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    Carenado Cessna Grand Caravan EX for FSX/P3D


    Gaiiden

    Review by Werner Gillespie. As I have mentioned in some of my preceding reviews, I live near the FALY (Ladysmith Aerodrome), which has a very generous runway in comparison to some other South African fields, and it is also very close to the 5th South African Infantry Battalion (5SAI), so this being the case, we always receive visitors from both the civil and military flight fraternity.

     

    These include the various King Air Marques, the Pilatus PC 12, the military CASA transports, which have replaced our ageing C-130 aircraft with the South African Air Force, and also the military Grand Caravans who visit the area for training operations.

     

    This is one of the aircraft that I would really like to catch a ride on at some point in my future! It is probably not one of the most elegant aircraft that you would ever come across, but is steeped in the success of Cessna as a manufacturer and is one of the most economic transports in its class!

     

    Background

     

    The EX model is essentially still a C208B Caravan, however, it will be powered by the new Pratt & Whitney PT6-140 which has been specifically designed for the EX. Certification for new type was obtained early in 2013. The type is devoted to short hops, and although it can fly at around 25 000 feet, it is not what it was really designed for. Its spot in the market is for trips of just a few hundred miles, with quick dispatch and excellent reliability.

     

    The aircraft has numerous improvements, like those to the G1000 and the improvements upon the package itself, as well as some improvements to the interior and the ice protection systems. The other difference that you will notice is a slightly different propeller, which is a slightly modified version of the Hartzell propeller that the original C208B uses. Other than that, the engine cowlings, wings, landing gear and the likes are practically identical.

     

    Payloads and speeds are practically identical for all phases of flight, despite the extra 60 pounds of weight that is added by the newer engine.

     

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    Installation and documentation

     

    After purchasing the aircraft from Carenado, they will provide you via e-mail with the download link and your serial information for the installation. The download is not very big at all, only 184 MB large.  Not at all big by today's standards! Download speeds are good and it takes you around 20 odd minutes to download the installer with a reasonable internet connection.

     

    Once you have finished downloading, you simply extract the installer to a temporary folder and double click on it. You are required to enter your account e-mail address and the serial they provided you with in the purchase e-mail, and presto, it does it all automatically, no vices whatsoever. It takes about a minute or so.

     

    Once you are done, you can head over to the FSX\Carenado\Carenado C208B_Grand_Caravan_EX folder, inside which you will find the manuals for the aircraft and the different systems aboard it, to whit:

    • The emergency procedures manual - a 23 page PDF read, which certainly gives you insight into the emergency procedures, however, the aircraft itself has no failures module and you will have to activate failures via FSX itself. 
    • The normal procedures manual - a 29 page PDF read which takes you through the normal procedures for taking a Grand Caravan through the steps in a normal flight. This is die manual you will need to have handy for a flight as you need it to get your aircraft configured for a normal flight.
    • Performance tables - a 51 page PDF read, containing all the information about fuel flow, runway lengths for takeoff and landing, flap speeds, manoeuvre speeds, cruise   information based on temperatures, fuel flows, performance with/without the cargo pod installed on the belly en so forth.
    • The G1000 manual - a 24 page PDF read, giving you an overview of all the features of the G1000 system fitted on this aircraft. If you are not familiar with the G1000 system, read this, it will spare you a lot of frustration! The G1000 has been extensively modelled as we shall see later on.
    • Copyrights - a 1 page PDF read.
    • Recommended settings - a 2 page read with suggestions regarding the best settings visually and realism wise to get the most out of you flying experience.

    As per usual, the manuals have been drafted to a high visual quality and reading them is easy and they are very user friendly, however there is one gripe that I have in respect of one manual, but I will get to that in the G1000 section. All in all, a very good job in the documents section.

     

    Preliminary

     

    Right, so let us have a look at a few things that stand out before we start our walk around of the exterior of the aircraft. Firstly, in the past, Carenado have not offered a cold and dark solution to a simmer. You had to select the default Cessna, switch everything off and then select the Caranado if you wanted the cold and dark cockpit state. Well, not anymore! 

