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Aircraft Review : Piper Aerostar 601P by Avia71 Ted R. Smith is an aviation legend, this is the same person of whom also designed the famous Aero Commander, and the bought the first small business jet aircraft to market which was the Jet Commander which evolved into the Astra Jet.... and then there was his Aerostar/Sequoia the fastest Twin-Engined general aviation aircraft ever built... just the right aircraft for drug running, right. So another legend but in the infamous collection of bad people pretending to be really a good person to get rich is Barry Seal, who was a sort of Robin Hood in reverse, Seal was a pilot for the commercial airline TWA, and was contacted by a CIA case officer and asks Seal to fly clandestine reconnaissance missions for the CIA over Central America using a small plane with cameras installed. But the deal becomes a two sided affair with Seal running drugs into the United States one way for the cartels, and then also smuggling and trading guns back to the cartel in the other direction for the CIA. So for operations like that you need a pretty good aircraft that was the fastest you get you hands on and could fly very high (or very low) when required... depending on who was actually shooting at you. This real life caper was recreated in a film called "American Made" with a certain Tom (Top Gun) Cruise as Barry Seal, but the real star of the film is certainly the Aerostar 600, which was the perfect tool for the dodgy business of doing clandestine CIA missions in moving drugs and running guns. I know, you just all sat there and said "I want THAT plane" I did, in X-Plane anyway... and here it is from Avia71. This is the 601P version and not the 600 version in the film. The 601P had the higher-rate turbochargers to feed a cabin pressurization system and the P is for "Pressurised" and it flies very fast for a medium-twin as the maximum speed is 306 mph (492 km/h) and the cruise speed is still a whopping 242 mph (390 km/h), with a service ceiling of 7,620 m (25,000 ft) and the aircraft still holds the land closed speed record for a production piston-twin. And the name Piper? well the Ted Smith company was taken over by the Piper Aircraft Company in 1978 after Smith died, and continued to build the aircraft until 1984, but in reality this 601P is and always will be only a Ted Smith Aerostar Corporation aircraft. The Aerostar's design is very different from the perspective of the usual Piper or Beechcraft. There is certainly a lot of the Aero Commander in the design, but with an almost jet trainer tail section, wings are almost swept forward. But the cabin size is huge at 1.17 m (3 ft 10 in) in width and 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in) in length. The Aerostar is the sports car to the utility truck like Commander. Avia71's design is very good, if not excellent. Note that my comments are in context to the price position of just a mid-$30-$35 aircraft. It must not be compared to a high level Carenado, Aerobask or even Just Flight/Thranda design, it is set a notch lower here, but for the price the aircraft is a quality design. Most of the external detail is created by clever images more than mapping, so from many angles the aircraft can look very if not over smooth, there are also the odd aerodynamic fins and naca ducts all over the fuselage too break this effect up and I love the centre fuselage tank refuel caps, and so overall the detailing is very good. HF and XM radio weather antennas and the distinctive three way aerials on the tail are well reproduced, as is the wing lighting assemblies. The Twin 290hp Lycoming IO-540-K engines are powerful but sleek in their excellent housings, note the lovely twin exhausts protruding on the underside of the same engine housings. The aircraft has Hartzell 3 blade propellers, and some 600 versions have 4 bladed props. Avia71 was always a good developer, but most of his earlier releases were mostly light trainers or small aerobatic aircraft, so this 601P design is a big step up in size and scale from those aircraft, and so in context overall the design and development advance is very, very good. Landing gear detail is excellent. The main gear is long, spindly or high which ever way you want to see it as the wings are set quite high on the fuselage... ... and the corrosion and highly weathered look is really well done, there is a more real world and worn through the years feel of which is more of what most aircraft wheels and mounts actually look like in most cases. Absorption animation with metal-links as well is very realistic. Split main door is well done, but quite a step up without the lower step? It is opened internally. A nice touch would be when the door is opened then the seat moves backwards to allow boarding. I can't see any baggage doors or if the panel in the nose is a baggage compartment? Those Hartzell 3 blade propellers are well done and have realistic feathering, note the really nice lovely chrome spinners. Menus The menu tab is situated on the left side of the screen and noted as "71". The menu consists of five tabs that cover: Checklist, Weights&Balances, Cabin Altitude Calculator, Data&Maintenance and options. A welcome page pops up when you first start the aircraft. Checklists is a fifteen page checklist (a hard copy is provided as well) and it is important to get the right sequence of setup of the oxygen/pressurization system (it's complicated). Weights&Balances menu is a excellent... You can select five extra passengers that are shown externally in the aircraft, you can't adjust their actual weight's but the averages are fine in lbs/kgs, Fuel is left and right wing tanks 372lbs (62 US GAL) per tank maximum and a centre (fuselage) tank 249 lbs (41.5 US GAL) maximum. There is a payload (baggage) selection to 2336 lbs/1060 kg and then you are noted as "Overloaded". Cabin Altitude Calculator is a helper to compute your cabin altitude setting and the differential pressure. Data&Maintenance gives you your time of board (and on ground percentage %), Engines Operating time (hours) and time to your next service. Tire health and your two battery health percentages are also shown. You can fix the Batteries, Change the tires and fix your engines via the buttons. Options has four options to choose from. Spanner is Mechanical Management, that allows you to state to keep your previous mechanical state or repair all parts at the start of each flight. Fuel states allows you to