Last days I was flying a recently released add-on, the Carenado 690B Turbo Commander. This add-on are based on the Twin Commander Aircraft 690B. The history of this aircraft started at 1948 when a small team of engineers developed a prototype to become a future GA aircraft that could provide passenger services to places not usually covered by airliners.
At 60s the jet engines started to be a standard on airliners and consequently it initiate the demand of faster GA aircraft to follow more requested fast travels. From that market requirements we started to see the first turbine powered Twin Commanders. After multiple versions, at 1976 the 690B did his first flight. The 690B, called Turbo Commander, is powered by 2 Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turbine engines. This aircraft is powerful and fast with a maximum operating speed of 246 KIAS.
The 690B represented by Carenado have pilot and co-pilot seats and 5 more for passengers. The version that I tested are only for X-Plane 11 but also exist available on the Carenado store a FSX/P3D version.
Installation and Manuals
The downloaded Zip file is around 430MB and after uncompressed the hard disk size required is not more than 560MB. It includes a folder that, common with many other add-on for X-Plane, you only need to move to the X-Plane’s Aircraft folder. In its first run you need to activate the 690B with the provided serial number and an internet connection is requires in this process. Inside the add-on folder exist a subfolder with 8 PDF files that covers the following areas:
690B System Reference Guide.
690B Performance tables.
690B Normal and Emergency Procedures.
690B Quick reference table.
Recommended Settings X-Plane 11.
Copyrights and Credits.
All together have a total of 49 pages. Sadly not includes a document that explain all the cockpit panel. Anyway, you have all the information to fully operate this aircraft including very detailed procedures. With all the provided documentation you can easily master this aircraft.
Usual to Carenado aircraft and this 690B is not exception, the 3D model is very detailed with all antennas and rivets on the place. This add-on includes 6 HD liveries based on real aircraft and 1 blank that can be used as a template for custom paintings. Using the new X-Plane 11 features, this add-on use PBR (Physically Based Rendering). As so, the materials and reflections are gorgeous and looks very realistic. The developers had special care to make this aircraft looks like the real one, including weathering and 3D volumetric propeller disc effects.
About animations, everything that should move, moves. All moving surfaces, passenger and cargo doors and landing gear are all well animated. I liked to see that even pilot and co-pilot realistically moves their heads according with aircraft position like the roll angle. The doors can be open/close using a provided 2D panel and through this panel you can also insert/remove the static elements.
At night this add-on is very beautiful also, with all the lights and beacon very well made including the reflection of them on the fuselage and wings.
Inside and systems
When going into the cockpit, the quality is really very good. The panel is well modelled in 3D and have high resolution textures with realistic look with scratches, weathering and used style. It not have a plastic looking. As mentioned the textures are very good and not blur when you zoom in to see in detail an instrument. The gauges glass have reflexes, configurable with a 2D panel. Aside of fuses (that is really rare having add-ons with fuses working) everything works as it should. I liked to see that you can hide the yokes to have a better view of the cockpit. All knobs and buttons are correctly animated and was a nice surprise to see that even the light spots on the roof can be manually adjusted to arrange the light direction.
For me that I have the RXP GTN750 (sold separately) this add-on is awesome, it auto-detect that plugin and automatically integrate it in the 3D panel in a very nice and handy place. To the people that not have that specific GPS or prefer the vanilla configuration, you have the default X-Plane 11 GNS530 on the place. Both GPS’s are well integrated on the autopilot logic and you can fly a GPS route when on NAV mode. About the Avidyne instrument, on the center of the main panel, sad that not all sub-screens works, like the TAWS. Anyway, if you have the mentioned GTN750, it do that job.
The cockpit are well equipped and you can perfectly do IFR (Instruments Flight Rules) flights without any issue.
Included is also a 2D panel with multiple preconfigured views. This will help you quickly see different parts of the cockpit.
From features list this 690B is VR compatible, I not have any VR equipment to test, but it is good to know, that for the virtual pilots that have these type of gadgets, can nicely use them with this add-on.
When the sun goes out and you not have much light outside this 690B is also impressive. The cockpit have multiple lights, including instruments illumination that you can smoothly adjust the intensity. Also the external lights all works as should.
Flying, sound and performance
When you turn on the engines and start to taxiing with the aircraft you will be amazed by the sound. It’s very good quality, powerful and 3D stereo. The sounds also includes Beta working of the propellers with his distinct sound. The ground handling is very nice and easy to control particular because it’s a tricycle type of landing gears layout. I did some flights and liked much the aircraft behaviour, from Carenado website, it was tested by real pilots to become as realistic as possible. Some of the flights was using autopilot and it worked as expected using different AP modes like HDG, NAV and ALT.
Even being a detailed aircraft the FPS not goes down, I flown very well without any stutter or low FPS.
It is an excellent aircraft, with a cost of 37.95 USD it worth every cent. This add-on is very detailed, beautiful, and lovely to do IFR and VFR flights. I like it much and because being a two engines aircraft you can do some training fail scenarios like asymmetrical flight with only one engine working. It is a must-to-have aircraft and different from the classic GA birds.
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