• Review: Alabeo - C207 Skywagon For X-Plane 10

    Cessna 207 Skywagon

    Publisher: Alabeo

    Review Author:
    Shawn Weigelt

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here


    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to pure visual aesthetics, the disproportionately long, ungainly looking 1970's vintage Cessna 207 will never win any awards. Nevertheless, the big Cessna single is beautiful (at least in my opinion) for what she is capable of doing - hauling really big loads with respectable speed and range. Utility can certainly be beautiful.


    Without going into great detail with the real airplane's history, the Cessna 207 can essentially be thought of as a Cessna 206 that was stretched even further, to somewhat comical proportions to accommodate seven or eight persons, including the pilot. Cessna's rugged 207 was first certified in 1968 and was produced in a few different variations (to include a turbocharged model) until 1984 with 626 aircraft having rolled off the assembly line. Most 207's have served as short haul air taxis and commercial bush planes around the world where their impressive people and cargo-hauling prowess can be put to good use. They have been particularly popular with missionary pilots who routinely operate in and out of unimproved jungle airstrips. Very few 207's are privately owned, perhaps because no one wants to be "that guy" rolling onto the ramp in this grossly unattractive airplane. I imagine tying up one's 207 at a favorite $100 hamburger joint might feel something like showing up to prom with the ugliest girl in the school.

    Still, as I've already mentioned, the utility of the Cessna 207 gives the airplane a different kind of beauty outside the bounds of pure aesthetics. Indeed, the plane can take a massive load of people and cargo even with full fuel. Alabeo did a great job getting the weights just like the real thing, and a quick check of weights and balance menu indicates an airplane with a gross weight of 3,800 pounds. Against an empty weight of 1,890 pounds, Alabeo's Cessna 207 has a whopping 1,910 pound useful load! That kind of load hauling prowess, ladies and gentlemen, is almost unheard of in a general aviation piston single. Full fuel weighs 504 pounds leaving 1,406 pounds for people, bags, and whatever else could be squeezed inside the cabin. No wonder the 207 has been such a popular airplane with short haul charter companies, who routinely shoehorn people and their luggage in and out of these ungainly looking airplanes on a daily basis!


    Sights and Sounds

    Though a real 207 may be an ugly looking airplane (at least to my eye), Alabeo has done a truly beautiful job making their rendition look as authentic as possible.

    When I first loaded up the file in X-Plane 10 I cannot say that I was surprised to see that it looked exactly like a real Cessna 207. Alabeo has built their company into a flight simulation juggernaut by producing wonderfully authentic looking airplane files and in this regard the new 207 for X-Plane 10 is certainly no exception.

    As I panned my virtual camera around the exterior of the aircraft I was pleased to see that the physical proportions of the model looked perfect when compared to photos of real 207's. Beyond just correct proportions, however, Alabeo has included nearly every minute detail on this model so that just admiring the 207 in all her glorious ugliness becomes downright enjoyable. Every door hinge, bolt, rivet and antennae is in its perfect place and all the exterior 3D objects are painstakingly modeled and textured to exacting detail.


    The most beautiful aspect concerning the exterior of Alabeo's Cessna 207, however, is the gorgeously worn looking, scratched and dented appearing textures found all over the aircraft. This definitely doesn't look like someone's prized hangar queen that has been babied and kept in a hangar all its life. Nor should it. Alabeo has correctly textured the 207 to look like an airplane that has been relentlessly flown in and out of backcountry airfields for years being generally "well used" to put it kindly. Regardless of which livery one chooses, all of them show scratches and paint chips that are especially evident on the leading edges of the wings. The shiny exterior textures and normal maps on the 207 reveal seams and bumps in the aluminum skin that lend an enormous amount of visual plausibility to the model and make it "feel" like a real airplane and less like a computer simulation.

    1 Comment
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      A throughly interesting and comprehensive review.

      Many thanks Shawn.

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