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Aircraft Review : Comco - Ikarus C42 C by vFlyteAir

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IkarusC42 C_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Review : Comco - Ikarus C42 C by vFlyteAir

 

It is an odd thing really. There is in X-Plane only a handful of aircraft in the very light category. Laminar Research provide their really quite excellent Aerolite 103 as part of the X-Plane default aircraft range, but as Ultralight aircraft go there isn't really that much to choose from... the really perplexing thing about that is usually it is that for most with the first time casual fliers, it is that they always take their first flights or personally own their aircraft in this wide if bottom rung category of aircraft.

 

The Aerolite 103 is the basic frame design, but the slight category above is what I call the "Enclosed Frame" very light style of aircraft, as they are slightly bigger and the cockpit is enclosed and not open to the elements, and in world wide general aviation clubs there are very numerous and an extremely popular and a cheap way to enjoy aviation.

 

The perfect representation of this micro aircraft is the Ikarus C42 which is a two-seat, fixed tricycle gear, general aviation microlight aircraft that is manufactured in Germany by Comco Ikarus. It is used primarily for flight training, touring and personal flying. It is positioned between being a mixed wing microlight and a Light-Sport aircraft and it fills out both roles.

 

This brings us to the IkarusC42 C from vFlyteAir. As developers vFlyteAir have always delivered aircraft that they the developers themselves have access to or own. This has created an almost intimate feel with their aircraft that borders on you feel the ownership and the direct representation to that certain aircraft yourself.  Here with this aircraft it is associated with long-termer X-Plane user Mario Donick who flies and has access to two aircraft D-MYSF and D-MNLN which both belong to the flying school Magdeburg (flugschule-md.de), at EDBM airport in the city of Magdeburg in central Germany. They are used by the school's team members for basic training and to acquire their sports pilots licenses (SPL) on these two actual C42 C's. 

 

As vFlyteAir has personal access to these C42's, then as you can expect the reproduction here is extremely detailed and an almost perfect replica of the real aircraft, and not only in design but in in the aircraft's flight performance and flying capabilities. The aircraft is powered by a Rotax 912ULS flat-4 engine, 100 hp (75 kW) three-blade, ground adjusted, carbon fibre, fixed-pitch propeller, has a range of 432 miles (375 nm, 695 km) and a rate of climb of around 1050 ft/min (320 m/min). A typical cruise speed is between 130 and 170 km/h or 70 to 91 kts.

 

IkarusC42 C_Head 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Head 2.jpgIkarusC42 C_Head 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Head 4.jpg

 

Construction of the aircraft is a basically a frame that has been really well developed here and right down to nuts and bolts connected to a central backbone of large diameter aluminium tube which runs the length of the aircraft that holds it all together. The fuselage or shell is made of a composite material which, being non-structural, and can be all removed for inspection and repair.

 

IkarusC42 C_Head 5.jpgIkarusC42 C_Head 6.jpg

 

One of the big features here is the design of the wings and the canvas material that covers the frame...

 

IkarusC42 C_Wings 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Wings 2.jpgIkarusC42 C_Wings 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Wings 4.jpg

 

...  the canvas is exceedingly well done, highly realistic and perfectly created with the harder composite elements. Both the ailerons and flaps are covered with the same canvas material and it is done to perfection.

 

The rudder and rear control surfaces are covered in the same canvas material, and the rear control rods are perfectly recreated and animated.

 

IkarusC42 C_Wings 5.jpgIkarusC42 C_Wings 6.jpg

 

Engine cowling and beautifully shaped three-bladed fixed-pitch Neuform composite propellers highlight the nose. You can adjust the engines air-vent by a lever in the cockpit on the "Full" version only.

 

IkarusC42 C_Prop 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Prop 2.jpg

 

The twin doors can be opened manually internally...  I don't know if any C42's can be flown with the doors removed, but the notice inside says yes?

 

IkarusC42 C_Doors LG.jpg

 

The internal frame is very evident once inside...  but the aircraft is very well fitted out for an Ultralight, with proper seats and even plush internal materials. The red gadget on the lovely joystick with electric trim buttons is the brake handle, with both regular and full brake settings. 

 

IkarusC42 C_Internal 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Internal 2.jpgIkarusC42 C_Internal 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Internal 4.jpg

 

The Upper frame holds the manual flap trigger lever with three positions, and the pull handle for the "Ballistic Rescue System". You have to pull out the safety pin and it is stored in the right hand door pocket (arrowed above right).

 

The aluminium frame is beautifully done and highly realistic including the welding and warning stickers. Animated control surface rods and cables are excellent and again highly realistic... note the movable see-through blinds.

 

IkarusC42 C_Internal 5.jpgIkarusC42 C_Internal 6.jpg

 

The throttle lever (or stick) sits upwards between your legs, but can be folded down flat on the floor, which is a very odd arrangement, note the fuel tank switch. Rudder pedals are basic, but well crafted.

 

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Instrument Panel

There are two versions of the aircraft you can select, with the "Trainer" or "Full" avionic version. The basic trainer version is very, very basic with only Airspeed, Altimeter, Vertical Speed (VVI) and Rate of Turn instruments. lower panel is a LX Navigation digital Engine RPM display. Five engine dials and instruments are located right panel that cover: Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Cylinder Head Temperature (CHT), Fuel (65 liters) and Hobbs Meter (Hours)

 

IkarusC42 C_Panel 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Panel 2.jpg

 

Eight fuse/breakers are active and there is an electric trim display left. Power and electrical switches are centre panel. A KRT2 Comm radio is on the lower panel with the choke, cabin and carb. heat knobs.

 

The "Full" version adds in a "vfamap L" display, Rotax "Flydat" engine readout display, Traffic Warning System display (basic) and a transponder on the lower panel.

 

IkarusC42 C_Panel 3 LG.jpg

 

IkarusC42 C_Panel 4.jpgIkarusC42 C_Panel 5.jpg

 

The Full layout may not look much but it is quite powerful and in the "better than nothing" category.

 

The vfamap L has a few useful tools. There are two menu option screens that cover first a very good Artificial Horizon...

 

IkarusC42 C_Panel 6.jpgIkarusC42 C_Panel 7.jpg

 

...   active zones (arrowed) will change your speed (knts-kh-mph), Vertical Speed VVI fpm to VVI m /s and BARO from mb to in hg

 

Secondly you can input five waypoints into the GPS flightplanner, it is not active per se, but can used as a guide on the moving map, the waypoint data is also shown on the Artificial Horizon (yellow box) and the course needle points to the active waypoint. Input is quite easy, but all waypoints are inputted manually and can't be saved or recovered. The flightplanner is in German or English. The moving map display also show you your Track, Bearing (heading), Altitude, Airspeed and Distance (flightplan). A nice touch is that if you select one of the arrows each side of the panel registration number it will change the livery to the selected tail registration.

 

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As on other vFlyteAir aircraft you can make certain instruments non-working, click below the instrument to bring up a sticky-note saying it is inoperable.

 

IkarusC42 C_Panel 12.jpgIkarusC42 C_Panel 13.jpg

 

Press on any instrument to make them all pop-out on a panel, individually I think this would pop-out idea would work, but altogether in this small cockpit it sorts of defeat's the idea?

 

Options and Menus

There are three pop-up options panels on the C42 and all are set up for VR (Virtual Reality) use.

 

IkarusC42 C_Menu 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Menu 2.jpg

 

Main pop-up options panel is a kneeboard inside the net on the left door. Two more options are a Chart Display and Checklist that can be opened via the points on the storage areas on the glareshield. Nine charts (.png) can be added to the Chart Display of your choosing.

 

Floating menu options kneeboard are in English and German.

 

IkarusC42 C_Menu 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Menu 4.jpg

 

You can set the units in Metric or Imperial. Use a basic "Weights and Balance" setup with Luggage and Pilots, Co-Pilot's weights and Fuel quality. Total weight is shown...  there is the option to have a male or female co-pilot or none at all.

 

Options include: Hide co-pilot internally, hide reflective glass, reset checklists, reset to "Cold, Dark & Healthy", remove pitot tube covers, remove wheel chocks, remove cowl (engine intake) covers and let the nose gear steer. Personally not being able to hide the doors is a strange overlook.