     

    If you press Shift+5, you will be presented with a module which allows you to select panel states ranging from cold and dark, to ready to taxi and ready for takeoff. This is one of the best new features which I enjoy very much!

     

    Also added, is the ability to control the various cargo and passenger doors through a similar module. Very nice! The standard static elements, which are the flags for the static tubes and the covers for the engine, and in the case of the Grand Caravan, a prop for the tail section, are ever present.

     

    One other addition to the older Caravans is the G1000 system which I will cover in its own section below.

     

    Fuel and payload is still managed through the FSX default fuel and payload menus so there are no external loaders for fuel and passengers/cargo.

     

    A very nice feature is the ability to leave on or take off the cargo pod, and what is even better, this actually affects the dynamics and the payload settings of the aircraft! This gives you that little bit of extra variety and flexibility of a real word Grand Caravan EX. This is done through the same module controlling the static elements and doors, so I don't have to do it outside of FSX either. Nice!

     

    Another issue - the cargo expansion pack for the older C208B product will not work with this package, this is a completely new product which is incompatible with the cargo expansion.

     

    Exterior

     

    Okay, now for a look at the exterior of the aircraft itself. In a word, beautiful - this is something that we have come to expect from Carenado. Their exterior models are really well done! If you are a rivet counter, you can clearly see all of them on the fuselage of the aircraft.

     

    The aircraft really has a polished, beautiful and shiny exterior. The moving parts have been modelled very well to. If you look into the areas where these parts are located, for example the wing flaps; you will see that there is some good detail in there. That said, it obviously does not have the same level of detail as the flap system of a modern jetliner for example, but it has been modelled true to the actual Grand Caravan EX.

     

    Other places of interest are the cargo bays when you open the doors in the cargo pods, some very good detail down there. One of my other favourites is the exhaust outlet of the engine, the way that the different light angles reflect off the surface of it, as well as the propeller hub at the front of the aircraft. The propeller itself is also very nicely modeled which is actually more appreciative from the inside of the VC (virtual cockpit) where some of the details that are not visible from the front and side views, become more obvious.

     

    The cabin and pilot doors are all operational through the little module that you can call up to the screen whilst inside the aircraft. The window reflections are beautifully modeled as well. You obviously have some nice see-through windows and the trimmings that you get in the various different liveries provided by Carenado is in the same HD (high definition) finish as the other little details that I have mentioned above.

     

    Here are a few screenshots for you to look at:

     

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    So overall, very impressive exterior model of the aircraft, the correct dimensions, excellent quality as we have come to expect from Carenado over the years. Full marks on the exterior of this bird!

     

    Interior

     

    Now for the business end, the interior. I always get the feeling that somehow the cockpits that Carenado design for their ‘planes keep improving bit by bit, and this is no exception. There is no 2D panel to fly from; this again as is becoming the norm, only has a VC to fly from.

     

    The VC is of exceptional quality, again, as we have come to accept from Carenado’s offerings. If you look to the overhead panel, there you can see the fuel tank selector switches, the oxygen and fans. All HD quality, easily legible, no pop-ups required at all!

     

    Moving to the left side panel, at the top you have the panel containing the little gizmos you need to fiddle with the electronics and the backup power features of the aircraft, as well as turn on the avionics master switches. Below that we have the circuit breaker panel for the captain’s side. Again very legible.

     

    If you have a smaller desktop monitor, you may need to zoom slightly for a better view here and there, but this is nothing major at all!

     

    On a hunch and out of pure interest, I proceeded to use a 42 inch LCD TV set for a while and believe me, I did not need to zoom into this panel any further! So the size of your monitor also plays a role. I use a 21 inch LCD monitor per default and things can be a touch small on that from time to time!

     

    In front of you, you have the two 10 inch displays which features the G1000 displays, the one being the PFD (primary flight display) and the other being the MFD (multi function display) containing your navigational and other information. I will deal with the G1000 as a separate part of this review.

     

    The displays themselves are also of exceptional quality, both the physical appearance of the displays as well as the display quality that you get from them once they are operational. More on that a little later.

     

    You also have some basic backup instruments, which are your airspeed, torque and altimeter gauges near the middle of the aircraft, a little lower down and can be a touch difficult to view properly, but this is an FSX limitation and has nothing to do with the actual quality of the gauge.

