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The Beechcraft C90 GTx King Air

Introduction

King Air … what’s that for model? Let’s visit the dedicated Wikipedia page and see if that brings some more. According to this dedicated page “The Beechcraft King Air line comprises a number of twin-turboprop models that have been divided into two families. The Model 90 and 100 series developed in the 1960s are known as King Airs, while the later T-tail Model 200 and 300 series were originally marketed as Super King Airs, with the name “Super” being dropped by Beechcraft in.”

“The King Air was the first aircraft in its class and has been in continuous production since 1964. It has outsold all of its turboprop competitors combined. It now faces competition from jet aircraft such as the Embraer Phenom 100, Honda HA-420 HondaJe and Cessna Citation Mustang; as well as from newer turboprop aircraft including the Piaggio P180 Avanti, and single-engine Piper Malibu Meridian, Pilatus PC-12, and Socata TBM.”

“The Model 90 King Air was conceived as the Model 120 in 1961. In May 1963, Beechcraft began test flights of the proof-of-concept Model 87, a modified Queen Air with Pratt Whitney Canada PT6A-6 engines. On July 14, Beech announced a new type, and a month later began accepting orders for the “King Air”, with deliveries to commence in Autumn 1964.”

“In July 2005, during the Oshkosh Airshow, Beechcraft introduced the C90GT. The C90GT was fitted with 750 shp (560 kW) PT6A-135As, flat rated to the same 550 shp (410 kW) as the earlier King Airs. This engine change increased performance due to lower operating temperatures, improving both cruise speed and climb rate. With a 275 kt (509 km/h, 316 mph) cruise speed, the C90GT was highly competitive with the new generation of Very Light Jets over short to medium distances, while providing a larger and more luxurious cabin.”

“C90GT deliveries commenced at the beginning of 2006. On May 21, 2007, during the 7th Annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva, Beechcraft announced the Model C90GTi updated version of the C90GT, featuring the Rockwell Collins Proline 21 avionics package previously only offered for the B200 and B300 King Airs. Deliveries commenced in 2008 after 97 C90GTs were delivered to customers over the previous two years.”

And yes, here it is, the GTx model.
“The model C90GTx was actually a marketing name for version of C90GTi introduced in 2010 with winglets added as factory-standard, Maximum Take-off Weight increased to 10 485 lb (4756 kg) for better full-fuel payload flexibility.”

Courtesy of Beechcraft TexTron Aviation
Video showcasing the features and highlights of the King Air C90GTx aircraft

“A total of 184 B90 models were produced before the Model C90 was introduced in 1971, with wingspan increased over earlier models by 4 ft 11 in (1.50 m) to 50 ft 3 in (15.32 m), Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) increased by 350 lb (160 kg) to 9,650 lb (4,378 kg), and PT6A-20A engines.”

Enough I would say. Time to check out the modeled Carenado C90B GTx King Air. The Carenado King Air was already available for X-Plane 10 while the current reviewed Beechcraft C90 GTx is renewed, remodelled, updated (whatever you prefer) to benefit of all X-Plane 11 features. It’s q bit more then just renewed. From old fashioned instruments the C90 GTx King Air is now equipped with the Rockwell Collins Proline 21. I quote “Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21™ is a family of flexible avionics system solutions designed to address a wide range of aircraft. From light turboprops to business jets, Pro Line 21 gives you flexibility in flight deck configuration and flight display formatting.”

Let’s see if this worked out fine!

Just a Flight | Preparations

Any Preparations?
No, not for this first flight. To get a good idea of this X-Plane 11 C90 GTx King Air, I invite you on my first test flight. It’s my first flight impression of the modeled Carenado King Air while flying in Switzerland, Europe. Besides using X-Plane 11.41r1 and even X-Plane 11.50b4 (April 2020) for macOS Catalina, I also added to give it a more realistic look and feel Ultra Weather XP. The added Lugano airport for X-Plane 11 is from FlyLogic. Adding for this region ortho textures from ZonesPhoto is not really an option in my humble opinion due to the colour differences between the different tiles.

