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Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign Group


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Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign Group

 

Airbus conceived several derivatives of the A300 Series in their first airliner, and then developed in parallel the A340 Quadjet with the A330 Twinjet. The Airbus philosophy was simple...   create the basically the same aircraft, but for different roles and at the same time retain crew compatibility for airline flexibility between the two aircraft. At the time it made total sense, but technology advances in time sort of spoilt the clever idealism of the time.

 

Large (if mega fan sizes) twin engined aircraft now dominate airline fleets, relegating the more less fuel-efficient (but safer) four-engined aircraft out of contention. Today the Boeing 747's, A340's and even the super-sized A380 are all being side-lined because of their so called efficiency rating, and were as the A340s sales stalled the sister A330s sales went through the roof (mostly because the new-generation twinjets in the Dreamliner and A350 were late in their development) as ten years ago you couldn't buy a A330 for the love or money.

 

But four engined jets are the backbone of long haul routes, and the A340-500 is the king of long haul with a 16,670 km/9,000 nmi range, it was the longest-range airliner at the time, and is still highly effective as a trans global aircraft today.

 

JARDesign as a developer is one of the sort of pioneers and to a point even a renegade of development for the X-Plane Simulator, they have produced aircraft for as long as I have been in simulation, and mostly all are Airbus aircraft. Their aircraft in the A320 and A330 have been the mainstay of early Airbus flying in the simulator, but also there is the addition of some very clever addons, with the Ground Handling Deluxe (GHD), FM (Follow Me) Car, X-Life (Traffic) and their latest in a fully operating Co-Pilot feature.

 

This JARDesign Airbus A340-500 has been in development for quite a few years, to the point that if at times the project had actually been abandoned, but no... here is that A340 Quadjet to join up with the same sister aircraft in the JARDesign A330. If you own the JARDesign A330, then you would very likely easily fit in to this A340 as well, as both as in real aviation are very, very similar in mostly the same context and content.

 

You can't avoid the fact that another A340 is also coming to X-Plane later in the year via ToLiSS who are developing a A340-600, yes a different variant, but still a A340 airframe. "when it rains"...   But also remember the -500 model is the long-long range champion of long but thin routes, if you want that challenge, then this is the best airliner currently to do so...  and very good long-haul/range aircraft are very thin on the ground in X-Plane.

 

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I always thought the A340 looked like a modernised Boeing 707, maybe it is the Quadjet arrangement, but in reality the A340 is an Airbus through and through and not a product of Seattle.

 

There has always been a very definitive feel about JARDesign aircraft, maybe it is the same materials used in every design, some really love it, some not so much...  but you have to admit they are really well modeled and superbly created, in that aspect JARDesign was a pioneer years ago for detail and quality, and the A340 in quality and detail delivers again on that promise...  in that JARDesign sort of way.

 

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Engines are Roll Royce Trent 553s of 248.12–275.35 kN (55,780–61,902 lbf) per engine (as a note the -600 variant uses the Trent 556 engines). And here the pods and engines are very nicely modeled and recreated...   

 

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...  it is not "blow your mind" spectacular in the visual aspects and grungy dirt, but it is all professionally and very complementary done and complete.

 

The main and famous three bogie arrangement is perfectly realised here, and really well done...

 

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...    observational detail is actually excellent here, and the bogie detail is extremely good, as is the assembly detailing that is really well conceived and delivered, notable are the massive gear pins, but hollow...  exceptional detail and the hub detailed wheel covers, there is some nice dirt work done as well. Nosewheel, strut and link detail is also excellent...

 

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...  and again the pin details are the highlights, with rubber inserts and bearing detailing...  small stuff but it really counts in realism.

 

Wing detail is again very, good with nice NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping, highlighting the wing and fuselage surfaces... note the drooped flying surfaces with no hydraulic pressure, a nice touch.

 

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So the modeling and detail is very good, but I will bring up the factor, that with other developers their textures have improved consistently in the last few years with the more modern texture tooling, were I think JARDesign still uses the same older process...  you certainly can't tell the differences between the A320, A330 and now the A340 in feel or look, and to think that the A320 is now years old... it is their design philosophy, and that is fine, but your not seeing that expected consistent overall progress in design that other developers are developing as they go forward.

 

Glass and windows are okay, but lack depth and even a bit of realism. The reflection detail is very high, and maybe too much, so the glass looks a little unrealistic as the front windows are very rainbowish, and the side windows, do look really very good, but have a golden look about them...  it is again fine, but there is far better quality glass out there.

 

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External Features

The JARDesign A340 comes with their own built-in JARDesign GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) plugin to handle all the external elements. The (aircraft restricted) plugin is free with the aircraft, but if you already own the GHD plugin, then it works here as well, and you will get more elements active if you use the payware addon, including using the local custom liveries. And exceptional aircraft elements and vehicles they all are, including chocks and external GPU (Ground Power Unit) but only in the addon pay version.