     

    Below that you have your cabin comfort controls and heating, again, you will need to zoom a little to see exactly what you are flipping on and off until you know where it is. The pedestal is a simple construction, but this is so for the real aircraft as well. The pedestal textures therefore are of a high quality but obviously mimic the simple and straightforward design of the real deal. The seats also look good, as if you can smell the leather and dream up the feel of your hands running over them.

     

    The aircraft looks pristine inside, no sign of usage, you can almost smell the fresh-out-of -the-factory smell of the interior! There is one very neat bit of detail which, if your PC  is giving you performance issues, you can turn off, and that is the reflections in the windows and the instruments, photo realistic, and beautifully done.

     

    There is however one neater thing about this aircraft’s window reflections than that of the previous offerings that I have reviewed and that is the tell tale scratching on the windows when the sun glints off of it just right - I really enjoyed this to no end! Very nice bit of detail in there!

     

    The interior of the cabin has also been modelled to the same high quality as the VC and is a feast for the eyes.

     

    Have a look:

     

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    The last aspect of the interior I want to focus on quickly is the night lighting aspect. This has been done really well, the same HD quality as the rest of the interior and I have included a screenie or two for you to look at:

     

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    All in all, the interior is of exceptional quality as we have to expect from Carenado and I cannot fault it, exceptionally well done!

     

    The G1000 system

     

    I decided to discuss this system under a different heading, and please note that I do not profess myself to be a G1000 expert! The reason I do this is to make mention of a few items a little more in depth that I do not wish to mention at a glance.

     

    First issue - the G1000 database as modeled in this aircraft DOES NOT have a database which you can update like the real deal. The reason is simple - it uses the default FSX native database.  This means you can get information from the database about the different runways and the different ILS approaches for example, but you cannot update that information on a monthly basis.

     

    Second issue - you CANNOT fly SID’s (standard instrument departures) from this system! Again, FSX native and this is not part of the FSX native technology in the navigation systems. This also holds true for STARS (standard terminal arrival procedures). However, there is of course an easy way to get around this - just program the departure as waypoints into your system and adhere to the heading- and altitude restrictions as per the procedure. I do this and it works equally well!

     

    The system is about 95% modelled. Certain pages are missing from the different displays, for example the SID page in your MFD is not modelled. There is a page or two else missing, but in general, the system works like the real deal, apart from the few missing items I have mentioned above. The system does not have VNAV! You will have to use mental VNAV to get around vertical profile problems!

     

    I include a few screenies for you to have a look at the quality and information of the displays themselves for you:

     

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    As you can see, the displays are crisp and clear, and they certainly look and act the part of the real Garmin G1000. Now, although I am not a real G1000 user, I did a little research to see how closely it will compare with the real G1000 by Garmin. Here is part of that research for you to look at.

     

    This is a really good and basic review of the system build and the operation thereof. If you compare this to the system found on this aircraft, you will conclude as I have that it has indeed been modelled to a high degree of realism.

     

    In operating the system, and especially the MFD, you will find that in order to access the different features on the different map positions, you will need to make use of three different buttons. The operating button actually consists of three buttons, all varying in size and incorporated into one unit. You have the largest button at the base near the G1000 panel itself, a smaller middle button which is followed by the smallest inner button. You will have to use them properly to get the desired results.

     

    To give you a brief example. If I go the MAP mode on the MFD and I want to program approaches or get airport information, I need to use the biggest knob at the bottom to scroll through these options. That also means that you should use the 3D VC and not the 2D popup panel of this unit, since you cannot access the largest button from the 2D view which actually got me thinking for a while that there is not a knob at the base of the unit.

     

    This is also where my one and only gripe in terms of the manual about the G1000 system rears its ugly head. The problem is that I had to discover this piece of information completely via trial and error and as I said, although I have many thousands of hours of flight time in glass cockpit airliners, this is not the same at all! I would implore Carenado to have a look at describing the functioning of the system a little better.

     

    What they have done in the manual is to give you all the soft key presses and menus available but did not really go into much depth about how to use some of the slightly more intricate processes in the system itself.