either keep the last fuel level recorded or set an average fuel state for each flight. The cone tab can set static elements like cones and wheel chocks... the final option is a pill? This will either forget all your current data (on the Data page) from previous flights or keep all your current data active for this flight, in other words you keep all the data or just the data from this current flight. Internal This is an aircraft from the late Sixties and early 70's and the instrument panel and cabin reflects that period, in other words it is very dark and brown inside. Instrument panel is basic but authentic to the era. The cabin is noted as 3ft 10ins across, as it may be, but it looks bigger inside than say almost four 12 inch rulers put end to end? Brown vinyl outer with the nice straw like matting inserts gives you right feel, seating is for pilot+five passengers or three children across the rear bench. The cockpit area feels brighter, and so it is... there are a pair of slatted animated blinds over your head, and these provide a lot of light or a slatted lighting effect across the cockpit, this is really well done and very authentic. In the air with the Aerostar My flight today is from KDAB (Daytona) to KRSW (Southwest Florida) which is just flying down and across Florida. Aircraft is fully loaded and just under the max weight of 4512lbs. If the aircraft is at idle speed then you get a slower moving propeller, I'm personally not sure about this effect, but it certainly can be distracting in the fact you think the prop is shutting down... Sounds are FMOD and are good on start up, good at low speeds but there is that distinctive washing machine chunk, chunk at higher speeds, I am not a big fan of those chunky sounds and there are a few different types of these in the sound range, but overall the sounds are good and realistic. Smoothly opening the throttles and the 601P will take off down the runway like a dragster... and this is a fully loaded aircraft, it feels way over engined or over powered for an aircraft of this size and rotation is around 150 kts... ... I found the Aerostar dipped heavily to the right and needed a fair correction to level the aircraft, and my first thought's were that it was quite touchy under the yoke, it flies fine or more than fine, but I expected the aircraft to feel more heavier or bulkier than this in the air. That right bank feel took a fair while to dial out, it should be natural to level the aircraft, but I was finding I required more concentration and action in actually doing so. So the 601P needs a fair time to adjust to it's flying feel, and far more than I usually do with other aircraft in reviews, but the real aircraft's flying history is also quite turbulent and during flight you had to stay ahead of the aircraft The instrument details don't help, the Airspeed indicator numbers are very small and speed zones are hard to read, worse on landing for finding flap speeds... the artificial horizon is very dull and again very hard to read, the rest of the instruments however are fine and legible. The instrument lighting has already had one brightness upgrade, worse are the smaller avionic panels, as some are barely readable. I also looked for an avionic lighting adjustment knob, but to to no avail. Another point is that a few items in the aircraft require switching on before actual switching to use them, the AP (Autopilot) and the Door Seal switches are off, and need to be switched on to use the required items, and both are situated on the centre glareshield panel, and as are the overhead lighting switches that are down on the lower panel and all the avionics need to be switched on as well. 601P's rate of climb is 1,840 ft/min (9.4 m/s), but the speed rises easily even at this recommended set pitch. Instrument Panel The instrument panel layout is quite basic for the Twin-Engined aircraft. There are only flying instruments for the pilot, and obviously the second seat is for passengers only. Both Yokes can be hidden by a click to give more access to the lower panel. The Standard Six instruments are centred in the line of sight of the flying pilot with the Airspeed Indicator, Artificial Horizon and the Attitude Indicator on the top row and Radar Altitude, Turn Coordinator, Vertical Speed Indicators set out directly below. The Heading Dial is offset to the right on the top row with a very realistic built in CDI (Course Deviation Indicator) on the course knob. A feature is that if you press the top of the current heading then the heading pointer will move to that position and if you press the QNH pressure it will switch to Standard Pressure, but the inHG setting is not available. Bottom far left is a ADF pointer dial and bottom far right is a Garmin NAV2 alignment dial. Lower panel is a Bendix/King KR 87 ADF receiver and a Bendix/King GTX 320A Transponder (don't forget to turn both ON). Lower bottom panel are the main power and external lighting switches. Situated Right Panel are the engine gauges... Manifold Pressure (all dials have both engines on one dial) RPM and EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) and far right is a Gyro pressure gauge. Lower row has one set of gauges for each engine that covers Oil Pressure and Temperature and CYL (Cylinder Head Temperature), and a single dial that covers both engines Fuel Pressures. There is a digital Fuel Flow readout for each engine and Fuel Remaining display, far left is a HYD (hydraulic) pressure gauge. Lower panel is an interesting layout panel that covers left and right engine Start (Magnetos) and Fuel boost and Fuel Tank switching (with X-Feed), you need to refer to the manual on how to set the switching and the use of the set up of fuel contents and fuel transfers, its complicated but doable. Gear and Flap levers and elevator and rudder position indicators are also on this section of the panel with an almost hidden Hobbs hourly meter. Lower right panel has an active working circuit breaker panel, flip a breaker and it works, click it back in and your in business again and most electrical systems are active. Avionic equipment stack has Collins AMR 350 radio top, then the X-Plane native Garmin 530 GPS unit. An early Garmin NAV2 Radio is next and this is connected to a Bendix/King N1/N2/ADF readout panel for NM, Speed (kts) and Min, but the panel (arrowed) is barely readable. Lower stack is a very authentic NARCO KWK 66 Weather display with TCAS, and adjustable for Tilt and Range. Top center on the glareshield are the three