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Aircraft Update : Cherokee PA140C Original v3 by vFlyteAir

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Aircraft Update : Cherokee PA140C Original v3 by vFlyteAir

 

When we reviewed the release of vFlyteAir's Piper Cherokee 140  back in 2016, it was an unusual journey, not unusual in a negative sense but an odd sense of something very different. As noted in that review, is that at the first glance that this PA140 looked on the page just like every other general aviation aircraft we reviewed around that period, even vFlyteAir was as a developer still developing forward and were not yet at the level of a pure developer studio...  and yet it was this same PA140 that was the start of the sort of excellence that we now expect vFlyteAir to deliver.

 

From this position now looking back with the X-Plane11 or v3 of the Cherokee 140, it is easier to understand why this Cherokee was so significant, not only for vFlyteAir, but also for the X-Plane simulator itself. In reality the PA140 was the first real Uber general aviation X-Plane simulation design for the simulator.

 

So how do you define "Uber". It is the level above or even several levels above the normal. Yes with this early release in X-Plane10, there was not the PBR effects, or the performance details we now have with X-Plane11.30, but there was still with this PA140 an extreme quality about it, not only in the design, but more so in the way you interacted with the aircraft and the fundamental way you had to fly it. Those aspects are certainly more the normal today as just think of any Carenado or Just Flight GA aircraft, but not back then three years ago.

 

A big clue in why this little tiddler of an aircraft loomed so large at the time was that it's origins are pure. The aircraft was created around a real donor aircraft N3466K, and was actually flown by the team that make up vFlyteAir. Yes there has been personal aircraft developed before for X-Plane, but this Piper was just not a copy, but almost a pure complete replication of the real PA140, and right down to the last scratch and the wear and tear. Yes it was a labour of love, but it also is something else in that in the transition, vFlyteAir broke a lot of boundaries and fourth walls in creating such a pure simulation. Even in my first flight it was an astounding realistic handling aircraft (It still is), you feel the ownership and the wanting to actually own the aircraft rather than just fly it in a simulator....  and all because it was so personal and realistic.

 

vFlyteAir Cherokee PA140C Original v3

For X-Plane11 then vFlyteAir have completely remodeled the same PA140. So your first reaction is going to be in "Why would they want to do that?" Well because the newer X-Plane11 requirements are far more extensive than the XP10 ones. For one you need high and better quality textures and of course the layering of the PBR (Physical Based Rendering) effects. All textures now have extremely high quality, but are also more efficient than the ones they replaced... they give the aircraft that "wow" factor as well as creating an even more realistic real world look and feel to the aircraft.

 

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So the first notes on the updated PA140 is that it does certainly look far more dynamic and realistic, but thankfully the aircraft still retains it's original feel, this factor is the same throughout the whole change process here, far better... but still retains the original character and feel that made the first vFlyAir PA140 so realistic and wanted.

 

Yes I am not going to discount that this extensive detail was not on the original, as it all most certainly was but the aircraft looked dull and it was the period's simulator's dynamics that created that dullish feel and look, and not the developers... but the higher quality and far sharper detail now means all that time-consuming patient work was not wasted, and now also very highly enhanced here...  this v3 version is now the aircraft we all deserved, it also shows the forward progression of detail and the dynamics of the improvement of the X-Plane simulator in the convening years.

 

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it is now at the full realism factor... now multiplied double or tripled, or about as real as it gets. You could say the PA140 now has the look and feel it always deserved to match it's original hands on performance.

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Detail 5.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Head 3.jpg

 

The glass before felt slightly dull, but no more...  now all glass is perfect as well with PBR effects doing the magic.

 

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Every detail from the donor N3466K aircraft is replicated here... and I mean everything. So the aircraft is about as real as it gets to being a recreation of real flying aircraft, and there is documented proof in the manual of all the elements that were recreated in this X-Plane version

 

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Internally as this aircraft was built back in 1963, it is old, tired and even buggered. And the detailing reflects the aircraft's current state with worn ripped seating and faded materials... a nice touch is that at some stage the pilot's seat has been reupholstered as the material is slightly more new and brighter but still fairly used.

