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Aircraft Review : Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse by SimSolutions

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Aircraft Review : Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse by SimSolutions


A few months ago, I reviewed the SimSolutions DA40NG Diamond Star, a four-seater General Aviation aircraft by Diamond Aircraft of Austria and later Canada. That aircraft was interesting, as it also an aircraft design that put it on a collision course with Aerobask, a very well renowned developer, of very high quality Diamond aircraft at a value price in the X-Plane Simulator. Considering the price advantage the SimSolutions DA-40NG, came off very well against the Aerobask version, but could never be really considered in the same context.


Here now released from SimSolutions is the earlier two-seater aircraft in the DA-20 C1 Eclipse, this time it comes up against not Aerobask, but X-Hanger with their X-Plane 12 Diamond Katana DA20 C1, a well done aircraft with G500 Avionics.


The DA-20 Katana/Eclipse is also a variation of the earlier two-seater Diamond HK36 Super Dimona, but that aircraft is a motor-glider, longer wings, less power and not a general use everyday aircraft of which the DA-20-C1 is. The Eclipse version of the Katana comes with rear windows for better visibility, and is powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Continental IO-240-B engine. The aircraft entered production in 1999, and 1000+ aircraft have been produced since then.


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The Super Dimona had a wingspan of 16.0 m (52 ft 6 in), cut back for the Katana to 10.87 m (35 ft 8 in), but the T-Tailplane stays the same...  so the Katana C1 possesses a higher glide ratio than many of its competitors; its glide ratio is 11:1 and the DA20-A1 is 14:1. The glider heritage comes through in the design.


DA20 - XP12_Head 6.jpgDA20 - XP12_Head 7.jpg


...   so overall the aircraft shape and the design stays totally the same, with that long fine boom tail. The Super Dimona had a powerplant 115 hp (86 kW) Rotax 914 F3 or a F4 turbocharged engine, compare that with the more powerful 125 hp (93 kW) Continental IO-240-B engine in the Eclipse. So the same shape, bigger engine and the shorter wings sums up the changes.


The modeling of the earlier SimSolutions DA-40 was very good, but also a very clean aircraft, you get the same here, so modeled parts are part of the design, not again textured over like you would get from Aerobask, also like the DA-40, the DA-20 in many ways comes off little bit modeled in feeling, but being a plastic aircraft, or a composite airframe which is constructed of glass-carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, you can get away with that aspect, but personally I like a bit of real world feel to my aircraft.


Important are the smooth form shapes of the aircraft, which are very good here. As used are very nice tight wireframes, which show clean surface angles, and very little straight cut lines...  yes important on such a super smooth surfaces. Highlights are the inner fairings, and excellent wingtip shape to the outer lighting element. Overall I'm impressed by the detail, hence the T-Tail control arms.


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Glass is very similar to the DA-40, very good, but also feels a bit thin, and also not very grazed with wear and tear.


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Gear is very basic, just struts rear and the nose has the dreaded castor wheel system, so turns while taxiing are made with differential braking, with rudder steering becoming more effective as airspeed increases, so there is no steering. Struts are hard, with no suspension or hydraulics to cushion the ride, the tiny brakes are cable operated.


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Unlike the SimSolutions DA-40 NG, there are no menus on the DA-20? All external options are via hotspots. There are separate wheels chocks, pitot cover, "Remove before flight" banner, nose engine cover (hard to find hotspot, left lower?) and a tank (dip) stick that works via touching the fuel filler left rear. The stick is stored on the real shelf. The Hotspot system also requires you to clean up the aircraft every time you load it up (even in the replay), which is a little time consuming and even annoying if you are flying the DA-20 C1 regularly.


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So there are no weight & balances pages, fueling is done via the standard X-Plane Weight & Balance Menu. Fuel is noted as 93L or 24.5 US Gallons. Oddly there is no manual provided? only a nice and very detailed 12 page pdf checklist.


There is a one-piece bubble canopy , which is hinged at the rear, enabling easy entry using the built-in side steps. Hotspot handles are nicely done with great detailing, small stuff but authentic.


DA20 - XP12_Canopy 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Canopy 2.jpg


Twin seats are layback sheepskin covered, its tight in there! Notable are the twin control sticks that have been just positioned on the sheepskin, it doesn't feel or look very realistic with no base ring or separator to the seats? most control sticks have a leather cover around their base. Picky yes... but it doesn't look right, or is cheap looking.


DA20 - XP12_Seats 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Seats 2.jpg


There is a non animated pilot provided, but he is pretty scary? a sort of drug crazed zoned out Goth zombie, frightens the living daylights out of me?


DA20 - XP12_Pilot 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Pilot 2.jpg


The instrument panel sits high out of the cockpit, all analog, it is very nicely done. Avionics are basic and set centre. They consist of a Garmin GMA 430 Radio, Garmin GNS430 GPS and a Garmin GTX327 Transponder.


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Flying instruments are the standard six in the default layout; Airspeed, Artificial Horizon, Altimeter...  second row Turn Coordinator, Heading Dial and Vertical Speed (V/S). Two more instruments make it up to a 8 pack, with RPM meter and OBS dial far right. Up top are both a DAYTRON M803 clock and a built in compass. Add also is a SUCTION dial left and the Electric TRIM setting right.


Lower is the lighting panel, Instrument and flood lighting knobs, starter switch (no key?), Avionics master, fuel pump and GEN/BAT switches. Centre bottom panel is the three phase flap switch and indicator.


Right panel are the analog gauges, 8x2 rows including; EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature), A pressure gauge (no description or manual?), Fuel Pressure, Fuel Quantity, Oil Temperature, Oil Pressure. Ampere Gauge and a Volt Gauge, below is a hour Hobb's meter. All the rows of Circuit Breakers (fuses) are non-active.


DA20 - XP12_Instrument panel 4.jpg


Centre console has upper; HEAT(ing) Controls (non-working), and Park Brake. Lower; Three levers for ALTERNATE, POWER (Throttle) and MIXTURE. Rudder pedals are nicely done, but toe-brake action doesn't work? odd because it is required here with the castor wheel.


Flying the Diamond DA-20 C1

First a few notes...   This is version v1.01, with an update put out on the 3rd August 23. Annoying are the amount of bugs still in here? Start up and you will get a "Sound Bank" and "Brake " issue alert box, also when you close the alert box the GNS430 then goes dark?


Alert box.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 2.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 3.jpg


The developer says to turn on the GNS, click on the top left knob as like you do with a real Garmin, but it doesn't work? frantic clicking will finally start the GNS startup procedure? Looking there is no Hotspot on the knob, but to use, you just turn it on via the top left knob....  again no manual?


Park brake doesn't work well either, it will select OFF , but not ON, unless you do it manually? A second brake note is that you can't select OFF either, if the chocks are in place...  this seems to affect the Park Brake action?


The lighting in Navigation lights and Taxi/Landing lights were also attended to in the v1.01 update, but they don't work in the Simulator here as all lighting is still blank in the daytime? The strobes flash, but then very oddly? there are also a couple of other things we will see when flying...  the point is, these sort of quibbles should have been easily covered in the first update, v1.01, but they weren't and to date still have not had any attention either. Another slight annoyance as noted is that every time you start up, you have to hide all the hotspot external static elements, and change the livery back to one you last used, it all gets a little wearing.


DA20 - XP12_Startup 4.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 1.jpg


There is a "Primer Pump" switch to obviously prime the fuel. It works by just holding it down, then it primes by itself (3 pumps is about right)...  and there is no key (missing) in the starter switch of which you just turn to start the IO-240-B engine. Primed and with the Mixture RICH, the DA-20 will start quite easily, again you don't have to prime if the engine is hot, only cold.


If being a regular reader, you may know my feelings towards free wheels, or taildraggers, castor steering...  I seriously don't like them. But there is a lot of free travel and a soft touch here on the toe-brakes will guide the DA-20 quite easily, mostly your touching lightly the right rear wheel, as there is already a powerful asymmetric thrust from the propeller even on the ground.


DA20 - XP12_Startup 5.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 6.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 7.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 8.jpg


Keep the speed low, and a feather touch on the toe-brake, and you can taxi quite easily. Only when I lined up on KLAL (Lakeland) Rwy 23, only then did the caster wheel go side on whonky.


DA20 - XP12_Startup 9.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 10.jpg


Power up and first the focus was on getting the Diamond straight, so a slight 17,000 RPM to get you rolling, then feel the brakes and then finally the rudder becomes active around 60 knts, it's tricky but doable.


DA20 - XP12_Startup 11.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 12.jpgDA20 - XP12_Startup 13.jpg


Flaps one, takeoff (rotate) is around 80 knts or around the end of the white flap indicator...  plenty of power at 27,000 RPM, and a good rate of climb at 5.1 m/s (1,000 ft/min), but on average you would use 500 fpm-700 fpm.


