Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carenado C208B Caravan. Our own screenshots

Carenado is back at it again and so am I. This time, Carenado makes its second post FS9 return debut in the magnificent Cessna C208B. This aircraft is without a doubt the hardest working horse in the Cessna prop fleet. Carenado has done a great job bringing this aircraft to life in FSX and XPL. Let's see just how good she looks and performs in FS9 and why you need to drop that old Feelthere model. This will be fun! Bandwidth Warning!

Thoughts from an FS9 pilot.

I have a question. Is it not okay to be an FS9 pilot? I mean hey, I fly FSX and it has grown more and more on me over the years but as I have said many times, FSX is more of a sleek sports car whereas FS9 is that classic muscle car that will always look and feel good. That is one of many reasons why many have stuck with the aging platform. I keep dwelling on the fact there are numerous pros and cons between the 2 platforms and whereas there are a number of people who get great performance with FSX, it just doesn't run quite like FS9 in my eyes. So many of us continue to keep our classic car.

What I don't understand is: why there are many FSX users apparently disgusted by this? Now don't get me wrong, its not the majority, just quite a large few within the FSX demographic.

Why is it not enough that we all have a common hobby we all enjoy and can respect each other on the biases of this common interest. Every time Carenado releases new screens of FS9 developments on their facebook page, there is a slew of FSX users who leave derogatory statements against FS9 and its users. It's just so sad that grown ass adults have somehow missed the maturity point in their lives. Or maybe they are not adults. Maybe their mommy's and daddy's buy them everything they want so they naturally think this is how the real world works. So when they see people still using a "crappy old outdated sim", they simply just can't understand, they can't fathom why. So they go on the attack. Well I have discovered the block button on Facebook and whenever I see such blatant childish behavior from adults, I hit the "X" button and they are permanently gone in a puff of smoke along with their pointless inflammatory statements. I do hope they grow up. For their sake.

AirDailyX is known as the "insolent" blog because we will always give our honest opinions regardless of how insolent our opinions may appear. AirDailyX: not just news baby!

Okay. Putting these thoughts on the floor in the back seat behind me, and let's enjoy the skies.
So now that i have said my piece, lets get to why every FS9 VFR flight simulation enthusiast wants this airplane. Even if they don't know it yet.  
Now, again. Carenado did not bless us with one of their more sleek, sporty, quick, and executive style aircraft like their C90B, PA46T or C340 II. But what they did bring us is a very powerful transport aircraft capable of bringing heavy loads into some of the most difficult places in some of the harshest corners of the globe on 1 propeller. Thus, what we have is a "challenge" aircraft. Not challenging to fly itself, but it has the capability to bring us into and out of challenging situations. Something I really enjoy on VFR sorties. But it's not just the challenge potential this aircraft brings to the table, it's the unexpected beauty she brings with her too.
Now if you read my review of the Carenado F33A Bonanza, you would have seen the lovely features that comes with it. The C208B doesn't disappoint. Actually, it comes with even more features. Check it out.
A lovely feature is the touchscreen interface that can be found via the 2D screen. The new generation of Carenado aircraft  are not equiped with 2D cockpits. This is a "no bother" for me as I stopped flying 2D about 2 years ago. And with the use of Track IR equipment, why wouldn't anyone want to fly VC which provides a very highly realistic feeling to the environment. But more on that later. Let's check out the external model. This girl looks good! And when you remove her cargo pod, she goes super sexy.
All doors and step ladders are fully animated and can be controlled via the touchscreen interface from the 2D menu.
From the front, we see all her doors open and the Carenado team left nothing out detail wise. Just look at the pilots door.

Now let's take her pants off and see her sexy and sleek lines. Honestly, it's like when a hot actress has to gain weight for a movie role. She is fat but still hot. Then she loses the weight again. Well the C208B without her pod, it's like she totally lost weight or something. Carenado did a well done job making this plane look good. And the added eye candy toys make this beauty even better!
Everything is nicely displayed when in parking mode. The only thing that should have been added is a  disappearing pilot option. I wish I could grab the hand truck and just drag this plane up and down the street. A good way to show it off!
From a different angle and a bit further back you see just how sleek this beauty really looks without her cargo pod. Also note more eye candy with the caution cones and tail stand. In the below shot we get a different angle. Carenado also did a very nice job on the paintwork and exterior textures which gives almost an UHDT look. Very nice technique!
Lets have a look from the air...
Again note the texturing under the wing. Wheras UHDT is not possible in FS9, the Carenado guys really figured how to get a high-def look to it anyway.
Here we get a much closer look at the exterior texturing. The quality is very high and in my opinion, looks better than its XPL counterpart.
Above the clouds at 10,000 MSL the Caravan performs very well. Did I mention wingflex? I am not sure if the wings flex or of it's a vibration effect caused by the rumbling engine. Either way, everything about this bird is very realistic.
Now before, I mentioned the old Feelthere C208. Wheras it was a very high quality gem of its day, the Carenado really proves the age on the old girl.
I attempted to get these screenshots as close as possible. Here you can clearly see the difference is like night and day with the Carenado model at top and the FeelThere at bottom.
The quality of the FT model almost seem blurry which is also the case inside the model as well. Whereas the Carenado version is sharp and crisp at every angle. The downside with the Carenado is the lack of a working weather radar. I suppose they could have simulated an image on the screen. However, I have already read in the AVSIM forum that the Reality XP gauge works perfectly here.
On the business end you truly see the differences between the two. I think the above shot speaks for itself. Speaking of which, let's take a more in-depth look inside the Carenado and see just how sharp and crisp the details really are.
If this aircraft is a simple backport (it is) it certainly is not obvious. Every little detail is clear and crisp as if it were a native FS9 model. The funny thing is, the quality of this backported product far surpasses some of the previous native FS9 aircraft produced by Carenado.
The interior is nicely represented. Not that you will be spending much time back here. People like us belong up front.

