x+s+r // PC12 First Look

PC12 hdr

Deep in the middle of the night, Carenado snuck another one in on us.

Their freshly revised, Xp11 compliant Pilatus PC12 released overnight – and as is their usual practice – the file is only at the Carenado Store…for now. Other outlets will get their versions “up and running” soon, but if you want this one, and want it NOW, there’s only one place to go. Right here.

And…as is our practice…this post is just a quick look around, a “first look” – and not an in-depth review. As NY94 Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome was freshly revised late yesterday I thought it opportune to image the new Carenado here, too.

First impressions? That’s what this post is all about, so let’s go.

PC12 panel 1

The panel lighting is in-your-face bright; the manipulators to tone down the brightness not operable in my file…so, assuming this is not a glitch in my set-up, what you see is what you get.

PC12 panel 2

In practice, it might not matter too much but this was surprising.

On the ground, as expected this latest Carenado really shines, with all Carenado’s attention to detail right up front and in your face, too. Not a bad thing, too.

So, first impressions?

  1. Great sounds. Flaps resonate with a smooth, deep whir, and there’s no mistaking when the landing gear is in operation;
  2. Prop spinner picks up surroundings on its reflective surface, so too does the paint;
  3. Landing gear detail is decent, same with exterior lighting. No glitches found;
  4. PBR textures are there, but not overwhelming. With all settings MAXed out, the DreamFoil 407 beats this file hands-down;
  5. The interior cabin is “luxuriously” modeled. No cargo or air ambulance variant as found in other files;
  6. Panel EFIS equipped, autopilot set up for moderately complex operations.

PC12 1

I was expecting quite a bit more dynamic reflections, and overall HDR effects are rather muted.

PC12 2

In the image below, in this plain white livery called Substance, this paint seemed to have the best reflectivity. Also, note gear and airstair detail, both quite good.

PC12 front detail

Passenger cabin details are sumptuous, all lighting quite attractive. Light scatter on the wing is, again, very good in this plain white wrapper.

PC12 rear door nite

Below, the six included paints. These first two are nice, interesting designs with good color…

PC12 L1

PC12 L5

While D-FCAH may well be the most interesting of the group.

PC12 L6

PC12 L4

These last three are bland, generic looking things.

PC12 L2

PC12 L3

A bumpy grass strip is probably not the best venue to test a new aircraft, but this PC12 handled the uneven surfaces without issue. Taxing, at least on grass, was smooth and non-eventful. Braking and control, excellent.

PC12 turning radius

PC12 taxi

Landing lights (all four!) get the job done, though they seem brighter in external view than from the ‘pit.


The takeoff roll, on grass, was, as expected, quite long. Acceleration seemed slow and torque onset not as aggressive as I expected, very easy to modulate with modest rudder input. Speed build up felt much quicker after 50knots.

Concerning NY94, there are several new buildings in this update, more peripheral detailing, but the real news is PEOPLE. They’re everywhere…from the spectator stands to wandering around the exhibits. Anyway, once the sun comes out I’ll be back to take a long look. This file just gets better and better!

We’ll look over the PC12 a bit more, and at a “real” airport, too, and let you know what we find later this week. For now? It’s a Carenado, and what else can you say? You either like these files or you don’t. The thing is, I’m not clear why some people dislike these files.

Me? I remember life in X-plane BC, or…Before Carenado. There were a few, I mean a very few GA files worth using, mainly the Leading Edge Sundowner and Duchess and the 4Forces Cessna 152…then, after Carenado hit the scene further development on GA singles and twins ground to a halt.

And…what does that tell you?

Well, Carenado swooped in and took over the market, and they did so because their aircraft files were, in most regards, better than anything else in Xp. Now, with other FsX/P3D aircraft file developers moving in I wonder if the original, established Xp developers will be able to hang on at all.

One of the things I screamed about – back in v9 – was how long it was taking Xp developers to get files to market. The solution that Simon and I put forward was simple enough, too: solo developers needed to form development teams to speed production and get more product to market. Simple. But the idea bruised a lot of egos.

So this, I think you can safely say, did not go over well.

And now it looks like the market in X-plane will be dominated by FsX/P3D development teams, and needless to say, these teams can bring 2-3 files online in a few months, vs the old, established solo artists taking 2-3 years to get one file out the door.

As the saying goes: Too bad…so sad.

So, here we are, with another very nice Carenado file that is hands down much better, in many ways, than the other file available for Xp. Carenado’s panel is great looking, period. The exterior model is, as far as I can tell so far, without fault. Carenado’s detractors state, somewhat derisively, that Carenado uses off the shelf components and shares them among models.

Okay. So what?

Do you think Pilatus, or Piper, or Cessna reinvent the wheel every time they come out with a new model? No, they use stock, off the shelf components. If they didn’t their products would simply become completely unaffordable and take forever to produce.

Sound familiar?

And I suspect Carenado takes the same approach. Why reinvent the wheel for every new file? They have three major files in development for FsX/P3D right NOW, including a Saab340. What happens when they port that one to Xp? Will Leading Edge be able to stand up to that level of competition? The answer will depend on how many people want a study-level file, vs how many will be willing to use Carenado’s version, which will, more than likely, be mass-market friendly. And…assuming X-Aviation can get the file to market – at all.

Carenado has released a half-dozen version 11 compliant files in less than a year, by early 2018, and they did so because they have a large team working on multiple files all the time. They will succeed, too, while the one-man shows that characterized X-plane from its inception will, I fear, slowly fade away. It’s not too late, however. Follow IXEGs lead, form larger, more diverse teams and pump more high-quality product into the market…while you still can. Flight Factor took that route, and so did JARDesigns. The situation with X-Aviation and Leading Edge has become almost intolerable, and they’re losing customers because people are losing patience…yet there hasn’t been a new file announcement from their stable of solo designers in, literally, years. That’s not a blueprint for long-term success, in anyone’s book.

You may not like Carenado, but Carenado, and teams like them, are the future of X-plane. I’d get used to it if I were you. Change has a way of coming along and pushing inflexible operators out of the way. It’s happening all around you, all the time. It’s happening in X-plane right now, too.

Hasta later. See you next time. – C & A

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