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Aircraft Review : Cessna 152 ll by JustFlight Thranda

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JF_C152_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : Cessna 152 ll by JustFlight Thranda

 

The choice of an aircraft to learn to fly on is very important, mostly in every case the training school provides the aircraft, so you don't personally get that choice anyway, but you could always hunt around the flying schools to get the machine you personally want but in most cases you will then pay for that privilege. However in most cases you will usually end up in a Cessna 150, the trainer "that trainers use" is the base line of the bulk of trainers, not that they are loved as nicknames for the 150 are not that particularly kind... "One Filthy", "The buck and a half" and "Cesspit" pretty well sums the 150 up...  but the 150 series still do an important job, they get still get you into the air and at a reasonable cost.

 

So how does this relate to X-Plane? Well it does and in a very significant way... one if you are going for your PPL (Private Pilot's Licence) then you will need a really good trainer to train on, I mean an almost perfect trainer. X-Plane provides the C172SP as does Airfoillab's, but in that aircraft's case it is a size larger than the C150 and in a way it is a very different aircraft as well, and so in a training situation you can't really substitute the 175 for the 150. Carenado do a C152 ll, but it was quite basic even in it's original form, as to date it hasn't yet had the XP11 treatment either...  so that leaves this Cessna 152 ll by JustFlight/Thranda.

 

Second point is that when you first fly in X-Plane you will usually go for the big 'uns", say the B737-800 or B747-800, but if you are really serious about flying in X-Plane then it comes to the point you really do have to go back to the absolute basics, that is no gimmicks, no navigation helpers, nothing, just you and the yoke, rudder pedals and learning to fly the aircraft correctly. The trick is that if you learn it right here it will then translate quite a lot to the other more exciting aircraft in X-Plane, I personally don't think I really mastered X-Plane until I mastered a really good GA, my trainer was the excellent Carenado A33F Bonanza, but that was more for the navigation aspect than the basic, basic skills that is required here in the C152. I also note many, many comments on what I call the "rushers", that are the new fliers in X-Plane who want to rush and go fly the big exciting stuff... we all do, but their mistakes are very funny and if totally avoidable by just learning the basics correctly, and this aircraft in the C152 ll is then your real starting point in flying correctly in the X-Plane simulator.

 

Cessna 152 ll by JustFlight Thranda

JustFlight/Thranda's TB10 Tobago & TB20 Trinidad and PA28R Piper Turbo Arrow III/lV have already been a huge success in X-Plane this year, and that is mostly with their extremely handing and performance, most notably many users will counter that vFlyteAir versions of the Arrow are better, but it is the unique skills that is really required to fly the JF Arrow and they take time to master, only now do I find I can fly it with confidence.

 

So it is an interesting point that we now have the C152 ll from JustFlight/Thranda, and that point is that is it the best basic trainer in X-Plane, that is what this review is all about, but first let us look at the aircraft.

 

I will state this is expensive for a GA aircraft at above the US$40+ mark...  but you get your money's worth in the absolute quality on show here, as you should. The airfoillabs C172SP was the first GA to break the US$35+ barrier, but here is another marker that is set higher again. It doesn't have the absolute features of the AfL C172SP, but there is that real completeness and solidness and mostly that total realism of the C152 aircraft. Detailing is spectacular, and almost perfection when you get up real close...  

 

JF_C152_Head 1.jpgJF_C152_Head 2.jpgJF_C152_Head 3.jpgJF_C152_Head 4.jpg

 

....   panels and detail is absolute, but more so is the wear and tear, Carenado are masters at this aspect, but it is far better again here, this aircraft certainly lives up to it's "One Filthy" moniker, but it wears it with pride, and so do you when you fly it, as all the areas that are worn and tired, but in a totally realistic point of view. This aircraft comes with the highly detailed normal mapping for down-to-the-rivet precision of it's aircraft features and of course the X-Plane PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials with those real-time environment reflections.

 

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If you have VR (Virtual Reality) then you are in for a bonus as the aircraft is already VR compatible, but to see this machine close up externally through the VR aspect must be a moment of realism par excellence. it looks excellent in 2d, so what it must be like in 3d must be incredible. It is in the small details like the wing aerofoil shape that says this is again that level of detail that is being delivered now in X-Plane. Watch the cables as they are exposed as come out of the rear fuselage to control the rudder, they are active and realistic, as are all the tie-down eyehooks on the aircraft, detail you pay for. Wheel assemblies are basic, but beautifully recreated and fully animated.

 

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Menu

The menu is the standard JustFlight pop-out from the left side of your screen, the large arrow can be made transparent via your scroll wheel. Eighteen squares note your options.

 

First Row: First two options open both front doors, Next is the GNS 430, the aircraft is not actually fitted with the X-Plane native GNS430, but the panel is still accessible via the menu option. Next is the toggle interior glass dynamic reflections and instrument glass dynamic reflections. then there is a clever toggle feature that I have used many times of the overhead dome light if the engine is running, or the flashlight when for starting from cold and dark.

 

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Second Row: First selection opens an empty glovebox, far right, toggle for altimeter barometric pressure scale between InHg and mb. Toggle for the automatic fuel selector, which will automatically switch the fuel tanks every 20 minutes to avoid fuel imbalance, toggle for the Refill menu window... for Fuel, Battery Voltage and you can simulate Spark Plug fouling and Vapour lock. Weight and Balance window that is a bit basic compared to others but it works well as you can still adjust the two passengers weights and baggage via a animated graph, Fuel can also be set and the results in lbs and inches weights are all listed below. There is a sound adjustment panel that covers Master, Avionics, Gyro/Pump, Radios, Enviro and UI sound volumes and the look of the panel and use is excellent.

 

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Third Row: Includes Quick Start (invaluable), Checklist which comes in a very nice clipboard folder (above right), a "Flight Computer" panel is certainly very handy for longer distance flying as it shows you your fuel flow and estimated endurance and range and used fuel, speeds and wind. There are two native X-Plane items in logbook and Ground handling? and the final selection in Static Elements...   Elements include Chocks, Tiedowns, Tow bar (useless unlike the FS/P3D version which works) and the young single pilot disappears...  note the power has to be off for the static elements to work.

 

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Both aircraft doors open, but it is not a two latch system like on the other JustFlight aircraft, a single latch movement does the job here. Both the door windows open as well.

 

Panel is basic, but not as stark as the Carenado C152, in fact the facia padding gives it a quality feel. Cabin is tight at just under 40" across by 42" high and 56" long...  very tight, "shoulder to shoulder" tight. Nice big rear window(s) to watch your rudder and elevator movements.

 

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Only two seats, but detail is very good with quality fittings including above lighting, Beige is the cabin colour with a brown panel upper and dark blue lower instrument facia.

 

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First things you notice when you sit in the pilot's seat are the two air-vents that pop-out internally from the forward part of the high-wing layout...

 

JF_C152_Cabin Vent 1.jpgJF_C152_Cabin Vent 2.jpg

 

...  they channel air in via vents from forward edge of the wings, the right side one also has a built in temperature gauge, here they are both animated to move realistically in and out, but rotate as well. (hairdryer required for realism).

 

Instrument Panel

For a trainer the C152 has a well specialised panel layout. This is the C152 ll version, the ll (Two) is designated for the advanced avionics package "Nav Pac" for IFR training use.

 

JF_C152_Panel 1.jpgJF_C152_Panel 2.jpg

 

A trainer has to have the Standard Six instruments that are centred correctly in line of sight of the flying pilot with the Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row with a clock separating the Artificial Horizon and the Altitude Indicator. Below is the Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed Indicator. Two instruments right cover a CDI or Course Deviation Indicator (VOR 1) which is slightly different from the heading dial version, lower is an ADF pointer dial... Far right panel is a RPM x100 gauge and a Amperes gauge, a DATCOM hours meter sits below.

 

Lower left panel covers the park brake, and the two tanks gauges with 26 GAL fuel capacity, and oil Temp/Pressure gauges. lower is the Primer (fuel), master, start, and electrical switchgear. Elevator trim, Carb Heat, Throttle (knob), Mixture (knob) and flaps in four positions of 0º-10º-20º-30º degrees.

 

JF_C152_Panel 3.jpgJF_C152_Panel 5.jpg

 

All lower circuit breakers (poppers) do work, and are active two ways, one to break the circuit to the item noted, and two they will induce failures if you use or push the item beyond it's operating limits...

 

Radio equipment provided is basic but very realistic. There is a Bendix/King KMA 20 communications radio, Bendix/King KX 175B Comm 1/Nav1 unit, and vintage Aircraft Radio Corp. 300 R546E ADF Receiver and a Aircraft Radio Corp. RT-359A transponder.

 

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A nice feature on both yokes is a button (upper right) that brings up the X-Plane ATC panel.

