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Aircraft Review : Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C by Aerosphere Simulations


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Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C by Aerosphere Simulations

 

Over the last few years the biggest aircraft category in the X-Plane Simulator has had a bit of a decline. The cause was two dimensional, one was the drawback of Carenado/Alabeo from the X-Plane simulator after Thranda Design decided to pursue a different developer direction, but two was also the fact the category had been saturated with almost every conceivable General Aviation (GA) variant possible over the last decade. In GA now there are only a few developers actively developing the so called classic Piper, Beechcraft and Cessna models.

 

One is VFlyteAir whom have also been quiet lately, and the nice collection of Just Flight Pipers. Another developer are of what you could call an X-Plane "Classic" developer is Aerosphere Simulations however are still pumping out with regularity with nice if quite modest General Aviation aircraft. A few months ago it was the PA-32-260 Cherokee Six B, and here is the little brother in the PA-28-180 Cherokee C.

 

The "C" model is signified by it's square-cut windows and the iconic “Hershey Bar” wing. The “C” variant also has a four cylinder carbureted version of the Lycoming O-360 that produces 180HP and is equipped with a two bladed fixed pitch propeller. Notable is the aircraft variant has the "Push-Pull" throttle and Mixture controls instead of the earlier lever quadrant and in creating more space cabin forward. This 180 horsepower variant had an empty weight with an autopilot of 1270lbs, and a gross weight of 2400lbs and resulting in a useful carry load of 1130lbs. And the basic Cherokee is not to be confused with the Archer, which had a longer fuselage. The Cherokee 180 was first certified on 3 August 1962.

 

PiperCherokee C_Head 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Head 2.jpgPiperCherokee C_Head 3.jpgPiperCherokee C_Head 4.jpgPiperCherokee C_Head 5.jpg

 

Aerosphere could be classed as a "Classic Style" developer. Up front there is none of that nonsense of popup features or even a menu. So don't go looking for items like static elements, removable panels, detailed engine, fuel cart, weights and fuel etc; as there isn't even any chocks to stop the aircraft rolling away. The Aerosphere 180 is however VR (Virtual Reality) friendly, and has FMOD sounds.

 

Only external animations are the main right cabin door (latch only works from the inside), and the large baggage store area (behind the rear bench seat) door, that has a set of non-usable chocks and some spare engine oil set inside.

 

PiperCherokee C_Head 6.jpg

 

Modeling could be noted as "Classic" as well...  The polygon mesh is quite large, hence the visible lines on curves, overall the modeling is not bad and the Cherokee shape is well done, but don't go looking for the ultra mesh detailing that is common today...  hence the dated feel.

 

PiperCherokee C_Detail 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 2.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 3.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 4.jpg

 

The detail however is saved by a lot NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping which is really quite good...  all the panels are visible as are the sunk and raised rivets...  best detail is the tail and wide rear single elevator that are nicely detailed to bring out the metal strengthening  aspects of the panels. minute detailing is a bit average, notable in the wingtip lighting assemblies and leading edge vents.

 

PiperCherokee C_Detail 5.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 6.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 7.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 8.jpg

 

Wing chord shapes are not bad either. The wheels are all covered by large fairings which can't be removed. The internal side of the wheels in detail is not very complex either, so there is no authentic high detailing here.

 

PiperCherokee C_Detail 9.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 10.jpg

 

The cockpit glass feels thin, and not heavy as you would find on a sixty year old aircraft, there are no scratches, wear or dirt to give it a more aged old feel... it is all simply clear, but nicely shaped for the front windscreen.

 

PiperCherokee C_Detail 12.jpgPiperCherokee C_Detail 13.jpg

 

The highlight is the nice twin-blade propeller and chrome spinner, which is a McCauley prop. The starter ring can be seen as well which is a nice intimate detail.

 

PiperCherokee C_Detail 11.jpg

 

Cabin

The cabin could be described as "Late 50's Country", with it's light tan and woollen tartan inserts. Don't expect any comfort, they are as flat as they look with ribs, and again feel dated. But the dated feel is correct for the period. Under seat frame is nicely done, and the wheel puller affixed to the rear bench seat is a nice touch.

 

PiperCherokee C_Cabin 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Cabin 2.jpgPiperCherokee C_Cabin 3.jpgPiperCherokee C_Cabin 4.jpg

 

Rear seat baggage area is huge, and feels like wasted space, the cabin roof detail is however very nice.

 

PiperCherokee C_Cabin 5.jpgPiperCherokee C_Cabin 6.jpg

 

There is a full animated pilot that moves in all directions, pitch, roll and rudder yaw, not exactly the most human like model (more like a mannequin), but it is a fair go I suppose.

