• Review: Carenado 690B Commander For X-Plane 11

    Carenado 690B Turbo Commander     Carenado 690B Turbo Commander

    Here we go! All new Carenado aircraft leverage the physics-based rendering (PBR) capabilities of X-Plane 11, which means you will enjoy the shine of chrome propellor spinners and sheen of painted metal surfaces revealing a patina of an aircraft that was built and has flown for around forty years.

    The engine modelling captures the uniqueness of the Garrett AirResearch TPE331 turboprop engines, with the propellor start-lock feature front and center. You need to follow the procedure found in the Normal checklist.pdf for getting the props off the start-locks or you won't be going anywhere fast.

    I have yet to experience the RealityXP product but on a cursory look, I think they would certainly enhance the whole experience of operating this aircraft model. I set up a flight around southern Vancouver Island, starting from CYYJ Victoria International Airport. I programmed the flight plan into the stock Garmin 530, which quickly grew tedious as I was inputting five different waypoints; CYYJ-CYAZ-CYBL-CYCD-CYYJ. I flew the routing initially at 6500' to Tofino, then 7500' to get over the highest mountain tops along the route of flight and finally 3500' along the coast from CYBL Campbell River back home to CYYJ Victoria Int'l. I will need to explore the Goodway flight planning support and add an addendum to the review in the comments section. At the altitudes I was flying, it was easy to cruise at nearly at Vne, considering this aircraft's certified service ceiling is FL310; I set the condition levers at 96%, and the power levers to ~550 HP. Once underway, and after sorting out how to engage the autopilot, it was time to explore the cabin.

    Carenado 690B Turbo Commander     Carenado 690B Turbo Commander

    I took particular note of the features of the aircraft model beyond the usual doors, windows and flight controls. Of course that's all gravy; the cockpit vent windows open, all the switches actuate with a satisfying click, the levers all slide nicely, the arm rests rotate out of the way and of course you can make the control yokes vanish to have a better view of the instrument panel. What caught my attention on this aircraft model were the pilots map reading lights; in earlier X-Plane models they could be turned on, but they were at a fixed azimuth and couldn't be moved about to direct the light elsewhere. I haven't noticed this in other aircraft sim models but in this particular rendering, the map lights can moved around! Move the mouse cursor over the light in the ceiling and a four-way cross appears; click and then drag the light around to your desired position! Voila!

    Moving to the passenger cabin via the (C)amera menu on the left side of the screen, I found it relatively luxurious viewing the aircraft interior. Each passenger seat is equipped with a reading light, just like the pilots' map lights, and operates in the same manner. The seating configuration of the cabin is 'club', with fully animated fold-out desks for each side of the cabin.

    Carenado 690B Turbo Commander     Carenado 690B Turbo Commander

    Back in the cockpit, pilots Bob, Tom and "George" were doing a fine job navigating the route. George is of course an antiquated reference to the auto-pilot, used by RAF pilots in WW2 referring to their aircraft guided by early gyro autopilot equipment. As with many X-Plane aircraft models, the creators include some virtual people to liven up their creations. Some virtual human models are even animated, with the animations tied to the movement of the flight controls. In the case of the 690B sim model, there are two middle to older aged gentlemen in the pilot seats when the aircraft is viewed from the outside. If you spend enough time viewing the aircraft exterior, from time to time you will see the pilot figures make some life-like movements!

    I performed the flight in day VFR conditions, with some lower to mid altitude scattered clouds, and I saw frame rates in the low 20s for the majority of the trip. I ran the simulator on my 2015 MacBook Pro, so it doesn't necessarily meet the recommended tech specs but it seems to manage alright with graphics settings set to those recommended by Carenado with the only exception being I keep the 'reflections' set to minimal. Even with the reflections set so low, the 3D model looks beautiful, particularly during sunrise or sundown. At night, the aircraft lighting also looks amazing both inside and outside.

    Carenado 690B Turbo Commander     Carenado 690B Turbo Commander

    In conclusion, my experience with the Carenado 690B Commander model has been overall a happy one. The only gripe I have hasn't anything to do with the aircraft model itself; I now need to think about saving up for a newer computer so I can ramp up the graphics settings on the simulator program. That said, I suppose one could say I do have a complaint about the aircraft model - that it's computer resource hungry. With that in mind, buyer beware! You should really examine the recommended system requirements to get the best experience from flying this model in X-Plane. You can make compromises by reducing the reflections settings like I have, or reducing the number of objects drawn in the sim environment, or reducing the other graphics settings...but then what's the point if you can't make it look pretty?

    All that said, if you can manage it I would say the Carenado 690B Commander is a splendid addition to any X-Plane hangar.

    Carenado - 690B Turbo Commander

    Happy X-Planning!

    Sean McLeod
    Purchase Carenado - 690B Turbo Commander
    Shop other Carenado products

    1 Comment
    1. btwallis's Avatar
      btwallis -
      Based partly upon this review, I have bought this plane for XP11.

      I love it!

      I have a couple issues with the GPS and linking to the Carenado AP but perhaps I don't know what I'm doing yet. Anyway I will seek answers on the dedicated forum.

      But I love the climb speed, the power, the look the feel...its great.

      Here a flyby of Mount Everest, also a new addon for XP11.

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