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Found 16 results

  1. Aircraft Review : Eclipse 550NG by Aerobask Only a week after the release of Aerobask's excellent Pipistrel Panthera v3. Here is another fully featured aircraft in the Eclipse 550NG and a great companion to their Panthera it is. First thoughts are that this aircraft is just a upgraded aircraft, but no it isn't as it is an all new design, the aircraft you were thinking of is probably the Victory also done by Aerobask and it in the same style and type of machine as a VLJ (Very Light Jet). Sadly the Eclipse Aerospace company is now no more as they went bankrupt in 2009, some 260 aircraft were built, and the business is still in (officially) chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you never know. This was another aircraft caught up in the "Air-Taxi" fiasco as Day Jet which had 1400 orders for the aircraft also went bankrupt in 2008, causing a ripple through the "Air'Taxi" concept. The current Eclipse was raised from the ashes by One Aviation (of Cirrus Aircraft fame) and only 10 were built in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In March 2017 the company announced that 550 production would end after four more aircraft are completed, to concentrate production on the new "Canada" model of the aircraft. The Eclipse 550 follows the "Air-Taxi" requirements very closely in four passengers and pilot, Cruise speed around 430 mph (692 km/h; 374 kn), ceiling of 41,000 ft (12,000 m) and a range of 1,295 mi; 2,084 km (1,125 nmi). Which is impressive performance for such a small aircraft. X-Plane11 Install With X-Plane11 going into release all developers are now providing two aircraft files for both X-Plane10 and X-Plane11. My version came with X-Plane10 as default, but you can switch to either X-Plane version of the one you require. You need to first remove the current .acf file, and there are two spare files in "Eclipse_NG.acf.v10" & "Eclipse_NG.acf.v11". You then need to select from either version the one you want by changing the version to just "Eclipse_NG.acf". I chose the X-Plane11 version as noted here, and you still have the X-Plane10 file if you want to switch over later to the older simulator version. You are also required to copy the GNS430 data from X-Plane 10, Navigraph or Aerosoft and to be installed into the X-Plane11 Custom data (root) folder. Eclipse 550NG by Aerobask Aerobask specialise in these light composite aircraft categories, and they do them very well. This aircraft was not released until X-Plane11 went final, so yes it is X-Plane11 compatible and it is also optimised with PBR support. The 550 also has installed the features of Aerobask's latest designs in their Dynon Skyview and GTN avionics. A walkaround reveals another beautiful design from Aerobask. Detailing is superb., and the added reflections and lighting from PBR is simply excellent with 4K textures, ambient occlusion and specular mapping... note the lovely reflections and shine on the curves of the aircraft. Window frames are also well done and authentic. Fine external detailing like the lighting houses and the static wicks is excellent as well and to the level of quality we expect in X-Plane today and from Aerobask. propulsion is provided by two tiny PW610F 900lbf (4.0 kN) podded thrust engines sitting aft. Metalness and chrome is in the new toolset that developers can now use and put to great use here on the Eclipse undercarriage components, the front strut is a beautifully molded support as is the trailing rear wheel gear support. Menu and Features The aircraft comes with a lot of features and a great polished tablet menu system. There is a tab lower left of your screen, or the tablet is positioned by the door for use. On the tablet there are six tabs that include: Options, Ground, Weight, Sound, Lights and Shades. Options includes, TCAS Alerts, Windshield and Instrument (EFIS) reflections. Ground tab includes; Static Elements including chocks, tags, engine covers and cones. GPU (Ground Power Unit) and Door (open/close). Weight is an excellent weight and balances sheet. If the door is closed or the aircraft is in flight you are not allowed to change the items. You can select your passenger load from adults and children (Kid) or have an empty seat and the choice of one or two baggage. Fuel can also be added and the system adds the all up weight... go over and you are red flagged. Passengers and baggage (loaded from a trolley) are loaded onto the aircraft, but are sadly are only viewable from the external view? And the pilot is always in the cockpit even if the aircraft is switched off and disconnected from the power? Two tabs cover the "Sound" and "Lighting" in the aircraft which are very good And you can also open and close six shades on the windows via the arrows on the bottom of the tablet, but only fully open or fully closed. Interior and Cockpit Cabin design and highlighted textures are simply astounding! Very modern design and all is insanely good, you just want to touch! Lovely detailing like with this Comm unit that opens to reveal switch and plug fittings, the units are on both sides of the cockpit. One quirk is the (moveable) side cockpit window shades are both down when you load the aircraft and can get into your line of sight... so you need to put them into their upper tucked away position every time before you fly. Cockpit is also extremely well modeled, but simple in layout as this is an Air-Taxi and not a Boeing. Like with Aerobask's Panthera the panel is breathtaking in X-Plane11. Great panel and switch-gear design and has very heavy reflections for ultimate realism. Panel glareshield has the same nobbled textures and lovely edged stitching, yes again you just want to touch it and run your fingers over the craftmanship of it all. Power on (GPU start up on the ground recommended) and the panels come to life. Both Dynon Skyview panels are each side of the top and bottom GARMIN GTN 750/650 system. The layout is almost exactly the same as the Panthera, with all four panel being able to pop out (Aircraft symbols on the Skyview and right side frames on the GTN), and all panels are scalable (via a small hand) and movable around your screen. A really great setup. Dynon Skyview Like the Panthera the Eclipse comes with the two panel display version of the "Dynon SkyView" system. Pressing the aircraft symbol in the centre of each display will bring up the pop-up version of the panel, the panels are also adjustable for scale via the right hand lower corner. Both screens are independent of each other and all can be configured to suit your preferences. Within each configuration you can select even parts of full screen views to cover the full spectrum. This includes a massive Artificial Horizon with excellent rate of turn indicators, speed and altitude tapes and heading rose (with Course (CRS) - double VOR 1 and 2 and Skyview - FMS pointers) in the lower portion of the screen. An Engine and Aircraft status block known as the EMS which can be positioned left/right or centre of the display and also the MAP/NAV screen. The system is menu driven by the buttons below the screen. This is a great version, but menu driven tree and branch systems can be complex and time consuming to use. But the system does also give you a huge amount of options. Theses huge amount of selections on the Dynon menu driven interface, with which selections are accessed by the lower row of buttons, or my favored setting of two knobs (covering Altitude and Heading adjustment) on the left display and "Range" for map changes on the right. I also like the Airport, VOR/DME, NDB and Fixes tabs viewable for quick screen declutter as the Tree and branch navigation can be complicated to find them quickly in the air. BARO - MDA - CRS (Course) - HDG (Heading) - ALT - VS - IAS - DIM, all use the knob as a selection tool with a centre push of the knob for selection and arrows for changing selections. It works very well but the arrows are a bit small and fiddly sometimes (hard in bumpy weather). Personally I kept it all simple with just the main PFD in front of me with the EMS and the MAP/NAV screen shared with the EMS and the loaded flightplan to the right. Garmin GTN750/650 The aircraft also come like the Panthera with the brand new version of Aerobask's GTN750/760 system... The GTN750 is the larger unit with a 6.9 inch TFT touchscreen display with icons to cover features such as : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Charts, Flight Plan, PROC, Nearest, Waypoint Info and Utilities with Services and System blanked out. The "Utilities" button covers : DALT/TAS/Winds, Flight Times and Checklists and Clean Screen with Trip Planning, Rain Prediction, Scheduled Messages blanked out. The GTN650 is smaller at 4.9-inch TFT display and has a few different options from the GTN750. Features on the smaller unit available includes : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Default Nav, Otto Pilot, Waypoint Info and Nearest. Radio unlike GTN750 is situated to the right with the same built-in tuners. The comprehensive system gives you a lot of power here at your fingertips, but the trick is to find the right combinations of all your tools to get the maximum ease of use from your flying. You will find a lot of functions in this cockpit doubled up or even tripled, the idea is find the best set up or layout to cover your workload. To that effect I have the "Flightplan" on the bigger GTN750, and the "CDI" ready on the lower GTN650, I find the flightplan on the GTN750 closer than the Skyview monitor view and better if you need the full map view open, so it is simple, clear information system and it works. Top of the GTN750 unit is the radio section, with easy switching of frequencies, XPDR and COMM, NAV selection. Same radio settings can also be done on the smaller GTN650 as well, large buttons and clear interface works very well. For more information I covered all the Garmin GTN750/650 features and options in the Aerobask Panthera review, as well as the way you can create a flightplan in the Skyview system. Autopilot Panel One big difference from the Panthera is the upper autopilot panel. If you have read the Panthera review you would note I used the GTN650 "Otto" autopilot feature for using the autopilot systems. Not in the Eclipse because you have a larger more easier and versatile panel for autopilot selection and use. It is very nice to use and covers all the standard functions that is required to operate and use the autopilot systems, from ENG FIRE (Engine Fire) (L - left and R - right sides),BARO (Barometer) selection, YD (Yaw Damp) AP (Autopilot activation) ATS, FD (Flight Director), SPD (Speed) select, NAV and APPR (Approach), HDG (Heading) selection, ALT CHG (Altitude Change) V/S (Vertical Speed) and ALT (Altitude) select. Flying the Eclipse 550NG Starting the Eclipse is very easy and totally automatic, there is a sort of engine bleed to start (start switches are on the roof) on "Cabin Air Switch, but it must be returned to normal before altitude, the cabin pressures can be monitored by the two dials in "DELTA P" and "RATE/ALT". You will need a fair bit of throttle travel (nearly half) before the Jet will move forward as the light thrust pushes against the aircraft's weight. It also makes a big difference on how much weight is on the aircraft which is obvious. But as soon as you have momentum then you need to then pull back the throttle to control the taxi speed, the jet just needs that initial push to get it moving, and not a lot of thrust once it is taxiing. The aircraft is totally engineered for ease of use. Flaps are set in three positions as noted on the panel in front of you... UP - T/O (takeoff) - LAND, easy! You are expecting the 550 to be sluggish with the power right up, but it is not. The 550 is no lightweight Boeing, but there is a nice shove once it gets moving and the speed builds quite fast even when fully loaded of which you need around 140knts and 2,500ft or so to get airborne. The 550 will climb solidly as well at a maximum of 2,400 feet per minute, so takeoff performance is very good. Displays are nice, bright and clear, but the switchgear is slightly dark, I couldn't find any other adjustment except for the panel screen brightness levels. All sound is enhanced and scripted 3D sound and that includes the rain effects and those excellent PW610F thrust engines providing the perfect aural feedback to go with the wind effects... Sound is very good, and noticeable throughout the whole range of engine sounds from start up to shut down... GTN functions are very good for flight changes, like a last minute "Direct-To" in the flightplan. One other note is that when the 550 gets to its set altitude (10,000ft) you have to adjust the throttle (slow) to allow it to settle on the height correctly, if not the aircraft will hunt up and below between the set altitude and not settle in at the right point. Fuel efficiency at 41,000 ft is nearly 10 gallons per hour better than at 37,000ft. 430 mph/375 ktas, as the Eclipse can maintain a maximum cruise speed of 430 mph (375 ktas) and that allows rapid travel between airports or even states. So the higher you fly the further you will go. It will however take you time to climb to up to even 35,000 ft (10,688 meters) which is around 22 minutes. The aircraft's professional flight model and handling characteristics has been created by experts and tested by Eclipse pilots and the aircraft does totally feel very complete and in those important areas. X-Plane11 effects look very nice in flight. Chrome is sensational with the window surrounds and engine inlets, note the lovely sheen on the lower wing. You are always wanting to fly in X-Plane11 now, just for the brilliant shadows and cross cockpit feel... My hop from KLAL (Lakeland) to KMCO (Orlando) is short. For descending and landing you don't have any reversers or air-brakes, but one positive characteristic that you can use is the exceptional slow landing speed, stall is around 69 Knts, which is still very low. But there is a slight quirk with that point. If you allow your speed to drop too far to quickly the nose will rise as it should, but worse is the aircraft's horizon bar disappears behind the compass heading indicator and so you lose your perspective on the aircraft's pitch nose angle. You can keep the pitch correct of course, by using your speed (faster) but it does not allow you to lose speed earlier than you would like, so it is a learning curve to get the approach speeds correct and keep the pitch in check. All except the slowest GA and STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) aircraft does your approach speed feel so slow... 85Knts (note the "Land" flap setting). Approaching the field you feel you could walk there faster... .... slooooow, but you can still go as slow as even 80knts on landing. So once down the speed drops off enough to easily slow on the brakes to taxi speed. Landing distance required is 2,250 feet or 686 Meters. Overall the Eclipse is a lovely aircraft to fly and manoeuvring speed is around 180knts. You really feel this VLJ in your hands and feet and it does have great performance built in as part of the package. Eclipse Lighting Panel lighting is via two modes for Day or Night (that is why the panel does not appear to be lit in the day? The switch is under the panel lighting dim knob... The problem with this set up is that if you want the panel instruments lit during the day, then the main display panels will be dimmed as well with "night" switch on? The tablet allows you to control the brightness of the lighting in three settings, there is also a white and red torch light function. So you have to fiddle a bit to get the lighting feel you want, but mostly it is too dark or too bright. Same with the cabin lighting, and it turns the chrome to grey, however cockpit foot-lighting helps the feel. External lighting is good, but in someplaces it comes out as rings more than lights as the source is set behind an object. Liveries There are ten 4K quality liveries. Mostly US registered, but a couple European and one "Flower Power" design, which is very nice and way cool if Hippydom is your thing... man. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Summary Aerobask are at the top of their game right now, with not only the fabulous Pipistral Panthera but now this excellent jet powered Eclipse 550NG as well, Not only is there simply brilliant design built in here but the aircraft is also packed to the rafters with exceptional avionics with the highlights in the "Skyview" and the brilliant GTN760/650 systems. Certainly I would recommend the X-Plane11 version over the X-Plane10 aircraft as simply the aircraft has also been also refined for that version and looks and feels just that much better with the X-Plane11 effects doing their thing. The Eclipse is quite powerful in range but also very easy to use and fly. That is not to say this is a simplistic simulation because it is not, in fact with all the gear on board and to use, you should be happy for hours flying the aircraft. The point I am making is that the Eclipse is an easy aircraft to fly and use as it's original purpose is for an Air-Taxi role, so load, start, fly, land then unload, then with a new set of passengers you then load, star... you get the idea. The feature list is huge, quality is excellent and on the list goes on and on.... So the Eclipse 550NG is a brilliant addition to X-Plane, and a worthy addition to your flightline... a real gem. Positives : Almost everything, Developers at the top of their game, brilliant Avionic suites with two sets in the Skyview and GTN systems, great 3d sound, great high quality design especially with X-Plane11 effects, loads of features... on and on the list goes. Negatives : Not much, but if you want to be picky then here is another aerobask pilot that want to sleep in the aircraft, no internal passengers and the internal lighting is a bit strange to work out and very black or white. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Eclipse 550NG by Aerobask is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Eclipse 550NG Your Price: $39.95 Exclusive features Professional flight model from X-Aerodynamics In-house coded GTN 750 and GTN 650 with touchscreen and scroll-wheel support: Exclusive multi-threaded and fps-friendly map and terrain display Map topography display based on actual X-Plane mesh data Terrain awareness display based on actual data Configurable map rendering TCAS with online flying support Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Flight plan import/export compatible with stock XP10 fms format Built-in chart viewer - easily import yours COM support for PilotEdge (Connect/disconnect, TX/RX, COM1&2 volume control) COM awareness for IVAO and VATSIM (conneciton status) COM, NAV and XPNDR dialing pad Interactive checklists Resizable pop-ups VIP controller, in cabin and in popup for aircraft management Latest revision of Dynon Skyview with added scroll-wheel support NEW! Scroll-wheel support on lists, map, HDG, CRS, MDA, ALT, VVI, etc... Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Weather map display on multiple screens and orientations TCAS with Traffic Advisory and Resolution Advisory Resizable pop-ups Optimized for XP11 with PBR support, compatible with XP10 (separate acf file included). Enhanced and scripted 3D sound Compatible with GoodWay 5.0.1 or higher Features: Ultra-High quality 3D model with: 4K textures ambient occlusion specular map PBR normal mapping (XP11) Pop-up menus for weight & fuel and options Saved fuel and passenger configuration Fully functional virtual 3D cockpit, with livery-dependent interior design. Windshield and EFIS reflections Rain graphic and sound effects Script-driven custom sounds Ground Power Unit Requirements: X-Plane 10.50 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux - Running in 64bit Mode 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 3GB+ VRAM Recommended on X-Plane 11 X-Plane 11: this aircraft requires GNS430 data from X-Plane 10, Navigraph or Aerosoft to be installed into Custom data folder. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Eclipse 550NG is 441mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 595.70mb . Key authorisation and a restart is required. You can use the Navigraph or Aerosoft navigation data with this aircraft or the built in X-Plane GNS430 data installed in your main root folder. Comprehensive set of documents covers all aspects of the (complex) avionics systems and flightplanner _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 6th April 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 and checked with current flight route and details Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KMCO - Orlando International Airport by Freddy De Pues, NAPS Advanced Sim Scenery and upload by Nicolas (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  2. Aircraft Review : Pipistrel Panthera v3 by Aerobask One of the great satisfaction's of being a reviewer is seeing great talent mature. Many new developers come into X-Plane and have a huge amount of natural ability, but from a reviewers position it is in the many new introductions to the simulator that they have great ambitions for their future prospects are then hit with the realities of producing brilliant work. First releases are initially very good, but the novice will always be not totally aware of the smaller minute details of what goes into a fully formed product. So from the reviewers point of view you have to be critical and supportive at the same time, too much either way and the developer will think he really is number one were as in reality there is a long way to go, or the fact that being too harsh could make great talent walk away from a brilliant career and the loss therefore is for not only the future product for users to enjoy but the loss of talent to the simulation platform. But if the developer stagnates after a period of time, then the criticism will hurt, but the reality is that you should know by now on how the deal works, and the minute should have been addressed and absorbed, "picking on this or that" by critics is not the point here, as the point after the initial growth time is over is that is it now at a level that people do expect quality for their money, or the fact that "picking on this or that" means the product can be now that much better to deliver the quality the developer is capable of. Worse is the fact that for just a few extra weeks of fine tuning, it is in fact a "False Economy" in that the product goes out there to an audience that will quickly tell you it is not ready, and once the word gets around that the product is below expectations or just plainly not finished. Once that tag is on your reputation it is a very hard one to shake off, and some developers will never shake off a reputation badly gained just to get the product out there. That last 5% of the 100% of creating a product is the very hardest ground of all to cover, and more so as the aircraft and sceneries are so very complex today, get it right and you go into the upper echelons of being a must buy developer. In other words with every release you will be an automatic sale to the customer. It is called value for money. So what does this comment has to do with this review. Everything in fact as Aerobask is one of the really great talents that didn't fall into any of the above liabilities, and they prove what is required for greatness. Pipistrel Panthera v3 The Pipistrel Panthera is a great example of this. The first aircraft they released were very good, but they were all still a little slightly rough in some small areas. Version two (v2) showed more development and design, but more importantly Aerobask (then Harranssor) not only improved their actual modeling and design but started to explore new areas and developments to bring users another level of usability, functionality and most importantly that sublime quality of smoothness and feel to the ideas. And more importantly would not release an aircraft unless it was actually ready and they did not try to hit a locked in sales date, "it will be released when it is ready" is a good mantra. The major development we are talking about here is Aerobask's version of the built in FMS (Flight Management System) called "Dynon SkyView" and complimentary GTN 750 and GTN 650 systems. This system is not new as it was introduced on the v2, but back then it was a hybrid version with part of the default X-Plane GNS530 used as the navigation display and flightplan editor to supplement the GTN 750 and GTN 650. The Epic Victory from Aerobask introduced a development of the system yet again and a full avionics suite of the "Skyview - GTN 750/650"without the need of using the default GNS530 innards. With the Pipistrel Panthera v3 the system is again moved forward, but more internally than from the visual aspect, we will explain this later, but first let us look at the aircraft. When the original Pipistrel Panthera by then Harranssor was introduced the developer was at a disadvantage. Aerobask is a lover of composite aircraft, modern sleek and of very clean moulded lines. But in computer visuals these aircraft can come across as very bland or even cartoonish in appearance, there is no detail in soft clean shapes unlike the panel and riveting detail on 60's era aircraft. At this time of the review X-Plane11 is still in beta (b15) and the focus of this v3 release is in and only for X-Plane10.52. But the Panthera does fly fine in the beta, no issues for me except for an overuse of fuel. But the biggest benefit for Aerobask is the way that X-Plane11's PBR (Physically Based Rendering) shininess and harder shadows give these composite aircraft finally a feeling of reality, "oh it's so good" stunning and throughout this review you can see the huge benefits of what PBR brings to the simulator. If any aircraft have a huge visual benefit from X-Plane11 it is certainly Aerobask's designs. Earlier versions in X-Plane10 required that I had to use a lot of cheap lighting tricks to get something out of the blandness of the fuselage as shown below. But that is all swept away with X-Plane11... .... and there is better yet still to come! Aerobask have fine tuned the textures for PBR to match and it really shows. As the high quality 3D model has been totally reauthored with UHD 4K textures, Ambient occlusion, Specular mapping and PBR normal mapping (for XP11). For this review I set off from early from KLAL - Lakeland, Florida and headed out to KEVB - New Smyrna Beach Muni, but decided to carry on up to KJAX - Jacksonville along the eastern Floridian coastline. I was enjoying the great feel of the Panthera and the still newish feel of X-Plane11. I was certainly enjoying the aircraft, but I can't fly around up here all day as my fuel load is getting very low and that in X-Plane11 the Panthera does gobble up fuel at an alarming rate. Safer on the ground at KJAX... Let us now look at some "catch your breath images"... The realism is astounding, look at the light on the engine intake curves.. The panel design from the outside of the aircraft is just excellent, very, very realistic. The pilot shakes his head with your stick movement, but not much else and he can't seem to get a grip on the stick? As good as the panel is from the outside a closer inspection is overwhelming In the X-Plane11 PBR lighting it is just simply unbelievably brilliant, as the carbon matrix design is almost feel to touch. Cockpit detailing is excellent. All items are beautifully modeled with perfect textures and you can just feeeel everything is so nice to the touch. Top panel has sixteen in two sets of annunciators either side of the backup instruments of Speed, Artificial Horizon and Altitude. Lower panel has switchgear to the left that covers Power, Avionics, Fuel Pump, Pitot Heat, AP (Autopilot), A&C and AUX (GPU). Flaps and Climate Controls are to the right. Park Brake, Trim Indicator and Climate Control display are lower. All climate controls and systems are simulated also here. Key is used to start, just push the key to turn or use the manipulators. When you do start the engine throws out a lot of exhaust smoke and you have to work to get the idle right, it will churn a lot sometimes and you don't get that clean startup every time, very realistic. Cabin fitting out is exceptional, to note the detail then just look at the perfect chrome handles and seatbelt catches, are just perfect chrome. Dynon Skyview The Panthera comes with the two panel display version of the "Dynon SkyView" system. Pressing the aircraft symbol in the centre of each display will bring up the pop-up version of the panel, the panels are also adjustable for scale via the right hand lower corner. Yes we have seen these displays before, but there is a new efficiency to the activation and movements that shows the system has been upgraded, it is now far more fluid in operation as is Scroll-wheel support on lists, map, HDG, CRS, MDA, ALT, VVI... and more. Both screens are independent of each other and all can be configured to suit your preferences. Within each configuration you can select even parts of full screen views to cover the full spectrum. This includes a HUGE or massive Artificial Horizon with rate of turn indicators, speed and altitude tapes and heading rose (with Course (CRS) - double VOR 1 and 2 and Skyview - FMS pointers) in the lower portion of the screen. An Engine and Aircraft status block known as the EMS which can be positioned left/right or centre of the display and also the MAP/NAV screen. Personally I kept it all simple with just the main PFD in front of me with the EMS and the MAP/NAV screen shared with the EMS again to the right. The system is menu driven by the buttons below the screen. This is a great version, but menu driven tree and branch systems can be complex and time consuming to use. But the system does also give you a huge amount of options. There are a huge amount of selections on the Dynon menu driven interface, which selections are accessed by the lower row of buttons, or the two knobs (covering Altitude and Heading adjustment) on the left display and "Range" on the right. BARO - MDA - CRS (Course) - HDG (Heading) - ALT - VS - IAS - DIM, all use the knob as a selection tool with a centre push of the knob for selection and arrows for changing selections. It works very well but the arrows are a bit small, but overall I prefer the GNS500 version with just a row of buttons that simply do the same job without scrolling up and down in menus for your selection. Tree and branch navigation can be complicated, and so you have to write down the routes to the selections you want. Take for instance the Map Nav-Aid selections. You require four branch selections just to declutter your screen. First MAP then MAP MENU (again) then ITEMS and then your actual selections and do that while trying to fly and navigate as well? I just leave it on the "ITEMS" menu all the time so I don't lose them again in the forest of menu selections. You do wonder if the budget cuts to the FAA are really messing up with their jobs, how did this complex routing really pass cockpit ergonomics for user friendly applications... "god knows". Flightplans Creating and editing flightplans are very (very) easy and quick with this system, you can IMPORT and EXPORT standard .fms flightplans as well. The big in screen map help building flightplans, and editing or adding in extra Nav-Aids (waypoints) on to the plan is as easy as a select and click. Nearest (APT/VOR/DME/NDB/FIX) is excellent as is the search function and any selections can be directly inputted into the flightplan and Airways, SID and STAR (waypoint-based) fixes are supported. Overall very impressive. Menus There are two pop-up menu tabs on the lower left of your screen for "Options" and Weight & Fuel" "Options" covers two items for windshield and EFIS (instrument) reflections. "Weight & Fuel" covers static elements which turns yellow with the tag to add or hide the wheel chocks and the aircraft's parking flags. You have a fuel selector to add or empty the aircraft's fuel tanks (two), which is easy to use. Lower right is a clever system of adding in weight and passengers. click on a seat or bag and you can load either an adult or a child in the seats (any except the pilot's) and with the baggage select a bag from the menu. All the fuel, passenger and baggage weight is then calibrated on a display on the left to show you your actual aircraft weight. And it is all very well done and easy to do. I found that four people up is too much weight with a full load of fuel on board, and I had to leave the second passenger behind to get the two adults and their luggage in the aircraft. Rear left door is outlined, but doesn't open. External GPU (Ground Power Unit) is not on the menus but activated via the button "AUX" on the panel. This GPU is definitely required if you are setting up the aircraft for flight, certainly if programming in a flightplan, as the battery goes flat very quickly if the GPU is not attached. Review Routes : KJAX - Jacksonville to KLAL - Lakeland Then YBCG - Gold Coast to YBNA - Ballina On leaving Jacksonville I got another warning in two "Servo" failures and a dive into the manual and I was none the wiser, so a contact with Aerobask was in order, I couldn't takeoff with broken Elevator and Aileron failures now could I... These were not actual failures as it turned out, but just disconnected servos as the "AP" switch was off?, Switch now on and the warning went away, time to fly. Note the beautiful trailing link undercarriage, all the gear is extremely well made, but the nosewheel can be awkward to use at low turning points, it can stall you easily, and only a lot of thrust will get you moving again? You tend to taxi positioned just to one side as the glareshield is quite big and the view ahead a little bit restricted, it is worse at night looking for the centreline on approach or finding the middle of the taxiways, to which you tend to take a little bit off line. Sounds are all new as well with script-driven custom sounds with rain graphics and noisy sound effects, and yes it all sounds very good. Departure was fast... Is the Panthera "Twitchy", I personally don't really think so as it is more "nimble" or "touchy" then it could be that. But with the very light frame to the power ratio with this version in having the 260HP equipped Lycoming IO-540V, you definitely feel the light composite structure through the controls. So the inputs have to be small, slow and smooth, and those glider like wings are very effective and so this Pipistral is nothing like a C175 or the like. So my advice is just slow down and go smooth through any manoeuvres. Leaving the grip of the runway there is a significant drift to the left to be compensated for as the powerful thrust can take you off line very quickly, so you are very active in those first few moments of flight until you are used to the Panthera's handling and feel. Feel of course is everything here, but this is certainly a "feely, Feely" aircraft, but in a nice way. Landing is very touchy as well, you need to control the speed to descent as the window is small (Those wings?) too slow and they quickly stall and you lose height, so it is a very throttle control on landing... and a few practise landings to get it right. In-flight instrumentation is very good. with on the Navigation display note the good on screen data that covers ETE (Estimated Time Enroute), ETA (Estimated Time Arrival) Final and ETE, ETA Next. Garmin/Aerobask GTN750/650 System Centre panel is the aircraft's pièce de résistance! the GARMIN GTN 750/650 system or Aerobask's version of the system. As with the Dynon the panels both pop-up (press the right perimeter) and this is a nice bit of kit. You may say "I've seen this before?" and you would be right as you have, but not the more completed working version. Back in the day this was the original version. It was quite basic but this is now the full version of the system... To see the best effects of the GTN 750/650 we will head to the Gold Coast for a night flight down to Ballina. The GTN750 is the larger unit with a 6.9 inch TFT touchscreen display with icons to cover features such as : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Charts, Flight Plan, PROC, Nearest, Waypoint Info and Utilities with Services and System blanked out. The "Utilities" button covers : DALT/TAS/Winds, Flight Times and Checklists and Clean Screen with Trip Planning, Rain Prediction, Scheduled Messages blanked out. Top of the GTN750 unit is the radio section, with easy switching of frequencies, XPDR and COMM, NAV selection. It is very, very impressive and easy to use once you get used to it, but a little time is required to learn all the abundance of functions, mouse scroll is handy as well for volume and frequency changes. The GTN650 is smaller at 4.9-inch TFT display and has a few different options from the GTN750 Feature available include : Map, Traffic, Terrain, Weather, Default Nav, Otto Pilot (from the movie "Flying High" and yes I am that old) Waypoint Info and Nearest. Radio is situated to the right with the same built-in tuners. The system is very, very impressive, but to note that all the functions as listed on the displays have not been covered yet. You have a lot of power here at your fingertips, but the trick is to find the right combinations of all your tools to get the maximum ease of use from your flying. You will find a lot of functions in this cockpit doubled up or even tripled, the idea is find the best set up to cover your workload. To that effect I have the "Map" on the bigger GTN750, and the "Otto Pilot" ready on the lower GTN650 and just the Heading and Altitude adjustment on the left Skyview display, simple and it works. Note the excellent flight plan leg with CDI selection below... Cockpit is nice at night but I can't find any screen brightness adjustment. External lighting is very good with the usual navigation, recognition and two landing lights on the main gear. The strobes are very good, but very bright and so not to be used on the ground. Panel can be completely dark, or you have two note pad lights to light up the instruments. In the rear there are two overhead spot lights. Remember the looking a little offset past the glareshield, here is the view at night... MAP function is impressive. Map choices include Arc or 360º and resolution. Other Layers include Terrain, Nav-Aids, Orientation (North or Heading) and Height. Terrain Terrain function is very detailed, but only when closer to the ground (the radar, not the aircraft)... ... the menu is same as with the Map. One of the most used layouts with the two units I like to use is the flightplan. You can have the usual flightplan on in the right hand side navigation display, but the GTN's are a great addition for excellent detail of you route with the route in the upper 750, and the CDI flight plan leg in the lower 650, it is a great layout for easy route visuals. Nearest and Waypoint Information is comprehensive, easy to use and very visual. There has been a lot of thought put into online support. Both for communication with PilotEdge (Connect/disconnect, TX/RX, COM1&2 volume control) and awareness for IVAO and VATSIM (connection status). TCAS is also supported for online flying with a "Traffic Information Service" (TIS) which is an advisory. There won't be much activity around this area tonight, but there are a few options on the traffic menu. Charts are good, but not very readable at full size, zoom in and they are then usable. PNG. files makes them easy to create and inset into the "Charts" folder in your aircraft folder. Weather and PROC (Proceed). The Weather just shows the levels of weather around you, but it is pretty basic, but the PROC is used like the "DIR-TO" or Direct-To a Nav-Aid or Waypoint, and can be used as a waypoint editor for the flightplan. For a small four-seater aircraft the Panthera has a lot of gear, it feels like there is more than the Space Shuttle used... Liveries Outwardly the liveries look the same as the original versions. But they have been all updated to UHD 4K and the detailing shows compared to the earlier textures. Eight liveries in all and the collection still includes the "Pink Panther" design Special Effects There are some great special effects. One is rain drops (left) that are excellent and look beautiful on the curved canopy doors. Fog (right) is in there as well. You don't know it is fogging up until it clears a little in the front view position, again really well done and I love these effects for their realism under the weather. When you park up, you take the key out and store it in the centre console... ... But the pilot stays in there? Why can't he go home after disconnecting the key... Summary I started this review with the point that to really succeed in X-Plane as a developer there is a continuous growth and upward scale of quality you have to deliver. X-Plane design is now extremely high, the quality in X-Plane11 with PBR is just simply enormous. Aerobask has joined easily that upper echelon of being a must buy developer. This aircraft and the others that will follow are simply overwhelming aircraft in design and features, and yes there is still more to come. The light and design of the aircraft will take your breath away, X-Plane11 is delivering and with aircraft like this you are now going into a higher realm of quality and realism, areas that you only dreamed of a few years ago. That realism while using and flying this aircraft is second to none (in X-Plane11) but the great attraction is that everything in the systems and the complex on board navigation and flight control (Autopilot) is that it has a seemless use and what coders call elegance in the coding in that it doesn't feel like it is a model or even a simulation... it feels real. It is to your best advantage to set up and use the systems to better your flying. Autopilot and Flightplan control is far better and simpler to use than the complex tree and branch menus of the Dynon units. Yes you have loads of functionality, but you can get lost just trying to find your way around all those menu settings. So set everything out for simple selection. Earlier owners of the v1/v2 Panthera from Aerobask can get US$10 off the updated v3 aircraft... see details below. There are no highlights here (well maybe the excellent GTN Units) as everything is good or brilliant, the designs from Aerobask are now trendsetters as much as Carenados are but in a totally different area. And flying the Panthera will challenge you as well... I could go on and on, but why... it is just brilliant. Positives : Almost everything! Beautiful design inside and out, realism in spades and incredible equipment packs. Negatives : Almost nothing, except letting the Pilot go home and learning all the complex systems and using them to your best flying abilities. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Pipistrel Panthera v3 by Aerobask is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Pipistral Panthera v3 Your Price: $34.95 Features In-house coded GTN 750 and GTN 650 with touchscreen and scrollwheel support: Exclusive multi-threaded and fps-friendly map and terrain display Map topography display based on actual X-Plane mesh data Terrain awareness display based on actual data Configurable map rendering TCAS with online flying support Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Flight plan import/export compatible with stock XP10 fms format Built-in chart viewer - easily import yours COM support for PilotEdge (Connect/disconnect, TX/RX, COM1&2 volume control) COM awareness for IVAO and VATSIM (connection status) COM, NAV and XPNDR dialing pad Interactive checklists Resizable pop-ups Latest revision of Dynon Skyview with added scrollwheel support NEW! Scrollwheel support on lists, map, HDG, CRS, MDA, ALT, VVI, etc... Airways, SID and STAR support (waypoint-based) Weather map display on multiple screens and orientations TCAS with Traffic Advisory and Resolution Advisory Resizable pop-ups Dual compatibility XP10 and XP11, with PBR support Volumetric propeller (XP11) Enhanced and scripted 3D sound Compatible with GoodWay 5 Requirements: X-Plane 10.50 or X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux - Running in 64bit Mode 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 3GB+ VRAM Recommended on X-Plane 11 X-Plane 11: this aircraft requires GNS430 data from X-Plane 10, Navigraph or Aerosoft to be installed into Custom data folder. Previous Panthera Owners: If you own the prior Panthera v1/v2 versioion, you can get the new Panthera v3 for $10 off. The upgrade code can be found in your original Panthera invoice at the store. or you can request it at sales@x-plane.org _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation and documents: Download for the Pipistrel Panthera v3 is 117.10mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 246.70mb . Key authorisation and a restart is required. You can use the Navigraph or Aerosoft navigation data with this aircraft or the built in X-Plane GNS430 data in your main root folder. Comprehensive set of documents covers all aspects of the (complex) avionics systems and flightplanner _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 23rd March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11b15 and also used in X-Plane v10.52 and checked with current flight route and details Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free (note: personal added items in an office (okay demountable building and vehicles) - KJAX - Jacksonville International Airport 1.01 by ThePrivateer (X-Plane.org) - Free - YBCG : Gold Coast International v1.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free - YBNA - Ballina - VOZ Australian Scenery by Barry (Bazza) Roberts (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  3. News! - Upcoming : Panthera 3.0 HD and Eclipse 550 NG by Aerobask Aerobask have announced the coming release of their Panthera 3.0 HD and Eclipse 550 NG. Developers are reluctant to release aircraft lately as the unreliability of the X-Plane11 beta and don't want to just deliver X-Plane10 aircraft and then redo all the work again for X-Plane11... catch22. But the work does go on regardless and they are all out there wanting to move forward. Both the new versions of the Panthera and Eclipse will come soon with a sophisticated avionics built in for X-Plane developed by Lionel : 2 Dynon Skyview, 1 GTN750 and 1 GTN650. Here is a list of the coming main features: Accurate flight model built by X-Aerodynamics according the real datas (for Eclipse 550). Accurate display. The resolution matchs the real instruments. Touch Screen Operation FPL SID/STAR procedures Moving-Map with several resolution available to save the FPS according the CPU/GPU Terrain Map COM/NAV/Transponder managed by the GTNs Charts Advanced TCAS (works with AI aircrafts, IVAO, VATSIM, Pilot Edge) Interactive Checklists PBR textures for X-Plane 11 But note that a lot of new X-Plane11 features will also be part of the packages and both aircraft will be X-Plane11 compatible when released! There is also a video available to show how the GTN 750 system works with the built in charts feature... Important Note! With the major thrust changes in the X-Plane11beta 12/13 Aerobask have released patches to update their older products to accommodate the changes, these are: Here are the links: E1000 -> http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/116969-compatibility-patch-for-x-plane-11pb12-or-higher/ Victory -> http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/116968-compatibility-patch-for-x-plane-11pb12-or-higher/ Fokker Dr.I -> http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/117032-compatibility-patch-for-x-plane-11pb12-or-higher/ ViperJet -> http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/116970-compatibility-patch-for-x-plane-11pb12-or-higher/ These patches will allow you to use current Aerobask aircraft in both X-Plane10 and X-Plane1 until a formal release is posted of the simulator. Expect all products to be current before Easter, although there is no release date on these aircraft, but that is out of everyone's hands for now. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 7th March 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
  4. Aircraft Update : Epic Victory v2.0 by Aerobask Aerobask has done a significant upgrade to their Epic Victory Light Jet. This is version v2.0 and it comes with a very clever new interface feature called "Skyview Touch" and we will go over that system in detail in a moment. First a small recap on this light jet. The Eclipse 500 and the Honda Jet with this Victory single engined Pratt & Whitney Canada PW600, Very Light Jet (VLJ) were created for a market in air taxi services that never came to pass. But that should not take the quality away from this very clever and even brilliant design of a very small private jet from Epic Aircraft Company of Oregon in the United States of America. The aircraft seats five including the pilot, but the Victory is very small modern aircraft and it is very easy to operate and fly, just like.... well a taxi. Aerobask Epic Victory 2.0 The design of this Epic Victory from Aerobask is excellent, and for his latest designs Stephane Buon has teamed up with Lionel Zamouth to create some very interesting and clever systems in the aircraft. Externally and Internally v2.0 does not look that much different from the release version back in February this year. The aircraft still looks amazing and comes with a good selection of menus and features. For a full detailed description of all these items and features then read X-PlaneReview's full release review: Epic Victory Light Jet by Aerobask If you do read over the original release review you will notice the time and difficulty in setting up the aircraft and flightplans via the button menu system... that all changes here in v2.0. "Skyview Touch" The first view of the Victory's v2.0 cockpit and panels if you are familiar with the aircraft will not look that much different, and it all looks the same as if any changes had not taken place at all... But if you touch any of the panels of the Dynon Avionics Skyview to pop them out like on the release version it won't work that way now... Now you touch on the aircraft symbol in the centre of each display for them to now pop-up. You do the same thing to close them. The radio and Autopilot panels pop-up the old way and you press the centre of the panel's (glass) screen to make them disappear again. One of the really hard things to do in simulation is to create an interface that allows you to touch on the items on (in this case the display panels) and also the built in X-Plane button and knob commands. The question is always are you in say a keyboard position of typing directly into the interface or in the other standard interface and not get confused of which mode you are actually in. It is harder to create this input mode without confusing the situation than you think it is... So here is a solution from Aerobask to that interface dilemma. Instead of working your way through the tree and branch methods of digital menus (complex and time consuming) you can here select directly on the item that you want to change, and with each selection change it will go and show in the menu bar the actual menu item as well. Navigation Pointers Three pointers cover LOC 1 (NAV1), VOR 2 (NAV 2) and Skyview (GPS) and all three pointers can be set in what display you want in two boxes. The larger top box is the active one for VOR 1 (NAV 1) ILS and Skyview (GPS) connect with the NAV on the autopilot, and so with a click you can have what you want in an instant. Here it is shown as the Skyview (GPS lock) and VOR 2 (NAV 2) pointer direction. Direct input The touch screen allows for direct input. Say you want to set your CRS (Course) position for RWY 27. CRS has to be on LOC 1 to move, then press the CRS area bottom right of the heading dial. This pops up a panel that is noted in Orange as "Keyboard Inactive". Press the pop-up panel and it turns "Keyboard Active" and then you can type in or use the panel keyboard to enter the CRS 270 number, press ENT to enter the data and click away the panel. It looks more laborious step by step than it actual is using it, as in reality it is very intuitive and you do the inputs very quickly as the panel is there and then done... with the seemless join between the X-Plane environment and the keyboard input being smooth and not noticeable at all, and it all feel like one single interface. But if you do linger in the "Active" zone you are of course still cut off from the X-Plane interface. Overall the interface is very good and easily adaptable. There are several other zones that can be changed on the PFD (Primary Flight Display) panel besides the CRS. You can also change the heading, Speed (IAS), Altitude, MDA (ft) and the Barometer. Heading/North A direct click on the yellow arrow (top left) can change the MAP orientation from North to Heading easily. There are three buttons in the MAP section for NRST (Nearest), INFO and FPL (Flightplan) at the bottom of the MFD (Mulifunction Display). These buttons were on the original release version, but the difference now is that you can input the data directly. NRST (Nearest) First is NRST. Here is all the data for APT (Airports), VOR, DME, NDB and FIX waypoints. Double click on a selection and you get a menu of options... Here are the Airport selections in Airport information data, RWYS, and airport COMM frequencies and the selections can be inputted either into the radios or GPS system for flightplan building. Information provided is detailed and clear to read. If you want area selections of waypoints in VOR, DME, NDB or FIX then there are the direct selections of them as well. INFO (Information) Middle button (INFO) brings up information on selected items for Airports, VOR, DME, NDB or FIX's and again you have the options to input the data into the system. Best of all is the search system that will give you global, local and direct waypoint information by the way you search. Waypoint information is very good with the DIRECT function to that waypoint available. Searches are easy with either keyboard or mouse inputs, again the colour "Inactive" or "Active" of the keyboard shows you your status. FPL (Flightplan) The power of the "Touch" system is shown best with the FPL or creating a flightplan. Loading or creating a flightplan is quick, easy and you have a lot of information at your disposal. Press the third tab FPL... Press on the FPL panel and it will ask you for a waypoint... First one is your departure airport, in this case KRSW. If you reclick on the inserted airport you get a menu covering... Your departure (SID), Inserting another waypoint or remove a waypoint (selected). You can show info on that waypoint or go DIRECT or activate a certain leg of the flightplan. You can reverse the finished flight plan, delete to end or totally delete the route Pressing the "Insert Departure" line will allow you to set your departure runway, SID (Standard Instrument Departure), and TRAN (Transition) and that is your departure complete. Route waypoints includes also airways which makes the system versatile, but I am not using an airway here. All waypoints entered have the correct logo's associated with them for easy identifying of the item in APT, VOR, DME, NDB. On arrival you insert the "Arrival" airport waypoint. Then click to get the selection of arrival runway, then the STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) and it's TRAN (Transition) point. Smooth, quick and easy and the flightplan is complete. Saving with keyboard text is fast and Loading in flightplans is so easy and very quick than going down them one item at a time. The system is very good, the only note is that it is restricted to the MAP's range and you don't have a "step" function and joining up the route to the STAR is out of sight, and any editing to make this seemless arrival is not available. So you may have to do it enroute when the MAP limit comes on the screen. But this is a full FMS system and not just a knockoff of the X-Plane default GPS although based on the GNS. It is powerful but more importantly very elegant in that it is versatile in that it is easy to change runways or SID and STAR's and not screw the route up and have to re-edit it all. For a small aircraft it is a full FMS in scale as you have with the heavy aircraft. Flight I took the Victory for a quick flight from KLAL to KRSW to feel the new "Touch" system in action. Setting up the aircraft is quick and easy. All COMM's are done via the touch screen or if you want to change it directly in the menu then just touch the frequency on the PFD screen banner and the flightplan is loaded. I like the loading menu with the fuel load, then loading the passengers and luggage with the correct weights when on board. A child selection is very good. All aboard and you have a full aircraft. Loads of power even with a full load on board. The Victory tracks nicely, but this is still a VLJ, and a slight crosswind can easily catch you out. Sounds are excellent with that fine jet whine and whistle and you do feel jet powered and ready to fly high and head south. Lots of options now on how you interact with the aircraft. Top banner menu, lower button menu or straight to the Autopilot panel as well. A great feature is the altitude marker of when you will reach your set altitude, another feature from the heavies, but very desirable. Want to set the IAS speed, then just click on the speed zone on the PFD and in the pop-up set the speed you require and ENT. Setting is also set on the AP (IAS). The TCAS is now also active and the button is on the lighting panel, I am not running any X-Plane A.I. aircraft, so they don't show here. Waypoint information is in active real time, you can go DIRECT TO as well if you want to. Setting up the COMM's (below) for arrival is easy, by using the menu, a click will insert the frequency into the PFD bannner and the radio set, options include both active and standby COMM 1 and 2 You get instant MAP alignment in either North or Heading which is great for landing patterns. One thing you do feel, is the aircraft even in this low v2.0 release is now very polished, and does everything very well in every aspect of the flight envelope. Everything has been refined and tested. So very quickly you can fly it well and the new interaction only heightens that appeal. Approach and landing at KRSW was too perfection, but you have to watch the track carefully on the runway and keep the aircraft tightly on the straight ahead. It will quickly wander and worse don't hit the brakes until the speed has run out... and that could take up a fair bit of tarmac as you have no other aids on slowing the aircraft down, so you roll on forever. Parking up and unloading is a breeze with the good menus, pilot refuses to come out though, even when the aircraft is cold and shutdown. Liveries You already receive seven great liveries with the original release. With v2.0 you get another Five that are numbered from 979 to 983. All are extremely high quality and diversely well created in design. Summary Outwardly the v2.0 looks almost the same as the original release, but as we have gone through this review the aircraft is now nothing but. It is a total interface redesign, but there is also lot of fight dynamic and improvements right through the aircraft, in many cases not by much, but that real solid professional feel is right there. And professional is the word about that interactive interface. It is seemless in operation that is hard to describe on a page unless you actually use it and it goes a long way in getting around the complexity of the glass panel tree and branch menu operation. In other words it make changes very easy and you have so much information at your disposal and it is all usable information that can be easily inserted into the system. The system is deep as well with not only waypoints but airways as well, SID, STARS and transitions and runway changes on the go and all in one elegant package that is a great feature to have on any aircraft, never mind a VLJ. So a great upgrade and a useful one as well to the Epic Victory, great value and a great aircraft to fly, for a more visual view of the new "touch" system then look over this video with the system in operation... ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Epic Victoryv 2.0 by Aerobask is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Epic Victory 2.0 Price is US$29.95 If you already have purchased the Aerobask Epic Victory then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account login and upgrade to v2.0 The free Akoya Seaplane deal is still available with your purchase. features include: Awesome version 2.0 SkyView Touch - Similated Skyview with easy to use TouchScreen SID - STAR and Airways. They can be entered with ease thanks to the new Skyview Touch TCAS Aerobask Quality 3D Model High quality 3D model throughout Flight model defined according to the specifications of public data. Fun to fly. Ultra-High Resolution textures. 4K, Ambient Occlusion, Specular, Normal mapping and night lightning. Fully functional and animated Virtual 3D cockpit. Panoramic windshield with reflections, rain and icing effects. Ground Power Unit First ever modeled Skyview for X-Plane 3 EFIS Skyview Extensive custom logic to simulate the real Skyview Custom MAPs & FMS Flight Plans Management Transponder AutoPilot and radio All EFIS can be displayed in Pop-up view Other Systems EIS MVP50, 2 Garmin GNC255, 1 STEC5000 Autopilot, ADL110B weather radar, TCAS and vocal alerts. Can also be viewed as Pop-up windows Dynamic Menus Options Menu Fuel & weight management GPU Custom 3D Sounds Engine, gear, flaps, door, vocal alert, callout. Enhanced 3D sound engine using SASL functions. Requirements: X-Plane 10.42+ - Running in 64bit mode Windows 7+. Mac OSC 10.7+, Linux - 64bit Operating System 2Gb VRAM Minimum Current version: 2.0.14 (Last updated Sep 3rd 2016) ______________________________________________________________________ Aerobask site : aerobask.com Aerobask Developer Support : Support forum X-Plane.Org _____________________________________________________________________________________ Update Review by Stephen Dutton 2nd September 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
  5. News! - Aircraft Preview - Pipistrel Panthera v3 by Aerobask Aerobask is working on an update to their Pipistrel Panthera for Version Three of the aircraft. This not just an update but a full complete overhaul of the aircraft design and panel fitout. (a common theme lately) with an improved 3D model, textures and animations. Never a designer to stand still, Aerobask are delivering soon even a more feature busting Garmin GTN750/650 avionics suite that has been completed designed from scratch. The new system has map and terrain capabilities, interactive checklists, animated menus, basic SID/STAR support and Victor and Jet airways support. There is video here to see the new system in action with the terrain feature. There is a new Panthera default livery, matching the official scheme, new weight&fuel menu and exquisitely detailed GTN750 home screen. you can chose your checklist from different groups and tick them off as you go through the list. A full list of the features noted are: weight&fuel and options menus reworked 3D model and new default livery new landing gear and extra animations new interior with reflections and new materials new sound system new Dynon Skyview avionics with extra touch-screen capabilities new Garmin GTN750/650 avionics with map and terrain capabilities, interactive checklists, animated menus, etc.. basic SID/STAR support Victor and Jet airways support The v3 Panthera will be a new and highly improved version, and existing customers will receive a coupon for discounted purchase on the new aircraft. Release is going to be around early August 2016. X-PlaneReviews original release and update reviews are here: Aircraft Review : Pipistrel Panthera by Harranssor Aircraft Update Review: Pipistrel Panthera version 2.0.9. by Aerobask Images and video are courtesy of Aerobask ______________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton 26th July 2016 Copyright©X-Plane Reviews: X-PlaneReviews
