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Aircraft Review : Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX XP11 by Carenado

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Car_C208B Ex_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX XP11 by Carenado

 

When Carenado first appeared in releasing aircraft for the X-Plane simulator, we were obviously very excited. Because for the first time X-Plane had access to not only one of the very top tier of FSX developers, but also their experience, quality and features of which where at the time a huge step forward for the simulator. Those first few releases however were from Carenado's back catalogue, and although good (compared to what we had at the time) they were still a little dated with their heavy (older) graphic textures. It was however in Mid-2012 that things really changed with Carenado releasing the C208B Caravan. Not only was the C208B a sensational aircraft, multi-usable but also it was a more modern version of currently released aircraft. The results of course speak for themselves as the Caravan was a sales success and not only cemented Carenado as an X-Plane developer per excellence, but also provided the way in sales for Carenado to see the results of creating aircraft for the X-Plane platform was actually a profitable exercise, the rest as they say has been one of the greatest success on both the developer and user sides in the simulator's history with a current number of around 53 aircraft in being released for the platform.

 

Carenado followed the initial release of the Caravan with an add-on to create a "Super Cargomaster" version, but in the FSX catalogue there was also an "Executive" version, but that layout was never over the years released for X-Plane, why is one of the biggest mysteries, because if you already had one of the most successful aircraft releases, then why not follow them on with more (profitable) versions? 

 

Part of the long deferral could be put down to Carenado not having a decent G1000 avionics package of which FSX had, but X-Plane at the time didn't. A project to create a G1000 avionics system system resulted in a poorly written and framerate crushing package that was neither very good or even usable. But when Laminar Research released their own X-Plane default G1000 package for X-Plane11 then the chances of releasing the "Executive" variant was always going to be resurrected, and finally here it is.

 

Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX XP11

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Header 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Header 2.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Header 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Header 4.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Header 5 LG.jpg

 

Outwardly you would be very hard pressed to find any difference between the latest updated Caravan HD XP11 series, certainly externally. The excellent hi-res textures, incredible glass (shape, reflections) metal detailing (note that amazing exhaust and nose spinner) and every quality detail is still all here and they are excellent.

 

Menus

Carenado provides you with their usual three tabbed menus on the left lower screen that can be scrollable hidden. A ) is for the pop-up window of a Garmin G3X Hybrid Autopilot which can be scaled for size. C ) Is the standard Carenado ten preselected Views, Field of View and Volume panel. And O ) is the Options panel.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Menu 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Menu 2.jpg

 

Options include the usual Window and Instrument reflections. The Static elements provided here are still quite basic with only two cones, wheel chocks and front flag pitots, engine inlet covers and tail support. Doors opening include rear passenger door and separate front nose baggage door, and there is also the choice of changing the liveries without going to the main X-Plane menu. The original Caravan had the lower "Cargo Pod" and it featured "Opening Doors", but the EX version also has the extra feature of a Liquid Ice (storage) Protection Tank. I usually fly clean, or without the extra drag (which is well modeled) of the bulky cargo pod, but many will like it.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Menu 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Menu 4.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Menu 5.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Menu 6.jpg

 

The now familiar twin highly realistic pilots do also disappear when you activate the static elements. As noted frequently now, I find this old fashioned Carenado menu very restricting, it is still an all or nothing approach, and when parking I need the chocks, but not the engine or pitot covers, and a more separate selection with a "Weight and Balance" feature are now the normal rather than these old fashioned basic element sets.

 

The cabin layout was always going to be the main differential from the utility Caravan of which I really like.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Internal 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Internal 2.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Internal 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Internal 4.jpg

 

Two forward, four seats in a club layout and a tight right jump-seat at the rear gives you a seven passenger seating layout...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Internal 5.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Internal 6.jpg

 

...  all in leather and wood trim of course, it is all very well done, but feels slightly dated in the texture detail, Carenado have done better, so these chairs must have come from the FSX version. Twin-tables are nicely animated, but the small video screens are inert and blank. You do feel for the poor soul in the tight jumpseat, it looks uncomfortable, and the panel makes it look like a confession box.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Internal 7.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Internal 8.jpg

 

Cockpit

At first glance it looks the same as usual from the front chairs I have spent countless hours flying the C208B...  but obviously it is a very different avionics layout. The Garmin G1000 avionics pack in the standard two left and right PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the single central MFD (Multi-Functional Display).

