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The Ultimate Flying Machine – Speed, Style and Space

Introduction

How should I start, what shall I write, or shall I give the first paragraph to Diamond Aircraft?

According to Diamond Aircraft “The DA62 spoils pilots and passengers alike, with an extra-large cabin, generous and adjustable front seats, a 60/40 split folding three seat second row bench and optional folding two seat third row bench. Comfortable access for all on board is assured through the two forward gull wing doors and the huge rear door that provides access to all rear seats. Baggage is stowed in the generous nose compartments and cabin, offering maximum loading flexibility for any mission.”

“Luxury features abound throughout, including premium interiors in several styles, colors and materials, all LED interior lighting, optional electric air conditioning and more. The sleek all carbon composite airframe incorporates advanced aerodynamics with the latest in passive safety technology for high performance, great efficiency and superior occupant protection. Further enhancing the dynamic and elegant lines, are the unlimited choices of available colors and paint designs.”

But there’s so much more information at the Diamond Aircraft website, and a couple of things are quite intertesting. One of them is the way this aircraft is made .. made for the passion of flying. It’s not a company like Boeing, Airbus and others. It’s a relatively small company with employees that have passion in what they make. You don’t believe me? Then you must take the time to check out the following Diamond aircraft movie. And yes, you would say “ah, it’s a promotion for Diamond Aircraft, why should I?”

Oh yes, your right. It’s a Diamond promotion, but it gives a great view on how Diamond aircraft are build and you’ll notice, it is done with great precision.

With seeing how a real Diamond is build with “precision, accuracy and passion” it’s time to check out the accurate and “with passion made” Aerobask Diamond DA-62 for X-Plane 11!

A VFR Flight Impression

Let me start this time with a short flight impression of the modeled DA62. I’ve parked my aircraft somewhere in Greece …. yes, I’ve got me …. parked at the GA apron of LGKR (Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport). For this VFR impression I use of course besides the G1000 PFD also the G1000 MFD (Multi Function Display), but I haven’t loaded a flight plan.

That said, it’s just flying along the coast line, crossing the island from one side to the other thus around the island and back to LGKR. And yes, I’m also aware that such a modern aircraft as the Aerobask Diamond aircraft DA62 is mostly flown IFR, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fly under VFR conditions.

It reduces a lot of stress, no complex flight planning, just looking outside and follow the landmarks you had in mind. Anyway, let’s first have a quick look at the installed G1000 equipment.

G1000 Look and Feel
Some Laminar Research Garmin G1000 background is needed to understand and fly this modeled DA62. It may be an easy aircraft to fly – you’ll notice that later in my review -, and it doens’t come with a complex checklist, these G1000 DUs need some additional study. That said, here’s a direct link to the official Laminar Research G1000 manual. (http://x-plane.com/manuals/G1000_Manual.pdf)

When you prefer to see the “steps to perform” via a movie, then it’s perhaps a good idea to check out this Laminar Research video which will hopefully clears a lot of doubts.

That the Aerobask DA62 doesn’t come with a detailed description of these G1000 DUs makes sense. It’s not a part of the Aerobask dedicated instrumentation. Neither less, some references to the Laminar Research manuals and the instructional movie are therefore welcome. It should be highlighted that Aerobask has added some custom features to the Laminar Research G1000 – such as the Engine Information System and the Deice annunciators – to match the real DA62.

Using the checklist
As I will explain later in the section Documentation, the DA62 comes with a checklist for normal- and emergency procedures. Following the checklist is, due to the easy way the instrument panel is organized, therefore easy to follow. It also means that the DA62 has no popup or integrated checklist function included, for example, in the MFD which could have been an option.

Aerobask Option Panel
On the left-hand side of your screen you can see – when you’re mouse is in this area – the Aerobask icon. When you click on it, a floating window appears. This floating window known as the Aerobask options panel allows you to hide or show reflections, set weight and fuel, and a couple of other options. A good explanation can be found on page 7 of the Flight Manual.

Oops, almost not mentioned … it also allows you to open/close several doors and/or panels as well as a baggage cart and static elements. At the same it’s also possible to open the pilot and passenger doors from the inside while sitting in the 3D cockpit. And finally, it’s also possible to select the co-pilot, passengers and even kids. Talking about the 3D cockpit, let’s see how that is made.

