Hawker 850XP for FSX/P3D by Carenado
A review by Marlon Carter
When it comes to business jets, the Hawker 850XP is a well-known aircraft used by numerous charter companies and businesses. The Hawker 850XP was originally created back in the 70’s as the Hawker Siddeley HS125 and later marketed as the British Aerospace 125. In time, the aircraft became known as the Hawker 800 and newer versions include the 850 and 900. This mid-size jet has proved to be a valuable tool to the individuals of various backgrounds who require an alternative to the hassle and uncertainty of commercial travel. While over 1400 of these aircraft exist in the real world, the FS community has lacked the presence of a high quality mid-size business jet for a long time and Carenado has stepped in with a great attempt at this popular aircraft. Let’s have a closer look at the features of this aircraft.
- Original ProLine21 systems:
- Primary Flight Display (PFD)
- Multi Function Display (MFD)
- Flight Guidance Panel (FGP)
- Display Control Panel (DCP)
- Control Display Unit (CDU)
- Flight Management System (FMS)
- Updatable Navigraph database
- Wing special effect s: Flexing wing effect (wingflex) and vibration wing effects on taxi
- Special wind drag effect
- Improved lighting systems (interior and exterior)
- Multiple real aural warning sounds
- Full FSX and P3D v2.0 compatible
- ProLine21 system featuring:
- Two navigation modes: VNAV and NAV
- Flight plan creation based on real procedures
- Weather radar screen
- Situation awareness
- Set different altitudes for different waypoints (VNAV)
- Navigraph database (AIRAC cycle 1310 (October 2013) included)
- Load a departure procedure (SID)
- Load an arrival (STAR)
- Load an approach (RNAV, ILS, VOR, etc.)
- HD quality textures (4096 x 4096)
- 3D knobs technology for better manipulation of elements in VC.
- Real Auxiliary power unit (APU) simulation feature.
- Original HQ digital 3D stereo sounds.
- Independent lighting systems for internal lights.
- Complete back cabin
- Customizable panel for controlling windows transparency, instrument reflections and static elements such as wheel chocks and sights props.
- Real behavior compared to the real airplane.
- Real weight and balance.
- Tested by real pilots.
Included in the package:
- 7 HD liveries.
- 1 HD Blank livery.
- 1 complete model (including back cabin with HD textures)
- 1 LITE model without the back cabin for better FPS
- H850XP Emergency Procedures PDF.
- H850XP Normal Procedures PDF.
- H850XP Performance Tables PDF.
- H850XP Reference PDF.
- Carenado ProLine21 User Manual PDF
- Recommended Settings PDF
As you can see from the features list, this aircraft offers the typical high quality model we all expect from Carenado with an added feature that has been widely anticipated. From the time Carenado released their G1000, many have been asking for navigraph support in order to fly published departures and arrivals. Today we are seeing that Carenado has taken note of our requests and have delivered a product that shows a significant improvement in their product quality. The Proline21 is a popular avionics package that is used by numerous private aircraft. The features of this avionics suite is quiet extensive and during the review we will see whether or not Carenado did justice to this fine aircraft.
The manuals that came with this aircraft followed the typical style we have all seen in previous releases. Included in this package are Emergency Procedures, Normal Procedures, Performance Tables, Proline21 User Manual and References. While the documentation is more than we have previously been privileged to receive, the presentation of some documents was slightly disappointing since it was a simple scan of a real manual (with bent pages and all) that was difficult to make sense of. The initial release lacked sufficient information on the systems but in a revised version, Carenado included a Proline21 manual that offered more detail on how the systems are operated. This proved to be very useful since the Proline21 isn’t your typical avionics suite and it requires some getting used to. All in all, the documentation isn’t spectacular, but it’s enough to supplement what you may be able to find online.
The interior of the aircraft is also equally as stunning as the exterior. The virtual cockpit looks flawless and the cabin creates an atmosphere of luxury that one would expect while flying onboard this aircraft. The lighting options in the cockpit offer more functionality and control while being nicely complimented by stunning HD textures. While sitting in the cabin of the 850XP, one will immediately notice the amazing lighting effects in addition to the table and window shade animations. What most impressive about the interior of this aircraft was that despite the high quality features, FSX performance wasn’t affected. Still, for those of you who experience performance issues, Carenado has also included a LITE model that features only the virtual cockpit. Either way, I think you will be very impressed with the interior quality.
As one would expect, Carenado has done an outstanding job on the exterior model of this aircraft. Some of the special features that have been included are a wing vibration effect while taxying and wing flex while flying. Other aspects of the exterior that have been improved include an upgrade exterior lighting effect that is much brighter than in previous releases. Undoubtedly, Carenado is among the best when it comes to modelling.