Although the aircraft comes with – logically – an Auto Pilot, it is equipped with the Garmin G1000 from Laminar Research. That said, I decided to fly under VFR (Visual Flight Rules) conditions while normally you would expect IFR with such onboard equipment. Ok, I must admit that the airport doesn’t have many navigation aids, no VOR or NDB beacon(s), but it does have an ILS (ILU 108.90) for runway 01. There’s also a nearby …. ok, a bit further then just around the corner …. VOR SARONNO (113.70 SRN) or NDB SRN 330. And, of course, there are many nearby waypoints, but I don’t want to use for this first test flight.

The O, C and A popup windows
Well known when you know Carenado and/or Alabeo aircraft are the O and C icons on the lower left-hand corner of the X-Plane screen. The O stands for Options and the C for configurations of Views and Volume. The following screenshots show you the contents of these popup windows. Let me highlight this a bit more.

With the Views and Volumes popup window you can control the overall sound level, the Field of View (FOV) thus the distance you are positioned from the cockpit instrument panel while you can also use preselected internal and external view positions. The C (Cameras/Volume) panel can be closed either by clicking the “X” at the right-hand upper corner of the popup window or by clicking once more on the C icon.

The Options popup window allows you to open/close doors and/or panels, activate window reflections and visualize static elements. Further on, you can change the livery on-the-fly with the aircraft loaded. Closing this popup window can only be done by clicking the “O” icon since there’s no “X” in the right-hand upper corner.

But there’s more, a popup window identified as A from Auto Pilot. Generally speaking, a Carenado/Alabeo aircraft that is equipped with an Auto Pilot, in that case you’ll find an A icon and thus a popup window for the AP controls. A handy and nice option. Why you would ask …. there’s then no longer a need for looking down to the pedestal to control the AP modes on the FGP (Flight Guidance Panel).

Just click the A icon, set the AP mode, and click the window away when not needed. Only applicable for the A popup window; you can resize it from every corner and you can undock it and slight the Flight Guidance Panel to another monitor or in my case with macOS Catalina, slide it with SideCar to an iPad screen.

The ProLine 21
I could of course start right way with the actual flight as you can read below, but I think it’s worth first to highlight a bit more about the installed Rockwell Collins Pro Liner 21 DU (Display Unit) system with FMS. First of all, the Carenado aircraft comes with a “Carenado Proline 21” Acrobat document. It’s only 12 pages, but it OK to understand the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and MFD (Multi Function Display), but it’s a bit more then just these two DUs.

The whole Proline 21 system consist besides the previous mentioned PFD and MFD of the FGP AP (Flight Guidance Panel), the DCP (Display Control Panel) and the FMS CDU. There’s are two additional manuals included. One is for the FGP (Flight Guidance Panel), and one is the default X-Plane Laminar Research FMS. And, almost forgotten, a RTU (Radio Tuning Unit) manual that explains all the ins and out of the radio tuning.

Unless you’re familiar with the Proline 21 system, you can go ahead and start with a flight. In case this Proline 21 equipment is new for you, I suggest, same as I do, read the manual before starting with any flight. I speak you soon!

Just a Flight | The Actual Flight

Normally you would first expect from me a thorough walk-around inspection, a detailed cockpit and cabin inspection, but let’s do that today differently. Let’s go flying!

I made it myself easy for this first flight …. engines up and running. That said, at the moment I’m only interested in how does it fly, how does it feel, how does it taxi. I’ve parked the C90 GTx at the LSZA apron, and as said before, no need to start the engines or prepare all what’s needed to fly. But I do have a kind of planning. I fly out on a runway heading, make a right turn and climb out to approximately 3800-4200 feet. Then I tune for VOR/DME LIN (Linate 112.25). At 10NM before VOR/DME LIN, I tune my second station which is a TACAN beacon. I tune for CAM (Cameri 115.00) and finally flying back to Lugano while passing over the airport Venegone (LILN).

By the way; for this short VFR flight I used X-Plane 11.41r1, and for my environment UltraWeather XP. No photoreal sceneries are installed ,so what you see on the following screenshots is “pure X-Plane landscape”.

I taxi the King Air to holding point M and that means I’m taking off from runway 01. Taxing goes well without any issues. There’s a clear rumbling noise while running over the runway and, although, not loud, you can hear the engines. Personally, I had expected a louder noise level in the cockpit with engines running at full power, but that’s only my feeling and not based on anything.

