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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: