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Murfman

An Apology to Alabeo

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In another thread in this sub-forum I attempted to give a quick assessment of the
 
newly released C400 Corvalis. Since it had a G1000 system which looked pretty
 
much like other Carenado/Alabeo G1000 systems, I thought that should be pretty
 
easy to do. What threw me was that the Corvalis has a control unit with features 
 
like no other version, to my knowledge anyway. My thanks go to JYW for pointing this
 
out to me.
 
 
What I reported was that you can't create a flight plan with the FMS knobs,
 
because all they do is adjust radio frequencies.  I assumed that this was a bug,
 
when in fact it's part of the set of choices the GCU 476 control unit gives you.
 
The control unit is the panel with the data entry keypad. On the center left of
 
this panel are four buttons labeled PFD, MFD, NAV, and COM.  By default COM is
 
active, and this is indicated by a small white triangle.  When you push any of
 
those four buttons, a triangle lights up beside it.  So, when COM  is active,
 
that means that the FMS knobs, both inner and outer adjust the COM frequencies,
 
and pushing the inner knob makes the standby frequency active.  To get the FMS
 
knobs to work to create waypoints on the MFD, you must press the MFD button.
 
The NAV button lets you adjust the NAV radios, and the PFD button is supposed to
 
let you make adjustments on the PFD, but as far as I can tell, I don't think it's
 
modelled.
 
 
Anyway, I feel I owe an apology to Alabeo for wrongly reporting on several
 
features of the G1000 avionics suite. This was due to the haste of my assessment.
 
It was done late at night before going to bed.  Now after having spent a few
 
hours with this plane, I have to say that I really like it.  That's not to say
 
that there aren't any problems, but I have to say that most of the important
 
features of the G1000 seem to work, including the autopilot, and using them, you
 
can have an enjoyable flight.
 
 
My main gripe is the loss of full rudder authority after using the autopilot.
 
Just to make sure I wasn't imagining this I flew a closed circuit and did three
 
takeoffs and landings. On all takeoff and landing rolls I had plenty of rudder
 
authority. But after doing this test I took off and engaged the autopilot and
 
then immediately shut it off. After that I had minimal rudder control; in fact
 
the plane acted as if it had a yaw damper. I could move the stick without
 
touching the pedals and my turns were coordinated.  How do I know this? By the
 
little slip and skid bar just below the bank angle pointer on the PFD. After
 
landing I had only the slightest amount of rudder authority and had to steer with
 
toe brakes, and actually this works pretty well.  The problem would be trying to
 
land in a stiff cross wind.
 
 
THE AUTOPILOT
 
In my initial report I said that many of the autopilot functions, including FLC,
 
Altitude hold, Altitude Select, didn't work.  The problem, I later discovered, is
 
that even though you think you have pushed an autopilot function button, it
 
doesn't always register.  The key here is to check the annunciator at the top of
 
the Primary Flight Display (PFD). Make sure that the function you thought you
 
selected is in fact displayed.
 
 
The following are modes which I tested successfully:
 
Pitch Mode (PIT). While on the ground when you press the FD button you will see
 
ROL and PIT displayed on the annunciator. It's important to know that if, after
 
takeoff, you turn on the autopilot, the plane will not maintain any particular
 
pitch. You have to tell it what pitch you want, and the best time to do this is
 
when you are on the ground. You can do this one of two ways: with FD on, press
 
the Nose Up key until the ADI pitch bar is at ten degrees, or press the GO AROUND
 
button on the flap panel. This will accomplish the same thing; you don't even
 
have to turn on the flight director. Pressing this button will do it for you.
 
If you want to select an altitude in this mode, merely twist the altitude select
 
knob until you see your desired altitude at the top of the altimeter scale. You
 
should then see ALTS on the right side of the annunciator. After takeoff and
 
reaching a safe altitude engage the autopilot, select HDG or NAV and check the
 
annunciator. It should say something like this HDG AP PIT ALTS. Make sure the ALTS
 
is still there; sometimes it disappears. If it does so, just twist the altitude
 
select knob one click and then back again, and it should reappear. You will find
 
that even in pitch mode your plane will level off very nicely at your selected
 
altitude. If you set your power to 25 inches and 2500 rpm during the climb you'll
 
find that your speed will settle in at about 100 knots, which is close to the best
 
rate of climb (101 knots).
 
 
FLC Mode (FLC) I recommend you start with pitch mode, and when your speed
 
stabilizes, switch to FLC, and you will find that your airspeed will be captured
 
very nicely.  Then if you want to change your airspeed press the Nose Up and Nose
 
Down keys.  Pressing the Nose Up key will increase the speed displayed at
 
the top of the airspeed scale. This will result, of course in the nose coming down
 
to pick up airspeed at a given power setting. Don't be fooled by the label Nose
 
Up. In this mode as well as Pitch mode your selected altitude will be captured
 
nicely. Just be sure to check that ALTS is showing on the annunciator.
 
