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    REVIEW - Socata TB-10 Tobago & TB-20 Trinidad by JustFlight for FSX/P3D


    WR269

    Review

    by Mike Cameron

    Introduction

       This review is of the Just Flight Socata TB-10 Tobago and TB-20 Trinidad general aviation aircraft package for FSX and Prepar3D.  This package was developed by Just Flight along I.D.S. Innovative Development Studios.  The information for this introduction was gathered from the product manual and the Socata TB Users Group website.  Socata’s “Caribbean” range of single engine general aviation aircraft consisted of five models that span from the fixed gear 160HP Tampico to the 250HP Turbocharged, retractable gear TB-21 TC Trinidad.  All of the TB’s were manufactured at the Socata plant in Tarbes located in the south of France (hence the TB name).  The majority of the aircraft destined for the United States were certified in France and then dis-assembled and shipped in crates to Socata North America located near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where they were re-assembled and configured to specific customer requirements.

       The Socata TB-10 Tobago and TB-20 Trinidad feature spacious and comfortable cabins providing seating for up to five people and have proved popular for touring and instrument training.  Both models are all-metal cantilever low wing, single-engine aircraft with to “gull wing” doors and access to the baggage compartment is through a door on the left side of the fuselage.  The TB-10 is powered by an 180HP Lycoming O-360 piston engine and is equipped with the fixed tricycle landing gear.  The TB-20 is powered by a Lycoming IO-540, 250HP piston engine and is equipped with a retractable tricycle landing gear.  Both aircraft are equipped with a two-blade constant speed propeller.  The fuel tanks for both aircraft are located in the wings.  The TB-10 carries a maximum 55 US gallons of fuel for a maximum range of 700 nautical miles.  The TB-20 carries a maximum of 89 US gallons for a maximum range of 1100 nautical miles.  The vast majority of TB’s manufactured were “Generation One” TB’s and were manufactured from 1977-2000.  In February, 2000, Socata introduced the enhanced version of the TB family termed the GT series (for Generation Two).  The Generation Two TB’s retain the airframe structure, powerplant and the majority of flight systems from the original TB family but have a modified cabin with more headroom as well as some other enhancements.  During the Generation One production run, over 725 Tobago’s and 680 Trinidad’s and TC Trinidad’s were built.

     

    Specifications:

     

    TB-10

    TB-20

    Dimensions:

     

     

    Length

    7.63m

    7.75m

    Wingspan

    9.76m

    9.85m

    Height (to top of tail)

    3.20m

    2.85m

    Wing Area

    11.90sq. m

    11.89sq. m

    Weights:

     

     

    Empty Weight

    700kg (1543lb)

    800kg (1764lb)

    Max Useful Load

     450kg (992lb)

     600kg (1323lb)

    Max Takeoff/landing Weight

    1150kg(2535lb)

    1400kg (3086lb)

    Max Baggage Weight

    65kg (143lb)

    65kg (143lb)

    Performance:

     

     

    VNE (never exceed)

    165 knots

    187 knots

    VNO (max cruising speed)

    128 knots

    150 knots

    VFE (max flap speed)

    95 knots

    129 knots (takeoff),103 (landing)

    VSO (stall speed landing configuration)

    53 knots

    59 knots

    Service Ceiling

    13000 feet

    20000 feet

    Range with Max Payload

    697 NM

    1100 NM

    VLE (max gear speed)

     

    139 knots

     

     