 

IkarusC42 C_Menu 5.jpgIkarusC42 C_Menu 6.jpg

 

Several notes in that every time you close X-Plane then vFlyteAir will save your current C42 C settings exactly as they are, so they are the same when you reload the aircraft, to clear these settings you tick the "Cold, Dark & Healthy" box to reset the settings. One small annoyance is that the selection ticks on the kneeboard are opposite of what you usually do, so a tick is actually off and no tick is on... it is confusing?

 

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Flying the Ikarus C42 C

Starting the C42's Rotax is quite easy. fuel pump on, an inch of choke, the same with the throttle and hit the red starter button and the engine will burst into life, once started you can push in the choke and once the dials show a bit of heat, then reduce the throttle back to idle...

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 2.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 4.jpg

 

Brakes off and your away...  It is very, very easy. The Ikarus doesn't feel like a hang glider rackety frame sort of aircraft, in fact it feels like a very nice but very small GA, only the internal cage of tubing gives it's ultralight category away. The view out is excellent and you feel quite safe and not at all exposed in here.

 

It is however very light... and will taxi quite fast even with the mixture set very low and the throttle at idle, so you are on the brakes a bit to calm the ground speed down.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 5.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 6.jpg

 

Trimming to neutral via the buttons on the joystick is important before taking off, but otherwise it is all quite normal and GA like. Performance is quite sparkly, the C42 will power away down the runway at a very brisk pace and it is quite easy to control. You feeeel the frame taking the load as the wings bite the now moving air, but you keep the stick forward as not to let the aircraft take control to early...

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 7.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 8.jpg

 

...  with the light weight the aircraft will move around a lot, but nothing you can't control, like a hang glider in the wind the Ikarus want's to lift, but only at around 60 knts do you allow it to fly or soar as that is what it feels like...  the aircraft has a huge rate of climb to size of the aircraft at 1000 fpm, and off you go...

 

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I have flown a lot of aircraft reviewing X-PlaneReviews, from the brilliant to the down right awful, but this C42 is a little gem, it is the most docile and easiest aircraft I have every flown, a perfect learner machine which is a straight duplicate of it's trainer real life design. The propeller animation internally is a little different from the usual blur of the prop, it goes into a more mottle effect than a hard one, and it is quite effective through the windscreen.

 

Once you reach you altitude then quickly trim down the aircraft with the buttons on the joystick, note the pointer is very, very low at the right trim setting...

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 10.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 11.jpg

 

...  but once the trim is set your movements on the stick are just really a slight touch in any direction to action what you want the aircraft to do... adjust a slight bank, touch the stick, need a little more height then touch the stick backwards...  and so on, very, very easy and a lot of fun. Even a full bank only needs light pressure and control...  brilliant.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 12.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 13.jpg

 

You get the sense you are more holding the aircraft back than wanting more power...  110 knts feels fast, and you can or could go faster (depends on your weight or load factor, right!) but the tiddler just powers along and quite easliy...  sounds are of course excellent and from the real aircraft, so that only adds into the stimulation, I expected the C42 to be an overwhelming racket of noise, wind and vibration, but it is very far from that, you can adjust the internal volume by pulling out the headset plugs on the rear panel. Sounds are fully FMOD and 85 original sounds are dynamic as you move around the aircraft externally or internally.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 14 LG.jpg

 

Small as the space is inside, you don't feel that way in the air, it is not the open in your face feel that you get with micro lights, but of a more of a secure but open environment that you quickly absorb and enjoy.

 

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A pass over KRSW - South Florida and a wave to the controllers and it was time to head back to Page Field.

 

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There is an awareness of the lightness of the aircraft when you start to descend and reduce your speed...

