The most complete review of a very iconic plane, brought to X-Plane by the widely famous Carenado. As always, the review is made with the contribution of Francesco Biondi.
The PA34 Seneca V is a multi-engine piston aircraft (MEP) and it’s very popular for ATPL training (also used by Lufthansa). It’s powered by two Continental TSIO-360-RB engine and it’s often equipped with Garmin G500, as the Carenado model is.
This aircraft is also equipped with Anti Ice and Is capable of Night VFR also in icing conditions.
It’s a very versatile aircraft since it’s capable to reach 25000 feet in International Standard Atmosphere, but still very enjoyable to fly in Visual Flight Rules at low altitude.
I’ve tested this carenado model during different flight and have to say that flies smoothly and is very stable and controllable, even though it can seem a bit “arcade” the first time you fly it.
It’s all about finding the right combinations among controls, as you have to do in every new aircraft you jump in.
As usual I’ve also performed some particular maneuvers like single engine failure and double engine failure and both returned a realistic feeling and the aircraft behaved as expected for performance and physics. I also managed to make the aircraft “spin” due to uncorrected turn on the dead engine side, that’s exactly what would happen in real life, for the single engine performances it was absolutely realistic.
Also the stall performance were well done.
I’ve chosen this aircraft for adding it in our small series of reviews of GA each with different characteristics for its custom Garmin G500 from Carenado.
I’ve to say that I love the G500 and I preferer it among the G1000 that, for me, it’s just too glass, but we’ll examine it later on.
The flight model, after all, it’s well done (although it’s still missing something) and it’s in contrast with some other aircrafts from Carenado which were graphically stunning, but the flight model was a bit unrealistic or different compared to the real plane.
In particular I would report a strange behavior of the plane that, at a decent landing speed (72-73 knots) falls down on the runway insted of following the flare maneuver. The result was a normal landing at -200fpm with an unexplicable engine failure and crash.
Flight Model mark: 8/10
It was developed by Carenado. Would you expect a bad graphic experience? No.
Of course the very high level of detail takes its toll on the fps, but the loss is marginal and you would be, hopefully, capable to run this plane without acting on the rendering options.
The internal model is very beautiful and complete. Each material has it’s different texture, and the cockpit feels realistic without being too much shiny or “fake”, look yourself.
The lighting system is perfect, and your experience on the plane cannot be just limited to the cockpit. You have to take a passenger sit and look at how Carenado developed the retractable table, featuring also a light switch to read your newspaper more confortably.
The external model is good as well, the aircraft shows its age realistically as it doesn’t reflect everything perfectly. The difference between the metal of the fuselage and the lucid part of the props is evident in the real plane, and well represented in X-Plane.
The props are something that toke Carenado some time, since the dirt is dramatically realistic and everything seems coming directly from the real world.
This aircraft, for sure, it’s an eye-candy that you cannot miss.
Design mark: 10/10
It’s not a study level aircraft, that’s clear and Carenado didn’t even try to say that.
Nevertheless, the working systems are complete. Some are less detailed than you would expect, but it’s normal when you develop a lot of planes.
Compared to the precedent models I owned, this one is a step forward in terms of depth of system developing, also in de-icing systems.
The thing that draw more attention is the G500, implemented by Carendo on this plane.
It doesn’t kill the old fashion of a model that wasn’t built during these days, as the G1000 would do, you still have gauges and indicators to pay attention to.
You may think that a glass device would not allow you to perform classic style IFR, well you are wrong. The G500 has a “classic” HSI below the artificial horizon and is very easy to select its source, so that VOR navigation is still possible. (Important for IR training)
Globally, the Carenado rendition of the G500 is very good and realistic in each part, buttons sounds are good, and each menu or configuration is simulated, as well as the autopilot control pad. The only problem I’ve found is a little bit of difficulty of integration with the onboard GN430 when drawing the route, but it’s a very small issue and the G500 is perfectly suitable for IFR flying.
Unfortunately you can’t operate on the circuit breaker panel.
This aircraft has a fully functional oxygen system that allows it to fly at its service ceiling.
The plugin implementation it’s the usual one by Carenado that, in my opinion, is still missing a proper weight sheet were you set up the weights and fuel, instead of using X-Plane’s default menu. That is taking away some points in this category.
Systems mark: 8/10
The sounds are a point of strength of this model.
Not all the switch features they’re own sound, but the 3D experience once the engines are on it’s unique.
Even the external sound it’s well done and realistic and it’s beautiful to just stop and listen to it while the engines are at low power.
Anyway I hope for a complete sound experience, with also ambient sound, to come soon.
But, as said, at the moment the experience is pleasant.
Sounds mark: 8.75/10
The documentation is complete and professional. But it has its weak sides.
In the dedicated folder you’ll find 5 manuals (G500 overview, emergency proc, normal proc, perfomance tables and references) and other documents with changelog, credits, recommended settings and so on.
The manuals featuring emergency and normal procedures are good, but they only list the procedures as a checklist would do, they don’t tell nothing about how the aircraft really works as a real manual would do.
The G500 overview it’s really useful for who’s a newbie to this particular instrument, even if it’s not difficult to learn it directly on board, I advice to read the dedicated manual that Carenado brought.
Last but not least, I don’t think that this aircraft features only two performance tables in real life. Why should it do it in X-Plane?
Concluding, the documentation is enough if you want to learn what the necessary for a calm flight, but it’s not enough to teach you the plane in its different aspects.
Documentation mark: 7.5/10
The graphic quality and versatility of this model are out of discussion and they must be considered prior to buy any GA aircraft. Plus, the systems are complete and well done.
This plane it’s not only an eye candy, but if you’re looking to it for training purposes and to have a fully realistic experience then I don’t think it’s suitable for you.
Otherwise, if you only fly the plane from A to B, as me usually, then grab it, as it’s really a must have if you’re not interested in what I mentioned above.
TOTAL MARK: 8.25/10
Special thanks to Carenado and for providing us this review copy. I would like to ensure that even if we’re thankful to Carenado, this review it’s not influenced by this. If you don’t believe us, grab it yourself!