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Aircraft Review : Airbus A321-231 by ToLiSS


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Aircraft Review : Airbus A321-231 by ToLiSS

 

If you believe the demographics then the most largest percentage of online flying is in the so called two hour circle, that is a flight on average of two hours, the second demographic is the most flown aircraft online are the same as in the real world with single-aisle aircraft dominating the airways. So put the two demographics together and you will come up with the most attractive aircraft that you would want to fly online. In reality again like the real world it comes down to Boeing or Airbus, and then the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 Series. Flying the Boeing is really all about the golden age of airliner flying, the 737 harks back to the ice ages of aviation, but that is also why the aircraft is so popular. The French Airbus however is all about systems and electronics, it is noted as the "Electric Jet" and also the NintendoJet, ScareBus and Die-by-Wire.

 

So if the aircraft is defined by it's systems then the choice is quite narrow, in reality there is only one "Study Grade" Airbus A320, and that is the FlightFactor version, and it is expensive, but also extremely good, an option is the Peters Aircraft Series, but it really only semi-grade. The only other system depth Airbus A320 was a collaboration between QPAC and Torsten Liesk that was really the first true A320 system aircraft and for the time in early X-Plane10 it was very good and introduced the X-Plane simulator to pure Airbus systems but more so in the area of Airbus dynamics or modes with the "Fly-By-Wire" and flight "laws". But when QPAC withdrew out of simulation, Torsten Liesk became ToLiSS, and oddly enough didn't release a A320, but the smaller Airbus A319-121 which is a popular but niche aircraft in A320 Series Family. ToLiSS's second release is again another arm of the A320 family, but this time over at the larger end of the series with the Airbus A321-200

 

The A321 is a stretch of the A320 concept. The A320 fuselage was lengthened by a 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) with a plug ahead of the wing and a 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in) plug behind it, so that the A321 is 6.94 metres (22 ft 9 in) longer than the A320, the length increase required the overwing window exits of the A320 to be converted into door exits and they are repositioned in front of and behind the wings.To maintain performance, double-slotted flaps and minor trailing edge modifications were included, and the changes increased the wing area from 124 m2 (1,330 sq ft) to 128 m2 (1,380 sq ft). The centre fuselage and undercarriage are reinforced to accommodate the increase in maximum takeoff weight of 9,600 kg (21,200 lb), taking it to 83,000 kg (183,000 lb). 236 at 28 in (71 cm) pitch. Seating in one is 236 at 28 in (71 cm) pitch over the A320 one class seating of 195/190, the variant first flew 11th March 1993.

 

Airbus A321-231 by ToLiSS

Comparisons to the earlier A319 are bound to be at the forefront of looking at the A321, so let us very early on put that situation into the correct perspective. The New A321 is almost exactly the same in most ways as the A319, it is just longer and with the wing modifications. In fact almost everything here in the A321 is the same as the A319. That is in the modeling, quality, details, frills and pretty well everything else. There are nip's and tuck's, but the same updated touches here also will go to the A319 as well, so again they will both level up together in the long run.

 

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 Modeling wise it isn't going to be the absolute best and detailed on the market, and in some areas that shows. But we don't buy these ToLiSS aircraft for those reasons anyway, overall though it is a very nice looking aircraft and actually looks really nice, however there is a basic if quality feel to the aircraft.

 

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Gear detail is however excellent and very Airbus distinctive. all the gear assembly and struts are here with the correct lighting and braking systems, the only thing you shouldn't do is look too close at the gear in the wing or wheel-bay attachment points, but otherwise it is impressive.

 

You have a choice of two engine types like with the A319 on the A321. There is the...

 

CFM56-5B3 - 33,000 lbf (150 kN)

 

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IAE V2533-A5 - 33,000 lbf (150 kN)

 

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Engine detail is good, but again not totally exceptional, the IAE is better in shape and with internal reverser detail, the CFM internally not so much.

 

There is a huge gap on the tail attachment points, but otherwise the tail and rear is fine, just again don't go looking for any perfection and high detailing.

 

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Cabin

Close your eyes and open them again, yes it is not the A319, but the A321....  the difference is in the massive length of the A321's cabin with no class separators...  seats, even if are very nice are also from the A319.

 

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Cabin is actually very nice, but short on that absolute detail, ditto the galley's which are certainly well done, but many flat images abound....

 

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.... only the required centre doors are new, and no they don't open.

 

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Forward galley is again very good, missing are the roof lighting effects to bring the galley to life, yes there is lighting, but it is automatically controlled.

 

Cockpit

The cockpit door does open to give you that usual "No you can't enter in here" view you get while boarding any Airbus. Welcome to all the shades of Airbus blue/grey. The textures are slightly a darker grey than in the A319 and not that more bluey gray.

 

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Cockpit feels more early 2000's than current...  Like the A319 you will miss your toys, armrests are solid, the worktable is not animated, blinds don't work and the side windows don't open, but otherwise it is is all very nicely kitted out. Note the nicely done animated side-stick, it is set here at full pitch rearwards.

 

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There is a note that there are some new cockpit textures created by Tote de Mac that are now included on the A321 and later for the A319, the release of these far more higher (Hi-Def) Higher Definition textures are seen here on the release version of the aircraft...   and they are also extremely good.

 

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The new textures are on the left above in the "Hi-Def" version, and while the "Std-Def" version still has the older textures (above right), and you can easily see the far more depth of the quality of the textures and shadow areas (arrowed) between the two versions. Closer inspection shows you the more beautifully textured panel with the Physically Based Rendering materials in giving you a more metal mottled look and the feel of the panel comes far more alive, the panel and surface reflections are far better as well...

 

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....    all the panels in Hi-Def are far more realistic and note the lovely and realism on the top of the glareshield.

