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Updated Aircraft Review : Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Design

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Updated Aircraft Review : Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1.1 by Thranda Design


I'm three thousand feet above County Clare, Ireland. Dribbling along nicely at 130 knts. Life is easy, free... carefree.


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I'm in the "Skyhawk", the Cessna 172M, the most popular aircraft ever built with 44,000 units constructed, and is still going strong. The C172 is popular because it is just that right perfect fit for it's main role...  pilot training. The C152 is good for training as well, but is also a little too small, the C172 came out of the C170, but that aircraft was a taildragger, were as the C172 has the Tri-cycle undercarriage, it also has a slightly more powerful engine 160 hp (120 kW) (C152 has a 110 hp (82 kW) engine, so it was the follow-on larger and faster aircraft... and it hit that perfect spot all round, a sort of Volkswagon Beetle for the air. The C172 was first flown in 1955.


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Part of the reason it is very good as a training aircraft, is the visual outlook from the aircraft. Being a high-fixed wing, the view internally to the external is very, very good. It wasn't always like this as the earlier 172's, as it had a had a "fastback" rear cabin with no rear window and also featured a "square" fin (tail) design. 1963 172D model introduced the lower rear fuselage with a wraparound "Omni-Vision" rear window and a one-piece windshield. On the 172K the rear windows were slightly enlarged again by 16 square inches (103 cm2). Although a Cessna 172, in later life it became known only as the "Skyhawk" and the 172 moniker was dropped from the name.


-Update v1.1-

Less than a month on from the original release of the Cessna 172M, here is a significant update to the aircraft in a Float and Amphibian variant. The changes to v1.1 are now all noted in this revised and updated review.


This Cessna 172M is another Cessna from Thranda Design, after the Cessna Caravan and the later Cessna U206G Stationair, you could easily confuse this C172M with the U206G, but although they share the same bodyline they are completely different aircraft for different roles.


Modeling is of course superlative. Thranda quality in extreme detail and fittings. As noted the Skyhawk comes with 8K textures, a huge pixel area 7680 x 4320. Just because it is 8K doesn't mean that you need a 8Gb Graphic Card to run them. 4 Gb VRAM is still recommended as Minimum. And 8 Gb+ VRAM is however recommended as normal. But like with the earlier Thranda releases, they had more than one 4K texture size, sometimes two 4K textures to fill in the same 8K area. So in reality you are only using the 8K to fill the same gap of the two 4K set of textures before. So Graphic Card size is not the issue, if you can run your current Thranda aircraft with your current graphic card size, then the C172M will be exactly the same, in fact even a bit more efficient in that it only has to load in the one texture sheet, rather than the load of old 2(K)or 4(K) texture sheets.


It shows of course, but lately I have found Thranda aircraft to be incessantly dark. Externally and internally with the current development process, with an emphasis of the blackness shadow areas, however hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision is very, very appreciable, you can spend hours going over the finer details of the aircraft.


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The dihedral of the wing is 1° 44′ and the total wing area is 174 square feet (16.17 square meters). The horizontal stabilizer span is 11 feet, 4 inches (3.429 meters). So it's a nice clean wing as seen here. The M model is important as it was the first drooped wing leading edge for improved low-speed handling. This was marketed as the "camber-lift" wing. The 172K model, introduced those sported fiberglass, downward-shaped, conical wing tips , as seen here.


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The 172L, sold during 1971 and 1972, Cessna replaced the main landing gear legs (which were originally flat spring steel) with tapered, tubular steel gear legs. The new gear had a width that was increased by 12 in (30 cm). The new tubular gear was lighter, but required aerodynamic fairings to maintain the same speed and climb performance as experienced with the flat steel design. These legs have been well reproduced here by Thranda.


Rear legs are fixed, but the nose wheel comes with an oleo strut and scissor-or torque links, it has a 15º degree adjustable turn. Tyres are so detailed that you can read the name "Goodyear Flight Specials", and there is great wear and tear on the hubs and rims. Overall excellent.


