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The Carenado Meridian is out!

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I think what frustrates me the most is that they've done a number of planes that are this close to being extremely good. And yet, here we are.

 

Like the Avatar Scott.  Not picking on your but reading many of the posts here I have to jump up on my soap box (again!).  Agree mostly with your comments (okay, just the first sentence...) but I will say again this is flight simulation and we are not going to buy the real thing and take it up in the air and try to land it.  For $37 you get a nice looking model that flies on your computer, with system modeling that works for most but still, as some say, not perfect, not like in the real world, but in the computer world.  Almost every aircraft put out by Carenado is nick-picked to death.  It seems to me to be a badge of honor to find as many things as possible wrong with any Carenado aircraft.  Even real pilots post here and throw in their "findings".  As soon as PMDG releases the 747, I can guarantee many will be posting 'their' findings and let the beta testers know they missed this, they missed that. Why doesn't this work?!  I want it fixed now.  I suspect we all get bored learning some of the things about flight simming and spend our time mostly nick-picking a product.  That's the fun stuff.  It wouldn't be fun if you purchased the product, installed it, and took off and landed.  There are many aircraft "experts" who post videos on YouTube and other media and provide an in-depth review of an aircraft.  Most are able to use all of the functions that many say are not working.  That's what confuses me. 

 

IMHO, if this aircraft and many other Carenado products cost as much as a PMDG product or more, then I could agree, every system better be working perfectly and they better spend a long time beta testing before release.  But it is only $37 and it will someday be on sale for maybe 50% off (I do not think PMDG puts their stuff on sale).  It is a nice looking model and you can tell your family how nice the model looks and show them around the cockpit and passenger compartments.  They will be overwhelmed with how nice the VC looks, the passenger compartments looking almost real, and the exterior textures looking awesome!  "Hey!  Start it up for me.  Oh wow!  The engines sound great!"  Over the years here at AVSIM I get the feeling some people asked developers, like Carenado, to fix issues they found and the developer did not respond so they decided to use the forums to tell others.  Sort of like when your GE refrigerator has a defect and you call GE customer service and they do not respond to your complaint.  You go out and tell everyone you can find and tell them not to buy a GE refrigerator because they would not respond to your complaint.  You fixed GE and now they will suffer!  I don't think so...

 

Personally I like developers like Carenado.  Sure, their stuff is not perfect but I do not expect perfection, at least not in a flight simulator.  If it was perfect, well, that's a bonus.  I like RealAir stuff too but their products are not perfect either.  Discussions here usually get heated after a release (but they usually provide a quick fix).

 

Oh well!  Off my soapbox.  I apologize in advance for getting some upset with my comments but some of the comments here got me upset so it's your right and my right to get upset (at our comments).  Happy flight simming!

 

Best regards,

Jim

  • Upvote 6

Jim Young | AVSIM Online! - Simming's Premier Resource!

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Honestly, I don't think Carenado perform any beta testing, other than a 10 minute "does it look ok?" discussion, prior to putting it up for sale!

 

Now come on, that's not fair. I'm sure they do at least one half hour flight....while watching Netflix...

  • Upvote 1

Paul Synnott

 

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I apologize in advance for getting some upset with my comments

 

Not at all, Jim. Many valid points in your post. Personally, I am just against devs who repeat the same mistakes/omissions/shortcuts again and again. The product may still be absolutely ok but claiming the real world fidelity without at least aiming at making the product such is a little stretch. That being said, I own many Carenado birds and fly them maybe more than other ones, after all I am by no means an expert pilot and so I may just be perfect target customer for them. Still, where's potential for more it's always a bit said to see it wasted.  


Hans Schmitz

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Almost every aircraft put out by Carenado is nick-picked to death. 

 

Sorry, but a switch that is animated and is supposed to do something...according to the developer's own manual(!)...should bloody well do it. If not, the manufacturer should fix it PDQ. That's not nitpicking, it's just saying that something should work as advertised. I reached my limit with Carenado/Alabeo when the Tomahawk came out. I did a review of it for Aerosoft, and one of the first things I noticed was that you couldn't tune the ADF. Now either none of the beta testers thought that worth testing, or they tested and reported it and Carenado didn't bother to fix it. Either of these scenarios is unacceptable. My review is probably still available to read, and I think I was pretty fair - in fact, I had to acknowledge how much they got right, but there's just no getting away from howlers like that.