 

PiperCherokee C_Cabin 7.jpgPiperCherokee C_Cabin 8.jpg

 

Instrument panel

There is no doubt were all the attention and detail work on this Piper 180 C has been focused on...  the instrument panel.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Instrument 2.jpgPiperCherokee C_Instrument 3.jpg

 

The molding and quality instruments are very authentic, but like in a new Cherokee 180 C, not a 55 year old Cherokee 180 aged sort of way. So there is no cracked facia, foam spewing detail or weather worn faded areas, there is however a nice bit of gaffa tape keeping the panel together over the avionics. Notable are the very nice reflections on the instruments, it gives the panel a very realistic feel.

 

The authentic yokes are very nice with well done finger grips on the rear. Again though they both feel new, more than aged or worn down in time, but I do like the authentic PIPER Cherokee centre yoke logos.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 4.jpgPiperCherokee C_Instrument 5.jpg

 

Both yokes (together) can be hidden via pressing the chrome yoke stem behind.

 

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PiperCherokee C_Instrument 8.jpg

 

Panel layout is pretty standard, however the Standard Six (Eight here?) flying instruments are more grouped very wide in front of the left side pilot, with nothing, and not even any backup instruments for the right side pilot.

 

Left to right top row has Clock, Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon, Altimeter and directional Garmin CDI (Course Deviation Indicator) VOR2. Bottom row; Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicator and Bendix/King ADF pointer...  all are perfectly laid out, with the VOR OBS (Nav2) and the ILS alignment Dial clear and nice to use. I like the layout a lot.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 9.jpg

 

Lower left is the S-Tec Autopilot adjustment panel, then lower knee panel are all the lighting switches and adjustment knobs, starter switch, with the pitot, fuel pump switches. Avionics and Autopilot power switches are mid-lower panel.

 

Centre-right is the Avionics stack. Top is both a Garmin GNS530 and below a Garmin GNS430 (both units pop-out), Standard Garmin GMA 340 Radio, S-Tec Fifty Five X Autopilot, Bendix/King KR87 ADF receiver (incorrectly labled?) and Garmin GTX 327 Transponder.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 10.jpg

 

Engine dials and gauges are all far right. Top a very large RPM and built in hour counter, right Gyro Suction gauge, and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) gauge. There is a block of six gauges that cover; Fuel Left Tank, Gen (Generator) Amps, Right Fuel Tank top row, and Oil Pressure, Fuel Pressure and Oil Temperature bottom row.

So over all it is a very basic instrument setup and one that anyone should know in everything laid out here, in other words a "Simple Layout', but one that looks good and is easy to use.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 11.jpgPiperCherokee C_Instrument 12.jpg

 

Under panel is nicely done. Note the Throttle and Mixture knobs and a HOBBs meter hangs below. Under left is the park brake, far left the Fuel Selector...  Rudders however have no toe-brake effect. Flap lever set is between the seats, and the trim winder is on the roof.

 

PiperCherokee C_Instrument 13.jpgPiperCherokee C_Instrument 14.jpg

_________________

 

Flying the Cherokee 180

Being a basic aircraft. Starting and setting up the 180 is very easy. A few pumps of the engine primer, mixture to half-way, touch of throttle, Switch on and then hit the "Starter Button", a few twirls of the prop and your running... 

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 2.jpg

 

If you don't get the mixture to running set correctly, then lower to mid lean is about right. If not the 180 C will lurch quickly off the ramp when releasing the park brake, get the tuning right right and you will have some control. Like a lot of GA aircraft there is too much thrust, even at idle...  more control is needed as the brakes can be sharp as well...

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 5.jpg

 

...  be very light on the toe brakes, even be more so in being as even as you can. If not the the aircraft will brake sharply to the direction of the brake effort... I even resorted back to my (50% Regular) pinky lever to keep the braking effort as even as possible, but with a bit of experience you can feed in the toe brakes slightly to control the speed, which is quite powerful at a taxi speed.

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 3.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 4.jpg

 

You can trundle the 180 C along, but keep the speed down with a lot of braking effort. At the runway KHAF RWY33) hold point, I set the trim to pitch down slightly forward (you will see why in a moment).

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 6.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 7.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 8.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 9.jpg

 

The small "Storm" window, a bit of trivia in that a "Storm Window" or 'ice window' is a carryover from when aircraft did have opening windows that were meant as a Direct Vision DV window in case of ice formation on the windshield, or the wings. Mostly today it is used as ventilation. Here you can open it to the rising external noise, the opening door will give you the same effect. But the outer edge of the window frame disappears as you do?

 

Sounds are actually very good at idle speeds, and okay as the power rises. My biggest issue is that in areas the sounds are too quiet, then too loud on the spectrum, there is not a consistency I would like (in other words I kept turning the sounds up, then turning them down again with complaints from the family that it was too loud).