     

    Apart from this, the system itself is intuitive and even if you are not a G1000 user in real life or more of an airliner pilot like me, you will get used to the system very quickly. The system is grand and I fell in love with it very quickly!

     

    I do believe that they have done a really, really good job of modelling the G1000 system.

     

    Flight model

     

    Now first off folks, let us get one thing straight - this is NOT the most systems intensive aircraft that you have ever come across. What does that mean? That means that about 80% of the actual systems have been modelled and the other 20% is FSX native stuff. This excludes the G1000 as covered in a bit of detail above.

     

     It means that there are some things which could not be modelled due to the fact that it is built on FSX native technology as opposed to something completely on its own like the PMDG stuff for example. No, you cannot fry the engine if you abuse it, it does not have a failures model. You cannot cook the engine by incorrectly starting it either - that should give you some idea!

     

    The other items become apparent when running one or two of the tests in the checklist when preparing the aircraft for flight and some of the run-up checks you do. I will point them out as we go along. Having said that though, doing an actual pre-flight scan and start-up is very much like the real deal, and this is speaking from observing from videos on the net folks, I am not a real world Grand Caravan pilot so I cannot speak with absolute authority on each and every bell and whistle like a real world pilot would be able to.

     

    Now we will start the model from cold and dark as per the included little module allowing us to do so. Every switch is now off and we can start setting everything up as if it is the first flight of the morning. So let us start running down the checklist...

     

    For the purposes of the review, we will not deal with any of the walk around items as described in the checklist for obvious reasons!

     

    We make sure that the parking brake is set, and the switches are all off, which they should be if you used the cold and dark option. Next we put the ignition switch to normal, and we check that the circuit breakers are all in, which they should be since these are not modelled.

     

    We move to the overhead panel and switch both fuel tank selection switches to on and check that the ventilation and fans and the air conditioning is off for the start. Check that the bleed air heat switch (green in colour) is off.

     

    Next check that the cabin heat mixing air control is in the flt-push position. Check the emergency power lever (red handle on the throttle quadrant closest to you) is in the normal position that the power lever is at idle, the propeller lever is fully forward and the fuel control lever is at the cut off position. Next is an item that I have not come across any other turbo props, make sure that the fuel shutoff knob (bottom of the pedestal) is on, which is the pushed in position.

     

    Next we switch the battery on and select the wing flap switch to up, although it really should be there already! We switch the passenger’s signs on (left front panel, right next to the PFD) and then we have to do the fire test, this I cannot seem to get to work properly, and is one of the elements which are not modelled. If you want to keep score of what is modelled and what isn't, this is the start of the list.

     

    We are now ready to start the engines, so at this point I will assume that your doors are all closed and the static elements all packed away. For the engine start, we make sure the battery switch is on, the beacon light is on (lights panel on the left front panel, next to the passenger signs) and we switch on the avionics 1 switch, bottom of left side panel.

     

    Now we have a look at the PFD display and the beautifully modelled G1000 panel pops to life! At first you may find a few red crosses as the system comes online, sometimes you won't It depends on how long it takes you to go through the setup after switching the battery switch to on.

     

    Once the screen is properly powered, we now look to see if we have 24.0 Volts on the bus as a minimum and we do. So far so good! We then verify that the emergency pwr lever message is not displayed on the CAS (crew alert system, the block on the upper right hand side of the PFD), and it is not.

     

    Next is the check to see that the propeller area is clear, which it is and switch on our fuel boost pump which I can hear is running, and the message appears on the CAS. We should also get a fuel pressure low warning and a fuel flow of zero, all of which is there.

     

    We now throw the ignition switch to on and watch the CAS as the engine starts to come to life. We now have to wait for around 12% on the Ng and then we put the fuel condition lever to low idle. The engine springs to life and we monitor the ITT (inlet turbine temperature) to make sure that it does not exceed the maximums, which is not more than 1090 degrees for more than 2 seconds. Rest assured, it never reaches that temperature!

     

    Good, so far everything is worked as per the checklist apart from the one item mentioned.