    Installation

       Installing Just Flight products is very easy but does require an active internet connection for activation.  This installation is of the package sold by Just Flight and if purchased from other vendors, the process may be different.  Log in to your Just Flight account and download and run the setup file for this aircraft package.  Select your preferred simulator series (FSX & Steam Edition or Prepar3D Version 1, 2 or 3), this is the first thing that I like about this product, you do not need to purchase an additional license if you own both FSX and a P3D simulator.    After selecting your simulator version, an activation window will open and you simply enter your Just Flight Account credentials to activate this aircraft for this computer system only.  No long serial codes or other strange activation procedures which is great.  As long as you own this computer you can and uninstall and install this package as many times as you would like.  Just Flight also makes it easy if replace your hard drive, system components or purchase a new computer, simply download the setup file again and repeat the above activation process.  The setup file should automatically find your simulator location but if not select the browse button to manually locate and follow the prompts to finish the install process.  I am installing and reviewing the P3D V3.35 version and am ready to operate the aircraft in the simulator.  If installing into either of the FSX versions you will probably need to activate some files installed into the simulator by the Microsoft Security System.  Also included is an extensive 113 page PDF manual and I appreciate when developers include more detailed documents with their aircraft products.  Lastly, I recommend visiting the Just Flight forum for this aircraft because the developers do respond to questions & requests and this is where they post announcements for updates of this aircraft package.  As of 10/31/16 there have been three service packs released with fixes and feature updates and to update just download and install the new version from your Just Flight account.  I will try comment about added features or fixes throughout the review.  I like when developers listen to their customers and provide timely updates.  Service Pack 2 added a Windows Menu Item, TB10-20 Model Switcher, for optimal performance.  If you do not own the Flight1 GTN GPS 650 and/or 750, select “Standard Model” to only have the default GNS430 installed on the panel and this is the default option.  If you do own the Flight1 units, select the Flight1 option to have integrated GTN650 and 750 along with the GNS430 and they are accessible via the simulator Just Flight TB10/TB20 menu.  Service Pack 3 continued with more fixes and enhancements.  The release aircraft only had the GNS430 and GTN650 GPS option which is another example of Just flight listening to their customers.

     

     

    Interior Model

       After I first installed this package, I loaded one of the TB-10 aircraft and adjusted my view so that I could get a good look at the rear passenger cabin.  Just Flight and I.D.S. have not disappointed, the quality of the interior features are excellent.  The fabric seats looks like real fabric, carpeting looks like it should, everything is three dimensional and I like that there is just the right amount of “wear” textures.  Depending on the time of day, the P3D shadow textures also look very nice.  Speaking of time, there is a working clock mounted on the right yoke but will only display GMT instead of local time and also requires the master battery and alternator to be powered on to operate.  I would think that in the real aircraft this clock would have its own battery to function.  One thing that I look for with a premium aircraft is how many different interiors are included with the various aircraft.  The interiors are the same for all of these aircraft and I do not know that much about Socata so maybe this is a real world design decision which in the grander scheme of things is not that big of deal.  I would gladly sacrifice varied interior textures for greater systems and flight model simulations.  The second screen grab is of the right front seat and this is where I want to comment about the first realistic feature that I have found with this aircraft, locks for the door that needs to be unlocked first before opening the right gull wing door.  Clicking on the door lock provides a nice animation and sound effect for its operation.  Once unlocked, clicking on the bottom of the door will open that door.  I could not find a door handle so maybe the passenger just pushes on the door to open on the real aircraft.  There is also a door lock for the pilot door.  I love that Just Flight provides click spots to open both doors because I sometimes have trouble with keyboard shortcuts.  The baggage door does require a keyboard entry and I was able to open and close it without issue.  Interior labeling is very good as displayed by the door lock label that has the wording in both French and English.  Clicking on the small pipe behind the yoke will hide or display the yoke for a better view the instrument panel. 

     

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       The pilot side of the cockpit is just as impressive.  The small window on the pilot door opens and I like that this also requires unlocking before opening.   It is these small realistic features that I look for with quality simulator aircraft which adds to the overall value of the product.  Adjusting my view so that I can get a good look at the circuit breakers, I can see a good presentation of the “wear” textures and the small labels are also legible which is great.  Some of them are also clickable so if you have a system that is not functioning, look at these to see if any of they are pulled.  Simply left click to push in or right click to pull the breaker.  I do not know if these are simulated but I like that they are animated to add to the simulated experience.  The pilot yoke has an autopilot disconnect switch, electric trim controls (not simulated) and a CWS toggle switch.  Both sun visors are animated and rather than just having the right visor move up and down, Just Flight and I.D.S. decided to do things differently and unhook this visor and move it out of the way to the right side of the cockpit.  With Service Pack 2, the sun visor transparency has been increased and color adjusted.  The visor animations are very good and I like that this added functionality is included with this aircraft rather than more of the same.  Also with Service Pack 2, Just Flight has added a passenger seat viewpoint.  The rear passenger seat details are just as impressive as the front of the cabin.