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Glass is very good, as usual with Thranda...  here it comes with a nice green tint, always lovely reflections and depth to the thickness, there are also the nice motley glass marks and scratches, some even distracting, like the lines lower left windscreen.


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Thranda comes up with some really interesting cabin interiors. In the Skyhawk it is the most unusual yet? The U206G had a nice cream and blue fitout, the Islander BN-2 had odd white seats. Here you get a light grey cabin with green highlights on the seats, lower instrument panel and side panels, seats are green with darker green inserts and even the adjustable blinds are green...  it's all a bit Shrek?


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The side panels though are totally exquisite with the highlighted squares, and the cabin roof is dirty and worn with detail, beautifully done.


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Everywhere you look you see the aged wear, door posts, window surrounds, wing end plates....  all so well done.


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Instrument panel has a plastic cover plate (70's) design. But the DGS system is still an option here in a dynamic panel, the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.


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Avionics with the fixed panel include Garmin 340 Radio, Bendix/King KX 165 radios, Garmin GTX Transponder, S-Tec FiftyFive X Autopilot and Bendix/King KR87 ADF unit. A EDM 800 Engine Data Management system is also installed, and most pop out, as do almost 50 instruments!


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You can hide one or both of the Yokes, they also come in two styles "Classic" and "Modern". But the trim (pickles) on the modern yoke (shown) don't work with the yoke options.


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Lower instrument panel is the trim wheel and fuel selector (19 GAL per wing tank). The 172 is a very basic aircraft, but you have everything you need here. All oddments like ashtrays, in-wing air-vents work, as do both the side windows open.... and the glovebox/cubby opens to revel the Thranda development team.


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Like a lot on the C172, the lighting is quite basic. You have the option of having "Light Posts" on the instrument panel, ON or OFF. And they make a big difference on. The one lighting knob has two adjustments, the panel lighting and the overhead red (dome) light.


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The red overhead light is quite powerful, and baths the cabin nicely, to the rear is a single large cabin light, its bright, but not very effective in the rear?


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Externally I really like the light spray around the twin Taxi/Landing lights, Navigation light/strobes and a single tail beacon is all just basic lighting.


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Flying the Skyhawk

The Skyhawk is noted as "The Cessna 172 is arguably the most elegant compromise in the history of aviation.” A nice quote and not far from the truth, as the aircraft is perfect in the "right size, feels right" category.


Once trimmed, the Skyhawk is a very neutral and balanced aircraft on the central axis, again to make it easy for pilot training, interesting is to do tight turns, very heavy degree turns and you will need very little back pressure on the yoke to keep the same altitude...


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....  the aircraft will literally "Turn on a dime", stand on it's wing, as you twirl the aircraft around the sky... certainly any aircraft will do this sort of semi-aerobatic manoeuvres, but it is the ease and cleanliness of the actions that make the aircraft so easy to control, and this is a General Aviation machine here, a heavy one by aerobatic standards.


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It's great fun, you can understand the love for the machine from not only newly born pilots, but from the professional aspect as well.


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Unlike the C152, the instruments and controls are not totally in the basic, basic category in here. You have your VOR Pointers (again great for point to point training) and for doing circuits with ILS central alignments.


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Performance of the C172M is good; Cruise speed is 122 kn (140 mph, 226 km/h), with a never exceed speed of 163 kn (188 mph, 302 km/h) (IAS)

. The range is 696 nmi (801 mi, 1,289 km) with 45 minute reserve, 55% power, at 12,000 feet (3,700 m) and the service ceiling is 13,500 ft (4,100 m).


Time to return to Kerry (EIKY).


The Flaps indicator is quite buried (Fixed Panel) right lower, hard to see, settings here are 0º-10º-20º-30º-40º, a lot of adjustment, also they are continuous in operation, but really great for slow speed approaches with plenty of lift and support.


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But the flap support is great for novice trainee pilots, it gives them time to adjust the aircraft ready for the approach, minimises mistakes. I found this out by dropping the flaps to 40º at the start of the EIKY Rwy 26 ILS approach (108.70 (IKR), then slowly approaching at 70 knts until the point of descent... 


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....  adjusting the speed down to 63 knts, and you will get a nice 300 fpm descent into the runway, smooooth and clean, if a little slow, but again great for practising your approach skills, as the C172M allows you to do this. (note; Rate of climb is 715 ft/min (3.63 m/s) or usually about a 500 fpm).

I feel too complacent, as i'm now too high, so an adjustment to 500 fpm is required, but the descent speed stays low enough around 70 knts to pull off the manoeuvre...


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...  in reality you wouldn't get away with this steep approach, but I feel totally in control of the Skyhawk.


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200 ft above terra firma, I pull back the yoke, up goes the nose and I smooth out the descent pitch, the C172M responds perfectly, speed runs off, descent rate slightly climbs, and I'm soon in the perfect touchdown flare.


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60 knts on touch...  stall is a low 47 kn (54 mph, 87 km/h) (power off, flaps down), and I'm rolling down the centre line, too easy!


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Again you can see why the Skyhawk is perfect for learner pilots, it's so sure (if a little too safe, that it can distract you into complacency), but the feedback from the controls and airframe are excellent, highly recommended for practising skills or circuits, of which is the aircraft's Modus operandi. It's nice to fly an aircraft so perfect.


At taxi speed and idle throttle the familiar  "knock, knock" from the Lycoming O-320-E2D is well heard from the cabin, all sounds are perfect here with high-fidelity, multi-track FMOD2 sounds, there is aural simulation of multiple layers of engine and prop sounds, depending on camera angle, distance, atmospheric conditions, doppler as well... well everything you need for a great aural experience, Thranda are good at details like this, and it's important to the overall joy of the aircraft.


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And it all works to the last splutter of the prop at shutdown (as also the excellent start sounds) are perfect...  "perfect", that word comes a lot around the Skyhawk here!


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There is no doubt on how much I like this Skyhawk, but debatable on still which is the really very best one? I totally loved the Careando Skyhawk with a G1000 avionics suite, flew that 172 everywhere, there are glass instrument options here as well as we shall see, so time will tell if the Thranda Skyhawk can take the title away from the older version?


Added in to v1.1. are the optional Float and Amphibian Float Versions.


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Float design and detail is exceptional, and anyone who has had an earlier Thranda Amphibian (C208B) will know about the high quality here. Float shape and modeling is about perfect, as are the the front strut and main wheel assemblies.


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Rear rudders are controlled by a push/pull lever left centre console to raise or lower the twin fins...   the undercarriage is controlled by the "Gear Advisory" panel right Instrument panel...  there is the secondary pump lever between the seats for a manual upping or lowering of the wheels.


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Option of a "Float" version is also available...  the detail is again absolutely "top notch".


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v1.1...   Two other changes to the v1.1 update are the fixed Alt Static Air knob's Dataref, and now also enabled is WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) in the GPS units.



Thranda's Menus are very feature rich and highly detailed. There is a popout TAB under the arrow, that can be (mouse) scrolled to hide it, that is if you don't like these sort of items crowding your screen (I don't). The Menu system includes the "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications.


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As noted the "Menu" Tab (arrow) is far left middle of your screen, this will activate the Pop-Out Menu... The Menu has seven menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous). Basically it is the standard Thranda default menu.


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Menu - General

The menu "General" sections covers quite a lot of options, the layout is highly detailed and very comprehensive.


General menu selections cover; Electric Tug, Window and Instrument Panel Reflections on/off, Startup Running on/off (sets aircraft to full running mode), Chocks and Brakes on/off.


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Three selections placed right cover group items, but any one item can be also accessed via "Click Spots" and can be individually selected or hidden via the aircraft graphic. "ALL COVERS" will select engine inlet/outlet covers and pitot covers, "ALL TIE-DOWNS" for rear fuselage and wing tie-downs and "ALL DOORS" for both the cockpit doors and the right side luggage door. All EXT - External Lights can be switched on and off as can the ALL INT - Internal lights.


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The "Electric Tug" that can be used to move the aircraft around on the ground via your joystick (left,right-forward,backwards). Static Items include Wheel chocks, Engine Inlet covers, wing pitot cover.


One item not shown in the general menu panel is the front nose cowling removal. It's hard to do, but if you click the surround (arrowed) in the engine bay on the pop out menu, it will lift the nose cowling to reveal a fully modeled Lycoming O-320-E2D Engine, very nice it is as well.


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There is built in "Checklist" (lower right menu, arrowed), and very good it is. But also again changed back to a simple black on red graphic, with green cross-off lines. The Checklist can the moved and scaled anywhere on the screen, but the list can't be reset back again to just the red restart list? and so there are 14 separate pages of the list to uncheck?


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Menu - Liveries

Second Menu option is "Liveries", there are two options here with the first being "PAINTED LIVERIES". There are altogether 8 liveries or two blank (DynamicLiveryResources/Thranda) and six designs, and all the liveries are of extremely high quality and creative flare with the package.


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Two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the current selected "Dynamic Liveries".


Dynamic Liveries

Not happy with any of those designs, then why not create your own livery! 


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With their earlier releases of their Kodiak and with the Islander, PC-6, PZL-104 and Caravan. Then Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery. This is done by switching from PAINTED LIVERIES to DYNAMIC LIVERIES top.


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You have a menu to select on the right that can colour a certain part of the aircraft, like the Roof, Wing, Tail or Wing tips. Select which one you want and then adjust the three RGB colours for that certain area, and the selected colour (here red) is shown in the square. You can also separately change the aircraft registration number, here I wanted an Irish Rego in EI-677. The Cessna logo can be added as well.


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When done you can "SAVE" or ADD the livery and then "APPLY" it to the aircraft. The conversion takes a few minutes with some weird screen changes, but the results are excellent and now the C172 is in your own livery design...   If the custom livery does not load? then go to a PAINTED LIVERY, then load one close to the design you created, then go back and reload your custom dynamic livery...  and it should now load correctly.


A feature is the (Quick) selection of Dirt (Ext) Externally, Scratches and Dirt (Int) Internally. Via three percentage selections you can adjust the amount of Dirt, Scratches and Dirt Int on the aircraft (0%-255%) and apply it instantly.So you can have either a pristine or a very grubby aircraft with just a twirl of the numbers. Also changes can be made to Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries.


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There are already 30 preselected selections in their various designs, all are very good, and like noted you can add in your own version to the list. New to the Dynamic Livery application is ERA options in "Modern' or "Classic"....  of course personal taste is optional!


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v1.1... in the Float/Amphibian menu, you can also colour in the float design to your own preferences, or to match in with the aircraft fuselage design


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Menu - Weight/Bal

The Skyhawk also has a great Weight and Balance menu.


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Lbs and Kgs which can be selected and changed via the toggle...  Lbs In Green, and Kgs in Blue.


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There is the weight selection of all the seats. Missing is the usual Thranda seat removable X option, as here you can only select the seat weight.


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Fuel can be added and the amounts are then shown and are adjustable as well in the menu (above)... pilot, passengers and cargo can all be set for individual weights and all are selected via a scrollwheel...  and then all of the CofG (Centre of Gravity) parameters are all shown on a graph, go too far or too heavy and the CofG goes red. When done you can Save the Configuration and then later re-load it, or press Load to add in the set weights.


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Oddly there are no bags or luggage shown in the rear (behind the rear seat) luggage area like with most Thranda's with the C172M? But the usual two animated Pilot and front seat passenger are still in there when you adjust the seat weights above 36 kgs/80 Lbs. They both will also disappear if the electrical power is switched off and the chocks added.


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But obviously there is a compromise? If you want a full passenger and baggage load, then you can't have full fuel tanks, as the excess weight takes you over the weight and the CofG limits as shown on the graph. For four passengers (with maybe a bag thrown in) then can you have your full tanks and the longer range and not go into the red.


