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Aircraft Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda

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Aircraft Upgraded to X-Plane 12 : Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda


If you want to fill a void that has been left by Carenado, then the best place to look to is JustFlight, the British based developers. Who work in conjunction with Thranda Design, and ironically also Thranda that used to do the X-Plane development for Carenado. This was in recreating a market for nice and authentic single prop, and twin-engined General Aviation aircraft. Covered by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV. A few in the Archer TX and Archer lll have already been converted to X-Plane 12, but a lot of the JustFlight stable are only still X-Plane 11.


A Twin-Engined aircraft that was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019, was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft.


The aircraft is developed out of the Beechcraft Musketeer family of single-engined aircraft family line, and at first glance you would be pushed to see any family resemblance, between the model 24 low-wing standard low elevator design to the Series 76 twin-engined high T-Tail configuration,  and an all round far larger aircraft in a 32 ft 9 in (9.98 m) to 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m) wingspan and longer fuselage 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m) to the 76's 29 ft 0 12 in (8.852 m) overall length. But get down into the parts catalogue and you would be amazed on how many of the same spec are on both aircraft. Its main rival is the Cessna 310 and other references in this category include the PA-30 Twin Comanche and the PA-34 Seneca V.


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The original Duchess looked really great in X-Plane 11, but the Model 76 now jumps out at you far more with the X-Plane 12 lighting effects, you never get used to it, it has that extremely visible realism factor in the better PBR lighting. Also notable here are that the textures both external and internal are now 8K, and used here to produce a far higher texture clarity, and you notice the difference immediately... vibrantly. Note the newer 8K textures actually use less framerate than the old double 4K textures, in the way they are produced and used here, a Thranda development speciality.


Modeling and detail was also good, but again it is all the more highlighted here (that lighting thing!) the feel is actually Carenado, not Thranda...  as with their other Cessnas and what not, that is not a bad thing, as that was Carenado's major attraction with the worn (if sometimes heavy) feel of their aircraft, or authenticity.


Get in close and you won't at all be disappointed, it's perfection here with the aircraft skin and rivets, love that wing camber at a NACA 632A415 airfoil shape, so smooth and really well done...


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At this US40+ price your expecting a lot of high end quality, and yes it delivers here in buckets, as the detailing is very professionally and expertly done, as is the excellent glass, thickly tinted and lovely to look at, it all reflects with perfection (you can turn off the reflections, but why would you).


The engine pods are also beautifully modeled, again those smooth curves scream out quality. They house two Lycoming O-360-A1G6D air-cooled flat-four engines, 180 hp(130 kW) each, and right through out the full production run 1978-1983 there was no updated or engine revisions, except for one in house turbo development aircraft.


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All the undercarriage came directly from the Musketeer spare parts bins, so it is exactly the same trailing link layout and structure, all the craftwork is expertly done in detail and animation, it is a complex gear system but fully realised here, with all the components highly visible.


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Two cabin doors open, and there is a rear baggage door, really nicely done with both external and internal door latches that work.


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Internally the layout is the same, but the materials are all very different. The X-Plane 11 Duchess had a very all grey (dull) interior design, here it is a dark blue cloth with slightly darker blue wall and door trimmings, roof is a weave texture mocha brown, with light grey walls...  lovely in style and depth of an older period...   the layout panels are actually very Carenado Bonanza, of which I love...   classy!


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Instrument Panel

The instrument panel doesn't have that 'wham bam, thank you mam" factor. that you are expecting... even if at first looking slightly flat, but get in and look at it all more closely, and the detail is extremely very well done. Dials are rusted, dusty and worn out, with plasters even stuck to the panel from past use. Instrument gauges all have faded graphics, and the lighting studs are also well worn and even rusted from use.


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As noted, if you are Carenado man (or woman), then this is heaven, a trip back into the glory days. Yokes up close are quite authentic and gloriously faded from their 70's heyday, you can hide them individually, and can also use the switch electric trim...


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Panel layout is in three layers of dials to create a deep feel of instruments...   The Standard Six (SS) flying instruments are front and centre... Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator are on the top row and the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial/Course and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. Left of the SS is a clock, backup Attitude Indicator and lower EGT (Exhaust gas temperature) needles. Right of the SS is a twin-needle Manifold pressure and below a twin needle RPM gauges, lower panel centre are two Bendix/King dials ADF (yellow) VOR2 (green) pointers driven by KR 87 ADF/VOR2 and the other is a VOR 2 / ILS indicator driven by KX 165 (NAV 2). Both heading and OBS rear dials/cards are adjustable.


