• Review: Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319

    Airbus A318/A319

    Publisher: Aerosoft

    Review Author:
    Justin Cogo

    Suggested Price:
    $49.95

    Buy Here

    Introduction

    Aerosoft's Airbus A318/A319 package for FSX and Prepar3D is a marvelous combination of two similar aircraft of the Airbus family. Aerosoft has recreated these two airplanes with so many features, also included are tools to enhance the flying experience that on their own could stand as separate add-ons costing extra.

           

    Airbus

    The Airbus brand has become a leading name in aircraft manufacturers, competing directly against Boeing, which together are at the top of the market of narrow-body and wide-body aircraft. The A318 and A319 which are a part of Airbus' A320 family, are narrow-body twin-engine airplanes which offer leading-edge technology resulting in higher efficiency and a wider-range of operating configurations. These two models are in use in a high capacity with many airlines, in some markets even out-numbering Boeing.

    The image below shows the A318 and A319 in the upper-left as the smallest members of the A320 family:

    Airbus A318

    Produced in 2002, the A318 is the smaller of the Airbus A318/A319 combo and the smallest of the Airbus A320 family. This can be seen in the above Airbus A32X Family picture. One big feature of this model is its smaller-size thus allowing lower takeoff weights and longer operating ranges, which allows it to operate on shorter runways and mountainous terrain. It is outfitted with a taller vertical stabilizer than the larger A319 to compensate for the reduced moment arm making side by side comparisons interesting.

    Because of the A318's smaller size and lower weight it has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency for steep approaches. This certification is typically given to smaller turboprop aircraft because they are configured better for steep approaches, and thus it is the largest aircraft certified for steep approaches. This certification has allowed it to operate out of difficult airports like the London City airport, which has a short runway, obstacles and noise abatement procedures. This is one of the only twin-engine jets to operate out of the airport aside from smaller corporate jets, and like all other airplanes flying into and out of the airport, steep approaches/departures must be made.

    British Airways flies the A318 from London City to New York which is a first for this small of an aircraft. The flight makes a stop-over in Shannon, Ireland to refuel because flights out of London City must reduce their takeoff weight to accommodate the short runway and the airport's noise restrictions. Another interesting thing about the Shannon airport is that is U.S. Customs is located there, allowing passengers to clear U.S. Customs, thus avoiding having to clear customs once they reach the United States. After this stopover, the flight continues on to New York where passengers arrive quickly without having to pass customs.

    An interesting fact about the Shannon airport is that it is the only airport outside of the Americas (Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean) to offer U.S. Customs and Border Patrol pre-screening for travel to the United States. This prescreening clears travelers to the United States allowing them to avoid the required international arrival screening at U.S. airports of entry like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. By having prescreening at this airport, Shannon, airlines can then travel to domestic airports within the U.S. directly, having their passengers prescreened for travel, thus saving on time and costs.

    The A318's cockpit and aircraft systems are nearly identical to the rest of the Airbus A320 family so we can consider them the same as far as aircraft systems and cockpit.

           

    Airbus A319

    The A319 is also a shortened version of the A320 like the A318, but slightly bigger. It was first produced in the 1980's when the A320 aircraft line was designed. The A319 has a longer range than the A318 and its cockpit and systems are similar to the A318 as well as the rest of the A320 family.


    15 Comments
    1. dbauder's Avatar
      dbauder -
      Did Aerosoft really do the A318 in American's colors? American has the A319.
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      This is a typo, included in the package is an American A319, not A318. I just wanted to mention the A319's increased speed and loading compared to the A318, thanks for catching that!

      As far as the steep approach part goes it is the A318 only (out of the Airbus family) that is capable of this. For instance British Airways A318 flying out of London City which requires steep approaches.
    1. dbauder's Avatar
      dbauder -
      Thanks! Nice review.
    1. omanimi's Avatar
      omanimi -
      The EGPWS terrain function is not radar, but generated from a passive database.
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Ah ok, looking at the manual it didn't describe in detail the Terrain function but says that the terrain returns come from a 'stored database'. Nice to note! I found that the terrain function was very realistic because of it showing the water and coastlines to better help navigating. Also to note out the Weather radar will pick up ground terrain as well. Because picking up weather returns and ground returns may be cluttering at low altitudes there is a button to de-clutter and remove the ground returns to only show weather. Very impressive functions!
    1. newtownards's Avatar
      newtownards -
      Shannon is not the only airport outside North America with US Pre-clearance. Dublin and Abu Dhabi also have this
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by newtownards View Post
      Shannon is not the only airport outside North America with US Pre-clearance. Dublin and Abu Dhabi also have this
      Yes you're right! Looks like I just assumed that because the website said it was the 'first' airport that it meant the only. Appearantly there are a few other ones that offer U.S. pre-clearance! Nice to note. I also think its very interesting that British Airways flies the A318 from London City to New York through Shannon...what a trip!
    1. hangar32's Avatar
      hangar32 -
      Great Review! Very through.

