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Aircraft Review : Diamond DA-62 by Aerobask

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Aircraft Review : Diamond DA-62 by Aerobask

 

American based general aviation has been the rule for decades and except for the really out there but clever designs of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites aircraft, the general consensus was why change something that is so good in the first place, so mostly the latest Pipers, Cessnas and Beechcraft's are still not that dissimilar from their original designs of well over half a century ago, if going as far back as the 1940's. 

 

But Bert Rutan was on to something. As he realised there was far more better and modern materials to build aircraft out from and hence his companies name in "Scaled Composites", and not only could these new materials be molded to a far better and more slipstream design but they were far stronger and lighter as well. Scaled Composites did have an impact, but Mr Rutan's designs were a bit too far out for the average casual pilot. So the change in composite aircraft design didn't come the United States but from Europe and from nations that were not burdened with an heavy national legacy. And so European manufacturers like those from the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland and most of all from Austria are the innovators that have lead the way with their highly developed composite designs.

 

The Diamond Aircraft Industries company of Austria has been the biggest and the most successful of them all as an Austrian production of general aviation aircraft. Their first production initial aircraft was a motor glider initially known as the HK36 Dimona. This aircraft proved to be a commercial success, leading to improved models and further types of aircraft being derived from it. Following several changes in ownership and naming, the company received the current name Diamond Aircraft Industries in 1998. By this point, Diamond was producing a range of light aircraft, including the Dimona, the Diamond DA20, and the very successful Diamond DA40 but all designs were mostly single-engined wide (glider-style) winged aircraft. The 2002 DA-42 design then changed that aspect because it was a composite Twin-Engined aircraft and with not the usual water or air-cooled engine, but a Thielert "Centurion" 135 hp (101 kW) diesel engine and it burns both diesel or jet fuel. The engine had debuted on the DA-40, but found its real capacity in the four-seater DA-42 Twin Star.

 

Success breeds success, and a larger DA-42 was built as the DA-50, but only one prototype was built and the DA-50 was also only a single-engine aircraft as well. The DA-50 soon morphed into the DA-62 which kept the larger fuselage of the DA-50, but added the Twin-Engined design of the DA-42, and comes also with the more powerful Austro Engine E4 (marketed as the AE 300) which is a liquid-cooled, inline, four-cylinder, four-stroke, diesel piston aircraft engine of which the DA-62 has the 180hp AE330 version.

 

Aerobask DA-42
If you have been around X-Plane for a few years you would know of the Aerobask DA-42 that was released back in 2013 by a brash new developer called Harranssor or his real name in Stephane Buon. Stephane very quickly created a whole new category in X-Plane of composite aircraft and likewise designs, but more so for their sheer quality and innovative features. Harranssor became Aerobask and now they are known as one of the very best if not the best in many areas of still innovative and high quality aircraft in X-Plane.

 

The original DA-42 v3 from 2014 still holds up extremely well. It was only available in X-Plane10 as the design was not updated to X-Plane11 and is currently not available on the Aerobask site and is not currently available for sale on the store for purchase either and the developer has noted it is going to be retired...

 

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But you do really still feel the innovation and design in the aircraft, even one as old as this aircraft now is, it was a long way ahead in design back then, but only surpassed now by the features and effects of today's X-Plane standards, three years may not sound that long ago, but by X-Plane standards it could be as long as a decade ago.

 

Diamond DA-62

Which brings us to Aerobask's latest release in the Diamond DA-62.

 

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At a first glance you may not see much difference between the earlier DA-42 and the newcomer DA-62, basically their designs are the same, but the detail and the current far higher quality makes them far more differential than meets the eye. Spend time with the DA-42 compared with the DA-62 and the former will feel quite basic very quickly. The DA-42 was 8.56 m (28 ft 1 in) long and with a wingspan of 13.42 m (44 ft 0 in) with the DA-62 at 9.19 m (30 ft 2 in) long with an extended wingspan of 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in) so the DA-62 is the bigger aircraft, but not by that a far a larger margin.

 

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These super smooth clean shapes of composite aircraft have always been hard to model, but now the finer detailing that X-Plane now allows can finally bring out the smaller details and the PBR lighting goes a long way in creating the shapes into a more realistic fashion. It also brings out a more realistic feel to the aircraft than what was not possible before. Note the excellent Austro Engine E4 housing with all the air vents and outlets, as all the detailing is high class work.

