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Aircraft Review : Diamond DA-42 Twinstar by Harranssor

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Review : Diamond DA-42 Twinstar by Harranssor
Any developer that has wishes to sell their work and move into the upper regions of creating payware will know that the gap to that level is wide.  A few years ago you could create something good and put it on the selling block and receive a few repayments for all your hard work.
But the game has shifted considerably today as simulation as a whole is now turning out very high quality products and the market place is getting very competive for your savings in your hard earned paypal accounts. Choice is becoming wide and what was once a purchase every 3 months is usually now once a month and is quickly becoming every two weeks or in some cases even weekly.
But it is quality gap that is hardest to cover now. With products from highly productive teams that are very professional in the way they create their products and market them. Then can the single developer still find a niche to fill with their product. The answer has to be yes. Because it these wonderful products that show the diversity and talent in creating great aircraft or sceneries and it adds to our selection of having a bigger and choice to purchase something worth investing in. The cudo's for any developer going payware is that if you deliver an outstanding payware product then your name goes into that echelon of names and recognition that signifies your work and product...  and you can easily sell more product in the future. It is simulation's version of the Hollywood star system.
Harranssor or his real name Stephane Buon is one developer that has quickly lit a comet streak across our simulation world. His Eclipse 550 personal jet was released as freeware in February 2013 showed us that here was a new talent to be observed and even in these early aircraft the quality and execution of the detailing required to be a professional designer was already shown to be in abundance.





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As good as the Eclipse 550 is it is at this point still freeware... for payware you require more.
Diamond DA-42 Twinstar
Harranssor choice for his first payware is the DA-42 Twinstar by the Austrian company Diamond Aircraft Industries. It is a 4 seat (1 Pilot/3 Pass) Twin Engine carbon composite material aircraft and it is equipped with a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. First flight was on the 9th September 2002 and was certified in Europe in 2004 and in the United States in 2005. The DA-42 uses Thielert Aircraft Engines TAE 125-01 Centurion 1.7...   in the real aircraft Diamond has now switched to their 3rd Generation Austro Turbo Diesel Engine, the Lycoming IO-360 engine is also available as an option. The DA42 Twin Star was the first diesel-powered fixed-wing aircraft to make a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic in 12.5 hours, with an average fuel consumption of 5.74 gallons per hour (2.87 gallons per hour per engine).  In June 2010 a DA42 powered by Austro AE300 engines became the first aircraft to be publicly flown on algae-derived jet fuel and a Fly-by-wire version is being developed in the next version.


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Maximum speed: 356 km/h (221 mph; 192 kn) - Range: 1,693 km (1,052 mi; 914 nmi - Service ceiling: 5,486 m (17,999 ft) - Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1,280 ft/min)

With the DA-42 being a composite aircraft it allows shapes that a standard aluminium/metal frame can't be created in, so it looks modern in every aspect of its design, It's bulbous cabin gives the aircraft good inner space but has a great streamling effect as well. The wings are wide and thin with sharklets upending the end of the wings. The tail is a tall T on a boom tail...    It looks like a Burt Rutan design that has fell in love with a Beechcraft and this is their offspring!.
Flying The DA-42 Twinstar
The first thing you notice is in the cockpit is the dominating screens of the GARMIN G1000 flat panel displays.

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The setup here of the G1000 system is one of the best layouts yet. It is extremely well crafted (great screen and surround detail) and gives you large selections of choice of information to be displayed on the twin screens. When starting up the panels they show the GARMIN start-up screens with adds great authenticity to the cockpit.
The panels information can be accessed by selecting the row of menu buttons on the lower edge of the panel. On the primary (left) display you can set many menu adjustments including your navigation selections (VOR 1/VOR 2, ADF, OBS, IDENT and Alerts) and all changes are noted on the screen.
Surrounding the screen on the panel are your GFC-700 Autopilot selections are on the left with knob adjustments for - NAV - HDG - ALT and Nav frequency settings (a note that to change the Nav Freq you use the button under the NAV knob, hard to find is that one)
and all frequency settings are displayed across the top of the screen.
On the right of the screen is your COMM knob adjustment, Course (CRS) knob, Range (for a smaller inset version of the MAP function on the PFD) and FMS settings and adjustment. The main panel displays the artificial horizon, speed and height strips with vertical speed angle indicator (very similar to the B737NG) and a compass rose that has a course function and NAV 1 and NAV 2 VOR indicators.
The centre strip between the panels holds the COMM, NAV1-NAV2 and other radio functions with a "Music" feature (Bach - Chopin) to keep the you in the right mood.
The right panel is dominated by the MAP. No squinting or trying to find that obscure fix (or waypoint) here...  This MAP screen is huge and everything is in perfect detail. you have three choices of colour on the display - Brown (standard) Dark and Green.

