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Aircraft Review : VAN's RV-10 by Digital Replica

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Aircraft Review : VAN's RV-10 by Digital Replica

 

The American based Van's Aircraft RV-10 is a four-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt aircraft that is sold in kit form by Van's Aircraft. It is the first four-seat airplane in the popular RV series. The RV-10 first flew on 29 May 2003, and the first kit parts were delivered to a customer in September 2003.

As of October 2019, 933 RV-10s have been completed and flown so this is an immensely popular aircraft in this category. The total price of the standard-build kit is around US$46,090, which did not include an engine or any avionics. A "quick-build" option is also available at  $59,530 of a fully equipped aircraft.

 

Digital Replica released their Twin Cessna 310L last year for X-Plane11, so here is their second release in this Van's RV-10 kit aircraft, and what a surprise the aircraft is....  as of first glance it looked all of a bit ordinary.

 

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The tail shape gives you the first impression of a Mooney, in fact the RV-10 looks like a modern day Mooney if the company had survived (still debatable) and had gone into a more lighter aircraft category. Dig deep and the RV-10 has a lot of great detail as the modeling and panel detail is first rate, the pre-drilled rivet holes construction method is really well done and very authentic to the eye....

 

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....   fuselage and wing shapes are exceptional and really well modeled, with extreme convex and concave shapes are all almost perfect, highlights are under engine air inlet (landing light) and perfect engine inlets, NACA ducts are also well done on the fuselage. Glass is extremely good as well with great shaping and reflections, only note is that the glass is a bit too newish in feel with no wear, tear or marks, or altogether a bit too thin and clear.

 

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Both doors swing open upwards, but the rear locker baggage door doesn't open?

 

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Internal cabin is really well trimmed, not up to the extreme Aerobask standards, but not far off that degree... 

 

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Vinyl and cloth inserts on the seating is all really well done, the rear seats look a little square, but remember this is a home built aircraft, seatbelts are all 3d four point harnesses. Roof metal panel shaping and detailing is simply outstanding and highly realistic. Note the highly detailed headphones work if you touch them in lowering the internal noise.

 

Fully working joystick includes CWS (Control wheel steering), AP DISC (Autopilot disconnect), GA (go Around), Trim and PPT (push to talk) buttons (via keyboard inputs)...  under panel and the rudder pedals are well designed and fully functional.

 

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Instrument Panels

The section heading says Panels plural, not Panel. So we need to look at the extensive Menu to see why.

 

The menu selection is four choices lower bottom left of your screen for: Aircraft Configuration, Load Chart, Checklist and Updater.

 

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Aircraft Configuration

You have a smorgasbord of options for the setup of the aircraft. First are two options for the panel are in "Analog" or "Garmin 1000"

 

Analog gives you all dials in King KFC150 Autopilot Flight Control System with two KX155 NAV/COM and the engine management are all analog gauges.

 

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Garmin 1000 is the standard Laminar Research G1000 avionics panel with built in engine management readouts

 

Next is the choice of :King KFC150 Autopilot Flight Control System with two KX155 NAV/COM and a EDM engine monitor system, or....

 

RV10_Menu 6.jpgRV10_Menu 5.jpg

...    a King KFC150 Autopilot Flight Control System with the two GNS430 & GNS530 GPS and EDM engine control....  or G5 PFD and G5 HSI with GFC600 Autopilot, GNS430 & GNS530 and EDM engine control...

 

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...  or swap the EDM monitor system for the analog gauges? or in any combination. Also the choice of Push/Pull - Throttle/Prop/Mixture to Quadrant levers.

 

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Note the Garmin GMA 340 radio below with a matching transponder...  you have to admit it is all very impressive for choice.

 

Other panel highlights are the EDS IP system (lower left) which consists of an intelligent peripheral setup on which each of the four oxygen outlet stations has a micro-controller that constantly monitors respiratory aspects of each occupants with N - Night and D-Day modes

 

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The EDM - Digital Engine Management is a unit that monitors the engine conditions. Buttons are used to select the Lean Find mode which is used to find the exhaust gas temperature lean of peak, cycle between parameters and adjusting the brightness (more below).


All contact (fuse) breakers work and shows system depth. The EDM pops-out for ease of use as does the G5 PFD and G5 HSI instruments for the cockpit builders... 

 

RV10_Panel 3.jpgRV10_Panel 4.jpgRV10_Panel 5.jpgRV10_Panel 6.jpg

 

....     the two GNS430 & GNS530 GPS units and PFD and NAV/MAP G1000 displays also pop-out as Laminar default panels.

 

You can also choose to have either one of two styles of panel facias.There is the Carbon or the White options, I really liked the "white" option more than the darker Carbon feel, but both are good. You have to swap the textures over for each selection in the "Objects" folder, so you can't just swap as you feel  like it, so it is either one style or the other.

