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    REVIEW - A2A Simulations C182 Accu-sim Skylane


    WR269

    Review

    A review by Ray Marshall

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    Oh Happy Day. Actually that should be more like Oh Happy Days.  Yes, I know it is finally December and this has many meanings around the world.

     

    Most will realize it is finally December and this is when several flight sim developers have their annual year end super sales.  Yet others may be outside shoveling snow or maybe at the beach working on their tan, depending on the hemisphere.

    And the happiest ones just may be the ones at their flight simulator flying their new A2A Accu-Sim C182T Skylane. That is what I have been doing for the last 8 hours.  Although the day of release was about 3 weeks ago. November 14, 2014 comes to mind as the first day that purchases were made for this one.

     

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    Why so long to get a download, you ask.  Two or three reasons, all good ones.  First, most developers are not too keen on being on the receiving end of a critical review should a bug or two sneak through the beta team and fall in the hands of a reviewer before that crack team has time to correct it.  This is usually a week or two to see how well the new product is being received around the world.

     

    Second, I was busy cleaning up the final wording of back-to-back reviews before leaving on an extended Thanksgiving holiday vacation.

     

    And third, I was a thousand miles from my PC when the download link arrived in my inbox five days ago.  So what did I do?  I downloaded it to a USB key and guarded it with my life.

     

    My Delta flight from KAUS to KATL went smooth as glass and even arrived a few minutes early and only one terminal, meaning one train stop away, from my connecting Delta flight to KJAN.  I had just commented to my wife that it looked like we might even arrive at our destination on time.  That was a minute or so before the announcement about some mechanical.  Uuohh.

     

    "Passengers travelling to Jackson on Flight #547 are urged to move from this gate to Gate C50. Off to the races.  Roanoke, VA, that can’t be right.  ‘Oh, sorry, that should have been Gate C45", which was right next to C43 where the race started.  OK, back to the adjacent gate waiting area.

    "Replacement equipment is being brought over from the hangar.  Make yourself comfortable".  An hour later, we quit paying any attention to the announcements.

    Boy, I wish I had my own plane over at Peachtree.  I could put an end to this mess.  But, I didn’t and I put up with it but I got priority boarding because I was sitting in a Delta Wheelchair when this nice lady came up and ask if I needed assistance boarding.  I looked her straight in the eye and said rather sheepishly, No, I can make it on my own.  Fine, follow me.  Wow. Neat, I’m the 2nd or 3rd one on the plane.  All the other cattle is being herded somewhere behind me.

     

    That is when my new Avsim Review Editor, emailed me to ask regarding progress of the C182 review.  This one is downunder, where they are worried about sunburns this time of the year.  He advises he bought the C182 recently and was also having a close look at it.

    You don’t suppose he is just trying to give me some sort of kickstart, do you? Nah, Review Editor’s buying software. Hmm.

    So how did I spend my vacation away from home and away from my flight simulator for 12 days? 

    I read a lot. I read two books cover to cover on the early Cessna Citations. (Future proofing my inside line on one or two new Citations)I watched 3 seasons and 13 x 3 episodes of The Aviators on a 65 inch 4,000k TV in Super HD. Very Nice. I also read most of the free forums for the A2A Accu-Sim C182 and looked at dozens of new repaints, read a lot of ramblings, read some good advice and then realized what a diverse bunch of oddballs we are.

    Some of the questions we can come up with are just short of bizarre. But, the good news is that it made me realize that no matter how concise, how correct or how useful any suggestion or tip might be there are a dozen or more arm chair quarterbacks, make that armchair Flight Instructors, ready to pick it apart while making real asses of themselves.  My bet is that not one of these heroes have any logged time is a real C182 Skylane, ever.  But, that is just a guess.

     

    I read just about everything Mr. Bing or Mr. Google suggested using my very narrow and specific search criteria – Cessna 182 Skylane.

    Of the literally hundreds of articles written in our most often read aviation related publications, two really jumped out at me.  So much so that I contacted the authors and asked permission to use them in their entirety as a lead in for this review.

     

    How about the history of the Cessna 182 Skylane?

     

    This is usually where I dig out all that wealth of information that I have been wondering if I were ever going to have the opportunity to use.  My old brain’s gray matter is really beginning to turn gray and my library looks like one of those abandoned libraries in those futuristic movies.

     

    So rather than me tell you the same thing that most of you already know or can easily find out with a simple search or two or twenty.  I am going to tell you that if you don’t like this approach, then I recommend you call up the A2A C182 Pilot’s Manual and read all 104 pages.  This is a free download from A2A prior to purchase if you like and is jam packed with easy to read history and facts about the C182 Skylane and specifically the A2A version for FSX and/or P3D.

     

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    This is one of the better flight sim Pilot’s Guide because it is well thought out, well laid out, and well written. The first 20 pages has nice colorful photos of some really old airplanes that influenced the timing and design of the early Cessnas.  There are a couple of pages that you should read 2 or 3 times and then underline or highlight some of the things that you may not understand.  You are on your own to find those exact pages, but a hint is Page 17 and 19.

     

    I don’t want to stray too far from my format, so just suffice to say the Quick Start is exactly that, and if you skip it you probably will not be able to get the engine started and if you do, I bet it will die on you before you can make your run up.

     

    You need to pay attention to the details! The Tips are good tips and if this is your first A2A Simulations simulation then you will want to read the chapter on how a combustion engine works. Hint – most pilots don’t have a clue.

     

    The rest of the Pilot’s Manual has to do with specs and performance charts and tables and nice checklists that you can print out but are also available as popups. Then there are page after page of takeoff and climb charts, cruise charts at various altitudes and temperatures and fuel burns and associated speeds. There are those funny looking charts to explain range and endurance and all the ways to use up 87 gallons of useable fuel.

     

    This is all the stuff that I am constantly chiding the other developers for not including in their add-ons.

     

    Then there are the Normal and Emergency procedures actually explained and that leads to the Systems and Handling and then the Servicing and Maintenance.  I think the Maintenance Hangar might end up being my home away from home, but that is just me.

     

    The last few pages are about Accu-Sim and explains something quite different and unique for flight simulation – actions lead to consequences – and these are usually not good consequences if you are in the air or up the creek so to say. Did you know your airplane wants to talk to you? And that it is persistent?  It’s all in the manual as they say.

     

    These guys stuck the most important paragraph about 3 pages from the end, just to see if I would read the whole manual.  Do you know what you can do with the Aircraft Configurator?  Do you have a Flight1 GTN or Mindstarnav unit? And if you are still using FSX, a Reality XP unit. How about those fancy optional landing lights that illuminate the runway, could they be included?  Only the manual readers know for sure.

     

    OK, back on track.

     

    Let’s start this story with the very first Cessna 182 ever built. It was built in Kansas and sold exactly 58 years ago to the day from when Scott Gentile was flight testing a real world C182 Skylane to verify some last minute additions by A2A.

     

    But, I am getting ahead of myself. Mr. Barry Schiff, an award-winning journalist and author of numerous books and more than 1,600 articles published in 100 aviation magazines and one of  the most recent inductees as a Living Legend of Aviation original penned the term, Cessna 182: Mr. Popular as the title of an AOPA Pilot article in November 2008. This was the 50th anniversary of the Skylane.  Here is that article.

     

    The Cessna 182 was always head of the class
    November 1, 2008  By Barry Schiff

    Prior to World War II, almost all general aviation airplanes had conventional landing gear—two main-gear legs, and a tailwheel. The end of the war, though, witnessed the introduction of the Beech Bonanza, the North American Navion, the Piper Tri-Pacer, and many others that reflected the increasing popularity of the nosewheel.

     

    Cessna was late in jumping on the tricycle-gear bandwagon, but when it finally stepped up to the plate in 1955, it hit a grand slam. The Cessna 310 was introduced first, the 172 and 182 in 1956, and the Cessna 150 in 1959, the latter three becoming the most popular GA airplanes in the world.

     

    The prototype Cessna 182 took to wing for the first time in a shroud of secrecy at Kingman, Kansas, on September 10, 1955. It was essentially a Cessna 180 with tricycle landing gear. The cowl was modified to accommodate the nosewheel. This left no room for cowl flaps and explains why early model 182s did not have them, and why those who fly them must be careful about managing oil and cylinder-head temperatures. (Cowl flaps were added to the 182B and subsequent models.)

     

    The drag of the nosewheel was greater than the tailwheel it replaced and reduced top speed by five mph.

    Cessna’s original brochure for the 182 reveals the quaint marketing attitude of the day: “It’s the ‘Land-O-Matic’ One Eighty-Two, the airplane you can drive,” proclaims the brochure. Another headline boasts, “You drive this airplane into the air and back down on to the ground.” Cessna also touted “Hush-flight cabin quietness and features” and “Para-Lift flaps.”

     

    In fairness to Cessna, a large, spanwise exhaust muffler did make the 182 much quieter than its progenitor, the 180, and the 40-degree flaps are both large and highly effective.

     

    The original airplane was called a Cessna 182 Businessliner, but this appellation was quietly dropped.

     

    A deluxe version of the 1958 model 182A was called a Skylane, a name that obviously did stick. It included full paint, wheel pants, and radios as standard equipment.

     

    The first one

     

    The very first production Cessna 182 bore serial number 33000 and was sold on November 2, 1956, to Ignacio M. Martinez of Torreon, Mexico, for the retail price of $13,750. It was registered in Mexico as XB-ZEQ.

     

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    Don Steffl purchased the airplane from Martinez in 1961. He flew it to his home in Minnesota. The registration was changed to N4966E, and Steffl flew the airplane for 40 years. The airplane was then purchased from Steffl’s estate by Ed Croymans, who flew it to his home in the beautiful Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park in Montana.

     

    In the meantime, John Casalegno, a general contractor in Kalispell, Montana, had been introduced to GA by his friend Michael Jackola, who took Casalegno hither and yon within Montana as business required. One day in August 2001, Casalegno needed a ride to Helena but Jackola was unavailable. He instead chartered Croyman’s 182. The pilot was Bill Werner, Croyman’s and Jackola’s instructor. On the return flight from Helena, Werner gave Casalegno some dual instruction, which was all the incentive that Casalegno needed. He had been bitten by the flying bug and soon began taking lessons in a Cessna 172.

     

    After earning his private pilot certificate, Casalegno discovered that renting aircraft for business trips left much to be desired. This is when he decided to purchase the Cessna 182 in which he had received his first instruction. Casalegno bought the airplane, which had a newly majored engine, in March 2003 for $69,000. This, he was to discover, was only the down payment.

     

    The restoration

     

    Casalegno knew that N4996E was the first 182 to roll off the Cessna production line, and he purchased the airplane with the intent of restoring it to its original condition. He had no concept, however, how much time, money, effort, determination and grit would be required to accomplish that goal.

     

    The restoration project began in October 2004. Dave Cano of Cano’s Custom Specialties in Kalispell led the project, and Reed Lamb of Semitool was responsible for the mechanical work.

     

    “Hunting for original parts,” Casalegno says, “was especially time-consuming for Cano and Lamb. Were it not for the Internet, it probably would have been impossible to locate needed parts, and we would have had to fabricate new parts.”

     

    The project was extensive and included having to completely rebuild all of the flight controls. When all was said and done three years later, Casalegno reckons that mechanical work required 444 hours of labor; skin replacement (on the control surfaces) took another 276 hours; metal work 705 hours; painting and stripping 340 hours; research 165 hours; upholstery work 165 hours; reassembly 932 hours; and hand polishing and sanding 1,635 hours. A total of 4,662 hours of labor had been devoted to the three-year restoration.

     

    Casalegno made the “second” maiden flight of Number 33000 on August 2, 2007, with his instructor riding shotgun. This was exactly five years to the day after he had been issued his private pilot certificate. He does not plan to obtain any additional certificates or ratings, not even an instrument rating. “I do not relish the thought of flying over the mountains of Montana in IFR conditions,” he says.

     

    Casalegno prefers not to think about how much money he has invested in the restoration. He also has no idea what the airplane might be worth, nor does he care. “I have absolutely no intention of selling it,” he says. (Vref’s current retail value of a run-of-the-mill 1956 Cessna 182 with a mid-time engine is $34,000.)

     

    There are a few differences between the restored airplane and its configuration when new. Casalegno says, for example, that he was unable to locate an original teal-colored, cabin headliner that would not crack because of age, and he was forced to use a substitute.

     

    The airplane also has upgraded Cleveland brakes, an exhaust-gas temperature gauge, and modern avionics to replace the original NarcoSuperhomer (which had a “coffee-grinder” tuner and vacuum tubes).

     

    “Everything else is the way it was in 1956,” Casalegno claims.

     

    “The way it was” means that the airplane has numerous features not found in modern Cessnas. These include: float-operated fuel gauges in the wing roots; a key-operated ignition switch with an independent, remotely located, push-button starter; a pull-out ash tray in the center of the instrument panel supplemented by ash trays on the sidewalls adjacent to the rear seats; and flaps that are manually operated using a long handle situated on the floor between the pilots’ seats.

     

    Flying it

     

    Casalegno graciously offered me the airplane for a familiarization flight. Climbing in brought back memories from when I ferried new 182s in the late 1950s from the factory to Air Oasis, the then-Cessna distributor in Long Beach, California. The airplane even smelled new.

     

    The rapid climb rate caught me off guard. The 1956 model is so much lighter than subsequent models, has the same horsepower (230), and easily outperforms them. The owner’s manual—there were no pilot’s operating handbooks in 1956—claims a climb rate of 220 fpm at 20,000 feet at the maximum-allowable gross weight of 2,550 pounds, outstanding numbers for an airplane without a turbocharger.

