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Aircraft Review : Beechcraft Bonanza F33A XP11 by Carenado

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Aircraft Review : Beechcraft Bonanza F33A XP11 by Carenado

 

What makes up the criteria of your best aircraft to fly in X-Plane, or your favorite? This is not the best aircraft in X-Plane for overall features or details, but the best aircraft for you. For many user fliers it could be in a relation to a real aircraft, either in the one you own, owned or are now learning on, that particular aspect is important. But what about the rest of us...  For me it is Carenado's Bonanza F33A and we go back a long, long...  time. The aircraft originally was one of the first released for X-Plane by Carenado, and the fourth if I think right and that was right back in January 2012, or just over six years ago....  it was also really the first of really high-quality releases from Carenado that was certainly far ahead of its time back then and even better than that period's X-Plane10 quality.

 

My own actual investment in the F33A was a bit odd. I bought it as a birthday present for myself, flew it twice then basically stored it for just over two years? Even looking back now I just can't work that out why? but I think that my basic flying skill's were not up to the same level of the aircraft...  so what changed?

 

Carenado did an update on my mothballed F33A and I found now how it all handled very nicely, but more importantly I also suddenly found it was the very best aircraft in X-Plane to do some serious practice on, that is the very basic flying training in circuits, touch and go's, banking techniques, speed control...  then I found myself using the F33A for more advance training with VOR navigation and extensive GA flight-planning and route navigation. In every aspect the F33A was the perfect aircraft to cover all these important flying skills, and ever since year after year the F33A has been my aircraft of choice for all of these practise and training skill work. It also is used as a benchmark to X-Plane itself, because I know the F33A so very well, so if X-Plane is out or not configured correctly then it will show on this aircraft. So the point is would that make this review biased because already this Bonanza is an aircraft that I think that everyone should have in that hangar, and that is a fair point...   I accept that now there are certainly far better aircraft in X-Plane than this F33A because basically even if advanced for its time then this design by Carenado is still six years old. A note here in that the livery "BlueHawk Flight Training" which I have flown the F33A under for years is not an official Carenado livery...   but however it is one of the best looking for the aircraft, it also needs a few adjustments if you want to use the livery with this XP11 version, but it is well worth the effort.

 

Carenado Beechcraft Bonanza F33A XP11

Over the years since it's original release Carenado have kept the aircraft up to date with constant updates, and that was even into X-Plane11, but that was mostly just to conform to X-Plane11's basic performance changes and for the introduction of PBR (Physical Based Rendering), and overall the bonanza flew fine in that configuration. But in time the F33A needed to completely upgraded to X-Plane11 and to take advantage of the new simulation version and add in the more modern elements we expect now in X-Plane, and here it is in the Bonanza F33A XP11.

 

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Outwardly you are surprised enough that when sitting in the F33A XP11 version for the first time in that it looks and feels almost exactly the same? In a way that is very good thing if you are like I am in being very familiar with the aircraft, and you don't want things you really like then being messed around with or changed.

 

But there are a lot of differences and details to take in. All the aircraft for XP11 are now 4K (4096 x 4096) texture quality with the (PBR) Physically Based Rendering materials and textures that are redone throughout and this is all done with (gaming) industry-standard software for the best highest quality to the best efficiency (framerate to me and you) ratio. A note that the F33A has a lot of custom 2K freeware liveries available on the XP.Org. They do actually still work quite well, but as noted you need a file name change and a few adjustments in say photoshop to make them compatible, obviously the quality is not at the official level, but if you do have a favorite livery for the F33A you can at least save it and use it.

 

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N927CF is an official livery to see the quality and detail now in this XP11 version. You were always aware of how very good it was originally, but it needed for X-Plane to catch up to Carenado and not the other way around. Certainly X-Plane11 does that here, but the changes also reflect the fine tuning of those super realistic material shines and reflections. Now there is a lot of chrome on the aircraft, like with the beautiful spinner and foot supports.

 

Wing lighting assemblies are absolutely perfect, and highly realistic. Note the nice small wing fences.

 

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The advancement of computer power over the years also now allows us to take advantage now of higher quality texture settings and anti-aliasing, The quality of the undercarriage is phenomenal, ultra realistic and fully animated. To note the advanced movements of the animation has been refined here to XP11 standard's and to a point they are better than that, as movements in taxiing and wheel travel shock are almost now perfect, you thought it was always reacted like that until you went back and flew the F33A from only a few years ago, but no we have come a long since then, a very long way.