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Lower panel is a Instrument air (vacuum) gauge and electrical starting and lighting switchgear with the neat gear knob. Top panel left is the label NAV 2 over the clock, very weird?


Twin (engine sets) of six rows of gauges are centre panel, with from top:  Fuel L&R quantity gauges, Fuel pressure gauges, Oil pressure gauges, Oil temperature gauges, Cylinder temperature gauges and Alternator load meters with Alternator-out under/over voltage warning lights inset (are beautifully done). Top of the gauges sits a DME indicator which displays range, ground speed and time to station for NAV 1 or NAV 2 frequencies.


An outside air temperature (digital) matches the manual pressure left window type, and a Hobbs hour meter is far right. The circuit breaker panel is active and can be used and is noted in the twin-bus layout of BUS 1 and BUS 2, it is very good and highly authentic in use. Flap lever and display are below the avionics with 0º - 10º - 20º - DN settings, but the flaps are not section driven, but are continuous in operation and so the degree markers are for display only.


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There are no instruments for the right seat pilot/passenger with the equipment stack dominating the area. Avionics stack is the usual Bendix/King KMA 28 TSO radio top which is above the GNS430 below (the Reality XP's GTN 750 unit can also be fitted, but this is an addon extra and costs you another $49.95)

There is a really nice Bendix/King KT 76A transponder unit with a Bendix/King KX 155 COM/NAV 2 radio and Bendix/King KR87 ADF radio receiver bottom.

Top far right is the Century IV autopilot which is (speaking to the passenger) "can you press the second button the top row, thanks very much" as it is located pretty in being well as far away from the pilot as reachable possible (there is thankfully a pop-up panel), and below is a WX-8 Stormscope.


Twin Throttle levers, Propeller control levers (feathering on both 2-bladed Hartzell 7666A constant speed propellers does work) and Mixture levers are all excellent and well worn and feel nicely authentic to use. Note... unless there is power on, the feathering won't work.


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Pitch trim is situated between the seats and is well done, but requires help in key settings in a simulation environment (electric trim is available on the yokes), fuel levers are really nice as are the engine vents that can be opened, closed or set half way....  fuel crossfeed is active and the (working) Carb heat is here as well.


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Note how the passenger seat is offset to the pilot's, a nice authentic touch.


Internal Lighting

Both internal and external lighting is still quite basic...  panel has only two adjustments for instruments (noted as "Post Lights") and Instrument flood.


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But you can find that nice night time flying lighting sweetspot. However the worn graphics engine readouts look like early washed out X-Plane 2d panel, and they have no depth, but otherwise the panel looks good. Overhead light (and red torch) selection STILL does NOT work? so that gives you a very unusable dark cabin?


External lighting

Again very basic, even poor. The main wing and taxi lights are dull, and are missing their usual Thranda sparkle. Navigation lights (Red, Green and rear White) are fine, as are the wing strobes.


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The Menu system is all changed for X-Plane 12. Gone are the side tab and the generally average looking tab menu. Here it is replaced by an iPad style tablet, stuck to the left window...  But you do have options, as the tablet can also be placed on either yoke and windscreen right...


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You can pop-out the screen as a window as well...


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...  the tablet is also adjustable (movable) via the hot-spot, top frame. But because of it's size and shape, the view-point is not really square or head on, the yoke position is better, but now also situated lower in your eyesight. It's too far away as well for any detailed inspection and use.


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But the new layout and art does look far more modern, making it far nicer to use than the old version.


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The earlier version had eighteen tiles for selection, here it has been reduced down to twelve...


Top row : Aircraft Options, Weight & Balance, Instr Options, Engine Config, and Static Liveries

Middle Row : Configuration, Log Book, Checklist, Ground Handling and Dynamic Liveries

Bottom row : Flight Computer and Avitab (Plugin required)


Aircraft Options: Covers the three doors; Pilot, CoPilot and Baggage Door (Open /Close), Window and Instrument Reflections, Cockpit Lights, Ground Equipment, Swap Pilots and Altimeter (IN.HG/MB)


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Open (close) doors are as seen before...


