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Aircraft Review : Antares 20E Motorglider by Aerobask

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Aircraft Review : Antares 20E Motorglider by Aerobask
If you want a minority strain of aviation in X-Plane then Gliders would be it. New gliders are very rare and in fact this is the first review I have ever done on a glider. But like any facet of flying they are very interesting and has mostly the question to be poised is that has the free spirit of these thermal machines been given at most a good aircraft to fly. Well that aspect is changed here, because Aerobask has created the Antares 20E that is a quality motorglider and not just a basic or average glider to fill in a category or be a machine to in fill a basic need. Many pilots would love to learn and fly gliders and with this aircraft that will give them now the chance to savor the quieter and more purer aspects of flying.



Aerobask's designs are very much based on the composite designs that are prevalent with very modern aircraft. That aspect of course is also perfect to design a glider. As the clean air smooth shapes and build materials are very much the same.




Design wise the Antares 20E is first rate, and like I mentioned a real quality glider in detail and fittings that is usually absent from these sort of aircraft. Too true is the fact that gliders are very basic flying machines. There are no rows of switches and in fact there not much in the way of complex systems or lighting at all for you to master. The main aspect of flying gliders is well "the seat of your pants" or your natural instincts of staying in the air as long as you can.
For a first time guide to gliding, then Aerobask has included a tutorial called "Fly_your_glider_in_X-Plane" in the documents folder, and it is worth a moments to understand the way these machines work the thermals to do what they do. But some feel to aircraft in knowing how even the basic aircraft fly and how you operate them can go a long way here as well.


To power up you just turn on the key on the right hand panel. Remember from the moment you turn the power on, until till you either turn it off or the power dies is to be aware of that this is a one way power discharge, there are no generators on a glider or a very long power cable to keep everything running when the battery runs out. But the systems are also very power efficient. There is a way to recharge your battery, as you can attach a portable generator to the glider (Note: for the generator to work you have to be in "Start each flight with engines running" box ticked off (MenuBar/Settings/Operations & Warnings) or a cold start and all the power switched off on the glider or it won't appear) You operate the generator by the large buttons on the energy display.
Ahead of you is a main display which is a hidden GNS530 with some basic access buttons (mostly a MAP view) and essential glider instruments on a side display (including: Power on/off, FLARM Radar, MacCready Estimate, display checklist polar and set Baro and you can set the MAP zoom (range) and MacCready blue triangle adjuster as well. Set out below is a power display for energy used and power (being) used.


X-Plane thankfully provides a way to get yourself airborne. In the X-Plane menus "Aircraft/Aircraft & Simulations/Glider-Tow" you can attach a StinsonL5 aircraft to tow your glider into the air.



To activate the tow you just release the ground brake (or key) and the Stinson will simply drag you into the air. As the Stinson climbs you up in a left hand circle rotation, it takes a little practise to get the right flow in the tow and stay in the right place behind the towing aircraft. Next is the release and the best point to make is too make sure you release in the right direction that you want to go. There is no point just releasing and then finding that you are pointing in the wrong direction as you will lose energy in correcting that mistake. To release from the Stinson then press your spacebar or pull out the yellow knob on the main lower panel...  In an instant it is all very quiet and the Stinson immediately vanishes (shame it does not just fly away?).
In most cases you won't be in the right position to start your gliding effectively. But you do have a great feature that fixes that problem.



Push the knobbed lever on your left forward and you will get a lot of clanking going on behind your head...  then as like in a James Bond movie up comes an electric driven propeller!    push the throttle forward and away you go. You can also use this push power source from the runway, but that will just use up a lot your of valuable battery life, you have however with a full battery charge the capacity of a direct climb right up to 10000ft. 
I preferred to use this tow option for two reasons, 1) to push me into the right position and then climb up quickly to the correct altitude after releasing the tow, and 2) if I lose too much height later on, I can then simply push myself back up again to recover my lost (valuable) altitude.  The power currently being consumed by that electric propeller is noted on the display as is the loss of of power already discharged. The electric motor is brushless-fixedshaft running on DCDC current and running at 190 288V, and pulling up to 160A. The EM42 is a 42kW (57HP) motor that can deliver maximum torque over a wide RPM range, with a total efficiency of 90% and a maximum torque of 216 Nm, the motor is exceptional and not only within aviation.



You have three main instruments in left: Variometer (vertical speed), centre: airspeed indicator right: three settings in one as the Variometer V80 in a "Total Energy" - "Artificial Horizon" - "Timer". The Total Energy has a built in vario sound that gives you an aural positive or negative warning (It can be switched off). vario sound is very helpful when flying in thermals because the sound pitches inform you about parameters in the strength and the direction of the thermal. And with this it allows without constantly keeping an eye on the panel in that you can fly more safely by watching the outside exterior environment.
McCready Setting: This instrument computes the estimate gliding time (in mn) and the range (in NM) you can fly, according to the actual conditions (altitude and glide ratio). Mix this informations with GNS DMEfunction (DIS) to see if your next waypoint or airport can be reached. MacCready triangle Speed to fly Set estimate thermals strength on the ring with the rotating knob on the left top of the main MAP display. According to blue MacCready triangle, the V80 screen shows you your optimal speed to reach next thermal.



