FlyByWire Simulations, the creators of an open-source A32NX addon for Microsoft Flight Simulator, have recently, on September 4th, hosted In the Hangar and Outside the Hangar livestream sessions at their YouTube channel and Discord server.
Hosted by Kiwi, and joined by Sid, Boris, Holland, Kevin, and BlueberryKing, the developers and members of the FlyByWire team have decided to take a little different approach with the In the Hangar format from the previous posts. This time the developers have used In the Hangar to showcase what they have been working on or have planned, and Outside the Hangar to answer questions from community members.
Starting of with celebrating the first year anniversary of FlyByWire Simulations, the developers continued to showcase the statistics of the A32NX addon since the initial release.
- Total number of downloads: 2,000,000+
- Years flown: 450+
- Downloads: 600+ TB
- Experimental installs, first week: 4000+
The developers have multiple goals set for the future. The first goal that they want to achieve is to have over 95% of the normal operations of the aircraft modelled and functional. This includes, for example, complete FMS with functional LNAV and VNAV, realistic avionics and sounds, or a rudimentary maintenance system.
Following that, the developers will try to bring abnormal operations to the aircraft. Including, but not limited to, advanced maintenance system, normal and stress-based failures, individual circuit breaker simulation, or generally speaking advanced breakage and servicing.
After all that is done, the developers will shift their focus on other aircraft variants the community has been looking very much forward to since the initial announcement and release of the addon. What variants will be recreated was not disclosed, and will be based mainly on available data.
Weights and balance (A32NX)
Hosted by Sid, in this part of the livestream, the developer has explained more in-depth what is planned for the Weights & Balance of the A32NX. As of right now, the cabin and cargo area are both divided into two sections, with the new update, there will be four sections in each part of the aircraft allowing better customization and weight & balance settings. This is not yet available in any public version of the aircraft but is coming soon.
Over the past few months, the developers have been hard at work replacing the default sounds with custom ones. These new sounds are based on high-quality recordings from real aircraft and are already implemented in the development version of the aircraft.
There is also going to be a cabin ambiance. With this, not only will there be PA announcements based on the airline selection you will have in the EFB, but the sounds of passengers in the cabin will be playing in the background as well for better immersion.
Further, dynamic system sounds will be present in the future. Long story short, there will be custom sounds for various scenarios that are not very generic, for example, fuel pumps running dry, or hydraulic pumps reacting to the current load.
Unfortunately, no previews were given.
custom bleed system (A32NX)
As BlueberryKing said in the livestream, the developers will do their best to recreate as many bleed system components as possible while still maintaining a certain level of accuracy. Most of the valves and containers should be modelled in the A32NX in the future. This will also open doors for additional failure options, once the failure system is ready.
Hosted by Holland, in this part of In the Hangar it was stated, that the developers at FlyByWire are working on an entirely custom FMS that is based on the infrastructure that is used in the real aircraft. This should allow the developers to both, have an accurate recreation of the FMS, and provide better compatibility and cooperation between the FMS other systems. The FMS is in this case like the brain of the aircraft which controls the systems around.
Every single function of the FMS is planned to be featured in the addon sometime in the future, including holding patterns, off-set legs, procedure turns, or predictions, for example. At the end of the section, Holland mentioned that this may even be the most accurate rendition of the LNAV system to ever be put into a home flight simulator.
custom isis (A32NX)
Integrated Standby Instrument System, or ISIS, is intended to serve as a backup in case of a failure of the standard instruments. BlueberryKing has previewed a rewritten ISIS system in the A32NX that is already in the development version of the aircraft.
It also got some feature upgrades like metric altimeter reading, QNH in hectopascal and inches, or clickable barometric knob to easily convert to the STD measure. The BUGS page was also implemented.
At the end of the livestream, Holland walked the community through a new set of previews showcasing the A380X in Microsoft Flight Simulator. The previews mainly focus on the aircraft exterior and small details in the interior.
Two short clips were also played in the livestream showcasing a very early version of the FMC that will be present in the A380X. Both clips can be seen below.
Outside the Hangar Q&A
Q: Are you planning on having sun covers on the windows?
This feature will be in the cockpit once the custom model is ready. It will be, of course, animated.
Q: Are you planning to increase the connectivity with hardware for better home cockpit compatibility?
Every single variable in the A32NX is accessible to be used and accessed by SimConnect, however, there are still some variables from the default that can’t be accessed thus making it an issue that Asobo needs to fix and the FlyByWire team can’t do anything about. There is an active feature request on the forums though.
Q: Are you planning to make visual engine failures?
The developers are currently focusing on the new engine model. Visual engine failures are planned to be done afterwards.
Q: What is the status of integrating ChartFox to the EFB?
A lot of necessary code is in the EFB already, but things need to get finished. No ETA was given.
Q: Will the A380 be open-source as well?
Q: What is the status of the new A32NX model?
It is very much a work in progress, however, as Boris himself stated: “It is already awesome!“. The developers are looking into bringing a very detailed model with correct dimensions to the platform.
Q: Will the A32NX have separate ground services?
It is currently not planned, however, the developers are looking forward to cooperating with freeware ground services addon developers if their help is necessary for the best compatibility with the aircraft.
Q: Will there be a tail and gear camera in the cockpit?
Right now, this feature is not possible by the SDK. The developers would currently need to set up a secondary camera that would render the view. Unfortunately, this camera would mean a significant performance hit as the simulator would need to render two views in the same quality instead of one. FlyByWire has talked to Asobo about this feature, and they put it to their backlog.
Q: Is it possible to add an animation to open the cockpit windows?
With the current model, it’s not possible, however, once the new custom model is ready, the users will be able to open the cockpit windows, doors, and other compartments with custom sounds.
Q: Are there any future plans after the A380?
There are no plans on any aircraft after the A380. The developers want to first make sure to finish their chores with the A32NX and A380. Further, with current resources and team, it is not even possible.
Q: What engine will be featured in the initial A380 version?
For the first A380 implementation, the developers are working on having a Trent 900 done. There are no specific reasons other than cool sounds about which Boris is very happy about, and a good amount of documentation available to the team.
If you want to go through the whole session yourself, you can do so through FlyByWire Simulation’s YouTube channel.