 instead of a 172 or something. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 21:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WilliamWalkerIII - Yeah, in a game where an aurora can make wolves aggressive and cause lethal current to flow in downed power cables, realism is not the game designer's chief mission. That they used an appropriate bush airplane and got the right cockpit image for it, that's a big win. I'm not going to haggle over whether the controls are in the right position. BTW The Long Dark is a very fun game; I agree with the designer's choices. There are flight sims for when more accuracy is wanted. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 19:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WayneConrad Yeah, the reason I'm asking all this stuff is because I'm planning to re-create the doomed flight for Twitch, and I'll be using said flight sims. XD $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @WilliamWalkerIII Nice! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 19:25
1
$\begingroup$

Unless this is an amphibious float equipped Beaver, or any other float plane, you wouldn't be flying at night. There are no lighted water landing areas, and you wouldn't see obstacles in the water, and it would be very difficult to judge your height during the landing phase. Unless you are suicidal!

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is amphib, actually. whether or not that's realistic is it's own thing, but the flight begins out of a land-based hangar... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 14:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .