For X-Plane Published by Carenado
Reviewed by Jessica Bannister-Pearce
There are aircraft in the world which define beauty. Concorde
springs to mind, or the Boeing 727, beautiful to look at and oozing
style. Then there is the bland, boring aircraft. Nothing wrong with
them but they are, more or less, workhorses, built for doing the
job, not looks – think the Airbus A320. Then there are the ugly
ducklings, the aircraft which scream, “What were they thinking?” or
“Why?”. The Beechcraft 1900D falls into the latter for me. In
essence, the B1900 is nothing more than a stretched B200 King Air,
and the B1900C was rather pretty. It was small though, and
passengers had to bend to move through the cabin. So, in an effort
to make a more comfortable little commuter plane, Beechcraft widened
the cabin and lifted the ceiling making room for all but the tallest
of passengers to walk upright, and ruining the looks of the B1900D
forever. Looks are not everything though, and the B1900D is first
and foremost an aircraft. So lets see how it flies!
The B1900D features a few new features not found in previous X-Plane
aircraft. For starters, and available since X-Plane 10.30, we
finally have the option to use the mouse wheel to turn dials and
knobs. It is no exaggeration to say this has been one of the most
requested features for X-Plane. Now, rather than needing to drag the
cursor to the left or right to tune radios and so on, just holding
the mouse over the appropriate area, and the cursor changes to green
disc with up and down arrows printed on it. It is easy to see and
not intrusive. It is also not just limited to dials and knobs
though. The throttles, prop pitch handles, and mixture controls can
all be adjusted with the mouse wheel.
If the little mouse wheel can bring a small revolution, then the GPS
becomes a coup d'etat. Also introduced with 10.30, the old GPS has
been reworked, rebuilt, and upgraded from the old Garmin 430 unit.
The old unit was basic, to say the least. It was not even possible
to use it to plan a route with more than one waypoint. Laminar have
finally reworked the unit and now the GPS has more in common with
Reality XP's GPS units for FSX than the old default. Now you can
enter SIDs, STARs, and plan multiple leg routes. The B1900D is the
first new aircraft to use the GPS, though some of the previous
Carenado aircraft are having the new unit added via an update. More
advanced users can add the unit via Plane Maker.
The new mouse wheel option in action. The levers light up blue and a
small disk shows the direction of travel.
The new GPS system is a huge improvement on the old 430 unit.
Carenado have been busy working on aircraft for both FSX and X-Plane
10, and the B1900D made its FSX debut back in early 2014. The
arrival of the B1900D for X-Plane 10 though caused a flurry of
excitement. Carenado's X-Plane 10 aircraft have, at least in my
opinion, been better quality than their FSX counterparts. Some of
this is due to the different rendering engines used, with X-Plane
10's models looking better in some areas. The B1900D follows on in
this way, with the exterior model, ugly as it is, a joy to behold.
The 'wide mouthed' fuselage, the wondrously silly aerodynamic bits
that hang off the fuselage, wing, and tail plane, and even the
engine exhausts are rendered beautifully. The only annoying thing I
see, and this is common in all X-Plane 10 aircraft, is the surfaces
of the fuselage can look a little plastic like.
The Beechcraft B1900D isn't what you'd call 'pretty'.
Options for switching things on or off are found on the left.
Away from the aircraft skin, another place the B1900D excels is in
the lighting. X-Plane 10's lighting is simply beautiful, and come
evening time, seeing the strobes, nav lights, and the taxi and
landing lights illuminating the airframe, is stunning. Not
forgetting the heat haze from the exhausts either. So for now,
despite the looks, the exterior model is great.
The static elements on the ground add to the ambiance.
The liveries are all expertly produced.
Though, marked 'SwissAir' this livery isn't exactly what I expected.
It's hard to see, but there's heat haze coming from that exhaust.
Starting with the cockpit, pilots of the B200 will feel almost at
home. The layout is fairly similar to the B200, though there are a
few differences. Most notably is the inclusion of the co pilots EFIS
and EDHI unit. This is an aircraft which is really meant to be dual
crewed. Looking around, it is clear this is a 'special' place to
work. B1900Ds can differ from each other in terms of cockpit
equipment, but this one is a more 'top of the line' cockpit,
complete with GPS (a real luxury for some B1900D pilots in the USA)
and terrain radar. I have already mentioned the major improvements
and functionality of the GPS.
The night lighting is simply superb.
The cockpit feels rather cramped, because it is. To the captain's
left is the fuel panel, containing controls for various pumps, fuel
gauges, and bits and pieces. Indeed, to start the engines or switch
the lights on, you need to get behind and below the yoke to really
get at the necessary switches. Fortunately, you can just click on
the yoke to remove it from the screen. Switches are everywhere.
There are switches for the cabin heat and ventilation, switches for
the rudder boosts, and the radio panel is a work of art all in
Space up front is at a premium, so the fuel gauges sit on
the captains left.
The radio panel is both beautiful and scary at the same time.
