As you will no doubt have heard in the past, Alabeo are one of the most well respected members of the flight simulation community due to their overall quality and their class as a team of modelers, skinners and developers.
They know how to code quality designs and how to create really interesting little features that offer some of the brightest and best changes that you can possible add into your simulator. With a huge range of innate knowledge within their team, it’s always a lot of fun being able to open up an Alabeo project for the first time.
We decided to try out their DA42 ‘Twin Star’ release, as it was getting huge reviews and a massive range of positive attention – what did we think?
The first thing to know about his aircraft is that it’s still relatively young – it was only certified in 2004/2005, after all. It’s made from a durable and effective carbon composite material, with a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. In terms of comfort and style, then, you can be sure that you are getting an aircraft that is very easy to fly in!
It’s also the very first Diesel powered fixing wing aircraft and it is used for non-stop travel across large locations such as the North Atlantic. Given that it has an average fuel consumption of 5.74g/hour, you can be sure that you are flying an aircraft that comes with a history of being able to last out a full flight.
Its brilliant Austro AE300 engines have been used for many purposes – in fact, it became the first aircraft using this engine to be run on an algae-derived jet fuel!
Ease of Installation
First off, it’s very important to know how easy installation can be – some systems are routinely simple; others need a pHD to carry out successfully! Thankfully, though, this package runs very much in the former category. It’s very simple to install and will just take a matter of moments after you complete the download. What you will find, for example, is that the Alabeo Twin Star product can be quite space consuming on your machine – it takes around 770MB HD space so make sure that you have cleared enough before you attempt to make the installation fit.
However, in terms of the actual installation time and the ease of doing so, it’s absolutely brilliant. You will run the installer file and then be prompted to include a registration e-mail address and serial number. The serial number is provided to you via e-mail once you have completed your purchase of the aircraft, so make sure you purchased the aircraft package with a legitimate e-mail or it might not be possible to fly!
Once you enter in these details, you will be asked to choose what version you wish to install. Since some people are using FSX and other are over on P3D, it makes sense to have this simple option. You also need to choose the location of where you saved the flight simulator too in the first place, so navigate your way there via the ‘Browse’ button.
When you do this, you can simply start up the whole process just by hitting the Install file and letting it go through its motions. It will install the mod to where your simulator is.
The only complaint that we had, though, was that it needed an online connection to make the installation; we understand why, it’s just irritating for those without a fast or consistent web connection more than anything else.
There are many positives that come from using this software package, mainly the fact that it manages to capture all of those little features that you might expect to see. This includes an Alabeo G1000 cockpit making it really easy to control the whole thing and ensure that you are in command at all times
A huge attention to detail at all times that makes sure the whole thing comes together perfectly even in the smaller and less important areas; those little details all add up together to make something that looks truly wonderful regardless of what resolution you use
Stunning little features inside the cockpit manage to capture the aircraft really impressively for us – the little reflections and the additions of new shadows and detail in all of the gauges, knobs and everything else makes a massive difference in the long-term ensuring that everything works for you consistently
Knob click sounds and various other little professional sound additions really make a nice difference as you go, adding something fresh to each and every performance that you undertake. If you want to get more than just a fancy design, this is for you given its depth and attention to detail!
A wide range of excellent features are included in here with regard to the flight dynamics. It works just as it should, with hours of studious research being put in. this was one of the things that we were most impressed by – they managed to capture the real nature and style of the aircraft in the most stunning manner possible
It’s an effective and consistent kit that runs with few bugs or problems; if you want to fly something that isn’t going to start giving you a range of compatibility issues and the like then you can really enjoy this. We are used to having problems when flying a new system but this really takes away the typical issues faced
The overall quality of the design is one of the most impressive factors of what we liked about using this package. It was very easy to get used to the overall exterior design within just a few minutes as, by comparing it with footage and with real-life experience, it looks spot on. The aircraft is really awesome looking in real life and this does its best to really replicate that stunning look and feel accurately.
Although the paint schemes might look a little bit simplistic, this is merely just following the nature of the real thing – as far as attention to detail goes here this is a truly extensive remake of the real thing, making it all come together excellently.
The interior is the exact same, too! it looks brilliant inside and really carries that Alabeo standard of quality and finish.
If you want to get a properly designed cockpit that takes on all of the features and the styles that you might be used to be dealing with, this is one that we can recommend. In truth, the cockpit and the interior is one of the most impressive aspects of the whole thing – it looks fantastic, with fantastically rendered designs throughout managing to capture that look and feel in the most dramatic manner possible. With various materials that you will see inside the real thing, you’ll find it incredibly easy to start making a reference between the parts of the aircraft that are spot on with the original.
The liveries included, too, are very impressive – they are quite ranged in their format and their style. Also, they all carry the appropriate shading and shine that look just brilliant when used at the very peak of flight simulation graphics engines.
In short, the design is one of the most impressive aspects of the whole thing! It looks brilliant and should really be considered as one of the best Alabeo releases in terms of attention to detail, scaling, and features included.
Whilst the aircraft is listed and may as well have a Garmin G1000 cockpit, this is more or less an Alabeo take on it. there are some customizations and changes there that aren’t typical with the original, so it’s perhaps not the most well explained part of the design –that being said, though, the instrumentation and the range of control that you have is absolutely stunning. If you are need some help in getting into the swing of things then this glass cockpit ticks all of the boxes; we were massively impressed.
There’s a range of pop-up windows that you can use to operate the system giving you access to things like GPS status checks, terrain proximity, air traffic, trip planning data, system planning and checklists for the flight. if you want to get access to plenty of different forms of instrumentation that you can make work for you, then this is definitely the place to get started with. it makes your overall control and management of the aircraft so much easier, especially when you add in the wide range of extra windows that also work with things like the switches and the throttles.
Overall, this manages to tick many of the typical Alabeo cockpit boxes; it gives you comfort and it gives you plenty of control, making it incredibly easy to control the whole thing from start to finish without really getting too bogged down in the overall specifics.
One thing we will say about the instrumentation, though, is that it does need to be given specific permissions. When you first load up the aircraft to use it at the outset, you will be asked to give permission to your simulator to run a DLL known as ALADA42_G1000.DLL. Allow this to happen as, without it, you won’t have a cockpit!
The overall level of performance in the aircraft is massively impressive, too. It makes it much easier for you to start flying the thing and getting used to it. Most of the controls are fully operable, but there are some things that are beyond your control such as a lack of controls for the propeller pitch.
This is rather disappointing, we’ll have to admit, but we did find out that this is because the aircraft itself actually manages this automatically – both in real-life and in the world of simulation. So it’s not quite the gaping feature that we once thought, despite still removing a bit of the importance of control when flying.
The aircraft itself uses a pretty awesome duo of 135HP Thielert AE 125-02-99 engines. Since they are diesel engines you get that extra kick and boost. Whilst the aircraft today sings a Lycoming I0-360, back in the day it was using the Thielert before they went bust. So if you are looking for an easy way to use your aircraft you’ll need to get used to the fact that the engines have changed, so if you are used to flying a more modern equivalent of the aircraft it can take a little bit of getting used to – not long, but enough. This put us off a little bit we would have to admit, but it’s not exactly a deal breaker; it was just a period of adjustment.
The performance is something that’s always very important in a flight simulator, and we are happy to report that the overall level of performance that you can get from this is very high indeed. It works exactly as we had hoped and the attention to detail in the flight dynamic in general is absolutely outstanding.
It’s accurate and it’s easy to fly around in without really getting too bogged down in the dynamics, again the only thing we found was that it took some adjusting just due to being used to a newer rendition of the aircraft via other mods.
Other than that, though? Things couldn’t be any more impressive for us. Whilst there are limitations and things missing due to the limitations of the simulator itself, this manages to pack in every little thing that could possibly count along the way to give you perfect access to what this aircraft is all about. From a performance point of view, few things have impressed us as much in terms of their attention to detail and making sure that it matches up with the real thing; authenticity is vital for us and it really makes a massive difference to this.
