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Aircraft Update - CT210 Centurion II v3.1 by Carenado + Reality Expansion Pack by SimCoders

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Aircraft Update -  CT210 Centurion II v3.1 by Carenado + Reality Expansion Pack by SimCoders

 

The main v3 updates for the Carenado aircraft were done this time late last year, this v3.1 update is not a full complete version change, but more of a tweaking in bringing the aircraft current and to update with the finalisation of Laminar Research's v10.42 X-Plane serial change.

A note that the whole Carenado range will be updated to this v3.1 version by Christmas, so check your accounts to download the newer versions.

 

As there has also been released an addon Reality Expansion Pack (REP) by SimCoders, I have included that package as part of this update review and so this post is divided into two parts with the v3.1 update first and the REP later.

 

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The CT210 is the aircraft with the retractable spindly landing gear. This gives you a very clean aircraft with just the fuselage, tail and the highset wings in profile.

 

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The Centurion II is a six-seat, high-performance aircraft with retractable-gear, and a single-engine turbo IO-520-L engine with 300 hp (224 kW) that covered the versions K,N and R and was built from 1972 to 1986. Our Review : Mini Review : Carenado CT210M Centurion II HD Series - Ver 2.0 is here.

 

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This is a very nice but tight cabin aircraft with the inside and outside detailing it delivers all the usual Carenado qualities, the main panel is outstanding.

 

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I love the blue tinged lighting, it is a really nice place to fly an aircraft, the CT210 is very well equipment wise fitted out as well. The Autopilot is a Bendix King KFC225, with the highlight of the great digital readout, which I really like.

 

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CT210 Centurion II v3.1 update

The v3.1 update is not very large but still quite significant in what it changes and delivers. First off is the KFC225 Autopilot panel now pops out for use, which is very handy on approaches.

 

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A lot of work has been done on the aircraft sounds. The linked volume to the internal sound now allows for the X-Plane's (audio) settings to transfer to the plugin-based sounds. The mute button is now also directly controlled the same way. The sounds differences are certainly noticiable in and outside of the aircraft, in being more clearer and distinct.

 

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The undercarriage gear sounds have been highly improved to match that excellent gear stowaway animation.

The main lighting in taxi and landing lights have been made 10.40+ compliant (Halo size remastered, so it doesn’t look huge on large monitors)

 

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Carenado have got the halo sizing correct, as too many aircraft now in X-Plane have blobs of light and not aircraft lighting, here it is excellent.

The Garmin 430 GPS units (Two Sets here) where installed in the v3.0 update but are still a significant feature in this aircraft.

 

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The POV (Point of View) has had a tweak change from 120 to 150, this is for multi-monitor use.

 

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Interestingly Carenado have shied away from .dds files and brought back .png textures. They note because of the .dds poor appearance, and some transparency problems. The excellent texture efficiency of the aircraft is not changed, but I agree the aircraft does look (a little) better.

Finally the flight dynamics have been tweaked and the auto-toe-brake infrastructure has been removed, since X-Plane 10.40 now has that feature built-in.

 

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The panel lighting has had some fine tuning, and very nice it is.

 

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The overhead lighting is red (above on the roof) and you can control the left and right sides of the panel lighting...

 

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Outside the lighting feels tighter and more sharper.

That covers the v3.1 update. Full changelog notes are listed below.

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You can purchase for the Carenado CT210 Centurion II v3.1 an addon extension pack from SimCoders. This extensive package will change the aircraft into a more deeper simulation very similar to the style on the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs.

 

Installation

The Expansion pack comes with a large set of files (left) that have to be inserted within the Carenado aircraft folder, I made a duplicate aircraft and noted the Expanded version REP. There is a full set of instructions provided to understand of how to set up the files correctly and what folders certain files have to changed or replaced (right). Note, this REP package is not in any way connected or endorsed by Carenado, so any changes, bugs or failures are not the responsibility of the developer.

