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Quick Flight Review : AeroCommander Shrike 500s by Carenado

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Quick Flight Review : AeroCommander Shrike 500s by Carenado


I am doing a quick flight in the new AeroCommander by Carenado to sample the aircraft and get a feel for it. This is the second AeroCommader in a month with another version by Nimbus that was released in September, like Hollywood movies aircraft in X-Plane do come in twos. This is not a direct comparison, because in reality that is not fair to either developer. The Carenado version is more expensive and comes from the very highly regarded studios that has one of the best track records in X-Plane for extremely high quality and the sheer functionality of their aircraft. A new aircraft developer would be put in the David and Goliath position in comparison. But I will make a few notes in the summary.


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In reality this AeroCommander from Carenado has been a long time coming to X-Plane as the FS version has been available for quite a few years, but here it now is, and it was certainly worth the wait.


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The quality of the modeling is excellent, but this "Shrike" version which was basically just a company name change more than a distinctive version, and was related all the Piston-engined versions that were manufactured after 1967. This Shrike however is one dirtied down worn out stunner.


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The throaty engine sounds hit you as soon as you put up the throttles, and the aircraft was so stable that only a few hundred feet above the runway I could already do a nice curved turn and head north. There is plenty of power and the rate of climb is 1,340 ft/min, but you feel you can easily do more than that, but I will be kind to the old bird.


Powered by two Lycoming IO-540-E1B5 air-cooled flat six piston engines developing 290 hp (216 kW) each, the aircraft looks heavy and you expect it to be heavy, but actually it is quite nice and even really easy to fly.


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First view of the cabin is...  its buggered!, old, dirty, worn, tired and even rusty!  Thank god we don't have smell-o-rama in X-Plane because this is one aircraft that would stink!  But you love it all because it is all so real.


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There is an animated foldout table that seems to have come off better than its surroundings, this is a great cabin.


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Panel is quite basic, but the instruments are so beautifully detailed and nicely lit. Engine dials put the two engines on one gauge. But there just really the standard six instruments, a clock and adf pointer on the pilot's side, missing is a VOR 2 pointer which still has the lower readout of speed and distance, but no pointer is hard for distance or state traveling and lining up airports and runways. The Co-Pilot has to with only three dials in airspeed, artificial horizon and altitude.


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Note the worn tired control column (removable) as both are beautifully done, and the carpets are so threadbare. I like the way the yoke covered control links are done across the floor, small thing but realistic.


Centre pedestal is extremely well rendered and built. The sets of twin throttles, propeller pitch/feather and mixture levers are a treat to use and more so to look at. Lower are two Alt Air levers that are well crafted.


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There is a Garmin GNS530 GPS unit, that pops-out, Bendix-King KR87 ADF unit and two Collins Comm and VOR/NAV 2 radios.


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The overhead panel is really two units, with one the lower switch strip panel for lighting and start switches, and the upper panel is for the excellent chunky rudder and elevator wheels (Pitch is on the pedestal). The splash panel lighting is very good, but can be over bright and you need to find the right adjustment. Two spot lights are switchable.


There is a very basic Century lll Autopilot system. The panel pops out for ease of use, which is handy because the panel is in two parts with one the selection dial that is positioned far right panel and the main switches are upper left panel. Ease of use is the game here...  roll switch and knob to turn, heading, altitude (hold) and pitch with adjuster wheel. Very easy and very effective. The Century lll is noted as an original installation in all AeroCommanders.


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Internal lighting is excellent. As noted you have to balance the front overhead panel lights to get the best feel, but you also have two spots for each of the pilot and co-pilot, and four spots over each seat in the cabin...  feeling inside at night is of comfort and warmth.


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The cabin looks brilliant from the external view as well...


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Beacon, Nav and strobe lights are good. There is no taxi light, but only two drop down landing lights, but they are very good to use as the taxi light.


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Flap drag is brutal! So you have to know your correct speed zone to let out on the step down, but in the final flap setting the speed can then be a touch over 60knts and the aircraft transforms itself into a stable slow platform to land the Shrike pretty right on the money of wherever you want too. The Commander is so good in this condition as your approach speed is so low and controllable...  love it.


Gear animation and the view from the cabin is brilliant.


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No reverse pitch thrust, but who cares as the speed is just a little faster than running....


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There is the standard three Carenado menu tabs on the left lower part of your screen.


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A ) is the Century lll Autopilot

B ) Carenado Views, including Field of View and Sound volume

C ) Options, including Window Reflections, Instrument Reflections, great static elements including tags, bollards and engine inlet covers, Small baggage door, Pilots door and passenger door.