 

The better detailing helps as well, like the DA-42's undercarriage was more stick like than realistic, but here the DA-62's wheel and strut assemblies are more finely designed and created to make the DA-62 a far better aircraft in realism, and their action animations are years apart in movement as well.

 

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Internal Detail

The Aerobask Pipistal Panthera v3 debuted ultra quality interior textures, the so real "to touch" variety. And in this DA-62 the internal quality is continued and is still as brilliant as ever.

 

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The cabin is beautifully kitted out to an outstanding level. Three rows of seating in an 2+3+2 arrangement is excellent, although the last rear row is bit on the tight side, I don't know if would want to travel back there for any distance.

 

Material textures are again the best in X-Plane, and not just in one style but a large mixture of fabrics and seat coverings. (note the excellent overhead lighting and oxygen assembly).

 

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It is outstanding detailing, and there is none better in this a very modern cabin. Note the exceptional work on the seat thigh support, with separate cushion sections with built-in metal supports and those lovely wooden inserts on the central console make this a high quality interior. Joystick controls are also very highly detailed. The rear front seat central armrest also flips up to uncover the fuel tank levers, and is a safety cover when down arrangement.

 

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Glareshield is covered and stitched to perfection. And clever is the odd stitching that is over stitched double as it really would be where the stitches meet together, window air-vents are well noted but out of sight here. Everywhere you look this cabin it is simply outstanding.

 

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Instrument Panel

Like most general aviation releases lately the DA-62 comes with the native Laminar Research G1000 twin panel avionics system.

 

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It is a very good layout, but not as really detailed as a real G1000 system actually is, but it does cover about 85% of the systems, the bonus is the extremely close MAP layout that can range down to almost eye level 2000ft that is ideal for navigating airports.

 

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PFD (Primary Flight Display) is very good with the large Artificial Horizon dominating the screen with the Speed and Altitude (with built in Vertical Speed) tapes either side, Rate of turn and FD (Flight Director) are all present. Lower is the Heading rose with built in Heading, Wind (3 options), CRS (Course) DME, NAV 1, NAV 2 and OBS. There is the option to put a small map on the PFD but I never do. All Radio and Autopilot (AP) settings and data are across the top of the panel. The secondary MAP/Navigation panel covers also all the engine outputs which are in two versions with one visual and one in data. 

 

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Twin engine readouts cover Manifold Pressure and RPM, CHT (cylinder head temperature ), Fuel Flow, Oil Temp and Pressure and amps. Fuel quantity is for both tanks. System switch (data) covers Oil Temp and Pressure, Fuel Calculations REM (Remain) GAL (Used) and can be reset. Lower is the Electrical Bus Volts and Battery amps.

 

Overall the displays are excellent, but as noted before in other reviews I am not a big fan of the darker brown lower PFD and they are quite dull even with the brightness full up.

 

One of the big features on the DA-62 are the active circuit breakers. Demonstrated here is "popping" either the PFD or the MAP/Nav display...

 

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"Pop" the PFD and the MAP/NAV becomes the PFD with a map insert, do it the other way around and the PFD then gets the missing MAP insert, it is all very clever. All the circuit breakers are active and as noted in the MENU later in that you can set the failures to your liking. Another view is "popping" the COM1(and COM2) breaker and the COMM1 and COMM2 displays on the PFD and MAP/Nav displays are inactive... impressive.

 

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Lighting switches are top central panel (Landing, Taxi, Position and Strobe) and the main electrical switches and gear/flaps are lower panel including the metal starting disks. De-Ice is upper left and engine ECU (Engine Control Unit) test  and active "VOTER" switches is below with Alternator (L&R) switches lower.

 

MD302 SAM®

Mid-Panel is the MD302 SAM® or the "Standby Altitude Module" Basically is a standby instrument that "pops"out and the centre knob adjusts the Baro...

