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Aircraft Review: Short SC7 Skyvan by X-Hangar

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Aircraft Review: Short SC7 Skyvan by X-Hangar


Written by Dominic Smith


As an X-Plane user and aviation enthusiast, I am excited to introduce the Shorts Skyvan, an iconic and versatile utility aircraft, wonderfully recreated by X-Hangar for X-Plane. 

First flown in 1963, the Skyvan was designed by Short Brothers (usually referred to as Shorts), a renowned British aerospace company with a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Known for their innovative and robust aircraft designs, Shorts created the Skyvan to address the growing demand for a versatile and rugged short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft capable of operating in a variety of environments. Over the years, more than 150 Skyvans were produced, serving various roles such as cargo transportation, military operations, and even skydiving platforms. The Skyvan’s simple, yet endearing boxy design, excellent short-field performance, and ease of maintenance have made it a popular choice among operators worldwide, so I’m extremely pleased to see it make its way into X-Plane. 


X-Hangar’s Skyvan comes with an array of features to enhance the simulation experience; somewhat of a trademark when it comes to their models. These include the ability to choose between passenger or cargo loads through an easy-to-use menu, animated pilot and copilot models that load with added weight, and the option to add passengers or cargo with corresponding payload weight adjustments. Additionally, the model includes interactive doors, a detailed checklist to follow in the simulator, a user manual in PDF format, international liveries, and a blank livery template for custom paint jobs.



Some other noteworthy features of this Skyvan are the inclusion of a GPU, a jeep vehicle, various cargo load objects, suitcases for the passenger-cargo hold, and a porta-potty with a functional door (something I thankfully didn’t need to use during my testing). To further enhance the experience, X-Hangar has provided an FSE file, a Garmin 530 GPS, a Stec55 autopilot, and rain effects for both X-Plane 11 and 12, with rain wipers available for X-Plane 12.

Before taking off, I decided to take a moment to admire the exterior of the Skyvan. Stepping outside the aircraft, I was immediately impressed by X-Hangar's attention to detail in replicating the Skyvan's unique design, which features a high wing, twin-turboprop engines, and as previously mentioned, a boxy fuselage.


As I walked around the aircraft, I noticed the well-crafted 3D model, which highlighted the Skyvan's sturdy landing gear, designed to handle rough and unprepared runways with ease. The twin turboprop engines, mounted on either side of the fuselage, were intricately modelled, complete with propellers and exhaust pipes. The Skyvan's characteristic T-tail design was also accurately depicted, giving the aircraft its distinctive appearance.


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The exterior textures of X-Hangar's Skyvan are of high quality, delivering a realistic representation of the aircraft with various liveries, sixteen in total (seventeen if you include the paint kit). Unfortunately, none of the included liveries featured any weathering, which would have added to the authenticity of this age-old aircraft. Nonetheless, this omission does not detract from the overall enjoyment of flying the Skyvan, but it would have been nice to see some weathering to truly capture its character. The model also featured interactive elements, such as doors that could be opened with a simple click, allowing for a more immersive experience.


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I also took a moment to appreciate the additional objects included with the model, such as the GPU and Jeep vehicle, which added to the overall realism of the simulation. The cargo load objects and suitcases were a nice touch, giving the aircraft a sense of purpose and functionality beyond just flying.


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When it comes to the interior, X-Hangar's Skyvan strikes a perfect balance between functionality and realism. The developer has incorporated both pilot and copilot models, as well as 3D passengers, to create a lifelike atmosphere within the aircraft. While the texturing and modelling lean more towards functionality rather than ultra-realism, the overall result is quite impressive and particularly beneficial when VRAM performance is paramount.


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The Garmin 530 GPS and Stec55 autopilot systems add a touch of modernism to the Skyvan's cockpit, providing X-Plane users with reliable and user-friendly navigation tools. The combination of these advanced systems with the Skyvan's classic charm offers an enjoyable flying experience that caters to a wide range of virtual pilots' preferences.


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As well as the above, the developer has also introduced new rain effects which significantly enhance the visual experience during adverse weather conditions. These effects contribute to the overall immersion and realism of the simulator, creating an even more engaging environment for virtual pilots to explore.


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Flight Characteristics

Prior to takeoff, I completed the necessary checks, ensuring that the trims were set for takeoff, fuel levels were adequate, flaps were configured as required, and all flight instruments were functioning correctly. I also verified that the ammeters were charging and that the flying controls were free and functioning properly.


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As I taxied towards the runway, I noticed the Skyvan's responsive nose wheel steering and its ability to handle taxiway turns with ease. Its moderate size and excellent visibility from the cockpit made it easy to navigate around the airport, even in tighter spaces.


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Upon reaching the runway, I completed the runway checks by ensuring that all doors were closed and secured, anti-icing systems were set as required, and the RPM levers were in the "Take-off" position. I also checked the engine instruments and set the power levers to Maximum Takeoff Power (MTOP). As I began the takeoff roll, the Skyvan accelerated steadily, and I could feel the aircraft's powerful twin-turboprop engines working to lift the aircraft off the ground. The responsive controls allowed for smooth rotation, and the aircraft's relatively short takeoff distance made it clear why the Skyvan is renowned for its STOL capabilities.