 

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ToLiSS is known for his Airbus system's and to a point that is why you will purchase this aircraft or the A319. From power up you are now in "Study Grade" territory, but you will first have to wait 40 secs for the systems to sort themselves out, but very authentic it is. There is modeling of each ADIRU including alignment and the small pressure sensor differences between the units, even for the switching over of the sources for the PFDs (Primary Flight Displays). Note the working terrain radar on the NAV/MAP displays.

 

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These aircraft are complex, as you would expect them to be. But you do have several manuals and a tutorial and both are very comprehensive, but if you can download an official Airbus manual then I recommend that as well, and go through it while sitting in the cockpit, learn everything and above all practice. If you have used the ToLiSS A319 then obviously you will have a big time huge head start, but even the FlightFactor A320U is a good guide. Now one difference between the A319 and the A321 is that the Whiskey Compass is now animated and drops down into your view.

 

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A321 contact breaker layout is a cross-reference alphabet to numbers, A - HA is on the roof rear, and J - Z is on the rear right panel, sadly the breakers don't work.

 

TISCS Menu

The menu system or "ToLiSS Interactive Simulation Control System" is a bit long winded but it is shortened as TISCS but it is an important part of the system, so we need to go through the TISCS first. I do recommend in setting up a key input to bring it up, as you will access the TISCS a lot (I use "S" and the TISCS menu works for both the A319 and A321).

When the A319 was released the TISCS was very incomplete, but it was filled out quite comprehensively and massively changed around over the next twelve months. The A321 TISCS is starting at the current A319 stage of TISCS development, so most of the areas are now covered, but there are still a couple of blank areas noted as "Reserved for Future Extension"

 

There are seven TISCS tabs available covering: Situations A/C Config, Loading Perfo, Ground Services, Faults Scenerios, Addons, Sound/Actions, Joystick and General Settings Actions. The default is the "Ground Services" panel

 

Situations A/C Config

The Config page is used to set up the aircraft with two sections, "Load/Save Situations" and "Aircraft Configuration"

 

The Load/Save Situations is an absolute gem of a tool, basically it is "Save" tool, but it saves EVERYTHING including the important FMS settings and your route, and better still gives you a backup "Auto-Saving" feature in case X-PLANE does a nasty CTD (Crash to Desktop) or a freeze on you, all the saves are held in the X-Plane Plugin's Folder and not in the A321 Aircraft folder...   years better than any other save tool in X-Plane it is simply golden to set up or to have your aircraft ready at a certain state of "ready to Flight", if you just want to come back and just fly, then you can save the aircraft ready that way...  just simply brilliant. The Auto-Saving function can be set at save intervals from 1min to 30min, but 5min is the best. The saved situations can be "Filtered" to find certain saved situations (image below right)

 

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 The Aircraft Configuration section covers engine selection (Auto, IAE 2533 and CFM56), the Auto setting is used with the codes on the liveries (CFMS), (IAES) to automatically set the correct engine type to the livery. Other choices include having the older winglets or the newer up-swept Sharklets. SATCOM antenna, Number of ACTS (Additional Center Tanks) and basically creates a LR version), FPLN on Ground (Flightplan on Ground) and connection of the ailerons to the GND SPLR (Ground Spoiler). Note: all the set page settings have to be saved before use.

 

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Loading Perfo

This tab covers the Aircraft Loading and CG-CW, we will come back to this important tab in detail later when set up the aircraft

 

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Ground Services

This tab covers the external factors on the aircraft. Quick Services provides options for "Ground Power" and "High and Low pressure air" to start the engines and provide ventilation/air-conditioning while on the ground. There are no external physical units, But there is a built in Pushback feature...

 

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The pushback is quite basic in look and to use in auto or manual modes. However I always use the excellent BetterPushBack Truck as an alternative. The ToliSS A321 has been configured correctly for the BetterPushBack use, so it works extremely well here. Note in watching the pushback operation on the ECAM!

 

Aircraft Doors  have three selections with Auto (default) Close and Open. The auto will open the doors when the park brake is set and the engines are off. But they do have a tendency to be a bit uncontrollable in opening/closing at the wrong times or not opening when you need them to be open. So the manual "Close" is my preference to control them. There is no save selection either and so every time you open the aircraft you have to then (constantly and annoyingly) reset all the doors back to your preference state, as the default auto setting will always switch and have the front left and the two cargo doors open every time you load up the aircraft?

 

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Seven doors open on the A321 in the Front/Rear Left, Front/Rear Right and three Cargo (Forward, AFT and Bulk) and all cargo holds come with excellent internal hold detail. The centre pair doors don't open.

 

The Animated Services panel is not operational at this time, so there are no chock's, flags or engine covers.

 

Faults Scenerios

The A321 has a great failure system, or fault Scenarios. These failures can be set up on the TISCS Panel. This feature is listed under the "Faults Scenerios" tab.

 

You can have a total random setting that covers a wide range of 90 faults over twelve systems, or you can set your own failure with the options including: NOW, AT TIME(set time in Seconds from now), AT IAS (Speed), AT ALT (set altitude) or RANDOM, and you can set as many failures as you like.

 

My selection here is ELEC (Electrical)/AC BUS ESS/AT ALTITUDE, and the fault worked as set.

 

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Addon

The ADDON tab is currently blank, on the A318 you had the option to purchase an original soundpack created by Turbine Sound Studios (TSS) for the IAE engine version and that feature was added in here. ToLiSS notes that there will be no soundpack add on this time. BlueSkyStar (BSS) also released a soundpack for the ToLiSS Airbus A319, called "Baby Bus Symphony" for the CFM engine option, again there are currently no notes if the same (excellent) CFM soundpack would be available for the A321.