To keep things realistic, I loaded up the 850XP by using the FSX payload manager to simulate an aircraft with a Captain, First Officer, 3 passengers (including baggage) and enough fuel for a 2 hour flight. Immediately after loading the aircraft you could see the shocks of the landing gear compress under the added weight. While this was a very small detail, it was a good sign that Carenado paid close attention to detail when modeling this aircraft. I also found that the systems seemed to be well put together since it allows you to carry out a few test procedures prior to engine start which included use of the APU. When it comes to programming the FMS, this was a very simple task and I might add that it was perhaps a little too simple for my personal taste. Carenado took pride in the fact that this aircraft has an FMS that it was able to support navigraph data and I think that this feature is perhaps the only bright side of the FMS since it allows you to create flightplans with ease.
Now that the FMS has been setup for a quick flight from TXKF to KTEB, it was now time to test the engine start procedures. Following the checklist was simple enough and with relative ease, the engines were started. During the engine start, I was very impressed with the quality of the sound package that came with this aircraft. Taxiing the aircraft was fairly easy and it didn’t seem affected by the friction issue that plagues some add-on aircraft. During the takeoff run, I noticed that the aircraft was a bit sluggish but it handled quite nicely once it was airborne.
While on the topic of handling, the aircraft was a joy to fly by hand and it was very easy to maintain initial climb speeds and accelerate to 250kts. Overall, I would say that the flight model was very nicely put together and if you own A2A’s Accu-feel, the simulation gets even better.
Thus far, my impression of the 850XP was quite good when it came to hand flying the aircraft, but when using the autopilot however, my feelings about this aircraft were very mixed. Modes such as the FLC (Flight Level Change) worked quite well when used correctly and the NAV mode also worked well despite having one limitation. When making a change in your flight plan such as going Direct to a particular waypoint, the aircraft would at times tried to intercept a new heading to the waypoint relative to your last waypoint rather than relative to the aircraft’s position. I found this to be a bit puzzling and I am hoping this may be looked at in a future update. The most challenging aspect of using the autopilot came with the VNAV function. The VNAV function didn’t operate the way it should in the real world and while Carenado may never have intended it to, it may be a bit confusing to some users. In the real world, one could make changes in the FMS to go Direct to a particular altitude and after changing your selected altitude on the autopilot and engaging VNAV, the aircraft would intercept the VNAV path shown on the PFD upon reaching TOD. In the Carenado 850XP, when VNAV is engaged, the aircraft immediately starts decending at an appropriate rate to meet your altitude restrictions regardless of where your true TOD may be. Since the initial release of this product, Carenado has released service packs to improve the VNAV characteristics, but it still needs some improvement along with an improvement in speed management during a descent. In summary, the aircraft it flyable but the important thing is knowing which modes are active and how they should be setup and operated.
Setting up an approach has become much easier thanks to navigraph support, but adjusting your PFD settings to perform an ILS approach can at times be difficult due to the interface with the display controls. Some have found no problems in doing this but others have found it a bit difficult to manipulate at times even with the aid of 2D panels. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a major issue but one worth mentioning. Landing the aircraft was also an enjoyable task that was both simple and challenging depending on the weather conditions at your destination airport. When there are no gusting winds, the 850XP is your best friend when flying the approach by hand. However, in gusting winds the aircraft can be a handful but it still handles in a realistic, manageable manner.
In the end, I think the 850XP is a good offering from Carenado that’s a considerable step up from their previous releases. As with all products there are always good and bad aspects. However in this case I think that there is a balance between the two that results in a product that can be good fit for just about anyone who is looking for great looking private jet for their simulator.
To conclude our review, I think that the Hawker 850XP is a good aircraft for what it is. What do I mean? Well, without a doubt, Carenado is untouchable when it comes to modeling and textures. The aircraft is a 99% perfect replica of its real world counterpart from a visual standpoint and few would argue otherwise. When it comes to the systems however, the 850XP could have been better. The autopilot functionality is somewhat limited and some features that have been modeled (VNAV especially!) do not work the way it should in the real world. While Carenado did a good job at trying to replicate the Proline21 in its basic form, it resulted in some features not working correctly or being difficult to use.
The fact that another developer has produced a Proline21 equipped aircraft in all its glory for just $0.04 more isn’t very encouraging and at the price of $49.95, Carenado should have offered a product that features more functionality. Carenado customers have always desired greater functionality in their products and I think it’s time for Carenado to listen. Nonetheless, I honestly believe that Carenado has the capability to produce some of the best aircraft add-ons the FS world has ever seen if only they focus more time on the systems of the aircraft and rely on the feedback of a wider range of beta testers. By doing this, future products will be of a higher standard right out of the gate and customers will see little need to find tweaks or integrations to improve the product.
Among the long list of Carenado products, the 850XP is by far one of the best and it shows a promising sign for an improvement in the quality of future products. I guess the ultimate question about is would I recommend the 850XP? Well I would be lying if I said yes and I would be lying if I said no. The bottom-line is that the 850XP has a target audience and if you are thinking that the 850XP matches up against the likes of Flight1 or Eaglesoft then you may be a bit disappointed. On the other hand, if you are NOT looking for a high end simulation and you are interested in having fun with a great looking aircraft that has relatively accurate systems, then the 850XP is your number one choice! I have personally enjoyed flying this aircraft from time to time and I think it offers you just enough to stay intrigued.