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Aircraft Review: AirfoilLabs King Air 350 for X-Plane 12

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Aircraft Review: AirfoilLabs King Air 350 for X-Plane 12


By Joshua Moore


The Beechcraft King Air series could well be one of the most recognizable turboprops worldwide, thanks to its multi-purpose role in aviation. The series boasts of a diverse clientele including private owners, corporations, medical and cargo services, charters, and military organizations. Since its initial production in 1964, the King Air series, along with its smaller piston sibling, the Queen Air, rapidly gained market dominance. Produced in various models through to the present day, it has an impressive tally of over 3,100 units.



The Airfoillabs King Air 350, from my research, appears to closely resemble a late 1990s model 350. This X-Plane 12 rendition, while featuring enhancements and improvements over the previous variant, lacks the Collins Proline or Fusion panel and instead features a basic panel setup with an ADI, HSI, storm scope, and a Laminar FMC to manage the flight plan and autopilot. It's worth noting that this is an updated version of the aircraft which was previously reviewed by Stephen for X-Plane 11. Despite the advancements in this latest model, Stephen's review remains an invaluable resource due to its comprehensive nature. 

First Impressions
Installation is straightforward and employs the Airfoillabs manager to install the aircraft into X-Plane. On first loading into the sim, I was pleased to find a broad selection of liveries. Many of these are air ambulance companies, military, and four variants of the Wheels Up livery.


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A quick online search revealed additional repaints covering private aircraft and more corporate styles, but this add-on's options are relatively scarce. Loading the aircraft into X-Plane revealed a stunning, cold, and dark cockpit that appears quite excellently made, likely enhanced by X-Plane 12’s remarkable lighting engine.


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The interior texturing, modelling, and overall ambience are quite well executed, conveying a sense of a well-maintained, frequently used aircraft. The exterior shares the same quality as the interior, creating an aesthetically pleasing model. The X-Plane menu offers two different King Air options - the default, and another version equipped with GTN530s, the variant you should select if you wish to use the GTN750s from RealityXP.


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The exterior of Airfoillabs' King Air stands out due to its attention to detail. The fuselage, dotted with numerous rivets and panels, is commendably realistic. While the existing high-resolution texturing is impressive, there's still scope for further enhancement, particularly in the rendering of finer details.


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Further immersion is added by the well-implemented sound effects accompanying actions such as opening and closing panels and compartments, as well as handling tiedowns and covers. These audible cues contribute significantly to the simulation's overall realism.


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Taking a closer look, the landing gear design demonstrates an intricate level of detail that extends to less noticed aspects of the aircraft. Interestingly, the nose gear design mirrors that of the Beechcraft Bonanza, a familiar touch for those acquainted with the Beechcraft range.


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The King Air's interior is where this model genuinely begins to distinguish itself for me. Both the modelling and texturing are of high quality, and it carries the feeling of a classic ninety's aircraft. Starting from the rear and progressing forward, the entry door features an expected click spot to open. The two partition doors, one between the cargo area and the other further forward separating the cockpit are both animated and movable. All four table sections come with animated tables and pop-out video screens, which unfortunately display nothing. All the textures include PBR which provides a pleasing effect when viewed from certain angles.


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In my opinion, the cockpit is the highlight of the King Air, as its design really appeals to me, even though it has the unconventional layout typical of Beechcraft. Some early Bonanzas had oddly placed light switches and circuit breakers, requiring some “Twister” like moves to view them on the underside of the panel. Thankfully, these issues were addressed with the F model, which provided a more organized panel. This appears to be the case with our King Air, so it’s somewhat of a win-win. But I'm straying off-topic now, so I'll save the rest for the next section. Still, I have to say that the texturing of all these switches, panels, gauges, etc., is well executed. The cockpit truly gives off the robust feel that you experience when flying a Beechcraft, especially when you glance at the instruments and see the Beechcraft logo on the backplates.