 

Flying the C152 ll

The 152 was based on the earlier Cessna 150 including a number of minor design changes and a slightly more powerful engine running for running on  100LL aviation fuel. It was powered by a Lycoming O-235-L2C flat-4 engine, 110 hp (82 kW) driving a 69-inch (175 cm), two-blade, fixed-pitch McCauley propeller... the C150 had the lesser 100 hp (75 kW) powerplant.

 

The Lycoming O-235-L2C will start quite easily, as long as you give the primer a few pumps and set the mixture to half, and the throttle to about an third.  In colder conditions then you will need the Carb Heat and a bit more patience

 

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Sounds are instantly instinctively highly realistic, FMOD also, but excellent. With most GA's from cold I let the C152 warm up the temperatures, before moving off, a few minutes will settle them correctly. I have my x56 Rhino twin-throttle set as one lever (left) for the throttle and the other lever (right) as the mixture, and for taxi just two-thirds mixture is about right for the movement speed and control with the throttle inputs...

 

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Number one important note here is the aircraft's trim, or trim wheel...  for takeoff you have to set it to the middle "TAKE OFF" position via the huge trim wheel...

 

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....   then mixture to rich and it is throttle up and away you go!  The C152 has surprisingly a lot of power and the speed builds quite quickly with not that much left pull from the prop, rotate is around 70kts and the aircraft is very light for movement on the controls.

 

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Climb is noted at 700fpm, but you can easily with the power available here still keep a 650fpm climb and not lose speed.

 

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One thing you really quickly notice in the air is that the feedback from this aircraft in X-Plane11 is excellent, as it should be. This is the point of this aircraft, the way you are really flying it and that important reaction from your inputs to the controls....  If you don't smile at this point in this C152, then your just not cut out to be pilot.

 

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This is the point you start to work on your skills, your hand to eye co-ordination and smooth turn and climb inputs, get it right and you will feel like a pro.

 

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This aircraft works with you and you get the aural and physical feedback to your movements.

 

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Once leveled off at your required altitude it is time to trim the aircraft, This is the most important aspect of the flight... balance.

 

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You have to originally twiddle with small down trim adjustments to get it right, but then you should find that balance and if correct then you should be able to take your hands and feet off the controls and the aircraft should simply balance and fly straight and stay there correctly. After a few flights you should be able to pick that perfect trim position directly, but first you have to find it. The trim is only for the elevation here, and not for rudder yaw, so there will always be the need to hold the yoke a little to the right to counter the prop thrust, however it only a light touch required to keep the aircraft in a straight line. You need this as there is no autopilot in here, so as little work to do on the controls will help with the workload, in all cases the aircraft should literally fly itself if the trim is correctly set. A note that if you reduce or put on more power the trim will go out, mostly if you reduce the power it will allow you to descend still under the same trim, and increasing the power to the same RPM as before should bring the trim back into balance.

 

Any bank will need slight pressure on the yoke backwards to counter the dropped wing, if correct the aircraft will bank but hold still its altitude for a clean turn...

 

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...  once straight again the aircraft should simply go back to it's former trim balance.

 

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In a nutshell that really sums up this C152 here, set it up correctly and it will do all the work, but you have to fly it with skill and a light sweet touch.

 

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There is a realism provided in this aircraft, that it is a perfect trainer, the glass and reflections are all part of the package as are the 180º sounds, you won't better this feel for taking your first flying steps towards the real aircraft.

 

The C152 is created for mostly going around in circles, or circuits, than flying point to point. The range is only 690nm, but mostly you only use a 350nm radius, and your altitude is 14,700ft (in other words by the time time you achieve your ceiling it will be time to come straight back down again). It's not a fast aircraft either, at around 100knts, with max speed at only 110knts, but speed is not what this aircraft is about.

 

There is no course pointer in the 152 to help you in flying circuits, so your heading dial is important, first make sure it is is calibrated with the compass correctly... KIDA - Idaho's main runway is 20/02 so you need to set the heading compass dial to the correct heading setting (compass).

 

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From then on 90º turns can be achieved by first using the side pointers to hold the runway headings horizontal, then the second downwind 90º turn to the heading of the runway's opposite heading.

 

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Another 90º is towards the runways centreline, again note the horizontal heading position...

 

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Final upwind 90º turn to the runway heading (20º) and you have two helpers in an ADF pointer (if the ADF is situated there) and the ILS align CDI (If the runway has ILS Alignment). This is all of course basic flying skills, but practise can make you pretty proficient in using them, and here the C152 gives you a great platform to practise those skills. Get it all right and the runway should be where you expect it to be...

 

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Landing the C152 is quite easy, if you get the numbers correct...  80knts is a nice approach speed and then for setting the 10º flap then 70knts is perfect, the next flap 20º setting should set you around 60knts...  

