Lightman Posted August 26, 2022 Report Share Posted August 26, 2022 Aircraft Review: Piper PA-28-235 Charger / Cherokee 235 by AeroSphere The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of two-seat or four-seat light aircraft built by Piper Aircraft and designed for flight training, air taxi and personal use. The PA-28 series competes with the high-winged Cessna 172 and the similarly low-winged Grumman American AA-5 series and Beechcraft Musketeer designs. The first Cherokees produced were the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee which began production in 1961. In 1963, Piper introduced the even more powerful Cherokee 235 (PA-28-235), which competed with the Cessna 182 Skylane. The Cherokee 235 featured a Lycoming O-540 engine, albeit with lower power output (235 horsepower) and a longer wing. It also included tip tanks of 17 gallons each, bringing the total fuel capacity of the Cherokee 235 to 84 gallons. In 1973, the aircraft’s name was changed from "235" to "Charger". AeroSphere has developed several popular Piper aircraft for X-Plane in the past, with the Charger being their latest release. Known for their true-to-life representations, in this review we take a closer look at this aircraft and see just how good it really is. Download & Install Purchasing the product off the X-Plane.org store, and then adding the aircraft to your virtual hangar is a simple and straightforward task, as all you need to do is download the files from your account, extract the zip, and then add the model to your Aircraft folder. There is no activation key required, meaning you are ready to fly from the get-go. The aircraft also comes with a three-page readme document which goes through the history of the Charger, features included with the model and copyright information. Exterior Model The Piper Charger has the classic Cherokee shape with a slightly extended nose to sit the engine, and the AeroSphere version follows this trait with a highly authentic and well-modelled look. Finer details such as rivets and panel gaps have been bump mapped into the fuselage and further increase the realism, making the Charger an aesthetically pleasing aircraft to look at. Six different liveries are included with the aircraft. These are different colours and trims, typical for what you would see on this type of aircraft. Each has its own style and is pleasing to the eye in the virtual skies of X-Plane. All textures are created in 4k resolution, allowing for smaller details such as decals and warning labels to be clear and easy to read. The Charger also includes all the lights you would expect to find on the aircraft. The strobe and landing lights are very bright and can certainly illuminate your surroundings, especially when flown at night! This makes it easy for airfield hopping in the later hours of the day where perhaps a grass strip or unlit runway may not always be easy to spot! Cockpit & Functionality The Charger’s dashboard is a mix of cream and red panelling and is your classic 70s look, which suits the cockpit well. This has been modelled to a fair degree, helped by the indentation of the gauges. While it could perhaps do with a bit of weathering to add age to the Charger, it certainly fits the part and looks good no matter where you are sitting within the aircraft. All gauges are 3D and modelled into the aircraft dashboard. The dials and textures are taken directly from images of the real aircraft and placed into their correct positions. By utilizing actual photos, the developers have managed to combine authenticity and a small part of the real aircraft directly into their X-Plane model. Moving to the back of the cockpit, you have two seats and a small cargo bay to occupy your needs, and just like the view upfront, this too is well modelled. I have a custom camera key set in one of the rear seats which allows me to look outside to the ground below! The cockpit also includes both the Garmin 530 and 430 GPS units. These allow for ease of use for navigation while keeping to the core of this predominantly steam-gauge aircraft. Both are based on the well-established default X-Plane systems which have always been well maintained by Laminar. Animations within the aircraft also include all doors within the aircraft for people and cargo, as well as an animated storm window which can be opened and viewed out of. It’s a small extra detail but one that adds to the ambient life of the aircraft. The only thing I feel is missing is perhaps needle vibrations based on the engine’s output. It’s something I know has been done to good effect in X-Plane, including default aircraft, and can make the whole thing feel a little less ‘static’. Other than that, flying from the cockpit has been a real joy! Sound AeroSphere have recorded sounds from the real aircraft and incorporated this within the add-on. Throwing the throttle up to full power sounds good, with a good headset it really puts you in the seat of the cockpit. External sounds are also well mixed and take me back to spotting Cherokee aircraft at Denham and Elstree. The Charger has a distinct high-pitch buzz which this add-on portrays perfectly. FMOD really helps bring this aircraft to life too, as it allows for the sound to change as you alternate between views and where you are positioned in relation to the aircraft. This allows for a far more lifelike distribution of audio, rather than the usual static ‘plane noise’ we often experience. When testing aircraft, I always keep an ear open for poor audio cutting and noise loops, but on this occasion, I haven’t been able to notice anything in the Charger, which means a lot of time and care went into making this model sound the best it could. Flight Dynamics The Charger feels good to fly, as it’s nimble on the yoke and can manoeuvre with ease, but with enough trim adjustment, is super smooth in cruise, and I also found the prop drift easy to manage too. There is a small movement to the left which you can certainly feel on the ground, less so whilst airborne, but it only requires a little movement on the yoke to keep it steady and flying level. Landing the Charger is also a breeze, due in part to the powerful engine up front, which requires only fine throttle adjustments to keep the aircraft going, before pulling back for a held-off landing. I must say, I really enjoy flying this aircraft as it brings back happy memories of flying lessons I took a couple of years back. The fact that AeroSphere have managed to replicate the flight dynamics so well, is only further testament to their modelling credentials. Opinion & Closing Remarks Overall, I’ve really enjoyed taking the Charger out for a spin. AeroSphere have done a fantastic job putting this aircraft together, and this shows in the amount of care and detail they have added to make this model as true to life as possible. Like any Cherokee, it’s a simple aircraft, but a lot of fun to fly. The aircraft model certainly looks good and with a few little tweaks, such as adding weathering to the gauges (as mentioned earlier), I’m certain it would be up there with the very best of what X-Plane can offer in the GA department. When you factor in the high-quality audio samples (not to mention FMOD), plus an enjoyable flight model, you know you're on to a winning formula. At $29, the model is also competitively priced, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to fly the PA-28-235 or are looking for an older Piper Cherokee with a beefier engine up front, then AeroSphere’s Charger is a great place to start! _______________________________ The Piper PA-28-235 Charger/Cherokee 235 by AeroSphere is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: Piper PA-28-235 Charger/Cherokee 235 Price is $29.00 Requirements X-Plane 11 Support for XP12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 198 MB Current Version : 1.0 (June 20th 2022) Review by Michael Hayward 26th August 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Windows 10 Professional, AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor, 32GB RAM, Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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