     

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    Exterior Model

       There are five exterior paints for each of the TB10 and TB20 models plus each model has an all-white variant for aircraft painters to use.  I always look for some form of static ground objects with premium aircraft and all of the ground static features that should be included with a general aviation aircraft are.  Just Flight has made it easy to display these objects, (chocks, pitot cover, engine intake cover, tie downs and aileron locks), with the engine off, apply the parking brake to make them visible and release to hide them.  The aileron locks will only display if the control lock is installed in the cockpit.  All of these items look great in the simulator.  Another feature that is often overlooked with premium aircraft is a working tow bar.  Just Flight has included a very nice panel selector with this aircraft which is located in the upper left corner of the cockpit.  Clicking on this small arrow icon opens the Panel Selector window and for now I only want to comment about the Tow Bar option and will explain the other features later in the review.  Normally I do not like non real world aircraft features displayed in the VC but the Panel Selector is so useful that I do not mind and with the release version and SP1 you could close the window back to the small arrow icon and with SP2 you can close the icon entirely and open with the menu.  Personally I would rather have the Panel Selector visible rather than using the menu entry in flight.  The Tow Bar option is located at the bottom right of the window and this opens the tow bar function along with a tow bar displayed in the exterior views.  I love the simplicity of this feature just click and hold on the direction arrows to move the aircraft and release to stop.  Trickier to use are the left and right arrows so I just backup or pull forward and use the rudder pedals to steer after engine start.  You can also control the tow speed if you would like but I think the default speed of “1” is fast enough.  Another nice exterior feature is the ability to open the inspection doors for the preflight inspection and this is done by flipping up the switch next to the Airspeed Indicator.  The Refill Menu will also open when doing this and I will comment more about this later.  The animations and sound effects of the door operations are very impressive and these are the small realistic features that greatly add to the value of a flight simulator premium aircraft.  The only thing missing is the ability to remove the cowling to look at the engine but I can certainly live without this to have a more realistic external preflight inspection.

     

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       I already commented about the interior click spots to open the left and right doors but the baggage door requires a keyboard shortcut (Shift + E + 3) and the detail inside the baggage compartment is impressive.  My only wish would be an option to display some baggage.  If you are the type of person that likes several angle views then you will be disappointed because there are only three views but I do not have an issue with this because I use the spot view for my external inspections.  Just Flight does include an EZ Dock universal camera if you own that utility.   For the rest of this section I am going to be loading one of the TB-20 aircraft.  All of the exterior features are three dimensional and all of the textures look very impressive.    The wheel fairings on the TB-10 look impressive but Just Flight has also put a lot of care and detail into retractable gear assemblies on the TB-20.  Exterior labeling is also very clear and legible and I also like that there is just the right amount of “wear” textures.  The last screen grab is of all of the exterior lighting and this is also simulated nicely.

     

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    Instrument Panel

       The Socata TB-10 Tobago and TB-20 Trinidad instrument panels look a bit different from most small general aviation aircraft.  The first screen grab is of the TB-10 instrument panel from the default VC view.  The second is of the TB-20 instrument panel which adds the retractable gear controls and some other controls that are not installed in the TB-10.  The primary flight and navigation instruments are located right in front of you and are close enough to be able to read easily but I usually adjust my view slightly for an even better look.  Across the top of the left instrument panel are the advisory lights panel and is self-explanatory, green indicates a normal or safe condition, yellow a cautionary condition and red indicates a hazardous condition that needs to be looked at.  These aircraft allow you to optionally monitor the engine so it is possible for you to receive both yellow and red warning lights.  Turning on the master battery, I can see some yellow advisory lights because the engine is shut down and not all systems turned on.  There is also an advisory panel test button to see all of the lights illuminated.  This test switch also illuminates the marker beacon lights which are located in this area and the landing gear warning light near the gear controls.  Next to the panel test button is daylight toggle button.  Below the Altitude indicator is the Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI), which is driven by the GNS430 or the Flight1 GTN 650 or 750.  Service Pack Two incudes some fixes to the HSI functionality along with improved GTN 650 compatibility with the HSI and the autopilot.  The far left side of panel includes the interior lighting controls and although the lighting effects look nice and these controls are animated but they did not seem to affect the interior lighting on my system.  Maybe I am doing something wrong but interior lighting would work automatically depending on the time of day.  Just Flight has made it easy to hide and display each of the yokes by simply clicking on the small white pipe behind the yoke on each side of the cockpit.  The Controls lock is as easily removable by clicking on the pilot yoke base.  With the yoke and control lock removed, this provides a better view of the lower portion of the instrument panel.  Labeling is very clear and easy to read, another feature that I look for in a premium aircraft.  Before moving to the center panel I want to quickly comment about the parking brake control which is a knob and is partially hidden by the yoke but still visible enough to use.  I use a hardware control for the parking brake function so this is not an issue for me but if you do not, you can always move or hide the yoke for a better view.

