The LD767, the PSS A320, and the DF727 all nosed ahead of the SSW A310 on documentation as well. While the A310 documentation is certainly voluminous, much of it just isn’t pertinent to flying the aircraft within the bounds of Flight Simulator 2004. The goal of SSW, however, was to replicate a huge portion of the systems of the A310, so if you are going to go through that much trouble, you might as well pile on the stack of authentic documentation as a companion to the software. I liked the organization and presentation of the other aircrafts documentation much better. Where I had to search through multiple separate PDF files to find answers to my A310 questions, a quick look at the indexes for the other aircraft’s documents led me to the proper pages quickly and painlessly.
All of the included flight tutorials are excellent. Not only are they excellent, they are essential reading to the aspiring Airbus and Boeing pilot. The DF727 in particular had a very nice tutorial that went through the added effort of putting excellent pictures alongside the instructions to aid in finding switches and controls. Good job by all of the companies on providing detailed step-by-step procedures.
The SSW A310 edges out all of the other aircraft as far as full systems functionality goes. Almost every knob, switch, button and toggle in the SSW A310 works whereas you will find certain dead-spots on the other aircraft’s panels. This isn’t to say that the other aircraft aren’t extremely detailed and thorough, they only appear less so compared to the extreme lengths that SSW went to in order to make almost every tiny button work and the difference is noticeable.
Not being a real “heavy” driver in real life, I can only offer my perception of what it must feel like to fly something that large. My Citation V tips the scale at a max gross of 16,300 lbs. Obviously the A310/320 and 767/727 should feel a fair bit different than that. The A310 felt a bit pitch sensitive to me, specifically in the trim regime. The 767 felt spot on with what I would anticipate a heavy to feel like. The 727 was a pure joy to hand fly. The A320 demonstrated a good replication of what a fly-by-wire aircraft must feel like. Roll response in all of the airplanes felt great. At extreme ends of the flight regimes both of the Airbus aircraft felt like they were out of their element (well, they are!). Exceeding redline in the SSW A310 resulted in some truly bizarre instrumentation read-outs while stalling the PSS A320 was reminiscent of the landing craft drop in Aliens. Both of the Boeings responded with predictable and conventional characteristics when placed in extreme unusual attitudes.
“Tex” Johnston would be pleased with the performance of the 767, but a bit frustrated with the bank angle limit on the Airbus A320!