 
ALT Mode. I earlier reported that this doesn't work. I was mistaken. When you
 
press ALT on the autopilot panel, it will definitely capture the altitude you
 
were at when you pressed it. My problem was that I didn't check the annunciator
 
to make sure my key press actually registered.
 
 
PLANNING A FLIGHT.  If you are familiar with Carenado's implementation of the
 
G1000, you will have no or little trouble with this unit. I am admittedly still a
 
little clumsy using the G1000, so I don't know if I was the problem or if the
 
unit is a little glitchy at times. My guess is that I was the problem.
 
Nevertheless I was able to accomplish my intended goals through trial and error.
 
You can create a flight plan from scratch or just load an FSX plan. I tried both
 
and made sure that I was able to modify an FSX plan.
 
When I asked ATC for a specific approach, I was vectored to a transition VOR, and
 
that gave me a chance to try the Direct To function, and I have to say that it
 
worked perfectly. I then entered a GPS approach, activated it, and the autopilot
 
followed it all the way to final. When on final I tuned to the ILS frequency
 
after switching out of GPS mode using the CDI button (I know, this is incorrect, but
 
it seems this is how Alabeo/Carenado handle this function). I then pressed APP,
 
and the autopilot did a beautiful job of tracking the ILS. On short final I
 
disengaged and hand flew to a successful landing (with a smile on my face, of course).
 
 
One thing I should caution. Before doing any of the above, be sure to turn on the
 
Avionics switch on the overhead. The MFD will display with the switch off, but
 
you can't do anything with it.  :P
 
 
BUG REPORT
 
If I were to send in a bug report to Alabeo, which I intend to do, I would have to list the rudder
 
problem as the most important.  Even with this bug, this little bird is a blast
 
to fly.  I'm really having fun with it, but this is a really serious bug and
 
needs to be fixed. 
 
A few other little gripes which don't seriously detract:
 
1) You get a low fuel warning when your fuel level drops just below half, which
 
seem a little extreme to me.
 
2) The FMS knobs on the GCU 476 unit don't work on the 2D pop-up, which I like to
 
drag over to a second monitor.  They work fine on the VC unit, but then you can't
 
see the effect of turning them while you're looking directly at the unit to
 
adjust the knobs.
 
3) You can't adjust the fan speed on the ECS panel. The fan is quite noisy, so I
 
leave it off.
 
 
On a positive note, with the panel lights on at night, the flap handle has an
 
illuminated flashing line on it when the flaps are in transit. It looks pretty
 
cool.
 
Another positive: the speed brakes are the same style as the Lancair Legacy, and
 
they are effective!
 
 
My recommendation: Buy this plane if Alabeo fixes the flap problem. Again, it is a really fun aircraft!
 
Thanks for reading. I hope this little review was helpful if you're considering buying.
 
Regards,
 
Tom

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Sorry the text was so messed up in my post. I wrote it using Notepad and then pasted into the edit box. Not sure why that didn't work. The reason I did it that way was that I have lost a number of long posts previously after clicking the Post button. It was just my. insurance that I wouldn't have to do it all over again.

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Thanks for that explanation it was very helpful

 

I was starting to wonder if there was more than one version released

 

cheers 

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Hey Tom,

 

Another tip for you, regarding the problem where rudder authority is lost after disconnecting the AP.  As you probably know this is due to a bug where, when the AP is disconnected, the Yaw Damper is not.   Thus, athough there's no annunciation for YD (clearly, as the GFC700 in the C400 does not have a YD), the FSX Yaw Damper is "stuck on".

 

The way to resolve this, is to define a keyboard command for "Yaw Damper On/Off" in the FSX/P3D control assignments........ actually, I think the keyboard command for this is already defined in FSX/P3D commands by default  - and I think it is CTRL+D.

 

So then, you would disconnect the AP, and then immediately hit "CTRL+D".  This should disconnect the 'phantom' Yaw Damper, and give you full rudder authority.

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Hey, JYW,  this is great news!  I haven't tried this yet, but if it works (and I really have no reason to doubt you), I would definitely recommend this bird as a must buy.  Thanks so much for the explanation.  If the fault is with FSX, it doesn't sound as though it's something Alabeo will be able to fix. Now I'm beginning to wonder how many other payware planes are affected by this bug, and I just didn't notice. : /

 

And, Lewicide, I'm glad you found my explanation helpful.  Thanks for the feedback.

 

Regards,

 

Tom

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Well, I put JYW's suggestion to the test, and I'm very happy to say, "It Works!"   :smile:  Also, he was correct in that the default key press to disconnect the, in this case, "phantom" Yaw Damper, is in fact Ctrl D.   If you don't mind this little cheat, I think you will be happy with this bird, provided you follow my above advice on using the G1000. I certainly am! Admittedly the simulation of the avionics suite is not complete by any means, but it certainly has enough detail to be interesting and enjoyable. If you want a study sim, then this won't be for you, of course.

 

My heartfelt thanks again to JYW for his help in solving this problem.  