 

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Also required are two extra plugins from the SimCoders site:

 

HeadShake Plugin - HeadShake v1.5

Xsaitekpanels (lin+win+mac+32/64) 2.46 - Xsaitekpanels If you have a set of Saitek instrument panels, this plugin will allow you interact with them. the "xsaitekpanels.ini" has to be inserted in the Carenado CT210 Centurion II v3.1 (REP version) aircraft folder to work.

Once the installation is complete you will need a key code to activate the Expansion Pack that is included in your purchase receipt.

 

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On start up you will notice an added menu to the left side of your screen, this menu covers from top to bottom:

  • Checklist
  • Walkaround
  • Tow
  • Maintenance Hangar
  • Weight and Balance
  •  

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But you can't access it?  If you try any of the tabs (except the Checklist tab) you get a warning that you can only use it if your "aircraft is on the ground and the engine is off"?

Well there is no doubt I am sitting on the ramp and I guess with the propeller sitting straight up and not moving would mean I do actually conform to the arrangement? Turn off all the electrics and I am still in a no go mode, with the warning boxes still telling me to put the aircraft in a static position?

Then I get another banner to note that my (inert non-moveable, unpowered) engine is experiencing a "Vapor Lock"? and to turn on the fuel pumps....   hummmm.

To get out of this cycle of warning boxes you have to restart the aircraft in X-Planes" startup in the "Cold and Dark" setting (operations and warnings menu). Then the side tabs will work.

 

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The banner for the "Vapor Lock" is joined then by another jolly fun alert strip in "The Engine is flooded with fuel" which is fine, but if you turn on pumps then it will be won't it?

And on it goes?  The odd thing is that the aircraft is still turned off electrically...  even the pumps? 

You can thankfully actually disable the in-flight tips on the screen by going into "Plugins" then "SimCoders.com - REP" and into "Settings" and change them there.

 

I understand what it is in this aircraft in what it is supposed to do, so don't get me wrong here in the idea to create a cantankerous old aircraft that does not live by the rules.

Note: the above notes were written in the context of my introduction to the REP package, that was ver2.0...  Since then v2.1 has fixed the issues and include the annoying you don't now need the aircraft to be in the "Cold and Dark" mode (yahoo for that) and with the main battery switch turned off you don't get the another annoying "Flood" alert. But as the images are done in the V2.0 context the alerts will still show.

You can fix the "Vapor Lock" by turning on the power and the pumps, but again it flooded the engine. To start the engine you have to close the "Mixture" Push in the throttle to "full" and crank the engine till it runs your battery down? 

The trick is to turn the pumps on and to only really prime the engine and then quickly turn them off again, and with that the CT210 will actually thankfully start, if you don't get the process right and you will lose 30 minutes of trying and flatten sixteen sets of batteries?  By this time in the standard Carenado CT210 aircraft I would usually be half way across Florida to Miami from Lakeland.

While we let the fuel slowly vaporise out of the carburettors we will look at the menu tabs...

 

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Checklist: There is three page checklist that covers : Normal Operations" - "Emergency" - "References" the pads can be moved around the screen for the best reference. Only annoying thing is that they have a habit of appearing if you are adjusting the radios.  The checklists do however pop up when setting the radios because a mouse gesture is enabled by default, the kneeboard opens when you move the mouse over the right-hand side of the screen. You can disable this in the Plugin "settings" as well.

Walkaround: The "Walkaround" tab (feature) is very good, on pressing the tab you get a map of the aircraft with the various points that you go around and checkoff your list.

 

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You not only get a checklist of what you have to do around the aircraft, but you can by pressing the buttons check each of the aerodynamic surfaces (move them) and hide the separate static elements like chocks and tie-down lines. Other clever ideas are the wear of the tyres and the removal of the pitot tube and engine inlet covers.

 

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All round it is very good (no Pun intended).

 

Tow

You can move the aircraft around on the ground by using the "Tow" feature.

