Regular readers surely know that one of my favourite X-Plane developers is Aerobask. They have created a variety of aircraft from the excellent freeware DR401 to the superb Phenom 300. Last year they released an interesting little experimental aircraft, the Lancair Legacy RG, that I picked up a few weeks ago. Now, after spending some time with it, I’m ready to share with you my full review.
A fast little kit plane
A modernized version of the Lancair 320, the Lancair Legacy experimental kit plane came in two versions. The RG was the retractable gear version while the FG was a fixed gear version. The differences between the two were slight with the RG version obviously being a bit more complex thanks to the gear retraction system. Unsurprisingly, the RG version is also faster thanks to the superior aerodynamics and it’s this faster version that Aeroask chose to represent in X-Plane 11.
Two passengers, a 25 foot wingspan, and powered by a Continental IO-550-N six cylinder with 310 hp on tap, this aircraft weighs just 2,200lbs gross and is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 295 mph. I said this aircraft was small and fast and it is!
Aerobask, as usual, pack in the features on their aircraft. Those features include a highly detailed 3D model both inside and out with 4K PBR textures, a custom FMOD soundtrack recorded from a real Lancair Legacy and put together with Aerobask’s sound engineer Daniela Rodríguez Careri (who is also doing sound work for Laminar Research’s X-Plane 12 release), an X-Aerodynamics flight model that is tuned for the experimental model in 11.50, stock GNS530 with RealityXP GTN750 support, and if that list wasn’t long enough this aircraft also has custom coded instruments.
Those custom instruments include an Avidyne EXP5000 EFIS, DFC90 autopilot, a VM1000C engine management system as well as custom oxygen, angle of attack indicator, and more.
AviTab, one of the most useful add-ons you can get for X-Plane 11, is also fully supported with a nice 3D model integrated right into the cockpit like most other Aerobask aircraft.
Inside and out
Aerobask is well known for doing some good looking aircraft and the Lancair Legacy is no exception. Although the art style is exceptionally clear, there are some nice pre-baked shadows in the cockpit to give it a little extra depth with X-Plane 11’s limited shadow and lighting system and it really just looks great.
The custom avionics that I mentioned earlier adorn the various sections of the forward cockpit and are, despite the haphazard look, clean and easy to read. The custom nature of the configuration here is endearing rather than problematic.
The 3D modeling for the aircraft is also excellent and you’d have to look really closely to find any obvious hard polygonal edges. There are some nice details tucked away too such as the Aerobask logo embossed on the headrest and the duffel bags in the back storage area. A couple of the liveries come with custom textured cockpits as a nice bonus.
My superlatives translate to the outside as well. The 3D model of this very slippery looking aircraft is excellently done and the texture work is spot on as well. Exterior animations are also really solid and it all comes together nicely. My only complaint? The aircraft is a little too perfect. Although I appreciate that this is an art style that Aerobask tend to stick with, I would love to see at least a few scratches or wear marks just to make the aircraft feel a little more lived in. As it is, you get a beautiful factory fresh airplane every time.
Flying the Legacy RG
I said the words “WOW!” out-loud on the first time I throttled up on the runway. As I zoomed along the runway rapidly and then took flight I may have been moved to say the word a second time.
The Legacy RG is a very responsive aircraft with a light-weight and ample engine power on one of the sleekest looking airframes you can find. Acceleration is, as a result, rapid and the climb rate is equally impressive with 2,000 feet a minute at gross weight being easily achieved. Fly with half fuel and this aircraft will easily leap up to higher altitudes and I saw the climb meter max at out at 3,000 feet a minute on a half tank of fuel. It’s impressive!
Interestingly, the Lancair Legacy has what’s called neutral static stability and positive dynamic stability. Although I’m not well versed in the aerodynamic layers of what this means, the takeaway that I’ve gathered is that the aircraft can be rolled and it will stay at that bank angle without changing very much. It also means that the aircraft will stay relatively stable even when making rapid yaw or pitch changes. In short, it’s very crisp and clear with its handling and that is absolutely reflected in the sim. It’s not explicitly an aerobatic aircraft but a few sharp turns in either direction this is more than capable of.
As a cruiser, the Legacy is a fantastic aircraft with the speed, stability, and ease of control. It doesn’t hurt that it has beautiful views forward and to the sides as well. Rear view is only slightly restricted but there are two cutout windows that give you some visibility to the rear.
I did do a few high speed runs and found that the aircraft gets very close to its published numbers. The theoretical maximum is 259 knots and I was able to take the aircraft very close to that with a 256 knot top speed and a ground speed of an impressive 271 knots. Again, wow!
Landing the Legacy I found to be straightforward. Stick to the numbers and use a little flap and you’re on the ground without trouble. This aircraft does have speed brakes which you may need to use during the descent and even on approach as the Legacy RG is a very slick aircraft and speed management is a constant battle but none more than when on landing.
Back on the ground, I’ve found the aircraft quick and easy to start-up and get going. Mechanically, the type is very easy with buttons easily accessible and engine start just a couple of clicks away from you even from cold and dark.
There are a few tricks to the aircraft and the first is with the canopy. The canopy is a one piece affair that pitches up from forward of the cockpit and then down onto the rest of the airframe when closed. Finding the click target for the frame (high and to the left) was hard to get but once found it should be easily repeatable. You also need to lock the canopy closed which, in one instance I found a bug where it was closed and locked but the indicator light seemed to remain on. I unlocked and relocked it again and that seemed to fix it. It’s never come up again so it may be a fluke.
Earlier I mentioned Aerobask’s sound engineer Daniela Rodríguez Careri who is also doing work on X-Plane 12. Her work has been featured on other Aerobask aircraft and its present here as well with all of the usual accoutrements.
There’s ambient noises when the canopy is open, wind noises off the propeller when its spinning, airspeed and airframe noises, and plenty of other sound effects on this aircraft. I was especially impressed with the airframe creaking noises when you pull a little-G in a tight turn. The aircraft also has an oxygen system for high altitude flight. And there’s a sound effect for that too! Although your pilot breathing can be a bit annoying, it does give you instant feedback on the use of the system.
Button pushing is a little quiet and indistinct but this aircraft otherwise has the usual array of excellent Aerobask sounds.
Final thoughts and conclusion
I bought this on a whim thanks to a sale and based on the developers reputation and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Aerobask took a very interesting, niche, experimental aircraft and breathed life into it’s X-Plane rendition in so many different ways. From the custom coded instruments to the brilliant sound design to the beautiful looking airframe inside and out, there isn’t much missing here for the Aerobask Lancair Legacy RG price point of $34.95.
At some point I might end up being called an Aerobask ‘fanboy’ and I think I’m ok if someone does call me that. Every aircraft that I’ve tested from them has become an instant favourite for me. The Lancair Legacy RG is yet another example of the excellent work they do.
The price point is firmly in view when I consider what this module doesn’t have. The Legacy RG has no detailed maintenance system or sophisticated damage or wear mode like you might see on some more expensive types but you nearly always pay more for those features. The Legacy has everything else presented at top quality levels.
I’m not alone in this thinking this either as I saw, after I bought it, that Q8Pilot had also reviewed it at release and given it a 10/10. I find myself agreeing with that assessment every step of the way.
If you want a fun, fast, small and light aircraft to zip around in, the Aerobask Legacy RG is an aircraft that you should give serious attention to. If you want to haul passengers or work with a sophisticated maintenance model you may need to look elsewhere but for everyone else, have a serious look at this aircraft and check it out. It’s well worth it!