KenG

Quick Review from a King Air Pilot (Part 1)

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First I am NOT a King Air 90 GTX guy, I flew A90s back in the late 90s and I instruct 200s, 300/350s, and 1900s. So I know how the old airplane handles and how the systems work in the new airplane. But as far as "in my experience" I am  having to pull from 20 year old knowledge and combine that with modern systems and avionics. I do have the latest C90 GTx POH/AFM from Beechcraft to confirm my does it work this was in the C90.

 

This is not a flip every switch and run every system through its paces review, but more of a how does it handle in a flight.

 

Purchase, download and installation is typical for a Carenado aircraft. The longest part of getting into this aircraft was waiting for their Navigraph install to run. Despite having a 1510 Carenado Navigraph database installed the Carenado aircraft installed its older database. Although disappointing I am due to update my database soon anyway.

 

Once I was in the sim and sitting in the pit the airplane looked every bit a Pro Line 21 King Air. The big swept props sitting way forward was reminiscent that this was a 90 series airplane. I performed a quick walk around of N54FT and was greeted with Carenado's typical beautiful HD textures with bump mapping and spectacular finishes that gives the airplane depth. I have to say this is the area where Carenado excels at and why I keep coming back. Drop dead gorgeous airplanes with a King Air that has the same ramp presence of its real world brethren.

 

Connecting a GPU to the airplane and firing up the systems I was greeted with a decent facsimile of a Pro Line 21 equipped pit. Anyone who has spent time in the real deal will quickly notice where Carenado took short cuts, but all things considering not a bad job at all. When you buy a Carenado aircraft you know you are not getting PMDG quality avionics, so I trudged along with that in mind.

 

I loaded the Rockwell-Collins FMS3000 while on the GPU to save maximum fuel for my 4 hour flight from KBNA to KAPA. I followed the VIPP format recommend by Collins for programming the FMS. Verify the status page and GPS pages (GPS pages were missing in Carenado.) Next is Initialize. The POS INIT page was a little different from the real deal in a few ways with the most disturbing being not able to copy the GPS coordinates from page 2 and paste them into page 1. Despite this the Carenado version seemed to still take my GPS position and I moved on to loading the flight Plan. Entering the flight plan was remarkable similar to a FMS3000. While I did not have any oddities on this simple flight (such as a pilot defined waypoint) I was able to quickly enter my SID to STAR plan. Again there was some simplification here and the Flight Plan page failed to display the DP out of KBNA. Checking the Performance page finishes the procedure and here Carenado really simplified the FMS. They did away with most of the Performance pages and just left you with the fuel pages. Thus entering my Vertical Profile has to be done from the LEGs pages. Those looking for a page to page representation of the FMS3000 should not expect that, besides that is not what Carenado is known for, however the FMS is good enough to get you from point A to B. (I see some reported problems with changing legs inflight and direct to. I did not have the opportunity to try that.)

 

Once the avionics was set I went about preparing the rest of the cockpit for flight. There are some switches not quite right. The SFDS came on correctly with the Aux Bat switch, however it hung in align until the engines were started. This meant I had to wait 126 seconds after engine start for alignment. The pressurization switch is suppose to have three positions (Carenado only modeled 2 positions.) Thus you are unrealistically in the TEST position as opposed to the PRESS position.  Speaking of which pressurization was still Carenado's bane and this aircraft exhibits the same issues as there other King Airs with a pressurization controller that is not quite right.

 

Starting the engines was typical for a Flight Sim turboprop, don't believe anything you see. N1 stabilized much lower then normal for a GPU start and once the condition lever was moved to low idle it unrealistically surged quickly. Considering nearly every FS turboprop does this you really can't blame Carenado. Disconnecting the GPU I did a cross generator start on the second engine.

 

Post start I knocked out the typical pre-taxi items. My only real complaint here is the volume of the vent blower when the Cabin Temp Mode is turned on to auto. Speaking of this is another switch error with the off position incorrectly pointing down as opposed to up. I immediately turned the system off due to the volume level of the blower sound. Guys the blower is forward of the pilot's feet, not next to his head! The other issue was checking the buses, voltage was 17 on all buses (except ext) despite both generators being online. My opinion on these systems is if you are going to model them, at least model the normal functions correctly.