Fuel tank gauges for L WING - FUS - R WING. Instrument lighting adjustments, Radio on/off master, Autopilot Master and Door Seal Master switches. A full set of testable annunciator lighting is excellent. There is a ST3400 is inspired by the SANDEL ST3400 that displays TERRAIN or TOPO and Wind direction. It looks extremely authentic in the cockpit, but it is still noted as "Under Development". The center console looks basic in design, but it is very well done. The levers that cover the twin throttles, propellers and mixtures are lovely to look at, but the propeller levers are hard to move (does that make them realistic?) They are far better to use on an addon setup. On the rear of the console there is the panel for the Century X Autopilot, and with no pop-up available it can be hard to use and the scroll wheel was slow to adjust the pitch, but otherwise it was very realistic. To the right are the electric rudder and elevator trims. Far rear centre console is the complicated pressurisation system. There was the pressure calculator you require on the menu tab, then you must seal the door (that switch) and make sure all the panel indicators are on and green, then set the cabin altitude, and the cabin rate to full increase. Once climbing you then have to move the cabin rate to full decrease, then reset the cabin altitude to the desired altitude and then adjust the rate of climb until you reach your altitude... once there you have to keep your eye on the DIFF PRESS as It should never exceed 4.25 PSI. and if exceeded, then an alarm knob warns you on the right panel. Then just do the reverse procedures to go down... easy peasy, but it takes a few goes to get it all working correctly. Overall the system is very authentic and it does work really well. Everything in the cockpit and cabin is all in keeping with the aircraft's era feel, those lovely yokes (but the electric trim or AP disconnect don't work) and the wooden panel feel... If you run the engines RPM over the 25 RPM then you will get a warning light for each engine... but setting the throttle below this speed makes the aircraft slow, at around 170kts... still fast by most standards, but a few users have questioned this speed to RPM setting and so do I, Avia71 says it is correct, but it makes a fast aircraft feel slow? In sounds if you plugin the headset on either end of the panel it adjusts the sound as if you are wearing a headset or it becomes very bassy and the heavier sounds are not for everyone. Arrival at KRSW and its time to go down to land, and you really feel the speed in the Aerostar, it very quickly covered the ground over Florida that would take ages in say the F33A Bonanza. The gear retraction and extraction is excellent, the gear drags at points of movement and they don't drop down together in time for realism... But with the Airspeed indicator being very hard to read, finding you flap extension positions are a bit hit and miss, even if you note down the numbers it is still hard to work out on the airspeed dial where they actually are? The flap selector is interesting as well, flip the lever down for a change of flap at UP-10º-20º-30º-FULL and it flips up again till you press it again for another drop position and you do the same flipping operation upwards to retract, it's easy but tricky at the same time, as it is hard to see what flap selection position you are in and even counting noises doesn't really work. so it is mostly a feel and guess on what speed and flap position your are actually in... and in time you will certainly get used to it, but it is not easy at the start. My steps were 130knts (guessing) for 10º, 100 knts for 20º and a nice approach speed, 30º at 90knts and then a final drop to FULL at 85knts... 77 knots (143 km/h; 89 mph) is your stall speed. Radar Altitude instrument is excellent in gauging your ground distance (arrowed) and I did find the 601P could be a bit floaty and I landed a little long, but the aircraft was nice and controllable at landing speed... ... again that slight bank to the right returned on the final flare? So it is a very technical aircraft to fly, and the 601P will need time and a fair bit of flying to become really familiar with it's personality and quirks. Documents holder Down to the pilot's left (arrowed) is a clipboard that acts like a pop-up documents holder... In position it is quite small and hard to read. But you can add in your own documents via a .png 1150X1733px image that is placed in the aircraft's/CHARTS folder. I found I had to get in very close to read it, a scale feature would make it actually usable. Lighting There are only two in the nose landing lights, and no taxi. They are good straight ahead, but they are a bit compromised for taxiway turning... they also shine slightly through the nose? There is no beacon, but navigation, strobe and rear single white nav lighting is fine, there is a "Wing" switch, but I found no lighting on the wing(s) for ice. Internal lighting is excellent. Unlike the daytime the instrument panel it is well lit, with excellent drop-down lighting adjustment on each side of the panel for each pilot... .... overhead spot lighting is provided by two switchable lights on the roof... ... and in the rear cabin there are four side wall mounted soft spotlights projecting down on to on each seat. Liveries One blank and seven liveries are provided including the N164HH "American Made" livery. The liveries are very good but not in the high-high quality range and the white seems to wash out a little on screen taking away some of the detail. Summary In the areas of value and features you get a lot of aircraft for your money, and a very iconic aircraft at that as well with this Aerostar 601P from Avia71. And many of the features provided here are all very clever, very authentic to the era and to the aircraft and it's operations. These include the complex pressurisation system, active circuit breaker panel, fuel system including X-FEED, Flap system, Century X Autopilot and authentic NARCO KWK 66 Weather display and SANDEL ST3400. Systems save parameters between flights in data and maintenance or can be set for just one flight and excellent menus with checklists, weight management, cabin altitude calculator, maintenance, stats and options. Modeling is in context very good, but the white liveries tend to wash out the finer details, but the animated roof blinds and the very realistic weathered undercarriage are standouts. Negatives... Some instruments can be dull in the daylight and