 

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A lot of the rest is cracked, rusted and even downright dirty...

 

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...  if you can revel in all this disgusting wear and tear you will absolutely love the realism of it all.

 

The instrument panel is extremely authentic as well, or tired with years of use. Highlight is the falling apart but still working right yoke assembly.... it is so broken it is almost art.

 

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Custom switchgear that has been added over the years, or renamed with Dymo tape lettering makes for a chaotic but highly realistic instrument panel...  the "INOP" tape feature is also still here, and with now added notes of which instrument to use when the noted one is not usable. You would not certainly fly a real aircraft in this situation, but it is there to allow training pilots to practice skills with a “Partial Panel” flight .

 

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Most internal fittings are animated, like the nice roof airvent, door airvents and airflow knobs. Internal lighting is authentic to the original.

 

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There are several changes to this "Original" version from the earlier one. In the past the original was only in the format of being exactly like N3466K. But in this new XP11 version you now also have the option of the (Original) VFR avionics panel, or the IFR full avionics suite...  you can switch via the labels on the centre panel. The "Classic" IFR was in the past another separate version of the PA140, but now they are combined, gone with the transformation is also that ghastly grey instrument panel, now both avionics share the same darker layout.

 

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Cherokee140_XP11_VFR 2.jpgCherokee140_XP11_iFR 2.jpg

 

Both VFR and IFR avionic layouts are exceptional. In the VFR layout you have top a PS Engineering PAR200A radio with bluetooth, below is a TKM MX300 Com panel with Comm 2 and VOR/Nav 2 frequency adjustment that is slaved for use with the OBS (usually VOR 2). You have finally on the  bottom a lovely RC RT-359A 300 XPDR Aircraft Transponder, and all perfectly antiquated and authentic.

On the IFR panel top is a Bendix/King KMA 20 radio, Garmin GNS 430 is below...  the RealityXP® GTN650 plugin can also be installed and configured as Unit #1, and then the GTN650 instrument will automatically appear. If you select or use the RealityXP GNS430 plugin and configure as Unit #1, then the RXP GNS430 will replace the default GNS430.

The TKM MX300 Com panel is the same as the VFR version for Comm2/VOR/Nav2 functions. The Avidyne AXP 340 transponder which has six different functions; Pressure Altitude display, automatic flight timer, stop watch, Flight ID display (tail number), altitude monitor, and ADS-B OUT position display.... classy.

Bottom is the highly featured Bendix/King KAP 140 autopilot with all the functioning functions as per the real unit. It is a very complex unit to use, and a study of the manual is required before takeoff, selections are multimode, but clever when you work it all out. Full instructions and diagrams are provided in the manual.

 

The instrument panel is fully active, with that mentioned custom switchgear and all working circuit breakers and everything is totally interactive, including the ashtray.

 

A note in using the controls...

 

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The really lovely roof mounted trim winder is also extremely hard to use in X-Plane, so there is a requirement to have your trim set on keyboard (note - use the "mechanical" setting and not the "servo" trim settings) to use and set the trim effectively...  the trim setting is set top left instrument panel (arrowed).

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Trim 1.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Trim 2.jpg

 

VR Menu

Two new features in this XP11 PA140 are related to VR (Virtual Reality)....  One is the menu is now a pop-up kneeboard set in the left door pocket, click to use. The 2D cog menu is gone.

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Menu 1.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Menu 2.jpg

 

You can use the "Options" menu to select/de-select the co-pilot, add/remove fuel, change panel options, turn on/off ground elements (wheel chocks, cowl plugs and pitot tube cover), hide internal glass, hide the copilot in internal cockpit views, and turn on/off the nose gear steering.