 

Sound/Actions, Joystick

The Sound Settings panel covers the aural areas of : Master Volume, Engine Volume, System Volume, Cockpit sounds, Environmental, Ground Contact, Aural Alerts and External Volume. Doppler sound effects and 3D Sound Fading which is an option to switch off the sounds from the PTU (Power Transfer Unit) and Flaps in the cockpit. 

 

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Joystick Configuration selections options cover the "Primary Joystick", control of NWS (NoseWheel Steering) on/off, Enable Second Joystick (For custom setups like home built panels or training as it supports the use of two sidesticks (pilot and co-pilot side), A dual input and priority logic are also available as on the real aircraft), Tiller Assignment. (Rudder) Pedal Brakes Assignment with brake strength, Smart Park Brake, Allow Brake on One Pedal, keys F1/F2 Toggle reversers (I use joystick trigger!) and Tiller centre setting,

 

Actions include "ADIRU Quick Alignment, and "Jump to next WPT (Waypoint)". Auto-Pause has four settings: OFF, ON WARNINGS, ON WARN  + CAUT (Caution) and ON WARN/CAUT/TOD (Top of Descent).  Auto-Pause will automatically pause the simulation, if, e.g. a master caution or master warning goes off. Again you have to save the Settings for them to be effective.

 

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General Settings

The General Settings tab has five sections in: Product Info, Visual Settings, Startup Behaviour, User Interface and Miscellaneous.

 

Product Info (Information) covers the current build number and version (very Airbus)

 

Visual Settings include Display (Instrument) reflections, Window Reflections and Screen background Glow. Windshield (Librain) effects and Particle Effects. "Refresh PDF every X Cycles" This is an option for the weak graphic card users, in that instead of the heavy use every cycle to refresh the system displays, you can set the cycles to be redrawn either every 2nd or 4th cycle.

 

Startup Behaviour sets the aircraft to a certain startup situation (known as Cold or Hot), options include: OVHD XP Start. Cold Start Type in COLD+DARK, EXT POWER (connected) and really all on with APU+ADIRU ON. Default Baro in either HPA or InHG (note you can also have the choice to SYNC or adjust manually the separate PFD Baros). Finally you can set your own default "Transition Altitude".

 

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User Interface is options on how you interact with the aircraft. Options include: Use Mouse wheel, Sync Baro Settings, Pop-out windows for Pop-ups and you can save your set Pop-Up configuration (Cockpit builders) on Quit.

 

Miscellaneous

ILS auto align is a feature that if the custom scenery that rotates the runway; for these cases the ILS and the runway are not aligned anymore. The ToLiSs A321 plugin thereby contains a feature that detects if there is such custom scenery installed and then realigns the ILS in the internal database with the new runway heading.

 

XPDR Compatiblility Mode, is the use of different transponder modes.

 

Enable AviTab Tablet, The AviTab tablet is installed on the lower left of the Pilot and usable if you have the AviTab plugin set in your plugin folder. For those that have an Navigraph account the use of Navigraph maps and tools are also available in the A321.

 

Again remember you have to save the Settings and Default values for them to be effective and in some instances a restart is required to activate a setting.

 

Manipulators

The ToLiSS aircraft have their own system of manipulators, mostly to do two jobs in one...  replicating the Airbus Push/Pull switchgear, and in two... for VR - Virtual Reality interaction. There are six types of manipulators, first Push/Pull.

 

Two dots are pull and one dot is push, but they are close together and can you easily get them mixed up, especially if the aircraft is bouncing around...

 

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...  two vertical arrow heads are to scroll or to turn the knobs, arrowheads horizontal are to adjust rear knob selections. Spyglass is used to pop-out panels and for the FMS pop-outs, and in pop-out mode with a no dot manipulator will move the pop-out panel around the screen.

 

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Setting up the Airbus A321

To cover every detail and systems on the ToLiSS A321 is well beyond the scope of this review. This is a "Study" grade aircraft and follows the operations of a real Airbus manual. So to cover those aspects then you will need to download and study a full Flight Crew Operating Manual or FCOM, or Performance documentation and there is a lot of official documentation out there (SmartCockpit is a good place to start), plus ToLiSS provides three manuals in a Aircraft manual, Simulation manual and a Tutorial flight.

 

This section of the review will cover a few set up tips and a general overview of the A321and mostly covering the Flight Management and Guidance System (FMGS) to set up a route from EGKK - Gatwick to LMML - Malta.

 

Both the MCDUs (Multi-Function Control and Display Unit) are available and independent, both can also be used in pop-up mode, I usually use the WebFMC Pro for programming routes and an update for the A321 is now available.

 

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As the MCDU is study graded, then these units are very deep in detail and yes even complex. But ToLiss does provide a few helpers that fills out the most difficult or mathematical areas of filling out a flight plan.

 

The Loading Perfo tab is your aircraft Weight&Balance manager (Aircraft Loading). Here you can set out the aircraft's passenger and cargo loads (weight) but note the passenger weight which also includes their baggage weight as well, the cargo weight is just for extra cargo.

 

Critical for the Airbus A321 is the ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight) which is 73,800kgs but you don't want to go anywhere near that figure, so under 70,000kgs is the best option, so usually it is best to go light on any extra cargo... From SimBrief then my ZFW with a 183 one class passenger load/ 2,871kgs cargo load = ZFW 68,947kgs.

Block Fuel is noted as 11,300kgs, you can do a quick Refuel or Defuel to the set required fuel load. The weights in CG limits (Centre of Gravity) and Load CG/ZFW limits are shown in a graph.

 

The TISCS can't compute your settings until you have inserted the route and if the TO PERFORMANCE settings (below left) are blank...