 

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....  the aircraft will descend and you can reduce your speed via raising the nose a little, but you still feel the light weight when doing both, it is a sort of canopy effect on the wings more than a wing with shape, but you soon adjust to it.  Note to reset your trim to neutral for landing.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 22.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 23.jpg

 

The flap band is noted between 63 knts and stall at 38 knts, but you have to be well withing the (white) band before grabbing that lovely overhead trigger handle.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 24.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 25.jpg

 

Full flap will set your approach speed to around 46 knts to 48 knts, which is really slow, but the aircraft could be really difficult in windy conditions or a handful as it feels that way in slight 4 knt breezes.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 26.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 27.jpg

 

Again that canopy almost parachute effect comes back into play at the lower speed...

 

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...  but still one with that you have total control over, it is a bit like coming into a controlled landing with a powered parachute on your back. Throttle control is quite easy to lower or raise the nose, and overall the flying is very easy and can be finely controlled.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 30.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 31.jpg

 

When you are flying towards the runway at only 40 or so knots then you have a lot of precious time to make decisions. It is nice and slow and you are fully in control and you can see why learner pilots can easily get to grips with aviation at a basic level...

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 32 LG.jpg

 

...  but that does not say it come with no fun either, as even the most experienced flier can get a lot of joy out of the simplest elements, touch down is around 42 knts with a soft touch landing.

 

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One really annoying feature is the STMA updater on the left side of your screen (arrowed)... if you ever move your mouser over there it keeps on popping up and spoiling the simulation, the only way to stop it, is to switch it off in the plugin menu and every time you want to fly the C42.

 

IkarusC42 C_Flying 35.jpgIkarusC42 C_Flying 36.jpg

 

Lighting

The C42 is not an aircraft to cross states or the continent at night, so the lighting is limited. But excellent it still is...

 

IkarusC42 C_Lighting 1.jpgIkarusC42 C_Lighting 2.jpg

 

All instruments are bright clear and concise, but there is no adjustment... but none is needed either. Externally there is only one landing light but it is a very good one. There are no beacons, just reflective navigation lights on each wingtip and good strobe lights.

 

IkarusC42 C_Lighting 3.jpgIkarusC42 C_Lighting 4.jpg

 

Liveries

All the twelve liveries provided are all mostly a variation of a theme, but they are however in HD 4K High-Quality. D-MYSF is the default livery and the donor aircraft.

 

IkarusC42 C_Livery_D-MYSF De.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_G-KTOW.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_F-JVMI.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_D-MXPD.jpg

IkarusC42 C_Livery_G-CJRZ.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_C-IZAC.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_G-GIAS.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_C-IJXX.jpg

IkarusC42 C_Livery_D-MUWH.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_D-MSJS.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_D-MXKL.jpgIkarusC42 C_Livery_N-175CC.jpg

 

Summary

The Ikarus C42 C feels like the little aircraft that wants to be the bigger general aviation aircraft, problem is it actually does do that, and in some areas is even better than it's more mature grown up machines. It is still however a VLC or Ultralight aircraft and is constructed to those rules and in some areas of flight it behaves like one, but the best way to note it is that this C42 is certainly no rickety frame banging "hang on for your life, but fun" machine, as with it's enclosed cockpit and quality design it is a brilliant little aircraft with tons of performance and one of the best, or if the best handling aircraft I have yet come across in X-Plane, it is simply brilliant for learners of flight, but also huge fun for the experts.

 

All vFlyteAir aircraft are crafted from real machines and it always shows, mostly in the perfect flight dynamics and little details that relate them to the real aircraft. But the quality and detail in this Ikarus is simply staggering, with it's transparent canvas wings to the perfect cage aluminium frame it is as real as it gets. The aircraft is certainly focused on VR (Virtual Reality) from it's design and the way the menus, documents and instruments are all set up for VR use, on the surface the C42 looks quite basic, but the detail and pure quality is deep seated in there with a long list of features.

 

Negatives..  not many, the menu option ticks feel the wrong way around, no option to hide the doors and the annoying STMA auto-update fluttering are all minor if a flicker of nothing.

 

So the Ikarus C42 C is brilliant, lots of fun and a gem of a small aircraft to fly and enjoy... it is the perfect machine to putter aloft around the landscape and just be free and enjoy the view, with not a care in the world...  totally absolutely loved it!