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On the right of the MAP is your Engine readouts, Load%, RPM with other items Fuel Flow, Oil Press, Coolant Temp, Fuel Temp and Fuel Qty. you can also select via the lower screen menu the ENGINE (Standard) SYSTEM and FUEL displays.
The FMS (Flight Management System) is excellent with a pop-out FMS panel and details noted on the left G1000 panel. On the right G1000 panel you can display the FMS route in both standard line or a height route version.


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There are far too many MENU items set across the two panels to cover here separately. And it will take a fair while to get acquainted with each setting and its display as it is very comprehensive as a panel setup... impressive the G1000 is.


In flight and on the ground the displays are great to use and you soon find yourself using them to their modern set up and the advantages of a more up-to date system integration.

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The central pedestal is well designed as well...  Lovely Throttle and Fuel selector levers are very well crafted, the Fuel cutoff is full back with the red tabs clicking into place. Defrost is required as your cabin can go misty in the cold... a great special effect from Harranssor. Rudder and Nose trim is slightly problematic in that the trim wheels don't work?...  You will need to go and set up your keyboard keys for the trim adjustments to make them work, and you will need them.
The Cabin is well done with four leather chairs with the flight control sticks coming out of the front seats. Harranssor has done some brilliant craft work in giving the seats some bulges and curves with weathering to make them very realistic.

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Cabin details include a map and authentic swinging key. All panel lettering is clear and precise with no blurring around the well done knobs and switches...  All the cabin is excellent in composition.
In The Air
Being a composite aircraft with two engines (both rotating clockwise) the aircraft has a great weight to power ratio, and that makes it a performer. However you do have to watch your angle of attack because if you push to high and the speed drops off quickly (very quickly) so keep the aircraft under 1000fpm (Feet Per Minute) to get the best performance. Engines are all FADAC controlled and so you don't need any mixture or adjustments during operation. Taking off the DA-42 tracks straight with no rudder adjustment and is light on the controls, roll, pitch and turns are easily performed. But you have to watch out for the trim, it needs adjusting to the power of the engines and if you don't the aircraft will climb with your stick in neutral. It also has a tendency to hunt the altitude or porpoise up and down, do a wide long turn and your power goes down and you have to hunt for your height again. Over a period of time you get a little tired of this bobbing up and down and trying to trim it clean, under the Autopilot it is even worse... but overall it is very nice to fly.

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On landing the tri-cycle landing gear unfurls with spindly effortness, design of the gear is very good but I am not sure about the tyres. Front on they look fine, but from the side they look square and bland. Flap drop (3 positions) is good with not a lot of nose movement. On landing however there is an issue? On my first approach and landing I crashed (What the?) I couldn't work out why and I lost the chance to get a replay. Another go around and I alighted as light as a feather but the aircraft still skipped back into the air and bounced hard down. A look at the replay showed there was no give in the landing gear. It is as hard as sticks with no give... you can land easily but be prepared to hop along the tarmac if you get don't get the float right.
The Aircraft

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The design of the DA-42 is excellent, detailing is perfect as this composite aircarft is a very clean design. Harranssor has done a magnificent job in creating that smooth composite skin with those lovely upswept sharklets, wing and flap detail is also first rate and the propellers look authentic.

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There are no pop-up menus. You can open the main canopy, a passenger luggage door and a front luggage door (right only) by three switches on the pilots left armrest...   There are great rain effects and the windows glaze over unless you use the limited supply of De-Icing fluid.
Night-lighting is good, but I had big issues with the HDR switched on?...  It slaughtered my frame-rate of which right through this review was excellent.  Running HDR on I could barely achieve 7 frames, I reduced my render settings to almost zero to no effect?... turn off HDR and I returned to 115frames?... so there is an issue there. Also the HDR put a fine box around the lighting and shone through the bodywork...

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There are is the default (F-HCTA) and 12 liveries by Xflyer...




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All liveries are to a very high standard and you have a great selection to chose from.



A good set of documentation is provided - 2 Flight Manuals (English and French), Checklist - Real documents are also provided in Checklist, DA-42 Flight Manual and a GARMIN G1000 manual.
Windows, MAC or Linux X-Plane 10.20 or higher - 32 and 64 bit compatible. (X-Plane 9 not is supported)
The step up to releasing a payware aircraft requires a very high quality and extra features above the usual standard. The DA-42 from Harranssor certainly delivers far more in all of these areas. The Garmin G1000 is superbly created and is the highlight of this aircraft. but in also not forgetting the detail and the great work to create the right composite effect that is all to easy to look average. Detailing is first rate and only a few niggles like the stiff undercarriage and the HDR framerate killing issue would be easily be done in a small update. Overall the Twinstar is full of great features and effects that are well thought out and delivered. Above all this quality aircraft is well priced and that to bring such a comprehensive design to release shows that Harranssor can deliver a great and an unusual aircraft to our simulator world that is very satisfying to fly and also give you a great simulation experience.