 

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...  once your route and runway selection is complete then you can then set the S/F Config and Flightplan (Active or Secondary). This action will give you your V1, VR and V2 speeds, but more importantly is your CG/THS and FLEX TEMP

 

On the "PERF" TAKE OFF page you can input the performance data...  the Vspeeds, Flex Temperature and CG/THS (Centre (of) Gravity) / Trimmable Horizontal Stabilizer setting for the assigned and noted runway "EGKK26L".  Now the important input is the CG/THS (arrowed below left), and if you get it wrong and the aircraft is simply unflyable as this sets the trim correctly at takeoff and if the runway is sloped you have to also adjust that slider from the airport charts manually.

The CG position for takeoff is noted as 29.2/DN0.2 but how it is inputted in, is like this 1/DN0.2 or Flap position 1/DN as in UP or DN  (Down) 0.2. Confusing, yes it can be and it always catches me out.

 

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FLEX TEMP is noted here as 44 and that is inputted in the "FLEX to TEMP" RK/4 

 

One of the most important calculations is hidden on the INIT page B (Scroll right on the INIT page). This is the fuel prediction page and you are required to fill in the ZFWCG (Zero Fuel Weight Centre of Gravity) / ZFW. This number is found lower left, and is inputted as 28.1/68.9 (68,900kgs) RK1

 

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Another input on INIT page B is the Block fuel load, again 11,300kgs is inputted as 11.3 RK2 (note sometimes the fuel prediction won't compute unless you have entered in your ALTN/CO or Alternate diversion Airport, mine is LICB - Comiso on INIT page A)...

 

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...  if your inputs are correct then the MCDU F-PLN (Flightplan) will show not only your route, but all the fuel calculations as well. (Note the INIT page B will disappear once you have left the runway, so once in the air you can't change the calculations).

 

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All profile phases are covered with: TAKE OFF, CLB, CRZ, DES and APPR

 

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The FMGS depth here is very deep, so to get the A321 to perform correctly at every phase of the flight you have to make sure every detail is covered, that is dot every i and cross every T.

 

One thing though is very apparent when you compare the release versions of both the A319 TISCS menu with the current new A321 TISCS is the sheer amount of changes and new features that have been added, and a few that have been taken away. But make no doubt though, both TISCS A319 & A321 menus will soon match up the same, so using one will easily be transferable to the other.

 

ACTS (Additional Center Tanks)

A feature on the ToLiSS A321 is the ACT, or Additional Center Tanks. This option effectively creates a Semi LR (Long Range) version of the A321LR.

 

Selection is on the "Situations A/C Config" TISCS page under "Number of ACTS", selections include: None, 1 and 2 extra tanks.

 

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These extra tanks are fitted in the aft cargo hold, so the cargo volume is of course reduced if you have the tanks installed. Each tank adds in an extra 2359kgs of fuel with a total of 30,030 L (7,930 US gal). These modifications also increases the maximum takeoff weight of the A321-200 to 93,000 kg (205,000 lb). Notes don't confuse the A321-200 with ACT with the later full LR version as that aircraft had three extra tanks, or the even newer XLR.

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Flying the ToLiSS A321

Clearance and you are ready for pushback. I love the intergated BetterPushBack details on the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitoring (ECAM) system, it is displayed in the lower screen, but also noted later in the upper ECAM, engine startup procedures are excellent, great detail and system depth, you see and feel small actions like power generation switching and air-conditioning transfers. Sounds are excellent, in the A321 both of the higher extensive Turbine Sound Studios (TSS) IAE and CFM sound packs are now included in the package, so there is no extra cost now for the more extensive sounds...

 

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...  and yes they are excellent, I would not say a BlueSkyStar (BSS) package would be better, because you can't compete with those more highly detailed sound packs, but for any one on this level and at this cost factor then the TSS version is still very good, and BSS have announced an updated package for both the IAE and now a new sound pack for the CFM for the A319.

 

Forward edge slats and flaps are well done, look and feel (movement sounds are great) correct...

 

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I don't have a tiller tool, but there still that usual QPAC A320 slight delay on turning the nosewheel, you get used to it...  in time. One note though is that the nosewheel tends to turn even more of a radius than the earlier A319, this is a great help with the extra length of fuselage behind you and on turning into tight parking bays.

 

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You did set the TO CONFG right!....  of course you did, you are a pro after all. The small details are all in here and are very Airbus focused.

 

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Holding at EGKK's RWY 26L, Taxiway B...   Power set to takeoff position and  I get a warning, Yes I am holding the aircraft on the brakes to build up a little thrust, but the system is telling me that is a no, no. Rotate (Vr) is 160 kts+10, and v2 162kts and we are in a "Positive Climb".

 

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From  the moment I first flew the ToLiSS A319 it set a new benchmark in flying heavy jets (If you could call the A319 heavy or even big) but manually it gave you an Airbus aircraft feel and feedback like no other. Yes you are flying FBW (Fly-By-Wire) and yes you are now flying under the three primary flight control laws of Normal Law, Alternate Law and Direct Law and there is a further subdivision into Alternate Law 1 (ATL1) and Alternate Law 2 (ATL2), but the transition of flying these ToLiSS aircraft (certainly in manual or Direct Law) with no protections is perfect. 

 

Climbing out of Gatwick (under Normal Law) I had the hairs on my neck rise on the perfection of it all, the A321 is a sublime experience to fly with the right tools (Joystick, rudder pedals and throttle). Everything works in perfect harmony, the systems, the controls and all the extensive data at your disposal.

 

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You seek perfection in flying heavy aircraft, the A321 is one of the best at giving you the full airbus experience, yes I love it, this is a great machine to be in control of. It also reflects back to the A319 in that it was certainly good for it's release period, but how far we have now come even since then, refinement in simulation is an ongoing process and one with no end, but now the level is getting high, very high with aircraft like this.

