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First Impression Review : Grob G109B/Vigilant T1 by FlyingIron

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Grob G 109b Header.jpg


First Impression Review : Grob G109B/Vigilant T1 by FlyingIron


FlyingIron? this isn't a wartime warbird like the Spitfire Mk IXc and the hunking Republic P-47N Thunderbolt, or even the announced F117 NightHawk that was broadcast back in May, and a Grob...  and what hell is a Grob?


Second impression was the Grobby download size...  it's 2gb, yes 2GB for a glider! and installed it swells out to 3.09GB, it better be good for that size of file.


But this is FlyingIron Simulations and they are a very good developer, and so you will take it all on the nose, and see what they have done before making any more forward assumptions.


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The Grob G109 is a light aircraft (motorised glider) developed by Grob Aircraft AG of Mindelheim Mattsies in Germany. It first flew (G109 prototype and then in production G109A form) in 1980 and the G109B followed in 1984. It is a two-seat self-launching motor glider in which the pilot and passenger or student sit side by side, with good visibility that is provided by the large canopy windows. The Vigilant T1 version was first brought into UK service in 1991 where it was used to train the Combined Cadet Force & the Air Training Corps in the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons. Length is 8.1 m (26 ft 7 in) with that 17.4 m (57 ft 1 in) wingspan with a wing area of 19 m2 (200 sq ft). (edited Wikipieda)


This being Flying Iron, then a quality aircraft is a given, and my first impression is that is exactly what you get with the G109B...


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....  quality is sensational and the aircraft is highly detailed, eyes go to excellent curved glass that is perfect here in shape and reflections, but the full lines of the composite design from glass-reinforced plastic are all very well done. The two perspex doors which open upwards individually, which is a modification from the original one-piece G109A canopy are also extremely well done, but they can be tricky to relock from the inside, and in using the wrong position it then will only open them again, and again.....  and again. But the animation is excellent, with a lifting of the doors and with the way of the release of the catch/latch, then the reverse when closing, it is all very realistic.


The detail is pretty seemless, but it is also well done. A replicated Grob 2500 E1 horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, air-cooled petrol engine that develops approximately 95 bhp (71 kW) at 2,950 rpm can be seen through the lower air vents, wheels are clean and basic, and the aircraft is a tail-dragger.


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Simplicity is the order of the day, but it is all very well done here. Instrument panel detail is excellent with that amazing stitched leather surround and authentic dust. Mini-iPad dominates the panel and can be freely adjusted to your liking...


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.... lovely seats are worn and stained, and the stick between your legs is short and fine (I mean the aircraft's!) , but note highly-realistic seatbelts and the exceptional headphones that are usable by clicking them. The Vigilant version is quite different inside, the seating is a RAF red, but it is all just as nicely detailed.


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Instrument panel is a basic layout, as it should be on a trainer aircraft. Flying instruments are on the left and engine readouts are on the right...


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... with switchgear below, avionics are a basic radio and transponder. Vigilant version panel is quite a different layout and more comprehensive. There is eight flying instruments including a clock on the left with a full artificial horizon and g-meter, two large dials for RPM, Co-Pilot Airspeed and Slip indicator are on the right with the Engine gauges above, and the switchgear is moved to centre lower panel...  other changes are the military Radio and XPDR Transponder.


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....  other movements are the whiskey compass from the top of the instrument panel to the roof on the Vigilant, the fuel tank switch is in a different place as well. Military grey is the instrument panel surround material in here and it all very much looks the part.


Menu, Features and Options

The mini-iPad has a lot of tools, but a few are simply X-Plane default items...  Avitab intergration is top of the list with Navigraph (subscription required) charts available.


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There is GNS (Garmin) 530 GPS that will pop-up and another selection that will bring up a EFIS style flight-display. It has all the tools to use with the GNS 350 as well as an autopilot function...


Grob G 109b - Avitab 5.jpgGrob G 109b - Avitab 6.jpg


Together they are a nice set of tools, and no I am not going to fly a glider to the south of France from the UK by the route loaded...


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....    other tools are default: MAPS - X-plane Map screen,  IOS - Instructor Operating Station, for advanced training routines and GND Services - Ground Services menu, for a glider? very odd... there is a Checklist tool but it is not yet operational. I also had a few freezes and desktop crashes from using the iPad menu and GNS530, so be careful currently using it?


There isn't any static elements, except for wing tie-downs. And to hide them you have to use the aircraft internal view to toggle the tie-down (a key save is a good idea)... there is a hand manipulator that shows on the propeller (and internally), but I can't see what it does?


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Aircraft is VR (Virtual Reality) ready and has the Librain (Wet/Rain) effects featured. Skunkworks auto-updater is also included.



