• Review: Phenom 100 HD Series for X-Plane

    EMB-500 Phenom 100

    Publisher: Carenado

    Review Author:
    Stuart McGregor

    Suggested Price:
    $37.95

    Buy Here

    Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane

    The Aircraft

    I believe we should really start this review by singing "Happy Birthday" as Embraer's EMB-500 Phenom 100 has reached the grand old age of 10 this year. The first Phenoms were produced in 2007 with somewhere around 350 having been built since.

    The EMB-500 Phenom 100 is a modern, very light, rear mounted twin engine personal jet designed to carry between 4 and 7 passengers depending on the internal configuration. It can nip along at an impressive 750 km/h (405 kts) and has a range of somewhere in the region of 2,000 km (1080 nm). The pilot's office up front is fully kitted out with a stunning glass cockpit giving the aircraft a real 21st century feel.

    Purchase, Installation & Documentation

    So, what of the virtual version being offered by Carenado...

    Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane

    I purchased the Phenom via fspilotshop.com although other outlets are available, and went through the usual ritual of working my way through the purchase process. The retail price for the digital download is $37.95 which although it is at the very top end of Carenado's range of X-Plane products, it is in line with all their more recent releases so I guess that is just the cost of progress. Anyway, the purchase takes about 2 minutes or so to complete and the download was under way. It is hefty at 365 MB, so if your internet speed is not quite in the Usain Bolt category, it will take a wee while. The latest release is suitable for use in both X-Plane 10.5 and 11 and although the package only comes with a handful of US based liveries, there is a blank texture available if you wish to create your own. As with most of the new HD releases, you will need a pretty decent system to get the best out of the Phenom, and the good news is that it is designed to run on Windows, MAC OS and Linux systems. Details of the minimum requirements are provided at the various retail outlet web sites, so it is worth checking (prior to purchasing) that your system can handle it.

    Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane

    Installation is extremely easy; simply drop the unzipped folder into your X-Plane aircraft directory and that's it. However, you will also need to download Carenado's G1000 database if you do not have that already installed. Be warned though, this is a whopping 870 MB, so if your aircraft download was more of a marathon than a sprint, perhaps get out some paint and watch that dry, as you could be a while...

    Once all the mechanics of getting your new purchase onto your sim are complete, this really is where the fun starts, and in all honesty, it doesn't take too long in the grand scheme of things. Inside the Phenom aircraft folder, you will find a set of documents which are well worth reading, especially if you are not used to the G1000 navigation and controls system, or for that matter, the Phenom itself. There is a good level of detail provided, for example a 32-page manual covers the G1000 unit alone, with smaller documents describing the aircraft's emergency and normal procedures and performance tables. The recommended graphics settings for X-Plane 10 users is also provided, which although is very much optional, is helpful. A specific X-Plane 11 settings screen shot would be a helpful addition to future updates, especially for those whose first experience of X-Plane is version 11.

    So far so good, purchase complete, everything in the right place, manuals read (yes a miracle I know...), so off we go...

    Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane     Carenado Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 for X-Plane

    Exterior

    As I described earlier in this article, I am now wholeheartedly embracing X-Plane 11 and when I opened the Phenom for the first time, my genuine reaction was wow, just wow! The aircraft really is a thing of beauty, the model looks well-proportioned compared to photos I have seen of the real aircraft and the quality of the textures is just stunning. When cold and dark you have the option of some straightforward ground features such as wheel chocks, engine covers, marker cones and an electric hand tug to manoeuvre the aircraft with, although it does look a little bit odd suspended off the ground with no one supporting it. The liveries that come with the aircraft are all very gratifying, although one or two alternative registrations would have been a nice touch. However, I am sure as the popularity of this model increases, there will be plenty of painters out there itching to give the Phenom a makeover. The exterior textures are fresh, clean and crisp and features such as screw heads, warning labels and specifically the reflections around the engine intakes, really convey the author's faithfulness to the real aircraft.

    Via a set of discrete onscreen menus provided with many if not all Carenado's aircraft, you can open the main cabin door as well as the two baggage compartments located on the left side of the fuselage. I personally really like these details because for me, being able to experience ground procedures and a complete flight from start to finish, is what makes simulators such as X-Plane so immersive.


    2 Comments
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Great review Stuart; thanks for sharing your thoughts on this fantastic looking aircraft!
    1. btwallis's Avatar
      btwallis -
      I was sure thinking that this would be a good purchase.

      What I would like is that Canadian $ would be taken at par with US. at this plane would cost me over $50.
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