 

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Menu options

Other menu options give you the choices of propellers with: 3 Blade Composite, 3 Blade Aluminum and 2 Blade Aluminum.

 

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Two engine choices are also available with either a Lycoming IO-540 Fuel Injected 260hp (194 kW) or the Lycoming O-540 Caburettor 235hp  (175 kW) powerplants, the Lycoming engines are modeled under the cowling, but I couldn't find a way to remove the cowling.

 

Librain Rain Effects can also be used or switched off, and they are very good internally...  on the exterior however the effects can move around the fuselage, but you can ignore that aspect.

 

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Checklist

There is a three page checklist, that is quite basic, but fine. I however found it hard to adjust if the window is positioned slightly off screen, but get control of the window and the checklist window can be scaled quite small for handy non-obstructed use.

 

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Load Chart

The "Load Chart" is a Weight&Balance menu that allows you to place four occupants (Pilot + 3 Passengers) in different body weights that are changed randomly of Green around  (60 kgs), Dark Green (70 Kgs), Brown (80 Kgs) and Red (90 Kgs), Fuel (left/Right) Max 30 Gal per tank and Baggage Max 60 Kgs....   Settings can be in Distance CM/In, Weight Kg/Lb and Fuel in Lt/GAL...  Full Limits, Gross Weight, Payload and Fuel Weight are shown plus the aircraft's CofG (Centre of Gravity) position and all out of limits are shown in red. Oxygen quantity FME (Flexible Modelling Environment) is also adjusted on the Load Chart.

 

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Updater

There is a built in "Updater" which is very good. It will tell you is you have a good internet connection, then you hit the red (Required) options to update, after you have completed all the updates then just re-load the aircraft.

 

There are no static elements or aircraft covers.

 

Flying the RV-10

Start up and the Lycoming IO-540 (Injection) sounds really good, so sounds are great from the off. Taxiing is another matter again. The RV-10 in reality has a castor loose front wheel, so you have to taxi the RV-10 like a taildragger, but with the castor at the front and not the back, in other words it is very hard to turn? You can set the left and right wheel brakes (if you have a set of toe rudders) to snap turn the aircraft in the direction you want to go, but for the rest of us it can be a bit tricky until you sort it all out via throttle inputs and big rudder swings...  you get there but it needs a fair bit of practice...

 

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....  I managed to work it out and finally arrive at the runway, but the option to lock the front wheel to the rudder would be nice if maybe not authentic, but easier for those who don't have rudder pedals, note the hard over rudder to keep the aircraft going straight ahead.

 

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Because you are going in a straight line down the runway and then taking off and once with the air flowing now over the flying surfaces the aircraft is then finally giving you your directional control...   so RV-10 is quite nice to power down the runway and take to the air, but you instantly feel that sensitivity of this aircraft's very light weight to power ratio, stick and rudder movements have to be fine and controlled and almost glider like in response, you'll love it of course because it feels like a real kit-made living and breathing aircraft in the lightweight class.

 

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But the Van's is so very sensitive to any trim adjustments (hard to do) and to any of your hand/feet inputs, yes it is a lovely manual aircraft to fly, but be very lithe in the air. Banking is to be taken sensibly as even any sharp stick movements can get you into serious trouble...

 

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Not just under manual control do you feel the prompt banking angle changes as for even when under Autopilot changes of direction, you still get that same sudden horizontal shift...

 

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....  but that is all in that amateur feel, and you just simply love it, because it all feels all so realistic....  in other words the RV-10 is brilliant. The 260hp version gives you a Max speed of 208 mph at sea level (332 km/h, 179 kt) and a cruise speed of 201 mph (323 km/h, 175 kt), in other words for a small aircraft of this size it is very fast, but that does depend on the weight factor of passenger and baggage as the aircraft does feel the effects any heavy weight put upon it, and that is recorded heavily in the cruise speeds, vertical speeds and the overall range which is usually around 1,000 miles at Cruise power set at 55% at 8,000 ft (1,600 km). Climb rate is 1,450 ft/min (7.4 m/s), and the Ceiling (Oxygen remember) is an excellent 20,000ft.

 

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Authentic Garmin GFC 600 is a high-performance, attitude-based, Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) and it is very good, and is well coupled with the G5 PFD and G5 HSI displays. They are both small and quite dense with detail (certainly the G5 PFD) but it is really well done.

 

Press the centre of the tuning knob and you get access to the PDF Menu, turn the knob to scroll the items. (note while in this mode you can't adjust the heading or other flight controls via the G5)

 

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...  there is a Setting (Configuration) Menu that is accessed in a similar way. Turn off the G5 unit and again press the knob to bring up the menu (best to do on the ground before flight) then again scroll via turning the knob. Attitude, Airspeed Configuration and Units are all accessed via the menu.