    Once reaching 52% N1, we would switch off the starter, and confirm that the CAS message to this affect has disappeared. We then check that the EIS (engine indicating system) displays normal range for the engine which it does. We now switch on our generator and then the Battery amps should show that it charges, but I cannot confirm that this is the case. Nothing major, just a quick note on it.

     

    I now have to switch the fuel boost pump to the normal position and watch the CAS message disappear but it doesn't, I get an amber warning telling me that it is in the normal position.

     

    I now switch the avionics 2 switch on, and the second screen the MFD pops to life. I can now enter my flight plan as per the discussed way in the G1000 system above. After completing this, I can switch the cooling and bleed systems on as required. It does have nice audio to it when switching it on!

     

    That's it! We can now taxi and the only thing we need to check whilst taxiing is the brakes, and they always work fine. Good! Now, a little word of advice here - I always taxi the aircraft at low idle and even then I have to use a little reverse from time to time to keep ground speed in check! This is not exactly a new technique I know, especially if you are used to the King Airs!

     

     In fact, the C90 King Air pilots have noted that they do use this technique in real life to - whether or not this is permitted in the Grand Caravan, I cannot say. I hope that a real Grand Caravan pilot will chime in to give us the low down on that one!

     

    Whilst I taxi I also set my flaps one notch down and check the flight control movement. Now, the Grand Caravan is a high wing aircraft and you will notice that if you look to the left side, your seat position is such that it completely destroys the view of what is going on outside on your wings! So I just check free and correct movement from the yoke and pedals as opposed to the King Airs where I check the actual movement on the wings of the ailerons and flaps.

     

    Taxiing the aircraft has a very nice, heavy feel to it. I do have some experience in taxiing light aircraft so I know more or less what to expect. This meets that expectation of mass and inertia on the ground. It really feels very nice and realistic to taxi!

     

    Once we reach the run-up area, we set the brakes and begin our run-up checks. We make sure that our flight controls have been checked, which I did during the taxi, that our flight instruments are all set, that altimeters are all set (which can be done by pushing the "B" key on the keyboard), and the correct altitude has been entered into the autopilot.

     

    We quickly glance at our backup instruments near the pedestal, and we make sure that they correspond with the nice shine G1000 displays. We have to have our fuel boost switch in the normal position, which I have left it in after the start, that our fuel tank selectors are set, that the fuel quantity is what it should be on the G1000 display, and it is.

     

    We make a final check that the fuel shutoff knob is fully in, that all the trim tabs are set, and then we begin our engine and electronics check. We run the power up to 400 ft-lbs torque with all the levers as they should be. From now on things start to deviate a bit.

     

    I should get a reading of minimum 28.5 bus volts, but it hasn't moved from 28.0 volts. I have to set the inertial separator (long lever next to your right knee) in the bypass position by pulling it out and watch the torques drop. This works perfectly, and we put it in the normal position and we regain our normal torque. Perfect!

     

    We check that the EIS indications are normal and they are. We then have to do the over speed governor test, which I perform but it does not yield the results required. Doing the standby power test, also do not go according to plan. Instead of having slight deviations as advertised in the checklist, I end up with 0 amps and output, not correct!

     

    Now we head back to normal again. We confirm our trim settings, and set our heating and anti-ice systems as required per the required temperatures. We make a quick check that the avionics, navigation source, transponder, and lights are set as they should be and that the CAS messages are what they should be. Mine is not entirely, since the amber fuel boost warning is still there. Oh well... Then a final check of the levers on the throttle quadrant, and we are good to go!

     

    Take off is fairly straightforward, just apply the maximum torque allowed under the conditions, and let it run down the runway. The aircraft uses fairly little runway and is airborne quickly. How about the torque and the effects of that and the p-factor on the airframe?

     

    This is where I need to make a recommendation to the folks. The Carenado manual suggests that you set the control settings to the highest realism possible, however, I have found that this makes the aircraft as twitchy as a fighter jet and when scanning the forums, many folks have this problem, not just with this aircraft in particular, but also the other turbo props!

     

    One gentleman came up with the solution by saying "return your controls to easy difficulty", which is what I did and viola, problem solved! I do leave the p-factor and torque settings quite high though and this has a very realistic effect indeed!   I require a fair bit of rudder to keep straight and when airborne the wing wants to drop in the direction the propeller is spinning in as you can imagine! The effects are very nicely modelled.