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Cockpit 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Cockpit 2.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Cockpit 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Cockpit 4.jpg

 

The white panel background is gone to replaced by a boring grey, I loved the white modern panel look, but there you go. There is a nice Garmin logo detail on power up...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 2.jpg

 

....     and the only significant panel changes are the lower backup instruments to cover Airspeed, Artificial Horizon and Altimeter, a torque dial FT-LB. the instrument and cockpit/cabin lighting knobs has been moved from the left panel to the lower centre panel (the older lighting knobs didn't actually work very well either)

All the G1000 panels pop-out as windows (resizing can be fiddly), but you can go as small or large as you wish...  the larger size display is very good for setting up your route....

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 4.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 5.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 6.jpg

 

....  but I found the knobs (manipulators) on the pop-out didn't work, so the adjustments still had to be done with the knobs on the main panel display (arrowed).

 

This is the standard default G1000 system with Standard speed and altitude ribbons with built in vertical speed are really good with the rate of turn indicator and all set within the huge Artificial Horizon with built in FD (Flight Director) pointers, as are the radio and autopilot settings in the top banner.

Insert (MAP) is switchable and with a good range, but I rarely us it.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 7.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 8.jpg

 

All lower keys access ALERTS, NRST, TMR/REF (Timer) and of course the Wind strength and direction with comes with three settings, and the same three switchable DME/GPS/VOR1/2 backgrounds with all their points shown are on the heading rose dial. I earlier found these menu driven systems quite confusing, but is now far more used to them, but however at times you can still get lost in overriding key settings.

 

Central MFD has a left side system panel that covers: Engine readout Torque, ITT (Interstage Turbine Temperature ), Prop RPM, Oil Pressure and Temp, Fuel quantity is for both tanks, RPMFuel Flow PPH (pounds per hour), Electrical Bus Volts and Battery amps. A-Ice supply in GAL and the Flap and Elevator position is noted on the right.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 9.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 10.jpg

 

 System switch will give you more data to cover including: Fuel Calculations to show Fuel Flow GPH, GAL USED, GAL REM (Remain) and can be reset, and lower is a full set of Electrical Gen Amps, Alt Amps, Battery amps and Bus Volts. The flightplan view can also be switched from WIDE to NARROW to your preferences

 

There is a lot of depth presented here in these avionic tools, but you will need to read the supplied Laminar Research G1000 manual that comes with the package to get the full total use out of these avionics.

 

The Radio panel is as usual selections set between the displays on the left, but the usual G1000 autopilot panel is missing. The Executive has however a separate Garmin G3X Autopilot panel center top of the MFD.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Instruments 11.jpg

 

Flying the Executive

Starting the Caravan with its PT6A-42 (uprated from to 675shp to 867shp in the Executive) is still an event, you press the start switch and watch the ITT pressures build until the starter kicks in with a whine. Full Customised 180º FMOD sounds are as brilliant as they ever were, with depth and detail that you expect from the Caravan.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_BNE 2.jpg

 

I am fully tanked to the brim, with a full 285.40 kgs per tank with a total 570 kgs and a 3874kgs in full fuel load and gross weight (Max weight is only 3995kg) so I am heavy for the flight from Brisbane (YBBN) to Hervey Bay (YHBA) a distance of 138nm.

 

Alert box or the Central Annunciator System (CAS) will tell you what items are normal or need attention, but without a panel manual from Carenado, it is hard to work out which switch is which... I never did find the De-Ice switch or the Alt switch (which was I think correctly set) but the CAS alerts continued?