 

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You can also select the amount of fuel (36 gal) to load into the aircraft via sliders for the left and right tanks, and choose if you want to use the streamlined wheel covers on the exposed wheels in then cutting drag and speed...

 

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...  there are no weight or balance numbers or CoG graph which is now common and odd since vFlyteAir was one of the pioneers of these features, and if you add in the optional co-pilot/passenger the aircraft adds in an extra 72 kgs to cover his weight. The pilot however just sits there and can't be hidden, which he can get annoyingly in the way sometimes if you move the wrong way in the pilot's seat... or around the cabin.

 

AviTab

There is also now the option and again for VR of using the Avitab pdf viewer plugin via a VR iPad. The iPad can be moved around, but your point of view aspect is important... a larger number like 95% is fine, but your usual 73% it can be a bit large in your face, but it can be put well to one side out of the way. The window AviTab viewer window version is now also available.

 

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The STMA plugin updater is now also supplied with the aircraft, great for a quick update, but seriously annoying on screen all the time if you like to move your cursor around... not a big fan.

 

Flying the Cherokee PA140

I'm flying in the IFR role to use the extra gizmos that comes with the avionic stack. First difference starts right from the moment you turn the starter key. FMOD sounds and well done new dynamic sounds are a welcome feature. Yes they are brilliant and brings the sound package into the modern X-Plane age... I thought they were good before, but as they say "nothing stands still in X-Plan"e and so you easily notice the difference and the huge progress in sound.

 

All aspects of the performance ranges of the tiddler PA140 have been updated to the latest X-Plane v11.30 dynamics, the developer notes however to leave the X-Plane 11.30 “experimental flight model” checkbox off and in that selection it does feel slightly different from the original, but now also feels and sounds even more realistic again, and more advanced from it's original great to now brilliant flying feel that was there in the first place.

So here all the dynamics on the ground and in the air have been revised, but with that revision also comes a few variations from the original.... Original.

 

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Taxiing has turned into a bit of an art. Throttle up and pull away, but when you turn you will soon grind to a stop...  There is a trick in using the power to move and turn the aircraft at the same time on the ground. And you will a need fair bit of power to do so, more harder is when you straighten up at almost full power and you have to quickly control the forward speed. You do adjust to this real world ground movement dynamic, but it does need a fair bit of practise to get it all right.

 

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Sitting In the pilot's seat it is realism 101, get feedback and huge clatter from the just above idle power of the noisy 150 horsepower (112 kW) Lycoming O-320-E2A engine (the 140 moniker does note a 140hp engine, but after the upgrade to150hp, they didn't change the model number).

 

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Runway tracking is now a far more a required skill, even difficult until you tune into the feel at a growing speed.... not only with the asymmetric blade effect which with only 150hp is feeble anyway, but the ground effect tracking... once the air starts to work around those “Hershey Bar Wings”, because they look a bit like an (American) Hershey chocolate bar. Then you have some to complete control. You pull back around 80 knts clean, 60 knts dirty...

 

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You are actually surprised by the power and quick climb speed, certainly this is no Aerostar, but the PA140 does move quite fast for it's performance specifics...  official numbers are 85 mph (73 knts) 660 ft/minute (fpm), but you feel like you are going faster as I was touching 100 mph at the end of the runway... a 500 fpm climb is about perfect.

 

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And once you have fine tuned out the trim, you can pretty well stay up here all day with little effort. These early Cherokee's are mostly trainers by nature, so ease of use and an easy balance platform of the aircraft are essential. But so is aircraft feedback, and like the earlier PA140 Original the feel and control is excellent, it was the best in it's class three years ago, and still certainly easily still a leader with all the current crop, and some at double it's price.

 

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Top Speed is noted at around 130knts and the official cruise speed of 112-115knts which is sloooow but I cruised easily at around 120 knts (mixture leaned correctly), and the Range is 455nm with a full fuel capacity of 36gal.