  6. Aircraft Review - Viperjet by Aerobask When it appears you think "why didn't anyone else do that"? And there is a point to that question. A two seater personal Jet aircraft is not your average General Aviation aircraft is it, as most aircraft in this category are for military (training) and in fact all personal tandem seaters except for a few odd aircraft from Burt Rutan like the VariEze which was a forerunner of the Viperjet because this Viper aircraft was also originally created with a pusher propeller 350 hp (261 kW) Continental TSIOL-550 powerplant then known as the Viperfan. Basically the ViperJet is a kit aircraft, homebuilt. The kit costs US$182,000 and you are going to spend another US$300,000 to $500,000 get it airborne, that is if you can find a General Electric J85 jet engine lying around. This J85 version is the MkII as the MkI didn't really fly very well with the underpowered Turbomeca Marboré installed. The original Viperjet prototype flew late in October 1999 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2000.The MKII prototype flew on 12 June 2005 and you can upgrade your Mk1 to the MkII. The LXR version here uses the P&W JT15D-1A (2200 lbs thrust). This is a thoroughly composite material aircraft for lightweight and strength. And you have to admit the Viperjet is a very striking aircraft for the sort money it costs as you would usually pay about 10 million apiece for something of this nature in built for the military (notwithstanding the military hardware and the outrageous development costs). Aerobask The Viperjet has all the Aerobask traits, composite aircraft (tick), modern glass instruments (tick), lightweight (tick) and not usually mainstream aviation (tick). But aerobask do these aircraft very well, and they are a lot of fun to fly as well. In saying that the Viperjet is quite different in that "fun" category in the flying aspect. so it makes the aircraft not really fit in anywhere and maybe it is that definition in why Viper Aircraft have sold only a handful of aircraft. Performance: Rate of climb (aerobatic weight) 7500fpm / Rate of climb (gross weight) 5000fpm - Mmo (FL250) 0.72 / VNE (Sea Level) 375 KIAS - Maximum speed cruise (FL280) 400 KTAS - Economy cruise speed (FL280) 350 KTAS - Approach speed 120-130 KIAS / Landing Speed 95-105 KIAS - Landing speed Range economy cruise (with Tip Tanks) 1450 nm. The Viperjet is a striking aircraft, like a slightly smaller smoother version of the Hawk Trainer without the canted rear tailplanes. being composite you don't have the minute detailing of panels and screws, but were they are required they are well done for instrument or wing access and the wing tanks are very well detailed and realistic. The left and right wing sections can clearly be seen as separate construction items and the curves and shape design is excellent. Internally it is very well crafted, no bulky ejector seats in here but leather couches and carpet... not very military in look or feel. Underneath that huge opening canopy, is the two seat formation layout. The front pilot's position has full instrumentation and the rear is for basic instrumentation flying and aircraft control and a handy handgrip to hang on. But at least you can fly the aircraft from the rear position. In the front the panel/glareshelid is quite high and restricts the viewpoint forward, in the rear it is far better and the view is simply excellent. Aerobask has taken a little liberty in the instrumentation and flat displays, but every Viperjet built is different and so there is really no standard in this area, so that is to our advantage than non-compliance. Below on the center panel are four round backup instruments in Artificial horizon, Altitude, Speed and HSI (Heading indicator) and the main fuel switch is set below. Joysticks front and rear are beautiful and realistic, and the rudder pedals are basic lightweight metal. This aircraft you would think being powered by a jetengine would be complex... but it is not, and in fact quite the opposite in being actually very basic. Left panel holds mostly all your main aircraft switches and controls. GPU (Ground Power Unit), Main battery and Avionic power switches, Igniter (to start the engine), Combined Starter & Generator switch (very clever), Boost pump, L&R Fuel Tanks transfer pump, Main fuel Throttle/cutoff and Airbrake levers. An important dial (unless you want to die) is the Pressurization Dial that shows you your cabin pressure. Your outside static elements can be switched on and off here as well that includes wheel chocks and pitot covers. Right Panel is mostly covered in circuit breakers (breakers for gear, avionics and engine are operational). But there are three important pressurization switches and cockpit heating switches. Canopy seal is three actions in pressure, safety lock and the actual canopy release lever. Power on and avionics switched on and the panel starts to come to life. It takes a few moments to start up the avionics but when completed you have nice set of instrumentation. Left to right is first your Falcon AOA (Angle of Attack) Kit with a simple three position flap switch below. Then your main Electronics International MVP-50T EIS engine display that covers most of your engines operational parameters. Below is a Garmin SL 30 VOR (VOR1 & VOR2) Radio and the standard Garmin 240 Radio set below that. Central is the huge Garmin GDU 370 PFD, with built in Artificial horizon, Speed and Altitude tapes, Rate of turn and pitch indicators, and an excellent HSI (Heading indicator) with built in NDB and VOR indicators. You have the excellent X-Plane default GNS 530 built in with popout screen, but the list of buttons on the right of the GDU 370 PFD mostly just duplicate the GNS 530 buttons in operation. The MEGGiTT autopilot is powerful but simple as well and a great addition if you are flying over a distance combined with the GNS 530. Final set is the Garmin GTX 330 Transponder, which is a very nice unit. Undercarriage gear switch is to the side with three green lights showing extended. There are a row of annunciators across the top of the panel (and airbrake extended annunciators) and the main light switches below the GDU 370 PFD for Land, Taxi, Nav, Strobe and beacon. The menus are quite simple in one button for one action and to adjust anything on the MFD you turn the knob top right and the buttons cover HDG (heading), CRS (Course), CDI selection (Nav1/Nav2/GPS) BARO and ALT. On the MVP-50T EIS on the menu you have a Fuel Management Data page that covers Fuel Level Data, Fuel Flow Data, Fuel Tank including dumping the Tip Tanks. GPS data is also shown. You can fill the fuel tanks but only when the aircraft is cold and dark. On the GDU 370 PFD the menu will give you the option of having the WRX weather screen on or off. The rear left switch and lever panel is a duplication of the front pilots panel. The instruments set in an upper console panel are a nice three screen set for Artificial horizon/Pitch/Rate of Turn, central Speed and Altitude tapes and right a basic HSI (Heading indicator). The GTX 330 Transponder and SL 30 VOR units are set out below. Flaps and undercarriage switches are set out left and right like on the front panel. Below on the bulkhead is the MVP-50T EIS and default GNS 530 units. All basic units but you could easily fly as well in the rear as in the front seat as you have everything except the Garmin 240 Radio. Flying the Viperjet You have an external GPU to provide power and a starter for the aircraft and that is activated by a switch on the left console. Central Fuel switch to on, boost pump switch to on, and igniter switch to on... You must take throttle out of the fuel cutoff gate and then just hit the "Start" button and the engine whine will start up behind you, engine startup is fully automatic. "Start" switch to "Gen" is a failsafe clever way to make sure the generator is switched on. Once the engine parameters have steadied down you can switch off the boost pump and igniter switches and close down the external GPU. It is noted that you never exceed maximum EGT (exhaust gas temperature, 710 °C) for more than 5 minutes, to avoid engine failure and that is simulated in this aircraft. Closing the huge canopy is a push of the red lever, once down then pressurize the cockpit with the "canopy seal switch" then switch the engine bleed switch to on to redirect the bleed air to the pressurization system, If correct it will show the pressure on the Pressurization Dial. In the front is is slightly claustrophobic and the view a little tight with the high panel. The undercarriage from a distance is basic and a little spindly but close up wheel detailing is excellent, with all the nuts, bolts and brake components well done. Small details like the push-pull rod that controls the rear tailplanes is well done, and so are the minute flaps and huge main wing ailerons. There are a set of default views set out to the numeric keypad, but I have my own set of default views, so I over-rode them. Lining up the center line and throttle up and the aircraft leaps off the brakes. It is skittish as the speed builds so you have to work to keep the aircraft straight. The Viperjet feels all the bumps and lumps on the taxiways and runway, so you have to be wary of any big ones throwing you off course. Around 85knots and rotate and then your flying nicely and the shuddering stops. The Viperjet will climb well, but this is no MD Eagle F15D, In fact it runs out of puff early and at this weight I found only 10º pitch up was the maximum I could achieve without losing power. You have to keep rechecking the artificial horizon when leveled out as you tend to look slightly down the nose and through the gap in the front and that makes you fly slightly nose up, it is perspective thing. But once level the aircraft will very quickly go to its cruise speed and here about 260knts. As an aircraft to fly manually it is totally easy and brilliant, but I couldn't find the trim knobs or tabs? Instinctively you just want to throw the aircraft around. You can do aerobatics in this aircraft and it would be interesting to see a pro fly this aircraft around, but it is great on the stick and you know you want too... but "hey, lets barrelroll" and yes it is as much fun as it looks, but also harder than it looks in getting the aircraft to come out of the roll cleanly. You keep an eye on that cabin pressure gauge as it keeps you comfortable. Inside the rear the view (10.36 for the review, is now a crap view without the extended scenery in 10.40) but it still gives you the feeling of space and glorious openness inside the aircraft, the window reflections were always a aerobask trademark, and they are very good here as well. The overwhelming feeling while cruising along at 20,000ft is that the real Viperjet must be simply an amazing aircraft to fly and be in, and to own one must be incredible... why, why, is there not hundreds of Viperjets flying around? The MEGGiTT autopilot is a great tool for flying high and fast point to point over a distance, 1,400nm range is not to be sneezed at for such a small aircraft. The panel displays are very good, clear and precise you can target a runway by VOR and NDB points and set to line up the runway by your CRS (course) direction and follow your markers. On approach (I tried both APP and manual) and the aircraft is easy to place and control, the flaps are small but effective and you can sit at 120knts and down to 95knts on landing. The Viperjet is easy to place and it is also easy to mark your point of landing... and make it perfect. Airbrakes are like tabs under the inner wing area and are effective to a point. Your landing speed is critical, but if you have a choice between a long runway and a short one then pick the longer one. As I found out on my first adjustment circuit in that I did stop, but... just. Speed does not run off quickly and the jet is light, and on top of that the bumps and notches in the runway that can have you working the rudder hard to keep it in line, like what happened on the takeoff run. Liveries There are six liveries, White/Red (noted as Red), Silver/Black (noted as black), Checkerboard, Gold/Black (noted as yellow), Silver/Blue and Orange. All are excellent and most are real Viperjet liveries. Lighting The Viperjet's lighting is fine but quite basic. The cockpit is a nice place to be at night. But you only have two adjustments in Instruments and overhead, strangely the backup instruments are lit by the overhead lights and not the instrument adjustment? In the rear it is just as good and it looks professional in quality. External lighting is okay, but the taxi lights shine through the wingpods from the side, tail-light is a bit blobby and is too big. lighting spread is okay but not very wide for taxiing. Summary Overall this is an amazing aircraft, a jet and a small powerful one at that. So who would not want one in their hangar, certainly I would and flying it would be an amazing experience. We can only get a glimpse of that dream here and actually get a chance to fly an aircraft that can be as close as you want to be with out joining an airforce, certainly this aircraft has some potential in being a cheap jet trainer? Aerobask has again pulled out and delivered a different aircraft experience, and one you can fly and even do some basic aerobatics in jet style. Design and great instrumentation means the Viperjet can be a fun all over sky afternoon or a distance flight point to point. The overall theme is the aircraft is very easy and basic to use and fly, yes you still have great gizmos and wonderful instrumentation, but the important bits and radio units means it can be professional flyer aircraft as well, so it is really a good all round trainer and great for VOR to VOR and NDB trials. If you want to learn to fly a faster GA, then this is your aircraft. Set up and flying is easy, nice to fly and you can cruise at 30,000ft and feel on top of the world. Great aircraft and another great design from Aerobask. The Viperjet by Aerobask is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Viperjet LXR And is priced at only US$21.95 _____________________________________________________________________________________ Fully featured and including: High quality 3D model with high resolution textures (4K), ambient occlusion, specular and normal mappingFlight model defined according to the specifications of the LXR version. Fun to fly.Fully functional virtual 3D cockpit.Functional rear cockpit (instructor).Panoramic windshield with reflectionsIntegrated systems: Start sequence, pressurization, engine failure, radar weather, setup pageMany custom sounds: rolling, gear, flaps, canopy, vocal alert, callout, ...Enhanced sound engine using SASL scripts_____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 369.30mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 435.90mb Notes: None Documents : You get a lot of documents including a good Manual including a basic checklist, Your liveries, Recommended settings and a very good set of real Viperjet documents and MVP50 instruction sheet. Requirements : Windows, MAC or Linux - X-Plane 10.36 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) - 1.5 GB VRAM Video Card Recommended Current version: 1.0 (Last updated August 20th 2015) Developer Support Site : (Aerobask- Harransor Support .Org) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 21st August 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  7. release Review : Fokker Dr.1 by Aerobask On December 17th 1903, The Wright brothers in the "Wright Flyer" created history in flying successfully the first heavier-than-air powered aircraft. For the first few years of heavy than air aviation the progress was rapid, but still relegated to the basics of flight. WW1 (World War One) 1914-1918 changed all that and machines were quickly required to be used to get an advantage over the badly stalled ground warfare. Airships were the first tools of war for the moveable aerial conflicts, but these suspended gas bombs were slow and venerable to a new type of machine... The Fighter. If you have one fighter shooting down airships, then you would need another faster more manoeuvrable fighter to shoot down the fighter that was causing the havoc in the first place and so the famous Fokker Dr.1 was born. The interesting point is the complete evolution from the Wright brothers concepts to this point of the aircraft design as a standard layout. These new generation of aircraft were so advanced and in reality created the design and template of aircraft as we know it today. So now from Aerobask is another aircraft from left field in the Fokker Dr.1 tri-plane. Aerobask are already known for spinning out really different and interesting aircraft for the X-Plane simulator, and this exceptional WW1 fighter is certainly no different. The Fokker Dr.1 is of course famously associated with the "Red Baron" or Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen as his full title and his record was to have killed or captured—73 of the 80 listed recorded British losses attributed to his flying skills. The real number is noted above the 100 kills, but that number never completely documented. His last 19 victories were in the Dr.1. Sophisticated for its period, this Fokker Dr.1 is no F/A 18 Hornet... But the design is extremely good by Aerobask and has certainly done this amazing aircraft justice. Instruments are basic as in very basic, but all are very well reproduced for the era, and include an animated cup anemometer, altimeter, fuel gauge and fuel regulator with Fuel tap, Cardan' compass and RPM indicator and also featured is a magneto with mag start and a oil pulsator. The two 2 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) "Spandau" lMG 08 machine guns are authentic and do fire. Lots of clever features include the open or shrouded standard detailed 110 h.p. Oberursel URII air-cooled engine. Three pop-up menus include a compass, settings (Game Mode, Music, Motor Casing and green or red navigation lights) and a great start the engine via spinning the propeller feature. Three liveries are included and are: Red Baron, Camo, Stripes and White Raven A quick flight notes the Fokker is a really easy and a surprisingly nice aircraft to fly, with great flight modeling that is good even for a tail-dragger. Great documentation and manual is included with great tips on how to set up WW1 dogfights in X-Plane. Summary Flying a World War 1 fighter has got to be a different X-Plane experience and this aircraft certainly fills out that aspect. It is an interesting aircraft because the instruments available to you are so very basic, but also quite challenging to use and navigate. Flying the Fokker is also very unusual. The Tri-Plane lift is enormous, you go almost vertical with a only a little speed on the ground, so it takes some skill to fly correctly at slow speeds (taking off and landing) but in the air the machine is amazingly really nice to fly and balance, and it is surprisingly fast for its day. Aerobask has done some excellent great period detailing on the aircraft and it feels and flies with a very authentic feel, and great little details like the pilot's scarf is animated and flows in the slipstream, sounds are also very authentic and pretty soon you will enjoy swooping around and firing on ferries (sorry about that) or the X-Plane deer on the ground. If you love X-Plane then you like to know you could fly anything, well no doubt that Aerobask is going to challenge that theory a little bit more here, but the Fokker Dr.1 is a great historic aircraft, and flying a very well created version of history is always going to be a little fun, and that is this aircraft... a lot of fun. ______________________________________________________________________ The Fokker Dr.1 by Aerobask is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Fokker Dr.1 Priced at US$19.95 Features: Ultra-High Resolution Model High quality modeled with HD textures (4K). Fully animated virtual 3D cockpit Many modeled instruments cup anemometer altimeter fuel gauge and fuel regulator - Fuel tap magneto, mag start, oil pulsator Stick with blip switch 'Cardan' compass RPM indicator Functional Spandau machine gun Custom sounds : Engine and start, airflow, rolling ground and touch, machine gun, etc... 3D surround effect : engine, start and airflow 3 Pop-Up menu: options, start & movable pop-up compass Optional custom lights for multiplayer mode (dogfight) Refined Flight Model Flight model by X-Aerodynamics (Cameron Garner ) Simulated gyroscopic effect High-Resolution Liveries 5 HD liveries (4K textures) Normal map Requirements: X-Plane 10.45+ in 64bit mode Windows 7+, Mac or Linux. 64bit Operating System 2Gb+ VRAM Current version: 1.03 (last updated May 20th 2016) Installation and documents: Download for the Fokker Dr.1 is 376.30meg and the unzipped file deposited in the Aircraft X-Plane folder at 443.80mb. Manual included is excellent with a long aircraft history and facts, features and how to get the best of flying a WW1 aircraft with X-Plane keyboard shortcuts and great instructions on how to use the featured instruments. Release Review by Stephen Dutton 21st May 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 8 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini - small fan for authentic in the face cockpit air.