 

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...   55knts is fine for the 30º flap and the final approach speed. The flap operating range is 35knts - 85knts and the stall is around 48knts clean and 43knts flaps down. There is no flap lift if you get those numbers correct and the C152 is a pretty stable aircraft right down to the runway.

 

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I will admit that my x56 Rhino throttle can make a huge difference in throttle response and controlling the final flare speed at 52knts.

 

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JF_C152_Flying 36.jpg

 

The point to make is the flying here is quite simple, but the C152 from JustFlight/Thranda gives you the perfect feedback to get it right, and that is what is important here, everything including the feel allows you to learn and control the aircraft to a high and realistic degree.

 

JF_C152_Flying 37.jpgJF_C152_Flying 38.jpg

 

And in that context this C152 is highly impressive.

 

A new feature with this C152 and all coming JustFlight/Thranda aircraft is the end-user configurability (via the Manifest.json file). This file allows you to tweak the aircraft's performance and many the areas on the aircraft as these new SASL3_Tbient (Plugin) planes are now highly configurable for end-users. So if you want to more personalise the aircraft to replicate a real world machine,  or just don't like the standard strobe light pattern, you can now change it to your wishes, the "Manifest.json file" can be found in the aircraft's root folder.

 

Lighting

The lighting internally is basic but still pretty good. There is panel adjustment for instrument back lighting, and avionics, but the avionic detail is quite small.

 

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There is one internal central roof light that is very good in illuminating the cabin and the panel.

 

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Externally there is a combination taxi and landing light that is quite powerful in use. The rest is a red tail beacon, navigation lights and the new style wing strobe lights.

 

JF_C152_Lighting 5.jpgJF_C152_Lighting 6.jpg

 

Liveries

There are eight Liveries provided and are all excellent in 4K Hi-Def resolution ...  G-BGAE is the set default of the real-life C152, G-BGAE, based at Conington Airfield that was the aircraft at the basis of this simulation version.

 

JF_C152_Livery GBGAE.jpgJF_C152_Livery FGJCI.jpgJF_C152_Livery N531DH.jpgJF_C152_Livery N95469.jpg

JF_C152_Livery GBONW.jpgJF_C152_Livery CGQOP.jpgJF_C152_Livery DEBPC.jpgJF_C152_Livery_VH-IVZ.jpg

 

Summary

There is no doubt this Cessna 152 ll from JustFlight/Thranda is very impressive, but not in the context you think it is. Yes it is loaded with features, but at that US$40+ price then it should be. But the real point is that the C152 is a basic trainer par excellence, and at it's heart it is a very simple aircraft to set up and fly. This is the aircraft to learn the basics on, the simple stuff, because this aircraft really gives you right feedback on what your flying skills are doing correctly or incorrectly... if any X-Plane aircraft that should be a flying school standard then this is it.

 

Many will note that the JustFlight C152 is also in FS/3PD, but this version comes with the more realistic X-Plane dynamics, in real feel handling and environmental feedback, it is a super balanced aircraft to fly, once flown you want more of that real deal feel. It is also already VR (Virtual Reality) compatible, so that makes it even more realistic for training and constant circuit practise. Detail and quality is phenomenal, so realism is part of the package.

 

So is this C152 ll now the current best training aircraft in X-Plane? Well everyone can have a serious debate about that, but for me I think it is, and will be for quite a long time in the future as well, it just really delivers in that most crucial of areas, the real "seat of your pants" flying machine for learning to fly with. It is highly addictive as well, so if you are looking for the very best basic trainer in X-Plane then this is it but it comes at a cost...  Highly Recommended.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Cessna 152 ll by JustFlight Thranda is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Cessna 152 ll

 

Price is US$41.99

 

Features:

MODEL

  • Accurately modeled C152, built using real-world aircraft plans and comprehensive photography of the real aircraft
  • Numerous animations, including windows, doors, air vents, sun visors, map compartment and realistically animated ignition keychain that responds to G-forces
  • Ground equipment including chocks and tie-downs
  • Authentic labelling and placards based on those found in the real aircraft, including unique airworthiness documentation for each livery based on the country of origin
  • HD textures are used to produce the highest possible texture clarity and immersion
  • PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials with real-time environment reflections for superb quality and realism
  • HDR lighting (real-time illumination of interior and exterior surfaces)
  • Detailed normal mapping for down-to-the-rivet precision of aircraft features