 

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Over the last few years I have become a little obsessive, Not just to perfect my flying, but to get as close to a perfect flight as I can do. But to really achieve that aspect the aircraft that you are flying has to perform as well as you do, when both worlds merge it is great experience. My obsession is with SimBrief and it's numbers, or to "Fly the Numbers" as perfectly as possible, if this again combines then it shows the aircraft is correct (or if the developer has got it wrong) and that you can achieve the flightplan SimBrief has provided for you. Several areas are important, your climb to the designated altitude, but more importantly is Fuel Flow or useage, "Hitting those Numbers" is telling you it is a perfect simulation (Although I do tend to climb slower and with less speed, but usually catch up later). Yes there are weather patterns (winds) to consider, but if the numbers in the aircraft coincide with the numbers of the SimBrief printouts, then one you are doing everything right, but also so is the aircraft.

 

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I am seriously impressed by everything. Climb performance, Cruise (CRZ) performance and the general feeling in flying the aircraft. You can follow and tick off the numbers enroute almost to automation, they are that good. My fuel burn is slightly behind but that because of a 15knt headwind, and overall the A321 is seriously impressive. I had an odd waypoint in my flightplan that could of caused a bit backtracking chaos, but a DIR (Direct) change to the correct (next) waypoint fixed the issue instantly...  and that is a heavy point to make here, the tool is in there and it works as it should, and it made the flying seemless... impressed, absolutely.

 

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Enroute data is very good from Fuel Predictions to Climb performance.

 

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ECAM detail is just as good. Pressing the ALL will switch you from one selection of: ENG (Engine), BLEED, PRESS, ELEC, HYD (Hydraulics), FUEL, APU, COND, DOOR, WHEEL, F/CTL...    to the other each time you press the button. SYS shows you the full "Status" of the aircraft, which is thankfully clear of any faults here. Hiding behind those buttons are the full system depth in Environmental, Electrical (all Busses), Hydraulics, Fuel Systems and pumping and all system on a A321 aircraft...  again go though the manual and learn the systems and they will be noticeable and replicated here.

 

A321 - Enroute 7.jpgA321 - Enroute 8.jpg

 

A321 - Enroute 9.jpg

 

Flightime to Malta is 3H 10MIN over a distance of 1224 nm, at m.78 and Altitude 35,000ft (FL350)... and yes at the point of descent I was still almost still perfect to the SimBrief numbers.

 

At TOD 122nm out from LMML - Malta I descended at 1800fpm, Notice the flashing "IDLE" on the upper ECAM, this comes on when the A/THR reduces the thrust to zero, a small detail but a noticeable one.

 

A321 - Enroute 10.jpgA321 - Enroute 11.jpg

 

At VOR GZO (115.70GZO) it is the entrance to Malta approach, there are no actual STAR's here, but there is a (Navigraph) RNP RWY31 chart that lists an approach via TIVOR, SUDOX and SUKAL waypoints, all which I inputted easily into the MDCU to create my own STAR approach.

 

A321 - Enroute 12.jpgA321 - Enroute 13.jpg

 

A321 - Enroute 14.jpg

 

Approach speed references are available under the PERF APPR Phase...

 

A321 - LMML 1.jpgA321 - LMML 2.jpg

 

...  a hard bank at TIVOR, is going into the circuit to land at LMML RWY 31.

 

A321 - LMML 3.jpgA321 - LMML 4.jpg

A321 - LMML 5.jpg

 

In the full landing phase the instrumentation you have available is impressive, a manual or auto approach are both available. But after a landing now the A321 a few times, I found the aircraft a tricky bird to get right in the speed and flap positions, if you are rough with the aircraft and don't work out the precise speed numbers you will get aggressive nose pitches of stall (nose high) and excessive speed (nose low), the first flap setting of 1+F is okay, but the 2 position is very sensitive and you can't find that sweet spot that keeps the nose level and stop an aggressive pitch nose high? If you can avoid Flap 2 setting in level flight then it will give a you a more liner flow (Flap 2 speed can however be used if you are descending at a high rate, say over 1,000fpm, but you have move away from F2 if you are leveling off) Flap positions 3 and FULL are fine, but again the speeds have to be perfect. But annoyingly the F2 position is the one you really use most of the time in the circuit landing phase. Make constant notes of the best speed positions will give you a more comfortable approach phase to follow.

 

A321 - LMML 6.jpg

 

With the gear down, the A321 looks the real deal, the longer fuselage creates a different feel from the A320, and certainly from the short A319, so you have to adapt and watch that longer tail.

 

A321 - LMML 7.jpgA321 - LMML 8.jpg

 

FULL flap setting detail is also well done (as noted the change in flap position sounds are also good, even better from the cabin).

 

A321 - LMML 9.jpgA321 - LMML 10.jpg

 

For some reason the LMML RWY 31 ILS beam is set off to the right, always has been, I'm just used to it now.

 

A321 - LMML 11.jpgA321 - LMML 12.jpg

 

Over the threshold, and the speed looks slightly too fast at 150kts, will try that slightly slower next time. I don't use the AUTO/BRK as in most cases it slows you down with a shove, I prefer to run off the speed and brake manually to hold the centreline tighter.

 

Like with the speed adjustments, the "Flare" stage is another one to practise to get really right, get it wrong and you will easily bury the nosegear into the runway, it took me a few landings to perfect, but a slight nose high pitch and the correct low landing speed will help you in the flare phase, there is no give here, you have to "be precise to get it right", the rushing reverse thrust sounds are great.

 

A321 - LMML 13.jpgA321 - LMML 14.jpg

 

Remember I said the tiller has a better turn angle, well sometimes you just need it with the tight turn off RWY 31 on to Taxiway F.

 

A321 - LMML 15.jpgA321 - LMML 16.jpg

 

Welcome to Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta A321 style.

