Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Swedish Ladies: Meme SAAB’s

Without doubt the best SAAB 340 within our world of flight simulation is the Leading Edge Simulations 340A for X-Plane. It is a by-the-book simulation, and it will perform as per its real world counterpart. It is astonishing in every which way, and a benchmark for many. 

The LES SAAB 340A uses the standard SID/STAR capable XP11 GPS as its main navigation source. It’s an excellent representation of the actual aircraft with a sharp and fully functional VC. All but a handful of switches in the upper overhead switches are not clickable, but these are not missed in normal sim operations. 

The second SAAB worthy of being mentioned is the Carenado FSX/P3D V1-V4 SAAB 340B which has a Universal FMC as it’s primary navigation source.

It’s actually a very nice model, and as a twin 30-40 seat turboprop it has quite nicely filled the gap left by the still missing in action PMDG JS4100. This comparison is for aircraft type as opposed to one of simulation, for the JS4100 would, I am sure, stand head and shoulders above any wanna be rival. 

However, the Carenado UFMC is a mixed bag insofar as it follows a programmed route with relative ease and accuracy, but any changes to a flight plan or throw it a direct-to, and it will then lead you on a merry dance anywhere but where you want it to go. 

Happily, you can fit the Flight1 GTN into the panel, or perhaps some ISG SimAvoinics replacement components as an alternative choice. 

Overall it is a nicely functional model, and the VC is sharp and accurate. Whilst most things are clickable, many of these clickable switches are dummies without any true function being assigned to them.

For instance, the LES SAAB has a fully functional CTOT system, which is essentially a device used to dial in a power reserve in the case of engine failure during take-off. Someone once likened this conceptually to a rudimentary take-off only autothrottle. Whilst the Carenado SAAB has the same CTOT switches, their system is non functional. 

It is interesting to know that Carenado have recently announced that they are porting their ESP platform SAAB 340B to X-Plane. To many, including me, this is an interesting choice given that the LES SAAB 340A is utterly peerless, so why did they opt for their SAAB?

The one other airliner in Carenado’s hangar that would do very well indeed in X-Plane is the Fokker 50. X-Planers have been crying out for a decent Fokker, so why Carenado chose the SAAB over the Fokker is not clear. 

My guess is that if Carenado brought their Fokker to X-Plane before their SAAB, they’d generate Fokker sales but fewer SAAB sales later on.

Since Carenado’s SAAB and Fokker have the ill-tempered Carenado UFMC fitted in FSX/P3D, under X-Plane skies one might then expect the all together more accomplished X-Plane FMC to make an appearance. 

The price points of the two SAAB packages would likely be disparate; for instance, the similar Carenado Dornier DO-228 is $38 whereas the LES SAAB is $50.

One last thought to ponder; LES are renowned for excellence, and like all of life’s better things, a decent vintage takes time to distill. It is thus likely that Carenado will bring forth their goods long before LES updates any of theirs. 

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