     

    Now if you are used to flying the older C208B, be prepared, since the extra 200 shaft horse power that this new engine provides, causes some serious performance increase! You can easily climb at around 1800 fpm (feet per minute) at heavy loads. What I do is program the autopilot by arming the VS mode and the heading mode on the autopilot to runway heading and then once I hit the engagement altitude, I would just hit the AP button and the aircraft will stabilise itself in the climb nicely. Once I am ready to switch to the LNAV for the flight plan, I flip on the switch and it follows it beautifully!

     

    When the aircraft hits a patch of wind or if there is a wind on takeoff the aircraft performs as it should, it is light so the effects are far more noticeable than say a 737 for example, but it is realistic, the aircraft remains stable but a challenging crosswind on takeoff and flying it shortly after is a bit of a challenge in the initial climb before flipping on the autopilot. No surprises there then!

     

    In the climb we simply have to pull the flaps up, reduce our engine rpm slightly (around 1800 rpm as opposed to the takeoff setting of 1900) and then ask it to maintain a climb speed of around 110-120 KIAS (knots indicated airspeed), which it will do with a smile.

     

    Now, at the beginning we said that the aircraft is not pressurised, but I can fly at around 25 000 feet. I actually climbed the aircraft to its ceiling of 27 000 feet and with a maximum takeoff weight it takes around 25 minutes, very impressive indeed! It can maintain a speed of around 180 knots ground speed as well which is not bad at all!  Should the air temperature drop to a nice and cool -33 odd degrees, it can pass this quite comfortably.

     

    During the climb to cruise and the cruise itself, I am happy to report that there are no vices with the aircraft or the automated systems itself. A quick note, the autopilot does not have a VNAV function. It does however have a SPD (speed) function, which means that it will adjust the throttle settings for you to maintain a particular speed, however I rarely use this function - instead I simply set the power settings manually and adjust the vertical speed accordingly to maintain the desired IAS (indicated air speed).

     

    Our cruise checks mainly consists of setting the right cruise power, which entails not exceeding the maximum ITT and torque settings, setting the ice protection systems per the checklist, making sure the inertial separator is set and that the passenger signs are set to your discretion. You also check the navigation source and the altimeters. A quick word on the altimeters, to switch between the QNH/In Hg settings, follow the PFD, then the altimeter and finally the units queue on the G1000 PFD. You also use the same system to quickly set the STD setting on the altimeter. Nifty system this G1000 then!

     

    Once you need to start to descend, you will have to use the three to one rule in calculation to determine your vertical profile, i.e. if I am at 20 000 feet (FL200) and the arrival airport is at 2 000' AMSL (above mean sea level), I would say I have a 20 000-2 000= 18 000 feet descent to accomplish. I now multiply this by three and remove the zeros so I get 18x3=54 nautical miles away from the destination airport to arrive over it at 2 000 feet.

     

    How do I calculate my initial rate of descent? I take my groundspeed  and multiply it by six, so if my groundspeed is 185 knots, I say 185x6=1 110 feet per minute in the descent. Keep a check now that you drop 1 000 feet for every three miles you travel and adjust your rate of descent accordingly and you should have the satisfying feeling of arriving over the destination at a planned height. Thank you Rod for taking me through the ATPL course on FS9 all those years ago!

     

    Now for the descent. I leave the autopilot on and calculate my descent as per the above formula. I select the altitude and then my rate of descent whilst keeping my speed and power settings in check. Since this is a far slower aircraft than my Boeings, this is a nice, easy and relaxing task, even whilst flying with ATC!

     

    Our descent checklist is almost identical to the cruise checklist so I just make sure I follow the correct procedures.

     

    When I now want to follow the approach, I can either program it into the G1000 as discussed above, or I can simply program an ILS frequency into the navigation radios on the G1000, select VOR 1 as my navigation source, and setup a nice and easy traffic pattern, either one will work.

     

    You will notice that when adding a notch of flap the aircraft balloons quite a bit so let the airspeed drop quite a bit before adding flaps to avoid this reaction! Landing checks mainly consists of flaps, lights and power and propeller lever settings, and we run through it without too much ado.