 

Taxing out was OK with much more then normal power to start moving. I think here Carenado catered to the "it taxis too fast crowd" as opposed to modeling actual King Air taxi behavior. With the condition levers in high idle the airplane should have left the chalks as soon as I released the breaks. At low idle is should take a touch a forward power. I understand that it is difficult to model ground fine and those who have tried, generally make a bigger mess of things, but the C90 GTX feels like I am taxing with the Nitrogen removed from the tires and replaced with sand. Oh, well it is a flight simulator and not a taxi simulator, right?

 

Preparing for take-off and setting the Flight Guidance Panel I found the NAV button once again activates the autopilot. I don't know who programs this for Carenado, but once again, this is wrong! I a fairly certain the programmer is doing this just to stick it to us. Pitch and Roll modes in the were also absent. Fortunately I looked outside and saw the left aileron sticking up or takeoff would have been interesting.

 

Speaking of take-off, once I fired George the autopilot for trying to come on before I wanted him, the actual take-off roll and initial break from the runway were surprisingly pleasant. Very, King Air like and very predictable. Manual flight on the airplane was very easy. A true joy to fly. Carenado's Flight Dynamics Programmer deserves a bonus in his paycheck for this one. BRAVO! Setting Maximum range power at FL280 -52 degrees C and I was able to nearly match the figures out of the February 2015 C90GTx POH/AFM.

 

 

Back to the FGP once I put George back in charge I was able to utilize the system, but it is just not quite right, required extra pushes of mode buttons ect. But, one of Carenado's other banes, IAS modes (or in the case of Pro Line 21 FLC) worked very well without too much pitch excursion. I did try the VNAV mode but quickly found it was not as controllable as the real world Pro Line 21 and quickly abandoned it. Too many issues to even list here.

 

There are still allot more things I need to try and I will report back as I put more time into this bird. Overall, so far I'd have to say it is fairly good. Textures and Flight Dynamics are all top notch with avionics being good and the Flight Guidance System fair. Worth $40? Well if you are a King Air guy (or gal) like I am then this is must have for your hangar. I doubt Carenado will ever get the FGS right, come on, look at their track record... But, this one really is not as bad as some of their other attempts. Maybe our forum members will be able to at least fix some of the most annoying issues (like NAV/VNAV turning on the autopilot.)

 

 

 
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Very informative, thanks. Did you test on FSX or Prepar3D? How does the navigraph update now work? It never worked for me with the Hawker so that I cannot fly that one without the GTN mod. The framerates in the low single digits once the original FMS is active are unusable. I like Carendados very much and I wonder if they found what causes this bug.

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FSX:Steam with the airplane in its default form from Carenado. No problems. FPS bumping around 20-30 (with a system locked at 30.) No lags or stutters.

 

i74770K oced to 4.3Ghz and a nVidia 760. Running windowed 1920x1080 w/ nvidia inspector. ActiveSky Next and AI Traffic Optimizer running as well as the Fltplan.cm connector. W10 Pro x64

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Hi Ken,

 

Thanks for the outstanding write up - it's certainly nice getting real world perspective... LOL - that's what I find so darn infuriating with Carenado - almost a great aircraft but they just flat out refuse to go that final mile... I guess people keep buying their product so their business model works - - - so what do I know ???

 

Can you program airways into the FMC ???

 

Regards,

Scott

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FSX:Steam with the airplane in its default form from Carenado. No problems. FPS bumping around 20-30 (with a system locked at 30.) No lags or stutters.

 

i74770K oced to 4.3Ghz and a nVidia 760. Running windowed 1920x1080 w/ nvidia inspector. ActiveSky Next and AI Traffic Optimizer running as well as the Fltplan.cm connector. W10 Pro x64

Interesting. Maybe this bug only affects Prepar3D users on a particular OS. Reluctant to buy the C90 just to find that out though.

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Hi Ken,

 

Thanks for the outstanding write up - it's certainly nice getting real world perspective... LOL - that's what I find so darn infuriating with Carenado - almost a great aircraft but they just flat out refuse to go that final mile... I guess people keep buying their product so their business model works - - - so what do I know ???

 

Can you program airways into the FMC ???

 

Regards,

Scott

Scott,

 

 Yes I just programmed both "J" and "Q" routes into the FMS and it entered the correct Legs for the route of flight. I did not try "T" routes and I previously tried "V" routes so it looks like they got this correct.

