• Review: Carenado - PA34 Seneca HD Series for X-Plane

    Piper PA-34 Seneca

    Publisher: Carenado

    Review Author:
    Stuart McGregor

    Suggested Price:
    $32.95

    Buy Here

    The Aircraft

    For those perhaps not familiar with this aircraft, the Piper PA-34 Seneca V is a twin-engine light aircraft produced by Piper Aircraft since 1971. To date, some 5000 plus units have been built and if you fancy one, the real thing will cost you somewhere close to $1,000,000. However, if like me your pocket book doesn't quite stretch that far, then thank goodness for Carenado and their HD series of models for X-Plane. For only $32.95 you can pick one up and take it for a spin. The Seneca can accommodate up to six passengers, has a cruising speed of around 188 knots and a range of 870 nautical miles, give or take. If you are looking for a business level twin prop, this may be for you.

    Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane     Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane

    Off We Go...

    I purchased my copy over at www.fspilotshop.com and after a quick review of the spec and hardware requirements, I had my very own copy of the Seneca. Purchase and installation is easy these days (even if you are not familiar with buying payware) and the whole thing takes all of 5 - 10 minutes, depending on your internet speed. The information provided on the store web site does make it quite clear that although this model was originally intended for X-Plane 10.50+, it has been updated to allow it to function in X-Plane 11, although it does state that the current model (1.1) does not take full advantage of all the latest X-Plane 11 features. I did have a quick look over at the Carenado web site to see if the same story was being told over there, however at the time of writing this review, I assume they still have to update their information, as there was no mention of X-Plane 11.

    Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane     Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane     Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane

    I should also mention that this aircraft is kitted out with a glass cockpit and a G500 navigation and display system, so because of this, you will need to download their G1000 database if everything is to run smoothly. If you do not have this installed, it can be found free of charge at the Carenado web site. Be warned though, it is a whopping 870 MB, so perhaps get the kettle on, bake a cake or take the dog for a walk if your internet connection can't deliver warp speed. Other than that, and the usual C++ redistributable files needed for Windows users, you should be good to go!

    As I have now fully made the transition over to X-Plane 11, everything in this review is centered around performance in the latest release (11.01), so unfortunately, I am no longer able to comment on v10 performance. However, based on other X-Plane 10 models I have tested which have been described as X-Plane 11 ready, I see no reason why performance would be any worse than my experiences during this review. Famous last words...

    Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane     Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane     Carenado - Piper PA-34 Seneca for X-Plane

    I strongly advise that anyone thinking of purchasing this aircraft, studies the hardware spec requirements carefully, so as to make sure their system meets the minimum requirements. I say this because in my experience, all the Carenado HD range of aircraft are pretty resource heavy, so you will need a decent set of nuts and bolts to get the best out of their models. Nothing worse than forking out your hard-earned cash only to be confronted with a frame rate so low, the value is almost negative! During my test flights, I was getting as little as 20 fps at times, and I have what I consider to be a well-equipped setup (overclocked 3.3 GHz i7, GTX1080Ti, 32 GB RAM).

    The download page provides all the information you need to make your decision, plus it also gives you a good summary of everything else which is provided with your purchase. This includes the number of liveries (six plus a blank) and the numerous documents to help you understand the Seneca's various systems, features and procedures. After purchase, I recommend that you read these, as they are very helpful and well presented. Unfortunately, the authors have not yet added a set of recommended graphics settings for X-Plane 11. However, the X-Plane 10 settings provided, do at least give you some idea of what to focus on. I am sure that detail will be added at some point in the future.


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