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Aircraft Review : Falcon 50ex by Carenado

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Aircraft Review : Falcon 50EX by Carenado

 

The Dassault Falcon family goes back to the early sixties with the release of the twin-engined Mystère 20, but with early deliveries set to Pan American it was marketed as the "Fan Jet Falcon" and the name stuck with a rename of Falcon 20 and it is under this guise that Pan American Business Jets Division placed orders for a combined total of 160 Falcon 20s. It was for it's time the Falcon 20 an exceptional aircraft with a 750 km/h (405 knots, 466 mph) cruise speed at 12,200m (40,000 ft) and a range of 3,350 km (1,808 naut mi, 2,080 mi).

 

Obviously you are going to build on success, so the next step was for a more larger faster and longer range aircraft. To achieve this the aircraft that became known as the "Falcon 50" was to add another engine, and to make it a TriJet, and it came for the time of the mid-seventies the first of the really global transcontinental business jets, it was fast at Mach 0.86 (1,015 kph) at full speed, with a cruise set at 488 kn; 903 km/h (Mach 0.85) and a longer range of 5,695 km (3,075 nmi), but remember the FA50 is still an old design and three dated turbofans were not the most fuel efficient compared to current engines like on the Falcon 6x which can do 10,186 km (6,329 mi; 5,500 nmi) 5,100 nmi at Mach 0.85. The FA50 can still do the distance from London to New York, but you will get there almost on dry tanks...  The fuselage cross section and capacity is similar to the FA20, but the FA50 had a far more advanced wing design and this aircraft is the 50ex version with the updated TFE731-40 engines

 

Carenado Falcon 50ex

It would have been hard to follow up the Carenado Cessna Citation S550 for mid-sized private jets, it was and still is a stunner of a aircraft for X-Plane11. So to follow that exceptional act then Carenado has to deliver an aircraft of the same quality and detail to at least match that standard, and that is a tough high target to achieve, and so that is the question we are asking here in this review, is the Falcon 50 in the same league.

 

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Falcons are very distinctive and very French in design, sharp nose with an late fifties cockpit window layout, straight fuselage with a low cross Caravelle style tail, the trijets are even more iconic, but the three engines do make the aircraft look a little rear heavy.

 

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But you are not going to deny that Carenado have not done an exceptional modelling design here, as this is a beautifully represented Falcon 50.

 

Complex shapes are dealt with ease, you will find no sharp modelling corners, or lazy quick circles here, it is a well defined design in the ultra category, and so it should be in this price range, you pay for it, but at least here the Carenado delivers, note the nice leading edge lighting assembly, wing mapping (raised rivets and lines) and flap track housings.

 

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All undercarriage components are all really well detailed, not only the usual hydraulic piping and struts (main gear is a simple leg support with an attached hydraulic ram) but with smaller detail with clips, bolts and steel foundry shaped assemblies. Front wheel strut is excellent with high detailing including chrome hydraulic ram components. Internal wheel bays are well kitted out and detailed as well, all round perfection.

 

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Cockpit windows are late fifties - sixties style five window designs, very Falcon and visibly different from the more standard four glass design of the later Falcon 7X series. Note the small hidden wiper assemblies.

 

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A glass is Carenado perfection, front and side designs in quality, reflection and shapes. Fuselage shaping is also high in detail and the excellent paint reflections are of a very high caliber and all this comes with Carenado's dynamic reflections, realistic metal and dielectric materials... in other words it is very good.

 

The central engine is the only one with a thrust-reverser, it is a clamshell design and in action it looks excellent in animation

 

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Menus

Menu system is standard Carenado lower left screen three tabs, the three tabs can be mouse scroll hidden

 

The three tabs are noted as: A ) is for the lovely authentic Collins Proline21 pop-up Autopilot panel, that this is quite screen filling large panel, but can thankfully be moved and scaled to a smaller size. C ) Is the standard Carenado ten preselected Views, Field of View and Volume panel. And O ) is the Options panel. 

