Stephen Posted May 20 Report Share Posted May 20 Aircraft Review : Cessna T337G Pressurized Skymaster by Skytouch The Cessna 337 Series is well renowned, not for that it is a high-wing Cessna, but for it's odd push-pull configuration, in that it has a combination of forward-mounted tractor (pull) propeller, and backward-mounted (pusher) propeller. In the Cessna 377's case it was two Continental IO-360-C air-cooled flat-six piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW) each, producing a combined 420hp, plus the unique "Twin-Boom" tail arrangement to accommodate the rear (pusher) engine/propeller. Basically the 337 was a standard Cessna forward fuselage, but with a totally different concept at the rear. Clever, a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, but the aircraft was highly regarded for tactical operations, say Fire Fighting and Search and Rescue, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster (nicknamed "Oscar Deuce") was the military version used for forward air control (FAC) and psychological operations (PSYOPS), again also a primary aircraft for noted reconnaissance, observation (e.g. artillery spotting), border patrol and fishery protection roles. So the aircraft is a unique stable platform with some very distinctive tasks, this made it very popular and altogether 2,993 variants were built between 1963–1982. Hold on, "haven't we already done a Cessna 337 review already this year?". Well yes X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. So why another one? Besides the usual X-Plane, when one comes out, then so does another in the simulator's idiosyncratic way, there is also a significant differences between the two aircraft, this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP. Another point to make early is that the High-Quality Thranda is US$10 more than this T337G, of which again the Thranda is low priced for the amount of detail and features you get with that aircraft, this Skytouch T337G is a more simpler aircraft in every area, but it is still a nice Cessna 337 for around the sub-$30 category. First impressions are very favorable, "This is nice", remember this is SkyTouch's first payware developer release, so for a first time effort it is all very splendid. More Low-Def than Hi-Def, but the work here is very good. Panels are well represented, as is the NRM highlights and appendage, rivet, screw is visually very well accomplished, cockpit/cabin glass is also well done, shaped and nicely tinted. Wing and detail is also nice, the cambered detailing of the wing tips, that defines the chord is there but not as pronounced as the Thranda... however the detail and shape is good, there are the black simulated "Icing Boots" (required for high altitudes), but no blank leading edge option. The 337 has a split Flap system around the Twin-Booms, and an inner and outer flap. The detail is very good, with the correct aerodynamic panels surrounding the edges of the flaps, not as so beautifully done as the Thranda, but still worthy here. The roof mounted twin VHF roof aerials are distinctive on the C337, as is the large cooling inlet for the buried rear engine. All are nicely represented, but there is no modeled rear engine fuel cap? Small details but important. The twin-booms support the very wide large central horizontal stabiliser, which is huge, with built in elevator and trim tab. Each boom has each internal left and right rudder cables and the right hand boom carries the trim cable, the left boom the elevator cable. I have to be honest in that I'm not at all thrilled at the design of the twin-rudders... as they don't fit correctly, as there is a wide gap at the lower point, but even in the movement they show they are both not correctly applied to the tail? How could you get that so wrong? The lower tail (plastic) module is shown, but not the same upper tail tip plastic module? Outwardly the landing gear is a simple arrangement, most of the complex mechanism is hidden behind the panels, the nose gear rotates sideways on retraction, and the rear spindly legs also have to contort to fit in the rear bays. A lot of owners take the rear gear doors off, as maintenance wise they are a pain. But the detail of the gear is very good here, with nicely detailed wheel hubs and tyres. Note the brake cable along the arm. The required vortex generators, to create a smoother rear (breakaway) airflow from the aircraft with the powered propeller above are also present. From the model 377F the aircraft had the split airstair entry door, smaller rear side windows. This complies here, but the lower door animation is locked in with the upper door animation, which is a wasted feature. The split door arrangement was done so the observer could look out of the upper part of the aircraft in flight, even throw items out of the aircraft in say a search and rescue task, but that feature can't be done here? They are both open or closed together... ... the small rear right side luggage hatch is missing as well. Look through the door and it is a nice cabin. The 337 cabin is all one big high ceiling box, with that second engine mounted on the rear of the fuselage, the cabin is known to be noisy as well, with the same proximate installation. Seats are basic, meaning old fashioned by today's standards with not much realistic detail, so there is not much realism in the design or colouring, but they match the cabin decor design, again an off brown. Instrument Panel is excellent with a light grey background, and small black highlights... but not the two-tone or wood lower. The Yokes are the square "Beefy" style, and both (not individually) can be hidden, by pressing the shaft. Lower left is the Electrical panel, note the lower "Cabin Pressure" gauges and settings knob. Twin-engine (front and rear) starter switches and "Cowl Flaps", with AP (Autopilot) panel lower. Central left is the petite gear lever and the large pitch trim wheel. Right lower are the Flaps "UP-⅓-⅔-FULL". Cabin Temp, Heater Temp and defrost, on the far right lower is an opening cubby box, with your (AviTab) tablet inside. Above is the ADF panel. The AviTab tablet is small, but very well done in being set on the center of the Yoke on a frame (AviTab plugin is required). Instruments are clear, consists of main centre the "Standard Six" layout, Airspeed, Horizonal Horizon, Altitude... top row. Turn Coordinator, Heading Indicator, V/S (Vertical Speed)... lower row. Far left OAT/VOLT dial, and right VOR NAV 1, VOR NAV 2 and ADF Pointer. Two areas on the instrument panel are standard 337... the excellent twin engine gauges with Manifold Pressure and RPM. A Fuel Flow (FF) and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature). The highlight on this side is the engine dials that show (top row) fuel gauges (two tanks, 46 GAL each), OIL pressure. (lower row) CYL head temp, and OIL temperatures. Other dials cover SUCTION, Outside Air Temperature and a large spare Altimeter. Avionics stack consists of; standard Radio is based on the Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio (but not the official unit). Then both a GNS 530 (upper) and GNS 430 (lower) and again are not authentic (but with Laminar pop-outs), then a KX 165 COM2/NAV2 radio and bottom is a KT-76C Transponder. Central is the six lever; THROTTLE, PROP and MIXTURE pedestal, which is large and basic in design, with a large yaw (Rudder) trim wheel set below. Far lower is the Autopilot, button control panel, the AP design here is quite basic and far unlike the lovely green glowing version you had the Carenado 337. Note on the far (right wall are the "Door Seal" switches, there are two "Dump" (air) levers right of the pedestal. Left wall has the (non-working) Circuit Breaker (fuses) panel, but the avionics power switch is on here. Side window opens... ... on the roof are the two main fuel tank switches, and the large window shades work. I'm not going to hide the fact that there are holes all over the cockpit, you can see sky behind the instrument panel and around the doors, gaps around the avionics? small details but they count. Menu The menu is a small three tab affair, activated by the left lower screen tab... the three configurations are; CONFIG (Configuration), WEIGHT and SETTINGS. CONFIG - You can set "Covers & Chocks" in a window shade, chocks and engine (front and rear) covers. But you can't separate any of the elements? Second option is a 300 Lb Cargo Pod underside the fuselage. You can select on (or off) all the external lights individually or use the "All External Lights to ON" setting, final setting is a "Cold & Dark Start'. Upper right corner is the "Checklist", it is basic but well done and can be moved around the screen. WEIGHT - On this tab you can set the 337's weights. Both pilot's and two passenger weights can be set, as also can the "Cargo Pod" (If attached) with bags, and behind the seat with parcels. But there are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs, a requirement on any adjustable weight settings. There is also the choice of six different 3D pilots, both male and female and people of colour. SETTINGS - There are four "Settings" selections. Top is "Smooth Animation", for those who have poor framerate capacity. Second are the "Windows Reflections", which you can turn off, but it also turns off the X-Plane 12 rain feature as well. Then there is a general "Engine Sound Volume", and finally the option in either to use Lbs or Kg in weights. _______________ Flying the T377G SkyMaster Roof Fuel tanks on, AUX fuel pumps on and up goes the mixture levers... then you start first the front engine, and then the rear. Sounds are good, I mean really