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Close-up, some interior panels exhibit slightly lower resolution, but from a foot or so, they look just fine. Overall, I truly adore the King Air's cockpit, or at least its aesthetics, as we'll discuss avionics next.


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In the realm of avionics, general aviation (GA) aircraft aren't renowned for their ideal panel layouts, with many cockpits featuring a mix-and-match of avionics from various eras. That's unless their owners decide to splurge $45,000 from their accounts to invest in a complete glass panel overhaul. Having flown with custom full-glass panels, I can understand how tempting this might be. Yet, I also appreciate a balanced mix of glass and traditional steam gauges in GA, since it's easier to perceive trends in dials compared to digital numbers. In this respect, the King Air suits me quite well.


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Now, while I find the King Air's blend of avionics suitable for my preferences, this doesn't mean the aircraft doesn't come without its challenges, particularly in terms of ergonomics and limitations of flight simulators. The location of the HSI and autopilot, and the lower pedestal, make hand-flying and programming a challenge, especially for those of us who despise using 2D pop-ups, though this isn't Airfoillabs' fault. On the bright side, the autopilot performed well during my tests, responding effectively to commands from all three GPS units. Despite its initial clumsiness due to the spread-out nature of the panels, you'll adapt quickly enough.


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Manual & Handbook

A notable addition that eases the steep learning curve of the King Air is the presence of a comprehensive manual. Unlike many add-ons, the King Air 350, a study-level aircraft designed to replicate every aspect of the Beechcraft turboprop, comes with a detailed 64-page PDF manual, available for download from the Org. This invaluable resource is exceptionally clear and helpful, packed with diagrams and illustrations to aid both seasoned and novice pilots in mastering the King Air 350.



Complementing this manual, the aircraft offers an in-cockpit handbook, providing quick access to essential information during your flights. You can access this handy reference either by tapping the book located in the pilot's left pouch or by pressing the logo situated at the bottom right of the screen. This interactive handbook comprises four primary sections: 'General', 'Limits', 'Normal', and 'Performance', plus an 'Options' page for additional adjustments. The combination of the comprehensive manual and the in-cockpit handbook equips pilots with the knowledge they need to fully utilize and appreciate the King Air 350's advanced capabilities.




Cockpit Lighting

One of the standout features in the King Air that deserves special mention is the immersive and meticulously detailed cockpit lighting. A range of dials and knobs are at your disposal for controlling the intensity of light for the multitude of gauges and switches in the cockpit, adding a degree of customization to the lighting ambiance. Similar lighting control extends to the passenger compartment, ensuring a unified and consistent lighting environment throughout the aircraft. The result is a meticulously replicated cockpit environment that radiates a genuine and atmospheric charm.


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A notable feature unique to the X-Plane 12 variant of the King Air is the highly detailed windshield effects. By integrating an impressive representation of rain, ice, and wiper effects on the windshield, Airfoillabs have managed to add an extra layer of immersion to the overall flight experience. This attention to detail particularly shines when you find yourself navigating through adverse weather conditions, enhancing the realism and the pleasure of piloting the King Air. 


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Flight Characteristics

The taxi phase in the King Air might present some challenges. Achieving the Ground Fine position for the thrust levers is elusive, which makes taxiing more of a task than it should be. Add to that, the sensitive cutoff region for the mixture control which can inadvertently kill the engine if not cautiously handled. Despite these initial challenges, once the King Air is airborne, it comes into its own. The takeoff phase is a showcase of the aircraft's well-modelled flight dynamics. With its weight, acceleration, and low-speed control responding appropriately, the King Air provides a genuine sense of realism as you lift off the tarmac.


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Upon reaching the cruising altitude, the King Air continues to impress. It exhibits smooth and predictable responses during turns and changes in speed. The robustness of this twin-engine turboprop is well represented in this phase, providing an authentic handling experience characteristic of Beechcraft designs.


