ADX FirstLook: Alabeo C195 Businessliner
FSX/P3D. When Alabeo announced the development of the Cessna 195 I was mildly pleased, mostly because it was a new project from a talented developer, not because it was an airplane I was dying to have for my flight-simming. But now, after spending the past several days flying all over Orbx's Pacific Northwest and Northern California, I am completely hooked. This is a fantastic plane! Not only is it the most beautiful piece of art ever produced for FSX, but it flies as good as it looks. I will try not to sound too overly taken with this nice bit of sexy, but I really love this plane. I want a real one. Polished bare metal, please.
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For this ADX review, I toured from KRDD Redding, up into the Puget Sound area and then east, ending up in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and landing at a bunch of really nice Orbx airports along the way. I learned several important things about the 195: First, it is not a STOL aircraft. It needs some real estate to decide if it is going to slip the surly bonds. Second, S-turns while taxiing are not optional......and you need to get the tail up soonest on takeoff unless you know runway braille.
I also learned that Alabeo is earning its way closer to the very top of the aircraft developer ladder with each new release. And the 195 isn't just eye-candy either, everything works as it should......well I was disappointed I couldn't roll the windows down, that would've been cool. But besides the windows, this plane is a joy to fly, which is a good thing because there is no autopilot, not a problem for me as I have several short humans hovering about that take over if I need to hit the bog or fix a snack or simply can't be bothered with the boredom of a long cross-country. Kids can be good for stuff other than eating all my groceries. Speaking of long cross-countries, better bone up on your pilotage and VOR navigation because there is no TV screen to tell you where to go. I kind of wish they would have tossed a Garmin 430 in the panel, but I can live without it. That sums up my beefs, which are hardly any issue for me, but may be a bigger deal for some folks.
Before loading up the Alabeo 195, one must be sure to turn the volume up on your speakers.....not because they made the sound too quiet, but because they made it awesome! Especially from the outside at idle, the big Jacobs crackles out a wonderful radial rumble that is music to my old gearhead ears. Puts the ole' Harley to shame.....in my opinion. Easy, now.
Visibility on the ground is an issue for the real plane as well. S-turns may make it appear to onlookers that you have been enjoying a large amount of adult beverages, but are a necessity if you want more than a vague idea of what may be in front of you.
Looks like someone spent some money on the panel refurbishment, but where is the GPS? Love it anyway.
Let's see, if I cash in my 401K......and raid the kids' collage funds.....where is that trade-a-plane?
The instruments radios are excellent and do what they are supposed to. Switches and controls are labeled correctly and also function as they should.
The only pop-up panel is a control panel with toggles for the door, wheel pants, glass and instruments, etc.
I had to throw in a few black and whites.
Short runway work can be done, just remember that the brakes are not the best and the flaps only provide drag, not any extra lift. And know your limits.
1955? Last time I landed at Felts, I was in a Piper Tri-Pacer of the same vintage but decidedly less class.
It's a nice flying plane, but it is a taildragger, so some footwork is required. If you have the realism sliders maxed (where they should be), it offers a nice challenge to keep it straight. Good fun.
This latest offering from Alabeo is really good, in case I wasn't clear before. When I installed it to take a look at it, I was looking forward to just trying out a new plane, but I ended up falling hard for it. It's gorgeous, it's a blast to fly, and it is very reasonably priced. Even if you're into tubeliners or fighter planes, this plane has a lot to offer, and gives just enough challenge to keep it interesting. I can't wait for the next Alabeo plane because I know it's going to be good. Now if we could convince them to make a Beech 18 and a Cessna 207, then life would be perfect.