Convair 580 for FSX Review
Produced by Brett Henderson and Alejandro Rojas Lucena
Reviewed By iheart707
The design began life in a production requirement by American Airlines for a pressurized airliner to replace the classic Douglas DC-3.
Convair's original design, the unpressurised Model 110 had two engines and space for 30 passenger seats. It first flew on 8 July 1946. American deemed the design to be too small and the aircraft NX90653 was used therefore used by Convair for development work for the 240 series before being broken up in 1947.
A CV-240 was the first private aircraft used in a United States presidential campaign. In 1960, John F. Kennedy used a CV-240 dubbed Caroline (after his daughter) during his campaign. This aircraft is now preserved in the National Air and Space Museum.
The Convair 580 was a turboprop airliner, which had an impressive range of over 1800 nautical miles with a typical airline service payload.
Convair CV-580: conversion from Convair CV-340 or CV-440 aircraft with two Allison 501 D13D/H turboprop engines in place of the piston engines, an enlarged vertical fin and modified horizontal stabilisers. The conversions were performed by Pacific Airmotive on behalf of the Allison Engine Company.
Now, thats out of the way! Lets get cracking at the actual review....
This aircraft is really an impressive turboprop on FSX. The model is well built, textures line up with one another and there is a revamped DC-3 virtual cockpit for your enjoyment. Also it is a true FSX modeled aircraft, no FS 2004 conversions here! This flight will test the aircraft with anywhere from 100-90% fuel in the tanks excluding the landing as you will see later on.
Start up is the same as the default DC-3. Just a couple things to do here, set the mixture to full rich, adjust the prop pitch, and click the big green button!
FPS Average 61 fps
Once we warmed up the plane, we made our way over to the runway. Turns are not a problem with this aircraft. The turning radius is just right and you have excellent visibility of your surroundings with the tricycle type landing gear. Approaching the runway, you had better start braking early! This airplane NEEDS room to stop. This airplane gradually came to a halt before the hold short mark and more or less felt like a jetliner when it slowed. In terms of accuracy of the braking capability to the real bird, I have no comment, but it seems just right.
FPS Average 62 fps
Taking off was no issue. Set the flaps, made sure the doors were closed, turned on the landing lights, and moved the throttle forward. As the engines began to roar, I found out that the Convair needs a reasonable amount of up trim to get the nose wheel off the ground. Once the nose wheel is off, it was not too long before I was airborne at 110 knots with a very good climb rate (Avg. 1800 ft/m – 2000 ft/m) for having a full payload and fuel.
FPS Average 57 fps
CRUISE / FLIGHT TESTING NOTES
“Ladies and Gent’s, you are now free to move about the cabin.”
Clouds all around us, we passed 10,000 feet with no bumps or bangs and all (I hope) of our rivets. The plane took a longer amount of time then I thought to bring the airplane to it’s maximum speed in level flight. The throttles still open we reached around 270 knots on the airspeed indicator. Impressive performance for such an old bird! Well this flight is to get a little bumpy, I put the airplane into a shallow dive and the speed increased to it’s maximum of around 315 knots (This was with the throttles still wide open). I also decided to see how this airplane would handle at low speeds at altitude. Maintaining altitude, I retracted the throttles and slowed down to the point where it stalled. The first thing to notice is that there is a buzzer to warn you that your gear and flaps are not configured properly (a good warning system although it uses generic FSX noise).
Tested 10,000 feet above the ground AGL
Flaps up, Cruise configuration
Around 110-120 knots
Around 100-104 knots with different flap settings
(It gets really nutty here, the plane’s tendency is to NOT stall but develop a very high sink rate)
The airplane also has a tendency when flying with a very low airspeed and flaps to NOT be able to maintain your selected altitude. For some reason the pitch movement wheel only allowed a few degrees of travel before it was at its’ limit of travel. Although this could be corrected with force being applied to the joystick, this seems to be a bit extreme to maintain altitude. I would recommend on decent to be at the helm with this aircraft.
FPS Average 65 fps
When full rudder travel was exerted, there was not a lot of response in the control surface. It was noticeable and comparable to the DC-3’s rudder feel. Overall it was sluggish and it required more than normal effort to be exerted to get it to correct in crosswinds. The autopilot does not control the rudder system on this aircraft.
