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Aircraft Review : Carenado C208B Grand Caravan CargoMaster v2 HD "Exp Pack"

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Aircraft Update and Review : Carenado C208B Grand Caravan CargoMaster v2 HD "Exp Pack"

 

Route - MYNN (Nassau Intl) to KEYW (Key West)

Once Federal Empress’s (FedEx) early financial difficulties were resolved and the company had the 50 or so million dollars to expand its fleet with the first of seven Boeing 727-100’s. It then realised that the best way to operate was in the now common “Hub and Spoke” system. But how do you service so many different ports at one time and more to the point those small ports that don’t require a large aircraft just for a few parcels.  What was required was a small propeller aircraft to fill in the gaps that was efficient and reliable to operate. The ideal candidate was the Cessna Caravan 208 and a converted version of the aircraft called the 208A Cargomaster was built and Federal Express bought 40 of them to start the “Feeder” service to connect the dots between the small ports to the huge hubs and the overnight delivery system we know today was created.

When Cessna updated the Grand Caravan to the 208B specification then the upgraded model was also purchased by Federal Express and this version is the “208B Super Cargomaster” and FedEx then bought 260 of that model.  Today the total Cargomasters in service with FedEx is 245 with another 4 C208B's still on order.

 

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Carenado released last year an “Expansion Pack” for its successful Cessna 208B Grand Caravan of the 208B Super Cargomaster variant. This is not a whole aircraft but an add on aircraft and you have to have the standard C208B Grand Caravan aircraft to use this “Expansion Pack”

Installation

Opening (expanding) the “Expansion Pack” you have a set of files you have to deposit in a duplicated file of the original “Carenado C208B Grand Caravan v2” aircraft. You have to rename the duplicate “Carenado C208B Grand Caravan Cargomaster v2

 

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Many of the files are just replacements for the original files in the aircraft folder. There are however a set of files that have to be also deposited in the “Objects” folder (Arrows). Other items are “Documents” and installation instructions.  When you purchase the “Expansion Pack” you can also then download from the Carenado site two free extra liveries.

FedEx

DHL

Remember also there are two aircraft files. 1) for X-Plane9 and 2) For X-Plane10.

 

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MYNN (Nassau Intl) - KEYW (Key West)

I have spent many (happy) hours doing these feeder routes over the last twelve months. Many of the typical routes around Florida would be from KLAL (Lakeland) to KMFY (Page Field) to KMIA (Miami International) and in reverse. Or KMIA to KEYW (Key West) and return to KMIA. And like here today in going out to MYNN (Nassau International) and now the return leg back to KEYW, which is a 263.60 nm sector.

To prepare the aircraft you use the menus on the lower left of your screen.

 (D) is for Doors and this pop-out menu allows you to open and close the aircraft doors, which include the pilots and Co-Pilots door(s) (with a great swing down ladder) and a double (upper and swing lower) main Cargo door.

If you have the lower pod attached then you can also open four extra doors. (Here the pod doors are separate to open unlike on the Grand Caravan)

 

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(O) is for Options and this second pop-out menu allows you to stow the Static Elements (Chocks, Tow Tractor, Pivot Cover and engine and prop covers. Another option is to have the under-slung pod on or off, It adds weight to the aircraft and so if you going for range or flying a considerable distance it is better left off.

You can also on this menu select either Clear or Tinted windows (VC Windows), I like the dark green tinted rather than the open clear.

 

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The “Options” menu also allows you to load the cargo.

Load Configuration 1” is with the parcels loaded and that adds “1607” Pounds to the aircraft’s weight.

Load Configuration 2” is with the parcels removed and no penalty of weight.

The cargo area is very well presented with the webbing hanging with the space empty and everything tied down tightly with the load on board.

 

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With the aircraft loaded and ready, It was time to check around the aircraft. Design by Carenado is exceptional, as everything is so meticulously created, The Cargomaster has a tri-cycle fixed-gear (undercarriage), the rear wheels are tightly sprung and the nose gear is more flexible and detailed to perfection. Connected to a powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114A engine is a Hartzell 3-Blade Metal, Constant Speed - full feathering propeller, and attention to realism is totally noticeable in the beautiful chrome spinner and perfect blades. The Cargomaster is boxy and perfect for its task and Carenado have done some perfect detailing with the wings and tail section.  

Cruise speed: 197 mph (171 kn; 317 km/h), Range: 1,240 mi (1,078 nmi; 1,996 km) with max fuel and reserves, Rate of climb: 770 ft/min (3.9 m/s)

 

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In the cockpit the aircraft is shut down and the black dials on a plain white panel is modern and efficient in design, (newer C208B’s have now the G1000 triple screens, and Carenado have a FSX “EX” version coming which includes the G1000 layout). Your power switches are situated by your left fingers on a raised box structure. Turing them on brings the caravan to life.

 

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I loaded 7100lbs (5 hours) into each one of the two tanks (far right dials) and the other engine status dials on the top row are (left to right) Torque, RPM Prop, ITT (Interstage Turbine Temperature), Gas Generator RPM, Oil Pressure psi & Oil ºc Temperatures and Fuel Flow. Your fuel tank switches are on the roof with your oxygen control and opening vents.

Opening the flap in the pilots window will give you a better aural grandstand of hearing the turbine start up. Flip the start switch and deep in the cowling there are whines and engaging starter motors until the turbine starts to howl and then scream into motion...  and finally a roar of power. 3d sounds recorded from a real C208B are certainly realistically loud, One of the very best features of the Carenado Caravan series are these magnificent 3d sounds that have been again updated in the v2 update.

When the Cargomaster was all sweet and settled with gauges all flickering in their right positions. It was time to go.

 

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I was curious after flying the Grand Caravan to Nassau, on if the reducing the RPM lever would give me a better taxi speed?   It didn’t. It certainly reduced the power but not enough to get the power lower enough to set the right pace, if I pulled the lever just a touch to far down the power then fell right off scale. So I just went back to my usual setting with the condition lever at the first gate. Flaps set at 10º (Flaps are 10º, 20º and FULL). Again great animation by Carenado in the gated movement with a little white indicator of the flap movement position.

 

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In v2 the lighting has been overhauled. The Taxi and Landing lights are set together in the wing and are perfectly set, The strobes are new as well and the Nav/Beacon are brighter. All lighting looks as good with HDR on or off - only in HDR (X-Plane10) mode do you get the ground reflections.

Power up and you let the Cargomaster go with the release of the brakes. The asymmetric thrust will still pull you to the left. So you have to be aware right from the point you let the brakes go to give only a little thrust until you can lock the nose-wheel straight and then give it full power after a certain speed. It works with a little deft right rudder. The C208B will however still try to wander and you are working hard with the yoke and the rudder to keep it sweet on the centreline I’m also very heavy here (7630lbs), but the speed climbs quickly to a rotate at 85knts. Climbing out and a turn to the due west (270º) I settle in at a 500fpm (feet Per Minute) climb. In the Grand Caravan I climbed slightly over the recommended V/S (Vertical Speed) at 800fpm. Here I found the 500fpm a better balance between climb and keeping the speed easily around 125knts to 135knts. From the last 1500ft to my height of 9.500ft I set the V/S to 200fpm and that felt the setting the best yet. Speed then settled in at around 140knts.

There is a White (default) livery that slightly shows the windows and one “Civil” livery. The other two are the downloaded liveries of FedEx and DHL. All are HD quality and have been in v2 revised to show their high quality detail even at a low render (high) texture settings (saving you frame-rate).

 

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Climbing high we settle into the rhythm and watch the gauges from over working the engine. Navigation is by dead-reckoning at this point until the VOR2 picks up the EYW (Key West) beacon to home in on to our destination.

 

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The equipment stack is not large, but you still have everything you need. Radio, A Garmin GNS430 (Comm1/VOR1), Bendix King KX165 (Comm 2/ VOR2), Garmin GTX 320 Transponder, Bendix King KR67 ADF and an excellent KFC 150 Autopilot with pitch hold (V/S) and height ALT on a separate panel (push button to switch to either “select Height or V/S” (Vertical Speed) )

 

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Well out over the water the sun is now getting low. The blinds are adjustable and you use them and move them with the sun to shadow the view. Then the EYW (113.50) Nav-Aid pointed to the bottom of the “Keys” and all I had to do was follow the OBI Indicator, The lower readout showed your distance and speed to the Nav-Aid.

 

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Out of the horizon the “Keys” came into view. I pulled the speed slightly back and set the height for 1500ft at a descent rate of 800fpm. keep the power under control as coming off to quickly will send the nose into a stall. Passing past KEYW (Key West) I settled into a parallel course to take me to the south to return back to runway 09.

 

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The height was again reduced to 800ft and the flaps to 20º. You watch the speed and need the power to combat the drag and you settle down around 120knt for the final slope down. Speed is again reduced to just over 80knts on “FULL” flap, but be careful below that (It is marked in green on the Airspeed Indicator) as the lift drops very markedly if you go below that green zone, and so you try to find that right compromise in lift and speed.

On touchdown the Caravan gets a touch unwieldy (okay a lot!), like taking off you are all yoke and rudder keeping it straight, a touch of the powerful sounding “Reverse Thrust” and you are at a slow speed. A grab at the condition lever down a notch is needed to control the power. On in the taxi the landing lighting is very effective in the fading light, it is brilliantly done in coming together in front of the nose instead of two wide apart beams of which you would usually expect.

 

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In the parking position you pull the condition lever to “cut off” and the turbine winds down after its days work. It takes ages to come to a stop but you will every time totally enjoy every sound of the shut-down procedure.

(D) to the Doors menu to open the doors and the (O) options menu to unload the cargo and set the “Static Elements”. A quick look around inside and the aircraft is empty...  Then a quick look back into that high set cabin and revel in the supreme detailing of the cockpit.

 

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A note of the fuel usage notes almost 3000lbs (6000lbs) used in each tank. Notes done, I then flick the power switches off and the caravan is done for the day.

Conclusions

If you already own the C208B Grand Caravan then this Cargo “Expansion Pack” at a very modest price adds a totally new dimension to the aircraft. More attractive is the fact that it adds in far more versatility in how you use the aircraft. Hopping around airports in picking up or dropping off freight is simulation at its very best, and you can’t really better this aircraft like FedEx do with their fleet in doing this “Feeder” networking flying.

Carenado’s execution of this Cargomaster and the Grand Caravan series is one of the very best investments you can do. The return in pleasure in not only the pure flying of the aircraft here, but in also admiring the design and complete all-round package (certainly the 3d sound) will always bring a smile to your face. This v2 upgrade has also brought the aircraft up-to-date in 64bit and the refining of lighting and textures to even another higher standard.

At over twelve months on from its original release and the success of the aircraft, I found that after hours and hours of flying the Caravans (Passenger and Cargo) I am still hungry for more and more time in that left seat...  It is brilliant, just brilliant.

 

If you have the v1 of the 208B Cessna Caravan and Super Cargo Master Expansion Pack then the v2 update is now available at the X-Plane .OrgShop...  or if you want to buy:

 

Price is $7.95 : C208B Super Cargomaster Exp. Pack

(if you don’t own the base version it is required for this expansion pack)

 

Price is $29.95 : C208B Grand Caravan HD Series

Documents: post-2-0-90517600-1380437159.jpg

Technical Requirements:

Windows XP , Vista, 7 or 8 (32 or 64 bits), MAC OS 10.3.9 (or higher). Linux

X-Plane 9.7 , X-Plane 10.22+ . 32 and 64bit compatible

Pentium 2 GHz - 4GB RAM/512 MB VRAM. 1GbVRAM Recommended

Download: 82.80mb - 112.30MB available hard disk space

Current version: v2 (last updated September 25th 2013)

updated store#

 

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Developer Site: Carenado

Review By Stephen Dutton

27th September 2013

 

If you want more details on the Caravan instruments and panels I suggest you read the Aircraft Review : as to not duplicate the same information twice and the base aircraft is the same layout and specifications.

(note: the engine torque enhancements are included and ignore the C208B service pack on the Carenado site.)

 

Full List of v2 updates:

-32-bit and 64-bit Mac, Windows, and Linux support.  

-X-Plane 9.7 and 10.22 acf files included.

-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.

-Landing lights optimized to work better under v9.7 lighting, as well as v10 HDR-off and HDR-on lighting

-Nav lights have been improved for a more realistic appearance.

-Strobe lights have been re-programmed to follow a strobe flashing pattern, determined by the plugin.

-Improved ground handling

-Optimized objects

-Improved weather radar, 

-improved stereo sounds

-Improved interior and exterior graphics and visualizations

 

 

-No longer has inverted fuel and oil systems. More realistic.

-Optimized various menus, to use less memory.

-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.

 

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

Scenery

- MYNN - Lynden Pindling International (Nassau Intl) - mhayling

- KEYW - Key West International Airport V1.0 - fletcherj

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