• Review: Carenado PA28 Archer II For X-Plane

    Piper PA28 For X-Plane

    Publisher: Carenado

    Review Author:
    Douglas Dumas

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here

    The Carenado Piper PA28 Archer II is a visual masterpiece, plain and simple. In all of my assessments, the faults found could be counted on one hand. And as for handling? Well, that's a step up too. Some credits before we start: some screen shots display the aircraft against freeware scenery created for X-Plane 10 by "Aerospace", from default objects. I highly recommend this, as it adds some realism to KORS without knocking out your frame rates. Find it here.

    The real Piper PA28 Cherokee was Piper's answer to the Cessna 172. Their primary single engine in the 1960's was the PA24 Comanche. The Comanche was a complex type aircraft, with both retractable gear and a constant speed propeller; thus, it was a poor market alternative to Cessna's economical Skyhawk. The Piper PA28 took its opponent head on, and in its many variants, is a worthy challenger still in production today.

    Carenado has modeled here a typical PA28-181 Archer II. The -181 was a '70s/80's product, manufactured on the onset of a massive downturn in general aviation. It sported a more powerful engine than earlier variants, and the -181 could easily carry a full load of passengers -- four, to be exact. The Carenado model does its real life counterpart a great justice, I believe.


    I cannot brag about ever having stepped inside one of these aircraft, unfortunately. But, based on the other aircraft I've had the privilege to fly, the experience inside is just as immersive. For everything a function, and a function for everything, right down to the load and handling notes plastered aback of the sun visor. Carenado's PA28 is unbelievable for a person who's never had payware before, namely myself. I had to nit-pick for problems.

    The very first thing I noticed upon opening it was the frame rate barely dropped. The computer I use for now has a terrible processor, so this is a great compliment. My system does have 4GB of memory, and can handle plenty of textures; on that note, there's plenty of textures to handle! Carenado's team was extremely thorough with interior design. The floorplates are scratched and dinged, the seats have little stains, the yokes' paint has worn away after years of handling. Even the curtains in the back are somewhat transparent, and the front passenger seat folds and slides.


    Panel accuracy cannot truly be judged, as the Archer II alone had several variations on available configurations. But it does ring true, as I personally checked the pictures of many real PA28 Archer II's for sale. It would have been nice for Carenado to move the included ADF over to the blank area to the 6-pack's lower left. That blank area was commonly occupied by an extra gauge such as an ADF, or also switches/indicators of various kinds.

    The panel has only one other issue. When 3D shadows are turned on without "Draw Per-Pixel Lighting", light shines straight through the panel background and displays on any surface. This is extremely disruptive, to be honest. It was probably overlooked by accident, or the Carenado team may not have tested the aircraft under these settings.

    To Carenado's credit, they took the time to make the plane frame rate friendlier. I took a look through the Miscellaneous Objects in Plane Maker, and each one (save the glass, of course) was pre-filled. In other words, X-Plane will not draw objects behind those features, and thus saves your computer the trouble of drawing trees underneath the floorboard, where you will never see them. Same with clouds that are hidden behind your fuselage.


    Interior issues aside from that are very minor, just gaps in the model. The co-pilot seat flips down and slides up, intended to allow boarding passengers more room to sit down and settle in. However, there's a little gap visible when it flips up that allows you to see straight through to the floorboard. That, and there's also a gap between the floorboard and fuselage that is obvious in the cargo area, to the right. This one lets you see the scenery go by below, probably not a feature found on a real aircraft!

    1 Comment
    1. 5171's Avatar
      5171 -
      Very nice and Through review here! Thank you for taking the time to do this, what a great help to potential buyers, certainly makes me want to take a second look at this plane!

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