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    Carenado - B1900D


    Chase

    Carenado's B1900D

    A review by Marlon Carter

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    Introduction

     

    During the mid to late 90s and even for a portion of the early 2000s, theBeechcraft 1900D has always been a popular choice for regional airlines. The aircraft was designed to carry 19 passengers in all weather conditions fromairports with relatively short runways.  The design of the 1900 is derivedfrom the King Air and the two are so similar that they basically share the samecockpit.  As is the case with the King Air, the 1900D can also be flown asa single pilot operation for private and cargo flights.   All ofthese features combined with the fuel efficiency while operating on shorterroutes made the 1900D one of the most popular regional aircraft in theworld.  While production of the aircraft ceased in 2002, they are stillextensively used today by many airlines and charter operations.

     

    While the 1900D is quite popular in the real world, the flight sim communityhas been lacking a “new” 1900D for a number of years.  In the past, theonly options for enjoying the 1900D were either freeware versions or the morepopular PMDG version.  As the years went by since the release of theseadd-ons, many things have changed within the FS world.  The detail ofaircraft models, quality of textures & systems modeling have all improvedsignificantly. 

     

    Among some of the few developers who have been innovative in the area ofaircraft modeling is none other than Carenado.  In the past, Carenadomainly focused on general aviation aircraft such as the Cessna 172, BeechcraftBonanza, Piper Seneca and other similar aircraft.  This time aroundCarenado is stretching their wings to larger, more complex aircraft. After releasing the King Air 90 and 200 series, the 1900D was the next perfectstep due to the similarities between the models.  With each release,Carenado has managed to implement new features to their models that make themunique among others.  For example, their previous releases featured windowscratches; volumetric side view propellers and dynamic propeller shine effectsjust to name a few.  So what features can we expect to see with therelease of the 1900D?  Here is a listing as seen on their website.

     

    B1900D Special Features

     

    • Original B1900D Flight Management System (FMS).
    • Carenado GNS530 with Reality XP integration option.
    • EFIS (EADI and EHSI) installed.
    • Avidyne Multifunction Display.
    • Full FSX and P3D v2.0 compatible.
    • Cockpit vibration effects.
    • Landing and Taxi halo effect lights.
    • Dynamic environment gauges reflections.

     

    Other Features

     

    • Original B1900D Flight Management System (FMS).
    • Carenado GNS530 with Reality XP integration option.
    • EFIS (EADI and EHSI) installed.
    • Avidyne Multifunction Display.
    • Full FSX and P3D v2.0 compatible.
    • HD quality textures (2048 x 2048).
    • Separated lighting for cockpit flood, pilot, instrument and panel text.
    • Vibrating effect on stall and takeoff run.
    • Cold and Dark start option
    • Windows lighting scratches effect
    • Volumetric side view prop effect
    • Dynamic propeller shines effect.
    • 3D stereo sounds.
    • Original HQ digital stereo sounds.
    • Customizable panel for controlling windows transparency, instrument reflections and static elements such as wheel chocks and sights props.
    • Real behavior compared to the real airplane.  Real weight and balance.  Tested by real pilots.
    • Realistic night lights effects on panel and cockpit.

     

    Included in the package:

     

    • 5 HD liveries.
    • 1 HD Blank livery.
    • Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) PDF.
    • B1900D Emergency Checklist PDF.
    • B1900D Normal Checklist PDF.
    • B1900D Flight Management System (FMS) PDF.
    • B1900D Performance Tables
    • Carenado GNS530 PDF.
    • Avidyne Multifunction display PDF
    • Electronic Vertical Speed Indicator and TCAS PDF
    • Recommended Settings PDF

     

    Get 6 EXTRA FREE Liveries after you buy it.

     

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    From the listing of features, it is quite clear that Carenado has once againimplemented new feature to their aircraft.  Some of the new featuresinclude a Custom FMS, Cockpit vibration, Landing and Taxi halo effects andDynamic environment gauge reflections.  As we continue with our review wewill have a closer look at these features and impact they have on PCperformance and the overall flying experience.  But before we continue,let’s have a chat with Fernando from Carenado about their latest product.

     

    Q:  Hi Fernando, can you tell us why Carenado decided to createthe B1900D?