 

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Glass is also better, more refined with great reflections and here comes in two versions of clear and the tinted green (far better).

 

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External detail is complete with HF and RF aerials and great detailing with control surface manipulators, lightning wicks are all animated for airflow realism. Aircraft construction riveting is very good, but does show that this is still a few years ago since it was created, nice waves and shapes in the metal paneling gives realism.

 

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Cabin

Looking into the cabin and it is very well detailed, beautifully created. The F33A was the aircraft that I was in when I first saw the X-Plane11 PBR light and dark shadow feature, It was a total "wow" moment then, and it still is very dramatic now with the cream facia panel and the black instrumentation.

 

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Internally the cabin is very tight, the F33A is a very small intimate aircraft in reality. Seats are beautifully crafted.

 

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The interior has been re-textured, it is now a woven cloth grey, with a distinctive pattern. It certainly modernises the cabin and it feels fresher...

 

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...  but I did also really like the old blue interior, certainly it looks like the more older style Bonanza, but it still works for me.

 

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I goes better with the BlueHawk livery as well, so I adjusted it to be used on the same livery, again photoshop was required, but you don't lose any quality in the transition. I think it is nice to have both versions between different liveries so it is certainly worth doing.

 

Panel is sensational, highly realistic and I should know as I have spent countless hours behind it.

 

The aircraft comes with dual-arm yoke bar, this setup was pre-1984, with the change to the standard in the panel twin yokes setup that is post-1984. The bar hides by pressing the bar in the centre by the panel. It does obstruct a lot of the lower switchgear, lighting adjustment rotary and vertical trim wheel, but I found I could work around it with the bar in place with familiarity. Pilot's yoke has built in working electric trim, autopilot disconnect and XPDR IDENT functionality. A digital clock is also built into the front of the yoke for convenience.

 

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Panel glass reflections are all very new and highly realistic, but in some conditions they can now go a bit grey with the seat mirroring the reflection, a tone down of the reflections is noted from Carenado.

 

Menu

The menu hasn't changed from the earlier version... still the same three panels to cover the standard Carenado A, C and O menu staples.

 

A is the Bendix/King KFC 150 autopilot pop-up. C is ten "Views" with "Field of View" and two sound adjustments. O is for "Options" including opening Co-Pilot (passenger) door and a Baggage door left rear.  Static elements provided are very basic with only, wheel chocks and engine inlet/flag, wing pipit cover and there is also window and Instrument reflections and the choice of changing the liveries without going to the main X-Plane menu.

 

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The twin pilots are new and replace the younger cooler guy in the shades, but they are very well created, far more realistic and are both highly animated, they also disappear when you activate the static elements.

 

Not on the main menus. but it is now available for use is a "Weight & Balance" menu courtesy of Thranda. It is activated by setting up an X-Plane key input via the Thranda key settings.

 

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The W&B menu is basic, but still covers all that you need in set up and you can now adjust the four passengers weights and baggage via a animated C.G (centre of Gravity) graph, Fuel can also be set and the results are set out in lbs and inches are all listed below.

 

Flying the F33A Bonanza

The F33A can be a very recalcitrant aircraft to start from cold, but once the 285 hp Continental IO-520-B engine fires it soon settles down. I always run the Continental for a few minutes to warm it all up, once the gauges are showing normal temps and pressures, then you can go. This aspect is very well done by Carenado as the gauges just don't just go straight right up to their operating points but they all take their individual routes to get there showing realism. My X-56 Rhino throttle setup works well here as I use the second throttle as the mixture lever, this gives my more control over the richness of the fuel, and only 2/3rds mixture is required for taxi and ground movements.

 

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You can feel how long a way we have come now over the years, earlier this Bonanza was a bit of a handful on the ground, but now it is just a soft pussycat more than a rampant tiger, and you have more if sublime control of your speed and direction movements, that is of course the X-Plane11's level of more diversity in this area, certainly the F33A is still a bit of a handful on taking off and landing, but that is a common problem with X-Plane's ground effects at the moment than more than the actual aircraft, but skill can overcome the worst of Laminar's theatrics.

 

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All sounds in Carenado aircraft when upgrading to X-Plane11 are now FMOD, and the Bonanza gets the same treatment. The sounds have been increased substantially right thoughout the whole range, this is highlighted at the idle point, if you adjust the mixture even minutely the sounds are really, really good in conveying on what the engine is feeling, with power, climb and the cruise sounds of the aircraft of which are all excellent.