Moving to the overhead panel, there are the lighting controls, lots
of lighting controls in fact. Add to that the AC electric gauges and
the overhead panel just adds to that 'compact and bijou' feel. Even
the copilot has to deal with the circuit breakers under his right
As confining as the cockpit is, it is clear that Carenado have done
a great job in rendering the whole thing in detail. Animations wise,
gauges move smoothly and switches switch nicely. All in all, the
cockpit is a nice place to be. The cockpit is not the only area
seeing the love. Moving back into the cabin, you will find it to be
an equally cramped, but nicely recreated section, and well worth a
visit on a long flight.
The cabin is beautifully modelled, if a little snug. Still, you can wear a top hat in here.
So, aside from her looks, what is the B1900D like to fly? Starting
the engines is fairly simple, and familiar to most GA pilots. The
sound of the turbines starting is rather nice and my speakers are
filled with a lovely deep rumble as the props settle into idle.
Remember to switch the EHSI on. The cockpit is an odd mix of steam
and glass. With the engines running, avionics on, and the aircraft
set, I release the parking brake. Without the props feathered, the
B1900D begins to creep forward at idle. Taxiing should be attempted
rather gingerly as the aircraft feels quite loose and flighty. It is
rather like trying to steer a rabid otter that has been dipped in
With all that power, runway length is not an issue. The B1900D needs
very little room to get airborne, even with flaps up. I set flaps to
takeoff and advance the throttles. Immediately I need to hit the
rudder pedals. The aircraft torque steers to the right, and it takes
a lot of left rudder to correct it. It seems vastly over done.
Takeoff comes quickly, and with the flaps set and the trim set to
neutral, she lifts herself off without input from me. With the
wheels up, the torque steer stops and the aircraft continues without
so much as a hiccup. I do find the B1900D to be a little sensitive
to pitch, but the real thing you have to watch is your speed.
Despite its ugly looks, the B1900D is something of a speed demon.
She can climb rather impressively and I can easily max out the speed
in level flight with little effort. You really need to monitor your
engine torque settings here, not just to keep your speed under
control, but to ensure your engines remain intact. It is
fantastically easy to firewall the throttles and burn out the
turbines in very little time. So be warned.
A mix of steam gauges and modern tech the B1900D is a bit of an
odd bird up front.
Away from the torque steer on the runway, the B1900D will
climb like a scalded cat.
Engine fires are a major problem if you don't watch your gauges.
For longer flights, there is, of course, the autopilot, which is
found on the pedestal panel. It is a bit basic but you can tie it to
the new GPS unit and enjoy a nice cup of tea as George follows your
route. The autopilot, in common with other Carenado releases for
X-Plane, has a nice 2D panel you can call up. Just click on the
letter ‘A’ on the far left of your screen. Here you can also call up
other camera positions and make changes to the cockpit environment,
like switching on or off window and instrument reflections. You can
also open doors and set the static objects once your on the ground
and parked up.
The 2D autopilot panel is welcome.
Clicking on the GPS will open a 2D panel.
Landing the B1900D can be a bit tricky. Speed control is paramount
and it is all too easy to let the throttles 'get away' from you if
you are not careful. The aircraft's pitchy nature also makes subtle
control changes essential for a smooth landing. Once down, watch out
for the torque steer. Bringing the throttles into reverse will bring
you to a rapid halt, so be prepared to pick your teeth out of the
tarmac if you slam the brakes on as well.
Carenado’s B1900D is probably one of the nicest large GA aircraft
for X-plane at the minute. Filling that role between large GA and
small RJ airliner, the B1900D offers enough range to travel to most
places in Europe and the USA. There are things I do not like though.
My main issue is the autopilot. Far from offering me a smooth
experience, when tied to the GPS, the autopilot will happily throw
you into a 30+ degree turn to reach the next leg of the flight plan.
It is far from the smooth turn out and wander back onto your route
you would expect from an autopilot. Then there is the ground
handling. As mentioned, steering the aircraft is like trying to
steer a rabid Otter that has been dipped in grease, especially on
your takeoff run, where the torque steer is quite severe. I have
looked at several B1900D takeoffs to see if I can spot a lot of left
rudder, but I cannot.
These things are small things though compared to the whole. Indeed,
the Carenado B1900D is a real pleasurable aircraft to fly. Fitted
out with the new features, X-Plane has enabled the bar to be raised
yet again for add-on aircraft, offering users plenty of options
included in the base sim. The B1900D is the first to use these new
features and it will not be the last.
The autopilot can have you turning at frightening angles.
A great addition to any X-Plane set-up, the Carenado B1900D is a
'must have' aircraft which displays high quality and attention to
detail and represents exceptional overall value for money.
Quality and attention to detail.
Excellent internal model.
Exceptional value for money.
No major issues detected.
● External Model:
● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers):
● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like):
● Value for Money:
The Carenado B1900D for X-Plane is awarded an overall Mutley's Hangar score of 9.5/10, with an “Outstanding” and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award..