Alabeo Cessna C170 B
Wikipedia states that the Cessna 170 is a light, single-engined, general aviation aircraft produced by the Cessna Aircraft Company between 1948 and 1956. It is the predecessor of the Cessna 172, which is the most produced aircraft in history.
In late 1948, Cessna began sales of the 170, with a metal fuselage and tail and fabric-covered constant-chord wings. In 1949 Cessna began marketing the 170A, an all-metal 170 with zero-dihedral wing tapered outboard of the slightly-enlarged plain flaps, and a single strut replacing the “V” strut of the 170. In 1950, the United States Air Force, Army and Marines began using the military variant of the 170, the Model 305, designated the L-19 and later O-1 Bird Dog by the military.
It was used as a forward air control and reconnaissance aircraft. The Bird Dog was extensively redesigned from the basic 170 and included a revised tandem-seat fuselage and a wing with large modified Fowler flaps that deployed up to 60 degrees.
In 1952, the Cessna 170B was introduced, featuring a new wing tapered outboard of the flaps incorporating dihedral similar to the military version. The B model was equipped with very effective modified Fowler (slotted, rearward-traveling) wing flaps which deflect up to 40 degrees, adapted from the C-305/Bird Dog, a wing design that lives on in the Cessna light singles of today. The 170B model also included a new tailplane, a revised tailwheel bracket, and other refinements over the 170 and 170A. In 1955, the previously elliptical rear side windows were changed to a squarer design.
The 170 is equipped with conventional landing gear, which is more challenging to land than tricycle landing gear. In 1956, Cessna introduced a replacement for the 170 that was essentially a nose wheel-equipped 170B with a square tail fin, designated the 172. 170 production was halted soon after the 172 became available. Over 5,000 Cessna 170s were built and over 2,000 are still in service today.
Specification of the C170 B from Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1955–56:
• Crew: 1
• Capacity: 3 passengers
• Length: 24 ft 11 1/2 in (7.607 m)
• Wingspan: 36 ft (11 m)
• Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
• Wing area: 174 sq ft (16.2 m2)
• Aspect ratio: 7.46:1
• Airfoil: NACA 2412
• Empty weight: 1,205 lb (547 kg)
• Gross weight: 2,200 lb (998 kg)
• Fuel capacity: 42 US gal (160 L; 35 imp gal)
• Powerplant: 1 × Continental C145-2 air-cooled flat-six, 145 hp (108 kW)
• Maximum speed: 140 mph (230 km/h, 120 kn)
• Cruise speed: 120 mph (190 km/h, 100 kn)
• Stall speed: 52 mph (84 km/h, 45 kn)
• Endurance: over 4.5 hours
• Service ceiling: 15,500 ft (4,700 m)
• Rate of climb: 690 ft/min (3.5 m/s)
Installation and Documentation
Download speeds vary with internet connection but I found the process straight forward. Once the file is downloaded it should be copied to the users aircraft folder within X-Plane. When X-Plane is launched the 170B and the 170B Tundra, a version with Tundra wheels, appear in the aircraft directory. The download comes with a serial key which needs to be inputted on first launch to use the aircraft correctly. The aircraft is supplied with a default livery and five varied others.
The documentation folder contains five PDFs. The first two are the copyright and recommended settings. The third is a five page document covering normal checklists for the aircraft, the next is a performance tables document covering cruise performance at lean settings, and the final item is a reference page covering general specifications and stalling speeds of the aircraft.
I approached the aircraft, on the grass parking, from the front left. There are two on screen menu options. The C option allows the user to change quickly between various camera views and the sound volume for the model. The camera views cover the pilot, co-pilot, throttle, avionics, fuel switch, rear view, left and right wing cams, tail cam and belly cam.
The aircraft documentation does not include a cockpit diagram but these camera views do allow the user to move to the correct view, internally and externally, in an accurate and timely fashion. The O option allows the window and instrument reflections to be toggled on and off, the pilot and passenger doors to be opened and closed, and static elements and wheel fairings to be in place or removed.
It also allows the livery of the aircraft to be changed without reloading the flight. I used the O menu to present the model with reflections in place, both doors open, the static elements on view and the wheels equipped with fairings.
On approaching the aircraft it can be immediately appreciated that the colours and wear marks give it real character and a true impression of an aircraft of this age. The colours are clear and vivid and react well with the lighting effects but at the same time have a realistic aged look about them. Panelling and riveting are both clear and convincing.
Signage and lettering are clear and legible and the light and glass effects are very good. When viewed from the front the model keeps its character, the propellor boss reflects the surrounding scenery and the propellor is very realistic with the makers marks visible. The engine is visible past the propellor through the air intakes.
The glass in the open doors is well modelled and causes a change in the colour and tone of the scenery when viewed through them. The fairing tops a bare metal and again provide good reflections.