  8. News! - Released - Epic E1000 with Skyview by Aerobask Aerobask has already released the excellent Epic E1000 and then just earlier this year they also released the amazing Epic Victory very light jet with the brilliantly conceived Dynon Avionics Skyview three panel display GPS system. So now from Aerobask is the best of both worlds with the Epic E1000 aircraft with the Dynon Avionics Skyview system installed. From the outside it is basically the same E1000 aircraft of which X-PlaneReviews covered in an extensive review here: Aircraft Review - Epic E1000 by Aerobask But inside on this new version you will find not the G1000 layout but another very different panel layout with the Dynon Avionics Skyview system. If you want an in depth overview of the Skyview system you can check out the same layout in the Epic Victory in X-PlaneReviews coverage here: Epic Victory Light Jet by Aerobask Skyview system features include: 3 EFIS Skyview Panels Extensive custom logic to simulate the real Skyview Custom MAPs & FMS Flight Plans Management Transponder AutoPilot and radio All EFIS can be displayed in Pop-up view All display panels do pop-out for ease of use, and the immersive functionality is excellent. The quality attractive cabin is also still present so this aircraft is a very nice place to be for long flights. Previous E1000 users can upgrade to the E1000 Skyview version for only US$7.00, see below for details. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Epic E1000 with Skyview by Aerobaskis NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Epic E1000 Skyview Price is US$29.95 Note to previous Epic E1000 owners: you can upgrade to this new model for only $7. Send an email to sales@x-plane.org for the upgrade code Features: Aerobask Quality 3D Model High quality 3D model throughout Flight model defined according to the specifications of public data. Fun to fly. Ultra-High Resolution textures. 4K, Ambient Occlusion, Specular, Normal mapping and night lightning. Fully functional and animated Virtual 3D cockpit. Panoramic windshield with reflections, rain and icing effects. Ground Power Unit Other Systems EIS MVP50, 2 Garmin GNC255, 1 STEC5000 Autopilot, ADL110B weather radar, TCAS and vocal alerts. Can also be viewed as Pop-up windows Dynamic Menus Options Menu Fuel & weight management GPU Custom 3D Sounds Engine, gear, flaps, door, vocal alert, callout. Enhanced 3D sound engine using SASL functions. Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux - 64 bit Operating System X-Plane 10.45 or higher - 64 bit only (X-Plane 9 not supported) 2GB VRAM Video Card Recommended Current version: 2.03(Last updated April 19th 2016) _____________________________________________________________________________________ Stephen Dutton Updated 19th April 2016 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews
  9. Aircraft Review : Epic Victory Light Jet by Aerobask There was a grand idea of to revolutionise air travel and put the everyday personal experience of a quick short point to point flight to carry a few passengers in a executive style environment at an affordable price. Up to date personal jet travel is restricted to overpaid company CEO's and rock stars and while your average Joe is still flying the airline way. It was a big dream that nearly came off. New operators started up to use the new very small light jet under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) and use it in a taxi style business plan that would have thousands of these VLJ (Very Light Jets) spread at all major and secondary airports and cover a taxi network on delivering passengers quicker and outside the conditions of airline schedules and more importantly the saving of time. It failed to a point because it never got to the "Critical Mass" stage for where the air taxi service could sustain itself by having enough aircraft in the air to maintain profits and cover a large enough area of destinations to allow a constant supply of ready to fly aircraft. First off the cab-rank was Florida-based air taxi provider DayJet, which on October 3, 2007 began its Eclipse 500 service and planned to operate more than 1,000 of the VLJs within five years... they lasted a year. The Eclipse 500 and the Honda Jet were the main contenders for the business. Where if you got your numbers correct there was sales of thousands of these 1 million to 2 million dollar jets. and so enter the Epic Victory which was intended to cash in on this lucrative emerging market. To a point Epic succeeded in creating the correct aircraft in the single Pratt & Whitney Canada PW600 powered "Victory" (The Williams FJ33 was used for testing) for the exceptional low price of US$1 Million. Certainly it was the right aircraft and at the right price for this emerging market... but it all never came to pass, again. There has only been 16 Victory aircraft built and flown and all as experimental aircraft. As the Epic Aircraft company that builds the Victory has been mired into a decade old bizarre history of court cases, lawyers, embezzlement, fraud and god knows what else. Then the Epic company was bought out by the Chinese and now the Russians that makes the whole lot sound more now like James Bond and his megalomaniac villains than just building jets. The real tragedy of all nonsense is the aircraft, because it is an excellent little machine that could have changed in a small part aviation history... the Air-taxi. Aerobask Epic Victory Aerobask has already covered one other Epic aircraft in the excellent E1000 which X-PlaneReviews covered last year Epic E1000 by Aerobask. This Victory aircraft is really an extension of the E1000 as it has the excellent Dynon "Skyview" that was developed from scratch in being autonomous from the X-Plane systems and was developed exclusively with Aerobask by Lionel Zamouth for the aircraft. So X-PlaneReviews found itself in Bend, Oregon where the Epic company has it's company facilities based to look over this wonderful little light jet. The Victory is small at 33ft 5in (10.19 m) long and a wingspan of 36ft 4in (11.08 m), but it is packed with a lot within its frame. The PW600 is going to be the 1,350 lbf (6,000 N) thrust, PW615F version which has a 16 inch (40.64 cm) diameter fan. As the PW610F demonstrator engine only has the 900 lbf (4 kN) thrust PW610F engine that is installed in a twin-configuration on the Eclipse 500, and I feel that a single PW610F is not going to be enough power just installed by itself. Design wise it is an Aerobask aircraft through and through. Which means a very high quality and great design work of which we have certainly have come to expect from them. No doubt now a matured designer in Aerobask delivers again with the Victory as it is a beautifully rendered aircraft with a lot of great detailing. In a slight change this aircraft does not have really plastic look that you can get with these all composite aircraft, it is well molded of course but now with a more realistic quality a notch above. Small detailing in undercarriage wing and door design is first-rate and you are missing nothing. Aerobask is also one not to stand still in ideas and features. The menu system in tabs in your left lower of your screen and are very well set out in three tabs in (From top to bottom) - Options - Weight & Fuel - GPU Control. The "Options" menu is quite light in that it covers hiding one or both Yokes (Which can be done manually inside as well) and turning on or off the window and instrument reflections. The "Weight & Fuel' menu is the interesting one. Top of the pop up menu in yellow is the tag to add or hide the wheel chocks and the aircraft's parking flags. You have a fuel selector to add or empty the aircraft's fuel tanks (two), which is easy to use. But there is a gauge logo above and you think it relates to the tankage, but it doesn't, as it is just a graphic, which can be easily misleading. Lower right is a clever system of adding in weight and passengers. click on a seat or bag and you can load either an adult or a child in the seats (any except the pilot's) and with the baggage select a bag from the menu and it disappears from the adjacent baggage trolley, a full trolley of baggage means none on the aircraft. All the fuel, passenger and baggage weight is then calibrated on a display on the left to show you your actual aircraft weight. And it is all very well done and easy to do. You can close the aircraft's door from the menu as well and then the notice will note that everything is locked and secure. With this the baggage trolley disappears. The GPU (Ground Power Unit) is well done as you have a generator starter, and you press the green start button to start it up. Wait and the dial will show your power to the aircraft and "On" via the green light. Cabin It is surprisingly very spacious inside the cabin considering how small the jet is, and it is very well appointed as well. There is also clever flip out table with a copy of the excellent English magazine "Flight International". The overhead spot lighting is adjustable, and you can see the detail and quality in the lighting fittings. Cockpit The panel is very minimalistic in design and operation, just a few groups of (very) small LED buttons to cover the various operations with their fuse breakers lower panel. Center console is the large throttle (very nice), ground brake and far lower fuel switch-off and tank selection. You can as noted click on the nicely shaped yokes or use the menu to make them disappear. I found the aircraft easier to operate with them not visible and to activate the required buttons set out behind. If you flew the E1000 you will find the set up in the Victory quite familiar, with the same grouped buttons and the three large Dynon display panels. The grouped button arrangement is unique in that you start at the top left and work your way right across the rows to start up the aircraft and activate the systems, only one button is verboten!, and that is the red "Cut off" button which shuts down the engine. On the pilot's side there are two panels of button with the left covering engine and systems operations. Including "Pre-Start" which includes your battery power (If the GPU is connected you will see the power via a few lit buttons). Next is the Pre-Taxi which covers the engine start and autopilot power. The bottom row is your aircraft "Systems" which includes air pressure, valves and emergency oxygen buttons. On the right button panel is the "Lighting" top and the lower selection of buttons cover the "Icing" or ICE protection and pitot heating. One note is that you have to be familiar with the buttons either by using a separate printout (hardcopy or iPad) or really study the buttons because at normal flying panel distance you can't read what they are, the text is too small. Certainly on the ground for start up you can zoom in (a lot) but otherwise you can't read them. You do quickly learn them, but really only the more in use aircraft functions and not the smaller optional items like icing. Far right is the very nice undercarriage lever in UP-DN. The Victory is only really a one person pilot aircraft, but you do have an extensive set of instruments for a Co-Pilot in the right hand seat. On their right side there is only one major panel that covers the aircraft's air-conditioning and oxygen systems and that is mostly on-off in operation. The flap lever in Up - 1 - Full selections and far right the panel and cockpit lighting adjustment knobs covers the Co-Pilot's area. Dynon Avionics Skyview Aerobask is rightly proud of the completely ground up created Dynon Skyview. The older ideas were very good in past Aerobask aircraft, but you found the knobs slightly lagging in operation and the map view also slightly blurred (later updated versions are certainly better)... that is not the case here as these screens have great clarity by using same resolution as the real instrument (1024x600px). Click the two power buttons on and then the avionics button and the three screens come to life, and yes you notice the clarity difference, they all look really good. Before we go to the Skyview system we will first cover the central items in the MVP50 EIS (Engine Information System) and positioned lower your communications Garmin GMA 350 audio panel. The MVP50 is an excellent display that gives you all your information on the aircraft's current engine performance and situation status. Covered is current N1 and N2 Engine status, Fuel and Oil status in left and right tanks and total fuel, Fuel/Oil Pressure, Oil temperature, Voltage & Amperes, Outside air temperature, Clocks (local and Zulu) Fuel Flow (FF) and remaining fuel and current cabin air temperature. Three lower buttons cover Exit - SCReeN - Menu. only the screen function currently works to show annunciators in the top of the display, a note says the Exit and Menu screens will come in a future update. Over all the EIS is excellent in showing you your current engine and fuel status and in flying operations. The Garmin GMA 350 audio panel is the standard X-Plane version we all know and love. A quick glance at the main PFD (Primary Flight Display) will show you two big X crosses over the engine data on the screen. This is realistic as the real Dynon in this configuration shows the same display as the EIS replaces that data in this aircraft. So no although it looks like it, the missing data is not a beta version with the data not working. All three screens are independent of each other and all can be configured to suit your preferences. Within each configuration you can select even parts of full screen views to cover the full spectrum. This includes a HUGE or massive Artificial Horizon with rate of turn indicators, speed and altitude tapes and heading rose (with Course (CRS) - double VOR 1 and 2 and Skyview - FMS pointers) in the lower portion of the screen. An Engine and Aircraft status block known as the EMS which can be positioned left/right or centre of the display and also the MAP/NAV screen. Personally I kept it all simple with just the main PFD in front of me and the centre MAP/NAV screen shared with the EMS to the right. There are a huge amount of selections on the Dynon menu driven interface, which selections are accessed by the lower row of buttons, or the two knobs (covering Altitude and Heading adjustment) that have also a built in joystick movement feature. The main PFD menu covers PFD (Primary Flight Display) - AUTOPILOT - XPNDR - TOOLS - SCREEN (selections) - MSG (Messages) Under the Heading knob joystick selection is a secondary menu covering BARO - MDA - CRS (Course) - HDG (Heading) - ALT - VS - IAS - DIM, that use the knob as a selection tool with a centre push of the knob for selection. The point of reference is if you like these menu driven interfaces? Certainly they contain a huge amount of information and selections, but that is also part of their problem? Just setting the VOR1 and VOR 2 pointers can take time going through all the various button selections to get what you want, were as two buttons on a standard panel aircraft can do the same simple job at well... a push of a button. Personally I find it all a bit distracting in the air where as you have too take your eyes off the horizon for far too long just to get something as a simple VOR pointer to point in the right direction... Certainly a menu procedure manual is needed to be handy. The supplied manuals are however very good and do cover all the menu routes to the one you need, so keep them handy or print them out for reference. MAP/NAV screen is also very detailed. You can have your MAP (aircraft position) in either "Heading UP" or "North UP" modes. Airport or NAV-AID information is highly detailed and NRST shows you your nearest points of reference. It is important to understand the under driving information on the NAV display and the data used to complete or run flightplans as it is based on the powerful X-Plane built in GNS430/530 Navdata. If you understand the various areas of using the default GNS430/530 then you will quickly adopt to this system abet with a different interface. So loading or saving flightplans is the same as well in the .fms format, same as creating a flightplan from an outside database site and loading it into the aircraft in the .fms format. So the displays are excellent but highly complex in operation until you become familiar with the maze menu of routes. Side of the displays are your backup instruments in left: Artificial Horizon top and a Altitude instrument below. Right side is the backup heading... On the glareshield are two Garmin GNC255 radios for controlling COM and NAV frequencies. You switch between the two with the C/N button and the left one is COMM 1/NAV 1 and the right GNC255 is COMM 2/NAV 2. Centre top is the excellent Genesys S-TEC 5000 autopilot that can also be set via the Dynon panel menus and you turn it on via the "autopilot" switch on the PRE-TAXI button panel. All panels and radios pop-out for ease of use and can be moved around your screen, this makes learning or setting out the flightplan far easier. Flying the Aerobask Victory All loaded up, flightplan set and the doors closed and you are ready to start up this light jet. The procedure is actually very simple and quick. Fuel tank selection by the lower arrow like selector, fuel pump on and set your beacon lighting. Then you just press two buttons in sequence in "igniter" and "starter" and watch the EIS as the minute Pratt and Whitney PW615F starts up in the rear. Start up sounds are in the "oh wow, that is fantastic" category. Yes they are very good and very loud. Gross weight is 5500 lb (2495 kg) and I am at 2404kg which means I am just slightly under it, in other words I am heavy. You feel that weight as you apply some thrust to get moving, but the aircraft is easy to move around and taxi. You set the flaps to the centre position of T/O on the flap display on the glareshield. The controls are really all very minimal, but you somehow have everything you need... If aviation was like driving a car then this system would be the closest to that ideal. But cars don't fly, aircraft do and they are fast machines as well. Once lined up on KBDN runway 34, it was time to see what this Light jet had to offer. Considering the size and the weight on the aircraft it moved with a nice push as you gather speed quite quickly, sounds went high and you heard the PW working hard, sound quality is really, really good. When tracking at speed down the runway your yaw inputs have to be very small, get it wrong and soon you are suddenly seriously over correcting and you will lose it. If you keep that line in check with as little movement as you can it will track fast and straight. On rotation you feel THAT weight, but the aircraft will handle well and you can turn your heading in my case towards the Cascade Ranges and Portland. You have to gauge your climb-rate, you can use all of the 1200fpm that is official, but keep just under that and you can climb quite quickly. I'm so heavy remember and the PW is being pushed into the red zone as a flicker every now and then, but the aircraft will climb easily to my set height of 15000ft to clear the Cascades. When turning on the Genesys S-TEC 5000 autopilot it came in with a nasty thunk which I didn't like. But it was from then on easy to use and set up. I tried to see what a 3000fpm climb would do, and the speed didn't fall off as quickly as I thought it would, and the little Epic actually handled the extreme conditions. But as soon as that speed did drop below 130knts the aircraft would shimmy and swing from side to side as it fought the forces beyond its control. It would do that if you placed the Victory slightly out of its comfort zone, but bringing it down to the usual 1000fpm and getting some speed back and then everything went back to calm and normal again. You have to admit the Victory is a pretty little aircraft. I love the clean lines and smooth modern design. Cruising at 15,000ft you just power along at around 235knts and you have say that is a fair click and that you can cover the ground at 319.70knts (592 km/h) at maximum speed, Cruise speed is 250knts (463 km/h) with a huge range of 1,380 nautical miles (2222 km) at an maximum altitude of 28,000 ft (8537 m) and that is impressive performance. Over the Cascades and it was time to descend into Portland International (KPDX), you throttle back and easily slip down around 1500fpm, once at the base I turned into a circuit to achieve a landing from the west on RWY10R. Portland Intl is a hard airport to find and hard to use with long approaches as it sits by the Columbia River, and mostly in a valley, any approaches are over hills or higher terrain. After a tight 180º turn I intersected RWY10R. The Victory has no aids in slowing down the aircraft in airbrakes and on the ground there is no thrust reverse, so your approach speed is critical in that you don't arrive too fast. At a slow speed around 125knts and full flap you can set yourself up nicely, but have to remember your speed still needs to go a lot slower yet to land. After all the noise from the Jet pack sitting behind you at this descending speed the aircraft is eerily quiet, just some wind noise and when the gear goes down some more heightened noise from the wheel struts. Coming in you realise your speed is slowing and you still need to wash off still more. If you use the ILS-Approach you will know when the aircraft is disconnected from the beams, and you have to be ready for it as the aircraft becomes more loose. In manual hands on approaches you need to be hands on, but it is very controllable. This is an important point to make. The Victory may look and be flown by it's simple needs but it requires a firm hand on the yoke and control by the rudder pedals, you work very hard as a pilot to keep this little aircraft as smooth and controlled as the very good pilot in you has to do a good job in departure and certainly in the arrival points to keep the machine in your total control and not losing it to its own devices, not that the Victory is a hard plane to fly because it isn't but it needs a firm hand and skills to be super smooth and controlled as possible in these certain phases. Over the fence and you need that speed low and in my case 85knts. Once you have put the wheels on the hard stuff you need to VERY fine in keeping the aircraft straight, get it wrong and as on takeoff your going for a ride into the scenery. Small inputs and corrections are needed until the rest of the speed rubs off and then you can let that breath out and use the brakes... tricky, yes very. Taxiing around KPDX in this VLJ and the heavies look huge and very heavy. Parking is way over on the north-east of the KPDX at the "FlightCraft" area, and here we shutdown the hardworking PW615F and open up the aircraft. And the flying for today is done. Nightlighting You can adjust the display brightness and a part of the panel, but mostly the panel is quite dark. There is an adjustable spot light above you but overall the cockpit is a feel and touch area. The rear cabin is well lit with creative ceiling lighting, all spot lights as noted are adjustable to highlight areas. External lighting has been adjusted, but it still shows a very large set of orbs, I am not a fan of these sorts of lights. Liveries All liveries provided have been taken from real aircraft except one, a Coast Guard livery, a great house livery is default. All are liveries are exceptional by artist Jean-François Edange and my favorite is the twirly line version N971AR. Summary In real life the Air-Taxi dream is at this point in time just that... a dream. But that doesn't stop you from enjoying and flying an aircraft that should have and could have made that dream actually work. As an aircraft the Victory is an amazing perfect machine that can wizz four passengers and their baggage in speed and comfort nearly 1,400 nautical miles and at a economical cost in purchase price and running costs. Shame it never delivered because of bad or inept management. In a strange way the Victory is a bit of a contradiction of an aircraft. Easy to set up and basically fly. It does however need a slightly skilled pilot to get the very best out of it. Get it wrong or overfly and you are in trouble, and my guess is that the real Epic Victory would feel and fly exactly the same way. So that makes it challenging as well to hone your skills to ninth degree and get a very point to point perfect flight. Get it right and the Victory is highly rewarding. Aerobask has always delivered excellent out of the usual and modern designs in aviation. Here they deliver again, but without doubt have also upped the quality up a notch this time around as well. Everything here is very well presented in aircraft, menus and features (external lighting aside). Design and quality is excellent, and their achievements in the outstanding design of their Dynon Avionics Skyview system is excellent. Yes it is complicated system with so many different menus and functions and does require a few reads of the manuals to get all the different menu routes correct, but overall it is a reflection of the real world system that is excellent in operation. So a sum up in that the Victory is a little cracker of a light jet, an amazing aircraft really in design and great to fly with a little skill needed to get the very best out of it, certainly worth having in your hanger and whipping out to fly a few passengers on a small point to point taxi role. Overall amazing and different. Note: When purchasing the Epic Victory from Aerobask you also get an extra aircraft in the package with the very different LISA Akoya which X-PlaneReviews reviewed here: Aircraft Review : LISA Akoya by Aerobask Yes! the Epic Victory by Aerobask is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Epic Victory Price is US$29.95 As noted the LISA Akoya aircraft is also included FREE in this package and part of the above price Features Aerobask Quality 3D Model High quality 3D model throughout Flight model defined according to the specifications of public data. Fun to fly. Ultra-High Resolution textures. 