Awesome Cockpit View
When I talk about the cockpit view, I’m talking logically about the 3D cockpit. It’s difficult to say for me if the DA62 is frame rate friendly. Aerobask does mention this is there flight manual that it is, but with my iMac performance, everything looks these days frame rate friendly. But I think Aerobask is correct in this. I think that Aerobask has produced a frame rate friendly aircraft with 3D cockpit since with all most of my settings at MAX, being parked at FlyTampa Corfu, real weather implemented, I still have high frame rates, at around 30 FPS.

Back to the 3D cockpit.
As you have seen in the first Diamond Aircraft movie, I dare to say that the real DA62 are normally private owned aircraft. This means, owners are eager to keep the interior/exterior as new as possible. Besides that, we’re talking about a standard fitted exclusive interior with a lot of leather, hi-quality materials, and a slim design. Since the manufacture uses a lot of composite materials, the whole aircraft shell is one piece of composite, even the outside is as flush as ……

Knowing this, you’ll be surprised that the seats and sidewalls look as real as possible. This is the same for the glareshield which is also covered with virtual leather and even the stitches look as real as possible. The only thing that misses is the smell of leather!

Ok, there’s not much to highlight about the overall quality of the G1000 DUs since they are default X-Plane stuff. But the rest of the instrument panel with switches, the oxygen pressure indicator, knobs, handles, and not to forget the MD302 SAM (Standby Altitude Module), are made with great precision and the developer has definitely eye for all those tiny details.

Jumping to the passenger row or even one row further for the kids, I can’t say anything else then I think that nothing is forgotten. Even the control panel in the ceiling in-between the pilot seats is covered with virtual leather, and all knobs and switches are well modeled. Excellent I would say!

What kind of animations did I found?
I found the captains/co-pilots small side windows, the middle armrest that can be lifted to have access to the headset plugs/connectors and of course the doors and baggage panels. Oops, I need to correct myself when it comes to something that’s “weathered” or “used”. A good example are the engine start switches. If real photo material is used is something I’m not sure about, but for sure it looks real and “used”. Another item that is simulated weathered are the hinges at the back of the middle arm rest.

Perhaps I mentioned this before, the package comes with a couple of high quality liveries, but there’s more available via X-Plane.Org. I’ve seen on X-Plane.Org several add-on packages for the DA62.
The first freeware add-on package comes with a dark grey cockpit layout.

You can grab the X-Plane.Org user ErixCZE copy, if you prefer a different colour then the default Aerobask layout via this link. From the same Org user, there’s also a cockpit modification pack version 1.3.0. It removes a bit the slightly weathered/used look. A matter of taste I would say, but when you want to give it a try, check out this link.

And finally, X-Plane.Org user matthew007800 who made a great add-on pack for the ToLiss A319, he also felt in love with the Aerobask DA62. He created his version of a dark cockpit. Worth to give it a try I would say. Check it out at the dedicated X-Plane.Org download page.

Finally, the Flight Impression
I started this section with a VFR flight impression, so let’s check it out now.

From my parked position, I taxi to runway 17. I fiddle a bit around to get the right feeling and how sensitive the nose wheel steering is. I followed by the way, all the recommended rendering settings as described and explained in the “Install Settings” manual and the flight manual page 3. What needs to be highlighted is that when you face frame rate issues, you can always download from the Aerobask website their LOW-RES pack.

Additionally, the Aerobask DA62 comes with custom commands, page 3 of the Flight Manual. As explained by Aerobask “The model features complex avionics which we have linked to many custom commands, making them easy to use on a wide variety of hardware.”

Anyway, I was taxing. In the mean time I’ve arrived at runway 17. I do my last checklist items, and off I go. It’s not easy to keep the DA62 on the centerline. It steers well and listens to my inputs, but nose wheel steering is very sensitive although it must be said that when the rudder becomes more and more affective, it’s better to control yaw and thus keeping the DA62 on the center line.