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Cockpit lights, just turns full on the Instrument Lighting? but could have been more useful if used for the (missing) cabin light?


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Ground Equipment is as terrible as the earlier set up. A single option to add in a ground puller on the front wheel, chocks, tie-downs and to hide the pilot, it still does not work? The puller does not work (neither do the tie-downs) if you just want to park the aircraft after a flight. No tags or flags and engine inlet covers are here either, and even a windscreen cover would be nice?


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Dan Klaue and his wife turn up as your pilots, and basically they are same two animated pilots as in the Thranda Aircraft, by the menu option, you can swap the seat position of the pilots.


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Weight & Balance: The weight and balance window is very good, if basic to look at (it is the original W&B window). It comes with adjustable weights for all four passengers, and baggage, fuel can be set here also as can the change from kg - lbs. There is the option to load the Aircraft "Half" or "Full" tanks.

A full list of weights, CG and a large graph of your settings are all very helpful into balancing the aircraft. Press "Save Configuration" to save your preferred load setup, and "Load Configuration" to set up the aircraft.


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Lowering the Co-Pilot weight will make Him/Her disappear, but there are no passengers if weight added in the rear, or any bags added to the baggage area, such is shrinkflation today. You can open most pages into a "Window" via the arrow logo right top.


Instr Options (Instrument Options) include two pop-ups for the GNS 430 and the Century IV (autopilot).


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The old "Refill Menu" has been changed here to the Engine Options; this allows you to view the fuel and oil status as well as the status of spark plug fouling and Vapour Lock, and you can also recharge the battery if it goes flat, of which it does with regularity.


Static Liveries; You can rotate through all the liveries with the Model 76 via the Static Liveries menu. An option here (new) is that you can adjust the Dirt (dirtiness) between 0-100%.


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Configuration: Here you can change the aircraft configuration, and there are three options; Engines Running (power up to flying mode), DynaFeel and the tablet (screen) Brightness.


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"DynaFeel" 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. If you fly Thranda Aircraft, then you will be familiar with the system.


Logbook: This icon brings up the X-Plane standard Logbook. 


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Checklist: There is a 27 page checklist that you can tick off...  very good, but even though there is a "End of the Checklist" tickable box, it doesn't oddly reset all the boxes to a reset...  that is a return of 27 pages and an average of twelve boxes per page to untick, so you do the maths...  

Ground Handling: All JustFlight menus have odd useless tools, here is one...  the X-Plane "Ground Handling" tool, for "Pushback" and "Request Ground Service"? It's a GA, not a Boeing 737.


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Dynamic Liveries: Here is another Thranda feature now available on the JustFlight Series. Thranda introduced a clever feature of a way to design your own livery called DYNAMIC LIVERIES.


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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 blue) is shown in the square. You can also separately change the aircraft registration number, the Beechcraft logo can be added as well. Another option is that changes can also be made to the Metal or Rough surfaces, this can be applied to any of the liveries.


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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 Beechcraft is in your own nice livery design...  


Flight Computer: The flight computer panel provides a wealth of information that is very handy in flight, with highlights including OAT (Outside Air Temperature), GS (Ground Speed), range (available), endurance (time), and FF and used fuel flow, Winds....   fuel burn can be reset. Units can also be changed from Metric to Imperial..


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AviTab: The AviTab tool can also be used, and with Navigraph charts, if you have an account. There is no tablet rotation from landscape to portrait, and to get back to the main menu, you press the right centre section of the frame.


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Missing from the earlier options are the Sound Panel and the Flashlight.


Flying the X-Plane 12 Duchess Model 76

You have to prime the engines via a button in the middle of the starter switch before turning the starter switch, but it is a bit of a trick on how long to hold the primer button and not to flood the engine, not a lot I believe...  engine starts are excellent. But I found several times the No.2 right engine has a tendency to foul it's plugs far more than the left one, if it does it is tricky to even hell to restart it again.


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The Model 76 taxi's like an older Carenado as well...  You have to adjust both the Propeller and Mixture right low to get yourself a lower taxi speed, if not, even on idle the taxi rate is too fast. I'm used to this caper by now, but I don't remember the X-Plane 11 version having such a high throttle idle?


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The Hartzell constant speed propellers are counter-rotating, turning counter clockwise engine left and clockwise engine right, this is to balance the aircraft's thrust and it is very helpful on takeoff, keeping you clean on the centreline. With no set flap degrees you can set the angle that you want, here I go for 5º to create lift, but with as little drag as possible....  the flap display can be hard to see at this distance, harder to see and set on landing.