     

    I headed toward the Hungry Horse Reservoir, a beautiful, man-made lake nestled in a narrow valley between two parallel mountain ranges capped in snow. The bottoms of the wings are so highly polished and reflective that they created an illusion making it difficult at times to distinguish up from down. I don’t recall any factory fresh airplane looking and feeling this good.

     

    The airplane flies as well as it looks, better, perhaps, than when it was new. The controls are tight yet require only the fingertips for maneuvering. Like all 182s, the airplane is rock solid in turbulence. Someone once said that you could simulate the stability of a Cessna 182 by lying on the ground with your arms and legs outstretched. Little wonder that the airplane is such a popular instrument platform.

     

    At 7,500 feet msl and using full throttle (21 inches of manifold pressure) and 2,300 rpm (66-percent power), the airplane cruises at 156 mph. A nice feature found on early model 182s is the trimmable horizontal stabilizer that reduces trim drag. Later models incorporated a conventional trim tab. After parking in front of Casalegno’s hangar at the Glacier Park International Airport, I almost twisted my ankle getting out. I had forgotten how high the original 182 sits because it has the same long and spindly main landing-gear legs as the Cessna 180. Subsequent models of the 182 had much shorter legs (including a shorter nosewheel strut). This made it much easier to climb in and out. It also lowered the center of gravity and made the airplane less susceptible to upset during strong crosswinds.

     

    Cessna built only 843 copies of the original 182 before introducing the 182A in 1957. Every subsequent model saw the airplane evolving and improving. Some 182s were eventually produced with turbochargers and retractable landing gear.Almost 22,000 Cessna 182s had left the Wichita factory when production came to an end after 30 years with the Cessna 182R in 1986. It had become the third most popular GA airplane in the world following only its siblings, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and the Cessna 150/152.

     

    The General Aviation Revitalization Act passed by Congress in 1994 enabled Cessna to resume Skylane production in 1997, and it continues to evolve and improve in ways that were never anticipated when Number 33000 led the way in 1956.

     

    End.

     

    Thanks Barry for your generous agreement to share this story with our Avsim review readership.  See the credits for a link to read more about Barry Schiff (28,000 logged hours, 335 aircraft types, holder of 5 world speed records,  medals and awards up the kazoo)

     

    The second article that got my serious attention had a very timely and catchy title – Cessna 182:  Then and Now.  This story picks up two years later when the C182 Skylane has the honor of being the first airplane to grace  the cover of AOPA Pilot magazine.

     

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    This original AOPA Pilot article, written by Steven W. Ells, appeared in the March, 2008 edition and illustrates with extraordinary detail and depth a comparison flight of a 1958 Skylane and a 2008 Skylane on a typical 600 mile cross country flight. There may also be a little history thrown in:

     

    It’s a cold, gray and damp day in 1958 at Medford airport near the southern Oregon Mountains in the Orbx Pacific Northwest area.  Oops, I have already messed up the story.  Maybe Steven should tell it again for you:

     

    In 1958 general aviation was growing as businesses began to see the value of using small airplanes to better serve their clientele. That year Cessna introduced the Skylane, a deluxe version of its popular 182 series. Improvements included a bungee-type rudder trim system, wheel pants, a full instrument panel, and the relocation of the exhaust pipe exit to the right side of the lower cowl. Appearance changes included a three-color overall paint scheme—earlier 182s schemes used paint for trim accents over bare aluminum. Cessna sold 802 of the models that year at a base price of $14,350 for the 182 and $17,095 for the Skylane version.

     

    The 182 has been a mainstay of the Cessna single-engine line since its introduction. Many consider it the best all-around general aviation airplane ever made. To illuminate the progress made during the past 50 years, let’s look at the tools that were available for pilots in 1958 for planning and flying a 593-mile cross-country, and compare these with the tools that are available for planning and flying that same flight today. This 593-nm cross-country proceeds from the Medford airport in damp and mountainous southern Oregon to the balmy sun-soaked Avalon Airport on Catalina Island in California. The wonder of aviation is that both of these airplanes—a 1958 model and a new 2008 model—can make this trip in less than four and a half hours if the winds are cooperative.

     

    Older and heavier

     

    Six-cylinder, magneto-ignition, avgas-fueled engines power both the 1958 Skylane and the 2008 Cessna 182. Continental Motors Company, later Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM), supplied its robust O-470 series engines for the 182 line from 1956 through 1986. Then Cessna suspended production of its single-engine line until the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) was passed in 1994. By the time that Cessna re-introduced the 182 line in 1999, Textron had acquired both Cessna—the airframe manufacturer, and Lycoming—TCM’s competing airplane engine manufacturer. Since Cessna restarted its single-engine line, a Textron Lycoming IO-540 series engine has powered the 182. Cessna also offers a turbocharged version of the new 182 and it’s selling better than the normally aspirated version. The 2,400 takeoff rpm and the shorter blades of the standard three-blade propeller on the 2008 model 182 result in low propeller blade tip speeds—a major noise-reduction factor. The longer-disc diameter of the two-blade propeller and 2,600 takeoff rpm of the earlier Continental O-470-equipped 182 models.

     

    The 1958 Skylane had a maximum gross takeoff weight of 2,650 pounds and a typical empty weight of 1,720 pounds. Subtracting the weight of a full load of fuel (65 gallons with 55 usable) resulted in a payload of 540 pounds. The new 182T has a MTOW of 3,100 pounds and an average empty weight of 2,032 pounds. The whopping 92-gallon fuel capacity (87 useful) results in a full fuel payload of 516 pounds. The empty weight gain of 300-plus pounds in 50 years seems like quite a leap, but it must be remembered that while early Skylanes were well appointed for their day, what was regarded as an upgrade in 1958 can only be viewed as minimalist today. The Volkswagen Beetle—a minimalist design if there ever was one—was introduced to North American motorists in the late 1950s. One need only compare the 1950s-era Beetle to the most economical car of today to appreciate the comfort gains made during the past 50 years.

     

    As the Cessna 182 line matured, Cessna incorporated major airframe changes that increased interior cabin space, swept the tail 35 degrees, replaced the bag-like fuel bladders with a 92-gallon capacity wet wing, and upgraded from flat landing gear legs to tubular gear legs. These changes, and the installation of more cabin comforts, resulted in a steady increase in empty weights, causing a slow decline in service ceiling numbers. The service ceiling of the 1958 Skylane is 19,800 feet. By 1985, when the 182 was powered by a high-compression O-470U engine, the service ceiling had fallen to 14,900 feet. Textron Lycoming has trimmed weight off the IO-540 engines, added roller camshaft followers, and re-worked the crankshaft counter-weight system to produce a smooth-running engine. Because of these upgrades, and the larger displacement of the 540 engine over the 470 series engine, the lagging performance evident in the last of the TCM-powered 182s is no longer an issue. Performance-wise the 1958 and 2008 airplanes are remarkably similar. The 1958 Skylane had a top speed of 165 mph (143 knots). The 2008 model 182T is advertised as having a top speed of 150 knots.

     

    There’s no comparison between the cabin appointments, safety features, and cabin comfort of the 1958 Skylane and a new 182. The 2008 Cessna 182 is a very comfortable and safe airplane with luxurious interior appointments such as leather seats, sound-dampening carpets, and safety features such as 26-G impact seats and inertia reel and airbag-equipped seat belts. A typical equipment list includes a dual axis autopilot, a factory installed oxygen system, back-up alternator and battery, and a sophisticated integrated avionics system.

     

    Flight planning

     

    Today’s pilot thrives in a world of battery powered laptop computers and almost universal access to the Internet. This access coupled with sophisticated flight planning software provides almost everything a pilot could desire in the way of weather information, flight planning tools, and flight plan filing convenience.

     

    AOPA’s Real Time Flight Planner (RTFP) is a great example of the tools available to today’s pilots. Flight planning in 1958 days consisted of two options. Pilots could obtain a briefing and file a flight plan over the telephone, or they could walk into one of the Aviation Communication Stations (ACS) located at many airports to study weather prognosis charts and get a face-to-face briefing before filing a flight plan with one of the attendants. In 1960 these stations were renamed Flight Service Stations (FSS).

     

    The most commonly used tools for flight planning chores in the late 1950s were plotters, which were used to measure distances and determine headings with reference to printed charts, and mechanical calculators, most common of which is the E-6B style. Experienced pilots often carried a pocket-sized circular version of the E-6B that they called “whiz wheels.” These calculators enabled pilots to derive true airspeeds, density altitudes, leg time, fuel burn, as well as convert statute mile to nautical miles, Celsius to Fahrenheit, and feet to meters. No batteries were required but it took time to work through a set of pre-flight calculations and fill out a navigation log.

     

    Today, pilots need only to enter the starting and ending airport identifiers, the cruising altitude, and if the owner’s aircraft profile is up to date, the flight planner instantly produces a complete flight plan with preferred routing, a navigation log with identifiers, minimum en route altitudes, time between stations calculations, a colored route chart, and FAA-format flight plan. Another click of a button files the plan.

     

    The ease of route planning doesn’t end at the computer. In addition to preferred routings, standard instrument departures (SID)s and standard terminal arrivals (STAR) are on the databases of many GPS navigators, easing the transitions into and out of en route preferred routings. The airways system has grown so organized that where yesterday’s pilots joked that IFR meant, “I follow roads, or railroads,” today’s pilots say that IFR means, “I fly routings.”

     

    Beneficial changes

     

    In response to the Grand Canyon crash of 1956, huge changes in the national airway system were implemented at a cost of more than $450 million. One of the most beneficial changes for GA pilots was the replacement of the aging, very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) facilities from maintenance-intensive tube-type mechanically driven equipment to more dependable solid-state equipment.

     

    Instrument landing systems (ILS) that provided precision vertical and lateral guidance to airports were much easier to use and much safer than the Adcock low frequency ranges they replaced. As late as 1956, VFR charts were still depicting Adcock range installations. In spite of the rush to upgrade the national airway system, the changes that make today’s instrument flying the safest in the world—nationwide radar coverage and satellite-based navigation systems—were far in the future.

     

    In 1958 approach and departure radar control systems were available at major airport locations but en route radar coverage was still spotty. GA pilots who flew instruments in the late 1950s were required to make position reports on VHF radios as they progressed along their flight plan. Reports were required at compulsory reporting points—such as over VORs—and followed a pattern in which the pilot reported his altitude, time over the station, the name of the station he was over, the name of, and the time he would arrive over the next compulsory reporting point in the flight plan, and the name of the reporting point after the next one.

     

    Few GA pilots flew instruments in the late 1950s. Hal Shevers, in addition to being the founder of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, directed instrument refresher courses for AOPA in the early days. “There weren’t many instrument ratings in the late 1950s,” remembers Shevers. “They became more common in the middle ’60s.”

     

    The navigation and communication radios that were available in the 1950s were capable enough, but did require a lot of attention to tune frequencies. Narco’s Mk II Omnigator, weighing 18 pounds, had 27 VHF transmit frequencies that radiated out on five watts of power, a marker beacon receiver, a VOR receiver with a course-deviation and to-from indictors, and a crystal-calibrated VHF communications receiver. The VHF receiver had to be calibrated before use.

     

    A five-position knob had to be set to “CAL” for calibrate, a rotating knob was then turned until the desired reception frequency was aligned with a pointer—then the knob was moved slowly to tune the receiver. A steady whistle heard in the headphones indicated an on-frequency setting. After this “whistle-stop” tuning was complete the five-position knob was moved to the COM position.

     

    There was no distance measuring equipment in GA airplanes in 1958, so pilots used dead reckoning and time-to-station rules of thumb such as, “For every 10 seconds it takes to make a 10-degree change between VOR radials off the same VOR, you are one minute from the station.” DME, en route radar coverage, and the widespread acceptance of GPS have made position reports a historical footnote.

     

    By comparison, positional awareness over the ground on electronic versions of VFR and IFR charts, airport taxi diagrams, as well as traffic information or advisory services (TIS or TAS), and terrain information via a terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) can all be displayed on the full-color multifunction display screen that’s permanently mounted on the 2008 Cessna 182 instrument panel.

     

    The Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system also consists of a second 12-inch screen situated in front of the pilot. This screen, called the primary flight display (PFD), shows the pilot all the flight instruments that are required for safe flying under the most extreme conditions, as well as wind direction and velocity, true airspeed, distance and time to next waypoint and destination, and a storehouse of other flight data. This system, which is standard equipment in the 2008 Cessna 182, also includes one of the best light aircraft autopilot systems ever built. These avionics have changed the way modern pilots fly. It’s now possible to fly hundreds of miles without touching the control yoke and never vary from the desired track or cruise altitude.

     

    The flight

     

    Neither the 1958 Skylane nor the 2008 Skylane had any problem climbing out of Rogue River Airport in Medford to the 11,800-foot minimum en route altitude (MEA) required to head south over the Siskiyou Mountain Range, which rises up to mark the southern boundary of Oregon.

     

    To present a fair comparison, let’s have both pilots cruise at 10,000 feet msl as they fly south over VORs at Red Bluff, Sacramento, Paso Robles, San Marcus, and on across the 54-nm over-water leg from the Ventura VOR to the final VOR at Santa Catalina Island.

     

    This routing covers 593 nautical miles. Figures from the 1958 owner’s manual show a true airspeed of 135 knots while burning 11.9 gallons per hour. Setting aside 10 gallons for fuel reserves from the 55-gallon usable fuel results in a full-fuel range at this power setting of three hours and 48 minutes, or 510 nautical miles.

     

    The pilot of the 1958 airplane elected to land at Sacramento for lunch and fuel after being aloft for an hour and 40 minutes.

     

    The 2008 182 pilot’s operating handbook (POH) revealed that pilots could select power settings as high as 85 percent at 10,000 feet. For a more even comparison, let’s compare the new 182 when it’s being flown at the same power setting (71 percent) as the 1958 airplane. In this case it would fly at 141 knots TAS and burn 12.9 gallons per hour. Setting aside 12 gallons for reserves yields a full fuel range of 819 nautical miles after five hours and 50 minutes aloft.

     

    In the last 50 years the world has changed, the flying environment has changed, and even the smallest steps in every flight have changed. Paralleling all the changes are the improvements Cessna has incorporated into the 182. Based on this winning formula, there are pretty good odds that an AOPA Pilot editor may well sit down to write an article about the new 2058 182 in 50 more years.

     

    50 years and 4,733 hours later

    A 1958 Cessna Skylane, N4054D, had the honor of being the first airplane to grace a cover of The AOPA Pilot magazine. N4054D has upheld the Cessna 182’s reputation as one of the best airplanes ever built by filling roles as a star in Cessna company advertising and in search-and-rescue missions in and around Idaho’s mountains. It has been sold seven times, has hangared in Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, and Idaho, and is still going strong.

    Cessna flew 54D for nearly 300 hours in research and development projects, and featured her in advertising pamphlets before a flying club in Missouri purchased her for $11,417 in 1959.

    The club later upgraded the avionics with two Narco Mk II Omnigators and a Tactair autopilot. During the late 1960s 54D changed hands three times. In November 1977 the FAA cited the owner for failing to sign and submit an updated, “Aircraft Registration Eligibility, Identification, and Activity Report,” and revoked the certificate of registration.

    The airplane was re-registered and FAA records show a January 1979 sale to an individual in North Carolina. Less than a year later 54D moved west after being sold to a new owner in Hines, Oregon. The new owner installed a new “T” configuration instrument panel, an alternator, and a stack of new radios. 54D flew the western skies for its new owner for eight years before being sold in May 1987 to its present owner, who took it home to Lewiston, Idaho.

    The current owner, Tom Rogers, installed many modifications such as a STOL kit, an extended baggage compartment, and an FM transceiver to assist in search-and-rescue missions for the Nez Perce County Air Posse and the Civil Air Patrol.

    In January 2008 there were 4,733 hours on the airframe. The Cessna has never had accident or incident recorded against it

     

     

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    Thanks Steven for your gracious permission for me to use your original work in this flight simulation environment. See the credits for more on Steve Ells.

     

    Those two stories and the A2A C182 Pilot’s Manual should be enough history for any one airplane, even one as famous as the C182 Skylane.

     

    I have pondered and considered how to capture your attention and yet provide some insight into a how best to choose whether or not this A2A C182 Skylane with Accu-sim is going to be your newest addition to your virtual hangar.

     

    I will tell you up front, that if you knew what W.R. and I already know about this one, you would stop right here, right now, and order your copy then come back and complete your reading of the review.  This might be the only good thing about having a slow download connection. You can read while you wait.

     

    Choices

     

    I am not going to spend a lot of time or words on the high wing vs low wing or Cessna vs Piper, or why the Bonanza should be the obvious choice or the Cirrus vs everybody debates.

     

    The author of the A2A C182 Pilot’s Manual also wrote the A2A Piper Cherokee 180 manual and has a very hard time not letting his preference for the low wing come through quite often.  That aside. I agree with him on a couple of points – it is easier to check the fuel level in a low wing airplane but it is also difficult to properly drain the fuel sumps without getting your pants soiled.  Other than that I generally prefer the high wing when given a choice.

     

    You can’t do this with that Low Wing Wonder.

     

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    I will categorically state that I was a dyed in the wool Cessna and Mooney fan for the first 25 or 30 years of my flying and a Cessna Citation (low wing) fan for the last half of my flying career.  Anything else was always a second or third choice if I was able to choose or rent or beg a flight.  Other than that long legged Lady with the Gulfstream. Shhh.

     

    I have been somewhat mellowed in my old age by some of the recent Piper introductions in the simulator arena.  The new Seneca V and Saratoga II TC will light a fire in even a wet forest.  Both of these just happen to be modern up-to-date turbocharged beauties and therefore higher and faster flying machines than the Skylane so they are not direct competitors.

     

    If you are of the “If it ain’t Piper, I ain’t going” mentality, then also look at the A2A Piper Cherokee 180 if you don’t already own one.  This one is of the highest quality currently available.

     

    The Cirrus group does not have anything really new but there is an older SR22 Turbo with a parachute and a newer SR-22 Turbo with a rudimentary G1000 that looks great but are nowhere near the level of realism, with the walk around preflight, failures, and maintenance features of the Accu-sim models.

     

    If you just absolutely must have a full glass panel, there are a couple of CT182T models available for sim flyers.  Both look good and the implementation of the Garmin units are at the extremes of the curve, one low, one high, but neither will perform anywhere near the level of this Skylane with Accu-sim.

     

    Almost everything, well actually everything that compares and concludes that the Bonanza is the hands-down winner of any comparison usually has to ignore the fact that the Beechcraft, now Textron, costs about 3x as much as a Skylane to buy and about the same 3X for maintenance and upkeep. Not that the Bo ain’t the prettiest and fastest, and the . . . just saying.  Btw, most of those early Bonanza drivers are all flying Citations nowadays.

     

    Back to the Cessna Family – the Single Engine Piston Family

     

    Any research will tell you the Cessna Skyhawk, i.e. C172, is the best-selling general aviation airplane of all time.   Second place goes to the little brother Cessna 150/152 and the third best-selling and therefore 3rdmost popular GA airplane of all time is the  - tada – none other than the  - Cessna 182 Skylane.

     

    There are many reasons that one group has outsold the others or is more popular than another but in the end it has to come down to the cash outlay and this has always worked against the more expensive or higher pricedSkylane.

     

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    Practically every one of the Cessna 150/152s were purchased as training aircraft and then sold and resold as replacement models were obtained.  Let’s just pick a number, say 60% of flight students learned to fly in a Cessna 150/152, and maybe half that or 30% went across the street to the Piper Cherokee.  The remaining 10% or the ‘others’ learned in American Aviation, Grumman Tigers, small Commanders, Ercoupes, Luscombes, and such.  Even if the numbers are a little off . . .

     

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    Now let’s consider that Cessna went to great pains to make the C172 Skyhawk an easy step up for all those with the ink dripping off their new PPL.  The Skyhawk offered two more seats, a slightly wider cabin and room to put an overnight bag.  Plus, it looked a lot like a bigger C150/152 and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Well, not until the crazy product liability lawsuit days of the mid1980s.

     

    I read that insurance companies absolutely loved the Skyhawk.  One, it was a slow moving, forgiving big ole Cessna 150 except it now had the whole family – the wife and one or two kids – on board.  This family connection automatically made flying the Skyhawk a much safer affair.  Not too many daredevils are going to do loops and rolls with the wife in the right seat and little Bobby and JoAnn asleep in the back.

     

    012_T.jpg

     

    So now that the PPL driver and Skyhawk owner of a few years probably has an Instrument Rating or maybe the urge to have one and is in need of a little more useful load to carry those two teenagers to Grandma’s house.  Maybe some larger fuel tanks and more baggage capacity would be nice also to carry JoAnn’s overnight bag and makeup kit.  Not to mention Dad’s golf bag when Mom stays home to watch TV.

     

    Voila. Cessna 182 Skylane to the rescue.  First check with the bank. No problem, with your good credit, do you prefer monthly or quarterly payments?  Next, check with the Insurance company.  No problem, non-business, or occasional business is the same with us, nice family man with several hundred logged hours in the Skyhawk and about to get an Instrument Rating. Would you prefer quarterly payments or just one annual payment, sir?

     

    Then the close with the wife.

     

    Honey, I was talking to our Accountant and he thinks it may be a good time for us to step up to the Skylane.  Besides all the benefits of the larger cabin and more versatile cross-country capable, read more vacations, airplane, he is willing to buy a block of hours for his personal use.  Our net delta would be only slightly greater than our Skyhawk, and the 182 is at least 20 knots faster and a perfect instrument airplane and with all that extra room. . . . What do you think, Honey?

     

    You can substitute, Lawyer, Insurance Agent, Business Partner, Two Buddies, etc for the Accountant and still use the line with the wife.

     

    Not a Trainer, Not for Rental

     

    Let’s qualify that statement. Not a primary trainer and seldom available at the rental counter, but itis indeed a great instrument trainer and also a good high performance trainer.  Occasionally, you will find a C182 Skylane advertised for some block time hours provided you meet the owner’s time in type and logged hours criteria.

     

    The fixed-gear Skylane is a high performance aircraft and qualifies for a log book endorsement of the same.  It is not, however, a complex aircraft as the gear does not retract and it is not exactly a fast mover.  The basic airplane without a turbocharger and therefore a built-in oxygen system onboard seems to be in the minority of new Skylanepurchases.

     

    This is almost like middle ground between the 4 seat, but not 4 place Skyhawk 172 or Cherokee 150/160 and the faster moving and higher flying full 4 place aircraft like the C182 RG-Turbo or the Bonanza or Saratoga TC.

     

    How about the upper end of the Cessna Single Engine Piston Family?

     

    Yes, it is only prudent that we discuss the up side of the C182 Skylane. If we stay with the mostly modern airplanes, we are talking about the Cessna 206/210 models.  And Yes, I do know about the C185 and C195 but they are few and far between and they are taildraggers so I am leaving them out of the conversation.

     

    Here is where we are looking at 6 seats, but our brain is thinking about using only 4 seats and having the ability to carry heavier passengers, more baggage, and more fuel.  The last two seats or third row in the C206/210 are not much more than good looking ‘child seats’ anyway.

     

    013_T.jpg

     

    But, if you are a little wide in the middle, envision a Coke bottle, and the kids take after their dad and you have a slightly thicker wallet, then one of these bigger and better Cessnas might be your choice.  There is nothing a C182 Skylane will do that a Cessna 206 can’t do and with a little more load.

     

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    The C210 is another story as they all have retractable landing gear and they go fast and most go high.  The pressurized version is a real screamer but I think these two are outside of our review mostly because there aren’t any new ones that I would consider direct competition to the Accu-SimSkylane.

     

    A possibility might be the recently introduced Cessna 207 but it would come without a comparable flight manual, expected documentation, walk around capability, maintenance, failures, systems and the Accu-sim realism. So, in effect, not a real competitor.

     

    Getting to the Cessna 182T Skylane model

     

    The T model is simply the next alpha character used by Cessna to differentiate from the previous S model that was built from 1997 – 1999. At the close of business in 1986 when Cessna threw up its hands and said Uncle to the unbelievable and mostly unfounded monetary awards in several product liability lawsuits the latest C182 Skylane was the R model.  This one had the Continental engine and was the preferred model at that time.

     

    When Cessna decided to restart the production line for Skyhawks and Skylanes after some legal protection provided by the 1994 Aircraft Revitalization Act their parent company Textron, also parent to Lycoming engines most likely influenced management’s decision to use the Lycoming IO-540. 

     

    This is a big engine and it is a noisy big engine and small Cessnas have never been known for their quiet ride or well-insulated cabins. But, the 3-bladed propeller that looks so sexy on some of the faster singles and twins is also quieter.  This is mainly due to a shorter diameter with less tip speed and recent design gains in efficiency due to twists and turns and other wind tunnel insights.

     

    Couple that with the big old IO-540 that can be detuned or derated down to 230 hp and mated with a slower turning 3-bladed propeller and you have the basis of the new Skylane power train.  Heck that Lycoming is just loafing at that power level, it can put out an extra 100 hp and more with little effort.

     

    Add a little more high efficient sound proofing and sound absorbing interior material and you have a modestly quiet new Lycoming powered, 3-bladed prop Skylane.

     

    So all is well at Cessna and the Skyhawks and Skylanes are slowly picking up steam and not much is being added for the sales team to brag about until Garmin introduces the G1000.  Katie bar the door, this is the panacea of panels.  Rip out all those old fashioned, heavy-weight individual gauges with all those miles of wire and metal brackets, screws and nuts and such and save up to 100 pounds of useful load by adding just two glass panels that does everything.  Or so says the Garmin sales team.

     

    Starting in 2004 the C182T buyers had the option of foregoing everything they had learned and cherished with their‘Six Pack’ of gauges and dual GNS 530/430 GPS units with Autopilot, ADF, DME, Transponder, etc and having the clean and simple lightweight two G1000 glass panels with a stand-alone autopilot.

     

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    A few years later in 2007 the C182 Skylane came with the G1000 standard with the G700 autopilot built-in. Gone forever are the old round ‘steam’ gauges of yesteryear.  Of course the G1000 offered  a lot more than weight shedding.

     

    Hold on here Partner, not so fast there, city slicker.

     

    I’m not ready to throw in the towel and give up my trusty round ‘steam’ gauges.  How about we modernize by adding some really oversized and enhanced GTN units that have Nav/Com and transponders and moving maps and a lot of other good stuff built-in and we keep our warm and fuzzy feeling steam gauges for a few more years.  That will help with the useful load, won’t it?  A little maybe.

     

    So there was a window somewhere between 2001 and 2006 for Steam Gauges in the C182T.  This specific A2A model of the A2A C182 Skylane is most likely a compositeof several models and not based on any exact year model but has some of each from the available window.  I suppose you could call it a 2004 model and be perfectly safe.  or maybe 2005.