Ho ho, hold on, what about takeoff, climb and cruise speeds? Since you don’t program any TO speeds, it’s a good idea to print the Aerobask “airspeed normal operation”. It gives you all the speeds you need for airtcraft weight below/above 1990 kilograms or 4407 pounds.

Once in the air, I retract the flaps, the landing gear .. oops, for those in the UK .. the undercarriage! On this typical “round about the island” I didn’t use the Auto Pilot, thus I flew the DA62 by hand and trimmed a bit. Regarding the trim the following; the DA62 is equipped with a pitch trim and rudder trim. No aileron trim although I got the impression that when you have assigned aileron trim to your hardware, it responds also to this input, but slowly. This is different with pitch trim, this responds quickly.

For my flight I used real weather, so with the wind and clouds. It wasn’t what I call a relaxed flight neither less, it wasn’t difficult to keep the aircraft trimmed. I didn’t had to follow a track, so that makes it much easier. I did what I wanted, keeping in mind the coastline. The additional high quality MD302 SAM, isn’t really “the” instrument to keep in view since it’s a standby instrument and normally only needed when normal instruments fail. BUT, it must be said that the quality is great and it can be resized and, when stretched out to the max, it says razor sharp.

I climb out to roughly 3000 feet, flew first to the south, when cross the island, and fly back to the north. Then one time a full turn and planned to land on runway 17. That said, a visual landing from over the harbor, waving to the passengers on the cruise ship and over the Corfu city straight to the runway. The moment the flaps are out, gear down, I noticed the same as with the takeoff and inital climb, that there’s a bit more control and concentration needed to keep the DA62 on track.

Not that this is a failure or so. No, it’s a behavior you see with most aircraft. The lower the speed, the less flexible the aircraft becomes with flaps, slats and gear down, the less inputs should be given to prevent oversteering. But knowing all of this, it is an easy aircraft to land, even with some crosswind.

After Landing External Check

Normally a “before flight” check has to be performed, but in my case with the VFR flight impression, that was already done by the virtual ground staff, so it’s now my turn to do an external inspection after the flight. In one way or the other it has to be performed.

Via the Aerobask icon I’ve opened all the doors and panels including the static elements. As mentioned before, the aircraft skin in general is made of composite material which means that there are no longerons, no ribs, no rivets and so on. It’s what we call a monocoque construction, also structural skin, which is a structural system where loads are supported through an object’s external skin, similar to an egg shell.

There’s only one comment I have, even though these aircraft are privately owned, there’s no dirt, no scratch, no weathering on for example the propellor blades, the spinner cone, the engine cowling, the wing top skin or within the area of the fuel filler cap. It’s a clean and brand new Aerobask DA62 from the factory. I know that this could be also a preference of the developer and you either like or dislike it.

Besides that, the overall look and feel is great. I looked before I started my external inspection by first checking several movies and photos on the Diamond Aircraft website, and all the models I’ve seen as shiny blinking DA62. In that respect, the glossy look of the modeled DA62 is realistic. Have a look yourself to the following screenshots I made.

Walking around the aircraft, wing and tail, it seems to me that every tiny detail is included. The individual parts are well modeled, the wing tip lights are nicely included and even the rear of the engine cowling comes with all the tiny parts. Neat less to say that the landing gears and wheels are modeled with great detail and with dark colored structs, you don’t see if there’s any dirt on it.

The screenshots are taken with one of the included liveries. Each livery I must say is painted with great precision and with eye for details. I’m aware that it’s a small aircraft and thus the overall quality of the textures shouldn’t be a problem, but in this case the Aerobask painter has done a great job.

Looking at the T tail, you’ll be surprised that there’s no control rod to the rudder, trim or elevator visible. That’s right … it’s all internally. A bit expected for such a slim and clean composite fuselage. It’s also worth to highlight that with opened doors, that the rim of both the door and construction aren’t forgotten. It sounds weird to highlight this and perhaps you say “not more then normal that this is done”, but I often see that these things are easily forgotten.

Overall a well modeled DA62 with eye for details and yes, I know Aerobask, you won’t find any photo-real textures on the external parts. In this case it’s just a matter of the developers preference.

An IFR Flight Impression

Introduction
Although my IFR flight will be around Corfu, I created with Little Navmap a flight plan with waypoints and one VOR/DME beacon. There’s not much around the island except for a VOR/DME and NDB beacon. The rest is all waypoints! Since the Aerobask uses the default X-Plane 11 Garmin G1000 DUs, the flight plan format is then automatically “fms” which is easy to create. I did it with Little Navmap, but many other programs – online and offline – are able to create “fms” flight plans.

Lets see what kind of challenges I find on my route by using the flight plan, the Auto Pilot and so on. Come on, join me.

Loading my Flight Plan via MFD
When you know how to do it, it’s easy else it could be a big struggle …. loading the flight plan in the MFD. Let’s try to explain that with a couple of screenshots.

 

 

Click somewhere on the MFD DU. The popup MFD window appears. On the above screenshot my previous flight plan somewhere in France has been loaded. Oops, that’s not what I want. We’re in Greece, so lets load our LGKRLGKR.fms flight plan. On the lower left-hand corner of the DU you see in cyan “FPL” with the left-hand box highlighted also in cyan. Further on, take care that the LFBO in the top of the flight plan isn’t highlighted. If it is, click once in the middle of the FMS CRSR knob.Now click once on the right-hand inner FMS CRSR knob. A small right-hand arrow appears. This will bring to to the next screenshot.
 

 

 

 

In the above screenshot a couple of things have been changed. The previous flight plan from LFBO is gone and instead, you see in the FLIGHT PLAN LIST the available flight plans which are stored in the X-Plane\Output\FMS plans folder. You also see that in the lower left-hand corner of the DU that now the right-hand box is highlighted in cyan (that’s below the empty FLIGHT PLAN INFO box). Next we need to highlight one of the available flight plans. You do this by clicking once the middle of the FMS CRSR knob.This can be seen in the following screenshot.
 

 

 

 

With the LFBO flight plan highlight in the FLIGHT PLAN LIST, we need to scroll down to the LGKRLGKR.fms flight plan. Move your mouse pointer to the right-hand inner FMS CRSR knob. A small arrow appears. Click once and it will now highlight LGKRLGKR.fms. That’s visible in the second screenshot.
 

 

 

With the highlighted LGKRLGKR.fms, you click the ENT pushbutton just above the FMS CRSR knob. This will result in the above screenshot. When you look closely on the MFD DU, you see a white line which represents the flight plan. Not so clearly visible, right? Therefore I added the second screenshot and with the RANGE knob I reduced the size with the result that the whole flight plan can be seen on the DU.He, it’s also a different display, right? To get this view and to make a bit easier to see, I clicked the MAP button on the first screenshot. Then I clicked – see on the second screenshot – the TOPO button.
 

 

I hope the above makes a bit sense how to load your flight plans via the MFD.

Ready for the IFR Flight Impression?
Although most of the flight impression may look and feel the same, using a flight plan, following this track and using the Auto Pilot makes a big difference compared to my previous impression. Once the flight plan is loaded, taxied to the runway, this time by the way I use runway 35, and when in the air, I make a left-hand turn followed by connecting the Auto Pilot in NAV mode and a VS (Vertical Speed). I had preset an altitude of 4000 feet, so with the VS active, it will climb to 4000 feet.

It’s all much easier then expected. What said, the AP connected in NAV, ALT armed for 4000 feet with a certain VS and of the DA62 goes. As we all know, when we talk about NAV mode thus the AP uses the flight plan for the track, you’ll notice in the PFD that GPS is active. It goes too far to explain every bit and piece of all the possible settings on the PFD and MFD, but I can tell you, after playing around for a while you understand the principle of these G1000 DUs.

I’m not yet sure if the default X-Plane AP is used or that Aerobask has developed their own AP, but I must say it all works smooth. Time to check with Aerobask. Their answer is straightforward; “We use the Laminar G1000 in the DA62 and the AP, so yes we use the XP11 autopilot. We just define our custom constants autopilot constants.”

