• Review: Just Flight - Duchess Model 76 For X-Plane

    Duchess Model 76

    Publisher: Just Flight

    Review Author:
    Shawn Weigelt

    Suggested Price:
    $41.99

    Buy Here

    Just Flight - Duchess Model 76

    Introduction

    Someone once said that "variety is the spice of life." When it comes to the variety of aircraft available for X-Plane, I have definitely found that this old saying rings true. As many of you know, I am a die-hard general aviation sim pilot and like my airplanes to have only one prop turning on the nose. What can I say? I just like simple piston singles and feel like I am just competent enough to comfortably fly them. Every once in a while, however, I feel the need to switch things up and try something different to "spice up" my X-Plane experience.

    I have been extremely impressed with Just Flight's relatively recent foray into developing airplanes for X-Plane 11. My last review, in fact, was on the Just Flight Piper Archer III, which I am completely enamored with and has been my "go-to" airplane for the past several weeks. Still, there is something about the "latest and greatest" airplane release that tends to pull me away from my current stable of favorites and onto something new. Just Flight's newest file just happens to be a dreaded piston twin, the Beechcraft Duchess 76! Twins...ugh. I know, I should really stop being so biased, but there is something about that second engine that elicits fear more than comfort. Is this Duchess really what I need to "spice things up" right now, or will I immediately turn back to my trusty singles once this review is over? Let's find out!

    Just Flight - Duchess Model 76     Just Flight - Duchess Model 76

    Sights And Sounds

    The Beechcraft Duchess 76 came about in the late 70's when piston twins were all the rage on the General Aviation scene. After all, you weren't one of the cool pilots unless you were driving a twin! One of the main problems with twins, however, is that they tend to be prohibitively expensive to own and operate. The smart folks at Beech, part of the "big three" in General Aviation (Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft), came up with the Duchess design based on their Musketeer series of singles as a cheaper alternative to Barons. Since the Baron is little more than a Bonanza with a second engine, so too would the Duchess be to the Musketeer. The reduction in cost with this "budget" line of Beeches was attained through simpler and more cost effective manufacturing that, as a consequence, reduced the performance of the aircraft. To my eye, the Musketeer and Duchess also look vastly inferior to their much more attractive siblings, the Bonanza and Baron.

    The Beechcraft Duchess is a four-place machine powered by twin carbureted 180 hp Lycoming 0-360 engines. This tried and true power plant is one of the most prolific and reliable in all of General Aviation, and having two of them aboard the Duchess makes the airplane (in theory) safer than a single. The Duchess was never built in huge numbers; in fact, only 437 were built during a brief production run from 1978-1983. The Duchess is a good airplane for multi engine training or time building, but is usually a step toward more capable twins like a Baron or Piper Seneca.

    Just Flight - Duchess Model 76     Just Flight - Duchess Model 76

    Given my positive past experience with Just Flight aircraft, I was excited to load up my shiny new Beech Duchess in X-Plane 11.32. Having reviewed their excellent Turbo Arrow III/IV, Hawk T1, and Archer III, to say that I had high hopes for the Duchess would be a severe understatement. In fact, other than perhaps Alabeo/Carenado, Just Flight is, in my humble opinion, producing some of the best light aircraft currently for X-Plane 11!


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