 

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Full details of the menus are listed in the manual. GFC 600  Autopilot is very good and highly detailed, but be aware that turning off the AP, as it also turns of the FD (Flight Director) and YD (Yaw Damp), and the use of an X-Plane key input to disconnect (can be custom set) as the servos don't switch off that way?

 

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The KFC 150 Autopilot does not pop-out, but it is a very effective unit in this configuration of a two-axis autopilot and flight director system partnered with a KI256 Flight Command Indicator and a KI525A Pictorial Navigation Indicator.

 

RV10_Panel 7.jpg

 

EDM - Digital Engine Management has loads of functionality, and access to Fuel Flow data you can switch (Step) to. Used (GAL), REM (Remain), MPG (Miles Per Gal), ENDUR (Endurance HH:MM) are all switchable, and rotate in the viewer or the EGT outputs of the engine (See EGT/FF below)

 

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There is a Fine Lean mode that is used for finding the EGT peaks and when to the lean the engine for maximum efficiency and range. Notes are "the information area will start to show the EGT temperature of the highest EGT cylinder. Then start to lean the mixture about 10°/second without pausing. At this point a white box will start to flash on the hottest cylinder. When the flashing box cylinder peaks, you will see LEANEST for two seconds and the column of that cylinder will start to flash"

 

Final right button is the EGT/FF: which will set the unit into the Automatic scan mode to ALL (showing all parameters), FUEL (showing fuel related parameters) and TEMP (showing engine temperature related parameters).

 

Lighting

Cockpit and panel lighting is excellent, Backlit instrument dials are quite bright, so you don't need the full adjustment. Better are the two each side lighting pods (arrowed) that are fully animated for adjustment...  the modern colour light is excellent, the only small downside is that the lighting intensity is the same for both lights, adjust one and you adjust the other, then separate adjustments here would have been absolutely perfect.

 

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You can easily get the right feel for night flying, and the change to a lit analog dial panel is just as brilliant.

 

Overhead cabin lighting is also excellent (love the glowing switches) with one forward cabin and one light on the rear cabin

 

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External lighting is very good, and not over bright. The Taxi/Landing light is very small, but the Navigation, Beacon and Strobes are all very good.

 

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The RV-10 is of course very nervous in wind, or weight (more weight helps, but dims performance), adjust to those factors and this is a real pilot's aircraft.

 

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Flap adjustment is continuous and not stepped between UP - 1/4 - 1/2 - 3/4 - Full, but in reality the settings are guide more than a setting. If you get the speed down into the 80 knt range there is no flap lift, and they are very effective (drag and lift) under throttle control.

 

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Approach speeds are around 80 knts (Full Flap) and your inputs have to be small as the wings have a tendency to wobble in certain conditions and wind direction, so a bit of focus is always required... but you feel the thrill of the control of the aircraft under you as you are flying like a pro and loving every minute of it.

 

Final approach speed is around 72 knts with a nice flair around 68 knts...

 

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....  it is very important you get the softest touchdown you can achieve because the strut gear is fixed and quite hard with not much give, so a far too steep a drop and the landing can be jarring. Stall speed is set at 63 mph (101 km/h, 55 kt).

 

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The RV-10 is just a sweet aircraft all round.

 

Liveries

The liveries and Panel options (Carbon/White) are downloaded separately from the aircraft here: Digital Replica RV10 Liveries v1.13

 

Currently there are one white and five liveries, the Green N102DR is default with the aircraft. A few have no registration numbers and feel slightly incomplete? but the "First Flight is well done in it's shiny metal and composite panel construction.

 

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RV10_Livery Green.jpgRV10_Livery First Flight.jpg

RV10_Livery White Blue.jpgRV10_Livery Blue.jpg

____________________________

 

Summary

I love to be genuinely surprised and certainly this Van's RV-10 is a huge surprise in the sheer range of configurations and personal choice you have with the aircraft, it is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat and then finding another one in there and then another, the choices are also really clever and extremely wide for all tastes, and all are also bound together into one aircraft that is a home built configuration build dream.

 

System avionics cover really any tastes from the G1000 glass panel (Laminar) to Garmin GFC 600/G5, to the KFC 150 Autopilot with a KI256/KI525A instruments and either GNS 430/450 or KX155. More includes the choices of standard engine analog readout dials to a modern EDM - Digital Engine Management system, working Oxygen system, different injected or carburettor engine types, three types of propellers and even push/pull or quadrant controls...   phew!

