AlabeoCessna 207 'Skywagon' Review
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Cessna 207 'Skywagon'
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Alabeo
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
December 2014

Introduction

Cessna's place in the aviation manufacturing world and the extensive model ranges they have produced needs no introduction. It is interesting researching Cessna aircraft as you quickly see the pedigree of the different model lines. In the case of the Cessna 207 'Skywagon', its pedigree lies in the Cessna 180, a model it also shares the 'Skywagon' name with. The Cessna 207 'Skywagon' featured prominently in the series 'Flying Wild Alaska' with Ariel Tweto taking her first flying lessons in the type. Certainly not the best training aircraft, it definitely demonstrated just how much of a handful this aircraft can be.

Alabeo have had a wonderful focus on developing some of the less common aircraft models, at least as far as their availability as flight simulator add-ons go. Models such as, the Cessna 172RG 'Cutlass II', Cessna 177 'Cardinal II', Cessna 188B 'Agtruck', and Cessna 195 'Businessliner', in the Cessna line alone, have all added a fantastically unique dimension to general aviation flying in the flight simulator world. The Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is another model following along this principle and it is another beautiful complement to the Alabeo range, which also complements the Cessna 206 models produced by Alabeo's sister company, Carenado. With its rugged construction and large cabin, the 207 'Skywagon' is the ideal utility aircraft for use in the air taxi or freight role.

History

The Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is a seven seat, single engine, general aviation aircraft. It has a strut braced, high mounted wing, and a tricycle undercarriage. Powered by a Continental IO-520-F, 6 cylinder, horizontally opposed, fuel injected, 300 hp engine, the 207 'Skywagon' is used for short run, air taxi services, freight, and a range of other utility purposes.

A variant of the popular Cessna 206 utility model range, the Cessna 207 was introduced in 1969 as the 'Skywagon'. It was developed from the 206 by stretching the design to allow space for more seats. The nose section was extended 18 inches by adding a nose baggage compartment between the cockpit and the engine firewall and the aft section was extended by 44 inches by inserting a section in the fuselage area just aft of the aft wing attach point. Further changes saw the rebranding of the Cessna 207 to the 'Stationair 7', the introduction of a turbocharged engine version, and the addition of an eight seat and a further rebranding to the 'Stationair 8'. Production of the Cessna 207 culminated in 1984, after a production run of 626 aircraft.


Cessna 207 'Skywagon'

Availability and Installation

The Alabeo Cessna 207 'Skywagon' 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$29.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The download file size is 277MB and it requires 550MB 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.

Model Features

The model features listed by Alabeo for the Cessna 207 'Skywagon' are typical of models in the Alabeo range and include:
        • regular and bush model;
        • high quality 3D model;
        • high definition textures;
        • bush liveries with scrape effects;
        • Alabeo Garmin GNS 530 GPS unit;
        • Reality XP GNS 530 integration;
        • start-up vibration effects;
        • gauges reflections and windows scratches;
        • blades shines and volumetric side view prop effect; and
        • realistic behaviour.

Visual Appearance

General. The Cessna 206 model range was designed as a practical, utility aircraft. The modelling of 207 'Skywagon' is reflective of this design concept and its looks are true to its role and capabilities. Alabeo have specifically modelled an early production model of the 'Skywagon' variant and they have accurately captured the fundamental design of this aircraft.

Exterior. The Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is distinguishable from the broader Cessna 206 range by its obvious, elongated fuselage. The quality and attention to detail on the 207 'Skywagon', combined with the high quality 3D model and high definition textures, display the consistent Alabeo trademark. The finish on the various liveries display paint chips, scratches and scrape effects to portray the true utility role and use of this aircraft. 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.


General View


Nose View


Wing & Side View


Tail View

Interior. Alabeo have modelled the interior on the standard seven seat configuration for the model and the cockpit represents the archetypal layout of aircraft in the broader Cessna 206/207 range. The cabin layout has basic seating, portraying the air taxi role this aircraft is often used for, and it gives the 207 'Skywagon' a very fundamental look and feel. The quality of the textures, again, display the Alabeo trademark for quality and detail, with the seating, carpet, and side and roof panelling displaying scratches and evidence of 'wear and tear' to give the interior a very used appearance, consistent with the aircraft's role. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to Alabeo's rendition reveal the interior shape and dimensions to be extremely accurate and a true 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.


The Cockpit


Passenger View


Rear Cabin

Flight Instruments and Systems. As with any aircraft of this type, avionics suite fit outs are numerous and varied. Notwithstanding model specific variations, the cockpit of the 207 'Skywagon' presents as typical of Cessna aircraft. The standard analogue flight instruments, supplemented with the Garmin GNS 530 GPS unit, are typical of the broader Cessna 206/207 model range and provide for a familiar environment. The panel layout is, again, representative of a standard layout for the type, with primary and secondary flight instruments on the pilot (left hand) side and engine instrumentation on the right hand side. 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. Taking into account the various avionics suite fit out options available for the 207 'Skywagon', 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.


Instrument Panel


Pilot Position


Throttle Controls


Switches

Models and Liveries. Alabeo provide both a regular and bush model of the Cessna 207 'Skywagon'. Five individual liveries (a selection only shown below), each having a unique aircraft registration number, are duplicated across each model type, 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, with additional scrape effects, dirt, oil, and grease stains providing a very rugged and used appearance. 


JA1537 (Regular)


N3038 (Regular)


C-FDBM (Bush)


N2631 (Bush)

Animations, Lighting and Sounds

The animations of the primary and secondary control surfaces and other moving elements on Alabeo's Cessna 207 'Skywagon' are all modelled faithfully and include:
        • primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator, and rudder;
        • secondary control surfaces – flaps; and
        • others – rolling wheels, elevator trim tab, various cockpit and cabin doors open / close, cockpit windows open / close, cockpit air vents,
           and cockpit window visors.


Pilot's Door


Passenger & Rear Cabin Doors

The lighting and lighting effects on the 207 'Skywagon' 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.


Cockpit Lighting


Cabin Lighting 1


Cabin Lighting 2

The 207 'Skywagon' sounds are effective and representative of the aircraft type. They provide good stereo separation with view movement in the Virtual Cockpit view and are reasonably representative of the real world aircraft.

General Characteristics and Performance Specifications

The general characteristics and performance specifications for the Cessna 207 'Skywagon' are provided in the table. This is based on data from the official Cessna 207 'Skywagon' 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.



Flight Performance

A specific Test Flight was conducted from Bankstown (YSBK) to Mackay (YBMK) to test the flight performance of Alabeo's Cessna 207 'Skywagon'. 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 7,500 ft was adopted and the route distance was approximately 770 nm. The route was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to test the range characteristics of the 207 'Skywagon'. Like most aircraft of this type, adjustments must be made to fuel / pax loading to remain within the MTOW limitations.


In Flight 1


In Flight 2

The aircraft was easy to taxi. With a flaps setting of 'Flaps 1' (10°), aircraft rotation occurred at approximately 60 knots indicated air speed (KIAS) and the aircraft easily maintained a best rate climb speed of approximately 105 KIAS at the specified initial rate of climb of approximately 800 ft/min. Even at MTOW, the 207 'Skywagon' quickly establishes on the climb to cruise, though noticeable yaw due to engine torque is evident during the take-off role and initial climb and requires some attention. Established at the specified rate of climb, the 207 'Skywagon' climbed effortlessly, but as altitude increased, it required the natural adjustments to the rate of climb to maintain an optimum climb speed until the aircraft was established at the cruise altitude. Note. Care must be taken with the Cessna 207 'Skywagon' on take-off as an over rotation situation can easily occur, resulting in a tail strike.

During cruise, a 50% power setting was established for long range cruise, with a manifold pressure setting of 22.0 inHg and an rpm setting of 2200 rpm. This cruise setting produced an average speed of approximately 115 KTAS (105 KIAS), a fuel flow rate of approximately 9.0 gph, and an endurance reasonably consistent with the range characteristics of the aircraft. Any 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 very accurate.


Oil & Exhaust Stains


Dirt, Scratches, & Scrapings

Configured for landing, with full flaps, and trimmed for a descent rate of approximately 500 ft/min, the aircraft’s approach speed was approximately 80 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 70 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.


Turning for Finals


Final Approach

The performance of Alabeo’s Cessna 207 'Skywagon' was excellent in flight, displaying the expected general flight characteristics of this aircraft. The 207 'Skywagon' is a lot of aircraft and at times can feel sluggish, nevertheless, the aircraft handles very nicely and is a delight to fly. Overall, the aircraft model displays a very accurate rendition of the flight characteristics and performance of the real world aircraft.

Documentation

There are five manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the Cessna 207 'Skywagon':
        • Alabeo GNS 530 Users Guide - this two page document details the operating of the Garmin GNS 530 GPS unit;
        • Normal Procedures - this seven page manual details the procedures for the normal operation of the aircraft;
        • Emergency Procedures – this 10 page manual details the emergency procedures for the aircraft;
        • Performance Tables – this six page document details the performance tables for the aircraft; and
        • Reference - this one page document details the general characteristics and performance specifications for the aircraft.

Additional documents provide information for P3D users and information on the integration of the Reality XP GNS 530 GPS unit.
There are seven manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the Piper PA-32 'Saratoga II' TC:
 
Value for Money

On a value for money assessment, the Alabeo Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is considered excellent.

Simulator Performance

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 207 'Skywagon' and FSX continued to perform smoothly and as it would with any default aircraft.

Technical Requirements

This version of the Alabeo Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is for FSX / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
        • Windows XP (with SP3 installed), Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (32 or 64bit);
        • Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator v1.4 or v2.0 installed; and
        • Pentium V, 3GHz or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and 887MB available HDD space.

Review Computer Specifications

The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
        • Intel i7 990X Extreme 3.46GHz;
        • NVidia GTX580, 1536MB graphics;
        • 12GB Kingston DDR3 2000MHz;
        • Windows 7, (64bit);
        • Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
        • additional major add-ons include: Active Sky Next, REX Essential Plus Overdrive; Ultimate Traffic 2; Orbx FTX Global BASE;
           Orbx FTX Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC EU; Orbx FTX region series; and Orbx FTX airport series.

Conclusion

The Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is a unique and interesting aircraft which fits beautifully in the Alabeo repertoire. The aircraft displays the hallmark traits of detail and accuracy for which Alabeo have established a reputation for and it provides an excellent balance of quality and detail at an excellent price. The utility role and characteristics of the 207 'Skywagon' make this is a wonderful aircraft for a variety of flying adventures and it is a fantastic aircraft to fly.


A True Workhorse

Verdict

Alabeo have done an excellent job with the Cessna 207 'Skywagon'. Displaying a high level of quality and detail, it is another fine product which represents excellent overall value for money.

Pros:
High quality textures and attention to detail.
Realistic modelling and performance.
Good documentation.
Excellent value for money.

Cons:
No major issues identified.

Scores:
   ● External Model: 10/10
   ● Internal Model: 9.5/10
   ● Sounds: 9.0/10
   ● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers): 9.5/10
   ● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like): 9.5/10
   ● Documentation: 9.5/10
   ● Value for Money: 10/10

The Alabeo Cessna 207 'Skywagon' is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.6/10, with an "Outstanding"
and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.

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