 

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The other internal GHD menu is on the MCDU, but restricted to only these 10 items, compared to double or more than that with the Pro version addon.

 

All the A340 doors open again via the MCDU Menu (They open automatically if you use the GHD), all six deck doors and the three cargo (including the rear Bulk door) can be activated...

 

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Cabin

JARDesign also usually delivers a full cabin on their aircraft, and it does not disappoint in here either...  There are three distinct classes installed, Large Economy class rear, and a shell Business class centre (the outside seating is rotated outwards towards the windows, but not in the severe Herringbone arrangement beloved by many airlines)...  between the two classes are the two bar areas.

 

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First Class are Suites (or Cabins or even Open Suites, Closed suites and even just plain old First Class)...  here you are cocooned in luxury, as First Class elites are won't to do.

 

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Galleys are basic, but with some nice detail...

 

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Oddly the door(s) detail is also quite basic, even the locking handles are missing? so they look plain...  another surprise is the average window surrounds and plain glass...  JARDesign in their A320 has those lovely authentic window surrounds, double windows, and even a realistic air hole in the base... but here it has nothing of that sort of deeper clever detail?

 

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Forward entrance area is quite big... but the focus is on the cockpit door? Oddly it does not open to reveal the cockpit...  disappointing, but then the A330 door didn't open either.

 

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The A340 cockpit all looks and feels almost exactly the same as both the JARDesign A320 and certainly the A330. The seat materials and interior panel colour and texture are quite if exactly the same, and even the rear seat and dropdown jump seat are the same modeled and textured details, but there is a slight difference between the A340 and the A330, in that the Captain and First Officer (F/O) seats have sheepskin covers on the A330...  the look and feel in here denotes an early model build in the early 90s, as in the Airbus blue-grey look and not the later grey-grey feel, it is all very nicely done though, but there are not many of those playable animations in here...  the nicely sculptured seat armrests are static as is the mentioned locked cockpit door...  however there are animated side window blinds and the front window pull down shades, which I really like and use a lot on long flights on the A330.

 

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Menus

Before we get into the instrument layouts, we will look at the Start up options and Menu options.

 

Far lower left corner is the usual JARDesign "Hot Start" selection, but added here is an option to just select the "APU" (Auxilary Power Unit) startup (added to the A330 later). The "Hot Start brings the aircraft up to a full running status and almost ready for flight (Route and Performance settings are however still required). Note if you select "Right" button mouse option, only then does the right button operate the lower left on-screen buttons.

 

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Top X-Plane banner menu shows the "JD340-500" title dropdown. This menu has two menus in "Aircraft" and "Failures"

 

Aircraft: The Aircraft menu has two Sub-Menus in "Sound Volume" that shows the Sound 3D Panel with 0%to100% sound volume options. Second Sub-option is another selection for the quick "Hot Start" option.

 

Failures: The "Failures" pop-out panel has five selections of failures on the aircraft; APU, ELEC (Electric), HYD (Hydraulics), FIRE and ICE/RAIN. The Failure feature is new to JARDesign, neither the A320 or A330 have this option. It is currently quite basic, as there is no timer function for failures, but it could also be a "Work in Progress" as most JARDesign aircraft are..

 

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Cold to Hot

To bring the A340-500 to life, you hit the two Battery buses A-B on the overhead panel (OHP)...  a nice touch is that the displays go into a 40sec self test before activating, but not all of them... then start the APU, or connect the external GPU to give more power to the system and activate the OHP switch, finally you turn the three ADIRS (Air Data and Inertial Reference System) switches to "NAV" to align the navigation systems...  this takes about 8 minutes.

 

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I really do like this cold to hot start up procedure, but if you want to not waste 10 Minutes or so, then just press the "Hot" start up and alignment "Quick" button or use the banner menu to do the same actions. In this JARDesign have done a nice job in representing the startup.

 

Lighting adjusted and the instrument panel looks very nice, with a lot of the authentic panel lighting options correct.

 

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Instrument and panel detail is very good, but everything is far more condensed centre display wise to fit in the four engine configuration, this is highlighted on the -500 by its complex fuel tank arrangement, not only laid out on the OHP, but also on the ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor) display. There are actually eleven tanks altogether, but two are surge tanks and a trim tank in the tail.

 

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So everything obviously is 4x4 in most areas... the ECAM is quite complex, in need of study, but very good.

 

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Every ECAM profile is available...ENG, BLEED, PRESS, EL/AC, EL/DC, HYD, C/B, APU, COND, DOOR, WHEEL, F/CTL, FUEL, and STS

 

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...  but oddly, the change "Please Wait" and 3 sec delay between the changing profiles is not on the A340, as like it is on the A330? A feature I really liked for realism...  but it is again something I would expect to come in time.

 

Once you get past the centre console four throttle arrangement and the four Ignition/Start switches, which by the way are extremely nice and compact...