 

____________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

The Comco - Ikarus C42 C by vFlyteAir is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Ikarus C42C

 

Priced at US$27.95

 

Features:

VR compatible 
  • Fully optimized for VR use
Two different panels included
  •  The Basic Trainer has the essential gauges and instruments for VFR training flights (Altimeter, Airspeed, Vertical Speed (variometer), Slip Indicator, Magnetic Compass, COM radio (no NAV radio), and engine monitor gauges
  •  The Full Panel version adds a transponder and a “vfamap L” glass panel instrument loosely modeled from the flymap L® – includes a simple GPS Flight Planner, an Artifical Horizon with waypoint information, and a moving-map display with GPS flight plan overlay (used the X-Plane G1000 moving map). The Full Panel version also has a simulated FLARM traffic alert monitor that will track your AI aircraft
Flight Dynamics
  • Accurate flight characteristics based on input from our own in-house C42C student pilot Mario
FMOD 3d sounds 
  • more than 85 original, actual sound recordings used for FMOD sounds, including engine running (forward, aft, left and right), flaps, switches, doors, ground roll, propeller turn-by-hand, sun visors, engine starter, engine shut-down and many more
Fully animated hi-res model 
  • PBR effects inside and out, HDR lighting and very highly detailed modeling creates an immersive, realistic experience
  • Interactive, animated virtual pre-flight inspection takes you on guided walk-around of the Ikarus (VR compatible using teleport hot-spots) using interactive check lists. If you conduct your pre-flight in early morning or late evening, spot lights are automatically provided at each of the six inspection stations. We even simulated the famous Rotax engine “burp”!
  • User-customizable air charts feature allows you create a matrix of nine air charts that can be scrolled up/down and left/right and “stitched together” to form a large, virtual “paper” chart that can be popped up inside the cockpit
  • Semi-transparent fabric-covered wings and empennage
  • Pop-out gauges make it easier to see and operate the gauges and instruments (VR friendly)
  • COM radio allows you to save up to (30) radio frequencies in memory and recall them for use anytime you fly. Store your most-used frequencies!
  • Choice of female or male animated copilot
  • Engine choke operation is functional (simulated)
  • Realistic engine effects unique to the Rotax 912, such as slow idle after first starting the engine
  • Realistic BRS parachute, including safety pin that must be removed prior to operating the BRS, and a blow-off parachute hatch with actual BRS rocket sound
  • Choice of metric or imperial units for gauges and instruments (your choice is saved each time you quit X-Plane or unload the airplane)
  • Choice of English or German language for instruments and menus (your choice is saved each time you quit X-Plane or unload the airplane)
  • Kneeboard allows the pilot to choose Options and settings, remove ground elements, select nose gear steering, select a copilot (or none), add or reduce fuel payload, adjust pilot and copilot weights, select your language choice (English or German), and select your units preference (metric or imperial)
  • 14 different liveries provided, including the two actual liveries flown by Mario (D-MYSF and D-MNLN)
  • Over 75 different save-states are recorded each time you quit X-Plane or unload the Ikarus. Save-states are reloaded the next time you fly. Save-states include options choices, settings, switches, doors, vents, etc.
  • Pop-out check list for quick reference
  • Realistic vibrations on control surfaces due to prop wash and engine vibration
  • Realistic vibration effects inside the cockpit due to engine vibration

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11.20+

Windows, Mac or Linux
2Gb VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Rcommended
 

Installation and documents:

Download for the Ikarus C42 C is 575.80meg and the unzipped file deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 680.70mb.

 

Documents: Extensive documentation with manual and POH in English and German

 

  • POH_C42_Serie_DE_NOT_FOR_REAL_FLIGHT.pdf
  • POH_C42_Series_EN_NOT_FOR_REAL_FLIGHT.pdf
  • vFlyteAir_C42_manual_DE_v1.pdf
  • vFlyteAir_C42_manual_EN_v1.pdf
  • vFlyteAir_IkarusC42C_Features.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 

15th September 2018

Copyright©2018 : X-Plane Reviews

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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 11.25r2

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

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- KFMY - Page Field - Fort Myers, Florida 1.0 by timbenedict3 (X-Plane.Org)  - Free
- KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99
  

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