 

But here's what elevates simple common-or-garden incompetence into the realms of outright contempt for the customer: Aerosoft passed my review on to the developers, who responded that the issue was known and a patch would be provided. Years later, there is still no sign of that patch. And I refuse to support that kind of business model with my money.

 

If that's nit-picking, then I'm proud to be a nit-picker.

  • Upvote 2

Paul Synnott

 

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I disagree with reviews like yours!!  Sure!  Tell the people who read it that this does not work properly as in the real world and let them make a decision.  For you to rip away because you, the reviewer, does not like it (or you have a personal vendetta against a developer) is wrong.  Look at the video reviews on the Internet and they will usually show there's a problem with this switch or something like that but they don't rip the developer on their total product. 

 

Yes, that's nick-picking and you should not be proud.

 

Best regards,

Jim


Jim Young | AVSIM Online! - Simming's Premier Resource!

Member, AVSIM Board of Directors - Serving AVSIM since 2001

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Important other links: Basic FSX Configuration Guide | AVSIM CTD Guide | AVSIM Prepar3D Guide | Help with AVSIM Site | Signature Rules | Screen Shot Rule | AVSIM Terms of Service (ToS)

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ADF not working in a GA aircraft is "nitpicking" wow :Thinking:

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Over the years here at AVSIM I get the feeling some people asked developers, like Carenado, to fix issues they found and the developer did not respond so they decided to use the forums to tell others.

Your comments are always welcome. We all know your lot in life here is to keep the peace and you guys do good! I do think that to say we should not point out bad products and poor service seems a bit over the top. As you say...picking developers apart is pretty harsh but when a company goes on for years with release after release I think it is just what should be pointed out. If consummers don't point out bad apples then they will surley continue to rake in the money and give poor service. When Tom was alive he even started the wall of shame and for many reasons these guys deserve to be there. I don't want a fight here in fact I consider the whole subject a joke after this same thing plays out about every month or two with these guys. I hope you will rethink some of you comments.

  • Upvote 1

Sam

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I disagree with reviews like yours!!  Sure! 

 

You read it, then?

 

 

 

Tell the people who read it that this does not work properly as in the real world and let them make a decision

 

Er...that's exactly what I did.  :rolleyes:

 

 

 

For you to rip away because you, the reviewer, does not like it (or you have a personal vendetta against a developer) is wrong

 

It's nothing to do with "ripping away" (whatever that is), it's stating my (justifiable) dissatisfaction. As. A. Customer. I would love to love Carenado's products. They look wonderful, but unfortunately there always seems to be that touch of all-fur-coat-and-no-knickers about them.

 

I see that Aerosoft Sim News is no longer online, so here is the text of my review. Do please feel free to identify the nit-picky bits...

 

 

Introduction

 

Introduced in 1977, the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk (aka “Tommy”, “Traumahawk”), is a low-wing, fixed tricycle gear, single engine piston, two-seater aircraft that fulfils much the same role as, say, the Cessna 152 – training and general personal use. The most obvious differences between the PA-38 and the C152 are the low wing and the T-tail. The T-tail was intended to make spin recovery more demanding for students, as opposed to other trainers in which spin recovery was much easier. As a further training improvement, the Tomahawk was designed to handle more heavily than other aircraft of similar size, in order to better prepare the student for the experience of handling larger aircraft. The low wing and canopy design give excellent visibility, particularly in the traffic pattern. The Tomahawk also boasts a roomier cockpit, although that’s not so relevant in FSX, which would allow Breaking Bad’s Huell to fit comfortably into a Piper Cub!

 

So much for the real-world Tomahawk. Let’s take a look at what Alabeo has done with it.

 

 

Installation and Documentation

 

Alabeo’s PA-38 currently retails for $22.95. Purchasing via download is straightforward, as is the installation, which will take up just over 380MB of disk space. Six different liveries are provided “out of the box” and there is also an all-white version for painters.

