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Aircraft Review: ASSP Airbus A300B2


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Aircraft Review ASSP Airbus A300B2
Airbus entered the aviation scene in October 1972 with the first flight of their all-new A300 jetliner, and the first two-engine wide body to ever take to the skies. Formed as a conglomerate of UK, French and German aviation manufacturers, the A300 was built to compete with the rising US competition from Douglas (DC-10) and Lockheed Martin (L-1011 Tristar).

 

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ASSP are a new developer on the X-Plane scene with the A300 being their first aircraft for the platform. As is the case with any new developer, the first release is usually the most important as it sets the bar for future product releases. 


Let’s take a closer look…


Aircraft Specification
●    Crew: 3 (Captain, First Officer & Flight Engineer)
●    Length: 53.61m (175.9ft)
●    Wingspan: 44.84m (147.1ft)
●    Height: 16.72m (54.9ft)
●    Empty Weight: 88,505kg (195,120lbs)
●    Maximum Takeoff Weight: 165,000kg (363,763lbs)
●    Powerplant: General Electric CF6-50C/CF6-50C2R


Aircraft Performance
●    Range: 2,900nmi (5,375km) 
●    Service Ceiling: 40,000ft
●    Max Cruising Speed: Mach 0.78 (450kts)


Download & Install
Installation of the ASSP A300B2 was an extremely simple affair. After purchasing it from the X-Plane.org store, you are provided with a download link and an unlock key for the product. Just drag and drop the A300 into your aircraft folder (I have created a separate ‘Addons’ folder alongside the ‘Laminar Research’ and ‘Extra Aircraft’ folder for neatness) and the aircraft is available in your virtual hangar.


On first loading, you are asked to paste in your unlock key. This will activate the aircraft systems and upon reloading the sim, you are ready to fly. The A300 comes with a 9-page document that outlines the airframe limitations of the aircraft. This is handy to refer to, especially when navigating the aircraft and ensuring that you are not pushing the airframe over any defined limitations it may have.

 

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Rather than a manual, ASSP has put together a series of tutorial videos which you can find on YouTube. These videos walk you through the different stages of flight, and whilst this may not be the most popular way of doing things, I found it refreshing as video tutorials are by far the most visual way to display things. As a content creator myself, I find they show users exactly where to look and face when starting up, so kudos to them!


Exterior Model
The A300 features a standard wide-body base with two engines mounted, one on each wing. In the 1970s this was revolutionary as at the time three was considered the magic number when it came to wide bodies going long haul. The reasoning behind this was that if one engine was to fail, then you had the third as a failsafe.

 

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The ASSP model is a faithful recreation of the real aircraft, with key details including the enlarged side windows in the cockpit and additional vents and vanes found on the wing, common with the Hawker Siddeley design ethos at the time. Animations on the aircraft exterior are also really well reproduced, with the landing gear struts raising and dropping at a relatively steady pace, while all flight surfaces follow the pilots' input. Smaller details have also been added to the aircraft, such as the sensors and pitot tubes on the nose.

 

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The A300 comes with ten liveries. You have an ASSP ‘house’ livery and the following real-world airlines:
-    Airbus House
-    Air France
-    Alitalia
-    Iran Air
-    Lufthansa
-    Mahan Air
-    Onur Air
-    Olympic
-    Singapore Airlines

 

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Cockpit & Interior
The ASSP A300 features a fully modelled cockpit which is very pleasing to look at. It’s a dark, grey cabin with two yokes (this was the time before baby blue and fly-by-wire) with a mix of both glass and steam gauges. Only the A300 and A310 from Airbus featured yokes, as come the release of the Airbus A320, everything moved over to sidesticks with electrical signals controlling the aircraft axis from smaller inputs.

 

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The A300’s gauges, buttons, and switches are clear to read, and simple to understand, making them invaluable during flight. Text and labels are also of good clarity, including those situated in the overhead panel. Textures are done to a 4k resolution, which means that even when viewed close up, they still remain crisp and clear. 

 

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The aircraft is well optimised too, running at a solid 60fps in overpopulated areas on my 4k resolution monitor. I am yet to come across any lag spikes or major drops, making this an excellent choice for simmers on modest hardware

 

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The A300 also features a fully modeled passenger cabin, allowing you to walk through the aircraft and take a seat with your passengers. This is modeled to quite a high level of detail, with each livery featuring a custom cabin based on that particular airline.


Buttons, Gauges & Functionality
The aircraft features a fully functional cockpit with an engineer's bay included. You can manipulate and control everything from the pilot flying console, while I find the engineer’s bay to have 50% functionality. For a mid-level plane, this is enough to get you flying while following realistic checklists and good enough for those looking to fly something with a reasonable amount of detail.

