Commercial FSX Review
Carenado C90B King Air HD Series SP1
|Publisher:||Carenado C90B King Air|
|Description:||Real presentation of the Beechcraft C90B aircraft|
|Reviewed by:||Tércio Sampaio|
|Published:||April 30rd, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- Intel i7 920 2.4GHz
- 6 GB RAM
- ATI/AMD Radeon HD6970 2GB
- TM Hotas Cougar + TM WCS + CH TQ + Track IR
|Software:||- Windows 7 Ultimate x64
- Flight Simulator X SP2
The Beechcraft King Air is one of a group of aircraft produced by the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft. It is an aircraft powered by two turboprop engines and has a crew of 1 or 2 with 7 passengers (depends of configuration). You can think, “OK, its just another aircraft with 2 power plants”, but not so. Its such a well known and remarkable aircraft that almost every civil aircraft simulator for PC has it.
In real life it is used by many civil operators worldwide and also by military and governments. In the world of PC simulators, it’s a notable aircraft much as the Cessna C172 is for single propeller aircraft. The MSFS doesn’t have it as a default aircraft but there were some addons of King Air for FS9. For FSX, this is the first time that there is a payware full version released. The Carenado King Air version is the C90B. There are many other King Air versions such as the C90GTx with full glass cockpit, but I’m very happy that Carenado chose the C90B.
The C90B has a more traditional cockpit and shows more of the spirit and history of the King Air. This model is also the smallest one. The largest is the King Air 350i with a capacity to transport up to 11 passengers, depending of the configuration. The C90B is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprops. The PT6A is a well known power plant and more than 90 aircraft worldwide use this engine. The technology of this engine is, in many parts, similar to a jet engine. It’s not a piston engine, and there is no physical connection between the propellers and the compressor, which gives these engines some interesting features.
Its also important to mention that this engine is extremely high reliable, it has a mean time between outages of around 9000 hours.
I personally love this aircraft. It’s very beautiful and a challenge to fly. It has many instruments and switches to learn about and control and I’m very happy to finally have it in my FSX hangar.
Installation and Manual
The installation was very easy, with only the usual clicking on the “next” many times and the insertion of email and serial keys due to copy protection.
About the manual. It’s composed of 11 files, totaling 58 pages, which are easy to read, and has coloured pages. The various elements represented are:
- Full Normal and Emergency procedures that will help you pilot this aircraft correctly .
- Reference and Performance tables.
- Avidyne Multifunction Display and GPS400 manual.
- EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) and the associated Autopilot.
- Terrain Awareness and GPS annunciation control units.
- FSX Settings Recommendation document that describes what you need to activate to get the maximum graphics realism of this add-on.
- And,1 file with 1 page, that shows you the copyright text.
Finally, about the manual, I would like to say that King Air deserves a bigger manual describing the engine since many new pilots would not know about it. Also a full description of the cockpit would be welcome and not only the complex gauges. Despite that, with some experience plus the manuals that come with it plus cockpit tool tips, you can easily master this aircraft.
In any case, you can always make a web search for manuals about it and I strongly recommend the ones about the PT6A. These engines have an amazing design and nice features like, for example, fuel flow what is practically independent of the prop change. Another nice feature of this type of engine is that it could stay running with the propeller stopped. Some aircraft use this type of engine, such as the ATR-72 using the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127F. There is an engine working state called “hotel mode”.
In this mode the pilot enables a propeller brake which keeps it stopped while the engine is running. This results in the engine becoming an electric and air pressure generator when on the ground. These effects are the result of the free-rotating propeller characteristic that this engine has, giving it very easy and decent engine management when flying.
Cockpit, Systems and Flight Model
The cockpit is eye candy for all aviation lovers. It’s beautiful and amazing. The gauges are very well done as expected. This aircraft comes with an Avidyne multifunction display and also Carenado’s custom GPS400. The included GPS400 is a version of the FSX GPS500. If you have the Reality XP GNS430, there exists an outside utility that you can use to easily change the default GPS400 to the RXP GNS430. You also have another utility to revert back to the default one. About the Avidyne MFD. I love it.
It’s an awesome gauge and is fully integrated with the GPS400. It’s very easy to use, even much easier than the default GPS500 and includes many nice features.
This gauge has many screens and layers that include:
- Colour map
- Terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS)
- Trip way points
- Weather Radar
- Traffic with aircraft labels
- Detailed information about airports with frequencies
So, it has everything you need to fly in bad visibility. The systems are well modeled and overall the cockpit is very detailed. I enjoyed to seeing the TAWS working in the Avidyne, giving you a map of dangerous altitudes in front of you. It’s a very nice feature when flying with fog and/or at night at low altitudes in mountainous terrain. The cockpit is full 3D but has some 2D panels to help you when flying. That includes: MFD, GPS, EFIS and Autopilot. These are good features to have, mainly the GPS and the MFD. I can control them more easily while looking at other gauges at the same time. I’m very pleased to see that these 2D panels have clickable shortcuts on the 3D panel, so I don’t have to use the annoying shift+1, shift+2.
There also is a small 2D panel to configure the transparency of the windows and instrument reflections as well as the static elements around the aircraft. These static elements include the wheels chocks and the exhaust covers while the aircraft is parked. Another nice feature is the possibility to hide the yokes to have better access to the buttons below. The EFIS are composed of the Electronic Attitude Director Indicator (EADI) and the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI). Both, as are the others gauges in this aircraft, very well made and integrated perfectly with the autopilot.
