Every week, the team at Fenix Simulations are giving a detailed look at their upcoming A320 simulation for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Last week saw the team focus on the MCDU and FMGS, which was astonishingly detailed. This week, attention has been turned to hydraulics and fuel simulation.
On the Fenix Simulations blog page, the team opened by confirming that the hydraulic system is completely simulated. This is a different approach to programming instructions on what should happen and instead, the team have modelled what would happen in all situations. Every valve, pump, sensor, probe, cylinder, etc is modelled with the correct behaviours. Furthermore, the fluid itself has been simulated in a physical way with it moving from pipe to pipe and valve to valve. Whether the plane is flying in normal conditions or there is something abnormal going on, the aircraft will simulate the hydraulics correctly. An example of this was shared on the Fenix Simulations blog.
“An example, then. The leak measurement valves are part of the core hydraulic system, which reside in the wing spar (where the PTU is). Lines on which hydraulically driven components reside will have these leak measurement valves, usually used by ground personnel. These valves are accessible on the aft overhead, and can be closed (or switched off), which allows you to isolate hydraulically driven components on that line. You end up with no pressure in most hydraulically driven components, yet you have a completely normal reading of 3000 PSI on your lower ECAM HYD page. Bizarre? Absolutely. This occurs, however, due to the pressure sensor providing this value residing before the leak measurement valve – and when that is closed – the sensor is still reading a completely normal amount of pressure, even though the systems are isolated and everything after the valve (i.e most components) is depressurised.”
The blog goes on:
“So, if the airplane has depressurised lines after the leak measurement valves, yet it is indicating nominal pressure – how does it know to color part of the ECAM HYD synoptic amber – and more importantly, how does it know to give you all those ECAM warnings about depressurised components despite the nominal indication? Well, there’s another sensor right after the leak measurement valve. This sensor is hooked into the ECAM, which gives you a better idea of the “real” status of the components’ hydraulic status. This sensor does NOT provide the value of the system pressure to the lower ECAM, it simply warns of “LO” pressure – and therefore colors the line amber, and provides all the requisite warnings on the upper ECAM. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the sensor before the leak measurement valve is NOT linked to the ECAM and therefore does not give you any ECAM warnings as such. This sensor only provides a value, and should this sensor cease to work, the information it provides would simply be omitted – and the ECAM would display amber crosses in lieu of the value of HYD pressure. This can be seen if you simply pull the circuit breaker (C11) for this sensor and inhibit it, as demonstrated. The ECAM doesn’t panic, it simply omits the value. A low pressure warning would only be generated by the sensor after the leak measurement valve. The information presented to you in the flightdeck seems incredibly simple on the face of it, just some pressure indications after all, right? Underneath, however, a labyrinth. This is the level to which the Fenix A320 is simulated. “
Too much text to read? Fortunately, Fenix put together a short video demonstrating how this all works within the aircraft.
Another example was also shared on the blog post highlighting how the complete loss of Blue and Green hydraulics has an impact on the control surfaces of the plane. Another video was shared demonstrating this.
Hydraulics play such a key role in the Airbus A320 aircraft that goes beyond the control surfaces themselves. Another area is the braking system. “The next video here shows the interaction between the alternate braking system, and watching hydraulic fluid draining from the accumulator in the event the Yellow system is inoperable.” Again, a video was shared demonstrating this.
So far, we’ve only covered the hydraulic side of things, but fuel and their pumps have also been simulated to a similar level of detail. Again, every valve, tank and pump has been simulated enabling the team to produce realistic results throughout the aircraft.
The full blog post on the Fenix Simulations website goes into a lot more detail as to how this all works.
The team will be back again on Friday (presumably) with another feature overview. If you’re looking to learn more about the plane, be sure to check out our first look and announcement articles. If you’re after even more detail on how this aircraft is coming together, check out the MCDU/FMGS overview article. Still have some questions, check out our FAQ article.