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The pressurization woes continued with cruising at FL280. According to the POH/AFM the pilot is suppose to set 10,000' cabin and allow the system to positive pressure relief when at higher altitudes. Carenado missed this feature in the system and at higher altitudes you have to stare at a Warning Light and read a cabin PSID above 5.0.

 

2016-1-9_11-7-58-208_zps3u9x2ztr.png

 

If I thought Carenado would actually fix this I'd report it, but this is one area Carenado just ignores every-time. 

 

Descending from altitude was an easy affair and I used the typical King Air routine of just lowering the nose, letting the airspeed to build to MMO before pulling off power. Again I was greeted with very predictable flight dynamics in the descent and once the pressurization system decided it wanted to behave again I was able to reset it for descent. I loaded the RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 35R into KAPA and checked the legs. Everything looked like it loaded correctly as I prepared to make an approach to landing.

 

Once I was cleared for the approach I went ahead and enabled VNAV. The FGS was not quite as intuitive as actual airplane and required a little more manual management then I anticipated. Disappointingly rather then the FMS providing the magenta VPATH function and performing appropriate smoothing or level-offs from the FMS the system would only give me VALTS. The magenta computed VPATH was also directly manipulated with the pitch wheel. Thus the smoothing and automatic level offs that I expected did not happen. Furthermore the Vertical information on the MFD was not present.

 

Setting the References for landing was also not possible. Every-time I changed Baro ALT,  VAPP, or VREF the system reset it back to defaults. Again very disappointing. These airplanes need to be flown on speed and having the references set correctly is essential. While I was able to fly the RNAV approach into KAPA it was much more of an LNAV approach then able to use LNAV/VNAV or LPV minimums. I just would not trust the vertical system in the goo.

 

Just in case these is not enough of these, hero shot.

2016-1-9_8-26-23-673_zpsymaqq2ft.png

 

Taking over visual for runway 35R I lowered full flaps and slowed the airplane to its VREF speed of 99 knots. The C90 was very stable and predictable and I had no problems gently putting the airplane onto the aim point.  With full reverse I was stopped quickly, but there was some dancing coming out of reverse. Taxi-back and shutdown was equally predictable.

 

Tomorrow I'll take the airplane out for some engine failure work and see how the flight dynamics continue to hold up.

 
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Regarding the pressure warning.. it is currently coded by Carenado to go off at 5.1 PSI

 

And yes, flying at 28000 feet (4.34 PSI) and a cabin at 10000 feet (9.5 PSI) will give you a differential of 5.16..

 

It is easy in the coding to raise this threshold a bit.

 

I have raised mine to 5.4 just to turn off the warning.. not sure if that would be legal in the real world though..  :wink:

 

Edit: and have now gone back to 5.1 and decided to fly at 26,000 feet instead.  That keeps the alarm from going off, and is nicer to the passengers than allowing the cabin to go above 10,000, which is what the real plane does, I believe.

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Thanks Ken...  I don't have any time myself but I've been texting and emailing a good friend who flies a C90GTi.  He doesn't have FSX or P3D unfortunately but he has been helpful, and with some manuals/guides I've dug up (thanks internet) I've been able to to find how realistic I can get with the Carenado gtx version.  (Not very in case you didn't notice!).  But I do agree with you and echo the quality of the flight model - I too found numbers to be really close per the tables and handling realistic "feeling" enough for me.

 

I'm surprised you got FLC working well.  It seemed to work for me but only if another vertical mode (like VS) was set prior to departure.  As you know you can simply press FLC then engage AP and the real one will bug your speed climb out at it.  Doesn't seem to work so well in the Car version.  And yeah the NAV engaging the AP... ugh.  Though I think Bert found this only occurs when you've loaded a flight plan into the FMS.  Also I've found some oddities with the changing of NAV source on the PFD... but ya - like you said - no PMDG.  (PMDG - how bout a king air!!)

 

So I must wait again for a real PL21 - the newer WIP Milviz 350i looks promising.  And Eaglesoft's C560+ should have a well modeled PL21!

 

Ken, one more thing - have you found a way to "activate leg" in the FMS?  That is a huge downer for me and because of it I've adopted Bert's GTN mod into the C90.  I've also found Direct To doesn't really work.  It appears to activate the leg one fix ahead of you to the next one hehe.  Basically I've found the navigational side of things to be sub par - not really acceptable for my online flying on Pilot Edge.  /A flying is obviously possible... but all that glass begs to be flown with the FMS3000.

