Stephen Posted August 12, 2022 Report Share Posted August 12, 2022 Aircraft Review : CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) The Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now Airbus Helicopters H125, is a single-engine light utility helicopter originally designed and manufactured in France by Aérospatiale and Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). In North America, the AS350 is marketed as the AStar. The Eurocopter EC130 is a derivative of the AS350 airframe and is considered by the manufacturer to be part of the Écureuil single-engine family. This CowanSim AS350 is not the first AS350 in X-Plane of the aircraft, that goes to the Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013. This Dreamfoil aircraft was extremely popular in the X-Plane Simulator, but with no updates from Dreamfoil for quite a few years now it is seriously showing it's age, so this new CowanSim X-Plane11 and coming X-Plane12 version is highly welcomed at this time. CowanSim has been very busy over the last few years as well. There is the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT But the AS350 B3e would always be the most popular aircraft, it is a huge seller on the market, with 3,590 AS350/AS550's and 7,000 H125's built since 1975. The AS350 is a single engine helicopter, powered earlier by a Lycoming LTS101. This H125 is the later B3e (introduced late 2011) and is equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and that drives a three-blade main rotor, which is furnished with a Starflex rotor head. Both the main and tail rotors make use of composite material that are designed to minimize corrosion and maintenance requirements. The type is known for its high-altitude performance (one has landed on the peak of Mt Everest) and has seen use by operators in such extreme environments. CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) Modeling and quality since the earlier B222B has improved with each release (but I wasn't impressed with the out of scale B206B/B206L). So basically that with any CowanSim aircraft purchase you will get two things, good quality for the price and ton's of features, and the H125 certainly does not disappoint here. You feel the modeling and detail has taken another step up here, the 500E was simply excellent, and the AS350 is just as good if not even better. The detail is phenomenal, all door catches, handles, vents, mesh grills are really, really good, even down to the chrome door lock. Important is the riveting, it is highly pronounced, and again expertly done. Fuselage shape and panels is again all excellent. All glass is rubber trimmed, and the glass itself has great wear speckles in the glass that gives off great realism. Window surrounds have worn metal and again screw riveting, plus heavy load plates where required. Arriel 2D engine exhaust outlet is simply sensational and looks exactly like the real metal unit with burnt edges, very impressive, and the running exhaust effects are very good as well. Important is the design and actions of the rotorhead. Earlier CowanSim Rotorheads were a bit of an half action, or with a movement missing, but not here... every movement in the blade links and control rods all work, and look excellent when moved by the controls. The detail is so very good you can also see the vibration springs (Starflex) in the hub, love the coloured segments as well of red, blue and yellow. Movements covered are pitch... ... Roll.... ... and collective (Bite). It is a very impressive rotor hub. The composite blades look boring, but they are not as they are exquisitely modeled here with great shaping and detail, they also droop nicely when static. Rear tailrotor, and a large set of horizontal stabilizers are really beautifully crafted, but the tailrotor assembly looks a little too large for this aircraft (scale), it is however well constructed as is the animated yaw (rudder) blades. The H125 uses a VHA-designed titanium hub and composite blades. Menu and Configuration Options There are two Menu's here. The drop down banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages. There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, Both in reality do the same things but there are ten more options on the configuration menus like for the doors, cargo, checklist (shown below) and crew and passenger weights. We will cover the main configurations first. Standard seating is two front crew and a four bench in the rear. Doors can be opened manually, with both rears on sliders. You can remove the doors individually, but only via the configuration menu. There is a really good HEMS Medical selection with both a Doctor and patient... also you can clear the rear section empty, or add in some cargo. Notable is that adding in the cargo does not affect the weight? A brilliant configuration is the "Around the World" option. Here the H125 is set up to fly long distances or if you have time all the way around the world... You have everything you need here bags, food, clothes, sleeping bags (under the seat) and even fishing rods. Odd though that thought in that filling the rear with long-range fuel tanks would have been more my option? But