 

I only give the F33A about half-throttle gradually until the aircraft builds up speed, once the speed is constant and you are tracking true against the left pulling asymmetrical thrust, then go straightup  to full throttle, no flap uses more runway, but I get more speed of which I like. 100knts is the right point to pull back on the yoke bar, and the F33A will nicely clear the runway...

 

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...  rate of climb to 600fpm is best to climb out and also build up more speed. The Bonanza has a unique gear sound, in a pneumatic "peeeeooow" sound, which I love and the detailed gear retraction or extension is excellent. I keep the power up and level out at 1500ft.

 

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Performance is very good for this type of aircraft. Top Speed: 182 kts with a Cruise Speed of around 172 kt and the Stall Speed (dirty) is around 51 kts. Range is an excellent 717 nm. Official Rate Of Climb is 1167 fpm and the Ceiling is noted at 17858 ft.

 

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Once the aircraft is trimmed and set at a nice cruise pace I climb again to 7500ft, Mostly I climb high easily at 800fpm, but with the W&B manager I added in a lot of weight of 3250pounds (3401 is max) so 700fpm is my base climb rate today, I drop that again at 6000ft to 300fpm to keep the momentum of the speed.

 

Instrument Panel

By all accounts the F33A instrument panel is not complicated, but the instruments that are here are set out to be extremely useful. Standard Six instruments are centred in the line of sight of the flying pilot with the Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row and the Garmin OBS VOR pointer (VOR2), Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. The Turn Coordinator is far left of the six pack with a radar altimeter directly below, lower left instrument panel I will come back to in a moment.

 

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Centre panel is dominated by two large dials that cover engine manifold pressure (inHg) and fuel flow (gallons per hour) and the second dial is the RPM gauge with built in hour meter. Both the gauge and the dial are highly animated to reflect the engine's performance, needles twitch and flicker to throttle or fuel flow changes that makes them highly realistic. Below is the left and right fuel gauges that are separated by a cluster of four gauges that cover Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT), Oil Temperature top and Ampreres and Oil Pressure below. Lower left is an Insight digital read out for EGT - CHT and lower right is an Instrument Air gauge (Inch-Mer). A small note here on the Instant EGT - CHT digital readout, in flight it looks like it is not working, but it is. To see any activity, then just lean the fuel mixture and the display will come alive.

 

The avionic instrument stack is very good with a Bendix/King KR 24 radio set, X-Plane Garmin GNS 430 GPS, Bendix/king KX 165 COMM (Comm2)/NAV (VOR2) unit, Two Bendix/King KR 87 ADF units and a Garmin GTX 320 Transponder...  the Bendix/King KFC 150 autopilot is far left of the instrument panel. You can also use the GTN750 payware add-on by RealityXP in this Bonanza.

 

On the co-pilot's far right instrument panel is one flying instrument in an altimeter, and a Garmin OBS VOR indicator (VOR1). Two smaller gauges cover EGT and Prop Amp. A note on the altimeter, You have to remember to adjust both altimeters in their mb/in.hg settings, this far right second backup altimeter setting is hard to see in being so small, but it always needs to be adjusted when required, or (obviously) the altimeters will show different altitudes. Lower right panel is the circuit breaker panel (non-working).

 

The set up of the Bendix/King KFC 150 autopilot is excellent in the Bonanza. Handy to the lower left and remember there is the pop-up feature as well (press Tab A), which is both movable and scalable. Note for the AP to work you have to press the FD (Flight-Director) button before engaging the AP button.

 

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Easy to use the KFC 150 actions are noted on the upper panel in line of your eyesight, and there is the built in V/S - ALT mode to set your altitude and rate of climb (or descent) and they all work perfectly together to ease your workload. Next to the V/S-Alt mode selector is a BendixKing VOR N1/N2 distance, speed and estimated TOA (Time Of Arrival) display.

 

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Next to the KFC 150 is a fuel flow display that (switchable) covers GAL REM (Remain) GAL USED, GAL to Destination, GAL Reserve and Endurance (HRS:MIN) to use this instrument correctly you have to have be running flightplan in the GNS 430, but if not you still get fuel remaining and that sort of fuel flow info.

 

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VOR Pointer/Course Dials

To understand why this little Bonanza is a very good training tool for early fliers is to understand the use of two instruments, and their setup here in the F33A.