 

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The Proline21 Autopilot panel is different (larger) than the one on the Premier 1A, and it is quite large in default mode on your screen, it can of course be scaled HUGE, or very small, but scaling too small can make button actions hard to use.

 

Options include Window and Instrument reflections. The static elements provided here are still very basic with only two cones, rear wheel chocks and flag/pitot covers and some nice "FA50ex" engine inlet covers, but you can only have all or nothing. The highly realistic pilot and co-pilot (and new) animated pilots in flight uniforms do disappear when you activate the static elements. left side is the main entrance door...  there is also a nice well detailed "HOBART" GPU (Ground Power Unit). The livery Selector is now on the options panel than from usually the Carenado tab.

  

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You have the option of the original wing tip (square) or the newfangled high curved winglets, the superb winglets are an obvious choice.

 

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Cabin and cockpit

Entrance to the Falcon 50 is via a single left hand forward door with built in stairs, it is animated either via the menu, or the handle internally (arrowed below)...  design with nice chrome rail-handles is excellent, in v1.1 the animation has been slowed down a little for more realism, the door looks and moves now like real.

 

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Cabin fit-out is all dark woods and heavy leather, it is a very cigar lounge feel, four club seating forward, one single seat aft and a three seater settee to the right side and so that is a passenger seating layout of eight.

 

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Cabin fittings and details are excellent, with chrome highlights and highly soft looking cushions to hug...

 

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...  a nice touch are the two passenger screen monitors, both fixed, but look great...  all the blinds are animated, but I found them a bit in areas overtouchy to use, but still a very nice to have. Odd for Carenado is that the tables don't fold out, more odd is they look like they are created that way and the folded up panels are also there positioned inside, but I couldn't get them work if they do?  so I am going to say that they do actually work.

 

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There is a folding door to open to access the cockpit...

 

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....  to the left as you go in there is a pilot's storage area for books, jackets and other bits and pieces, note the dangerous looking axe?

 

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Top is the entrance lighting knob, and an audio panel that has two working knobs.

 

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First look into the cockpit is breathtaking, with such overwhelming quality and detail.

 

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Armrests flip up to get in to the seats, but you know it will still be a very tight fit.

 

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In the left seat and the glareshield overhang is huge, and really well done but it is all very black and dark with no power connected. First look forward reminds me of Concorde with the shield in the full up position.

 

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Pressing the EXT Power button with toggle the external GPU, and flick the main battery switches and the effect is "oh wow, oh wow" this is one nice cockpit in lighting and detail.

 

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The instrument panel lighting highlights the built in glareshield grab handles and the huge centre mounted park brake handle, very nice and the overhead panel turns into a rainbow of ergonomics... excellent!

 

Instrument Panel

Twin authentic yokes have built in electric trim and can be hidden. Yokes hidden then that exposes the four display Proline21 avionics system introduced on the Carenado Premier 1A...

 

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...  There are for both pilots a PFD (Primary Flight Display) and a MAP/NAV MFD (Multifunctional Display), both can be popped out but only the PFD and MFD two from either side...  other central display panels will also pop-out includes , three engine parameters, backup Artificial Horizon, Fuel/Temp and hydraulics/ VIB N1 - N2 (engine vibration indication).

 

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The PFD has the standard glass cockpit layout of Speed and Altitude strips, Artificial Horizon, Vertical Speed and Rate of Turn built into the upper section, lower section has a built in Navigation and Map and COM1/ATC/UTC/TAT/COM2 strip at the bottom. MFD has Engine readouts top, route information lower and the same Navigation and Map layout lower with a GS/TAS/SAT/ISA strip at the bottom. Several points since the debut release of the Proline21, the PLAN function (arrowed right) now works (Yeah!) to see and layout your flight plan, and the text does not overlap.

 

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Unlike the Premier where as the DCP (Display Control Panel) which was set vertical between the displays, here on the FA50 it is set both sides up on the glareshield next to the autopilot... BARO, MENU/DATA, TILT/RANGE knobs.