The "MC" button will show you a graph on the lower display that gives you your STF (Speed to fly) - Vz - Range/Flight Time Estimate. You can adjust your X-Plane thermal settings on the "MenuBar/Environment/Weather/Set Weather Uniformly for the whole world" page in two sliders for "thermal coverage" and "thermal climb-rate". X-Plane does however simplify a lot thermals management, it is not perfect...  but it does work on quite a good level here.
The FLARM (Grey Screen) is an electronic alarm system to prevent crash risk between gliders or the ground and this is specific to gliding, but is closely related to TCAS in commercial aviation. Red diamonds are traffic near your position. The little red arrow indicates if it is climb or descent, and the black number is the relative height with your plane (in hundred feets : 5 FT and down arrow means this plane is 500 ft below your current position). A vocal "traffic" alert will ring if you are to close.



The rest of the controls and instruments are simple. Flap lever and large AirBrake levers with a neat "Trim/Pitch" lever are on the left and on the main panel is "Reflections" (on/off) "water ballast". With no water ballast your sink rate will be low, with water ballast your sink rate is higher, but it can also translated to a higher cross-country speed. You can refill the water ballast by using the X-Plane (MenuBar/Aircraft/Weight & fuel) menus and adjusting the "slung load weight" slider. You can also hide your joystick as well by the button top right.
Lower Instruments are a "Becker Avionics" AR6201 VHF AM/VHF transceiver and a "Trig" TT22 Mode 2 Transponder, both are supplied with excellent manuals and a third manual covering the LX9000 series Variometer system, all are worth reading and studying to get the best performance out of the glider.




I'm no gliding expert, and I am the first to admit that. But I did find it quite easy to retain my height and even increase my altitude quite significantly. The area around North Tweed in Northern N.S.W, Australia is excellent glider country with the sheer cliff faces of the Macpherson Ranges proving excellent updrafts and of course the heat that comes with a tropical Australian summer. You are glued to the McCready instrument searching for those thermals... everyone says gliding is totally relaxing and serene, but I found it stressful and worrying as I looked anxiously at the gauges to find any lift and hints of survival with the dead calm around me.
There are nine liveries with the German basic as the default. All are of high quality but a little blurry at low texture settings, but you are not going to get really extravagant designs on this airframe.





As you pitch down the speed rises. The sounds are simply excellent as the winds rush past the cockpit, the faster you go the higher the noise which is highly realistic. Open the little hatch in the canopy and the wind noise goes even higher...  I loved it.



As the valley closes in around you, you feel more venerable...  but somehow completely under control. The airbrakes are very efficient, as you can easily control your speed and so your descent. Threading your way down is a skill, but I found it far easier than I expected it to be.



Falling into a landing pattern keeps the airfield to my left, I found the height to distance quite easy to do and over a many flights never over-run the grass runways.


The main landing wheel is electrically operated by a switch on the panel, (up/down). There is a fail-safe drop handle (Orange) that will release the wheel manually, but once activated (pulled) the electric version won't work any more.



The flaps will reduce your speed but sometimes I needed a touch of the speedbrakes to correct the final speed on approach.



Stalling a glider is almost impossible, crashing is easy but low speeds are easy to control, so landings can be very easy and soft. and the control is far easier on approach than what you think they should be, those long wide wings make the aircraft very stable...  but only in low winds.
The Antares20E is a great introduction to gliding, and for the experts finally a decent quality glider to fly. Gliding is easier that it looks if you are already quite proficient in the basic GA flying. and that elecrtic propeller will get you out of trouble as well if you are learning. I found I didn't need to use it much, mostly to up my altitude or move the aircraft to a better thermal location. The gadgets provided really also help you find and navigate the thermals like an expert, if you understand how they work. and that is the main reason to purchase this glider as those tools are modern and effective and not available on the usual basic gliders in the simulator. So the Antares20E is a great overall design, the best in this glider category that I know of...  easy to learn and easy to fly and it also has the important depth required for the experts to fine-tune their skills.
So overall the Antares20E is simply excellent.
Review by Stephen Dutton
the Antares20E Motorglider by Aerobask will be  available soon from the NEW! X-Plane.Org Store here : Antares 20E Motorglider
Price is US$19.95
Installation and Documents: ''Download is 237.00mb which is unzipped to your X-Plane in your Glider folder at 274.10mb'' : Start with the "Start each flight with engines running" box ticked off for the portable generator to work.
All documents are included and are excellent : post-2-0-36394200-1417762373.jpg
Support Thread : Antares 20E Motorglider
Copyright © 2014 : X-Plane Reviews
11th December 2014
Technical Requirements:
Windows, MAC or Linux

X-Plane 10.30 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not supported)
1GB VRAM Video Card
Current version: v1.0 Last updated: December 6th, 2014

Review System Specifications:
Computer System:     
- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”
- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3
- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
- Mac OS Mavericks 10.9.4
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.31 Final
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

- Bose Soundlink WiFi Speaker
YMUR Murwillumbah Airport by VOZ (Barry Roberts)

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