     

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       The top of the center panel contains your engine, electrical and fuel instruments.  For me these are kind of hard to see from the default view so I use the right seat view and adjust my zoom level.  Below these are the KMA 24H audio control panel and below this the default GNS 430 GPS.  If you own either or both of the Flight1 GTN 650 and 750 GPS units these can be displayed by using the Just Flight TB10/TB20 menu item located in the P3D Add-ons menu which I like because it is extremely easy to switch between the GPS units.  Besides toggling the GPS units, this menu also allows you to select the panel state (cold and dark and ready for takeoff), auto fuel transfer, fuel pump & gyro sound effects and also toggle the engine management feature.  Below the default GPS or the GTN650 is the GNC 255 COM2 & NAV2 secondary radios and I love when developers include the backup radio for tuning the COM and NAV stations that will be used later in your flight.  This is a fully functional radio and the manual does a great job explaining how to operate it.  It was kind of hard to setup in the simulator but I like the ability to save some frequently used frequencies for later use.  Below this radio is the KN 62A DME and below this is KAP 150 autopilot.  At the bottom of the radio stack is the GTX 330 transponder unit and below this is a checklist.  I can tell that this product was developed outside of North America because the default VFR transponder code is 7000 instead of 1200 which is the VFR code for North America.  It is easy to enter the codes but I wish there was an option to select the default VFR code.  The checklist is probably a real world aircraft feature but from a flight simulator enthusiast point of view I would rather have the KR 87 ADF radio and the TKS ice protection control mounted here rather than on the bottom of the right instrument panel.  The GTN 750 uses a lot of the instrument panel and thankfully Just Flight decided to remove the checklist from the panel instead of any of the radios.

     

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       At the top of the floor pedestal is the switch breaker panel.  This caught me a little bit by surprise.  When I first loaded one of these aircraft I could not find the traditional external lighting and electrical switches.  Rather than traditional switches the Socata uses breaker buttons for these controls, top buttons to turn on that system and the bottom button to turn it off.  Just Flight has included nice “click” sound effects when these buttons are used.  The labels are tiny and hard to read from the default view but I would usually adjust the right seat view for a better view and after some time was able to memorize the positions.  The flap controls are also located here.  Below these are the throttle, propeller, mixture and elevator trim controls.  I love the sound effect of operating the elevator trim.  Lastly, below the elevator trim are the aileron and rudder trim controls and the fuel tank selector.  The fuel tank selector has three positions (right, left & off) and the pilot must switch between the left and right tanks every thirty minutes, very realistic!

     