 

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...  the rest of the instrumentation and switch layout is to the full Airbus layout philosophy standards, you will not be searching or learning anything extra than in say the A330 or to a point even in a A318, A319 or a A320...  the A350 and A380 have however a slightly different layout and Airbus philosophy standard. Jardesign still uses their Push/Pull manipulator system for selecting modes on the Autopilot. A fingered hand is "Push", and a clasped hand is "Pull", it is very easy and effective...

 

You can also through the menu use left and right mouse clicks to do the same Push/Pull actions which works really very well here (preferred), but it is annoying in that some areas (Autopilot) is all scroll, and that most of all the other switches are twist and turn, so you can get confused, or get that annoying zoom action if you get the wrong manipulator action. Also when using the optional left and right mouse clicks, then the info text will appear somewhat semi-transparent over the knob...  annoying or not, it tells you which click mode you are in.

 

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The MCDU - Multi-Function Control and Display Unit (Airbus Flight Management System) is surprisingly very good and based on the Smiths Thales A 1 0 1 system...  Not the first all round MCDU for X-Plane, but still one of the very early simulations of an Airbus styled Thales MCDU, the in-house JARDesign unit was very competent and has been very bug free, and right from it's early introduction...  which is very rare for these complicated and troublesome systems...  very true to the Airbus system and quite comprehensive in detail, yes some other MCDUs maybe slightly more deeper and detailed (Flightfactor A320 Ultimate) data, but this unit covers everything you really need for a realistic operation of the Thales MCDU unit.

 

Both the Captain's and F/O sides (a third unit is set rear console) of the MCDU units are all connected together and are not sadly individual unit's as per all JARDesign MCDUs, but the pop-outs work from each side. WebFMC Pro currently does not work on release, but as both the JARDesign A320neo and A330 are already connected, so it shouldn't be too long before that handy addon becomes active in the A340.

 

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Another oddity is that you can not save Flightplans? You can build the route in a .txt file format, and that route file can also be collected (transferred) from a SimBrief build, and then deposited in the "FlightPlans" folder. Then it can be inserted by using the CO-RTE selection... but a built route in the MCDU can't be directly saved to the same folder.

As the A340/A330 use long haul routes that can be very, very long and complex process, so it is a bit of a surprise of why by now this can't be done? Departure Runways and SID insertion and any changes to the procedures are however very good.

 

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AIRWAY insertion is also very good, again with no hicups. But to note if you use the .TXT install route then the detailed data of the individual AIRWAYS sectors are lost, so only the intermediate waypoints in the AIRWAYS are retained. So if you want all the AIRWAY data detail in the flight, then there is only one way to access it, and is to type it all in from the start manually?

 

Both INIT pages are available here...  the (right) INIT FUEL PREDICTIONS page includes the important ZFWCG/ ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight Centre of Gravity)/(Zero Fuel Weight) and BLOCK (Fuel) load, which is essential to complete the full route data on the F-PLN (FlightPlan) detail, the ZFWCG/ZFW can be set via the fuel loading. So you can see the MCDC here is quite comprehensive on the small detail stuff.

 

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Another INIT detail is that it will accept -/+ weather temperatures, of which a lot of MCDUs won't do. FUEL PRED (Fuel Prediction) page is also excellent as is the PROG (Progress) page, not as good as any Boeing PROG data, but still authentic to the Airbus shown data.

 

All PERFORMANCE parameters in Phases; TAKEOFF, CLB (Climb), CRZ (Cruise) DES (Descend), APPR (Approach) and GO AROUND are all catered for in detail. (Only TAKEOFF and APPR are shown below).

Takeoff Prefs for v1, vR, v2...  THRUST REDUCTION, FLAPS THS and TO FLEX can be added in automatically if you press the corresponding key, but you can set your own TO data if you know it.

 

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Like using the INIT FUEL PREDICTIONS page, the data in the actual F-PLN pages are double (below), and filled out with all UTC, SPD/ALT, EFOB, T and WIND data in the flight, so all very to the good and as authentic as basically required.

 

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MCDU Menu

The MCDU also has a built in aircraft menu. There are four selections in LOAD AND FUEL, GROUND HANDLING, DOORS and SETTINGS.

 

The Load and Fuel menu page in reality is excellent, and a very easy (and quick) way to get the aircraft ready for flight, MAX (Maximum) conditions are set out on the right side, and your flight settings are set out on the left. You are restricted to exactly 250 passengers (all classes), but -500 variants can carry up to 270-310 passengers, so you feel a bit under loaded at that low passenger count number (Simbrief wanted 269). Any adjustments in fuel or Weight (passengers cargo) is instantly corrected, so there are no slow loads of passengers and fuel available.

 

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The Ground Handling Menu page is the restricted GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) setup seen earlier, and as noted restricted (although free), the full GHD plugin is certainly more advisable to use. The last main menu is the DOORS selection, and open/close door position is shown on the ECAM page profile.

 

The SETTING menu is three pages of settings,

 

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Settings include;

USE COPILOT - You may turn On/OFF copilot plugin (not included) if you have it already installed. Please leave it OFF if copilot plugin not installed to avoid graphic artefacts.