 

First I will state I have never flown a real Cherokee 180, but I do have a lot of GA Simulator experience...  if the following is correct to the behavior of a Piper 180 C, then so be it. Off brakes, full rich mixture and feeding the throttle in, and the 180 C initially goes right, which is slightly corrected... 

 

 PiperCherokee C_Flying 10.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 11.jpg

 

...  Then the asymmetrical prop thrust kicks in with a bang, and you go seriously...  even lurching to the left, which means a lot of right rudder to compensate, to keep the 180 C straight I am almost at full right rudder, with only a 5 knt wind in my face?

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 12.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 13.jpg

 

I have done this takeoff run nine or ten times now...  and I am now always ready for the coming left lurch, but never really catch it, or it always catches me out every time? Correcting the drift, I am then always caught out again straight away in that the Piper 180 C is now also airbourne?

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 14.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 15.jpg

 

The lift point is around 65 knts...  is that right? at no set flap or clean? I thought it would be around the mid to late 70's in knots or even in the early 80 knts..

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 16.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 17.jpg

 

...  strong control is needed as you climb out, both the rudder and yoke needs a lot of power to the right to keep the Piper straight and level...  I have another gripe here as well. The Artificial Horizon marker is very, very small? You can't set say even find a 5º or 10º pitch, as it barely moves position even though you are climbing out at 500 fpm.

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 18.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 19.jpg

 

So the 180 C is already very physical aircraft to fly. That may be to your tastes or challenge, depending on your flying skill set.

 

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Rate Of Climb is 750 fpm, but you will do usually your 500 fpm, maybe 600 fpm. Ceiling is noted around 15,700 ft.

 

I feel I am flying the Cherokee a bit lopsided... as I have to use some persistent right rudder and right yoke to keep the aircraft flying straight and level, so it is tiring to fly distances manually, as you are pulling right against the left forces consistently. You can of course use the X-Plane rudder trim (COMMAND) to adjust the rudder angle to compensate for the drift, but that is not the 180 C presented here. So if you want feel from an aircraft in feedback then you certainly get that here.

 

PiperCherokee C_Flying 24.jpgPiperCherokee C_Flying 25.jpg

 

Another anomaly was my Artificial Horizon played up weird as well...  I was straight and level, but my Artificial Horizon told a completely different orientation? as it was also periodically spinning on it's axis...   Fly into any dense cloud conditions and this scenario could be deadly.

 

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Top Speed is around 132 kt, with a cruise speed of 124 kts, the 180hp version is not very fast, but is noted to be quite dependable. Range is around 510 nm at a total Fuel Capacity of 50 gal.

 

S-Tec autopilot is pretty basic, but helpful here. You can set the altitude (10 set increments) via the S-Tec panel left lower panel, but that is about it, the rest is standard servos of HDG, NAV, APR, ALT and VS in Vertical Speed.

 

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Lighting

There are two lower panel lighting adjustment knobs for the instruments and avionics...  the avionics can be a bit too bright, so you dial them down about halfway to match the instrument lighting.

 

PiperCherokee C_Lighting 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 2.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 3.jpg

 

Overall it looks quite nice and everything is highly readable...  highlight is the six pack Fuel and Engine gauges, that look great lit up in the dark, even authentic. There are two roof mounted lighting options. The first is an adjustable overhead red glow light for the instrument panel, that is highly effective...

 

PiperCherokee C_Lighting 4.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 7.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 5.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 6.jpg

 

....   the second is a cabin light with a very tiny (miss it) button switch and not the big round knob (for the red glow light), this lights up the rear cabin nicely.

 

External lighting is quite average? All the navigation lights are not refined and blend into each other, and the single-nose landing light is a big orb...

 

PiperCherokee C_Lighting 8.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 9.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 10.jpgPiperCherokee C_Lighting 11.jpg

 

The tail top mounted beacon is another orb (when it shouldn't be), and the strobes are just plain awful.

 

You do actually get more comfortable with the handling of the Piper 180 C the more you spend time in the aircraft, that is if you get used to your right foot doing all the work. It is a good place to be once you acclimatise to the feel and motion of the aircraft...   and into the landing circuit for KHAF Rwy 33...

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 1.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 2.jpg

 

Flaps are three steps via the Flap lever on the floor. First step is only 10º, which can easily be overlooked, to a speed on or around 95 knts...

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 3.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 4.jpg

 

....   Second and Third steps are 25º, and 40º degrees with speed drops of 90 knts (25º) and to a full 40º and should settle around 75 knots for the final approach...

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 5.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 7.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 6.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 8.jpg

 

...  there is no ballooning or that feeling of being lifted out of your seat if you get those speeds perfectly right, in this case the 180 C is a very stable aircraft to set up.

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 10.jpg

 

You are down to about 70 knts for the final approach phase, and the 108 C will sink nicely and is very nicely controlled.

