A GA commuter airliner, a small turboprop, and a large airport on Florida’s Gold Coast. Lots to read up on today, so fire up your coffee maker and put up your feet…it’s time to get readin’!
The Piper Chieftain 350 was a stretched development of the standard PA-31 Navajo intended primarily for the corporate and commuter-liner market, and the aircraft proved a great success in the small feeder-liner market that thrived in the late 70s through the 90s. Most are still in use, too, still serving this segment of the market. With twin 350HP turbocharged Lycoming engines driving counter-rotating props, this non-pressurized variant is both fast and tough, which accounts for its long life.
Alabeo’s file is, interestingly enough, a radical departure from the Carenado PA-31, incorporating a partial glass panel and with the PFD, a G1000 unit, pulling down most of the basic flight instrumentation chores. A custom G500 unit does GPS duty, while the autopilot is basic but operation is intuitive and reliable.
“Carenado Class” details abound, but Alabeo chose to weather this model, and both the panel and the exterior look beat up, or “rode hard and put away wet.” Let the RPMs drop too low and the engines sound pretty rough, too. If you like your aircraft a little worn with age, Alabeo has you covered this time out, but this old girl still looks good enough for a long dance on the floor.
Of course, major exterior elements are covered too, from doorways to luggage compartments and, as you can see in the last image above, the interior is flawlessly crafted. Below, at KTEX Telluride, Colorado, where aircraft like this fly passengers to Denver and Colorado Springs, or perhaps up to KASE Aspen.
Navigation chores are amply covered with multiple Garmin units plus all the usual VOR/NDB heads. The AP menu tab on the left didn’t work on my unit, but clicking on the AP head just under the throttle quad brings the pop-up, ready for work. The Garmin units all pop up, and are scaleable as well.
With 700 total HP on tap, this bird flat out climbs! Nav chores are easy to take care of, easier still because everything works. Manipulators are flawless, switches too, so nothing gets in the way of what you want to do. In a light commuter that’s a real benefit.
So, who’s this Alabeo best suited to?
Into twins? Into working on your IFR skills? Maybe have a VA and you need a low capacity hauler for short, skinny routes? Well, here’s your Cheiftain, ready to rule the roost. Not so good for newbies – though manageable with practice; if working on singles and you want to tackle a twin, I’d stick to the default Baron for a while, then, if something like this intrigues you – give it a go. I’d say this Alabeo is best suited to virtual pilots who want to duplicate the routes of local short-distance commuter airlines, and I think such pilots will be satisfied with the experience this file has ready and waiting.
The file is at all the usual sources, price a reasonable 32 buckeroos. Highly recommended.
Mitsubishi MU-2 Solitaire
With blistering speed and excellent build quality, Mitsubishi’s MU-2 series is one of the very best turboprop aircraft ever made. Questions about the safety of the aircraft have been numerous, especially as more than 400 people have been killed in accidents involving the type. Yet after numerous safety studies the MU-2 has been exonerated time and time again, with inadequate pilot training usually cited as the culprit in most accidents.
This is so, perhaps, because the MU-2 has jet-like high-speed performance, yet incredibly low approach and landing speeds. Normal engine out protocols don’t work on this aircraft, either. There have been a few weird accidents with this aircraft, such as the inadvertent deployment of reverse pitch on one engine causing a wing failure, but these are rare, isolated incidents.
There’ve been a few aircraft files for this aircraft in X-plane, but none so popular as the MU-2M at X-Aviation. The panel on this bird is justly famous, too:
Now we have a new freeware file on hand, for the MU-2 Solitiare model, a smaller variant that originally didn’t require a type rating or any supplemental training. This acf has a quite decent exterior, and the panel isn’t bad, especially the G1000 variant seen here.
I rarely bother with freeware aircraft files; most are a let down. This one isn’t. Kind of fun if you can’t justify spending buckeroos on the payware. If curious, give it a try. If you like the MU-2 after that, we highly recommend you head over to X-Aviation and check out Tom’s justly more famous payware file.
KPBI + Palm Beach Florida by NAPS aka Freddy
Good to see a new file from Fred, and its about time we had a decent PBI in X-plane.
If unfamiliar with the whole Palm Beach thing, the area is a small enclave of massive wealth, and I do mean massive. On Friday afternoons and Sunday evenings, its like watching a constant parade of Gulfstreams and Challengers coming and going from and to the NYC area, and there’s heavy commercial traffic heading to the same region daily. Along with KMIA and KFLL, KPBI completes the South Florida commercial airport matrix, and as you can imagine, all three are busy airports.
All the legacy carriers work out of here, and most of the major low cost carriers do too. And Silver operates a full slate to the Bahamas, so break out those Saab 340s and get to work! Beside flights to the Northeast Corridor, you find opportunities to Houston. Dallas, Charlotte, Atlanta, MSP and Chicago (among many others), so , really, consider this one as big a deal as Ft Lauderdale. Oh, don’t forget to factor biz jets into your plans here.
And, as this is a NAPS/Fred De Pues project, this airport is just about as good as payware, so you can get this one onboard knowing you won’t need to replace it with payware anytime soon.
Nice yacht, Fred. You gonna pick it up with proceeds from your movie?
Anyway, this is a total Must Have file, so get it here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47379-kpbi-palm-beach-international-airport/
That’s all for today. We’ll have the movie review up next time. Take care til then, and toodle-ooh…