a few avionic panels are hard to read, and the Airspeed dial is also hard to read with small numbers and increments. Handling is faintly light and touchy and you need time to adjust and tune into the distinctive feel. Sounds are overall FMOD good, but some sounds are chunk chunky. Is there a baggage door or two? A few review aircraft that X-PlaneReviews fly become far more interesting the more time you spend with them, and certainly the Aerostar falls well into that category, it sort of goes deeper and deeper with the complex but interesting systems and the great ideas that are at play here. And the more I fly and tune into the aircraft the more you really like it, so interesting to very interesting is the words to sum the aircraft up. In this price range then it is excellent value and it is quite different in a flying machine and the way that you even interact with it, but then again it is a Ted R Smith aircraft as well and he certainly made very different and interesting aircraft, so in that aspect the Avia71 Aerostar 601P certainly honors the legend of it's creator. Overall highly recommended. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Piper Aerostar 601P by Avia71 is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Aerostar 601P Price is US$34.95 Features Ultra High Definition Model 4K Textures throughout Full PBR High quality 3D model Optimized for X-Plane 11 FMOD custom sounds Features Fully functional 3D cockpit Custom menu containing checklists, weight management, cabin altitude calculator, maintenance, stats, options Custom instruments Custom pressurization system Custom animations Disengageable system for saving parameters between flights Customizable documents holder (read your charts, checklists... in flight) Custom fuel feeding system Complete set of original checklists 7 liveries + paintkit Auto-Updater Keep your aircraft up-to-date with SkunkCrafts auto-updater Easy to use (nothing to do, really) As usual, updates will be free of charge for customers Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum, 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Installation Download of the Aerostar 601P is 392.35mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as a 551mb folder. This aircraft uses the SkunkCrafts auto-updater for updates Documents Avia71_AEROSTAR_601P_Checklists.pdf Avia71_AEROSTAR_601P_Manual.pdf _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 10th July 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 11.25 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 - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$24.95 - KDAB - Daytona Beach by Aerosoft / Stairport Sceneries (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$28.99
News! - Avia71 releases the Piper Aerostar 601P In a major change of direction from very light but agile aircraft from Avia71, now here comes the Mr Tom Cruise's "American Made" speed buster, drug running Aerostar 601P. And boy is this aircraft fast for a medium-twin as maximum speed is 306 mph (492 km/h) and the cruise speed is a whopping 242 mph (390 km/h)... and yes I know that if you want to be really on the point that the aircraft in the Film (American Made) was a Aerostar 600 and not the later 601P which was the turbocharged engine version, then yes it was... The Aerostar is a very unusual looking aircraft but you can still see the same design trends of Ted Smith, of whom also designed the famous Aero Commander. Modeling includes: Ultra High Definition Model 4K Textures throughout Full PBR High quality 3D model Optimized for X-Plane 11 FMOD custom sounds Features Fully functional 3D cockpit Custom menu containing checklists, weight management, cabin altitude calculator, maintenance, stats, options Custom instruments Custom pressurization system Custom animations Disengageable system for saving parameters between flights Customizable documents holder (read your charts, checklists... in flight) Custom fuel feeding system Complete set of original checklists 7 liveries + paintkit Cabin is very 70's retro period in detailing, if that is your thing. Requirements are basic: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, or Linux 2Gb VRAM Minimum, 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended First impressions are very good with some great innovative features like working oxygen, weather radar and working circuit breakers.... Review to follow. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The Piper Aerostar 601P by Avia71 is now available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Aerostar 601P Your Price: $34.95 (special July 4th Sale price is only $29.95!) ________________________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 4th July 2018 Copyright©2018: X-Plane Reviews
Aircraft Review : Mudry CAP 10C by Avia71 The Mudry CAP (Constructions Aéronautiques Parisiennes) 10C is a two-seater training aerobatic aircraft that was first built in 1970 and was still in production as late as 2007 under the Apex banner. It is a very renowned aerobatic aircraft that has had many numerous and well known European champions that have started aerobatic careers on a Cap 10. This 10C version had the updated and improved structure with a carbon-fibre wing spar within its wooden construction to give the aircraft less weight but with more strength to the airframe. Avia71 (Laurent) has already delighted us with his lovely Fournier RF 5B Glider and the Extra 300, both in the same genre of small glider or aerobatic aircraft and continues his same pattern here with this CAP 10C. The same is said that with the CAP 10C it is like his last developed aircraft in that he has a personal connection to the actual aircraft that is reproduced here with the French registered F-HEBV owned by the aero club of Bernay France, but his two collaborators also have had close associations with CAP 10c's in the several championship winner Thomas with the F-GNVC registered aircraft and Joshua with an G-CPXC example of the two hundred current CAP 10c's built. Most aerobatic aircraft are mostly single-seaters, but the CAP here is a trainer or two-seater stick and rudder aircraft to learn the basic skills of aerobatic manoeuvres in a safe environment, but with two pilots on board that also adds in weight and changes of aircraft's balance. As with any reproduction of a real aircraft this 10C is very good. A lot of effort has gone into the minute detail as you would expect. It is not the complete extreme detail you get sometimes now