Nathan3219

Razbam Metroliner Released

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I get the acronym LS = Leonardo Simulations, but what's the H for? LSH...

Leonardo Software House

 

The only sad thing is how MD-8X jets are becoming increasingly rare in real life.

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Hi All,

 

I just wanted to chime in with my thoughts on the Razbam Metro. Please note that this is more of a first impressions blurb than an in-depth review, so take it with a grain of salt. A little background on my experience.....I'm a real world (low time) commercial / multi / IFR / instructor rated pilot and have been simming for about as far back as I can remember (FS5 I think...). I own the Majestic Q300 and Q400, Flight 1 King Air, Airbus X, as well as quite a few PMDG products, NOT including the JS41. As such, my knowledge of the operating characteristics of Garrett engines is limited at best, but I do know a bit about RW operations and procedures.

 

At times, I use FSX to keep my head in the IFR game.....VOR/ADF navigation, holds, raw data approaches etc, so it was with that use in mind that I purchased the Razbam Metroliner. Up in Canada, these aircraft are used on milk runs between smaller airports in Northern Ontario with shorter runways, terrible winter weather, hand flown non-precision approaches to minimums etc, so perfect for what I'm looking for.

 

 

In short, I'm really enjoying this aircraft so far. It's been quite the learning curve, as the entire operating philosophy of the Metro was alien to me. There are quite a few systems that I've never come across before and the aircraft itself is really quirky, with weird system logic and controls grouped in unfamiliar ways across the cockpit (that's putting it politely). The design philosophy really shows its age (also putting it politely). As a result, the aircraft is quite challenging to fly correctly, and can be a handful if you don't stay far ahead mentally. Hard to believe that these aircraft are certified for single pilot operations.....it keeps me quite busy flying it. There are a few bugs, which I will mention later, but I'll go ahead and state that for my purposes, none are show-stoppers for the type of flying I'm doing.

 

As for the sounds, I find that they provide a very convincing atmosphere and are quite well done. I know a couple people who fly the Metro and they always mention that the constant buzz will either deafen you or drive you crazy after a long day of flying (noise cancelling headsets are a must). My only reference to real world experience was spending some time in a Cessna 441 Conquest (Garrett engines). Based on that, I'm convinced that the included soundset is realistic.

 

The Metroliner has very small wings and control surfaces, and as such the flying characteristics are quite stiff. So far I've only taken the aircraft through the normal range of speeds and configurations, but it feels just like I imagine the real aircraft would.....stiff (that's really the best word I can find for it).

 

I get the impression that the control forces would be really high if you were hand-flying it (they are). On approach, you really need to keep the power up, like most turboprops, but this aircraft makes me afraid to pull the power back too far on final. It's difficult to describe, but the aircraft really gives you the feeling that you will fall out of the sky if the speed bleeds off too much on approach. Maybe it's because I think those tiny wings will suddenly just give up and go home.

 

The aircraft's handling at heavy weights is quite telling, with noticeably longer takeoff runs and lower climb rates. I haven't taken it into hot weather yet, but I fully expect to be watching out for tall trees, towers and hills on climb out. I have yet to try to operate in/out of a 4,000 ft runway, but I can already tell it will be challenging....One Metro operator I work with has to run the numbers every time I ask for a charter quote into a 4,000 foot runway. More often than not, the answer is a flat-out no, or a yes with a (very restrictive) temperature limitation.

Cruise speeds and fuel burns are accurate from what I can tell (~800lb first hour + 700lb per hour after that). Landings are relatively simple once you manage the approach properly. It does have very firm landing gear, so I wouldn't describe it as forgiving, but it's not as difficult as the Q400. Without making any conclusive statement about the flight-dynamics (due to my lack of RW experience with the airplane), I'd say that this aircraft flies exactly like one would imagine by looking at it....thin wing + tiny control surfaces + tall stiff landing gear = fast and rigid in the air.

