• Review: Carenado - S550 Citation S/II

    Documentation

    It has been said that (by whom I do not know) when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the airplane, only then can you go flying. Applying this axiom to the quantity and quality of the documentation contained in the this aircraft package, at first blush it seems like there's plenty of paper stacked and sorted in an orderly fashion. Reflecting further, it might just be the right amount considering this is a home-based computer flight simulation application. I'm accustomed to seeing far more data available for a high-performance jet aircraft (car licence plate holder reads: My other ride is a Boeing 737).

    It is convenient to have the different sections of what constitute an Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) separated, allowing for the different documents to be open and available at the same time. Before taking the aircraft flying I would strongly suggest that particular attention is paid to the Recommended 'Carenado Joystick Settings XP11.pdf' and familiarize yourself with the 'Electronic Flight Information System.pdf'. If you have your X-Plane graphics settings where you want them, then the 'Recommended settings XP11.pdf' is of less concern.

    Carenado S550 Citation II     Carenado S550 Citation II

    The information available in the included documentation is not sufficient to qualify this aircraft package for Study Level status, as there is nearly a total lack of technical descriptions about the aircraft systems normally found in a package with Study Level in the title. Carenado does not bill this as such an aircraft package so anyone criticizing this and other Carenado aircraft for this lack of complexity should probably look elsewhere to satisfy their study-level desires.

    Installation

    Move along, nothing to see here...so I'll just say that it's easy. Unpack the archive file, move the resulting file folder to your desired X-Plane subfolder. No installer to run. Easy-peasy. Once you load the aircraft in X-Plane you will be prompted to provide your activation code; internet connection required for verification.

    Carenado S550 Citation II     Carenado S550 Citation II

    Exterior

    It's beautiful. Yep. In my opinion, the only included livery that showcases the exterior of the aircraft best of all is 'OE-GBM'. This is because the livery has a larger contrast of color to highlight the reflectiveness in the textures. The other liveries, while well done, don't offer as much visually to make them 'pop' off the screen.

    Carenado S550 Citation II     Carenado S550 Citation II

    Looking closely at the exterior model, the attention to detail is obvious. While I wouldn't call it insane, I am impressed by the extent texture and 3D details have been applied to the landing gear, landing gear bays, engine nacelles including the thrust reversers (open them and have a look), empennage, wings and fuselage (um, I guess that's the whole plane! Hah!). The 3D detail of the navigation lights, wing recognition lights, static wicks, ventilation grates, radio antennas, even elevator trim tab actuators really bring the airframe to life. The textures are certainly photoreal, high-definition resolution 4096x4096 pixels for each one, and it might be this fact that limits the crispness of panel lines as you move in close to the exterior. I imagine in order to improve the resolution of the textures that employ photographic overlay would require high resolution photographs of the subject aircraft, which can be hard to come by unless you go and do it yourself (which isn't always possible). The textures in the main landing gear bays are as if Carenado is saying to the curious X-Pilot "Ahhhhh! I bet you thought we forgot about these, hmm? Nope!" It's satisfying to see the completeness of the exterior textures.

    Interior

    Welcome to your private jet! As you enter the main cabin door, luxuriousness hits you like a ping-pong paddle to the side of your face; SLAP! Following closely is a giddy grin spreading across your face as you move around the cabin, observing the overstuffed very-comfy looking seats (can you smell the odor of leather cleaner?). The tables can be extended with a click of the mouse, the window shades can be drawn against the blazing sun at FL350, the overhead reading lights can be actuated and directed in the dark of a night flight to Las Vegas.

    Carenado S550 Citation II     Carenado S550 Citation II

    Don't have a fire in the cabin because even though the placard above the rear left passenger seat points to where a fire extinguisher should be stowed, it's not there! You might also have to 'hold it' until you arrive at your destination; typically the lavatory on board a biz-jet of this size is located in the aft of the cabin but it doesn't look like there is a privacy curtain or port-a-potty installed in this machine. Luckily for you, depending on your chosen location to enjoy this simulator aircraft and it's proximity to lavatory services, you have the almighty 'pause' button.

    The front office looks as it should, like a flight deck. Switches and buttons click, lights illuminate and extinguish, fuel pumps whirr, fans hum, engines whine, a cacophony of alerts assault your ears when you neglect to follow the checklists. Aahhh, yes, the sweet Fmod sounds of flying a jet airplane.

    The visual resplendency abounds in the cockpit of the Carenado Citation S/II as well. Zooming in on the control yoke center you are greeted by the golden logo and then the wet shininess of the control yoke itself. You can stow your armrest if it's in the way, and you can move your sunshade so it's set just right as you rocket through the wild blue. Observe the reflection of the cockpit environment on the sunshade as you drag it along the track. The reflections on shiny surfaces are very impressive. That said, the reflectiveness of instrument faces might be a bit overdone when it comes to the instruments that are of a synthetic display variety, namely the EADI, EHSI and central MFD. In the real flying world these kinds of displays have an anti-reflective coating so the display information can still be seen in bright ambient lighting or direct sunlight. For the time being the only way you can achieve this in the Carenado Citation is to turn off the instrument reflections.

    Carenado S550 Citation II     Carenado S550 Citation II


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