 

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The default screen shows: FORMAT (ROSE/ARC/MAP), TERR/RDR, TFC and a PRESET (quick switch) setting on the left, you can adjust on the DCP panel via the "MENU/DATA" knob for either PFD or MFD,  switching can be separate with ROSE in say the PFD and ARC in the MFD or vice versa. 

 

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Selecting the "NAV/BRG" button will bring up the NAV SOURCE (FMS1/VOR1/VOR2) and Background (BGD) pointers for FMS/VOR1/ADF1 top and FMS1/VOR2 lower, again just select the required selection button and the select blue box band.... adjustment is again via the DCP MENU knob

 

There are altogether three (pages) settings of References that can be accessed by repeatably pushing the Menu REFS knob.

 

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Pressing the RADAR button will bring up the TERR/RDR setting the same as in the menu option, the TERRAIN feels far better but is quite bright (Red or Blue) and can make the flying and navigation details hard to read, I probably wouldn't use it, except in the RDR - Radar mode.

 

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Overall this latest version of Carenado's ProLine21 system is certainly far less buggy, and more functions work than with the release version and expect the same fixes to be translated back over to the Premier 1A.

 

ProLine21 Autopilot panel is excellent, standard layout and easy to use, and note the comprehensive engine fire panel for the three engines.

 

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Lower centre panel has Alieron, Rudder and Stabliser positions panel left and SLAT/FLAP positions right, in the middle is a comprehensive annunciator lighting panel, with test and bright and low light settings. To note the speed knobs (arrowed) for adjustment in the PFD.

 

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Three lever throttle assembly is a work of art, and seriously detailed, and note the working springs on the stop selection (arrowed below left), lift the red levers to shutdown the engines (switch off fuel flow).... as there are three levers you lose the versatility of a two lever operation with a throttle system (Saitek X56), so you have to lock them all together, shame but it is what it is....

 

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....  single central thrust-reverser lever is again a work of animated art, and you have to understand how it works. X-Plane key setting "Toggle Thrust Reversers" with activate it, but to use it you then use your throttles... the reverser lever moves but the throttle levers stay in position, do the opposite to store the clamshells.... it is a work of art to use.

 

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Centre console has top left Anti-Skid, right cabin pressure adjustment with pressure dump (nicely done). The standard Laminar FMS panels and radios...  radios can be tricky to set (Transponder is really tricky), so get used to setting the two page (COMM1/NAV1 - COMM2/NAV2, ADF and Transponder) settings on the ground before flying, if not you will struggle later, the radio also pops-out for ease of use. Note a second set of DCP panels.

 

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Rear centre console trim Aileron, Rudder and Stab adjustment switches and a really lovely Air Brake lever (arrowed)... right is the Flap adjuster: CLEAN - SLATS - S+FLAP 20º - S+FLAPS 48º, and the flap knob is gate animated to lift and click (very nice). Rear console is the cabin pressure dial

 

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There is another cabin pressure dial low left on the pilot's side on the instrument panel, and a clock above on each side.

 

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Side consoles have Gyro Align, radio selections and tiller (left), right is oxygen controls and a little OPEN - CLOSE lever (arrowed)?

 

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This will move the right side window blind forward for use or stow it away, very nice, but there is not one on the pilot's side (boo... ) but the left blind is still animated and can be used, both rear cockpit windows have animated blinds.

 

OverHead Panel (OHP) is excellent, areas including Electrical, Fuel System, Bleed Air, Engines, Conditioning, Anti-Ice APU, Heating, Exterior and Interior lights are all colour coded, lighting knobs are each side...

 

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....    huge circuit breaker field is also colour coded, but none of the breakers are active. Note the really lovely styled overhead DOME lights.

 

Lighting

You were expecting the lighting to be good in the Falcon 50, and "boy" you are not disappointed...  it is amazing. You have the two overhead DOME lights in the cockpit and two map lights that are highly adjustable, all the panel lighting is breathtaking.

