A few interesting bits of news on the scenery front reported over the past few days. Short Final (aka MrX) will release his version of EDDM München soon, and then there’s the whole Orbx thing on the UK. So, assuming these all release before “the Holidays” (e.g., Christmas) then that’s three monster new scenery files to look forward to (don’t forget aeroSoft’s new LSGG), then word came via FB that Carenado’s next acf for Xp11 will be the Cessna Citation II.
I remember when the first Citations hit the market; Business and Commercial Aviation Magazine ran an article on the Citation I with Arnold Palmer (who, like, used to play a little golf, and Palmer was an early advocate of jets on the PGA). In this article AP claimed the Citation was so easy to fly even his grandmother could land one, and that statement sold a whole lot of airplanes. Anyway, if you enjoy flying GA singles and jets have always intimidated you, this just might be your opportunity to break out of that rut. We can’t wait to see this one. Goran at Leading Edge is making a Citation I, so this ought to be a good opportunity to see how well Leading Edge stacks up against Carenado.
Today we’ll look at the Alabeo Cessna 404, as well as a couple of revisions to acf. We’ll wrap up the post with some paint and a “new” scenery file from ruifo – from ‘Down Mexico Way.’
This just might be the ugliest Cessna of all time, but even so she has a heart of gold. The 404 is a tough old bird that’s as reliable as they come, an easy flyer once you know the tricks up her sleeves, and a bunch of pilots have built hours in these things.
Funny thing, too. Cessna’s 400 series evolved as kind of an “all things to all customers” kind of lineup. Pressurized, turbocharged models were followed by the same airframe renumbered and suddenly with normally aspirated engines and a non-pressurized hull et voila, new airplane…! Luxo executive models like the 421 Golden Eagle came along, and then, eventually, a small airliner like this 404 Titan, which derived from the original, even smaller 402C. There were seven variants of the 404 alone, most fitted out as cargo haulers and so-called “combis,” or aircraft that could be easily reconfigured to haul people or cargo, and even both at the same time.
Alabeo has chosen to model the Ambassador II/III model, a commuter airliner with a factory installed avionics suite, and as such this aircraft fits into a unique niche within the X-plane omniverse: a modern, piston-engined airliner with room for 8 passengers. I reckon it doesn’t hurt matters that Sandpiper Air, the fictional airline in the American TV series Wings used this aircraft as a backdrop to the action. Not many TV comedies about pilots, eh?
Alabeo’s file has yet to be upgraded to Xp11 compliance, and so this is still an Xp10.50+ acf; even so operations are, in the main, trouble free. Panel lighting could stand the new HDR lighting most of all, however I had no problem flying at night in this file.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I took this acf from Larnaca, Cyprus to the Greek Island of Rhodes, to the new LGRP file by JustSim. At a little less than 300 miles, this is a nice hour and a half run that flies over the island of Cyprus to start, then a good stretch of open water before skirting the Turkish coast and arriving at Rhodes.
Alabeo’s 404 has a generally well equipped panel, featuring a good Bendix-King AHI/HSI as well as a radar altimeter with DH bug. There is no lean assist indicator nor does the AP have a good VS mode controller. Panel lighting is accomplished by sliders (as in the C340) at the head of the throttle quadrant and, as I said, lighting could be better. I’d prefer a larger AHI/HSI unit as well, with brighter AHI command bars and a more pronounced GS line on the HSI. This looks like the same unit you’d likely find in a Baron, not a small commuter airliner.
In practice, this file is no more complicated to fly than Carenado’s Cessna 340, so as a step up this file might make sense to some GA pilots who’d like to step up to something larger, or even to check out smaller, less complicated commercial operations. Anyone interested in flying a medium twin will find this file of interest, but Carenado’s Piper Navajo has been updated to full v11 compliance – so preference to this Cessna over Piper might be a factor only for those who generally prefer Cessna aircraft.