Menu - Camera


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There is a camera feature under the menu "Camera" selection. The left side of the panel is the "Walkaround" views, just pick the dot viewpoint you want to see to rotate around the aircraft. To the right is the default views can be selected via a menu, or press the keypad to select the view. The FoV or "Field of View" is adjustable via a slider.


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Menu - Audio/Slew

Sound can be adjusted via the Audio menu. There are seven slider selections with: Master, Aircraft External, Aircraft Internal, CoPilot, Radios, Environmental and User Interface. One other sound setting is on the Flap panel...  As noted, on the right and left of the panel you get the audio simulation of an active noise canceling headset, which is seen as wearing a headset. Sound quality is beyond excellent as it is a built in audio mixer, so you can individually control the audio channels in real-time and you can adjust the volumes while hearing them play.


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Slew mode allows you to manually move the aircraft around in a disconnected X-Plane space. It functions by temporarily overriding the various aerodynamic and physical forces on the X-Plane settings, it is to allow the user to reposition the plane as desired. This feature is however highly touchy and it is used mostly only really with the Amphibian/Floats option in docking the aircraft to say a pier or marina. Currently there are no plans for an Amphibian version of the C172M, but you never know.


Menu - PANEL

The sixth "PANEL" Tab option allows you to adjust or change the instruments and dials.


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First feature here is a new one to Thanda's Dynamic Panel...  the selection of a "Molded Plastic Cover" panel, and to add in or takeaway the panels "Light Posts". (hint... nice on). The non-plastic cover look is a flat dark grey facia, actually very nice and the same as the U206G.


Scroll the "Panel Preset" number to see all the three preset layouts. Preset 0 is the grey standard panel with the GNS 530, Preset 1 is the Molded Plastic Cover (top)...  Preset 2 is the standard grey panel with the Bendix/King KX 165A radios...  Preset 3 is the Aspen EFD 1000.


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Aspen EFD is a self-contained multifunction digital display that is divided into a Primary Flight Display (PFD) in the top half, and an Electric Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) in the lower half. As EDF 1000 systems go it is not as highly featured with the GPSS, MAP,  360 and Menu functions all not simulated...  all the lower NAV1/NAV2/GPS selections are however available, as is the TPS (Tapes) see/hide option with the MIN (Minimums) selectable as well. and the PFD can be reversed with the EHSI. The EFD 1000 PFD pops-out for convenience.


Customising the panel to your own personal layout is just as easy. Just select the "3D EDIT PANEL MODE" (arrowed) that gives you access to all of the 53 individual instruments and avionic units...  There some great options including the Aspen EFD 1000, S-TEC 55x Autopilot, Angle of Attack gauge and so on...


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For those that find instruments are not to their liking in say, "I wish I could move that altitude meter just a bit more to the left", then here you can simply adjust that instrument, or even swap the instruments around the panel to your liking. Here I have added in two instruments...  A DME ranger and a PS Engineering Incorporated PM 1200 two place panel mount intercom. You can even adjust the brightness of the instrument.


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When you can "ADD" (or Duplicate) in a new "Preset", and then "SAVE" that new layout Preset (Preset /4). So basically you can start off with a completely blank instrument panel and then create your own unique or personal instrument layout if you have the time and patience...  and you can have up to or save 14 different instrument layouts. It is however very important to restart X-Plane to lock in the new instrumentation layout before flying.


Panel features include; S-Tec Fifty Five autopilot and the noted Aspen EFD 1000, KR 87 ADF Radio, Garmin GMA 340, Garmin GTX325 Mode C Transponder and the usual GNS 430/530 PS/Nav/Comm units.


Both the GNS 430/530 GPS units can be selected. But you have to save them, then do a restart to lock them in. The Reality XP GTN 750/650 Touch can also be installed if you have that external option as the 3d bezel is provided.


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The DGS system is clever and very versatile, but a small annoyance is that to get your custom livery or panel, you have to reset everything, every time you fly? Yes the custom SAVES are there ready, but not when you start/load the aircraft?