 

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...   but if you hold the same knob down for two or three seconds then a menu appears that covers In-fight confgurable items tha are: Altitude units in feet or meters, barometer units either inHg or mbars,  attitude symbol in traditional or delta, attitude mask on or off and altitude trend bar in either on or off. There is a Quick-Doc manual provided that covers the instruments features and use. Note: The SAM has to set separately (i.e. Baro) than the main PFD as one adjustment does not cover all the instruments.

 

Another great feature is the power adjustable rudder pedals for both the pilot and co-pilot that are moved by the switches on either side of the instrument panel.

 

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The centre console is excellent and detailed and very easy to use. Rudder Trim is top, with the parking brake to the left and the heating via defrost and cabin levers. Then the two stubby combined throttle and Propeller (pitch) levers with a nice large pitch trim wheel set out behind.

 

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Rear console are the two protected Fuel tank switches with built in crossfeed. The crossfeeds work with the two rear AUX PUMP switches that moves the fuel into the main tank from the reserve, you can't feed from the AUX tanks but have to transfer the fuel to use it. On the headphone jacks, you can adjust the volume settings with the right jack for the external sounds and the left for the internal sounds.

 

Menu

There was no menu's on the DA-42 but there is an excellent one on the DA-62. It is now only a single pop-up menu (not many as in the past) via the tab lower left of your screen (If you wish you may move the tab anywhere up or down on the left side of the screen for your use!). It is only a single page of options, but it is a very good one, and you can move the menu around the screen, but you can't scale it. And that makes the older earlier but more separate smaller menu system actually more versatile because the windows were smaller as to this very one large version.

 

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Static elements are excellent, with cones, chocks and a luggage trolley. Animations selected will open the three doors for the Pilot, Co-Pilot, and large left rear passenger door. There are two forward baggage compartments that open together...

 

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Aircraft Weight's and balance is done with adding in passengers and children, but you can't mix passengers up. Pilot stays in and only disappears with the static elements activated. As you add in the passengers you also add in the weight as so it is the same with the baggage in three steps none, half and full. The bags disappear off the trolley as you load the aircraft, but don't appear in the baggage compartment like they used to. Fuel is added here also via the Main and Aux fuel tanks and all weights are listed for your notes. Options cover both (Window) reflections and Oxygen sounds.

 

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(Circuit) Breakers are interesting. You can set the level of circuit breaker failure by: Perfect (never ever), Normal (the very odd now and then breaker popout), Terrible (worrying) and Popcorn (you simply don't want to go there). You can also refill the De-Ice liquid and Oxygen tank.

 

There is a Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) but it is not selected on the menu, but by a switch on the roof panel...

 

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It is not a very big menu selection but it is very effective and very easy to use...  but I would have liked a weight and balance visual scale (graph) to balance such a small aircraft with the CG.

 

Flying the DA-62 - EDFH (Frankfurt Hahn) to EDDL (Dusseldorf)

 

The weather today is very clear but cool...  But you do have great rain effects if it is wet.

 

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There is also the new X-Plane ice feature as well... but I couldn't generate it...   even at -17º and a wet wind blowing the aircraft almost over, but it will work as noted by the manual image...  I did create some ice on the wing and can confirm the de-Icing on the aircraft works very well...

 

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...    but If I can create some serious icing I'll add the images in later to the review.

 

As this is a very modern GA and the engines don't need to be coaxed into life, they start easily and run up to temperatures very quickly. I am quite heavy at 5240lbs and even an extra case in the front baggage area will put me easily over the 5289lb Max weight. 

 

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You feel the aircraft's weight with the brakes off and a little power is needed to move the aircraft forward, once moving it is very nice to taxi with then only a little power now and then required.

 

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Once clearance is given then you can enter RWY 21 and line up. I gave the aircraft half-throttle to build up speed and keep a nice tracking line and then full throttle around 50knts. It does track fine (here in light winds) but the undercarriage is quite tall and spindly. The animations do a great job, but you do find the aircraft at speed starting to flow up and down quickly to the bumps on the runway. The speed ribbon blue marker notes the takeoff speed point (v2) at 96knts but I do +10 and takeoff at 106knts and that feels perfect. Slight pull of the stick and you can easily climb away from the runway.

 

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Rate of climb is noted at 6.1 m/s (1,200 ft/min) but I found that 700fpm gave me the best climb to altitude (8500ft) without putting pressure on the power output...   I really liked the custom power outputs on the MAP/NAV screen, but they are native different on the pop-up version.

