Hello Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of all ages… I truly appreciate all who take the time to read the content I publish in written format on my blog site. I realize the written word is so prehistoric in terms of all things new media. After all, we have podcasts, vlogs, livestreams etc. But the old blog site continues to received many thousands of visits each month and I very much enjoy writing and sharing…so thank you all for taking the time to read the ramblings of a middle aged man.
Pay special attention to the subject line and notice the use of the word “My”. This list hasn’t been compiled using some scientific method to include every single payware aircraft available for P3Dv4. It’s just my very own Top 10 list of my favorite payware aircraft for Prepar3D version 4. Yes, I own each of these and try to fly them on a regular basis. The operative word in that sentence is “try”. I’ll explain that later. Let’s get started with MY Top 10 Payware Aircraft for Prepar3D v4.
Honorable Mention – CaptainSim 757
I’ve opted to list an 11th listing which I’ve thrown into the honorable mention category and it somewhat pains me to do so. In my long history of flight sim and my nearly as long history of payware aircraft, I’ve had a somewhat contentious relationship with CaptainSim. But I so much adore the Boeing 757 that when no other options were available, I plopped down my hard earned money and purchased their rendition of the aircraft. While I had a terrible, terrible, terrible (did I say terrible) experience with their version of the 777 and I still believe their 777 flies like a brick, CaptainSim has come along way to improving the 757. While I don’t agree with their pricing strategy, CaptainSim (at this time) is the only option for a 757 in P3Dv4.
Note: In between the time I actually wrote this article and published it, QualityWings did release their Boeing 757 which was originally developed for FS9 and FSX. So technically there are now two B757’s for P3Dv4.
#10 – Carenado C208B Grand Caravan with Cargomaster Expansion Pack
While Carenado may not be known for developing truly study level aircraft, usually their attention to detail in producing both a beautiful aircraft and one that handles well in the air is good enough to give me several hours of fun. The Carenado C208B Grand Caravan with the Cargomaster expansion pack was perhaps my 2nd or 3rd purchase from Carenado and it remains one of my favorite aircraft to fly. I enjoy loading it up in the Fedex livery and doing some Caribbean island hopping. While I own a variety of Carenado aircraft and soon plan to add their latest release of the ATR 42-500 series aircraft. I think this one will also be a fun plane to fly around the Caribbean in.
#9 – Carenado Fokker 50
Just like I stated with the Carenado Grand Caravan, the Fokker 50 is beautifully detailed and flies well. This aircraft has made the list due in part to the fact that I’ve flown on this same aircraft so many times between London City Airport and Antwerp, Belgium. Unfortunately, when my wife and I were in Antwerp last summer (summer of 2018) the airline, VLM shut down operations just after we landed back in England. Talk about timing! So now we’ll most likely go by rail via the Eurostar which will be a brand new adventure I’m sure.
#8 – Majestic Bombardier Dash-8 Q400
I would suspect this aircraft would rank much, much higher on other’s lists (if they were to compile one). There are a few reasons why this aircraft ranks where it does on my list and it really has nothing to do with the aircraft itself. You’ve heard the saying…”It’s not you, it’s me” right?
So I was a bit late acquiring the Majestic Bombardier Dash-8 Q400. When I did purchase it, it was for P3D v3. Soon after purchase my life got busy (as it sometimes can do) and I never really got around to learning the aircraft. Then when P3D v4 came out, I tried to upgrade but that was during the time when the FlightSimStore was having their issues which I discussed here and again here. I finally managed to secure the upgraded version of the Q400 for P3D v4. I’ve just not dedicated the time required to learning this awesome aircraft. Perhaps if I can learn to fly this beauty properly, she would rank much higher on my list. But until then….here we are!
#7 – QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner
This is one aircraft which in the real-world I’ve yet to have the opportunity to fly. The 787 ranks lower on my list simply due to the fact the other seven are more of a favorite than this one. While it took the team at QualityWings a mini-lifetime to bring this beautiful aircraft to Prepar3D v4, it was worth the wait. With the recent updates, the QW Dreamliner is truly a dream to fly and one I do enjoy flying every chance I get. Now before I leave the subject of QualityWings, I truly wish they would hurry up and bring their Boeing 757 to P3D v4. As soon as they do, I’ll purchase it and drop the CaptainSim in a heartbeat.
#6 – PMDG Boeing 747-400 v3 (Queen of the Skies II)
While it only took me a few minutes to jot down ten aircraft (11 if you count the honorable mention), it’s now getting down to the truly difficult part. Really from the Dreamliner all the way down to the #1, it really all boils down to just how frequently I fly these aircraft. As I truly love the immersion experience the flight simulation hobby gives to me, I also enjoy simulating real world flights. It’s just really, really hard to consider flying the magnificent Boeing 747-400 on a two hour flight. But then again…there’s always cargo operations.
