• Review: SimCoders Centurion Reality Expansion Pack

    Expansion For Carenado Centurion

    Publisher: SimCoders

    Review Author:
    Shawn Weigelt

    Suggested Price:
    $19.99

    Buy Here

    SimCoders - Expansion for Carenado Cessna Centurion for X-Plane

    I crave realism in my flight simulation. The more systems modeled and more realistic the flight model, the better. Since I primarily fly general aviation aircraft in X-Plane 10, I have often found most of the available airplane add-ons somewhat lacking in this department. It isn't that these files are bad...far from it, in fact, but I often find myself wanting more from them, knowing full well that they don't precisely simulate every system or flight characteristic of the real airplane they are designed to replicate.

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    Take a look at Carenado airplanes, for example. Here we have an airplane add-on company that is unequaled in the flight simulation industry, in my opinion, in the way they almost perfectly model the physical proportions and shape of an aircraft both inside and out. Carenado planes have a well earned reputation for visual fidelity and I find always look gorgeous bearing a true visual likeness to the real thing without exception. The "out of the box" flight model of a Carenado airplane, however, is almost always a basically good but not perfectly accurate facsimile. In fact, I often find myself comparing available real world data of an airplane to Carenado's model and then try my level best to "fix" it through the PlaneMaker utility. In fact, I have done this with the majority of my Carenado files (and I own many of them) in a fumbling, trial and error effort to get them to fly "right".

    The way that Carenado seemingly concentrates on a "visuals first" philosophy isn't necessarily a bad thing when it comes to their file production. The almost magical way in which they're able to combine a faithfully reproduced physical model with excellent sounds and a decent but not perfect flight model enables Carenado to churn out airplane add-ons at an impressive rate, satisfying a large portion of their customer base.

    System modeling isn't a design area that Carenado focuses on either. For example, I can start the carbureted Lycoming O-235 powered Cessna 152 in the same exact manner as the fuel-injected turbo-charged Continental TSIO-520 powered Cessna T210M. Mixture full rich, throttle cracked, turn the key and they both immediately fire up without fail, no priming, no following the checklist needed, and it doesn't matter what the temperature is outside! Real world pilots and the more informed sim pilots among us understand how farcical and completely inaccurate this is.

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    I imagine I'm not the only X-Plane only sim pilot who has, on occasion, looked longingly at (and quite possibly drooled over) the general aviation AccuSim aircraft put out by A2A Simulations for FSX and Prepar3D. I know personally, that I have often thought, why can't we have something like that for X-Plane? I really wish my Carenado airplanes had something like that level of realism. Enter: The Reality Expansion Pack from SimCoders.

    To be perfectly honest, the Reality Expansion Pack, tailor made for Carenado's gorgeous Cessna T210M Centurion, caught me by complete surprise as I was browsing the FSPilotShop one day. Curious, I clicked on it and almost started have heart palpitations. This looked like it could be exactly what I had been hoping for! Could it be for X-Plane? Yes, indeed it is. After watching YouTube videos promoting REP and wondering how I could have possibly missed this I knew I had to test and review it for FlightSim.Com.

    I thought I had heard of SimCoders before, and quickly recognized them as the authors of the excellent (and free) HeadShake plugin I have been using since it was first released a few years ago. This gave me high hopes that the REP for the 210 would be well executed and would bring the realism level of Carenado's Centurion to a whole new level.

    Installing the Reality Expansion Pack for the T210M is a simple process and installation instructions are provided within the download. I should take this moment to make it clear that is absolutely necessary that one has already purchased and installed either v3.0 or v3.1 of Carenado's beautiful Cessna Centurion. The REP for the 210 is a plugin add-on for this specific file and will not work without it.

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    The first things that I noticed when I loaded up the REP Centurion were the five pictorial tabs on the left hand side of the screen and the fact that my virtual head was moving ever so slightly within the cabin of the airplane.

    The bottom tab shows what appears to be a picture of a graph. Clicking on it opens the REP weight and balance menu, which is far more detailed than X-Plane's default weight and balance menu. Within this field it is possible to enter weights for any of the 210's six seating positions as well as the baggage area. Below this it is possible to manually enter the fuel weights individually for both tanks or simply click on the "Fill tanks" button. Beneath this, one can manually enter their flight time and given fuel flow. Displayed to the right is the center of gravity envelope graph, which automatically translates the data that one enters in the weight fields to x's for both takeoff and landing. As long as both x's are within the blue outlined field, the sim pilot will not be out of CG limits. The Cessna 210 is a true heavy hauler and has a very wide center of gravity range. I absolutely love this feature but wish it were somehow possible to be able to change the weight units to pounds and the fuel units to gallons. By default they are in kilograms and liters respectively. Still, converting the units is easy with the help of a decent conversion calculator.


    1 Comment
    1. LowTransition's Avatar
      LowTransition -
      I recently learned that it is, in fact, possible to change the weight measurements over to Imperial units. Simply click on Plugins > SimCoders.com - REP > Settings. A menu will open with a check box option for "Use Imperial Units." This instantly changes all weights over to pounds and fuel over to gallons. Cool!
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