 

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Power is to be controlled very carefully...  I found several times in flying the DA-62 you can very easily overheat the engines if you hold onto full power for far to long, in fact they will burst into flames very quickly. So be very aware of the red/yellow power zones on the RPM readout and keep the power well within the green zone.

 

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Here I settled into a 150knt cruise, with 325 km/h (202 mph; 175 kn) (TAS) the official cruise speed and a Max speed of 367 km/h (228 mph; 198 kn), as noted I am almost at full gross weight so that speed is very good with a full load aboard.

 

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Range is outstanding at 2,380 km (1,479 mi; 1,285 nmi) with a Service ceiling of 6,100 m (20,000 ft) makes the DA-62 a very versatile cruiser.1

 

The view out is outstanding, with no cramped spaces up the back in the DA62 and the glass curves right up into the roof for a spectacular vista.

 

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Sounds are modern FMOD and with Enhanced 3D system sounds, including Doppler and Flanger effects. They do sound a little different from the normal, but the engines are very different as well in being diesels, but at the cruise speed they have this lovely thrumm that passes the flying time nicely. Start up is almost instantaneous with a slight cranking, so they are almost electric in that aspect.

 

The Oxygen system is very active. It is activated by the knob under the panel far left of the pilot. When the juice is flowing all the occupants on board get oxygen masks, but you have to use it sparingly and only for short periods of flight as it soon used up. You can replenish the oxygen from the menu but only on the ground.

 

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Approach to EDDL's RWY 05R and I took manual control. The aircraft is quite fine, if a little nervy under the stick and rudders, but the blustery 9knt crosswind didn't help either...  so your inputs have to be smooth and small and stay in control or ahead of the aircraft. The very smooth shape of the aircraft also doesn't help in rubbing off the speed either, in that you need to rub the speed off early in the approach and not at the last minute to have full control of the speed under the throttle control.

 

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Flaps are two stage in Up then T/O 136knts and LDG (full) at 119 Knts. The white marker line on the PFD speed ribbon only notes the LDG stage (below 119knts) so that can be a little off putting... 

 

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Tricky is with that windy wind...  even the big boys are feeling the pressure on landing on RWY 05L. I don't know either if the DA-62's very wide and gliderish wing span doesn't really help in my course?

 

Over the fence and I am fighting the stick a bit to keep my line...

 

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...  stall is noted around 125 km/h (78 mph; 67 kn) and I find that 76knts to 72knts is a nice point to flare. Those long stick like legs do have a fair bit of trailing absorption, but you still feel that they are like long three prongs sticking out from the bottom of the aircraft more than a set of soft wheels to land on.

 

Squirrelling the aircraft down to a straight line I still found myself off right to the centre of RWY 05R's centreline, but with the conditions I count that a decent landing and at least it is straight and clean in the slow down...

 

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So your first question is going to be...  "so this DA-62 is tricky to fly", but in fact the opposite is true, in fact it is lovely to fly and responds "very nicely thank you very much", but it is slightly nervy in certain weather conditions and you just have to be smooth and precise in your movements, but pretty soon you will be loving the design.

 

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The DA-62 feel is just different more than challenging and you have to adjust your flying skills accordingly to meet those requirements.

 

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Dusseldorf DUS Reception...

 

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Lighting

Internally like everything on this aircraft the lighting is above and beyond the best...  the Instrument panel is fully adjustable with down strip lighting under the glareshield. You can adjust the G1000 screens but you wish for a bit more control on the adjustment, but I think this a Laminar Research issue more than a Aerobask one here.

 

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Attention to detail shows with the MD302 SAM being on a different power source and shuts down in its own time and speed, you can also shut it down quicker if you wish.

 

Cabin lighting is just simply sensational. Three sets of lighting covers the three sets of seats and there is even a light towards the open door for entry/exit.

 

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There is twist adjustable lighting for the pilots and switchable lighting for the seats. The lighting switches are on the bottom, but two are hidden at the back (arrowed) of the roof assembly, but can still be switched from the front view. The detail of the switchware and lights is phenomenal.