 

The supplied documentation is basic, but adequate for such a simple aircraft. A reference card is provided, with standard and emergency checklists that appear to come from a real PA-38 Pilot’s Operating Handbook that is freely downloadable from the web. For those who are interested, the URL is http://www.snapflight.com/PA38-112_files/PA38.pdf

 

 

 

Exterior Modelling

 

If I had to sum up the Alabeo Tomahawk’s exterior in a single word, that word would be “gorgeous”. The exterior is beautifully detailed and seems very close to the appearance of the real-world aircraft. I’ll leave the rivet-counting to others, but I did notice a small round something below the air vent intake in some photographs that isn’t there in the Alabeo model. It doesn’t seem to rate a mention in the real-world POH either, so it probably isn’t anything significant.

 

The exterior look is not spoiled by zooming in for a close-up look, and detailing around the cockpit and on the wings in particularly good, with nice shines and reflections on fuselage and canopy. There is some evidence of weathering on the exterior, but not a lot. The propeller has a nice substantial look when viewed from the side. This is called “volumetric side view prop effect”, and one of those bits of eye candy that you like to see, even if it would never have occurred to you to ask for it.

 

Some eye candy that I expected to see is missing, though, namely parked aircraft paraphernalia. There are no chocks, tie-downs or pitot tube covers to be seen when the aircraft is fully shut down. Granted, this is hardly essential, but it’s a nice immersive touch all the same, and so is noticeable when absent.

 

 

Interior Modelling

 

The quality of the interior matches that of the exterior, and the Alabeo Tomahawk’s interior provides the virtual pilot with a very immersive virtual cockpit. All the right things appear to be in the right places, and the panel matches the real-world PA-38 very closely. VOR and ADF functionality is provided, but no glideslope needle. This is not a bird you’ll be flying IFR in, but that’s hardly what you’d be buying it for. A slightly unusual feature of the Tomahawk panel is the “in your face” fuel tank selector, which occupies a prominent position in the centre of the panel. The designers seem to have intended to keep the pilot mindful of the need to switch tanks regularly – and it works as intended.

 

Those who don’t like their virtual cockpits to appear too pristine won’t have anything to complain about here. The wear and tear is nicely shown in the texturing, and you can see that this aircraft is not straight out of the showroom, although the panel could perhaps have used a little more aging, as it seems less abused than the rest of the interior, but this is really just a quibble. The “history” of this Alabeo Tommy can be seen in the stained carpet and seat upholstery, wear on the door arm-rest and scuff marks on the metal plate beneath the pedals. In addition, sunlight appears to catch scratches and imperfections in the canopy.

 

Interior lighting is basic and consists panel instrument lights only, controlled by a single knob which also controls the navigation lights, so if the navigation lights are on, so are the panel lights. I could not find any evidence of a cockpit light. Given that the VC shows nothing that looks like a light source, I have to assume that this is an accurate representation.

 

 

 

 

Sound

 

I don’t have the most discerning or perceptive ear when it comes to FSX aircraft, so I’ll describe the engine sounds as “good enough”. Perhaps they’re better than that, perhaps worse. What I will say is that they are distinctive and do sound close to recordings of real world Tomahawk engines that I’ve heard. If was blindfolded while a selection of FSX aircraft were loaded into the sim, I’d be confident of recognising the Tomahawk sound. Inside the cockpit, some switches and levers make a sound when operated and some don’t. Apart from that, the Tommy seems to be light on sound effects, but that impression could be caused by the fact that I usually fly with A2A’s Accufeel, which I disabled while conducting review flights.

 

Graphics Performance

 

Performance in terms of FPS is excellent. Being such a simple aircraft helps of course, but the Alabeo/Carenado stable does have a reputation for making great-looking FPS-friendly aircraft, and the Alabeo PA-38 is no exception. On my low-end system I was comfortably getting a very smooth 25-40 FPS over Friday Harbor with Orbx PNW scenery. Suffice it to say that if anyone has FPS issues flying the Alabeo Tomahawk, don’t blame the aircraft.

 

Systems Modelling

 

There isn’t a lot to report here in such a simple aircraft. I’ve already commented on fuel management. Running up performs as expected, with both magnetos showing some drop, and the pitot heat also causing RPM drop, but I don’t think I’ve ever known an add-on aircraft to fail those tests. On one flight I forgot to switch on the alternator before taxiing, only noticing when I was investigating why the yellow light beside the suction gauge was on. It switched off as soon as I corrected the error.

