My last days were again in X-Plane 10. This time with a new Carenado add-on, the PA46 Malibu Mirage 350P HD Series. It is based on the real aircraft with the same name. The Malibu Mirage is a single engine prop aircraft developed by the well-known Piper Aircraft. Its production started in 1988 and continues through 2011 and because of that exist many cockpit panel variants. The Carenado version was based neither on the oldest nor on the newest. It has some modern equipment, but is not a Garmin G1000 based aircraft as in some real PA46. This aircraft has a nice cruise speed (195 KTAS) for its class and with a capacity for 1 pilot and 5 passengers.
The Carenado PA46 350P that I tested was developed for X-Plane 10 and are fully compatible with the 64 bits X-Plane version.
Installation and Manuals
This add-on are in a 227MB Zip file. The installation process is very easy, I only need to unzip the provided file to the X-Plane’s Aircraft folder. The included documents are in a folder and covers the following areas:
-Autopilot (AP) Flight System and Altitude and Vertical Speed Selector (AVSS).
-Transicoil Electronic Module Instrument System (EMIS).
-Extensive and detailed normal and emergency procedures.
-X-Plane joystick and graphics recommend settings.
All included in 47 pages. It is sad that not exist a document that fully covers all the cockpit panel. Anyway, the more complex systems are covered and with all the information provided you can easily master this aircraft
My first impression was very positive, this aircraft looks very real and everything was made to give this impression.
The 3D model, sound and textures are all in high quality. This quality is typical for Carenado HD series aircraft. They look real and not as a plastic aircraft.
The 3D model of the PA46 are very well made, it included even the tiny antennas and rivets. Its textures are in high quality and not blur when zoomed. This add-on includes five liveries based on real models and one blank to use as a custom paint template.
The animations outside are also very good. All moving surfaces, landing gears and doors move like the real PA46. In the list of animations included are also 2 pilots that can be seen from outside. An impressive feature is the realistic prop 3D holographic effect. It includes a volumetric effect and is beautiful to see.
The static elements also exist and can be enabled or removed through a setting in the 2D panel.
At night the aircraft is also very beautiful, it has all the lights working as the real one.
Inside and systems
Going to the cockpit seat, I saw the same high quality. The cockpit is in full 3D that is excellent for this kind of aircraft. All buttons and knobs are animated and worked very well. The textures look real and not blur. Carenado developers also includes a very realistic instruments reflection that can be activated or disabled as you prefer. The animations are not restricted to the flight controls and panel equipment. For example, you can smoothly adjust the windows sun-shields and open or close the passengers table.
The gauges and systems work very well and included in this add-on is a weather radar that gives a nice help when flying with very bad meteorological conditions. This aircraft is full IFR (Instruments Flight Rules) capable and includes 2 Garmin GPS based on the default X-Plane Garmin GPS.
A very nice feature that I also appreciate is the possibility to easily hide the yokes. This gives a better access to the lower part of cockpit. To help in the navigation through the cockpit panel and outside views, this add-on have a special 2D panel. There you can select pre-defined view positions and also adjust the field of view.
At night this add-on is impressive, you can turn on and off all lights individually to your preference. In the real PA46 exist some lights that you can smoothly adjust the light intensity and in this add-on, you can do the same.
Flying, sound and performance
I did many flights with this add-on, some using autopilot others not. I really liked how the aircraft flies. This PA46 has a good weight and balance and according to Carenado this add-on was tested by real pilots. It has a real behaviour and the autopilot works very well even with bad weather. I also liked the ground handling of it while taxing. It was a nice pleasure to pilot this aircraft.
About sound, this add-on have a very high quality 3D stereo sound. It was recorded from the real aircraft and I liked much. It has a very realistic sound of engine starting without strange or unrealistic cuts. This aircraft also have a very nice prop engine sound in cruise flight speed. It’s not annoying like some old jet engine sound.
Despite all the 3D details and HD textures this add-on runs very smoothly in my PC even using the HDR turned on and over complex scenery.
It is a very good aircraft. It has excellent 3D model and high quality textures. You have the feel of piloting the real PA46 with the overall quality and its real behaviour. Also, it is a nice aircraft to do IFR flights. With a price of 29.95 USD, it is a must-to-have aircraft. I’m happy to have it in my virtual hangar.
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Intel i7 920 2.4GHz, 6GB RAM, ATI/AMD Radeon HD6970 2GB
TM Hotas Warthog, TM WCS, CH TQ, Track IR, Raildriver, Logitech G25
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