 

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You can manage the aircraft's hydraulics, electrical and pressurisation systems, as well as a functioning fuel jettison feature, which may come in handy alongside the custom failures menu that you can play around with.

 

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You can also select and ‘age’ the aircraft which will affect how it performs in relation to speed and fuel burn. ASSP has also included an EFB tablet which gives you access to AviTab, several speed calculators, a loading manager and ground operations, as well as a settings page that lets you customise the aircraft and cockpit state. It does miss out on an ‘engines on ready to depart’ quick start mode, but you can toggle from cold and dark to a turnaround state. I would however like to see one added at some point in the future as I don’t always want to go through the startup process; just spawn in and take flight on a joyride.

 

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The HSI can be toggled from wide to bearing modes, or new to the older instruments.

 

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The A300 uses X-Plane’s Universal FMC which allows it to fully integrate with the default navigation database and systems. I have always found it easy to use and so seeing it within the A300 is a welcomed addition. This also works well with the custom autopilot unit fitted to the aircraft, allowing you to fly from either unit or switch between Navigation and FMS modes onboard.

 

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That’s not to say I don’t have an issue with a few aspects of functionality. For example, you cannot use the mouse wheel to scroll the gauges and dials within the cockpit. This means setting altitudes and speeds on your autopilot requires you to manually click and hold the numbers to reach your desired setting. This can be a drawn-out process, especially in descent where you want to quickly manage your speed reduction and descent. It can be tedious, but it’s something you can get used to, especially those that came from X-Plane 10 and previous editions of the platform where this was not a feature available.


The aircraft also insists that you start with the engines off. This means you cannot spawn in on an approach to an airport as they will always power down, regardless of how you have the ‘Start with engines running’ checkbox. Overall, cockpit simulation is to a satisfactory level, but don’t expect it to revolutionise the way you fly within the simulator.


Sound
Sounds are one of the strong points of this product as ASSP has incorporated FMOD to the A300, and it sounds great from both within the cockpit and externally.


The General Electric CF6 engines give a soft whine when powered and this has been faithfully recreated within the simulator using sound samples from the real thing. I often find myself sitting back in the cabin looking down at my ORBX TrueEarth scenery while listening to the engines whisper mid-way through my cruise. Spooling the engines up and down also changes the pitch and wave of the whine, giving you the feeling of power when you’re on your takeoff run.

 

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Within the cockpit, ASSP has included sound samples from the original Airbus GPWS which is a welcomed addition. When on final approach, you’ll hear the real Airbus voice counting you down as you approach the runway, as well as any errors you may encounter, such as overspeed and stall alarms.


Flight Dynamics
The ASSP A300 is smooth to fly and very stable once in the air. This makes it extremely easy to manage during takeoffs and landings, before sending it over to autopilot to take you on your way.  

 

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With the lack of fly-by-wire on the A300, this means you need to start your flare a lot closer to the ground, and don’t expect a ‘Retard’ callout on the way in either. You certainly have to add a lot more control input when compared to newer Airbus aircraft to fly it on the route you want, but that’s something you’ll learn the feel of after your first few test flights.

 

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You do need to get used to the feeling of landing, but after a few circuits and approaches, it’s something that you can easily manage. I flew with my TCA Boeing Yoke from Thrustmaster (sorry Airbus sidestick, this one is not for you!) and found its handling to be very even. In a nutshell, the A300 is a steady beast to fly and one I have really enjoyed.

 

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Opinion & Closing Remarks
ASSP's version of the Airbus A300 may not be study level, but then they never claimed it would be. What we have is a good, simplistic recreation of Airbus’ first jetliner and one that is a joy to fly.


Strong points are certainly the audio and model design, the A300 looks and sounds great. You also have enough systems functioning to take you on a realistic flight from A to B, following checklists and managing your aircraft systems along the way. It’s definitely IVAO & VATSIM capable, giving you another aircraft to enjoy alongside your ATC.


In the numerous short flights I’ve made with this model, I’ve come to appreciate the functionality and use of the plane, with many good landings along the way. While it may not be the most advanced A300 on the market, it’s a great base for those that want to look at the older generation of jetliners and see how they function with the flight engineer also in position.


ASSP’s first release is a truly good start. I would certainly like to see more added to it in the future as well as an option to have engines on from start. With that said, what we have so far is a decent A300 that will certainly provide a smile to the average flight simmer looking to try something different.

_______________________________

 

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The Airbus A300 Classic B2-200 by ASSP is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here:

 

Airbus A300 Classic B2-200

Price is $49.99

 

Requirements
X-Plane 11

Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 760 MB
Current version: 1.6 (March 17th 2022)

 

Review by Michael Hayward

30th June 2022

Copyright©2022: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Windows 10 Professional, AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor, 32GB RAM, Palit GeForce RTX™ 3080 GamingPro

 

(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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