Jump to content
Stephen

Aircraft Review : SAAB 340 XP11 by Carenado

Recommended Posts

SF340_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : SAAB 340 XP11 by Carenado

 

As a design studio then Carenado was always categorised very firmly into the General Aviation category. And even when they released their medium twin-engined six to ten seaters like the Dornier Do 228 it was still very much positioned in the large general aviation division rather than into the small regional airliner category. There was still this boundary you thought Carenado would not really ever not pass over, and the reason was that to go up into the next category required a major shift away from the way Carenado designed aircraft. Small airliners required a very different kind of application, because they push into the study grade territory and and with that comes all the required in depth features and systems. Certainly Carenado's GA aircraft had a lot of depth in systems and in fact the design studio was usually on the forward edge of those detail and systems. But a regional airliner is a totally different ball game, it has to deliver a much higher depth of intergration...    So in reality there was always the thought that Carenado would always stick to designing what they excelled at and leave the next level of highly complex aircraft designs to other the studios that were better catered to designing these more highly detailed machines.

 

But over the last few years Carenado have moved upmarket so to speak, as many of the lower GA aircraft once the domain of Carenado are now supplied by Alabeo, so the earlier noted Carenado's are now in the same quality and bracket in Alabeo disguise as Carenado moves upwards on to the more complex and larger aircraft territory, but airliners still felt like a level too far...

 

That all changed with the release of the SAAB 340 for FlightSim (FSX/P3D), but for X-Plane that was still a dream too big to realise. The S340 was followed up by the F27 Fokker Friendship and the Shorts 360 (boxcar) so we knew that Carenado was serious about their future market... X-Plane however was still a maybe.

 

But here is the X-Plane11 version of the SAAB 340... and with all that next level in intergration, and could Carenado really fly with the specialist airliner developers...  it is a big question and the core of this review.... in one area though X-Plane's users knew straight off the line was that the SAAB would look brilliant in the better dynamics of the 11.30 simulator and in that thought they were certainly not wrong there.

 

SF340_Head 1.jpg

 

SF340_Head 2.jpgSF340_Head 3.jpg

 

SF340_Head 4.jpgSF340_Head 5.jpg

 

The point to make is that the development of the Carenado SAAB is very much up to date, with modern tools to create the very best detailing and getting the most efficiency out of the design... so yes the detail is very detailed and highly refined. Texture mapping is first rate in that shows every panel and rivet that holds the airliner together, but the real mapping detail is in the strengthened areas of fuselage that gives it body and realism...  every area of detail is well covered and to highlight this is the small laminar flow airfoils on the tail and rear elevators.

 

SF340_Head 6.jpgSF340_Head 7.jpg

 

SF340_Head 8.jpgSF340_Head 9.jpg

 

Panel design detail is first rate, but the PBR effects give you also a very realistic feel to the aircraft in their perfect shines and reflections, as noted Carenado use only the very best tools to get these dynamic reflections, realistic metal and dielectric material effects perfect... and it shows. Obviously there will be a lot of comparisons the the Leading Edge (LES) Saab 340, that has been around X-Plane as long as I can remember, always updated, but still dated by design. The debates will go on forever and as I don't have or use the LES Saab 340 then I can't compare it to the Carenado version either. But what I do know is that this SAAB 340 from Carenado is "State of the art" in X-Plane and to all the current 11.30 dynamics and effects.

 

SF340_Head 10.jpgSF340_Head 11.jpg

 

SF340_Head 12.jpgSF340_Head 13.jpg

 

Undercarriage detail on larger aircraft are often the make or break of detailing (the correct animations are important as well). In this area the SAAB is outstanding, highly detailed, but the highlight is if you poke your head under and into the front gear bay. Crafted assembles of major components are excellent and highly detailed.

 

Chrome features are exceptional and the distinctive SAAB ribbing on the fuselage is also very authentic...  note the lovely landing light housings.

 

SF340_Head 14.jpgSF340_Head 16.jpg

 

To a point this sort of high quality detail was not going to be a surprise from Carenado, as they have produced some of the best quality for years now, but it is also very nice to see and feel it anyway.

 

Carenado Menus

One of the limitations Carenado faces is that it's menu system is still the same as it was from day one, three tabs in the left side down corner... there are two now known issues, space for items and VR support. Here even with a far larger aircraft that demands a lot of feature choices, it is all really just still the same.

 

SF340_Menu 1.jpgSF340_Menu 2.jpg

 

The three tabs are noted as: A ) is for the lovely authentic Collins Aerospace APS-85 pop-up Autopilot panel, that can be moved and scaled to size. C ) Is the standard Carenado ten preselected Views, Field of View, livery Selector and Volume panel. And O ) is the Options panel. 

 

Options include Window and Instrument reflections. The static elements provided here are still very basic with only two cones, wheel chocks and flag/pitot covers and some nice "SAAB 340" engine outlet and inlet covers, but you can only have all or nothing. The highly realistic pilot and co-pilot (and new) animated pilots in flight uniforms do disappear when you activate the static elements. Other menu items include opening the rear baggage door...

 

SF340_Menu 3.jpgSF340_Menu 4.jpg

 

....   opening internal cockpit door and the selection of a nice "HOBART" GPU (Ground Power Unit). The GPU is important here as the SAAB 340 has no internal APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) to provide power or pressure to start the engines, if you shut down the engines you are then only on short span battery power, so the GPU is usually required to be operating before you shut down to continue the aircraft's power supply, same with starting the engines and the GPU cart is required until the running engine provides power to the systems...  Once one engine is supplying power you can then disconnect the GPU and start the second engine from the first. SAAB's are noted to go dark inside if there is no GPU available on landing.

 

There are two selections to first open the Passenger door.... then another section to fold out the built-in air-stairs

 

SF340_Menu 5.jpgSF340_Menu 6.jpg

 

Both detail and animations are first rate, very authentic. Finally on the options menu is the selection of liveries that can be changed from the menu.

 

Cabin

The SAAB cabin is a huge surprise....  first though is that you can open and close the passenger door manually and also manually extended or retract the air-stairs. Pressing a point on the left part of the crew headrest will animate the stairs down or up...  the retracted air-stair is certainly well crafted here

 

SF340_Cabin 1.jpgSF340_Cabin 2.jpg

 

Opening the main passenger is easy by touching the door lever, but it is a bit hard to close it again if you are not in the right position to move the lever with it hidden...  you aim for a spot on the wall, but in your own position you have to be close to the door and turned before the active area works, in most cases the menu selection is far easier.

 

The cabin looks really, really well done...  love the nice shape and detail of the seating...

 

SF340_Cabin 3.jpgSF340_Cabin 4.jpg

 

... but use the cabin lighting panel left of the doorway, and the "wow", then becomes "WOW" astounding!

 

SF340_Cabin 5.jpgSF340_Cabin 8.jpg

 

SF340_Cabin 9.jpgSF340_Cabin 10.jpg

 

Window drop lighting, overhead strip lighting, seat number row lighting, galley lighting and illuminated "EXIT" signs all create a cabin to die for.

 

You jaw is down, but now it will now hit the floor with a thump....    The overhead passenger drop lights are all individually switchable, so is calling the Flight Attendant, and the blinds can also be moved down (or up)...

 

SF340_Cabin 11.jpgSF340_Cabin 12.jpg

 

SF340_Cabin 13.jpgSF340_Cabin 14.jpg

 

... seatback meal trays can be lowered, armrests moved and so can the seatbacks to a reclining position... ohhh heaven!   Only one word of warning... 

...  now if you spend in flight a considerable amount of time making the passengers very comfortable, dropping shades, switching on the overhead lights, lowering meal trays, slipping back the seats and adjusting all the armrests, then be aware that there are no global settings to get the cabin back ready for landing, and every single former adjustment will have have to be totally redone. So yes do so and certainly make the paying punters happy, but not for every seat and every light. Best airliner cabin now in X-Plane, yes certainly, but only just a whisker past FJS's B732 Twin-Jet v3.

 

Cockpit

Open the cockpit door and the distinctive SAAB lighter tone cockpit is all there. Detail is excellent, fine detail is excellent...

 

SF340_Cockpit 1.jpgSF340_Cockpit 2.jpg

 

SF340_Cockpit 3.jpgSF340_Cockpit 4.jpg

 

... Carenado can sometimes go to a darker more overwhelming set of beige tones and contrast in many of their aircraft, but that aspect is certainly not present in here, as they get it all perfectly right.  Yes you can detail very well a C172SP (which Carenado also do very well), but this is on totally another scale

 

SF340_Cockpit 5.jpgSF340_Cockpit 6.jpg

 

The level of quality and realism is always going forward, but once you see almost no areas that "could" be created by a 3d tool, then you have the ultimate realism... the reality of the cockpit just takes over. Detail can be interesting areas, take the rear cockpit air-vents and the lovely overhead lighting...

 

SF340_Cockpit 7.jpgSF340_Cockpit 8.jpg

 

...  all beautifully crafted and created, and nice touch is when the cockpit door is closed you can drop down the jump seat, the pilot's and first officer's armrests are also animated. Seat detail is astounding, with chrome lifters and the knob lever to raise or lower the seating position in detail.

 

SF340_Cockpit 9.jpgSF340_Cockpit 10.jpg

 

Nice yokes can be hidden, also have built in AP disconnect and working trim switches. The overhead panel (OHP) is surprisingly large for the size of the aircraft, but all the different system areas and switchgear work. The pedestal is also very comprehensive and well detailed.  Lets power up.

 

SF340_Cockpit 11.jpgSF340_Cockpit 12.jpg

 

OHP panel colourful Annunciator lights can be set to BRIGHT or DIM, both look authentic, but both settings look brilliant at night...

 

SF340_Cockpit 13.jpgSF340_Cockpit 14.jpg

 

Pedestal is excellent, but the standard X-Plane default FMS is a bit glaring. The real S340 uses the UNS-1K Flight Management System, which is a lovely bit of kit, so this FMS is a bit of a compromise as the XP default FMS is a compromise anyway, it looks not very professional and a bit gaudy as well... the RealityXP GTN750 can also be fitted and if you can afford the high price then that would be my option... but still the Universal original would still be my overriding preference.

