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Aircraft Review : Cessna 207 Skywagon by Alabeo

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Aircraft Review : Cessna 207 Skywagon by Alabeo

 

It is released as an Alabeo aircraft, but in all but name this C207 Skywagon is really a Carenado aircraft right down to its high 20 dollar price. You will remember the Alabeo aircraft as very niche and quirky, in fact quite basic but fun machines. But as Carenado has gone up market to the larger twins and small jets, Alabeo is the new old and represents now the middle ground of very good general Aviation aircraft.

 

The Cessna series 205, 206, and 207, are known variously as the Super Skywagon, Skywagon, Stationair, and Super Skylane which are a family of single-engined, general aviation aircraft with fixed landing gear. The 205 version was a six-seat aircraft that was essentially a Cessna 210 with fixed landing gear and with changes to the crew and passenger door arrangement, being officially designated by Cessna as a "Model 210-5". The 205 retained the early 210’s engine cowling bulge, originally where the 210 stowed its nosewheel on retraction. This distinctive cowling was made more streamlined on the later Cessna 206.

 

History

The Model 207 was another further development of the 206 in being a seven and later eight-seater aircraft, which was achieved by stretching the design further by 45 inches (114 cm) to allow space for more seats. The nose section was also extended 18 inches (46 cm) by adding a constant-section nose baggage compartment between the passenger compartment and the engine firewall; the aft section was extended by 27 inches (69 cm) by inserting a constant-area section in the fuselage area just aft of the aft wing attach point. The propeller's ground clearance was thankfully unaffected by the change (the nosewheel had moved forward the same distance as the propeller), but the tail has been moved aft relative to the mainwheel position, which made landing (without striking the tailskid on the runway) a greater challenge. The move gave that airplane a larger turning radius, since the distance between mainwheels and nosewheel increased by 18 inches (46 cm) but the nosewheel's maximum allowed deflection was not increased.

 

The 207 was introduced as a 1969 model featuring a Continental IO-520-F engine of 300 hp (224 kW). A turbocharged version was equipped with a TSIO-520-G of the same output. At the beginning of production in 31 December 1968 the model was called a Cessna 207 “Skywagon”, but in 1977 the name was changed to “Stationair 7”. (X-Plane Reviews, has already reviewed the excellent CT206H Turbo Stationair HD Series by Carenado so check it out)

 

Performance : Maximum speed: 174 mph (150 knots, 280 km/h) at sea level : Cruise speed: 163 mph (143 knots, 263 km/h) at 6,200 ft (1,890 m) : Stall speed: 63 mph (59 knots, 100 km/h dirty) : Range: 704.2 mi (612 nmi, 1,133.42 km) : Service ceiling: 13,300 ft (4,053.84 m) : Rate of climb: 810 ft/min (5.0 m/s)

 

C207 by Alabeo

The C207 does have that distinctive1960's Cessna feel, but it looks a little longer and more flatter (It is the same height of course as the rest of the series) by the stretch (or plugs) in the airframe. 

 

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Although the C207 was built and flown in the later part of the sixties, It again feels more early sixties than later in its design and functionality. Maybe it is its close relationship of the 206 series family which was built in 1962 that gives you that impression, to my eyes anyway it looks like an older earlier Cessna more than a later one.

 

Design wise though by Alabeo this a real quality aircraft. Overwhelmingly good in a perfect realistic reproduction of the real C207. Get close and the textures and highlighting aspects of the panels are simply first-rate. You sometimes have to step back and shake your head at the realism of these mature miniature aircraft. The detailing is simply phenomenal and overwhelmingly good. Look close and you will see a worn aircraft and a working aircraft. The panel work is spot on with every ridge and separate panel visible. close detailing includes the aerials and wing/tail static wicks are very realistic and flow correctly in the airstream (in other words they flutter).

 

Menus

The menus are standard Carenado fare. Two menus are tabbed on the lower left side of your screen with C for "Views" and O for "Options".

 

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Options include the opening and closing of the doors in "Pilots", "Copliots" and double "Passenger" actions. You have the choice of being able to toggle the reflections of the instruments and windows as well and the "Static Elements" in wheel chocks and cones are excellent. extra features include the option to have open wheels or fairings, which are so good I left them on. You can now also select your livery from the menu as well, which is a great speedy way of getting the right livery quickly.

 

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There is also the option to change the tyres from standard size to the larger bush versions.

 

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You can select ten different types of views in the upper menu, which is very handy in moving inside or outside of the aircraft. Other adjustments here include your "Point of View" and sound "Volume".

 

Internal

 

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Approaching the aircraft you notice the high level of detailing, looking inside you can see were your money goes to get and aircraft of this high quality. The cabin feels spacious compared to most GA's of this size, but that is the extra length and low passenger seats showing here. Texture detailing on the roof headlining and seats shows the aircraft its age, slightly worn but not damaged or torn, seat textures are excellent and you can almost feel every ridge and padding of the classic design.

