• Review: Alabeo - PA44 Seminole for X-Plane

    Piper PA44 Seminole

    Publisher: Alabeo

    Review Author:
    Chris Smith

    Suggested Price:
    $32.95

    Buy Here

    Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane     Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane

    Today's Piper PA44 Seminole can be considered three aircraft in one, having its genesis in 1978. It was essentially a Piper Cherokee fuselage with new wings (for the twin engines) and a redesigned nose cone to replace the Cherokee's engine cowl. It has progressed through many modifications over the years, until what you see today is an amalgam of Piper history - a Piper Warrior fuselage, a Piper Arrow T tail and a pair of Lycoming engines. Piper marketed the Seminole primarily as an IFR twin trainer, and next year will mark the 40th year of production, truly a testament to its design.

    Having downloaded the Alabeo Seminole from the FSPilotShop, my first impressions were favorable. I was particularly interested to see if the mirrors to observe the position of the nose gear (in the event of emergency gear extension) were fitted to the cowls, and was pleased to see that not only were they fitted, but that they worked too. A simple design, but yet so useful!

    Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane     Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane

    Overall the Seminole is a fine looking aircraft, and I was pleased to see that the version presented by Alabeo came with a used patina that was very nicely done - a bit of chipped paint, some dirty finger marks and grubby carpet, all made for a nicely weathered machine.

    As I walked around the aircraft I couldn't help but notice the powerful pair of recessed faired landing lights on the nose, and also the air intake for the avgas cabin heater. The engine cowls have a double intake, single outlet adjustable flap arrangement, with the flaps being the primary engine temperature control for the two four cylinder Lycoming 360E engines. These engines drive two Hartzell twin blade, controllable pitch, constant speed, feathering props.

    Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane     Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane

    Located near the wing tips are the recognition lights, and on the tips themselves, are the usual nav and strobe lights. I would like to note here, that when the landing lights and recognition lights are on, you could very well be excused for being a 747 on arrival, such was their intensity!

    The retractable tricycle undercarriage is hydraulically actuated (by means of an electronically driven pump) and the wheels on this particular version have hubcaps, so as to aid in streamlining. There is a single door located on the right side of the fuselage, with a baggage door located just aft of that, which is just so classic Piper! Both of these are operated via the options menu located on the bottom left of the screen.

    Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane     Alabeo - Piper PA44 Seminole for X-Plane

    The rear of the aircraft also contains some interesting features. For starters, there is the very large rudder which helps to control yaw in the event of an engine failure. To give you an idea on how effective it is, the Seminole's single engine safety speed (56 kts) is below stall speed. To put that another way - by the time you've gathered enough speed to take to the air, you have enough speed to control the yaw in event of an engine failure. Added to this, is the fact that the engines and propellers rotate in the opposite directions. An upshot of this design, is that there is no critical engine in the event of a failure. Nor is there any torque yaw through all phases of normal flight. All highly desirable features in a trainer (if not any twin aircraft).


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