but it is overall very good, and remember wooden construction is very hard to replicate compared to metal or composites. The 10C is a tail-dragger and so you will need all of those tail-dragger skills To highlight details there is a lot of great worn wear looking areas in panel fit and joins to add in to the authenticity. The aircraft build plate is very well done and adds in that personal aircraft feel. There is a very good aerobatic sight on the left wing and they are there to allow you to watch the angle of the horizon while watching this outside reference point. The glass canopy shows you how far X-Plane's glass and reflections have come in the last few years. Beautifully done and highly realistic, more on these reflections later. Instrument Panel The instrument panel is very 70's basic, but modern as well. It is set up for aerobatic flight and all mostly focused on the flying pilot. Detailing is excellent as the Instruments are all large and easy to read and all have lovely reflections. This is a serious stick and rudder aircraft and that aspect is highlighted here, and note the detail is not restricted on what you can see, as behind the panel there is some excellent work as well... good work is all in the detail. Instrument layout is slightly different from the normal standard six arrangement, it is a mixture of flying instruments and engine output dials. Top row from L to R gives you a RPM dial and then next right is the Speed dial in Km/h, then the Altitude dial and finally another Altitude/Air pressure dial. Lower row L to R is the Manifold Pressure/Fuel Flow gauges, Turn coordinator, Vertical Speed and acceleration dial in G's... note the missing Artificial Horizon instrument as it is part of the turn coordinator instrument. Centre panel is another G metre in units and a MEV Acceleometer. Left centre panel is in a basic Communications radio top with a Garmin GTX 320A transponder below... lower is the intercom (headset) controls which also controls your external and internal sound volumes. Far right are four dials that includes top left, Volts, Amps and both fuel tank gauges - Top right, Hour(Hobbs) meter - Bottom left, Engine EGT, CHT and Oil Pressure and temperature - Bottom right, co-pilot G-acceleration dial. Lower panel is switch gear left and fuses right. The panel can be set up two ways with the aerobatic G-Meters (left) or two navigation instruments in a VOR finder top and heading bottom (right). Another neat trick is you can have "headset" mode which gives you the roar of sound or the muted headset sounds, This is done by pressing (or plugging in the headset) on the bottom left and right sides of the instrument panel. Menus The menu tab is the "Remove before flight" red tag on the centre left of your screen... This opens up the menu dialog box with five tabs. These include: Settings - Checklists - Weights &Balances - Failures - Tips & Tricks Overall there isn't a huge amount of options, but for what there is it is all set out very well. Settings There are two major settings with doing aerobatics with "Cat A" (Aerobatics) and "Cat U" (Utility). These selections allow you to quickly set up the aircraft for either their Aerobatic or Utility roles in one selection. There is a very comprehensive set of documents including a "Aerobatic Basic's" manual that teaches you how to fly the aircraft well in the aerobatics mode. The manual is very good as well in this area with aircraft data and procedures, but I would have liked more information on the instruments as they are quite different from the standard panel fittings and many of the instruments installed here are related to aerobatic flying? Selecting the different configuration for either the aerobatic or utility roles then changes also the fuel selection or Centre of Gravity (CoG) in the aircraft by closing off the rear tank, changing the centre instruments and setting category limitations. You can either start the aircraft in cold&dark mode or ready to start. Checklist The checklist menu is very good and comprehensive, it covers all aspects of the routines from cold to shutdown. You navigate via the arrows on the bottom of the page or via the main front menu on the cover. Weights&Balances The Weights&Balances menu is also very good but a little basic . The important note here is the two centre of gravity zones that cover the different settings for Aerobatics Cat A (brown) and Utility Cat U (blue). You have to set the aircraft up withing the brown zone for aerobatics and that includes empyting out the rear fuel tank and the careful selections of pilot(s) and luggage weights. You can have one pilot, or two pilots (trainee) and even swap them around in the various seats and adjust all their weights, I do recommend only one pilot for serious aerobatics as the weights are too high with both bodies in there and you feel the differences of weights when throwing the aircraft around the sky. Failures and Tips&Tricks The "Failure" menu has to be switched on by being in the Cat A setup. This is for trainee purposes in that the aircraft will introduce failures in how many (quantity), Training duration (in distance not time) and to note on screen of any of the failures. Finally there is a "Tips&Tricks" menu that shows you various tricks and where certain things are situated on the aircraft, and it is quite good in finding those extra switches hidden behind such things like fuses. Flying the CAP 10C The CAP 10C is a tail-dragger, so that means it can be quite a handful on the ground... visibility is very restricted in this aircraft when taxiing as well. You can't lock off the tail-wheel, so taxiing is very authentic, but quite hard to get right in that you need speed or air over the rudder to turn, so a run forward to turn is constantly required and even then your turns are quite wide. The look left and down does work, but it is still hard to follow a hidden yellow centre line, so even lining up on the runway is a bit of a guessing game. The 10C is damn tricky to get airborne. There is a single flap setting to help lift (three settings in UP - T/O - LDG), but the tail refuses to lift until you hit 60Km/h, even a slight push forward of the stick to help it and it still refuses to budge. Tracking is hard as well and you need to counter a lot of different forces in the lightness of aircraft, airstream over the rudder, asymmetrical power and that poor view forwards... ... and I will put the view forward that there has been a lot of changes to the X-Plane performance