 

A note from the earlier PA140 review "There is a trick you can on do the Original aircraft as well. Real-world pilots of the Cherokee 140 jam a small object under the flaps lever during cruise flight? Why would they do this? Well -- this way the flaps deploy by about 1°. To compensate for the small extra lift generated by the flaps, the pilots trim down the aircraft a bit, and this results in a slightly increased cruise speed (2 to 4 knots). You can do the same as the aircraft offers you a pilot's log book in the cockpit which you can click to put it under the lever. Then trim down a bit and you are a little bit faster without touching the throttle. Just don't tell the NTSB".

 

11.30 Particle effects...  well yes and they are very good. The little well worn Lycoming O-320 chunks out carbon dioxide that would put certainly not be in accordance of any Paris agreement, its dirty...  dirty if you know what I mean. But very well done here.

 

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I loved the propeller effects as well, to show the moving aspect, and not just the usual looking like moving disk, the rain and ice effects are good as well, but they are not the new "Librain" rain effects but the original ones, still very good though.

 

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The KAP 140 autopilot is tricky to use with all the multi-functions, but also authentic and very realistic....  When you first activate the KAP 140 it goes into a "Roll"mode that sets up to central the aircraft in pitch and roll, then press the button twice to get access to the autopilot functions, so if prepared you soon get the hang of it and for such a small trainer of an aircraft it is a big avionic tool. It does not however pop-out for ease of use.

 

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The Cherokee is not an aircraft to throw around the sky, in fact there are restrictions on the types of manoeuvring or the types of turns you can do...  but that does not stop you from doing lovely banks and control movements to satisfy your ego... this was and still a really lovely aircraft to fly.

 

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Because of the slow speeds then approach and landing are the time to show off your skills on how precise you can fly the aeroplane... it will respond nicely, but don't push the PA140's boundaries... thankfully this aspect has not changed either from the earlier original version.

 

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Flaps are four position in "Up - 1/3 - 2/3 - DN" and once fully down a 80 knt approach speed is ideal....

 

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...  slightly reduce the speed and your altitude drops with the power output, all very controllable and you are also in control.

 

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70 knts gives you the best descent rate, and you almost glide over the threshold....

 

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A slight flair will do the final touchdown... but have to get it right as the PA140 will bounce if you land awkwardly... secondly the tracking like on takeoff can be severe, the Piper grips, almost too hard, so you have to skillfully control the rollout to a taxi speed, and then watch that turning aspect with the required power off the runway.  For me it took a few practice landings to get it all right and understand the feel and control. If you remember I had to do the same few practice landings in the original review, this handing is sharp but highly authentic on the ground. A small note that is not noted anywhere is that when you shut down the PA140 the aircraft will stay (or save) itself in it's current situation, so when you reload the Cherokee it is in the same condition as you left it.

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Flying 31 LG.jpg

 

Lighting

Overall the lighting is pretty basic as this is a 1963 aircraft design...  but that is not to say it is not great either. The instrument panel is a one switch affair for rear instrument lighting and another switch for the avionics, but it looks brilliant at night and far better than the quite dull original version...

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Lighting 1.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Lighting 2.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Lighting 3.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Lighting 4.jpg

 

....  switch on the large single overhead light to illuminate the cockpit and cabin, again is very effective. External lighting is the basics, with a single landing light in the nose and a huge red beacon on the top of the tail. All lights are “parameterized” (spill lights, directional lights and spot lights) to provide more reality including the beacon with a custom flash sequence... Navigation are the red, green and white rear tail.

 

Liveries

There are eleven liveries and a blank white...  all varied, but a few are a bit on the gaudy side...   the donor PA140 N3466K is in there as well.

