19 June 2011

Carenado C172 for FSX

Firstly apologies about the delay in posting this review as it has been a while since I did any flying both in real and simulated.  With that over I can now start with the review.

The Cessna is the most iconic, well known aircraft in the world for small general aircraft flying. We all know that the Cessna C172 is the most popular in the range, closely followed by its sister the C150/152. After entering production in 1956 the Cessna 172 has been the reliable trainer not to mention the respect PPL holders have for this aeroplane.  Now in the 'R' series it continues to be a sturdy competitor to the likes of Piper and Diamond.

The Aeroplane

Carenado have re-produced the beautiful C172 N series of aircraft complete with fully functioning VC. As you may now know from my Piper review I only fly my aircraft from the VC and find that this makes the flight simulator experience. Therefore this review I am going to start with the VC.

The Virtual Cockpit (VC)

So... what to say about this virtual cockpit. It is amazing! Although I am not a C172 pilot I can safely say that Carenado have done an amazing job in getting this VC to look as realistic as possible. The back to the instrument panel is an older beige/cream colour apparently found in most older aircraft (rather than the grey you would expect to see in the C172 cockpit). The instruments are clear and visible with no major glitches. This C172 comes with the ASI, HSI, VSI and any other SI you can think of! But no, in all seriousness for a keen GA pilot everything is there staring you right in the face! Moving left towards the radio panel there is 2 bendix king COM's, ADF etc etc. Which all work nicely with the use of the mouse to change the frequency. The only thing that I am disappointed about is the fact that there is no GPS without the use of a shortcut which means that flying in low visibility or using the aircraft the full potential and shooting ILS approaches means you have to open another panel in order to see the GPS.  Besides this it the throttle know, mixture lever flap and circuit breakers are all animated nice and smooth.

The External Model.

Carenado have done a good job in simulating the external model coupled with engine/flap sounds. Now I know that this isn't the most recent ad don that Carenado has made, meaning that it doesn't come with moving static wicks or shaking exhaust pipes like you would expect to see on some of the more recent add-ons. But the clarity and animations on the model are beautiful. Starting at the front of the aeroplane the canopy area and the prop including engine inlets are crystal clear with no polygon breakdowns or any of that nonsense. The door animation on this aircraft works without the doors automatically shutting just after opening them this time! But all that behind a very nice model. The animations are harmonised amazingly even to the extent that the virtual pilot 'looks out' as you turn the ailerons it is truly amazing. The flaps simulate the motor working so you get the gradual deployment according to real times. Anyway onto the test flight.

The test flight

This time I decided to spice things up a bit and fly to Le Touquet (LFAT) from Coventry (EGBE) to try and really get a feel for the aeroplane including a few tests along the way. OK. So, sitting on the apron at Coventry airport, route is planned, fuel is loaded, doors are shut. Batter master comes on coupled with the alternator with the sound of a spooling up motor I cranker her over to start her up. With the engine started the sound of the Continental engine ticking over at idle makes you feel in the cockpit. As you may know the engine sounds are not HQ like the Piper in the last review but they are still quite realistic. I taxi to the holding point for runway 23 making sure that everything is working fine for example the coupling between the compass and the HI which is very accurately simulated to within limits. Anyway taking of from Coventry open the throttle and away she goes with a mighty roar. One of the best things about this aircraft in a whole is the V' speeds it requires to get airborne, I rotated through 60knots with no flap and I was climbing through at 70knots in the departure. All is well up to this point there is no major glitches that I'm finding and without the aid of an autopilot on board I have to trim for straight and level flight. After passing through Luton's Airspace I decided that now is the time to do some stalls, steep turns etc to make sure this aircraft it accurate as it seems. Coming up the stall the stall warner sounds and the aircraft stalls nicely with the nose drop etc. However with flap the aircraft seems to have a glitch when pulling up through the stall warner the airframe banks left hard the right then left again whilst dropping at about 2.500ft per minute noted which is highly unrealistic for a real aeroplane to do this. I am pretty sure that it is the simulator not the actual aircraft that is making it do that. Steep turns and spins where a doddle for the aircraft. So back on the straight and narrow the aircraft approaches France. I pull back the power and started my decent into LFAT. Upon final approach I lowered the flap for landing. This is where I found another small hiccup the ballooning sensation is not over an extended period of time as the flaps descend and lift increase what happens is when I drop the flaps the balloon happens almost immediately when looking outside there is only 1 degree of flap down! But I suppose nothing is perfect. Final approach the aircraft responds like all aircraft do at low speeds very docile which is a good feature of this aeroplane.
Upon landing the breaking seems rather unrealistic as you probably wouldn't apply full brakes on landing not unless you really needed to which means that I came to a stop before I thought I would, but I suppose its better to stop on the runway rather than run of the other end of it!


I think for the price you are getting an amazing C172 simulation and nothing compared to it especially the cockpit that is simulated in it can be beated by a competitor. I would rate this aeroplane 4/5 overall due to the fact that the stall is extremely unrealistic which probably means that Carenado have became lazy when it comes to this which is a shame.
C172 In flight

What I like about the C172: Is the fact that it is a very forgiving aeroplane in the real world and simulated it allows you BA Jock Veteran or your Sunday Flyer to fly it, its that simple and its perfect for first time simmers,

What I don't like about the C172: Like mentioned earlier it is a shame that some of the features are missed out for example the incorporated GPS which means that you have to obstruct the view with another panel, but what it misses here it makes up for in the model the main fact is that it is extremely FPS friendly I got about 60 FPS running in ultra high mode.

Thanks for reading this review. Up next week should be a video of my Stalling lesson in real life. And Cessna 210M when released by Carenado

1 comment:

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