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Price is US$24.95

And the DA-42 Twinstar is available from the X-Plane .OrgStore right now : Diamond DA-42 Twinstar







Review by Stephen Dutton

29th August 2013

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 MountainLion 10.8.2
- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.22 (final)
- ExtremeSceneryMAXX
- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

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Someone who presented us a gift like Eclipse 550 is worth to be supported. I am sure that this plane will be on same high level and will bring us a lot of fun to fly it!  I purchased it right now......

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Hooplahpro

After downloading 59 freeware, donate ware and payware aircraft, the Diamond DA-42 is on the top of my list for General Aviation prop driven aircraft. There are faster and more luxurious aircraft such as the Piaggio P180, but the DA-42 provides an excellent Garmin G1000 glass cockpit with easy to understand instructions on how to use it (as well as the manufacturer manual if you really want to get into it).


Many of the G1000 downloads always seem to be missing controls and are always being updated. The DA-42 version works within the limitations of X-Plane 10 but is the best that I have used. The FMC totally integrates with X-Plane 10 and easily accepts .FMS files from XPFlightPlanner. The G1000 is so complete Harranssorr should consider selling it separately!


Flying your typical Cessna's and Beachcraft's is a lot of fun but for accuracy most are designed using the avionics of the day. Modern glass panel avionics usually require you to move up to the latest business jets or airliners. Thus there was a niche for a light weight civilian aircraft with modern avionics. Harranssor nailed this.


As for performance the specs are a little lower for the simulation versus the real thing (manufacturer spin?) . The first review had the max speed at 192kts but this version goes with max 184 with a rate of climb at 1150 ft/min. Go for 160 cruise and it is rock solid without any "porpoise" up/down effect.


Final approach is awesome keeping it within 76-78 KIAS and the "Landing Speed" plugin rated my first landing as excellent! Go around? Bump it up to 82 KIAS and you're set.


Note that there is no Auto Throttle so you control the power to match what the FMC is currently doing. Not really an issue as I like controlling the power/fuel consumption.


So a very easy to fly light aircraft, modern avionics, good performance and awesome graphics. For only $19.95 this is the best G1000 trainer you can get!


Harranssor did an excellent simulation. Imagine what he will come up with next...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bonjour, juste découvert www.x-plane.fr sur Yahoo, et a constaté que c'est vraiment génial. Je vais surveiller pour Bruxelles. Je vais apprécier si vous continuez à écrire sur ce sujet à l'avenir. Beaucoup de personnes vont bénéficier de votre écriture. Cheers!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello, I just purchased this plane and it is a great looking aircraft. I am having a serious issue with the plane but I do not know where to go for help. Can anybody send me to the appropriate location to get help with this specific aircraft?

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  • 11 months later...
Guest Charles Roesch

The new 3.0 version released Nov 7, 2014 replaces the excellent data pad entry FMS with the awkward Garmin 530.  There are several problems with the Diamond DA42 but this new version is a step backwards.

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  • 6 months later...
Guest Sam

is it possibile with this aircraft to do quick flights like approach 3nm/10nm? for example, the a320neo of jardesign doesn't work for quick flights..

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I can't see why not? 


is it possibile with this aircraft to do quick flights like approach 3nm/10nm? for example, the a320neo of jardesign doesn't work for quick flights..


I can't see why not?   A trick I use is to come in at 10nm on the opposite runway and create a circuit and fly past and then do two 90º turns to finals... this allows you to create the exact distance to the runway you require, sometimes the 3nm/10nm distances are too short to correctly set up the aircraft in height and speed. SD

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I can't see why not? 



I can't see why not?   A trick I use is to come in at 10nm on the opposite runway and create a circuit and fly past and then do two 90º turns to finals... this allows you to create the exact distance to the runway you require, sometimes the 3nm/10nm distances are too short to correctly set up the aircraft in height and speed. SD


because when I load the aircraft of jardesign, it is almost shut down and without speed. If I want to use it, I always have to start on ground and do all preparation step for step. When I chose planes, which were included in the x-plane software (for example: c172), then I have the possibility to do a short 3nm or 10nm final.

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because when I load the aircraft of jardesign, it is almost shut down and without speed. If I want to use it, I always have to start on ground and do all preparation step for step. When I chose planes, which were included in the x-plane software (for example: c172), then I have the possibility to do a short 3nm or 10nm final.


You are in the DA-42 thread, so I thought that was the aircraft you wanted to use the 3nm/10nm feature?  On the A320neo, it is annoying that it does start from zero every time, there is the new "Hot Start" but it does not move very well around the X-Plane world... mostly this is caused by the way the FMC has to be programmed and the GPS positioning. Only solution is a loop circuit route or say EGLL/EGLL but ARR/DEP from different runways. I does work as I have done it.

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