On the topic of virtual cockpits, the other three aircraft nudged out PSS A320 by a very small margin. The other three aircraft have some of the nicest VCs I’ve ever seen while the PSS A320 appeared to be a bit low on polygons and the textures for the seats and window frames looked a bit bland. While I don’t use them very much, I respect the time and effort it took to model the VCs so nicely.
On the topic of external programs, all of the aircraft came with external load or configuration editors. The LD767 and DF727 were the easiest and most intuitive to use. The lack of easy fuel planning on the SSW A310 editor was a bit of a drawback, and the errors generated by the PSS load editor were a bit frustrating but easy to fix. The LD767, DF727 and PSS A320 all have paint editors that make adding in new liveries a snap. The DF727 and PSS A320 both have massive numbers of aircraft liveries available, so choosing a cool paint scheme to fly around with should be no problem. The LD767 seems to have growing fan bases who are churning out re-paints quickly as well.
The SSW ships with a very cool Terminal Procedure Explorer program that lets you browse through airport SIDs, STARs and other waypoints using a basic map. I don’t know much about the program but I do know there has been some discussion on the SSW Forums about the lack of timely NAV updates for the SSW A310. I fly Flight Simulator using expired approach plates anyway, so I just have to hope and pray that when I set up an approach I don’t drive into a mountain because the procedures and frequencies have changed.
Regarding sounds, all of the products delivered excellent sound sampling. The SSW engine start sounds are very cool although they may be a bit “robust”. The PSS A320 engine noises seemed very well done based on my time in Airbus cockpits. I also liked the rattling of the galley hardware when reverse is selected in the A320. The DF727 has an amazing array of sounds that accompany each flip of the switch and turn of the dial. All of the other sounds in all of the aircraft were very well done with an extra nod to the Level-D team for putting in the cabin crew, ground crew and First Officer.
In summary, both products are really outstanding. I’d encourage you to try out all of them since they really do offer unique and different looks at four very cool aircraft. It is interesting to note that for all the argument about Airbus vs. Boeing the A310 and the 767 are essentially very similar aircraft in terms of functionality and operation. Both aircraft are heavily dependant on automation and electronics.
Cost and Format
All of the aircraft in this series are available via direct download from their respective sites. All four products downloaded and installed easily without any problems. Prices for the add-ons generally range from $30 to $40 for each product. I hesitate to quote exact figures because companies like PSS are currently having a ½ off sale that would put their product down in the $15 range but when that sale might end I do not know. I feel that $30-$40 is a good value for the depth and scope that all of the packages offer. Quality does cost.