 

The in-sim load manager is a nice feature. It lets you add / remove passengers, cargo and fuel in real time on a live weight and balance sheet. The passengers and cargo appear / disappear from the visual model in real time as well....which is a nice touch. As expected, the aircraft's suspension responds to the changes accordingly.

 

I know lots of folks want to know how the systems are simulated. Again, I am not too familiar with the specifics of the Metro's systems (yet), so I can't give a definite answer on the realism, but I will say that the majority of systems seem to be simulated and functional. I have yet to start fiddling with things to see how the aircraft responds...basically just trying to break the airplane to see if it's simulated correctly. Otherwise, for normal operations following the checklists thoroughly will get you in the air relatively easily. The autopilot is also very basic (many Metros don't even have one in the real world).

 

Now I don't have the best system, but the external model and VC are very well done on this aircraft.....maybe not quite at the level of the Q400, but still easily keeping up.

 

Documentation is.....adequate.....with system descriptions, as well as a full set of normal checklists. What's missing is performance charts (which are available on the Razbam forum), flight profiles and non-normal checklists.

 

As for the bugs...I'm running FSX (sp2) on a modest system and have come across the following issues (many of which have been acknowledged by the developer, who is working on fixes):

 

 - GPS doesn't turn on (wasn't using it anyway....will throw in the RXP 430 if I ever need one)

 - Cargo door button on the payload editor doesn't work (Shift+E+2 works just fine)

 - No annoying beeping sounds when the trim is running  (I hope this stays broken.....most Metro pilots would agree)

 - Fuel gauges indicate zero until the engines are running (fuel is still loadable on the payload manager)

 - Starter light doesn't extinguish (until you hit the start button a second time)

 - Pitot heat light logic is reversed (lights should extinguish when Pitot Heat is on)

 - I can't seem to get the SAS (Stall Avoidance System) working (could be my fault....needs more testing)

 - Can't change the Vertical Speed on the autopilot (only ever used in cruise anyway for ALT hold)

 

 

Overall, like I said, I'm really enjoying the Metroliner. It's a really hands-on aircraft, with very little in the way of automation and is almost perfect for the type of flying I'm currently doing - hand flying non-precision approaches in crappy winter weather. Far removed from the (comparatively) fast, silky smooth, automated experience on the Majestic and PMDG birds. The real Metro is apparently a pain in the @$$ to fly (for various reasons), and you get real a sense of that with the Razbam Metro just from the way it flies, the engine management etc....oddly even some of the bugs seem to add to the experience. I feel like I'm flying an aircraft that's been MEL'd a few too many times. Can't wait to start freight dogging around the Midwest and into the Caribbean with this thing.

 

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

 

Cheers,

DB

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DaviiB, on 27 Dec 2013 - 1:16 PM, said:

- GPS doesn't turn on (wasn't using it anyway....will throw in the RXP 430 if I ever need one)

- Cargo door button on the payload editor doesn't work (Shift+E+2 works just fine)

- No annoying beeping sounds when the trim is running (I hope this stays broken.....most Metro pilots would agree)

- Fuel gauges indicate zero until the engines are running (fuel is still loadable on the payload manager)

- Starter light doesn't extinguish (until you hit the start button a second time)

- Pitot heat light logic is reversed (lights should extinguish when Pitot Heat is on)

- I can't seem to get the SAS (Stall Avoidance System) working (could be my fault....needs more testing)

- Can't change the Vertical Speed on the autopilot (only ever used in cruise anyway for ALT hold)

I agree with pretty much your whole review as stated earlier except for a few of your listed bugs

 

-All cargo doors do open pressing blue and orange buttons on load manager

-SAS turned on by pressing black rectangle button to the left of the master caution lights

-Fuel guages do show on once inverter is turned on. (On copilot side next to master avionics switch)

-I dont use the GPS either prefer flying with the EHSI /A....but does turn on clicking near top right knobs

-Pitot heat lights are green not red indicating normal operation. Can't say if the real SW4 does the same thing.