FPS MESSAGE - Allow you to switch OFF alert message about low framerate value RIGHT CLICK - Allow you to switch manipulators style on FCU, may be applicable for VR usage.

WIND & DISP REFLECT - You may turn off, or turn on display reflection, using this option.

TCA QUADRANT - If you use TCA Quadrant - for special profile for TCA Quadrant or to Reset It to the Default at Joystick Settings.

LOAD WITH MCDU - MCDU widget will appear on the screen every time you load aircraft.

THR LEVER AXIS - you may select how many hardware axis have your device 1, 2 or 4. SPOILERS AXIS - for users, who want to set one of joystick axis, on Ground Spoilers Control.

T/D PAUSE - Simulator will paused, when your aircraft will be close to Top Of Descent. A very useful tool for long flights.

THR CLB POS: If you hardware throttle lever has a "too short moving" issue. Here you can tune the percentage of your hardware throttle lever to where CLB position may be.

 

So overall the Systems in the A340-500 are very good. Study grade? it is all done by the official Airbus documents, and certainly at a level for you to get that Airbus experience feeling, and it is also a good transitioning aircraft if you are doing a first learning on these heavier long haul Airbus style airliners.

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Flying the Airbus A340

I recommend a full clean startup from the desktop, not an internal X-Plane aircraft reload. JARDesign's aircraft are a bit like FlightFactor's in reloading sometimes half-way, and this makes some systems not to co-ordinate or set up correctly, a full clean start can reset this. Obviously a situation reload is not advisable at all. That does mean also a full aircraft setup for every flight is from scratch as well.

 

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The A340 has been refined to use the BetterPushBack Plugin (most developers now have given up creating custom pushback tools and now just use the BPB tool)...  There are a lot of engines to start. Engines are started in sequence, preferably engine No. 1 first, in order to pressurise the blue hydraulic system, that also supplies the parking brake accumulator. APU bleed does however allow you to start two engines simultaneously. The preferred order of engine start is 1, 2, 3 then 4...  easy... but get the engine start sequence wrong, as I did intentionally (Starting No.4 first) and you get a load of electronic warnings (Hydraulics) and it is not at all easy to rectify.

 

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The system depth with the new "Failure" feature has certainly improved, and it is all quite detailed it is as well on ECAM warnings, noted in the lower HYD page, but also on the STS (Status) page. They OHD Hydraulics panel is not a pretty or a flight worthy picture either.

 

Checking the TO CONFIG button showed (deliberately) that the Take Off Trim had not been set in the MCDU TAKE OFF phase...  a warning "PITCH TRIM MCDU CG DISAGREE" also came up on the ECAM? You can get the CG number from the MCDU - LOAD AND FUEL menu, THS TO SET R6 Key, then fill in the TAKE OFF PERF page R3 Key with the correct TO Trim setting, I really liked the way the trim wheels then slowly moved to the correct takeoff trim position, very slowly...  very realistic. and a very good and detailed the TO CONFIG system is as well...   impressed.

 

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With the engines running, the sounds now fill the cockpit and I really liked the start up procedure sounds, you are however sitting in a cockpit that is a fair distance from those Trent 633s, but they do sound nice. As noted there is a lot of sound adjustment 0% to 100% in internal and external sounds, and I really liked them to be honest... obviously not BSS (BlueSkyStar) 360º dimensional quality, but still very good for a basic sound set. As BSS have already done sound packages for the JARDesign A320neo and A330, I would expect the same package later for the A340.

 

So you have to be impressed by the depth of the systems here, as we always really expected a JARDesign to be a bit lightweight in such areas, so they have come a long way in those aspects.

 

The single switch between the APU and 1 and 2 electrical buses is really well done, and I loved it on the A330...   but oddly the DCDU - "Data Communication Display Unit" does not work, as it does in the JARDesign A330, a really big oversight is that one. But my gut says there is an external issue for the failure.

 

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External lighting is well done and thankfully tuned (focused?). Nosewheel Taxi and Runway Turnoff lighting is perfect, as are the really nice twin-set fuselage wing lights. Tail lighting, Beacon and Navigation are all excellent.

 

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Everything set and it is time to go...  Brakes off and throttles slightly forward (Plural), you have to give the A340 a fair push to roll, with a Gross weight of 274427 kgs, there is a lot of weight to move, and you feel it, and it feels very, very good, with also a nice engine whine building in the background...

 

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...  Taxi feel and sounds are really good... but you don't have the "Roll" tiller feature choice here, a new setting to turn via the roll movement, rather than the yaw movement, is fast becoming a must have feature now on larger aircraft for me.

 

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On to EDDMs (Munich) Rwy 26R and you settle ready for the takeoff, I notice the APU is taking a very long time to switch off or shutdown, but then slowly the power numbers start to fall...  again great detail on the APU ECAM page, and note the Terrain display, that also works very nicely.