4K, Ambient Occlusion, Specular, Normal mapping and night lightning. Fully functional and animated Virtual 3D cockpit. Panoramic windshield with reflections, rain and icing effects. Ground Power Unit First ever modeled Dynon Skyview for X-Plane 3 EFIS Dynon Skyview Extensive custom logic to match the real Dynon Skyview Custom MAPs & FMS Flight Plans Management Transponder AutoPilot and radio All EFIS can be displayed in Pop-up view Other Systems EIS MVP50, 2 Garmin GNC255, 1 STEC5000 Autopilot, ADL110B weather radar, TCAS and vocal alerts. Can also be viewed as Pop-up windows Dynamic Menus Options Menu Fuel & weight management GPU Custom 3D Sounds Engine, gear, flaps, door, vocal alert, callout. Enhanced 3D sound engine using SASL functions. Liveries More than 6 different paint schemes using 4K textures (more available at aerobask.com) Documentation Victory general manual Aerobask Skyview manual Checklist normal operation Online Flight Planner tutorial ______________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download file size is 419.40mb to your X-Plane - Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 472.40mb Notes: None Documents : Huge amount of documents and manuals including for the Skyview System, Checklist and Quicklook. Real documents include the original Skyview manual and S-TEC 5000 Autopilot manual. ______________________________________________________________________ Requirements : X-Plane 10.42+ - Running in 64bit mode Windows 7+. Mac OSC 10.7+, Linux - 64bit Operating System 2Gb VRAM Minimum The aircraft is quite heavy in framerate- not overly so but more than the average aircraft of this size. Current version: 1.02 (Last updated February 12th 2016) ______________________________________________________________________ Aerobask site : aerobask.com Aerobask Developer Support : Support forum X-Plane.Org _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 11th February 2016 Copyright©2016: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - KBDN - Bend Municipal Airport 1.2 by Gendo (X-Plane.Org) - Free - KPDX - Portland International Airport 1.02 by MisterX6 (X-Plane.Org) - Free
  10. Aircraft Review : LISA Akoya by Aerobask If you are the champion pilot that states... "If it has a stick and a set of rudder pedals, then I can fly it!". Well here is an aircraft that will certainly test that theory. It is the LISA Akoya... and what a strange critter of an aircraft it certainly is. The LISA Akoya is a French made two seater aircraft with the unusual set up of a rear high-mounted tractor configuration engine. It looks like a flying Dolphin with wings and that is because it is designed to takeoff from land, water and ice. And only a strange critter like this would come from a developer like Aerobask, and you have to admit it is different. (note the new Aerobask logo) I am used to seeing strange aircraft outside the Florida office but the Akoya goes that one mad step further. The wings can be rotated back, either for clever aircraft storage or if you want to the aircraft to be also be towed behind a vehicle to the airport from home (on a specially built trailer). Versatile this aircraft is without doubt, you can't do that with your average Cessna 172. Open the one piece canopy and the cockpit is very simple, clean and modern. But before we go too far we have to make the road dragster look like an aircraft. In your X-Plane menu Settings/Joystick & Equipment panel you have too set up a few key assignments to extend and retract the wings. I used Shift/E and Shift/R to cover the wings of which the selections can be found on the top X-Plane addon key custom menu. (top red arrow). More key custom commands available include a toggle choice for the wings, CSC or "Constant Speed Controller" options and landing gear options. Design wise it is a very unusual aircraft. Long fine constant chord thin wings with downturned edges that have an aspect ratio of about 18:1, with those strange upper elevators with slightly upturned tips, and flipper stubby wings by the cockpit and very small airflow stub wings down on the lower tail. And all these aerodynamic surfaces are mounted on a circular cylinder tapered fuselage. All very Burt Rutan in concept. Two Menu tabs are located lower left of your screen. One is a basic weights and fuel menu and the other a basic checklist binder. You can add in fuel and a one piece luggage bag, but the that small bag can cost you a lot of fuel weight. The menu will show you in red if the aircraft is overloaded. There is the option of canopy tinting or clear (Reflections). A term for the cockpit could be "Futuristic Minimalism". It has what you need but nothing more. No key just a power button, no trim wheels or buttons, fuel is on/off, no mixture or prop pitch and altogether in here you have just that "a stick and rudder" aircraft with no frills. It all makes even a basic trainer look overloaded with equipment. The central "War of the Worlds" looking panel is dominated by a twin screen EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) and noted as the "Aerobask (DYNON) SkyView" display. The display is your standard electronic layout with located on the left side is the main Primary Flight Display (PFD) incorporating on the top with an Artificial Horizon/Pitch, Speed and Altitude tapes and built in lower rose/heading dial. A rate of turn/angle gauge is spread across the top. The panel is a menu driven system that is accessed by buttons on the lower display. In menu selections it is really quite basic. available is (left to right) BARO - ENGINE - MAP - FPL (Fightplan) - TIMER - MSG (Message). Most buttons access the information on the right side screen, with "MAP" the main navigation view and "ENGINE" bringing up the engine display. (ENGINE) Engine parameters covered are engine CHT and EGT outputs, MAP INHG (Manifold Absolute Pressure ) Carb ºF and Oil pressure psi/temp, fuel pressure (PSI). Electrical displays covers AMPS and Battery Volts. Fuel quantity and Fuel usage (Fuel flow) is noted in "Gallons per hour". Trim and flap position is also noted (MSG) the message display gives you items either active (Yellow) or (Red) warnings. (FPL) Fightplan selection is the X-Plane FMS in another form and you can create or save/load the routes in standard .fms route format. The aircraft does not have any autopilot or any means to follow the FMS route, so the flightplan is only displayed there as guide for you to fly by. Left panel are the two "Magneto" switches (turn off the engine) and two back up instruments in speed and altimeter. The left switches below cover Wings Carb heat - Fuel pump - Cowl flaps - LED test switches. Inner left top is a clever COMM 1 radio, and Start-Power-Choke switches Right Panel Inner are two instruments that are top a "Transponder" and lower the CSC or "Constant Speed Controller". The constant speed Akoya propeller is managed by a controller instrument (CSC-1/P), which monitors and displays the Engine RPM and Manifold Pressure. Instead of a lever the propeller pitch is controlled here and you can set a Propeller Mode of: MAN : Manual mode CRS : Cruise mode : Pitch 70 % CLB : Climb mode : Pitch 99 % There is a RPM overspeed warning as well. Far right are the lighting switches and panel light (Dynon display) adjusters. Mid lower panel are three large selectors... Left flaps in 0-1-2 three positions and right undercarriage up/down, the centre button we will come to later. As noted the layout is just plain basic, no more or no less than you need. Flying the Akoya It can get hot very quickly in the Florida sun, so you want to start up and get moving as quick as possible. After the walkround you need to bring in the pitot cover by pressing the "Remove before flight" tag on the rear bulkhead. Starting the Akoya is as simple as 1 - 2- 3. First turn on both the magnetos (fuel tank switch is in front of the seats, but it is already switched on) 2. give the engine a little choke if required, a little throttle helps... then 3. hit the starter switch and the noise will start up high above you. Sounds are very good and it feels like the chop, chop noise is close and is right behind your neck... of which it is. Taxiing was quite easy, but the aircraft is very high-nosed as the Akoya is a tail-dragger (sort of). So I kept the taxiway centreline to the left and visible to make sure I had a visual line to follow. Power up and you quickly realise that this Akoya flying caper is not going to as easy as it looks. I am very smooth on the throttle, and only give out small stick inputs, but it soon becomes very apparent that there is not a lot of slipstream going over the rear rudder, and whoops your gone... This second time I tried the "hold brakes and a lot of throttle" theory to try to slingshot the aircraft straight forward as the nicey, nice approach certainly does not work. To a point it was more successful. But you are hanging on for your dear life and trying to keep the aircraft as straight as a die on some sort of a straight line... then the moment the tail rises your in business and you can gain control back and then as the speed rises more you are going to finally slip the Akoya upwards and away from mother earth. overall Nasty! Once in the air the Akoya is very nice, and balanced, which is a good thing as there are no pilot-aids at all, it is all stick and rudder flying. You need only small stick inputs to do what you want, and the aircraft is very nice and neutral. Plenty of power allows you to climb easily at around 800fpm, a 1000fpm is possible, however this is not a "throw the aircraft around in the air " type of machine, its hybrid nature disallows that sort of behavior. You do feel you are being pulled (upwards?) as the Rotax 912 ULS flat four cylinder piston with 1:2.34 reduction gearing, delivering 73.5 kW (98.6 hp) does its job. I was surprised that the aircraft was as smooth and as easy to balance as it was considering its odd shape and aerofoil configurations. But the main feature of the Agoya is its waterbourne abilities. Flying around over Florida's Lakeland area means there should be something below to aim the Akoya's nose at. But first. Centre lower panel there is a large button called "Ground". Press it and it turns to "Water" to seal up the aircraft ready to do some swimming. You are going to give the little aircraft some chance of not being swamped, by setting on X-Plane's Menu/Weather page the wave height and length. I used .2 of a ft (foot) to keep the swell down to a minimum. Flaps down your speed can be less of 70knts, but you need as much a lower speed you can find. A very shallow approach can keep the aircraft at the best position for watery landing, but the speed is critical no matter how slow your descent is. You have to find the very least knots you can, which is not as easy as it sounds while not losing height and not stalling, still too fast and you will easily bounce off the surface like Mr Wallace's "Dambusters" bouncing bomb. It will take a few goes to get a clean perfect water landing just right. Once on the water the aircraft is surprisingly great and easy to manoeuvre, very easy to turn or park at a jetty. Opening the canopy will mean you can put your hands in the water and easily do a bit of light fishing, I doubt any sailfish fishing as the fish may pull you with him, than you with the big fish. But it is a nice feature if you want to hop around lakes looking for dinner or fill out the freezer. Taking off from the water is far easier than on the runway, as the water tends to help keep the aircraft more in a straight line, pretty soon you are going some knots and are easily skyways again. All liveries are French (F) with the LISA logo F-WOOA as default. The two other are WAOW a swipy green and WOOH a garlish pinky-red Nightlighting is basic but very good. One far right panel adjuster will adjust the Dynon screen, the other the amount of light in the cabin. Not much variation but you easily create the right feel you want from very bright to just showning the instruments, so it is very easy to find the right lighting point you require. Up on the roof above you there is a strange four way vent and cabin lighting arrangement, very well created. External lighting is basic with Navigation and Strobe. Landing and taxi light in the inner left wing. Heading back to KLAL (Lakeland) you reflect on this strange critter of an aircraft. Humankind are always looking to do the same thing in very different ways, and to sort of refine the idea. Here the French want to make a two-seater multipurpose aircraft in land-sea-ice operations, and as clever as it is, and it certainly covers all the bases. But it is an aircraft in the real world that is not really a usable machine in the way an DHC-2 Beaver is for example, that aircraft can still do land-sea-ice missions but can also carry more passengers and cargo. The Agoya is really nothing more than a clever hobby aircraft, and yet we need a new design of a workable DHC-2 for today's aviation, and that is why there are so many old tired Beavers still flying around and yet only a few of these sort of aircraft that are struggling to sell. Landing the Agoya on wheels is the same frightful challenge as taking off. Once again you are confronted with a very low speed and a very shallow approach as so not to do the bouncys. It is not so easy unless if your speed is not right down to crawl slow to suddenly find yourself hopping hopelessly down the runway. In finally get those narrow set wheels actually down on the hard stuff and you are then confronted with trying to keep the aircraft in a long straight line and not quickly disappearing into a rounding spin off into the scenery. It is fun the first few times, unless you master it. The Akoya is not your usual General Aviation aircraft, yes versatile it is and even fun, but I think the aircraft will be more in the oddity section of aviation than mainstream.... great for fishing though. Performance Cruising speed: 210 km/h (130 mph; 113 kn) economical Stall speed: 64 km/h (40 mph; 35 kn) flaps down Never exceed speed: 290 km/h (180 mph; 157 kn) Range: 1,250[13] km (777 mi; 675 nmi) at economical cruising speed without optional tank Rate of climb: 5.2 m/s (1,020 ft/min) maximum Summary Weird, fishy, strange but interesting. Yes the Akoya is a very critter of a strange fish. Hard to takeoff and land (on the hard stuff) but I don't doubt many pilots will see the challenge and the versatility in the aircraft. I wish there was more navigation aids, even in a course adjustment to angle in runways, but the aircraft is very basic in that area. Certainly a clever design by Aerobask, and very well created and in keeping with their usual high standards. So where can you buy the LISA Agoya from Aerobask? Well you can't just yet. The aircraft will be bundled (free) with the soon forthcoming "Victory" light passenger jet. So you get two aircraft for one price. If demand is there then the Agoya might be listed as a stand alone purchase. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Installation : Download aircraft file size is 226.60mb. Installed file size is 268.40 Documents : One in depth manual and one real document "csc_manual-pv50" Developer Site : Aerobask Manufacturer Site : LISA Airplanes Requirements Windows, Mac OS, Linux (please refer to the requirements of X-Plane®) X-Plane® 10.40 (64-bit only!) or higher _____________________________________________________________________________________ Preview by Stephen Dutton 27th January 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews
  11. News! - Viper Jet From Aerobask coming soon More noise around that the Viper Jet is in final beta and due soon? This is the first jet from Aerobask, so it will be interesting with what they produce, but there is no doubt it will also be totally up to date with current technology a per usual from them... A few images and great video while we wait. Stephen Dutton 8th August 2015 Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews
  12. Aircraft Review : Epic E1000 by Aerobask Welcome to the latest aircraft from Aerobask. This is the Epic E1000 and the largest composite aircraft done by this developer. With the aircraft is still undergoing development and certification expected in late (4Q) 2015. This is a powerful and currently the fastest single-engine turboprop yet built. It uses the 1200 HP Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67A engine installed on a very modern composite aerodynamic airframe to deliver true ‘jet-class’ performance for the price (US$2.75M) of an advanced turboprop. And performance is what this aircraft is all about. The Epic can do a cruise speed of 325 kn (374 mph; 602 km/h), climb at 4,000 ft/min (20 m/s), has a range of 1,650nmi (1,899 mi; 3,056 km) (1385 nmi at maximum cruise speed) and fly at an unbelievable ceiling altitude at 34,000 ft (10,000 m). If you want to go up there with a Boeing 737-800 maxing out behind you then "hey" be my guest... but you have to admit those specifications are very impressive. So X-Plane Reviews headed out to the West Coast of France to Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport to look the aircraft over and see if that performance is real, and can this aircraft really fly alongside the light jets. Epic E1000 by Aerobask Many users are now very familiar with Aerobask's design philosophy. Aircraft like the Twin Star DA-42, Pipistrel Panthera and the Lancair Legacy FG are all very composite designs and significant new generation aircraft. And the Epic E1000 certainly follows on in that vein, the only slight difference is this is not a light spec aircraft here, but a more larger General Aviation/Executive design. And for molding those smooth sleek almost dolphin shaped designs you won't find any one who can do this better. The Epic is one nice looking aircraft. These aircraft are very hard to dissect, because they are not built around a frame or modules, but are formed as a one piece moldings with the smaller components making up the whole. So they can be unnaturally smooth and very hard to make interesting. Aerobask is one developer however who can bring these aircraft to some distinction, so the design here is excellent. The aircraft its on a tri-cycle landing gear and they are quite tall and sits the aircraft well off the ground, the rear wheels are a trailing design and very well designed here. Externally the aircraft is excellent and comes in High-Res textures of 4K. There is no window tab menus, but a menu panel in the center of the panel that gives you various options internally and externally. Top row is the static elements (tags, chocks and covers) and a portable GPU (Ground Power Unit) which is very nice. Third button along is the "FPS Boost" which helps in your framerate if you are marginal by removing the seats and other various no-essential item. I found the aircraft very framerate friendly, overly so... So your computer would have to be pretty average to have to use this. Second row of buttons covers the panel in left and right yokes removal and the excellent window and panel reflections, bottom row single button is to open or close the single rear passenger door. The panel is dominated by two left and right Garmin G900 Primary Flight Display (PFD) displays, the center display (MFD) is another on the surface an G900 display but here it is a modified X-Plane GNS530 unit instead. Note these G900's are only an accurate representation of a real G900, and not an exact replica of the instrument but they are very good never the less for that. Lower panels include the main switch gear on the right (yoke removed) center is an excellent MEGGiTT autopilot and Garmin GMA350 radio unit, with below a small pedestal unit with a throttle, propeller (feather) and condition levers (throttle has power "Max/Idle" settings and a "Beta" reverse thrust setting). The cockpit, panel and rear cabin lighting adjustment knobs? are very small and hard to see behind the levers. Left lower panel is just the climate and oxygen controls. The aircraft has a unique way of switching on the various systems... the three rows of buttons are set out to be used at the various points of getting the aircraft ready for flight and in order. Top row is the "Pre-Start" Second row is the "Pre-Taxi" and the lower row is the "Systems". The Pre-Start includes the batteries, fuel pumps and igniter and starter gen settings. This will power up the G900 screens, but not the central display. For that you need to switch on the avionics master on the second row... and on the right "Lighting" panel the "Panel" button. Other "lighting" panel items include Ice (wing light) Land and Taxi lights, strobe and Navigation lights. Another lower button panel is your "Ice" buttons for de-icing boots, the propeller heat, the window heat, the inertial separator, and the pitot heat. Modern flight displays are quite complex and menu driven. And you have a lot going on in this display, and there is no doubt this is the best G900/G1000 style display in X-Plane at the moment. There is a side panel Engine Information System (EIS) on the left within the display, and this can be switched off to give you more visual space to the main flight instruments that are all artificial