COCKPIT

  • A truly 3D virtual cockpit right down to accurately modeled seat belts and screw heads - every instrument is constructed fully in 3D with smooth animations
  • Cockpit textures feature wear and tear based on reference photos taken in the real aircraft to produce an authentic environment
  • Full VR support (VR manipulators, camera snap points, tweaked for comfortable usage)
  • Interactive checklists for every stage of flight
  • Aircraft configuration system that will allow you to choose between 'cold & dark' or 'ready for take-off' (if aircraft is stationary on the ground)
  • Fully functional and comprehensive IFR capable avionics fit including:
    • KMA 20 audio selector unit
    • KX 175B COM 1 / NAV 1 radio
    • RT-359A transponder unit
    • ADF 300 unit with ADF/REC/BFO modes
  • Interactive logbook panel for logging your flight details (X-Plane native)
  • Flight computer panel with useful information such as fuel burn, endurance, speed and wind speed/direction
  • GoodWay compatible
  • Ability to change barometric units from InHG to MB in altimeter adjustment
  • Option to activate flashlight from within pop-up window, to aid in those pitch-black cold and dark starts at night
  • Option to remove window and instrument reflection effects
  • Animated toe brakes
  • Radio knob animations routed through plugin logic, for optimum movement fidelity and sound synchronization
  • AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
  • Custom-coded electrical system with functional circuit breakers. Circuit breaker logic is linked to X-Plane's internal failure logic, so if the plane is set to fail a certain electrical component after a certain number of hours, the circuit breaker for that element will pop out.
  • Realistic landing gear with slow/fast tyre rotation animation (blurry when rotating fast), and wheel chocks and tie-downs
  • Functioning carburettor heat and primer controls
  • Dedicated interactive engine pop-up window displaying values such as fuel tank weights and imbalance, fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, battery charge (with quick charge option), and information about spark plug fouling and vapour lock condition
  • Simulated vapour lock condition, with warning pop-up and suggested actions
  • Simulated spark plug fouling condition, with indication of percentage of fouling
  • Lighting system includes separate lighting control for gauges (via rheostat) and realistic implementation of radio light rheostat
  • Custom external light logic with custom strobe light pattern and custom light halos for added realism
  • OTHER FEATURES
  • Realistic and accurate flight dynamics based on real-world performance and handling data, and input from C152 pilots
  • Stunning audio effects - atmospheric distance, multi-layered engine, individual click spots, aerodynamic effects and electrical system sounds, made possible by X-Plane's state-of-the-art FMOD sound system
  • Custom sounds for switches, doors, warnings and more, featuring accurate location placement of sounds in the stereo spectrum, 3D audio effects, atmospheric effects, adaptive Doppler, exterior sounds spill in when window or door(s) are opened, different sound characteristics depending on viewing angle etc.
  • Comprehensive manual with panel guide and performance data
  • PSD Paint Kit included so you can create your own paint schemes
  • Dedicated pop-up window for sound mixing, allowing for individual adjustment of the volume of exterior sounds, in-cockpit sounds and various effects
  • Custom weight and balance manager window
  • End-user configurability (via Manifest.json file)

 

 

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Requirements :

X-Plane 11

CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5GHz or faster

8GB RAM or more

DirectX 12-capable graphics card from nVidia, AMD or Intel with at least 4GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD)

Windows 10 / 7 / Vista / XP, MAC OS 10.10 (or higher) or Linux

2GB hard drive space

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Installation : Download is 638.90mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your General Aviation folder as a 664.90mb flie.  Key authorisation is required.

 

Documentation : includes

 

  • Comprehensive manual with panel guide and performance data

 

There is an excellent POH and FAA Approved manual by the KCN Aero Club, that is well worth downloading for detailed flying of the Cessna152

 

______________________________________________________________________ 

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

29th 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

- KIDA - Idaho Falls - by Turbulent Designs (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.90

 

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On 5/27/2018 at 11:53 PM, Stephen said:

Carenado do a C152 ll, but it was quite basic even in it's original form, as to date it hasn't yet had the XP11 treatment either... 

Stephen - Thanks for an excellent review.

 

I just wanted to point out that the Just Flight 152 has some stiff competition in X-Plane 11:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/43872-unofficial-xp1110-upgrade-to-carenado-c152ii-v32-by-nhadrian/

 

I fly them both, and I find the Carenado/NHadrian model easier to fly. I'm not sure if it's less realistic or if it's a better model. Maybe you could take a look and compare the two!

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That is a XP10 version in a conversion to XP11? Not the official Carenado C152 XP11, and it is not that it is the easier aircraft to fly but what is the most realistic to fly...  so in a way you answer your own question.

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