As with many King Air real versions, these gauges are only present in the pilot’s side of cockpit. On the right side of the cockpit there exits a more traditional analog version of the Artificial Horizon and the HSI. About the Autopilot. It works very well even in bad weather and in stormy conditions. It locks correctly on the GPS route and you can even use it to make nice ILS approaches. The light effects in cockpit are awesome and beautiful at night as you can see in the screenshots.
About the flight model. According to Carenado, it was tested by real pilots and I liked that very much. The asymmetric flight, reaction to cutting power, and the flight maneuverability are very well modeled by the developers.
Talking about the PT6A model, its fine. It’s well done, but unfortunately it has a small issue because of the FSX model limits. In FSX you can’t separate the fuel flow and the change of RPM. This problem is a main bug of FSX core engine and not from Carenado. All aircraft that are use the FSX physics model have this issue. With a mechanical link between the propellor and compressor, which is real, but in a free spin propeller engine it isn’t. In a free spin propeller you can change only the propellor without change the fuel flow.
Graphics, Animations, Performance and Sound
In this area, as you would expect from Carenado’s HD series products, everything is amazing and beautiful. The textures are in High Definition (2048 x 2048) and look very real. Inside and outside of aircraft, everything is in 3D. The gauges are very well rendered and look very realistic. There are many custom animations. For example, the door between the cockpit and passenger compartment as well as the small windows of the pilot and copilot. The passenger compartment is also modeled with great detail. Here, you can fold and unfold the passengers tables and put the sun protector in each of the windows.
This aircraft includes 7 HD liveries and 6 Lite VC liveries. The Lite version you can use if you have low frames per second in a low power PC. In my PC using the HD version over a high density scenario and using a complex airport, the aircraft runs very smoothly without any stutter. About sound. The aircraft sounds as real as possible. The developers used high fidelity recordings from the real one. They also use 3D stereo sounds to increase the realism.
The light effects are awesome and very realistic as you can see looking at the screen shots. It uses Carenado custom made light effects, typical from the HD series. This add on is very beautiful during day light, but at night in a taxiway, it is impressive. The gear lights and the navigation lights are very realistic and the lights and shadows inside on the cockpit are all very pleasant to see. Because of this, you will start to like flying at night to get the pleasure of the eye candy that this add on gives you. I made some night flights with this aircraft while testing it. After this I know that I will mainly use it at night.
Flying during day time, I feel that I lose some features of this C90B.
It’s a very nice aircraft. I’ve made some middle range flights and it’s a perfect aircraft to make flights similar to Lisbon-Madrid or Lisbon-Paris, or any other trip with a range of around 1000 km. It will give you keen pleasure because it has many nice gauges to keep you entertained when in the middle of the flight. In my opinion, this aircraft is amazing and highly recommended for pilots that want a middle complex aircraft before going to the airlines. It has a pressurized cabin, autopilot, full navigation systems, and many things to watch and control in the cockpit. So, if you like complex aircraft, but not with the Flight Management Computers (FMC) typical in the Airbuses and Boeings, this aircraft is a must have add on. The feel that you have when watching the PDF brochures that exist in the official website about this aircraft is the same when you’re flying the Carenado’s C90B version.
When I’m piloting this aircraft, its fun. I really feel the style of it. I feel that I’m in a private luxury aircraft from the age of the 90’s. You follow the checklist to start the engines, make all procedures correctly and transport Very Important Persons on an important trip. When you go to private parking in a large airport and not to a regular gate for the big ones, you also feel that. It’s like being part of a private club for luxury aircraft. Another thing that I personally like is the 90’s fashion style of cockpit. It is the transaction between the old-school full analog type panels and the modern full digital multi function display type.
But even with a old style cockpit, the C90B with the Avidyne and GPS400 can shame many old airliners that are still flying today. Another good feature of the King Air is the great visibility from the cockpit. This makes your landings and takeoffs much easier than some aircraft. You also have great visibility to the sacred six instruments while watching outside at the same time. This is very important when landing and you will not have to always change your view, which is very annoying in this important and dangerous part of the flight. Look at the screen shot that shows a landing at night.
This aircraft reminds me of another one from the same company and with the same quality, the Piper PA46T Malibu. This aircraft is also great, but the King Air is much more beautiful and with 2 engines instead of 1, it keeps you very busy.
With great graphics including custom visual effects, great flight model, amazing sounds you have a very intense feel that you are in a real King Air. This aircraft is a challenge and a pleasure to fly. It also has a nominal price of 40 USD (approximately 30,00 Euros as of this writing). Summing up, I highly recommend this aircraft to all King Air lovers and to keep the tradition that all civil flight simulators need to have a King Air in his Hangar. This aircraft is a nice step from the world of small Cessna’s and Pipers to the world of regional aircrafts. Its an excellent choice if you want to slowly go from the small aircraft to something a bit larger.
Carenado gives us another excellent contribution to the virtual world of General Aviation. It’s simply the best representation of King Air for FSX and the most beautiful King Air for PC I’ve ever seen. This aircraft will be one of the jewels that I have in my Hangar.
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.