horizon, speed and altitude tapes, bank roll scale and roll pointer and HSI (horizontal situation indicator) or heading pointer all in one. You have also a "setup" menu to do more finer settings under the "PFD" menu button. Here you can set your "Audio Alert" in a women's voice that you are doing something wrong. Baro HPA/IHNG setting, Reflections (screens), TEMP units in ºC or ºF, Decision Height and a Overtorque limiter which is simulated. You can test all the systems by pressing TEST under "alerts" and in the sidebar there are the main ENGINE displays of Torque (TRQ), Temperature (ITT), Propeller RPM (NP), power (NG), fuel flow (FF), and oil pressure & temperature and cabin pressure, and a fuel quantity overview. Pressing SYSTM information about electrical amps & volts (generator, battery, bus 1 and 2) and the FUEL for fuel pressure, fuel quantity, fuel remaining, fuel used, estimated endurance and estimated range. Radio VOR1/VOR2 and COMM tuning is set out at the top of the display and the tuning is done via the side knobs and switching them over via the Push 1-2 button. Transponder XPDR is set via the menu buttons on the XPDR page. The standard GNS530 feels a big large expanded for its central role and even the pop out screen is smaller than the installed one? The knobs and buttons are slightly different as well and so if you want to save time the pop out is sometimes quicker to use. But you do have all that great GPS functionality available to you. You also have a built in to the GNS GPS both the Checklist and Emergency Checklist as well, for... Emergencies. Flying the Epic E1000 My flight was a loop around the southern western areas of France. In leaving Bordeaux to Biarritz then skirting the Pyrenees in going inland to Pau and then looping back again to Bordeaux.... A 265nm flight to nowhere! Flightplan in and booked (sorry activated) and your ready to start the engine... Propeller and condition levers up (no propeller pitch change?) Press the button, hold and wait and soon the engine whines up and into action. Set your ALT (alternator), Fuel (auto) and if required the manual tank selection is on the floor under the pedestal. and lower SYSTM's on in Auto-Pilot, Trim, Air Pressure, Hi (Air Pressure), EMER (Air Pressure). Sounds in starting, start with the starter click and the power start whine and then running gives you a great rumble. Great sounds if you have a very good sound system hooked up to your simulator (yes I do). The engine soon settles into its warm up pattern and your ready to go so the whole startup process is simulated. The propeller when running is just a flat disk which is disappointing, but looks very good from the cockpit. You need to pull the COND lever back to idle to taxi or if not your will take out a bit of the scenery, as the aircraft will shoot off the line. Even then I found the idle position still a bit too fast when taxiing. Turn tight and the front wheel does not turn enough into the radius either?. When lined up on the runway don't forget to put the COND lever back into Flight mode and then power up... This is a very powerful single engined aircraft and so the asymmetrical thrust is really quite strong so you need to be prepared for the power. Departure is via RWY05 which is the wrong way to my flightplan, but the wind direction changed so I will have to circuit LFBD before I pick up my plan on the western side. At 130kts I do a slight rotate and then a full pitch to 2000fpm to climb away from the airfield... and yes this aircraft can climb. You tend to feel into the aircraft and find its balance which is very good and let the speed rise, gear up which is very well animated by Aerobask and I'm in the turn to find the circuit. I'm going to 7500ft at first to let the aircraft settle down and build more speed for the climb to 22,500ft. The MEGGiTT autopilot is highly impressive. Easy to use and to set, in you just select your altitude and then press the UP or DN buttons to select your rate of climb. The aircraft will easily handle 2000fpm, but watch your speed because the aircraft can't keep that pace up all the way, so I came back to 12000fpm and then 900fpm and then 500fpm to keep the speed moving in a positive direction. And watch your air pressure is working as if not it will tell you that you need to pressurize the aircraft. And soon you are getting mighty high for a small aircraft like this... and you can get a lot further up than this. The aircraft is nice and fast in the air, but I wouldn't call it jet like, as it is too noisy for that... The sounds however are amazingly good, I turned my speakers up and just loved that turbine running hard in front of me. You can use the GPS to check your route and position, and note the excellent on the far left of the pilot's display the back-up altimeter and artificial horizon. Great vertical display and routing information is well built into the GPS unit. I will profess though that I never found the pilots position really comfortable? the distance between the seats and the display panels is quite small in viewing terms, and those panels are very large when you are this close-up to them. On the X-Plane "Rendering Settings" Menu I set the lateral view to 075.00 degrees to give me more of a better viewing angle, although Aerobask noted that 65º is better but I really needed more than that... And to a point this worked quite well, but move even slightly back and the seat quickly covered the view. Many would like this small cocoon of an area to work in but I found it a little restricting, and the high sloping center glare shield meant the view forward was quite small as well and you had to lift yourself higher to look over the panel, I found the best view out was left and down which was far better and good for approaches. You are not used to coming down from a high altitude with a lighter aircraft like this, so you have plan your descent point at a far longer position than usual when flying small aircraft. In this case the Epic is like a light jet in descent and speed points. Note the reflections which are excellent for realism. Your speed control is very good, you can easily match (with the throttle) the right speed you need (even slow). I could easily balance the aircraft very nicely at 160knt and then down to 140knts when the descent was completed to start the circuit for the approach, and the aircraft gives you confidence, the power on tap allows the two stage flaps (noted as TO - Takeoff and LANDING - Landing) is a little simplistic but effective in operation. On this flight I used the ILS approach system and tuned the airspeed back to around 100knts for landing, this is great but watch out for the drop as X-Plane cuts you off the beam, you are still quite high and so you are suddenly free and the aircraft will slightly wobble. you need to give the speed a little nudge upwards to keep that descent clean, flare is good, but this stick undercarriage does not have as enough give as you would like, but get the flare right and it is not a problem. The aircraft uses the "Beta" toggle function to reverse the propeller pitch for reverse thrust. This means you get throttle control by using the "toggle" reverse and not the "full reverse" selection. In other words, hit the toggle key or button (like you do to open the reverser doors on the heavy jets) and the aircraft goes into beta mode and throttle up the reverse thrust you require, when done throttle back to idle and re-click your toggle to resume normal throttle control. It works here very well, as the rev thrust power is powerful. Don't forget to set your COND lever back to ground idle even if the women's alert voice is complaining about your engine's condition... Lighting I flew the Epic E1000 again to see what it was like in the twilight... but first some nice pretty pictures! The aircraft inside and out looks very nice in the softer light, It is very nice to fly and look at these points of a time and a place. The idea is to make these large displays workable in a dark cockpit, you can certainly adjust the display brightness via those small knobs behind the throttle lever, or even for a quicker solution click the "panel" lighting "off" on the lighting panel. The lighting is not focus, focused in the sense of being very spot like, but just an overall light darker or lighter. It is very adjustable in that way. And you can have the cockpit really bright if you want to. HDR off HDR on When HDR is on the lighting is more slightly focused than with HDR off, In fact the differences are not that overall significant to switch over to HDR if you don't require the need. External lighting is fine but not anything overwhelming. You have a left wing light to check for ice, and the standard beacon, nav and nice strobe lights. The landing lights are good but very spread out on each wing tip, so there is slight dullness between them and the central taxi light, but overall they are all you need. In the cabin there is the modern touch of great LED strip lighting. Liveries There are nine liveries in a few real aircraft, a few fictional and a commercial in Somma Aviation. Default is N44GB which is available in hi-res and low-res. All the liveries are design by a quality artist in XFlyer. Two more are available for download from Aerobask's site.. Summary If you liked any other Aerobask aircraft (and who doesn't) then the Epic E1000 will fit very nicely in your hangar. This is another very fine aircraft and brilliantly done in all context by this very forward looking developer. Design wise and execution it is very good. Sounds are glorious and detailed if you have a great sound system, they certainly add to the overall experience. It is certainaly a nice aircraft to fly and the greatest feat is that you can for a GA/Executive aircraft fly over a high mountain range like the European Alps than around them. It is not a light jet or a jet in that capacity, as good as it is, but it is an outstanding small fast point to point light aircraft. Very modern and totally up to date. Negatives, not many really. I'm not crazy about the propeller in flight from the side, as it has no pitch adjustment and is razor thin, inside though it is very realistic so visually it is a tradeoff. It is tight in there in the control seat but the real aircraft could be the same? no baggage door either, but it looks like the real aircraft does not have one either, suitcases on your laps I suppose. The replacement center display with the GNS530 is very clever and very well intergrated and highly functional, but feels quite large and over-sized in your view point. Frame-rate is very good, it never caused me any problems, but if you have your texture resolution set (very high) then the numbers are above 1000gb or a 1gb of your graphic cards ability so you would need a 1gb card or higher. HDR on was no issues. Overall at that price the aircraft is a great investment, well done and a very much larger sized aircraft than before from Aerobask, like I noted if you like Aerobask's other aircraft you will really like this one... It is the best yet from Aerobask. The Epic E1000 by Aerobask is now available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : EPIC E1000 and is priced at only US$23.95 Installation : Download is 384.20mb that is unzipped to 454.40mb (all liveries) to your X-Plane - "General Aviation" Folder. Documents : Great detailed manual and tutorial with excellent information on how to use the aircraft. Performance tables and checklists. A real detailed instruction sheet of the PT6A Engine. There are camera presets, but I found they interfered with the X-Plane default. Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.35 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) 1.5 GB VRAM Video Card Recommended Version 1.1.5 (9th April 2015) Version 1.1.5 There has been a slight upgrade to the E1000 to version 1.1.5 New sounds : rolling runway, touchdown & skid dry. Fix minor PFD bug (position). Fix knob CRS-BARO : CDI course setting is more accurate now. Fix turn bank indicator. Updated manuals & checklist Go to the X-plane.OrgStore for the 1.1.5 update and to your account to download, but if you just want the updated manuals and checklist them go to Aerobask's site Features High quality 3D model with High-Res texture 4K, specular and normal mapping. Fully functional Virtual 3D cockpit. EFIS including the new GNS (by Laminar Research), checklists (Normal/Emergency), Weather radar, TCAS, setup page and vocal alerts. EIS, including 3 pages : Engine, System and Fuel Fully animated : door, flight controls, canopy, gear, all levers Panoramic windshield with reflections Many custom sounds : engine, gear, flaps, door, vocal alert, callout Liveries : more 8 different paint schemes designed by XFlyer Ice effects (windshield and wings) Propeller disc effect Ground Power Unit, flags and wheel chocks Toggle yoke visibility left and right Simulated systems Start procedure - fuel system (automatic balance) - taxiing with beta mode - anti ice system - Pusher - Autopilot - Pressurization - Overtorque limiter Support forum for the Epic E1000 Review by Stephen Dutton 11th April 2015 (updated) Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb - Seagate 256gb SSD Software: - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.35 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose - Soundlink Mini Scenery - LFBD - Bordeaux-Merignac (France) - by XPFR : Scenery for X-Plane (XPFR : Scenery) Free
  13. Aircraft Review : Antares 20E Motorglider by Aerobask If you want a minority strain of aviation in X-Plane then Gliders would be it. New gliders are very rare and in fact this is the first review I have ever done on a glider. But like any facet of flying they are very interesting and has mostly the question to be poised is that has the free spirit of these thermal machines been given at most a good aircraft to fly. Well that aspect is changed here, because Aerobask has created the Antares 20E that is a quality motorglider and not just a basic or average glider to fill in a category or be a machine to in fill a basic need. Many pilots would love to learn and fly gliders and with this aircraft that will give them now the chance to savor the quieter and more purer aspects of flying. Aerobask's designs are very much based on the composite designs that are prevalent with very modern aircraft. That aspect of course is also perfect to design a glider. As the clean air smooth shapes and build materials are very much the same. Design wise the Antares 20E is first rate, and like I mentioned a real quality glider in detail and fittings that is usually absent from these sort of aircraft. Too true is the fact that gliders are very basic flying machines. There are no rows of switches and in fact there not much in the way of complex systems or lighting at all for you to master. The main aspect of flying gliders is well "the seat of your pants" or your natural instincts of staying in the air as long as you can. For a first time guide to gliding, then Aerobask has included a tutorial called "Fly_your_glider_in_X-Plane" in the documents folder, and it is worth a moments to understand the way these machines work the thermals to do what they do. But some feel to aircraft in knowing how even the basic aircraft fly and how you operate them can go a long way here as well. To power up you just turn on the key on the right hand panel. Remember from the moment you turn the power on, until till you either turn it off or the power dies is to be aware of that this is a one way power discharge, there are no generators on a glider or a very long power cable to keep everything running when the battery runs out. But the systems are also very power efficient. There is a way to recharge your battery, as you can attach a portable generator to the glider (Note: for the generator to work you have to be in "Start each flight with engines running" box ticked off (MenuBar/Settings/Operations & Warnings) or a cold start and all the power switched off on the glider or it won't appear) You operate the generator by the large buttons on the energy display. Ahead of you is a main display which is a hidden GNS530 with some basic access buttons (mostly a MAP view) and essential glider instruments on a side display (including: Power on/off, FLARM Radar, MacCready Estimate, display checklist polar and set Baro and you can set the MAP zoom (range) and MacCready blue triangle adjuster as well. Set out below is a power display for energy used and power (being) used. X-Plane thankfully provides a way to get yourself airborne. In the X-Plane menus "Aircraft/Aircraft & Simulations/Glider-Tow" you can attach a StinsonL5 aircraft to tow your glider into the air. To activate the tow you just release the ground brake (or key) and the Stinson will simply drag you into the air. As the Stinson climbs you up in a left hand circle rotation, it takes a little practise to get the right flow in the tow and stay in the right place behind the towing aircraft. Next is the release and the best point to make is too make sure you release in the right direction that you want to go. There is no point just releasing and then finding that you are pointing in the wrong direction as you will lose energy in correcting that mistake. To release from the Stinson then press your spacebar or pull out the yellow knob on the main lower panel... In an instant it is all very quiet and the Stinson immediately vanishes (shame it does not just fly away?). In most cases you won't be in the right position to start your gliding effectively. But you do have a great feature that fixes that problem. Push the knobbed lever on your left forward and you will get a lot of clanking going on behind your head... then as like in a James Bond movie up comes an electric driven propeller! push the throttle forward and away you go. You can also use this push power source from the runway, but that will just use up a lot your of valuable battery life, you have however with a full battery charge the capacity of a direct climb right up to 10000ft. I preferred to use this tow option for two reasons, 1) to push me into the right position and then climb up quickly to the correct altitude after releasing the tow, and 2) if I lose too much height later on, I can then simply push myself back up again to recover my lost (valuable) altitude. The power currently being consumed by that electric propeller is noted on the display as is the loss of of power already discharged. The electric motor is brushless-fixedshaft running on DCDC current and running at 190 288V, and pulling up to 160A. The EM42 is a 42kW (57HP) motor that can deliver maximum torque over a wide RPM range, with a total efficiency of 90% and a maximum torque of 216 Nm, the motor is exceptional and not only within aviation. You have three main instruments in left: Variometer (vertical speed), centre: airspeed indicator right: three settings in one as the Variometer V80 in a "Total Energy" - "Artificial Horizon" - "Timer". The Total Energy has a built in vario sound that gives you an aural positive or negative warning (It can be switched off). vario sound is very helpful when flying in thermals because the sound pitches inform you about parameters in the strength and the direction of the thermal. And with this it allows without constantly keeping an eye on the panel in that you can fly more safely by watching the outside exterior environment. McCready Setting: This instrument computes the estimate gliding time (in mn) and the range (in NM) you can fly, according to the actual conditions (altitude and glide ratio). Mix this informations with GNS DMEfunction (DIS) to see if your next waypoint or airport can be reached. MacCready triangle Speed to fly Set estimate thermals strength on the ring with the rotating knob on the left top of the main MAP display. According to blue MacCready triangle, the V80 screen shows you your optimal speed to reach next thermal. The "MC" button will show you a graph on the lower display that gives you your STF (Speed to fly) - Vz - Range/Flight Time Estimate. You can adjust your X-Plane thermal settings on the "MenuBar/Environment/Weather/Set Weather Uniformly for the whole world" page in two sliders for "thermal coverage" and "thermal climb-rate". X-Plane does however simplify a lot thermals management, it is not perfect... but it does work on quite a good level here. The FLARM (Grey Screen) is an electronic alarm system to prevent crash risk between gliders or the ground and this is specific to gliding, but is closely related to TCAS in commercial aviation. Red diamonds are traffic near your position. The little red arrow indicates if it is climb or descent, and the black number is the relative height with your plane (in hundred feets : 5 FT and down arrow means this plane is 500 ft below your current position). A vocal "traffic" alert will ring if you are to close. The rest of the controls and instruments are simple. Flap lever and large AirBrake levers with a neat "Trim/Pitch" lever are on the left and on the main panel is "Reflections" (on/off) "water ballast". With no water ballast your sink rate will be low, with water ballast your sink rate is higher, but it can also translated to a higher cross-country speed. You can refill the water ballast by using the X-Plane (MenuBar/Aircraft/Weight & fuel) menus and adjusting the "slung load weight" slider. You can also hide your joystick as well by the button top right. Lower Instruments are a "Becker Avionics" AR6201 VHF AM/VHF transceiver and a "Trig" TT22 Mode 2 Transponder, both are supplied with excellent manuals and a third manual covering the LX9000 series Variometer system, all are worth reading and studying to get the best performance out of the glider. I'm no gliding expert, and I am the first to admit that. But I did find it quite easy to retain my height and even increase my altitude quite significantly. The area around North Tweed in Northern N.S.W, Australia is excellent glider country with the sheer cliff faces of the Macpherson Ranges proving excellent updrafts and of course the heat that comes with a tropical Australian summer. You are glued to the McCready instrument searching for those thermals... everyone says gliding is totally relaxing and serene, but I found it stressful and worrying as I looked anxiously at the gauges to find any lift and hints of survival with the dead calm around me. There are nine liveries with the German basic as the default. All are of high quality but a little blurry at low texture settings, but you are not going to get really extravagant designs on this airframe. As you pitch down the speed rises. The sounds are simply excellent as the winds rush past the cockpit, the faster you go the higher the noise which is highly realistic. Open the little hatch in the canopy and the wind noise goes even higher... I loved it. As the valley closes in around you, you feel more venerable... but somehow completely under control. The airbrakes are very efficient, as you can easily control your speed and so your descent. Threading your way down is a skill, but I found it far easier than I expected it to be. Falling into a landing pattern keeps the airfield to my left, I found the height to distance quite easy to do and over a many flights never over-run the grass runways. The main landing wheel is electrically operated by a switch on the panel, (up/down). There is a fail-safe drop handle (Orange) that will release the wheel manually, but once activated (pulled) the electric version won't work any more. The flaps will reduce your speed but sometimes I needed a touch of the speedbrakes to correct the final speed on approach. Stalling a glider is almost impossible, crashing is easy but low speeds are easy to control, so landings can be very easy and soft. and the control is far easier on approach than what you think they should be, those long wide wings make the aircraft very stable... but only in low winds. Summary The Antares20E is a great introduction to gliding, and for the experts finally a decent quality glider to fly. Gliding is easier that it looks if you are already quite proficient in the basic GA flying. and that elecrtic propeller will get you out of trouble as well if you are learning. I found I didn't need to use it much, mostly to up my altitude or move the aircraft to a better thermal location. The gadgets provided really also help you find and navigate the thermals like an expert, if you understand how they work. and that is the main reason to purchase this glider as those tools are modern and effective and not available on the usual basic gliders in the simulator. So the Antares20E is a great overall design, the best in this glider category that I know of... easy to learn and easy to fly and it also has the important depth required for the experts to fine-tune their skills. So overall the Antares20E is simply excellent. Review by Stephen Dutton the Antares20E Motorglider by Aerobask will be available soon from the NEW! X-Plane.Org Store here : Antares 20E Motorglider Price is US$19.95 Installation and Documents: ''Download is 237.00mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane in your Glider folder at 274.10mb'' : Start with the "Start each flight with engines running" box ticked off for the portable generator to work. All documents are included and are excellent : Support Thread : Antares 20E Motorglider Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews 11th December 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.30 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) 1GB VRAM Video Card Current version: v1.0 Last updated: December 6th, 2014 Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.31 Final Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose Soundlink WiFi Speaker Scenery - YMUR Murwillumbah Airport by VOZ (Barry Roberts)