The Boeing 747-400 will always be a very special aircraft for me. In my lifetime, I’ve flown on several. The first was on a United Airlines when I flew from San Francisco to Tokyo. I’ve since flown on a British Airways 747-400 another three times with a fourth coming up this summer when my wife and I will once again travel across the pond from Denver to London Heathrow on the British Airways 744. While she’s starting to get really long in the tooth, it’s still the most magnificent aircraft I’ve ever had the chance to fly on.
#5 – PMDG Boeing 777
I recently counted the number of trips across the pond (US to UK) which I’ve completed in my life. That number is eleven with my twelfth crossing coming up later this summer. The Boeing 777 holds a special place in my heart (and on this list) as it was in an American Airlines Boeing 777-200 that I made my first transatlantic crossing back in 2001. It was this trip which introduced me to my beautiful wife. Since that first trip, I’ve flown on British Airways 777 several times before they began using the 747-400 on the Denver to Heathrow route.
Of course, the 777 ranks here for much the same reason as the 747. But I do tend to fly a lot of domestic Fedex routes and they are always fun to fly. I truly love this aircraft.
#4 – FlightSimLabs Airbus A320/A319
Longtime and regular readers of my blog postings will certainly recall a time where I actually said I would never own the FlightSimLabs Airbus aircraft. A few months later I changed my mind and wrote about the reasons for changing my mind. I’m grouping the FlightSimLabs Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft together as they are very much the same aircraft, just slightly different variants. Both are awesome to fly and both get taken out of my virtual hangar from time to time for shorter routes when I want to simulate flying for American, British Airways etc. While I’ll always stand firm in the frustration felt with their earlier business practices, I firmly believe they have turned that corner and this team of developers are doing some really awesome things. I look forward to their A321 variant and will add it to my virtual hangar upon release.
#3 – Milviz DHC-2 Beaver
I absolutely love flying in the wilds of Alaska with this awesome looking and equally performing aircraft. An aircraft like this allows me to appreciate the shear beauty of the wonderful Alaskan scenery and with the float plane variant, there’s no place I can’t go. Just as it says on the Milviz website, the DHC-2 Beaver embodies the ‘can-do’ attitude that’s made this iconic bush plane a symbol of hard work for nearly 70 years.
#2 – A2A Cessna 172
The finest study level general aviation aircraft available for Prepar3D v4 (also for earlier versions and FSX) which you’ll find on the entire interwebz is the A2A Cessna 172. I’m really not sure you can call yourself a flight sim enthusiast unless you own this aircraft. While A2A also offers (and I own) the Cessna 182 and Piper Cherokee 180, the Cessna 172 is aircraft I truly love to fly. I will often load it up at Centennial Airport (KAPA) which is only a few miles from my home and office and fly around the Denver area.
#1 – PMDG Boeing 737
There’s a reason why both #1 and #2 on this list also appeared in my “Top 5, Must Have Add-ons for Prepar3D v4” article I wrote last fall. I must also admit that while I do very much enjoy flying low and slow in the above mentioned A2A Cessna 172, my main flight simulation passion is and has been for a very long time with jetliners/tubeliners. As it happens, the PMDG Boeing 737 happens to be my favorite, my go-to and my workhorse aircraft of choice and for many reasons.
First, versatility. This aircraft can practically go anywhere pending you account for fuel usage. As it’s popular with many different airlines, you’ll find a wide range of liveries available to simulate your favorite airline. It’s also a really easy and forgiving study level aircraft to start with. I can literally load up P3Dv4 with any variant of the PMDG 737 and within 10-15 minutes I can be taxing toward the active runway with everything running/programmed and ready for flight. Last, but certainly not least….the PMDG Boeing 737 is easy on frames which means you don’t need to have as powerful of a PC to still be able to enjoy a payware, study level aircraft.
Well, there you have it. My Top 10 plus an honorable mention just for the heck of it. Really with the exception of the #1 (PMDG 737) and #2 (A2A C172) the other listings could just about fall in any other order. Meaning, they all are top-notch payware aircraft and a whole lot of fun to fly. When asked, or even when I’m not asked…I always recommend both the A2A Cessna 172 and the PMDG Boeing 737 to those who are just starting out in flight simulation. As previously stated, both are truly awesome aircraft and both will give you that “As Real As It Gets” experience.
I think I’ll work on a “Top 10” Airport Add-on list next. Stay tuned…
Until next time…