     

    A:  We think it was a natural evolutionafter the King air series.   B1900D was the best option for enteringto the regional airline aircraft space, because we already had theknowledge of many systems of it.

     

    Q:  Will there be any other releases such as the B1900C and theB1900C Cargo versions?

     

    A:  It is not in our short-term plans.

     

    Q:  What were some of the challenges you faced creating thisaircraft?

     

    A:  This was our first regional airlineaircraft.  Two aspects challenged the most: optimization and some newsystems.  Optimization because we developed a bigger aircraft than anyprevious one which meant many extra polygons and textures.  Somesystems were much more complicated and interrelated than any other previousaircraft.

     

    Q:  I noticed that an FMS was added to the aircraft.  Isthere any particular reason why this feature was added even though it is quiterare to find an FMS in a 1900D?

     

    A:  An aircraft such this one deserved an FMSin order to perform similar flights as the real aircraft done in reality.

     

    Q:  You mentioned that the 1900D was tested by real pilots,were they real 1900D pilots or just pilots in general?

     

    A:  Developed by pilots and tested by severalpilots, one of them a real B1900D pilot.

     

    Q:  What features of the 1900D do you think stands out themost?

     

    A:  I would say the FMS because it issomething new in our fleet.

     

    Q:  Will there be any further updates to the 1900Ditself?

     

    A:  We don’t have plans for now.

     

    Q:  Can we expect to see more aircraft of this type fromCarenado? Perhaps an Embraer 120 or Saab 340?

     

    A:  Absolutely, we are entering the regionalairline aircraft and jet aircraft where there is so much space to advance.

     

    Thanks to Fernando for answering these questions, now that we know moreabout the 1900D project, let’s have a closer look.

     

    Documentation

     

    One of the shortcomings with products released by Carenado has been a lackof sufficient documentation as it related to performance and systems of theaircraft.  This time around the documentation has improved significantlybut it still lacks a basic flight tutorial that would aid new comers to the1900D and its systems.  In addition to initiating new comers to thesystems of the aircraft, flying a turbo prop is significantly different toflying a 737 and it requires more hands on flying when it comes to adjustingthe RPM, Pressurization and other systems of the aircraft that have an impacton performance.  This is where a flight tutorial would have been a majoraid to flying the aircraft correctly. 

     

    Apart from this small shortcoming, the documentation that was provided issufficiently detailed and it covers an extensive checklist for both normal andemergency situations.  In addition to this is also includes a generaloverview of the FMS and other Avionics that are included. 

     

    My personal recommendation would be for users to supplement this informationwith some of the manuals that may be floating around online.  There arewebsites that feature detailed information on various aircraft and obtainingsome of these documents might help you to understand how other systems of theaircraft function.

     

    First Impression

     

    My first impression of the Carenado B1900D was that the exterior modelperfectly captured the look and dimensions of its real world counterpart. The design of the 1900D is very unique when compared to other turboprops. While there have been “good” 1900D models for FS in the past; this model takesthe overall quality of this aircraft to the next level. 

     

    Carenado is well known for creating high quality aircraft from a visualpoint of view and this aircraft is no exception.  What impressed me themost about the model was the realistic exterior surface of the aircraft. When looking at the model from all angles, you can clearly see many of thepanels and rivets that make up the 1900D fuselage.  This attention todetail can also be seen on the wings and engines of the aircraft, which can beadmired from the wing camera view.  Other aspects of the exterior modelsuch as flaps, wheels and even the moving pilots seen in the cockpit have allbeen recreated to the highest level of detail.  One of the features I alsoenjoyed was the Dynamic propeller shine effect, which is very convincing!

     

    The liveries that come along with this package are also very high qualityand they range from both airline and private liveries that can be used as yousee fit.  Some liveries can be downloaded via the Carenado website as anextra freebie and it is needless to say that these additional liveries are amust have!

     

    Moving into the interior of the aircraft, once again Carenado has maintainedits high standard by creating a stunning virtual cockpit and cabin with regardto their design and HQ textures.  The virtual cockpit and passenger cabinperfectly recreates sensation of being in an aircraft.  This is aremarkable achievement as not all developers are able to accomplish thisdespite having high fidelity systems.  At night, the virtual cockpit/cabinenvironment comes to life with a variety of lighting options as seen in thereal aircraft.  While the lighting isn’t fully customizable, the abilityto select different lighting options at a time makes flying this aircraft atnight an enjoyable experience.  Some of the features of the VC that Ienjoyed the most were the vibration effect on takeoff and stalls and the windowscratch effects.  The addition of these features made the experience offlying this type of aircraft quite interesting.  Here are a fewphotos.