     

    I personally do not think it is earlier than 2004 simply because of that big ole  chromed spinner – it was introduced as the 2004 C182T model. The real early T models also did not have the annunciator panel mounted top center.

     

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    So what exactly are the changes or upgrades from the C182R to the C182S (1977)?

     

    The New 182.

     

    As we mentioned, the switch from the O-470 Continental engine to the IO-540 Textron Lycoming engine is significant but did you notice the I in IO?  This adds fuel injection in lieu of a carburetor fuel delivery system.  This instantly eliminates the longtime headache of carburetor icing in the Cessna 182 but replaces it with the necessity to learn how to start and care for the fuel injected engine. 

     

    This may sound simple enough but it is really difficult to teach an old dog new tricks until they get embarrassed enough to actually read the manual.  It is not uncommon for a lineboy to walk over and give a would be Cessna 182 Skylanedriver a tip or two on starting the engine or maybe how to clear the clogged spark plugs.

     

    This is usually associated with a hot start – restarting fairly soon after shutdown.  The tips are along the lines of “Why don’t you try it with the fuel pump Off and full lean mixture?” Sometimes it depends on whether the big Lycoming has the turbo attached or not.

     

    More welcome updates are the new beefier seats with lateral support bolsters and bringing over the larger and heavier Cessna Caravan’s seat latches and tracks and locking pins for holding the new seats firmly in place.

     

    The instrument panel is certainly the most noticeable of the new interior changes. It is out with the plastic looking beige Royalite of old and in with the a flat-gray aluminum panel outfitted with new instruments.Those ancient bouncing fuel gauges needles have been replaced by more accurate gauges, and the old EGT and CHT gauges are now a dual combination gauge with a larger, easier-to-read face. Same thing with the manifold pressure and fuel flow indicators.

     

    Cessna being Cessna has managed to hide from the pilot’s view at least half of these new engine monitoring gauges.  Someone once told me the Cessna logic was this encouraged the pilot to move his head more often and maybe he or she would look outside the cabin for traffic while twisting and turning to see the engine gauges.  Now that is really grasping for a logical reason.

     

    Dual vacuum pumps and a nice Sigma-Tek attitude indicator are now standard in the Skylane.  Also gone are the smelly ash trays and the cigarette lighter but that may come back relabeled as the ‘Accessory power source’ with maybe a USB port or two included.

     

    The center avionics stack

     

    This new C182S comes with a modernized AlliedSignal Bendix/King radio package. This includes a VFR-only KLN 89 GPS receiver, two KX-155A Nav/Coms (one with a glideslope receiver); a KMA 26 audio panel with a four-place, voice-activated intercom; a KT 76C Mode C transponder; and a KAP 140 single-axis autopilot.

     

    I think most everyone will opt for the additional cost of the IFR package that includes the IFR certified KLN 89B GPS, a KR 87 ADF, and electric pitch trim for the KAP 140 autopilot.  More details on this new Silver Crown line later in the review.

     

    Outside the C182S Skyhawk (1997)

     

    Preflighting the 182 now involves taking fuel samples from five drain points in each of the wings. Two more sump drains are located on the belly. The wing tanks are of the wet-wing design, whereas most previous 182s had rubber fuel cells.

     

    First Impressions by AOPA

     

    Flying the Skylane poses no special challenges. It feels and acts like a heavier, more powerful Skyhawk. Surprise, surprise.

     

    Though conditions were gusty and turbulent during our flights, the Skylane behaved well in the pattern. The airplane performed short-field takeoffs especially well. Set flaps to 20 degrees, firewall the throttle, lift off at 50 knots, and climb out at 58. With four aboard and full fuel, the C182S popped off the ground in about 600 feet and climbed out at approximately 750 fpm.

     

    At gross weight and 5,000 feet, with a 10-degree-Celsius outside air temperature, manifold pressure set to 23 inches, and the propeller at 2,200 rpm, we turned in an indicated airspeed of 125 knots and trued out at about 135 knots.  The 75 percent power setting resulted in a 13.5-gph fuel burn. Cessna claims a 75-percent cruise speed of 140 knots at 8,000 feet.

     

    Back in the Saddle Again.

     

    The Cessna single-engine sales team definitely has an ambitious goal. The company says that it will build 300 Skylanes in 1997 and 600 in 1998.  It's expected that some 50 percent of those singles will be sold overseas.

     

    1997 Cessna 182S,  Base price: $190,600, Price as tested: $200,700 (includes wheel pants).  This one had a Useful load of 1,228 lbs with an Empty Weight of 1,882 lbs.  The Max Gross Weight with the Textron Lycoming IO-540 is 3,100 lbs.  This is the same MTOW as the C186R model that was in production when the line was shut down in 1986.

     

    The Cessna 182T Skylane introduced - 2001

     

    2001 – Cessna C182T Skylane is introduced.  The interior seats come in either fabric or leather, it is up to the new owner to choose.  Both are available with no price difference.

     

    2004 – Cessna C182T Skylane is introduced with the G1000 as the Nav III avionics package.  The conventional round gauges are part of the Nav II package.  I’m not sure what is in the basic Nav I avionics package.

     

    Leather wrapped control yokes are standard.  LED glareshield lighting similar to the CT182T  adds a modern look to the panel.  A polished spinner completes the upscale look.

     

    One nice change that takes all 182Ts — regardless of avionics package — into the "pro plane" categoryis the presence of a split electrical bus selectable on the avionics master, plus an additional essential buswith a standby battery and battery controller. The two sides of the bus power different avionics, allowingyou to instantly shed load in case of an electrical system emergency or malfunction while preserving comand nav capability.

     

    For those aircraft with the Nav I and II packages, Bus 1 drives the HoneywellBendix/King KLN 94 on those aircraft so equipped, and the number-one nav/com. Bus 2 powers thedix/King KMD 550 multifunction display [MFD], if installed the number-two nav/com, and the transponder.

     

    A 4 knot gain over the C182S

     

    Some nifty aerodynamic refinements slim the drag profile enabling a total gain of 4 knots when compared to the C182S model.  These are a sleeker step for cockpit entry, recocked fairings on the gear legs and teardrop main wheel fairings, refined wing tips, and an improved cowling.

     

    The same 230 horsepower Lycoming IO-540, limited to 2,400 RPM, and three-bladed McCauley prop that powered the S model now powers the T model.

     

    What rolls off the line in Independence, Kansas, is Cessna-dependable, and the 182T is no exception. The controls still fall tohand, with the comforting feel of a flap indicator showing that you indeed have the flaps in your hand, andthe elevator and rudder trim manipulated in the directions you'd expect. In fact, Cessna can credit a largepart of its success over the years to adhering to a strategy of similarity. The airplane excels because it does what you expect it to do, and all the important things arewhere you'd expect to find them.

     

    The avionics packages range from the standard Honeywell Bendix/King IFR package, which offers asingle KX 155A nav/com with a matching indicator and KAP 140 two-axis autopilot, to the next packageup, Nav I, which adds a KLN 94 GPS and KMD 550 multifunction display.

     

    Another upgrade, to the Nav IIpackage, takes you into a KCS 55A HSI (horizontal situation indicator) system, including an analog KI525 HSI replacing the VOR/LOC/GS display, and a KX 165A nav/com.

     

    For redundancy's sake, the modern line of 182s has instrument power neatly divided between theelectrical and vacuum systems. The HSI or directional gyro runs off the electrical system, while theattitude indicator is vacuum driven.

     

    Dual vacuum pumps provide the backup in Nav I and II-equipped182s, now thought of as necessary for most new aircraft, and both pumps run all the time — if one fails,the other automatically picks up the slack, with no action required by the pilot. A single vacuum pumpdrives the standard attitude indicator in Nav III airplanes.

     

    Addressing one minor but sometimes frustrating gotcha in the 182S is the addition of a 12-volt poweroutlet in the T. Nope, no cigarette lighter on this airplane, but you can run a personal digital assistant orother gear in the cockpit with a 12-volt adapter.

     

    The 182 has a 24-volt electrical system.Base price on the 2004 182T is $250,000, for a Nav I-equipped 182, and a Nav II-equippedmodel retailsfor $260,000.

     

    The Nav III package, including the G1000, goes for the same price as a 2003 182Tequipped with the Nav II package: $297,500. The price point was announced at AOPA Expo 2003, to thedelight of potential owners, and the possible groans of 2003-model buyers.

     

    Air conditioning can be hadfor an additional $23,500. The 1997 182S, with its much less sophisticated avionics, was originally offered at $190,600 and is currently holding steady at $169,000 resale, so even in a soft market these trusty companions hold their value reasonably well, at least better than your average luxury car — and you still can't fly a Lexus.

     

    While you pay a little more compared to similar aircraft on the market, you get the reputation of the Cessna name and service network, and a rock-solid safety record.

     

    Ah, the benefits of flying with the old guard — ahem, with a proven performer.

     

     

    OK, enough of the real world Cessna 182 Skylanes – Let’s Talk about the A2A C182T Skylane with Accu-sim.

     

    The following was posted at the A2A Simulations website just prior to the introduction of the C182T Skylane. This makes for some interesting reading.  Compare this to your most recent ho-hum add-on from competing developers.

     

    The world's most advanced flight simulation technology is about to get even better with our first high performance GA aircraft.

     

    230 hp Lycoming 540 6-cylinder engine

     

    In real life a pilot needs a “high performance endorsement” from an instructor before being allowed to fly an aircraft with over 200 horsepower as pilot in command. This is because with greater power, comes additional challenges including higher torque and speed. This means the pilot needs to learn how to counter the engine’s higher torque and the propeller's higher pfactor (stronger right rudder application). This engine is 50% larger than engines commonly fitted in smaller GA planes, so the pilot moving up from a smaller aircraft to the Skylane must learn to apply power more judiciously (no just throwing the throttle full forward and leaving it there).

     

    Advanced Propellers

     

    With recent extensive experience with various propellers in the real world, we have had to push our technology further into into new areas. This means, for the first time in a simulation, you will experience the same real world differences between different propeller types. Propeller technology is a very big subject and one we look forward to further discussing with the community.

     

    More Power, More Heat

     

    We’ve expanded Accu-Sim deeper into the internals of the engine combustion chambers, so the pilot will learn to use all means of engine heat management available, including airspeed, cowl flap settings, engine RPM, and mixture.

     

    The Art Of Cruising

     

    All the above means there are techniques used only in the real world, that for the first time are available in a flight simulation. Lower RPM / higher manifold pressure engine efficiencies are modeled, allowing the pilot to increase both speed and economy at the same time. This is a lively debate among both pilots and mechanics, and will now be relevant in our flight simulation community.

     

    Hand Towing

     

    This brand new feature turns your stick or yoke into a tow bar, allowing you to push and pull the plane around realistically.

     

    Sound Driven By Physics

     

    We've taken this even further allowing users to experience improved engine groans, airframe rattles, ground handling, and more. The new physics mentioned above ties into the sound and vibration engine, allowing you will feel the prop cutting into the air like never before.

     

    Native 3rd Party Avionics Support

     

    Built in support for the RealityXP GNS430 and GNS530, Flight1 GTN650 and GTN750, and Mindstar GNS430 and GNS530.

     

    First, let’s get it straight that this A2A C182 Skylane is not a Turbo model, it is simply a C182T model.  Just in case you skipped over the previous pages, the T follows the C182S model.  If it had a turbo charger the designation would be CT182T.

     

    Second, it does not have the Garmin G1000 glass panels and there are no known plans for this to change.  I would find it highly unlikely we will see the G1000 in a A2A panel anytime soon.  (I probably know less about this than you do).

     

    Third, there is a very large group of flight simmers that are absolutely delighted that A2A chose the round or steam gauges for their Accu-sim C182T Skylane.  This includes the author.  My reasons are simple enough.  Should A2A decide to build their own simulation of the G1000 it would be an expensive endeavor and would most likely drive the price upwards.  Should A2A decide to use an existing G1000 simulation, it would also probably drive the price upwards.

     

    But, my most personal reason is that I am from the old school. I mean really old school. Glass panels weren’t even in spaceships when I was flying the Cessna 182, and the GPS was only being dreamed about.  Actually the first VOR display I ever saw didn’t even have a remote head display, just a simple little rectangle built into the face of the receiver with a needle sliding left, right or centered.

     

    In keeping with the current policy of including Accu-sim with the flight model as was the case with the C172 Trainer and Cherokee 180, Accu-sim is also packaged with the C182T Skylane.  This was a recommendation by this author prior to the introduction of any of these 3 models.  The logic was simple.  Who in the world would buy an A2A model and not buy the associated Accu-sim?  It must be a trivial few, so why not streamline the purchase and include it.

     

    For the first time A2A buyers:

     

    I have to keep reminding myself that there are probably a few new flight simmers that do not own any A2A Accu-sim product.  I will categorically state that you are really doing yourself an injustice but, that is just my opinion.

     

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    Just so the new guys and girls don’t have to stop and read the readily available free information at the A2A Simulations website I will give you a very brief overview of Accu-sim.

     

    What is Accu-sim?

     

    Real pilots will tell you that no two aircraft are the same.  Even taking the same aircraft up from the same airport to the same location will result in a different experience.  For example, you may notice one day an engine is running a bit hotter than usual and you might just open your cowl flaps a bit more and be on your way, or maybe this is a sign of something more serious developing under the hood.  Regardless, you expect these things to occur in a simulation just as they do in real life.  And under the hood, you expect your aircraft systems to respond accordingly.  This means no more one minute engine warm-ups. This is Accu-Sim - it puts the gauge back in the game.

