Carenado has released another big twin engined aircraft for X-Plane in the form of the Cessna C340 II HD Series.
It is a size larger than the other twins from Carenado in the form of the B58 Baron and the PA 34 Seneca II and at a distance or a glance could be easily mistaken for the X-Plane default GA Beechcraft King Air C90B (The same livery does not help in the confusion) - Come in closer and it is in no doubt a Cessna.
Carenado has the special ability to somehow make every one of their releases unique, every aircraft has a slightly different feel and layout that signifies the real aircraft, That is the aim of simulation of course, but how hard is that to reproduce on a computer screen, It is with only skill and the pure detail that Carenado can produce such reproductions that are almost micro versions of the real aircraft.
The C340 II is a larger-class size of the Cessna 310, seating is revised from 4 seats to 6 seats, and the wings were adapted from the C414, the aircraft was pressurized (The unpressureized version is the C335) and it was powered by two Continental TSIO-520-NB engines of 310hp (233 kW) each.
Production on the 340 began in 1969 and the first aircraft was delivered in 1971, a crash during flight testing was a small setback to the program. Production was from 1971 to 1984 with 1351 deliveries.
The original version was the C340A, The C340 II and the C340 III are only different in the types of avionics suites fitted in each aircraft.
Carenado C340 II HD Series (Download and Installation)
Installation is very simple in that you download and unzip the file and then deposit the file in your General Aviation folder.
There are two platform versions included for both X-Plane10 (With HDR lighting) and X-Plane9.
The C340 is part of the HD Series that has the higher resolution textures (2048 x 2048), but are also refined to give the best performance even on lower performance computers, thoughout the textures are extremely clear and of very high quality.
First Impressions and Outside Details
The C340 is a very clean skin design, mainly because there is only one door on the left rear, the aircraft is dominated by those large wingtip fuel tanks, they are not just extra supplementary tanks but the main fuel tanks for the aircraft.
Detailing is extraordinary good, all the landing gear (NLG) and (MLG) is perfectly realized, with a shin guard on the nose-wheel. Wear and tear is minimal but with weathering is so good it is hard to fault.
The airframe is has all the required various vents, fins, pitot-tubes and aerials all over the aircraft, the aerials are rubbery excellent and move with any wind force. The De-Icing tubes are also well noticeable in the front of the main cockpit windows.
Glass is well represented, you can in the options select if you want the reflective (dark green) or the clear clean window view, the winglighting (Nav, Strobe) is in-cased in a glass shell that shows the care and detail that goes into these aircraft.
Carenado provides three types of popout Menus, that are located on the lower left of the screen.
C - Camera: Is the standard set of Carenado views including a point of view slider.
O - Options: which includes, Window reflections, Static Elements, Passenger Door (open and close), Left and Right Wing Baggage lockers (Storage), Left and Right Nose Baggage lockers (Storage).
A - Autopilot: The Autopilot controls popout for ease of use, useable inside the cabin and external.
All the Options are highly usable, and quite clever in detail, however I don’t know if I would want my Gucci Suitcases so close to those hot engines?
Interior and Instrument panels
The interior is first class and the aircraft has had the all leather interior option selected. There is a crafted wood pull-out animated table on the right side of the cabin, that compliments the four rear club seating arrangement, there are two packages sighted behind the rear seats as well.
Every item is weathered and worn, the front seats need a really good clean, and are showing their age, the carpet is simply beautifully filthy and dirty ( I mean in real life would you buy an aircraft this dirty?)
But for simulation it is simply the best of the best in detail
The main panel is the best workplace available and fully functional in detail. Power off you can see the layout.
Power on and dials and screens show depth and their 3d design, the weather map has a rainbow function to to note the instrument is on. Left and right flying controls and instrumentation.
All standard six instruments are as detailed as the original items, and a warning and item activation panel is noteworthy on the lower left. Twin engine starter buttons and fuel primer is excellent (no fuel prime then no start!), but I couldn’t find the aircraft key?
There is a radar height dial and a twin engine digital readout that is very accurate. There is a ELT (Distress radio beacon) that is very nice to turn on but does not really do anything but flash a red light (the same beacon is the one that recently went on fire in the Ethiopian Dreamliner at Heathrow?).