The aircraft, though, is a bit more sensitive to lateral control inputs than we are used to so it can take a bit of adjustment in that aspect. It will continue to bank as you fly unless you return the “yoke” to the right location. However, after a few hours of practice on this we started to get our heads around it – it might seem a bit awkward at first, but you’ll easily get your heads around it. Performance is smooth, it’s very effective and most importantly it’s true to the real thing so you get balance, authenticity and quality.
The animations and the effects are, without a doubt, one of the most impressive parts of the whole thing – the typical flight animations are all added in there with some nice little extras to treat us to something a little bit special. From the cockpit canopy to the way that the baggage compartments move and operate as the flight goes on makes it much easier for you to start getting used to all of the little things along the way that make a big difference to a flight feeling nice and secure. The whole thing is just so incredibly balanced.
The animations are also really smooth, too. Nothing is worse than tacky design and animations that look like they were put together by a child, so it’s really helpful to be able to use something like this and get something that genuinely looks the part instead. For all of those of you looking to get animations that actually look good with this aircraft then you simply need to start with this package – the animations and the effects are spot on. From the flex-wing effects to the animated tow trucks and warning flags, you can get a little bit of everything.
The documentation is one of the most detailed and helpful parts of the whole thing, making it much easier for you to control the whole thing in general. If you are looking for a way to get the aircraft to operate in the way that you had intended, then this is the way to go about it. You’ll learn all of those little tips and tricks that you need to master the thing in here thanks to the rather comprehensive documentation provided alongside you. You’ll get access to various different procedures programs, for example giving you total control over how to manage emergencies and also just how to manage general procedure when flying the thing.
These little extra also make it much easier for you to get used to things like the autopilot, managing the cockpit and also getting to grips with typical speeds for cruising and flying properly. It’s a great educational tool that is actually probably worth the money on its own for all the little embedded flight tests and lesson that you will pick up from using this. The performance tables and references will help you learn speeds; whilst procedures help you master the process in total.
Pro’s & Cons
The aircraft is incredibly realistic, managing to capture the heart and the soul of the real thing and giving us all the help that we need in getting into the unique atmosphere of the cockpit
The model is bang on in terms of the overall levels of accuracy and design in the whole thing – it looks spot on and has taken a wide range of features from across the board to look as it should
A fantastic overall shin and look from the aircraft with the reflections both inside and outside looking better than ever. The whole thing will come together nice and neatly, making sure you’ll be left impressed
The whole thing runs quite smoothly and has no real compatibility or performance issues – this is quite rare for releases so it’s a positive change of pace for FS mods
Extremely responsive and gives you a real level of performance that can make it that little bit easier to start hitting the heights as a pilot, helping you train for the more professional echelons of the piloting world in future
Wing flexing was included in here which is a nice first for the company, adding another little bit of shine to the whole thing and making it very easy to use the package in total
Lovely little side features that really help to sell the whole thing and make it easy to get into the cockpit with full confidence that you’ll have access to the conventional tools – and much more
Slight frame rate clipping issues from time to time if you are running in optimal graphical settings without an excess of power to handle the requirements
A huge overall level of quality that looks brilliant and gives you all the help needed in getting inspired, but more variety in liveries could have been a nice touch
The entire package is, in our opinion, spot on. Alabeo are known for having high standards to their products and when you see this release up close it becomes increasingly obvious why; they know their stuff.
You typically have high standards when you try out an Alabeo product – we do anyway –and it’s safe to say that we were more or less blown away by its nature and style. The whole thing ticks all of the normal boxes and the compatibility across both FSX and P3D is truly awesome; it works spot on in both simulators without any major problems.
The visuals are bang on and look just as you would have hoped for, managing to capture the whole look and feel with pristine detail and definition. The performance and the sounds are up there, though, and this makes it hard to decide what is more impressive – the look or the feel.
In general, though, we were massively impressed with this system and would highly recommend it – it’s got a bit of learning curve especially if you know the newer DA42 better like we did, but it’s definitely worth your time and your money if you want quality and authenticity.
You can purchase your copy over at SimShack here.