 

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If you able to restrain yourself and tone it all down a little, it looks even better and more realistic...  note the side spot light.

 

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No problems in finding that right lighting for the best takeoff or landing ambience, lovely in here.... roof ergonomic rainbow panels are...  UNBELIEVEABLE!

 

Cabin lighting is also exquisite, it is all really nice lighting...

 

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...   with main overhead track lighting and eight adjustable spot lights for individual seating positions, there are two overhead entrance lights as well.

 

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But there is a quirk?  The main cabin lighting will only work with the DOME lighting in the cockpit? so to have the cabin lit in flight means the cockpit is brightly lit as well (fine in the day but annoying at night), the switch position is wrong because there is a three way switch position on the "cabin" lighting for OFF- PAX - ALL, this could be used to move the lighting away from the dome lighting, the adjuster for the lighting doesn't work either, so there is a real missed opportunity here to have it all.

 

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From the exterior viewpoint it is about as great as you would want it to be, the entrance night view is excellent. note the nice tail lighting.

 

Flying the Falcon 50

At Zurich the FA50ex is all primed up with block fuel of just a slight over 3000kgs with a TOW 13662 kgs, the luxury cabin awaits the passengers, the route to Barcelona is really quite short at 551nm, but you will fly high (32.000ft) and fast at mach m80.

 

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You have a built in APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) but except for the one (arrowed) electrical gauge it is hard to tell it is running...   Starting the engines is very easy, fuel-shut off set to throttle lever idle, set all the bleeds to Auto and then just press the engine start of which engine you want to start, I am still going right to left or Engine 2, 3 and then 1, you may want to start the central engine first... a red light on the engine start says it is in start up operation, then just watch the engine gauges do the work, it is all very Auto. The systems in Starter Logic, Fuel System, Bleed Air System, Avionics busses, Hydraulic Logic are all custom designed and highly realistic, but overall this is a very automatic aircraft to use system wise, so that makes it easy for early simulation users, wanting system depth, but not with all the palaver of working through deep system networks.

 

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It is very quiet in the cockpit, so you are a bit removed from the engine start up aurally, but externally it is very good with those 180º dynamic sounds, and three Honeywell TFE 731-40 turbofan engines, poring out 3,700 lbf (16.46 kN) thrust each is going to sound good isn't it...   well yes, really good.

 

Don't forget that you have full oxygen tanks as the FA50 uses the new Laminar oxygen system, very realistic. Slat operation is excellent, and you can override if you want to.

 

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A light fuel load and only three passengers means I am quite light, so the Falcon will move quite easily with a slight push of the throttles, the aircraft is very nice and easy to move on around on the ground.

 

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Power up and all that three engine thrust kicks in, and so you move....  engine particle effects are very good, all very hazy and thrusty. Throttles T/OFF markings are noted on the engine outputs to show where to set the throttles for the best thrust ratio and that works fine.

 

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As noted you can set all the speed Ref's (arrowed) and they are spot on, rotate v2 is around 140knts, but you feel it earlier as the nose wants to lift...

 

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.... so you have to be careful not to over rotate, then secondly keep that pitch in check as you climb out, it is not you will be fighting against the aircraft, but just don't let the pitch runway from your control... official rate of climb is 2,053 fpm, so 2000fpm is easily acceptable, but "wow can she climb".

 

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The gear retracts with a thud...  and I love the way the front gear retracts forward, the animations on all gear assembles are excellent.

 

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Those central mounted speed knobs are very easy to use, but they are only for showing the speed selection only, there is no auto-thrust here, so the idea is to set your speed target and aim for it with the throttles.

 

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The FA 50 is quite nice in the air once the wings are cleaned up, but my gut says the flap extension made the aircraft pitchy, and a little bit loose on the centre, but once you get full clean control it is quite nice....