 

 

 

Flight Dynamics

 

As mentioned earlier, the Tomahawk was designed to have a heavier “feel” than other aircraft of similar size and this seems to have been reproduced in the Alabeo version. The aircraft’s response to control inputs always seems “measured” – it doesn’t bounce or jerk about. This is particularly nice during an approach. It’s also stable in cruise and easy to trim. There is some P-factor on takeoff but a lot less than I’ve experienced in other similar add-ons.

 

Not a lot of rudder is needed for turn coordination. Apparently real-world Tomahawks have some linkage between ailerons and rudder that reduces the amount of rudder input needed to keep the ball in the centre of the turn coordinator, so this seems to be an accurate representation of the aircraft’s real-world flight characteristics.

 

From a sample of the aircraft’s in-flight performance, the Alabeo Tomahawk appears to fly close enough to the real-world numbers as published in the downloadable POH. Although admittedly, those charts aren’t the most readable I’ve ever come across.

 

The real-world Tomahawk’s gear suspension is designed to be forgiving on landing and this also seems to carry through to the Alabeo version, as it tends to glue itself to the runway and refuse to bounce even when plonked down fairly roughly. The Tommy is also nice and stable during taxi and take-off roll, and doesn’t seem to want to wander about as much as other light aircraft I’ve flown in FSX.

 

The real meat of this aircraft’s FDE, however, must lie in its spin behaviour. After all, this is what was meant to separate the Tomahawk from aircraft like the Cessna 152. So, with all realism sliders to the right, I took the PA-38 through a few spins to see if the Alabeo “Traumahawk” lives up to its real-world counterpart’s nickname. The results could be summed up as “more or less” or “as much as you could expect from a $22.95 FSX add-on aircraft” - and that’s not meant as a criticism. Spinning the Alabeo Tomahawk is not the same as spinning a Carenado C152 or a default (or Carenado) C172. The real-world PA-38 designers wanted to force the pilot to take specific steps in order to recover from a spin. While that’s not required of the FSX pilot, my experience is that the Alabeo Tomahawk enters a spin a lot more enthusiastically than similar aircraft, and while a specific sequence of actions might not be necessary to recover, it will lose more altitude during the recovery and come perilously close to Vne if the pilot isn’t careful.

 

On the minus side, I didn’t notice much buffet leading up to the stall, but my research into the real PA-38 suggested that stalls are somewhat more dramatic than usual due to the wing’s interruption of the airflow over the horizontal stabilizer. However, it’s not a major thing, and I imagine that something like Accufeel could be used to add this phenomenon.

 

 

Bugs

 

I’ve only noticed two bugs so far one minor, and one more serious – in my view, at least.

The minor bug is that at certain angles, the landing light shines back at you through the VC panel, usually during takeoff and landing. I should stress here that the effect is only momentary and I’m sure I’ve seen this with some other aircraft, so it may well be an issue with FSX itself.

 

The other problem is, in my opinion more serious, and not just in terms of functionality: when you move the tuning knob on the ADF radio, the ADF gauge compass card rotates and the ADF radio frequency does not change. I did hope that the ADF compass card knob might tune the radio, but no such luck – two knobs rotate the compass card, but the radio can’t be tuned, so if the desired NDB’s frequency isn’t 284 or 1400, you’re out of luck. While not a huge showstopper, this is the kind of howler that makes me wonder how beta testing is managed, that something so obvious could slip through quality control. I raised the issue with Alabeo, who informed me that they were aware of it and that it would be patched - at some point. At the time of writing, however, no patch for this aircraft has been issued.

 

Summary

 

The Alabeo Tomahawk is a nice-looking aircraft that’s full of character and a reasonably accurate representation of the real thing. It’s great for those quick jaunts where you just want to get in the air quickly to do some sightseeing or practice the fundamentals. If you’re looking for a value for money, back-to-basics trainer with high quality, high performance graphics, that will get you to your destination faster than the venerable Cub, then this is the aircraft for you.


Paul Synnott

 

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Lets just forget about the numerous community fixes and work arounds that have evolved because of this 'nit-picking.'

  • Upvote 3

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Personally I like developers like Carenado.  Sure, their stuff is not perfect but I do not expect perfection, at least not in a flight simulator.  If it was perfect, well, that's a bonus.  I like RealAir stuff too but their products are not perfect either.  Discussions here usually get heated after a release (but they usually provide a quick fix).

