The real world LT is made by a relatively new company to the aviation market called Epic. The aircraft shares many visual similarities to the C400, but that’s where the similarities end. The aircraft has a very small wheel base, large wings, a Turbo Prop engine, aerodynamic wing tips and retractable gear. It also includes a radically new designed interior compared to the C400. The aircraft is a pleasure to look at inside and out. The current aircraft has a Chelton system with Garmin GPS. But Epic has already started producing the G1000 version and Lionheart reflects this.
The engines in the Epic LT are the very high powered Pratt & Whitney Turbo Prop 1200hp PT-6, which can zip the LT around at over 350KTAS which, according to the Epic website, is the fastest single engine Turboprop. These engines allow the aircraft to climb at over 3000 feet a minute fully loaded and reach 25,000ft in just over 9 minutes at MTOW.
With a Service Ceiling of 31,000ft certified, the Epic LT is up there with the big boys and is able to avoid all types of terrain and low level General Aviation with ease. With a fully pressurized cabin and Carbon Fiber exterior build, not only is it very strong, but very light offering very short takeoff lengths.
One of the amazing features of this aircraft is the range. With a very fuel efficient engine and a very light structure, this aircraft can cruise at 288 TAS for over 1800nm with the maximum weight and load. The aircraft is fitted with fuel tanks totaling 288 gallons, or 350 gallons with an extended range tank.
Installation and Documentation
Installation was clean as expected with the Flight1 Wrapper. One thing I noticed was I had to manually navigate to the .exe in my C drive and run it to install the software. This was no issue with me but some users might find this a little confusing. After I found the Executable, it was a matter of running it and installing it in either your FSX or FS9 folder. Both can be installed, just run the executable each time for each sim.
The Documentation is somewhat brief, going over which panels pop up and what these panels contain is about it. The documentation includes a small introduction as well. One thing I still don’t get, is whether this is the Dynasty or the LT.
On Simmarket it's referred to as the LT Dynasty, but on the authors website, it’s the LT. The real world Epic Dynasty is a certified aircraft by Epic, but the LT is a separate aircraft still in the Experimental phase. So I'm not sure if this product is supposed to include features of both aircraft or what. In any case, this review will cover the specifications of the Epic LT.
After the installation, I started up FSX and was greeted by a newcomer to my hanger. Once in the sim, I noticed how amazingly friendly all portions of the aircraft were on performance. The aircraft had amazingly smooth flight controls and characteristics for that matter. Another surprise was the reflections of the metal and model which was very impressive. The metal exhaust cones have an amazing realistic look to them.
After checking out the FSX version, I whisked over to FS9 to check out the model there. This may sound weird, but I actually prefer the FS9 version over the FSX version. Not sure why, I just think the flight dynamics and general feel are more realistic in FS9. Sure FSX has Air Mass coding and such, but I just love the LT in FS9. Obviously the aircraft was made in FS9, and the FSX version was made using the FS9 version as a reference. The FSX version is not ported over according to the Author.
In general, they don’t differ at all apart from the Flight Dynamics and I found no bugs in either version.
The model is well done, and very smooth and sleek. I dare you to try to spot a elevated polygon in this model, because the smoothness of the exterior is just amazing and reflects the look of the real thing spot on. Another nice feature, as mentioned above, is the reflections of all different portions of the exterior model.
Other things, like flight controls, are fully modeled smoothly and the gear retracts and extends with the utmost fluidity. I was very impressed with the general looks of the aircraft.
Panel and VC
The VC was very refreshing. It was complete in all aspects and offered smooth gauges, including very smooth throttle controls and switches. I also noticed performance with the VC was acceptable in both FSX and FS9. Another welcomed feature was the rudder pedals and yoke move ment, both very fluid as well.
Flying the aircraft with the AP is an enjoyable experience both on final and on the climb. ILS performance was as expected, very smooth and tuned perfectly for this aircraft. The AP controlling the vertical speed and altitude hold was also nicely modeled.
The 2D panel is well implemented with a nice view of the panel while not sacrificing external visual reference. One thing some users may not like is the lack of gear and flap gauges somewhere on the 2D panel. Instead, if you have to have this feature, you must go to the VC to do this. Many of us will not find this a big issue, but for those that do, it's worth mentioning.
The G1000 system is just the default FSX G1000, so it requires the flight plan to be loaded through the flight planner. Those that fly on VATSIM will find this a little bit of a hindrance as many have experienced ATC changing a SID or STAR while in flight, so just be warned. One thing I think would be easier, would be for a buyer of this aircraft to get the Mindstar G1000, which is a totally independent Avionics suite for FSX or FS9 allowing the user to enter a flight plan fully in the sim and have the ability to edit it.
The Autopilot is a TS Sorcerer AP that is surprisingly in depth. Including GPSS, ALT, AP, TRK, NAV, REV, GPSV (APPR) VNAV and SEL. VS is completely selected from the AP unit as well as the heading, which can be selected in standby then activated. All of these functions are modeled including the VNAV function which is Vertical Climb Lock. Considering how difficult it was for me to learn the AP, you might want to review the manual as well.
In this version of the LT, they added a switch panel, a throttle quadrant, and a checklist PDA which is pretty sweet. It is far from what it used to have in v1.3/1.2 when you could only access the AP, PFD, and MFD, and you had to navigate to the VC to just simply access the lights and throttles, so cudos to Lionheart. This adds a big thumbs up to the developers from their customers.
The sounds are very nice and believable. When you push the throttle to 100% and listen to those engines spool up, it’s a very relaxing but powerful sound. It makes you think this aircraft was made to fly and is happy to whisk you away to your destination. So, as for the quality of the recording, it sounds very close to the 208 Caravan but it isn’t. It is recorded clean, especially in the cabin and I heard no pops, skips or any indication of a stopping point or looping point that can really drive me up the wall sometimes. These days, many simmers want realistic, quality sounds in their simulation and Lionheart will not disappoint with this expectation. From my experience, this package delivers sound wise.
The airfile exposed a few issues in terms of the Flight Dynamics of the LT. First, in FSX with 50% fuel and going full bore down the runway, you can lift off and climb at over 6000 fpm vertical speed without gaining or loosing airspeed. This is obviously not an F16, so I'm not sure if the thrust scalar needs a little adjustment.
I also noticed that the elevator effectiveness is quite touchy in FSX only. I would suggest going into the aircraft.cfg and adjusting the Flight Tuning lines to your liking if you are an FSX user. Other than that, you will notice it is extremely easy to fly and very intuitive. For those used to flying the heavy iron or small Cessna’s, this aircraft really fulfilled all my expectations of such a beautiful, powerful, and unique aircraft.
Summary / Closing Remarks
As aircraft go, it’s extremely impressive with its powerful engine and smooth flight dynamics. In terms of interior, it shows off a classy modern look with more leather than a Montana cattle ranch. Looking at the general uses for an aircraft like this, it looks to be a very substantial C400 and PC-12 competitor.
Well, do I like it? Very much so. If you love GA, you’ll love the Epic, especially if you’re a fan of the Cessna 400 or the PC-12. Although the Epic reflects much of the PC-12 and C400, it is in many ways a totally different animal. The learning curve is not steep and will appeal to any kind of pilot from rookie to advanced.
What I Like About The Epic LT
What I Don't Like About The Epic LT
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