 

It is very, very easy to get two PFD certain selections mixed up...  you can select a preset "FMS/NAV1/NAV2" from the PFD, but you may think this buttom selects the FMS, but it doesn't as it "PreSelects" not selects, so you maybe actually switching it out, when you want to switch it in, it was a mistake I didn't make on the Premier 1A, but somehow kept on doing so here?  Note the fuel detail in FF (Fuel Flow), QTY (Quantity) and Fuel.

 

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You can say what you want, but the FA50 is a super nice looking aircraft in the air.

 

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Over the Alps at FL320 and you are soon at the south french coast, which the Mediterranean Sea then shows up on the radar, standard ceiling is FL490 14,936 m (49,000 ft), so you have a lot of altitude flexibility.

 

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You have the ProLine21 autopilot panel that pops-up, but I didn't really need it as the glareshield panel is quite easy to use and handy...  so I never used it?

 

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Your fingers are just twitching to use that exquisite air-brake lever... go on I know you do, so a 2000fpm descent into Barcelona was an excellent excuse to twiddle with the lever, the air-brakes are tiny but effective.

 

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Approch into LEBL - Barcelona's RWY 02 is via BISBA STAR - BISB4N, but it didn't compute the route well on the FMS, so I added in a go around route that followed the STAR close enough via SLL - BISIS  - TOTKI - BL620 - Approach.

 

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6000ft was now slowly reducing to 3500ft as I turned at BISIS...

 

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...   and you have to love those splendid Falcon wing shapes against the water.

 

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You can cruise clean at 250knts, but then it is quite a fall to Slat speed of 200 knts, then again to 190knts for approach and S+20...

 

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...  Gear down, thunk, thunk and you are going for the lower landing approach speed, the marker Vrefs are there (arrowed), but you have to find your own points to avoid that steep nose down approach angle most business jets like, I found 116 knts to be ideal and flying nice and slow, but in also keeping the pitch in check....

 

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Flaps at full 48º are slightly draggy, but you have a lot of power to play with, again you have to keep that nose in check on finals. Approach external lighting is good...  central twin mounted landing lights and nose-wheel taxi. Wing (ice) lights are good as well with twin red beacons on the belly and tail, standard nav and strobe lights and the nice tail lighting (see below).

 

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Over the fence and I am again very aware of not letting that nose get too high on me, my gut says it will just sit there high in the air as the wheels touch, so my flare is very highly controlled, a bit of pitch to slow the aircraft, but not enough to lose the nosewheel...   stall speed is 95knts.

 

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Nose is a touch up on contact, but it is almost a three point landing, and it feels like a very good landing inside...  I'm happy with that.

 

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The single thrust-reverser is not that powerful, compared to the usual twins, but the operation is great to use (note the "Green Deployed" light) and it does slow the aircraft of which you will need 658 m / 2,159 ft roll-out. Air-brakes have to be activated manually, but certainly help in slowing down the aircraft... note that using the air-brakes on the ground activates more spoilers than the air-brake function.

 

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I will note it took me a few maybe three flights to really get the full feel of the Falcon 50, yes it is easy to use, and yes it is easy to sort for a flight, but you do need to get into a sort of flying groove with it, the first flights maybe even messy, but the more you fly the FA50 then the more confident and together you are with the aircraft.

 

Librain water effects work here as well, they look great internally, but are a bit odd in showing through the fuselage externally... with Librain it is still a refinement process that you have to accept.

 

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But to note the wipers are small, and you get only a very small gap to find that runway in the wet and dark... that will test your skills.

 

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FA 50 wing and night lighting IS amazing...

 

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Liveries

You get the usual blank white and six liveries. Three are European and three are US registered including the display aircraft N502EX. Quality of all are very good, but except for the hard coloured red and black aircraft the style is all very similar of wavy stripes

 

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Summary

Nobody does these large business jets better than Carenado, the Citation S550 was a killer machine and this great Falcon 50ex is certainly on par with the earlier aircraft so it would be now hard to choose between them.