 

SF340_Cockpit 15.jpgSF340_Cockpit 16.jpg

 

The Collins Aerospace APS-85 pop-up Autopilot panel is part of an extensive system set out all around the instrument panel, the (A) menu pop-out panel is a good way to see all the system in one location, but at least it is totally authentic. Note the older style radio frequency Collins digital units...  the lovely throttle levers and mixture levers are all excellently reproduced here.

 

SF340_Cockpit 17.jpgSF340_Cockpit 18.jpg

 

There is "GUSTLOCK" on the throttles that is released by a switch in to use the lever to lock the yokes forward... when in operation the rear elevators are also locked down.

 

SF340_Cockpit 19.jpgSF340_Cockpit 20.jpg

 

Environmental controls are all mostly automatic, but well replicated here.... Flaps settings are UP - 15º - 20º - 35º. There are two friction levers for the levers that affects the pressure on the throttle movement, try them out at different points to get the best feel results, but as I use a Saitek throttle it affects the speed of the throttle movement...  the full friction setting can seen to give quite a slow reaction to the movement.

 

Instrument Panel

The full instrument panel looks complicated at first glance but it is not, but there are a lot of small areas and switches that you need to study and know of their operations. The SAAB 340 is not an easy aircraft to jump into and expect to fly without first some study.

 

SF340_Panel 1 Lg.jpg

 

These are mostly related to warnings and small actions to certain operations.

 

The SAAB has the dual Electronic Attitude Indicator (EADI), and the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI) instrument system (NAV) as it's primary flying instruments. Many would call it an early glass cockpit layout. Most selections to adjust either display is on the DCP selection panel above right (arrowed). EADI has the Artificial Horizon, Rate of Turn, Turn Coordinator, Pitch and Flight Director operations. ILS and Fast/Slow indicators and AP modes are also displayed. All instruments are Collins instruments inscribed.

 

SF340_Panel 2.jpgSF340_Panel 3.jpg

 

The EHSI NAV covers heading, Nav1/Nav2 and GPS functions, with VOR1 and VOR2, ADF pointers...  the aircraft has two Course pointers with the second pointer connected to the secondary OBS VOR2/ILS dial below left (arrowed). A secondary VOR/ADF pointer instrument is left centre.

 

SF340_Panel 4.jpgSF340_Panel 5.jpg

 

IAS speed (knts) is top left and Attitude Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator is right... A clock is far left. Center panel left are the backup instruments for Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude. The MFD85 Weather/MAP screen is bottom, but it is basic. There are two sets of Annunciator panels, left the L&R Engine and the larger grid Annunciators. With so many warning lights it does get confusing, certainly as the Master "Warning" and Caution" lights are always going off and pointing to something somewhere, so study and even printouts are required to use all the different annunciators correctly.

 

SF340_Panel 6 LG.jpg

 

Engine dial readouts are comprehensive... Engine - Torque, Temp, RPM %, Pressure, Oil Temp and Fuel flows... Middle four dials cover "PROP" RPM, and Prop Pressure and Oil Temp. Both lower dials cover the twin Fuel Quantity. The SAAB has Four Fuel tanks (two either side of each engine), but the are counted as one each side of 2,803 lbs capacity with a 5,606 lbs total capacity. Each half has an XFEED valve to level those two sets of tanks, to level each side there is a CONN Valve that balances the twin sets of tanks across the aircraft.

 

Top right centre is the gear lever with a manual release and lock, Flap indicator and lower a very nice control position indicator. Second Officer position is quite simple, with just the same EADI and EHSI and other main flying instruments in the same arrangement. The only difference is that the pilot's OBS VOR2/ILS dial is replaced by a nice "Fuel Used" counter that can be reset.

 

SF340_Panel 7.jpgSF340_Panel 8.jpg

 

Autopilot panel glareshield is standard, with the main AP sections centre, with the VOR 1 and VOR 2 frequency radios on either side...

 

SF340_Panel 9 LG.jpg

 

Each end is the EHSI NAV DCP panel to set the various functions for each pilot and second officer, it is again a bit complicated and study is required to understand all the complex choices that you have. You have both Rose and ARC heading (below) modes available...  Altitude selector is middle top.

 

SF340_Panel 10.jpg

 

Side panels are excellent. Pilot's side panel has the Park Brake top, Then a "Flight Recorder" number that can be set, lower is a nice XMIT radio panel that is adjustable by sliders...  Tiller Wheel/Knob is set bottom. There are extensive circuit breaker panels but Carenado don't still do active circuit breakers.

 

SF340_Panel 11.jpgSF340_Panel 12.jpg

 

Second officer's side panel has Oxygen pull top (Oxygen supply pressure gauge is on the upper panel side), TAWS Flap and Rudder Overrides, Pusher disarm... then the "Cockpit Voice Recorder" panel, lower is the same XMIT Radio selection panel.

 

Systems

The working aircraft systems on the S340 is comprehensive...  From the top of the OHP and left to right is first the "ICE PROTECTION" Then "FUEL" with the noted XFEED and CONN valve switching and the main AIR COND (Conditioning) panel. Lower are the Fire pull handles and Extinguishers.

 

SF340_OHP Panel 1.jpg

 

Centre OHP is "ENGINE" covering AC Heat and AC Gen switching, "PROPELLER" (Manual Feathering), AC/DC Electrical Panels and secondary AIR COND Bleed panel (most can be left on "AUTO").

 

SF340_OHP Panel 2.jpg

 

Lower/Front OHP is "STAB & WING", Engine START and the main DC ELEC (Electrical) Panel and main Electrical switchgear, including the EXT PWR and Generator selectors. Far right is another nice set of Annunciators to cover the aircraft's current situation, like open doors and status...

 

SF340_OHP Panel 3.jpg

 

Far front OHP is all the 'EXT LIGHTS" lighting, and CABIN switchgear and individual wiper switches. INT (Internal) LIGHTING panel is mid lower panel. Almost every system, switch or selection works as real... there is no doubt this is the most comprehensive Carenado aircraft ever created for X-Plane.

 

If your eyes are not yet glazed over by the sheer amount of system detail you have to absorb, you can now see where the study factor comes in. In a rare publication (for) Carenado they have created a "Systems" manual for this S340, it is not as deep as a formal manual, but it will get you out of trouble and you can download the manual here : Carenado Saab 340B for XP 11 Systems Manuals.pdf and there is also a Carenado Saab 340B for XP 11 Flight Tutorial v1.0 tutorial as well. Provided also is a manual for the X-Plane FMS, and a layout of the DCP Panels.

 

The Librain rain effect plugin is also on the aircraft. It was on the S340 that I first saw the librain plugin in action, and it looked a bit underdeveloped. But Carenado by version v1.1 (release) have done some more refinement and it is very good now. It is also featured on both the cockpit and cabin windows.

 

SF340_librain 1.jpgSF340_librain 2.jpg

 

SF340_librain 3.jpgSF340_librain 4.jpg

 

There are however still a few quirks, one is that the bathroom window rain effects show hanging in the rear of the cockpit, that would be even scary in VR. Second is looking into the cockpit from the cabin you can see all of the rain effects of both of the forward windows? As development does go forward you can expect both areas to be addressed.

 

Flying the Carenado SAAB 340

Spoke and Hub operations today takes us from Daytona, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. This route is typical of the sort of services the S340 covers, with a maximum 34 passengers and crew. Ground distance is 357 NM and fuel load in lbs is 3692 lbs for a total weight of 27,995 lbs of a max weight of 29,300 lbs. (SimBrief routing). No APU means no hydraulic pressure either, so you have to set the pumps to work manually before removing the chocks, battery power is fine, but you are better on GPU power...

 

SF340_KDAL 1.jpgSF340_KDAL 2.jpg

 

Passengers in and loaded... don't forget you still need the GPU cart to start ("NO BAT START" will be extinquished). There is no PROP lever to set the Feather as it is automatic, and the feather position is noted on the Mixture lever gate... so set all throttle and mixture levers to start.

 

SF340_KDAL 3.jpgSF340_KDAL 4.jpg

 

Select the IGN switch to on (No 2 engine), press START R and wait for the whine... it comes and boy it is good, this is a brilliant startup procedure aural experience.

With an engine providing power and the generator switched on you can now remove the GPU and start No 1 engine the same way as you start No 2...

 

SF340_KDAL 6.jpgSF340_KDAL 5.jpg

 

.... you can easily see the startup of the engine from the cockpit, which is rare mostly. Once both engines are settled and warm you are ready to go. Again the running and system sounds just waiting for the engines to come up to operating temperature is really realistic, the aircraft hums with the urge to go. Back in the cabin the experience is awesome and highly realistic from our usual passenger position (note all the seatbelt and EXIT signs), a look out of the window is also extremely real.

 

SF340_KDAL 7.jpgSF340_KDAL 8.jpg

 

The real S340 has a HOTEL mode or the engine is running but the gearbox can be disconnected and the prop braked and feathered… usually used for taxiing, as most passengers then freak out that only one propeller is turning while taxiing (most Prop regionals do this fuel saving trick anyway). But you can't brake the Prop here, so the best you can do is switch one Prop to manual and keep it totally feathered.

 

You adjust the mixture on one engine to give the prop bite, but the point of contact is very on/off in too much power or nothing... You can find that sweet spot with one engine at full idle (feathered) and one engine doing the taxiing work and get a nice slowish taxi speed, but personally I would like far more adjustment at the PROP feather stage to stop the surge of power even from one engine. It is just far too full on or off for me, but there was that sweet spot (still a fraction too fast) to control the taxi speed.

 

SF340_KDAL 9.jpgSF340_KDAL 10.jpg

 

SF340_KDAL 11 LG.jpg

 

You can't even advance the mixture to full (MAX) until you are lined up ready to go, it is just too much thrust. I usually set the mixture levers at the hold point, but I couldn't here unless I wanted to visit the scenery. I did try in only starting one engine until I was approaching the taxiway hold point of the runway, then starting the other on the taxi, the effect was quite good, but on part of the engine start as the other engine's generator kicked in you lost your power to the instruments....  but I liked the idea. Note that all three altimeters (including the standby) have to have their pressures adjusted...

 

SF340_KDAL 12 LG.jpg

 

With Flaps set at 15º, then press T/O INH button by the flap dial... there is the option to use the CTOT - Constant Torque on Takeoff; CTOT is a fancy system to meter fuel during takeoff and during an Auto Coarsen (optimized blade angle of 55 1/2 degrees) event. Turboprops can be finicky about setting takeoff power due to "torque bloom" as the aircraft accelerates, 90% is the recommended position but you can set 100% if the runway is short, the panel is located lower left on the pedestal, and the Auto Coarsen switch is MID-OHP.

 

SF340_KDAL 18.jpgSF340_KDAL 14.jpg

 

Speed bugs are adjustable on the IAS Speed dial, but there is a selectable bug as well for speed control in the EADI, which is great for setting both first your rotate speed and then your desired climb speeds. Carenado provides extensive performance tables for takeoff speeds and their weights, highly recommended and worth printing out.

 

As you advance the throttles the range of the engine tones in change are simply amazing, the best I think I have ever heard. You get a different sound for a different engine condition, you really do feel the power and movement in the sounds.

 

SF340_KDAL 19 LG.jpg

 

Pitch back around 100 +10 knts, and you clear the runway easily, but you have be really aware of right climb pitch and hold it tightly as the flaps are retracted and the speed builds, you need to really concentrate on your flying as the aircraft demands that to keep it all smooth and correct.

 

SF340_KDAL 15.jpgSF340_KDAL 16.jpg

 

As the gear goes up you get a very quick peak into the gear bay, and yes it is all very good in there.

 

SF340_KDAL 17.jpgSF340_KDAL 20.jpg

 

SF340_KDAL 21 LG.jpg

 

Feel and control is Amazzzzing, as there is so much feedback as you bank left to clear the airport... rate of climb is 10.2 m/s (2,000 ft/min), which really is a bit tight for a small airliner, you would expect around 3,000 fpm or even more... so you don't climb up as fast as you would think you do so, 1,800 fpm is the line before losing power. You will now need to turn off the CTOT, it is a bit tricky in increasing your power to a slightly higher level, then turning the CTOT off and then resetting the power back to 95% torque. It needs a little practice to get perfect and not lose power when you disconnect the CTOT.

 

SF340_KDAL 22.jpgSF340_KDAL 23.jpg

 

It is so easy to go onto the FMS route and wing it, but I want to Fly this aircraft, so I banked left (with permission) than go right to the flightplan.... I want manual control here for as long as I can have it, and it is short cutting the flightplan as well.

 

SF340_KDAL 24.jpgSF340_KDAL 25.jpg

 

Even in the cockpit the roar of those General Electric CT7-9B turboprops, 1,305 kW (1,750 shp) is very real, you feel the power as you climb. The S340 has been completely refined to the new 11.30 performance features and details, so power reflections and numbers are exactly correct to the real aircraft.

 

SF340_KDAL 26.jpgSF340_KDAL 27.jpg

 

The engine exhausts are poring out the burnt carbons courtesy of 11.30 particle effects, and yes they are very good and realistic.

 

SF340_KDAL 28.jpgSF340_KDAL 29.jpg

 

My jollies over I have to get back to and on to the flightplan... the Collins APS-85 pop-up panel is huge and it can easily fill the largest of screens, but thankfully it can be scaled right down to a workable size...

 

SF340_KDAL 31.jpgSF340_KDAL 30.jpg

 

Carenado note the APS-85 system as 2-axis, but the official system is actually 3-axis, it looks like a 3-axis system as well in the way you use it. The MFD85 map (weather) screen is positioned very low in the instrument panel, but you can pop it out and even resize it to use both the AP panel and the Map screen in one view (FMS screen as well)... certainly the pro users will scoff and do everything per the normal cockpit routines, but the simulation tools are there if you want them.

 

SF340_KDAL 32.jpgSF340_KDAL 33.jpg

 

The autopilot I named "Colin" was now doing all the flying...   the A340's service ceiling is 7,620 m (25,000 ft), which again is a surprise but the same as the Dash, the Q400 version can go slightly higher to 27,000ft. Range is 1732 km (935 nmi, 1076 mi) and cruise speed is 467 km/h (252 knots, 290 mph) at 7,620 m (25,000 ft) (range cruise) - Max speed is 502 km/h (271 knots, 312 mph) (VMO) (IAS), 0.5 Mach MMO.

 

SF340_KDAL 34.jpgSF340_KDAL 35.jpg

 

Time to finally sit back and revel in the safe purr of the twin CT7-9B engines, all with the range of sounds that still astounds me... it is nice up here.

 

SF340_KDAL 36 LG.jpg

 

Lighting

As expected the lighting system in Carenado's S340 is complex, but exceptional.... 

 

SF340_Nightlighting 1.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 2.jpg

 

Panel drop down lighting is adjustable as is the panel instrument lighting. Main cockpit lighting is via two overhead lights, both on via the "Dome" OHP switch, but either side can be switched on via either pilots side switches...

 

SF340_Nightlighting 3.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 4.jpg

 

Adjustable Yoke document holder lighting is absolutely gorgeous, it also highlights the yokes other text items.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 5 LG.jpg

 

Two directly click on/off forward overhead spots are powerful and can be moved to shine on to the areas required.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 6.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 7.jpg

 

OHP is in flight mostly just an outline of the systems...  note the battery temp, and the temp display can switch to three positions; L Bat/R Bat and Fuel temp.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 9.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 8.jpg

 

It is not what you want to see in-flight, but the annunciator warning lighting is very impressive.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 10.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 11.jpg

 

As expected the cabin lighting is extraordinary...

 

SF340_Nightlighting 12.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 13.jpg

 

...  as the realism factor is overwhelming.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 14.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 15.jpg

 

You can spend hours trying out the different lighting conditions in by the way you use the overhead seating lighting, the various window and overhead lighting selections to get the effect you want.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 16.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 17.jpg

 

I did however find an odd situation in that the rear of the cockpit was constantly lit...  I wanted a fully dark cockpit and the adjusted instrument lighting for night takeoffs and landings, but no matter how many adjustments I made in the cockpit I made it was just always too bright? The worst was either side rear (below) and on the rear of the pedestal...

 

SF340_Nightlighting 18.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 19.jpg

 

I was about to give up and then I found the offending lighting... it was a lot of bleed from the galley light and it was coming into the rear of the cockpit, turn off the galley light and the cockpit finally went dark. I doubt Carenado can actually fix this bleed, but at least with the galley light turned off I can set up the instrument lighting perfectly for the night time operations (below).

 

SF340_Nightlighting 20.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 21.jpg

 

External lighting is very good as well. Beacon, Navigation and Strobe lighting which is all excellent as well as the engine positioned wing (Ice) lighting...  logo tail lighting is really well done with the lights shaded outward.....

 

SF340_Nightlighting 22.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 24.jpg

 

...  highlight is the inner wing landing lights that illuminate the underside of the aircraft and give a brilliant view of the engines out of the cabin windows, a lot of users get very excited about these sort of features, but in this aspect you can't blame them. There is a single taxi light on the front gear strut.

 

SF340_Nightlighting 23.jpgSF340_Nightlighting 25.jpg

 

In flight

Your aim is for a dull instrument and OHP. No warning lights or anything flashing will make you happy, but with so many different systems and switch positions it is harder to achieve nirvana than what you think it is.

 

SF340_Flight 2.jpgSF340_Flight 5.jpg

 

I personally would like more brightness on the EADI/EHSI displays, they certainly look good, but can be a little dull in some lighting conditions... you don't need a lot but something, and overall they look dull in context with the rest of the instrument panel.

 

ET time on your EHSI is really your block to block timer and not to destination, very nice though and selected on the DCP panel. Blinds are animated and move to any position... handy.

 

SF340_Flight 1.jpgSF340_Flight 4.jpg

 

SF340_Flight 3 LG.jpg

 

Arrival at KATL now had a wind and runway change, so my initial 27R was changed to RWY 10, so the flightplan was abandoned for a circuit approach to RWY 10.

 

SF340_KATL 1.jpgSF340_KATL 2.jpg

 

Final to KATL RWY 10 (IOMO)

 

SF340_KATL 5 LG.jpg

 

One speed bug can be set to control your speed in too fast or too slow on the EADI, the other bugs are set to your flap position speeds as required.

 

SF340_KATL 3.jpgSF340_KATL 4.jpg

 

160 knts is flaps to 7º, and the approach speed of 140 knts is 15º flaps...  gear down.

 

SF340_KATL 10.jpgSF340_KATL 11.jpg

 

You actually hear the hydraulic pumps working and thump..  thump as the gear locks into place.

 

SF340_KATL 6.jpgSF340_KATL 7.jpg

 

...  final speed bug sets the speed at around 118 knts and flaps at 35º, you can go straight from 15º flap to 35º without any due course. Speed control is tricky, but experience will help in getting the right numbers, my worries are always the full mixture speeds on landing, any adjustment lower and that on/off power causes issues and you stop, the other setting is far too much power and the aircraft is hard to slow down. Stall speed dirty (flaps down) in landing configuration is 82 knots.

 

SF340_KATL 8.jpgSF340_KATL 9.jpg

 

Control on finals is excellent, but you really have to work the yoke to keep the S340 straight, not big movements but tight small ones.

 

SF340_KATL 12.jpgSF340_KATL 13.jpg

 

BETA mode works well, set the X-Plane "Full Reverse Thrust" key/trigger to activate the BETA mode, the top blue annunciator lights note the reverse thrust is activated.

 

SF340_KATL 14.jpg

 

Finding that idle/taxi speed was again a distraction, I sorta found something, but you needed the throttle set quite high to move and KATL has a lot of angled taxiiways that saps the speed...

