Aerosoftís Diamond DA-20 Katana
Reviewed by Ludo Lambrechts
Aerosoft, the biggest sole developer of flight simulator add-ons is known world-wide for being able to do anything they want to do in Flight Simulator development. In the recent Lukla scenery their challenge was the sloped runway. They beat that challenge and have moved onto more challenges. The team is as advanced as it gets and work together to achieve the best of the best outcomes. One of the teams that work along with Aerosoft is Digital Aviation.
Digital Aviationís debut product was the Diamond DA-20 Katana. Boxed by Aerosoft this add-on is a stand-alone aircraft that brought Digital Aviation to the forefront of consumerís priorities. The Diamond Katana is built around the feeling of being in the aircraft, of the aircraft being yours.
The first thing to cover is the exterior of the Diamond DA-20 Katana. Included are two different models the DA20-80 and the DA20-100. There is not much difference between these two models but the FDE has been slightly modified. The aircraft has a very nice frame rate friendly model on the outside. The streamlined design of this motor glider is portrayed excellently by the talented modellers at Digital Aviation. Also included are 18 unique high quality liveries, there is no shortage of new experiences with this aircraft. However there is nothing special to the exterior as well. There are no mechanics that pop up when the engine is shut off on the ground and there are no wheel chocks. Although there is nothing bad about the exterior there also in nothing extra either.
The interior however has everything extra in it. Eye Candies are abundant. In the interior the plane has many features that make it feel like itís yours. It feels like your personal automobile. The 2D panel is very clear and has a certain attractive appeal to it. The unique blue colour sets it apart and contrasts well with the gauges. In the 2D panel you get the sense of being there personally as well. The coolest feature in this cockpit is the ignition key. There is actually a key dangling underneath on a keychain. It isnít just one key but itís as if itís your keys. There are a bunch of other things to explore which make this aircraft feel personal.
The Virtual Cockpit is yet another example of making it feel like yours. Modelled inside is a body of a pilot. However there is no head and you-the camera-are the eyes of the head. The effect is cool but does not work out well with add-ons such as Active Camera. The Virtual Cockpit feels like itís yours. It isnít neat and tidy, but it isnít sprawled with mess, itís likely just like your car. Behind the two seats we have luggage and bags from the pilots. A very common sight on these aircraft, and what you would have back there if you where the pilot. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the Virtual Cockpit is fully clickable. There are also drawbacks within the Virtual Cockpit. The pilots was not very well modelled and his skin and body looks ill, this isnít a big concern but it isnít something good either. Another thing worth mentioning is that the GPS isnít animated within the VC. This was clearly done with FPS in mind and doesnít turn out too bad in the Digital Aviation DA-20 Katana.
The sound and realism of the aircraft is another amazing feature of this aircraft. The sound is very subtle but realistic. This not being a very powerful aircraft it does not require a roaring sound pack either.. You donít need to feel the propellers spinning as you would with a Spitfire. The realism is also quite amazing; the aircraft can be both easy and difficult to pilot. However taxiing is a chore; the aircraft will not turn as long as the throttle is cut. There is no Autopilot included which is a plus side, you wouldnít find an AP in an aircraft such as this. This is aircraft does a terrific job at maximizing its value through its realism.
The Katana is one of the best debut products any production team has put out. The Katana matches up to all standards stipulated by its competitors. The piloting of the Katana is no mundane task. The motor glider will never be viewed the same after this production. The feeling of being the pilots is the best I have seen in a flight simulator development. I think it would be fitting that the theme for this aircraft would be ďYour Plane.Ē For the hard work instilled in this development I award Digital Aviation and Aerosoft a 9.0 out of 10.
Reviewed by Ludo Lambrechts for Aerosoft