• Review: Carenado C172SP Skyhawk X-Plane 11


    It is no secret that Carenado produces visually stunning aircraft, but their reputation for audio fidelity is almost as good. I was not surprised in the least at how much I enjoyed listening to all the sound files packed within their latest release, the Cessna 172SP.

    Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk     Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk

    Switches produce an authentic sounding metallic "click." The whine of the battery "spooling up," is particularly cool sounding and smile inducing. Having sat in the right seat of plenty of 172's in years spent flying with my dad, I can attest that the sound of the simulated Lycoming IO-360 roaring to life sounds extremely realistic with this file. The volumetric sounds are extremely convincing here and lend a great deal of immersion to the file. I love that turning one's virtual head or opening or closing the windows and doors change the nature of the engine sound, just as it would in the real airplane.

    If I had to fault the audio fidelity in any way on the Carenado Cessna 172SP, it would be that the timing of the engine/prop sounds don't quite match up with what I am manipulating in the cockpit during the start up and shut down phases. Also, opening the windows produces no sound, something I also noticed in my review of Carenado's Cessna 340. These issues may be fixed with a later patch of the file or they might not. Regardless, this is more a personal gripe of mine and certainly not a deal breaker or a reason to not purchase the aircraft.

    Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk     Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk

    Flight Model

    I feel as though I must preface this section of my review by qualifying that I am not a real world pilot and, as such, my opinions of the flight model of this file should be viewed in that context. As I have mentioned in the past, I grew up flying in Cessna 172's with my father, a private pilot, but the most "flying" I do these days is done from the comfort of my home office. I will give my opinions of the accuracy of the flight model and the systems within the scope of my "right seat" experience in the real thing, my experience flying in X-Plane, and the excellent included performance tables for Carenado's Cessna 172SP.

    The first thing that stuck out to me with regards to the flight model was that keeping the airplane tracking straight down the centerline during the takeoff roll was much easier than expected. Whether this is a change implemented with the latest update to X-Plane from Laminar, or something specific to the Carenado aircraft I cannot say. What I will mention is that the usually required liberal application of right rudder with throttle to the firewall was simply not needed.

    Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk     Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk

    Under default weight and balance settings, the aircraft obediently left the ground at my home field KTIW (Tacoma Narrows) shortly after rotating at 55 knots. Climbing out at around 75-80 knots yielded a rate of climb around 800-1000 fpm. Again, I'm not sure that this is "spot on" accurate, but it felt right. The flight mechanics felt great and the aircraft felt fairly stable while flying the pattern and later on when I conducted further testing, despite my old and sloppy Logitech ATTACK 3 joystick.

    For my first landing I flew short final with two stages of flaps (I was lightly loaded) at about 70 knots without having to drag it in with power. I chopped power after crossing the threshold and after a little float I greased it on with a slight nose up attitude. Truth be told, I probably should have held it off the ground for a full stall landing but I wasn't used to my visual reference points in the cockpit yet and didn't want to balloon and butcher my first landing.

    I have since conducted dozens more take offs and landings and have gotten quite good at flying Carenado's Cessna 172SP well. Like I've mentioned, it feels good, but I will leave it to the experts and real world 172 drivers to determine just how accurate takeoff, climb out, and landing performance is.

    Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk     Carenado - C172SP Skyhawk

    I can, without a doubt, report that cruise performance of this file is extremely accurate. I don't know about others, but I spend the most of my X-Plane time flying cross-countries from point A to point B. Cruise performance is extremely important to me and it is always a huge disappointment when developers fail to get the numbers close to book value.

    1 Comment
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Many thanks for the in-depth review Shawn; it really does look like a fantastic example of the Cessna 172.


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