Moving to the front right the panel detail continues to be of a high standard and the wing strut and leading edge detail can be seen. Reflections and shadow work well with the model. When viewed from the right hand side the colour and detail of the model really stand out. The bare metal panels reflect light very well and are modelled to have a slightly uneven surface which creates convincing patterns and textures.
The paint work remains clear and the lights and windows are created to a high standard. Signage remains clear and legible. Views from the rear right show details of the control surfaces and panelling. When viewed closer the high standard of detail on the lights, panels, antennae and fuel filler caps is all evident. Initial views into the cockpit show good detail and a mix of different colours, materials and textures. Viewing the aircraft from the tail cam view in the menu the quality continues and the weathering and wear marks are very well presented.
The view from the rear left shows the detailed tail wheel and changing the livery does not reduce the quality of the presentation of the aircraft. Further views in to the cockpit show more of the interior detail and it is clear that light and shadow work well with all paint schemes. Closer views from under the left wing shows that the overall view of the aircraft interior contains great attention to detail and removing the fairings reveals well modelled main wheels and tyres.
In flight the model looks very realistic and works well within X-Plane scenery. The detail remains high with realistic propellor blur and exhaust emissions. The aircraft maintains this in low light.
This is a small aircraft and yet the developers have managed to provide a large amount of detail in lighting effects, realistic colours and textures. Whilst the liveries are bright with good colours the model is not overdone and the slightly dulled down tones really do give the aircraft character and the weathering and wear and tear create the right ageing. The model looks great from all angles. Loading the Tundra version shows the difference in the size of the main wheels and does give the model a more robust appearance.
The cockpit is modelled simply but effectively and adds to the character of the aircraft created by the external detail. The instrument panel is not full of instruments and avionics in keeping with the age of the aircraft. The seats are modelled to be basic but are still detailed and realistic as are the seat belts.
The doors can be operated by the O menu as previously discussed but can also be opened and closed in the cockpit by the door handles. The door windows also open and close with their own handles. The yokes available to both front seat occupants are very utilitarian and can be toggled to be removed by pressing on the stalk, enabling a clearer view of the instrument panel. The textures and colours on the materials are very convincing, as is the level of wear and tear around the interior.
The instruments directly in front of the pilot are a temperature gauge, turn and slip gauge, air speed indicator, attitude indicator, altimeter and clock. There is a Bendix King Com/Nav radio set and transponder in front of the pilot to the left and a switch panel for lights, brake, engine start, radio, cabin heat and ignition in front of the pilot’s knees and a fuse panel beneath that. The switches on the panel are all modelled to work.
The throttle is to the right of the switch panel with an OBS indicator to the right of that. In front of the passenger seat, but still visible to the pilot are a vertical speed indicator, RPM indicator, amp meter, oil temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, vacuum indicator and a carb temperature gauge. The final instrument is a compass in the middle of the panel.
Behind the front seats is a small bench seat and luggage area. Views forward from the cockpit, when on the ground, are limited as the model has a nose up attitude associated with tail dragger aircraft. The glass modelling is very effective. Cabin lights are modelled in the ceiling of the passenger area. The lights for the pilot and passenger can be adjusted, as can the air inlets and the sun visors.
There is nothing complicated about this cockpit but it really does have a charm of its own and the simplicity really adds to the experience of flying an older, less sophisticated aircraft although there is nothing basic about the standard of modelling, texture and colours produced.
The engine sound is very convincing and the volume and tone changes with throttle use and also with the doors and windows opened and closed. Not all switches have bespoke sounds but this not detract from the realism provided. The engine start up process is accompanied by various sounds to confirm operation. The doors open and close with a reassuring clunk. The sound package really supports the detail of the modelling and helps to immerse the user in the aircraft itself.
There are very few systems to discuss on this model due to the nature of the aircraft. This is not a criticism as it is in keeping with the age of the C170B. The radios and transponder can be adjusted by the method used across X-plane models and also from the prompts created when clicking on locations on the X-Plane map. The gauges all respond well with aircraft use and the OBS gauge assists with navigation. The developers own systems, the on screen menus are easy to follow and do help with the use of the model.
Basic Flight Experience
For my first flight I loaded the aircraft at the start of the runway. I did not refer to checklists or manuals as I wanted to see how the model worked to simply load and fly. Like all tail dragger aircraft it was not easy to see straight ahead as the engine cowling was in the way and I had a couple of very poor take offs. I eventually sorted out my technique and completed a circuit. I found the aircraft very sensitive to inputs on the ground.
The sound of the engine does change with throttle input and is a good indication of what the aircraft is doing. The C170B wanted to take off quicker than I thought and was light and nimble in the air. Visibility is good from the aircraft once airborne and the model is fun to fly. I landed successfully and used the method I adapted at take off to keep straight on the run way.