Menu - MISC

The Misc (Miscellaneous) page has four panels that cover External; Skis and Fairings. Internal; Yokes, Windows and Pilot options. Wheels; Tires and Mud Flaps. lower right is the DynaFeel.


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High quality designed "Skis" are available, and so are neat wheel "fairings"


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Tyres can be changes from "Regular" size, to the larger "Tundra" style. The larger tundra tyres work with the skis, but not with the fairing option.


Thranda_C172M - Menu MISC Regular.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Tundra.jpg


On the rear you can have "Mud Flaps", again they work with either regular or tundra tyre options.


Thranda_C172M - Menu MISC Mud-Flaps 1.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Mud-Flaps 2.jpg


Yoke options include; "Classic" or the more upright "Modern"...  I prefer the later upright yoke to the flatter earlier version.


Thranda_C172M - Menu MISC Yokes 4.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Yokes 1.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Yokes 5.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Yokes 2.jpg


Door windows can be "Flat" or "Bubble"


Thranda_C172M - Menu MISC Windows 1.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Windows 2.jpg


You can also swap around the pilots, in Male/Female, or Female/Male in the drivers seat.  A nice touch is the change of clothing style with the change of seat position.


Thranda_C172M - Menu MISC Pilots 1.jpgThranda_C172M - Menu MISC Pilots 2.jpg


"DynaFeel" on the right lower is a system that dynamically adjusts the rate at which the controls deflect. It is  based on airspeed and how much the control is deflected. This means the controls will feel light and responsive at low speeds and with small deflections, but will get progressively heavier as the airspeed increases.


v1.1...  The Float/Amphibian MISC Menu is different. You still have the earlier Window options (Flat/Bubble), Pilot options and the DynaFeel.


Thranda_C172_Amphibian Menu.jpg


New options include a Cockpit V brace, and a Ventral Fin under the tail...


Thranda_C172_Amphibian Menu 1.jpgThranda_C172_Amphibian Menu 2.jpg


...    You can Retract or Extend the rudders from the menu, also select either the "Float" or "Amphibian" variant. The "Slew Mode" only works on water, but it is excellent to move around or or to align the aircraft with a jetty.


Thranda_C172_Amphibian Menu 3.jpg


Links to both the excellent Support forum for the C172M by Thranda, and to download with the newly updated Skunkcrafts v3.0 Updater are also provided.




The "Skyhawk"  Cessna 172M is the most popular aircraft ever built with 44,000 units constructed, and the airframe is still going strong. The reason is that simply the Skyhawk is the best ever or the most perfectly positioned aircraft for training and instructional purposes, mainly also for it’s reliable flight characteristics.


Thranda Design are one of the best developers in X-Plane, their history and quality is legendary. So that quality build and detailing is always going to be significant from the start, and so it here... exceptional. In every area and detail, modeling, fine details, glass and the interior materials.


Feature list is very high (clever) with adaptable weight and balance graph cabin seating and baggage options; Skis, Tundra Tyres, Mud Flaps, Wheel Fairings, Checklists, two Yoke options and Flat or Bubble windows.


Menus are also excellent with menu tabs in; GENERAL, LIVERY, WEIGHT/BAL, CAMERA, AUDIO/SLEW, PANEL and MISC (Miscellaneous), that covers all the options and including sound, weights and balances also including graphs, walk-around and camera options and general static elements including chocks, pitot covers, removable engine cover (with detailed Lycoming O-320-E2D Engine) and tie-downs.


Thranda always comes with a high range of clever and unique features to give the user a lot of personal options. Known as "Dynamic Generation Series" or DGS, this is a Thranda speciality feature that takes full advantage of X-Plane's flexibility for in-sim, real-time modifications. Here you can change the actual livery to your own designs, but build the instrument panel to your own liking as well, including options of the Aspen EFD 1000 glass instrument and a special 3d bezel for the insert of a RealityXp GTN 750 unit if you own that add on.


A new feature here is a standard "Molded Plastic Cover" panel, it sets the instruments in a solid form (so DGS can't be used), but it is more uniform in design... personally I like it a lot.