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I agree with pretty much your whole review as stated earlier except for a few of your listed bugs

-All cargo doors do open pressing blue and orange buttons on load manager
-SAS turned on by pressing black rectangle button to the left of the master caution lights
-Fuel guages do show on once inverter is turned on. (On copilot side next to master avionics switch)
-I dont use the GPS either prefer flying with the EHSI /A....but does turn on clicking near top right knobs

 

Thanks for the heads up. I just double checked those things....

 

 - My door controls are definitely not working properly....as they both open / close the main door only (still not a big deal)

 - You were right about the SAS...I was definitely missing that button.....tested and working just fine now...the stick pusher is just as terrifyingly forceful as I'd expect.

 

 - Also right on the fuel gauges. It was my error assuming that they would be tied to the battery switch only.

 - My GPS is definitely not working. None of the knobs or clickspots turn it on.

 

Cheers,

DB

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I bit the bullet and got the Metro as well, for $50. (FYI I have the PMDG J41, Majestic Q400 and F1 King Air) the Garretts on the Metro operate a bit differently than the PMDG J41 due to SRL.

 

First impressions and bugs:

 

Aircraft trims and handles well, OK to hand fly 100% of the time.

Engine management is pretty complex, but IMO not as good as PMDG or Majestic. Some odd behavior too, perhaps linked to the default FSX turboprop model.

The throttles sometime doesn't respond to hardware controllers when in idle (Saitek throttle, FSUIPC) it happened twice while configuring for landing. I had to use the keyboard to "wake" the throttles up.

VC and 3D modelling well done except for some of the gauge graphics, like the warning/system lights.

VC night lighting is great, however the cabin doesn't seem to light up either in external view or VC. No big deal.

The aircraft can detect ice, but ice accumulation (with no anti-ice) doesn't seem to affect performance. No visible ice on the external model either.

The ASI Barber Pole constantly resets itself to and from zero to VMO, while the aircraft is stationary.

Weight limitations (MTOW etc) in the load sheet would be nice, because the aircraft would be overloaded when you start the sim.

Yaw Damper doesn't seem to engage unless the "hidden" 2D panel autopilot is switched on.

Torque for engine 2 is mistakenly linked to engine 1, as mentioned in the Razbam forums

SRL switch labels are wrong, as mentioned in the Razbam forums.

Documentation really needs either a tutorial flight, or detailed description of a typical Metro flight profile. Some general icing advice would be great as well.

The method of setting the transponder code is rather strange.

No GPU AFAIK.

A RealityXP/Mindstar option, perhaps with a mechanical HSI, would be absolutely great.

 

 

The biggest issue with the Metroliner IMO is the sound for the gauges because there's virtually none. There's no constantly beeping trim sound like what DaviiB mentioned, and there's no sound with altitude alert gauge. The engine sound is OK however. Overall it's a decent purchase for me for $50, as I liked the Metro and I already have the other complex turboprops.

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I'm a real world (low time) commercial / multi / IFR / instructor rated pilot and have been simming for about as far back as I can remember (FS5 I think...). I own the Majestic Q300 and Q400, Flight 1 King Air, Airbus X, as well as quite a few PMDG products, NOT including the JS41. As such, my knowledge of the operating characteristics of Garrett engines is limited at best, but I do know a bit about RW operations and procedures.
 
At times, I use FSX to keep my head in the IFR game.....VOR/ADF navigation, holds, raw data approaches etc, so it was with that use in mind that I purchased the Razbam Metroliner. Up in Canada, these aircraft are used on milk runs between smaller airports in Northern Ontario with shorter runways, terrible winter weather, hand flown non-precision approaches to minimums etc, so perfect for what I'm looking for.

 

Im right there with ya! low time Multi IFR guy and i just got hired by a Canadian company up north that flies the metros 2 and 3. Ive been keeping my eyes on this addon but ill hold back on buying it for now. Im really hoping they fix some of the bugs and quirks as this addon could really help me with training and familiarization. Meanwhile ive got all the manuals so ill get busy learning how this plane works inside and out....oh joy.... Give it a month of so and i will forsure be using this product to help with my flows, flying etc etc. 