good, the chatter at low-revs then the arrrgh of the power. And you can easily differentiate between the front and rear Continental IO-360-H air-cooled flat-six piston engine sounds, or chatter, important here. This is a 337, so the rear engine has the ability to overheat, so it needs constant fresh air from the nose propeller to keep it within a reasonable temperature range, hence you start the nose engine first, even then you can't sit (or muddle) around all day as the rear engine temperature rises quickly. There are of course the front and rear cowlings, of which would always be open on the ground... There is no point to point flight route here today, this flight's objective is to see how high I can fly a Cessna. The Ceiling of the T337G is 20,000ft, the usual around 12,500ft non-pressurized. All the engines now warmed up, and off goes the park-brake. First job is to "Seal" the door, but the wide open gap around the bottom of the door says the developer didn't take the sealing idea seriously? In fact there are holes everywhere, around the glass and even through the dashboard? You don't need to use the rear engine for taxiing, there is enough pull from the front to keep the rear at idle until you get to the runway. The T337G is nice to taxi, and fast too if you want to move on past say the usual 12 knts. Because of the unique engine arrangement and rear fuselage configuration, the rear engine creates instant aerodynamic flow over the huge horizontal stabiliser and elevator, so the pitch feel is there from the word go... so you have to be aware in the way you use the pitch earlier than usual. On the real 337, the pitch trim is motorised automatically to compensate for the extra elevator pressure loadings, and will work (trim) from the moment you leave the runway. The rear propeller is highly exposed as well... throwing up rocks from the rear wheels can cause grief (in other words expensive repairs), and you have to leave the runway cleanly, or not in a too pitched up angle, in not catching the ground with the propeller sort of skill. But the unique push/pull engine configuration also works for you in not creating any (depending on the power outputs) yaw, as the inline counter-rotating propellers give no directional thrust pull, so there is no asymmetrical thrust or yaw to the power output of the propeller, basically you go straight down the runway with no corrections or slight rudder corrections. I usually bring the front (puller) up to 90% power, tracking centreline I then bring up the rear (pusher) to match it... it feels like a late Turbo push in your back when the extra power comes in. Powering down the runway you have a lot of forces, that PUSH in your back, and the huge aerodynamic control coming in, a big clean wing and blown horizontal stabiliser give you a lot of feel in the controls early... slightly pull back on the Yoke at 100 knts (no flap) and your flying. It's responsive... and once clear then a 10% pitch to climbout... you have ton's of power behind you, so the 337 will climb-out very easily, here you have the extra 225 HP per engine, and so you feel the push, Rate of climb is 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s), but you can do a 1,000 fpm comfortably... The Thranda 337 detail of the retraction storing of the spindly gear was excellent, here it is just as good, but with the exception for one area. The nosegear twists sideways before retracting, but here the wheel (twists) retracts before the cowling door(s) are fully open, so the wheel cuts through the door itself? The rear gear installing into the bays is however excellent, as the complicated door arrangement opens and the gear furls in by twisting and going up at the same time, great to watch. But with the gear down it produces a climb penalty of a bit over 100 FPM, raising it carries a temporary 240 FPM hit with all the theatrics of the doors being open (did I mention that a lot of owners take the doors off, yes I did). Once clear of the runway, I get a feel for the aircraft and trim it out. The 337 is an extremely stable platform, now clean it is easy to trim and cruise at 3,000ft. Sounds are fabulous, with great thrumming from both engines as you power along. Top Speed for the Turbo is 211 kts, with a Cruise Speed of 204 kts, 210 HP standard engines gives you 173 kts at sea level, and 165 kts cruise at 10,000 ft, so the Turbo is significantly more powerful. I was disappointed in the poor instrument (dial) backlighting, it makes the instruments hard to read? There are "Post" lighting storks as per usual on a 337, but they don't seem to work here either, the two adjustment knobs are hard to use as well, so overall the lighting is disappointing. This is the Pressurized Skymaster, so you have to set the Pressurization on the lower left panel. You need to set the "Cabin Altitude" dial to around 6,000ft to 7,000ft, obviously make sure the cabin is sealed ready as we did earlier. Ready, you then turn on the "PRESSURE" switch to ON. Then start your climb. There is a trick on finding the right power setting (speed) to climb rate, I found 130 knts to 700fpm about ideal up to 12,000ft. And your climbing, if slowly towards the your 20,000ft ceiling... ... it's weird, because you don't usually fly this high in a General Aviation aircraft, passing through 10,000ft and your up there in the clouds, and the ground is still falling away beneath you. You are used to this view in an airliner, but not in a GA aircraft.... 