Close up the detailing is really excellent on the Commander, but it is a bit of a squeeze for the passengers to get into the cabin under the wing.


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Note the excellent undercarriage construction, up close it is mind-bending good, the stowage animation is very good as well and you get a front seat view from any of the seats in the cabin on the replay as seen above.


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Liveries include one blank white, three American registered, one Canadian and two Australian in a nice private and customs versions.


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Pretty hard to fault this excellent AeroCommander, if X-Plane users had to wait a little longer then the wait was certainly worth it.  It covers almost every area with ease from the sheer quality including shiny fuselage and spinners, to the grubby interior and wear and tear. Sounds are perfect as well and in 3d, and it has a nice throaty roar that isn't as whiny as a lot of Carenado's can be. features are good and plentiful and so is the lighting, and as a handling aircraft it is easy but with great feel at the same time. Autopilot is simple to use and effective.


Only a few negatives in no VOR 2 pointer, which I feel is important on these types of aircraft, and the manipulators are doubled-up and can be tricky to use and messy if you need to change something quickly.


This is only one quick flight and a few impressions, but it passes the "I really love it" statement with ease, so can you compare this Carenado version with the Nimbus one?


Well for one they are very different and prices are different as well, the Nimbus gives you great value at US$27.95, but the Carenado is cheap at US$32.95, were I would have expected it to be in the US$35.00 range easily for what you get here, so this AeroCommander is a great deal as well.


If you love these commuter aircraft then the AeroCommander Shrike 500S needs to be in your hanger, it is a really lovely aircraft, a new favorite aircraft of mine...  yes indeed it goes straight to the top of the list.




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Yes! the AeroCommander Shrike 500s by Carenado is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here :

AeroCommander 500S SHRIKE HD Series


Price is US$32.95


Features Include:

  • Original 500S Aero Commander autopilot installed
  • New and improved multi-function scroll support
  • Volumetric side view prop effect.
  • Default X-Plane GNS530.
  • HD quality textures (4096 x 4096)
  • 350 pixels / meter textures
  • Custom audio plugins with extra effects for added realism
  • 3D gauges
  • Original HQ digital stereo sounds recorded directly from the real aircraft
  • Customizable panel for controlling window transparency, instrument reflections and static elements such as wheel chocks and turbine inlet/exhaust covers.
  • Realistic behavior compared to the real airplane. Realistic weight and balance. Tested by real pilots.
  • Realistic 3D night lights effects on panel and cockpit.
  • Individual passenger 3D reading lights and numerous HDR lighting effects.
  • Dynamic loading/unloading of 3D parts and plugin logic for FPS optimization     




Requirements :

X-Plane10.0 + (any edition) - 64bit mode
Windows 7+ (64 bit) or MAC OS 10.8 (or higher) or Linux - 64bit Operating System
3 GHz processor - 8GB RAM - 1Gb+ VRAM - 2Gb VRAM Recommended
Windows users: Please ensure that you have all the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables downloaded and installed.
Current version: 1.0 (last updated Oct  24th 2016)



Installation : Download is 501.70 mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane Fighter folder at 544.00mb. Key authorisation is required.

Documentation : includes


  • 500S Emergency Checklist PDF - 500S Normal Checklist PDF
  • 500S Performance Tables - 500S Reference PDF
  • 500S Autopilot Operation PDF - Recommended Settings PD



Quick Flight Review by Stephen Dutton

25th October 2016

Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global v10.50

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

Plugins:  Headshake by SimCoders (free)


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Thanks Stephen, nice quick flight review as always.


I love weathered aircrafts in general but here I have a problem: the weathering of the panel and interior is really nice but absolutely not in phase with the absolutely perfect fuselage painting.


Another thing, I still don't know what to do: purchasing from Nimbus to help them to take-off (nice features overall) or purchasing to Carenado and secretly hoping that SimCoders will release a REP package for this marvelous bird :wub:



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Me too, tough decision between Nimbus and Carenado, but I opted for Carenado in the end. The detailing on the centre pedestal and cabin areas clinched it, but it was close. 

I always try to support newcomers, but the Aero Commander I wanted to be right, and experience said Carenado will likely deliver. 

The externals of most aircraft are kept clean, tidy, and shiny, but I agree that some grubbiness would add to the character. Cabins are often pretty worn, and I quite like them worn, and in this regard the Carenado won me over again over the Nimbus. 

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