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Aircraft Review : Cruz PiperSport PS-28 by Alabeo

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Aircraft Review : Cruz PiperSport PS-28 by Alabeo
 
This aircraft does not look anything like your usual American Piper. That is because it isn't actually a Piper at all? This is because PiperSport was originally created by the Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW) as the CZAW SportCruiser in 2006 in and released in Europe. The aircraft was then later licensed to Piper in January 2010 and renamed the PiperSport. CRUZ was also added to the name as well because it was four-letter ICAO designation for the SportCruiser. The license arrangement however lasted barely 12 months as the American and Czech companies had to many different approaches towards marketing, and the contract after selling only 45 aircraft was torn up. Piper noted that the aircraft's slow sales in the past year had been related only to marketing issues and not any deficiencies with actual the aircraft design. Piper never actually built any of the aircraft anyway as they were still assembled in Czechoslovakia. Both fully built and in kit form. The aircraft was offered in three different trim and avionics configurations, with higher end models offering the Dynon Avionics D100 glass cockpit and autopilot. And the aircraft is still available via Importer U.S. Sport Aircraft and is now known as the CSA PS-28 Cruiser and the "Classic" version is the one with the Dynon Avionics suite. All the aircraft versions (or badge engineering) use the Rotax 912S powerplant of 100 hp (75 kW).
 

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Cruz PiperSport PS-28
This version here by Alabeo is the basic aircraft in with no autopilot or Dynon Avionics, it is a basic stick and rudder aircraft that is ideal for basic training. It does however have a nice Garmin GNS530 GPS that will gladden your heart, but it is only really for navigational and radio purposes as installed here.
 

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This is a very nice tight design the Cruz, and does look more European than American in hindsight and more in the style of what type of design the French or Italians would produce. Alabeo have certainly done great a reproduction of the design with excellent panels and minor details. There are no cheat items either positioned on the textures, as everything that can be is created in 3d. everything from piping, to brake assemblies, flaps and supports and cooling (NACA) inlets.

 

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There are the standard two menus that usually come with a Carenado or Alabeo aircraft...  The lower menu (situated lor left of your screen) is the (- O -) Options menu that has the options: Transparent Windshield (front), Instrument Reflections, Static Elements, Cockpit Door and a new one in Scroll Highlight. The top menu is the (- C -) Camera or views menu with zoom and sound adjustments.
 

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New Manipulators
On the outset the "Scroll" system looks the same as the ones on all of the type in the latest v2 (10.30) Carenado's. But actually it is another step in the development of trying to create a better manipulator system for X-Plane of which the default is quite basic in operation. In the earlier "Scroll" system you used your mouse scroll wheel (a gesture mouse will work as well) to operate the knobs or buttons. Here the system goes one step further in that you can not only scroll (with the wheel) but still also use the standard Carenado directional adjuster at the same time, both manipulations can be used together to turn knobs and flick switches on or off. The colour system to highlight what operations (knobs or switches) can be manipulated can also be switched on or off via the menu selection.  It works very well, better still if you have a scroll wheel mouse, of which I don't (single click mouse on a Mac), but it does take a little getting used to and in the PiperSport you are flying with one hand and adjusting with the other.
 

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Besides the manipulator ease of programming the GNS530 GPS (It pops out for ease of use), the scroll is best for use in trimming the aircraft with the buttons on the control stick, which the trim is displayed on the lower central panel. It makes the fuel selection a one click operation as well. The usual Tom and Jerry pilots that are seen in every Alabeo and Carenado aircraft also make another appearance here as well. But they do have great animations.
 
The inner cockpit is a beautiful place with real leather beige contoured seats and brushed carpet on the floor, when the static items are selected there is a red brace on the pilots control stick.
 

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THere is blind set out over the pilots heads that can pushed right back to give a clear view upwards through the canopy.

