Diamond DA42 'Twin Star'
For FSX/Prepar3D Published by Alabeo
Reviewed by Brian Buckley
I would think by now, most flight simulation enthusiasts will have
heard of Alabeo, a company launched in 2011 as a sister company to
Carenado. The company consists of some of the brightest modellers,
designers and pilots, all with a vast amount of aviation knowledge
and expertise. These guys collaborate to bring us some of the best
aircraft add-ons to make our flight simming as immersive as
Alabeo now have a library of thirty seven aircraft, and growing,
available for FSX, Prepar3D, X-Plane, and Jay.
The DA42 'Twin Star' was certified in Europe in 2004 and in the
United States in 2005. The aircraft is made of carbon composite
material and is equipped with a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. The DA42
'Twin Star' was the first diesel powered fixed wing aircraft to make
a non-stop crossing of the North Atlantic, in 12.5 hours, with an
average fuel consumption of 5.74 gallons per hour (2.87 gallons per
hour per engine).
In June 2010, a DA42 powered by Austro AE300 engines became the
first aircraft to be publicly flown on algae derived jet fuel. By
March 2012, the DA42 had become the major income driver at Diamond
Aircraft. Company CEO, Christian Dries, indicated the market focus
of the company had been changed by the recession of 2008—2010 and
the company now derives two-thirds of its revenue from military and
government contracts, primarily for manned and unmanned (Aeronautics
Defence Dominator) surveillance aircraft.
Also in March 2012. Diamond aircraft announced they were developing
a fly-by-wire version of the DA42, with the aim of reducing the
accident rate in light aircraft. The system is expected to
eventually include flight envelope protection, turbulence righting,
and auto-land capabilities. The system will also include damage
tolerant, by-pass capabilities, allowing flight with jammed or
Availability, Installation, and Documentation
Availability. The Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' is available as a download
from Alabeo.com and Alabeo resellers. There is also the option
of purchasing a CD/DVD back-up from some resellers, at a nominal
cost. The DA42 is priced at US$34.95, approximately UK£23.54. You
will need 770MB of hard disk space for the download, which gives you
some idea of the quality of this aircraft.
Installation. Once downloaded, you should run the installation file
and during registration you will be asked for your email address and
the serial number that will have been sent to you by email. Once you
have entered this information, you will then be asked to choose the
version you wish to install, as shown below.
There are six manuals / documents provided in Adobe
Acrobat Reader DC format (.pdf):
• Alabeo G1000 - A twenty-four page manual explaining the inner
workings of the G1000 PFD;
• Autopilot KFC225 - A three page manual explaining how to use the Bendix/King Autopilot (AP) Flight System;
• Normal Procedures - Twenty-five pages giving procedures for the
• Emergency Procedures - Twenty-one pages of procedural advice on
all things emergency within the DA42;
• Performance Tables - A two page synopsis of the performance of the
• Reference - this one page document details the general
characteristics and performance specifications for the aircraft.
The Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' comes equipped with a fully functional
G1000 Primary Flight Display. Not for the feint hearted, but the
twenty-four page manual is very intuitive, as I found. Alabeo have
worked hard on the development of the DA42 'Twin Star' and this
shows in the myriad of features you will find on this aircraft,
giving the pilot as near a true to life experience as is possible in
• Alabeo G1000;
• flexing wing effect (wing flex);
• superb material shines and reflections;
• volumetric side view prop effect;
• gauge reflections;
• knob click sounds;
• window scratches and blades shines;
• high quality 3D model and textures; and
• realistic behaviour.
General Visual Appearance
Alabeo have created a truly fantastic looking aircraft in
the DA42 'Twin Star'. The exterior modelling is accentuated by the
superb material shine and reflections. The paint schemes, although
at first sight look fairly simple, have been created with attention
to style and accuracy. The detailing over the whole exterior is
precise and true to the real world DA42. With wing flexing in
flight, volumetric side view prop effects, and sleek design and
shape, it all adds up to what is, the Formula 1 of the skies.
The interior is also reflective of the very high Alabeo
standard. The cockpit layout has been beautifully rendered and gives
you the feel of a high quality aircraft. The various materials used
in the interior are also of a high standard, from the leather
seating, to the composite materials of the cockpit and instrument
The six liveries included are all complete with their own
individual registration number and decal scheme. The skins of all
the models are full HD and reflect this in the way Alabeo have
rendered them. The reflections, shines and window scratches all add
to give this aircraft a 'fresh from the factory' look and feel.
With two Thielert, 2.0 litre (TAE 125-02-99) engines, with stunning
metallic silver intake rims and nose cones, shark fin like winglets,
and bullet shaped fuselage, the DA42 'Twin Star' truly is a delight
to the eyes. Alabeo have pulled out the stops for this aircraft in
both design and functionality. There are four opening doors on this
model including, the main door, rear passenger door, and two luggage
bay doors either side of the nose. All these and more are fully
Whilst the aircraft is cold and dark, there are also all the
requisite components for a tie down, including pitot covers, cones,
and towing buggy. As you can see below.
Metal Shine - Spinner
Metal Shine - Intake
In my view, and with no exception, Alabeo are going from strength to
strength with each aircraft they produce. The interior of the DA42
'Twin Star' is quite exceptional, from the gorgeous leather seating
and trims to the amazing cockpit console. The instrumentation is,
for want of a better phrase, 'simply the best'. The proof of this is
shown in the screenshots below.
Instruments and Panel Layout
Engine, Parking Brake, and Trim Controls
The glass cockpit layout is extremely compact and within easy reach
of the pilot. The two main glass panels are the Primary Flight
Display (PFD - on the left) and the Multi Function Display (MFD - on
the right). These, plus the four analogue instruments above them,
are what make up the Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' cockpit display.
Complementing these displays is the centre console display which
consists of the engine and trim controls, fuel, and parking brake
controls. The DA42 utilises a stick yoke and it gives an
uninterrupted view of all the controls. There are an abundance of
click spots and almost all switches and dials are operational. There
are, as usual, several views available of the cockpit, allowing the
pilot to get up close and personal with all the available switches,
dials and controls. Check-lists can be obtained through the MDF and
are very comprehensive and easily navigated. As a first time user of
this glass cockpit, I found the MDF fairly easy to use and navigate.
As we have come to expect from Alabeo, a very nice high quality
As a general rule, I fly VFR and, as such, I don't tend to use the
autopilot function very often. Having said that, I was going through
the checks for click spots within the cockpit environment and found
something a little odd. When using the Autopilot panel, the Flight
Director button is missing up to the point of activating it as seen
below. I am sure this is just an oversight by the developers and
will hopefully be rectified at some point. At the time of writing
this review, there was no fix.
Animations, Lighting, and Sounds
Illuminated FD Button
Missing FD Button
Animations on Alabeo's DA42 'Twin Star' are the main control
surfaces, main gear, cockpit switches, levers and buttons, both main
and rear passenger canopies, and nose luggage bays. All of these are
very fluid and smooth in action. One major improvement though is the
wing flexing on take off and during flight. This really adds to the
As with other Alabeo aircraft, the cabin lighting is well done and
it comes with the ability to increase or decrease the flood
intensity. External lighting, including landing lights, strobes,
navigation lights, etc., are also very nicely reproduced.
There are some 80 sound files which accompany the DA42 'Twin Star'
and as far as I am able to say, they all sound acceptable. I have
not been in a real world DA42, so I am not qualified to say, but to
my ears they are pretty much as real as I can expect. Everything in
or on this aircraft which requires a sound, has been catered for.
General Characteristics and Performance Specifications
The general characteristics and performance specifications for the
DA42 'Twin Star' are provided below and gathered from the Diamond
DA42 'Twin Star' Data Sheet, available online. There appears to be
some very slight discrepancies between these figures and those
published with the Alabeo DA42 (which can be found in the PDF
documentation), but not enough to get hung up about.
• Engine – 2 x Lycoming IO-360, fuel injected, counter rotating
engines, equipped with PowerFlow tuned exhaust system.
• Horsepower - 360 hp total.
• Propellers – 2 x MT 3 blade, composite, hydraulic constant speed,
with unfeathering accumulator.
• Airworthiness Category – normal.
• Length - 28 ft 1 in.
• Height - 8 ft 2 in.
• Wing span - 44 ft.
• Maximum Take-Off Weight - 3,935 lbs.
• Useful Load - 1,180 lbs.
• Fuel Capacity (total / usable) – 79.0 gal / 76.4 gal.
• Fuel - 100 LL Avgas.
• Take-Off Distance - 1,590 ft.
• Take-Off Distance (50 ft obstacle) - 2,450 ft.
• Landing Ground Roll - 1,210 ft.
• Landing Distance (50 ft obstacle) - 2,410 ft.
• Rate of Climb (MTOW, SL, ISA, Vy:90 kts) - 1,400 fpm.
• Maximum Demonstrated Operating Altitude - 18,000 ft.
• Maximum Single Engine Ceiling (ROC <50 fpm) - 6,400 ft.
• Maximum Speed (Take Off Power, SL, ISA) - 178 kts.
• Cruise Speed (75% power) – 162 ktas.
• Maximum Range (no reserve) - 800+ nm.
This aircraft flies beautifully and is a stunning looking twin. All
the main control surfaces operate quite fluidly with barely any
input from the pilot. There was some slight drop in frame rates
compared to other aircraft in my hangar and this was most probably
due to the G1000 glass cockpit system. Alabeo have done a
particularly fine job with this aircraft and I am pleased to say it
is a very easy aircraft to handle, from taxiing, to take off, whilst
in flight, to landing, every aspect is super simple to fly. Even
given that you may have to learn the idiosyncrasies of the G1000
cockpit, the learning curve is fairly gentle, but it is very
intuitive once you have mastered the basics.
Value for Money
On a value for money assessment, the Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' could
be considered marginally expensive, however, the quality is there.
This version of the Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' is for FSX / P3D only.
Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
• Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 (32 or 64bit);
• Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration
Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator installed; and
• Pentium V, 2GHz or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and
770MB available HDD space.
Review Computer Specifications
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted
are as follows:
• Asus P8Z77-V motherboard, Intel i7 3.4Ghz 'Sandybridge';
• Asus Strix Geforce GTX970 OC 4Gb, graphics card;
• 16GB, DDR3, Corsair Vengeance, 2400MHz RAM;
• 500GB, WD Velociraptor - FSX;
• 128GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD - OS;
• 1.5TB flight simulator add-ons; and
• Windows 7, (64bit);
If, like me, you like general aviation flying and have been looking
to further your knowledge with more state-of-the-art avionics
equipment, then the Alabeo DA42 'Twin Star' is the aircraft for you.
You can take this aircraft anywhere from valley floor flying to the
dizzy heights of 18,000 ft, from the longest, largest airfields to
some of the shortest dirt/grass strips, they are all out there
waiting for you in the DA42 'Twin Star'. At a little under £25.00,
some may think it is a tad on the expensive side, but you should
seriously consider purchasing this aircraft, then decide for
yourself - it is worth it in my opinion.
Another Alabeo masterpiece and one which has gone further than any
previous Alabeo aircraft.
Excellent shine and reflections, both interior and exterior.
Wing flexing (a first for Alabeo).
Intuitive cockpit with plenty of documentation to help you learn.
Volumetric side view prop effect.
High quality 3D models and textures.
Slight frame rate dip.
Value for money (for some).
● External Model:
● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers):
● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like):
● Value for Money:
The Alabeo Diamond DA42 'Twin Star' is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.6/10,
with an "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.