You do adjust each throttle (slightly) to absorb the different engine performance...  but that felt highly realistic.  Around 95 knts and your climbing out.


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Climb out is around 1000 fpm (Feet Per Minute) and that is a nice number here, officially the rate of climb limit is 1,248 ft/min (6.34 m/s), so you are using the climb to maximum effect, it doesn't feel like there is any strain on the engines or the aircraft.


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The memories come flooding back...  this is such a smooth Twin, super-smooth with tons of power. First climb is to 6,000ft, then Trim out... nice to trim and settle the aircraft. The electric Trim won't work unless you turn it on, on the panel behind the Yoke. Then you get the two up/down arrows on the Yoke trimmer button for trim adjustment.


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Same with the Autopilot, there is another panel switch for power, then another on switch on the Century IV panel...  it's very hard to read (certainly with the bright daylight), so the AP pop-up is the recommended tool to use it most of the time...  ALT will hold your current altitude, but to climb or descend you then press ATT and then set your pitch, you click and don't scroll the buttons to change the aircraft's pitch. The ATT setting can also be used just to hold your current pitch if you like that angle or rate of climb, so the AP is again very easy to use.


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Now we settle-in for the 2h 30m flight to Portland, if any aircraft is very capable, it is the Duchess.


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The Beechcraft looks extremely nice in the air, certainly in it's X-Plane 12 guise, realism 101...  checkout ot the underside, fabulously done, remind you of anything? yes those dirty Carenados.


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Then then also remember to use the EGT needles, the yellow needles represent the best lean to rich mixture for the best fuel flow and hence performance, so you adjust both the throttles and the mixture levers to achieve your golden lean setting....   it works fabulously, and I learn't a lot back in the time on how to "Lean for Speed". Here the mixture levers are really well far back, almost at the engine cut-off point, but the speed is good, and you feel no loss of power.


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Cruise speed is 158 kn (182 mph; 293 km/h) at the best at 10,000 ft (3,000 m), Range is VOR busting 780 nmi (898 mi; 1,445 km) and the Service Ceiling is a generous 19,650 ft (5,990 m).... I need that height here as well? what is it if you fly North on the West Coast of California, as you always seem to be climbing, I'm finding I'm already up to 9,000ft, but those ridges are still close?


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It is a nice place to be in is the Duchess, the quality environment is absolutely first rate, a genuine feel.


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Now descending into Portland, I checkout the Flight Computer numbers, very handy and informative...  good tools are always a help.


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One thing has been enforced during this newer review of the Model 76, and that this is a nice easy aircraft for learners and it comes with a nice stable platform to practise on, yes the 76 is an easy aircraft to fly, but the pro's will get it as well...  and love it as much as there is also a great built in depth in there, certainly even better now in X-Plane 12.


Sounds are excellent, they should be at this price, but overall and right through the engine ranges, startup and shut down, you will not be disappointed. The sounds cover the full stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill, and different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle...   It's a very noisy aircraft as they are first rate and also upgraded to FMOD2.


Set up and went into the approach of Portland Intl Rwy 10R. Tricky into getting right is the Flap setting...  The JustFlight Duchess as noted uses a continuous movement flap selection...  It's hard, because of the angle and distance of the flap dial, worse on this approach as the flat glass on the instrument was washed out, so the setting was a bit of a guess, or feel. Secondly it takes ages to get to the full 30º (DN) setting, extending and retracting, so you think you are there, then look and see it is only half-extended? They are seriously noisy as well, thrumming high noise in the aircraft.


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With the gear down you can see the excellent lower detail, it's impressive is this JustFlight.


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90 knts full flap is a nice approach and losing height of around 200 fpm speed. You have to be careful not to get too nose down on the approach, so the right trim setting and throttle position is vital. Pitch adjustments via the throttle is excellent, but also sedate, so you have to anticipate where you want your speed and pitch angle before you get there...  it's a bit of a trick, but it comes to you with the regular flying of the Model 76. Final approach is 80 knts, then you need to get that nose up to flare.


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The trick (there is always a trick), is to find that throttle sweet spot, so the Duchess has a slow speed landing, but not a lot of loss of lift, the margin is small, but findable, so doable. The timing of the final pitch still however has to be perfect in the flare, to early and the 76 will slightly float...