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Being a very small light Sporty aircraft it is all feet and light touch stick. The DA-20 is VERY responsive, but clean in its manoeuvres, almost aerobatic in feel. Flying notes include...


"The wings have washout, which causes the wing roots to stall in advance of the wingtips, which has the effect of the ailerons being fully effective well after the onset of a primary stall condition. Other unfavourable flight conditions are often guarded against, such as a wing drop, which may be produced only as a consequence of prolonged and excessive elevator application during a steep climbing turn, and can be rectified by the relaxation of back pressure. The control forces across all regimes are however very well-balanced, which reportedly reduces the frequency to which trimming of the control surfaces may need to be performed." The aspect of having basically glider wings on a General Aviation aircraft is felt, so sitting reclining, the Eclipse has a sort of glider aspect feel about it.


DA20 - XP12_Flying 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Flying 2.jpgDA20 - XP12_Flying 6.jpg


Trimmed out, the DA-20 still wanted to climb, so small inputs were required to keep your height correct, same with your heading...  with the strong right pushing asymmetric thrust, you are always wanting to pull the aircraft back to the required heading, a slight roll or even a slight weight on the rudder will do that, but it gets tiring after a while, so you wish for a rudder trim to take the load off the controls for a while.


If you change the heading dial to help in course corrections, then there is a trick to realign the dial back with the compass... you hit the key D, and it will automatically realign the heading.


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But once fully trimmed and slight pressure on the stick, you can settle down and cruise along quite nicely... It's not fast by any means is this Eclipse, but capable; Cruise speed is 256 km/h (159 mph, 138 kn), with a Range of 1,013 km (629 mi, 547 nmi) with 30 minute reserve, and quite a high Service Ceiling at 4,000 m (13,120 ft). In reality you would never fly that high, but using the glider capabilities, it is allowable to climb and slightly soar.


Sounds? Very good actually. Not your high fidelity sounds, but certainly well done, as you get the real aural feel of the Continental donk in the front and changes through the throttle range. The DA-20 in this configuration is know to be quite quiet in the cabin, even headsets are sometimes are not used in the real aircraft to drown out the sounds.



There are two instrument panel lighting adjustment knobs. One for the glareshield LED cast, and another for the Avionics. Overall the Instrument panel looks excellent, and nicely adjustable. Another panel switch gives you a overhead MAP light.


DA20 - XP12_Lighting 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Lighting 2.jpgDA20 - XP12_Lighting 3.jpgDA20 - XP12_Lighting 4.jpg


You get the glow of the MAP light, but not the source light, up and behind you?


With the darker environment you can finally see the Navigation, Landing and Taxi lights...  but they are still weak, and the main lights are not refined, just blobs of light. The SimSolutions DA-40 NG was very poor in the lighting department, its not much better here?


DA20 - XP12_Lighting 5.jpgDA20 - XP12_Lighting 6.jpg


Not related, but the updated X-Plane v12.06 lighting at dusk here was sensational, very impressed.


Cruising along (nicely) and the view out of the Diamond is very good, the large bubble canopy gives you a very wide aspect view of the air. To the rear the cone like rear shelf is well done, as is the mottled fibreglass internal shell is also very realistic. Note the small slide windows that can be opened on the ground.


DA20 - XP12_Cruising 1.jpgDA20 - XP12_Cruising 2.jpgDA20 - XP12_Cruising 3.jpgDA20 - XP12_Cruising 4.jpgDA20 - XP12_Cruising 5.jpg


Nearing the coast, western South Florida, it is time to descend. I was ready for the action that when just adjusting the trim, it wouldn't make me go down? so you actually also have to reduce the throttle power to control the descent as well, less throttle... more vertical descent speed, more throttle and up goes the nose. Because the DA-20 is a small (sporty) machine it acts like that, but those long slender wings are built for soaring lift as well, so you have to adjust you flying skills to that aspect.


DA20 - XP12_Cruising 6.jpg


My destination is KFMY Fort Myers. Oddly I haven't been using Page Field a lot lately, but the neighbouring Southwest Florida (I flew the DA-40 there), but this time I wanted to check out KFMY for a change...  there is a stadium hold point at CALOO, before going into ILS (IFMY 110.70) on the Rwy 05 Approach.


DA20 - XP12_Cruising 7.jpgDA20 - XP12_Cruising 8.jpg


So I track into the holding track and parallel O5 (231º) then go around the western holding track turn directly into the 05 ILS...  it is a long, long sweeping turn...


