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Update & Review : Carenado Cessna C337H Skymaster v2.0 HD Series

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X-Plane Reviews : Update & Review : Carenado Cessna C337H Skymaster v2 HD Series

KLAL Lakeland Linder to KJAX Jacksonville (213.40nm)

"What time is it?"

"Oh about 4am"

"Where are we going at this hour?"
"Jacksonville!"

"Fine I'll put some extra fuel in the C337 and get her ready, I was a little short last time I did this run"....

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If I was going to get up and fly at 4am and do a quick 200 Nautical Miles or so then the C337H Skymaster was the machine to fly. This version by Carenado is again another small masterpiece of quality and craftmanship. I turned on the battery and turned up those lovely blue shadowing panel lights and adjusted the overhead light to get the aircraft sorted for flight...  extra fuel to 60 GALs in each one of the front and rear tanks. I had to move quickly as I am only on the battery and it may run down to much power to start the engines.

The customers were here and it was time to get them sorted, On the left lower screen there is an (O) options menu...  It opened a rear baggage door for their luggage, turned on or off the window reflections, it took away the static elements of tags, wheel-chocks and engine covers that were now needed to be removed, Opened the upper and lower doors to get them into the very high cabin and had the option to turn on or off the nice slightly green tinted windows.

I looked around and noted everyone was sorted and belted in, the doors were closed and it was time to fire up the engines. The C337H is a twin engine aircraft but with a twist. this configuration is noted as centreline, tractor or Push-Pull and in a few instances as In-Line.

I turned each engine switch separately till the engine caught, they warmed up and then settled down to a slightly noisy "Chugga Chugga" sound that is unique to this aircraft. Carenado do 3D surround sounds on the C337H and here in the early morning it felt louder than you can imagine and more realistic that I am glad that Lakeland Airport is situated away from any housing. It may however make a few souls turn over with the noise in their beds in the nearby motel.

With the engine temperatures reading normal it was time to turn on the lights NAV, Beacon (on the right tail) and strobe on. I am running HDR on here and that shows the excellent frame-rate with the Skymaster on my system, the HDR also shows off the revised v2 lighting by Carenado and brilliant it is...

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I also switch off the overhead cabin light and the two spot lights in the rear and toned down the main panel lighting to see out better, as lighting goes here it can't not be bettered... It is fully adjustable to get the very best balance of the instruments and also the dark view out of the front windows... There are a few lighting reflections but you get used to them.  Now ready to go I switch on the two lights in the nose. One is for taxiing and and other one is your main landing light, here i will use both and the ramp before me is now very well lit.

Off the brakes and the taxi is quite rapid, it can go too fast and a small pull back of the mixture levers will give you a slightly less pull, the engines however protest in going more "Kling, Kling" than "Chugga Chugga".

We line up at the hold of RWY23, waiting for an another early departure of a C172 to leave. A glance around at our passengers and they look a little perplexed with all the noise as the rear engine is only set a small distance behind them, I give a smile to my Co-Pilot in the dark as I set the flaps to 1 of 3 settings down, It is great design by Carenado by the way the flap lever moves out to the right with every flap setting, handy in the dark.

Runway clear we line up and push the throttles up for power. The C337H will track perfectly straight as the inline counter-rotating propellers give no directional thrust pull, and plenty of power there is. 75-80knts and you are off the ground and climbing easily away with that huge centre wing between the boom tails giving you as much lift as the wings. A loud double clunk!, gives the passengers another fright as the undercarriage locks up in to place.

I turn smoothly and climb manually at 800 hundred feet per minute (fpm) till six thousand feet, no loss of power even if i had wanted to use 1000fpm or more, but as soon as I reach my altitude I pulled the throttles back into the panel dials safe zones.

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Against the first light the distinctive iconic silhouette of the twin tail Skymaster started to appear. I tuned in the freq 112.20 for ORL Orlando VORTEC into the NAV 2 and tuned my heading towards the Nav-Aid. I set the AP (Autopilot) to on and sorted the heading to the VOR 2 direction and finally set the altitude to hold 6000ft. The AP on the C337H is beautiful to behold, the buttons glow green in the dark light. My passengers where now starting to come alive sitting behind me in pointing out Florida's Disney World lit up on the horizon.

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With more light the cockpit started to come alive as well. looking left and right you can now make out the superb interior detailing. The cockpit is slightly quite small but oddly tall in the rear. By looking over to my right at Orlando International (KMCO) of which I use as a visual reference guide - I note I am on course and on track over Disney World.

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I love early morning departures in X-Plane. The transition from dark to light is always a thrilling feeling and the aircraft glows in a more softer light.