Testing yet continued with an engine feathered for those of you who are interested in ‘emergencies’. The first thing that I noticed was that the famous red handle in the DC-3 that you click on to feather the prop did not work for some reason. The way that I feathered the prop was first, reducing the prop pitch, then the magneto switch, finally I cut the fuel supply and slowed to allow the spinner to stop rotating. Once the right engine was ‘feathered’ the Convair 580 handled quite well. The rudders input needed was sufficient and more than enough to properly fly the aircraft without putting your petal to the floor.
Crosswind landings were tested with both engines (alternatively) feathered and rudder input was sufficient at 20 knots steady at a 90-degree angle to my airplane. With the engine feathered, the maximum speed is right around 151 knots with a full payload. Also don’t expect to be rocketing out of any airports on one engine either. I only experienced climb rates of around 500 to 700 ft/m, which is very reasonable at this altitude for having an engine out.
To see how the airplane handled in response to turbulence I decided to land with a little weather set up. Winds were set at 270 at 25 knots gusting to 40 knots and the airplane handled pretty well for going through some relatively rough skies. The autopilot had little to no difficulty with correcting for the winds and gusts; although it was gradual and slow, it worked well for turbulent skies.
APPROACH / LANDING
After restarting the engine successfully, after all that testing, it was time for me to begin my decent into KMLI. One thing that I noticed about this 580 is that it has a great tendency to keep its’ cruising airspeed on approach. The distance needed to line up for the proper approach has to be a little longer than usual (treat it like a faster King Air 350). The nice thing though about turboprops is that they have the ability to reverse their prop pitch! You will expect a thump as it kicks in, its’ breaking power is tremendous! Use it carefully!
Once on final approach, I now for a second time had some difficulty with the autopilot’s pitch settings not holding my altitude when I selected the approach mode. I would recommend that you set your fuel and payload to make yourself much lighter to remedy this ‘glitch’. It seemed to work best when landing with less than 50-60 % total fuel remaining in your tanks. I will land with 50% fuel left in my tanks. When I made this adjustment, the response of the controls increased a little bit (but not much). I flew the approach no problem with full flaps at 110 knots.
The cockpit can really become a busy place on approach. Thankfully, this aiplane had only a couple of interesting facts that she presented. The Convair 580 seemed to be somewhat a sluggish airplane on approach but it is nothing different for other airplanes of this comparable size. Also the time that it takes for the flaps to fully extend is literaly only around 5-10 seconds!
Now that the wheels hit the ground, it was time to lay on the brakes. Doing just that, it seemed to need more stopping distance than you would think it would need. I would recommend if you are flying this bird in ‘heavy’ to have a good 2000-4000 foot runway ahead to make a safe landing (this is completely dependent on your weight). Don’t expect this plane to stop on a dime! The landing was uneventful overall.
FPS Average 56 fps
Overall, it is a very basic cockpit with all the necessary tools for you to go about your flight. Some things have changed in the virtual cockpit from the DC-3 however. One of the biggies was the remodeled throttle quadrant. When viewed from a different angle, you can tell that the polygons do not actually line up properly with the DC-3’s model. But, when you sit in either the captain’s seat, or the first officer’s chair, you wouldn’t notice this to be a problem (A very minor flaw). Also another glitch that should be put into the virtual cockpit is the lack of a trim gauge! Otherwise it’s all guesswork! The ‘custom’ gauges offered in this aircraft seems to be the airspeed indicator and a few of the engine gauges. All other gauges are from stock aircraft in other folders in your main FSX directory. The good thing about that though is that everything is streamlined so you should not notice a drop in frames here.
FINAL NOTES / OTHER INFO
Would I recommend this turboprop?
Short answer: Yes, but there could be some minor improvements
Long answer: The flight sim world needs more turboprops around with virtual cockpits and a good-looking model. This one defiantly fits the bill for the average FSX user. There are some minor textures that should have been addressed before they published this package but overall a wholesome product. The sound package that comes with it is nice, there are some great looking textures both for download and included, and it offers great frame rates. What’s not to love?
You can find this download on Simviation.com if you search for Convair 580 or click here
Enjoy and happy flights!