Taking a look at the main panel all buttons and switches are very crisp. The fuse box is perfectly detailed and the crisp lettering. Another nice feature is the animated flexing power cord extending from the yoke.
Looking out of one of the passenger windows we see the texture detail under the wing. It's a bit of a UHDT look. Not quite but you see what I mean.
Now whereas there is a rear entrance with animated doors and stairs, if a passenger wants to board from the front, the FO seat is fully animated and slides back with the right armrest raising upward as it moves.
 I don't think this chick and her boyfirend wants to come aboard anyway.
 Other interior animations include sun visors.
 And a vent to get some fresh air.
 But lets be honest here.
There is no air or sunlight is there? Yet, I just love animations! The more the better!
Getting  airborne again, we get a good look of my favorite paint with the cargo pod.
Another close up. You can clearly see just how good the detail is in FS9.
In the below shot we get a look at a different repaint. Very nice!

It just looks so good sitting in my hangar. It's brand new so i'll keep it parked in here... While I talk about my first flight experiences.
Now, as I mentioned before, I do love a good VFR challenge. Thus it's no wonder why my first flight would be from Albertville to Alpe d'Huez. The inital taxi to the active was very smooth and the C208B does taxi very well. Carenado already did quite a good job with the default load so I left it as is. Strobes and landing lights, with the first flap setting, I pushed the throttle. She did seem to accelerate her butt a little slow at first but got moving quickly. Rotating outward, I could almost feel the weight as she lifted upwards. As this was a full flight, I step climbed every 1,500ft so until I reached 11,000MSL. I played a bit with the autopilot to ensure everything worked. It was a short flight to the steep mountain runway with a slight 7kt cross wind. No big deal, that's what rudder pedals are for.
As I descended and made my corrections for final as I have done over 2 dozen times approaching this airport, I slightly moved my right foot forward to correct for the cross wind and set her down. Oh!! What's that. OUCH! What the F*#!!  What seemed to catch me off guard was how hard I came down on the runway. But my speed and rate of descent was properly calculated for my weight so what happened? The aircraft seemed to bounce hard as if I stalled just a few feet off the ground. What was worse, was when I went for the brakes going up the hill. The C208B did not like that at all! Have you ever driven a car without anti-lock brakes? Well that is exactly what it felt like. The brakes locking up or something which caused the aircraft to jerk violently off to the right.
So I considered my conditions and airport selected and decided to try a different tack. After taking a quick breather (I tend to hold my breath when on final as it is an auto response I have no control of)  I taxied the big bird back to the active. Running quickly through my checklists I pushed the throttle forward again and rocketed down the steep runway and was airborne in seconds. Climbing back to 11,000 I made my way to Aix-Les-Bains. I figured lets land at a normal airport and see how she behaves. I lined her up for final, correct again for the cross wind and put her down. Again she bounced but nothing like before up on the mountain. I was a bit lighter on the brakes this time too.
Making an abrupt decision to touch and go, I advanced on the throttle once more and got airborne. Doing a quick right then sharp left I lined her up once more. This time I touched her down so smoothly there wasn't even the slightest bump (if you know what I mean). I was impressed. This airplane essentially forced me to do better. She is not very forgiving at all. And to that end, she won my respect. Just like the F33A Bonanza, I couldn't simply do my usually lazy ass flying. All the airplanes I am used to flying have become so easy to fly, I can almost do it all with my feet. But these two latest Carenado aircraft have brought the challenge back to FS9 and I have a huge amount of respect for that. I haven't flown the C208 in real world but the representation in the sim is without a doubt very realistic. So if you bought the Carenado C208B and find it bouncing too hard, it's because you have gotten lazy like me and it's time to wake up! This plane woke me up. So, now I am going back to LFHU to do it again and I will keep doing it until it is smooth as silk. Damn I can't wait to see what Carenado brings next to the FS9 world.

Moving on to the night lighting. This baby lights up perfectly at night with all the correct lighting effect options depending on your situational awareness.
 Dark and cold.
 Dome lighting.

Even the passenger lights have a nice effect down the back. Very nicely done.
 Operational lighting.

I must say I am very thankful for Carenado putting the effort back into the FS9 platform. I do enjoy my VFR flights in FSX but nothing moves as fast and smooth as my good ole FS9. And all these years later, still seeing high quality aircraft that still push my skill is simply amazing.

I also want to note the customer support from the Carenado team. During my tests, I discovered a major issue with the aircraft. I sent an email and got a reply within 10 minutes! Within the hour, a new service pack  complete with a SP.1 installer was emailed to me thanking me for the discovery. SP.1 as we speak is going out to customers and they are working on a new build for the main installer. So chances are, by the time you read this, and decide to buy it, you should be getting the latest build developed on 08/08/12. Now that is what I call terrific customer service.

Thanks again Fernando.

So if you are wondering if this is the aircraft for you, ask yourself this: "Do I like a challenge?" If the answer is yes, then go buy it. If not, buy it anyway. I want more aircraft for  FS9.

UPDATE: Here is the download link for 2 service packs for the C208B.

The first fixes the dusk/night/dawn transparent issue. The second eases the bouncing on touchdown.

Great job Carenado and I can't wait for the next FS9 development. HINT: C90B, PA46T, C340 II, C377H...

Oh yeah, and please don't forget Super Cargomaster extension!

Go get it!

Thanks Carolyn for the proof read. I can't spell worth a damn.



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Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the great review - what's the scenery you are using?

Anonymous said...

I give respect to fs9 users its just I prefer x for the graphic differance and how the overall physics are improved I do have FS9 on my laptop though if i cant be on my big setup peace out and keep flying man

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