 

Panel & Internal fittings

 

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The moldings of the panel are exceptionally good. As you fly your eyes will be caught by the different textures and details as the light changes and then reveals more different shapes and flecks of molding on these sort of late 60's one piece panels, gorgeous is one word, sublime is another. There is nice plank of wood along the base of the panel that gives the panel a quality look and the yoke is thick and chunky, you can almost feel that grip under your fingers. The roof lining is again molded in beautifully, like all the internal fittings from the padded side panels to the roof lining it is worn but all gives you that sitting in a real aircraft feeling...  it is all so real you want to touch it all and run your fingers along the textures.

 

Great blinds and window compass above with below you a central molding that houses the trim wheels and fuel tank switchgear. look above the crafted Cessna rudder pedals and and you can even see the wire and pulley system and airvent piping....  details, and more detailing. It is also great to actually see this sort of detailing at all? Early Alabeo aircraft were darker than your average African Jungle down below the panel, good to see they have lightened things up a bit.

 

Flying the C207

My usual C208 Caravan was in with a service, so the C207 was a great filler in to take a few (4) passengers to our other office at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (KOPF) from Lakeland Linder (KLAL). Our business make a fortune out of passengers leaving Walt Disney World in Orlando and driving the wrong way home?  They turn up here lost and are soon dumping their rental cars and leaving it to us to get them back to Miami.

 

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All in and with the power on and the mixture, propeller knobs right in we turn on the single key switch to start the engine...  You have to hold it for quite awhile till the churning engine catches and then some more. When it finally fires the sounds are glorious if you have a great sound setup on your computer, 3d and putter, putter perfect.

 

A bit of throttle is needed to move the aircraft and it is quite nice to taxi and to keep to the center line. Propeller torque is not that pronounced and taxi speed can easily be regulated.

 

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Even when putting on the power the torque is not the "yank the yoke" to counteract the hash forces type, I do usually with these light machines is get the rolling straight and then push in the power required gradually, than the full up (or push in throttle) power to go forward "out of the blocks" type. I found these aircraft are more easily controlled by being gentle than macho with them. At just over 100knts I pulled back on the yoke and the aircraft lifted clean and I was easily able to climb at over 1000ft per minute, The actual climb rate limit is 800fpm, but I found for the short climb to just past 500ft and then a level off to the required 800fpm didn't create any loss of power. There is virtually no wind on the downloaded METAR's so the aircraft didn't need much correction either and the C207 felt very nice straight and then into a slight right bank to head to Miami.

 

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You do notice the extra fuselage length, the aircraft is slightly heavier and more direct than the other C210. but very nice to fly if a little sedate. Sounds do change as the power goes on, they are very good but a little more buzzy in the straight cruise externally.

 

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The longer cabin and nose is certainly noticeable in the air, "Skywagon" is the perfect name, like in car terminology between the sedan and wagon variants the Cessna lives up to the same point of reference of a longer heavier bulkier rear.

 

Closer in detailing is more revealing as you can see under the aircraft at the minor details. Perfect undercarriage design and If you run your replay in fast forward mode you will notice the wheels spin naturally (slowly) in the slipstream. The suspension animation is so clever and perfect, you really don't take notice of these sort of actions, but they are there working for you. The two standard Carenado pilots get on with the job of flying the aircraft for you...  again the great head movement and animations will still get your attention.

 

Instruments

 

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The panel is a standard instrument panel from the 60's period. There is nothing here that will warrant a dive into an instruction manual. standard six instruments with VOR OBS and NDB dials, clock, suction gauge and fuel monitor gauge.

 

lower rocker switches on the pilots side are for the lighting (basic), power, extra fuel pumps and turn start key.

 

The co-pilot doesn't even get the standard six instruments, but from the top the R/L fuel gauges separated by the AMP gauge, which is great to watch in perfect operation, turn on any lights and the power amperage shows. Lower row of dials is the Cylinder Head and Oil Temperature gauges and Oil Pressure. The big instrument here is the fuel flow and pressure dial which is great to keep an eye on in flight, it works very realistically. RPM dial with built in Hobbs meter is too far away for the pilot to keep track of as is the smaller ETG (Exhaust Temperature Gauge) Gauge. Flaps...   Up - 10º - 20º - FULL  lever is lower left. This is well done and not really new in context in that when you drop the flap lever the small white plastic indicator will move as the correct position of the flaps, simple but authentic touch.

 

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Equipment stack is very general as well but still well kitted out with a GARMEN GMA 340 Audio Panel, GARMEN GNS 530 GPS unit with pop out panel (still so brilliant), KR 87T50 Bendex/King ADF, the older GARMEN GTX 320 transponder and the good KFC225 Bendix King autopilot. This piece of equipment comes with Heading, Altitude (by Pitch or by V/S) with ARM, NAV (Nav1), APP (Approach) YD (Yaw Damper) and it is a unit that is as good as it looks.

 

I am still not crazy about the "scroll" feature that comes with all Carenado and Alabeo aircraft, it works well but touchy will my one touch apple mouser. i prefer something more direct in changing the lighting and heading.

