Even the pilots of the biggest airplanes like the Boeing 747 or the Airbus A380 need to learn how to fly in a small aircraft. The basics of flight and navigation are important things to understand to survive a flight. The aircraft that gets our attention in this review is one of the most basic you can get. It’s light, it has a compass and a radio. All you need to get everywhere you want and to learn the true meaning of flight.
Sim720 is known to the sim world for their scenery, but now they entered the world of aircraft addons. They did it with the endorsement of Comco Ikarus and claim the aircraft was built and tested by real life Ikarus C42a pilots and the Comco UK Test Pilot.
The Comco Ikarus C42a is an ultra light aircraft with a weight of only 277 kg, a payload of 195,5 kg and a range of a staggering 700 km. With a cruising speed of 165 km/h it will take you a bit over 4 hours to get there. (More info on the Comco Ikarus website)
The download file is only 51,4 Mb and after a smooth installation the Ikarus takes 343 Mb of your hard drive. For most simmers it’s a small part of their addons. The Ikarus comes in two liveries.
A ‘C42 Owner’s Manual’ is provided in PDF format, which is also available as a free download on the Sim720 website.
Up to page 4 the manual provides some information on the simulated version of the Ikarus. From page 5 on the manual looks like you can use it for the real thing (I don’t recommend that!).
Everything you need to know is in there and checklists are provided. For the die hard simmers even the electrical circuit diagrams are available.
I realy like this kind of manuals. It gives you the feeling of dealing with a real aircraft and rarely you get a manual like this with a sim plane.
Now let’s start the sim and take a look at this small bird…
The real aircraft is made of an aluminium tube construction combined with carbon fibre, Aramid and glass fibre. On the outside of the aircraft in the sim the tubes that supports the wings and the gear are all modeled very nice. Bolts, hinges and other construction parts are all modeled in detail.
The wings of the real thing look like a tube construction with a canvas (because it is), but in the sim plane it is less obvious. It would have been nice if that would have been a bit more visible.
The textures are of good quality. A bit more reflection would have been nice. The windows are reflecting the surrounding world, but the canvas is not. The lack of reflection makes the outside of the aircraft a bit dull to see.
The landing gear, flaps and control surfaces are all modeled very nice. The propellor looks like a black line without any volume when you look at it from the side (only with the engine running). It could use some thickness.
What I miss in the outside view is a pilot. For screenshots and making films it’s always nice to see a pilot sitting in the cockpit.
Despite minor negative points the overal impression of the aircraft on the outside is good.
We finished the outside inspection, so now it’s time to take a look at the cockpit. Please use the 360 degree foto below to look around.
The first thing you will notice is the view you have from the cockpit. The wing is on top and the side windows are huge. Because it’s an ultra light the cockpit instrumentation is pretty basic. The textures are OK, but it misses something. Like the outside it looks a bit dull.
The instruments are all 3D objects and I fell in love with the compass the first time I layed eyes on it. What a nice 3D instrument that moves in all directions without a stutter during flight.
The instruments all have reflecting glass and the cockpit windows are all relfecting the surrounding. Inside the cockpit the airplane’s construction is made visible and all text stickers are readable.
There are two thing I don’t get in this cockpit. Below the Choke there is a knob on a thin piece of metal that has no function, is modeled very roughly and is not pictured in the manual. Still wondering what it is and why it looks the way it does. The other thing is the radio display. It’s only a detail, but the display fonts I don’t like and are far from a real display.
The cockpit has only one control stick and two throttle handles, located between your legs and your passengers legs.
Overall the cockpit looks nice, but like the outside it misses the ‘wow-factor’ (except for the lovely compass…).
In the air
When you start the sim with this bird, the engine is running. Shutting down and starting again is easy. If you try to follow the checklist you will notice you can pull the choke, but it doesn’t stay. That makes it difficult to do it by the book, although it doesn’t matter. It will start anyway. Engine fysics are not simulated as far as I could notice.
The expectations on the flight dynamics were very high before I started this review. Sim720 realy assured us that this bird was tested by the real Comco UK Test Pilot and that the flight dynamics are equal to the real thing. The fact that this review would be done by sim pilot and not a real pilot made them a bit nervous.
Reviewing flight dynamics in a sim isn’t easy. It’s all about how you think a plane like this should performe. Besides that feeling I watched some youtube videos to see what you can expect from this bird. As far as I can tell the Ikarus C42a does handle like you would expect. You can take of from a very short field and land on a dime. I tried every maneuver I saw in the video and it looks like the plane handles the same as the real thing.
Overall the plane handles great and it’s perfect for VFR flights. I found myself enjoying this little bird in a VFR flight over my home country. The aircraft is very stable. Once straight and level trimmed you dan’t need to do a lot.
The engine sounds are good, but it feels a bit strange when you shut down the engine and don’t hear a thing. Even with the doors open there is no wind.
All control surfaces are animated well.
I can be very short about this. Flying this bird you will not notice any impact on the performance of your sim.
For EUR 29,- or $ 33,- you will get an ultra light aircraft that is great for VFR flying. Is it worth the money? Compared to other small aircraft like Carenado’s DA40 the price is a bit high. Sim720 will probably say that their flight dynamics are much better modeled and that might be true, but looking at the total package I think the price is a bit high.
I would love to see some visual improvements and it would be great if next to the flight dynamics, the engine fysics would be modeled like the real thing.
When you like VFR flying and want an ultra light aircraft, you should buy this little bird. I’m sure you will enjoy it for hours.
Processor (CPU): Intel Core i7 CPU 3770k @ 3.4 GHz
Memory (RAM): 16 GB
Graphics: MSI GeForce GTX 960 2Gb
System type: 64-bit operating system
Operating system: Windows 10 Professional
Primary monitor resolution: 1920×1080