 

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Throttles all up to the orange marker on the ECAM, and you have four engines all powering out the thrust, the particle effects are really, really good on the A340, they are showing the right amount of density to the power output, engine sounds both external and internal are also good...

 

You power down the runway, a long way, as the v2 marker is 202 knts, and you need another +10 knts to rotate into the air...  but you can feel the bite of the aircraft starting to lift at the same time, I really loved the feel here.

 

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At a 10º pitch you climb out cleanly, storing all that complex gear takes time, but also fascinating to watch on the complex lower ECAM display.

 

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Aircraft control feel is actually very good, but two JARDesign niggles come back to haunt you...  First is the Autothrust CL (Climb) position, that you have to guess to activate, it takes ages to connect (Climb) and display in the PFD (Primary Flight Display)... the second niggle has always been a long time JARDesign major annoyance...   Once turned and on track, you hit the AP1 (Autoplot 1) button, and it will very quickly disconnect with a warning? But you are in the right position and on track and climbing in the right vertical speed (V/S)... so why disconnect?

 

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I set a manual speed (245 knts) for the initial climb, but the A/THR just does not see it or react either? Finally you get the AP1 to connect and the V/S is set 3800 fpm , and yet I am only holding a 10º pitch? So you get a sudden nose up pitch to match the V/S number, I have had these issues consistently from the JD A320neo to the A330, and now here again in the A340...   you can work or fly around them, but after all these years why haven't they been by now dialed out or refined compared to the A320 Ultimate and ToLiSS A319/A321. Note I did another try on the takeoff later and reset the V/S AFTER in the climb-out, and it worked far better...  but it needs a coding reset to realistic.

 

The altitude climb (which I call "lift") is quite powerful as the A340 can hold an easy 2,000 fpm lift to 30,000 ft (FL300) then a reduction to 1,500 fpm to the first selected altitude of 34, 000 ft. Note that yes I have a full passenger load, but the distance is only less than half of what this aircraft can actually do at 2,347 nm (Munich to Doha), so yes I am not at full GW or that really (fuel) heavy, heavy here.

 

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The Austrian Alps beckon, and already the fuel tanks are pumping to distribute the fuel load, as it should do, but still a great detail that can be easily missed, and the tank pumping goes on intermittently right through the flight as required, impressive.

 

JARD A340-500 TO OFF 37.jpg

 

FL340 and finally at a cruise altitude and .83 mach set speed. It is a nice place to be.

I have done a LOT of long hauls in the JD A330-200, and they are a very nice place to be for long periods of time, yes it is only a simulation, but it has to still work at being the best simulation of realistic in flight flying...

 

The A330/A340 aircraft are not in the faster .86 cruise speed zones as say the B787/A350, as Mach 0.86 (493 kn; 914 km/h) is the maximum speed, with a Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 871 km/h) cruise (the A330 is Mach 0.80), I found Mach 0.83 (Simbrief recommended) a good compromise depending on the winds. Range is that amazing 16,670 km / 9,000 nmi distance and the ceiling is 41,450 ft (12 634 m), but you can cruise around 38,000ft to a max of 40,000ft.

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 1.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 2.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 3.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 4.jpg

 

The JAR is great for snuggling down, pull-out the working tray, pull down the blinds and settling in for the long haul...   background sounds are very good and not annoyingly monotonous, as you really do feel as you do on a real aircraft with that feeling of movement, but also with those comforting background sounds (In other words the engines are working!)

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 5.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 6.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 7.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 8.jpg

 

Avitab is installed (Plugin required) and well positioned for in-flight use, and on both Captain and F/O positions...

 

Lighting

The lighting set up in the A340 is absolutely perfect. Internally all the Airbus system lighting knobs works as per correct (how long have we waited for ToLiSS to do that...  forever). All instrument panel lighting is as per all manual systems information, as noted the under instrument panel knobs covers the drop down lighting (each end) and Autopilot displays (inner two knobs)...

 

JARD A340-500 Lighting 1.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 2.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 3.jpg

 

Overhead adjustable lighting is for (central) console lighting (note the third working rear MCDU unit)...  and there is two spot lights over the Captain and F/O seats.

 

JARD A340-500 Lighting 4.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 5.jpg

 

Overhead cockpit lighting is controlled by two switches...  CTL left, turns on the overhead lighting, but once switched on you can then select with the right DOME switch three cockpit lighting settings; DIM, BRT (Bright) and STORM (really Bright)... it all works perfectly.

 

JARD A340-500 Lighting 6.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 7.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 8.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 9.jpg

 

The cabin lighting is also really good. You don't get that over bright night lighting in the cabin, but a soothing soft light that is perfect for night flying...  in other words realistic.

 

JARD A340-500 Lighting 10.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 11.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 12.jpg

 

The First Class compartments are nicely inner lit, so you can easily have a break back here mid-flight and relax.

 

External lighting is very good as well. With the soft inner cabin lighting the fuselage looks very nice in the air at night as well, with no bright passenger liner porthole feel... 