      I had previously posted a question here about the complexity of this A318/319 vs Aerosoft's Airbus X Extended. My point in asking was that I found the Airbus X Extended too realistic - at least for a "one person" aircrew. I was finally able to complete a flight from a cold-dark start to shutdown but was mentally exhausted.

      I was wondering how much the virtual co-pilot and other features really reduced virtual flight deck workload.

      Since I posted that, I found that aerosoft has discontinued Airbus X Extended - perhaps the Über realistic simulation was indeed too much for a single virtual pilot.
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hangar32 View Post
      Great Review! Very through.

      I had previously posted a question here about the complexity of this A318/319 vs Aerosoft's Airbus X Extended. My point in asking was that I found the Airbus X Extended too realistic - at least for a "one person" aircrew. I was finally able to complete a flight from a cold-dark start to shutdown but was mentally exhausted.

      I was wondering how much the virtual co-pilot and other features really reduced virtual flight deck workload.

      Since I posted that, I found that aerosoft has discontinued Airbus X Extended - perhaps the Über realistic simulation was indeed too much for a single virtual pilot.
      As far as how much the virtual copilot and other 'Airbus' features reduce pilot workload, GREATLY!!

      First this Airbus A318/A319 recreated the Airbus 'logic' which simplifies many aircraft functions taking workload off the pilot. Alot of these functions, like throttle management, very limited need to interact with aircraft systems (the airplane takes care of most functions automatically-as opposed to a Boeing where a pilot in a 767 must flip many switched to get the airplane started and while flying) So this Airbus logic already reduces pilot workload and is pretty much fully recreated in this package.

      Second, the checklist and copilot function create the ability to go through checklists automatically, where the copilot does all checklist tasks, thus all that the user needs to do when this mode is enabled is entering information into the FMC and enter Altitude/Heading into the autopilot system. Almost everything else is automatically done by the copilot when the automated checklist is activated.

      With these two together it is a VERY automated and mostly hands off experience, except for navigating the airplane. Sometimes it seems like there is very little to do because the copilot is doing it, but then you realize this is how it is in real life, with the copilot doing most of the tasks while the pilot flies the airplane. It does seem very realistic too, most likely more than the Airbus Extended X, but with the copilot function you don't have to worry about most of those manual tasks!
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      Quote Originally Posted by hangar32 View Post
      Great Review! Very through.

      I had previously posted a question here about the complexity of this A318/319 vs Aerosoft's Airbus X Extended. My point in asking was that I found the Airbus X Extended too realistic - at least for a "one person" aircrew. I was finally able to complete a flight from a cold-dark start to shutdown but was mentally exhausted.

      I was wondering how much the virtual co-pilot and other features really reduced virtual flight deck workload.

      Since I posted that, I found that aerosoft has discontinued Airbus X Extended - perhaps the Über realistic simulation was indeed too much for a single virtual pilot.
      The new A318/319 is similar in complexity to the Airbus X Extended but has more features (such as WXR and EGPWS). Although not more complicated the simulation is more realistic (engine and APU start characteristics for example). I wouldn't call the AXE über realistic at all, it hasn't been replaced by a simpler version either. There are much more complex simulations out there. If you let the simulated F/O work for you the workload is quite low. The checklists are fully automated and the F/O makes all the selections for you. Just let her get on with it. All you have to do is fly the plane. What could be simpler?

      The way the checklists and F/O work hasn't changed from the AXE but the logic used to trigger checklists is much improved.

      Aerosoft have pitched this product perfectly. It's complex enough to keep people who like realism (like me) happy, yet it's "lite" enough for people who just want to fly in a carefree way.

      Regarding the review, it skips over the WXR rather quickly. In fact the Aerosoft WXR is capable of determining where rain is in FSX and displaying it correctly. It's therefore much more realistic then previous WXR simulations which only were able to identify where clouds were. (WXR detects rain, not clouds.)

      The review says the MCDU the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing FMS. It's the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing CDU. In fact the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing FMS is the FMGS (Flight Management and Guidance System). The Airbus MCDU is primarily the crew interface to the FMGS, just as the CDU in a Boeing is the interface to the FMS.