 

A321 - LMML 17.jpgA321 - LMML 18.jpg

 

This is the loooong version of the A320 Series aircraft, so you do have to be aware of which stands you can use, the choice is actually quite small at Luqa with just the centre parking stands that are are big enough to cater for the longer fuselage length.

 

A321 - LMML 19.jpg

 

I was very impressed with the numbers in relation to the SimBrief printout, I use a little more fuel testing out the steep climb to altitude (FL350), but in the return leg LMML - EGKK and following the Simbrief profile to the number, I found I was within 1kg of the printout in fuel use (heavier head-on winds) was very impressive...  so performance is spot on. Testing out the longer ACT range is also going to be interesting and simulations I am looking forward to.

________________________

 

A321 Lighting

If you have the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate you are going to find the ToLiSS A321 cockpit a little lacking in areas, overall it is very good, but the extensive lighting details you have in the A320U are not available in here.

 

First off is the display screen "Glow" can make the panel displays brighter in the dark, you can adjust this in the TISCS visual settings, but it does look great and even the A320U doesn't have that feature...   all display screens can be adjusted individually for brightness, including the MCDU screens.

 

A321 - Lighting 1.jpgA321 - Lighting 2.jpg

 

Three way DOME position switch, gives you OFF, DIM and BRT (Bright) and it is very good

 

A321 - Lighting 3.jpgA321 - Lighting 4.jpgA321 - Lighting 5.jpg

 

There is a single pedestal light, adjustable from the First Officers side (arrowed)...

 

A321 - Lighting 6.jpgA321 - Lighting 7.jpgA321 - Lighting 8.jpgA321 - Lighting 10.jpg

 

.... OHP - Overhead Panel is very nice and adjustable, but the two adjustment knobs under the glareshield are not working? The right one adjusts the brightness of the FCU - Flight Control Unit and the left one adjusts the instrument panel downlights, which are on but are fixed illumination. The overhead map lights don't work and neither does the left and right window frame downlights?

 

Cabin lighting is BRIGHT and not adjustable, It is supposed to go dimmer on landing, but I never saw that happen.

 

A321 - Lighting 11.jpgA321 - Lighting 12.jpg

 

Wing lights are very effective and reflect nicely off the wings and inner engine cowlings, Navigation, Strobe are very good as well...

 

A321 - Lighting 13.jpgA321 - Lighting 14.jpg

 

lighting includes two pop-down inner-wing landing lights and forward strut taxiway light in two modes in TO and TAXI, the TO setting can use for an extra forward light on landing, Twin RWY - Runway Turnoff lights are also available on the front strut.

 

A321 - Lighting 16.jpgA321 - Lighting 17.jpg

 

...   LOGO light turns on or off automatically when the slats and flaps are extended or if there is weight pressure on the landing gear.

 

Liveries

There are only two official liveries, a ToLiSS livery and a blank aircraft are provided with the ToLiSS A321. The official Airbus house liveries are the prototype registration F-WWIA aircraft and the later EADS house livery. The ToLiSS livery has the latest Airbus cockpit window detail which looks excellent.

 

A321 - Livery Toliss.jpgA321 - Livery Airbus House 2.jpgA321 - Livery Airbus House 1.jpg

 

 

Like the ToLiSS A319 there will be a dedicated A321 download section on the X-Plane.Org. Christoph_T and Matt Hayward are the main official contributors (Thanks to Matt for these ANA and British Airways Liveries), but the factory is already going at a full production line, so in time most liveries will be available. There is a link here: Aircraft Skins - Liveries.

 

A321 - Livery BA.jpgA321 - Livery_ANA.jpg

_______________________________

 

Summary

It is only two years ago that ToLiSS released there first aircraft for X-Plane in the Airbus A319-112. An extension but also a total redevelopment of the earlier QPAC A320, the A319 aircraft was a deep study grade systems machine that brought a completely new dimension to heavy aircraft automated and manual flying to the X-Plane Simulator.

 

Although the core aircraft of the ToLiSS A319 was finished on release, a lot of extra features and updates over the next twelve months brought the aircraft up to its current high standard and went on to be an official Airbus product last year. This Airbus A321-231 is the second release from ToLiSS, in many ways as it is very similar in design and features as the ToLiSS A319, but it is the longer fuselage version of the Airbus A320 family. The A321 is released at the same level and standard as the current A319 and it is also an official Airbus product.

 

The A321 competes with FlightFactor's A320 Ultimate, externally and in out right features the A321 is set below the FF320U, but not in the systems and avionics were as both aircraft in depth are almost equal, the FF A320U is also a grade above in price than the ToLiSS A321 so you are in a way get far better value for the A321 in the serious areas that really count, that is the sheer system depth and importantly in the feel and flying of the aircraft, which is also slightly superior to the FlighFactor aircraft.

 

Modeling and design is very good, but not in the extensive extreme quality you can now expect in this category, but in every other area and certainly in the high quality systems and for flying feedback the aircraft is the best of it's category and class.

 

Yes I miss the toys not in the A321, in the moving seat-rests, animated worktables, opening windows, blinds, missing static elements and the lighting in detail is good, but again it comes with no extensive functional detail. Cabin is just a longer version from the A319, again really good, but not in that current extreme detailing. ToLiSS Interactive Simulation Control System (menu) is also very good, it comes with lots of features including the best aircraft save system in X-Plane, aircraft setup tools are also excellent as are the sounds, the auto door system however still drives me totally batshit with a no save option.

 

The two hour circle of the largest percentage of online flying is right in the core sights of this one of the best single-aisle aircraft in the world, it delivers and you get all the extensive deep study grade systems at a lower cost and below the FlightFactor Ultimate version.

 

The more you fly the ToLiSS Airbus A321 then the more ingrained this aircraft becomes inside your soul, it is tricky at points in it's flight profile, but that is the attraction of the aircraft as well and to fly it competently with skill can give you real personal satisfaction return, on this level then it really delivers in a pure simulation experience. The smaller A319 was great within a network, but the A321 allows you to expand outside those networks with a far longer range at your disposal....  some aircraft releases within a year are an event, this ToLiSS Airbus A321 is such an event because it comes to the very core of our simulation needs, you even want to fly over that two boundary and if any aircraft is worth doing that in, then it is certainly the ToLiSS A321...  totally absolutely recommended.

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Airbus A321-123 by ToLiSS is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Airbus A321 by ToLiSS

 

Price is US$79.00

 

Features Include:

Highlights
  • Detailed FMGS with SIDs/STARs/Airways, performance prediction, temporary, alternate and secondary flight plans, fix info, etc.
  • Choice of CFM or IAE engine, affecting aircraft performance and fuel burn
  • Choice of sharklets or classic wing tip fences. (Affects aircraft drag.)
  • Very accurate FBW implementation, including reversion to alternate and direct law
  • Detailed systems including fault injection for currently about 90 failures. (Electric, hydraulic, flight controls, engine, etc.)
  • Officially licensed by Airbus
  • Commercial “Turbine Sound Studios” sounds for CFM and IAE engines included.
Detailled FMGS:
 
  • Support of SID/STAR, including all leg types (Arc, course or heading to intercept, Radius to Fix, Holdings, etc.)
  • Temporary and alternate flight plans
  • Secondary flight plan
  • Full VNAV guidance with TOC, TOD, Deceleration point, speed limits, fuel prediction, etc.
  • Altitude and speed constraints as the real aircraft deals with them
  • Ability to change the selected STAR while already in the STAR
  • Support for go-arounds and diversions
  • Step altitudes
  • Airway support
  • Fix Info page
  • Latitude/Longitude crossings
  • 2 independent MCDUs and autopilots
  • Drag, thrust and fuel consumption models adapt to selected engine type and wing tip device
  • Choice between new FMGS with temporary flight plan even during preflight phase or old FMGS with direct editing of the active plan during preflight phase.
 
Top-notch aircraft systems:
  • ToLiss uses the QPAC Fly-by-wire and autopilot module with numerous improvements
  • Flight control system with hinge moment modelling giving realistic float angles for surfaces that are lost due to system faults
  • Custom TCAS with Traffic and Resolution Advisory based on real aircraft logic
  • Brake temperature model based on the detailled physics of heat transfer between the individual brake components
  • Hydraulics model in which the pressure is dependent on usage. This is most notable when dropping to RAT mode or with and engine wind milling
  • Detailled model of each ADIRU including alignment, small pressure sensor differences between the units, switching of sources for PFDs
  • Custom air conditioning model supporting high altitude operations at airports like Cusco in Peru or La Paz in Bolivia without spurious warnings
  • Flight warning system with ECAM actions supporting numerous system failure scenarios, e.g. engine failures, generator failures, hydraulic failures
  • Fault injection system allowing to trigger system faults either at a specific point in flight or randomly during a flight phase
 
Eye- and ear-candy:
  • Detailed 3D cockpit with high quality texturing
  • 3d exterior model with CFM and IAE engine
  • Choice between classic wingtip fences or modern sharklets (controlled via livery names)
  • Each aircraft comes with licensed high definition sounds from Turbine Sound Studios, the market leader for aircraft sounds in the FSX/P3D world
  • Rain effects thanks to the librain library provided to the x-plane community by Saso Kiselkov
  • Custom particle effects for engine heat trail, landing gear smoke on touch-down etc. 
  • Standby compass that can be stowed, cockpit door that opens, fully modeled cabin, etc.
Usability features:
  • Situation loading and saving. It is possible to save the flight at any point in time and resume it another day. This can also be used, e.g., to save the position just before approach and practice just the approach many times
  • Autosaving allows recovering where you left off, should the Xplane session end unexpectedly
  • Jumping waypoint-to-waypoint through the cruise phase: Shorten your flight to focus on the more interesting parts as you like
  • 4 different startup configuration from Cold and Dark to engines running and ready to go
  • In-screen popup displays or use of x-plane windows for popups 

 

Requirements
X-Plane 11
Windows , Mac or Linux
4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Release Version 1..0 (February 28th 2020)
 
Installation
Download of the Airbus A321 is 566.50mb and it is installed in your Airliner Folder as a 736mb folder. On start up you will have an activation screen presented to enter your Serial Number (Key), and then press the "Activate" bar to authorise the aircraft. I recommend to restart the aircraft from your desktop to realign all your plugins and load the aircraft cleanly.
 
ToLiSSStartup screen.jpg
 
There is extensive full instructions on how to set up the aircraft to your X-Plane settings (commands) and addons (Joysticks/Throttles) and other 3rd Party items in the ToLiSS A321 V1.0_SimulationManual.
 
Documents
There are Three Manuals Included with the package. All are extensive and well laid out with great details
 
  • Simulation manual : Describes installation, and setup of the model as well as usage of the “Interactive Simulation Control System”.
  • Tutorial flight, which provides a step-by-step description of a complete flight from cold & dark to aircraft shut-down after landing. This is the best manual to learn flying the aircraft.
  • Aircraft manual, which is primarily intended as a reference after the tutorial has been completed. It provides a reference for standard operating procedures, as well as a more in- depth look into the different systems of the aircraft.

 

Extra Airbus system information is highly recommended and SMARTCOCKPIT is a great place to start.

