The Cessna 172 is a very familiar sight at many airports. There is at least one or two in every flight school’s fleet and just about every pilot flew one as a student. Flying the 172 is like a blast from the past and reminds me frequently of those tough lessens learned.
With Carenado’s entry into the X-Plane marketplace, it was only a matter of time that their FSX model made its way to the other side. And, it just did. Welcome the latest release from Carenado, the Cessna 172N model.
Available with wheels, floats and skis, the model can be wrapped in one of four liveries depending on you preference of era (modern vs classic vs somewhere in between). In addition, the package includes a lively sound set and some awesome animations including a pilot and suspension.
I had the chance to take the 172N faring model out for a quick touch and go at Oceano Airport (L52). One of the first things I noticed was the throaty, deep rumble of the engine, which immediately brought back some interesting memories of doing run-ups as a student.
The second thing I noticed was the shine / reflection on the “glass” of the cockpit and exterior of the fuselage. Details like this bring a sense of realism to the simulator. Walking around the outside, other details emerge, like the suspension detail of the front wheel and the brake pads on the main gear.
Moving inside, the usual detailed cockpit is all there. Having spent time in a real 172, I immediately felt right at home and familiar. Panning around with my joystick, I can see the cockpit from all angles and sure enough, it looks like a Cessna 172 interior.
One feature that really, really stood out to me was the quick reference “cameras” pop-up. If you click the indentation where the N-number place would normally be, up pops a little click-able placard that gives you different views. Included are options to enable skis and farings on the exterior as well switch interior views including Co-Pilot view, Nav and Switches, Fuel, and my favorite, “View From Rear.”
The “View From Rear” makes me appreciate how my grandmother felt during while recording (with an 8mm camera) my grandfather performing aerobatic maneuvers in a Piper while he was a test pilot. I spent a few minutes flying from this view and quickly became air sick.
Upon taking off, those throaty sounds gave me a very real feeling. As I pushed the throttles forward, the deep bass in the sound (enhanced by my sub-woofer) started vibrating my desk and I could feel it in my joystick. It really did feel real there for a bit. Sweet! Talk about bringing back memories as a student pilot!
So, what is there to not like about Carenado’s Cessna 172N for X-Plane? Not much. It seems to be a little heavy on the frame rates compared to the Mooney they offer, but it is not as bad as the Saratoga (which kills my video card every time). The included liveries don’t excite me much, but I am sure painters will take care of that issue shortly!
Would I recommend paying the $25.95 for this model? Hell YES! The package that you get is very complete and rivals payware costing twice as much. With three models (including skis), a great set of sounds, multiple views and the awesome X-Plane community to support you, how could you go wrong with this purchase?
So, quit reading and go get! Start reliving those tense moments as a student pilot!