 

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External Lighting

The external lighting isn't very comprehensive and there are no (red) beacons on the aircraft. There are twin Taxi and Landing light sets central under the cabin.

 

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And one for each wing Ice lights and that lighting switch is on the de-icing panel and not with the main lighting switches. Position or Navigation lights are on each wing, but none on the tail and wing double flash strobes covers all the external lighting.

 

Liveries

There are ten graphic liveries and five are house Austrian liveries in production order. Three US regos and one French and one Swiss livery. All liveries are 4K extreme high Def quality. The red OE-VSB is the default. 

 

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Summary

Any aircraft released by Aerobask now is usually an absolutely top notch design, there isn't much left to anything as every single base is usually covered and it is a fully rounded and very complete aircraft.

 

There is very little of negative comments here, maybe the menu could be split again as the single version is a bit large and more menu features could be split between the two panels instead of one, that is a scale thing here and the amount space it takes up on the screen. The G1000 screens could be a bit brighter, and better control at night, but that option may not be up to Aerobask but Laminar Research.

 

Clever features here include the active Circuit Breaker Panel, Icing and rain systems, Oxygen System, MD302 SAM Backup instrument, power rudder adjustment and top level FMOD sound. G1000 system is native X-Plane, but well intergrated and excellent to use.

 

The Diamond DA-62 is just mesmerizing in features and overwhelming in quality and certainly in its textures and fittings. The design work externally and internally is the best in X-Plane and that is no feat in today's very demanding market and up against the sheer high quality of the Carenado's and JustFlight's out there, and they are brilliant to start with. These Aerobask's are the quality benchmark in X-Plane right now and that is no mean feat, so you know what you are purchasing with any Aerobask today, and that is in the best all round design and quality aircraft that are unique and interesting to fly as well...   what more would you want than that.

 

________________________________________

 

 

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Yes! the Diamond DA-62 by Aerobask is NOW! available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Diamond DA62

 

Price is US$34.95

 

Features

Advanced Flight model
  • Flight model by X-Aerodynamics, very closely matching real performance (based on public data).
 
Aerobask Systems Suite
  • Fully Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 with custom EIS and annunciations (In 3D only)
  • Customized FADEC/ECU with test procedures
    • allows engines and propellers to deliver their documented performance with unprecedented accuracy, including in fuel usage
    • Auto-feathering is also accurately managed, for a total immersion
  • Simulated oxygen system
  • Simulated ice protection system
  • MD302: custom coded Standby Attitude Module
  • Fully functional breakers (configurable reliability)
High Resolution Model
  • High quality 3D model with high resolution PBR textures (4K textures)
  • Fully functional virtual 3D cockpit, with smooth and VR-friendly manipulators
  • Windshield effects: reflections, rain and frost
  • Many parameters saved between flights
  • Configurable pilots, passengers and luggage
  • Optimized to save FPS
Custom Sounds
  • FMOD High Quality Enhanced 3D system sounds, including Doppler and Flanger effects
Auto-Updater
  • Keep your aircraft up-to-date with a convenient auto-updater

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11.10+

Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum. 4Gb+ VRAM recommended
Current version: 11.043 (last updated March 23rd 20180

 

Installation
Download of the Diamond DA-62 is 376mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as a 638mb folder.

 

Framerates are good as those textures have been highly refined for use and with my specs I got framerates in the mid-30's to the early 40's

 

Documents
Documentation is excellent. Great manual with feature details, checklists/Performance tables and MD302 manual.
 
  • Quicklook views.pdf
  • DA62 Flight Manual.pdf
  • DA62 Checklist Normal Operations.pdf
  • Airspeed Normal Operation.pdf
  • DA62 Checklist Emergency Procedures.pdf
  • DA62 Performance Tables.pdf
  • Install_Settings.pdf
  • Quick-Doc MD302.pdf

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton
24th March 2018
Copyright©2018: X-PlaneReviews
 
(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 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.10

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- EDFH - Airport Frankfurt-Hahn by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$17.06

- EDDL - Airport Dusseldorf by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$27.53

 

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Definitely a Diamond and no "rough cut" either.  Every thing you say - all I could wish for would be a version with 'steam-ish' gauges.  Not a big fan of the glass cockpit perhaps because that's not what I learned on.  Old habits die hard.

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