Climbing out following runway heading to 2500-3000 feet and then making a right-hand turn. I leave for this VFR flight the Auto Pilot OFF and see how the trim behaves and if it’s possible to fly the aircraft by hand. While the C90 GTx King Air climbs out to 3800-4200 feet, I’ve trimmed it and it feels good. If this is as real as it gets is something I can’t confirm. It must be said that it feels good and it’s easy to trim. Small corrections are constantly needed since the AP is OFF and the weather conditions changes constantly. On the PFD you can see what the actual V/S (Vertical Speed) is on the top/bottom of the altitude scale. When you’ve set the trim for a certain climb, lets say 300 feet/min, you can see 300 on the top of the altitude scale. This is thus real time V/S indication.

Anyway, I play a bit around in the cockpit, have a look in the virtual cabin, but I can’t do too much or inspect the 3D cockpit since I have no AP connected. Yes yes, the aircraft is trimmed, but then still I need to track the aircraft. For a first flight I’m happy with what I see. After reaching my intended cruising level of approximately 3800-4200 feet, I check the map to see if I’m still flying in the right direction. Of course, this is ridiculous to write since I’ve tuned for VOR/DME LIN so the only thing I need to do is to check the CDI (Course Deviation Indicator on the PFD and MFD. If needed, click the COURSE know on the FGP (Flight Guidance Panel).

Roughly 10NM before reaching VOR/DME LIN, I tune for my next station which is CAM (Cameri 115.00) and, I do repeat myself, no Auto Pilot is connected. There’s not really a need to fly completely to this station since it’s more to me to see how everything works and it the tuning works. And it gives me also some tiem when flying from one station to the other, to check out the PFD and MFD. The C90 GTX flies stable which is perhaps also due to the weather conditions.

I do have the clouds from Ultra Weather XP, but I believe there’s no strom or whatsoever implemented so outside it’s quite relaxed. Since it’s roughly 20NM from VOR/DME LIN to TACAN CAM, before I know I’ve reached CAM and it’s time to turn on a heading of approximately 050 to Lugano. While flying on this heading I see down below the airport Venegone (LILN). And although I don’t have any ortho textures installed, it doesn’t look that bad. And to honest, ortho textures would be nice, but I’ve reviewing an aircraft,. so ground is not so important right now.

Since the airport lies at an altitude of roughly 1000 feet, I need to keep that in mind when descending. Reducing the throttle helps me descending, but some pitch down is needed. I try to do it all via the trim, but still steering commands are sometimes needed.

The C90 GTx King Air gently loses altitude and after my final turn over the lake, I extend the landing gear and select the flaps. Even though my approach speed is low, full flaps and gear extended, it’s not difficult to control the aircraft, but the roll effect is, as with many aircraft, slow. The Lugano runway is long enough for the aircraft, but keep in mind that aiming on the touchdown zone is needed. Don’t think you can land half way the runway. Then you’ll notice that the remaining 700-800 feet is too short!

I’m aware it was a short first test flight, but there’s more to come, but first, while the aircraft is parked at the apron, a walk-around check.

Inspection

External Walk-Around
With all the panels and doors opened as well as the static elements in place, it’s a pleasure to walk around the C90 GTx King Air. Only one comment; and that deals with some of the decals on the fuselage, engine cowlings and inside of the opened cowling panels.

They are blurry. Blurry in a way that I can’t read anything what’s written. I can guess, but that shouldn’t be the case. Normally you and I won’t bother too much about this, but I know from other GA aircraft developers that razor-sharp decals is possible.

Besides “that” small blurry comment, I’m pleased with the rest of the model. The gears look nice and accurate, as well as the overall parts of the fuselage, wings and tail and not to forget the engine cowlings. And yes, the external skin looks great. It looks so real and yes, some will say “I miss some weathering or oil leakages on the fuselage and engine cowlings”. Normally I would say that too, but let’s be honest “who can pay such a nice, but beautiful aircraft”?

When you can buy the Beechcraft C90 GTx, you will be proud on owning it and you will clean it every day, at least, after every flight. That said, real C90 King Air’s do all look very clean, no weathered paint, no oil drips, no nothing at all! And this is what the C90 reflects … as real as it gets in my humble opinion.