 

________________________________________
 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

28th February 2020

Copyright©2020: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 11.41

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders : Avitab (required)

Plugins:  Environment Engine v1.07 by xEnviro US$69.90

- EGKK - London Gatwick Airport v2 by Pilot+Plus (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$21.00

- LMML- Malta International Airport by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$22.30 - Scenery Review - LMML - Malta International by JustSim

 

Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg

 

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My only gripe with this (not bought yet or tested) is the fact (as you point out) that the glare-shield lights are not active as in the FFA320. Other than that, I sometimes forget which Airbus I'm using. I was hoping that they would add this feature in the up and coming A321 and retro-add it to the A319. 

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14 hours ago, judeb said:

My only gripe with this (not bought yet or tested) is the fact (as you point out) that the glare-shield lights are not active as in the FFA320. Other than that, I sometimes forget which Airbus I'm using. I was hoping that they would add this feature in the up and coming A321 and retro-add it to the A319. 

 

When glare-shield lights are the only problem, then it's a great problem to have :) (and easy to fix for the developer). ToLiss A319/A321 is a superb rendition of Airbuses, it is super solid in terms of systems and really is a study level model. It is also very stable and easy on frames, definately one of the best 3rd party addons. I really enjoyed A319, and I'm sure A321 will serve me a lot too.

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Don't get me wrong. I have the 319 already and will be buying the A321 when it's released, I'll be the first to buy the A321.

I'm guessing that the good framerate is attributed to the reduced animation that these controls would inflict.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The FF 320U is a much more heavily modeled and complicated aircraft, so yes it will use more framerate, system coding would be about the same, however at this level the differences in framerate is not an issue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've allready got the A319 and I really enjoy it.

 

I don't get it why the author is mentioning the FF A320 and the old QPAC and misses on the JARDesign A320. It was one of the first more complex add ons for XP10 and is still getting updates. For me the JAR VC is still class leading and fully VR ready. I'm seeing it like the Aerosoft A320 Series on FSX/P3D good looking and simlified systems.

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I like the JARDesign A320, but it only uses the basic X-Plane flight dynamics, were as the QPAC, FF320U and ToLiSS aircraft all have the correct Airbus flight control laws and protection systems and the performance details are directly from Airbus. I always found the takeoff modes in the JD A320 were always very dodgy, and not very authentic, but not to takeaway the significance of the aircraft for X-Plane users.

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23 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Nothing between them as they are basically the same aircraft...

but i heard that the a321 has 20% better fps than the a319?

on reddit ppl say this:

"The frame rate is about 20% better for me in the A321 than in the A319, you might want to bare that in mind."

"Yea I'm not sure how Toliss did this. I get higher framerate in the a321 than the default 747."

 

is this true? thanks!!!

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NO, it isn't? The user had, had effects on by using the rain effects, when he turned them off and made them equal and they were exactly the same, it is fundamentally the same aircraft just a little longer...  different users have different setups that effect their frame rate, plus in most cases they don't know what they are actually doing, then react and basically broadcast crap. As a reviewer we test everything in a set, set of conditions to get the right results, we mostly always ignore these wildcard idiots and their wild statements. Framerate is basically different to everyone in X-Plane on your system set up.

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1 minute ago, Stephen said:

NO, it isn't? The user had, had effects on by using the rain effects, when he turned them off and made them equal and they were exactly the same, it is fundamentally the same aircraft just a little longer...  different users have different setups that effect their frame rate, plus in most cases they don't know what they are actually doing, then react and basically broadcast crap. As a reviewer we test everything in a set, set of conditions to get the right results, we mostly always ignore these wildcard idiots and their wild statements. Framerate is basically different to everyone in X-Plane on your system set up.

oh ok, thanks!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Its a shame that they couldn't have managed a discount for buyers of the A319.  Presumably if large parts of it are the same then it cut down on the development time.  (I know, don't buy it if I think its too expense.  Shame though, I'd probably buy it if they'd discounted it enough).

 

Thanks for the review.

 

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On 4/6/2020 at 10:35 PM, tbaac said:

Its a shame that they couldn't have managed a discount for buyers of the A319.  Presumably if large parts of it are the same then it cut down on the development time.  (I know, don't buy it if I think its too expense.  Shame though, I'd probably buy it if they'd discounted it enough).

 

Thanks for the review.

 

 

I am disappointed that so many users don't get the issue that although the A321 looks the same as the A319 and yes they use a lot of the same components, the actual work and time required to put each together is about the same (it is not what you see modeling wise that counts here), NO there is not going to be a discount and NO why should the developer after all his hard work do so anyway, this is just X-Plane being very mean again and not supporting the simulator or their developers. The aircraft is worth it's full value!

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Thanks for the reply Stephen.  You don't think that there would be any cost savings when modelling the A321's cockpit or systems, having already developed fairly similar ones for the A319?

I'm sure you're right though.  Unfortunately, although it would be useful to me, I can't afford to spend another 80 dollars on it at the moment.  So, I'll have to pass on it for now, thanks again.

edit: Okay, you're right Stephen.  What I'm saying is like saying that I've got FF's 757 so I should get a cheap 767.  Just annoys me a bit because the A321 fits better into the schedule that my VA has, but that's not ToLiSS' fault. 🙃

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hello, i am looking for an A320 family aircraft for KA (cathay dragon) routes, because I'm obsessed with cathay and their secondary airline.

The. JAR a320 has too shallow systems. The FF A320 is too frame heavy and too pricey for. me. So my choices are the Toliss Planes.

KA operates the 320 and 321, but I found fictional liveries for the 319, so either would be fine.

 

So which one is a better buy in general? Does one have any extra features over the other one?

Thanks.

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Very nice review always enjoy reading your reviews,

 

I must say i am very tempted to purchase this i fly the 319 and 320 quite allot and yes i am one of those 2-3 hour pilots :D

 

A321 being that bit longer makes landings more fun in some of those holiday destination airports in europe. 

 

Thank you for a fantastic review.

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