This is a Carenado Class file with all the “bells and whistles” and I found the panel quite enjoyable to work with, though it needs an upgraded AP and a fully working Avidyne unit. In a perfect world, both passenger and cargo versions would be available, too. As such, there are several regions of the commercial aviation world where either would fit in nicely: New England; the Greek Isles; Western France; Austria; Norway; the Balkans; the Outback; and of course, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico.
Alabeo’s 404 is available at the usual outlets, as well as from the Alabeo Store: https://www.alabeo.com/sitealabeo/product/c404-titan-xplane/
We recommend it highly for aspiring commercial pilots.
Digital Replica’s Cessna 310L came in for another update over the weekend (now at v1.8!), most items centered on the revised pop-up system, notably including a pop-up AP. Let’s take a quick look around the aircraft at KAWO Arlington and KVUO Pearson, both in Washington State. Note: KAWO STILL has our vote for best teaching GA airport in X-plane. Here’s the Cessna’s changelog:
- ADF needle now reacts to aircraft heading
- ADF Gain needle reacts when the tuned frequency is in range
- ADF thousandths dial is more visible
- Transponder interrogation light fixed
- Autopilot Vertical velocity is set to zero when the white line in the center of the VS wheel is clicked (New VS to zero commands)
- Autopilot switches behavior corrected, now they won’t move on their own
- (New AP commands)
- Aircraft elevator tunned. Now it should be 20% less sensitive and up to aircraft specifications
- Interior Texture fixes
- New Autopilot Popup Window
- New Avionics options. Now, in “weight and balance” popup, you can select the GPS configuration between no GPS, single Garmin 430, single Garmin 530 or Dual Garmin 430/530
Below, the new pop-ups. You can now control a wide variety of systems and operational items here.
Digital Replica’s file is available from X-Aviation: http://www.x-aviation.com/catalog/product_info.php/cessna-310l-p-154
KAWO Arlington Municipal is without a doubt the best GA airport in X-plane for aspiring private pilots. Read our earlier review for reasons why we think so, but this is still a #1 rated Must Have file. There’s an autoupdate plug-in included and from time to time new additions pop up…just like magic, Toto!
With all of the internal update plugins now churning away when we open Xp it’s hard to know exactly what’s happening. My Skunkcraft updater burped and chimed this last weekend, spitting out the information that my Da-62 had been updated…
Okay, but what had changed? Nothing shows at the Org., and I can’t find any information.
Here’s a nice Mexicana paint for the 738-Zibo mod. Yes, it works on the default file too.
This is a nice Transavia Holland paint for Jack’s 732, and now there’s a Transavia livery for the JarDesign Ground Handling Package, too. The associated GHD set for the 732 is now working quite nicely, as well…
GHD Transavia paint: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47574-ghd-transavia-livery/
ruifo posted a revised MMIM Isla Mujeres today, and if you haven’t heard of Isla Mujeres you are not a SCUBA diver. The waters here just off the NE point of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, are pristine, temperate and crystal clear; Cancun off to the West and Cozumel to the South are crowded beyond belief. Scuba divers from around the world come to dive among submerged Mayan ruins near the small island, and to swim with…sleeping Tiger Sharks:
There are several “caves” off the island, short tunnels really, and water squeezes through these passages on tidal swings allowing sharks to pause here and zone out for a while (they need water constantly flowing over their gills or they die)…so they fall asleep and relax.
(Very stupid) Scuba divers then bring their cameras and image the zoned out man-eaters, hoping the brutes don’t wake up during their screen tests. It’s all in good fun, too, and I suppose these are a well fed group of sharks.
ruifo’s file is yet another whimsical flight of fancy, with the airport’s facilities and the island real estate looking better than their very best, yet it too is all in good fun. MMIM gained some notoriety back in the 80s when AeroStars “making the run” up from Panama to Everglades City used to drop in and top off their tanks.
Anyway, this island has been in the swing of things since Mayan times, and if the idea of flying a GA twin from Mexico to either Florida or Texas appeals to you, so will this airport file. Get it right here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/47619-mx-mmim-isla-mujeres-airport-2018/
Hasta later, and keep your powder dry –