Review by Gene Davis. In my last review with an X-Plane aircraft from Carenado we took a brief look at the Cessna 208B Caravan for X-Plane 10 and this time around we climb aboard the King Air C90!
Carenado has done it yet again and has brought this wonderful twin engine aircraft to life in X-Plane 10 with all of the fantastic features and detail we have come to expect from the folks at Carenado and their aircraft!
Purchase, Download and Install!
Purchasing the Carenado C90 is a simple task, go the website, buy it and download it! Like I mentioned in my article about the Cessna 208 the install is a little more difficult with this aircraft because it requires you to manually move the aircraft into your X-Plane folder after extracting the zip file rather than using an automatic installer like the ones used for FSX aircraft.
This is a not a bad thing and if you have experience downloading and installing just about any other aircraft for X-Plane you should be able to figure it out. Just do not extract the zip file directly to your X-Plane folder, extract it to your desktop or downloads folder and then follow the directions for copying the remaining files over.
I have created a separate folder in X-Plane 10 under the Airplanes folder called Carenado, this way I can keep all of my Carenado birds separate from the other aircraft I use in X-Plane. As you are transferring files over to your X-Plane 10/ airplanes folder you will also notice that all of the manuals, checklists and procedures are in a PDF format and are stored in the C90 aircraft folder under documentation. For easy viewing just create shortcuts to each PDF and place the shortcuts onto your desktop for quick reference.
Make sure that you select the version of the plane for the version of X-Plane you are using! The download comes with both versions and if you are using X-Plane 10 make sure to select the C90_V10.acf file when selecting the plane in X-Plane otherwise you will run into compatibility issues when trying to run the incorrect version in the wrong version of X-Plane.
In total there are 9 different PDF’s and they cover everything from the C90B’s Emergency Checklists, Normal Checklists, Performance Tables, Reference, Terrain Awareness Annunciator Control Unit Manual, EFIS Manual, recommended settings for X-Plane 9 & 10 along with a Credits PDF and a Recommended Joystick Settings JPEG. Before making any adjustments to your settings though, check it first and just see how it flies because I didn’t need to make any adjustments.
The Carenado C90B King Air for X-Plane
The C90B from Carenado offers 6 different liveries and most are all civilian except for the Japan Maritime livery and another in a grey color that could be a military paint, but I am not sure. If you look hard enough though, you can find user made liveries for this aircraft at just about any site that carries X-Plane files for free.
Visually the C90B is a beautiful aircraft and Carenado has taken great care to bring this plane into the X-Plane universe and it has managed to bring out the best in the simulation as well. There is tons of eye candy with lots of moving parts and animations throughout the entire model as well as a highly detailed exterior and interior model using 2048X2048 HD textures throughout the model giving it the best display, visually, it can in the X-Plane 10 Simulator.
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As you explore the plane both inside and out you will notice that it the standard animated features like opening doors, landing and compartment hatches, but if you look harder you find that there are a lot of things to click on from within the aircraft as well. The passenger cabin features folding tables, doors that can be opened from the inside and in the cockpit you can do things like lift the armrest, slide open the cockpit door to the passenger compartment and you even have access to most of the lighting systems for the interior of the plane.
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Externally the model is as detailed as it is on the inside and you can make out many of the design features like individual rivets and highly detailed control surfaces that give way to a beautifully rendered fuselage. I really like being able to see how the simulated environment affects the plane during flight and the Carenado C90B does not disappoint as its sensor probes react to the environment as do the control surfaces. Another nice feature is that the compartments on the engines open to give you a small, but detailed glimpse of the aircrafts engine compartment.
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For an aircraft like this you also need to hear it and it needs to be convincing! Carenado has delivered on that front as well. The sound has an almost 3 dimensional effect as you move around the plane and sounds different from just about every angle both inside and out. The sound is derived from recordings of a King Air and all internal and external sounds are realistic in relation to the actual real world version of the C90B aircraft.
The cockpit of the C90B is impressive and the Carenado C90B has a lot of different features to choose from. The cockpit is made up of a mix of analog and some digital instruments and an EFIS display along with a complex terrain awareness annunciator (TAWS) system. If you are familiar with the King Air series of aircraft much of the cockpit will seem pretty familiar once you are in the pilot’s seat!
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The GPS system that is included with the C90B is the standard GPS 400 series that is used with X-Plane 10, but right above the GPS is an Avidyne display that ties right into the GPS 400 allowing you to track your route, view weather conditions and switch between different modes like MAP, TAWS, and Radar but was unable to make the Trip and Nearest functions work. Though it has limited functionality it is still extremely useful and gives you pertinent information that you may need during flight.