 

Cherokee140_XP11_Livery Blank.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery OH-PDP.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery G-BZWG.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery G-AVWA.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery D-ERCD.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery D-ECOF.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery N6469R.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery N7234J.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery N9617W.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery N4320J.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery N3466K.jpgCherokee140_XP11_Livery C-FWLF.jpg

 

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Summary

Even at the time of the original release of the vFlyteAir Cherokee PA140, you knew it was something very special, but not really how progressive and excellent it really was at that time. It did set the coming standard for handling and ultra realistic design that is quite the normal now. The very things that did made you go past or passover the aircraft as noted at the time is that even though it was very highly detailed, as it looked a drab or bland. Now with the 11.30 dynamics and PBR effects that aspect has been well and truly buried as the new PA140 is now all large glossy and full HD. So it was all there in the first place anyway, it was just the period it was set in. 

 

This is the X-Plane11.30 brand new version of the aircraft, so you do now have all the aspects of what the current X-Plane delivers and the aircraft is in many ways even far more enhanced with those new simulator features. So performance, full FMOD sound and the noted PBR effects are all present, including the new particle effects. VR in Virtual Reality is also now well catered for with 3D kneeboard menu, and AviTab intergration. On the performance front the Cherokee is about as good as it gets, but the ground effects maybe very authentic, but are also quite onerous and demanding more skill from the pilot. 

 

There are two avionics pack no included in this version, with the old original VFR minimum pack, and the very comprehensive IFR pack with some top notch fully featured units including the Avidyne AXP 340 transponder and the Bendix/King KAP 140... on both aircraft is the classic looking TKM MX300 Com panel... and either VFR or IFR package can be changed even in mid-flight.

 

Features are very good, with a lot of ideas in here, but there are a few oddities. Missing aircraft weight and balance numbers are a head scratcher as vFlyteAir are usually very good at those areas. The set but animated pilot can keep getting in way if you move the wrong way, and the on screen STMA updater is just plain annoying.

 

The original idea to replicate a real aircraft in X-Plane is even now more realised, and in that aspect it is as real as flying the 63 Cherokee in all its worn out glory as you could possibly get, it is a highly dynamic and a very involving aircraft and more a personal investment than just a flying machine... and once flown, the Cherokee becomes really part of the family and now in it's full X-Plane11 form, you can guarantee it will be in the family for a very long time to come, and finally at that price and almost half the price for the same dynamic involvement as other general aviation aircraft in the same level and category, it is an absolute bargain in the process as well...  Highly Recommended.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________
 
X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The Piper Cherokee PA140C Original v3 by VFlyteAir is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Piper Cherokee PA140 Original

 

Priced at US$24.95

 

If you already own the original Cherokee PA140 then you can update to this v3 X-Plane11 version for free, just go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account

 

Requirements:
X-Plane 11.30+
Windows, Mac or Linmux
4Gb VRAM Minimum. 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Release and review version 3.0 (Feb 25th 2019)
X-Plane11.32 is required to fly this aircraft. It will not certainly work in XP10
 