Ok, back to my climb. Rolls are nicely calculated and within a couple of NMs before the next waypoint, a roll is initiated. slowly – I didn’t set a high VS – the DA62 climbs to the selected 4000 feet and levels nicely off. For sure you’re aware of the following and if not, then it would be nice to know. Since I’m not every day flying GA aircraft with G1000 equipment installed, I noticed this again; the popup PFD looks different then the insitu PFD. Not sure what I mean? Check out the following screenshot.

 

 

Look closely to the left-hand side of the popup PFD. Between the HDG and ALT knobs you’ll find all Auto Pilot related buttons while on the in-situ PFD there’s nothing. Not really a problem since the in-situ MFD has as well as the popup MFD Auto Pilot related buttons. Regarding I’ve got the following feedback from the developer “it’s impossible to write to the Laminar 2D popup. This is also explained at the X-Plane.Org forum. The custom G1000 is only in 3D. This is also applicable for the MFD a bit later in this section.”

Oops, I’ve got a problem. Just passed the waypoint and in a sudden the PFD becomes blank. He, what’s going on and what when my PFD is gone!
No worries, when the PFD DU becomes U/S (unserviceable), the MFD is automatically removed and the PFD takes over it’s place, but with a small navigation display. This is a normal behavior. Many aircraft who have for e.g. an EFIS system do the same. The PFD has always priority over the ND, in this case over the MFD. But guess what, the PFD circuit breaker has popop out! Oh no, I did it!

I didn’t check every circuit breaker, but the MFD malfunction or CB PULL does the same although the PFD was already active however, the engine parameters are added to it. But I also noticed that when I pull the SAM CB, nothing happens with the SAM which is strange unless this isn’t yet modeled or that it gets its power supply via another battery bus. But it’s mentioned in the manual that not yet every circuit breaker is simulated.

Another thing I noticed. With the MFD in-situ and as a popup, there’s a slight difference between the engine parameters and additional aircraft system information. When I click the TRAFFIC button – I assume this should be for the MAP view, it changes engine or system parameters which is odd to me, but it also shows different information on both the popup and in-situ MFD. Small snag? See the screenshot below for more information. Here’s the same remark from the developer also applicable namely ““it’s impossible to write to the Laminar 2D popup. This is also explained at the X-Plane.Org forum. The custom G1000 is only in 3D.”

What I do when the AP follows my track, I constantly SYNC my HDG by clicking the HDG knob on the PFD or MFD. The advantage is that when for some reason the AP reverts to the default AP mode, which is HDG, it won’t roll to a unknown or unlogical heading. It’s also handy when you want to go of from the current heading or track, by simple clicking the HDG button on the PFD/MFD. The NAV mode changes to HDG and since the HDG bug is at the same heading as the last known track, nothing weird happens. Now you can safely change the HDG and when you find it enough, you click the NAV button again, and the flight plan is picked up again.

I can use the flight plan as well as the AP till and including the last waypoint. Once the DA62 has made a complete turn towards the runway, I must disconnect the AP and fly the last part by hand. Not really a problem since I did that before. That I have to do it this way is because the airport has no ILS, but in case it has, the AP has an APR (approach) button for LOC and G/S guidance.

Perhaps you’ve noticed it by seeing the screenshots; we’re in a different DA62. This rented DA62 from the European Flight Academy comes with a dark exterior. Well, let me explain. The livery is from X-Plane.Org user Christoph_T who is also responsible for many great ToLiSS A319 liveries, and the internal package is from X-Plane.Org user matthew007800.

Worth to give it a try I would say. Check out matthew007800 package, available via this dedicated X-Plane.Org download page. The European Flight Academy livery from Christoph_T can be found at this dedicated X-Plane.Org link.

At the End … Installation and Documentation

The installation of this dedicated X-Plane 11.11+ aircraft is straightforward – unzip, and copy and paste the contents in the Aircraft folder. The only thnig that is needed is a serial number to activate the Aerobask DA62. Ones activated, reload the aircraft and you’re ready to go. Any need to read the manuals, yeah, that would be a good idea.

