Aerobask DA50 RG full review for X-Plane 11

Whenever Aerobask makes a new aircraft for X-Plane, I pay attention. They have made some excellent aircraft over the last few years offering a mix of features, capabilities, while offering beautiful visuals and great sounds. They often hit a sweet spot between price, performance and simulation level. They give us not quite study level options that are still extremely detailed and both fun and challenging. Have they managed to do the same with their newest entry? This is a full review of the Aerobask DA50 RG for X-Plane 11.

Aircraft history

A single engine, composite structure aircraft designed and built by Diamond Aircraft, the DA50 was first shown off by the company in 2006. The type made a maiden flight in April 2007 before the DA50 entered into a long and drawn out development process. Several versions of the DA50 were shown off featuring different engines and fixed landing gear configurations before Diamond finally announced the DA50 RG.

The RG, standing for retractable gear, is essentially a single engine version of the DA62 featuring a Continental CD-300 turbocharged 300hp FADEC controlled engine instead of the twin engine configuration of the DA62. The engine is also notable, like many Diamond aircraft, for its use of Jet A1 fuel which leads to lower emissions (in the real world of course) and greater efficiency. The aircraft can manage 181 knots on its maximum speed rating and it is officially ranged at 750 nm with a 30 minute reserve. Ceiling is rated at 20,000 feet and the aircraft has its own oxygen system and de-icing. It has seating for 5 in a cabin that shares most of its design with the DA62.

In short, the DA50 RG, just like the DA62 that it is closely related to, is very well equipped and the company marketing suggests that it has the styling of a sportscar and practicality of a SUV. They are about right with that.

Features for now and the future

The DA50 RG, for Aerobask, represents the last of their aircraft that they are releasing into X-Plane 11. Future projects like the Falcon 8X are now intended solely for X-Plane 12 while the DA50 RG straddles the line between the two sims. Aerobask intends to make this aircraft available in X-Plane 12 for free with current owners. That alone makes this an attractive purchase so late in the game but there is more as some X-Plane 12 features are already on the feature list.

New windshield reflections with rain and frost effects are listed for X-Plane 12. So too will be a visual icing effect on the wings. They aren’t available to most of us just yet but we know that Aerobask are working with the alpha of the new sim and have surely set their aircraft up with these new features in mind.

Available right now, the Aerobask DA50 RG has a fully functional cockpit and exterior model with all of the usual features like 4K PBR textures, a flight model done by X-Aerodynamics, FMOD sounds, an enhanced version of the Laminar G1000 featuring synthetic vision from OscarPilote, custom EIS and annunciations, touch screen features for easier management of the G1000, a customized FADEC, simulated oxygen and ice protection, and a fully functional breaker panel with configurable reliability.

There are some other features that are new to this class of aircraft with wingflex being the standout. You can clearly see the wings flexing in turbulent conditions as well pulling into a turn. I’ve not seen this on another GA aircraft and this might be a first in this area.

There’s also configurable pilots (male and female), passengers, luggage, and 8 custom liveries. Oh, and the overall configuration of the aircraft is saved between flights. Like every Aerobask release I’ve ever come across, this one is packed full of features.

Impressive visuals (again)

Aerobask have a consistent style and quality with their aircraft and the DA50 RG fits that familiar mould. Texture detailing is excellent with sharp crisp lines on the aircraft and the attention to detail on all parts of the interior is top notch. I have one minor disappointment and that’s the ELT panel which appears to have the same low detail texture that they had on the DA62. Virtually everything else is extremely well handled from the rear cargo area (complete with cargo net) to the stitching on the seats to the overhead light controls.

My only other complaint is a common one with Aerobask and that is that the aircraft is perhaps a little too perfect. There’s no imperfections, dirt, dust or signs of wear anywhere. That’s a stylistic choice and so the only way I could see them maybe raising the bar here in the future would be to follow a few other developers down the road of doing a configurable slider that gives some dirt to the airplane as desired.

These minor niggles aside, the DA50 RG looks outstanding and it’s likely to look a lot better when X-Plane 12 comes out. It also strikes me as a plane that was made with the future lighting model in mind as some of the more reflective glossy skins look ok in X-Plane 11 but I suspect will really, pardon the pun, shine in the next generation lighting system.

Great sounds too

I really appreciate the sound work that Aerobask and FMOD sound wizard Daniela Rodriguez Careri manages to bring to the table. The DA50 RG has a full sound set with environmental audio for when you’re parked with the doors open, wind effects when you place the camera behind the airplane with the engine started, plus tons of interior sound effects and environment too.

The DA50 RG doesn’t have the best sounding engine but its relatively quiet once it gets going. It’s a different sound effect from the one that I’m used to in the DA62 but it still has a bit of that droning quality about it. It reminds you that this a GA aircraft with an engine up front generating 300hp. It’s smooth but not as smooth as a jet.

Flying the DA50 RG

Straight up, this is a brilliant touring aircraft. Covering medium sized distances at 160 plus knots is what the DA50 RG does best and it does it with style and ease.

Start-up, shut down and other systems are easy to manage in the DA50 because it was designed that way in real life. FADEC makes engine control a piece of cake and the push button start system feels more like a modern car than something from the 1960s.

From a handling point of view, the DA50 RG is responsive but also sedate and refined. It doesn’t really encourage aerobatics. The long wings and carefully designed controls contribute to an aircraft that is extremely stable and not prone to stalling or becoming uncontrollable. Power on or power off, put this aircraft into a stall and it just buffets through the stall and generally continues on. I’ve watched some real-world videos to compare the behavior with the simulated one and this is exactly how the DA50 behaves. Of course it can become a bit unruly if you really push it hard into a place where it shouldn’t be but this is a modern GA aircraft designed to be easy to fly and have no bad habits.

Takeoff is easy with slight rudder corrections needed to get the plane tracking straight. Landing is similar with the aircraft being easy to bring in – even in turbulence. Real world pilots have remarked at how easy it is to land and from a sim perspective I can say the same. You do still need to manage speed and make sure you’ve got the right power set for final approach but once done you can bring the aircraft in smoothly.

Taxiing will require a bit of work as the DA50 RG has a castering nosewheel and you’ll need to mange it with differential breaking. It takes a bit of practice but you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

One thing that I am curious about is the engine model. I might have flipped a switch that prevented this but I’ve tried running the DA50 RG flat out for 15-20 minutes with no issues to the engine. The DA62 overheats and even has fire effects when you overdo the engine for too long. Not so here with the DA50 RG. Is it an oversight? Did I mix something up? The warning lights were certainly on showing the oil running too hot but I never saw a fire or a failure.

DA50 RG vs DA62

A few people have asked me about which aircraft they should buy if they are choosing between the DA50 RG and the DA62. Both aircraft simulations are made by Aerobask and both have nearly identical featuresets especially thanks to the recent v2.0 upgrade of the DA62. The DA50 RG, at the moment, has the advantage of a few X-Plane 12 features baked in but these might come to the DA62 eventually as well. I should note that this hasn’t been confirmed so that is purely conjecture for now.

The rest of the decision making is likely to be based on the capabilities of the aircraft and here I turn to some real-world specifications. The DA50 RG is slightly slower, has less range, carries two less passengers, and burns slightly less fuel than the DA62. In a lot of ways, the DA62 is the superior aircraft with its two-engine reliability and, as configured in X-Plane, the additional two seat passenger capacity. That last feature is mostly a consideration for those using the aircraft with FSEconomy or FSCharter.

 DA50 RGDA62
Fuel burn9 gal/h11.8 gal/h
Max speed181 kts 
Seats57 (as configure in X-Plane 11)
Range750 nm1,283 nm

As a counterpoint, I am very happy that Aerobask decided to do the DA50 RG as their next GA entry. It’s a new aircraft, it has a unique look to it, and from a variety point of view its more exciting to me than your conventional Cessna and Piper series that dominate the GA scene both in sim and in real life. It’s feels slightly more exotic, most certainly higher end, and that makes it a fun and dare I say “cool” plane to tour around in the sim.

Aerobask have reported in the past that their DA62 has been one of their consistently best selling aircraft. Its no surprise to me that they turned their attention to the DA50 RG which follows in its footsteps. If I were to guess, I would guess that this will be a great seller for them too!

Final thoughts

Aerobask has yet another winner here with the DA50 RG. This is an excellently simulated aircraft that is easy to get into, it has the systems depth for someone who wants to dig into the details, and by and large it’s a great looking and sounding aircraft. This is a well-rounded package that has very few problems and virtually no bugs.

The DA50 RG uniquely is already stretching its way into the future and X-Plane 12 with some advertised features coming to the next generation of X-Plane. That futureproofs this aircraft together with Aerobask’s well known reputation for continuously supporting their aircraft.

If you’re looking for a quality GA experience in X-Plane with a slightly more exotic aircraft, the DA50 RG should definitely be on your list.

Screenshots

Flight 1 – Detailed in a flight journal, one of my first cross country flights was between Anacortes t Darringtn.

Flight 2 – In this flight I took off from Darrington, WA and headed to Tacoma, WA and the Tacoma Narrows airport. Along the way I encountered heavy turbulence.

Flight 3 – For my third cross country flight, I went from Tacoma on a sightseeing flypast of Mount Rainier before landing at Packwood, WA.

Other screenshots

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