 

JARD A340-500 Lighting 13.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 14.jpgJARD A340-500 Lighting 15.jpg

 

Lovely tail lighting, but no auto setting to come on below 5,000ft, but I don't care as I love the tail lit in flight, those twin-wing lights are also very nice and look great from the internal cabin viewpoint. Navigation, Strobe, Beacons are all nicely tuned and look perfect (no blobby lighting here), as does the nosewheel lighting (as seen) and landing lights.

 

The changing vistas of long-haul flying, the green gives way to the desert browns... this why you do the long routes, you going to another very different place on the other side of the world.

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 9.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 10.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 11.jpg

 

You are going to get a nasty letter from Greta Thunberg...   with all four of those horrible billowing contrails ruining the atmosphere, but I love it anyway.

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 12.jpg

 

Long haul flying is all about the numbers...  taking into account the slight fuel departure difference (for running the APU on the ground), I am within a fine percentage of my required fuel burn to the SimBrief Flightplan...  it is very satisfying to know on long routes that your fuel flow is close the hourly or waypoint numbers. Fuel data via the lower ECAM and MCDU is very good (below left).

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 13.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 14.jpg

 

Exactly 4h 30m Flying and the TOD (Top of Descent) marker comes up in the flightplan, up to now it has been a bang on perfect flight (sorry simulation). Time to get out the OTHH charts, check the weather and air pressure at Doha.

 

JARD A340-500 CRZ 15.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 16.jpgJARD A340-500 CRZ 17.jpg

 

I have reached TOD, but I am already losing my altitude...  I tend to drop about 10nm to 15nm before the TOD drop point. That gives me a more longer descent (about 1800 fpm) so you save fuel as the engines drop to mostly idle, but also be able to control my height and speed at the other end of the descent...  notable that the JARDesign has no altitude target marker to set your altitude descent rate,, so you have to work out the numbers out manually, I'm okay with that, but it is an essential tool missing, and a requirement for most long haul liners.

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 1.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 2.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 3.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 4.jpg

 

Bahrain, comes up on the right and I am right where I want to be...  my target is 10,000ft before entering the STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route), then down to 5,000ft as I enter the BAYA2E STAR landing circuit..  again perfectly on target. The sign of a good development is in the feedback and response of the controls and the input settings you give the aircraft, turn a knob or set an action and the aircraft responds perfectly to your wishes, it makes for a good if not a perfect simulation.

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 6.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 7.jpg

 

Finding the right speed to the right flap position, is one area of real talent, 185 knts to flap 3 feels a little slow, but it doesn't feel slow in the cockpit, but at least you don't get those nasty gaps when extending the flaps as they push the nose down as the speed is now higher than the flap position, put the speed below the orange flap markers at each flap position, and it is all very clean going forward...  thank you very much.

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 8.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 9.jpg

 

Now Hamad International Airport appears to the right in the BAYA2E STAR approach...  I am already set up ready for landing at 2,500ft, as I approach MUXED, a 90º turn...  a short 5 nm flight puts you then at LAGMA and into the final turn into the approach of OTHHs Rwy 34R...

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 10.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 11.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 12.jpg

 

At LAGMA I let down that extensive rear three gear arrangement, I love dropping the gear on the last tight turn to finals, if the approach is short enough to do so...  and so very dramatic!

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 13.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 14.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 15.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 16.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 17.jpg

 

Forward lighting as noted is very good, and it is nice to see tuned lighting for once. Out of the murk appears OTHH Rwy 35R, now in the ILS cone my approach speed is 152 knts, a bit below the APPR PREF recommended 157 knts for final with the FULL flap setting down, but 157 knts gave me too much nose or pitch up?

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 18.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 19.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 20.jpg

 

Descent into Rwy 35R is very good... then over the threshold.  Call outs are also very good (remember there is that JARDesign active Co-Pilot option not shown here), and the LAND then FLARE modes are perfect.

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 21.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 22.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 23.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 24.jpg

 

The opposite centre gear reverse tilt is well done here and the animation also well done, and a solid touch down says "Welcome to Doha"...

 

The Four Engine thrust reversers are very effective in rubbing off the speed, reverser sounds are very good and the action can easily be seen from any rear window cabin windows (outer engines). The REV note on the ECAM is however very hard to read in being so small and with the four REV icons squashed into a tight display, you can be not sure if you have activated/deactivated the reversers or not, so you have to look closer, and not good doing so in the high workload roll out, but they do work as noted effectively...  A note here is that the X-Plane Replay mode is pretty useless with the JARDesign A340, most items in the cockpit and flying surfaces, flaps and pretty well most things don't replay or are stuck at odd angles, worse in the saved "Replay mode" the aircraft won't reset itself correctly at all?

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 25.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 26.jpg

 

My assigned stand is Concourse C - C5 and I take taxiway C to E (4to1)...

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 27.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 28.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 29.jpg

 

On the taxi in I restarted the APU, but unlike the shutdown procedure, it restarted normally, and was running hot and powered by the time I got to the gate...  APU ECAM detail is very good.

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 30.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 31.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 32.jpgJARD A340-500 OTHH 33.jpg

 

...  so the engine(s) shutdown (great sounds) was able to be performed normally. The timer was stopped at 5h 15m, official is 5h 40m duration, so I am happy with that. With the engines shut down and the aircraft secure, it was time to unload the A340-500, the GHD was called and they got quickly into action...

 

JARD A340-500 OTHH 34.jpg

 

As a simulation goes I was seriously impressed and totally enjoyed the flight from Munich to Doha, it was a seriously clean and a bug free flight, and that is mostly everything you really want from any simulation, a perfect experience...  and the JARDesign A340-500 certainly delivered very well that aspect. This is an addon note to the above flight... to see the differences between the A330 and this latest JARDesign A340, I flew the current JD A332 back to Munich from Doha. Surprisingly they did feel quite different... not in the actual aircraft flying or performance areas, but certainly in the features and the interaction menus and even missing the AviTab option...  in these areas you could see a very substantial forward progress from the older to newer aircraft philosophy, and the A332 has had a lot of substantial updates. So there is now actually a lot of changes to be done by JARDesign to equalise up the two aircraft to get a cross-rate between the two in parallel synchronicity... saying that as a simulation, like the A340 here, it was a very, very good if perfect flight back...  like mentioned in this long-range area, JARDesign aircraft are very good.

 

JARD A330.jpg

 

Liveries

There are no official liveries provided with the package (no manuals either). But JARDesign have a dedicated Simliveries site for livery downloads, a paintkit can also be downloaded. The default livery is a JARDesign A340 livery, and the current offerings are; Aeroflot, Air Canada, American Airlines, Azerbaijan, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa and Qatar.

 

JARD A340-500 Liveries JD.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Aeroflot.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Air Canada.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries American Airlines.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Azerbaijan.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries British Airways.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Emirates.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Etihad.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Lufthansa.jpgJARD A340-500 Liveries Qatar.jpg

___________________

Summary

JARDesign has been around X-Plane as long as I have, which means now nearly a decade, and in that time they have created not only Airbus aircraft in the form of a A320neo and a A330-200, as in also the addition of some very clever addons, with the Ground Handling Deluxe (GHD), FM (Follow Me) Car, X-Life (Traffic) and their latest in a fully operating Co-Pilot feature...   Here now is their third Airbus Aircraft in the form of a A340-500 four-engined airliner, it spent a very long time in development, but finally it is here.

 

There is certainly a certain style and feel of JARDesign aircraft, so to a point this new release and being in real life a sister design to the Twin-Engined A330, in the A340 being all very familiar from the start. You sort of know of what you are going to get, and on that aspect it delivers about perfectly as you thought it would.

 

So the design, modeling and features are really almost an exact replica of the A330, but with four engines instead of two, but there are thankfully some significant differences that make this a more deeper simulation than it's sister aircraft. The bothering aspect of that is that in most cases you are not seeing that forward design movement that other well known developers are currently doing in X-Plane, so it all comes across like a Toyota car, safe, reliable but not at all really absolutely cutting edge....   Competent no doubt. But don't get me wrong, as a simulation in the Long Haul category it flies in, the JARDesign A340 is a great if perfect simulation experience. 

 

JARDesign is a bit like Apple, you go into that world and it delivers everything in there. The aircraft has the built-in but restricted Ground Handling Deluxe GHD (the payware GHD works with all the bells and whistles), and the Co-Pilot feature will also work. As for systems they are actually very good in delivering a rather deep Airbus experience. MCDU, FMGS and ECAM detail is very good and even excellent, but the new "Failure" system which is quite basic on the surface, but uncovers the deep system detail in operation. If you don't follow the correct procedures and you will get a difficult aircraft to use and fly. With the four-engined layout then the system detail is very good and very immersive, the modeling and aircraft detail is as noted as what you would expect from JARDesign, but I really liked the sounds, however a BSS package would certainly take the aural messages the next level above, but for a basic sound pack, it is still very good. Lighting is excellent, great cockpit and external lighting and the cabin at night is a nice place to be (for once).

 

Oddites as usual are also in here... missing is the working A330 DCDU, The change "Please Wait" and 3 sec delay between the changing profiles is not on the A340 either like on the A330?...  and that annoying A320neo/A330 autopliot activate and that bad transition from manual to auto flight (both A/THR and AP) is still in here after all these years, and has not still not been refined out. As Airbus flight procedures go, it is very good, but it is no ToLiSS deep in Airbus laws and actions. MCDUs are also duel (or triple here) and not independent of each other, as showing the original designs age. Most however should be quickly updated via a few updates, and JARDesign does a lot of updates and also gives great after purchase service.

