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Freeware Release : Robin DR401 CDI 155 by Aerobask

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Freeware Release : Robin DR401 CDI 155 by Aerobask

 

Developers start their careers all wide-eyed and excited, the sheer complexity and the demands of creating a quality product are usually far away into the future, this is the "I am going to do this!" period. In some ways without that initial unconstrained if naive enthusiasm, very little if anything would be created. most projects die off quickly as the enthusiasm suddenly dies as quickly as it was created, but many do continue, and then a few are seen through to the completion of the idea, but not completely, as all early efforts are usually still full of compromises. Then there is the reaction to the product and the critics like me and the market that assesses your work. There are usually two reactions. The first is the "reactional" developer that see's very little wrong with their genius and what they have created, and any assessment of any critical feedback can usually end and usually does end in an outraged outburst, then any secondary work is usually full of the same mistakes and the average quality of the first release and you can see critics like me usually giving it all a wide berth and rather than looking at it. 

 

The second developer traits are the most interesting ones, first of all their project is not that totally over-ambitious, and even a little rough around the edges, but the core of the idea is usually well done. The difference that any critical assessments (if provided by the right sources) are then taken on board, and fixes of bugs and details usually follow. We are detailing inexperience here not skills, but nothing is forgotten and usually the next project sees a huge improvement on the first and so the quality climbs with each release and then combined with clever ideas and features they find their way into that golden air of that their name alone can create anticipation and instant sales with any release and that is hard when the simulator like X-Plane is a constantly moving target.

 

Which brings us to this little Robin aircraft by Aerobask, or Harranssor as Stephane Buon was known back then at the aircraft's original release. It was at the time a compact and very well done French four-seater aircraft, but it was only really a niche in time as the next project with the DA-42 was quickly put into focus as the next step up the developer career ladder. Now Aerobask certainly don't need any introduction today in X-Plane, as their outstanding aircraft in mostly very modern composite general aviation aircraft or very light jet releases are some of the very best quality releases in the simulator; always a leader in many areas of excellent materials, quality avionics and innovation, you will usually buy any Aerobask on release and know that you won't be disappointed.

 

But the little original Robin hasn't been discarded or forgotten. Here Aerobask have given the aircraft the full upgrade treatment, and released the aircraft as a "thank you" and free release to all their loyal customers and in a smart ploy showing the punters that have never flown or purchased an Aerobask aircraft the sort of quality and design work that Aerobask do...  but I think there is some thing more going on here. It is also showing how far to not only us, but also to the developers themselves on how far they have since come from that very first Robin release, in reality this is the aircraft that created the passion to do something extraordinary in a simulator called X-Plane.

 

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Although to be seen as not too an old aircraft design, the roots of the company goes back a fair way to Centre-Est Aéronautique which was formed by Pierre Robin and Jean Délémontez, the principal designer of the Jodel aircraft series, in October 1957, when it it began manufacturing aircraft at Darois, near Dijon, France.

The Robin DR300 series were developments of the earlier DR.221 Dauphin and DR.250 Capitaine with a tricycle landing gear. The first variant was the DR340 Major, a tricycle landing gear version of the DR250 Capitaine which first flew on 27 February 1968, followed on 21 March 1968 by the DR315 Petit Prince, a tricycle landing gear version of the DR221 Dauphin. The DR315 was later replaced by the DR300. In 1972 an improved version, the DR400 was introduced with a forward-sliding canopy. and this DR401 version has the Glass cockpit, larger cockpit, electric trim and flaps, a range of engine options and also variants for "long range" and "aerotow". The DR400 aircraft has also the 'cranked wing' configuration, in which the dihedral angle of the outer wing is much greater than the inboard, which is a configuration which they share with earlier Jodel aircraft.

 

The powerplant is an unusual Continental 2·0S 155 hp turbocharged diesel engine, driving a MTV/6/a/190/169 1·87m constant speed 3 blade Propeller, and as being diesel the engine it is free of the dangers of carburettor icing and vapour lock, and is safe from thermal shock on low power settings. The aircraft also uses AvGas or Jet A-1 fuel or even normal automotive diesel for a fuel capacity of 109 litres Jet A-1 (159 litres with supplementary tank) and a max range of 944 nm (with the long-range tank).