     

    While Accu-Sim is created by pilots, it is built for everyone.  Realism does not mean you have to have a difficult time with your flying.  In fact, realism can mean an easier time with your flying as things react as you would expect in real life.   Common sense thinking applies with Accu-Sim. 

     

    For example, if you are exceeding your maximum allowed speed with your flaps down, there will likely be warnings.  You may hear and odd rumbling telling you, the pilot, "hmm, something is not right".

     

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    Accu-Sim is about believing you are there. It knows that, in the real world, certain truths exist. However, we also expect the unexpected, because in life, things do not always fall right into place. When you hit the starter for a great big radial engine, it doesn't always just say, "Yes, sir," and start right up. Sometimes it does, and when that happens you may think, “That was a nice startup.”

     

    Other times, the engine does something else – it turns over, it sputters, it coughs, and when just enough things happen to line up, brrrrroooom, the engine fires up. It is not a whole lot different than starting your cold lawn mower engine, but a large aircraft engine just has a lot more going on.

     

    Accu-Sim understands that while one aircraft may be the same model as the next, each aircraft is unique. It also understands that if we do things exactly the same way as we did before, things will not always respond in kind. Most of the time, yes, things will go as we expect. But there is a tolerance we watch for in all things.

     

    For example, if your engine tends to run at a specific temperature, say 220 degrees, and that engine is running at 225 degrees, you may consider that normal, or acceptable. Maybe 230 degrees is the point when you think, “That is a little too high,” or maybe 230 degrees is again considered OK by someone else. This is because you, the pilot, are considering not just the temperature of that engine, but all the other factors that go into what makes that engine heat up.

     

    No matter what it is, the world is not run by absolute numbers; it's run by real things we can see and touch. It's observing the behavior of such things and making decisions based upon what we know to be true. With Accu-Sim, one thing is for certain – no two flights are the same.  Welcome to the world of Accu-Sim.

     

    Perhaps it's a bit warmer outside the aircraft or you want a little more speed that day so you've closed your cowl flaps an extra inch, trading speed for a little hotter temperature. Maybe the temperature gauge is off a bit, or perhaps you, the pilot, become a bit concerned.

     

    Maybe these indicators mean something more is at play. Perhaps you let the engine run a bit too hot on takeoff or maybe something else, completely out of your control, is at work.

     

    Well, that was not exactly very brief, but you should now have a better understanding ofAccu-sim?

     

    You Gotta know which Sim(s) you will be using.

     

    Because of the licensing requirements you need to consider the exact model or bundle that best fits your needs.  Be sure to match your purchase to your simulator and specific version.

     

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    A2A Simulations offers six different purchasing options. Here are the current options and prices in US Dollars at the A2A website:

     

    C182 Skylane (FSX) is $49.99

    C182 Skylane (P3D + FSX) Academic Bundle is $69.99

    C182 Skylane (P3D + FSX) Professional Bundle is $99.99

    C182 Skylane (P3D) Academic is $49.99

    C182 Skylane (P3D) Commercial                      $199.99 + $99/yr

    C182 Skylane (P3D) Professional               is $79.99

     

    Each of these options has the C182 Accu-sim included with the purchase.  The P3D versions have both V1 and V2 installers included.

     

    Four Liveries in the pack, one interior, free paintkit and Accu-sim included.

    Liveries? How about Repaints? Here are the four defaults.  Several dozen more are free from generous painters at the A2A C182T Forum.

     

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    So much more than a C182T Skylane with 4 repaints.

    Meaning that your A2A C182T w/Accu-sim includes a very through interactive Preflight Inspection/walk around feature, an innovative and feature packed Maintenance Hangar with free mechanics and free accessory equipment, a persistent airplane (even when your PC is turned off), a visual load manager, animated passengers and pilots, 3 in-sim avionics configurations for 3rd party GPS’, and a ton of other neat stuff that we will explore.

    How about a list of features from the P3D Pilot’s Manual?

     

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    Is this an All Inclusive list of Features?No, not really, but the simulation does indeed include all on the list and lots more that makes owning and flying the Skylane a unique experience. 

     

    Reality Check

     

    Remember that phrase in the What is Accu-sim section above?  Well, if you are a real world pilot you will instantly recognize that this is more like a real world flying experience than loading up the newest add on and going flying.  Each flight is slightly different from the previous, new noises, new shakes and rattles, new vibrations, needles not quite the same, engine sounds are so realistic, things along those lines.  No thought of seeking an add on sound package for this one.

     

    If you are a simulator pilot you will instantly realize this is no ordinary add on airplane.  No rails included here.  No same oh, same oh in this package.  Get ready for some real simulator flying. huh?  Sorry, sometimes I get a little carried away.

     

    In either case, you will notice that I am not complaining about the skimpy documentation or total lack of flight planning materials.  Just the opposite.  We are covered up with anything and everything you could ask for in the way of descriptions and documentation and links for detailed avionics manuals.

     

    If you think you need more information than you find in the Pilot’s Manual or just need some clarification, then go the rare and totally free forum that is available even to non-owners of the A2A C182T Skylane.  Ask your question and prepare yourself for an immersive conversation with a real pilot, or maybe a simulator pilot, or maybe a couple of real, simulator pilots.  We have a lot of real pilots that also fly simulators, so what are we?

     

    Keep in mind and most of the folks at A2A are real world pilots that enjoy building realistic simulations for us to enjoy.

    Not Built just for us Flight Simmers.

    Remember that A2A Simulations is now a supplier of flight model software for general aviation training companies and schools.  This C182T Skylane with Accu-sim is destined as a trainer in full motion flight simulators around the world.

     

    It is nice to know that we can be flying the exact same flight model for literally pennies on the dollar as compared to one of the high end training simulators.

     

    The Airplane

     

    The A2A Skylane is knock your socks off gorgeous, both inside, out, and about.  The model is a joy to walk around, to visually inspect using the detailed Preflight feature. To listen to the sounds, to watch the  movements. I am awestruck.

     

    This is the next best thing to owning a real Cessna 182 Skylane. Once you select your particular livery or repaint there seems to be truer since of ownership than just calling up an add on from the selection list. There are dozens of new repaints available for download at the A2A C182 Skylane forum site or you can make your own.  I took the shortcut and just changed the registration number to one of my liking.

     

    If you have ever owned a real airplane, then you know there is a distinct difference between ownership and renting or buying a block of hours in someone else’s airplane.  I don’t mean the difference being that you are forever broke and the baby has to go without milk, I mean the respect you give to your airplane when flying. 

     

    You tend to keep it a little cleaner, a little neater, you spend a few extra minutes to make sure that oil is warmed up properly before adding power.  You use the brakes less to save money on new pads and you seldom push the limits to save a couple of minutes.  You just treat your pride and joy with due respect and proper care.

     

    The A2A C182 Skylane can be that personal airplane for you and in return it will provide many, many hours of true enjoyment.  It will take you places where you not only enjoy visiting, but you also enjoy the journey getting there and returning home.

     

    Realizing there is a whole ‘nother world of Bush Flying out there that seems to suit the C182 to a T.  Many folks say the Skylane was made for the bush strips and back-40 pastures.  Maybe it was and still is.  That loping big Lycoming and those barn door sized flaps seems well suited to the task. Why else would it have that nearly indestructible landing gear and constant speed prop?

     

    Just visit the Maintenance Hangar and remove those wheel pants.  Look around and see if you can find a set of oversized tires just in case it is muddy from all that rain.  I keep looking but haven’t discovered any really big tires, just yet.  Maybe they will arrive soon.

     

    Someone said that those big ole Tundra tires really don’t do anything more than look good to other bush pilots. There is probably some truth in that statement but I justgotta believe I would feel a little more comfortable with the option of splashing down at the edge of the water in Southern Alaska in my C182T and looking like all those pictures we see in the magazines.

     

    Until Then.

     

    Why is it that we always want more?  Why can’t we just be happy with what we have?  I guess that is just the nature of us wantabe barnstorming pilots.  Maybe is a holdover from Clyde Cessna and the early days.  It could be in the Cessna DNA. I remember reading that Clyde is the one that is quoted as saying. ‘Going fast is the only reason for flying’. 

     

    How about a little normal flying?

     

    Sounds good to me.  I am going to base my new C182T Skylane at my homefield in the Pacific Northwest.  I have been flying out of Siletz Bay State Airport, S45, in Lincoln Country on the rocky Oregon coast ever since Bill Womack built it for us.

     

    This seems to be a perfect location for a new Skylane.  A single, narrow runway, tall trees at one end, no fuel and only minor maintenance available, but a picnic table to sit and discuss the problems of the world and have a cup of coffee with friends.

     

    Of course the 4 cm/px ground polys, hyper-accurate buildings and details, loads of natureflow, staticflow, new peopleflow 2 and creatureflow helps.  These are the birds, butterflies, mosquitos and such.  Crazy nice little place for P3Dv2.

     

    I went through my normal new airplane checkout routine with a through preflight, runup, normal takeoff and a few casual climbing turns. Before I could get to my practice area where I usually start with slow flight and gentle stalls I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

     

    All that talk about physics, and such hits home with the sounds of air rushing by is changing and those barely susceptible creaks and the normal vibrations make you think you are no longer flying a simulation.  Those engine and propeller sounds are soooo real.  Oh my.

     

    I have several thousand logged hours in Cessnas and like that saying about riding a bicycle – it doesn’t take long to feel at home in a C182. And wow, does it feel great. This is a fantastic simulation.

     

    I finished off my first flight with a few figure eights and a chandelle or two and set up for an ILS approach to KONP runway 16 just South of my practice area.

     

    The Skylane just has to be the perfect platform for instrument flying and flying approaches in general.  The extra elbow room and uncrowded panel and of course, the big new optional F1 GTN750 nav unit with the built-in charts and plates and so much more is just gravy.

     

    As you may have heard me say before, the airplane wants to fly a perfect approach every time, it is just the pilot that keeps messing it up.  Well, in the Skylane you will tend to mess it up less often.  The view out the windows is awesome although I have to lower my seat to look left or right and raise the seat to look over the glareshield.  The optional TR5 solves most of those irritations.

     

    A Little Heavy on the Controls.

     

    Yep, that is one of the nice features of the C182T Skylane.  This is not a negative thing just a simple fact of life. Most pilots actually prefer the controls on the heavy side vs light or easily movable controls.  This is mostly the elevator and this can only be caused by a pilot that is not using the trim properly as he or she flies. The real world C182T Skylane has an optional electric trim button on the yoke that should be in near constant use.

     

    When the Skylane is not properly trimmed for a maneuver such as a missed approach or go-around from a full-flap deployed flare it can be a handful when full power is applied and the attitude is changed for the climbout. This is a maneuver that I always practice when checking out a pilot in the C182.

     

    Along with all the other subtle things, A2A has fully captured the heavy feel of the elevator and rudder in their coding.

    You will have to practice landing the C182T in various wind speeds and angles and at different over-the-fence stabilized speeds and also with different flap settings.  Each of these conditions require a slight different final power reductions and rate of flare.

    Flare to early and you will seem to float half-way down the runway, flare to late and you get to log several landings after the first two or three bounces.  Screw it up and you will appreciate the heavy duty spring gear that is on Skylanes.

     

    When you get it all together and do everything correct, you will be rewarded with a perfect landing.  Yes, that is the goal and you will know it when it happens.  Usually no one is around to witness these greased landings but, remember how you did it and do it again and again.

     

    Speaking of Sounds

     

    This one has truly outstanding sounds.

    A better way of saying this is the sounds and animations are truly outstanding.  Just about anything that moves has an associated sound and yes the wind sounds are extraordinary. 

    The essence of flight seems to have been captured and enhanced with the wind sounds. I have heard this referred to as ‘wind noise’ but, I personally prefer the term ‘wind sounds’.  Many of these features probably took days and weeks of coding to get them fine tuned to the level that they are now performing.

    Go out and try some slow flight and some steep turns and unusual attitudes and just listen to the ambient sounds you are generating with the high and low angles of attack and speed changes. 

    Now, when you add in the propeller sounds and engine sounds you have your own little symphony.  Those propulsion sounds are sooooo realistic that those folks on the ground that keep looking up at me probably think I am either a real poor pilot or that I am having engine trouble.  I just love to listen to the sounds as I am increasing or decreasing the throttle and propeller settings.  It actually growls, groans, and moans, with just a touch of backfirings.  Nice.

     

    When you add the sounds in and around some of the newer Orbx add on airports with the chirping birds and the AI airplanes taxiing by while you are doing your walkaround of the C182T Skylane it is easy to get in the mood and let you mind wander off to some previous memory.

     

    Cross Country Flying

     

    Yet another area that the C182T Skylane excels is on Cross Country flights.  These can be short, long, or anywhere in between or any altitude or legal weight load.

     

    I made several short cross county flights in the A2A C182T using the optional 3rd party Flight1 GTN750 nav unit.  Wow, what an improvement this brings to the party.  With the C182T’s stable climb profile and steady as a rock straight and level profile about the only thing left is to enjoy the view out the panorama windows and play with the GTN750.

     

    Adding User Waypoints and then modifying the flight plan to nudge over this way or that way and using themouse pointer to click on a peak to check distance and elevation is an outstanding feature. Look into the rubber band feature for changing a leg on the fly.

    You can click on an airport and instantly have the full information available with another click or two. This way you can check the name, field elevation, runway size, frequencies, approaches available, etc.

