Boeing vs. Airbus – Part 3 Phoenix Simulation Software Airbus A320 Page 9

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I elect to hand fly the aircraft down the ILS since I’m completely unfamiliar with the approach modes of the A320 and it is a bit too late to learn them. Unfortunately the cross style flight director bars are useless to me (where are the V-bars!? Please!) so I basically just fly a raw data approach and it isn’t pretty.

Fortunately the fog isn’t terrible and I catch sight of the runway at about 1.8 miles just as I’m losing the glideslope from my poor flying. The reason for my lack of glideslope discipline is that I forget to extend the speedbrakes upon intercepting the glideslope so I get preoccupied with my airspeed. The scenery designers got a bit rambunctious putting those two buildings near London City though as I aim to split the uprights.

Still high and a bit hot I extend the speedbrakes, disarm the auto-throttle and manage to get back on the visual glide path (PAPI). Descending toward the runway the radar altimeter altitudes are barked out by the computerized voice in the cockpit.

Instead of landing I “arrive” with a bit of a jolt but it was survivable!

The auto-brake system is set to moderate and as the nose eases onto the runway I select reverse thrust and the engines roar and the sounds of items shifting in the cabin and rattling galley hardware comes through the cockpit door. Nice job on the reverser sounds PSS!

Doing a 180 at the end of the runway I taxi back to the ramp still sweating from the rather rapid sequence of events in the last 5 minutes of the flight. You can spend all that time briefing the approach, but sometimes you still feel like you have a tiger by the tail! As I taxi in I monitor the WHEEL page on the lower ECAM which shows the wheel brakes have heated up quickly during the rapid deceleration.

Total fuel used on the segment was about 14,300 lbs. or so with a bit more than that left in the tanks.

On the ramp I crank up the APU, shut down the engines and open up the doors. Welcome to London City! (Thanks to Frederik Mohrmann for the London City add-on scenery!)

The PSS Airbus Pro package is a top-notch production. The slight “bobbing” in the pitch area is a bit odd but with more deliberate control inputs it pretty much disappears. Avionics modeling is extremely good with excellent replication of real Airbus modes and controls. I could write a whole series of articles on how the PSS Airbus auto-flight system works. Altitude and heading capturing were good although there was a tendency to descend slightly through altitudes when capturing at lower airspeeds. The auto-throttle works great and it is extremely fun to work with.

The panels are well done and legible. I think the best part of the product is the readability of the EFIS tubes and the crystal clear graphics and update rates on all the EFIS instruments. The fonts and symbols look really good. PSS did something I think is very smart, they concentrated on doing a lot of critical things very well and didn’t bother modeling tiny details that otherwise would have taken up time with little return on the investment. As an example, even though the PSS upper panel and pedestal look very complex, there are large areas of the panels that are not “clickable” meaning the systems are set and can’t be changed.

Shaded portions represent non-clickable portions of the panels:

The systems that are modeled function correctly and I like the philosophy of doing 100 things really well as opposed to 1000 things just passably.

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