 

Regards,

 

Tom      ​

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Well, I put JYW's suggestion to the test, and I'm very happy to say, "It Works!"   :smile:  Also, he was correct in that the default key press to disconnect the, in this case, "phantom" Yaw Damper, is in fact Ctrl D.   If you don't mind this little cheat, I think you will be happy with this bird, provided you follow my above advice on using the G1000. I certainly am! Admittedly the simulation of the avionics suite is not complete by any means, but it certainly has enough detail to be interesting and enjoyable. If you want a study sim, then this won't be for you, of course.

 

My heartfelt thanks again to JYW for his help in solving this problem.  

 

Regards,

 

Tom      ​

 

It's a pleasure Tom, happy to help, and that you can now enjoy your bird!

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Pressing the "Nose UP" key and getting a nose down result goes against any aviation logic... :Shame On You:

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Well, Bert, at first glance that does seem illogical, I admit, but when you are in FLC mode for this aircraft, the function of the Nose Up and Nose Down keys changes to setting the commanded speed for the auto pilot. Thus repeated tapping of the nose up button increases the commanded speed which appears at the top of the airspeed scale.

 

Now, I know that you understand that to get the aircraft to increase speed at a given power setting, the autopilot must execute a nose down command to the elevator when operating in FLC Mode.

 

I have demonstrated this to myself numerous times, and of course I scratched my head over it at first. If you think of it in the context of increasing speed, maybe the act of pressing the button with the word "up" in it isn't so illogical. : )

 

From the all too brief autopilot manual:

 

"10) FLC Key: Activates the Flight Level Change,

when you have a higher altitude previously

selected will also hold the current speed

which can be modified with 9 or 11."

 

"10)" is the reference number in the pictorial diagram for the FLC button. "9" and "11" are the ref numbers for the Nose Up and Nose Down buttons.

 

While in VS Mode the buttons behave as you would expect, i.e., tapping the Nose Up button results in a pitch up command of 100 FPM for each tap, which shows up in the annunciator.

 

I hope this was clear. Or were you pulling my leg?

 

In any case, thanks for your interest!

 

Regards,

 

Tom

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Hi Tom,

 

No, I was actually serious... it would be interesting to see the Pilot's Guide for the real aircraft.

 

This would not be the first time that Carenado/Alabeo animated a cockpit control incorrectly.

 

:wink:

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FWIW, it's a trivial matter for developers to add a command to disable Yaw Damper whenever the AP is disconnected.

 

Yes, it is an internal "FS bug" but it is simple to overcome.

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Hi Tom,

 

No, I was actually serious... it would be interesting to see the Pilot's Guide for the real aircraft.

 

This would not be the first time that Carenado/Alabeo animated a cockpit control incorrectly.

 

:wink:

 

I just tested it on the Flight1 Mustang which has a similar G1000 avionics installation..

 

Nose Up reduces the target speed,  Nose Down increases it  :smile:

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Bert, thanks for going to the trouble to test this.  Given the track record of Alabeo/Carenado vs. Flight One when it comes to systems authenticity, I'll have to go with the latter.  I've sent my bug list into Alabeo. Hope it does some good.

 

Tom


@ n4gix, thanks for your comment.  It's nice to have further confirmation!

 

Regards,

 

Tom

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Thank you Murfman and JYW for your input here. I just bought this plane and have been wondering if these issues were bugs or if I was just doing something incorrectly. I am excited to read these sugestions and will give them a full test later today!

 

I did have some follow up questions for the community with this plane.

 

I wanted to see if there was anyway to bind a key command to change the autopilot's heading, speed, altitude. I would like to map these controls to my X-52pro like I do in PMDG/Aerosoft Airbus products. Since the C400 does not seem to use the FSX/P3D defualt autopilot commands I am at a bit of a loss here. Any suggestions or successes in this area?

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Some feedback and tests with FLC mode.

 

I am noticing that I can only perform climbs in FLC mode, not descents. Can anyone else get the mode to perfrom a descnet using Murfman's instructions?

 

For climbs - I am level at say 3000 feet in ALT captured mode. I select a new higher altidute say 6000 and hit FLC. The plane pitches up fairly agressivly and then starts to lower the nose back down to eventually settle at a pitch that holds my selected airspeed minus 10 knots. I am noticing that the FLC mode always seems to hold a speed 10 knots less than that selected at the top of the speed tape. Not a hige deal just an observation. As the plane reaches the selcted altitude it goes from FLC (with ALTS armed) to PIT to ALT to eventually capture the selected altitude. Good!

 

For descents - I am level at 6000 now with ALT captured and active. I select a new lower altidue 3000 feet and hit FLC. The plane agressivly pitches up and will climb until I intervene. If I hit the Nose UP key to raise the selected airspeed the nose will lower and eventually settle at a level 0 FPM pitch while trying to accelerate to my very high airspeed I selected. If instead I go back to level flight in ALT mode and try to start my descent in VS mode I can dial in a VS -500 FPM (with ALTS armed) but if I hit the FLC button here I get the same unwanted pitch up behavior. Is this a bug? Should the FLC mode be able to do descents? Can anyone else do descents with FLC mode?

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