Flying into disaster in the Aerosoft H36 Dimona

I was looking forward to my next virtual soaring flight to be recorded on YouTube after a month’s vacation in Tasmania.  Tasmania is a great destination and it was a very enjoyable trip overall but being away from my flight simulation hobby for that long was difficult for me.

(As usual, there is a link to the YouTube videos of this flight in two parts at the end of this post)

I wanted to use the Orbx Compton-Abbas (EGHA) scenery for this flight but this is not really a gliding field, so a motor-glider that was more of a cross-over between a single engine sports plane and a glider than it is a glider seemed to be an appropriate choice. The Aerosoft H36 Dimona fits this requirement nicely.

right-wing-view

The Aerosoft Hoffmann H36 (Dimona) is neither an outstanding single engined sports aircraft, nor is it a high performance glider.  Nevertheless, Aerosoft have modelled this versatile 15m motor-glider for FSX very well.  It is interesting to fly and provides an immersive and credible virtual soaring experience. It can also be flown as a powered GA aircraft although it is a bit slow. To make it climb at a respectable rate under power you really need find some thermal or ridge lift to augment the mediocre climb provided by that underpowered little motor.

outside-cockpit-view

My installed instance of this model has a few bugs.  These may be due to conflicts with other installed add-ons  and with one exception they occur very rarely and are impossible to re-produce by any known means as far as I can determine.

The most frequent but least serious bug is that start button often sticks in when pressed. This doesn’t bother me and one or two extra mouse clicks always release it.

Another issue that has occurred a few times since I purchased this aircraft is that something seems to go wrong in the auto-save feature of the Dimona such that it becomes impossible to start the motor manually.  This could be my fault in that maybe I did something wrong during a critical stage when the Dimona was saving the current status – it is my least favourite feature of this aircraft because the auto-save and auto-restore processes seem very vulnerable and are also inflexible. After researching various forums the fix, which works for me, is to start the Dimona in the air, then land  and shutdown normally to allow the auto-save feature to do its thing again.

nose-view

The final issue I have experienced on only two occasions and not since my last re-build of FSX six months ago is that it appeared to reset to the cold and dark state shortly after takeoff.  The cold-and-dark state includes opening the spoilers, which creates a very challenging situation as you loose all power while climbing out from the runway and are still very close to the ground.  it is as though the auto-save-restore feature of this aircraft detects an event that falsely indicates and aircraft re-load during the takeoff phase of flight.

Because the most serious of these bugs are so rare, they do not spoil my appreciation of this quirky little aircraft.

In this cross-country gliding flight out of Compton-Abbas (EGHA) I managed to fly it into disaster showing clearly that you must respect the published limits of this aircraft if you have your realism settings enabled in FSX.

Compton-Abbas task plan

For this cross-country task I designed a triangular course of 37 nautical miles to the North and East of Compton-Abbas.  The first leg follows the A350 Northwards to the A303 over-bridge or flyover near Hinden.  Then we head east to Salisbury Cathedral.  Finally we head south-west back to the airfield.

The simulator off-block time was 14:17 Zulu on 29 July 2014. I used a combination of CumulusX! and Active Sky Next to provide historical real-world weather and the thermalling environment. In this combined configuration Active Sky Next will provide ‘blue’ thermals and CumulusX! will add some cloud thermals provided the current weather conditions include a cumulus layer.

tail-view

For the most part, this flight went very well although I had to contend with a 9 knot cross-wind and a bumpy grass runway for the takeoff.  Also flying conditions were gusty and bumpy and the severe turbulence towards the end of the last leg destroyed my aircraft.  I believe this was my fault because I did not make enough allowance for the difference between true air speed (TAS) and indicated air speed (IAS) above 4,500 feet and thus it appears that I exceeded the rated Vb of 210 knots for the turbulent/gusty conditions experienced on the final glide.  I was too focused on keeping the speed below the yellow band on the airspeed indicator and did not allow a big enough safety margin for altitude.

I hope that the captured video of this flight will convey some the best features of this exceptionally well modeled aircraft in spite of the unfortunate outcome to the flight resulting from own incompetence. The systems modelling, sound effects, flight modelling and graphics of the H36 Dimona X are all excellent but the auto-save-restore feature could be made more robust and flexible in my opinion.   Nevertheless, this quirky little aircraft was a worthy addition to my FSX collection of glider models and I am looking forward to the next glider release from Aerosoft.

PART 1 of the video of this flight on my YouTube channel:

PART 2 of the video of this flight on my YouTube channel:

 

 

7 thoughts on “Flying into disaster in the Aerosoft H36 Dimona

  1. phil hawkey

    Hiya James

    Much enjoyed the Compton Abbas vid with the Dimona, many thanks. I am amazed at the wings flexing, as I don’t ever see that in my sim, I don’t know why.

    I guess ‘Accufeel’ was inputting the turbulence, and possibly the lift in the blue?

    Phil

    Reply
    1. James Allen Post author

      Thanks Phil,

      Actually Compton Abbas is one of my favorite Orbx airfields in the UK but it is a bit hard to find from the air at times – reminds me of Bunyan airfield over here, although not as green – you can be staring right at it from a mile or so away and still not see it.

      I am never completely certain where the random turbulence comes, most likely Accu-feel but it might also be Active Sky Next sometimes.

      I am pretty sure that the blue thermals on this flight are generated by Active Sky Next (updraft setting) because of the presence of clouds and as far as I know Accu-feel does not model thermals. As you know, CumulusX! will only produce blue thermals in clear skies, which is not quite right in my opinion. With scattered or few stratus and the right temperature conditions and sun incidence angles, I would expect to see some blue thermals associated with ground features. The thermals in Active Sky Next do not seem to be as realistic as CumulusX! to me and I haven’t yet detected any lean on them in windy conditions although it is bit hard to tell because they are not associated with clouds and sometimes are a bit wide. Recently, Harry and I have experienced some problems with ridge lift recently, which seems to be caused by Active Sky Next wind decay on windward slopes – this is discussed in my latest blog post at http://blog.allen.asn.au

      The wind flexing on the Dimona is a nice feature but it seems just a tad unnatural compared to the ‘bendy’ flexing on some of Wolfgang’s models. Maybe I am wrong but it looks a bit exaggerated at times on the Dimona, particularly when taxiing on grass. The wing tips on the Discus X models also flex but it is more subtle and I wonder if it might accurately reflect the rigidity of the wings in the 15 metre design. I don’t recall seeing any noticeable wing flex in the Puchacz trainers in real-world. I used to watch the wings on the Puchacz at bit too much I think, they seemed to rumble a lot I was always wondering if the last chap to work on them had secured them properly. One day we heard a terrible clunking, just after releasing the tow rope, so we rushed back the airfield only to find some turkey’s water bottle left rolling about in the back of the cockpit – lucky we didn’t try any spin practice before finding that.

      Cheers,
      -James

      Reply
    1. James Allen

      When I purchased the Aerosoft Dimona, I only had the boxed version of FSX Gold edition. I have since abounded FSX boxed edition and installed it in FSX Steam edition. It makes no difference and works the same in both as far as I can tell/remember, although the model itself does have some quirks such as the sticking start button, popping circuit breakers occasionally and can be difficult to start the engine on rare occasions. This gives it character in my opinion and I feel like I own a real aircraft.

      Cheers,
      -James

      Reply
      1. Henrique Coelho

        Wow, that´s good news James!
        Thank you very much.

        I´m sort of retired pilot from hardcore flightsim stuff. I flew almost all the versions since mid 80´s from Sublogic Flight Simulator 2.0 through FSX. At that time it was a 8 bit Commodore 64 plugged to a TV and a couple of yeras ago I ended up flying my homebuilt cockpit. And then nothing…However I miss the skies… So I´ve returned to flightsimming with FSX:SE and I was looking for a pure leisure aircraft. Something slow that I could just jump in ang go see some beautifull locations. Then I bought ASK 21 glider from Aerosoft but I like a lot motorgliders such as the Dimona but I never had a chance to test it. There is no compatibilty with FSX:SE in Aerosoft site so your opinion refreshed my interest.

        Motogliders became very known and respected here in Brazil as a Swiss guy called Gerard Moss which lives here in Rio flew around the globe in 2001 in motorglider. Mr Moss flew an Aeromot AMT-200 Ximango, a little more robust than Hoffman 36 with retractable gear. The route, If I recall, was going from South America to North America through the west, then to Alaska, crossing the date line, down from Russia to Japan and then to South Asia. Then He passed by India and Arab countries and got to Egypt. From there he moved north to Europe and flew through a lot of countries until return to west coast of Africa and return to Brazil crossing the Atlantic ocean. Big and nice VFR trip around the world. Let´s see If I can get the hang of the Dimona and try to do something similar.

        Cheers,
        Henrique

        Reply
  2. James Allen

    Flying round the globe would be a challenge and a half for the Dimona. The H36 is a bit underpowered – very slow to climb and am not sure about the range under power. You won’t get any thermals for gliding on the sea legs if you are using CumulusX!.
    In the real world there is a turbo version of the Dimona with more power but it is not modeled in FSX.

    Reply
    1. Henrique Coelho

      Probably yes. But the Ximango had a 100 hp Rotax 912S too. So it´s hard but doable as long you don´t expect huge performance. In fact the only modification needed in the Ximango was increased 90 lt fuel tanks on the wings necessary for the long legs.

      It was done in 100 days !

      In this page, you can see the route more clearly.

      http://mundomoss.com.br/category/expedicoes/asas-do-vento/diarios-de-bordo-asas-do-vento/

      Maybe I put up a blog to track the journey.

      Reply

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