     

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    How In-Depth are the Systems?

     

    Carenado has never been well known for having in-depth systemssimulation.  While the B1900D is a fairly complex aircraft, Carenado’sapproach was somewhat simplified.  Many of the systems that are primarilyused in everyday operations are modelled, but some of them are still not fullyfunctional due to FSX limitations.  If you are familiar with Carenado’sB200, then the B1900D will be familiar territory.  Many systems such asthe Pressurization, Auto feather, Air Conditioning, Icing, Autopilot and a fewother systems have modelled to a reasonable degree of accuracy.  Three ofthe most significant features of the B1900D that are worth mentioning are theaddition of an FMS, Electronic VSI/TCAS, the Avidyne Multifunction Display anda customizable Lighting system.

     

    An FMS in a B1900D?? Yes, that’s exactly what I thought at first and afterdoing some research I realized that this was a very rare addition to thisaircraft.  The FMS closely resembles the Universal brand FMS that is usedcommonly on private and commercial aircraft.  The FMS isn’t fullyfunctional but it works in conjunction with the Carenado’s Garmin 530 that isalso installed in the aircraft.  The FMS mostly functions as a means ofentering waypoints individually instead of relying on the default FSXflight-planner.  Apart from this feature, the FMS also displays the 5 FuelPages, PERF page, the FPL Summary page and it also offers the ability to selectApproaches from the default FSX navigational data. 

     

    The downside of the FMS is that some of the pages displayed cannot be editedand it doesn’t allow you to save your flight plans.  Also, if you areusing the RealityXP G530 integration option, the FMS does not work at all as itis tied to the Carenado G530.  For some of you, these shortcomings may notbe a big issue, but it was worth mentioning so that everyone will knowbeforehand that while the unit works as described, this is not your fullyfunctional FMS.

     

    The next noteworthy feature is the Avidyne Multifunction Display, whichisn’t new to Carenado products, but it was a very useful addition to the1900D.  This unit offers a host of features such as Traffic, Weather radarand Terrain awareness.  In addition to these features, you will also findpages that display both Trip and Airport Information.  The unit isn’t afull-fledged simulation, but what it offers can be very useful for everydayflying.

     

    Finally, let’s talk about the lighting system.  The lighting systemsthat typically came with previous Carenado aircraft featured cockpit and cabinlights that were tied together by a single switch in most cases.  Again,this may not bother most users but to others who have knowledge of the variouslighting options at your disposal, some may prefer to have a much morerealistic experience by using the relevant lights for a given phase of yourflight.  For example, at night it is a common policy to have cabin lightsturned down or off when taking off or landing.  In FSX most developershave left you no choice but to keep the lights on full blast for every phase offlight. 

     

    Thankfully though, Carenado has changed this approach to one that allows amuch more realistic approach to controlling the lights in the cockpit and thecabin.  The new lighting feature of this aircraft allows you to separatelycontrol the lighting for cockpit floodlights, pilot light, instrument lightsand panel text lighting.  In the screenshots below you will see an exampleof how realistic each setting looks.

     

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    Now that we’ve touched on some of the systems, let’s take the 1900D on aflight to see how well the aircraft handles on the ground and in the air!

     

    Flight Experience

     

    Carenado has stressed that the flight characteristics of this aircraft arerealistic and are based on real world performance data.  With this in mindI decided to put this aircraft through its paces to see how it handled underdifferent weights and flying conditions.  My first series of flights takesplace in the regions of Canada and Midwestern U.S where the 1900D is still usedextensively.  The Cold weather and High Altitude operations in theseregions offered the perfect opportunity to test the performance of thisaircraft in all respects. 

     

    The end results showed that the 1900D holds up well in the cold weather andhandling on takeoff and landing changes quite dramatically depending on yourweight and balance.  While flying into and out of high altitude airports,knowing the exact performance capabilities of the aircraft is critical to asafe flight.  As expected, at high altitude airports the 1900D requires abit more runway that usual to get off the ground and when it does, the reducedperformance is noticeable. 

     

    While hand flying is one of my favorite aspects of flying, I found that the1900D was quite a challenge on takeoff as the trim settings have to be veryprecise in order to avoid a sharp nose up attitude.  After the aircrafthas been trimmed, the handling becomes easier and it allows you to hold bestangle of climb speeds with ease.  During the landing, the 1900D handlesquite well and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of unpredictable behavior evenwith a full load of passengers.  All in all I think the 1900D is a verybalanced aircraft as far as the handling is concerned.

     

    Some aspects of the aircraft that I thought could use some work was theground handling.  A common problem with FSX is the ground frictionsimulation that results in the use of excessive thrust to get an aircraftmoving.  I found that this was a major problem I encountered with the1900D but applying a FSUIPC fix I found online quickly solved it.  Anotherarea that could have been improved was the sound of the aircraft itself. While the sound was very convincing, the operation of the engines in the Betarange wasn’t very accurate. 

     

    The sound of the engines transiting into and out of the beta range neededsome improvement and it took away from the realism of flying thisaircraft.  The final area that I though could have used some improvementwas method of loading passengers.  I found it very tedious to loadpassengers and cargo on each flight via the FSX payload manger.  It wouldhave been easier if Carenado created an aircraft loader utility program thatallowed users to easily adjust their passenger, cargo and fuel loads. 

     

    The performance impact on one’s PC is very minimal and it has improvedsignificantly since the latest service pack.  If performance is a majorconcern to you, there are options that allow you to add or remove certainvisual features the aircraft that have an impact on performance.  Forexample, while in the VC you can choose to have reflective instruments or notand this definitely affects your FPS.  Apart from the minor inconveniencesof this product, the 1900D is a rock solid fun aircraft to fly.

     

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    Conclusion & Recommendations

     

    In conclusion, all that can be said about the 1900D is that this aircraft isvery balanced.  While the aircraft isn’t perfect, it gets the job donewith a measure of ease and simplicity.  Over the years Carenado has addedmany unique features to their products and the 1900D was fortunate enoughbenefit from most of them. 

     

    One of the primary additions to this aircraft was the FMS and while the FMSisn’t fully functional, it opens the way for following realistic flight plansprovided that the waypoints are entered accurately.  This means that goneare the days of using the default GPS flight plans that exclude SIDs andSTARs.  If you happen to have the relevant charts at your disposal, youcan simply enter each waypoint manually into the FMS and allow the aircraft tofly any departure or arrival procedure.  Of course, altitude restrictionswill be your own responsibility and this adds to the challenge of flying anaircraft of this type. 

     

    The addition liveries and other features of this product make its price tagof $39.95 a fair price when compared to similar products.  Some maydisagree on the fairness of the pricing and especially so when compared to thePMDG JS4100 which is a far more complex product that can be purchase for justabout $4.00 more.  However, it is important to note that while these twoaircraft may be in a similar class in the real world, there simulatedcounterparts are very different in what they offer.  To put it simply, theJS4100 offers you an immersive experience into the procedures of dailyflying.  The 1900D offers you a basic but above average experience that isbuilt around a focus on aircraft visual effects.  It is with this in mindthat I think the pricing of the 1900D is fair and practical.

     

    As far as recommendations go, it was noticed by a few community members thatthere was a “major” flaw with the cockpit layout of the 1900D that many of youmay not have noticed.  The 1900D should have had a standby attitudeindicator in the cockpit in order to be legally capable of flying IFR. This requirement seems to be specific to models that use electronic displaysand If you look again at the cockpit, you will notice that the standby AI ismissing.  Also, while the benefit of adding the Garmin 530 and Reality XPintegration is quite obvious, the layout of the cockpit doesn’t reflect thelayout that is most commonly seen in an airline environment.  In place ofthe G530, most 1900D aircraft include a Bendix King KLN90A/B unit. 

     

    At this point it would be difficult if not impractical to make thesechanges, but I hope that in the future Carenado may revisit these observationsto add even more realism to this product.  All things considered, the prosof this product far outweigh the cons and this is without a doubt THE BESTB1900D model on the market.  Whether you are a hardcore enthusiast or justan average flight simmer, this product was designed just for you.  Welldone, Carenado!



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