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Zylx

What is the best freeware A321 package?

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Hi, I want to try out flying an Airbus and I wanted to start with a freeware plane first before I go for a payware plane.  I was checking out various sites like Rikoooo and others and I am so confused by the many freeware Airbus packages out there.  Most don't go into much detail in the descriptions like what systems are functional or what kind of VC does it have (does it use the default FSX VC or is it custom made and higher fidelity?) and the flight model, etc.

I want one that has as many systems functional as possible, and I want a plane that has a higher quality VC and decent flight model.

Also, if anyone has any tips or advice for flying an Airbus, please feel free to tell me.  Back when I flew the FSX A321 I could never figure out how to fly the word not allowed thing manually, the plane would always fight my control inputs and I could never figure out what I was doing wrong.  I did figure out that switching off the FBW switches above the pilots' head helps a lot but I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to be done.

I know Airbus's are supposed to be flown strictly using the autopilot most of the time, but I still want to know how to fly one manually for takeoffs and landings at least and during emergency situations as well.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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People will hate me for saying this, but the only freeware alternatives I see would be upgrading to MSFS and get the FBW A320; or downgrading to FS9, sacrificing the VC and go with the latest version of vasFMC.

For FSX/P3D, the only freeware I'm aware of is the one by François Doré. I never flew it (when I moved to FSX, I already had the Wilco buses from my FS9 days), so I can't say if it behaves as an Airbus (regarding at least thrust levers and sidestick). But I can say it's based on the default FSX A321 VC. Anything better, you'd need to pay, either Aerosoft, Blackbox or FSL (top of the top).

PS: the default FSX FBW is a disaster.


Best regards,
Luis Hernández 20px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png20px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg.png

Main rig: self built, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X with PBO enabled (but default settings, CO -15 mV, and SMT ON) Ryzen 7 5700X3D (with SMT off and CO -50 mV), 2x16 GB DDR4-3200 RAM, Nvidia RTX3060 Ti 8GB, 256 GB M.2 SSD (OS+apps) + 2x1 TB SATA III SSD (sims) + 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD (storage), ID-Cooling SE-224-XTS air cooler, Viewsonic VX2458-MHD 1920x1080@120 Hz, Windows 10 Pro. Runing FSX-SE, MSFS and P3D v5.4 (with v4.5 default airports).

Mobile rig: ASUS Zenbook UM425QA (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H APU @3.2 GHz and boost disabled, 1 TB M.2 SSD, 16 GB RAM, Windows 11 Pro). Running FS9 there... sometimes on just battery! FSX-SE also installed, just in case. 

VKB Gladiator NXT Premium Left + GNX THQ as primary controllers. Xbox Series X|S wireless controller as standby/travel.

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3 hours ago, Luis Hernandez said:

People will hate me for saying this, but the only freeware alternatives I see would be upgrading to MSFS and get the FBW A320; or downgrading to FS9, sacrificing the VC and go with the latest version of vasFMC.

For FSX/P3D, the only freeware I'm aware of is the one by François Doré. I never flew it (when I moved to FSX, I already had the Wilco buses from my FS9 days), so I can't say if it behaves as an Airbus (regarding at least thrust levers and sidestick). But I can say it's based on the default FSX A321 VC. Anything better, you'd need to pay, either Aerosoft, Blackbox or FSL (top of the top).

PS: the default FSX FBW is a disaster.

Yeah from what I can tell, most if not all of the freeware Airbus's seems to be some variation of the default FSX Airbus, and you're right, I've read that the FBW in the FSX Airbus is badly done.  If someone made an add-on that fixed the FBW issues with it I would still use that plane, I've also seen enhanced VC textures for it too so would make it look a little better anyway.

I will never use MSFS, not to start a war here (I'm just being honest) but I absolutely hate the flight modelling of MSFS aircraft.  They all feel very arcade-ish to me compared to FSX, P3D and X-Plane (which I also use sometimes).  It takes the fun out of flying for me so I don't use MSFS, I like realism.

I did look around and found this very cheap Airbus from Just Flight: https://secure.simmarket.com/justflight-a320-jetliner-(en_4891).phtml

They don't have an A321 but the A320 would do just fine and it's only about $15 USD.  It would be a good beginner Airbus for someone like me I think.  I checked out old reviews and they are good.  The only issue is that it's an FSX only aircraft so there's no garrentee that it will work in P3Dv5, though I've had good luck installing old JF FSX aircraft so far.  I have the Estonia FSX to P3D migration tool which really helps to make sure old FSX aircraft install properly.


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Zylx said:

I did look around and found this very cheap Airbus from Just Flight: https://secure.simmarket.com/justflight-a320-jetliner-(en_4891).phtml

Save your money: It's the same VC as the default FSX A321 (with a slightly improved MCDU). You'll do better with the freeware alternatives at Rikooo. I guess you have seen this one:

https://www.rikoooo.com/downloads/viewdownload/6/674

Looks promising for freeware.

Edited by Luis Hernandez
  • Like 1

Best regards,
Luis Hernández 20px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png20px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg.png

Main rig: self built, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X with PBO enabled (but default settings, CO -15 mV, and SMT ON) Ryzen 7 5700X3D (with SMT off and CO -50 mV), 2x16 GB DDR4-3200 RAM, Nvidia RTX3060 Ti 8GB, 256 GB M.2 SSD (OS+apps) + 2x1 TB SATA III SSD (sims) + 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD (storage), ID-Cooling SE-224-XTS air cooler, Viewsonic VX2458-MHD 1920x1080@120 Hz, Windows 10 Pro. Runing FSX-SE, MSFS and P3D v5.4 (with v4.5 default airports).

Mobile rig: ASUS Zenbook UM425QA (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H APU @3.2 GHz and boost disabled, 1 TB M.2 SSD, 16 GB RAM, Windows 11 Pro). Running FS9 there... sometimes on just battery! FSX-SE also installed, just in case. 

VKB Gladiator NXT Premium Left + GNX THQ as primary controllers. Xbox Series X|S wireless controller as standby/travel.

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There are models from Project Airbus that work fine in P3Dv4-6.  There are also versions that use a modified FSX stock VC which isn't bad.

I've been updating a freeware A321 and have so far modified the flight dynamics for increased realism, as well as modified the gauge code to accurately display the flap settings.

I still need to do the lights and tweak the flight dynamics.

I'll have it ready in a few weeks and will make it available on my website.

Dave

  • Like 2

Simulator: P3Dv6.1

System Specs: Intel i7 13700K CPU, MSI Mag Z790 Tomahawk Motherboard, 32GB DDR5 6000MHz RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Video Card, 3x 1TB Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 SSDs, Windows 11 Home OS

My website for P3D stuff: https://sites.google.com/view/thep3dfiles/home

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Luis Hernandez said:

Save your money: It's the same VC as the default FSX A321 (with a slightly improved MCDU). You'll do better with the freeware alternatives at Rikooo. I guess you have seen this one:

https://www.rikoooo.com/downloads/viewdownload/6/674

Looks promising for freeware.

Looks pretty decent from what the video shows, I'll give it a try.  Thanks for sharing this one, I actually don't recall seeing this particular package at Rikoooo

I have to disagree with your statement that the JF plane uses the default FSX VC, I think it looks much better from all the screenshots I've seen of it.  It's not super high fidelity but it looks much better to me than the FSX plane.  Also, having an MCDU, even if it's a lite version would be really nice.

Edited by Zylx

Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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42 minutes ago, dave2013 said:

There are models from Project Airbus that work fine in P3Dv4-6.  There are also versions that use a modified FSX stock VC which isn't bad.

I've been updating a freeware A321 and have so far modified the flight dynamics for increased realism, as well as modified the gauge code to accurately display the flap settings.

I still need to do the lights and tweak the flight dynamics.

I'll have it ready in a few weeks and will make it available on my website.

Dave

When you finish modifying the flight dynamics would you please be willing to share it with me?  I would even pay you for it if it really makes the plane fly more realistically.

I've also thought of piecing together my own Airbus from all the different Airbus mods out there, I've never seen a flight dynamics mod though.


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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I see you got XP12 in your library, so why not start with it's default A330 as a stating point, it's good enough to get a taste on Airbuses in general IMO.

Then move to Toliss when it's on discount😁, I have both FSL and Toliss buses but I haven't touch FLS320 for like a year now.

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6 hours ago, C2615 said:

I see you got XP12 in your library, so why not start with it's default A330 as a stating point, it's good enough to get a taste on Airbuses in general IMO.

Then move to Toliss when it's on discount😁, I have both FSL and Toliss buses but I haven't touch FLS320 for like a year now.

That's a good point, I do have XP12, however I haven't used it much tbh.  I don't use it that much because I really don't like the way X-Plane 12 looks visually, everything is way too dark looking and it kills the atmosphere for me.  I also find the scenery very boring and bland to fly over.  I mainly use X-Plane 11 as I invested lots of money on add-ons of all kinds, greatly improved the scenery, clouds, etc. and I have many aircraft so I use it a lot still.  Laminar initially did a poor job with the scenery in X-Plane 12 imo, however that just all changed literally yesterday when they finally released version 12.1.0, thank the gods!

They fixed the dark atmosphere and dark shadows issues and the sim looks great visually now, also they overhauled the scenery and it looks many times better than it did before.  The terrain, the trees, the autogen buildings all look awesome now.  In fact, regarding the autogen buildings, you don't even need SimHeaven scenery to get full worldwide autogen coverage now.  I forgot X-Plane 12 even had a default Airbus tbh, but you are right, I should give it a try.  I still want a good one for P3D though too.  I love both X-Plane 11 (and now 12) and P3D, I use both a lot depending on my mood and I love both for different reasons.  One aircraft I don't own for X-Plane 11 or 12 is an Airbus (besides the default A330), I will give the A330 a try though now that you mention it.


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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I would highly recommend that you get either the Aerosoft airbus or the FSLabs one (this one I can highly recommend) if you want an airbus in P3D. As some people have already mentioned, there are no good freeware airbus A321 available and to be honest I see no reason why should start with freeware (unless of course its a budget issue). The airbus aircraft are quite easy to fly generally even though the learning curve at first can seem a bit steep. 🙂


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So I downloaded and installed the Airbus package that @Luis Hernandez suggested and it's actually very nice for a freeware plane.  It has about a mid-level amount of systems modeled and visually it looks really nice inside and out. In the manual it talks about how accurate the flight model is, it also models NORMAL LAW and DIRECT LAW FBW modes.  I don't even think the FSX Airbus models any FBW laws lol

I am still having problems manually flying the plane though, just like the FSX Airbus, this one also keeps fighting my control inputs making it almost impossible to fly it.  I try to pull up and the plane just won't do it, I try to bank left and it just doesn't want to, etc.  I just don't understand what it is I'm doing wrong.

Anyone have any advice for me please?


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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40 minutes ago, Zylx said:

Anyone have any advice for me please?

I tried using that FD-FMC A320 by Francis Dore in FSX and just never liked it.  The vertical navigation never worked right and the thing is just too complex and hacked to work well, especially in later versions of P3D.

Kudos to him for his work, though.

Dave

 


Simulator: P3Dv6.1

System Specs: Intel i7 13700K CPU, MSI Mag Z790 Tomahawk Motherboard, 32GB DDR5 6000MHz RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Video Card, 3x 1TB Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 SSDs, Windows 11 Home OS

My website for P3D stuff: https://sites.google.com/view/thep3dfiles/home

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10 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I tried using that FD-FMC A320 by Francis Dore in FSX and just never liked it.  The vertical navigation never worked right and the thing is just too complex and hacked to work well, especially in later versions of P3D.

Kudos to him for his work, though.

Dave

 

I don't think the FMC is the problem.  I was hand flying with no autopilot help and I didn't even have program the FMC for the flight I did.  Like I said before, I had similar issues with the old FSX default Airbus and it has no FMC.


Specs: MSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon, Ryzen 5800X, 3600Mhz CL25 RAM, AMD Sapphire Nitro+ 6900 XT

Sims: FSX:SE, P3Dv5.4, X-Plane 11 & 12

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When I used P3D, I do not remember any quality freeware Airbus. FSLabs was my go-to. I love Toliss in XP12, so that's what I use now, as well as iniBuilds in MSFS (the A300 is great)... But I would recommend to fully set up MCDU if you want to fly the aircraft. It's not meant to be flown without proper configuration and setting of the performance parameters. Once you set it up, feel free to handfly it all you want, but that's not a bird that you can hop into like a Cessna and just go. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/12/2024 at 6:26 AM, Zylx said:

I don't think the FMC is the problem.

The Airbus is highly automated and not really designed for much hand flying. 

If you're into the super accurate systems and like programming the FMC and such, then the Aerosoft or FSLabs offerings are good.

Personally, I'm not into sitting at the gate for an hour fiddling with the switches and FMC and following checklists like real pilots do. 

I enjoy the flight planning and actual flight, and for that all I need is a decently realistic aircraft with accurate flight dynamics and sounds.

Dave

Edited by dave2013

Simulator: P3Dv6.1

System Specs: Intel i7 13700K CPU, MSI Mag Z790 Tomahawk Motherboard, 32GB DDR5 6000MHz RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Video Card, 3x 1TB Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 SSDs, Windows 11 Home OS

My website for P3D stuff: https://sites.google.com/view/thep3dfiles/home

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