After Cessna's failure with the development and introduction of the Cessna 162 'Skycatcher', the Cessna 350/400 'Corvalis' became the mainstay of new aircraft in the Cessna model range. The Cessna 400 'Corvalis' has its design pedigree in the Lancair ES kit aircraft and the Columbia 300/350/400 models, before Columbia Aircraft became a division of Cessna in 2007.
Alabeo now add this beautiful general aviation aircraft to their ever expanding and extensive model range. Alabeo's Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT complements the Alabeo general aircraft range nicely and fits into the growing niche of composite construction aircraft in that range. The 400 'Corvalis' has been certified in the Utility Category, as opposed to the Normal Category for its contemporaries, and is an ideal, high performance, general aviation aircraft.
The Cessna 400 'Corvalis' is a four seat, single engine, composite construction, general aviation aircraft. It is powered by a Teledyne Continental TSIO-550-C, flat 6 cylinder, horizontally opposed, air cooled, twin turbocharged, 310 hp engine.
Derived from the Columbia 300, it features a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. Introduced in 2004, the Cessna 400 'Corvalis' is a current production model and is rated as the fastest FAA certified, fixed gear, single engine piston aircraft in production today, reaching a speed of 235 knots true air speed at 25,000 feet.
The Alabeo Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT is currently available direct from Alabeo and Alabeo resellers as a 'download only' product (some resellers also offer a master back-up CD / DVD service for a minor additional cost). It is priced at US$34.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 232MB and it requires 790MB of HDD space for installation. An 'activation key' is issued on purchase and is used during installation and the installation process is intuitive and seamless.
General. Words fail to adequately describe the vision of the Cessna 400 'Corvalis'. Adjectives such as, neat, cool, pretty, integrated, complete, and fast, have been used in an attempt to describe this aircraft in one word. Add sleek, stylish, and luxurious to the list and you start to get a comprehensive picture of what this aircraft is. Ultimately, in a single word, it has been described as "airplane", because the Cessna 400 'Corvalis' "...is truly what an airplane should be...". The modelling of the 400 'Corvalis' TT is excellent and Alabeo have captured the sleekness and exquisite lines of this beautiful aircraft. If you are familiar with the Lancair aircraft range, then the Lancair pedigree of the Cessna 400's design will be clearly evident.
Exterior. The Cessna 400 'Corvalis' is an imposing and impressive general aviation aircraft. It features gull wing doors and a distinctive engine cowl with round air intakes either side of the propeller spinner, a feature synonymous with the Lancair design. Alabeo have again applied their trademark quality and attention to detail on the 400 'Corvalis' TT, with an exacting high quality 3D model and high definition textures. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to Alabeo's rendition reveal the exterior shape and dimensions to be very accurate and a true representation of the real world aircraft. Any noted variations were minor and are considered to be related to real world production variations or a degree of artistic licence on the part of the developer.
Interior. The cabin layout is best described as luxurious, at least as far as a four seat, general aviation aircraft is concerned. The quality of the textures, again, display the Alabeo trademark for quality and detail, with the seating, carpet, and side and roof panelling displaying high visual quality. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to Alabeo's rendition reveal the interior shape and dimensions to be very accurate and an excellent representation of the real world aircraft. Any noted variations were minor and are, again, considered to be related to real world production variations or a degree of artistic licence on the part of the developer.
Flight Instruments and Systems. The cockpit of the 400 'Corvalis' TT is centred around the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit displays. The GCU 476 Control Unit and autopilot and the analogue secondary instruments round out the flight instruments and systems. With a sidestick controller, this makes for a very clean, uncluttered cockpit environment. All elements of the cockpit are highly accurate and very detailed, and are clear and easy to read, with various alternative cockpit camera views available to provide more detailed clarity. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft reveal the panel layout to be a highly accurate rendition of similar real world panel layouts.
