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Stephen

JARDesign : A320neo Beta Update v1.5b

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On the 21st July JARDesign released a beta update to its A320neo, this is version v1.5b. As with all beta's you have to spend time on the machine to feel out if the upgrade is correct, with the A320neo that can take a little longer?

It is debatable if the (very) cold start is a hindrance or a benefit, but even with a set of quick start procedures it can still take 10-12min to get the aircraft airborne (or moving). If X-Plane crashes then it starts all over again. for testing it can slow you down because you have to allow for the extra time. The point is that even real Airbus Aircraft don't switch off their inertial navigation's systems once they are aligned and they are only reset if the power is completely shut off. Don't get me wrong I love the whole idea as that is what simulation is about, but you don't think "I'll just go for a quick flight in the A320neo", as it is usually a planning to do all day thing to do.

 

The updates since the release have been significant, this is a great aircraft now with features you could only dream of a few years ago, the fine tuning goes on and you see the difference with every update.

 

v1.3 was a very big upgrade and the highlights are:

It had the final SASL plugin 2.0 installed so the aircraft is now totally 64bit compatible.

A lot of the sounds came in for attention.

A "Follow Me" car add-on was inserted.

And you could switch the winglets from the standard to the new NEO style from the FMC.

 

v1.4

Was the new excellent Slava created cockpit textures.

and a few minor tucks and tuning.

 

But something was not right with the aircraft?

Early on after the release of the A320neo I flew the sector BNE (Brisbane to CNS (Cairns). And once settled in at cruising speed I found the aircraft didn't look right in the air, The strange thing is that X-Plane's perspective can catch you out and I thought that was the issue, but it still bugged me. Every time I flew in the A320 from then on I became more and more convinced there was something wrong, and there was, as the aircraft IS flying pitch down. other users noted the same thing and v1.5b is the fix.

 

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It is amazing that you know that something is not right, instinct I suppose, but straight away after updating the aircraft to v1.5 it became right at 3º pitch up, perfect, everything then suddenly everything else also then fell into its right place. So a word I am using a lot lately is "mature" and this Aircraft from JARDesign is also now feeling the same way with many of the constant updates now sorting out the rough edges and to a point eliminating them.

 

The "fly by wire" throttle is also coming along nicely, early on I found it didn't select the correct mode on detent selection (speed), but now it works as it should, unless you are very much on procedure then the height and speed can suddenly fluctuate quite quickly but otherwise the systems are now getting very good.

 

A few niggles in this beta is first I can't adjust (with the mouse) the speed brakes or set the airbrakes to "auto" to land?...  I can't adjust the flaps either... both settings I have set on my joystick so for me it is just an annoyance, but still the issue is there, at other periods I also have fights with the Park Brake?, It seems to be a setting with the pushback feature in that you can't release it. And finally don't turn off the park brake if you are still starting up the aircraft with no engines running because it will send you right back to a cold cockpit...

 

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On the beta there are now 2 x Smith-Thales FMS2 where as before there was one on the left and a standard default X-Plane FMS on the right?

 

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The Smiths-Thales FMS2 is not as easy to program as the Philipp Münzel's Avionics FMS in the CRJ or the Boeing 777, so you have to work your way through the provided extensive 703 page manual!...

...  but it is very authentic and that is a certainly great feature of the aircraft.

 

Last niggles is the pilot's seat headrest... It keeps getting in the way. find a way to put yourself in front of it and you are too now close to the panel. And it seems a shame the main front cockpit window shades don't drop down. (the side window shades are excellent)

 

Another change in the updates to be aware of is with the fuel tanker (v1.2), or precisely loading the actual fuel into the aircraft. In wanting to do a quick test run I decided to fly from BNE (Brisbane) to SYD (Sydney). I powered up the aircraft and promptly took off and then somewhere above the New South Wales/Queensland border both my engines ran out of fuel?... I tried to do a Sullenberger and tried to glide the heavy machine out to Lismore about 40nm away, but I failed as I fell 10nm short. I can report the aircraft worked and flew very well in deploying flaps with the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) popping out, dropping the gear with gravity and the controls (laws) acted very authentic.

 

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Now when you call the tanker from the Menu options, you can set the fuel load which can be increased or decreased for the distance of the sector... Just remember to first before flying out somewhere to put the actual fuel in?

And a tweak in the (v1.3) update is that any fuel remaining in the tanks will still be there when you come back next time to fly the aircraft.

 

This is a beta update so don't expect these things to be as with the final version issue, but overall this JAR Design A320 is becoming a very good aircraft. It does demand your attention, and there is a lot to learn to fly the A320neo very well as it comes with a lot of settings and button pushing. I recommend if you use it, then use it for a certain period (a day or a few days) and really get under its various systems and procedures, It is very much like the FlightFactor B77W in that way.

 

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The accolades go out to JARDesign in the constant upgrades and fine tuning, that is not saying the A320 needed a lot of attention to make it right, but perfection requires adjustment and tuning in these complex systems...  The aircraft is very rewarding and I recommend using the updated beta 1.5b, I case you don't want to use a beta - I feel the full 1.5 version update will not be far away from release anyway.

 

You can get the 1.5b update here : A320neo update 1.5b

 

The JAR Design A320neo is available from the X-Plane .org Store:

 

For US$39.00  - Airbus A320 Neo

 

Developer site: JARDesign A320neo

 

7th August 2013

 

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Good review Stephen!

+1 that the A320neo is just getting better and better with each beta update.

Hand flying with the latest beta (b3) is also feeling much more 'natural' than the previous 2 beta releases of the 1.5 run.

Last night while testing for the first time (b3) I noted that the A320 drops (loses alt) quite suddenly @ minimum speed just above the runway threshold .. I'll do some more testing tonight to determine if this was just my own inattentiveness or not.

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I took this for a flight last night EGFF LIRN, no problems at all. Two small issues though,

 

1) you can lose autopilot control very quickly if you press the wrong key and there doesnt seem to be any audible warning other than when you suddenly see you aircraft climbing at 6k ft per minute lol 

2) there is a graphical bug around the footwells with some flickering. 

 

Other than that the a320 is looking really good.

 

Wycliffe

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