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Thread: Tips for flying the FSX default A321 please?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Balzan, Malta (EU)
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    Default Tips for flying the FSX default A321 please?

    I'm a pretty experienced simmer (been flying MS sims from FS98). I can fly all the big planes just fine (including the 737 and 747).

    My problem is the fly-by-wire system in the A321. How do joystick inputs correlate to the response of the aircraft?

    Coming from a background of Boeings and Cessnas, it seems like the plane has a mind of its own! And tight turns are impossible, it's practically less manoeverable than the 747, and that's saying something for a plane the size of the A321...

    The best reasoning I could come up with, from observation, is that with autopilot off, the plane maintains a constant vertical speed. If I pull on the stick, it increases vertical speed and maintains the new, higher vertical speed. It also seems to pitch the plane up or down automatically to keep the V.S. constant if airspeed changes. But I'm sure somebody more experienced can shed more light into how the computer "thinks". Thank you in advance.

    P.S. I know where the FMC's off switch is - I'm just hoping that after reading your replies, I won't keep being tempted to turn it off before takeoff every time I fly hehe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    North Bay, Ontario
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    Default

    maybe you should try it with the autopilot on if you have not done so

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default

    I have, but then it's just like every other plane when I do that

    I'm looking for advice about hand-flying it with the FMC on without constantly fighting against the computer's corrections...

  4. #4

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    I fly the A321 by clicking off sec 1 button on the overhead panel left side under FLT CTL area. Also turn off hdg button when auto pilot on. Now you turn a/c by yoke instead of the a/c flying by auto system.
    Hooks

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LMF5000 View Post
    I have, but then it's just like every other plane when I do that

    I'm looking for advice about hand-flying it with the FMC on without constantly fighting against the computer's corrections...
    Sounds just like the real plane, which is why I fly Boeings :-)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPSFA View Post
    Sounds just like the real plane, which is why I fly Boeings :-)
    I correct the problems of flying the A321 by flying a B738.

    In all seriousness, I only fly the Airbuses if I know the entire flight will be IFR and no visual approaches.
    Last edited by tvieno; 04-04-2011 at 12:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    The FSX engine does not lend itself very well to "fly-by-wire" modelling. As a result, the default FSX A321 is not perfect, but is (apparently) as good as Microsoft could get it. Personally, I love flying the default FSX A321. There is something great about pointing the nose in the direction you want to go, and having the aircraft trim itself accordingly to maintain that instruction. In my opinion, it is easier to LEARN on the A321 and then transition to the Boeing aircraft. But I think I might be in a minority thinking that thought. Anyway, here are my tips ...

    ---------------------

    Point the nose where you want it to go and then "let go" of the stick. The fly-by-wire system will trim the aircraft for your chosen input. For example, to climb, pull back on the stick to a desired pitch angle and then "let go" of the stick. The fly-by-wire system will trim the aircraft to maintain your chosen pitch angle. When you want to level out, you cancel the climb by pushing forward, then let go. Turning is done in a similar manner. Choose a bank angle and then let go. Cancel the turn by leveling out and then letting go again.

    There is no need to try to trim the aircraft. So keep your hands off the trim controls. The fly-by-wire system does this automatically for you.

    Remember that once you are in the air, using the rudder pedals have no effect. In the air, the fly-by-wire system controls the rudder for you. On the ground, the rudder works as per a Boeing and can be used to aid with cross-wind correction.

    Landing the default FSX A321 can be tricky and there is a learning curve. The plane does pitch nose down rather suddenly just before touchdown on the runway. So be ready for that and compensate accordingly by pulling back on the stick. This pitching down action is due to the fly-by-wire flight computers switching to a different mode to give more control to the pilot at the final stage of the landing. FSX does not (can't?) simulate it very well; hence the sudden pitch movement. Note that you should fly the plane on to the ground, as opposed to flaring it as you would a Boeing ... there is no need to flare the Airbus. There are lots of threads available on landing the FSX A321 in this and other forums, so I'll not extend this post with too many details.

    Be aware that if you fly too slow, the fly-by-wire system will do its best to prevent a stall and will automatically throttle the engines and pitch the nose up. You will have no say in this - it will just happen. You will see "A/Floor" on the PFD and the plane will increase speed and climb regardless of your control inputs. In short, do not fly too slow. This is especially true on landing. There is nothing more frustrating than getting close to touchdown only to have the plane automatically throttle up on you and climb away from the runway. So watch your speed. The speed at which this happens will depend on many factors such as aircraft weight and centre of gravity etc. As a general rule, I land at around 160kts and try not to go below 140kts. But, as I said, this changes based on factors such as aircraft weight and centre of gravity.

    ---------------------

    I love flying the default FSX A321. Once you understand it's flight characteristics and get used to the fly-by-wire system ... and once you get the hang of landing it ... I find the aircraft to be very rewarding and fun to fly. Good luck and enjoy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Perth West Australia
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    Hi

    I have Aerosofts effort and it took me quite some time to adapt to it. Once i realised that we programme the computer of these Airbus's and that the computer flies the plane then it made a bit more sense. Its not really for manual flight and its knowing how to use its autosystems and then monitoring those systems. When you do it becomes a much better experience. Quite different from the Boeings then.

    Regards
    Si

  9. Default

    This thread is a great insight. I've always shunned the A321 (and any add-on Airbus for that matter) because of it's infamous reputation when it comes to flying. Might try a short flight later. Do the methods discussed here work on the freeware A340 as well? The one with the cool VC.

    Quote Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
    maybe you should try it with the autopilot on if you have not done so
    Also, I just find the A321's AP impossible to use. The dials are like some mischievous toddler, refusing to allow you to adjust.

  10. #10

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    quick tip if you actually do get into ALPHA FLOOR, to turn it off, the easiest way is to let the aircraft accelerate up to about 150-160 knots and then PUSH on the stick.

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