     

    Building, saving and modifying flight plans is a breeze. Having the full load of charts and approach plates adds so much more to the art of flying the Skylane.

     

    A tidbit.  You can add or change your fuel levels and change passenger loading while flying without interrupting the flight. Not exactly realistic, but yet fun anyway.

    Just a word or two on flying an Accusim airplane.  Dudley Henriques, posted this on the A2A website.  Worth reading by everyone:

     

     

    If I may please I'd like to take a moment to discuss something that has been discussed before but I feel needs to be revisited every once i awhile, especially for newcomers to the A2A Accusim environment. What I'm about to say addresses directly posts from concerned sim pilots concerned that their Accusim aircraft are turning left or right or that the "aircraft is doing this or that in flight". Keep in mind that what I'm about to tell you assumes there is no actual bug involved affecting your flight model. In the case of an actual bug, or something affecting the flight model via FSX or say a controller setting, the team will naturally be dealing with it as a bug and helping you find the answer as always.

    Now, as to flying Accusim airplanes in FSX;

    First of all, from the moment you install one of A2A's Accusim airplanes in your simulator, forget completely everything you learned from flying either the default aircraft in the sim and even other add on aircraft. Consider your A2A airplane as a totally new experience, because that is exactly what it is meant to be.

    Your Accusim aircraft has been programmed for the most part through actual flight test or from actual experience in the real airplane. Add to this that Accusim now not only allows but DEMANDS proper interaction from your airplane with the aircraft's real life counterpart and a few things begin to enter into your simulator experience that might not have been there before.

    Gone forever is flight in the simulator with the aircraft "on rails". Your Accusim airplane now HAS to be FLOWN.

    What you will be experiencing now is the same interaction with flight you would be having in the real airplane.

    This means you can no longer "fly" with your trim or allow the aircraft to wander from where you want it to be in the sky. The aircraft is now reacting to the physics in which it is immersed and if you aren't actually on top of it all the time, it will indeed want to wander left and right and leave the altitude where you would like it to be.

    All this means to you as an Accusim pilot is that you now have to forget thinking like you're in a simulator and start thinking like you are flying an airplane !

    As a flight instructor, when I hear a student tell me, "The airplane want's to do this" I simply say, "Don't let it do that". :-) I'm telling you the same thing here. With Accusim installed, you are in a real life flying environment. Start thinking that way and you have half the battle licked. On your takeoffs, MAKE the airplane assume the proper climb attitude. Don't rely on trim to do that. YOU do that !. PUT the aircraft in a climb attitude using your main controls, HOLD IT THERE, and trim for the climb. That's how pilots do it and that's how you do it with Accusim.

    If you're in cruise and flying manually and the airplane wants to bank left or right, DON'T LET IT! Maintain your chosen heading. Flying an Accusim aircraft will require you to be making constant subtle adjustments using your controls. In short, instead of just sitting there like a gamer letting the airplane go where it wants, now YOU are in control. In short......you're now "working" the airplane and flying it as it should be flown.

     

    So basically that's it gang. I'm not saying you don't have an issue going that needs attention when I read posts saying "the airplane's doing this and it shouldn't be doing that". What I am saying is that in a lot of these postings I'm seeing about "wandering airplanes" could be "fixed" by flying the airplane as you would the real airplane.

    As always, keep asking questions on the forums. A2A encourages that and will always try and be of help.

    Dudley Henriques, A2A Chief Pilot, Emertius

     

     

    Details -

     

    Let’s start with the Walkaround Preflight.

     

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    Each of the A2A GA Preflights seem to add a new item or two. This one has the familiar red Cessna tow bar.  Yep, you can actually attach your towbar to the nose gear and use the yoke to push, pull and tow your Skylane. You don’t actually physically attach the towbar, you click on the image of the tow bar in the 2d Popup window. Neat stuff.

     

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    For you guys and girls that are already familiar with the nifty A2A Preflight and walkaround, you will have to look close but you can find a few new touches.  I think being able to check the stall warning horn on the leading edge of the wing is new.  I have done that check for real a couple of thousand times. Looking at the AvGas in the cup is still an ingenious little feature. I think the real Skylane might have a few more fuel drain locations but the idea is certainly correct.

     

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    Using the Checklists

     

    I always encourage everyone to use checklists.  Even the most simple one – like GUMP – might save your pride in the simulator, and could save your life out there in the Jungle.  Even though this fixed-gear or stiff-legged Skylanedoes not have a movable U for Undercarriage, it doesn’t stop me from reciting my GUMP anytime I am looking at a runway or approaching an airport.

     

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    The A2A C182 Pilot’s Guide has two full pages of printable checklists in additional to a very detailed Cabin checklist to assist with the preflight.

    Some of these are not your typical check, check, yes, check, on, off, type of checklist, they are more along the lines of speeds, flap settings, throttle setting, etc.  I suggest you print them out and have them laminated and keep handy for your simulator flying.

     

    Following the checklists in the manual you will find some informative reading in a chapter entitled Procedures Explained.  This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.  This is not a sentence or two about how to start the engine or how to taxi or takeoff.  It is a discussion explaining not just how but why or in some cases why not.

    There is a wealth of good information about leaning procedures, fuel saving tips, and a paragraph or so on the various landings – short field, crosswind, balked, etc.  And for you boys and girls that fly where it snows and freezes there is a discussion on Cold Weather Ops.  The tip for us Hot Weather folks is quite simple.  Don’t mess around on the ground, go flying.

     

    The Performance Chapter

     

    A better title may be Performance Data Charts chapter.  There are pages and pages of tables.  Lots of data concerning short field performance as this is a short field performance machine extrordinare.  Nothing prettier or better sounding than a late model Skylane hanging on to the edge with a 3-bladed prop coming out of a short field and just cleaning the obstructions.

    Cruise tables are provided from Sea Level to 14,000 feet in 2,000 foot increments with standard temps in the middle and +/- 20 deg C on either side for each chart.

     

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    As you should expect, the best speeds are around 6,000 feet and the best fuel efficiency is around 12,000 feet.  Remember, no supplemental oxygen onboard this one so check the color of your fingernails often when flying high.  If they start turning purple you better head for a lower altitude while you still have a clear head.

    The Skylane was never known as a speed demon, but it is not exactly a slow poke either.  Just like all the other affordable planes, the owners all wish for another 20 or 30 knots of cruise speed, whether they will admit it or not.

     

    One thing about the Skylane is that you can burn a lot of extra fuel, and maybe shorten the life of your engine but you can’t make it go much faster than the book numbers. It is simply a 140 – 145 knot flying machine with room for 4 people with a few bags.

     

    Climb performance of the normally aspirated C182 is around 700 FPM up to 8000 feet and 500 FPM into the very low teens.In the higher altitudes the climb performance is reduced to the point where it may not be worth the fuel burn to go higher unless there is a nice tailwind waiting for you.

     

    If you want to go faster in a Skylane you will have to find one with retractable landing gear (and they aren’t making these anymore) or get one with a turbocharger. TheTurbo’d Skylane is not only considerably faster but you can also get much higher and therefore over taller mountains and some of the bad weather.  High cruise for the CT182T is 170 + Knots at FL180.

    The Turbo edition has been outselling the non-turbo version for the last 15 years.  Part of this is the lack of Skylane RG models on the market and the reasonably priced turbo option.  In the real world, the Cessna 210 comes into play when the 182 owners are really serious about going higher and faster.

     

    How about some of big ole Tundra Tires for our Skylane?

    As I mentioned earlier, they may not actually improve performance in a meaningful way but they look so cool at the water’s edge or in the bush.

    Surely A2A will have mercy on the bush crowd and offer a simple changeout in the Maintenance Hangar one day in the future.

     

    Time to Quit Dreaming of Enhancements and Enjoy What We Have.

    Should you ask a Skylane owner what he or she likes best about their plane, you will probably hear about the excellent performance, big roomy cabin, or maybe how easily it handles slow flight or about how you can walk faster than the landing speed when landing into a stiff breeze with those huge flaps. Some will mention the excellent instrument training capabilities or the outstanding safety record. Any given crash is far more likely attributed to pilot error than a structural failure of the airframe or a systems failure.

     

    When I fly a Cessna 182 Skylane, the word docile or gentle always come to mind. The visibility is excellent with the straight over the nose view not quite so good if you have a short torso, but that is why the seat has a vertical adjustment. I personally like the high wing design for the unrestricted downward view. Of course, I learned to fly in a Cessna 150 so I may be biased. Actually I have always thought of the Skyhawk as a slightly bigger Cessna 152, and the Skylane as a slightly larger Skyhawk. This logic works for most Cessnas until you get to the Caravan. It is in its own special class.

    The Skylane also makes a perfect trainer, especially for big guys or girls. You can even take a friend along on some of the training flights. It has a great IFR panel, unusual attitudes are not unusual, stall recoveries are mostly lower the nose and level the wings, and normal approaches are just that if the attitude looks normal. As a bonus, you learn about cowl flaps and variable pitch propellers early on.

     

    It can get a little dicey for a minute or so on an aborted landing or go around in the full flap configuration if you are not expecting a rapid attitude change when you add full power with full flaps extended at or near touchdown speed. Just be ready to crank in plenty of down trim as you lower the nose and slowly ease those flaps up. The normal landing is with full flaps.

    While researching my review of one of the Turbo Skylanes I stumbled onto some wonderful monthly magazines that have great Cessna stories and lots of photos and usually feature a full write up on a specific model each month. The archived issues are totally free.  See the credits for some links.

    As with any given Cessna model, but especially the Skylane, there is a flying club or two just waiting for you to join and tell your story. The internet is loaded with enough downloadable information about Skylanes to fill that new 2-terabyte data drive you got for Christmas.

     

    Is this the perfect choice?

     

    Now that is a leading question.  I have written about a half dozen reviews of the near perfect flight sim add on.  At the time, they were each at the top of the heap but off in the distance another developer was building an even larger and taller heap.

    With A2A Simulations, each new introduction improves on the previous one or the new introduction is different enough to make us want to grab it and go flying.

     

    There must be some of those diehard Low Wing Lovers that will never admit they are flying the C172 Trainer and this new big brother Skylane after the kids have gone to bed. And that is fine.  Cessna never said their planes were for everyone.  Just almost everyone.

    One of my best friends sent me this one sentence when I asked what he thought about the new A2A Skylane.

     

    “I love my C182T, but the Cherokee has more personality.”

     

    I will say, if you tend to prefer the high wing then I am going to assume that you prefer Cessnas, then you will love how the A2A C182 performs in the sim. I have been flying it for about a week now and I discover something new and exciting with each and every flight.

    That discussion about Accu-sim where we talk about every flight being a little different.  I am here to tell you, that you can select any mode or any part of any flight and it will different for you every single time.

    Landings, or actually touchdowns have always been one of my favorite parts of flying and the side motion at the instant of one wheel vs both main touching down in a quartering wind is something to behold.  Absolutely magnificent.  Talk about ah haa moments.

    Sometimes it is just a slight twist and bump, other times it is more like a short jerk and bang as the nose gear hits a little hard. But, it shouldn’t be long until we will be able to smell the rubber if A2A keeps improving the animations.

    BTW, I returned the email with

     

    “I love my Cherokee, but the C182T Skylane has more personality.”

     

     

    Damage ON also has a Damage OFF position

     

    For those of you that state that you sometime don’t have time to be precise or just flat don’t care about taking care of these prized possessions – the Damage Off selection is simply one click away.

     

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    So if you choose to not worry about the cylinder head temperatures or whether the oil is warm enough for full power or the price of replacement brake shoes, then click on the word Damage in the 2d popup and off you go.

     

    The 2d Popup Panels or Screens

     

    These aren’t 2d panels of old, they are simply 2d popups selection and information screens and more that adds easily assessable functionality while flying.  Yep, most of these choices can be made on the fly, ie while flying.  Others are notes, tips, hints, checklists, etc.

    [shift +2] Pilot’s Notes

    [shift +3] Controls – this is where the meat is, you should try every possible combination or choice.

     

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    [shift +4] Interactive Payload and Fuel Manager – use this like a tutorial, click, see, and understand.

    [shift +5] Pilot’s Map – this is very helpful and loaded with information.  Just cycle through the chocies and watch the information flow.

     

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    [shift +6] Quick Radios – Talk about an easy method of selecting or changing frequencies.  Almost like a mini HUD.

    The next two are real biggies.  Each one could be a full standalone simulation in itself.

    [shift +7] Maintenance Hangar – watch those colors – Red is danger.  Green is Go and Yellow means caution, so be.

    [shift +8] Pre-flight Inspection – the Walkaround – Most unique for a simulation.

    [shift +9] Pause Control – Honey, dinner is ready or Gotta go pee.  This one is a special – It is a Pause with Purpose.

     

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    Don’t Forget the Input Configurator and Aircraft Configurator

    This is the one that I think should be in the front of the book, not at the back.

    After flying the C182 Skylane for a few weeks or months you will want to read this section and assign some shortcuts and custom functions for your joystick and keyboard.  This fills in the gaps that Microsoft or Lockheed Martin left unattended.

    The Aircraft Configurator is for choosing the Special Landing Lights that really light up the runway or the default glow. The other choice is from several 3rd party GPS/Nav systems.  RXP, Flight1 GTNs, Mindstar, and A2A provided. This is really slick – you can cycle through the choices.

     

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    This is the dream come true for those with these add ons that have been wishing to see them in true 3D in the panel and available as popups.

     

    Is it really as Good as I Keep Hearing that it Is?