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 11.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 12.jpg

 

Pushing hard with my right foot, brings the nose around to meet the runway...  you feel you are landing in a strong crosswind, but your not.

 

Slight pitch up flare rubs off the speed and flows you down to the runway...  again very stable in this final phase.

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 13.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 14.jpg

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 15.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 16.jpg

 

Touchdown is around 60 knts, give or take a few knots...  180 C's  Stall speed with flaps full down (dirty) is 50 kts, only 10 knts below. On landing again the Piper lurched to the left and needed some quick and expertly handled corrections...

 

PiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 17.jpgPiperCherokee C_KHAF Landing 18.jpg

 

...  so at points the 180 C is and can be a tricky even challenging aircraft to fly, or is that it's appeal!

 

Liveries

There are six liveries with the Piper 180 C. One is white if you want to do some of your own designs (and another white with rego). The rest are all American registered and a bit "ho Hum" in not being very creative in design, or in their names.

 

PiperCherokee C_Livery_White.jpgPiperCherokee C_Livery_White again.jpgPiperCherokee C_Livery_Yellow Black.jpgPiperCherokee C_Livery_Blue.jpgPiperCherokee C_Livery_Blue-Red.jpgPiperCherokee C_Livery_Orange-red.jpg

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Summary

This is the Piper Cherokee "C" model that comes with the square-cut windows and the iconic “Hershey Bar” wing, the “C” variant has a four cylinder carbureted Lycoming O-360 that produces 180HP and is equipped with a two bladed, fixed pitch propeller.

 

Six years ago or more X-Plane was awash with these sort of "Classic" style aircraft from old school developers. Most had diversified out of the original X-Plane PlaneMaker into what you would call a Pro or Professional take on the system, but didn't expand on further into the plugin realm. So the aircraft didn't have the huge feature lists and effects of which the more modern aircraft do...  and that is what we have here a "Classic" design with no menus, pop-up screens or features, unless (like with the GNS in that are X-Plane default items).

 

The designs are not Ultra-Quality either in the modeling or detail. But they are creative and to a point a "Pure" X-Plane aircraft...  and that is what we have here from Aerosphere Simulations in their Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C.

 

By those "Classic" standards the aircraft is very good, nicely designed and the focus on the Instrument Panel is genuinely well done, but the details are basic as is the polygon mesh, and say in the minute details of wingtip light assemblies and wheels. Sounds are good if a little variable, but instrument wise the 180 C is well done with a nice layout and avionics. Lighting internally is very good, but poor externally in not being at all refined.

 

Interesting is the flight model of where being a pure PlaneMaker then these aircraft can shine. idiosyncratic is the word here. But are you adjusting to the aircraft's idiosyncrasies (or flying around them), or is the aircraft itself idiosyncratic? The more you fly the aircraft, then the more you adapt to it's say odd idiosyncrasies? It is an interesting dilemma that only real 180 C pilots can answer. I have flown the vFlyteAir 140 a lot, yes a lot less powerful Piper, but the aircraft was a gem to fly... that aspect is missing here in that it is a challenging aircraft to fly but is that it's attraction. A few things like the hard left pull and the odd Artificial Horizon in being hard to use and bizarre behavior, makes you wonder about the rest.

 

Overall these "Classic" style aircraft are extremely popular as they represent the "Purity" of X-Plane and it's system itself. Users snap them up and collect them, then fly them consistently with their extremely low framerate penalties, there is not the burden of wading through pages of manual or details to get down and dirty to the flying aspect. And that is their beauty, to a point the "Classics" are a pure X-Plane aircraft.

_____________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! - Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C by AeroSphere Simulations is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee C

Price is Currently US$29.95 (Currently on SALE at 17% off US$24.95)

 

Features:
  • 4 HD (4096 x 4096) liveries with a plain white texture that can be used for custom paint schemes.
  • Steam gauge classic general aviation panel with required instruments for IFR.
  • Garmin 530 & 430
  • All gauges are 3D
  • Detailed flight model and interactive 3D virtual cockpit with animated knobs, buttons etc. cabin door, storm window and front/rear baggage compartment door.
  • Toggle button to remove/display yoke
  • Compatible with HDR and normal lighting effects
  • Many textures taken from the actual aircraft
  • Virtual Reality friendly and includes the click regions and hotspots required for VR gameplay.
  • FMOD sounds

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 195 MB
Current Version : 1.0 (January 20th 2022)

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Installation and documents:  download for the Cherokee 180 C is 190.50MB and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.

 

Full Installation is 209Mb

Documents supplied are:

  • ReadMe.pdf

 

Basic "ReadMe" (2 pages) of the history of the aircraft and features.

_____________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

25thg January 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55

Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00

 

(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) All Rights Reserved

 

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