Carenado Piper Seneca V For Microsoft Flight Simulator – Is It Worth It?
Microsoft Flight Simulator has become known to be a general aviation (GA) pilot’s dream. Its fairly accurate level of representation of most parts of the world makes it perfectly suited for flying low and slow, which is exactly how most GA planes operate anyway. So it’s no wonder that most of the default planes belong to this class. That said, it’s been a few months since its release and this default selection, while beautiful, gets a bit old after a while – especially if you fly a lot. All these factors explain why I liked the Carenado version of the Piper PA34T Seneca V 1997 for my last flights in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
It is similar in performance and even in design to the Beechcraft Baron, another aircraft in the simulation. However, Carenado’s extensive work on the flight dynamics and characteristics of the Seneca made it a real treat to fly.
Having lived in the Bahamas for most of my life, planes of this type are very common. So, I found what better way to test the Seneca other than island hopping. And that’s exactly what I did.
Prop island hop
My journey with the Carenado Piper PA34T Seneca V began at Miami Executive in Florida. I flew south to Key West, deciding to stay low and fly parallel to the famous Overseas Highway. It’s already a scenic journey from the road, but flying above only makes the blue hues of the Gulf of Mexico even more gorgeous to watch.
After landing in Key West, I did a flip operation to take off again and head northeast to the first Bahamian island of the trip, Bimini.
Bimini is the closest island in the Bahamas to Florida, and therefore sees a lot of traffic from boaters and private planes such as the Seneca. After the beautiful sunset over Bimini, I pushed further east to visit Eleuthera Island, another common destination for tourists. After that, I made a quick trip to New Providence, the nation’s capital island and my birthplace.
At this point, I felt that I already had a good understanding of Seneca. But I still wanted to try one more thing. I brought it ‘home’ by doing a flight that I may have flown a million times in real life and in various sims: New Providence in Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama is the northernmost island in the country and it is the place where I have lived most of my life. Stepping into his airport with the Seneca made me feel as free as the dozens of real GA pilots I see flying in and out of the island all the time.
Indulge in subtleties
Performing this series of short jumps around the tropics was the perfect use case for the Seneca. As I mentioned at the start of this article, it didn’t take long for me to become fond of this little twin. Comparing it directly to the default Beechcraft Baron, the Seneca has a slightly more complex feature set. Primarily, many of its buttons and knobs are fully interactive, as well as extras like being able to open the doors, open the pilot’s side mini-window, and lower the sun visor.
You can also turn on and off certain external objects when the aircraft is parked, such as engine mounts, chocks, and a tow bar. Even some of the Seneca’s animations seem a bit more advanced than the default planes, like the way the small stakes attached to the wings can be seen sinking in the wind as the Seneca flies.
That said, the interior and exterior texture work is simply stunning. Each surface is well detailed. Combined with Microsoft Flight SimulatorSeneca’s powerful graphics engine is a thing of beauty. But, of course, the flight dynamics is where Carenado’s extra work is really seen.
Carenado’s Piper Seneca V is stable, has a good climb rate, and can fly at a decent clip (although, of course, it’s not as fast as a turboprop). Even getting it through a small storm didn’t phase the little twin flyer at all. On that note, I noticed that the rain jets against the windshield seemed slightly more dynamic than on the default plane, which is another attention to detail. The Seneca also has a decent autopilot system capable of maintaining heading, altitude hold, and vertical shifting. This is exactly what you need to have a pleasant flight without giving it much thought. Not to mention its solid extras like a Garmin GNS530 GPS and WX radar to get an overview of the weather ahead.
It’s an easy plane to fly and, best of all, it’s easy on the framerate. But that is to be expected given that this is a much less advanced aircraft than something like the highly advanced Aerosoft CRJ. However, considering how much resources Microsoft Flight Simulator It was because I was a little worried that all of Carenado’s extra work could result in a performance tax. Fortunately, it hardly seems to work any differently from GA planes by default.
Seneca stable flight
Similar to Just Flight’s Piper Arrow, Carenado’s Seneca demonstrates just how good an airplane can perform Microsoft Flight Simulator when given special attention. This doesn’t mean that the default planes are bad. However, they are a bit more “inexpensive” than high quality paid software like this. Having said that, the question “Is it worth it?” only depends on what kind of virtual driver you are.
If you want a truly authentic GA experience with this simulation, then yes, Piper Seneca V from Carenado for Microsoft Flight Simulator are the knees of the bee. It’s fast enough and big enough to be more versatile than something like the Arrow without being as intimidating as a more advanced plane. It’s basically a good middle ground. However, a casual player is unlikely to appreciate the difference in visual quality and flight dynamics. The asking price of US $ 40 will certainly be high for someone like that. But, if purity is what you want, then this is a good little twin to have in your shed.