• Review: BlackBox Airbus A320 X-Treme Prologue

    Airbus A320 X-treme Prologue

    Publisher: BlackBox

    Review Author:
    Stuart Outram

    Suggested Price:
    $59.00

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    If you are looking for an overly 'technical' evaluation - look away now.

    In our hobby there is such an eclectic mix of artistry, science, technical skill, and pure imagination. I continue to marvel and gain simple pleasure at the inventiveness of our developers. To criticise them is to forget the essence of what it is that they continue to achieve. To comment on it? We are human, therefore what else can and should we do?

    In the interests of 'realism,' and prior to using this product I have purposefully read little about it. I have approached it as many who fall upon it would do - I have taken it out of the box, and launched it.

       

    Accuracy Of The BlackBox Flight Model

    Whilst accuracy, seeing how the wings flap and creak and whether the wheel oil grommets are in the right place, can be exciting, and for those for whom excitement can be a narrowly banded thing, I from a personal perspective have taken a more laissez faire approach. Reaching for a coffee and asking "Did I like it?"

    This review does not therefore claim to be a scientific or technical comment on the developer's work. I have neither the necessary expertise nor expansive knowledge to produce such a response. I do have the ability to be impressed or disappointed.

    For The Idle Out There

    Can you just get in this aircraft and fly? Yes, you can! Providing that you know just a little bit about the Airbus, and have some already pre-conceived knowledge of how the Airbus uniquely functions, when compared to the other families of commercial jet aircraft out there. If you have flown the Boeing and the Mad Dog, and appreciate how different they are, then consider the same for the comparison between them and the Airbus family.

    To assist those reading this review, I have enjoyed the progress and use of the virtual Airbus family of aircraft provided for our pleasure, including the Wilco series for both FS2004 and FSX. I have taken a peak at the Aerosoft Airbus Extended for FSX, and generally enjoyed it. I am now looking around the corner at the new BlackBox Airbus-X "Prologue." As they emerge they are becoming more demanding.

    I am, like many of us, a long, (very long!), standing hobby pilot. My overall experience and familiarity is much more leaning towards the Boeing Family, for which I have quite extensive knowledge and usage. I will briefly mention the PMDG NGX. There - I have done it. In the same way that it takes a good length of time to become properly familiar with the NGX, the BlackBox offering will not presently take you anywhere near as 'in depth' as the NGX, yet it is still absorbing enough.

    As the Airbus has become more relevant on FSX, I have taken a major leap of faith, and begun to venture further into fly-by-wire. Having now almost mastered the very complex Airbus issue surrounding Max-Flex, (at a reasonable level). Plus the crucial relationship between 'it', the throttle quadrant and the FMCG, I have enjoyed the differences and challenges that the Airbus presents. I am sure it will continue to challenge as it becomes even more complex.

    If you pay little heed to anything else with the Airbus, take due note and pay special attention to throttle management. This aircraft really is flown by the computers!

    As said, I am therefore by definition not a virtual Airbus expert. This review will appeal to those with a reasonably good working knowledge of the Airbus, without it claiming to be any sort of 'expert review.' It may also be useful to those considering their first faltering steps.

    Review Caveat

    Like me, you will pick up this product, tinker with it, and find out whether it is a good fit for your hangar. This is not a 'warts and all' review but it should give you a feel for whether or not to take a chance.

    If you are an 'expert' then you will inevitable be able to pick holes in the threads of my own brittle observations.

    That being said, there will be many out there for whom the transition from Boeing, Mad Dog, etc. still has to be made, and hopefully my observations might help to tip the scales.

    Therefore, whilst looking forward to the Flight Sim Labs rumored to be ballistic rendering of the A320, would this be a good place for you to start, or to continue your Airbus journey?


    2 Comments
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      Interesting review. As a BBS A320 owner I would have liked to read a bit more of a comparison with the Aerosoft Airbus Extended. I suspect they are of a similar complexity standard (though the BBS Airbus is less complete at the moment), but I'd be interested in knowing where they differ. As for AIRAC data, Navigraph already support the BBS Airbus. It uses the same format as PSS (not surprisingly as some of the same people are involved). However there is no auto installation facility yet. You need to download the PSS_NATIVE zipfile and copy these files manually into the BlackBox Simulation\Navdata folder in the FSX root directory. Make a manual backup first of course.

      As for V1, VR, V2 speed entry, this is exactly like the real Airbus. You can enter this data at any time during preflight. Unlike a Boeing where changing initialisation data such as departure runway will cause V speeds to be deleted if you have entered them. The only problem I see with this is that V2 is shown as V2+10 on the PFD. So if you enter V2 as 145 knots it shows 155 knots on the PFD. The real A320 will display V2 in magenta as 145 but guides the pilot to around 155 after takeoff. It's a minor point but annoying. There are other deficiencies but it is a work in progress so they aren't so much bugs as items not yet done.

      Like you I don't get GPWS radio altitude callouts either. I assumed this was the dev nature of the product. I will investigate this further, could be some missing sounds. Overall I'm very pleased with the BBS Airbus and look forward to them completing the development and adding an A321 to complete the set.
    1. StuartOutram's Avatar
      StuartOutram -
      Thank you 'flightman' for very useful additional information - the PSS Navigraph Native file will come in very useful, especially after presently having to fill in the full Flight Plan manually. I am not generally idle, but I am idle enough to like the automation that Navigraph provides!