 

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This is best ground tow unit I have ever used. If you have a joystick then the more you pull back or push forward increases the speed in that direction, to turn just move the joystick sideways...  brilliant.

 

Maintenance Hangar

The aircraft's maintenance and general wear and tear is controlled from the "Maintenance Hangar" tab. This gives you a popup with four top tabbed pages that cover "Engine" - "Electrical/Avionics" - "Oxygen System" - "Landing Gear/Brakes".

 

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Engine

This page shows you your wear and tear of the engine status, and very good it is too. It covers the condition of each of the six cylinders and the time in h/m before an overhaul, you can then do an engine overhaul.

Lower is the Oil status with again time h/m before oil change and type, you can top up and watch the colour change as the oil gets older.

Bottom of the page is the starter, you can fix this and considering the time you spend churning the engine to start then you fix this a lot.

Electrical/Avionics

 

Here on this tab you can see the charge left in your battery (usually not much, see above) so you can recharge to start churning again, you can disconnect the battery which is a good idea as the battery will discharge overnight if you don't. A note is that all items on the aircraft wear and are used in long term conditions, so they change and details are remembered over a long period of use and don't reset up every time you start up the aircraft in X-Plane.

 

Another small note is that when you start up the aircraft the Avionics are switched off, and you leave them switched off until the engine is running as it may cause issues with the radios, the switch to activate the avionics is on the lower fuse panel by the pilot.

 

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Part of the package is to give you guidance and warnings on operating the aircraft, It works but can get a little annoying after using the aircraft for a period and you know then what to do, a switch off option of the feature would be a welcome relief.

 

Oxygen

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Next Maintenance Hangar tab is the "Oxygen. On this page you can note the amount of Oxygen available via the number of people aboard the aircraft, and refill the tanks if necessary (On the ground). The Oxygen controls and Gauge are above your head on the forward cabin roof.

 

Landing Gear/Brakes

Wear and tear on your tyres and brakes are actually critical on this aircraft, you have to be light on the brakes as well in case you don't bend those spindly outset wheels. So braking heavily from speed is a no, no.

 

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You can see the status of the gear in the tab Landing Gear/Brakes page, your tyre wear and brake pad condition. All can be "Fixed" and repaired.

 

Weight and Balance

Final menu tab is the "Weight and Balance" page.

 

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On this page layout you can set your weight and distribution of the weight on the aircraft. There is an excellent graph to note your CoG (Centre of Gravity) and one image above is set with too much baggage to see the out of bound effect, other images note the passenger weight and different fuel weights. On the out of CoG settings the aircraft was sitting almost on its tail on the ramp so it shows the weight and CoG is correctly transferred the aircraft. You can refuel here and there is a complete summary of the completed choices.

 

In flight the Extended package changes a lot of the original Carenado settings in noted...

 

Realistic stall speeds & behavior

Realistic climb speeds

Realistic cruise speeds

Realistic Weight & Balance

Realistic taxi behavior

 

It certainly felt a little better to fly actually than the Carenado version, as I have had problems rubbing off speed even in a shallow down pitch, but in the REP I was able to get down into the 60kt - 70kt zone to make a smoother less faster (less bouncy) landing. But the headshake and extra bounce on the front wheel can bounce you up and down more than I wish too, it doesn't work well with turning front wheel either. And you can actually damage as noted the undercarriage if you are not kind to it.

 

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There is realistic simulation of alternate static air, with the airspeed indicator, the altimeter and the vertical speed indicator can introduce a reading error when the alternate static air is on.

There is a complex "Damages System" that is triggered by the pilot actions based on real world data that targets every system in the aircraft and this is to teach you how to correctly manage an airplane.

 

In the realistic realistic startup procedures and other advanced TSIO-520 Engine Simulation, it is a balance between being realistic and frustrating. I think it is just on the border of frustrating in that you will find it quite slow if you want to get the aircraft airborne quickly, in part you have to wait, sometimes too long for the temperatures to stablise, and the vapor lock and starting procedure just a little too much on the dramatic side.