 

Flying the PS-28
Even with just 100hp on tap to use, the aircraft feels powerful...  when starting the aircraft it immediately exhibited a movement of a nose down stance as the prop begins to bite into the air, and the tri-constructed undercarriage legs then each reacted independently to the forces, as the engine ticked over with a genuine Rotax (3D) sound.
 
The PiperSport pulls away from the runway hold quite sprightly and you have to control your line, as per Alabeo aircraft the front turn on the wheel won't turn unless you are moving forward, so you have to be ready when it does gain some direction, locking it out early (with the "nosewheel_steer toggle") is not advisable either until you have got your direction at a low speed sorted as you need the control. The aircraft does need a fair amount of runway to gain the lift, surprising in that the speed gets up there quite quickly.
 

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But you have wait to well into the green zone of the power band or around 85knts-90knts before you can rotate. Once airborne the aircraft then feels quite nice and can easily climb and can bank quite effortlessly. Once your height and heading is sorted out, you will find the aircraft needs constant attention to keep it level, the trim works hard to find that balance point, but it still on top of that needs a lot of input to keep the aircraft in line and to stop the aircraft from moving around and into and out of pitch. This constant workload can make the aircraft tiring without any artificial aids to help you fly for those long periods. You do find a rhythm, but I couldn't fly it for 300nmn or some distance like that. The coloured power bands on the are airspeed indicator cover - White : 32knts to 75knts - Flap Range, Green : 39knts to 108knts - Normal operating range, Yellow : 108knts to 138knts - caution and maneuvers only in still air and Red : 138knts - Maximum speed allowed. And I like the way that instrument works, as it is very easy and clear on what you are required to do.
 

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I was soon joined by another PiperSport that was crossing over Anglesey, and we had a few mutual admiration moments before I carried on reviewing the aircraft.
 

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The panel is built around simplicity. The Standard Six instruments ( Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator and Vertical Speed Indicator) are all very large and easily readable, lower panel is a selection of rocker switches that cover the - Main Power in Master and Instrument, Then panel lighting in Engine, FLT (Flight), Avionics, Nav Lights, Strobe, LDG (landing lights) the only odd switch is for the fuel pump. And a key turn starter switch. A very large compass is situated on top of the glareshield.
 
Central to the avionics pack is the Garmin GNS530 GPS which is the X-Plane 10.30 default, There also an Apollo SL40 Comm radio and a Garmin GTX327 Transponder unit with clock. Not the most lavish setup but still very versatile and useable. On the right side of the panel are eight gauges and dial instruments that cover (top) - Engine rev counter x1000 min, Oil pressure, Oil Temp, CHT (Cylinder Head Temperature) - (lower) Fuel Press (PSI), Left and right Fuel tanks and Battery condition. Very right on the panel there is a flight hour counter.
 
There is a bright red handle that says "Don't touch me!" It is the parachute release!, but pulling it will only send you back to the start and sitting on the runway again...  so don't touch it!
 

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The view out is excellent as there is nothing to spoil the view, the overhead blind can intrude but otherwise there is plenty of observation awareness.
 
Night lighting
The panel lighting is quite basic, you switch the instrument dials on or off, but there is no fine adjustment. There is a noted "Cockpit Light" but this just illuminates the top of the panel area. But that said the dials are very well lit and look good day or night.
 

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Outside there are Nav and Strobe lights and a singular landing light in the nose.
 
Liveries
Liveries are also standard Carenado/Alabeo in one default white and N131FF in red and white - N544JL in grey and white - N568US with a tan, red and white - N457YL in a blue, white and turquoise - N346KU with yellow and white tones of which I liked the best, but all are American registrations.
 

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Approach and Landing
Your speed zone on approach is quite small between 75knts and 65knts, you keep the speed closer to top of the white (flap) zone until you need to descend, which is quite easy with the throttle and not the pitch. The aircraft is highly maneuverable at low speeds and very stable, I also like the look of those upturned wingtips that are quite efficient.
 

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You have to be careful not the bang the aircraft down square on its tri-undercarriage (absorbent as it is) as that is very easy to do, and too much pitch nose up is awkward as well, the difference between them is very small but worth getting right for nice smooth landing with no bounces. brakes are very good but the aircraft does need a fair amount tarmac to run off the speed even from 60knts. Once down you can easily taxi to ramp.
 
Summary
The Cruz PiperSport PS-28 is a great little hand's on trainer, this is not an aircraft to fly any distance in (unless later Alabeo add in the Dynon system), It is just too needy and wanting to correction that it tires you out when going long periods in a straight line and that is quite hard to trim out. But for local flying and like said training it is excellent, tootling around the sky is a lot of fun because the aircraft is quite fun to dip and soar and can be great and steady at low speeds.
 
Quality is the usual Alabeo/Carenado excellence, great detailing and perfect design work. Sounds are excellent and a perfect reproduction of the Rotax engine. The new manipulator system is a great new feature but needs time to be really proficient with using it. But it is clever.
 
Overall the PiperSport (that is not really a Piper) is another quality great single propeller, two seater aircraft of the lightsport category.  Easy to use and easy to fly around the local area...  The Cruz PiperSport PS-28 is another winner from Alabeo.
 
And the Cruz PiperSport is available from the X-Plane .OrgStore right now : Cruz PiperSport

Price of the Cruz PiperSport PS-28 is US$22.95
 
Developer site : Alabeo
 
Features
HD Textures

Default X-Plane 10 GNS530
Volumetric side view prop effect 
High quality 3D model and textures.
Blank texture for creating your own designs.
Accurately reproduced flight characteristics
64-bit compatible.
Plugin-enhanced
FPS-optimized model.
Scroll wheel support

 
Technical Requirements
Windows XP-Vista-7-8 (or higher) or MAC OS 10.6 (or higher) or Linux
X-Plane 10.30 (or higher)
Pentium 2 GHz - 1GB RAM
276MB available hard disk space

updated store#
 
Installation : Download 208mb, unzipped and Installed (in your general Aviation Folder) 288.60mb. For Mr 3d animations with MONA - EGOQ you will need the "Ground traffic" by Marginal plugin.
 
Documents supplied : post-2-0-65555500-1414840677.jpg
 
Review by Stephen Dutton
 
1st Nov 2014
 
Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
 
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)

- Hi rez planet textures from ISDG
- Hi-Res Runway textures by Jack Skieczius
Addons
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- bose Soundlink -Mini portable speaker
Scenery
- EGOQ Mona by Mr 3D (EGOQ_Mona with ground traffic .org)
 
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Guest ncrb1545

Very good review, as usual. :)

Here are a few notables...

 

The illumination of the cockpit and gauges are in fact adjustable with a scroll mouse (discovered that by accident)

No anti-collision light atop the vertical stab, not sure if that is a requirement with strobes or not

No action button to push for Com2 (Apollo SL40) making it just eye candy unless you have a button mapped to activate Com2 (I didn't see one)

A biggie to me...no Pitot heat button???

I don't know if it's I don't know the Rotax engine but where is, or is there supposed to be, a mixture control?

The fuel pressure was always maxed out during flight

I did pop the chute at 7000' and before I knew it I was at 36,000' in a spiral decent...WEIRD

I also managed to fly through snow at 6000' feet and watched as the air speed indicator went to 0 (no pitot heat) indicated and began to descend uncontrollably until I pancaked into the ground with a scolding from the SIM :rolleyes:

 

All that taken into consideration, it's a fine product worth the money and a lot of fun to fly...only if it had an auto pilot, even a basic one :P

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Guest Alex_of_EDFE

As I fly the Aquila A201 (with 100 hp-Rotax) occasionally myself in real world I can confirm, there is no such thing like a mixture control. The amount of fuel is regulated automatically as it is in any automobile engine.

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