 

Best of luck with the instructing! 

 

Cheers

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As far as the flame outs while in the air.

 

I've had two so far

 

One over the moutains departing out of burbank. That didn't end well lol

 

The other flying out of TNCM able to glide back to the airport.

 

Tried restart in air following checklist but no success.

 

I think the problem is keeping the EGT redline during climbout

 

I back off 1 click below redline and don't have flameouts.

 

Must be something as far as damaging the engines so no restart will work until you reload the plane.

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Im right there with ya! low time Multi IFR guy and i just got hired by a Canadian company up north that flies the metros 2 and 3. Ive been keeping my eyes on this addon but ill hold back on buying it for now. Im really hoping they fix some of the bugs and quirks as this addon could really help me with training and familiarization. Meanwhile ive got all the manuals so ill get busy learning how this plane works inside and out....oh joy.... Give it a month of so and i will forsure be using this product to help with my flows, flying etc etc. 

 

Best of luck with the instructing! 

 

Cheers

That's awesome, congrats!

 

Green tail or Red tail?

 

DB

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Green! 

Nice!

 

Good luck with the Metro. I've heard that the power rarely comes up evenly on takeoff....and the nosewheel steering is too sensitive to be useful, so be prepared to pull power off on either side to keep it straight.

 

Also, apparently it's really pitch sensitive in the flare, so keep the control movements small.

 

I'll leave the rest to the captains.

 

Cheers!

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VC night lighting is great, however the cabin doesn't seem to light up either in external view or VC. No big deal.

The ASI Barber Pole constantly resets itself to and from zero to VMO, while the aircraft is stationary.

SRL switch labels are wrong, as mentioned in the Razbam forums.

Documentation really needs either a tutorial flight, or detailed description of a typical Metro flight profile. Some general icing advice would be great as well.

The method of setting the transponder code is rather strange.

 

Just a couple of points the VC does light up full dome by right clicking mouse on light knobs on throttle quandrant

 

The ASI Barber Pole is controlled by the SRL computer and I assume it's simulating that it is operational

 

I've flown this plane about ten times now and a lot of the problems at first I thought were bugs turned out to be my error

 

Not to say this plane is 100% perfect and no updates needed, but the major problems I first encountered was due to unfamiliarity of the plane and its systems

 

This plane is not for your jump in and go sim pilot. You do have to read the manual to understand or familiarize yourself with the correct operation of this aircraft.

 

I do own the majestic Q400 and overall pretty happy with that model. On my top 3 list. But two things that bother me about the Q400 are the so so flight model and the super clean looking VC. The razbam better VC worn texturing (immersion factor) and the flight model feels more realistic then the Q400 IMO.

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But two things that bother me about the Q400 are the so so flight model

The Q400 is the first addon aircraft to do flight modeling completely outside FSX, I'm fairly sure it flies better than any other turboprop aircraft out there. While Razbam & PMDG JS41 both have well made flight models I think there's still some limitations in FSX turboprop modeling that only Q400 has managed to totally overcome. 

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Hey guys! I went ahead and bought the Metro today and let me tell you it was 50 bucks well spent! This airplane holds a place in my heart back when I was in flight school. I worked at an airport and unloaded the Metro that came in all the time becoming friends with the pilot. I once asked him if any one could ever go with him in the right seat and he warmly accepted me into the cockpit! I got about 6 hours or more of hands on flying IFR and shooting ILS approaches in an airplane I only dreamed of even in July thunderstorms!. The route was STL - SGF- ICT and back. The training I got from the experience was something that really made me fall in love with aviation and carried over to my completion of my PPL. I have waited since 2004 for a Metro to come along in the sim world and now we got it!

 

Good stuff

*Installation was a BREEZE. One EXE.

 

*The flight model is just really fantastic, very stiff airplane to fly and you have to keep ahead of her on the throttles. The SAS is modeled very well and can aid on approach when flying in IMC. I  cannot stress enough how well this airplane flies by hand and trim. I have yet to use the AP once. 

