• Review: Lionheart Creations - Diamond DA40

    Diamond Aircraft DA-40

    Publisher: Lionheart Creations

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $28.95

    Buy Here

    Well, the FS Pilot Shop recently got a few new FSX additions. If you're careful to look, they'd be the Lionheart Creations general aviation planes. Well, today, we take a look at one of them, the Diamond Star XLS. I've had perhaps a little more experience with this aircraft than the rest, seeing them fly, hearing the engine roar. For other planes, it was mainly reading other's experiences and doing lots of Googling and research before embarking on the review.

    I'd say that's enough of an introduction, so let's get into the interesting history of the aircraft, before delving the details on this beautiful aircraft.

    History

    The Diamond DA-40 was the successor to the earlier two-seat Diamond DA-20. It has four seats and a more powerful engine, taking its top speed up to an impressive 150 knots at cruise, and yet another impressive stall speed of 49 knots with full flaps down. Some of my friends who flew the plane have said that it does not shake from the turbulent air over the wings before it stalls, nor does it really enter deep stall, vital characteristics for beginner pilots who may lose focus during flight, be careless or otherwise.

    This plane was originally a glider, with Diamond Aircraft modifying it to become a light aircraft. This aircraft is currently being sold in the vicinity of about $350,000 and has seen use with companies such as the US Air Force Academy, Jamaican Defense Force and the Bolivian Air Force, not to mention the ones operated by private companies and individuals.

    I wouldn't say that this aircraft was as popular as perhaps the Cessna range of light trainers, but the aircraft is definitely a solid one, with great speed and stability, as I would come to explain later in the flying dynamics section.

    Exterior Model

    The exterior model is average, though solid. There are several liveries available, ranging from blue stripes to Canadian chevrons. Here are some screen shots to get you a better perspective:

    The general look is solid, although not extremely captivating as perhaps a Carenado plane. I do think that the shine on the nose cone/prop cone could be slightly more realistic. It seems to blend in with the plane currently. I would also love to see the details on the wings slightly emphasized more, and perhaps a little dirt with the textures would make a wonderful finish on the plane.

    Well, you may ask, can I remove those fairings? I prefer the aircraft without fairings. The answer is that you can. There is a switch located below the circuit breaker board, black in color.

    Just press this button and voila, your fairings will be gone. Press it again and they'll come back. I don't think there are any differences between the fairing and no fairing versions, although it would just serve to be a customization option for users.

    Other subtle animations, such as the vibration of the engine exhaust pipe, and the slight vibration of the wings all add up to create a living, breathing machine. This is really the selling point of the exterior, and I'm sure reminds us of the guys at A2A, adding physics into their work. This was also what I appreciate about this aircraft.

    The sound set from the exterior is really good, and does sound like a close match with the real DA-40s. Although sometimes, a glitch may occur, whereby there is no difference between the engine running at full throttle and idling in terms of sound.

    However, overall, the good points do seem to balance out the bad ones, leading to the conclusion that this is a great exterior model, although there are some minor bugs and areas for improvement. Well, the real selling point of the add-on is really on the inside. Let's take a look!


    7 Comments
    1. cmdl1650's Avatar
      cmdl1650 -
      For which simulator??!!
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmdl1650 View Post
      For which simulator??!!
      Flight Simulator 10
    1. drake4896's Avatar
      drake4896 -
      I also see that the library has a FS9 freeware version of the aircraft.

      FS2004 Diamond Aircraft DA40D Diamond Star with 135 HP Thielert TAE-125 diesel (uses Jet A). The DA40 is a four seat IFR certified cross country flyer with dual Garmin GNS430 avionics stack. By Sonja Michelle Thomas.

      Name: da40star.zip
    1. uns1d's Avatar
      uns1d -
      Just a nit-pick detail, however....

      The Garmin suite equipped in the Diamond ( G900/G1000, et al ) does not contain an IRS, rather it has an AHRS ( Attitude Heading Reference System ). For the most part a different animal altogether. IRS also is something you'd typically see in heavier ( Jet ) birds. It's actually getting to be an aging technology with the advent of lighter, reliable, and simpler solutions.....such as the AHRS system.

      .....That's it!

      Cheers All!
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by uns1d View Post
      Just a nit-pick detail, however....

      The Garmin suite equipped in the Diamond ( G900/G1000, et al ) does not contain an IRS, rather it has an AHRS ( Attitude Heading Reference System ). For the most part a different animal altogether. IRS also is something you'd typically see in heavier ( Jet ) birds. It's actually getting to be an aging technology with the advent of lighter, reliable, and simpler solutions.....such as the AHRS system.

      .....That's it!

      Cheers All!
      Nit-pick taken positively and thank you for pointing it out!
    1. martinezas's Avatar
      martinezas -
      I received my flight training in a DA40 (though it was the fixed-pitched variant), and I would have to say that the model is very accurate with the floating on landing. The DA40 does have the tendency to float down the runway even with full flaps, idle throttle, and a slow approach speed. It makes for a challenging short field landing. It's nice to see that this feature was incorporated into the model.
    1. longyear's Avatar
      longyear -
      The Autopilot is there..... it's built into the MFD screen of the G1000.... very surprised you missed it!
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