Virtual Cabin
To me the virtual cabin starts already with the passenger/pilot entrance door with integrated stair. The door/stair structure looks good as well as the used textures. Walking via the stair to the cabin gives me direct access to an attendant seat and, on my right, to another attendant seat. Honestly, I expected a toilet at the end, but guess I was wrong.

The cabin looks nice, no doubt about that. The window frames are nicely round so I guess a lot of polygons are used to get real round window frames. The seats are all covered with virtual leather which gives them a realistic look. The only thing that’s missing is the leather smell! As expected, the tables are simulated and by clicking at the right spot, they unfold. There’s by the way a small and interesting detail visible in each window. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think it’s an anti-oxidation hole. You can see that on one of the virtual cabin screenshots.

But at the same time, I sincerely hope that Carenado can improve the quality of the decals on the cabin sidewalls like where is written “EMERGENCY DOOR RELEASE”. I can read it, but it’s blurry. To slide the cabin/cockpit doors open, you simple click on one of the sliding doors. The moment you click or activate the sliding doors, they smoothly open or close.

Cockpit Inspection
I can say only one thing right now … I’m very pleased with what I see. From the cockpit floor construction, the carpet on the sidewalls, the seat construction, the photo realistic brake/rudder pedals, the good-looking instrument panel, the side panels and the ceiling, it all looks complete to me.

The quality of the panels, text, switches, knobs and lamps are all OK. Whenever applicable, the text is sharp, the switches and knobs looks as real as it gets, and all the indicators are beautifully modeled.

The virtual cockpit is equipped with a couple of animated objects like the small side windows, the pilot seat armrests and …… surprise coming in a minute. By the way, you can control all the four armrests individually.

I think it’s time to switch ON the electrical supply.
The King Air has the option to connect an external power unit to the aircraft however, no GPU (Ground Power Unit) comes into view when selected ON. I know that Carenado/Alabeo has aircraft who get that external GPU object when selected ON. Hopefully they will implement this GPU object with future updates. Besides that, when I switch ON the GPU switch, I don’t see anything happen in the cockpit. Therefore I’ve got no idea if the GPU function is working.

When I select the BAT and AVIONICS switch ON which gives me the possibility to check other systems and the lighting system in the cockpit. By the way, but you should be aware of that; click the control wheel rod and it’s out of view and it no longer obstructs the switching panel on the left-hand side of the instrument panel. Perhaps one note in respect to the PFD and MFDS is that when you switch on the battery, the MFD is immediately powered and no startup is seen. The same when you add the avionics switch; immediately the PFD is up and running. Feel a bit odd, but perhaps it works as in real!

While playing around with the internal and exterior lighting switches, I found a different name for the logo light. In case you’re looking for the logo tail light, seek for TAIL FLOOD light switch, just right of the landing gear handle.

And, there’s also a RECOG light switch or recognition light. I’ve got no idea what this RECOG switch is since you do have a TAXI and LANDING LIGHT switches? A search is needed and I found this which makes it due to the location of this lamp unit more logic “Recog lights are there to increase your visibility to aircraft or birds in front of you, so any time you are in a situation where it would be helpful to increase your visibility, that’s when you use them. I usually turn them on at the start of the takeoff roll with the landing lights, and leave them on for the first 3000′ of the climb, longer in high density airspace.“

Switching ON cockpit lights can be done via the MASTER PANEL switch or when you leave this one OFF, individually with rheostats knobs. And, how does it look like? It will result in a very nice panel- and integral lighting.

Oops, almost forgotten … a checklist, and additional manuals?
Don’t’ worry. I didn’t highlight this yet, but the aircraft folder comes with a DOCUMENTATION folder. It offers the following Adobe Acrobat documents and PNG file:
- C90 GTx Emergency Procedures
– C90 GTx Limitations
– C90 GTx Normal Procedures
– C90 Performance tables
– Copyright
– Proline 21
– RTU Manual
– Flight Guidance System
– Recommended settings XP11
– X-Plane FMS Manual

When you’re familiar with these kind of EFIS instruments, then probably you don’t need to read the Proline 21 document(s), but I suggest you do it since it’s a well written, not too long, and it’s an informative document or all together, documents. A thorough document of the default Laminar Research X-Plane 11 FMS is included and I must say, I’m happy with it. When you do a search on the Web, you’ll probably find many YouTube movies about the modern FMS.