No doubt the information has been gathered by a real CT210 performance data and real world operations, but the aircraft used must have been a really old cantankerous thing to operate. Certainly familiarity and use of the aircraft over a long period of time will reduce these operational matters.

 

Sounds are certainly very good, but as noted above Carenado have updated the sound package in the v3.1 release, and personally I prefer the Carenado version...  At low revs you get a lovely bass thrum and were as the REP package is more a higher dum, dum sound. At speed outside the REP version is a high very buzzy noise but the aircraft sounds nice inside at the controls. Open windows or dropping the undercarriage for great wind noise or in the walkaround you have realistic sounds if you check out the aerodynamic surfaces. So overall it is a great sound package.

 

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Summary

I starting this review with the original v2.0 version it was fraught with frustration and the REP package was just buggy, to the point this review could have been a more negative result. I left the comments in to show that a reviewer's life is not easy sometimes, and how easily a few wrong set items (bugs) can deride a result that is detrimental to the plugin and reflect on sales.

 

Thankfully v2.1 fixed the issues at hand and the REP package is certainly a great addition to the excellent CT210 Centurion II v3.1 by Carenado, however if you are a setup and go straightaway pilot, then you may find the REP package a little slow and frustrating in just wanting to fly.

For the absolute fanatical sort of person that likes the ticking of a cooling engine then the addon REP is right down your street. Certainly a good addition to the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk by AirfoilLabs as they are very similar in this disguise. 

 

The manual must be read to get the best performance and tips on using the aircraft with this package, it explains how to fly the aircraft in these conditions and what to do when you go outside those flight parameters or aircraft performance positions.

So both the CT210 Centurion II v3.1 update from Carenado and this additional REP package is a great combination together. There are certainly slight differences of if you have the REP package installed or go for standard Carenado aircraft, it in a way in the end it really depends on how you want to fly or approach the CT210 Centurion II for your simulation needs.

 

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Yes! the CT210 Centurion II HD Series v3.1 by Carenado is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here:

 

- CT210 Centurion II HD Series

 

Price is US$29.95

If you have already purchased the CT210 Centurion II HD Series then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account, log in and download v3.1 from your account.

Developer site : Carenado.com

 

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Yes! the Reality Expansion Pack for Cessna Centurion (REP) by Simcoders is now available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here:

 

- SimCoders Reality Expansion Pack for Cessna Centurion

 

Price is US$19.99

Developer site : SimCoders

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Requirements

Windows, MAC or Linux
X-Plane 10.30+  - 64 bit compatible
4GB RAM/1GB VRAM - 250MB available hard disk space 
version 3.1 (last updated November 3rd  2015)
 
The CT210 Centurion by Carenado above is required for this add-on. It will not work on other aircraft
Current version: 2.01 (last updated November 17th 2015)
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Review by Stephen Dutton

19th November 2015

Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System:  - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.42 (final)

Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini : WorldTraffic v2

Scenery or Aircraft

- KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles)

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CT210 Centurion II HD Series V3.1 change log
-Broadened FOV to 150  (Useful for multi-monitor use, where 120 didn't cut it).
-Linked volume to internal sound infrastructure (No more detached control over plugin-based audio and X-Plane internal audio. Now, X-Plane's settings transfer to plugin-based sounds).
-Created mute button, which is synchronized with X-Plane’s internal sound infrastructure
-Deleted .dds files, due to poor appearance, and some transparency issues.
-Fixed lights to be 10.40+ compliant (Halo size remastered, so it doesn’t look huge on large monitors)
-Flight dynamics tweaked (Removed auto-toe-brake infrastructure, since X-Plane 10.40 now has it built-in, and could cause conflicts with plugin).
 
Additionally, the CT210 received the following updates:
-Added pop-up autopilot
-Tweaked landing gear sound
-improved panel night lighting

 

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