 

*Sounds are superb but I would love to hear that WASH out sound the garret is known for. I have been looking into making a sound mod to add the beep on the trim as well as the Altitude alerter.  These sounds really capture the metro and I would love them to be implemented.

 

*VC and Exterior are THE METRO as ugly as she may be to some! Excellent work done here.

 

*$50 is justified in my eyes and I am confident they will fix the known bugs. I have no problem with the first 100 customers getting a discount as it is to show appreciation of the people that have supported them through this. Marketing for this sucks yes but perhaps the budget was low in this department? This airplane deserves more recognition.

 

* Payload manager is a great feature as well as the 3d modeled passengers and cargo you can load and unload! I like the tedious task of clicking every box out of the Expediter as it gives me      some down time between flights.

 

*Night lighting can really break a product but they nailed it here.

 

 

Bad stuff and it's really hard to find some.

*VC night lighting seems to fluctuate brightness without the help of the overhead lights.

 

* I can not for the life of me figure out how to extinguish the L SRL off and R SRL off lights on the annunciator panel. I am sure I am doing something wrong.

 

* No beep of the trim or altitude alert.

 

*EHSI only available, I want the analog HSI and find the EHSI hard to read even on my 32" monitor. Simple is best for this old bird and the EHSI just seems to be too much.

 

*TCAS is just a diamond with no altitude or arrow showing an algorithm. I would like to have the glass TCAS guage on the newer glass style VSI gauge.

 

*Jumpy prop controls when moving between low and high and adjusting throttles.

 

*No explanation or use of a GPU (Ground Power Unit). I have to battery start her.

 

So in a nutshell I LOVED the airplane and will be doing a video to showcase it to you all as the YouTube world is dry of official release versions of this airplane. I like the challenge it presents when hand flying a DP or STAR just like my CS 727. The airplane has been given a lot of love and has been represented quite well. I recommend this one for sure. I haven't encountered any game breakers here but I am using Acceleration and not SP2. My GPS worked on the first try. No engines shutting down on me either, perhaps I am lucky with my power management haha.

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* I can not for the life of me figure out how to extinguish the L SRL off and R SRL off lights on the annunciator panel. I am sure I am doing something wrong.

 

The SRL switches aren't labelled well. They're on the left console just below the temp test switch. They're in the off position by default (fully up) and need to be flipped down to the middle position (Norm).

 

Once that's done the lights should extinguish above 80% RPM.

 

Hope this helps.

 

DB

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The SRL switches aren't labelled well. They're on the left console just below the temp test switch. They're in the off position by default (fully up) and need to be flipped down to the middle position (Norm).

 

Once that's done the lights should extinguish above 80% RPM.

 

Hope this helps.

 

DB

 

Thank you sir! Those pesky lights were driving me crazy haha.

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The Q400 is the first addon aircraft to do flight modeling completely outside FSX, I'm fairly sure it flies better than any other turboprop aircraft out there. While Razbam & PMDG JS41 both have well made flight models I think there's still some limitations in FSX turboprop modeling that only Q400 has managed to totally overcome.

 

I know the Majestic team spent a lot of time developing their outside FDE model for the Q400, and I'm not trying to take away from the Q400. One of my fav planes. I've never flown on or piloted a Q400 for full disclosure. However its hard to articulate but banking the plane and touchdown always seems a bit awkward. But I still fly the plane often and its doesn't get too dusty in my hanager....

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I know the Majestic team spent a lot of time developing their outside FDE model for the Q400, and I'm not trying to take away from the Q400. One of my fav planes. I've never flown on or piloted a Q400 for full disclosure. However its hard to articulate but banking the plane and touchdown always seems a bit awkward. But I still fly the plane often and its doesn't get too dusty in my hanager....