You have a fully set of engine dials; Manifold, RPM, Fuel Flow that are duel engine instruments, if the needles are together then the engines are synced with each other (you can sync the propellers as well) Oil PSI is noted with each engine.
The Equipment stack is quite average, with a Bendix KMA 24 radio, two x Garmin GNS430’s (Comm1,Nav1) - (Comm2, Nav2), King KR 87 ADF and Garmin GTX320 transponder.
With no doors to open the side panels are very functional, on the pilots side there is a full set of two rows of switches, one (lower set of six switches) for De-Icing, Pitot heating, Stall & Vent Heat, and two main power (red covered) swiches. The upper set (seven switches) are lighting for external Strobe, Anti-Coll, Nav, Landing, Taxi and the main Avionics master switch, a single courtesy light switch is on there as well.
Above is a full set of light dimming and adjustment sliders, no fudging under the panel here to set up the perfect lighting, these controls are excellent for day and night adjustments.
Bose audio headset panels on each side is also great detail, and so is the working Ammeter voltage selector.
On the right panel is the Air-conditioner adjustment, Oxygen supply and hour meter.
The central throttle pedestal is like it was removed from a real aircraft and bolted straight in here, there three sets of duel levers for each engine. Each lever can be individually controlled or you can use the pairs in tandem.
Left set is for duel throttles, center set is for engine RPM, and the right set are for mixture. Set down low is the autopilot controls that are thankfully on the popup menu.
Fuel tank switches and guages are sited between the front seats...
Night lighting on the panel (with such large adjustments available) are excellent, the dials glow perfectly and have simply amazing depth of detail, unusually you don’t need the lighting on in the daytime in the C340 of which I usually do have in other Carenado aircraft, mostly this is to take away the flatness and give the panels more colour and depth. But at night in the cabin the quality is just so well realised.
Above you is a blue night light and the rear cabin has (switchable) spotlights over each of the club seats, Using the X-Plane10 version you will need the HDR on to get this affect.
Night or day because of the small sized sidewindows and only one door. It feels cozy in the pilots seat, tight or even cramped would be another point of reference for an aircraft of this size.
Taxi, Takeoff and Cruise
Prime the pumps and flick start the engines, the sounds are 3D and have been recorded from a real A340. move your position around the aircraft and they will tune to the angle, inside the aircraft the volume feels about right and realistic.
Taxiing is tricky, because you have so much power, you give the aircraft a little throttle to get it moving and then pull the thottle back to zero and you are still powering along, braking is constant to keep the speed down and adjusting the mixure or RPM levers doesn’t seem to stop the speed either, pull the levers too far back and both engines will crank to a stop... Usually I can find a sweet spot, and it maybe it is there with a little tuning. I always like to get a good taxi speed, it is for me a big part of the overall experience, and I have been known to trundle for 30min or so to get to the right runway or gate, The Caravan 208B is like this as well but I found that sweet spot to stop that constant escalating runaway speed.
The flap arrangement is very different here, the flaps are a duel purpose arrangement in that they do the both jobs of of being both flaps and air(speed)brakes of the same setting. All GA aircraft use flaps in this context to a point, but here it is well integrated into the wing.
There are only three settings, Up, Flap 1 and Flap 2, but they are highly effective, once clear of the runway in Flap 1 setting and you will need to retract it and clean the aircraft up before it turns into an effective airbrake.
Power up and the C340 will track cleanly down the centre of the runway, there is no fighting the rudder to keep it aligned with almost no asymmetrical thurst that you get from a powerful single engined machine.
At rotation of 115 kts the aircraft is extremely stable and light in your hands and has plenty of power to climb easily. The feature of the Autopilot (A/P) settings as a popup is brillant in various ways, If you have flown the default Kingair C90B, you will find the A/P panel buried in the same place as the C340, many a time with scrolling around to set the A/P do you find yourself at a 30º degree angle on the artificial horizon, In a real aircraft it my be an easy hand down to the right and flick a switch, but in computer flying it means scrolling around to find the right panel. Yes you can set a “Quickview” but it still can take your eyes off the horizon even for a moment, all my departures in the C90B were wavy lines on the local map at the point of A/P activation. Here the popup eliminates that problem, and it also gives you the great option of setting the A/P if flying the aircraft externally (Just make sure your heading is correctly set), so as a feature it is a double winner.
