This is the heaviest and the biggest Carenado aircraft yet the – Carenado C208B Grand Caravan
Where as most of Carenedo products are usually firmly set in the General Aviation market, this large Cessna is used more in the commercial arena – as in the Australian outback in station to station flying, Island hopping, remote-area mail deliveries and other assorted workhorse environments – and very good it is at doing this as well.
It is a powerful aircraft for its weight and has great STOL ability – so all round it is a very versatile machine.
My Carenado office is at Lakeland, Florida, so let’s go and see what the newest Carenado delivery looks like in the flesh…
Say “Hi” to Mike and Joe….
…They are on their way delivering the C208B to some French Caribbean Island and have dropped in on the way for a bit of fuel and an overnight sleep – which gives us an hour or so to look it over.
Very impressive, oh the detail.
“can you open the doors please”…
A bit extreme there boys – but a lot of doors do open, ladders drop down, compartments open and the upper doors go up and lower doors swing out…
The other side as well.
Lets pop inside.
Wide single aisle….or
Three abreast, look at the great stitching on the seats, Cessna do great work here don’t they.
Now if you think it would be hard opening and closing all this – well it isn’t because we have a few aids to help us.
They can be accessed by clicking along the glare shield just above the annunciator lights.
Everything is here, opening and closing doors, viewpoints, seat arrangements, if you want that Cargo pod “On” or “Off”, only one small note is the big one there had to be pulled close to left window to close it.
Now let’s get along to the business section.
Very nice panel isn’t it, If you bought the Carenado Seneca II and know it quite well then the move upwards is not that big a stretch, certainly there is a lot more here but you soon find your way around the items.
Everything is absolutely perfection, it is so well done.
Side electrics and starting switches, look at the perfect wear on the control column – which does disappear by the way.
Throttles, RPM lever and fuel condition with trim wheel are all on the centre pedestal the throttle has Beta and Reverse pitch modes, all are accessed by pulling them down through the notches that really work.
The Beta-range on the throttle lever is very small, and may take some careful adjustments to reach. Reverse mode is attained simply by pulling the throttle all the way back.
The prop RPM lever and the fuel condition lever as well as the flap control lever also contain notches and I found I was required to pull the fuel condition lever down to the middle notch to get a decent idle, if not you power forward when releasing the brakes.
Fuel switches and oxygen are mounted on the roof.
Panel night lighting is odd, there is a note that the XP10 version doesn’t have yet working lighting behind the dials, and you really miss that and they can be quite dark in the day and certainly harder at night – you can turn on the overhead lighting to make it better – but it moves with the daytime shadows, I hope this will be fixed.
The lighting is good from the outside, but I couldn’t get the rear cabin lighting to work or find the switches.
Back outside and the detail is astounding.
Flaps are a work of art, and they deliver a great hydraulic sound when moving.
Finished flying for the day then you can cover all the static items, put down some chocks and have a pull on the tow-tractor.
This is of course the Go Tropical livery – others are:
And the default White…
There is a feature to reduce the window reflections, I didn’t find them an issue, but you can do that from the pop up menu if you want to.
Mike and Joe ask me if I want to take a little ride around the neighbourhood, “Why not!”.
They watch me as I walk around to the rear door, all the way round…freaky.
Power up and away we go, the sounds are excellent and all in 3d – and they pan around in your head as you move around the aircraft.
very effective they are as well.
Taxiing needs a little practice, and remember to keep that fuel condition lever down as it can be a handful if you don’t.
You have so much power so make sure you watch that torque steer when putting the throttle up, almost as bad as taking off in a helicopter as it twists you quickly.
The wheels still turn for a while after leaving Terra Firma – and in the air the angled rear struts pull in and the front strut stretches downwards during flight.
In the air it is wonderful to fly, the Autopilot is a standard version but you do have a separate V/S function that is more exact than the usual A/P version.
She turns very nicely and Mike and Joe tilt their heads as well to the turn.
They keep in perfect time with the machine.
Night lighting is very good but very minimal, with no cabin lights it looks quite dark.
Being a STOL aircraft you can get the speed right down, this helps on lining up for landing simply a breeze.
It has a three-phase prop that looks very realistic and works very well with those 3d sounds, a small opening window on the front doors can make the prop sound quite loud if you don’t close it.
I just looks perfect in detail.
“Park it where”?
Mike and Joe will grab a drink then head down towards Miami before heading out over the water…
This is a big file at 289.30 compressed and 379.70 in your Aircraft folder and that is a huge file.
The Caravan has very big Hi-Resolution graphics and mountains of detail and it all costs.
Where? – well your framerate.
It is strange to use as you can have a framerate of 28-30 frames and if then get your view wrong and then you are quickly are sitting on 7-8 frames, get the view wrong on landing and it is stutter hell.
And this is with no clouds and well most at minimum settings, If I put my texture setting on “Very high” then my world simply stops at 0.3 frames!
I found I could work around the bad framerate drop with a little practise and I can keep it around 28-30 frames – but it is annoying, this of course only an XP10 issue and on a medium speed iMac computer.
It is no reflection on the product from Carenado as the product is well refined, however you have to realise that as these files get more higher in their detail and with these higher quality textures there is going to be some sort of tradeoff.
Another small issue I have to fix is that I couldn’t find in how to put in the VOR 1 freq (VOR 2 is easy and works fine).
In the package you get these helpful documents…
. C208B General Information
. C208B Normal & Emergency Checklist
. C208B Reference
. C208B VC Instruments
. KFC150 Autopilot
. Recommended Settings X-Plane
All should be read and used as references for using the Grand Caravan to its maximum .
No doubt this is a very fine product and you have to admire Caranado and our own very talented Daniel Klaue for creating such an outstanding aircraft, Daniel has had to here implement the SASL plugin to a windows product and has achieved again with skill a very high standard.
Carenado C208B Grand Caravan – USD29.95
Review by Flightime56