12,500ft is the "Death line", no pressurization and you will start to lose oxygen, and the blackness will form. X-Plane simulates this blackout, redout, and hypoxia effect, but you can turn it off on the "MENU/SETTINGs/FLIGHTMODEL/Simulate blackout, redout, and hypoxia effects" tickbox setting. So if you have got your pressurization panel set correctly and switched on, you should be able to continue flying on up higher as the system keeps your environment/cabin set at a lower (7,000ft) comfortable pressure. Your always aware of the "Cabin Altitude" (warning) light, if it comes on you've lost pressurization... not a good thing. Climbing now through 14,000ft, it's cold up here, and my windows then froze over (so did the wings!). There is an Windshield anti-ice System, and working de-icing boots on the wings, and both (thankfully) worked in clearing the ice from the windows and wings, both important tools to have while flying this high. After 12,500ft you start to lose climbing pitch, you start off around 600fpm, then slip to 400fpm, then as you go though 15,000ft your struggling at 200fpm, the more climb pitch on the AP, the more you lose speed, and so there is a limit or tradeoff in going on up higher.... I chickened out at 16,000ft, my aim was 18,000ft, but it would have taken ages to do that last 2,000ft snail climb. Even to make the 16,000ft climb had taken me 90 nm! "Yikes" that is a long way up... but at last I could mixture the engines back (a little) and settle into a cruise speed of around 145 knts. But it's an impressive little aircraft, flying this high as a Dash 8 Q400. Lighting There are two instrument panel lighting adjustments, the instrument back-lighting is weak, as in the daytime, it needs more "oomph", there is the glareshield dropdown lighting, it helps, but your still crying out for more brightness to light up the instruments. There is a single overhead forward light, that is not quite strong either, as are the two roof mounted rear seat lights. The AP panel looks nice in the dark, but again you want more colour (green) in the buttons, overall it's all there but not effective. Externally it is quite good. Separate Taxi and Landing lights in the nose, standard Navigation (single white right boom taillight), strobe and a big red beacon again on the right side tail. It was a long way up to 16,000ft, but going down is easy, you just pull back on the power and use the right amount of power to control your descent speed, no need for the pitch AP wheel control, and drop you do, even 2,000ft fpm is easily achieved, but around 600fpm-800fpm is the best option. This is an X-Plane 12 aircraft (an X-Plane 11 version is part of the package), and X-Plane 12 can throw up great flying vistas, certainly in the late afternoon sun. I'm quickly back around a 337's normal flight altitude of around 10,000ft, I'm heading for Hervey Bay (YXHB) airport, just over World Heritage-listed K'gari island. Trimmed out at 5,000ft and under manual control, this is flying pleasure... I have always liked the 337, The Carenado version was excellent, the Thranda is great as well, but I like Skytouch version just as well, it is a simpler aircraft than the Thranda 337, and in many ways better for it from a flying aspect. All the X-Plane 12 effects work, we have seen the misting and icing earlier, and the Librain effects are good as well, they stream over the windows quite thickly. HVB - Hervey Bay is hard to pickout, there are no Nav-Aids to help you here, it is all VFR flying, so there is a lot of looking and pointing, then lining up the aircraft to runway Rwy11, your focal point to the approach is HBAWI waypoint, then straight in. Flaps are 4 phase 3 degree movements; UP - 1/2 - 2/3 - FULL, get the speed right and there is simply no ballooning, just slight drop of speed, even down to the FULL setting, the Skymaster will stay calm and collected with no fighting of the aircraft... critical on approach. Down goes the gear, noisy, and you need to give the arrangement in transition time to unfurl and set it's self ready in the landing configuration. Over the threshold and your in the 70 knts range, perfectly stable... ... 