X-Plane 12 dynamics are simply sensational here and a level above in feel and handling with those important C172 characteristics well founded, but also notable is the excellent sound package, in being very rattly lower and loopy in higher revolutions. Note that the Thranda C172 is X-Plane 12 only, there will be no X-Plane 11 version.


Now updated to v1.1... the update includes both Float and Amphibian variants, fixed Alt Static Air knob's Dataref, and enabled WAAS in GPS units. Update is at no extra cost, and included in the package.


Negatives? more slight inconveniences. Incessantly dark, inside and with the heavy shadows, makes the C172 hard work in the dark cockpit, not excessively bright in the simulator as well with heavy shadows. No saving of current liveries and custom options, means that every time you want to fly, it can take awhile to reset everything back to your previous (custom) choices. loading custom liveries can be tricky as well.


Having the classic Cessna 172 in your virtual hanger is always a bonus, and a brilliant aircraft from Thranda Design is always a triple bonus. Hugely engineered to a high quality and all round exception detail, they are some of the best General Aviation aircraft in the X-Plane 12 Simulator...  so basically here you have the best of all worlds. Deep down though is the exceptional performance and dynamics of the aircraft that are on display here, so take advantage of those skills and use the Cessna 172M to it's most profound devices....  Highly Recommended.



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series v1,1 by Thranda Design is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: 


Cessna 172M Skyhawk DGS Series

Price is US$39.95

(Currently on a pre-sale of US$29.95)... you can save:$10.00(25%))



X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)