The design and detailing in this aircraft is some of the best out there, it is sublime in what you get now for your money, in every area including sound it is simply outstanding. The Carenado ProLine21 is also improved and has had a few bug fixes as well, it is still not totally absolutely perfect yet, but it is now at least in the very good category, and note you can use the RealityXP GTN750 support (with 3D panel display support) in this aircraft and it is VR refined as well. Lighting is excellent inside and out.

 

Systems including Starter Logic, Fuel System, Bleed Air System, Avionics busses, Hydraulic Logic are deep and all custom made for the aircraft, but there is a lot of auto-procedures to help with the ease of flying the machine, however it is still an aircraft to learn and fly and requires a few to many flights to really get proficient on the Falcon 50.

 

Negatives, not many and just a very few bugs, like the tables are not animated (missed and will be fixed) , ProLine21 in areas still in development and the librain is still in need of refinement, the oddly connected cockpit and cabin lighting, and I will note the now standard Carenado menus do now feel outdated, and all circuit breakers are all hard.

 

The review is full of words like... outstanding, excellent, exquisite and so yes this Falcon 50ex from Carenado is an amazing aircraft, and it is very well priced for all the ultra detail and systems that you get here. There is a sort of proud ownership that you get with these outstanding aircraft, you stand or sit inside there wondering how far simulation has come in the ultra detailing and sheer quality you now have available in X-Plane11, but here is a business jet to certainly savour and to enjoy in for your personal use for years to come.

 

_______________________________

 

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The Falcon 50EX by Carenado is now Available at the X-Plane.Org Store, and is available from Carenado directly as well:

 

FA50 EX XPLANE 11

 

Priced at US$39.95

 

Features:
  • High-end 4k PBR (Physically-based Rendering) graphics throughout, with ultra-realistic materials rendition (Dynamic reflections, realistic metal and dielectric materials, etc.)
  • Fully customized in-depth annunciator logic/aural warning logic/throttle logic with functioning latches.
  • Optimized for VR.
  • Custom Proline21 avionics system, all featuring detachable pop-up windows
  • Integrated FMS with detachable pop-up window (Laminar default)
  • Custom Autopilot with detachable pop-up window
  • Rain effect support*
  • In-depth FMOD sound design implementation, including distance effects, realistic turbine reversal effects, etc.
  • RealityXP GTN750 support (with 3D panel display support)
  • Custom electrical system/Starter Logic/Fuel System/Bleed Air System/Avionics busses/Hydraulic Logic
  • Extensive VR support
  • Extensive HDR lighting with gimballed 3D lights and dynamically illuminated ice lights for amazing night lighting effects
  • Includes pressurization and oxygen system
  • End-user customizable via Manifest.json file.
  • Goodway compatible
  • Engine design optimized for XP11.30’s jet engine model
  • Support for “librain” plugin (Requires separate plugin install)
  • Librain support also includes visual ice effects on windows.

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11

Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB VRAM+ Recommended
Download Size: 580MB
Current and Review Version : 1.1 (July 23rd 2019)

 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Falcon 50ex XP11 is 551 Mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the aircraft "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 741.30 mb.

Download the LIbrain rain effect plugin (add into the aircraft's plugin folder)

 

Documentation:

Huge amount of documentation, with ProLine21 introduction, Laminar FMS manual, Performance and reference tables.

 

  • Carenado FA50EX Emergency Procedures.pdf
  • Carenado FA50EX Normal Procedures.pdf
  • Carenado FA50EX Performance Tables.pdf
  • Carenado FA50EX References.pdf
  • Carenado FA50EX Version History.rtf
  • Carenado Proline 21_FA_50.pdf
  • Carenado Recommended Joystick Settings XP11.pdf
  • Carenado RTU Manual.pdf
  • Credits.pdf
  • Recommended settings XP11.pdf
  • X-Plane FMS Manual.pdf
  • Carenado Copyright.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 

26th July 2019

Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews 

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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)

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.31 (v11.30 is required for this aircraft)

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.11 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : LIbrain rain effects - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

- LSZH - Airport Zürich v2 by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$27.99

- LEBL - Barcelona Airport XP11 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$21.00



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