60 knts in the flare. The flare has to be perfect, as you are very aware of that rear propeller hanging down. Slight 5º-6º degrees to keep the nosewheel slightly higher than the rears, then let it down. When the rears touch you bring down the nose carefully, the slow landing speed and excellent lift really helps here to get it right. From then on it is just touching the foot brakes to keep the 337 straight, and you can then power down the rear engine to idle. Once parked, you have to De-Pressurize the cabin (yes you could do this earlier below 10,000ft if you wanted to). You dump the air-pressure, via two pull knobs set right of the pedestal, by pulling them and you can hear the air noisily disappear. Then you can unlock the "door seal", to exit the aircraft. Liveries There is a blank white + three liveries with the Skymaster 337. All are not particularly creative, your really asking for more liveries for the price, and no USAF O-2A military feels a bit mean. __________________________ Summary The Cessna 337 is a very unique aircraft in the history of aviation. It is only one of the few created and built in the Push/Pull configuration, or a forward PULL engine and a rear PUSH engine, and a twin-engined aircraft in a linear configuration, to accommodate the rear push engine it has a two boom and twin tail arrangement, with a standard Cessna fuselage and forward engine layout. Yes it's totally unique, but it all works. X-PlaneReviews has done another 337 review, as earlier in 2023, as Thranda Design released their Cessna 337F Skymaster. However this is the "G" model, not the Thranda "F" model, and there are big performance differences between the two aircraft. The earlier "F" had the IO-360-C Engine (210 HP), were as this "G" model has the TSIO-360-H Engine, Turbocharged and also being a Pressurized 337 version, it was also up-rated to 225 HP. The word "Pressurized" is the point here as the aircraft can fly above the 12,500ft blackout limit to a ceiling of 20,000ft. This SkyTouch version is not in the same quality wise in the Thranda Hi-Res and feature heavy category, but it is also US$10 cheaper as well, However it is a very decent T337G with a very well and realistic working pressurization system, plus the same for Anti-Ice and working working de-icing boots on the wings. Notable it is also a first release from a the designer, so we will always give a little leeway there. The Flight Model is based on real data, and you feel the quality of the performance and handling of the 337, sounds are very good as well, as are the few features provide by a menu with a built in checklist. But for this price range (Sub US$30), there are a few niggles. There are a few poor modeling points, twin-rear rudders are not set correctly, and there are holes everywhere in the cabin, around the (so called "Seal" door), and sky is visible through the instrument panel in various places. Nose wheel cuts through the not fully-opened doors, and the internal lighting is quite below par, certainly the instrument lighting in the daylight. Certainly more features on the Menu would be nice as well as separated entrance cabin doors. Seats are bit bland as well. There are no final weight or CofG (Centre of Gravity) details or graphs on the menu, but it is a good Weights&Balance Menu including six different pilot choices. But I seriously like this T337G, it has the higher performance, plus that ability to fly extremely high (for a General Aviation aircraft). Simplicity can sometimes provide more enjoyment, for the cost it actually great value, so I do recommend highly the SkyTouch T337G Skymaster as you would not be disappointed in the balance it delivers here. __________________________ Yes! Cessna T337G by Skytouch is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Cessna T337G Pressurised Price Is US$29.95 Requirements: X-Plane 12 or X-Plane 11 (both versions included in sperate zip files) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Version 1. February 14th 2023 Installation and documents: download for the Skytouch_T337G is 2.80Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 3.32Gb Documents supplied are: USERManual_T337G_VER1.1.pdf Checklists are part of the Menu The AviTab plugin is also required to use this aircraft, and it is deposited in your X-Plane Plugins folder. _____________________ Review System Specifications Windows - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD Software: - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a beta review). Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 ___________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 15th February 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 copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved Kiwiflyer 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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