Not a common type of plane to go for, but surely one of the best ultr-lights ever developed for X-Plane. As Always, reviewed in cooperation with Francesco Biondi.
The Ikarus C42C is an ultra-light aircraft with high wing and a three-blade propeller powered by a Rotax 912 80hp.
When you first try this aircraft in flight two things are immediately clear: this aircraft is very light, and it has been produced by someone who actually regularly flies it. Indeed, it’s absolutely stunning the attention to small details that have been accurately reproduced in this aircraft and that only someone who flies in the real world can know.
Before going through the review I must say that it’s always a pleasure to see planes built by real pilots on the same machine and, of course, the best wishes of the whole staff to Mario from vFlyteAir for his SPL license.
Happy Landings, Mario!
One of the first things you notice are vibrations, they are absolutely realistic and made me feel like in the real plane. Also, the engine start up, with simulated choke and sounds/vibration, is incredibly realistic, and I can tell you as I actually fly an aircraft powered by the Rotax 912 100Hp, and can assure you that performances, sounds and vibration are 100% accurate.
Flight model is very realistic too and reflects what I should expect from a so light aircraft and are not so far from what I really get on the P2002 (265kg for Ikarus versus the 392kg of the P2002), that in fact is a certified ultralight that counts as general aviation plane.
As always, I’ve tried some manoeuvres like stalls and engine failure and everything went as expected. The only thing to notice is that I didn’t succeed to make it perform a full spin, this is not an issue as some planes (as the P92/P2002) are not capable of entering spin, so it might be normal.
Another very interesting feature is the BRS system.
In the manual you’ll find a really detailed part about that emergency system.
In X-Plane 11 it feels very realistic (especially regarding the deployment sound). I tried the BRS in two conditions, one above the safe altitude of extension, and one under.
The result is realistic since, in the second test, the plane crashed on the ground and the parachute was not able to stabilize the flight, check the pictures!
The simulation of the BRS, anyway, it’s not perfect as I said to the developer. Indeed, once deployed, it’s not possible to retract it in real life (like car’s airbags), but it’s possible in X-Plane.
And, if you land using the BRS, X-Plane will detect a crash independently on the result of your emergency landing.
I tested also the gliding performance of the plane, checking the one in X-Plane with the real life datas, and the result was really interesting as the performance matched the real ones perfectly (also for take-off run, and rate of climb/descent)
Overall the flight model is almost perfect, and it’s evident that vFlyteAir had access to the real aircraft.
Flight model mark: 9/10
The amount of hours spent making textures was, for sure, important, because the quality of the objects and textures is absolutely outstanding (including the panel made out of carbon) and in the care given to the “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT” pin.
The plane must have been developed basing on real photos and material, as it’s an interesting eye-candy, even though it’s not superior to other planes.
The plane comes in two different versions: one features a complete cockpit with GPS and TCAS, the other is developed for training purposes as it has a training panel with only basic instruments.
Indeed, I feature of this aircraft I love is the ability to set an instrument as INOP for training purposes. I’ve flown in aircrafts with one INOP instrument a number of times and it’s fantastic to be able to reproduce it in the sim. Moreover, during the training flight instructors often covers you up one or more instruments to force you to fly and memorize attitude of the aircraft only by seeing outside, and with this aircraft you are able to do so and do a realistic training and exercise, making of it a very recommended choice for first training before moving to larger aircrafts (like the PA28).
Design Mark: 8/10
A special mention goes to the plug-in implementation that vFlyteAir developed for this particular plane.
In the cockpit there are a complete checklist, a detailed loadsheet editable before flight (both in English and in German) and a special implementation that allows to view your favourite and needed flight charts (read the manual to know more about).
Another very nice instrument is the custom GPS available in the complete plane. You’re able to select procedures and waypoints (of course you’re not allowed to fly them, it would have been completely unrealistic) or just to find your position while flying in VFR daylight conditions (actually this model is not certified for night operations).
The complete plane, as mentioned above, has a digital TCAS that shows the AI trafic in your area.
Overall all the systems present in the real aircraft are present and perfectly portraied into X-Plane. I trust the developer will soon fix the BRS as promised, that’s why I’m going to give a very high mark to this section
Systems mark: 10/10
Sounds are just the top of the quality iceberg of this plane.
The Rotax engine’s roar is perfectly represented and even the startup sound is terribly realistic.
The other sounds are very very detailed, even the switches sounds like the real ones. What a work of art guys!
During the gliding test, anyway, the noise of the wind wasn’t much realistic as in other planes, and this matters since gliding is a common activity in emergency.
Sounds mark: 7.5/10
The plane comes with a lot of documents and references in two languages (English and German).
All the references are from the real aircraft (displayed also in the cockpit) and are complete, nothing is missing, while the documents were made by the developer, so I’m happy with them even if not coming (directly) from the real aircraft, except the POH that contains also the service problem report sheet to fullfil in case of failure.
The developer strongly advices to read the POH, the manual and the features list in order to fit perfectly in the aircraft, my advice is just the same.
Documentation mark: 9/10
This aircraft is unique in its genre since the competitors, in X-Plane, are all at a not decent level (especially the P92/2002 from dmax3d).There is no reason to go for another two seats ultra-light aircraft.
The suitability for training is really critical for newbies, and even for who flies in the real thing.
Final mark: 8.5/10
Special thanks to vFlyteAir and for providing us this review copy. I would like to ensure that even if we’re thankful to vFlyteAir, this review it’s not influenced by this. If you don’t believe us, grab it yourself!