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       For the right side, I am going to start Active Sky 2016 and will have the engine running.  Besides the backup Attitude Indicator and Altimeter, the right panel also has the critical engine monitoring instruments (Tachometer, Manifold Pressure, and Cylinder Head & Exhaust Gas Temperature) gauges.  The Tachometer and MP/Fuel Flow instruments are pretty easy to see from the default VC view but the CHT and the EGT gauges are a bit harder so I adjust my right seat view for a better look.  Below the CHT/EGT is a very easy to see outside air temperature gauge in centigrade and below it is the VDO hour meter which also has a working Hobbs meter, which is another one of those small realistic features that I look for in premium simulator aircraft.  On the left side of the ELT is an instrument that I want to comment about in more detail, the BFG Storm Scope.  This is a very nice multifunction unit that the manual does a great job explaining its features.  This storm scope detects severe weather and AI traffic up to a range of 50NM away, relative to your aircraft.  The display on the storm scope is the same for both weather and TCAS (traffic) modes.  To see the weather radar in action, I consulted Active Sky and that there are heavy rains and thunderstorms at KFLL, so I repositioned my aircraft to that airport.  As you can see it looks very bad outside and it is so turbulent that my aircraft is shaking and I can hear thunder in the distance.  The storm scope displays this severe weather very realistically.  Other functions include a checklist but I would rather just use Just Flight one and a chronograph with the date & time and an options menu.  I really like the amount of features that Just Flight and I.D.S. has included with this aircraft.  The lower portion of the right panel contains the ADF radio, TKS-ice protection and the vent controls.  The labeling is very easy to read and the vents are also nicely animated.  Due to simulator limitations the TKS ice protection is limited to the structural and propeller systems.   What is nice about this simulation is that the system is deactivated when placed in the “off” position and when the de-icing fluid is empty which is very easy to read on this unit. Another realistic feature is that the TKS fluid can be refilled by using the refill menu.  Before moving on to the flight model review, I want to quickly comment about the wonderful Panel Selector feature.  Rather than using the P3D/FSX menu item to open the 2D instrument windows (still available also if you like clean cockpits), the pilot simply clicks on the corresponding instrument on the panel selector to open the 2D version of that instrument and click on it again to close or select left panel view.

     

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    Flight Model

       To review the flight model of the Just Flight Socata TB-10 and TB-20, I am going to complete some short flights around the recently released Turbulent Designs 2D3 Angwin Parrett Field.  This small general aviation airport located in Napa County, California sells for only about $7.00 USD for a premium quality P3D & FSX scenery product.  All proceeds from this product including development costs will be donated to the Over the Wall children’s charity, http://www.otw.org.uk/ which is part of the Flight Angels group of children’s charities, http://flight-angels.com/about/our-charities .  This section I will be looking that the TB-10 fixed gear model and with the next section I will review the TB-20 flight model.  When you load either of the models the default panel state is “Ready for Takeoff” and according to the manual if you want to begin with a “cold and dark” panel state, you need to save a flight with this panel state.  I like to fly all over the world so I wish there was a better way to have a default “Cold and Dark” panel state.  Also with Version 102, I thought I saved a flight with all systems off but when I loaded my saved flight, the aircraft loaded with the engine on.  Rather than doing this I just load the “Cold and Dark” panel state from the TB10/20 menu item.  After doing this there are a couple of other procedures that I perform with this menu as part of my preflight routine.  First I verify that engine monitoring is turned on, which was added with Service Pack 1.1 and because I own the GTN650, I switch the GPS option to this one.  With engine monitoring enabled, the simulator is now monitoring spark plug fowling, vapour lock and engine failure caused by low oil quantity.  Oddly, I could not find an aircraft maintenance option so maybe these conditions are reset by reloading the aircraft.  Another way to switch between panel states is to use the lower left icon (looks like a lightning bolt), on the Panel Selector window.  Service Pack 2 also added the GTN750 GPS option.  The other aircraft features that are selectable from here are the checklist, a very useful flight computer that is very easy to understand for calculating the various flight performance values.  The last feature available here is a logbook for entering your flight information but I found it very awkward to use and will just use the P3D logbook for reference. With the aircraft now shutdown I can now run through the checklists and there are a couple different ways to do this, three if you count the storm scope.  First, you can follow a printed checklist but for this aircraft I am going to use the checklist from the panel selector.

     

