Haven’t we all once dreamt of having our own private jet? Just waking up in the morning and telling yourself “Let’s go anywhere is the world” and all you need to do then is worry about the fuel and the flight plan. Unfortunately Carenado hasn’t given us our own private jet in real life, but one for FSX, FSX-SE and Prepar 3D!
After having downloaded and unzipping a 551 MB package, I was able to install the plane. The installation process is standard procedure: customer information, Flight Simulator version, check the folders and then install.
Being completely unfamiliar with the aircraft, I decided to do a few circuits with the aircraft before attempting a full flight. While FSX-SE loaded up I searched for the documentation given by Carenado. I was a bit disappointed seeing that there wasn’t a step-by-step guide, however a very detailed ‘Normal Procedures’ did the job. After spawning at EBOS, I decided to attempt a cold and dark start start-up.
Via the state panel I was able to put the aircraft in cold and dark mode. My start-up took me about 30 minutes: being completely unfamiliar with the aircraft, I did quite some searching to find the right switches and knobs. I was quite pleased to notice how detailed the virtual cockpit was and how most switches were clickable. Also to my surprise, the APU panel was situated behind the captains seat left from the door opening (when coming in the cockpit), normally I’d expect it to be on the overhead panel. After switching the APU and APU bleed on, I was able to start the engines. Not knowing when to turn on the fuel-cutoff switches, I noticed that the engines started up quite normally to 5.9 N1 and then started to stagnate, so I turned on the fuel-cutoff switches and then WHAM the N1 rose very rapidly.
There, I was ready for taxi. What a difference from taxiing big jetliners, airbuses and props! First of all I was quite surprised by having to put almost 60% thrust to make the aircraft move. Also the turning of the aircraft on the ground was quite something to get used to: no more need to apply full rudder or make brisk movements to make a sharp turn, just a tiny bit of rudder, otherwise you’ll spend about a minute or two realigning yourself on the taxiway centreline. Finally, after having mowed about the half of the airport’s grass, I arrived at the runway.
After having configured the aircraft for take-off, I was ready to apply TO/GA, there was only one little issue: there was no autothrottle, so no TO/GA. Manual it was then, and we took off. Arriving at V-rotate speed, I pulled back on the yoke (if that’s the correct term for it in these types of aircraft). It hesitated a bit (I probably didn’t set the V-speeds right) but in one elegant movement we found ourselves climbing out of EBOS. I’m used to flying jetliners like the B772LR, B738 and A319 so I was quite surprised to see the quickness of the gear-retraction.
And there we were climbing to 3000ft and banking right to start the circuit. Not being familiar with the aircraft, I didn’t really bother with following airport procedures and I distanced myself about 20nm to align with the runway for landing. I did not turn on the autopilot during this flight because I found this aircraft quite a joy flying manually. Fully prepared to land at EBOS I set in the final approach fase and after a good 20 minutes after taking-off I was quite pleased with my landing rate of -198 fpm.
Even though not all buttons are click able in the VC, I find that the cockpit is extremely detailed with lots of working switches and knobs, giving you enough to worry about. Also the exterior is extremely detailed with HD textures and interacting 3D objects (for instance a lever goes down next to the door when opening the main door).
Not being a real pilot of this aircraft, I cannot compare the systems in great detail. However I do find that Carenado did a great job modelling the systems. I’ll give the example of the electric system; you cannot start the engines or APU without having configured the eclectric panel correctly and for starting up the engines, you do need to click a few switches (more than in a normal jet aircraft) before being able to ignite the engines.
I’m a kind of virtual pilot that likes flying in mountainous terrain or in cloudy/severe weather so I was pretty curious to find out how the weather radar and terrain radar systems were modelled. To my great surprise you can use them both at the same time (e.g. weather on the PFD and terrain radar on the MFD), however the terrain radar isn’t really a radar but just a map on which terrain is given. Using the PFD and MFD to make them display what you want is quite a bit of work: e.g. you have to be in ARC mode for the weather radar and/or the terrain radar to work. Putting the V-speeds on the PFD is done by using the DCP in place of by the FMC, one also has to calculate (or look them up in the performance tables) them by themselves.
The FMC is quite different to what I’m used in the airbuses or Boeings, the PERF pages shows you the fuel burn at the current engine setting and so you’ll have to anticipate how much fuel you’ll have left once arriving. Also filling in a flightplan is done by using both the Routes and legs pages in place of just using the route page.
I was quite disappointed to not find a tutorial flight or step-by-step guide on how to fly the airplane, I think this would be a major plus for helping pilots, who are totally unfamiliar with the aircraft, to fly the aircraft correctly. However there is quite a lot of documentation available: There is a guide on using the Proline21 and the Flight Guidance system . The Normal procedures as well as the emergency procedures are included. The performance tables are also included however they only cover Take-off and climb values there is no section for approach nor descent values, which is quite unfortunate I you don’t want to guess the approach speed and on how much fuel you’ll be consuming during descent.