This is really a daytime aircraft, so the lighting is not really a major focus or aspect here.....  just instrument panel lighting via a switch is noted and it has no adjustment, but it is not a directly lit or behind the instrument lighting setup, but really just an overhead light, that reflects badly on the instruments...


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....  a single blobby landing light is effective, as is the navigation and white tail light, strobes are nice as well.


Sounds: Yes you get real G109B Sounds that have been recorded & mixed by a professional sound engineer & fully integrated via FMOD and plus the fully-functional & optional pilot headphones realism... yes it all works and the sounds are highly impressive and supreamly realistic, the Grob motor feel and chuck-chuck audio is excellent...



Six liveries include two Air Cadet (Vigilant) liveries, mostly all are UK reg, and the Air Display is excellent.


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Flight Model and Flying Impressions:

Starting the Grob 2500 E1 always needs some Carb Heat, even in warm weather, otherwise the perky little 95 bhp (71 kW) petrol engine bursts into life. You have hydraulic brakes on the left & right main wheels and they can be operated via the toe-brakes on the rudder pedals. But the normal X-Plane key commands don't work in here, the park brake or regular braking is missing if you have them set on on your keyboard, or like me on my joystick? so in effect you have no brakes? The only option is to pull the ineffective parking brake knob on the console.


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The very first impression is that the Grob does not feel at all like a glider, but more of a very small general aviation or ultralight aircraft...  the aircraft taxi's like one as well.... but watch those loooong wide wings, I do also really like those lower windows, and they are a great help while taxiing.


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Notes on the tail-wheel... To Unlatch you steer the tailwheel past its maximum 35 degree range by using asymmetrical braking to force the aircraft into a hard turn. A soft ‘clunk’ sound will be heard when the wheel unlatches from the steering mechanism. To Latch again you centre the aircraft and the rudder pedals and then wiggle the pedals until you get the "clunk" sound of a lock, otherwise you just use the tailwheel with the rudder angle.


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Takeoff distance is 316m (1037ft), and I am still completely not aware I am flying a glider? The Grob taxi's, takesoff and flies just like any very small light tail-dragger? obviously those wings are going to give you huge lift, but there is nothing really abnormal in here, you just fly the aircraft like...   well a normal aircraft. top cruise speed is 110knts


View out is excellent for a small light aircraft, but probably slightly restricted as a glider....


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..... I absolutely love the trim lever, easy to use and effective in small adjustments...  perfect. The iPad EFIS style flight-display is extremely small on the right of the Vigilant, and not much better on the standard panel. So you have to get in really, really close to use it (or even see the numbers), a key view is certainly required for use...  otherwise it is pretty good if simple tool.


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You have be careful climbing, the Grob doesn't take to climbing quickly and runs off speed faster than hitting a 50knt wind, so you will very quickly find yourself in a bad stall...  it's nasty stuff in this position. So the max climb with at least 100knts is required to be not over 550fpm, 630fpm is your absolute max climb angle...  or!

So it can take time to climb up to say 10,000ft or 12,000ft with a max ceiling of 6,000 m (20,000 ft). Different propeller modes in Climb (11º) - Cruise (16º) - Any (feathered-87º) need to be strictly adhered to with the Prop Control Lever, and It absolutely hates crosswinds as well and with 20knt as the max blusters, those wings are not easily held in high winds either. Carb-icing is also a constant threat, so you have to be very aware in the Grob.


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To go into glider mode you have to pull a large handle in the centre of the panel to feather and disconnect the drive to the propeller...


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Turn off the engine and it all goes weirdly quiet, with just the very realistic wind noises to keep you company...  aircraft control (trimmed) is excellent, but you don't get that pure feel that is in a tight glider, this is a heavier aircraft than the plastic bubble you usually recline in. Maximum glide ratio is 28 at 115 km/h (71 mph; 62 kn) and the best glide ratio is 1:28 at 62knts with noted G limits of +5.3 -2.65.


A windmilling engine restart may be performed in-air or during gliding, and can be used to restart the engine without the need of the starter motor. This can be used to save power, as well as in the event of an emergency, starter failure or a weak/drained battery.


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I had a few heart stopping moments when the engine refused to restart? I tried a few times but I think I flooded the carb, and after a slight dive and using the prop (windmilling) it finally caught...and yes the sound was music to my ears, but I found the event very authentic as well.


One area that is difficult is that you have no tools for positioning, no VOR pointers, or ADF, only a small map or the Navigraph on the EFIS, so you can easily get lost up here and have no tools to find your way back to the airport, and I miss those and the adjustable course pointer to get your lineup to the runway angle.


With no flaps you will need to use the highly effective airbrakes to rub off the speed, Stall is around 40knts, but those long wings give you plenty of balance on finals...


