by Chris “BeachAV8R” Frishmuth
Disclosure: During the period of development of version 2.0 of the Aeroworx X-treme King Air B200, I worked as an unpaid consultant to provide advice, technical information, feedback, and beta testing of the product. Neither I nor SimHQ has received any compensation for my participation in the project.
The boys at Aeroworx have done it again! Back in January 2005 I reviewed the Aeroworx Beechcraft B200 Super King Air (here). As a real life B200 pilot I was floored by the realism and fidelity of this Flight Simulator 2004 add-on aircraft. During the process of contacting the developers for the original article I learned that the head of the project (Henning van Rensburg) lived only a couple of miles from my home. Over the 9 months that have followed, I’ve become good friends with Henning and have had the great fortune of working with the Aeroworx team on their release of version 2.0 of the B200.
In addition to squashing various small bugs from version 1.0, the version 2.0 aircraft (free to purchasers of version 1.0) has added many new features and indeed added a whole different model of the B200. The main additions to 2.0 are the inclusion of an air ambulance configured aircraft and a completely new analogue instrument panel. The air ambulance aircraft is modeled after the two air ambulance B200s that I fly in real life and they are stunning replicas from the external paint jobs to the 2D panels and 3D virtual interiors. I have to admit it is a real ego trip to see my company airplanes duplicated in such excruciating detail.
In keeping with the theme of the initial Aeroworx B200 review, I will demonstrate the accuracy of the Aeroworx package by comparing it to photographs I have taken in real life. Using this method is great since pictures speak a thousand words. My real life photos will be on the left and the Aeroworx B200 screenshots will be on the right.
First let’s take a look at the virtual cabin. Our medically configured King Airs are literally flying ambulances with all of the attendant equipment to handle just about any emergency you can think of (and many you couldn’t possibly imagine!). Basically the interior of a corporate configured King Air is stripped out and completely replaced for function rather than form. Rubber matting that will not absorb fluids replaces the carpet and leather bench seats replace fabric captain’s chairs. Plastic sheathing on the wall is more durable and is easier to sanitize and all of the convenience items such as the coffee bar and ice buckets are removed to make storage space for medical equipment. The result is a functional interior that is wide open for easy movement and cleaning. One thing you will notice in our King Air cabins is that the lack of plush furnishings, carpets and fabrics on the walls results in a slightly louder noise level since there is less sound absorption in our relatively stark interior.
The 3D modelers at Aeroworx did a great job of capturing the essence of the air ambulance B200. The virtual cabins they built were a blend of our two B200s (N207CM and N209CM) since each one has subtle differences that you will probably notice. Typically we carry one patient at a time in the B200 although we can replace the aft utility sled with a second stretcher and carry two patients if the need arises. The patient rests on an integrated stretcher that slides into and out of the aircraft along an ingenious locking track. The whole system is known as a “LifePort” and it dominates the right side of the cabin. Oxygen hook-ups, vacuum, air, inverters and electrical outlets (standard 110VAC) are built into the module either above the patient on an overhead or below the stretcher near the floor.