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Edit: and have now gone back to 5.1 and decided to fly at 26,000 feet instead.  That keeps the alarm from going off, and is nicer to the passengers than allowing the cabin to go above 10,000, which is what the real plane does, I believe.

 

+1

But the RA TDv2 remains my choice for a variety of reasons.

 

First adopters are first victims. 

 

 

nicer to the passengers than allowing the cabin to go above 10,000, which is what the real plane does, I believe.

 

But a couple of glasses of fine wine and they stay very comfortably above that!

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+1 Huge thanks KenG (and Ryan) for their work in objectively evaluating the model.

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I simply love reading FS aircraft reviews coming from real world pilots.

Thank you very much for spending time to share your knowledge and opinion with us, Ken.

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Regarding the pressure warning.. it is currently coded by Carenado to go off at 5.1 PSI

 

And yes, flying at 28000 feet (4.34 PSI) and a cabin at 10000 feet (9.5 PSI) will give you a differential of 5.16..

 

It is easy in the coding to raise this threshold a bit.

 

I have raised mine to 5.4 just to turn off the warning.. not sure if that would be legal in the real world though..  :wink:

 

Edit: and have now gone back to 5.1 and decided to fly at 26,000 feet instead.  That keeps the alarm from going off, and is nicer to the passengers than allowing the cabin to go above 10,000, which is what the real plane does, I believe.

 

Bert,

 

 Yes the real airplane will reach 5.0 PSID (does not matter where this happens as positive pressure relief is built in at 5.0 plus or minus 0.1 PSID) and then the outflow valve and safety valve will open allowing the cabin to continue to climb. So it is a matter of flying the cabin altitude. If I set the cabin to 10,000' then when the PSID reached the above limit the cabin would continue to climb until the CABIN ALT HI warning light illuminates. Fortunately no mask auto deploy in the 90 Series (I was actually surprised the newest  airplane did not have an auto-deploy feature.) If I left the cabin at Sea Level the cabin would remain at Sea Level until 5.0 plus or minus 0.1 was reached then start climbing.

 

 The CABIN ALT HI Warning light illuminates when the cabin pressure altitude exceeds 12,500 feet. (From the POH/AFM) It has nothing to do with the PSID.

 

 

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Part 2 - Single Engine Work

 

BE9L_SE_zpsgh0g672k.png

 

I was able to take the airplane up and around a bit more the AM and tested a few more items. First back to the avionics. I did get a little bit of seeking on FLC this morning, but not as bad as other aircraft. I am able to set my first altitude on the ground prior to take-off, then I use the pitch wheel to pitch to 7 to 10 degrees for TO. (I tried FLC on the ground and that did not work correctly.) I set my climb-out speed (160 KIAS is what I am using) and after take-off I am able to engage to autopilot and when ready select FLC. Works good. The NAV button continue to be an issue as when I want to manually fly with the FGS I have to hit NAV then disconnect the AP. So Bert if you have a fix, you will be my hero.

 

As for manual leg changes, Carenado did not program the FMS3000 correctly and the only way I was able to perform that was to delete waypoint. No too big a deal right after TO, but a huge mess when trying to just get the final approach leg programmed in. Yeah, hopefully the other guys will get that right...

 

I loaded up the airplane at KAPA (10,500 lbs) and planned a short flight over to KBJC for some single engine work. First thing, before TO I decided to test the autofeather system since it would be required on the four bladed swept props. Well the autofeather just fails miserably. (More on this later.) Ok I decide (its a sim and go anyway.) Upon reaching 10,500 I shut down the left (#1) engine (with the condition lever) and make sure the adjust power on both levers. No autofeather! This is very disappointing as the system does not work as designed. I feather the engine manually and complete the engine shutdown in flight checks. I approach runway 30R at KBJC and the airplane is a little squirrelly but overall stable. (Much of this could be the lack of motion feedback in the seat of pants.) I establish a flaps up single engine approach and make sure to hit the Flaps inhibit. (The Carenado TAWS system is way to sensitive...)  At 300' AGL I perform a go-around (or wave off for my boat bound friends) and the airplane climbs as expected for being heavy (despite the cooler temps.) I come around for a visual pattern for the single engine landing.

 

BE9L_SE_Cockpit_zpsbqrnrvjf.png

 

As you can see I am dancing with the rudders. The lack of yaw feeling in the hind quarters means I am trying to adjust a very little bar on what is basically cheap rudder pedals. I have to admit by the time I got around to the single engine landing my arm was feeling a little of the pressure from holding 3 to 5 degrees into the right engine. (Note to self to program an aileron trim.)