in this area in X-Plane11 (more so in the latest 11.10 beta) on runway ground effects and the "wobbles" and I think there is some cause of effect with this aircraft in this role as it is soooo light and nervy. So it is tricky to get right the first time, even the second... and the third. Once in the air and trimmed (electric between the seats) everything resumes to complete normality as the controls are quite sweet and active under your hands and feet.. The only small annoyance is the wheels keep on rotating unless you hit the brakes to stop them. As you would expect this is a throw around in the air aircraft, the 10C sorts of grows smaller around you as you focus more on the flying and it just feels tighter and tighter with the stick and rudder movements with your ongoing flying. I have been trying out a few VR (Virtual Reality) headsets lately, and make no doubt that one aircraft that is just built for VR flying is this CAP 10C, it would be just brilliant and the VR would be highlighted more by the excellent reflections of the canopy around you. Your aircraft setup balance is of course very important and it totally absolutely affects the way you fly the aircraft... There is a great popup in the middle of the panel to show you the best aerobatic manoeuvres or a set of official manoeuvres for you to follow... ... the throttle is clever as well with the normal centre push/pull knob style, but also a left pilot's grab handle style throttle as well. The sticks are very high (or long) for full minute control. Sounds are all FMOD and all taken from the real aircraft on the ground and in flight for full authenticity, and they do sound pretty perfect and close to as real as you are going to get. Get the settings wrong and you can look a bit like a dork in that the aircraft won't respond to your aerobatic whim's... ... but study a bit and get the settings right and the CAP10C comes alive and you can then start to get the precision and manoeuvres you are aiming for. Down the nose a bit to gather a bit of speed and then up and and into the loop... you feel the freefall at the top and then down the other side and recover... do that a few times and your head swells a bit to the fact that buzzing the tower on KLAL field feels like a good idea. The headiness will go away quickly once you decide to land... as it is the same as taking off in keeping your speed low in the low 70's Km/h range... ... you tend to keep the nose high and almost at stall point, which doesn't help in the vision ahead on placing the aircraft correctly down on the runway. You can place the 10C down and almost on the three wheels at the same time, but then it is hard to run off the speed and then slow down even from the low 60Km/h tochdown speed. Get it wrong and you with lose the aircraft as it starts to weave badly and even dig in a wingtip into the tarmac, and it took a few practise landings to get it all right and taxi back to the stand area in one piece... it is really tricky to do and not for the faint-hearted as it is all too very easy to get it all too very wrong. Liveries There are five aerobatic themed liveries and all are well done, two are very similar side on but with different layouts on the underside. Lighting This CAP is not really a night flying machine and so the lighting is quite basic. The instrument panel however is really nice at night with some really nice effects and feel, the lovely annunciator panel is testable and looks great in the daytime or darkness. Only difficulty though is the lighting manipulators centre panel. They are created for scrolling of the knobs and that works fine, but try to manipulate them manually and they are very hard to turn, and with a different manipulator for each knob... tricky. External lighting is very basic with one really large landing light that seems to be not adjusted. Summary For a great aerobatic aircraft you can't go past this gem of a CAP 10C. It comes with a lot of information from real aerobatic pilots to allow you to get the very best out of the aircraft in it's aerobatic roles, but it has a simple cross country role as well if you just want to fly point to point and not wanting to get yourself twisting around all over the sky. Setting the aircraft up correctly for aerobatics is important, but you get a lot of help from everyone involved and the set up can be versatile as well, with one or two (a trainee?) pilots set in the aircraft. It is a very tricky aircraft to takeoff or land at slow speeds and in this area you will need a lot of skill, it is focused on and for a very capable pilot anyway. If you do have high aerobatic skills then you will get the very best out of the aircraft as it is focused on that aspect and tuned out for that area as well. Modeling overall is very good and that lovely canopy is totally worthy of a VR headset alone, a few quirks are noticeable in still turning wheels, tricky manipulators and that oversized landing light are not really negatives. Avia71 is a focused designer on these sort of aerobatic aircraft and again delivers a gem of a machine for that particular genre. There is a lot of professional input and testing to know you are getting the very best in that aerobatic delivery as well in realism, and that is what you are paying for in the end... in the end only one thing sits mostly in my mind after reviewing this CAP 10C, and that is in god that you really want that Virtual Reality aspect for aircraft like this... it would be absolutely mind blowing. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Mudry CAP 10C by Avia71 is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Mudry CAP 10C Price is US$24.95 Features Switch between aerobatics and utility mode (no reload needed) Exclusive electronic G meter/recorder/audio warning Choose at any time your favorite instrumentation (no reload needed) Retractable document holder on panel Load your own aerobatics diagram Sounds volume adjustments on panel Switch windshield and instruments reflection on panel Interactive checklist Weight and balance interface with calculator Internal failure system Complete circuit breakers management Flaps & trim locker for aerobatics Mixture fine adjustment Aerobatics manual by Thomas in English and French and a bunch of tips and tricks Other features Hgh-fidelity flight model Accurate 3D modeling Extremely detailed 4K textures Physical Based Rendering Ambient occlusion FMOD sounds recorded on the real model 5 liveries fps friendly Requirements: X-Plane 11 (not compatible with XP10) Windows, Linux or Mac 2Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum - 4GB+ VRAM Recommended Installation Download of the Mudry CAP 10C is 236.40mb and it is installed in your General Aviation Folder as a 247mb folder. Support forum for the Avia71 CAP10 Documents Provided documentation relating to aerobatics is excellent with not only aircraft General, limitations and procedures provided. But also Aerobatic Basics in English and French. There is no instrument descriptions and panel layout information, and on this aircraft it would have been or should have been indispensable to have the information available considering the unique instruments fitted. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 24th October 2017 Copyright©2017: 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 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.05 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9 effects US$19.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 1.0 by NAPS (uploaded by Nicolas) (X-Plane.org) - Free
Aircraft Review : Fournier RF-5B by Avia71 Motorised gliders make the hard part the easy part... that is just getting up into the air. And once up there it is nice to be able to position yourself quickly at the right point to collect the full potential of those lifting updrafts. So you don't then have to rely on a puller plane to get you up in the air, and if you get bored you can easily power up and head on home. The disadvantages are of course the weight you have to carry around with you, it is not a pure gliding experience par excellence, but in reality the disadvantages outweigh the purity of the sport as this versatility makes the aircraft easier to run, use and fly without any outside assistance and it is those set of conditions that have made the Fournier RF Motorglider a very popular aircraft. These aircraft are known as "Touring Motor Gliders" for the obvious reasons, but there are different ideas to do the same thing. Most of these lightweight powered gliders have only a small puller or pusher engine, either mechanical or electric. Where as the Fournier is different is that the engine is quite large and very powerful for the size and weight of the airframe. The B version here uses the 50.7 kW (68 hp) Limbach SL 1700 E Comet engine, and that makes it a true touring aircraft that just happens to good at gliding and be semi-aerobatic as well. Built by René Fournier in the central French area of Nitray , near Tours. The famous RF aircraft was the first of what we now call Touring Motor Gliders. The Frenchman already had an outstanding pedigree as René Fournier as he was already a recognized artist in the early 1950s, an amateur pilot, aircraft mechanic at the patented School of Rochefort , he was also poet, a violinist and especially a ceramist. He also was already highly involved in creating sailplanes and the early prototypes of the RF-5B carried small motors. Fournier RF-5B by Avia71 Gliders are rare in X-Plane, maybe one a year. And so when a new one comes along if you are albatross minded it is usually worth a look. This aircraft is a replica of the developer's personal aircraft, which was uncovered in an old hangar and restored back to flight. This is the "Lady Wander" (N99098) and the aircraft first flew in in 1971. Design wise it is basic, but well done. Remember the aircraft is not from a fully developed design studio, but one person's personal project to bring the aircraft to life in X-Plane. So detailing is minimal, but the aircraft is plugin based and not a Plane Maker design and that means it does have some quality above the standard issue basic X-Plane structures with good features. The forward panel is basic but well laid out on a cork or rough hardboard base. Four large major instruments dominate with the airspeed, VOR fix, altitude and the smaller rate of climb instruments. An amp meter is left with oil pressure and temperature gauges next. An engine RPM counter is next to the well calibrated artificial horizon, which is different but effective in its grey/black background. Airbrake indicator (0 - 1/2 - Full) and slip bubble indicator. Right panel are lighting and ignition switches with push pull choke, Fuel cutoff and Carb heat knobs below. A large compass is on the top of the panel. Below the panel is the Starter (engine) Brake and the huge handle to control the variable pitch on the propeller. This lever is important to convert from the powered flight to flattening the pitch for glider flight. On the central lower panel there is a Radio set which is an unusual unit because it is COMM (1) and NAV (VOR2) setting (usually it is Comm 1 and NAV - VOR 1) and set below is both a Davtron Chronometer and TRIG Transponder. Left side is the (small) throttle, and on the right a pitch trim lever, right down under seat is the airbrake lever. Being a two-seater the Fournier does have instruments in the rear as well, but only the basic airspeed, altitude and rate of climb instruments... oh and the second set of a stick and rudder controls to fly the aircraft. By pressing either side of the compass you can pop-up either the X-Plane GNS430 or an earlier basic Bendix/King unit. There are two options in a fully opening (animated) canopy or a twin open seat arrangement with small screens. An optional animated pilot who seems to be on a Sunday afternoon fashion posing outing can be switched in or out. Seats are basic but in a well done leather covering. Flying the Fournier RF-5B The aircraft looks very fragile sitting on the glass or hard runway surfaces. A single wheel (glider style) supports the aircraft and the wings are supported by single stick like none retractable support wheels. The Limbach engine is quite throaty and powerful as you increase the throttle and surprisingly in a low wind the Fournier is very stable on the takeoff roll. Around 40mph (35 knts) the tail will lift as you gather more speed and rotation is around 55mph (48knts) with a slight back pull of the stick. It helps to internalise that large support wheel straight away to quickly clean up the airflow around the aircraft, but you do have a fair bit of power at your disposal. The Fournier will climb quite easily but you will need to find the right balance between the power (speed) staying static and your best rate of climb, i found it was around 700fpm which is very good, but 500fpm does give you more space to go faster as you climb. Once at your desired altitude the 360º view is very good, but you will