Following on from the recent trailer for the upcoming Flight Sim Labs A320-X Sharklet release, streamer Blackbox711 took to Twitch to showcase the aircraft in action. In addition to highlighting what features will come with the aircraft, Blackbox711 was joined by both Lefteris and Andy from Flight Sim Labs who answered a range of questions from the chat. Update: Streamer AirbusFTW was also involved and you can check out his video here.
The nearly four-hour stream was a great showcase of what to expect with the aircraft release. This included the flight dynamic changes with the sharklets, some of the new features and, of course, the all-new EFB that was heavily promoted in the trailer over the weekend. However, with two of the development team answering questions, a range of tidbits was shared that we felt was worth pointing out. Without having to watch the whole stream, Robert S on the Flight Sim Labs forum put together an extensive range of notes from the stream.
The EFB and Performance
The first few questions were all about the EFB and how it performs in the aircraft. Andy took the lead on these questions and said that he, nor the beta team, have noted any performance hit when using the EFB either in the simulator or on any external device. That’s even with 3 instances of the EFB running (2 separate in the simulator and 1 on an external device). Andy went further and said, “a lot of work [went] into it to make sure it didn’t impact performance.” Furthermore, it was confirmed that you can add your own PDF files to the EFB.
As for whether the EFB will come to the Wing Tip Fence mode, Andy confirmed that they will come “at some point.” As has been the case with previous new product releases, the new features come to the new products first and eventually work their way back. However, the team are very busy at the moment with other projects so it won’t be in the next few months.
One question that came up was how some of the features on the EFB would function and work. It was confirmed that the traffic overlay is hooked into the P3D AI system so that you can see traffic moving around in real-time. Right now it doesn’t pull data from VATSIM or IVAO, but the upcoming VATSIM Velocity upgrade will reflect in the EFB as it injects the data at a higher speed.
There was a lot of discussion around the sharklets package for the A320-X and the A321-X. The team said that development on the sharklets started in the Summer of 2019 and turned out to be a lot more work than they had initially thought. They initially figured it would be a somewhat simplistic change of the model and adjusting fuel values, etc. However, Andy said, “it turned out not to be the case. It’s a tip of the iceberg job, once you look under the water you realise there’s a lot more going on. It’s not just figuring that data out but working out how to get that on to people’s desktops.”
One of those changes discussed was the anti-droop function on the wings with the sharklets. Andy said that “When we first started writing the sharklets code, we started with the fuel system. It’s just a mesh of relays and wires. They needed recoding and repinning. When we finished it, it was throwing up errors. The Flight Warning Computer was just going mad. The version we had, F3B, just wasn’t programmed to work with the newer system the sharklets used.
That took a few months. That’s 18 months down the line. All these things that you think might be simple coded changes aren’t that easy to change.
At some point we need to have a cut-off because you can just go on forever. There are so many minor differences between these airframes.”
Lefteris also added that the Flight Warning Computers have over 3,500 sheets of coding programmed.
A320 NEO and Future Planes
Despite the stream being focused on the upcoming sharklet model, many asked what the future holds for Flight Sim Labs. When asked about the possibility for an A320 NEO, Andy said “no comment.” In the same question, a user asked if there were any plans for bringing the aircraft to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which again, was met with a “no comment” response.
When it comes to other aircraft, Andy made it clear they are not answering questions about future aircraft at this time. He reaffirmed that the team is working on an aircraft “that does take more fuel, [and] it starts with an A3…” This is alongside Concorde which was teased very quickly at the end of the sharklets video released at the weekend.
There is even more regarding the new jump ahead feature, halogen lighting and more from the stream which Robert has kindly summarised in his forum post. You can check it out here.
If you didn’t already watch it, be sure to watch the trailer released for the sharklets and the upcoming EFB coming to the Flight Sim Labs A320-X and A321-X.