A small note on the ALT button, if you want to go up or down you must release the button before doing so, if not it will still hold the same altitude, just pressing the up button furiously (okay I admit it) then the aircraft will still not change its position.
The wing gives the aircraft a very stable platform and it is very neutral, so flying by the stick is very calm, unless you could adjust for weight in the aircraft (of which you can’t) then any trim is rarely needed, turns are smooth but watch you don’t lose altitude, but otherwise it all very easy.
Maximum speed is 244 kts (279 mph, 452km/h), and the stall speed is 82 knots (94 mph, 153 km/h), but recovering from a stall is easy as the power will quickly pull you out and the lift is so good.
Range is an excellent 1,406 nm (1,606 mi, 2,603 km) at economy cruising speed, with a very high (It is Pressurized remember) 29.800ft.
Losing an engine is always going to pull you in the direction of the failure, but you can easily adjust to the power loss and the aircraft is very stable in this formation. Trickier is turning the power back on. even with a gradual push of the lever the as aircraft becomes unsettled until you balance the thrust. On the ground with an engine out taxiiing is a problem if you want to turn away from the failed engine, it just won’t go in that direction?
The C340 II is certainly a nice looking aircraft, and a great choice for Carenado, all aspects show a great design. Note the detail on the cooling grills on the engines.
Two pilots are suppiled and have been re-textured to a higher quality, they are animated, but the movements are not as noticible as in the past Carenado pilots.
There is one blank livery (default) and four choice liveries included (Clockwise) Blue Gold, Red, Grey and Beige. All liveries are Hi-Def in quality and all look good. Of them all one didn’t stand out above the others here as something special, the Grey is different, but it is still well... Very Grey.
But it is a very good livery.
External night lighting is very good, but with just all the basic required items. The landing lights however shine down when retracted?
Overall Flying the C340 is a very pleasurable experience, this is a nice aircraft, Carenado do all their aircraft very well, but the larger ones just seem to stand out just that little more.
The standard set overall here is just so high, every detail shows and everything works, like here in the tables set out on the moving sunvisor and the folds and feel of the Yoke.
Landing and Documentation
Although those flaps are large you don’t get those big lifts on a selected flap drop, still there but easily controlled - but you have to watch you don’t rub off too much speed and go into a stall, again the thing that comes back to you in the controls is stable, stable not as in boring, but as in easy to fly.
In this review I did a ILS landing and the capture was very good with a direct centering to the runway center line from a 30º offset to the beam, I found 90-95 knts was a good approach speed and the flare was good but fast, again it hard to pull back enough of the power to idle to wind off the speed, The Caravan 208B can be like that as well.
You get a full set of documents covering performance and tables but no real manual, two documents are for X-Plane9 and 10 render settings.
Frame rate wise it is no worse or better than any other Carenado aircraft even with those HD liveries, I usually run with HDR off unless at night, and that keeps me well in the sweet spot of 25-30fr in most conditions, so not at anytime did I have check my framerate or worry about it (Computer specs below).
Carenado is all about quality, and here the C340 II does not disappoint. It is also interesting how Carenado can make these aircraft so different in feel and features that by now you expect a sort of sameness to creep into their products, but that never happens.
The aircraft is very neutral in all aspects of flight, and that may come across as bland on paper but not through the joystick, too say it is a sweet but powerful flying aircraft would be closer to the mark, but the C340 is certainly a very good choice to add to your crowded hanger and a real bonus to have in X-Plane as an investment of pleasure.
For X-Plane 9.70 and X-Plane 10.22 (different versions are supplied for each simulator)
The Cessna C340 II is available now from the .Orgstore
Developer Site: Carenado.com
(Note the C340 II is updated to the latest v2 requirments)
Review By Stephen Dutton
Published 30th July 2013
Review System Specifications:
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
- Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final)
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle