• REVIEW - Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319


    WR269

    Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319

    A review by Roger Curtiss

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    In mid-September Aerosoft released this product by saying, “…to do a serious simulation of simulating the task of the Captain you need a seriously simulated aircraft.”

     

    Their response to that declaration is this Airbus aircraft.  The A318 is the weak sister of the A320 family.  Very few have been ordered and it probably will not be in production much longer due to these weak sales.  The slightly larger A319 variant, on the other hand, has found acceptance by many airlines as an economical workhorse on thin routes and as an entry-level aircraft to pioneer new routes.

     

    In announcing this new aircraft, Aerosoft touts an extensive array of five special features, 14 general features, 17 systems and 18 additional features.  It is quite a list and the primary focus of this review will be to parse these features and assess whether the aircraft delivers as advertised.

     

    Prior to dissecting these claims, however, let us dispense with the obligatory recitation of the minimum system requirements for this simulation:

     

    Platform:

    FSX Gold with SP2 or Acceleration and P3Dv2

     

    Computer:

    Windows Vista/7/8 (64 bit recommended)

    3.0 GHz processor (Dual Core recommended)

    2GB Ram (4GB recommended)

    Mouse with wheel (“Absolutely Needed”)

    3D Graphics Card 512Mb (2GB recommended)

    Joystick or Yoke controller with throttle and rudder functions

    2.5 GB hard disk drive space

     

    The aircraft pack is available as a download from Aerosoft along with a 110-page manual (in English or German) and a paint kit.  Both the manual and paint kit are free downloads.

     

    If you have ever downloaded and installed an Aerosoft product then you know the process, and that it works well. If this is your first Aerosoft download (shame on you-with their huge catalog surely you found something of interest before this) do not be concerned…it will go well if you follow the instructions.

     

    Now…where were we?  Oh yes, back to the features.  I will list them all and then comment in depth upon each one later.

     

     

    SPECIAL FEATURES

     

    -Weather Radar -fully functional without need for specific add-on

    -100% working copy of FS2Crew RAAS

    -Highly Advanced semi-automated Audio Checklist

    -Co-Pilot to assist

    -Very complex Audio Environment

     

     

    GENERAL FEATURES

     

    Late model cockpit using LCD displays and updated ADIRS

    Modeling/texture using the latest technology to be easy on frame rates

    Lights actually illuminate objects

    Dozens of non-standard animations all with sound effects

    Extensive options to show ground objects and actually provide ground power

    Included web server for use of MCDU via web browser on a smartphone or tablet

    Many systems programmed in XML to allow users to change the code

    Extensive manuals with high-detail step-by-step documents with checklists and procedures also available in eBook format

    AES and GSX compatible

    SDK will be available.  LINDA connectivity available

    Add-in system allows aircraft to be extended with third party applications all using the right MCDU

    Add-in view system

    Add-in sound system

    Add-in checklists system

     

     

    SYSTEMS

     

    Fly-by-wire with flight envelope protection, stall protection, pitch and roll limiter, g load limiter, over speed protection, alpha floor protection, auto trim

    Fully custom autopilot

    FADEC with flex takeoff mode

    MCDU

    Flight plan to include SIDs, STARs, transitions, approaches, go-around procedures, holds, managed climb and descent

    VOR tracking with DME arc capability

    Uses AIRAC files for navigation

    RAAS

    14 ECAM pages

    Digital Flight Recorder

    ADIR

    TCAS works with AI, ICAO and VATSIM traffic

    Realistic Electrical Bus

    Full custom fuel flow

    Autobrake with constant deceleration

    Loading and Refueling Modules

    Print option for Performance Sheet, V-speeds, runway data

     

     

    ADDITIONAL FEATURES

     

    Tiller

    Realistic ground drag

    Advanced Goodrich carbon brakes with realistic temperatures

    Highly accurate engine parameters

    Livery choices

    APU with correct startup time

    View panel bar to access 11 2D and 16 3D views

    16 checklists

    Checklists automated

    Spoken PF checklists with PNF confirmation responses

    PNF can perform some flight deck functions

    Infobar displays next manual action

    Interaction of AES pushback options

    Speed limiter

    Option to pause FSX during certain flight phases

    Saving mode settings for next flight

    Ground services

    Doors

     

    As you can see, discussing these features is going to take awhile.  So, before we start, I suggest you get up and get yourself some refreshment.  Don’t worry, I will wait to start until you get back.

     

    OK then, here we go.

     

    A good place to start is with the manuals.