it is very well done. Want more baggage space... there are two baggage lockers left and a single large locker right. To open you have to undo the catches, and to remember to lock them again after use and before flight, very well done. Internal baggage compartment detail is excellent with nets. There are various skid options. There is the choice between Emergency Floats and Utility Skids, Long or Short side skid steps, and a Side Basket on the left rear skid. "Bear Paws" can also be attached to the skids as well, and their detail is excellent. We will move on to the loads of addition options you can change or add to the H125. First is the excellent "Vertical Reference Window" in the floor by the pilot, a must have... mostly used when using the sling hook. The "Sling hook" itself is exceptionally well detailed and found only in the configuration menu (and yes it works), you can also have a huge search light positioned at the rear as well. Options on the nose include, Dual Cargo Mirrors, top and bottom Cable Cutters, and a huge Cineflex camera on the nose and you can control the camera from the left rear camera station in the cabin... ... the camera is fully animated with the right controller doing the UP/DOWN and LEFT/RIGHT movements, and the left knob adjusts the ZOOM. There is also the option to add on a "Rotor Guard", on the rear fuselage. Final external options include a Rotor centering system and "Tie-Downs". There is also an external power supply unit. Internal You can add in the two crew, and two passengers (only add both passengers together?) and note their weights are added to the aircraft and shown on the configurations menu. Both pilots are really nicely animated, and their eyes move as well... creepy? actually no, as it looks very realistic, and I don't remember moving eyes in X-Plane before... more please. There is also the choice to put helmets on the pilots, detail is again excellent with reflective face guards and impressive helmet detail. Internal It's a classy cabin... all the seats are covered in a black leather, with white stitching. The leather has a nice depth, but could be a little glossy in areas, but overall it looks all very modern. The detail is again phenomenal, brackets, supports. The metal seat frames are of a very high quality and detail. Both front seats can be adjusted by pressing the front areas of the cushion. Collective is highly realistic, lovely throttle rubber grip detail is something to admire, it's small... there isn't a lot on the collective, mostly external light switches, HYD and Float activation. There is however the choice of one or two cyclics. The Cyclic has five switches that are active; trim hat, mirror adjustment hat, load release, force trim release and autopilot off. Molded roof lining is grey and nicely done. Highlight are the hanging headsets, not unfamiliar, but you still admire them. The front two headsets can be hidden and muffle the sound as if you are wearing them. The cabin floor can have the choice of grey mats or utility rubber, both are nice... and hard to choose? Instrument Panel First impression of the instrument panel is that it feels quite naked. There are no instruments on the Co-Pilot side, and really only the Standard Six layout on the right, so it does feel a little empty instrument wise. The wide hood does it's job well, it's dark in there. Power on and the panel comes to life... best moment is the power start up and test sequence for the Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD)... it feels very authentic. The H125 is known to have a quick cold to flight ready operations, and that is why a lot of HEMS operators like to use the aircraft, and to get the aircraft into the air quickly. Instruments right are very simple... Standard Six includes; Airspeed, adjustable Artificial Horizon, Altimeter... top row. Radar Altitude, HSI Heading Indicator, VS - Vertical Speed indicator... bottom row. Very top is a NR/N2 dial, a Annunciator (Warning) panel, lower right is a Nav1/Nav2/GPS selector. Lower left is an optional DME panel. Instrument panel left only has a Turn Indicator, DME Pointer , Davtron M803 Temp/Clock and ELT. Optional lower is the AviTab (Plugin Required). VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display) Centre is the excellent VEMD. There are two screens that display aircraft and engine parameters, the top Engine covers TOT (Turbine Outlet Temperature), TRQ (Torque), Fuel Quanity, and OATº, the lower display has the Oil/Electrical/Fuel Flow. Very top centre are the System and Instrument lighting knobs and the Night/Day/Off VEMD selector. Pressing the "Scroll", starts up the "Engine Power Check" (EPC) function, and anything out of order on the systems is noted (note the Heating/Ventilation knobs are down between the seats). On the "Performance" page you can change any of the parameters, selecting the item, then adjusting via the +/- buttons and then ENTER the changes. The systems covered are; Display of engine parameters Computation and display of engine first limitation Computation and display of weight related to performance data Display of engine performance checks Display of FADEC data Computation