The simplicity of the aircraft and the limited information available to the pilot made the flight more relaxed as I did not have consider lots of inputs. The flight model makes this a forgiving aircraft which creates an enjoyable experience.
I then carried out a flight using the Normal Checklist document as a guide. I planned the route in Goodway in order to obtain headings and a suitable route. I flew from Exeter UK to Newquay UK. I started with the aircraft on the grass parking, cold and dark. The checklists start with a visual check which I completed during the inspection of the exterior modelling and also some checks, such as oil and fuel levels, which cannot be physically carried out. The checklist is easy to follow and all the switches necessary are in front of the pilot.
The fuel tank gauges need to be checked and these are between the two seats. I ensured the carburettor was set with no heat and the mixture control was fully in, therefore set to rich. I set the tank selector to both tanks and moved the engine primer four times. I turned the master switch to on, turned the radios on with the pull switch and further primed the engine.
I switched both magnetos to on, opened the throttle to idle and pulled the starter switch. I was not successful the first time, and there were good visuals of the propellor starting to turn and then stopping, so I ensured the engine was at a stop from the first attempt. I used the primer a couple more times and pulled the starter switch for a successful engine start. Once started I kept the engine below 800 RPM as it warmed up.
The checklist takes the user through the engine warm up procedure, some of which can be done during taxiing. The aircraft was fairly easy to handle on the ground, especially with RPM set to carry out the warm up. I must admit I did raise the view level slightly from that set by the “W” key so I could see ahead. I then arrived at the runway threshold for the next part of the checklist.
This part of the checklist was for prior to take off. I ensured the brakes were on and set the altimeter. I checked the trim, oil pressure and magnetos according to the check list. I ensured carburettor heat was on full. I followed the list for take off by setting flaps to 20 degrees, releasing the brakes, turning off carburettor heat and moving the throttle to full power.
The practice in my earlier flights paid off as I achieved a successful take off. I referred to the flight plan and map to ensure I turned on to the correct heading and continued to climb to a reasonable height. retracting the flaps as I did so. I set the fuel tank setting to the left tank. The aircraft was light and responsive and once I had reduced my joystick input I settled in to a smooth and enjoyable flight.
The check list provided some issues to consider during cruise and I set the RPM to the recommended level, set the aircraft trim, checked oil pressure and temperature and set the correct mixture. I continued to follow the map on my course to Newquay.
I intended to land on runway 30 and I therefore set a course to travel to the east of the airport and set Nav 1 to Newquay’s frequency with the intention of using the OBS to intercept the approach. This method worked well and I was able to turn on to the approach track with plenty of distance to prepare for landing. In accordance with the check list I set the fuel tank setting to both tanks, set the mixture to full rich and applied carburettor heat, slowed the aircraft and lowered flaps. I followed the guidance in terms of glide speed and made a successful landing.
After landing I taxied to the light aircraft area and carried out the after landing procedures. I raised the flaps, moving steadily to help with engine cooling. I stopped the engine by pulling the mixture control knob out to fully lean and turned the ignition off. I checked the switches panel and made sure they were all off. I then set the parking brake and opened the pilot’s door. A throughly enjoyable flight, in a light responsive aircraft. The model’s simplicity is a positive in this case as controls are easy to find and procedures are straight forward making the aircraft easy to fly.
I also checked the cockpit in a low light flight. The panel lights are also controlled from the switch panel and look impressive when used.
I made a landing using the Tundra wheels on Qaanaaq airport in Greenland which is modelled as covered in snow. The Tundra wheels are certainly more chunky than the standard ones. They did not make a discernible different to how the model flew but they certainly felt stable and reassuring on landing.
This model is not designed to have a high level of sophistication and is created to portray an aircraft of this vintage. The detail and character of the model really do achieve this and the thought put in to liveries, colours, textures and wear and tear does pay off. The lack of complicated navigation systems creates its own challenges but adds to the realism and also makes the model straight forward to fly.
It does possess its challenges as it is a tail wheel aircraft and therefore visibility can be limited at times. I think it is a good model on which to learn the fundamentals of this design of aircraft before trying out others such as the various war birds. The model is fun to fly and creates interest for pilots and users of all levels of experience. The aircraft is light, responsive and forgiving and great fun to use. It is modelled to a very detailed standard both inside and out and possesses its own real charm. The review covers version number 1.2.
|Add-on:||Payware Alabeo Cessna C170 B|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org / Aerosoft | Alabeo|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of the Cessna C170 B|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 500MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Andy Clarke|
|Published:||April 23rd 2020|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Intel i5 27"|
|- 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5|
|- AMD Radeon R9 M290X 2048 MB|
|- 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM|
|- Logitech Force 3D Pro|
|Software specifications:||- macOS Catalina 10.15.x|
|- X-Plane 11.41r1 (64 Bit) Private Use|
|- A variety of freeware and payware airports|