In the aircraft folder you’ll find a folder named Documents. It comes with the following Adobe Acrobat manuals:
– Airspeed Normal Operation
– DA62 Checklist Emergency Procedures
– DA62 Checklist Normal Operations
– DA62 Flight Manual
– DA62 Performance Tables
– Install_Settings
– Quick-Doc MD302
– Quicklook views

Some are these manuals are self-explanatory, but a couple of them I would like to highlight since they give you useful information like the recommended rendering settings that are needed for both high- and low performance computers.

The DA62 Flight Manual covers for example the installation process, the included Laminar Research Garmin G1000 with own Aerobask additions, the option panel, panel overview and system description and operation, the functionality of the circuit breakers, rain and ice effect.

Although the Install_Settings is only one page, it’s an important one since it explains the recommended GPU rendering settings of X-Plane 11.11+.
Just as a side note; the right hand side of this rendering page reflects all settings related to the CPU of your computer. At the end I’ve learned that you need to find a balance between these GPU and CPU settings in a way that you’ve got reasonable frame rates since each side of these settings influences each other and thus the final frame rates.

Then you’ve got the Quick-Doc MD302 manual that explains everything about the simulated MD302 is a Standby Attitude Module (SAM). You can pop-up the instrument by clicking on any of its screens, and dismiss it the same way. You can resize the pop-up by dragging the lower right corner, and there is an hidden click spot in the bottom-left corner for restoring its size.

The only thing that’s missing is a tutorial, but at the same time you could ask yourself if this is needed for this type of aircraft or better to say the complexity of the aircraft. The only part that would be helpful for some simmers was something that explains how to load a flight plan in the G1000, but I covbered that a bit.

Summary

What can I say, what do I think or what could be added?

When you’re a simmer who likes to see the rivets on the fusealge, wings and tail, having a dirty aircraft or completely weathered, then the Aerobask is not your model. But simmers who like a model that looks and feels very similar to the real one, then this is your GA aircraft. Ok, all DA62 have no dirt and no weathering on the external textures, but when you forget that, you end up with a very well modeled and realistic looking DA62. And lets be honest, many real life DA62 are flying shiny models.

Both the external and interior textures are well done, with eye for details and even the leather of the interior looks great. The main part of the instrumentation is filled with the default X-Plane G1000 PFD and MFD although it must be said that some indications are dedicated from Aerobask. The rest on the instrument panel is all dedicated developed by Aerobask. Besides the instrument panel it must be said that the cabin or passenger area, looks great too. No further words are needed to highlight this.

The included manuals are well written, all information that is needed is included to fly this aircraft. All parts related to the G1000 can be found via X-Plane.Com or via the movie I’ve included in the review. Perhaps the only thing to highlight is the absense of a tutorial although it is and stays an easy aircraft to fly. It can be perfectly flown by hand and using it as a VFR aircraft, but it’s of course developed/designed as IFR aircraft. That’s the funny part; a multi functional aircraft for those who prefer to fly VFR or those who like IFR flight planning.

Was it worth my time to review this Aerobask product?
It was.
Period!

Knowing a bit more how this Diamond Aircraft is made, the use of only composite material and thus the glossy and shiny look, make the modeled Aerobask even better. Aerobask is, as far as I can judge, specialised in the develoment of composite models. As far as I know, non of the Aerobaks models is made based on semi-monoque constructions.

So without doubt it is worth this 2 engine GA aircraft!
More information can be found at the dedicated X-Plane.Org store page (http://store.x-plane.org/Diamond-DA-62_p_788.html) or have a look at the Aerobask website. (http://aerobask.com)

For this review I used the following add-on products:
– Freeware | FlyWithLua Version 2.6.7
– Freeware | Environment+ Version 1.1
– Freeware | Alpilotx.net UHD Mesh Scenery X-Plane 11 Version 4.0
– Freeware | Alpilotx.net HD Mesh Scenery X-Plane 11 Version 4.0

– Payware | FlyTampa Corfu

I hope you enjoyed the review, as I enjoyed the writing!

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Payware Aerobask Diamond DA62
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | Aerobask
Description: Realistic rendition of Diamond Aircraft DA62
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 670MB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: May 2nd 2018
Hardware specifications: - iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (High Sierra 10.13.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
Software specifications: - High Sierra (10.13.4)
- X-Plane 11.11r2

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