 

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Overall the panel is very functional and nice to live with. looks nice in the air as well with great instrument reflections and that old lovely worn wood grain.

 

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The roof blinds are fully functional and work very well in blocking out the direct sunlight...  all small but great details.

 

Liveries

The aircraft comes with a standard default blank white livery and five registered ones in Red, Blue, Green, Orange Brown and Red, Blue and white.

 

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All liveries are HD quality and are all very good in design (Carenado liveries have been getting boring lately) and these are a return to form.

 

A feature is that when you change the livery the registration number on the panel changes as well...  clever (but watch if you do any new repaints to only name the registration number on the livery folder?)

 

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Aircraft lighting

 

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Lighting is basic but effective. The panel has instrument back-lighting and an overhead red cockpit set of lights... extremely good at night.

 

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In the cabin there is only two spot lights and they are both non-adjustable, unlike the ones on the Carenado's.

 

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External lighting is basic with a Landing/taxi lights as one switch, standard strobe, navigation and single tail beacon.

 

Miami

I cruised actually quite high at just under the ceiling at 12,500ft as it was a clear day, but at 800fpm it takes a while to get up there and the average 135knts in speed will make the time pass slowly. But the C207 is a nice aircraft to spend time with and the high views kept the passengers happy.

 

I usually go directly out to the eastern Florida coast and then track down the coastline till level to Opa Locka Exec and then track directly inland to the runway. But today I was going more direct and didn't go out to coast as much as I usually do. With KOPF's tower an easy visual directional point I flew a totally manual approach that is easy because you use the channel waterway as a guide to RWY27.

 

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Dropping the flaps to reduce the speed only gives a slight lift if you get the speed correct. The aircraft is still very much on track and easy on the yoke and rudder and little correction is needed in nice smooth turns or alignment with the new heading, this makes the aircraft very nimble in your hands but not nervous. in other words easy to manoeuvre and track with not much effort but a nice flow.

 

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92knts approach speed felt about right, and the descent was a very slight 10º. Over the fence and you can easily set the aircraft down where you want to... but you have to be aware of the wide tri-cycle gear. The rear wheels are well spaced out apart and if you are not perfectly level it is very easy to land on one wheel first instead of the rear two at the same time. My approach was quite shallow so I carried a little speed after touching down but the aircraft soon rubbed off the the flying speed to a taxi speed without using the brakes until you were quite slow.

 

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A taxi to the office and our passengers were soon heading to their hotel rooms...  After the aircraft was shut down and secured we had a few moments to reflect on the C207 Skywagon.

 

Summary

When ever you approach another aircraft from Carenado and in this case Alabeo, your first thoughts are "well I have flown quite a few now, it would be the same I suppose" But strangely they are not. They all are in their various ways like their real world counterparts, in being the same but slightly different. There is always the feel that you are in one type of aircraft and they are not all the same. That is significantly hard to do with the same process and design thoughout this now big X-Plane General Aviation range.

 

What is hard it to get your thoughts around is that this C207 is an Alabeo and not a Carenado aircraft? In every department except for a very few small loss of features (adjustable lighting anyone) it is totally the same aircraft...  and that includes the higher price range which also smack in middle of Carenado territory. In the past Alabeo's were certainly different in every area than any of Carenado's, but here it is a wafer thin argument.

 

As that higher price range reflects. The quality and design is simply excellent, in parts overwhelmingly so in detail. Nice to fly as well, easy to manoeuvre the only aspect is that the C207 is slightly slow in speed and in its climbing abilities, but your not wanting to go anywhere very fast anyway if you like flying aircraft like this.

 

So overall this is a very nice and capable aircraft, slightly expensive but still full of value for a Alabeo, but just don't call the C207 Skywagon a...   Carenado!

 

________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The Cessna 207 Skywagon by Alabeo is now available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

 C207 Skywagon and is priced at only US$29.95

 

Installation : Download is 259.80mb that is unzipped to 318.90mb to your X-Plane - "General Aviation" Folder.

Documents : Quite a bag full, but no radio equipment manuals...  excellent original performance tables included.

 

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Requirements:

Windows, Mac or Linux
X-Plane 10.30 + 
32 and 64 bit compatible
1Gb VRAM
(last updated March 2015)

 

New advanced features
  •  X-Plane 10 GNS530
  • FPS-optimized model.
  • Scroll wheel support
High-Resolution model
  • HD Textures
  • Volumetric side view prop effect
  • High quality 3D model and textures.
  • Blank texture for creating your own designs.
  • Accurately reproduced flight characteristics
  • 64-bit compatible.
  • Plugin-enhanced

 

________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

11th March 2015

Copyright©2015: 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:     

- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”

- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3

- ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb

- Seagate 256gb SSD 

Software:   

- Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1

- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final)

Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- Bose - Soundlink Mini

Scenery

- KOPF - Opa-Locka Executive Airport 1.0 by Drankum (X-Plane.org) Free

- KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.org) Free

 

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