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       I have used other on screen checklists with other aircraft and the one included with the TB10/20 is in my view the best.  First, the onscreen checklist window is large enough to be able to read the entry’s clearly without needing to resize the window which is great. This checklist is very simple to use which I also like, after performing the procedure, click on that item and the item color will change to green to let you know what procedures have been completed.  It would have been nice if this process was automatic after completing a checklist step but I guess I cannot have everything and the checklist is so simple to use that this not that big of issue for me.  One thing that would have made it better would be separate checklists for the TB-10 and the TB-20; both aircraft use the TB-20 checklist with its additional procedures.  When flying the TB-10, I just ignore these additional items.  I proceed through the “Pre-Start” checklist and if the checklist has multiple pages, simply select “Next Page” for the next page or “Prev Page” to go back and “Next Checklist” to proceed to the next checklist, again very easy to use.  I also like that the checklist remains open even if you change views.  Before continuing I want to comment about the elevator trim if you load the “Ready for Takeoff” panel state.  It is not in the takeoff position but is set at -23.4 inches and will have to be reset before takeoff.  I like to open spot view when simulating the external preflight inspection and Just Flight has included some features to enhance this experience.  With the parking brake on, flip the “Open Close Inspection Doors” switch up which opens these external doors and the “Refill Menu”.  Now as you perform an external preflight item on the checklist, if available on this menu, this action can be performed and the inspection doors can be closed with a mouse click.  Service Pack Two added improved functionality to the refill menu which enhances an already nice feature.  The rest of the pre-flight checklist is self-explanatory other than I want to say that these aircraft do not have a rotating beacon, the strobe light is use as the anti-collision light or the NAV light.  Hopefully this is based on the real world aircraft, because in the United States I was always told to use the beacon while on the ramp and to operate the landing and strobe lights when entering the runway.  The Before-Start checklist has you verify that the parking brake warning light is illuminated but at this point of the checklist the Master Battery button is still turned off, so turn it on to verify this warning light.  The engine start procedures work as per the checklist and I like that my Saitek magneto switch works with these aircraft.  On my system, I had to enrich the mixture for the engine to start.  The engine and electrical instruments are very accurate which is great.  The Taxi checklist did not include turning on the NAV lights which I did but left the taxi lights off because it is daytime.  These aircraft are tri-cycle type landing gear so they are extremely easy to taxi.  For the most part everything on the Engine Run-up checklist is accurate except for the propeller check.  It is only supposed to have a maximum RPM drop of 500RPM but on my system it was closer to 1000RPM.  The magneto check does operate realistically though. 

     

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       The Take-off checklist is accurate because the Socata lifted off smoothly between 70KIAS and the initial climb speed of 75KIAS and I did not have any issues with the rest of this checklist.  Climb performance with the TB-10 is outstanding, at the optimum climb speed of 95KIAS; I was able to maintain 1500FPM from this airports elevation of 1800 feet.  I am not an expert on flight dynamics and have never piloted a real TB-10 Socata, but others have reported that these aircraft seemed overpowered and Just Flight has addressed these issues with Service Pack 2 of this package.  I had issues with this latest update so I will finish this review of the TB-20 performance after a fix is released.  I did not have any issues trimming for all phases of flight and I love the sound effect of the trim wheel action.  I think that the real world aircraft have electric trim controls so that is probably the sound that I am hearing.  I will comment about the cruise characteristics and autopilot operation when I review the TB-20.  Both models are terrific aircraft to manually flight and are very responsive to my control movements.  These aircraft will get you from point a to point b relatively quickly because on this trip, at 5900 feet, 80% power, 20 inches of manifold pressure, I cruised at 140 knots true airspeed and had a ground speed of 129 knots.  Performance of the TB-20 is even better and is the aircraft that have been using for most of my cross county flights lately.  Now it is time to return to the airport so I consult the Descent checklist which only contains two items, adjust power and a very important second procedure, apply full power after every 1500 feet of descent to avoid spark plug fowling.  This is especially important because I have engine management enabled.  I like the easy, simple to understand checklists that are included with this package.  The approach speed for the TB-10 is 86 knots and I can lower the flaps to the take-off setting at 129KIAS and landing at 103KIAS.  If everything is setup correctly, the landing speed for both models should be 73KIAS.  I was able to slow down the TB-10 to approach speed without issue but needed more time/distance with the TB-20.  If you want the most realistic simulation, consult the landing performance charts.  The rest of the Approach & Landing checklists were routine and luckily I did not require it the next checklist in sequence is the Go-around checklist.  Also, all of the emergency checklists are included if you need to reference them.  The After Landing checklist is self-explanatory and as with the other checklists, virtual pilots should be able to remember most of the items but the onscreen checklists are so easy to use, I use them with all flights.  These aircraft, have an unusual procedure on the Shutdown checklist, with the engine at 1000RPM, you temporarily place the magneto into the “Off” position and then return it back to “Both”.  The rest of the shutdown procedures are easy and self-explanatory.

