There’s a surprising amount of free content available for owners of Laminar Research’s X-Plane 11 and one that has come up more than a few times while I’ve been searching around is the Robin DR401 by Aerobask. The reviews on this aircraft were almost universally positive so I thought it was time to check it out.
Yes, it is completely free
Aerobask have made a name for themselves within the X-Plane community with some high quality releases that seem to have garnered quite a bit of praise for the company and their work. Aircraft such as the Diamond DA62 and Epic E1000 G1000 Edition are all high quality releases for X-Plane 11 featuring all of the latest 4K PBR texturing, high fidelity flight models, and systems modeling.
I’ve got more reading to do but the companies sometimes eclectic list of aircraft have garnered plenty of positive attention.
Aerobask decided that they would release an aircraft for X-Plane 11 completely free and decided that the Robin DR401 would be the subject of this free release. It’s not your typical Cessna 172 which makes this all the more interesting to me! (No offense to the ubiquitous 172)
Robin DR401 features
About 1200 Robin DR401s have been built in real life with the first flight happening back in 1972 and production continuing into the modern day. With a tricycle undercarriage, glass cockpit powered by the G1000, and powered by 155HP CDI diesel engine, the Robin is firmly in the light aircraft category and its modern avionics as simulated make it a pretty good platform to start light aircraft training on.
Here are some of the features as listed by the product page:
- Accurate flight model by X-Aerodynamics.
- FMOD High Quality sounds by Daniela RC.
- Integrated Laminar Garmin G1000 PFD and MFD.
- Functional 3D cockpit, with VR ready manipulators.
- 3D model with high resolution PBR textures.
- Simulated FADEC test and Pre Heating.
- Windshield reflections.
- Optimized to save FPS.
- 8 stunning liveries + a white paint.
I decided to check this out over the last couple of days and then do some follow up flights. My first flight I decided would start from Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) with a hot start for my first flight. Taxiing the DR401 is really easy as the aircraft responds quickly to direction changes and the sound modeling and suspension modeling gives you at least a reasonable approximation of taxiing over sometimes uneven pavement.
Speaking of sounds, Aerobask has used the FMOD sound engine and some really great sound recordings to make the aircraft sound like a diesel powered propeller aircraft. The sounds are far better than the default aircraft in my experience.
Taxiing to 34 Right, I quickly took off in just a few hundred feet, raised the takeoff flaps and away I went. This gave me an opportunity to get a feel for the aircraft and I found that DR401 is relatively agile with about average aileron control but nearly instant response. It’s easy to fly and its actually quite a bit of fun.
For my first flight I took off and generally flew around the Seattle area as the sun was setting (real world time and conditions were set in my flight parameters). I’m using only the default scenery and settings so X-Plane 11 as far as eye candy is concerned is fairly … minimal. Still it looks decent enough and the DR401 itself has great texture detail and reflections.
Coming in to land after my brief sightseeing I ended up landing at what I now know is Boeing Field located near downtown Seattle and not that far from Seattle International.
First experience was pretty good and I was hooked for more. So, for my next flight was the following morning taking off from Boeing field and setting course north. I’ve decided I’m going to plan to head north to Victoria, Vancouver and then into the Rocky Mountains.
My second flight drew on my growing knowledge of the G1000 system that’s integrated into the DR401 and multiple other X-Plane aircraft. I’m not yet at the full navigation stage but I now have a good understanding on how to set autopilot heading and altitude which let me navigate to my next destination – chosen at near random but ultimately proving to be KNUW or Naval Air Station Whidbey.
In my third flight with the DR401 I flew from NAS Whidbey up to Victoria International (CYYJ) through some low clouds, a bit of turbulence and ultimately clearing skies as I approached Victoria.
It’s fun to go exploring and X-Plane and the DR401 have really encouraged doing a little world exploring.
First overall impressions
After spending about an hour with the aircraft so far I’m really impressed. There’s at least a little depth to the systems modeling here with the DR401 by Aerobask and that combined with the relatively simple nature of the aircraft, the familiarity and usefulness of the G1000 system, and the overall experience with everything from sounds and button clicks leads me to believe that this is a great aircraft module to get a little deeper into X-Plane 11.
That it’s free is just incredible. Certainly this goodwill gesture from Aerobask has helped put them on my radar for potentially picking up another one of their aircraft at some future time.
Want to get the Aerobask Robin DR401? It’s available for download here and you can find out more about Aerobask’s products on their own website right here.