 

I know for a fact that touchdown is actually a bit awkward in real life with the Q400. Landing the Dash 8 series of aircraft has always been described as like trying to make a smooth landing with a shopping cart. You need to keep power on through the touchdown otherwise you will fall out of the sky in very short order. If the power is pulled back prior to touchdown, you first lose the lift from the prop wash over the wings, then get a ton of drag from the props themselves, followed by a very abrupt arrival. The long fuselage doesn't help much either. It's certainly quite different to your average turboprop and requires a specific technique to get it down. (Really fun to watch the Porter guys (and gals) do this on a gusty day into the 4,000 ft runway at YTZ)

 

As for the bank....I think it feels more fluid than any other turboprop addon before it. To me it feels less like it's on rails and more like a long tube with wings sliding through the air. The only thing that makes it a bit awkward for me is the fact that my joystick (X52) is quite loose, and I know for a fact that the control forces on the real aircraft are higher (read: stiff), so it's easy to over-control and often difficult to be precise. 

 

Cheers,

DB

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I know for a fact that touchdown is actually a bit awkward in real life with the Q400. Landing the Dash 8 series of aircraft has always been described as like trying to make a smooth landing with a shopping cart. You need to keep power on through the touchdown otherwise you will fall out of the sky in very short order. If the power is pulled back prior to touchdown, you first lose the lift from the prop wash over the wings, then get a ton of drag from the props themselves, followed by a very abrupt arrival. The long fuselage doesn't help much either. It's certainly quite different to your average turboprop and requires a specific technique to get it down. (Really fun to watch the Porter guys (and gals) do this on a gusty day into the 4,000 ft runway at YTZ)

 

As for the bank....I think it feels more fluid than any other turboprop addon before it. To me it feels less like it's on rails and more like a long tube with wings sliding through the air. The only thing that makes it a bit awkward for me is the fact that my joystick (X52) is quite loose, and I know for a fact that the control forces on the real aircraft are higher (read: stiff), so it's easy to over-control and often difficult to be precise. 

 

Cheers,

DB

 

Absolutley agree. The only other aircraft simulation that seems to hold the inertia and control forces well that I have ever tried was the Aerowinx PS1.3 747-400 simulator that the WorldFlight Australia 747 sim is based off (See sig).

 

 

I have never flown an aircraft larger than a Cessna C172/Piper PA28 Archer myself (as in real life piloting) and those little barely 1 tonne beauties are pretty responsive due to their light weight, but even those little things are hardly on rails.

 

The Q400 ramps that up enough so that pilot induced oscillation is actually something that you can catch yourself doing if you're not thinking ahead of the aircraft and start over-controlling. That kinda see-saw back and forth movement of the ailerons. The aircraft reacts to it pretty much as I have seen real aircraft react to similar movements, lagging behind the yoke movement as the aileron interacts with the air. Yes, it's how real aircraft fly. The larger the movements get, the less co-ordinated it becomes. Speed changes let the aircraft sink more, and it is really noticeable in the Q400. Pull some thrust, and if you didn't think about the reduction of lift before the torque ramped down, you'll be reacting to a higher descent rate pretty soon!

 

I always have to laugh at people who say the Q400 is wrong because it pulls to the left at takeoff thrust.

 

Yes, you have 2 very high powered turboprops spinning in the same direction and some corkscrewing air hitting the tail. They put the Rudder Trim in a very prominent place for a reason! You literally need to use it every time you change configuration. A quick look at the pprune forums under the search term "Q400 Rudder" will confirm as much.

 

 

Now back to this bird... RealityXP GNS430? A fully integrated GNS430 would be REALLY good... I did spend $150 getting all the RealityXP Garmin stuff (430, 530, Unlimited) so I'd be great to be able to stick it into this plane!

... even the GNS530

http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/g2ArgQE8gTw/hqdefault.jpg

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I checked the forum and facebook, nothing said about RXP hey? Maybe I will post a topic. It would be great to have.

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Hey guys, as promised here is my first look video on the new RAZBAM Metro. Hopefully this will clear up why some of us guys are in love with this ole bird! This is the recently released retail version and NOT the beta!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9dVyVYg6kY

 

Well done Jeff. Nice quick run through.

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