     

    Yes, I believe it is.  There really aren’t very many that can even compete with what A2A has packaged for our entertainment.  The high end Katana may be the only other add on with similar features and it is sooooosloooooow.

    Otherwise, it is the C172 Trainer, the Low Wing Wonder Cherokee 180, or the High Wing Take Me Away with my friends and baggage in this big, beautiful C182 Skylane with Accu-sim.

     

    Another way of looking at it is do you prefer an early ’60s panel and design or a late model state of the art panel and model with the absolute latest in large panel GPS/Navigation/Communications units available as 3rd party VC integration. The 3-bladed prop and chromed spinner is just gravy.

    You will see both at any given small town airport and should you strike up a conversation with the owner or pilot, be ready to spend some time listening and be polite.  Accept their invitation and go home with them for dinner so they can finish the conversation.

    This could be real world or in one of our simulations.  It is just easier to go to dinner in the real world.

     

    Have you tried the 2 Bladed Prop?

     

    I have and to the surprise of many folks the standard propeller outperforms that masculine looking or maybe muscular looking 3-bladed job.  The standard propeller has less drag at altitude and contributes a few extra knots of cruise speed. 

     

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    The choice of the 3-bladed prop was based more on the reduction in sound than any performance gains or loses. It has a shorter diameter so the tips are spinning slower with the toned down big Lycoming.

    Spend a little time around the airports and you can hear some real prop noise on some of the faster turning engines. 

     

    A visit to the Maintenance Hangar to switch props and add the wheel pants will contribute up to 4 and maybe 5 knots of speed.  Of course you will need to make some lengthy cross country trip and keep good records to see the benefits.

    I noticed that some performance charts have a note to deduct 3 knots from the estimated cruise speeds when using the 3-bladed propellers.  The 2-bladed prop comes with ‘Experimental’ on the fuselage.  You can remove this with a click on the 2d Popup.

    So what is the big difference in the C182 Skylane and the C172 Trainer?

     

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    The list of differences is much longer than you might first imagine.

    The obvious differences are the Skylane is larger, faster, more powerful, holds more fuel, has longer range and therefore can carry more and heavier passengers.

    The Skylane is more flexible and therefore has better utility.  Grass strips, short runways with obstacles are a specialty for the Skylane.  The increased power coupled with the climbing prop make a great combination for bush flying.

    The Skylane is much more stable due to the increased size, weight, and power.  It is a wonderful instrument trainer and instrument airplane.

     

    The C172 Skyhawk is a great primary trainer and a first airplane for a family with a couple of small kids. This is where you will discover just having 4 seats does not at all mean you can put 4 full sized people in the plane, load it with full fuel and a little baggage and expect to be able to takeoff much less fly any reasonable distance.

    The differences in the A2A simulations of the C172 Trainer and C182 Skylane are substantial. I think you will need to read this entire review just to get a feel for how much more substantial the Skylane really is.  Maybe read a couple more reviews and visit the A2A forums to pick up on the differences.  It will be a real eye opener for many flight simmers.  From a distance the two look quite similar but are very different airplanes and they fly very different.

     

    How about that 3rd Lever – The One with the Blue Knob?

     

    Very observant.  That is actually one of the biggest differences in the Skylane and the smaller fixed pitch propeller C172 Trainer.

     

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    You may hear several terms to describe the Controllable Pitch Propeller that this controlled by this Blue knob.  Sometimes it is referred to a Variable Pitch orConstant Speed Propeller system, which it is.

    The ability to change the pitch of the propeller adds significant utility and performance gains to an airplane.  This is usually reserved for the more complex and high performance airplanes.

     

    Of course you already know the slightly larger black one on the left is the Throttle used to increase or decrease power.  The Red one on the right is the Mixture and will be used much more frequently due to the fuel injected large Lycoming engine.

    Speaking of that large engine, if you are stepping up to the Skylane from a somewhat smaller plane this may your first encounter with cowl flaps.  These are the openings on the bottom of the cowling to allow fresh air in to help keep the engine temperature correct.  These are fully adjustable with the up/down knob just below the blue propeller control.

     

    In all my flying I have never heard them referred to as ‘Shutters’ but I guess I may have had a somewhat sheltered life.  You can adjust these cowl flaps with the lever in the cockpit or using the slider on the right side of the Shift+3 popup control labeled Shutters.  You can read the % open or closed as you move the slider.  A general rule is open on the ground and closed at cruise but use as needed to cool the engine temperature.  Sometimes you will need them partially open.

     

    It is not real easy to read but when the knob is pushed down the cowl flaps are closed and when it is up the cowl flaps are open.  It is easy to see on the popup though.

    There is a proper sequence to be learned when flying an airplane with a constant speed propeller and without a Turbocharger like we have with our A2A C182 Skylane.

    Usually once a stable climb has been established after takeoff, you will slowly reduce the power using the throttle.  This will be just a few inches of manifold pressure and then reduce the pitch of the propeller one or two hundred RPM.  A normal sequence would have you adjusting the fuel mixture while on the ground with the red mixture knob but continuing to adjust the mixture as you climb higher into the thinner air.

    One of the items on your high performance airplane checklist will be to return the pitch of the prop to full In or full forward before landing just in case you execute a missed approach or have to make an unexpected go around.  You will want to have full power available and  also not be able to over boost your engine with low RPM/High MP combination.

    There are several really informative articles available for those that wish to know more about these systems and procedures.  See the credits section for some links.

     

    The Red Knob on the right – every airplane has one.

     

    This is not specific to the C182 Skylane but may be timely because this big fuel injected non-turbo seems to have a special knack for expecting you to know how to properly lean the fuel mixture. 

     

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    I know, you may have just mostly ignored the leaning process in other simulations and found no ill effects. Well, that is not the case here.  Improper leaning or no leaning at all will have a detrimental effect on the operation of the A2A C182 engine.  As a matter of fact, you are now told to lean the mixture while still on the ground prior to takeoff.

     

    Here is a snippet, I borrowed from the Pelican’s Perch.  See the links for the full story.

    There are few things in airplanes as misunderstood and misused as the mixture control. Not much of what you've read and heard about mixture management probably makes sense — much of it is out of context, and most of the good stuff is so dry, dull and boring that it's tough to get through it without falling asleep.

    You may read, "I lean to 50° F rich of peak, just like the POH says," not realizing that this can be — and often is — the very worst possible setting they can use!

    Still others will decide on some arbitrary power setting with no particular logic in mind. 65% is a very common level. They'll carefully set the MP and RPM to the book values for 65% and figure that's all they have to do to attain that power setting. Wrong, it also takes a very careful mixture setting, as well!

    Don't be afraid of that red knob. Learn to use it! With a few pretty obvious exceptions there is nothing you can do with the mixture control over a short period of time that will hurt you or the engine. Used properly, you'll save a lot of fuel, your engine will run cooler, cleaner, smoother, and longer, with less maintenance expense and downtime along the way to Maintenance Hangar.

     

    High Performance vs Complex Airplanes

     

    You will hear the C182 Skylane described as high performance and also as a complex airplane.  One is more correct than the other.  Although it is truly both, the better term is high performance.  This is based on recent changes by the FAA in their definition of a Complex Airplane for purposes of logged time to meet certain regulations.  Usually for achieving the necessary training for a Commercial Pilots License.

     

    Fifteen or twenty years ago High Performance and/or Complex Airplane was used as the term for an airplane with a 200 hpor greater engine, constant speed propeller and retractable landing gear.

    Now only the Complex Airplane term is used to describe the 200 hp or greater engine, constant speed propeller or FADEC controlled engine/propeller, and retractable landing gear.

    High performance would be that same definition but without the retractable landing gear, like our fixed gear C182 Skylane.

     

    The FAA requires a one-time logbook endorsement for any high performance airplane and it can be earned through ground and flight training. The FAA does not require a special check ride or knowledge test to earn the endorsement. A flight instructor gives you the endorsement after you have received training and have been found proficient.

    Most insurance companies require a checkout and some minimum logged time in higher horsepower rated airplanes with variable pitch propellers and with or without retractable landing gear.

     

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    The FAA also has a few complex airplane that may have experienced a sharp increase in accidents or mishaps and will require an annual checkout and log entries for these aircraft.  The Mitsubishi MU-2 comes to mind as one of these. This one does not have ailerons but uses wing spoilers for turning. All the MU2s are turbine powered but the early ones were quite small.

    A really nice add on for computing and understanding how Weight and Balance affect performance.

    If you have an iPad 3 or later or Mini Retina then you will want to take a look at an amazing product tailored specifically to the Cessna 182T for computing various weight and balance loads.  This is a professional product by Claus Richter for the real world airplanes but works the same for the A2A C182T.  Claus is a real world pilot that builds these apps for specific fixed wing and helicopters.

    It actually has 7 pages of information and supplements the A2A C182T to a T. The pages are:

     

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    Mass & Balance Page

    The Takeoff Page

    The Climb Page

    The Cruise Page

    Landing Page

    Stall Speed page

    Setup

     

    You can save up to 5 Aircraft Settings and Scenarios and send the Summary to your email. Of course, you can customize and tailor the registration numbers to your plane.

     

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    http://media.wix.com/ugd/3651ac_4cab4036d391d260cc6d5b255d5b73c5.pdf download the product brochure

    These product brochure images are for the C182S model but the C182T model is available at the Apple App Store.

     

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    Are there any enhancements on the drawing boards?

     

    It doesn’t sound like it to me. I have asked but didn't get a specific response (see bottom of the review).  Maybe some talk in the design shop about the possibility of a big tires option, but of course, no promises.

     

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    Reading the forums, the 1 -2 -3 order of popularity for requested future upgrades or enhancements are Big Tires, Turbo option, and Floats or Amphibian option.  The turbo and floats would be a fairly serious endeavor, but who knows.  I would absolutely love to see any and all of these but, will see what the future holds.

    A few things that got my attention.

    Besides having a gorgeous model to look at, sit in, walk around, paint, repaint, touch, feel, listen to, and play with, there is some serious physics at work here. Not just flight physics but the flexing, shifting, bending, and general realistic reproduction of an airplane, both on the ground and in flight.

     

    I haven’t found a single item that I would consider a weakness in the design and presentation.

    I do indeed enjoy the 3rd party avionics ease of installation option as well as the enhanced keyboard and joystick mapping feature.

     

    This section of my reviews have recently been more on the negative side due to many of our developers choosing to skimp on the documentation, sound package, flight dynamics, detailed modeling, poor testing and quality checks, and such. Not the case here.

    Unless you just absolutely must have a real world airplane flight manual, which are available for free download with a good search, I believe everything I would expect , and more, is included in the original download.

     

    A2A has adopted the quick update method of posting patches, fixes, and updates at their forum for owners to download.  The obvious benefit to us users is the quick turnaround should something require a fix, but more importantly, A2A keeps adding new and interesting features to all their models.

     

    Did anyone notice this one has the animated yoke movements when flying with the autopilot engaged?  This was not available on the C172 Trainer but is partially implemented in the Skylane. 

    I say it is partially implemented because it doesn’t work in the NAV mode using the GPS.  Support says this has something to do with using the 3rd party avionics in GPS mode but it does work in the HDG mode.  Strange, I thought all small Cessnas had the yoke and control surfaces directly connected by cables.

    I must say it is refreshing to see A2A add the yoke movement when using the AP even if only in the HDG mode for now.

     

    Is Anything Missing?

     

    I don’t think so.  Looks like a near complete package to me.  Well, maybe a few bug splats on the windshield and some leading edge icing are real world items that could be simulated. Oh, and that NAV mode thing.

    I wouldn’t be offended if one of the future Accu-sim updates for the C182T included options for Tundra Tires and Floats.  Not exactly asking, just sayin’, I love playing on the water and in the bush.

     

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    A few words about the growing number of repaints available.

    The number and quality of repaints available for download for this C182T Skylane is gaining momentum.  Some of stunning, some interesting, and some are just outright gaudy, but there is no doubt that some outstanding talents are at work this very minute on the next repaint.

     

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    One point in favor of the many repaints is that the Cessna line of single engine planes are so similar that most any model’s paint can be adapted to the C182T Skylane.  This increases the available real world paint schemes exponentially.

    I noticed the N registration numbers are in the minority so far. Most of what I am seeing are from other nations around the world.

     

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    A surge of interest in repaints is always a good sign of user interest so I hope we continue to see more and more of these talented artists at work.

     

    It’s the nature of the beast.

     

    I find it interesting that we as a flight sim group are so quick to write critical and sometimes hurtful remarks as the passion rises with a particular model or release.  I know I am as guilty as any.  This is certainly not intentional as I am not a mean person but, sometimes it just comes across that way.

    If we would just step back and look at what the best of the best looked like just 3 or 4 years ago and then load up the current version of this A2A C182T Skylane, I think we would all be stunned.  Yet, we continue to ask for more, and more, and more.  Not that it is bad for asking.  Maybe we just need to be a little more selective in the way we ask.

    It is not uncommon to want to take the best of one developer or model or several and then ask why aren’t these features all present in my favorite model.  I mean today, right now.  Certainly we can’t expect each developer to be the best of the best at all times for every model. Or maybe we can, but at what price are we willing to pay for these flight models?

     

    Conclusions

     

    It should be apparent that A2A takes their company slogan – Passion for Flight – very seriously. They may be the only developer to actually fly the airplane they are building for the flight simulator, and then test, retest, update and test some more, then make a video.

    Of course, it is not just the flying, it is the sounds, the visual effects, the animations, and the capture of operating an airplane in the real world as we see it.

