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Guest shnewsman

PRAISE for the Airbuses

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I was in Los Angeles last week...flying America West's A320v's both ways from DCA, except for a 757 on the long leg back from Phoenix. While waiting for my flight back home at the Burbank airport, the AWA crew shows up at the gate to wait for their plane, due in about 20 mins later. I seize this opportunity to get some first-hand info on how the Airbuses are flown.I walk up to the Captain (I'll hide his name for now), introduce myself and say, "I fly your Airbus on Flight Simulator at home." I wasn't prepared for the response."Ohmygod! You have Flight Simulator? There must be 20 guys on our crew that have that! Do you have the PSS Airbus?""Of course," I say. I asked if I could pick his brain; he more than complied, rattling off figures off the top of his head for every question I had. We spent the next 20 minutes doing nothing but talking about FS and the PSS Airbus--and how realistic it is. It must be--if they fly it at home and on their laptops (most seemed to have it on their high-powered laptops, including that flight's FO). What coincidence.I make it to the top of the stairs (KBUR is an old-school airport; no jetways)...when the lead flight attendant holds me back, since I have an aisle seat. The Captain sees me in the doorway and says, "hey! come on in!" He offers me a jump seat and tells me to sit down while they do clearance and pre-start. "Here. Let me show you some of the differences between the PSS and the real thing." As he's going through DC power-up, he shows me how the real Airbuses seem to have a battery glitch. He starts both battery busses, shows me that, even though the right battery bus is ON, it shows as a FAULT on the MFD. Turning it off--then on again--clears the glitch. Apparently, according to him, a common occurance. He told me the onboard computers are no faster than a 286...and there are times, like his run the night before, where they do everything but crash...including affecting an AIR START without being told...even though the airstart function is supposed to be manual. They're apparently used to this; he wasn't fazed. The FO got clearance and they both started punching numbers in the computer. I got to enter the INIT ZFW and BLOCK (130,000 and 14.1). Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to even be in the cockpit in today's post-9/11 age, let alone get to touch anything! Incidentally; the FMGC is pretty damned close.Alas; it was time for pushback and start and I had to leave. Since then, though, the Captain has been nice enough to mail me used manifests and generated flight plans to fly at home. I flew the KBUR-KPHX route as directed. My flight time was off by 1 minute. Fuel was off by 100 pounds.I have a new insight on my affection for the PSS products after that lone 20 minutes on the flight deck. The only thing I hope you'll do in the PSS product is improve the VC functionality so all the switches and buttons work as they do in the 2D cockpit. Once you sit in a real one, you're spoiled.sean hall

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Awesome Sean.Thanks for sharing the experience with us matey.You also helped answer a question for me; to keep or sell a CD version of A320 PIC I was given.I'll just keep using my PSS A320 Pro, seeing as the figures are pretty accurate. Cheers.Antonio.

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