The first Skymaster first flew on February 28th, 1961, and it went into production in May 1963. In 1965 Cessna introduced the model 337 Super Skymaster.This model was larger, and had more powerful engines in the two 210 hp (160 kW) Continental IO-360-C's, retractable landing gear, and a dorsal air scoop for the rear engine and then “Super” name was subsequently dropped.

Cessna altogether built 2993 Skymasters of all variants, including the famous 513 military O-2 versions. Production in America was finally stopped in 1982. If you want to by one today the average price is around US$70,000.

Maximum speed: 199 mph (173 kn, 320 km/h) at sea level : Cruise speed: 144 mph (125 knots, 232 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m) (econ cruise) : Range: 965 mi (839 nmi, 1,553 km) : Service ceiling: 19,500 ft (5,945 m) : Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)

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The ORL VORTEC is now way behind us and the Skymaster has now reached the east coast of Florida. Now it was time to turn north towards St Augustine and a re-tune of the NAV2 to (SGJ) Freq. 109.40.

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Excited noises now came from behind me as the view up the coast was spectacular, a lot of finger pointing and chattering would mean happy passengers and return business.

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The detailing on the C337H is extremely good. I wondered how Carenado could do this but in a certain light you can see the crafted separate panels that make up the 3d model, many developers usually craft 3d items in a full body, but it is in these panels that give the aircraft its authenticity.  All aircraft in the HD series has the higher quality 4K textures that give excellent quality but with a very low render requirement. At every angle the C337H is a beautiful sight as the detail is outstanding in every aspect but the 4K textures also allows for every fine detail. The highlights are of course those twin beams with those twin lovely huge tails with the wide board between them...  the detail on the tails is so perfect and right down to the rubbery aerials in the slipstream.

You get one default (White) livery and five designs Australian Westpac Coastguard, Rhodesian AF, Red, Grey and blue...

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The Skymaster's main panel is so well crafted. It does not have many mod-cons and it shows its age in design.

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There is digital engine readout and that lovely green buttoned AP. But otherwise the instruments on the pilots side are the standard six and few extra gauges for VOR navigation, the rocker switches below are mostly for lighting and main power selection. Reflections on the instruments (and the windows) are simply first rate. As the light moves then so do the reflections, and everything is highly realistic.

The Equipment stack is quite old with a COMM unit, Garmin GNS430, Collins COM/NAV (x2) and two King ADF KR87's and a KT 76A Transponder. On the Co-Pilots side there are some excellent twin engine gauges with manifold pressure and RPM. A Fuel Flow and EGT dial. The highlight on this side is the engine dials that show fuel gauges (two tanks), oil pressure and engine temperatures.

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You watch these engine temp gauges like a hawk because the rear engine has a tendency to overheat. On the very early models of the Skymaster the rear engine would quickly overheat and mostly if you had a long way to taxi to the runway. Most of the early Skymaster accidents were caused by the rear engine failing and pilots not having enough power to climb into the air with only use of the power of the front one.

You can cool the engines by opening vents on the underside at the front by the exhausts and up high on the rear fuselage. You do this via two switches low down on the panel with green lights to show they are open. The front exhausts are also very prominent with the vents closed and vibrate with a trail of a bit of smoke. The rear engine exhausts stick out from the rear bulkhead and also shake with a second trail of smoke adding more to the black cloud that is billowing from the front.


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The pedestal is excellent with six levers for the two engines (Throttle, Prop and Mix (Mixture). You can adjust either with a single lever or grab two for each selection. It is very easy to want to adjust the pitch via the trim selector (wheel). But that will just kill the Autopilot. The AP pitch adjustment is however low down on the pedestal with a roll adjustment and AP on/off switch. It is an annoying stretch down to the pitch wheel and it takes your eyes off the horizon, but there it is.

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Cabin details are excellent with two seats high for the pilots and two set low down in the rear. You can adjust the window shades in any position which is handy with the early morning sun. Roof detail has a speaker and fuel selection switches. The second menu available on the lower left of your screen is for ( C ) camera or different views around the aircraft, you can also zoom in or out by the slider.

Black Hammond Island at Jacksonville twists at the Northend into this sort of Hammerhead and my Co-Pilot points out the formation as my point to turn west inland towards KJAX.


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I drop my height to 1400ft and run parallel with the airport. Behind me the couple have noticed their Southwest flight is already at the gate waiting. I am landing on RWY06 which will require a long run west then a turn back of 180º to the threshold, soon after the first 90º turn I lower the flaps two notches and adjust my speed.


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I drop the pilots shade to help to see the runway. And drop down the gear. My passengers didn't care about the noise this time around as it unfurls out of the fuselage, Carenado have created some magnificent animation to get this action perfectly right and complicated it is. The detailing on the wheels and associated landing struts are excellent.