A Typical IFR Day Flight

Flight Plan Programs
Although this may be a short flight (LSZA) Lugano to Zurich (LSZH) with a little more then 200 NM, it’s always a good idea to create a flight plan (fms format is a requirement), and moreover to play around with the Proline 21 during the flight. Therefore, I would like to explain you how I created this “fms” format flight plan.

To create a flight plan you could use many programs. Let me highlight a couple of freeware possibilities. I’ll start with Routefinder which offers you quickly a flight plan, but this is not in “X-Plane fms” format.

If you don’t like Routefinder, you could check out FlightAware, but again, this doesn’t allow you to export it to an fms file format; however, it offers real flight plans. Another very interesting website is simBrief. Register for free and a wealth of flight planning information becomes available.

Then there’s the browser-based Online Flight Planner which seems to be a good one although I’m not 100 percent sure if the generated flight plans are as real as they should be. The good news is that it seems to do the same as RouteFinder, but with several export options, of which one is “X-Plane fms”. The bad news is that there’s no C90 Series King Air in the available aircraft list. That said, I choose aircraft type King Air 350 instead. Then I’m ready to safe the “fms” file for use with the Proline 21/FMS CDU and I advise you to request also a PDF format of your flight plan.

A good offline program is Goodway 5, but that’s not freeware while Little NavMap is freeware and offers a lot of features.

One more option, but that requires two steps is using SkyVector and X-PlaneTools. We all know SkyVector, but SkyVector saves your flight plan in fpl format which in turn can be converted to fms with X-PlaneTools. I prefer to create a sightseeing IFR flight, so I use SkyVector above all the other options since it allows me to add waypoints on my scenic IFR route. Not sure if this is clear; the advantage of using SkyVector is that you can add your own waypoints. Adding your own waypoints along the route also means less realistic, but you can build the flight plan as you want.


Creating the flight plan with SkyVector and X-PlaneTools

By the way, when you insist on using RouteFinder or FlightAware, you can use the same X-PlaneTools website for converting a “fms” extension flight plan extension.

FMS CDU Preparations
As you can read in the previous section, I’ve decide to fly from Lugano (LSZA) to Zurich (LSZH). In that case, it would be helpful how to load the flight plan into the FMS CDU. Right, let me help you with that in case you’ve not done this before or in case you’re struggling with loading flight plans.

But before I start with the next paragraph, I think there’s a needed to inform you and hopefully you’re aware of it, that you need an updated AIRAC cycle. When you start up the C90 GTx and click the FMS CDU, it will show you on the scratchpad “NAV DATA OUT OF DATE”. Actually, after you’ve clicked the LSK 1L “STATUS” it will show you the active data base (AIRAC cycle) runs from 20JUL17 17AUG17 which is way too old. That said, you first need to update to the latest AIRAC cycle. That you see “NAV DATA OUT OF DATE” means that the X-Plane folder you’re using has most likely in the Custom Data folder no file except a readme.txt file!

You can buy an AIRAC subscription via Aerosoft named NavDataPro. This Aerosoft link is a subscription for one year. Flor many many years on the Internet, first freeware later payware are the AIRAC cycles from Navigraph. With Navigraph you can only chose for a one year subscription while with Aerosoft you’re able to select for one month or a 4 months.

Back to the C90 GTx FMS CDU.
Copy the created fms file into the X-Plane root folder Output/FMS plans. With the fms file in this folder, you’re able to load the flight plan into the CDU. Oops, that is easier said than done. Let me help you out with loading a ready to use flight plan.

You’ve powered up the C90 GTx the, then click the build in FMS CDU which will bring up a 2D FMS CDU. If the INDEX page isn’t shown, click the INDEX button on the CDU keypad then click LSK 1R (Line Select Key) showing “ROUTE MENU”. Now click LSK 2L “CO ROUTE LIST”. One or more stored flight plans are shown. On the screenshot you only see my created flight plan LSZA-LSZH. To activate this flight plan, click LSK 1L.

