• CLS Airbus Pack

    Commercial Level Simulations - A300/A310/Buluga

    By Adam Nardone (5 February 2010)

    The Airbus A300 was to be the first aircraft to be developed, manufactured and marketed by Airbus. By early 1967 the "A300" label began to be applied to a proposed 320 seat, twin engined airliner. Following the 1967 tri-government agreement, Roger Beteille was appointed technical director of the A300 development project. Beteille developed a division of labor which would be the basis of Airbus' production for years to come: France would manufacture the cockpit, flight control and the lower center section of the fuselage; Hawker Siddeley, whose Trident technology had impressed him, was to manufacture the wings; Germany should make the forward and rear fuselage sections, as well as the upper center section; the Dutch would make the flaps and spoilers; finally Spain (yet to become a full partner) would make the horizontal tailplane. On 26 September 1967 the German, French and British governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding in London which allowed continued development studies. This also confirmed Sud Aviation as the "lead company", that France and the UK would each have a 37.5% workshare with Germany taking 25%, and that Rolls-Royce would manufacture the engines.

    In the face of lukewarm support from airlines for a 300+ seat Airbus A300, the partners submitted the A250 proposal, later becoming the A300B, a 250 seat airliner powered by pre-existing engines. This dramatically reduced development costs, as the Rolls-Royce RB207 to be used in the A300 represented a large proportion of the costs. The RB207 had also suffered difficulties and delays, since Rolls-Royce was concentrating its efforts on the development of another jet engine, the RB211, for the Lockheed L-1011 and Rolls-Royce entering into administration due to bankruptcy in 1971. The A300B was smaller but lighter and more economical that its three-engined American rivals.

    In 1972, the A300 made its maiden flight and the first production model, the A300B2 entered service in 1974; though the launch of the A300 was overshadowed by the similarly timed supersonic aircraft Concorde. Initially the success of the consortium was poor, but orders for the aircraft picked up, due in part to the marketing skills used by Airbus CEO Bernard Lathiere, targeting airlines in America and Asia. By 1979 the consortium had 256 orders for A300s, and Airbus had launched a more advanced aircraft, the A310, in the previous year. It wasn't until the launch of the A320 in 1981 that guaranteed the status of Airbus as a major player in the aircraft market.

    This Commercial Level Simulations Airbus A300/A310 package has been around for some time now. Up until now, not reviewed on FlightSim.com. After being away from the FS community for some time, I thought it prudent to start where I left off and this collection gave me that opportunity. The package comes in instant download form so is easy enough to obtain immediately after purchase. If you're running FS2004 then installation is easy enough, if you have embraced the more modern FSX like me, installation requires a FSX specific download available from the CLS web site in order to display the aircraft correctly in aircraft selection menu as well as some other minor fixes. Once you get past the installation and a brief look over the documentation that accompanies the package, you're ready to fire up Flight Simulator and get started by selecting or planning a flight. One of the first things to point out is that none of the aircraft have a working FMC like the more recent A330/A340 package from CLS with the 'F-Lite' style.

           

    The exterior model is accurately depicted with a nice variation of models (A300, A310-200, A310-300 and Beluga) with Pratt & Whitney and General Electric engines. The model has all the usually refinements and is available in both passenger and freighter variants with opening doors, cargo bays and a push back tug and air stairs thrown in for good measure. To give you an idea of the level of detail in the model, such things as the 'long-bar' hinges on the doors are accurately depicted, an industry leading feature allowing more space to load passengers and cargo.

    Inside the aircraft, the virtual cockpit is exactly as you would expect from CLS, accurate and very pleasing on the eye without a drastic drop in frame rates and has full functionality of the on-board systems.

    As for the real eye candy, the lighting and reflective mapping look stunning. The texturing of the wings and undercarriage look great and it is clear that time and effort have been put into this in abundance when you look at the worn tire effect nicely applied to the wheels. While I thought such detail may have an implication of system perform I was pleased to see that it didn't. To complement the base installation there is livery pack available from the CLS web site at no extra cost.

       

    The aircraft panel, like the virtual cockpit is aesthetically pleasing and very functional. The primary and secondary flight displays are well made, easy to use and easy to see regardless of whether you choose to fly with the 2D panel or 3D virtual cockpit. While many Flight Simulator enthusiasts may be put off by the older looking 'steam gauges' and intimidating look of the older Airbus panels, after a quick look over the documentation, you'll enjoy flying this aircraft in no time at all.

    All of the important information such as airspeed, heading, vertical speed and altimeter are housed in analog gauges and in the glass gauge so it shouldn't take you long to find your feet. The autopilot is clear and concise, accurate and easy to read both in 2D and 3D form. As you will see from the images, the small overhead panel which houses the lighting controls cannot be closed down like the default Flight Simulator aircraft but I wouldn't be put off by this as the forward view is relatively unrestrictive and some users may prefer this.

    A finishing touch for this panel is the display on the bottom left of the layout, a small gauge that monitors the aircraft's door status, any of which can be opened or closed by clicking the relevant section of the gauge. I will concede that this not the be-all and end-all of reality but it does provide you with some nice eye candy from the outside.

    As I have already commented, it's a shame that the aircraft doesn't have any version of a flight management computer. While the more advanced user may be put off by this, beginners may prefer the ease of use of the default flight planner in FSX before expanding into a more technically advanced products available in the market today.

           

    To test the flight model would mean taking to sky. I opted for a short hop from London Stansted to Bristol in the A310 and was thoroughly impressed with the feeling of realism in all aspects of the flight from the slow climb up with the engines roaring, to the final approach where I was working the throttle to balance the speed on the way in with a rather strong crosswind.

       

    This CLS Airbus package is a very competent addition to Flight Simulator. If you're looking for an accurate depiction of the early Airbus family that is easy to use and looks good then this one is probably worth the money. The lack of FMC is somewhat frustrating however the systems are easy enough to use if you want to fly a GPS flight plan within Flight Simulator. The visuals are good and the range of aircraft available from just the base installation and free livery pack is very comprehensive. As one of Commercial Level Simulations first products, the Airbus A300/A310/Beluga package has demonstrated that they valued contributor to the market place.

    Test system is an Intel Core2 Quad 2.5 GHz with 6.0 GB RAM and Nvidia 9800 GTX running Windows 7.

    Adam Nardone
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here

    Reviews Of Other CLS Products:

    Sydney Professional X
    Boeing 747-200/300
    Airbus A330/A340

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