Alabeo Cessna 404 'Titan' Review
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Cessna 404 'Titan'
For FSX / Prepar3D Published by Alabeo
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
August 2015

Introduction

Cessna is synonymous with general aviation aircraft and collectively, their single engine models have been both the most prolifically produced and most successful aircraft in the general aviation category. Since World War II, Cessna have also produced an excellent range of twin engine general aviation aircraft. The Cessna 404 'Titan' has its pedigree in the Cessna 402, and has been used in passenger, utility, and cargo roles.

Alabeo continue to produce an excellent and varied range of aircraft. The twin engine Cessna models have not seen a lot of development focus with only a few produced over the years and Alabeo's Cessna 404 'Titan' not only complements the Alabeo range but also fills a gap in this aircraft category. With its large capacity and range, the 404 'Titan' is an ideal aircraft for use in the business, general passenger, or freight role.

History

The Cessna 404 'Titan' is a ten seat, twin engine, general aviation aircraft. Powered by a pair of Continental GTSIO-520-M, 6 cylinder, horizontally opposed, geared, turbo-supercharged, fuel injected, 375 hp engines, the 404 'Titan' is used for passenger, utility, and cargo purposes.

Developed from the Cessna 402 with an enlarged vertical stabiliser, among other changes, the Cessna 404 'Titan' first flew on 26 February 1975 and was introduced in 1976 and, at the time, it was Cessna's largest twin piston engine aircraft. With two variants offered initially, in the latter production years, the 404 'Titan' variant range had increased to seven. Production of the Cessna 404 culminated in 1982, after a production run of 396 aircraft.


Cessna 404 'Titan'

Availability and Installation

The Alabeo Cessna 404 'Titan' 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 434MB and it requires 1.05GB 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 404 'Titan' are typical of models in the Alabeo range and include:
        • high quality 3D model;
        • high definition textures;
        • Alabeo Garmin GNS 430 GPS unit;
        • Alabeo Avidyne Multifunction Display;
        • weather radar;
        • Flight1 GTN 750 integration;
        • Reality XP GNS 530 integration;
        • start-up vibration effects;
        • gauges reflections and windows scratches;
        • blades shines and volumetric side view prop effect;
        • custom Cessna 404 'Titan' sounds; and
        • realistic behaviour.

Visual Appearance

General. The Cessna 404 'Titan' was designed as a passenger / corporate and utility aircraft. The modelling of 404 'Titan' is reasonably accurate and Alabeo have captured the essence of this aircraft.

Exterior. The Cessna 404 'Titan' is an imposing general aviation aircraft with a distinctive elongated nose. Alabeo have again applied their trademark quality and attention to detail on the 404 'Titan', with an exacting high quality 3D model and high definition textures. 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 appear to have modelled the interior on the standard passenger configuration for the model. The cabin layout has a basic seating arrangement, portraying a standard passenger configuration for this aircraft, and it gives the 404 'Titan' 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 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.


Cockpit


Rear Cabin

Flight Instruments and Systems. Notwithstanding model specific variations, the cockpit of the 404 'Titan' presents as typical of Cessna aircraft. Supplemented with the Garmin GNS 430 GPS unit, Avidyne Multifunction Display, and Bendix/King weather radar, the cockpit represents the archetypal layout of aircraft in the broader Cessna 404 range. The standard analogue flight instruments are typical of the broader Cessna 404 model range and provide for a familiar 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. Taking into account the various avionics suite fit out options available for the 404 'Titan', 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. There was a noted significant problem with the ADF gauge. A heading between 340 and 359 degrees cannot be set as the gauge skips through this range. A review of this gauge on other Cessna aircraft in the Alabeo range revealed this problem to also be present. This indicates there is a major coding issue with this ADF gauge which has not been rectified by Alabeo across a number of product releases.


Pilot Position


Throttle Controls & Autopilot


Switches


Instruments

Models and Liveries. Alabeo provide the Cessna 404 'Titan' in a single model with five 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, with additional scrape effects, dirt, oil, and grease stains providing a very rugged and used appearance.