     

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    TB-20 Trinidad Cross Country Flight

       I am going to perform a cross county flight that I like to do when evaluating new aircraft, KHQM – Bowerman in Hoquiam, Washington to KSFF – Felts Field in Spokane, Washington.  I am also going to add a couple of VFR waypoints enroute, Ellensburg (ELN) and Ephrata (EPH).  This flight is long enough to review the cruise characteristics of this aircraft along with evaluating the various autopilot modes.  It is also short enough so that it does not take me all day to fly.  With Service Pack 2, I commented earlier that Just Flight introduced a model switcher for this aircraft available on the Just Flight folder of the Windows Start menu that allows you to select between the default instrument panel and the one designed for the Flight 1 GTN 650 & 750 GPS.  By the selecting the Flight 1 model, this adds the Flight 1 GPS option to the Tobago P3D menu item and allows you to switch between default GNS 430 GPS, the GTN 650 and finally the GTN 750.  I captured screen grabs of the first two options and as you can see something has gone wrong with my install or there is a bug related to this.  Even though there is a 3D model of the GNS 430, the GTN screen is displayed for some strange reason.  The GTN 650 mode does work but it looks strange with the bottom GPS having a GNS 430 frame with a GTN screen.  The third option (clicking the menu item a third time) displays a single GTN 750 and this is the display that I will use regularly.  Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update but for now if I want to use a P3D flight plan, I will use the Default mode and if I want to use the GTN 750 I will select that option with the model switcher.  At least the aircraft remembers the panel state so I do not have to switch to the GTN 750 every time that I want to fly.  Now I am going to return to “cold and dark” so that I can run through the checklists.

     

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       The engine and avionics is now on and because I am planning to use the autopilot, I need to perform the autopilot self-test as indicated by the illuminated “Trim” display.  After performing this test, you will hear an audible tone and the “Trim” display will extinguish and the autopilot is now ready to use.  I now enter my simple flight plan into the GTN 750 and dial the Ellensburg VOR into the GTN’s NAV 1 radio and also into the NAV 2 backup radio.  I really like when there are backup radios when developers include GTN 750 GPS options.  Lastly, I put the first leg’s heading into the HSI. I depart and love the impressive gear retracting animation and sound effects.  I am not an expert on flight dynamics but for me I think that the flight model with this release is improved from the earlier ones.  I think it climbs more realistic then with earlier versions, at 90 KIAS I can maintain about 750 FPM.  I have not noticed the trim issue that others have reported so I cannot report about it.  I now want to review the various autopilot modes so I steer towards my GPS course line.  The included KAP150 autopilot is a basic but a very functional autopilot.  The KAP150 is a two-axis (pitch & roll) autopilot with automatic elevator trim as well as automatic response to all selected autopilot modes.  Engaging the autopilot without using any of the modes provides the simplest functionality and is very useful if you need to take your hands off of the yoke for such things as looking at the map or tuning the radios.  Basically, it holds the aircraft pitch (useful when climbing to cruise altitude) and will maintain wings level.  This aircraft’s autopilot does not have an altitude selection function where the autopilot controls the climb or descent until the selected altitude.  “ALT” mode on the KAP150 simply maintains the current altitude.  As long as the vertical speed is no greater then 500FPM, press the “ALT” button to hold the current altitude and the vertical speed will level out at that altitude.  The process is very smooth and works very well.  “HDG” or heading mode is the easiest to use mode and works just like in any other aircraft, dial the heading on the HSI, press the “HDG” mode button and your aircraft will turn and follow that heading.  Since I had already dialed the heading to the Ellensburg VOR, my aircraft is now on its way to my first waypoint and I make small correction to the heading as needed.  Similar to other simulation aircraft, the Socata TB10 and TB20 have a NAV/GPS switch on the panel to let the autopilot know which course to follow when selecting the autopilot “NAV” mode.  The Flight 1 GTN 650/750 also has a CDI button that does the same thing (VLOC and GPS).  If you are new to this wonderful hobby, NAV or VLOC will follow the VOR Course dialed in NAV1 and GPS will follow the GPS flight plan.  The manual does an excellent job explaining how to use autopilot “NAV” mode and the autopilot follows both the GPS flight plan and VOR course without issue.  Be warned though that the KAP150 is not as sophisticated as more modern autopilots because you need to be very near to the GPS course or the autopilot will be fooled and will have trouble finding your route and will just complete circles in the sky.  The final two modes are “APR” approach and “BC” back course hold modes but I am not as experienced at using these functions so I will leave that to others but again the manual does a good job explaining their operation.