Features
  • Virtual Reality ready
  • FMOD sounds
  • New pop-out Kneeboard with Options menu
  • "Save State" Preferences, - switch settings, options and preferences are saved each time you fly, and are reloaded the next time you fly
  • New interior PBR textures
  • Improved animations using new X-Plane datarefs, including new push-button animations
  • "INOP" placards now include hints for secondary gauges
  • Automatic and integrated support for RealityXP(tm) GTN 650 and GNS 430 plugins (must be configured as Unit #1)
  • Integrated support for AviTab plugin
  • Flight model and ground handling improvements
  • Now has the STMA Autoupdate plugin included - keeps your copy up to date automatically each time you load the airplane
Avionics – Panel Option 1 – VFR Panel
  • PS Engineering PAR200 combination audio panel/COM1 radio w simulated 'Bluetooth' music feature and 8.33Khz tuning
  • TKM MX300 COM2/NAV1 radio (25 Khz tuning)
  • ARC RT-359A  transponder
  • Omni-Bearing Selector (OBS) slaved to NAV2 radio with localizer and glideslope indicator needles
  • Magnetic Compass
  • Directional Gyro Compass
  • Vertical Velocity Indicator (VVI)
  • Altimeter/Barometer
  • Airspeed Indicator with True Airspeed indicator
  • Clock with Elapsed Timer Hour and Minutes hands and Time-of-Day adjustment feature
  • Artificial Horizon
  • Hobbs Meter
  • Engine Gauges (Left Fuel Qty, Right Fuel Qty, Ammeter, Oil Pressure, Fuel Pressure, Oil Temperature, Suction)
Avionics – Panel Option 2 – IFR Panel
  • KMA20 Audio Panel
  • G430 GPS (Laminar Research default)
  • MX300 COM2/NAV2 Radio
  • Avidyne AXP 340 Transponder with Pressure Altitude, Flight Timer, Stop Watch, Flight ID, Pressure Altitude Monitor, and ADS-B OUT functions
  • KAP 140 dual-axis autopilot with Altitude Preselect function
  • Other gauges and instruments same as the Panel Option 1 above
Special Features
Beta Tested by Three Real-World Cherokee 140 Pilots
  • New FMOD Sounds
  • Pop-out Kneeboard with Options Menu
    • Click on the kneeboard stowed in the pocket near the pilot’s left knee to pop out the kneeboard. Select your preferences from the menu, add or remove ground elements, copilot and fuel
  • Simulated Bluetooth Music
    • The PS Engineering PAR 200 radio/audio instrument has Bluetooth features. We have simulated Bluetooth music in the model. 
  • Simulated Radio Squelch Noise
    • If you turn OFF ASQ button on the PAR200 audio panel/radio, you will hear a simulated radio static noise over the normal radio audio.
  • Fuses are Operational
    • You can fail any of the fuses and/or circuit breakers on the panel to practice emergency procedures.
  • Exterior HDR Custom Parameterized Lighting
    • All exterior lights are created using X-Plane custom parameterized lighting system with plug-in control. To enjoy the lighting effects to their fullest, HDR Rendering must be ON in your settings. However, the lights will still work with HDR off, they just won't look as nice.
  • Wheel Fairings can be Removed using  Menu
    • If you remove the wheel fairings, the drag co-efficient will be increased by approximately 3%
  • Vibration Effects
    • The exhaust pipe, ignition key, ailerons and stabilator are animated to appear to shake/vibrate when the engine is running. As you increase engine RPM, the shaking smooths out.
    • Spinning Wheels Blur Effect
    • When the wheels are spinning at faster than 20 KTS, the textures are replaced with a radial-blur effect to add more realism.
  • Rain and Ice Texture for Windows
  • When X-Plane indicates that there is precipitation on the windshield, or ice on the airframe, the window glass textures will be replaced with rain or ice effect textures.
  • Original N3446K livery plus 11 more liveries provided (including a Plain White livery)
    • Super Hi-resolution textures  up to 4K  textures
    • Fully animated model. If it looks like it should move in real life, it is animated!
 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Piper Cherokee PA140C Original is 426.30mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the aircraft "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 1.32 Gb.

 

Documentation: Excellent vFlyteAir full manual and software agreement. Manual shows documentation and images of the real N3466K that was the basis of the X-Plane version.

 

vFlyteAir_Cherokee140_Original_Manual_v3_0.pdf
vFlyteAir_LimitedUseSoftwareAgreement.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Aircraft review by Stephen Dutton 

6th March 2019

Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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 11.31 (v11.30 is required for this aircraft)

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : Avitab pdf viewer - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

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



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Got my CFI in one of these back in '69.  The FAA examiner refused to ride through 'demonstrated spins' so observed from the ground.  I think all I did was drop a wing one way then the other - don't think it was a spinner nor much of anything, as a real airplane - the '235' was a good one.

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I think this is were the PA140 is an important aircraft, to revisit special times even when you can't now physically do so... it fills a need in it's worn state to be an aircraft to understand why we fly. Yes the Twin Comanche would make an excellent upgrade to XP11, I would expect it this year.

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