and display of the number of engine cycles There is a full Systems check, but I couldn't find the button, and it is mentioned in the manual, but not on how you actually initiate the check. At the end of every flight you will also get a "Flight Report" when the VEMD detects the "engine stop" status. Both VEMD displays pop-out as does both the GNS430 and larger lower GNS530. Lower panel is the main power/fuel/pitot switchgear and the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) or Autopilot panel. There is a full manual (4 Pages) provided on how to use SAS effectively. Lower console has the GNS530 top, Garmin GMA 340 Audio Panel, Garmin 345 Transponder. RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated. If you have these add-ons installed then you can access the GTN 650 or 750 by using the configuration menu. Activation of either RXP device will replace the default Garmin GNS430 or GNS530. Although expensive they are highly recommended. Bottom console is a Bendix/King KR 87 ADF Reciever. This can be optional with the DME Panel lower left, right instrument panel, via the menu. Overhead Panel has Starter switch, Engine Back-up Control Ancillary Unit (EBCAU) test button, overhead lighting, rotor brake and emergency fuel shut off lever. ______________ Flying the H125 On start up you get a very nice CowanSim Logo introduction. There are other options to have in Vibrations (On/Off), Head Force (On/Off) and to set your VR head position. Oddly I don't like over vibrating aircraft, that's not to say I don't use the XPRealistic effects to do this, but you can at least adjust them to your liking there. Ditto the Head changing direction effects, again I loath the XPR "Head Anticipation", because your trying to adjust something, and your view is going somewhere else, so overall I'm not a big fan... Is this the easiest Helicopter to start up? On with the Fuel Pump and then press the OHP "Engine Start", and that is about it! Startup sequence is super quick and your soon ready to fly, but note the Collective won't move? There is a almost hidden safety catch to release before you can fly. Start up sounds are very good, and you get a few alarms in the start up process, that is normal and certainly the one when you turn up the throttle. CowanSim has changed the old setting of using the old "Wing Sweep" setting for the Throttle adjustment, and I couldn't find on my Saitek Throttle a replacement adjustment... but it's not hard to do adjusting the throttle manually anyway. The earlier Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ was a very tricky machine to fly. I really liked it, but it was a very touchy machine (unless you used the Game option). CowanSim aims more to the middle ground with his machines, and that is not a bad thing. Certainly the Pro's will retaliate against that, as they want a very pure machine, but then that excludes everyone else and that sums up the Dreamfoil AS350. First a note... You need to set your X-Plane General/Flight Models Per Frame settings to at least 4 Frames, or the aircraft will wobble and move around on the ground, put it on a small H-Pad and it will move and actually fall off. All AS350's are a bit niggly at hover or slow speeds as the aircraft is known for that, so it can take a moment to tune into the aircraft, the pendulum effect is there, but not pronounced when starting to move forwards, but suddenly I felt centred and in control. This aircraft is the AS350 B3e (introduced late 2011) and equipped with the Arriel 2D engine, and the 2D has the takeoff power of 952 shp. So you have to sort of tame all that power in a light utility machine. Turbomeca Arriel is a series of French turboshaft engines that first ran in 1974. Delivering 650 to 1,000 hp (480 to 750 kW), with over 12,000 Arriel engines have been produced from 1978 to 2018. This power gives you a cruise speed of 245 km/h (152 mph, 132 kn), never exceed speed of 287 km/h (178 mph, 155 kn), and the H125 has a Range of 662 km (411 mi, 357 nmi) and an endurance of 4 hours 6 minutes... Service ceiling is 4,600 m (15,100 ft) and the Rate of climb: 8.5 m/s (1,670 ft/min), so it is a powerful capable little machine. So H125 will climb, go forward very quickly, and if you have watched the AS350's antics, and notable if you watch Formula 1 racing or follow the Tour de France, it is because it is the ideal machine for quick responses and agile movements. Easy to fly, obviously yes. But as with most Helicopters you have to tune into it. I was a bit rusty on the AS350, but I soon found my groove. I wanted to test out the Stability Augmentation System (SAS), so a nice tight bank to the right and then I set up my speed (100 knts) and altitude (2200 ft) and then pressed the SAS button. No histrionics, the H125 just cleanly held the heading and the altitude... nice Adjust the heading knob on the HSI, and the H125 will going into a nice 7º turn and again with no histrionics... very impressed, you can also use the trim hat switch on the cyclic, which allows the pilot to proportionally modify the trim pitch and roll attitudes in the SAS mode. You also have a SPD mode that provides pitch attitude commands to hold IAS (Indicated Airspeed), and a Vertical Navigation Mode (VRT) that allows the autopilot to track an ILS glideslope or GPS VNAV, LNAV + V, or LPV glidepath. Coming out of the SAS mode is Smooooth, no nasty bumps or wild flight antics, it's the best and easiest SAS I have used in a while. The aircraft has built in water flotation devices on the skids, and they work very well here. You arm on the console top right,then fire them off on the Collective. Approaching LOWS - Stalzburg, the H125 is hard to slow down and transfer to a lower speed, so your approaches have to quite perfect and well judged in keep the speed and height under control. Moving into the hover or transitioning from fast forward flight known as Effective Translational Lift (ETL) is nice and smooth with only a little left yaw, but the H125 gets more edgy as you get closer to the ground... ... small sharp inputs are essential, but I'm finding the yaw inputs too sharp, you need more of a range here, the tail rotor feels like an on/off switch, which makes the aircraft hard to control in the hover, the Dreamfoil AS350 also was hard, too hard sometimes in this phase. Écureuil's AS350's are known for doing what they call the "AStar Dance" on landing, and it's here as well, so you have almost slightly thump it down in to not do it, slightly hover and the aircraft will squirrel around underneath you, or move you around on the the ground. It takes a few practise landings to get it right, but would be tougher for novices. Lighting Lighting overall is basic... Externally there are two Landing lights under the fuselage, and the huge optional Spotlight at the rear centre of the fuselage, a nice feature is if you hit the "Spotlight", button on the console it immediately comes on, but turn off the spotlight and you will have to go to the menu to hide the light itself. The rest is the normal navigation lights on the rear elevator, rear white navigation and a single red beacon on the tail. There is no reflective lighting on the instrument panel, so it is quite a dark space. There is the noted option that you can use the "Night" mode on the VEMD to faint it down, and you can adjust the instrument lighting to match it. There are four adjustable spotlights, two front and two rear, on the roof front and rear, and a red highlight light over the overhead panel The cabin spotlights do a great job, but personally I would like them a little brighter. Liveries There are a 100, yes a HUNDRED liveries with the CowanSim H125, so how do you choose? as all are extremely good by artist Julien Lebrun, it's just simply impossible! Every country using the H125 is mostly represented, as is; News (Including our local Ch9 chopper) to Medi-Vac, Fire, Scenic, Rescue and Military (Australian Navy). I had a really hard time just picking twenty. Notable is that the textures are 4K Quality, but lighter 2K sized liveries are coming soon. ________________ Summary You have to admit, that Joshua Cowan (CowanSim) is certainly prolific. In only a few years he has created the CowanSim 500E, Bell 206 B3 JetRanger, Bell 206 L3 LongRanger and the Bell 222B + UT. That's a lot of aircraft and here he now takes on the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil (or Squirrel), now the Airbus Helicopters H125. Notable is the last AS350 was the Dreamfoil Creations and Nemeth Designs Ecureuil AS350 B3+ back in 2013, but it has not been updated for a while now, however it also set a very high standard for the time, and the Pro's totally love it. You would also think that with such a mountain of work behind him, the detail and options would get less.... but not here on the H125. This is the most detailed and optioned aircraft yet from CowanSim. Notably a step higher in nice quality detail than before, this is one very well detailed aircraft. All the important rotor movements and detail are also excellent, however the tailrotor assembly feels a bit out of scale (large). Modeling is better, glass is better, detailing is brilliant, and we haven't got to the extensive option list yet in a banner menu "CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e)", and two Configuration Options pages. There are twenty eight options to configure the H125, with ten more accessible in the Configuration Manager. I can't list them all here but configurations for; Medi-Vac (with Doctor and Patient), Cargo, Passengers (two) and a very clever "Around the World" configuration are all excellent. Hook and Sling attachments are also included, as is the Cineflex camera and rear camera station in the cabin. All doors open and the main ones can also be removed, as are three opening baggage compartments as well. RealityXP GTN 650 & 750 can also be integrated and AviTab are also included. There are a Pilot, Co-Pilot and two passengers in the rear which can be added or removed, the pilots (heads) are animated and that includes the eyes, which are actually highly realistic. Excellent Pilot helmets are optional as well. To top off the extensive features, you also have 100 quality liveries to choose from, yes ONE HUNDRED. The H125 flies well. It will always be compared to the Dreamfoil AS350 B3+, and overall that machine was