     

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    This is not just an aircraft engine turning a propeller or simple wheels rolling on concrete. These are reproductions of living and breathing machines at work.  At work in an ever changing environment where temperatures and pressures are taken into account.  Where actions generate reactions, where you can expect things to work in accordance with your experiences and expectations.

     

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    I think this is as close to appearing to fly an airplane as I have seen to date.  We can’t all have a full-motion, curved screen and enclosed simulator, but we can come a lot closer with the A2A C182TSkylane.

    The free prior to purchase A2A C182T Flight Manual should answer most questions anyone should have concerning this simulation.  If not, a visit to their free forum and also the Avsim forums will provide pages and pages of recent and detailed information.

     

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    I recommend you review some of the available videos.  As expected some are better than others but the selection is growing daily. Most of these video makers are better videographers than they are pilots, but at least they give us something to watch – for free.  See the Links section at the end of this review.

     

    So is this the perfect add on?

     

    First, A2A doesn’t consider this an add on, it is a simulation.  And no, not perfect, but let’s say highly perfected.  Each new A2A simulation seems to improve on the previous and each adds something new and different.  This third general aviation simulation adds the towbar capability, a little more speed, and a little more range and a constant speed propeller and a lot more power than the previous two.

     

    Moving up to the C182 Skylane is the normal progression of almost all C172 Skyhawk owners in the real world. Why shouldn’t it be the same for us simulator pilots.

     

    The selection of 3rd party avionics makes this one highly attractive and definitely more enjoyable to fly. The extensive choices and ease of  selections using the 2d popup panels is also greatly appreciated.

     

    Don’t tell anyone you heard it here  . . . but I have it on good authority that if all goes as planned, most of these new features like the towbar, yoke movements on autopilot, and the new extra GPS options will find their way into one of the updaters for the Cherokee 180 and C172 Trainer.  Now that is excellent news.

     

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    I like that new A2A Accu-sim Updater system more all the time. Look how much freedom it gives the teams to add and share features. Kudos to A2A.

     

     

    Recommendation

     

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    If you have a passion for flight, A2A has a model for you.  Should you desire one of the most popular airplanes of all time - the Cessna 182 Skylane – then you can do no better than selecting this one.

     

    Should you also wish to have your Skylane be as realistic as possible when compared to the real world counterpart, then you can do no better than this one.

     

    Should you desire to simulate the full realm of owning, operating and maintaining a Skylane then this may be your only choice.

     

    Should you wish to future proof your purchase I recommend you look seriously at one of the bundles available for both FSX and P3D.

     

    Buy this one and learn to fly it well. At your next party when someone asks what you are flying nowadays, you simply say a Skylane.  Practically anyone and everyone will know exactly what plane you a talking about.  None of that  - Is that the one that  . . . No, it is a Skylane.

     

    It is with pleasure that I recommend the Avsim Gold Star be awarded to the A2A Simulations C182T Accu-simSkylane team.

     

    A short collection of notes I made while reviewing the A2A C182T Skylane:

    Instrument needles waiver, rock, shake, vibrate – nice touch.

    When switch position is selected from a popup you can see and hear the physical switch move to that position.

    Be careful when changing the transparency setting because the window may totally disappear and it is not easy bringing it back.

    Registration numbers shows up on the panel – nice.

    I can finally back my airplane into any open hangar.  Love the towbar feature.

    Changes in payload are interactive, even while in flight.  Should a ‘Low Fuel warning’ show on the annunciator panel you can use the A2A popup and add fuel, even add or delete passengers – Not realistic, but fun.

    The ability to remove the wheel pants, add flap gap seals, change propellers and tuneup or overhaul a sick engine almost makes the C182 fly like a different plane.

     

    Links

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw4gWmXwD-I&feature=player_embedded#t=0  18 min intro video from A2A official

    http://www.freewarescenery.com/repaints/a2a-c182.html Collection of repaints for the A2A C182 with download links.

    www.a2asimulations.com   website w/ Facebook link

    http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=120forum for C182 Skylane

    http://a2asimulations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=64&t=19387  How the combustion engine works

    http://www.avweb.com/news/pelican/Pelicans-Perch-16-Those-Marvelous-Props182082-1.html Those Marvelous Props - more than you will ever need to know about propellers.

    http://www.avweb.com/news/pelican/Pelicans-Perch-15-Manifold-Pressure-Sucks182081-1.html?redirected=1  About Manifold Pressure

    http://www.cessnaowner.org/membership/archived-issues.htmlCessna Magazine archives

    http://www.sunglassflyers.com/ Restoration of the first C182.

     

     

    Test System

     

     Hellfire FS Intel i7 2700 OC to 4.5 GHz

     FSX w/Acceleration, Win7-64, 8 GB RAM

     nVidia GTX580 w/1.5 GB RAM

     Crucial M4 256 GB SSD, Intel 330 180 GB SSD

     Seagate 2TB data drives, WD Black 3TB data drives

     

    Pilot Qualifications: Commercial Pilot License with Single-Engine Land and Sea, Multi-engine Land, Instrument Airplane and DC-3 type ratings and Instrument and Advanced Ground Instructor and outdated CFI/CFII licenses.

     

    Publisher: A2a Simulations

    Platform: FSX/P3D  (I used P3Dv2.4 for this review)

    Reviewed By: Ray Marshall

     

     

    An Interview with Scott Gentile, Owner and Operator of A2A Simulations

    This interview with Scott Gentile was conducted while I was writing the Avsim review of the A2A Simulations’ P-51 Mustangs – Military and Civilian Models with Accu-Sim.  Some questions specific to the P-51 are not reproduced here, but the other seem to be relevant and gives more insight into what is behind the models from A2A.

    Avsim: With identical PC setups, how much more efficient is A2A w/Accu-sim vs. a similar, complex 'All FSX' model?

    Scott Gentile: Comparing FSX with Accu-Sim to just FSX is sort of like comparing an aquarium to a small fish tank in your home. But the advantage is Accu-Sim is being run in our modern C++ based engine, of which we have authored from scratch and have complete control over. We have done performance testing and can barely read 1fps loss when we completely bypass Accu-Sim, so the performance hit is negligible.

    Proper, professional modeling is the other factor. It’s not uncommon to see 50% more polygons and unnecessary texture overload in a competitor’s same model as ours, yet, ours looks as good or better. It’s easy to impress the community with renders of mega poly models in development. It’s an entirely different thing to have a model look great in FSX and deliver fluid, stutter-free performance.

    Ultimately, it’s about what the customers think so people should use the forums and ask customers how certain aircraft perform on their systems.

    Avsim: Would you discuss the amount of the work that is 'outside the FSX box' vs. standard FSX coding in your A2A models?

    Scott Gentile: Our first Accu-Sim aircraft, the Boeing Stratocruiser, had probably 90% of the cockpit being run from outside the aircraft. This was a huge step forward. The P-47 Thunderbolt took over more of FSX as we added an all new sound system with a fully audible cockpit and environmental effects (you could even open your canopy and hear the proper wind outside). The J-3 Cub went another step further with a new passenger AI project (Heidi), all-new water physics (even supplied an oar so you could paddle to and from the dock), new gauges physics (the magnetic compass took a solid week to build), and in many people’s opinion, spins so real you could train new pilots on proper entry and exit techniques.

    The B-17 introduced a maintenance hangar many levels deep, along with a new multi-crew AI project.

    The Spitfire started the current “Accu-Sim Core” series, where it and future planes would be managed together in the same system. The main feature with Accu-Sim core was taking completely over the engine audio and physics. There is no “ON / OFF” switch with an Accu-Sim engine – it literally runs in suspension and momentum, just like a real reciprocating engine does. The P-40 introduced genuine hydraulics and cracked open the aircraft with manual, raw systems.

    The P-51 brought in more automated systems including the first dual speed supercharger. The supercharger physics, in the Mustang, are a true simulation of what a supercharger does. It’s not just an on / off switch for show, it’s the mechanics of the supercharger assemblies kicking in and out. All you need to do is throw the supercharger in manual and play around with it, and you will see what I mean. So, by this time, virtually every functioning system inside the aircraft is in Accu-Sim (outside FSX). FSX is mostly a home to the 3d model, textures, and the world environment.

    After all these years, we went back to the original Boeing Stratocruiser and developed a “Captain of the Ship” upgrade that gives you a full blown systems engineer, crew, and flight attendant, all of which lives in our Accu-Sim engine.

    Perhaps the best part of working outside FSX is that we are able to manage the systems better and work more efficiently. We build the engine and flight test it outside FSX, and then bring it in. When changes need to be made during development, those changes are again made and tested outside FSX, then brought in.

    Avsim: Do you ever just sit down and fly one of your models in FSX for enjoyment? If so, which one?

    Scott Gentile: That is a great question and yes. We get so involved in each project, that flying a model made a few years back is inspiring and in some ways surprising. I flew our Accu-Sim B-17 recently, and just took my time getting re-acquainted with the plethora of systems. Working the systems and listening to the crew just made me shake my head and smile thinking about what we accomplished together. Each plane is literally a piece of each person on our team. There is no way any of this could be done unless we we’re all fully engaged and passionate about the work we do.

    Avsim: Any general comments for the review readers?

    Scott Gentile: First I would say that realism doesn’t mean hard, rather, realism is life – including experiences both complicated and simple.

    Unfortunately, over the past years the word “realistic” has become synonymous with “hard.” At A2A for the better part of a decade, we have been working to reverse this trend, which is frankly the result of repeated poor implementation. We at A2A see realism as simple.

    Lastly, we should be thankful to have such a thriving flight simulation community – these are special times. FSX has maintained such dominance with home PC flight simmers, and Lockheed Martin’s commercial FSX counterpart, P3D, has infiltrated the entire aviation and military industry. FSX is a wide opened system that it could be argued is just taking off.

    Also, like any product, just be so careful about what you buy. Expect nothing short of outstanding customer support from any company you spend your hard earned money on. At A2A, our business is bringing fun and realistic flying experiences to everyone, from kids to pilots to seniors. We own and operate our own aircraft, and flight simulation is just as important to us as someone who has never sat in an aircraft. It is our job to do the hard work and your job to sit back and enjoy the beauty of flight simulation. We are proud to be a part of this great aviation / flight simulation community.

     

     

    We were also very keen for the team at A2A to address some of the general forum feedback of the product, such as:

    1. Does A2A have any plans or thoughts about adding some additional functionality and capabilities to the new C182T Skylane such as Tundra Tires and maybe Floats?

    2. Any chances of us seeing a Turbocharged C182T Skylane option one day?

    3. I know many users are asking about some sort of backwards upgrades for the Cherokee 180 and C172 Trainer.  Any chance of seeing some of the 3rd party Avionics added to these earlier models?

    4  Any thoughts about adding the towbar feature to the C172 Trainer?

    5. Can you comment on any information about adding some twists to the 3rd party avionics mix like the F1GTN 750/650 stack?

    6. Could you tell our readers a little about which A2A models are the most popular?  I remember at one time I read the 172 Trainer was the most popular to date.  This was about a year ago.

    Maybe how the Cherokee 180 compares in popularity to the two Cessnas? and how the GA planes compare to the military models.

     

    Thankfully, Lewis from A2A was kind enough to advise he is fully aware of the feedback:

     

    Lewis - We have listened to feedback and already had a post release workload also. Though nothing is set in stone just about everything you have mentioned has been thought about with various bits looking to be implemented. The only thing that is not going to happen anytime soon would be the turbo as it is in fact a different aircraft altogether then, much like the B-17F vs a B-17G, whilst they look similar externally the two aircraft variants are vastly different internally and systems wise which of course matters for us as we simulate all that.
    For the last one the GA aircraft are still our most popular aircraft for both home and professional users, though some of our warbirds are also used for pilot training with some individuals.

     

    Thanks Lewis!

    I'm sure the flight sim community will be excited to hear that there may be a steady stream of continued upgrades and improvements to not only the new Skylane but also the Cherokee and C172 Trainer.  I will certainly be checking the forum often to see if the big tires and floats are ready for download.

    I have to disagree with the assertion that a turbocharger add on is a totally different model.  Cessna doesn't seem to think so either.  Basically it is a bolted on self-contained mini turbine and a couple of gate valves with a little plumbing.

    The last time I checked the turbo option was less than $30,000 and was the single most popular option on the $750,000 Skylane.  I bet it will come standard in a few more years. How about a diesel turbo - JT-A's should be arriving soon.

    It may be more complicated than that to simulate but A2A already has a two-stage turbocharger using Accu-sim in their outstanding P-51 Mustangs. Hmmm. I guess you would also need a higher reading Manifold Pressure gauge and a higher top end of the green arc on the airspeed indicator. Also a simulate O2 delivery system.

    Lewis may be correct, it would be a bit of work to add the turbo and oxygen but that extra 6,000 feet of additional  altitude and an extra 20 - 25 knots of cruise speed sure would be nice.

     

    Credits

    Lewis at A2A for answering questions and providing the simulation.

    Mr. Barry Schiff’s Virtual Hangar. Spend some time here and be in awe. http://www.barryschiff.com/

    Mr. Steve Ells’s bio and blog can be found at www.ellsaviation.com

    All those talented repainters that are providing a constant supply of fresh repaints for the C182T.  Especially the ones that gave me permission to use their repaints in the review.

    Claus Richter at Gyronimo for providing the C182T app for weight and balance and performance calculations. http://www.gyronimo.com/#!fixed-wing/c10t3

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/c182t/id698902492?l=en&mt=8

    Marius Risan in Norway posted the first repaint of the A2A 182T

    ttt.png



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