      Kevin
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by flightman View Post
      The new A318/319 is similar in complexity to the Airbus X Extended but has more features (such as WXR and EGPWS). Although not more complicated the simulation is more realistic (engine and APU start characteristics for example). I wouldn't call the AXE über realistic at all, it hasn't been replaced by a simpler version either. There are much more complex simulations out there. If you let the simulated F/O work for you the workload is quite low. The checklists are fully automated and the F/O makes all the selections for you. Just let her get on with it. All you have to do is fly the plane. What could be simpler?

      The way the checklists and F/O work hasn't changed from the AXE but the logic used to trigger checklists is much improved.

      Aerosoft have pitched this product perfectly. It's complex enough to keep people who like realism (like me) happy, yet it's "lite" enough for people who just want to fly in a carefree way.

      Regarding the review, it skips over the WXR rather quickly. In fact the Aerosoft WXR is capable of determining where rain is in FSX and displaying it correctly. It's therefore much more realistic then previous WXR simulations which only were able to identify where clouds were. (WXR detects rain, not clouds.)

      The review says the MCDU the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing FMS. It's the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing CDU. In fact the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing FMS is the FMGS (Flight Management and Guidance System). The Airbus MCDU is primarily the crew interface to the FMGS, just as the CDU in a Boeing is the interface to the FMS.

      Kevin
      Kevin, it's funny that you mention the WXR was skipped over because I thought the review as getting too long! I guess it's not bad to go into good detail on some things! Also thanks for pointing out the difference between the FMS and CDU, I typically use the terms interchangeably but there is a distinct difference!
    1. avallillo's Avatar
      avallillo -
      Very good review.

      As a dedicated Boeing (..if it ain't I ain't going!) guy, I was glad that I had retired by the time my Alma Mater bought the side stick Airbuses. But now ironically I feel like I might want to check out the "dark side" and see just what the world of sidestick non-flying is all about.

      To what degree does this product accurately emulate the flying characteristics of the Airbus fly-by-wire implementation? Does it emulate the various lower and abnormal levels of flying, such as "direct law"?

      For that matter, does any simulation of a sidestick Airbus delve that deeply into things? It is this aspect of the Airbus experience that I might be interested in trying out.

      Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

      Tony Vallillo
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by avallillo View Post
      Very good review.

      As a dedicated Boeing (..if it ain't I ain't going!) guy, I was glad that I had retired by the time my Alma Mater bought the side stick Airbuses. But now ironically I feel like I might want to check out the "dark side" and see just what the world of sidestick non-flying is all about.

      To what degree does this product accurately emulate the flying characteristics of the Airbus fly-by-wire implementation? Does it emulate the various lower and abnormal levels of flying, such as "direct law"?

      For that matter, does any simulation of a sidestick Airbus delve that deeply into things? It is this aspect of the Airbus experience that I might be interested in trying out.

      Thanks in advance for any info you can provide!

      Tony Vallillo
      No probelm!

      Aerosoft says their Airbus is to be used "...as 99% of all flights are flown" and it does model 5 Laws including Direct Law. At first glance I do feel like all this extra control might seen unnatural, but really they are good features that protect you when the aircraft is in abnormal situations. For instance when the aircraft is approaching a stall the throttles go into TOGA mode. The fly-by-wire implementation feels 100% accurate. Pitch, bank and yaw are limited to normal flight envelopes in normal law and some other nice fly-by-wire features are included that you may take advantage of a lot more often. One of these features that stands out is the logic that keeps the aircraft where you put it. For instance when you change pitch or bank the aircraft will trim itself to maintain that pitch and bank, thus alleviating the pilot of having to adjust trim to maintain that attitude. This is another one of those features of the Airbus that reduces pilot workload!

      This Airbus package includes multiple Airbus fly-by-wire features if you are interested.

      I have been a Boeing fan for many years, as I just wasn't interested in the Airbus features because I was used to Boeing. Now after using these different features I'm finding them actually useful, with some of them even helping to prevent the aircraft from getting into hairy situations!
    1. mccombie30's Avatar
      mccombie30 -
      An excellent review, thank you! Just one question, I'm personally disappointed with the sounds, so much so that I've only installed the A318/319 and not the A320/321 yet, I've left my Extended 320/321 package in place. I'm referring to engine sounds, start up, based on my experience is far more realistic on Extended than on the new package. I just wondered if anyone had a similar feeling? I reckon the sounds on Extended are spot on.
    1. jbob101's Avatar
      jbob101 -
      Just wondering, have you gotten the 1.2 Service Pack 2 for the A318/A319? It says it gives the package a totally new engine sound model from Turbine Sound Studio. I need to check my version and see if I can notice a difference!
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