And then it’s a bit up to you. Weird that I write this but whew you select the LEGS keypad key you see all the legs and actually, you can or could use the flight plan already, but perhaps you want add a departure and/or arrival to it or should I say a SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) with TRANS (Transition).

For LSZA Lugano Airport there’s no SID, but there’s surprisingly one STAR what you and I don’t need for our departure. In other words, the easiest way to gain quickly altitude is to depart – if weather conditions permit – from runway 19. However, arriving LSZH does offer a lot of SIDs and STARs. By the way, when you use these official Swiss URLs, you need to scroll down to the botton to get access to all the Acrobat files.

Anyway, LSZH has 3 runways and let’s assume for now that we aim for runway 28. As you know, a final runway for landing depends on so many things that never a pilot will decide which runway he takes for landing. During approach, ATC decides which runway(s) is/are in use and that depends on e.g. environmental conditions and perhaps also on time restrictions due to surrounding villages or even simple reasons as a runway is not available due to maintenance.

But for now, let’s go for runway 28 and since all the STARs aren’t really applicable to us, we will fly from waypoint ASGED not to DITON, but to waypoint RAMEN and from there we take the ILS approach for runway 28. When you do this flight planning with Little NavMap, you can check all the SIDs and STARs on-the-fly and see what the best fits. Normally you have flight planning department who does this for you, but we as simmers try to do that ourselves. Not always easy, but I must admit, with Little NavMap is goes easy and perhaps Goodway does the job too, but no idea since I don’t own it.

And again, back to the FMS CDU.
With a loaded flight plan, we haven’t added a runway nor that we added a SID / STAR to it which is, when you click the DEP ARR key on the keypad, not possible. And yes, in case you’ve got your doubts, the flight plan is loaded. You check that via the LEGS key on the CDU keypad. What you need to do to be able to select runways and SIDs/STARs, is to enter LSZA and LSZH respectively at LSK 1L (ORIGIN) and LSK 1R (DEST) first.

When you’ve done that, you can click the DEP ARR key on the keypad and enter the runways for departure and arrival. When you’ve enter for LSZA (Lugano) runway 19, then you click LSK 6R “FPLN”. This will connect the selected runway to your flight plan and don’t forget to click the blue illuminated EXEC key on the keypad.

For the LSZH arrival, I select from the DEP ARR LSK 2R and seek for ILS28. As I mentioned above, I don’t use a STAR, so once selected ILS 28, I click LSK 6R “FPLN”, followed by the blue illuminated EXEC key on the keypad which actually means ENTER into FP.

Next I click the LEGS key on the keypad and scroll thru the flight plan via the PREV/NEXT PAGE keys on the keypad. When you try to do the same as I do, then the second page shows a DISCONTINUITY. I want to get that out of our flight plan and for that, we click once more on the NEXT PAGE key on the keypad, click next of CF28. Doing this means that CF28 is copied to the scratchpad. Now you go back to the PREV PAGE, and click next of the DISCONTINUITY line. The DISCONTINUITY will be replaced by CF28 and the flight plan is connected. and again, don’t forget to click the blue illuminated EXEC key on the keypad.

If you want to check the whole flight plan on your MFD, you can do that STEP by STEP via the MFD in PLAN mode. On the FMS CDU you click for every waypoint the LSK 6R “STEP”. Are we ready for the moment? Are we ready to fly? Do you do the checklist items, then I will check my part.

Flight Impression (LSZA) Lugano to Zurich (LSZH)

I’ve decided to take-off from runway 19 and from here I’ll see what happens. To follow the flight plan, I first need to climb else I’m flying against mountains. My first assigned altitude will be 8000 feet, but after that the final altitude has to be set to at least FL140. With this FL160 (16000 feet …. on the safe side!) it shouldn’t be a problem to follow the waypoints from the flight plan. At a certain moment, I leave the Swiss Alps behind me which means that I select a lower altitude, let’s say 8000 feet and you’ll read this later, at waypoint RAMEM I should be at 5000 feet.

The intention on this flight plan is to use and test of course the Auto Pilot, working with the FMS CDU although this is just the default X-Plane component. Not to forget to see how is goes with the Proline 21 PFD/MFD. I’ve mentioned this before, when you’re used to fly with aircraft that are equipped with the simulated Laminar Research G1000, then the Proline 21 shouldn’t be a problem to handle.

