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Developer Update : Diamond DA-42 Twin-Star v2.0 by Aerobask

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Doors open (main overhead door, rear passenger door) and you can see the nice tint on the glass.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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


 

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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.
 

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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.


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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.
 

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The VOR 2 (NAV 2) is hard to see as well on the second G1000 MAP display.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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".
 

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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


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