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Once airborne, I raised the flaps and ensured that the nose wheel steering was straight. The Skyvan's climb performance was impressive, and its stable flight characteristics made it easy to maintain the desired pitch attitude and airspeed during the initial climb.


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The Skyvan, a high-wing and somewhat unwieldy design, is known for its ruggedness and utilitarian attributes rather than its speed or agility. As such, the aircraft felt relatively heavy and turned rather slowly during testing. However, this is typical for a utility aircraft like the Skyvan, which is designed to operate in short-field environments and transport cargo or passengers in tight spaces.

Despite the slower handling, the Skyvan proved to be quite stable in the cruise phase, with minimal oscillations or turbulence. Its high-wing design provided excellent visibility below the aircraft, making it ideal for observation, aerial photography, or other similar missions. The cockpit itself offered good visibility, with large windows that allowed for a clear view of the surroundings. The instrument panel was logically arranged, enabling easy monitoring of the aircraft's systems and navigation instruments.


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In terms of power management and fuel efficiency, the Skyvan's performed as expected. The turboprop engines provided ample power to maintain the desired altitude and airspeed, while the aircraft's fuel consumption was within the expected range for its design and purpose.


Before initiating the landing sequence, I performed the landing checks, ensuring the fuel booster pumps were on, engines were within EGT limits, wheel brakes were checked, and flaps were set as required. I also checked the security and cabin signs (no screams were heard). During the final approach, I adjusted the flaps and RPM levers as needed and ensured the nose wheel steering was straight.


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Upon landing, I set the RPM levers to taxi, adjusted the flaps, and confirmed the wheel brakes and anti-icing systems were functioning properly as per the checklist. After coming to a complete stop, I conducted the shutdown checks, ensuring all systems were turned off and secured.

When it comes to performance, X-Hangar's Skyvan for X-Plane truly shines. Developed using Plane Maker, the model is optimized to deliver excellent performance even on modest hardware (unlike some resource-heavy models created in Blender, A3CD, etc). This optimization ensures that users with various system capabilities can enjoy a seamless flying experience without encountering framerate issues. During my testing, the Skyvan performed flawlessly on my system. I encountered no framerate loss, spikes, or pauses throughout my testing, which speaks volumes about the optimization work done by the developer.


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In summing up, the Shorts Skyvan by X-Hangar offers an engaging and realistic simulation experience for aviation enthusiasts and casual simmers alike. With its impressive array of features, excellent flight performance, and accessibility on modest hardware, this Skyvan model is a valuable addition to any X-Plane user's virtual hangar. The classic look of the cockpit, combined with the rich history of the Shorts Skyvan, adds to the charm and allure of this iconic aircraft.

It's worth noting that if you're an X-Plane user who demands the latest and greatest graphical models, or your liveries must include weathering, then the Skyvan may not be for you. However, for everyone else who appreciates the unique capabilities, history, and versatility of this extraordinary aircraft, it's a lovely model that provides an enjoyable and rewarding flight experience.

The Skyvan's adaptability makes it an interesting aircraft to fly in X-Plane, presenting simmers with various opportunities to explore different aspects of aviation, such as cargo transportation, passenger services, and special mission operations. The meticulous attention to detail in the model's design and functionality ensures an immersive experience that honours the legacy of this remarkable aircraft.






The Short SC7 Skyvan by X-Hangar is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:


Short SC7 Skyvan

Priced at US$22.95



  • The model supports both passenger or cargo loads activated by a menu. Passenger load is default
  • Pilot and copilot models that load with added weight
  • Passengers load with added payload weight
  • Cargo loads with added payload weight
  • Doors open with a click
  • Detailed checklist to follow in the simulator (default x-plane)
  • User manual for x-plane in .pdf format
  • International liveries 
  • Easy to paint your own liveries with blank provided
  • Layers included for painting liveries. Adjust transparency to suit your needs.
  • GPU included and activated with external power on
  • Jeep vehicle included and activated with near max weight
  • Various cargo load objects 
  • Suitcases that load and stack with added weight in the passenger cargo hold
  • Porta pot included with opening and closing door
  • FSE file provided so you can go fly right away
  • Garmin 530 GPS with pop-up or use buttons
  • Stec55 autopilot
  • Nice frame rates 60+
  • Rain effects for both v11 and v12. v11 limited to win vulkan
  • Rain wipers for v12
  • Better taxi and landing lights for v12



X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions available)
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 279 MB
Current version 12 (April 7th 2023)


Review System Specifications

Intel i5 10400 – 32GB RAM - Nvidia Asus RTX 3060 – Windows 10 Home 64 Bit



Aircraft Review by Dominic Smith
20th April 2023
Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copying of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions.





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