• Review: Alabeo C404 Titan For X-Plane

    Cessna C404 Titan

    Publisher: Alabeo

    Review Author:
    Shawn Weigelt

    Suggested Price:
    $32.95

    Buy Here

    Introduction

    The 1970's were a booming decade for the general aviation industry and piston twins were in ridiculous abundance. The "big three" American aircraft manufacturers (Beechcraft, Piper, and Cessna) seemingly had a piston twin for every conceivable civilian mission (and sometimes military mission). Beech led the pack in the style and quality department with their refined and royal Duchesses, Dukes, and Barons. Piper had their own assortment of twins with Native American monikers such as Aztec, Seneca, Navajo, and others. Not to be left out, Cessna was also churning out tons of twins for every conceivable role from the small 310 up to the large 400 series of aircraft to include the no frills utilitarian 404 Titan.

    Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan

    The Titan was first flown in 1975 and was designed by Cessna as an outgrowth of their popular model 402 Utiliner/Businessliner for airline, freight, and corporate transportation. The unpressurized 404 can seat 10 (including the pilot and copilot) and is powered by twin turbocharged Continental GTSIO-520's, each capable of producing 375 horsepower. The Titan is a seriously capable load hauler. Alabeo's model has a gross weight of 8,419.9 pounds against an empty weight of 4,820 pounds. That's a whopping 3,599.9 pounds of useful load, which makes the name "Titan" sound incredibly appropriate. Subtract the full-fuel weight of 2,193.6 pounds and the Titan is capable of carrying 1,406.3 pounds of payload. Full-fuel range in the Titan is outstanding as well. At 75% power at 10,000 feet, the 404 has a range of about 1,350 nautical miles. From Seattle, WA, for example, that would put the cities of Minneapolis, MN, Des Moines, IA, Kansas City, MO, and Tulsa, OK within easy reach of this long-legged piston twin. Cessna developed their model 404 in three different variants: the Titan Ambassador, a passenger only aircraft, the Titan Courier, convertible between passenger or freight, and the Titan Freighter, a pure cargo airplane. Alabeo's model seems to be the passenger only Ambassador and if I had to guess, was probably based upon an example from the early 80's. (Sources: Wikipedia and Airliners.net)

    Not unlike the Cessna company of the 1970's, Alabeo and especially its sister company, Carenado, have been churning out a few piston twins of their own lately, the most recent one being a very nice rendition of Cessna's 404 Titan. The 404 is a real "workhorse" of an airplane and were really designed as more of a commercial people mover rather than a privately owned family airplane, a role that was better filled by a 310, 340, 414, or 421. Alabeo has already produced a very nice single engine Cessna "workhorse" in their marvelous 207, which I consider to be one of their absolute best files. Needless to say then, I was extremely excited to see that they were building yet another tired, beat up but hardworking airplane in the 404 Titan. Let's see if their latest for X-Plane further raises the bar for general aviation excellence in X-Plane!

    Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan

    Sights And Sounds

    I love how the fine, talented folks at Alabeo are able to make a worn out, high time, working man's airplane like a Cessna 404 look so darn good. The first thing I do when I test a file I'm reviewing is switch to an exterior view in X-Plane and start panning around the exterior. Though I certainly have a lot of Alabeo planes by now, the excitement that comes with getting a new one and admiring all the fine lines and details never gets old. Their Cessna 404 is yet another masterpiece with every angle and proportion looking absolutely perfect when compared to images of the real airplane. I've always considered Cessna twins to be beautiful looking airplanes (especially when compared to some of Piper's ugly ducklings) and the long, pointed nose of the 400 series aircraft gives the airplanes a sleek and speedy aesthetic. Alabeo has skillfully captured this look with their 404 Titan, which reminded me of the days when I drew pictures of these attractive Cessna twins from photos in my Dad's old Flying magazines.

    The design teams from Carenado and Alabeo are, in my opinion, unequalled with the exacting attention to detail that they bring to their 3D replicas for X-Plane. They have set the quality benchmark for X-Plane general aviation payware products and continue to set it with each new release. Their latest Cessna 404 is certainly no exception. Some flight simulation enthusiasts haughtily refer to this type of design as "eye candy." I prefer to call it "precision." While I am a major proponent of "flight model above everything" design accuracy, the accurate modeling of the 3D aircraft is also of paramount importance if the file is to be a properly simulated representation of a real world airplane. The team at Alabeo gets this and has built a reputation that is unparalleled in this regard.

    Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan     Alabeo C404 Titan

    Most Cessna 404's on the used market today are very high time aircraft. The design wizards at Alabeo realized this and applied extremely realistic looking textures to their Titan, which is especially evident when examining the underside of the aircraft. I love the dark stains emanating from the exhaust pipes and the dings and areas of chipped paint literally covering the entire aircraft. This plane looks very well used to put it mildly and makes it extremely plausible to think of this as a tired old airplane that has seen its fair share of rough gravel strips. The bump mapping is also superb on this file and every seam of the aluminum skin seems to pop out, further enhancing its authentic appearance.

    Tags: alabeo, c404, cessna, titan

    2 Comments
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Wonderful review Shawn, a real pleasure to read! She certainly looks to be an impressive aircraft.

      Many thanks!

      Dom
    1. jjww's Avatar
      jjww -
      After reading your review I can easily shell out the $33 without hesitation. Good job!
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