VH-AZV


N478JT

Animations, Lighting, and Sounds

The animations of the primary and secondary control surfaces and other moving elements on Alabeo's Cessna 404 'Titan' are all modelled faithfully and include:
        • primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator, and rudder;
        • secondary control surfaces – flaps;
        • others – rolling wheels, elevator trim tab, various cockpit and cabin doors open / close, cockpit windows open / close, and cockpit window
           visors; and
        • various static elements.


Door, Hatches, & Static Objects - 1


Door, Hatches, & Static Objects - 2

The lighting and lighting effects on the 404 'Titan' 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

The custom 404 'Titan' sounds are effective and 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.

General Characteristics and Performance Specifications

The general characteristics and performance specifications for the Cessna 404 'Titan' are provided in the table. This is based on data from the official Cessna 404 'Titan' 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 to test the flight performance of Alabeo's Cessna 404 'Titan'. 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 5,000 ft was adopted and the route distance was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to test the range characteristics of the 404 'Titan'. 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 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 105 KIAS. Even at MTOW, the 404 'Titan' 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 57% was established for long range cruise, with a manifold pressure setting of 27.0 inHg and an rpm setting of 1800 rpm. This cruise setting produced an average speed of approximately 165 KTAS, a fuel flow rate of approximately 34.0 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 reasonably 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 90 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 80 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.


Landing Configuration - 1


Landing Configuration - 2

The performance of Alabeo’s Cessna 404 'Titan' was very good in flight, displaying the expected general flight characteristics of this aircraft. The 404 'Titan' is a lot of aircraft and yet it is reasonably nimble for its size. 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.

Documentation

There are seven manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the Cessna 404 'Titan':
        • Alabeo GNS 430 Users Guide - this three page document details the operating of the Garmin GNS 430 GPS unit;
        • Avidyne Multifunction Display – this 13 page document details the operating of the Avidyne Multifunction Display unit;
        • Weather Radar Manual – this three page document details the operating of the Bendix/King Weather Radar.
        • Normal Procedures - this six page manual details the procedures for the normal operation of the aircraft;
        • Emergency Procedures – this 13 page manual details the emergency procedures for the aircraft;
        • Performance Tables – this four page document details the performance tables for the aircraft; and
        • Limitations - this two page document details the airspeed limitations for the aircraft.

Additional documents provide information for P3D users and information on the integration of the Reality XP GNS 530 GPS unit.

Value for Money

On a value for money assessment, the Alabeo Cessna 404 'Titan' 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 404 'Titan' and FSX continued to perform smoothly.

Technical Requirements

This version of the Alabeo Cessna 404 'Titan' is for FSX / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
        • Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (32 or 64bit);
        • Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator installed; and
        • Pentium V, 2GHz or similar, 4GB RAM, 1GB graphics card, and 1.05GB 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 GTX980 G1 Gaming, 4GB, 1228/1329MHz;
        • 12GB, Kingston DDR3, 2000MHz, XMP T1 CL9 HyperX;
        • 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 Global openLC Alaska/Canada; Orbx FTX Trees HD; Orbx FTX region series;
           and Orbx FTX airport series.

Conclusion

The Cessna 404 'Titan' is an aircraft which fills a niche in the aircraft add-on market and 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 identified problem with the ADF gauge is particularly disappointing as this continues to carry through from previous Alabeo releases.

The passenger / utility role, coupled with the performance characteristics of the 404 'Titan' make this is a fantastic aircraft for a diverse range of flying adventures and it is a beautiful aircraft to fly.


Just Plane Business

Verdict

Alabeo have done another excellent job with the Cessna 404 'Titan'. It is another fine product which displays a high level of quality and detail and represents excellent overall value for money.

Pros:
High Quality and attention to detail.
Good documentation.
Excellent value for money.

Cons:
Malfunctioning ADF gauge.

Scores:
   ● External Model: 10/10
   ● Internal Model: 9.0/10
   ● 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): 9.0/10
   ● Documentation: 9.5/10
   ● Value for Money: 10/10

The Alabeo Cessna 404 'Titan' is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.4/10, with an "Highly Recommended" and a Mutley's Hangar Silver Award.

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