I taxi from the platform to runway 19. There’s no taxiway that allows me to taxi to 19, so instead you taxi via the runway to the beginning and then make a 180 turn. After lift-off, I climb out following runway heading, steer after a while to the left and decide to engage the Auto Pilot, but before I do that, I need to advise you to set your selected altitude first. I set an altitude of 8000, or 8500 or 9000. At least something that’s 8000+ feet. And set the HDG to the current heading by clicking the HDG knob. After that, once the AP is connected in V/S and HDG mode, you can change from HDG to NAV mode.

You can either click the “A” Carenado icon and engage the AP and YAW DAMPER by clicking the AP ENG and YD button, but you can also do it via the build in AP panel. A note on this. When you first click the YAW DAMPER you will see this in the PFD annunciator panel as YD. When you click after that the AP button, the YD disappears and is replaced by AP and automatically the FD (Flight Director) is also engaged. That said, no need to switch ON manually the FD.

I’m not sure if I wrote this before, but before engaging the NAV mode (the AP is then connected to the flight plan), it’s an idea to set the HDG bug to the current heading. Next, click the NAV, ALT SEL and VS buttons. With the VS DN-UP thumb wheel you can set the required vertical speed which can be seen near the PFD ALT scale. And I know you and I are very busy with all of this during the climb out, but please, don’t forget that you retract the landing gear and flaps, right?

One note regarding the NAV mode and how to see this on the PFD. On the PFD left-hand side select LSK 2L where is written PRESET. Below the preset is either written in cyan VOR1 or FMS. I think you got it already. When you select NAV on the FGP, the FP is connected to the aircraft Auto Pilot. On the PFD you click LSK 2L in a way that it shows PRESET FMS. The “TO” waypoint is then shown including its course and the distance to go.

When the aircraft reaches the first selected altitude of 8000 feet or FL080, you’ll notice that – as expected – the V/S mode will automatically disable and the ALT (hold) mode enables and thus the ALT SEL mode is disabled too. It’s a good idea to keep the heading bug aligned with the lubber line, even when you’re flying in NAV mode. To do this you need to press the HDG knob on the AP panel. If you want, you can switch between HDG and NAV mode, just to see what happens.

While the C90 GTx is flown by the Auto Pilot, it gives me the time to inspect the 3D cockpit once more. With the light switch ON, selected on the overhead panel, I’m very pleased with the integral and panel lighting, even its during daylight operations. I couldn’t find any issues during this test flight – using macOS Catalina, X-Plane 11.41r1 or X-Plane 11.50b4 and Ultra Weather XP – which is good news.

Although I’m not even halfway my flight plan, I need to check some data for our planned runway. Runway 28 is an ILS CATII certified runway, long enough for the C90 GTx King Air (roughly 2500 meters / 8200 feet) and made of concrete. Most important for now is the ILS frequency (109.75 | IZW | final approach course 274 degrees). Curious to all the data needed for a save landing? Check out the following screenshot.

It’s now time to climb to my final altitude of FL160. No problem for this small commuter! I first set a new altitude from the AP panel. Output of selected altitude can be found at the PFD right-hand upper corner. Next, I set a vertical speed of roughly 1000 – 1500 feet/min and there the C90 GTx goes. After a while, it’s easy to see the valley coming into view below me, but this also means that I need – or I can – descent to for example 8000 feet. Keep in mind that the approach altitude for the LOC runway 28 is 5000 feet while the airport altitude lies at around 1400 feet.

I’m aware that I mentioned this before, I’m really enjoying this short Swiss flight which is partly due to the modeled King Air. I did like the older model with more conventional electronic instruments, but it’s a total different experience using the Proline 21 DUs. When levelled off, I leave the AP in NAV mode. From here you and I can use the previous approach plan for runway 28 or when you use online ATC, they can offer you the necessary route information.

Keep in mind the following; when you fly with the Flight Plan, you have on the PFD LSK2L set to “PRESET FMS”. When you’ve selected as I did on the RTU the NAV1 and NAV2 (actually, only NAV 1 is needed) frequencies to ILS runway 28, you need on approach to select at the PFD LSK2L PRESET VOR1. Then the PFD annunciator should show APPR LOC1 and GS. Simultaneously you would also see on the PFD next of LSK 2L the LOC1 ILS frequency, the CRS of the runway, the ILS name and the distance to the LOC beacon. If you don’t see this, then you’ve tuned the wrong frequency or you’ve forgotten to select the switch on the PFD from FMS to VOR1.