     

    Just like the King Airs I reviewed, please note that the aircraft will react in the same way as the default FSX aircraft in an ILS intercept and approach. This is part of the FSX native limitations of their models, but this is by no means undesirable to say the least! The approaches are good and should you manage the aircraft properly, you won't run into trouble at all.

     

    I switch the autopilot off fairly early in the approach to get a good feel for hand flying an approach and as you would expect, once you add the landing flaps and slow down to approach speed, which is around 85-90 KIAS you find it is a bit sluggish, but that is normal and realistic.

     

    Unlike the King Air though, you will need to keep an eye on your descent rate as you have far less power for the weight than the King Air and so you could find yourself having to add excessive power to get back onto the glide path if you deviate too much in landing configuration!

     

    The flare and landing is a breeze! It really is an enjoyable machine to land and the reverse thrust is effective to stop the aircraft without too much braking force being applied, although on a shorter runway, more aggressive use of the brakes is advisable!

     

    Taxiing in and shutting down is straight forward, just follow the checklist.

     

    So overall, apart from the few aspects I mentioned above, the flight model is really nice and complete, but to be honest, the few issues of things not correctly modelled did not detract from the enjoyment of the simulation for me. I am sure that an absolute purist may disagree, but given what I have mentioned about what is missing from the flight model, I still give it a 95% score, very nice aircraft to fly and a  thoroughly enjoyable experience!

     

    Sound

     

    The sound set is really, really good! One difference from the King Air's sounds are that since the propeller is mounted right in front of the aircraft, the propeller wash will spill over the cockpit and will therefore sound different to the King Air's turbines which are situated on the wings next to you.

     

    I can happily report that this significant difference is well modelled and that the rest of the sound pack is very good as well, the ground rolling, the flaps, the environmental control systems, the toggle switches and guards, all sound very nice indeed! Oh and of course then there are the passenger signs on and off switches with the chimes. The doors opening and closing have their own sounds which seem realistic enough.

     

    Overall, a very good sound package that will appease most if not all fans of the product.

     

    Performance

     

    Now I know that many fans are concerned about the glass cockpit and the effect thereof on the performance of the aircraft on your systems. I am happy to report that I noticed no discernable drop in frame rates on my computer with this package. The whole experience was smooth and at denser more complicated airports, I get no less than 25 fps (frames per second) on the ground and whilst at altitude, 40 fps and above is usually the order of the day.

     

    My system is fairly archaic by modern standards, an Intel Core2Quad Q9550 with 6 GB RAM and a GeForce 480GTX with 1.5 GB VRAM.  If your computer meets the minimum specs for this aircraft, you really should not have any issues with it whatsoever.

     

    In conclusion

     

    So what more is there to say? Well, the aircraft is almost a complete package. There are a few little things which have not been modelled in the G1000, but they really are few and far between. Yes, some of the systems as described above are not properly modelled, but again, few and far between.

     

    The sounds are great, the exterior is great, and the interior is great. If I had to be perfectly honest, there is not much if anything really major that will detract from the enjoyment of the package. If you want this aircraft you will not be disappointed with it!

     

     I really enjoyed the aircraft and I suspect that many Carenado followers will to, this is a truly high quality package and very immersive. The price? US$ 37-95. This is really not too bad, and I believe that it is in fact very good value for money.

     

    What I liked about it:

    • Exceptionally high exterior textures.
    • Exceptionally high quality interior
    • Well modelled G1000 system which does not cost an arm and a leg in terms of   performance
    • High functionality of the G1000 system, apart from few missing items
    • The extra modules to allow you to set the static element, operate the doors and to toggle the cargo pod on and off, and that when the cargo pod is taken off, payload and performance is affected
    • The cold and dark option is finally modelled!
    • Excellent sounds
    • Very stable and believable FDE
    • Good value for money!

    What I did not like about it:

    • The one little gripe about the manual and the G1000 system
    • An updateable G1000 system database will be fantastic to have
    • A fully modelled approach and departure procedure feature with VNAV, although it   does not make the experience any less enjoyable


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