Models and Liveries. Alabeo provide the Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT in a single model with six individual liveries (a selection only shown below), each having a unique aircraft registration number, as well as a blank texture for aircraft painting enthusiasts. The liveries display the usual Alabeo high quality. Surface textures, reflections, and shadings give the aircraft a crisp and realistic appearance.
The lighting and lighting effects on the 400 'Corvalis' TT are very good and are a realistic representation of the real world aircraft. In particular, the interior night light effects for the instrument panel and the cockpit replicates the night lighting seen in photographs of real world aircraft.
The 400 'Corvalis' TT sounds are effective and a reasonable representative of the aircraft. They provide good stereo separation with view movement in the Virtual Cockpit view and are reasonably representative of the real world aircraft.
The general characteristics and performance specifications for the Cessna 400 'Corvalis' are provided in the table. This is based on data from the official Cessna 400 'Corvalis' Pilot Operating Handbook, data provided by Alabeo, and general research sources. Some of this data varies between sources and also may be an approximation due to variances in data and the specific aircraft modelled by Alabeo.
A specific Test Flight was conducted to test the flight performance of Alabeo's Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT. The flight was conducted in clear weather with a full fuel load and the aircraft at maximum take-off weight (MTOW). A cruise altitude of 6,000 ft was adopted and the route distance was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to test the range characteristics of the 400 'Corvalis' TT. Like most aircraft of this type, adjustments must be made to fuel / pax loading to remain within the MTOW limitations.
The aircraft was relatively easy to taxi using differential braking. With flaps set for take-off, aircraft rotation and climb out were consistent with the performance specifications for the aircraft and the aircraft easily maintained a best rate climb speed of approximately 115 KIAS. Even at MTOW, the 400 'Corvalis' TT quickly establishes on the climb to cruise and climbed effortlessly until the aircraft was established at the cruise altitude.
During cruise, a power setting of approximately 75% was established for long range cruise, with a manifold pressure setting of 31.0 inHg and an rpm setting of 2300 rpm. This cruise setting produced an average speed of approximately 185 KTAS, a fuel flow rate of approximately 20.5 gph, and an endurance reasonably consistent with the range characteristics of the aircraft. Noted variances in performance were minor and had negligible impact on the operation of the aircraft. The Test Flight confirms the modelling of the aircraft for speed and range performance to be reasonably accurate.
Configured for landing, with full flaps, and trimmed for a descent rate of approximately 500 ft/min, the aircraft’s approach speed was approximately 85 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 75 KIAS, with a landing roll out comparable with the specifications for the aircraft.
In testing the accuracy of the instruments, based on the measured Test Flight, the speed indications on the airspeed indicator, were consistent with the averages measured. Additionally, when establishing a set rate of climb on the vertical speed indicator, the respective gain in altitude on the altimeter was achieved within the measured minute, and a standard rate turn was achieved within the measured two minute period using the turn coordinator.
The performance of Alabeo's Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT was very good in flight, displaying the expected general flight characteristics of this aircraft. The 400 'Corvalis' is a slick and nimble aircraft, something you which is evident as soon as you advance the throttle, and you will quickly discover why it is rated as the fastest FAA certified, fixed gear, single engine piston aircraft in production today The aircraft handles very nicely and is a delight to fly. Overall, the aircraft model displays a reasonably accurate rendition of the flight characteristics and performance of the real world aircraft.
On a value for money assessment, the Alabeo Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT is considered excellent.
The aircraft model performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I have most of my settings set very high and there was no need to make any adjustments. There was no discernible frame rate impact directly attributable to the Alabeo Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT and FSX continued to perform smoothly.
The Cessna 400 'Corvalis' TT is a magnificent, high performance, general aviation aircraft which complements the Alabeo repertoire nicely. The aircraft displays the Alabeo hallmark traits of detail and accuracy, providing an excellent balance of quality and detail at a great price.
The performance characteristics of the 400 'Corvalis' TT make this is a fantastic aircraft for flying adventures and it is a beautiful aircraft to fly.