    Extensive manuals with high-detail step-by-step documents with checklists and procedures also available in eBook format

     

    The free download manual is composed of 110 pages and is quite comprehensive; however, it is actually volume 6 of an 8-volume package.

     

    Once the A318/A319 has been installed, an Aerosoft folder is created in the main FSX folder and it has all the documents in PDF format:

     

    Vol. 1-The Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319 in FSX -33 pages containing information about using the aircraft in FSX and an overview of various features such as the weather radar, RAAS, Flight Recorder, Fuel Planner, Livery Manager, View Systems, Animations, and perhaps my favorite-Performance Sheet Printing (the data for takeoff, once entered in the MCDU can be printed by pushing the printer button the center console.

     

    Vol. 2-Normal Procedures -27 pages providing actions to be taken in order to comply with each phase of checklist procedures

     

    Vol. 3-(titled as The Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319 in FSX and showing version # 01-03-001 but should be Procedure Guide version 03-01-001)-3 pages in checklist format of the Normal Procedures.  I found this section to be confusing from the beginning.  The first section is Cockpit Preparation whereas the Normal Procedures have two sections preceding that- Cockpit Safety Inspection and Preliminary Cockpit Preparation.  Thus, the Procedure Guide cannot be referenced until after these first two phases are completed.

     

    Vol. 4-Systems-62 pages detailing systems operation and control functions

     

    Vol. 5-Checklist -2 pages containing just a few of the items in a general fashion for each flight phase.  This is not a comprehensive item-by-item blueprint to conducting a flight

     

    Vol. 6-Step-by-Step-100 pages designated as a flight tutorial for a trip from Innsbruck Austria (LOWI) to Nice France (LFMN) but it also provides an overview of the different instrument panels and flight deck views available and a description of the symbology and operation of displays and controls.  With that background established, the tutorial flight is executed in a laborious step-by-step fashion that covers every nuance of powering up the aircraft, loading passengers, cargo and fuel, programming the flight plan and all of the other procedures from cold and dark cockpit to securing the airplane at the destination. 

     

    This detailed and well-illustrated flight is accompanied by ten pages of checklists and procedures spreadsheets showing what panel area is referenced for each item, the system on that panel, the corresponding checklist for that item and the action taken by both pilots in reference to the item.

     

    The logic is that one flies the tutorial by using the checklist/procedure pages along with the tutorial flight explanation of how to perform each action.  Eventually, the pilot becomes accustomed to the procedures and can use just the checklist/procedure pages to prepare for and fly a flight.

     

    Vol. 7-Thrust Lever Setup-6 pages- A troubleshooting guide for those (such as myself) who experience a problem with the thrust levers.  It offers solutions based on FSX control settings as well as via FSUIPC.  Aerosoft states that FSUIPC is not needed in order to operate their Airbus models but nonetheless provides two possible solutions to problems experienced by FSUIPC users.  I initially tried both the FSX and FSUIPC solutions to overcome my problem of thrust levers that would not respond to commands at all and then to solve a problem of the levers being in either reverse or nearly full thrust positions.

     

    Vol. 8-Airbus Weird and Wonderful Airbus Logic  (referenced as Vol. 10 in the intro to Vol. 1)-8 pages offering an explanation of some of the Airbus “quirks” that make their aircraft less intuitive to pilots familiar with Boeing airliners.  Basically, the Airbus is engineered to operate many more systems automatically and the flight control logic is designed to limit possible excessive pilot inputs that might cause the aircraft to depart from controlled flight (A philosophical difference that is practically guaranteed to initiate spirited debate between Airbus and Boeing fans.)

     

    What all these eight volumes describe will likely be required reading for pilots new to the Airbus (well, seven of them anyway if your throttles work all right) but experienced Airbus operators will just as likely already be quite familiar with how this bird lives, breathes and aviates and will be able to pass on absorbing some of what is written.

     

    16 checklists

     The preceding seems like an excellent segue into this item.

    There are quite a few (but not 16) different checklists and procedures flows included and so it is difficult to determine which constitute the number referenced here.

     

    There are the aptly titled Checklists and Procedures A319 CFM from Vol. 6 that would seem to be a logical place to start, however, it contains 24 sections that could be construed as 18 different phases

     

    Then there is the Normal Checklist from Vol. 5 that has 12 short checklists starting with Cockpit Crew Check consisting of only 6 items

    - Preflight Briefing

    - ADIRS

    - Cabin Signs

    - Fuel Quantity

    - TO Data

    - Altimeters

     

    It does not cover the extensive preparation needed to bring the aircraft from a cold and dark state to the point where these actions can be verified.

     

    Volume 3 offers the Procedure Guide-18 checklist sections commencing with Cockpit Preparation.  But, unlike the Vol. 6 Cockpit Preparation Checklist and Procedures, it also does not start with a cold and dark state.

     

    So, the bottom here is that as far as I can see all the information and line items required to power up, program and fly this bird are present-they just are not in one place.

     

    Now, having said that, there are two features that render this problem somewhat moot.

     

    Automated Checklists

    A push of a couple buttons on the right MCDU activates and starts an automated checklist that will run through most of the procedures and set the switches in the correct positions.  It is your responsibility to input all flight plan information into the MCDU but the automated checklists will do almost everything else to get the airplane ready to fly.

     

    The checklists are divided into 18 sections that can be selected on the right MCDU.

    (Cockpit Prep/Before Start/Pushback/Engine Start/After Start/Taxi/Before Takeoff/Takeoff/After Takeoff/Climb/Cruise/Descent Prep/Descent/Approach/Final/Landing/After Landing/Parking

     

    This might be an opportune moment to mention the right MCDU.  The pedestal view of the flight deck features 2 MCDU screens and keyboards.  The left one is used as would be expected to enter commands for the aircraft Flight Management System.  The right unit, however, does not mimic that function.  Instead, it is devoted to managing aspects of the simulation and its various pages offer menus to activate/deactivate:

     aircraft state (cold dark, turn around, taxi, takeoff user-defined)

     aircraft doors (4 cabin and 2 cargo open/closed), 

    ground services (traffic cones, wheel chocks, external power-GPU or AES)

    options (sound…cabin crew, flight crew, ATC chatter, ENH GPWS) (view system…panel bar (9 panel views), wing view (6 wing views),  view mode (VC or 2D), position of the panel and wing view bars (horizontal or vertical), and sound

    load/fuel (passenger count, cargo weight, fuel load

    checklist

     

    Add-in checklists system

    Spoken PF checklists with PNF confirmation responses

    Highly Advanced semi-automated Audio Checklist

    Co-Pilot to assist

    PNF can perform some flight deck functions

    Infobar displays next manual action

    These are very nifty features that rival FS2Crew for functionality.  By activating the checklist function in combination with the Co-Pilot option the Captain and FO will run through many of the system checks and set switches to the proper positions for selected flight phases.  The difference between this and FS2Crew is mainly that you are relegated to the position of observer, listening to the Captain and FO run the checks.  It makes it far simpler to get things in order but at the expense of your personal involvement in doing so.  Personal preference rules the day here and you can opt to have the automated checklist run without the Co-Pilot function in which case there will be some checklist items to which you must perform an action in order to continue.

     

    The info bar is a line of green script that appears at the top of the instrument panel and on the right MCDU screen to prompt an action needed (commencing a checklist or performing an action to cue the checklist system for the next flight phase).

     

    While at the gate, there are options to have visible traffic cones, wheel chocks, and external power can be activated (which is advisable as the batteries are modeled realistically to run down after extended use).

    Passenger and cargo doors can be opened and closed, as you deem necessary. The options are:

    -extensive options to show ground objects and actually provide ground power

    -ground services

    -doors

     

    Full Navigation support

    Installs with NAVDATA PRO (latest AIRAC) and is Navigraph compatible

    Your choice here.  I use Navigraph and it loads perfectly.

     

    Late model cockpit using LCD displays and updated ADIRS

    Modeling/texture using the latest technology to be easy on frame rates

    This is a good-looking airplane.  The level of detail on the external views is impressive with placards, inspection panels, and aircraft surfaces well modeled.  The cockpit appearance is outstanding.  Lettering and displays are very clear and the LCD screens (4 of them) are fully adjustable for brightness.

     

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    Lights actually illuminate objects

    I was intrigued by this item and was eager to check it out but encountered some problems with the taxi light not always functioning.  When it does work, however, there does appear to be a more genuine illumination of the area ahead.

     

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    In addition, the illuminated areas of the aircraft, such as the engine nacelles from aircraft lights do look very realistic in the way the light hits them.

     

    Dozens of non-standard animations all with sound effects

    Very complex Audio Environment

    There are quite a few animations, cockpit windows open and close, the standby compass drops down from the ceiling, and a sun visor can be moved into position.  Some of the sound effects are just that, pages turning, flight deck door opening and comments from the flight attendant.  I found many of these to be initially entertaining but then they became annoying.  There is a sound wave file available to suppress the co-pilot’s sneeze.  I loaded it, but it had no effect, and I found it easier simply to delete the wave files for the cough, sneeze and flight attendant comments.  I get an error message that these files cannot be opened when I select the aircraft to load but a few clicks remedies that and I feel the tradeoff is worth the effort.

    As for the complexity of the audio environment-knobs and switches have satisfying clicks, fans whir, thrust levers make a solid clunk when they hit a detent…all in all, a very encapsulating environment.

     

    Loading and Refueling Modules

    There is a fuel planner provided and, in keeping with the philosophy of making this a complex aircraft model, there is the option of using it in simple or advanced mode. In simple mode, one uses sliders to enter passenger count and cargo weight and the departure and arrival airports.  The system then determines how much fuel to load.  In advanced mode, in addition to the sliders and trip distance there are blocks to enter planned flight level, taxi and APU times, distance to an alternate airport, holding fuel, contingency fuel, reserve fuel, wind speed/direction and air temperature.  For each entry, the appropriate amount of fuel is added to the total load.  There is also an option to adjust the aircraft center of gravity and an indicator for the pitch trim setting.

     

    Regardless of which method you choose there is an option to either auto load the configuration with the aircraft or generate a load sheet for later entry during preparation for flight.

     

    There has been discussion on the Aerosoft forum about the fact that the load sheet tool offers the choice to compute fuel weight in either kilograms or pounds.  Unfortunately, the choice of measurement is not carried forward onto the flight deck displays.  There, and when entering the aircraft parameters in the MCDU, aircraft gross weight and fuel weights are displayed in kilograms regardless.  This can be a bit confusing to those of who live in a country that refuses to embrace the metric system and does require a bit of mental exercise to ensure the proper numbers are entered.  One way around this is to work with the fuel planner in pounds and then switch the reference to kilograms and note the numbers that can then be entered into the MCDU.  Nonetheless, it can be a tad disconcerting to take a quick look at the fuel prediction or weight of fuel remaining while airborne and think you have (or will have) roughly half the fuel on board that you should.

     

     

    100% working copy of FS2Crew RAAS

    One of my favorite features.  RAAS stands for Runway Awareness and Advisory System and provides situational awareness callouts regarding runways. It operates off a menu of selectable options to customize the advisories presented.  Basically, on the ground it will tell you when you are approaching a runway while taxiing and when you are lined up on a runway before takeoff.  In the air, it lets you know on what runway you are about to land and calls out the remaining runway distance available.  Within these parameters, there are many other options all of which have the goal of increasing pilot situational awareness. 

    I had not tried this add-on before and having it included in this package is a nice bonus.  This version of RAAS is limited to the Airbus but is fully configurable and an excellent introduction to this useful aid. 

     

     

    Weather Radar -fully functional without need for specific add-on

    The weather radar is provided with a full set of controls and a couple of manual pages devoted to its operation.  It will depict precipitation in FSX weather or from add-on weather programs and there is an optional terrain map color-coded to indicate tall, pointed, granite walls that might get in the way.

     

    -included web server for use of MCDU via web browser on a Smartphone or tablet

    -many systems programmed in XML to allow users to change the code

    -SDK will be available.  LINDA connectivity available

    Add-in system allows aircraft to be extended with third party applications all using the right MCDU

    Okay, we are getting into technical errors where I must confess to being less than fluent.  I fully understand the web server which can be synched to a phone or tablet and allow for use of the right MCDU externally from the program.  This is a great idea as all of the right MCDU functions are separate from actual flight deck controls.

     

    I am going to have to assume that the programming notes about XML, SDK and LINDA are good news for those who know what they mean and make use of the capabilities.

     

    Realistic ground drag

    There have been comments on the Aerosoft forum about the taxi characteristics of this airplane.  Some complain that the plane moves too fast when lightly loaded, others feel the breakaway thrust is too high and that brake use is needed to control taxi speed.  The replies from the developers invariably point to the fact that this aircraft more realistically models actual taxi behavior than most simmers are used to and that these are not bugs.  The realistic taxi characteristics may explain why great care was taken to model the ECAM display of brake temperature and why turning brake fans on and off are checklist items.

     

    Advanced Goodrich carbon brakes with realistic temperatures

    Personally, I was unable to discern that the brakes were either Goodrich or carbon, but indeed, they do which can be observed as noted above.

     

    14 ECAM pages

    Speaking of ECAM displays…all aircraft systems are fully modeled and selectable on this screen on the pedestal. Situational awareness is literally at your fingertips, down to the temperatures in the cockpit and cabin and the status of the hydraulic systems.

     

    Fly-by-wire with flight envelope protection, stall protection, pitch and roll limiter, g load limiter, over speed protection, alpha floor protection, auto trim

     

    FADEC with flex takeoff mode and Speed limiter

    These features are part of what make piloting Airbus airplanes much different from Boeing operations.

    The Airbus philosophy is to not allow the pilot to do anything stupid that will cause the airplane to fall out of the sky.  Which means, pitch and bank angles will be restricted so as not to stall or overstress the aircraft and the thrust system will provide reduced takeoff power if suitable to save wear on the engines as well as preventing too slow or too fast flight.

    Some argue that these systems limit pilot control but our purpose today is not to debate this issue-merely to point out that this engineering philosophy is aptly demonstrated in this model.

     

    Option to pause FSX during certain flight phases

    This is a purely unrealistic option sure to be shunned by purists.  If activated, the sim will enter pause mode approximately 10 miles prior to the Top of Descent point while in cruise.  Shame on you for not planning ahead if you have to use it (guess you can tell what side of THAT fence I am on)

     

    Saving mode settings for next flight

    This is a handy option.  The airplane is meant to be started in a cold and dark state but that is not a rule.  It can be set up, for example, in Before Takeoff configuration, (all loaded, switches set, engines turning) and then a new flight can be commenced from that point.  Again, not exactly realistic but evidently there are some simmers who find it a chore to wake up the machine and prepare it for flight.

     

    Fully custom autopilot

    If you are used to the Boeing FMS you will need to spend a bit of time with the manual in order to grasp the differences between programming flight plans and executing autopilot commands.

    The biggest difference, and one that is reproduced beautifully, are the Mode Control panel knobs.  Briefly, the autopilot can be operated in two modes, managed and pilot control.  In managed mode, the autopilot takes its cues from the route, speed and altitude information entered into the stored flight plan. Pilot control mode means the pilot twists the knobs to enter the desired numbers in the glare shield displays.  The beauty of the difference is that managed mode is engaged by pushing the knobs and pilot control is made by pulling the knob and then turning it.  These are performed with mouse control- left click to push, right click too pull and mouse wheel to turn.  It is relatively easy to become accustomed to but does take a little bit of getting used to if one is of Boeing heritage.

     

    Autobrake with constant deceleration

    You will impress your passengers with your smooth stops after landing.  Normal landing configuration for the Airbus is to use autobrakes at a medium setting (maximum is not even provided as a landing option) and the Airbus system logic varies the brake pressure in order to achieve a stable deceleration rate.  In combination with reverse thrust, it produces realistic stopping distances with little effort.

     

    Print option for Performance Sheet, V-speeds, and runway data

    Talk about classy…there is a printer installed on the center console.  If you have a printer connected to your computer, you can hit the print button in the aircraft and it will print out the data card that was computed for the upcoming takeoff.

     

    Tiller

    Real transport category aircraft are steered on the ground with a tiller.  If you have an available axis on a piece of flight control hardware it can be programmed to act as the tiller-if not, nose wheel steering via rudder pedals is standard.

     

    Realistic Electrical Bus and Full custom fuel flow

    A couple of features for the purists.  Run the electrics off of the battery without using external power, the APU, or an engine generator and you will get a dead battery in short order.

    The realistic fuel flow goes both ways-when being fed to the engines the center tank will drain first and when filling the tanks the wing tanks will fill up first.  The fuel loading process can be set to be instantaneous or realistic, with the quantity increasing on the ECAM fuel page in 10 kg increments.

     

    APU with correct startup time

    How aggravating is it to announce to the ground crew that you are ready for pushback, have them connect the tow bar and instruct you to release the parking brake, only to realize you have not yet turned on the APU? (If you use the checklists and/or the automated co-pilot option this should not be an issue).  Well, the marshaller will be able to harangue you to release that brake a few times because the APU will take a few moments to spool up before it will be available for use.  Embarrassing and completely avoidable by using proper procedures and still preferable to casting off external power and having the MCDU go blank and erase the flight plan…not that such a thing has ever happened to me-but I hear stories).

     

     

    ADIR

     Air Data Inertial Reference system.  This is the heart of the navigation and guidance system and after powering up the aircraft, the IRS must be re-aligned in order to proceed with any MCDU programming.

     

    MCDU

     

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    This marvel is the heart of the aircraft.  With the complex auto throttle system it is essential for the flight management system to know all the parameters of the aircraft such as flight plan route, payload weight, fuel on board and planned cruise altitude in order to properly compute and predict the amount of fuel usage and top of descent point along with V-speeds and flap extension and retraction speeds.

    Operation is pretty straightforward once one is familiar with it but said familiarity may require some study time with the manual in order to ascertain just how the MCDU likes to have information presented for entry.

     

    Flight plan can use SIDs, STARs, transitions, approaches, go-around procedures, holds, managed climb and descent

    VOR tracking with DME arc capability

    The MCDU is capable of some fancy aerial work as well.  Full flight routes can be programmed and flown with great precision.

     

    TCAS works with AI, ICAO and VATSIM traffic

    The TCAS system is quite effective and as advertised, detects AI or online traffic with great precision

     

    Digital Flight Recorder

    Here is a feature you do not see everywhere.  A record can be kept of the events for the preceding flight so you can either review with pride how smoothly you operated the airplane or all the things that went badly and got you into a mess.  The manual states that this recorder is more analogous to the Quick Access Recorder used by airlines than to the familiar “black box” flight recorder, however, the data it records is quite comprehensive and every recorded flight is logged and can be played back showing the flight path using Google Earth or sent as a file to others.

     

    Highly accurate engine parameters

    The Airbus is delivered to airlines with either CFM or IAE engines and the engine displays on the flight deck have some slight differences in how engine data is shown depending on which engine variant is installed in the chosen livery model.

     

    Livery choices

    The product ships with three A318 and seven A319 liveries and there are many more available at freeware sources such as Avsim.com and flightsim.com.  Installing new liveries is made quite simple, as there is a livery manager in the Airbus folder that makes adding liveries a simple matter of finding a downloaded livery file on your computer and clicking to install.

     

    Add-in view system

    View panel bar to access 11 2D and 16 3D views

    A feature that is so good I would not be surprised if it were to become an industry standard.  The option is available to have two discreet bars consisting of individual panels  appear in the top corners of the screen (in either horizontal or vertical fashion) from which various view selections can be made by clicking on each panel.

     

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    The left side is the panel bar and it offers 16 different VC views (8 day/8night).  This Airbus does not come with a conventional 2D cockpit view, however there are 11 selectable cockpit views (day/night) available.

    If it is more convenient for you, 2D views can also be called up using keyboard buttons F9 through F12.  Moreover, the views can be disabled altogether for pilots using TrackIR and EZDOC.

     

    The right side panel is the wing view bar, which offers 10 exterior views from the left and right sides of the cabin and from the tail. 

     

    The beauty of this bar system is that by clicking on a view with the mouse wheel  additional views are  presented thus doubling the selections but taking up only half the space on the screen.

     

    While on the subject of mouse use, the inadvertent manipulation of switches and knobs is greatly minimized by use of positive control of switches using the configuration of left mouse button=ON and right button=OFF.  Changes to values in the Flight Control Unit windows and other rotary knobs are accomplished by mouse wheel.

     

    AES and GSX compatible

    Interaction of AES pushback options

    I do not have AES but I do use GSX.  It integrates beautifully with this model.  There is an internal pushback option via the right MCDU for those who do not have AES or GSX, which can be programmed for direction and distance of pushback.

     

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    Add-in sound system

    Also controlled on the right MCDU, there are options to activate/deactivate cabin crew announcements, flight crew background noises, ATC background chatter and GPWS altitude callouts.

    Personal preference rules here and I found the altitude callouts to be the only option I desired.

     

     

    Summary

    I would venture to say that this is not a product for the casual simmer.  However, if accuracy to detail, procedures and realism appeals to you and you want to experience a single aisle Airbus, then this is an airplane in which you should invest with confidence.  It will require some study and familiarization before you can power it up and go flying and even some dedicated time at the controls. Time compression is specifically eschewed by Aerosoft, as the custom systems design does not easily assimilate rapid changes of that nature, so the A318/A319 should be flown in real-time.

     

    It is obvious that considerable care and development has gone into creating this model and it definitely shows.

     

    The attention to detail extends beyond the product itself to the support arena.  The Aerosoft forum for this aircraft is sub-divided into categories for various aspects of the functions and  responses to questions are quickly posted and thorough.

     

    I consider myself to be a discriminating flight simulator pilot and I have absolutely no reservations about recommending this A318/A319 to anyone serious about their desktop flying.  The price of approximately US $49.00 is quite reasonable for what is delivered and I cannot imagine anyone will be disappointed by what is received.



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