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But no brakes (fine if you have rudder pedals) means you roll along forever trying to lose the speed, turning will help and so would a grass strip landing, but overall it feels unsafe, and worse is you can't park (stop) the Grob where you want to?


Grob G 109b - Flying 23.jpg


Negatives: It feels still a bit not finished off, nothing major but (even noted) a few bugs and points requiring attention but not in the modeling and internal detailing as it is absolutely first rate, the brakes are obviously an issue for me without any rudder pedals, but even with them you need braking action. A few more elements would be nice, and the manual although highly detailed is noted and looks like a rush job. Needs a bit of practice and gliding skills to get the very best out of the aircraft. Very heavy 2gb and 3gb download and install, so you have to watch your graphic texture limit.


First Impressions

Overall excellent, beautifully modeled and designed that is two versions with the standard Grob and the RAF Air-Cadet Vigilant with different panel layouts. Avionics are very basic and overall it feels and flies like a General Aviation aircraft that you can turn the engine off and glide around. I would say that this aircraft is not a pure glider per se, but brilliant for learners and the experts. FlyingIron are excellent developers so you can expect a quality aircraft in all areas, and that is what you get here, but still with the usual fine tuning and last bugs. Nice to fly and balance (CofG needs to be set) with great trim response gives you great in the air feedback, but the climb rate is low and the Grob has a deathly stall zone. No brakes needs to be refined as you need basic controls or a switch from rudder pedal control back to normal X-Plane brake control. Sounds are exceptional.


Yes loved it completely, but I feel I would need a bit more practice and the right weather (thermal) conditions to find out what the Grob really can do...  Highly Recommended.




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Yes! Grob G109B/Vigilant T1 by FlyingIron is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Grob G109B/Vigilant T1


Price is US$34.95



  • Professional Flight Model; tested & approved by a team of real-world G109B Pilots, including ex-RAF instructors
  • Incredibly Detailed 3D Artwork & Texturing; recreation of a real G109b flown by one of our test pilots as well as a Vigilant T1
  • Real G109B Sounds - The true sounds of a real G109b, recorded & mixed by a professional sound engineer & fully integrated via FMOD (plus fully-functional & optional pilot headphones)
  • Detailed, Custom Airfoil Simulation of the Eppler E580 Wing Airfoil
  • Realistic & Detailed Simulation of the Hoffman HO-V62R/L 160T Propeller & it’s 3-Stage, mechanically actuated blade pitch system.
  • Aircraft Ownership & Persistent State-saving
  • Hi-Fidelity Custom Avionics Simulation; powered by SASL & Xlua
  • Hi-Fidelity, Code-driven simulation of all aircraft systems & features for an incredibly realistic experience (tested & approved by our G109b Pilot Team). This includes Ground-Handling, Braking & Hydraulics, Flight Systems & Mechanics, Electrical & Fuel Systems , Avionics, Engine Management & more
  • Tablet GUI Simulation - Access key features & settings via a fully functional, simulated Tablet. Adjustable & fully interactive
  • Includes 2 Complete Aircraft Simulations - The Grob G109b & the RAF edition, the Vigilant T1. Each has a unique cockpit design & features and can be toggled in-sim
  • 5 Included Liveries + A Paintkit (Paintkit to be released in Update 1.1)
  • LibRain Canopy Rain FX Integration
  • VR Ready
  • External Static Elements
  • Custom “Light-show” livery & Fireworks FX



Requirements :

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 2 Gb
Current and Review version : 1.0 (November 16th 2019)



First Impression Review by Stephen Dutton

19th November 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews


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 1Tb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 11.40

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders

Plugins:  Environment Engine v1.12 by xEnviro US$69.90

- EGGD - Bristol International Definitive by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.95


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While I'm sure it's top quality based on owning their Mark IX but talk about diminshed expectations when they revealed this one.  They were already in my warbirds niche and I expected something with 12 or 18 cylinders as their next offering.  The still forthcoming F117 doesn't do much either - I think they're misdirected but hopefully will recover.

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I shouldn't laugh, I really shouldn't...  but that is actually funny. No you don't press the home keyboard button (X-Plane is not actually connected to the keyboard unless the commands are set) but the home key set out on iPad (the round button on the end of the iPad)... but it is funny 😂

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4 hours ago, Stephen said:

I shouldn't laugh, I really shouldn't...  but that is actually funny. No you don't press the home keyboard button (X-Plane is not actually connected to the keyboard unless the commands are set) but the home key set out on iPad (the round button on the end of the iPad)... but it is funny 😂


Okay, I know, you can laugh, I am all android, never touched an ipad.

No hard feelings, it works...🤣


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  • 3 months later...

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