 

SF340_KATL 17.jpgSF340_KATL 18.jpg

 

At the gate, remember to switch on the GPU before shutting down the engines... 

 

SF340_KATL 15.jpgSF340_KATL 16.jpg

 

Liveries

Carenado supply one blank livery for the S340 and nine branded, all of course are excellent and highly detailed... but two of the liveries in the airlines supplied have already gone bust? SAAB favorites are well represented, with excellent Loganair (Scotland), Flybe, Silver, Nextjet and REX Australia.

 

SF340_Livery blank.jpgSF340_Livery LCM.jpg

SF340_Livery LSCL.jpgSF340_Livery LVPR.jpg

SF340_Livery JA3401.jpgSF340_Livery N153RU.jpg

SF340_Livery N341T.jpgSF340_Livery LCE.jpg

SF340_Livery KPE.jpgSF340_Livery RXP.jpg

 

459 S340's were built between 1983 and 1999, but still 210 S340s are still in service with 34 operators around the world. So there is a lot of choice of brands to choose from. And the current fleet average is at 35,277 h and 39,446 cycles – a mean 0.89h per flight, less than halfway of its remaining life. SAAB has also extended the airframe life from 45,000 to 80,000 flight hours and 90,000 cycles and so the Saab 340 should remain in service for at least another 30 years.

 

As the FSX/P3D Carenado version has been already released a few years, there is already a huge crossover of liveries ready available and with loads more coming to the X-Plane.Org near you...  currently here are a few already released... with Norwegian, Westjet, American Eagle, Delta, Crossair (launch airline) and Air Rotatonga.

 

SF340_Livery NOR.jpgSF340_Livery Westjet.jpg

SF340_Livery AM Eagle.jpgSF340_Livery Delta.jpg

SF340_Livery Crossair.jpgSF340_Livery Rarotonga.jpg

 

Summary

2019 will be a banner year in X-Plane if you love regional aircraft. FJS are redoing their Dash Q400 to a high standard, SSG have their CRJ-700, X-Craft's has the ERJ-145, The JROLLON CRJ-200 is supposed to be also in redevelopment... but the first of the year's batch is now released in this fabulous SAAB 340 from Carenado, yes the Carenado version is not the first S340 in X-Plane as that title goes to the Leading Edge version, but this is the brand new and up to date 11.30 version were as the LES is an highly updated early XP10 version. This S340 version also certainly gives all the other regional aircraft a major high starting level to compete with as this S340 is already a class leader.

 

The questions were out there in the fact that would a segment dominating developer house with general aviation would then be able to move into another far more higher and technical (study) grade category or just deliver their usual but in a far bigger size. That question is now without doubt here, as this S340 is an outstanding aircraft and I would note it as "Study" grade as the systems and details delivered are also very highly developed, but only a user with the full understanding of the aircraft's systems and quirks would only ultimately be able to answer the "Study" question. But make no doubt, in that this Carenado aircraft DOES require a lot of study to understand how it operates, it is highly complex and you will require a lot of time to really get everything worked out and operational, even in the few weeks of doing this review there was a lot of ground to cover and a lot to learn, so the aircraft is certainly not for the novice or users that have not had much experience in high level complex aircraft.

 

In the design and details, the the S340 really does deliver and again in many areas it even sets the new higher standard. Quality here is simply outstanding a level above, but I always look to the side points and not the focus areas to see if the detail is covered and how well those areas are done. So the points of like hidden under the pilot's seat are as detailed as the artificial horizon instrument, and that is so why cabins are always and usually the benchmark. Why because they are really an add on factor and not the focus of the actual aircraft, if the developer has devoted as much resources to these side areas you can be fully aware the rest of the aircraft is going to be just as good. In the S340 this cabin is outstanding, and maybe now even the best airliner cabin in X-Plane, as the detail is excellent, but so also are all the amazing features, if this area can reach such a high standard the rest is simply a no-brainer. The attitude to a highly developed cabin is always going to be controversial, from my perspective they bring a whole concept to the simulator, a whole compete airline that adds in a different dimension... and yes I am a huge fan when they are so right as it is here..

 

Sounds are exceptionally good as well, and aircraft were you feel and hear sounds that reflect and adjust to the realism of the real world aircraft and you actually "believe" you are in that aircraft then the developer has delivered exceptional sounds, both the important areas in the cockpit to the cabin are all well covered as is the feel and noise of those lovely CT7-9B turboprops, the sounds and effects totally deliver here end of story.

 

So are there any negatives? All the issues are really nit-picking rather than the glaring variety. Carenado sometimes delivers aircraft that have a poor range in the idle/taxi mode, and that is also the case here, as in this S340 it is very hard to find the sweet spot in a controllable taxi speed, so in most cases you are being pulled fast towards the scenery with heavy braking, as it is all very on/off and with no middle range to find the right taxi speed and the aircraft on landing finds it hard to translate down to a decent taxi speed with the engines either roaring or feeble in their power response, it takes the edge out of the full total entertainment factor. Light bleed into the cockpit from the galley is work-aroundable, but annoying and the now older Carenado menu system is 2D (No good for VR) and limited for an aircraft of this scale. The rest is pure perfection.