     

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       I was also planning on reviewing the cruise performance compared to the performance tables but the fuel flow gauge did not seem to be working correctly (needle barely moves) with Service Pack 3.  This has been reported by others on the forum so I decided to continue with the review and hopefully Just Flight will issue another update.  The combination of the fuel flow gauge and the flight computer should provide all the information that you will need proper performance calculations.  Even without verifying performance accuracy, I think cruise performance was very good with an outside air temperature of zero degrees Celsius, a Manifold Pressure setting of 23” and RPM of 2300; I had a true airspeed of 176 knots with a ground speed of 196 knots.  Also according to the flight computer I was getting an acceptable fuel consumption rate of 24 nautical miles per gallon.  I want to repeat that I am not an expert on flight dynamics so if these figures should be different, I am sorry, I use the flight simulator for recreation instead of trying to achieve ultimate realism.  The TB-20 is a wonderful cross-country aircraft that is a real pleasure to hand fly or have the autopilot control the aircraft.  Before starting my descent I want to say that the VOR indicator works great when you want to manually fly to and from VOR stations or fly an instrument approach.  The approach and landing phases of flight are the similar to the TB-10 except for the landing gear and that the TB-20 is higher performance so I needed to plan my descent differently.  What I like about the aircraft performance after SP3 is I had an easier time slowing down the TB-20 then I did with the previous versions.  To finish this section, I think that Just Flight has fixed the issues of the previous versions and the TB-10 and TB-20 are a pleasure to fly and I am looking forward to many future flights.

     

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    Conclusion

    Accessibility

    The Socata TB-10 Tobago & TB-20 Trinidad package is currently available as a download only package from Just Flight and other flight simulator retailers so I would say it is very accessible.  The download size is not very large so users with limited internet bandwidth should not have issues downloading this package.

     

    Affordability

    At the time of this writing the cost of the package was $41.99 USD if purchased directly from Just Flight or possibly lower if purchasing from another vendor.  This is not an inexpensive aircraft but considering the amount of included features and it includes two different models, I still consider this a fair value. 

     

    Ease of Installation

    I cannot comment about the other vendors but it is extremely easy to install if purchased from Just Flight.  You do need an active internet connection for activation but there are no complicated serial codes or other unusual procedures to activate, just your Just Flight Account.

     

    Features & System Performance

    My favorite feature is the checklist because Just Flight has done this right and made the checklist window large enough for most people to read and use.  I also like that there is the ability to open the exterior inspection doors and check the oil level and replace other fluids.  Support for the Flight 1 GTN 650 and 750 without having to manually editing aircraft panel files is also a wonderful feature although I had some texture issues when selecting the GTN 650 with SP3.  System performance is outstanding on my system even when using the GTN 750 instrument panel.

     

    Final Thoughts

    I want to thank Just Flight for allowing me to review this wonderful aircraft package and it will be part of my virtual hangar for many years to come.  Both the TB-10 Tobago and TB-20 Trinidad are a pleasure to fly and Just Flight listens to their customers and responds with updates in a timely manner which sometimes does not happen with simulator developers.  For more information please visit the product page located here: http://www.justflight.com/product/tb10-tobago-and-tb20-trinidad .

     

    Test System

    Hardware:

    Computer Specs:

    Intel Desktop Computer

    Intel i5 4670K 3.4Ghz Non OC Processor

    8GB DDR3 1833 Memory

    2TB SATA HD (7200 RPM)

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX970 Video Card with 4GB GDDR5 Memory

    Saitek Cessna Pro Flight Yoke, Rudder Pedals & Trim Wheel

    Saitek Pro-Flight Switch Panel and Multi Panel

    Software:

    FSX: Steam Edition, Prepar3D Version 3

    Windows 7 – 64 Bit

    REX 4 Texture Direct with Soft Clouds

    Orbx HD Trees, Global, Vector, Europe & NA Landclass & Multiple Regions

    FS Global 2010 FTX Compatible

    DX10 Scenery Fixer

    FSX Fair Weather Theme

    Flight Test Time:

    25 hours

     



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