Fenix Simulations is definitely on to something with its A320. In a short period of time, they have managed to raise expectations in such a way that it’s hard not to get excited about this project. And it seems that every week even more reasons come up to justify that excitement.
The latest addition to the pile of teasers for the Fenix Simulations A320 was the live Q&A that took place a few days ago on the team’s Twitch channel. In a little over an hour, Aamir Thacker answered a wide variety of community questions and took us on a walk around the A320, showcasing the exterior model in all its glory.
It’s the first time that we get a proper closer look into the aircraft’s exterior and in a live enviroment, after a brief introduction to the flight deck’s in the previously released auto land demo video. It goes without saying that this airplane is looking absolutely remarkable, beautiful and authentic.
The Fenix Simulations A320 exhibits the weathered look of a real-world airplane. It’s not a model that has just left the factory, neither one that hasn’t been properly cared for in years. The developers went with a balanced look that feels very real. There’s wear, scratches, oil marks, even a strange “ribbing” effect on the side of the nose, often seen on real airplanes, that shows how much detail the artists from Fenix Simulations are putting into their creation.
Flight Simulator’s graphical and lighting engines have impressed everyone over the last year, a significant step forward compared to other existing desktop simulators. The Fenix A320 seems to take full advantage of that, as can also be seen by the way the textures look under different lighting conditions. It is, again, a very authentic look, even photorealistic, I might say.
As we’ve learned before, Fenix Simulations is going to great lengths to simulate a wide variety of the A320’s system. The fuel and hydraulic system, for example, are fully simulated, which has consequences on the behavior of the aircraft. On the livestream video, at a certain moment, we can see how the airplane behaves when hard braking is applied while taxiing. It rocks back and forth, as expected for a body of its size, and the front and rear suspension can be seen reacting to this weight exchange. Impressive.
The exterior walk-around in itself is very interesting but, obviously, many simmers are looking to know more about the aircraft’s systems and flight deck. Unfortunately that will have to wait a bit longer to be previewed. But Amir did answer a bunch of questions, which we have summarised below for your convenience. Some interesting tidbits: a beta version is coming in the next few weeks, pricing is not defined but should be “quite good”, and it will have more than 200 liveries!
Can an approximate date be given for when users can get their hands on the plane?
When is a beta version coming?
A beta is coming in the coming weeks.
Will it be available in the in-game Marketplace?
No, it won’t for the moment. This may change, but current plans are for selling only through Fenix’s website.
Will it be available as a subscription or one-time purchase?
It will be a standard one-time purchase.
What about the price?
They have an idea, but are not able to disclose that. However, Amir says it’s “quite good”. They will wait until a later stage of development to give a timeframe and price.
How many liveries will be available?
More than a couple hundred, including variants.
Will there be VNAV?
Yes. They are trying to make this as close as possible to the real A320, so basic stuff like VNAV and LNAV and all of the auto-flight modes are all done. The only exception is GLS, but the team is working to provide a solution for that.
Is RNAV working?
Does it have top of descent and top of climb?
Yes, these are all basic of VNAV and are implemented.
Are we expecting a A321?
Depending on the success of the A320, an A319 and A321 may come later as expansions.
Will 2D pop-ups be available for the PFD and the ND?
Yes, and they currently work.
Will there be an EFB?
An EFB is planned to after launch.
Does it have Simbrief integration?
Yes, there is already full Simbrief integration whose data affects VNAV calculations.
Will weather radar work?
That is depending on Asobo. Third-part developers need weather and terrain API’s to implement accurate radar, predictive windshear, EGPWS, and METAR/wind uplink. The terrain display does work.
Will there be measures to prevent piracy?
Yes, there will be some kind of DRM.
Will electronics be modelled, such as display management controllers and their effects if reset?
Will there be support for GSX?
If and when GSX comes out for MSFS, it will be supported.
Will there be IAE engines?
Yes, that will come after launch, for free.
Is the exterior a 3D scan?
Yes, some bits are, especially the wings, the engines, the wingtips, the gear and the nose. All the interior is also 3D scanned.
What about sounds?
Sounds are in active development and once the team feels like they are in a state where they are comfortable in sharing the sounds, they will do that.
Will the wheels be compressed differently depending on payload?
There’s a suspensions animation and simulation, so… probably yes?
Will there be wing flex?
Yes, there will be wing flex.
That will be post-launch.
Can the cockpit window be opened?
Yes, it can be opened, quite like in the real airplane.
Will there be windshield rain effects?
Yes, and the team is trying to get wipers to work.
Is shared-cockpit functionality planned?
They want to do it…