Anyway, it was fun and the aircraft flies great and easy to handle. So at the end ….. a nice, not too far away, test flight while using the Proline 21 equipment and belonging or connected panels and the FMS CDU. Oops, I didn’t mention that. You can use for LSZH either a freeware package or you can buy from Aerosoft – also available at X-Plane.Org – their latest LSZH airport package. For freeware you can select the modeled LSZH from tdg.

Anything forgotten?

Perhaps some words about the actual frame rates. This is always a very difficult item to highlight. You may expect that the aircraft doesn’t reduce the frame rates too much, but so many things around the aircraft can and will reduce the available frame rates. Think about what airports you’re using, do you have static aircraft active or perhaps using X-Life? But there’s more to think about like the scenery you’ve installed, or environmental software and so on. Besides these things, what are your settings, do you fly X-Plane 11 on a Windows computer, of Mac or perhaps you fly your favourite simulator on Linux. All that can make a big difference and then I’m not even talking about your hardware and monitor dimensions.

The following screenshots are made on an iMac Pro, X-Plane 11.50b4, default clouds and with my rendering sliders set quite high (separate screenshots of rendering settings included). Looking to the original full screen size, which is 2560×1440 pixels and knowing the rendering settings, you and I would have expect this, but I must admit that even with these frame rates, scrolling thru the cockpit or around the aircraft while flying, I didn’t see any stutter or something else that disappointed me.

I had Metal rendering ticked so that gave me already lots of frame rates versus the older 11.41r1. I don’t own, but you know that now, a Windows system, so I can’t tell you how it is with Vulkan, but I guess very similar increased frame rates.

Some words about the aircraft sounds. I’ve got no idea if the included Carenado C90 GTx sound files are all dedicated to the real King Air GTX, but from Fernando I know that these are real recorded.

Summary

That’s a long review and for you more important, did I cover everything of this Carenado aircraft? Out of review experience I know that there’s always something that I missed, but I tried to cover most of it. So one of the questions you will ask me is …. did I like the C90 GTx King Air for X-Plane 11? Yes, but to be honest I did like the same model already for X-Plane 10, the King Air C90B, so that doesn’t surprising me.

Next question that pops up is ….. is this dedicated Carenado C90 GTx X-Plane 11 model so much different or perhaps better then the one that was designed for X-Plane 10? Version 1.0 of the X-Plane 10 C90B package goes back to its release date of end 2013. Although I’m aware that it got several updates, the current X-Plane 11 package comes with all X-Plane 11 features and for sure many new features and/or fixes have been implemented. That said, the reviewed X-Plane 11 C90 GTx cost 37.95 USD and there’s no reduced price when you own the X-Plane 10 C90B model.

Besides that the old King Air C90B and the C90 GTx look very similar, the cockpit instrumentation is totally different. The new C90 GTx comes with Proline 21 and additional equipment thus the flying experience will be different. Instead of using Garmin equipment for navigation, this GTx comes with two Laminar Research FMS CDU models which are mounted next of each other in the pedestal. These two FMS CDUs aren’t working independant of each other. There’s no MASTER and SLAVE.

You can buy the Carenado C90 GTx King Air via the dedicated Carenado store page, or from the X-Plane.Org store and also from Aerosoft.

I could add many more paragraphs in this summary section, but most of the things I’ve seen and tested are already highlighted by me. I can only conclude that it’s a nice GA twin engine aircraft. I only hope that more and more user liveries are created. For some reason Carenado aircraft aren’t attracting painters to paint nice and realistic liveries for this nicely modeled C90 GTx.

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Payware Beechcraft C90 GTx
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org / Aerosoft | Carenado
Description: Realistic rendition of Beechcraft King Air C90 GTx
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 450MB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: April 29th 2020
Hardware specifications: - iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (Catalina 10.15.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
Software specifications: - Catalina (10.15.x)
- X-Plane 11.41r1
- X-Plane 11.50b6

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