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Once all down, it should be at around 73 knts, then you just run out the speed down to the taxi speed, again the right propeller and mixture lever settings are important to get right before you land, to get the transition to taxiing correct. Stall is 60 knts and lethal, you will just fall out of the air because of that high T-Tail effect!


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There are seven liveries provided (PAINTED LIVERIES) (down from eleven), and two of the liveries are noted as "DynamicLiveryResources" and "ZZTEMPLATELIVERY", these are the currently selected "DYNAMIC LIVERIES".


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A Twin-Engined aircraft was released for X-Plane 11 in April 2019 by JustFlight and Thranda Design, this was the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76. It was a very nice twin, and now here it has been extensively upgraded to X-Plane 12, note this is an upgrade, and earlier purchasers of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% discount off the new Duchess X-Plane 12 aircraft.


Covered also by JustFlight/Thranda has been the Archer TX/LX, Archer lll, Warrior ll and the Arrow lll/lV, but this Duchess 76, is the only big twin-engined aircraft of the series.


The X-Plane 11 version was an excellent aircraft. But this rejuvenated version for X-Plane 12 is far, far better again, but a few quirks still however remain.


Highlights of the changes are the new 8K textures, and the far better PBR effects, and this creates a far more quality exterior and interior. First glances say, old and tired, but on a closer inspection, it will cry out authenticity and a very high quality.


The aircraft comes alive in X-Plane 12, highly realistic and gives you a very high quality twin for X-Plane 12. There is also a new menu system, as replacing an old tab system, and it is a quality iPad/tablet, that can be positioned in four different places. Besides a few of the original tabs and pages, there are also three new added features directly from the Thranda Design stable, with now the "PAINTED LIVERIES" function, the build your own livery feature of "DYNAMIC LIVERIES" and the "Dynafeel" tool. Performance, physics and handling have also been highly improved to X-Plane 12 standards, based on real-world performance and handling data (two real aircraft G-BZRT and G-GCCL were used as collation).


But the odd quirks oddly remain? The poor Static Objects are still a one click nothing. No cabin lighting is still another odd omission, and the external taxi/landing lights are non-existent in brightness and feel, and you still get the very odd tab and useless elements like the X-Plane Ground Handling? and Logbook?... fillers only. The checklist is another oddity, with 27 pages of checks, you can't uncheck in one operation.


When coming back to this JustFlight/Thranda Duchess 76, my thinking was "Why didn't I fly this excellent aircraft more, since the 2019 release as it was so good". In most cases you usually have an easy answer, but not with the Duchess, as it is a very fine aircraft in every area (except for separate chocks and covers). It is also in that high price range of US$40+, and that is fine as the aircraft does deliver exceptional quality, but now even more so in the X-Plane 12 environment.

It is excellent, a lovely aircraft, that even the most novice pilot can fly and enjoy...  overwhelmingly the main thing about the Duchess 76, is that it brings back into your hangar, something you felt you had lost, Carenado authenticity and feel. So it's like going back ten years but still having all the mod-cons that X-Plane 12 provides as well, a brilliant combination of the very best of both worlds....  Highly Recommended. 



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the Beechcraft Duchess Model 76 by JustFlight Thranda is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Beechcraft Duchess Model 76

On sale: US$42.99



X-Plane 12  (not for XP11)

Windows, Mac or Linux
8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download size: 2.2 MB
Current version : 1.0 (January 31st 2024)
Owners of the Duchess XP11 can get 10% the new Duchess XP12.
Installed in your X-Plane Aircraft folder 2.44 Gb. Authorization on startup is required.
AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
  • Duchess Model 76 ODM X-Plane manual.pdf
  • Duchess Model 76 X-Plane manual.pdf
  • EULAstandardcommercialandacademic2019.pdf


JF_Duchess_76 - Manual 1.jpgJF_Duchess_76 - Manual 2.jpg


Design by JustFlight/Thranda Design
Support forum: JustFlight Duchess 76


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 12.09rc5 (This is a Release Candidate review).

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00

Scenery or Aircraft

- KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00

- KPDX - Portland International Airport 1.5 by Mister X6 (X-Plane.Org) - Free Download



Review by Stephen Dutton

4th February 2024

Copyright©2024: 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


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