Generally to a newcomer to today’s general aircraft world, the Liberty XL2 may be redefining the smaller end of the real world general aviation market. Priding itself on safety through new technology and composite manufacturing, this "newbie" advertises a pilot workload reduction and flying simplicity.
The innovative FADEC or Full Authority Digital Control on this fuel injected two-seater, simply means an all new engine management system that eliminates the need for propeller, mixture and carb heat controls. Equipped with state of the art avionics, the Liberty XL2 is a sporty stylish new class of today’s light aircraft class. From published articles I love this quote “If the Cessna 150 is your Toyota Corolla, then the Liberty XL2 is your Mazda Miata.” Based priced at almost $140,000.00 US, it would be a far stretch to budget in the real deal as compared to the "as real as it gets".
Eaglesoft general aviation series, including the four-place Cirrus SR20 G2 and the Cirrus SR22 G2, adds to this ultra-modern lineup with the two-place Liberty XL2.
Installation and Documentation
Installation for the Liberty XL2, yes you heard it before, is as simple as it gets. The typical product downloads from the Eaglesoft site with the e-commerce wrapper which processes the purchase transaction providing an order number, a personal product key file and a four digits product password, which unlocks the product's installer.
Following the on screen prompts, load up MSFS and select your new Liberty XL2 and enjoy your flight. Well yes, a quick flight around your favorite scenery in your freshly purchased Liberty would be refreshing, but don’t count out the documents. Every product, whether it be sceneries, aircraft or what have you generally comes with a set of publications that helps you find your ways around the product.
Eaglesoft really shines here with great publications in Adobe format. Included in the download, and accessed in the aircrafts folder, are seven separate document files describing in-depth operation of the Garmin, GTX 330, GMA 340, GNS 430 and GNS 530. Didn't I say the Liberty comes complete with modern avionics. Whether you may be familiar with the operation of such Garmin products, the manuals are well written and provide a good understanding of each component's operation. A quick read here saves a lot of stumbling in the dark with the new avionics and trial by error.
Other documents included specific to the Liberty XL2 are easy to read cockpit layouts, the required checklists, the Liberty XL2 pilot information manual, and, finally, the Liberty XL2 Digitrak manual.
Though this may seem like a lot of manuals for an aircraft that advertises pilot workload reduction and flying simplicity, it’s the usual required reading for aviation and I promise you there won’t be a test.
Overall the included manuals cover 121 total pages of easy to read and clearly illustrated overviews of the Liberty XL2 and its features. Well done.
Well rounded and skillfully crafted, Eaglesoft has modeled the Liberty XL2 in a true likeness of the real deal. Of the two included variants, the XL2 and the XL2 Retro, the XL2 variant has a more appealing paint scheme as compared to the Retro’s base white and lettering. Finer details include various placarding much like what would be found on today’s manufactured aircraft.
Clean glossy lines and wheel pants on this fixed tricycle landing gear offer a stylish likeness of the composite structure found as before on the Cirrus SR20 and SR22. Described as a two-seater trainer or touring aircraft, the XL2 butterfly style canopy doors offer a high visibility “glass cockpit”. Other goodies accessed through the Liberty pre-flight gauge include animated pilot and passenger, sunglasses, chocks, plugs and tie downs. An opening check oil panel and a golf bag for baggage are also detailed.
Visible in the spot plane view, the animated crew constantly looking about and are in motion to the flight controls inputs. Exterior lighting such as landing, nav and strobe lights are detailed, but visible cockpit lighting and detailing through the exterior views are very complimentary.
Of the usual moving flight controls, a stick and not a yolk control the XL2, offering more room on the panel. The electric elevator trim characteristic to the XL2 was a bit odd to get accustomed to. Though it functions normally, the elevator trim position indication is a set of lights found on the center pedestal. Finding the neutral green postion was awkward to find unless I functioned the trim fully in one direction to solve whether I was in the nose up or down position.
Also characteristic to the Liberty XL2 is a free castoring nose wheel and hand brakes for steering. Though rudder joystick inputs for steering still function, my differential braking keyboard settings did not and attempting to taxi around with the hand brakes was awkward enough in the sim world.
In the cabin VC and 2D cockpit views are equally functioning, however, click hot spots to the throttle console are not available in the VC view. Though the panels are modeled as the true XL2, there is a sense of dullness or a lacking of more photorealistic detailing as what can be found on other designs or even earlier Eaglesoft products like the Citation X cabin. Cockpit popup views include the Electrical, GNS radio stack, throttle console, hobbs meter, and preflight popup views. Flight instrument pop-ups are not featured and there was a noticeable difference of the quality of the instrument panels markings and placarding as compared to the higher quality more distinctive GNS radio stack.
Operation of various switches was simple enough in both VC and 2D views. Featured in the XL2 is the “Vision Tech” digital engine display gauge, an all-in-one instrument displaying engine parameters with a functioning CHT/EGT button. Also featured in the Liberty XL2 is the “DigiTrak” autopilot. Though a bit different from the traditional autopilot, the Digitrak was simple enough to use for maintaining altitude, vertical speed, GPS coupling or heading control. Operation of the Digitrak is clearly outlined in the included manual.
Cockpit lighting is distinctive and illumination on the instruments and red panel lighting adds to a realistic night environment. The real prize here is the Garmin radio stack including the Garmin, GTX 330 transponder, GMA 340 audio panel, GNS 430 GPS and GNS 530 GPS. More and more payware GA aircraft for MSFS include a similar line of Garmin components that are far more capable than the default GPS500. Not to get into detail like the included manuals but this is a fantastic avionics bundle that, as quoted from the manual, “ may I urge customers to stifle their yawns and actually spend some time reading this manual and exploring all of the wonders to be revealed herein.”
The sounds included were much as expected. With various beeps, boost pump whirs, canopy closing sounds and subtle wind noise much of the sound files are that of the engine. Engine startup, idle, cruise power and full power were realistic enough for an aircraft of this type. However, I would have to agree with a comment posted on the Eaglesoft forum that the lower power setting in cruise sound does have an annoying looping like some bolt is vibrating off (lib3.wav) file. As a reply to the post in the forum, the sound files were recorded from an actual XL2 at various power settings.
Well as advertised by Liberty Aerospace, this next generation two-seater is truly easy to fly. It can be said just turn the key and start flying much like driving your car. With the FADEC engine system of the XL2, the need for propeller, mixture, and carb heat controls have been eliminated. Starting up the XL2 consists of turning on the battery, turn on FADEC, boost pump on and start her up. That’s it.
All engine power settings for take off, climb and cruise are adjusted simply with the throttle, no fuss, no muss. However, if you’re like me always tweaking and adjusting, fiddling with something or another in the cockpit, the XL2 may seem a bit unchallenging. With a good flight plan and the Garmin 530 set up with the Digitek autopilot, even navigating is a breeze on a long trip. This may be why the windows are so large to take in the sights of the scenery down below.
This would be why the XL2 is classed as a trainer and monitoring the terrain and weather is essential along with the pesky ATC interrupting you as you pass along through the airspace.
Cleared for take off, flaps set to 20, the Liberty roll was short and at 65 knots I was airborne and climbing with 80 knots. The take off was uneventful as it should be, and leveling out at 5000 feet I reduced power to cruise speed of 120 knots. Now, not the quickest single on the market, the XL2 flew along very stable. Yet it was quite responsive in free flights. I was quite impressed with its short field landing and take-offs and it was a lot of fun challenging myself into those tight grassy fields I normally would ball up other GA aircraft.
Fully IFR capable, the Liberty XL2 was easy enough to manage, however with high settings on MSFS and rain above detailed sceneries I did have frame rate issues. To be fair, I flew in bad weather conditions over untouched default scenery with the XL2 and still experienced these freeze ups and re-flew the same flight with other GA payware A/C with no issues. I recall reading a similar topic in the forum and may be attributed to the non-default FS VC rain effects. Simply, I’ll keep to flying my light GA in fair weather.
Wrapping It Up
Well, the Liberty XL2 may not be for everyone’s taste. Simmers looking for a challenging busy cockpit may want to pass this one up. Yet if your looking for the modern, well equipped GA aircraft of today, with less workload for the pilot and more time flying, then this would be a great start.
the Eaglesoft Liberty XL2 is well modeled, yet unless the Liberty XL2 is
what you are specifically looking for, I personally look
for the extra detailing
and features included in other payware designers as Dreamfleet A36, Flight
1 Rockwell Commander 112A. These are priced slightly higher or Carenado products
which are priced less. For new pilots and less skilled simmers, the Liberty
XL2 provides a
reflection into today’s real world modern general aircraft and you may
not be surprised to see one at a flying school near you.
|What I Like About the Liberty XL2|
|What I Don't Like About the Liberty XL2|
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