 

I have always been a bit vocal in reviews if the VOR/DME instrument is not a pointer tool and it is usually the older basic VOR/DME heading instrument...  in the F33A it is a pointer instrument, but better still it is positioned directly besides the heading/course instrument.

 

Here I am approaching KRSW - SouthWest Florida International (arrowed) and the VOR pointer is set to the airports VOR (Lee County RSW 111.80). Yes I know that the RSW VOR/DME is slightly to the north of the airport, but it will still show how to use the pointers effectively.

 

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I have set the "Course" pointer to the RWY06 heading as my guide, but I will for the moment still fly southwest to clear the airport before going into the south circuit to land from the west. Set my heading to the course direction (24º) to go into the circuit and that will put the F33A parallel to KRSW and RW06/24.

 

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The VOR pointer will show your relative position to the airport and your distance from the VOR/DME and to the airport for the correct turn point (unless you are under ATC instructions), Then a 90º turn on the course to (33º) turn in ready to find the runway centre line.

 

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Again the VOR pointer is crucial on the right time to turn to the runway heading, if you rely on the ILS alignment on the course pointer, you will know that it usually activates just a little too late to get the final right 90º turn to the runway, the VOR then gives you just that little more time to get the turn rate correct. I also use the same procedure in a big jet, the VOR pointer will give you the runway alignment if set against the runway course setting a far longer way out distance from the airport than the ILS alignment does, so you can have more time to set up your approach in line with the runway...  if you are correct then both the VOR and Course pointers should be aligned parallel on the final turn as they are here (below right), the runway 06 should then be in the correct position for your approach.

 

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You can see by using both pointers on how this F33A is simply great for practise flying, in circuits and for VOR point to point routes, and when you don't have this set up in other types of aircraft you really miss those pointers and the workload get a lot harder. Two points then is that yes it is just as easy to look out of the window and visually gauge your turn, that is natural, but in many conditions you just can't do that, and yes here at KRSW the VOR is slightly off the airport but it still works in context.

 

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Landing

Overall the F33A is a lovely handing aircraft, just watch the trim is -0 when taking off and landing, it will be out at this point if have used the AP. The trim wheel is right there in front of you a little to the right (pilot) or on the yoke. I am finding this earlier XP11 version a little fast on approach? But I usually get the speed down to around 100knts when coming into the final approach phase.

 

If you leave the taxi light switched on it will shut off when the gear is raised and then relight when you lower the gear for landing, it is great to watch in operation.

 

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External lighting is pretty basic, with the landing and taxi light in the nose and a huge red beacon on the roof. Navigation and strobe lights are updated for XP11 and are excellent. Gear down and you do lose a lot of speed in the drag if you don't counter for it.

 

Flaps are 3 positions Up - 15º - 30º, 150knts is vFE but I am usually well under 100knts before I will move them down a notch. ditto to 30º flap as I will go down to 80knts before going to that position, I found you need a lot of throttle to counter the 30º flap not so less for even the 15º setting.

 

I admit I am a little bit high here, but those trees at the end of RWY06 have a habit of catching me out in the dark.

 

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80knts approach speed is down to just under 70knts for contact, stall is 51knts so I feel the approach speed needed is a currently a little too high from Carenado, around 60knts, should be more closer to the mark.

 

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A lot of hours in the F33A means I can put it down pretty anywhere I want to, it is not a hard aircraft to land, but you will need to feel the aircraft and get the speeds right, overall Carenado have done a class act on delivering X-Plane11 performance to this version, it feels far more alive and more intimate than the earlier versions, and yes it is totally better all round.

 

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For the limited lighting available you do get a good view in the dark to moving around on the ground from both the taxi and landing light.

 

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Internal Lighting

Instrument panel lighting is basic, but very good. Most instrument lighting is indirect, and I remember it being actually a little bit brighter? You can only adjust the indirect lighting and the some of the backlight/avionic lighting individually... overall it is great for night flying.

 

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Overhead lighting is two lights forward with one large light directly above and a small one in the exit passenger door...

 

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...   in the rear are two spots and all roof lighting is controlled by the three buttons on the roof.

 

Liveries

There is one blank and four liveries with the package, all are high-quality and 4K, the highlight is the nice Lufthansa Nevada Training aircraft.