 

Landing single engine was as expected for a King Air 90, not too difficult but more of a handful then with both motors running. I decided to try some single engine reverse and the asymmetric thrust was non-existent.  In fact I was unrealistically able to taxi off to the right single engine using power on the right engine. Yes it can be done in the aircraft, but you have to keep up your ground speed and use ground fine to help pull your right. Most people clear into the dead engine because of this.

 

I decided to test out the failure mode by purposely fire walling the left engine after take-off. I can see now everyone problems as the MFD does not display amber and red torque displays when you over torque the engines. Considering how small the gauges are I have to call foul on this. About 3 to 5 minutes later the engine failed and low and behold the engine decided to autofeather when Careando fails the engine. Thanks guys.

 

The other things I noticed today is the REV NOT READY Caution Annunciator is RED in Carenado's version while the POH/AFM clearly labels the light as amber. Since every REV NOT Ready light I have seen is Amber, I bet Beechcraft is correct in this regard.

 

I also tried turning on and off Rudder Boost and it seems this is just a feel good switch. It does nothing in adjusting the rudders during single engine. (Then again it could be like the autofeather and only works when Carenado decides it should work.)

 

Over all I would say the airplane flies Good single engine but is not for the faint of heart. If you don't have independent YAW controls then you will probably don't want to try this.

 

I appreciate the Thank yous and no I don't report bugs to Carenado anymore so none of the bugs I found have been reported.

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@KenG you claim with the flight test that you have done that the flight dynamics in the GTX are such real like the RL plane, that its the part most important talking about planes like this, i wanna ask to you if the C90B or the B200 have such good and real flight dynamics, like this one, 

 

Redgars

RB

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Robert,

 

 It has been awhile since I last tried the B200 or the C90B. Carenado has been doing a better job with FDE with each King Air they produce and it really shows in this aircraft. Since Carenado is making updates to its line of aircraft I plan to on them to make an update prior to retesting the B200.

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And Eaglesoft's C560+ should have a well modeled PL21!

 

They just released a video today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDrSGq1grl8

 

However, I am cautiously watching Eaglesoft as one of their developers has refused to code for Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 and they were planning to lock database updates to RealNav Data as opposed to Navigraph so it will cost the end user more for each update. If this is their business practices then they may produce the best Pro Line 21 based aircraft and I still will not touch it.  The fact you have to boot the OS into Safe mode to load their software is ridiculous.

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How does one stop the Cabin pressure from exceeding 10000 feet?  I am tired of the light on almost every flight. Is there any way to stop it?  Carenado doesnt seem to fix anything.  Also why are frame rates so BAD?  I have a monster video card, they FPS should not hover around 12!! lol

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Fully discussed on page 1. Carenado programmed the logic wrong so to prevent the light keep your aircraft altitude below FL260 with a cabin at 10,000'

 

Must be your system on the frame rate. I did not experience any problems with frames between 20 and 30 with a system locked at 30. A P3D user complained about fps also on page 1. I don't own Prepar3D and cannot comment. Works great under FSX:Steam.

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Regarding the pressure warning.. it is currently coded by Carenado to go off at 5.1 PSI

 

And yes, flying at 28000 feet (4.34 PSI) and a cabin at 10000 feet (9.5 PSI) will give you a differential of 5.16..

 

It is easy in the coding to raise this threshold a bit.

 

I have raised mine to 5.4 just to turn off the warning.. not sure if that would be legal in the real world though..  :wink:

 

Edit: and have now gone back to 5.1 and decided to fly at 26,000 feet instead.  That keeps the alarm from going off, and is nicer to the passengers than allowing the cabin to go above 10,000, which is what the real plane does, I believe.

 

How did you make the changes in the coding? I'd like to know.

 

Thanks,

Roland

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I have this installed on P3d and it is all very nice. However, this is the only aircraft I have that routinely runs me out of virtual memory.

 

Would anyone have some insight as to why this is the case? (only on this particular aircraft). Are there installation options that could help?

 

I have Orbx LC and Vector installed as well as the F1 GNS 750.

 

Thanks

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How did you make the changes in the coding? I'd like to know.

 

Thanks,

Roland

 

I have looked and can no longer find it.. getting old, I guess  :nea:

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