In the last days I was flying in the FSX with another iconic aircraft, the Beechcraft B1900D. It is one of the most popular airliner in its class. With a capacity of 19 passengers (depending of internal configuration) it is operated by many countries and are present in many flight simulators for PC. The B1900 was introduced in 1984 and produced until 2002. Including all versions, Beechcraft manufactured 695 units. The B1900D is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engines. With them, the B1900 has a cruise speed around 280 knots at 20,000 ft. The B1900D has a curious feature, it is one of the few airplanes of its class that you can walk upright in the passengers cabin. Typically in this aircrafts you need to bend forward if you want to walk in the cabin.
The version that I use was made by Carenado, well known company for GA (General Aviation) add-ons for FSX/Prepar3D and X-Plane. This review covers the FSX version of Carenado’s B1900D.
Installation and Manuals
The package includes two files, the main aircraft (213 MB) and a free bundle of liveries (81 MB). Both files include a wizard to do all the procedure as easy as possible. The installation ran very well without any problem. Through the wizard you can choose in which simulator, FSX or Prepar3D (1.4 or 2.0), you want it installed. After the full installation, you have a folder with 10 PDF files that are the documentation provided. In 80 pages they cover the following areas:
– Avidyne multifunction display and the Garmin GNS530.
– EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System) that includes the Autopilot, the Altitude Pre-selector, the EADI (Electronic Attitude Director Indicator) and the EHSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator).
– FMS (Flight Management System).
– Electronic Vertical Speed Indicator with TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) included.
– Detailed normal and emergency procedures to correct flight this airplane.
– Performance tables.
– Recommended settings to have a better visual quality versus performance and finally, the copyrights information.
Not includes a description of the full cockpit, but will all the documents provided you can easily master this aircraft. The more complex systems and gauges are described in the above documents.
My first impressions were very positive, the aircraft looks real and the 3D model is very detailed. As this aircraft is one of the Carenado HD Series add-ons, it was not a full surprise when I saw the overall quality of textures and the 3D details. I was already expecting that kind of quality.
As told above, the aircraft is very detailed. When parked you can even insert/remove, through a 2D panel, the static elements like the pitots cover, sights props and chocks. This B1900D has, with the free liveries bundle, 11 beautiful liveries based on real models. It also includes one blank livery to be used as a template for creating new ones. All the liveries are in high definition quality textures with 2048 x 2048 resolution. The reflection effects is also very realistic and well-done, including the metallic elements.
The prop disc have a 3D holographic effect that creates a volumetric side view, it looks very nice and real.
All the flight control surfaces, the landing gear, and passengers/cargo doors are smoothly and realistically animated.
At night the lights effect are like the real aircraft, including the halo effect. It has all the lights working like the real B1900D.
Inside and systems
As expected from a Carenado’s HD Series add-on, the cockpit and cabins are also very well made. They are in full 3D and with HD textures that looks real, as you can see in the screenshots.
Carenado includes many great features like the dynamic environment gauges reflections and a luxury bundle of nice avionics. This aircraft is equipped with a Carenado Garmin GPS530, an EFIS, an Electronic Vertical Speed Indicator with TCAS and the amazing Avidyne MFD (Multifunction Display). The Carenado Garmin GPS530 can be changed, easily through a provided wizard, to the Reality XP G530.
The MFD is amazing and very useful, it includes a weather radar, flight plan following, GPS with map and traffic representation and a nice TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System). Everything working very well and gives a huge help in your IFR (Instruments Flight Rules) flights.
The cockpit is in full 3D and the buttons, knobs, switches and levers works very well. They reproduce the expected function, are animated and have the real sound when operate them.
Typical in Carenado aircrafts, you can easily hide the yokes to have a better view of the behind switches.
There isn’t a 2D cockpit panel, is a nice decision because in this kind of aircraft is easier and more real to fly in a 3D virtual cockpit. Only to help you in some complex gauges, exist some 2D tiny panels that shows some B1900D gauges. As an example you have the FMS, EFIS, GPS and the Avidyne available also in a 2D panel. Exist two more 2D panels, one to configure the aircraft like the instruments reflections and static elements. Another to set up the status of your aircraft to pre-defined ones, like Cold & Dark.
Also exist custom animations inside, like the cockpit vibration effects (on stall and take-off run), the movement of doors/windows and the adjustment of sunshields.
At night this aircraft, again shows its beauty, it has realistic night light’s effects on cockpit. You can separately control the lighting for cockpit flood, pilot, instruments and panel text.
About the PT6A engine modeling, it’s well-done, but unfortunately it has a small issue because of the FSX core engine limits. In FSX you can’t separate the fuel flow and the change of RPM. This problem is a main bug of FSX core engine and not from Carenado. All aircraft with PT6A engines that use the FSX engine model, without custom engine modeling via a plugin or a module, have this issue. With a mechanical link between the propeller and compressor, that’s real, but in a free spin propeller engine it isn’t. In a free spin propeller you can change only the propeller without changing the fuel flow.
Flying, sound and performance
With the Carenado B1900D I did many IFR flights in the 300 to 400 miles range, and others to test systems and behaviour. The aircraft, within the limits of FSX flight model, fly perfectly and is well done. It has real weight and balance and according to Carenado, it was tested by real pilots to make it as real as possible. In my IFR flights the interaction between FMS, GPS, MFD and Autopilot were perfect and worked well. It does good autopilot flights and approaches even in bad weather conditions. The aircraft also has real behaviour in asymmetric flight.
About sound, Carenado again did a good job, it was recorded in high quality stereo from the real B1900D. It is very realistic and the engine start-up and shutdown is a pleasure to listen and without abrupt transitions.
For the standards today my PC is not top-notch and can handle very well this add-on without any problems. But as it is a HD Series aircraft, if you have a PC that barely runs OK with the default Cessna C172, I can’t fully recommend this add-on. It requires a normal to powerful PC to run well with maximum settings this add-on. This is the classic price of having many complex gauges and very high quality 3D models and textures.
I like this aircraft very much. Everything works very well and as expected within the possibilities of core FSX. It is a nice aircraft to do regional flights with full IFR capability. By now, it is the best B1900D for the FSX/Prepar3D. With a price of 39.95 USD it is a must-buy add-on. It is a detailed aircraft with excellent avionics.
To see more details, watch the video below and visit here.