Windows, Mac or Linux
8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 3 GB
Current version 1.1 (September 15th  2023)
Special features:
  • Extremely high res textures (1700 pixels per meter). 8K textures.
  • Includes Land, Float and Amphibian Float Versions
  • FULLY configurable 3D instrument panel.
  • Fully VR Compatible
  • Interchangeable yoke styles: old fashioned and modern
  • Over 50 instruments to choose from! (Including Aspen EFD 1000, and support for RealityXP 650 and GTN750)
  • Move any instrument to any location on the panel, or even between pilot and copilot's panel!
  • Optional plastic molded cover for instruments
  • Comes with 4 panel presets, but can easily be expanded by moving instruments around, using a simple and intuitive interface.
  • Optional 3D light posts per instrument.
  • Lighting is fully 3D, and dynamically move along with the instruments, as you configure the panel.
  • Save your own presets, and even share them with the community!
  • Almost every instrument can be popped up or popped out as a 2D floating window! They can be placed on other monitors as well.
  • Instruments can be moved in 3D directly, on a 2D pop-up preview window, or by numerical entry for precise placement.
  • GNS430 and 530 can be swapped out, but a restart of the plane is required, as 430s and 530s are mutually exclusive in terms of compatibility in X-Plane
  • Dynamic livery editor (like in the Kodiak, the Beaver, the Wilga, the Caravan, the C206, the 337, the Islander, and the Pilatus PC-6)
  • Full PBR control! Create stunning metallic liveries, or matte, sand-blasted look in mere seconds!
  • Additional control over dirt/scratches, adjustable in real-time to dial in the exact desired amount of wear and tear.  
  • Create "virtual" liveries, based on two basic common design layouts (Modern and Classic), and assign any colour to any available paint segment.
  • Quickly create preview of livery in real-time, using intuitive controls.  Previews include visualization of metallic materials and dirt overlays. 
  • Apply selected livery in real-time, right in the sim, without the need to even touch a 3rd party image editor!
  • Option to change the tail number in real-time, or disable it altogether. (Enter a "space" instead of a callsign number to create a blank tail number.)
  • Easily and quickly create dozens of paint schemes in-sim!
  • Also includes 9 traditionally painted liveries, all visible in a convenient pre-selection preview window.
  • Ability to swap pilot/co-pilot figures
  • Uses SkunkCrafts Updater (Now also available as a standalone app).  Option to participate in Beta program, via checkbox in SkunkCrafts Updater. 
  • Excellent hi-res PBR realistic materials, featuring true-to-life plate deformation and to-the-rivet precision.
  • Fully modelled Lycoming O-320-E2D engine.
  • Windshield ice and rain effects
  • Individual functional circuit breakers.
Feature-rich elegant fly-out menu with the following features:
  • Electric tug, with in-panel controls to move forward/backward at the desired speed, and steer proportionally
  • Control over chocks, individual tie-downs, covers, internal lights, external lights, window reflections, instrument reflections, etc.
  • Option to start up running (all systems ready), or cold-and-dark, for realistic startup procedures, directly from this fly-out menu.
  • Control landing lights, strobes, beacon, and nav lights via fly-out menu
  • Detailed weight and balance manager with visual chart, individual passenger seat weight control, Lbs/KG unit toggle, CG control, external tank control, and the option to save and load configuration.
  • Multiple camera snap points, above and beyond what's available by default in X-Plane, so you can perform your walk around checks.
  • Adjust your camera's Field of View without having to go to an X-plane menu, allowing for real-time adjustments.
  • Audio mixer: individually control audio channels in real-time, so you can adjust volumes while hearing them play.
  • Slew control: move your plane around the world, temporarily bypassing flight physics.  Includes ground mode and air mode.
  • Dynamic panel control page, with a separate view for the entire panel layout preview, or a per-instrument view, allowing for fine-tuning of instrument position, as well as copy-paste function to quickly replace instruments.
  • Option to equip instruments with light posts
  • Option to fit entire instrument panel with molded plastic cover with holes for the instruments
  • Option to swap pilot and co-pilot
  • Option to select different yoke styles
  • DynaFeel panel: Dial in precisely how you wish for the controls to react as a function of speed.
Flight dynamics and systems:
  • Detailed and accurate flight dynamics and weight and balance with the help of multiple real-world active 172 pilots.  This not only gives this aircraft the proper "feel", but also accurate takeoff, climb, cruise, and landing performance.
  • Tie-downs and chocks actually keep the plane from moving, even in high winds.
  • DynaFeel: controls that simulate how strongly the control surfaces are affected by oncoming air, and how much strength would be needed to overcome these forces.  
Advanced FMOD-based sound system:
  • High fidelity, multi-track sounds with smooth, finely tuned transitions (actually having calculated the precise beat frequency for each section, to minimize "muddy" transition sounds), and amazing atmospheric effects.
  • Individual volume control over different aspects of the sound experience, adjustable in real-time (while listening to the sounds)
  • Different sounds for front of plane than for back of plane
  • Panning around the plane in exterior view yields awesome 3D audio effects, including "blade slapping" sound when view is perpendicular to prop
  • Far away sounds include aerodynamic interaction effects between front and rear prop.  At a distance, you hear overtones caused by turbulent air feeding into the rear prop.
  • Individual buttons and switches in the cockpit each have their own unique sound.
  • Engine has typical cool-down ticking sound, based on engine temperature.
  • Sounds actually give you clues as to what's happening under the hood.  
  • Outside wind intensity is affected by slip and AoA. (The more the surface area of the fuselage is hit by oncoming wind, the louder the sounds
  • Doors and windows opening, let outside sounds in



Installation and documents:  download for the Thranda_C172M. is 3Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder. Download can also be by the Skunkcrafts Updater (file supplied)


Full Installation is 5.74Gb


Documents supplied are:

  • C172M Performance Charts.pdf
  • Thranda C172M Manual.pdf
  • Thranda Graphics Settings XP11.pdf
  • Thranda Joystick Settings.pdf
  • X-Plane G430 Manual.pdf
  • X-Plane G530 Manual.pdf

There are a huge amount of Documentation provided here, not only for the Thranda C172M including performance charts, reference guides, but also X-Plane/hardware settings and custom and default avionics.


All updates are via the new Skunkcrafts 3.0 Updater


Support forum for the C172M by Thranda



Updated Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

19th September 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications: 

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.05r1 (This is a Release Candidate 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

Scenery or Aircraft

-EILY - Kerry Ireland by Boundless

-EINN - Shannon Airport by Boundless


(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


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