Review Milviz Beech B55/E55 Baron
The Beech Baron is the most successful civil twin propeller driven general aviation of all times. More than 6,700 Barons left the productions lines since 1961 and an end of production is not in sight.
The Beech 55 Baron originates from a direct competition with Cessna’s model 310 in the late 1950s which led to the development of a “twin-Bonanza” – the fuselage of the highly successful Bonanza was used a base for the new twin-prop using two Continental six-cylinder IO-470-L engines with 260hp each.
First flight of the new model 55 took place in February 1960 and the B55 quickly went into production in 1961.
The production of the five seat model 55 family ended in 1983, when all capacities were shifted to the revised model 58 Baron, which remains in production till today.
A range of about 950 nautical miles and a typical cruising speed of 180 knots make the Baron an ideal low cost business plane.
The Beech Baron’s popularity is mirrored by the availability of add ons. While the Baron is one of the default planes in the sim already, users can also choose between the pay ware add ons by Carenado and Milviz. While Carenado offer the newer B58 Baron, Milviz published the slightly smaller model B55 and the re-engined E55. A bold move by Milviz to take on the top dog of general aviation add ons with an almost identical plane – this will be an interesting test.
The Milviz Beech 55 Baron is available for download from the Milviz webstore and from all major flightsimming online stores. The recommended price tag is US$ 29.99 for the single sim version, thus – unlike Carenado – the Milviz Baron only supports either FSX or Prepar3D v2. Should you need the plane in both sims or intend to upgrade from FSX to P3D in the future, Milviz offer a dual installer for a discounted price of US$ 14.99 or you select the FSX/P3D dual pack at a price of US$ 39.99.
The prices confused you yet? No? Ok, we have a few more. You can further select an avionics pack to support either the Flight1 GTN 750 or the Mindstar GNS 430/530, for US$ 9.99 each. Or again as a dual installer supporting both Flight1 and Mindstar for US$ 14.99.
If you are fed up calculating the best variant, simple select the full package included the dual installer for FSX and Prepar3D and both avionics packages for US$ 49.99.
For my review I used the simple P3D 2+ variant without avionics pack for US$ 29.99, which is 3 dollars less than the comparable Beech 58 by Carenado.
The download is 131 MB in size and the installation process is simple, as we are used to it from Milviz.
After the installation you will find 12 new Beech 55s in your aircraft selection menu. Looking closer you will see, these are 6 liveries coming as a B55 or E55 each. The E55 had a slightly revised panel with updated avionics and more powerful 285hp engines.
On all planes you can choose between a two- and a three-bladed propeller.
A paint kit in layered PSD format can be downloaded from the product page, however the Baron did not attract the repaint community much so far, with only a handful of repaint having emerged since the release in 2014. A pity, as the little Baron really would deserve them. Furthermore a 139 page strong manual in PDF format can be downloaded from the website, which will leave no question unanswered.
In the sim
It is time to load the Baron in the simulator. By pressing SHIFT + 1 a small options menu can be accessed, with the following choices:
• Place/remove chocks
• Place/remove engine intake covers
• Two- or three-bladed propeller
The door and luggage compartment can be opened/closed using the standard SHIFT + E + [number] key combinations.
The Baron is my first general aviation plane by Milviz and I must admit I did not have too high expectations. Most of my GA fleet consists of Carenado, Alabeo and A2A Simulations aircraft, Milviz till now were more the specialists for military aviation for me. I quickly had to change my mind, as the visual appearance of the Milviz Baron is just outstanding. Both in terms of 3D modelling and texturing the outside model of the Beech 55 can easily take on any other GA add on on the market.
The lights look great as well and as a little treat Milviz included a cold LED taxi light, which makes the Baron stand out of my GA fleet. All animations are very smooth and flap transit times look very realistic.
The good impression of the outside model more than just continued after stepping in to the virtual cockpit. All dials are crisp and easy to read and the VC textures look really fine. But what impresses me most on Milviz planes are the gauges. If you move closer, you will see their beautiful 3D modelling, the textures with the subtle signs of wear and a recreation of glass surfaces that in my opinion is a class of its own. A2A and Alabeo normally feature the best looking virtual cockpits, but the Milviz Baron is easily on eye level with them. At least!
Needless to say the same impression is valid, when looking around in the cabin. A short glimpse and you will feel the desire to sit in there for real.
But let’s have a look at the avionics. Milviz chose to replicate a Baron that has undergone several modernizations, like many real world Barons did. So instead of the 1960s equipment our Model 55 features a combination of the Garmin GNS 430 and GNS 530, while Carenado uses two GNS 430s. This combination together with the excellent autopilot module allows for very relaxing longer flights.
I for one am not too much of a GPS fan and prefer the old school way of radio navigation on shorter one to two hour flights, using a mixture of autopilot assists and hand flying. The Baron handles brilliantly in this respect as well.
Hand flying the Baron feels like I would expect it from a twin prop this age and size. She responds well to control input, but yet with a slight inertia – this is no fighter or prop trainer. Still she can be maneuvered very precisely. My most recent flight was an approach into Welshpool with some 12 knots crosswinds and the nimble Baron mastered it well.
Sounds and animation
In my opinion the sound level for a twin prop is pretty low in the Baron. I never sat in a real one myself, but I am sure it should be louder. Other than that the sound suite is fine with no real ups or downs – a solid work.
As for animations, it is unfair to score a helicopter or GA plane in this respect, as this the playground for military jets and airliners with the multiple animations and gimmicks. There is not much to move on a Baron, except flaps, doors and the landing gear. All these animations are smooth and the timing appears very realistic.
A general aviation bird by Milviz? Can this be any good? No. It isn’t just good, it is excellent! I was skeptical, but the Baron got me from the first time I loaded it into the sim. The outside, the sound set, but most of all the great flying characteristics and excellent virtual cockpit make this one of the best twin-prop GA aircraft currently available. It beats the direct competitor easily and can keep up with the latest releases of other publishers as well.
You are looking for a nice twin-prop for cross country flights with the option to upgrade the avionics? Look no more – you found it in the Milviz Beech 55 Baron.
Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7 CPU 4790k @ 4.6 GHz
Memory (RAM): 16 GB
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
System type: 64-bit operating system
Operating system: Windows 10 Home Premium
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Milviz Beech B55/E55 Baron
Milviz Beech B55/E55 Baron