AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

Carenado Cessna 182Q


Product Information

Publisher: Carenado

Description: Aircraft add-on.

Download Size:
30 MB

Simulation Type:
Reviewed by: Bert Pieke Avsim Senior Staff Reviewer - November 18, 2008


My first copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator featured only one airplane (not counting the WW I missions).  This airplane was described as an aircraft of the Cessna 182 class.  By the time Flight Simulator 98 came out, it included eight airplanes: two 182s (an S and an RG model), an Extra, a Boeing 737, a helicopter, a sailplane, and a Sopwith Camel.  Later, somewhere along the way, the 182s got dropped by Microsoft and replaced by the Cessna 172 that is now the default airplane in FSX.

In the real world, many student pilots start their flying career in a Cessna 152 or 172, so this may be an appropriate way to start a new user.  It does not take long to realize, however, that the 172 could use some more power and the 182 certainly had just that.  Luckily, Carenado continues to offer this very popular airplane, and has just delivered a fully FSX compliant version for our flying pleasure.  With a 230 HP six cylinder power plant, and a range of 817 nm, the 182 is a great touring machine.  Add to that a comfortable cabin and benign handling characteristics, and it is easy to understand why this classic airframe has maintained its popularity among GA aircraft owners.  As of year-end 2007, Cessna has produced a total of 22,336 C182 airframes.

The Q-model was the last model produced as part of the original manufacturing run which lasted from 1956 to 1986.  Although the C182 comes in retractable gear models and can also be equipped with floats, the Q is a fixed gear model with a choice of wheel pants.  Carenado provides five paints with and without wheel fairings, and a separate long range model in US Coast Guard colors.

Carenado has a well deserved reputation for airplanes that capture the look of a particular era and I was keen to see if this latest product was up to the task.   Also, Carenado stands out in my mind as an early adopter of the virtual cockpit which is getting more useful as the graphics capabilities of MSFS are improved from release to release.  As a matter of fact, with my wide screen 22 flat screen monitor, panning around a well designed virtual cockpit gives me a better pilot environment than the old 2d cockpit with its fixed views and pop-up panels.

Installation & Documentation:

Test System

Q6600 @ 3.0 GHz
2 GB DDR 800 Ram
Nvidia 8600GTS 256MB Video Card
22" LCD monitor
1680x1050 resolution
CH Products USB Yoke
WindowsXP Professional


You can find the 182Q, downloadable at the Carenado site.  Bucking the trend of ever higher prices for add-ons, the C182Q can still be had for the price of a delivery pizza and must be seen as somewhat of a bargain.

The installation is straightforward, and you end up with a choice of six models, and three reference manuals to peruse:  Aircraft Performance, Checklists, and a Cockpit Panel guide.

Flying the C182Q:

First impression upon loading the Carenado 182 is that it truly looks like the real thing, inside and out.  The cabin has a decidedly 1970s look with light green color vinyl upholstery and an antique Navomatic 300 two axis autopilot.  The 2d cockpit looks fine, even on my wide screen monitor, and comes with the Carenado panel manager that provides access to the many detail popup panels.  If youve seen another Carenado product, youll be familiar with this, otherwise it is well described in the documentation. Luckily, there is a three button version on the panel that allows the panel manager to be removed from view altogether.  The virtual cockpit is really well done and this is where I did all my testing.  Even here, hidden click spots allow detail panels to be popped up for better readability, but this is hardly necessary since the gauges are legible and clickable without further assistance.

My first FS flight was at Meigs airfield, so this is where I took the 182Q for its test flight.  Meigs airfield has been removed in FSX, but can be found as a download in the Avsim library.

After adjusting the seat to accommodate my 6 4 body, and setting the trim to the take-off position, I was ready to take this airplane for a spin.  Starting from runway 36, as so often before, the additional power is immediately noticeable and rotating at 80 knots, you can climb out at almost 1000 ft/min.  Leveling off at 3000 feet, and continuing in a northerly direction,  I set the NAV frequency to 110.5 which is the ILS for Runway 27R at KORD and let the autopilot intercept the localizer.  Although the Navomatic autopilot does not offer an altitude hold function, it does track the glide slope so it takes a load off the pilot during the approach and landing phase.

The main impression was how easy it is to fly the 182.  Like in the real world, it is very stable while still being responsive to control inputs.  You find yourself flying turns comfortably with one hand while you adjust instruments with the other.   Once trimmed, it flies nicely in hands-off mode as well.  Somewhat unintentionally, I came in high and fast on my flight back to Meigs, and tried to bleed off speed with the flaps.  The flaps on this plane are like barn doors and to my surprise, I was able to land on the second half of the runway and brake to a standstill, well before driving over the edge into the lake.

After landing, I had a good look around the airplane.  The exterior is much like the FS9 version, nicely done and great to look at if you do not move too close in, as if to examine the individual rivets..  Somewhere there has to be a trade-off between detail and performance, and Carenado seems to have reserved the detail for where it matters most, namely the cockpit views.  The panel in the virtual cockpit is really well done and makes you feel as if you sit in the real airplane, 1970s avionics and all.  The gauges are nicely rounded and show no trace of polygon corners, as Ive seen in other panels.  The textures on the doors and floor are slightly less detailed, but there is no jarring discontinuity as you pan around the cockpit, it all looks very believable.  All in all, I give Carenado high marks for presenting a realistic cockpit experience.  The gauges are legible and move smoothly, the sounds are spot on, and the atmosphere of a well loved plane is very much in evidence.  Well done !

Animations and special effects:

By now, we expect moving control surfaces and animated pilots, and maybe a surprise or two.  Well, first of all, these are all included, and the blocks and pitot cover which appear when the power is switched off and the handbrake is set, are complemented by a steering lock in the cockpit.  All, nicely done.


More importantly, the lighting in the cockpit is first rate.  FSX seems to present a challenge with daytime and night time lighting effects.  Many aircraft have really dark panels when flying into the sun and night time lighting can look quite artificial.  As the pictures show, Carenado got this right in this airplane.  The night time panel looks great and the day time effects do not cause any loss of readability.


The Carenado Cessna 182Q is a well crafted package.  The Carenado crew have been doing this for a while, and their experience shows.  The flying experience is very good and the visuals are really convincing.  Andy Grove, past president of Intel, once said that the challenge ahead was no longer computing, but to re-create a life-like experience.  By that measure, the Carenado 182Q is a winner.


What I Like About the Carenado 182Q

  • Recreates the atmosphere of a well loved 1970s Cessna 182
  • Nicely crafted virtual cockpit
  • Great flying characteristics
  • Good sound
  • Price wise:  a bargain


What I Don't Like About the Carenado 182Q

  • Im not a fan of the many pop-up panels in the 2d cockpit, but luckily I rarely use it



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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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