 

Oh well!  Off my soapbox.  I apologize in advance for getting some upset with my comments but some of the comments here got me upset so it's your right and my right to get upset (at our comments).  Happy flight simming!

 

Best regards,

Jim

 

 

JIm, sorry to disagree with you here... Carenado shows us again and again that they cannot be bothered to

fix fundamental issues with their airplanes.  In the marketing blurb they will say:  Tested by real pilots etc

but the actual product falls short... this is not nitpicking IMHO

 

Yes, for some users, it does not matter if switches work correctly, or if you can tune an ADF radio, or if you

can select a Direct-to waypoint in a G1000 flightplan.  To others, myself included, these are oversights that

other vendors would fix in a heartbeat.

 

Personally, I have a Love-Hate relationship with Carenado.. they make lovely planes, but there are often

problems,  which are left for users to try to fix as best they can..  I believe that potential buyers should indeed

have this pointed out, in advance of spending their $37  :hi:

  • Upvote 10

Bert

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JIm, sorry to disagree with you here... Carenado shows us again and again that they cannot be bothered to

fix fundamental issues with their airplanes.  In the marketing blurb they will say:  Tested by real pilots etc

but the actual product falls short... this is not nitpicking IMHO

 

Yes, for some users, it does not matter if switches work correctly, or if you can tune an ADF radio, or if you

can select a Direct-to waypoint in a G1000 flightplan.  To others, myself included, these are oversights that

other vendors would fix in a heartbeat.

 

Personally, I have a Love-Hate relationship with Carenado.. they make lovely planes, but there are often

problems,  which are left for users to try to fix as best they can..  I believe that potential buyers should indeed

have this pointed out, in advance of spending their $37  :hi:

 

+1

 

Regards,

Scott

  • Upvote 1

imageproxy.png.c7210bb70e999d98cfd3e77d7

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I reached my limit with Carenado/Alabeo when the Tomahawk came out. .... and one of the first things I noticed was that you couldn't tune the ADF.

 

 

Now that you mentioned it,  I've had a look at the Tomahawk.

 

The annoying thing is that the VC radio is coded to be tuned, but Alabeo "forgot"

to enable mouse clicks for the area in question.  They could fix this easily in the model if they wanted to.

 

Workaround...

 

Alabeo actually provides a 2d version of the ADF radio, but does not include it in the airplane panel.

 

SO, I've whipped up a clickspot on the VC ADF radio that pops up the 2d version.

Now, you can tune the popup ADF radio if you need to..

 

Send me a PM with your email address if you would like a copy  :smile:

  • Upvote 2

Bert

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Now that you mentioned it,  I've had a look at the Tomahawk.
SO, I've whipped up a clickspot on the VC ADF radio that pops up the 2d version.

Now, you can tune the ADF radio if you need to..

 

Sir....You are a Treasure!! That is just so funny and at the same time Sad.

  • Upvote 1

Sam

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Just completed a few more test flights.  Can confirm that DTO does not work at all.   Pressing the button (even with the FPL page open and with the cursor on a flight plan waypoint) just gives a blank field to enter a waypoint manually (a la default FSX GPS).  Entering a waypoint here wipes the flight plan (again a la default FSX GPS).

 

FLC is the best deployment they've done so far. Works really well.

 

Again, as with their other offerings, it's the G1000 that let's an otherwise enjoyable aircraft addon down. I so wish they'd modelled an older Meridian and featured the Avidyne or Meggit systems.

 

The Avidyne and Meggit versions are slaved to GNS430/530s, and in many cases, GTN650s (plenty YouTube vids of non-G1000 Meridians with GTN650s).  I don't think a 750 fits in the panel, but at least if they'd gone the Avidyne or Meggit route, there could have been options for RXP or F1 GTN650.

 

All in all, despite quite enjoying it initially, I wouldn't recommended it - even for Meridian junkies like me.   It's just all let down by the G1000.


Bill (JYW)

XP11 ~ P3D ~ FSX:SE

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I wouldn't recommended it - even for Meridian junkies like me. 

This really brings up an important point that I don't find funny. These Canenado guys pump out this kind of junk and it just kills the chances of a real developer ever releasing a good complete Meridian because it just sucks so much of the cash right out of this small market.

  • Upvote 5

Sam

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