  14. Aircraft Update : Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star v3.0 by Aerobask Aerobask have updated their Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star to X-Plane version 10.30 in this the second update of this remarkable twin engined composite aircraft. Released for X-Plane in August 2013, the aircraft has had a significant morphing from an aircraft that was very good in the beginning to something that is now a very mature aircraft. But there is more to this upgrade than meets the eye. As Aerobask is willing to change in this version a significant component of the aircraft to make the design not only more contemporary but also more flexible in the way you fly the aircraft. The DA-42 is a very modern and striking aircraft in design, on the outside th ere is not much new in v3 to notice except an improvement in the textures, and a new livery in the "Swiss Aviation Training" which looks very clean. You do notice the slight difference in the texture quality, as all the liveries look slightly sharper, but are also more frame-rate friendly, but that was never an issue with this aircraft in the first place. The significant difference here is the inclusion of the Garmin GNS530 into the panel of the DA-42. Looking back at the old panel (below) you can see that the X-Plane Flightplan/MAP version has been discarded for the new look GPS. And what a difference it makes... Not only is the GNS530 one of the biggest in X-Plane, it has also been supremely intergrated into the composite display design. The GPS screen does still pop-out but that feature is not needed here as the screen is large enough anyway and in fact it is small than the panel version. You will need a bit of an adjustment to note the slight difference in the placement of the GNS530 knobs and buttons, but it soon becomes second nature as it is a very functional design... The engine display or EIS engine readouts, Load%, RPM with other items Fuel Flow, Oil Press, Coolant Temp, Fuel Temp and Fuel Qty, are now only on the left of the Primary Flight Display and not switchable as before. I found the EIS better now on the PFD as the engine readouts are simply closer to the flying parameter readouts and you don't have to change screens to get the engine and fuel numbers that was on a glance to your right. This is great for setting the RPM for takeoff or landing. The GNS530 is also a better fit with the GFC-700 Autopilot situated lower center panel. The whole panel setup looks now far more professional and workman like and the displays are slightly darker but look far better in quality and depth. And that GNS530 gives the aircraft tremendous versatility for long distance flying as the aircraft had a very good range at 1,693 km (1,052 mi; 914 nmi) before, and with the new GNS GPS it now makes that range very useful and easily more accessible. Other avionics that have had attention are new radio frequencies in 8.33KHz and an added bearing pointer on the HSI. Flying conditions are slight improved as well with corrected trim and better FLC mode nose up/dn rates that has taken out most of that bobbing efect. But still the DA-42 is a very nice aircraft to fly. With a huge amount of power and a very stable airframe, it has matured very nicely since the original release. The hard stick like undercarriage now has some give and the landings feel far better because of that, the wheels will now absorb the runway and not bounce you back hard upwards, in that it made you having to get the speed and contact point almost perfect to create a good landing, it now feels more realistic in operation. You still have to be careful with the correct speed in the ILS capture though. Get the speed wrong and the aircraft won't descend on the glidescope easily but fight it. In most cases you won't use the ILS aid, but be wary of that if you do. Two entrance/exit doors and one storage door are animated and the pilot in the aircraft is all new. Like noted the aircraft is very nicely designed and feels very complete now. v3 Summary In all of Aerobask's designs from the Lancair Legacy FG and the Pipistrel Panthera there is a maturity now and design completeness, not that these aircraft where average on release, because they weren't, as they were still very good. But there is a feeling the developer is over the period of being new to producing aircraft and now is a noted producer of exceptional and interesting aircraft. The quality is now up there and Aerobask's ideas in like fitting the GNS530 in the DA-42 and more importantly making it work so well with the way it is intergrated into the panel shows the expert attention that comes with these aircraft. The DA-42 Twin Star is already a very popular aircraft in X-Plane... this upgrade now cements its already excellent reputation. The 3.0 update is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store. The 3.0 update is free to all users that have purchased the v1 Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star, go to the Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star X-Plane.OrgStore page (below) and "Log-in". Price is currently US$19.95: Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star v3.0 For the FULL Review and more information and details of DA-42 Twin Star (v1) the go here : Review : V2 Update Review is here : Developer Update : Developer Site: Aerobask Dev Thread : Support forum for the DA-42 Update Review By Stephen Dutton 8th Nov 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) Current version: v3.0. Last updated: November 8th, 2014 Updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.30 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle v 3.0.7 full Changelog - New GNS included on the MFD screen, fully functional virtual 3D cockpit. - EIS moved on PFD - New radio frequencies 8.33KHz - Add bearing pointer on HSI - Fixed FLC mode nose up/dn - Fixed transponder mode - Now, damping gear are animated - Improvement textures - New liverie by XFlyer : Swiss Training Aviation HB-LUJ - New pilot - Update flight manual
  15. Aircraft Update : Pipistrel Panthera version 2.0.9. by Aerobask As X-Plane goes final on the 10.30 version of the simulator a lot of the aircraft are being updated to the new version. Quick out of the blocks is Aerobask with their excellent Pipistrel Panthera. X-Plane Reviews did a full review of the Version v1 (release version) of the Pipistrel Panthera very early in 2014 here: So I am back in Ljubljana, Slovenia to find out what is new on the Panthera. On the ramp at LJLJ - Ljubljana-Brnik the aircraft looks the same but has a new livery in Panthera 2. This is an extra livery to the original seven liveries that came with version one. Jumping in the aircraft as it warmed up the first thing you notice is the second large screen to the right... It looks different because it is. This right hand screen is now a GPS screen and a version of the X-Plane GNS 530 GPS. So yes you will need X-Plane version 10.30 for the new Pipistrel. And how brilliant it has been integrated into the aircraft. It take a minute of so to work it out, as the knobs are the wrong way round and the direct button is on the far right of the panel. But it is brilliantly done in the way it looks so realistic and not even an add-on to the aircraft. And BIG, its huge! It you want the standard 10.30 GNS 530 then that is there as well if press the center of the screen, so for functionality this is a great addition to the aircraft. The engine display is still on the left of the screen (this was the old MFD (Muliti Functional Display), but the engine display can be moved to the right hand PFD (Primary Filght Display) screen if you want them. To a point you do need to know your way around the controls of the GNS530 to see where the repositioned knobs and buttons are now situated. You soon pick it up, but there are laid out in slightly different places. The map is now in with the Garmin GTN screens, which are touch menu driven panels in the center of the panel and the weather and map has had some great fine tuning to make both far more sharper. I didn't really like the old MFD Map display, It wasn't bad, as the colours were nice, but the actual map was set off centre and too low, and the zoom is still quite wide even at the low 10miles setting, so making very close navigation decisions is was hard. The new version is perfect in every respect and I love it. Another point is that with the change in the right hand screen, is that the left hand screen is far better as well. It is far sharper and better coloured than before and now looks the part as the EFIS has had many improvement textures. I had set up a (very) simple flightplan to fly again to LJPZ Portorož Airport. And the large display showed me my route. There is a great G meter that replaces the heading rose, and an instrument you don't want to look at while doing tight manoeuvres. Again very realistic. Powering up and you realise the Panthera sounds different? That is because in the nose is a new type of engine in the Lycoming IO540v - 260HP instead of the 210HP Lycoming engine in the first version. It sounds more haughtier and growling and of course you have more power to pull you up and through the air. The sounds now are simply far better than the original version, the aircraft feels more heavier and more realistic. And power into the sky you do... This light-weight composite aircraft now just builds up speed in a way you are hanging on more than taking off... it goes fast. More fixes and changes include the radio frequencies now goes as low as 8.33KHz, there is a bearing "To" Indicator arrows on the HSI and the textures and night lightning have been touched up and improved. The flight model has had some tuning as well, so the aircraft feels better, in fact overall the aircraft feel slightly different, more solid and real. It is a real enjoyable ride in there and the aircraft is very nice and posed to fly. There are some new and even more modern and fancy bucket seats, the seat cover textures are simply very good and I love the bright orange, sliver and black colour scheme. Update Summary Outwardly this is not just an update to the aircraft but really a new variant of the Pipistrel Panthera. The changes are quite significant, and in many ways this is a different aircraft from version one. I would if you are upgrading then keep both as you may want a different version to fly for various reasons. Certainly this v2 is far superior and now better refined. The insert of the GNS530 GPS is a masterstroke, and the way it has been implemented into the flight display panel is sheer genius. Priced still below US$20 this aircraft was a great buy before, but now with this update it is simply a bargain... If you already have the original Pipistrel Panthera then update now, if not then what are you waiting for if you want the best in a lightsports cruiser aircraft. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Pipistrel Panthera update 2.0.9 by Aerobask is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgShop : Pipistrel Panthera Price is US$19.95 To upgrade to version 2.0.9 then go to your account at the X-Plane -.orgStore and download the new version. Installation : Download is 291.80mb, and installation size in your aircraft folder is 348mb. Documentation : Support: Pipistrel Panthera Update Review By Stephen Dutton 27th September 2014 ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux. X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) Current version: v2.0.9 Last updated: September 26th 2014 Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.30 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery - LJLJ Ljubljana-Brnik - tdg (.org LJLJ) - LJPZ Portorož Airport - Aerobridge (Aerobridge)
  16. Developer Update : Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star v2.0 by Aerobask Route : LOWG (Graz Thalerhof) to LOWW (Wien Schwechat) The Diamond DA-42 was the first release of a payware aircraft from Harranssor (Now known as Aerobask) in August 2013. The aircraft was followed up by the excellent Pipistral Panthera last month. So it was only fitting that with the success of the Panthera that the DA-42 was brought up to the same quality and standard of the Panthera. Not that the DA-42 was average in the first place. It wasn't as it was very good, so really this DA-42 v2 release is more of a nip and tuck upgrade to clean up a few details and position the aircraft in the same position of the Panthera than rather sit in quality level below it. You get a very new v2 release livery in NO2DA as well, which is clever. Outwardly it looks almost exactly the same aircraft. But the fine tuning has been quite extensive, in that the whole fuselage has been refined and so has the glass. The textures look the same, but they are actually new, called "Ultra". The quality does look slightly better and far cleaner, but be warned if you go to the "Too Much" or one step up from your standard setting texture setting this new texture quality almost halves your frame-rate. The aircraft is however quite good over all with your frame-rate, but then add in some complex autogen with the Ultra textures and everything goes slightly south. Doors open (main overhead door, rear passenger door) and you can see the nice tint on the glass. Looking at the v1 (release) you can see the very slight differences, It is a more of a feel thing. Coming off the Panthera and loading the v1 DA-42 you feel the older design, load the v2 DA-42 and they now feel very much the same. The tyres on the v2 look better as well, not by much, but far better than the boxy v1 versions. The HDR Landing and taxi lights still badly burn through the v2 aircraft fuselage as well, an issue that should be fixed by now. The biggest changes are noticeable inside, The brilliant two screen Garmin 1000's are still there. but the interior has had an overhaul. The screens power up and large and dominating of the tight panel they both are. They both look slightly sharper in contrast to the v1 screens, not by much again, but the there is not as much buzzyness from the lower resolution. Starting the twin engines is by a two sided key, and when you are parked up you can simply hang the key on the panel. The panel is a slightly darker woven texture grey and looks far better for it, as the v1 panel (top images) looked quite average in certain lighting conditions. The new darker textures feel of quality, The seats have been completely redone as well. The original seats looked very good?, the new ones have certainly more quality but are also more bland in their design. Overall the cabin looks very good and feels light and airy now. LOWG Graz Departure Power up and the taxi feels good, the front nose dips under slight braking, but that feels natural. The Twin Austro Turbo Diesel engines are powerful at 168 hp (125 kW) and the aircraft frame is very light at 3,119lbs with an average Passenger/Fuel payload of an extra 1,070lbs... which is a great combination It climbs up very well, and I found 1,200fpm (recommended is 1,150fpm) was easily achievable. The cabin reflections have all been redone and they are excellent (you can turn them off if you want to), in any direction the wide curved screen gives you an unparalleled view and the engines are easy to monitor from the pilots seat as well. Like the G1000 screens in the Panthera, the Garmin's are menu driven, It is a slightly different set up here, but you can still get lost in the menus. I found it easier to use the Autopilot (AP) buttons on the lower panel than the one on the main panel on the left of the screen. Setting up the FMS route is easy on the ground and you can load in a route with ease. But activating it is messy. You do have the "Active Flight Plan" to solve your activation point, The problem is that you don't know if the plan is activated or not? So if you turn the CDI to "GPS" and press the NAV button on the AP, It is general luck if the aircraft LOC's in or just twirls itself around in a circle? If you want to start a plan away from your first waypoint then finding the next waypoint to activate the plan is tricky as well. It is shown on the "Active Flight Plan", but is it activated. So on it goes... finally I had it working, but a simple light to note if the route is activated and at which waypoint is activated would save you a lot of reloading of the FMS plans. The Course/BARO knob is another frustration? You have to be in the OBS setting to set your CRS angle for runway alignment, but in most cases you find yourself altering the BARO setting to the wrong number. Worse if you are on the FMS plane the system over-rides the CRS and moves the Course heading in the direction of the next waypoint on the plan... confused. yes it can get confusing when you just want to align up with a runway and want your 90º angles on the circuit to be perfect. It is simple stuff in an aircraft the 70's as each system is seperate, Your CRS, your BARO setting and your plan is not affecting the set course setting, one glance at the CRS angle and you know where you are. here there too much information. The G1000 screen is so full of information as well including a small map. The VOR 2 (NAV 2) is hard to see as well on the second G1000 MAP display. If you have the heading line over the pointer, it is very hard to see. and the VOR direction is not noted (It maybe but I can't see it because of the overload of information). The MAP itself is still to low, which I find annoying. And strangely enough I found it easier to adjust the heading on the middle knob (by the MAP) than the correct one on the left side of the panel. The Radio has come in for some attention on the v2 update as well and now has a LED light on the COMM 1 or COMM 2 buttons. In the air the aircraft is a very nice place to be. The sounds are all new in v2 as well, but I did find them a little droney. On a long flight I would put my headset on. The wing is very similar to the long thin wings on the Panthera. They are modern and very effective. No flap is needed for takeoff and the aircraft is very stable in the calm air. A little turbulence however will then throw you around a little bit as the wing feels very stiff. Noticing LOWW on my left in the distance it is time to descend. The Vertical Speed (V/S) looks complicated but its not. Select VS and then just press the "nose UP" and "nose DN" buttons to adjust you vertical pitch, the FPM (Feet Per Minute) is shown in the top bar. The "APP" button is also excellent and the aircraft will easily align to the runway even from very odd angles and well above and below the beam. I tried a few manual approaches back at Graz and the aircraft was very easy to place and the two stage flaps were excellent in bringing down the speed to an easy 90knts I noted the two rear landing wheels were very stiff on v1, and still they are here. The front wheel absorbs the contact to the runway well, but you feel the very hard stick like touch and hard bounce of your rears. "I'm not a fan". I land at LOWW at a peak period and you can feel so small down inside the DA-42 along side the parading "Heavies". The wide open front glass area makes you look up at the high tails all around you. You have to be careful not to get too close either, or you will get blown over by the jet exhaust. Conclusions Most of my notes here are really all niggles, and mostly with the menu driven style of modern GA flying, This is a fine v2 update and it certainly brings the Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star on par with the Panthera. If you loved flying the Panthera then this aircraft is the perfect twin-engined hangar mate. You'll love both. Best news is that the aircraft is cheaper than the Panthera and is only US$19.95 at this point (usual price is US$24.95) so it is a huge bargain as well. It is different in context from the usual GA of a Piper, Cessna or Beechcraft and it is a very modern aircraft. No doubt about it either is the quality of aircraft already coming out of Stephane Buon's design studio... What will be next? Can't wait to find out. The 2.0 update is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store. The 2.0 update is free to all users that have purchased the v1 Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star, go to the Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star X-Plane.OrgStore page (below) and "Log-in". Price is currently US$24.95: Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star v2.0 For the FULL Review and more information and details of DA-42 Twin Star (v1) the go here : Review : Developer Site: Aerobask Dev Thread : Support forum for the DA-42 Update Review By Stephen Dutton 6th March 2014 Technical Requirements: Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported) Current version: v2.0 Last updated: March 5th, 2014 Updated store# Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.2 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle - World Traffic plug-in (LOWW) Scenery - LOWG - Graz Thalerhof (Conversion of MSFS LOWG2009) 2.2.2 by DanialMan - free (LOWG Graz Thalerhof 2.2.2 ) - LOWW - Wien Schwechat V.1.0 by AXDG (Austrian users) - free (LOWW Wien Schwechat V.1.0) Full Bug list and changelog for v2.0 - New cockpit design - New textures cockpit and panel - Refined 3D fuselage - Corrected flight model - New audio panel fully functionnal. Add led lights - New safety instruments (3D) - Windshield : new reflection - New sound - New night lighting - New liverie N20DA - Add charts on the MFD - Various correction