One of the things I did not care for was the way the map displays on the Avydine display as it only shows the map with a black background with the navigational information such as airports and fixes over the top of it. There is no terrain display, there is a button to change the Base Map but it does not seem to do anything and only says that the terrain data is not available.
I could find nothing in the manuals to change this and it would have been nice to have been able to incorporate the actual map view from X-Plane into the display during flight, rather than having to go out to the map view and pause the simulation.
For those wanting to do more with a better flight map I strongly recommend Plan G from TAS Software, it is free and can be used on either a single computer running X-Plane or on a computer networked to another computer using X-Plane. This will allow you to change things on the fly and not have you leaving the POV as you can access the map via another computer or running both in windowed mode on a single PC.
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Like other offerings from Carenado there is a menu system that is accessible by mouse click on the bottom left of the screen and the first is © and it offers different camera views, the second is the (O) Options menu and it allows you to open doors and add some of the static elements and the third (A) will give you quick access to the autopilot panel from anywhere in the cockpit. This is ideal for systems like the autopilot because it can sometimes be a hassle accessing from the POV in the virtual cockpit and it makes it so much easier just bringing it up as a 2d panel instead and having it readily available .
Flying the C90B
I was impressed how well the C90 flew in X-Plane and that seems to be a distinct generality when it comes to Carenado aircraft designed for X-Plane. They fit into the simulations quite well and make X-Plane 10 that much better. The aircraft are complex enough to bring out the best in X-Plane 10 and really shows what both are capable of!
For my test flight with the C90 I planned a flight out of Anchorage with a stop in Skagway and ultimately ending up in Juneau. I set up real world weather, filed the flight plan and set off. I have found that this is my favorite plane when flying in Alaska, its speed, size and efficiency makes it a great choice for flying into some of the larger Bush airstrips.
First impressions of how well the plane handled were good, it feels stable and isn’t all over the place like some X-Plane aircraft seem to be. I was able to fly the aircraft manually for about 25 miles of my initial flight before turning on the autopilot. Having used the GPS I set the autopilot to fly NAV via the GPS option and had the autopilot take control.
Climbing up to about 25, 000 feet I set off for the long flight to Skagway. Weather conditions had snow and rain in places and visibility was limited. I especially liked how the virtual atmosphere interacts with the aircraft model, for example the sensor probes move as you push forward and it makes for a nice effect as you look out over your wings.
I found the flight to be quite long, so ended up using the time advance via the map mode to make the flight progress faster, only turning it off when I wanted to sightsee. On my initial approach I dropped altitude and began my approach into Skagway and it looked like it was going to be VFR most of the way, but as I neared Haines visibility dropped considerably and I could no longer make out the surrounding terrain.
Not having an ILS approach into Skagway made the landing more difficult because I didn’t have the frequencies available and I was counting on a VFR approach. I could have proceeded onto Juneau but that the best part of flight simulating is that you can push the envelope without any risk to yourself or your airplane!
I set my NAV 1 frequency to Skagway and my NAV 2 frequency, along with my NDB to Haines, knowing that as I got on top of Haines all I had to do was follow the needle to Skagway up through the inlet and hope for an opening in the clouds for the approach. I have done this flight many times in FSX using the A2A Cessna so I was already pretty familiar with my surroundings.
As I neared Haines, I flipped off the autopilot and dropped in altitude to about 3500 feet and at that point I could actually make out the Haines runway, its lights and the surrounding village and I really should have landed there! As I got over top of the Haines NDB I made the turn towards Skagway and followed the GPS and the water below whilst dropping more altitude.
Finally, at about 10 miles I broke out of the fog and cloud layers and I was able to make out the surrounding mountains that are both left and right of the plane as you make your way up Glacier Bay towards Skagway.
At about 5 miles from Skagway, while being thrashed around by some pretty hefty winds, I was able to see the runway marker lights blinking off in the distance and I set up for landing. Dropping speed, flaps, gear and more altitude I was ready!
The landing was rough because of heavy winds, but I made it in and after replenishing some fuel I set off to Juneau for my final destination where the weather was much better and I landed without incident.
I like it! I like everything Carenado, it doesn’t matter if it’s FSX or X-Plane 10 if it’s Carenado I know I am going to like it going in. The C90B is an exceptional aircraft and should be experienced in both simulators, but if you are looking for something new to try and are looking at going with X-Plane 10 I strongly recommend getting the C90B!
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The plane sells for $34.95 which is still cheaper than the FSX version and offers both an X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 9 version.