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The landing phase, while demanding precision due to brake sensitivity, still allows the King Air to shine. Landing presents the opportunity to exploit the aircraft's versatility, particularly when approaching smaller airports typically inaccessible to light jets. Despite the challenges presented in handling, the King Air remains a pleasure to fly. The well-modelled flight dynamics and the distinct feel of the aircraft enrich the landing experience, rounding off a fulfilling journey from taxi to touchdown.


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The Airfoillabs King Air 350 serves a specific niche within the X-Plane community. It's well-suited for simmers seeking a variety of real-world mission types that help bring an additional sense of purpose to the simming environment. The King Air 350 is a complex aircraft, requiring significant time and patience to master, and as such, it's not an aircraft you can simply hop into and expect to fly flawlessly.

The King Air boasts impressive systems depth, options, potential for malfunctions, and a need for ongoing maintenance to stay in prime condition. I thoroughly enjoy taking it on leisurely flights to General Aviation airports that cannot accommodate jet aircraft, and I truly believe it has a distinct place in X-Plane and is worth the investment, providing a high-quality and versatile flying experience.


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While it may not be as exotic as the Piaggio or as fast as the Challenger 600 or Phenom 300, the King Air 350 offers an experience that invites you to slow down while still offering a challenge. It also enables you to cover substantial distances in relatively short timeframes. I'm delighted to have the King Air 350 in my hangar, and I look forward to continuing to fly and enjoy this exceptional aircraft!






The King Air 350 by Airfoillabs for X-Plane 12 is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:


King Air 350

Priced at US$49.95


X-Plane 12 - New Features!
Introducing the ultimate software overhaul for an unparalleled flight experience! Our latest update brings a suite of exciting enhancements, fixes, and features that will take your simulation to new heights:

  • New Custom Failures Logic
  • Flight Model Rebuild from Scratch
  • New Engine Logic and Performance
  • 3D Model and Texturing Enhancements
  • Windshield Rain, Ice, and Wipers
  • Anti-Ice System Redesign
  • New Governors, Prop Pitch, and Feathering Logic
  • FMOD Sound Updates and New Features
  • Enhanced Cam Implemented
  • Pressurization System Fix + Explosive Depressurization Failure
  • Automated Checklists Fixes


For Every Simmer? Yes.

  • It is a STUDY SIM level aircraft.
  • But you don’t have to be intimidated by the complexity of the systems - You are always just one click from the sky. If you are a deep learner and enthusiast, you can plunge yourself and study complicated systems in detail. All this is possible down to our super-friendly interface logic.
  • Stopping the aircraft, starting the engines, was never easier. But if you like a specific state of the aircraft, you can choose, for example, the Before Taxi state or Save and Load your own state.


PBR 3D Model

  • Extraordinary Ultra HD details both in interior and exterior. Every rivet, every sign, every screw, every light, and every instrument inside and outside is modeled to the highest fidelity. And photorealistic engines.
  • Ultra-realistic cockpit details, glasses, dirt, scratches.
  • Ice on wings, windows, rain effects, wipers, and more.
  • High Optimization Method - to save performance, all details were designed in separate overlay objects to enhance 3D detail and economize on texture size.
  • Eighteen amazing, hand-painted Liveries with an artistic touch. All liveries are based on real paint schemes.




X-Plane 12 (not compatible with X-Plane 11)
Windows, Mac Intel, Mac Silicon, or Linux 
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current version: 1.6 Beta (April 13th, 2023)


Review System Specifications

Windows 11 

Ryzen 5800x

RTX 3070Ti 



Aircraft Review by Joshua Moore

31st July 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.





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Thanks for the comprehensive review. 👍

I also fly this beautiful machine with a lot of fun on the redesigned details. 😁
You write "I thoroughly enjoy taking it on leisurely flights to general aviation airports that cannot accommodate jet aircraft" which I do.

Can you successfully use the reversers for this? And how do you do it?  It would help me not to have to use the full length of the runway all the time.

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