From Chile With Love


Chilean developer Carenado shows off with the new Mooney M20J.

Why is it that no payware developer has attempted the Mooney before? The MS one is barely flyable and so ugly, both inside and out. And with FSX out the only difference consisted in the old gauges being replaced by the new Garmin G1000s; the aircraft itself remained untouched from its FS9 inception. Until now.

Carenado has taken its time to reveal the new Mooney, but it’s finally here. The idea was to release both for FS9 and FSX, but apparently the team has found it needs more time to master FSX’s new programming quirks. Their strategy also seems to suggest the FSX version is going be significantly improved, as Fernando Herrera (Carenado‘s Marketing Director) has told me there isn’t going to be a patch nor discount coupons for owners of the FS9 version. THEY WILL BE SEPARATE PRODUCTS. If you want the FSX version you’ll have to wait a bit more and purchase that as a new product.

In the meantime they have decided not to keep us waiting any longer, and deliver the superb Mooney M20J for FS9. So let us talk about how this exclusive Mooney can still rock your FS9 world.

What distinguishes Carenado aircraft from others is not only attention to detail and craftsmanship, but also a distinct personality. You know you’re aboard a Carenado the second you get into the VC, or you pop up any panel. And the long expertise these people command is once more evident here. This must be their best aircraft so far, regarding both external model and VC.

If you remember, Carenado always goes after the well-known GA aeroplane. Of course I would love a screaming Acclaim, but this is just not it. The real-world Mooney M20J was out in 1977, and this is exactly the deal you get: a very well kept, fast, lean classic of an aeroplane. Imagine your uncle the collector has just told you “I ain’t fit to fly any more, sonny, so I’ll give you the Mooney as your birthday present; you better keep it clean and well-fed, ok?” The old man used to polish it every day, you’ll find no dust or grease in the cockpit. It is an oldie, but boy does it fly like Al Mooney gave it the okay just yesterday. And it’s good they went for the “J” model too: this was a benchmark for the M20s, as the model greatly benefited from heavy aerodynamic modifications and a more powerful engine (200hp).

If the actual Mooney handles like this, no wonder it’s so popular among real pilots. Docile on the ground, just the slightest amount of right rudder and it will stay put on the centreline at full power on take-off. And how does it climb! Trimmed properly you can’t keep it on the ground, up it goes. The excellent visibility allows for very pleasant, scenic cruising. And it recovers easily from an induced stall, just let go of the controls and it will bring its nose down on its own, thank you. It will take you high too. Establish the climb and in a few minutes you’ll find yourself in the Flight Levels at 201 miles per hour. Not bad, old man! And there could be a problem, too: it wants to stay flying. With wings as wide, thick, and aerodynamically efficient as these, you better bleed off all that energy before crossing the fence (aim for 75 KIAS) or you’ll bounce off the runway and overshoot. Being fast is not the Mooney’s fault, dear.

This virtual pilot is my all-time favourite. He looks cool, he’s enjoying it, and his head scans the instruments and the exterior. But wait! When you step on the rudder he will look in that direction but his head will not be locked on that spot; he will continue scanning, but within the limits imposed by your rudder pressure! COOL. NOTAM for devs: include this feature in all your virtual pilots.

With the Mooney M20J these fellows have reached their pinnacle of artwork in terms of visual modeling, economy of polygons, and detail of textures. However, at end of the day it’s all about whether the aircraft makes you grin when you handle it, or not. And this one surely does. A lot.

Another Carenado classic.


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