 

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Summary

Six years is a long time for any aircraft in X-Plane, but we are dealing with Carenado here and the aircraft was never ever going to the one to be left on the shelf, in fact the constant updates and now this huge D-Check of a strip to the bones and rebuild of the F33A Bonanza means one of the brightest stars of Carenado's fleet is certainly going to keep on flying well into the X-Plane11 version for many, many years to come. It is a new version for X-Plane11 in its new clothes, but the Bonanza feels new and it is now certainly also quite different from its earlier versions without losing its original charm.

 

Optimisation is high here as a lot of areas have been covered from newer materials and textures throughout, to performance and the more realistic behavior with flight physics optimized for XP11 standards and better comparison to the real airplane, better realistic weight and balance with now a even a W&B menu set up panel. The aircraft is now fully VR (Virtual Reality) compatible and has better and even more refined PBR (Superb material shines and reflections). FMOD sound is completely new and far more right across the whole range with newer added sounds that are more detailed and intimate, in other words the Continental IO-520-B engine sounds brilliant.

 

The Bonanza F33A is one of Carenado's biggest success aircraft in X-Plane and in reality it is not hard to see why, it is priced very well for what you get as well, in that you get really a $35 deal for only $26.95 for the same quality and features as the common Carenado higher price. Yes in a few areas the F33A is still the same earlier aircraft, but it is now part of its charm more than anything else.

 

This is my favorite personal aircraft in X-Plane, could that be a bias? but no in reality the aircraft that I reviewed has just only re-enforced of why it was so good in the first place, more so now with this excellent extensive upgrade. I just simply love flying this machine, it is also the best for any type of practise and for developing my (online) flying skills and to a point I can push them to the limit in this aircraft as I know the aircraft so well...  The hard part of this review, is that I now have to move on from the F33A and can't keep on flying it around Florida anymore...  "Okay just once more and then I will move on.. I Promise, I will honest...  yes only once, I really, really promise...  ". Highly addictive and highly recommended.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

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Yes! the Beechcraft Bonanza F33A XP11 by Carenado is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Bonanza F33A XP11

 

Price is US$26.95

 

This XP11 is a new version of the F33A Bonanza, so a new purchase price is required, however updates are free to the aircraft for the full run of the X-Plane11 version.

 

Special Features
  • Version 1.1
  • Optimized for  X-Plane 11
  • State-of-the-art configurable FPS-friendly logic system.
  • Fully VR compatible
  • Full PBR (Superb material shines and reflections)
Features
  • Specially designed engine dynamics for XP11
  • Flight physics optimized for XP11 standards
  • Ground handling adapted for XP11 ground physics
  • Physically Based Rendering materials and textures throughout
  • PBR materials authored with industry-standard software used by the film and gaming industries
  • X-Plane GNS430 (FPS friendly)
  • Support for RealityXP's GTN750* (integrated into 3D cockpit, when available).
  • Goodway Compatible.
  • Realistic behavior compared to the real airplane. Realistic weight and balance. Tested by several pilots for maximum accuracy.
*RealityXP GTN 750 is sold separately
 
Included in the package
  • 5 HD liveries + 1 HD blank texture
  • F33 Normal and Emergency Procedures PDF
  • F33 Performance tables PDF - F33 Quick reference table PDF
  • Autopilot KFC150 Manual PDF
  • Recommended Settings X-PLANE 11 PDF

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Requirements :

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4GB+ VRAM - 350MB available hard disk space
Version 1.1 (last updated May 18 2018)

 

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Installation : Download is 281mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your General Aviation folder as a 478.40mb flie.  Key authorisation is required.

 

The review "BlueHawk Training" Livery is here: BlueHawk Carenado Bonanza F33 v2 Livery 1.0

But the livery does require some changes to work in XP11, but it does come in both 2K and 4K versions. Changes are not hard, but watch for the chrome spinner and that it is showing, make sure that the all the textures changed are not transparent, or you will get see through wings!

 

Documentation : includes

 

  • Bonanza F33 Normal _ Emergency Procedures - Performance tables.pdf
  • Carenado Copyright.pdf
  • Credits.pdf
  • F33 Bonanza reference.pdf
  • General Information.pdf
  • KFC150 Autopilot.pdf
  • Recommended settings XP11.pdf

______________________________________________________________________

 

Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton

23rd May 2018

Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews

 

(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)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- KFMY - Page Field - Fort Myers, Florida 1.0 by timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org) - Free

- KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft  (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.95

- KDAB - Daytona Beach by Aerosoft / Stairport Sceneries (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.99

 

 

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