 

Detail

Free it may be, but the quality is the same as all Aerobask releases. All textures are full high definition textures (4K), and the full HDR (maximum) setting is recommended to get the best out of them.

 

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Glass was also a Aerobask speciality, they had the first really reflective glass effects in X-Plane (DA-42), but I doubt back then that glass formed shapes like the convex bubble style canopy design here was still a far off dream, but it really shows then on how far X-Plane and 3d modeling tools have come in the meantime.

 

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The glass here on the Robin is quite exceptional in shape, reflection, texture and design. Aircraft detailing is excellent, but I will note that overall the Robin is quite a simple aircraft, with fixed-strut landing gear and added on trim flaps.

 

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On the ground the detail on rudder and wing moveable flying surfaces via cables are highly detailed.

 

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There are no pop-out tab/panels or menu options. But there are a couple of ideas get around a few of the usual menu options.

 

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Turn the power off and the aircraft gets static elements in cones, vane covers and chocks. Open the large canopy and the little left hand rear side baggage door opens as well...

 

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Opening the canopy is via the handle on the roof, everything is beautifully constructed, even down to the chrome locking bar for the canopy.

 

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Exquisite exceptional interiors are the total domain of Aerobask, they are always the leaders and the best in X-Plane, even better than Carenado. Here in the Robin it is no exception, stunning detailed work...

 

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...  with a high quality instrument panel with reflections, and note the fun aspect on the pop-out mobile phone (and no it doesn't work), to the overwhelming interior design...

 

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...   that comes with three different coloured designs in the default Blue, Yellow and Red that change with the corresponding liveries.

 

Although the aircraft is minutely small, there is a big open feel in flight, as the canopy and the large windows give the aircraft an open airiness.

 

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Rear seat is a bench, with a large baggage area behind. Note the lovely headphones on the passenger seat.

 

Instrument panel is again up there with Aerobask's best, detailing is superb, but it is a very simple panel arrangement as well.

 

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Dominating the panel is the Laminar Research G1000 GPS system, the twin-panel arrangement pops out as well. In the Robin you can see the quality of the work of Laminar and again it is a far and long throw from the original Robin from when it was first released, again you see how advanced X-Plane is today in simulation when detailed instrumentation like this is default to the simulator.

 

With most of the panel details including engine performance and readouts, they are all included within the G1000 system. So the panel is quite basic with most other instruments visible are here as backup systems and not primary. Far left is a backup Artificial Horizon and tape Altitude displays, far right are the circuit breakers.

 

Under the glareshield left to right are a nice set of Annunciators with a test switch (left), centre is the three flap position indicator (UP-T/O-LAND), next to the centre compass is an electric trim switch and indicator, ELT and G1000 lighting knobs for external lighting and pitot heat switches.

 

Electrics switches are lower panel left... with Battery, Alternator switch, Master Engine Switch, FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine (or electronics) Control) Switch and the main Avionics power switch. START/STOP switch has a PreHeating display light (it is a diesel) and back up dials for Fuel quantity, Volts and OAT indicators. There is a Auxiliary Fuel Transfer switch (button?) and on the centre console there are top the two switches for the Landing and Taxi lights and one for the Fuel Pump, the flap switch is far right. The console has that very nice throttle, Fuel tank switch and Hobbs hour meter, the parking brake is small knob. Note the missing Mixture lever and Propeller lever. Each side of the instrument panel are adjusters for the external sounds.

 

Flying the Robin

Everything associated with a standard General Aviation engine goes out of the window here. It is almost like an electric plane. Switch on the main battery power and then the Master Engine Switch, you will get a glow plug warning light....  once it goes out then turn the start switch...  easy.

 

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The engine churns like a diesel, the rattles like a diesel, then powers up, nothing else to do. To shut the engine down then just turn off the Master Engine Switch. A nice touch is that the glare shield cowling vibrates to the engine revs, very realistic.

 

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Set the flaps to T/O and push up the throttle... speed will gather quite quickly and rotate in a slight pitch up is around just over 73knts.

 

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The 155hp diesel engine has a lot of torque, pulls you hard and rate of climb is 740 fpm (at MTOW 1100 kg), but you feel you can do far better than that, but don't. Flaps have to be up by 92 knts, but you click them up as soon as possible to increase the speeds.

 

The sounds are of extremely high quality, FMOD and 180º with soundscapes, so you feel this aircraft in a touch and aural combination...  just brilliant.

 

The aircraft is super sweet in the air, really anyone should or can fly this excellent little aircraft. The Robin is also VR (Virtual Reality) ready, so you can fly inside that lovely canopy right now as well.

 

Lighting

Lighting is basic, but highly effective. The instrument panel has adjustments for the LR G1000 screens and the standby instruments, third adjustment is for the single cabin roof light.

 

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Adjusting the roof light can bring the cabin to full brightness, or just enough to find the controls and switchgear...  excellent. External is very good as well with halogen strobes, beacon, navigation and single landing and taxi lights.

 

Max Cruise speed for the 401 Robin is 138 kts with VNE set at 146 kts, but the best cruise speed is around 128 knts (85%) with a range of 944 nm (with the long-range tank) and the aircraft has a ceiling of 4715 m (15,470 ft).

 

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You could call the aircraft delicate, as it responds to change of control inputs very well, decreasing the speed by pitching the nose slightly for approach is very effective, and you can easily get down to the lower speed for a flap drop at around 75 knts, second flap in the landing position is around 63 knts.

 

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You can hold the speed around the 60 knt mark right down to the start of the runway then reduce to around 52 knts on landing, flair and throttle control will balance you until you feel the hard stuff, stall speed is 49 knts but you never feel that falling effect, the wing must be very efficient.

 

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Power off and you easily slow down to a taxi speed. The Robin is a very easy aircraft to fly, as "sweet" again is the word that comes to mind.

 

Liveries

A great range of eight European liveries, quality is very high, there is a blank as well, and a load of liveries are already coming up on the X-Plane.Org.

 

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Summary

Most freeware aircraft comes in from dedicated X-Plane users, and some can be really, really good... but it is rare for a Payware developer to release an aircraft on Freeware, then deliver an almost same quality aircraft as their payware aircraft, the result is an excellent deal for you.

 

There are areas that have been reduced to what you usually get with the full product, like menu's, higher features, instrumentation and advanced ideas. But the full basics are delivered here as well. With the absolute full quality and design that is the same and with that trademark exquisite Aerobask interior, top level FMOD sounds and perfect flying performance. Certainly a great and simple quality aircraft to learn to fly on.

 

No doubt this is personal project for Aerobask, and the sharing of the experience can only create even a more devoted following of fliers for Aerobask than they had before, but overall the aircraft is a statement, in not only Aerobask's own journey and the incredible heights of being a developer that they have achieved since the original Robin 401 was released, but also as a heady reminder on how far the X-Plane simulator has come in the same time frame...  either way we all win, don't we.

 

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The Robin DR401 CDI 155 by Aerobask is available on the X-Plane.Org Community site:


Aerobask Robin DR401 CDI 155 1.12

 

Price is : Free

 

Features:

  • Accurate flight model by X-Aerodynamics.
  • FMOD High Quality sounds by Daniela RC.
  • Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD.
  • Functional 3D cockpit, with VR ready manipulators.
  • 3D model with high resolution PBR textures.
  • Simulated FADEC test and Pre Heating.
  • Windshield reflections.
  • Optimized to save FPS.
  • 8 stunning liveries + a white paint.

 

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Requirements :

X-Plane 11.20+ 

Windows/Mac/Linux

4GB+ VRAM Recommended

 

If you like this aircraft, then don't forget you can get all the other Aerobask releases at the X-Plane.OrgStore : X-Plane.OrgStore/Aerobask

 

More developer information : Aerobask

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Installation : Download is 465.20mb which is unzipped and is inserted in your General Aviation folder as a 484.90mb flie.  Key authorisation is not required.

 

Documentation : includes

 

  • DR401 Checklist Normal operation.pdf
  • DR401 Flight Manual.pdf
  • DR401_Checklist_Emergency_ops.pdf

 

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Review by Stephen Dutton

20th June 2018

Copyright©2018: 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 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by Nicolas (Airport by NAPS) - (X-Plane.Org) - Free

 

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I've only managed a quick flight since release but it does seem to fly well with great ground handling.

 

Like you say having great quality freeware aircraft like this is great advertising for Aerobask. Now if Aerobask bought us an older steam gauged Robin as well I would pay for that.

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