• Review: Carenado - PA31 Navajo For X-Plane 11

    PA31 Navajo

    Publisher: Carenado

    Review Author:
    Sean McLeod

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here

    Carenado - PA31 Navajo

    It is my pleasure to review for you the Carenado PA31 Navajo, flown in X-Plane 11 (11.30b5, to be precise). For me, the Navajo has a special spot in my logbook as it's the first light-twin airplane that I worked full-time flying when I started my career as a commercial pilot. I moved to Richmond, BC, Canada to work for a company called Nav Air Charter Ltd. flying from the south side of CYVR Vancouver Int'l Airport.

    The main work was steady (five days a week) courier cargo flying in the morning and afternoon around the central mountains and south coast of British Columbia. Everything started at CYVR and from there we journeyed to Nanaimo, Comox and Powell River; Kelowna; Penticton and Castlegar; Kamloops and Williams Lake. The consistency of the flying allowed me to attain enough experience to qualify for my ATP licence in only a couple of years.

    Carenado - PA31 Navajo     Carenado - PA31 Navajo

    It wasn't by accident that I chose to fly the Carenado Navajo from Vancouver to Kelowna, as it allowed me to stoke some old memories in the process. For this flight I enabled real-time weather download in X-Plane, as well as the time of day option. I haven't done that in previous reviews as I am running the software on a 2015 MacBook Pro, which is a little on the underpowered side for X-Plane 11. Nonetheless, I typically see around the low twenties for frame rates when flying Carenado aircraft when real-weather is disabled; with it enabled I was seeing around ten to twelve frames per second - a bit on the low side. As you can see by the screen captures, there was a large quantity of cloud cover along the route, so that was really the source of the low frame rates on my machine.

    I planned the trip using the Goodway flight planning plugin, and exported the plan for use with the X-Plane Garmin 530 found in the Carenado PA31-310. It should be noted the this version of the Navajo has the 310 hp turbo-charged Lycoming six cylinder engines, but there were other models of the Navajo with higher rated engines, such as the 325 C/R and the mighty Chieftain with 350 hp per engine. The route as I planned it was CYVR-HUH-YYF-CYLW, at 12,000 feet.

    Carenado - PA31 Navajo     Carenado - PA31 Navajo

    Before exploring the interior of an aircraft, I like to select 'Show Clickable Regions in the Cockpit' (from the Views tab at the top of the screen). With this feature active, all the areas of the instrument panel that can be interacted with using the mouse pointer will be highlighted in a relatively bright green color. I find this a great way to see the active features of the cockpit. The Carenado Navajo has plenty. As well as the usual switches and knobs, you can move the sun visors, arm rests and passenger reading lights.

    Every Carenado aircraft comes equipped with its own interface menu, accessed at the left side of the screen by clicking on the A, C or O. Each selection pops up a 2D menu for interacting with the aircraft model; A brings up the Autopilot control panel, C is a menu of different camera positions around the interior and exterior of the aircraft, as well as setting the Field Of View and sound Volume, and lastly, O is a number of options, such as enabling glass reflections, static elements (chocks, pitot covers, etc.) and aircraft doors.

    Carenado - PA31 Navajo     Carenado - PA31 Navajo

    With everything set, I taxied onto runway 26L at YVR, and once airborne, I turned south and then eastbound for the southern interior of British Columbia. Settling in to the climb, pulling the props back to 2400 rpm, and because I didn't add any extra 'baggage', the Navajo performed very well; a climb speed of around 120-125 KIAS yielded around 2000 fpm, as long as I kept the MP set to 38-40 inches. In spite of the impressive climb rate, it felt like an eternity to make significant progress on the ground track distance (I guess I'm accustomed to faster machines nowadays).

    Tags: carenado, navajo, pa31

    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Excellent review Sean; even more so coming from a real pilot's perspective.

      Many thanks

    1. iflygary's Avatar
      iflygary -
      Is everything here on Flightsim.com's home page leaning towards X-Plane???? It really seems like that's been a big part of the focus here lately.

    1. Nels_Anderson's Avatar
      Nels_Anderson -
      Quote Originally Posted by iflygary View Post
      Is everything here on Flightsim.com's home page leaning towards X-Plane???? It really seems like that's been a big part of the focus here lately.

      Have you noticed how much X-Plane has gained in popularity? If not, view the recently released survey that came out.

      If you'd like more content for other sims, step up and help us out. Would you like to write FSX or P3D reviews or other articles? We can always use more authors...

      FlightSim.Com is a community...what it has to offer is largely dependent on what the community members put back in.
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