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Final flap selection to three and I reduce the speed down to 150knts. The C337H is great under flap, as very little pitch adjustment is needed to keep the nose level. I used the AP to land the Skymaster of which I don't usually do. But I wanted to see how the aircraft reacted when it came out of the lower end of the beam. I fact it is not bad going into the flare although I found myself going a little to fast in case I had dropped quickly off the end of the beam.

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You can see the concentration on my face as In this case I slightly floated until I smoothly dropped finally down on to the tarmac. Again I suspect that large rear wing gives you more lift than you need with its large wing area, but placing the Skymaster on the centreline was a cinch and I expected at least some polite applause from the rear passengers...


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I had to pull the mixture back a little to get a slower taxi speed and we "chugga chugged" in along the taxiway and soon found our waiting parking space and so I finally shut the C337H down. Our passengers wanted out of the cabin and to quickly grab their bags.


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With the ( O ) options I opened the doors and got the bags out of the locker. As they disappeared to a waiting mini-bus I closed up the aircraft and looked over at my Co-Pilot...

"What time is it?"

"Just after 6.30"

"So do like the Skymaster?"

"Yeah I love it... this is a really great aircraft, fast powerful and pretty easy to fly, I love any Carenados, but they got a hell of a lot right with this one"

"yeah I will agree with you on that...  This version two is excellent".

"I'm hungry... I need some breakfast, Do you know anywhere in Jacksonville open at this hour?"

"I know a famous Diner that Ian Fleming dined at while he was writing Live and let Die"

"did he like it?"
"Na, he hated it... but he was always was a fussy eater.... It was in the book"

"Sounds like my sort of a place" (laughs)

 

 

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The Cessna C337 by Carenado is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : C337 Skymaster HD Series

And is priced at only US$29.95

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Review by Stephen Dutton

31st August 2013

The v2 C337 Skymaster update is now available at the X-Plane .Org Store just check in and download the new version if you have an account.

 

The Cessna C337 is available for both X-Plane 9 and X-Plane10 (note some effects and features require X-Plane10) : Installation is to download the file (254.40mb) and unzip (371.80mb) to your Aircraft/General Aviation Folder.

 

Documentation - Is comprehensive for Versions v9 and v10

 

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Developer Site : Carenado

 

v2.0 list of changes:
-32-bit and 64-bit Mac, Windows, and Linux support.  
-Updated SASL to official v2.0.1 release, which contains optimizations that benefit from Laminar's X-Plane 10.22 release.

-Overhauled lighting system.  Lighting halos for nav and strobe lights are now more visible under certain viewing angles.
-Landing light features tightly-focused "glare" effect when viewed from the right angle.
-Nav lights have been improved for a more realistic appearance.
-Improved ground handling

-No longer has inverted fuel and oil systems. More realistic.
-Optimized "options" menu, to use less memory.
-Optimized "Cameras" menu to use less memory
-Tweaked volume knob for engine sounds ("Vol" knob on GNS430)
-Tweaked turning radius on ground to compensate for new v10 no-toe-brake-with-rudder setting.
-Adjusted trim time from centre to max for v10, as this setting, left un-addressed, will cause the same plane to take twice as long to trim.
-tweaked gauges, such as fuel and oil pressure, vacuum, etc. to conform to v10's new way of calculating "Nominal pressure/temperature" as opposed to "Max pressure/temperature".
-Programmed default camera snap points for v10 (on top of existing ones via "Cameras" pop-up menu)

2 Different .acf files: one for v9 and one for v10.
-v10 .acf features optimized objects.  Interior/exterior shading is applied only where needed, saving resources.
-v10 .acf has further optimizations to objects that don't need the background (clouds, skies) to be drawn through them, if they're not transparent, saving further resources.
-v10 .acf also protects certain textures from resolution degradation at low rendering settings.  This guarantees that the panel instruments and text are always crisp and clear, no matter what rendering settings are chosen for the sim.
-v10 .acf is optimized to make use of HDR rendering, especially in terms of lighting.  This includes spill lights, which illuminate the surroundings, coming from Nav and Strobe lights.  
-When HDR mode is turned off, care has been taken to optimize the appearance of the plane without the enhancement benefits of HDR.

 

As this review was being completed. Two great Lightning Liveries for the C337H popped up on the .Org by Tanisa.

 

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Review System Specifications:

Computer System:     
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
Software:     
- Mac OS MountainLion 10.8.2
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final)
- ExtremeSceneryMAXX
Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

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Guest Paul

Is it normal behaviour that the Garmin stays on, while the engine and battery are off?

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