 

Reading this extensive review and you will understand the depth and quality delivered here by Carenado with their S340, but even after all that in the sheer overwhelming detail and features presented here there is another one big final surprise... the price. US$39.95, and that is not a sale or reduced price either...  it is the actual price. So the value is as outstanding as much as the aircraft delivered, my price on this aircraft with what you see delivered would be US$59.95, so it is priced US$20 below what in my case thinks is it's actual value.

 

Big review and a lot ground covered with the Carenado SAAB 340, but it certainly delivered on all levels, certainly this an aircraft to savour and totally enjoy, but requires a lot of study and skill....  the highlight of 2019 by this date.... Highly Recommended.

 

_______________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The SAAB 340 XP11 by Carenado is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

SAAB 340 XP11

 

Priced at US$39.95

 

Features :

Latest X-Plane 11 enhancements:
  • Engine design optimized for XP11 new turboprop model
  • Flight dynamics optimized for latest improvements in XP11
Ultra-High resolution Model
  • High-end 4k PBR (Physically-based Rendering) graphics throughout, with ultra-realistic materials rendition (Dynamic reflections, realistic metal and dielectric materials, etc.)
  • Includes 9 highly detailed liveries
  • Extensive HDR lighting with gimballed 3D lights and dynamically illuminated tail logo and ice lights for amazing night lighting effects
  • Extensive VR support with snap points in every passenger seat (All knobs, buttons, dials, handles, etc. also optimized for VR usage)
  • Functional stewardess control panel
  • Visible and functional Ground Power Unit
  • All passenger seats support seat backs, table trays, arm rests, HDR reading lights, stewardess call buttons.
  • Main door has optional retractable passenger stairs.
Extensive Custom Systems
  • Functional gust lock system
  • Custom electrical system
  • Custom Starter Logic
  • Custom Fuel System
  • Custom prop logic
  • Custom Bleed Air System
  • Custom Avionics busses
  • Custom Hydraulic Logic (Requires, among other things, pressurizing brake lines prior to chock removal)
  • Custom Electrical Temperature system
  • Custom de-ice logic
  • Custom independent windshield wiper logic (with functional off and park positions)
  • Airspeed Indicator with "Barber Pole" and functional test sequence
  • Support for "librain" plugin, including wiper support (Requires separate plugin install)
  • Librain support also includes visual ice effects on windows.
  • Ground steering (tiller) system
  • Includes air conditioning, pressurization, and oxygen system
  • Custom EHSI and EADI instruments and custom MFD85 with moving map, all featuring detachable pop-up windows
  • Features reversionary logic for EHSI and EADI.
  • Custom APS85 Autopilot with detachable pop-up window
  • Integrated FMS with detachable pop-up window (Laminar default)
Other features
  • End-user customizable via Manifest.json file.
  • Runs latest SASL 3.5.1 plugin software (optimized, improved features, and latest fixes)
  • Goodway compatible
  • RealityXP GTN750 support (with 3D panel display support
  • High-end 4k PBR (Physically-based Rendering) graphics throughout, with ultra-realistic materials rendition (Dynamic reflections, realistic metal and dielectric materials, etc.)
  • Fully customized in-depth annunciator logic
  • Fully customized in-depth aural warning logic
  • Fully customized in-depth throttle logic, with friction control, gate, flight idle and flight idle override.
  • Fully customized Custom Torque on Take-Off (CTOT) system 
  • Fully customized pusher (anti-stall) logic
  • In-depth FMOD sound design implementation, including distance effects, realistic prop reversal effects, etc

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4Gb VRAM Minimun - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 582Mb
Current version and Review Version 1.1 (March 5th 2019)
 

Installation and documents:

Download for the SAAB 340 XP11 is 569.20 Mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the aircraft "Regional Aircraft" X-Plane folder at 805 mb. (there is no "Regional Aircraft" folder in the X-Plane aircraft folder, so just make one... you will need it anyway)

Both the LIbrain rain effects is required to use the new feature.

 

Documentation:

Huge amount of documentation, with Laminar FMS manual, Performance and reference tables.

 

  • Carenado_SF34_Version History.rtf
  • Copyrights.pdf
  • Credits.pdf
  • DCP.pdf
  • Recommended settings XP11.pdf
  • S340 Emergency Procedures.pdf
  • S340 Normal Procedures.pdf
  • S340 Overhead Panel Layout.pdf
  • S340 Performance Tables.pdf
  • S340 Reference.pdf
  • X-Plane FMS Manual.pdf

 

Thranda also provide for download for the Carenado S340 a Flight Tutorial v1.0 tutorial and a  S340B for XP 11 Systems Manual

 

  • Carenado Saab 340B for XP 11 Flight Tutorial v1.0s.pdf
  • Carenado Saab 340B for XP 11 Systems Manuals.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 

11th 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 : LIbrain rain effects - Free

Scenery or Aircraft

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

- KATL - Atlanta International by Nimbus Simulation (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$23.95



Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...