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_BNE 4.jpg

 

These annoyances were on the original Caravan as well, so we just sort of got used to them, internally it very similar to taxi.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 5.jpg

 

I set the flaps to 15º because of the heavy fuel and passenger weight, but the setting allowed the Ex Caravan to pitch itself into the air at only around 70knts, so from then on I never set a flap setting for take off and it felt more realistic at around 110knts...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 7.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_BNE 6.jpg

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 8.jpg

 

.... Obviously I retracted the flaps as soon as I had a level flying aircraft, but I was surprised on how much pitch (get the damn nose down!) trim I needed to control the aircraft in a level flight. The Ex Caravan has been flown and assessed by real Caravan pilots, but it feels basically the same aircraft as the original version to me in feel and operations but you do have more power available and it is noticeable, and it also confers to the current X-Plane11 dynamics.... maximum  climb rate is set at 1,330 fpm (405 mpm)

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 10.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_BNE 9.jpg

 

The Caravan however has always been a spectacular, feely aircraft to fly...  that is why we love it so much. You can hide the yokes, but as they are set very low on the panel there is no need to vanish them unless you want access to the lighting panel.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 11.jpg

 

Menu driven interfaces can be messy things with wrong branches to nowhere and sometimes resetting flightplans is a messy operation, certainly when you need the pop-out and only the panel adjustment version works...  the text is too small to read, so you use a combination of both the pop-out and the panel knobs to reset a route, but it is hard work to do while flying the aircraft...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_BNE 12.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_BNE 13.jpg

 

...  then to activate the flightplan was even more palaver, with getting the route activated, OBS set and correct CDI aligned, it should work first time, but the messy approach can make it hard to activate your route...  I recommend to know your way around the menu maze and the G1000 procedures to do an action before you do some serious flying, once the procedures are noted (through the maze) it does get easier with use.

 

The Garmin G3X Hybrid Autopilot is with the top row of buttons in normal view hidden from your finger operation (you can push them not so realistically through the glareshield) so the pop-out panel is usually required... 

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 2.jpg

 

....  it is a hybid panel because on the real G3X there are no course knobs on each end of the panel, but I would rather have the course adjustment than realism, and a few quirks on the pop-out are for one the bank (limit) button doesn't show if it is on or off, so the only way to check is to use it and see if the bank angle changes, another annoyance is the VS (Vertical Speed) roll works only on large increments (around 150 ft) in adjustment, so the arrows (50ft) adjustment on the panel version is a better tool to adjust your VS angle. So overall you always focus on the panel versions of any adjustments than the pop-out panels for the finer movements.

 

The Caravan always had that cab-forward in the windscreen position, and one position I really like...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 4.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 5.jpg

 

...  the executive lounge in the cabin, it is a very nice place to be, the windows are large for great external viewing of which the Caravan excels.

 

Sounds as noted are very good, but there are again a few quirks...  adjusting the external (very loud) and internal (too low) sounds with the sound menu has no effect? and internally in the cabin some areas (mostly to the left side) the sounds disappear.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 6.jpg

 

Settle in and it is very nice place to fly up here in the Executive, you can go as high as 25,000 ft (7,620 m) (oxygen remember), a maximum cruise speed 195 ktas (361 km/h) and a range of 964 nm (1,785 km). There is a significant difference in performance if you have the cargo pod attached, and Carenado provide a full set of performance tables to cover the differences.

 

Approaching Hervey Bay (HBA) it was getting into the latter part of the day, the feeling and aircraft were wonderful. Note the excellent "Narrow" view Flightplan setting.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 7.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 8.jpg

 

Coming into YHBA on RWY 11 in the late day is a tricky business, as the low summer sun is directly in your eyes! 