 

The overall aspect of an aircraft purchase, is to receive a very good simulation of an aircraft, its systems, its flight performance, its features and even more importantly a great experience in return...  on all of these levels and more the JARDesign A340-500 does deliver and even exceptional well here, so you are getting great value for your money...  ultimately you want a bit more in progressive ideas and quality, but the basics are very sound, of which overall is JARDesign's and their philosophy that are built on...   I have done a lot of JARDesign routes (mostly in the A330-200) and they do return, certainly in long-haul simulation a great if perfect return experience, and overall that is the main if absolute case to a great simulation for your investment....

 

...   Highly Recommended.

___________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

JARDesign 340-500 Airliner

Price is US$59.95

 

Features
Beautiful and Detailed 3D Model:
  • External, Cockpit and Cabin 3D model based on real aircraft data
  • Hi-Resolution External 4K PBR textures with normal maps
  • Advanced wingflex simulation with ultra-smooth animation
  • Highly detailed Landing Gear animation
  • Animated cargo and passengers doors controlled via MCDU
  • 3-class passenger cabin with automatic controlled 3D lights
Virtual Cockpit
  • Animated Switches, Knobs, Levers and Tables in the cockpit
  • Animated wipers and windshield sun visors in the cockpit
  • Custom plugin based Realistic cockpit and external 3D lights
  • Advanced custom real-feeling FCU knobs control system
  • Pilots seen in cockpit in external view mode
  • Hi-Resolution PFD, ND, EWD and SYS displays
Flight Model and FMGS: 
  • Custom FMGS system with all main features required for normal flight
  • Common failures can be triggered
  • SID / STARS procedures based on NavData
  • Take off data - V1, V2, VR, DTo and THS/FLAPS calculated by helper on MCDU Perf page 
  • Multi-function MCDU for full aircraft control, optimum flight level, fuel prediction, etc.
  • Multiple ECAM pages for review and selection
  • Ground Handling operation via MCDU or automatically by Ground Handling plugin (by JARDesign)
  • Easy-to-use PayLoad and fuel loading via MCDU menu
  • Embedded Flight Plan generator based on navdata cycle
  • Enter Flight Plan manually or read from SimBrief/PFPX text file
  • Aircraft systems with real aircraft logic and indications
  • Custom Fly-By-Wire system with Normal law and Flight Envelope Protections
  • Custom terrain radar
  • Custom DCDU Metar reading
System modelled
  • Air Conditioning, Pressurization, Ventilation, Auto Flight,Communications, Electrical, Equipment, Fire Protection, Flight Controls, Fuel,Hydraulic, Ice and Rain Protection, Indicating/Recording Systems, Landing Gear, Lights, Navigation, Oxygen, Pneumatic, Information System, APU, Doors , Power Plant
Other systems
  • Weather radar for default XP weather
  • Custom Hot-Start function
  • MCDU 2D pop-out widget
  • Sound volume control 2D widget
  • Lateral and Vertical Flightplan 2D widget
  • Realistic 3D sound based on real aircraft sound recording
  • CoPilot (by JARDesign) plugin compatible (not included)
  • Ground Handling (by JARDesign) plugin compatible for free (not included)
  • X-Life (by JARDesign) plugin compatible (not included)
  • Better PushBack plugin compatible (not included)
  • Integrated tablet using popular Avitab plug-in

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11 
Windows, Mac (Linux NOT supported at this time)
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 415 MB
Current and Review version: 1.0R1 (August 1st 2021)
 
The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
Ground Handling Deluxe Plugin by JARDesign is recommended
 

Installation and documents:

Download is 721Mb. Installation size in your Aircraft folder is 1.44Gb. (with the set of original ten liveries installed)

 
Documents

All documents and liveries are downloaded separately and are not included in the package...

Manual is basic but covers all the install and aircraft details (17 Pages) JARDesign recommends and supplies official Airbus system documents that are worth downloading and studying to get the best out of aircraft systems and flight capablities.

  • Manual.pdf
  • Smiths_Thales_A_1_0_1_FM_Pilot_Guide
  • A340_Flight_Deck_and_Systems_Briefing_For_Pilots

 

Updates are via the: JARDesign Group Board (registration required) : A340-500 Downloads here JD340 v.1.0

SIMLIVERIES Category Archives: 340 Liveries

PaintKit download link:AFL http://jardesign.org/jd340/download/JD3 … 310721.zip

_____________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

4th August 2021

Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55

Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 : Ground Handling Deluxe Plugin by JARDesign US$14.95 (recommended)

Scenery or Aircraft

- EDDM - Munich Airport by ShortFinal Designs (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95

- Qatar - Doha City & Airports 1.0.0 by renair2 (X-Plane.Org Downloads) - Free!

 

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved

 

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  • Stephen changed the title to Aircraft Review : Airbus A340-500 by JARDesign Group

The non-independent MCDUs is a disappointment for me and the reason I'm holding off until the Toliss A-340 is released. It seems to me this would have be an easy feature for JAR to include and at least show some progression in the way they design aircraft. I'll wait and see how the two stack up at the end of the year. Until then my wallet stays closed.

 

Great review BTW.

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