exceptional to fly. The CowanSim is not quite as good as that aircraft, but more accessible to a wider audience. In saying that the AS350/H125 is a tricky machine in the hover and landing, I feel the yaw (tail) is a bit too On/Off for me in those tighter control moments and tail rotor animation is a bit bland. It's a CowanSim... overall you know what you buy when you purchase a CowanSim aircraft in price and with the large feature base, and this CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is the best yet in every area, certainly in the quality and detailing areas, and it is already configured for VR and X-Plane12.... It comes Highly Recommended. ____________________ Yes! the CowanSim H125 (AS350 B3e) is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: CowanSim H125 / AS350 Price is US$32.95 Features: Free Future Updates (Including X-Plane 12) Tested and zeroed in by real pilots VEMD (Vehicle & Engine Management Display) Around the world adventure version Collective and cyclic rotor animations Loaded & working baggage compartments All commands for mapping hardware Remove before flight accessories Pilots & passengers Working floats system Functional spotlight Functional Cineflex camera FMOD fully dynamic 3D sounds Window rain effects Compatible with Vulkan API 100% virtual reality ready AviTab integration RXP GTN 650 & 750 integration Realistic flight dynamics HD PBR textures Custom 3D instruments Detailed night lighting SASL/Xlua Systems/Animations/Plugins This model has an authentic feeling while exploring the virtual world thanks to Laminar Research for developing a fantastic flight sim. 4k Physically Based Rendering Textures 4k PBR textures, or physically based rendering, provides the ability for very realistic lighting that mimics the flow of light in the real world. This model takes full advantage of X-Plane’s lighting with dynamic reflections and materials. Created with Substance Painter. Custom 3D Modeled Instruments Everyone loves a detailed and realistic looking cockpit. After all, that is where we spend most of our time in the sim, flying! The 3D instruments were developed to a high standard and are fully functional, with extensive custom coding to make it as realistic as possible. A Nice Cozy Cabin Sit back and relax in the cozy rear cabin and enjoy replays of your flight from a passenger’s perspective! Was it as comfortable and smooth as you thought it was from the pilot seat? This is especially interesting in VR and landing replays are the best. Paint Kit & Liveries Comes with several liveries and we also included a detailed paint kit. The kit is provided in both GIMP and Adobe® Photoshop® formats. A UV map layer included in each file allows for easy and accurate repaints. Vibrant and Detailed Night Lighting X-Plane has wonderful night lighting. The H125 project aimed to have plenty of lights, inside and out, making night flights possible. From the landing light to the cabin lighting, this helicopter really stands out at night. Animation & Sound Thousands of lines of custom code make up animations and systems. The fully immersive 3D sound set was developed with FMOD. Sounds and animations work together with visual rotor-speed vibrational feedback, dynamic blade slap, rain effects and more. Reality XP GTN 650 & 750 Integration The Reality XP GTN 650/750 can be fully integrated into the cockpit. Reality XP GTN 650/750 Touch is the genuine simulated device used by flight simulation enthusiasts navigating the virtual skies as well as real world pilots for familiarization with the device. This add-on is a payware add-on and you can purchase it here: https://reality-xp.com/ Requirements X-Plane 11- X-Plane 12 when available Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.7 GB Current Version: 1.0 (August 12th 2022 Installation and documents: download for the H125/AS350 is 1.07Gb and the aircraft is deposited in the "Helicopter" X-Plane folder. Full Installation is 2.46Gb The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft. Documents supplied are: H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Compact.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) Checklist Full.pdf H125 (AS350B3e) User Manual.pdf SAS Autopilot Manual.pdf Sling Load Indicator Manual.pdf Manuals are very good with Mapping and Settings, but no instrument references or just the basic system references, but settings are well documented with a very good checklist that shows well intergrated startup and shutdown procedures. Support forum for all helicopters by CowanSim _____________________ Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton 15th August 2022 Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo M2 2TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55 Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : AviTab Plugin - Free Scenery or Aircraft - LOWS- Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart v2 by Digital Design (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$19.50 (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) All Rights Reserved CowanSim 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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