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 9.jpg

 

Flaps are two stage in 15º and 30º, and they come in with quite a kick unless you get the speed right (yes you will still float). 80knts (even a bit less) for 15º and 68knts for 30º, today I want a slow approach because of the bright sunlight to find the runway as there are no aids at HBA.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 10.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 11.jpg

 

You could use the animated blinds, but I found them too dark and they blacked out too much of the approach?  So you just have to remember your instincts, plus I know HBA quite well.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 12.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 13.jpg

 

Finally I get an angle on YHBA's RWY 11...  final approach speed is around 63knts to 60knts depending if you want to flare or descend, stall is 55knts.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 14.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 15.jpg

 

I find I use a lot of rudder movement on approaches, but otherwise just use a slight flare and your down...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 16.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 17.jpg

 

....     you still have to sort of thrust up the power and get a bit of a run to make the steering turn for you, if not the aircraft won't turn around...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 18.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_HBA 19.jpg

 

....  and you need to keep that power while turning until you are facing the other direction, then lose it again as quickly, it becomes a learned trick.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_HBA 20.jpg

 

The Caravan in analog or G1000 avionics is still a great aircraft, all you want to do is refill with fuel, and just return to your original departure airport again.

 

Lighting

The Executive's lighting is average, basically it just on or off even with six adjusters

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 2.jpg

 

There are two adjusters for the text and line highlights and one for the backup instruments, but the actual G1000 displays are just bright and fixed...

 

There is some nice centre console and side console lighting, but the pilot and co-pilot dome lighting is full on or dark, even when using an adjuster knob?

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 4.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 5.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 6.jpg

 

Rear cabin is the same with five spot lights on each seat.. again on or off, gone are the days of flexible animated moveable spot lighting and individual light switches...  and missing on an Executive interior as well?

 

External is fine with the basics. Twin taxi and landing lights in the end leading edge are LED, strobe (not halogen), navigation and tail beacon...

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 7.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Lighting 8.jpg

 

...  there is however twin down service lights under the forward inner wing, which look great at night (arrowed). 

 

The Executive also comes with the excellent Librain (rain) plugin for realistic rain effects, really good here and it works on both the cockpit and cabin windows.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Librain 1.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Librain 2.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Librain 3.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Librain 4.jpg

 

Liveries

One blank and five liveries are all American registered, and all workman like, they are all not particularly exciting either, you don't get say the exciting GoTropical livery like you had with the original Caravan version.

 

C208B_EX_XP11_Livery blank.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Livery N208TC.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Livery N229TB.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Livery N275BF.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Livery N329BF.jpgC208B_EX_XP11_Livery N425FT.jpg

 

__________________________

 

Summary

The release of the Cessna C208B Caravan cemented and gave Carenado a platform for success in the X-Plane simulator. It was a brilliant and a high quality aircraft for it's time in mid-2012, it was followed by a Super CargoMaster variant that only added in to the flexibility and experience of flying a very unique utility aircraft. Carenado also released later an Executive version, but only for FSX as that platform only had access to the G1000 avionics suite.

 

So with the release of Laminar Research's default G1000 system, Carenado has finally after six years released the Executive aircraft for X-Plane, with the same seven seater club seat arrangement and that G1000 avionics suite.

 

Over the years the original Caravan has had some significant upgrades, not only for the different X-Plane versions, but also for the updated X-Plane dynamics and features, it is very good, as it usually is by Carenado, but the years have not been totally kind to the aircraft either and as updated as it is, it now has a few gremlins and quirks that have crept in.

 

This release of the "Executive" version haven't so much updated the aircraft either, it is really the original Executive with the latest X-Plane updates and in X-Plane11 performance, so yes it is very good, certainly with the default Laminar Research G1000 system, but those gripes are still there, but the Executive version also brings along some of it's own...  the manipulators on the pop-out panels don't work, and the internal lighting is a backward step with no adjustment, limited liveries, manual and average menus. Note the G1000 needs some study and practice before use to get the very best out of the system, as a lot of the great features are hidden behind menus.

 

Don't get me wrong as the Caravan C208B in any variant is an excellent simulation and well worth the purchase. Carenado deliver great quality, high detailed modeling and with this version the higher performance with a great value price, you won't certainly be disappointed with any Caravan purchase and in context it is a brilliant aircraft to fly. Still a highly recommended purchase.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________
 
X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg
 

The Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX XP11 by Carenado is NOW available!  at the X-Plane.OrgStore and directly from Carenado


C208B Grand Caravan EX G1000

 

Price is US$34.95

 

Notes:

For WINDOWS users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed (click here)

Features

  • More powerful engine of 867HP
  • G1000 GPS cockpit
 
Special Features
  • Full interior and exterior PBR
  • 3D interior and exterior with MANY details
  • Rain effect support* (dynamic drops movements with Librain )
  • Options of cargo pod and liquid ice protection tank
  • Customized FMOD sounds
  • Customized X-Plane default G1000
  • Customized CAS system
  • Default G1000 autopilot
Features
  • Full VR compatible
  • Specially designed engine dynamics for X-Plane 11
  • Flight physics optimized for X-Plane 11 standards
  • Physically Based Rendering materials and textures throughout
  • PBR materials authored with industry-standard software used by the film and gaming industries
  • Realistic behavior compared to the real airplane. Realistic weight and balance. Tested by several pilots for maximum accuracy
Included in the package:
  • 5 HD liveries + 1 HD blank texture
  • C208B EX G1000 Normal Procedures PDF. Emergency Procedures PDF
  • C208B EX G1000 Performance tables PDF. C208B EX G1000 Reference PDF
  • Recommended Settings X-PLANE 11 PDF

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11 (fully updated)

Windows, Mac or Linux
4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Current and Review version : 1.1 (Dec 26th 2019)
Download Size: 360 Mb

 

Installation and documents:

Download for theCessna 208 Grand Caravan EX XP11 is 360.20mg and the unzipped 447.20mb file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder with this aircraft version X-Plane11 only.


Documents

  • C208 Grand Caravan EX  Normal Procedures.pdf
  • C208 Grand Caravan EX  Emergency Procedures.pdf
  • Recommended settings XP11.pdf
  • C208 Grand Caravan EX  Performance Tables.pdf
  • X-Plane G1000 Manual.pdf
  • Carenado Copyright.pdf

______________________________________________________________________ 

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

7th January 2020

Copyright©2020: 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)
 

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 1Tbgb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.40

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.13 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

YBBN - Brisbane International by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free - ysfsim's  WT3 ground routes for YBBN are here

YHBA - Hervey Bay - VOZ by Barry Roberts (X-Plane.Org) - Free

 

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I would recommend you look around and read other reviews and especially some forums. Although this is a beautifully rendered model visually, it's got issues underneath. After finding it impossible to do a normal takeoff and landing, I searched around and found others having the same issues. I then came across a video on a forum where someone say at the end of the runway, went full flaps and power and basically did a vertical takeoff without ever going down the runway. I recreated this myself. The modeling is flawed. Save your money until Carenado fixes this plane. The previous non-G1000 version flies great.

 

X-plane 11.

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33 minutes ago, Troszak54 said:

I would recommend you look around and read other reviews and especially some forums. Although this is a beautifully rendered model visually, it's got issues underneath. After finding it impossible to do a normal takeoff and landing, I searched around and found others having the same issues. I then came across a video on a forum where someone say at the end of the runway, went full flaps and power and basically did a vertical takeoff without ever going down the runway. I recreated this myself. The modeling is flawed. Save your money until Carenado fixes this plane. The previous non-G1000 version flies great.

 

X-plane 11.

 

You actually answered you own question? why would you takeoff with full flap?, I review what I fly, and don't fool around and certainly don't read silly reviews.. I admit the profile is flawed, but I note that in the review...  Actually the older Caravan is now quite flawed as it is so old and I note that as well, you may also have the X-Plane "experimental flight model" switched on?

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