DA20 - XP12_KFMY 4.jpgDA20 - XP12_KFMY 5.jpgDA20 - XP12_KFMY 3.jpgDA20 - XP12_KFMY 6.jpg


...   until I use the OBS cross-lines to line up the runway, hidden well out in front of me. I'm not doing a ILS landing, as I don't have a autopilot (I wouldn't use that anyway), but use the OBS as a guide only. No VOR pointers are also really a thing I miss in here. Flaps down!


DA20 - XP12_KFMY 7.jpgDA20 - XP12_KFMY 8.jpg


They are huge long deep flaps for such a small machine, three settings (not marked?) is UP-MIDDLE-DOWN. They don't give you a lift on deployment of which I expected, but you can control the speed quite easy around 68 knts. This IS a light SPORTS aircraft but coming over the fence I got a short of flutter that the aircraft was flying on a cushion of air? I could control it, but it was weird, a high ground effect feeling...


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....  my guess it is those long thin wings reacting to the wind, wanting to soar...  it was an usual feeling, but very authentic. 60 knts and you are now gliding down to the runway, nice control...  again very gliderish, that stick and rudder control.


DA20 - XP12_KFMY 13.jpgDA20 - XP12_KFMY 14.jpg


Nice flare, nose up and a lovely sink down to the runway as the speed ran off, Stall speed is 45 knts (83 km/h, 52 mph), but you can use the stall point to get the right descent speed.


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Obviously I was worried about the castor steering... but brake cleanly with both wheels and you will stay on the line, even turning around at the end was expertly done, by using one wheel over the other...  I'm getting good at this!


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Then to the GA ramp by the Club House and engine shutdown.



There is one (white) blank and seven liveries with the DA-20 C1, all pretty much the same flow design with different colours.


DA20 - XP12_Livery Blank.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery TC-AJJ.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery C-FVVN.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery C-FFQT.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery N161CA.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery N381F.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery OH-KAW.jpgDA20 - XP12_Livery OH-WAY.jpg



This DA-20 C1 Eclipse is the second Diamond aircraft from SimSolutions after the earlier DA-40 NG released back in April 2023. The DA-20 Katana/Eclipse is also a variation of the earlier two-seater Diamond HK36 Super Dimona, but that aircraft is a motor-glider, longer wings, less power and not a general use everyday aircraft of which the DA-20-C1 is. It is powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Continental IO-240-B engine.


There are a lot of similarities between the two aircraft of the DA-20 and DA-40. In the styling and the modeling, both are very well done, but in a modeling way and not in a model and texture design, so the DA-20 comes across as clean. Another difference is that there are no menus here (no manual either?), but hotspots for external elements, fuel stick and opening canopy. Annoyingly you have to clear them all every time you want to fly, even in the replay?


Overall the DA-20 C1 Eclipse is a very nice aircraft with gliderish tendencies, not a bad thing, and different aspect to flying the aircraft, basic, but very rudder and stick in feel and touch. The castor nose wheel is for once forgiving if you can be light on the toe-brakes, but the Goth looking pilot is very horrible to look at and not in keeping with the developers skills (feels very last minute)...  overall the aircraft is sound, but has a few glaring bugs that should have been covered by the developer a month after release, also like the DA-40 NG it has very poor lighting (Instrument panel is very good), but everything else is dismal.


Do I like the DA-20 C1. Yes absolutely, great value at today's prices, but the bugs and annoying static elements cloud a nice aircraft here, the Eclipse is a nice aircraft to fly, and to catch that soaring wind...     you will enjoy the experience!




X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


The DA20-C1 Eclipse by SimSolutions is now available from the X-Plane.OrgStore!... Here:


DA20-C1 Eclipse

Price is US$24.95



X-Plane 12 (not for XP11)

Windows, Mac  and Linux ((tested on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS)
Download Size: 476 MB
Current version: 1.1 (August 3rd 2023)

Installation and documents:  download for the DA-20 C1 Eclipse is 465Mb and the aircraft is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder.

Full Installation is 612 MB


Documents supplied is:

  • DA20Normal Checklist (12 pages)

Only a checklist and no manual supplied?


Review System Specifications

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane 12.06b4 (This is a beta review).

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by Nicolas (Airport by NAPS) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free

- KFMY - Page Field - Fort Myers, Florida 1.0 by timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org) - Free



Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

17th August 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(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) All Rights Reserved


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