• Interview With Scott Gentile A2A Simulations

    Development

    When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    Avid flight simmers and pilots alike have, for many years, longed for a simulated aircraft to perform and act like a real aircraft, and so A2A's vision was created in the belief that this realism was indeed possible. To further explain, back in the 1990's, I purchased a Piper Warrior II for flight training, and because of the high cost of repairs, it was critical that the engine lasted as long as it possibly could. The reality of aircraft ownership had a big impact on my priorities as a pilot. As a teenager I worked on cars and built a few engines which taught me enough to know that oil lubrication was the life blood of any motor. As a result, every time I started that Lycoming 320 engine (especially in those cold winter mornings), my eyes would be glued to that oil pressure gauge because, if for whatever reason it did not come up, I could lose an engine along with my dream to fly.

           
    Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

    Taking the time to let the engine reach its operating temperature was also critical because if you applied full power on a cold engine when clearances were tight, you could do some serious damage. However, every flight simulator available all had oil temperature that, within seconds, moved to the same exact operating temperature and just stopped. I thought "why can't these developers at the very least try to slow that thing down?" I kept thinking "the next flight sim will get it right." Year after year and simulator after simulator kept neglecting something as simple (and critical) as the heating and cooling of oil. Even a kid knows that fluids don't heat up that rapidly. It was pretty clear that those making flight simulations either had no real experience flying airplanes or if so, fell short when it came to observing and implementing those fundamental aspects of operating an aircraft.

    This general lack of basic realism and frustration led to our first major product, FirePOWER for Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3. CFS3 was based on the same technology that FSX is (flight modelling is almost identical). Back then, our airplanes exhibited something that the vast majority of flight simmers at that time had never heard of before, called "accelerated stalls," which is inducing a stall at a higher than published stall speed through hard manoeuvring. A2A was also the first to introduce spins with FirePOWER. Upon the product's release, we came under fire from the "old guard" in flight simulation because their planes didn't stall properly or even spin; their position was these high performance Warbirds were tame aircraft. Fortunately their argument and popularity slowly faded away and gradually everyone was re-adjusting their flying styles away from the old, "yank and bank" approach to actually flying the airplane.

           
    Aircraft Factory

    Flight sim buffs slowly came to enjoy "flying on the edge of the envelope." You can still see a re-post of an article we wrote back in 2004 in our forums here.

    Our products continued to push the status quo, and as a result, A2A (then Shockwave) just kept gaining traction with pilots (and back then there were very few real pilots also flying flight simulators). I remember all too well, the smiles and looks when I introduced myself to groups of pilots with an "I make flight simulations." The response was usually an "Oh, you make video games. Sorry, I fly for real." I realized the person I was speaking too didn't know what I knew and I could see that, inch by inch, we were continuing to make in-roads into the aviation industry.

    Well, after a decade long battle, we have now almost fully mated flight simulation and reality.

    Accu-Sim's success has meant that now our reputation often precedes us, as we were recognized everywhere just by our A2A shirts at this year's Oshkosh Air Venture. We are also now regularly approached by GA fliers, vintage Warbird aviators, and jet combat veterans who are our customers or have seen us on YouTube. Some of these aviation legends are now either voluntary A2A advisers or official A2A Team members who are working with us on commercial simulations and FSX on the desktop.

    Very soon, any young kid anywhere in the world will be flying the exact same thing that is being used for commercial training. The reason is simple and something we've been saying for years, "realism isn't hard, it's FUN." It's interesting to just sit in a real cockpit, it's entertaining to flick a switch, and it's exciting to operate an aircraft, even one as simple as a J3 Cub. We capture the essence of what it is like to sit in that cockpit and operate it.

           
    Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

    Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    "It's our job to create the entire airplane, down to its last rivet and smallest sound or creak."

    It's our job to create the entire airplane, down to its last rivet and smallest sound or creak. We do this because a proper simulation is both fun and educational as you are able to do all those things you may not be able or ready to do in a real airplane.

    However we still have a line of high quality but less expensive aircraft under the Aircraft Factory brand. We also use this brand to help new and upcoming FS designers get a foot up into the payware world and help bring their aircraft to completion and market.


    10 Comments
    1. ians's Avatar
      ians -
      Ive never been let down in anything I have from A2A, long may it continue
    1. awash2002's Avatar
      awash2002 -
      A2A is the best company they make the most realistic life like aircraft ever with their accu-sim technology their aircraft comes to life
    1. rockinrobin's Avatar
      rockinrobin -
      With Scott now owning a Comanche, maybe they could develop one for FSX so the rest of us could fly it too?
    1. jgmustang's Avatar
      jgmustang -
      I really really really like the AccuSim products I have purchased so far. I have the B17, AccuFeel, and the lighting add on for FSX. The only thing I don't like is that the co-pilot program I use makes it so that I cannot use the AccuFeel version of the B17.
    1. amanlulo's Avatar
      amanlulo -
      The A2A B-17 Flying Fortress, aside from being one of my most favourite planes, is one of the best purchases ever made for FSX.
      Am I wrong if some time ago I heard about a Phantom II by A2A? This is a most beloved jet fighter still missing in simmers hangar.
    1. jamminjames's Avatar
      jamminjames -
      Great products. Love my cub. A Phantom II would be the icing on the cake!
    1. ianwarren's Avatar
      ianwarren -
      I no know one off the biggest things the A2A team dose is make you feel like part off the family and the in house service is truly remarkable, seldom do you get a (X2) telephone calls from the other side of the world asking how things are going with my newly purchased Stratocruiser in some silly hour of the morning while having my first looksie .. Just impressive works the lot off you .
    1. Seria17hri11er's Avatar
      Seria17hri11er -
      Great interview! I love A2A! Keep up the fantastic work! Scott, unfortunately humans usually resist change.
    1. ropeless's Avatar
      ropeless -
      Why not try dipping your toe into the X-Plane market?
    1. swingman's Avatar
      swingman -
      You are the best! That's for sure.
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