need to adjust something before you get too relaxed. Twiddling with the small trim lever will balance out your rate of climb and steady the aircraft, it is a little fiddly to get it right, but the aircraft is much more stable when you get the right setting and easier to fly over a distance. The only other force is the power from the propeller that gives you a slight yaw that you have to correct with the rudder pedals. Powered to Glider flight Once you have reached your altitude and position, you will want to go to glider mode. You stop the engine by pulling out the "Fuel Switch off" knob and then you wait until the propeller has spun down. Then you feather the prop via that propeller pitch handle to lock it into a horizontal position, and you can now go soaring... ... don't however just pull the handle across without shutting the engine first and letting it spin down, as the consequences of that action will mean you will blow up the engine and have a smoke filled cockpit. Restarting powered flight requires a bit more effort. Because the engine is not running and has become cold and so you will usually get the "Carb Ice" notice and the engine is now too cold or frozen to restart. So you first have to pull out the "Carb Heat" knob and when the notice disappears can you then push in the fuel shutoff, then release the propeller from the horizontal position and finally hit the left lower side starter button. The engine won't start straight off, but you will need a little throttle (not too much to flood it) and then it will fire back into life. With the Fournier being a well balanced Glider (correct trim important) then the aircraft is very light and easy to fly. It can turn on a dime as they say, but it is very easy to position and slips down easy for approach. The airbrake lever is positioned on the floor and you pull it up (two settings available) as noted on the panel. Note the built in checklist. Those two stage airbrakes come in like throwing an anchor out of the cockpit. So you have to be aware of the sudden speed drop and to not create a bad stall. In the air we can get a better look at that big single landing wheel. The single wheel with a safety guard is very well modeled and animated. Excuse the pun but you sort of glide in to a stable landing at around 40mph (35knts) landing speed, use the airbrakes wisely unless they will catch you out if you are going to use them close to the ground, I found a quick up and down of the lever adjusted the speed for touch down. The Fournier is quite stable back on the ground with those out set training wheels, there is none of this sudden twist when you have to put a wing down on the grass to stop, like you do in a normal glider. A gentle touch of the brakes when you have run off a little of the speed will bring the Fournier to a stop and it is of course a little faster stopping on grass. Taxiing is no problem with easy manoeuvrability just like any other taildragger. Menu You can access a pop-up menu by pressing the (71) tag in the lower left screen. The simple menu covers "Field of View". There are eight spot points of view that are good except for the two outer views which note the view towards the aircraft, but actually face forward? Covered or open cockpit, Show pilot or an empty aircraft and the radio set view behind the control stick. And if you select the clickboard image it shows a forward view above the compass? Liveries There are eight liveries including a blank white. All are quite bland, and more livery detail and depth would have helped in bringing the aircraft to life more as the 3d modeling is quite good, and there is quite a wasted good selection of great real life liveries available for this aircraft on the web Lighting I don't think the Fournier can be flown at night as the panel is completely dark and the instruments are not very visible or even recognisable, externally it is also standard navigation lights, wing strobes and a single large landing light. Performance Wing Span : 55ft 10in (17.02m) Empty Weight : 1,014lb (460kg) Gross Weight : 1,499lb (680kg) Max Cruise Speed : 118mph (190km/h) Economy Cruise : (75mph) (120km/h) Stall Speed : 42.5mph (68km/h) Service Ceiling : 18,050ft (5,500m) Engine : 68hp Limbach SL 1700 E Summary Internally and in flying performance the Fournier RF-5B is very good, but the average skin of the aircraft and liveries lets down a far better aircraft sitting underneath. Real RF-5B's have more detail as you can see the wooden slats and wing frames under the canvas, were as here the wings are mostly plain on both sides. There is slight evidence of this canvas on frame but not enough to give the aircraft life or a realistic look. X-Plane is now in the world of hyper-realistic quality modeling and textures, and you notice that here. The effects and design are good inside the cockpit, and it is really great and easy to fly and convert from powered flight to soaring flight and back again. If you want a a great motor glider and there is certainly a lot of versatility and even a lot of fun built into this great classic French aircraft, then you will love this clever machine from a very clever Frenchman. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the Fournier RF-5B by Avia71 is NOW available from the new X-Plane.Org Store here : Fournier RF5B Price is US$19.95 Features: Complete 3D cockpit Two versions : canopy and opencockpit (switch even in flight) Two GPS included : simple receiver and X-Plane 430 (switch even in flight) Instrument switches (even in flight) HD textures Custom sounds Custom animations 8 livreries In flight special procedure for feathered propeller, as the actual aircraft Checklists and procedures inside the cockpit Pop Menu Easy access around cockpit and outside Field of view adjustment Switch between 2 models : opencockpit or canopy Installation and documents: Download for the Fournier RF-5B is 55.90mb and the unzipped file is deposited in the "General Aviation" X-Plane folder at 66.10mb. An 18 page manual with checklists and original Appendix is supplied Requirements: X-Plane 10.45+ (Any edition) Windows, Linux and Mac in 64bit mode 1Gb VRAM Video Card Minimum - 2GB VRAM Recommended _______________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 14th September 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global v10.50 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Scenery or Aircraft - KLAL - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport 2.01 by Drankum - (X-Plane.Org) - Free