 

The choices are huge, and then add that into a great kit-build light aircraft flight feel and it is a very interesting and great aircraft to fly, great lighting effects, rain effects and great all round modeling. Systems are very good with working fuses/circuit breakers, system menus (semi in areas, but still well done), great sounds and wind effects.

 

I will note a few gripes, but we have to keep them in context to the what you do get here. The cockpit glass is a bit too clear and not overall realistic, a bit of thickness or wear&tear would make it feel more perfect (some users note the heavy reflections, but they didn't intrude too much to me). Separating the side pod lighting adjustment would make the effect perfect and the option to connect the front steering to the tail (for those without rudder pedals) would be a nice to have...  the internal pilot is a bit bland, but the missing other 3d passengers would be a nice addition as you load the aircraft with weight and finally currently there is no VR (Virtual Reality) and this is an aircraft just wanting or even demading VR interaction ... all just niggles, but if updated would make the design absolutely 100% perfect.

 

Value is excellent as well... US$40, no, US$35...  no again but priced actually under US$30 at US$28.95 makes the RV-10 the bargain of 2020 or to date even of the decade.

 

Surprised by this Van's RV-10, I was and yes it is a very interesting aircraft to use and to fly... it almost wants me to go and order a kit from Van's and start building the real aircraft itself. So overall brilliant and the RV-10 comes highly recommended.

____________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The VAN's RV-10 by Digital Replica is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Van's RV-10

 

Priced at US$28.95

 

Features
Different Cockpit configuration from steam gauges to glass cockpit:
  • G5 PFD and HSI with GFC600 Digital Autopilot with GNS430 and GNS430
  • ESP (Electronic Stability and Protection System)
  • LVL (Return to level) Mode
  • Auto trim
  • Different speed and altitude units options
  • CWS (Control wheel steering) mode
  • GA (Go Around) mode.
  • AP disconnect button   
  • Flight Director
  • Yaw Damper
  • Pitch and Roll hold mode
  • Heading Mode
  • NAV Mode with Radio-navigation or GPS inputs
  • Approach Mode
  • Back Course Mode
  • Indicated Airspeed Reference Mode
  • Altitude Hold Mode
  • Working Battery behavior for the G5 HSI and PFD
KC150 Autopilot with KI256 Flight Command unit, KI525A HSI and KX155 COM/NAV Radios
  • Flight Director
  • Auto trim
  • Altitude Hold mode
  • Attitude pith and roll hold mode
  • Heading mode
  • NAV Mode
  • Approach mode
  • Back Course mode
Digital engine management unit EDM or analog gauges
  • Engine monitor display
  • Range/Endurance/Burned Fuel/Miles per Gallon/Etc.
  • Lean Find Mode
Throttle quadrant or push-pull engine command options
EDS Digital Controlled oxygen System
  • Four distribution stations
  • Night/Normal mode
  • Delayed mode
  • Class-A/Fast Mask mode
  • Different display and setting configurations
Working Circuit Breakers panel
Angle of attack indicator with voice warning
Different engine and propeller configurations:
  • Lycoming IO540 Fuel Injected 260HP engine
  • Lycoming O540 235HP Carbureted Engine
  • 3 Blade Composite Propeller
  • 3 Blade Aluminum Propeller
  • 2 Blade Aluminum Propeller
Each of the option with their own performance and fuel consumption characteristics
Outstanding 3D model
  • High 4K PBR textures
  • Librain rain effect by skiselkov
  • 5 liveries and one white canvas livery for custom creations
  • 3D cockpit light for the interior and the exterior
  • Custom instruments and surface vibrations
  • Particles Effects
Three dimensional Sound
  • Fmod sound engine
  • All Custom Sounds
  • Sound level and frequencies are modified by headset removal or doors configurations.
Custom Menus and Popups
  • Aircraft Configuration
  • Load Chart with CG envelope, fuel and passengers configurations
  • Checklist
  • GFC600 Autopilot Popup
  • EDM Popup
  • Updater Popup
Built-in Updater
 

Requirements

X-Plane 11 (Fully updated)
Windows or Mac ( Linux will be available soon)
4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 215Mb
Current and Review version: 1.15 (February 5th 2020)
 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Van's RV-10 is 215.10mb and the unzipped file deposited in the aircraft "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 543mb.

No liveries and panel options are in the packaged download, but can be downloaded here: Digital Replica RV10 Liveries v1.13

 

Documentation:

There is one comprehensive manual provided. With full system details and both IO and O Lycoming engine performance charts.

 

  • Digital Replica RV10 Manual.pdf
_______________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

7th February 2020

Copyright©2020: 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)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tbgb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.13 US$69.90

Scenery or Aircraft

- KHAF - Half Moon Bay by Rising Dawn Studios (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.00

 

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