A few years back Project Airbus released an A320 for FS9, I downloaded it, tried it out, etc. I thought it was quite nice at the time, but couldn't see any real advantage over the good ole' iFDG Airbus for which I had amassed dozens of repaints, panels, etc. For that reason, plus the fact that I fly tubes only about once every 3 months, I never really followed the development of the PA Airbus beyond initial release. On a whim I downloaded the latest "Airbus A318 V2 Special Version" for FSX a few days ago, and finally last evening I loaded it up and did a flight. WOW is all I can say! It's completely amazing what several years of refinement can do for a project!
I loaded at KGEG Spokane, really just to check the airplane out. Always a Frontier fan, I loaded up the Frontier livery with the cougar on the tail. I was expecting that I'd switch to a Carenado GA bird to do some actual flying after checking out the 'bus for a few minutes. I fired up ASEvo which injected some nice cloud layers and favorable winds. Next thing I knew I had the 'bus fired up and taxiing towards the active. I took off rwy 21 at KGEG and hand flew the little beast all the way up to FL290, where I finally turned on the autopilot after a feeble attempt to level off and maintain cruise altitude. The only VOR frequency that popped into my head was 116.2 DNJ located near McCall, ID so I tuned that and flew directly to it. From there I tuned BOI on 113.3 and descended southward towards Boise. I turned otto off at about 12,000' and hand-flew the entire approach, pattern, and landing onto 28R at Boise. Really impressed with the feel of this aircraft in the stick, 30 seconds after takeoff I knew I was flying a winnner!
I thought about closing the sim at that point but I was just having too much fun so I took off again, this time kinda-sorta heading for Seattle. Seattle VOR was out of range, and Kimberly (IMB) was the only VOR I could think of in the general direction of Seattle so I flew to Kimberly. By the time I got there I realized I was getting low on fuel and closer to KPDX than Seattle, so I decided to go into Portland instead. I tuned Battle Ground (BTG) VOR and flew direct. I haven't tuned an ILS frequency in 3 years, but I was "Joe airline pilot" by the time I reached Battle Ground and I didn't want to spoil the flight by screwing up the landing, so I got the frequency for 10L and flew the ILS into Portland in all it's ORBX glory just as the last light of day was vanishing. In a word, surreal :) .
I know, I know, some of you are cringing because I didn't have a flight plan before takeoff, and I didn't follow any approach or departure procedures, and what's up with the VOR navigation, we haven't used those in years... I guess you had to be there, but it turned out to be one of those flights that happen every couple months for no good reason... you know, and then you spend the next 2 months trying to recreate it, but it just isn't possible to plan such a flight?
Anyway, big kudos to Project Airbus, this one is a permanent addition to my hangar, and thanks for a very enjoyable flight :)